Father Andrew White's A Briefe Relation of the Voyage
Vnto Maryland is one of the most important first-hand
accounts of the early European settlement of North America.
It is reprinted here from the Maryland Historical Society
Fund Publication no. 35 (1899). Father White's original
manuscript was given to Leonard Calvert, who was the
brother of Lord Baltimore, leader of the expedition, and first
governor of the province. Calvert sent it to Sir Richard
Lechford, his business partner in England, in May 1634. The
Briefe Relation is of singular importance in the understanding
of the voyage and first settlement of the Maryland colony in
1633 and 1634, and of the larger social and political context
in which these events occurred.
By all accounts, Father White's career was as exciting as
the time in which he lived. During his seventy-eight years,
he was a priest of the order of the Society of Jesus, a scholar,
a teacher, a missionary, a student of American Indian
languages, and an advisor to the Lords Baltimore in shaping
their plans to establish the Maryland colony. He suffered
for his religious convictions. As a Catholic priest, he was
twice arrested, imprisoned, and banished from his native
England. When, at age fifty-five, he stepped ashore with
Leonard Calvert and the first Maryland settlers at St.
Clement's Island on March 25, 1634, he had already seen
much of Europe. He survived repeated contests with fever
in the New World to continue his missionary work among
the English settlers and the Indian nations he found on the
shores of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
Father White's Briefe Relation allows us the privilege of3
seeing the New World through the eyes of the "first
adventurers." It enables us to walk in the footsteps of the
140 men and women who crossed a vast ocean aboard the
Ark and the Dove to carve a settlement out of the wilderness
and to build a new society founded on principles of
freedom and opportunity.