“..our Indian Corne, even the coarsest, maketh as pleasant meat as Rice, therefore spare that vnless to spend by the way…”
Mourt’s Relation, p. 86. (1621)
Rice at sea for the 17th century Englishman
1584 (Discourse of Western Planting p. 54)
A note of some things to be prepared for the voyadge,….
…/Stockfishe Meale in Barrells, / Oatemeale in barrels, nere cowched./Ryse. Sallett oile. Barrelled butter./
Ryse – another way to say RICE is right up there with other needful provisionings
The Welsh Rice or Ryse family also have a coat of arms. It looks like three ravens, which makes me think of the song….back to rice, the grain.
1609 ( Explorers, p 289).
Marc Lescarbot’s list of provisionment for Champlain’s expedition of New France
…viz.: six sheep, twenty four hens, one pound pepper, twenty pounds rice, the same number pounds raisins and prunes…..
Interesting how rice is near butter in one list, and near raisins on the other. Now I’m thinking of rice pudding.
Rice pudding in a can was not available in the 17th century, which is a pity, because it would travel well and be a great comfort to those at sea in sailing ships. Notice that this is English rice pudding in a can – full of dairy goodness and from Devon.
1626. (Newfoundland Rediscovered, Vol. 160. pp. 246-249.)
Advice on Planting in Newfoundland. Given to Sir Henry Salusbury
Lord Falkland’s Colony
30 li worthe of Rice 0/10/0
What this line means is that thirty pounds (li means pound…it makes more sense if you’ve had a little Latin) and the little “/// ” are the division between pounds and shillings and pence. Back before the Euro and when everything went all decimal, this is what accounting columns looked like in England. From left to right it reads
“zero pounds/ten shillings/zero pence”
Ten shillings is about the same as a peck of mustard seed from the same list (a peck is a quarter of a bushel) and a little more then two gallons of honey, which are valued at eight shillings. I somehow thought that rice would be more expensive, but perhaps Lord Falklands Colony got a deep discount or knew someone who knew someone or rice was not an expensive commodity, just an usual one.
1627 John Smith. A Sea Grammer. p.85-6.
“The petty Tally.
Fine wheat flour close and well packed, Rice, Currands, Sugar, Prunes, Cynamon, Ginger, Pepper, Cloves, greene Ginger, Oyle, Butter, Holland cheese, or old Cheese, Wine vinegar, Canarie sake, Aqua vitae, the best Wines, he best waters, the juyce of Limons for the scurvy, white Bisket, Oatmeale, gammons of Bacon, dried Neats tongues, Beefe packed up in vinegar, Legs of Mutton minced and stewed, and closed packed up, with tried sewet or butter in earthen pots. To entertaine strangers Marmalad, Suckets, Almonds, Comfits and such like.
…Some it may be will say I would have men rather to feast than fight; But I say the want of those necessaries occasions the losse of more men than in any English fleet hath been slaine since 88. For when a man is ill, or at the point of death, I would know whether a dish of buttered Rice with a little Cynamon, Ginger, an Sugar,…
’88′ is 1588 and is referring to the Armada. But Captain John Smith is seeming to imply that rice can be the salvation of the English fleet. Not that Captain John Smith is EVER given to exaggeration or hyperbole.
‘So thou art Brasse without – but Golde within.”