The other Towns of note in this Colony are Green-Harbour to the Eastward of Plimouth towards the point of the Cape, & therefore somewhat unaccessible by land, here is excellent Timber for shipping; then Marshfield Yarmouth, Rehoboth, Bridgwater, Warwick, Taunton, Eastham, by the Indians called Namset. 

The first Town Northeast from Green-harbor is Sittuate in the jurisdiction of the Mattachusets-Colony, more Northward of Sittuate is Conchusset and Hull a little Burg lying open to the Sea, from thence we came to Merton-point over against which is Pullin-point. Upon Merton-point (which is on the Larboard-side) is a Town called Nantascot, which is two Leagues from Boston, where Ships commonly cast Anchor. Pullin-point is so called, because the Boats are by the seasing or Roads haled against the Tide which is very strong, it is the usual Channel for Boats to pass into Mattachusets-Bay. 

There is an Island on the South-side of the passage containing eight Acres of ground. Upon a rising hill within this Island is mounted a Castle commanding the entrance, no stately Edifice, nor strong; built with Brick and Stone, kept by a Captain, under whom is a master-Gunner and others.

The Bay is large, made by many Islands, the chief Deere-Island, which is within a flight shot of Pullin-point, great store of Deere were wont to swim thither from the Main; then Bird-Island, Glass-Island, Slate-Island, the Governours Garden, where the first Apple-Trees in the Countrey were planted, and a vinyard; then Round-Island, and, and Noddles-Island not far from Charles-Town: most of these Islands lye on the North-side of the Bay. 

The next Town to Nantascot on the South-fide of the Bay is Wissagulet a small Village, about three miles from Mount-wolleston, about this Town the soil is very fertile. 

Within sight of this is Mount-wolleston or Merry-mount called Massachusets-fields, where Chicatabat the greatest Sagamore of the Countrey lived before the plague; here the Town of Braintree is seated, no Boat nor Ship can come near to it, here is an Iron mill; to the West of this Town is Naponset River. 

Six miles beyond Braintree lyeth Dorchester, a frontire Town pleasantly seated, and of large extent into the main land, well watered with two small Rivers, her body and wings filled somewhat thick with houses to the number of two hundred and more, beautified with fair Orchards and Gardens, having also plenty of Corn-land, and store of Cattle, counted the greatest Town heretofore in New-England, but now gives way to Boston, it hath a Harbour to the North for Ships. 

A mile from Dorchester is the Town of Roxbury, a fair and handsome Countrey Town, the streets large, the Inhabitants rich, replenished with Orchards and Gardens, well watered with springs and small freshets, a brook runs through it called Smelt-River, a quarter of a mile to the North-side of the Town runs Stony River: it is seated in the bottom of a shallow Bay, but hath no harbour for shipping. Boats come to it, it hath store of Land and Cattle. 

Two miles Northeast from Roxbury, and Forty miles from New-Plimouth, in the latitude of 42 or 43 degrees and 10 minutes, in the bottom of Massachusets-Bay is Boston (whose longitude is 315 degrees, or as others will 322 degrees and 30 seconds.) So called from a Town in Lincolnshire, which in the Saxons time bare the name of St. Botolph, and is the Metropolis of this Colony, or rather of the whole Countrey, situated upon a Peninsula, about four miles in compass, almost square, and invironed with the Sea, having one small Isthmus which gives access to other Towns by land on the South-side. The Town hath two hills of equal height on the frontire part thereof next the Sea, the one well fortified on the superficies with some Artillery mounted, commanding any Ship as the sails into the Harbour within the still Bay; the other hill hath a very strong battery built of whole Timber and fill'd with earth, at the descent of the hill in the extreamest part thereof, betwixt these two strong Arms, lyes a large Cove or Bay, on which the chiefest part of the Town is built to the Northwest is a high mountain that out-tops all, with its three little rising hills on the summit, called Tramount, this is furnished with a Beacon and great Guns, from hence you may overlook all the Islands in the Bay, and descry such Ships as are upon the Coast: the houses are for the most part raised on the Sea-banks and wharfed out with great industry and cost, many of them standing upon piles, close together on each side the streets as in London, and furnished with many fair shops, their materials are Brick, Stone, Lime, handsomely contrived, with three meeting Houses or Churches, and a Town-house built upon pillars where the Merchants may confer, in the Chambers above they keep their monethly Courts. Their streets are many and large, paved with pebble stone, and the South-side adorned with Gardens and Orchards. The Town is rich and very populous, much frequented by strangers, here is the dwelling of their Governour. On the North-west and North-east two constant Fairs are kept for daily Traffick thereunto. On the South there is a small, but pleasant Common where the Gallants a little before Sun-set walk with their Marmalet-Madams, as we do in Morefields, &c. till the nine a clock Bell rings them home to their respective habitations, when presently the Constables walk their rounds to see good orders kept, and to take up loose people. Two miles from the town, at a place called Muddy-River, the Inhabitants have Farms, to which belong rich arable grounds and meadows where they keep their Cattle in the Summer, and bring them to Boston in the Winter; the Harbour before the Town is filled with Ships and other Vessels for most part of the year. 

Hingham is a Town situated upon the Sea-coast, South-east of Charles-River: here is great store of Timber, deal-boards, masts for Ships, white-Cedar, and fish is here to be had. 

Dedham an inland town ten miles from Boston in the County of Suffolk well watered with many pleasant streams, and abounding with Garden fruit; the Inhabitants are Husband-men, somewhat more than one hundred Families, having store of Cattle and Corn. 

The Town of Waymouth lyes open to the Sea, on the East Rocks and Swamps, to the South-ward good store of Deer, arable land and meadows.

On the North-side of Boston flows Charles-River, which is about six fathom deep, many small Islands lye to the Bayward, and hills on either side the River, a very good harbour, here may forty Ships ride, the passage from Boston to Charles-Town is by a Ferry worth forty or fifty pounds a year, and is a quarter of a mile over. The River Mistick runs through the right side of the Town, and by its near approach to Charles-River in one place makes a very narrow neck, where stands most part of the Town, the market-place not far from the waterside is surrounded with houses, forth of which issue two streets orderly built and beautified with Orchards and Gardens, their meeting-house stands on the North-side of the market, having a little hill behind it; there belongs to this Town one thousand and two hundred Acres of arable, four hundred head of Cattle, and as many Sheep, these also provide themselves Farms in the Country. 

Up higher in Charles-River west-ward is a broad Bay two miles over, into which runs Stony-River and Muddy-River. 

Towards the South-west in the middle of the Bay is a great Oyster-bank, towards the North-west is a Creek; upon the shore is situated the village of Medford, it is a mile and half from Charles-town. 

At the bottom of the Bay the River begins to be narrower, half a quarter of a mile broad; by the North-side of the River is New-town, three miles from Charles-town, a league and half by water, it was first intended for a City, the neatest and best compacted Town, having many fair structures and handsom contrived streets; the Inhabitants rich, they have many hundred Acres of land paled with one common fence a mile and half long, and store of Cattle; it is now called Cambridge where is a Colledg for Students of late; it stretcheth from Charles-River to the Southern part of Merrimach-River. 

Half a mile thence on the same side of the River is Water-town built upon one of the branches of Charles-River, very fruitful and of large extent, watered with many pleasant springs and small Rivulets, the Inhabitants live scatteringly. Within half a mile is a great pond divided between the two Towns, a mile and half from the Town is a fall of fresh waters which conveigh themselves into the Ocean through Charles-River, a little below the fall of waters they have a wair to catch fish, wherein they take store of Basse, Shades, Alwives, Frost-fish, and Smelts, in two tides they have gotten one hundred thousand of these fishes. They have store of Cattle and Sheep, and near upon two thousand Acres of arable land, Ships of small burden may come up to these Towns. 

We will now return to Charles-town again, where the River Mistick runs on the North-side of the Town (that is the right side as beforesaid) where on the North west-side of the River is the Town of Mistick, three miles from Charles-town, a league and half by water, a scattered village; at the head of this River are great and spacious ponds, full of Alewives in the spring-time, the notedst place for this sort of fish. On the West of this River is Merchant Craddock's plantation, where he impaled a park.

Upon the same River and on the North-side is the Town of Malden. 

The next Town is Winnisimet a mile from Charles-town, the River only parting them, this is the last Town in the still bay of Massachusets. 

Without Pullin-point, six miles North-east from Winnisimet is Cawgust, or Sagust, or Sangut now called Linn, situated at the bottom of a Bay near a River, which upon the breaking up of winter with a furious Torrent vents it self into the Sea, the Town consists of more than one hundred dwelling-houses, their Church being built on a level undefended from the North-west wind is made with steps descending into the Earth, their streets are straight and but thin of houses, the people most husbandmen. At the end of the Sandy beach is a neck of land called Nahant, it is six miles in circumference. Black William an Indian Duke out of his generosity gave this to the English. At the mouth of the River runs a great Creek into a great marsh called Rumney-marsh, which is four miles long, and a mile broad, this Town hath the benefit of minerals of divers kinds. Iron, Lead, one Iron mill, store of Cattle, Arable land and meadow. 

To the North-ward of Linn is Marvil or Marble-head, a small Harbour, the shore rockie, upon which the Town is built, consisting of a few scattered houses; here they have stages for fishermen. Orchards and Gardens, half a mile within land good pastures and Arable land.

Four miles North of Marble-head is situated New-Salem (whose longitude is 315 degrees, and latitude 42 degrees 35 minutes) upon a plain, having a River on the South, and another on the North, it hath two Harbours, Winter Harbour and Summer Harbour which lyeth within Darbie's fort, they have store of Meadow and Arable, in this Town are some very rich Merchants.

Upon the Northern Cape of the Massachusets, that is Cape-Ann, a place of fishing is situated, the Town of Glocester where the Massachusets Colony first set down, but Salem was the first Town built in that Colony, here is a Harbour for Ships.

To the North-ward of Cape-Ann is Wonasquam, a dangerous place to sail by in stormie weather, by reason of the many Rocks and foaming breakers.

The next Town that presents it self to view is Ipswich situated by a fair River, whose first rise is from a Lake or Pond twenty mile up, betaking its course through a hideous Swamp for many miles, a Harbour for Bears, it issueth forth into a large Bay, (where they fish for Whales) due East over against the Islands of Sholes a great place of fishing, the mouth of that River is barr'd; it is a good haven-town, their meeting-house or Church is beautifully built, store of Orchards and Gardens, land for husbandry and Cattle.

Wenham is an inland Town very well watered, lying between Salem and Ipswich, confisteth most of men of judgment and experience in re rustica, well stored with Cattle. At the first rise of Ipswich-River in the highest part of the land near the head springs of many considerable Rivers; Shashin one of the most considerable branches of Merrimach-River and also at the rise of Mistick-River, and ponds full of pleasant springs, is situated Wooburn an inland-Town four miles square beginning at the end of Charles-town bounds.

Six miles from Ipswich North-east is Rowley, most of the Inhabitants have been Clothiers.

Nine miles from Salem to the North is Agowamine, the best and spaciousest place for a plantation, being twenty leagues to the Northward of New-Plimouth.

Beyond Agowamin is situated Hampton near the Sea-coasts not far from Merrimach-River, this Town is like a Flower-deluce, having two streets of houses wheeling off from the main body thereof, they have great store of salt Marshes and Cattle, the land is fertil, but full of Swamps and Rocks.

Eight miles beyond Agowamin runneth the delightful River Merrimach or Monumach, it is navigable for twenty miles, and well stored with fish, upon the banks grow stately Oaks, excellent Ship timber, not inferiour to our English.

On the South-side of Merrimach-River twelve miles from Ipswich, and near upon the wide venting streams thereof is situated Newberrie, the houses are scattering, well stored with meadow, upland, and Arable, and about four hundred head of Cattle.

Over against Newberrie lyes the Town of Salisbury, where a constant Ferry is kept, the River being here half a mile broad, the Town scatteringly built.

Hard upon the River of Shashin where Merrimach receives this and the other branch into its body, is seated Andover, stored with land and Cattle.

Beyond this Town by the branch of Merrimach-River called Shashin, lyeth Haverhill, a Town of large extent about ten miles in length, the inhabitants Husbandmen, this Town is not far from Salisbury.

Over against Haverhill lyeth the Town of Malden, which I have already mentioned.

In a low level upon a fresh River a branch of Merrimach is seated Concord, the first inland Town in Massachusets patent, well stored with fish, Salmon, Dace, Alewive, Shade, &c. abundance of fresh marsh and Cattle, this place is subject to bitter storms.

The next town is Sudbury built upon the same River where Concord is, but further up; to this Town likewise belongs great store of fresh marshes, and Arable land, and they have many Cattle, it lyeth low, by reason whereof it is much indammaged with flouds.

In the Centre of the Countrey by a great pond side, and not far from Woeburn, is situated Reading, it hath two mills, a saw-mill and a Corn-mill, and is well stockt with Cattle.

The Colony is divided into four Counties, the first is Suffolk, to which belongs Dorchester, Roxbury, Waymouth, Hingham, Dedham, Braintre, Sittuate, Hull, Nantascot, Wisagusset The second County is Middlesex, to this belongs Charles-town, Water-town, Cambridge, Concord, Sudbury, Woeburn, Reading, Malden, Mistick, Medford, Winnisimet  and Marble-head. To the third County which is Essex, belongs New-Salem, Linn, Ipswich, New-Berry, Rowley, Glocester, Wenham and Andover. The fourth County is Northfolk, to this belongs Salisbury, Hampton and HaverhilL

In the year of our Lord 1628, Mr. John Endicot with a number of English people set down by Cape-Ann at that place called afterwards Gloster, but their abiding-place was at Salem, where they built a Town in 1639 and there they gathered their first Church, consisting but of Seventy persons; but afterwards increased to forty three Churches in joynt Communion with one another, and in those Churches were about Seven thousand, seven hundred and fifty Souls, Mr. Endicot was chosen their first Governour.

The Twelfth of July Anno Dom. 1630. John Wenthorp Esq; and the assistants, arrived with the Patent for the Massachusets, the passage of the people that came along with him in ten Vessels came to 95000 pound: the Swine, Goats, Sheep, Neat, Horses cost to transport 12000 pound, besides the price they cost them; getting food for the people till they could clear the ground of wood amounted to 45000 pound: Nails, Glass, and other Iron work for their meeting and dwelling houses 13000 pound; Arms, Powder, Bullet, and Match, together with their Artillery 22000 pound, the whole sum amounts unto One hundred ninety two thousand pounds. They set down first upon Noddles-Island, afterwards they began to build upon the main. In 1637 there were not many houses in the Town of Boston, amongst which were two houses of entertainment called Ordinaries, into which if a stranger went, he was presently followed by one appointed to that Office, who would thrust himself into his company uninvited, and if he called for more drink than the Officer thought in his judgment he could soberly bear away, he would presently countermand it, and appoint the proportion, beyond which he could not get one drop.

The Patent was granted to Sir Henry Rosewell, Sir John Young Knight, Thomas ' Southcoat, John Humphrey, John Endicot, and Simon Whitecomb, and to their Heirs, Assigns, and Associats for ever. These took to them other Associats, as Sir Richard Saltonstall, Isaac Johnson, Samuel AIdersey, Jo. Ven, Matth. Craddock, George Harwood, Increase Nowell, Rich. Perry, Rich. Bellingham, Nathaniel Wright, Samuel Vasell, Theophilus Eaton, Thomas Goffe, Thomas Adams, Jo. Brown, Samuel Brown, Thomas Hutchins, Will. Vasell. Will. Pinchon and George Foxcroft. Matth. Craddock was ordained and constituted Governour by Patent, and Thomas Goffe Deputy Governour of the said Company, the rest Assistants.

That part of New-England granted to these fore-mentioned Gentlemen lyeth and extendeth between a great River called Monumach, alias Merrimach, and the often frequented Charles-River, being in the bottom of a Bay called Massachusets, alias Mattachusets, alias Massatusets-bay; and also those lands within the space of three English miles, on the South part of the said Charles-River, or any or every part, and all the lands within three miles to the South-ward part of the Massachusets-bay, and all those lands which lye within the space of three English miles to the North-ward of the River Merrimach, or to the North-ward of any and every part thereof, and all lands whatsoever within the limits aforefaid, North and South, in latitude, and in breadth and length and longitude of and within all the main land there, from the Atlantick and Western-Sea and Ocean on the East-part, to the South-Sea on the West-part, and all lands and grounds, place and places, soils, woods and wood-groves. Havens, Ports, Rivers, Waters, fishings and Hereditaments whatsoever lying within the aforesaid lands and limits, and every part and parcel thereof, and also all Islands lying in America aforesaid in the said Seas, or either of them on the Western or Eastern Coasts or parts of the said tracts of lands. Also all mines and minerals as well Royal of Gold, Silver, as others &c. With power to rule and govern both Sea and land, holden of the East manner of Greenwich in Com. Kent, in free and common soccage, yielding and paying to the King the fifth part of the Oar of Gold and Silver which shall be found at any time.

This Colony is a body Corporated and Politick in fact by the name of the Governour and Company of the Mattachusets-bay in New-England.

That there shall be one Governour, and Deputy-Governour, and Eighteen Assistants of the same Company from time to time.

That the Governour and Deputy-Governour, Assistants and all other Officers to be chosen from amongst the free-men, the last Wednesday in Easter-term yearly in the general Court.

The Governour to take his Corporal Oath to be true and faithful to the Government, and to give the same Oath to the other Officers.

To hold a Court once a month, and any seven to be a sufficient Court.

And that there shall be four general Courts kept in Term time, and one great general and solemn Assembly to make Laws and Ordinances; So they be not contrary and repugnant to the Laws and Statutes of the Realm of England. Their form of Government and what their Laws concern, you may see in the ensuing Table.

Source: Overview by Bryan Wright

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John Josselyn

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