At the very mouth of the river we beheld the natives armed. That night fires were kindled through the whole region, and since so large a ship had never been seen by them, messengers were sent everywhere to announce "that a canoe as large as an island had brought as many men as there were trees in the woods." We proceeded, however, to Heron islands, so called from the immense flocks of birds of this kind. . . .
On the day of the annunciation of the Holy Virgin Mary, on the 25th of March, in the year 1634, we offered in this island, for the first time, the sacrifice of the mass: in this region of the world it had never been celebrated before. Sacrifice being ended, having taken up on our shoulders the great cross which we had hewn from a tree, and going in procession to the place that had been designated, the Governor, com missioners, and other catholics participating in the ceremony, we erected it as a trophy to Christ the Saviour, while the litany of the holy cross was chanted humbly on the bended knees, with great emotion of soul.
But when the Governor had understood that many sachems are subject to the chieftain of Piscataway, he resolved to visit him, that the cause of our coming being explained, and his good will being conciliated, a more easy access might be gained to the minds of the others. . . . And when he had found out that the savages had fled into the interior, he proceeded to a village which is also called Potomac, a name derived from the river. H ere the tutor [guardian] of the king, who is a youth, is Archihu, his uncle, and holds the government of the kingdom -- a grave man and prudent.
To father John Altham, who had come as the companion of the Governor (for he left me with the baggage,) he willingly gave ear while explaining, through in interpreter, certain things concerning the errors of the heathens, now and then acknowledging his own; and when informed that we had not come thither for the purpose of war, but for the sake of benevolence, that we might imbue a rude race with the precepts of civilization, and open up a way to heaven, as well as impart to them the advantages of remote regions, he signified that we had come acceptably. The interpreter was one of the protestants of Virginia. Therefore when the father could not discuss matters further for want of time, he promised that he would return before long. "This is agreeable to my mind," said Archihu, "we will use one table; my attendants shall go hunt for you, and all things shall be common with us."
From this we went to Piscataway, where all flew to arms. About five hundred men, equipped with bows, stood on the shore with their chieftain. Signs of peace being given them, the chief, laying aside his apprehensions, came on board the pinnace, and having understood the intentions of our minds to be benevolent, he gave us permission to settle in whatever part of his empire we might wish.
In the meantime, while the Governor was on his visit to the chieftain, the savages at St. Clement's having grown more bold, mingled familiarly with our guards, for we kept guard day and night, both that we might protect our woodcutters as well as the brigantine which with boards and protect and beams we were constructing as a refuge from sudden attacks. It was amusing to hear them admiring every thing. In the first place, where in all the earth did so large a tree grow, from which so immense a mass of a ship could be hewn? for they conceived it cut from the single trunk of a tree, in the manner of a canoe. Our cannon struck them all with consternation, as they were much louder than their twanging bows, and loud as thunder.
The Governor had taken as companion in his visit to the chieftain, Captain Henry Fleet, a resident of Virginia, a man very much beloved by the savages, and acquainted with their language and settlements. At the first he was very friendly to us -- afterwards, seduced by the evil counsels of a certain Claiborne, who entertained the most hostile disposition, he stirred up the minds of the natives against us with all the art of which he was master. In the meantime, however, while he remained as a friend among us, he pointed out to the Governor a place for a settlement, such that Erurope cannot show a better for agreeableness of situation.