Source: published edition
(Cambridge 1877). Transcribed by Bernardo Acosta
The nexte thinge ys that
nowe I declare unto you the comodities of this newe westerne discoverie,
and what marchandize are there to be had, and from thence to be expected;
wherein firste you are to have regarde unto the situation of the places
which are left for us to be possessed. The countries therefore of America
where unto we have just title, as beinge firste discovered by Sebastian
Gabote, at the coste of that prudente prince Kinge Henry the Seaventh,
from Florida northewarde to 67. degrees (and not yet in any Chrestian princes
actual possession,) beinge aunswerable in clymate to Barbary, Egypte, Siria,
Persia, Turky, Greece, all the islandes of the Levant sea, Italie, Spaine,
Portingale, Fraunce, Flaunders, Highe Almayne, Denmarke, Estland, Poland,
and Muscovye, may presently or within a shorte space afforde unto us, for
little or nothinge, and with moche more safetie, eyther all or a greate
parte of the comodities which the aforesaid contries do yelde us at a very
dere hande and with manifolde daungers.
It is well worthe the observation to see and consider what the like voyadges of discoverye and plantinge in the Easte and Weste Indies hath wroughte in the kingdomes of Portingale and Spayne; bothe which realms, beinge of themselves poore and barren and hardly able to susteine their inhabitaunts, by their discoveries have founde suche occasion of employmente, that these many yeres we have not herde scarcely of any pirate of those twoo nations; whereas wee and the Frenche are moste infamous for our outeragious, common, and daily piracies. Againe, when hearde wee almoste of one theefe amongest them? The reason is, that by these, their newe discoveries, they have so many honest wayes to set them on worke, as they rather wante men then meanes to ymploye them. But wee, for all the statutes that hitherto can be devised, and the sharpe execution of the same in poonishinge idle and lazye persons, for wante of sufficient occasion of honest employmente, cannot deliver our commonwealthe from multitudes of loyterers and idle vagabondes. Truthe it is, that throughe our longe peace and seldome sicknes (twoo singuler blessinges of Almightie God) wee are growen more populous than ever heretofore; … yea, many thousandes of idle persons are within this realme, which, havinge no way to be sett on worke, be either mutinous and seeke alteration in the state, or at leaste very burdensome to the commonwealthe, and often fall to pilferinge and thevinge…, whereby all the prisons of the lande are daily pestred... Whereas yf this voyage were put in execution, these pety theves mighte be condempned for certen yeres in the westerne partes, especially in Newefounde lande, in sawinge and felling of tymber for mastes of shippes, and deale boordes; in burninge of the firres and pine trees to make pitche, tarr, rosen, and sope ashes; in beatinge and workinge of hempe for cordage; and, in the more southerne partes, in settinge them to worke in mynes of golde, silver, copper, leade, and yron; in dragginge for perles and currall; in plantinge of suger canes, as the Portingales have done in Madera; in mayneteynaunce and increasinge of silke wormes for silke, and in dressinge the same; in gatheringe of cotten whereof there is plentie; in tillinge of the soile there for graine; in dressinge of vines whereof there is great aboundaunce for wyne; olyves whereof the soile ys capable, for oyle; trees for oranges, lymons, almondes, figges, and other frutes, all which are founde to growe there already; in sowinge of woade and madder for diers, as the Portingales have don in the Azores; in dressinge of raw hides of divers kindes of beastes; in makinge and gatheringe of salte, as in Rochel and Bayon, which may serve for the newe lande fisshinge; in killinge the whale, seale, porpose, and whirlepoole for trayne oile; in fisshinge, saltinge, and dryenge of linge, codde, salmon, herringe; in makinge and gatheringe of hony, waxe, turpentine; in hewinge and shapinge of stone, as marble, jeate, christall, freestone, which will be goodd balaste for our shippes homewardes, and after serve for noble buildinges ; in makinge of caske, oares, and all other manner of staves; in buildinge of fortes, to,vnes, churches; in powdringe and barrellinge of fishe, fowles, and fleshe, which will be notable provision for sea and lande ; in dryenge, sortinge, and packinge of fethers, whereof may be had there marvelous greate quantitie.
Besides this, such as by any kinde of infirmitie cannot passe the seas thither, and now are chardgeable to the realme at home, by this voyadge shal be made profitable members, by employinge them in England in makinge of a thousande triflinge thinges, which will be very goodd marchandize for those contries where wee shall have moste ample vente thereof.
And seinge the savages of the Graunde Baye, and all alonge the mightie ryver that ronneth upp to Canada and Hochelaga, are greatly delighted with any cappe or garment made of coarse woollen clothe, their contrie beinge colde and sharpe in the winter , yt is manifeste wee shall finde greate utteraunce of our clothes, especially of our coursest and basest northerne doosens, and our Irishe and Welshe frizes and rugges; whereby all occupations belonginge to clothinge and knittinge shalbe freshly sett on worke, as cappers, knitters, clothiers, wollmen, carders, spynners, weavers, fullers, sheremen, dyers, drapers, hatters, and such like, whereby many decayed townes may be repaired.
In somme, this enterprice will mynister matter for all sortes and states of men to worke upon; namely, all severall kindes of artificers, husbandmen, seamen, marchauntes, souldiers. capitaines, phisitions, lawyers, devines, cosmographers, hidrographers, astronomers, historiographers; yea, olde folkes, lame persons, women, and younge children, by many meanes which hereby shall still be mynistred unto them, shalbe kepte from idlenes, and be made able by their owne honest and easie labour to finde themselves, withoute surchardginge others.
Nowe if her Majestie take these westerne discoveries in hande, and plante there, yt is like that in shorte time wee shall vente as greate a masse of clothe yn those partes as ever wee did in the Netherlandes, and in tyme moche more; which was the opinion of that excellent man, Mr. Roberte Thorne, … whose wordes are these: And althoughe (saieth he) wee wente not into the said ilandes of spicerye, for that they are the Emperours or Kinges of Portingale, wee shoulde by the way, and comynge once to the lyne equinoctiall, finde landes no lesse riche of golde and spicerie, as all other landes are under the said lyne equinocticall ; and also shoulde, yf wee may passe under the northe, enjoye the navigation of all Tartarye, which should be no lesse profitable to our comodities of clothe, then those spiceries to the Emperour and Kinge of Portingale.
This beinge soe, yt cometh to passe, that whatsoever clothe wee shall vente on the tracte of that firme, or in the ilandes of the same, or in other landes, ilandes, and territories beyonde, be they within the circle articke or withoute, all these clothes, I say, are to passe oute of this realme full wroughte by our naturall subjectes in all degrees of labour. And if it come aboute in tyme that wee shall vente that masse there that wee vented in the Base Contries, which is hoped by greate reason, then shall all that clothe passe oute of this realme in all degrees of labour full wroughte by the poore naturall subjectes of this realme, like as the quantitie of our clothe dothe passe that goeth hence to Russia, Barbarie, Turkye, Persia, &c. And then consequently it followeth, that her Majestie shall not be troubled with the pitefull outecryes of cappers, knytters, spynners, &c.
And on the other side wee are to note, that all the comodities wee shall bringe thence, wee shall not bringe them wroughte, as wee bringe now the commodities of Fraunce and Flaunders, &c., but shall receave them all substaunces unwroughte, to the ymploymente of a wonderfull multitude of the poore subjectes of this realme in returne. And so to conclude, what in the nomber of thinges to goe oute wroughte, and to come in unwroughte, there need not one poore creature to steale, to starve, or to begge as they doe.
The cause why the Kinge of Spaine, these three or foure yeres last paste, was at suche intolerable chardges in furnishinge oute so many navies to wynne Tercem, and the other small ilandes of the Azores adjacent to the same, was the oportunitie of the places in interceptinge his West Indian flete at their returne homewarde, as a matter that toucheth him indeede to the quicke. But the plantinge of twoo or three stronge fortes upon some goodd havens (whereof there is greate store) betwene Florida and Cape Briton, woulde be a matter in shorte space of greater domage as well to his flete as to his westerne Indies; for wee shoulde not onely often tymes indaunger his flete in the returne thereof, but also in fewe yeres put him in hazarde in loosinge some parte of Nova Hispania.
And in very deede it is moste apparaunte that riches are the fittest instrumentes of conqueste, and that the Emperour turned them to that use.
To leave the father and to come to the sonne, hath not Kinge Philippe employed his treasure as injuriously to all princes and potentates of Europe? ...What it hath done and nowe dothe in all the Empire and the Lowe Countries, and is like to worke in other places unless speedy order be taken to hinder it.
If these enter into the due consideration of wise men, and if platformes of these thinges be sett downe and executed duelye and with spede and effecte, no doubte but the Spanishe empire falles to the grounde, and the Spanishe kinge shall be lefte bare as Aesops proud crowe; the peacocke, the perot, the pye, and the popingey, and every other birde havinge taken home from him his gorgeous fethers, he will, in shorte space, become a laughinge stocke for all the worlde. ... If you touche him in the Indies, you touche the apple of his eye; for take away his treasure, which is neruus belli, and which he hath almoste oute of his West Indies, his olde bandes of souldiers will soone be dissolved, his purposes defeated, his power and strengthe diminished, his pride abated, and his tyranie utterly suppressed.
In this voyadge wee may see by the globe that we are not to passe the burnte zone, nor to pass throughe the frozen seas, but in a temperate climate… And it requireth not, as longe voyadges doe, the takinge in of freshe water by the way in divers places, by reason it may be sailed in five or sixe weekes. Whereby the marchant nede [not] to expecte twoo or three yeres for one returne, as in the voyadge of Sir Frances Drake, of Fenton and William Hawkins; but may receave twoo returnes every yere in the selfe ame shippes, I saye, and well repose themselves at their arryvalls.
The manifolde testimonies, verbatim alleaged by me in the thirde chapiter, of John Ribault, John Verarsanus, Stephen Gomes, Vasques de Coronado, Jaques Cartier, Gasper Corterialis, and others, which all were the discoverers of the coaste and inland of America betwene 30 and 63 degrees, prove infallibly unto us that golde, silver, copper, perles, pretious stones, and turqueses, and emraldes, and many other commodities, have bene by them founde in those regions. To which testimonies I shoulde have added many more yf I had not feared to be tedious. Nowe the fyfte parte of all these aforenamed comodities cannot choose but amounte to a greate matter, beinge yerely reserved unto her Majestie, accordinge to the tenor of the patent graunted by King Henry the Seaventh in the xj(th) yere of his raigne to John Gabote and his three sonnes, Lewes, Sebastian, and Sancius.
What gaines this imposition may turne unto the Crowne of England in shorte tyme wee may more then gesse, havinge but an eye to the Kinge of Spaines revenewes, which he nowe hath oute of all his domynions in all the West Indies.
In the statutes moste providently ordeyned for increase and maineteynaunce of our navigation in the raignes of Kinge Richarde the Seconde, Kinge Henry the Seaventh, Kinge Henry the Eighth, and her Majestie that nowe ys, thoughe many and sondry rewardes were proposed to incourage our people unto the sea, yet still I fynde complaintes of decaye of the navye, notwithstandinge so many goodly priviledges to mayneteine fishermen. … Nowe, to remedie this greate and unknowen wante, no enterprise possibly can be devised more fitt to increase our great shippinge then this Westerne fortifienge and planting.
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