Voyage of the Ark and The Dove



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Narrative of a Voyage to Maryland, 1633-34 by Father Andrew White, S.J. who came with the Ark and the Dove




On the Twenty Second of the month of November, in the year 1633, being St. Cecilia's Day, we set sail from Cowes, in the Isle of Wight, with a gentle east wind blowing.  And after committing the...ship to the protection of God especially, and of His most Holy Mother, and St. Ignatius, and all the guardians of Maryland, we sailed...past a number of rocks...which from their shape, are called the Needles...We left behind us the western promontory of England and the Scilly Isles...sailing easily on...[we passed] over the British channel.  Yet we did not hasten, ...fearing, if we left the pinnace [i.e., the Dove] too far behind us, that it would become the prey of Turks and Pirates, who generally infest that sea...

 The winds increasing, and the sea growing more boisterous, we could see the pinnace in the distance, showing two lights of her masthead.  Then indeed we thought it was all over with her, and that she had been swallowed up in the deep whirlpools; for in a moment she had passed out of sight, and no news of her reached us for six months afterwards...[But after returning to England and made] a fresh start from thence, ...[and] overtook us [months later at the Antilles].



Maryland Historical Archives

[Several days later] so fierce a tempest broke forth, ...that it seemed every minute as if we must be swallowed up by the waves...The clouds...were fearful to behold, ...and excited the belief that all the malicious spirits of the storm, and all the evil genii of Maryland had come forth to battle against us...And such a furious hurricane followed...that the mainsail, the only one we were carrying, [was] torn in the middle from top to bottom...All control of the rudder being lost, the ship now drifted about like a dish in the water, at the mercy of the waves...[But eventually] the storm was abating...[and] we had delightful weather for three months.  [We continued past the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Madeiras, with favorable winds [the Portuguese trade winds], which blew steadily towards the South and the south-west [to] the Fortunate Isles [the Canary Islands].

[En route to the Caribbean Sea Christmas was celebrated and] in order that that day might be better kept, wine was given out; and those who drank of it too freely, were seized the next day with a fever; and of these, not long afterwards, about twelve died... [We reached Barbados on the third of January, [but] They had no beef or mutton at any price, ...On the twenty-fourth of January, we weighed anchor and [continued past St. Lucia, Guadalupe, Montserrat, and Nevis and spent ten days at St. Christopher's].

At length, sailing from this place, [we went north, rounded Cape Hatteras, and entered Chesapeake Bay between Cape Charles and Cape Henry and] reached Point Comfort, in Virginia, on the 27th of February, full of apprehension, lest the English in habitants, who were much displeased at our settling, should be plotting something against us.  Nevertheless the letters we carried from the King, and from the high treasurer of England, served to allay their anger.


The Dove
Recreation The Dove out of St. Mary's City

After being kindly treated for eight or nine days, we set sail on the third of March, and entering the Chesapeake Bay, we turned our course to the north to reach the Potomack River...Having now arrived at the wished-for country.  Never have I beheld a larger or more beautiful river [than the Potomac].  The Thames seems a mere rivulet in comparison with it...The first island we came to [we called] St. Clement's Island...On the day of the Annunciation of the Most Holy Virgin Mary in the year 1634, we celebrated the mass for the first time, on the island...[then] we took upon our shoulders a great cross, which we had hewn out of a tree...[and] erected a trophy to Christ the Saviour...Since, however, the island contains only four hundred acres, we saw that it would not afford room enough for the new settlement, [we went] about nine leagues from St. Clement, [and] sailed into the mouth of a river, on the north side of the Potomac [now St. Mary's River] capable of containing three hundred ships of the largest size...We landed...and going in about a mile from the shore, we laid out the plan of a city, naming it after St. Mary.  And in order to avoid every appearance of injustice, and afford opportunity for hostility, we bought from the [Indian] King thirty miles of land.

Extracted from The Maryland Historical Society's Fund Publication No. 1, Baltimore, Maryland, 1874.


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