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The Mariner’s Digest

Investors Pull Out

Sir Francis Popham Makes a Go of It

1609 – Maine

On the coast of Maine, the crews of a small fleet of fishing vessels were cleaning and packing their catch, trucking with the natives, loafing, or brawling. Little did they know that this outpost was an investment failure. Though investors tried to exploit New England’s fish resources to make a profit, as a commercial enterprise, it did not produce a profit. To the investors, settling here was a miscalculation.

They have refused to continue to send supplies or people to work here. They have pulled out of the venture.

1609 – Maine

By now everybody knows that Sir Francis Popham has inherited the assets of the fishing venture. He is beginning to use the ships and equipment to make a profit. Each year from 1609 to 1614, he will send fishing expeditions to the Maine shores. Seasonally, the men will set up fishing stages and live there. They will continue to trade with the nearby Indians.

Life at the Fishing Stations

Life for the fishermen living at the fishing stage areas is hard and rough. One might expect to find some of the men drinking, gambling, and brawling. In the areas where stations are more permanent, either fishermen or servants that are hired to watch the stations live here during the winter.

While Popham is sending his ships, other investors also fund yearly gatherings of English fishermen.

Fishing as a resource is providing a temporary settlement of the land. Might fishing be a catalyst for more development and a more permanent settlement to follow?

Jobs Available

Reminder to all able-bodied men!

Crew members - You will take care of, build, and repair the stages where the catches are spread to dry. You must purchase your own gear. If you have twelve-dozen woven cotton lines, twenty-four-dozen iron fish hooks, and lead sinkers to weigh down the lines, apply at once!

If you work ashore as part of the fishing trade, you are relieved of militia duty.

Shipwrights and carpenters who work on the construction of fishing vessels are also exempt from militia duty.

West Africans Seek Cod for Payment

European Catholics Enjoy the Best Cod

Merchants trading in West Africa should bring cured cod as payment for slaves.

Fridays are no meat days for Catholics. Bring on the dunfish cod, your best-cured cod, to satisfy our appetites.

Plantation Owners Plea, "Food source needed for our Caribbean island slaves"

Our sugar plantation slaves who chop cane by hand, burn fields, haul cane to the mill, crush cane, and boil cane work sixteen hours or more each day. They need salt and protein to keep working in the tropical weather. As our valuable planting space is used for sugar cane, we seek to do business with any merchants selling refuse cod which might have been badly split, have too much salt, been affected by weather conditions when drying, or suffered bad handling. Deliver your West India, refuse cure to us.

Who Profits From an Investment?

The merchant who outfits the ship gets one third.

The shipowner takes one third.

If he borrowed to build the vessel, he pays interest to the lenders.

The crew members divide the remaining third between themselves.




Did You Know That . . .

Men pay for their own English-made gear.

The fish bait is cut from mackerel, clams, and mussels.

Note: The fisheries and commerce related to fishing would contribute greatly to the New England economy.
As of December 4, 2003, you are visitor to enjoy "The Mariner's Digest" provided by Inquiry Unlimited.

Last modified: January 10, 2009.
Copyright 2002 Marjorie Duby. This is the intellectual property of Marjorie Duby.