A Discourse of Western Planting, by Richard Hakluyt

Chap. VII.

What speciall meanes may bringe Kinge Phillippe from his highe throne, and make him equall to the princes his neighboures; wherewithall is shewed his weakenes in the West Indies.

Firste, it is to be considered that his domynions and territories oute of Spaine lye farr distant from Spaine, his chefest force; and fair distante one from another; and are kepte by greate tyrannie; and quos metuunt oderunt. And the people kepte in subjection desire nothinge more then freedome. And like as a little passage given to water, it maketh his owne way; so give but a small menne to suche kepte in tyranie, they will make their owne way to libertie; which way may easely be made. And entringe into the consideration of the way how this Phillippe may be abased, I meane firste to begynne with the West Indies, as there to laye a chefe foundation for his overthrowe. And like as the foundation of the strongest holde undermyned and removed, the mightiest and strongest walles fall flatt to the earthe; so this prince, spoiled or intercepted for a while of his treasure, occasion by lacke of the same is geven that all his territories in Europe oute of Spaine slide from him, and the Moores enter into Spaine it selfe, and the people revolte in every forrein territorie of his, and cutt the throates of the proude hatefull Spaniardes, their governours. For this Phillippe already owinge many millions, and of late yeres empaired in credite, bothe by lacke of abilitie of longe tyme to pay the same, and by his shameful losse of his Spaniardes and dishonors in the Lowe Contries, and by lacke of the yerely renewe of his revenewe, he shall not be able to wage his severall garrisons kepte in his severall frontiers, territories, and places, nor to corrupte in princes courtes, nor to doe many feates. And this weyed, wee are to knowe what Phillip ys in the West Indies; and that wee be not abused with Spanish braggs, and made to beleve what he is not; and so, drawen into vain feare, suffer fondly and childishly our owne utter spoile. And therefore wee are to understande that Phillippe rather governeth in the West Indies by opinion, then by mighte; ffor the small manred of Spaine, of itself being alwayes at the best slenderly peopled, was never able to rule so many regions, or to kepe in subjection such worldes of people as be there, were it not for the error of the Indian people, that thincke he is that he is not, and that doe ymagine that Phillippe hath a thousande Spaniardes for every single naturall subjecte that he hath there. And like as the Romaynes, allured hither into Britaine, perced the Iland, and planted here and there in the mouthes of rivers and upon straites, and kepte colonies, as at Westchester upon the River of Dee, at York upon the River of Owse, and upon the Rivers of Thames and Severne, and yet in truthe never enioyed more of the contries rounde aboute then the Englishe, planted at Bulloine and Calice, did of the Frenche soile adjoyninge, nor in effecte had the Brittishe nation at comaundement; even so hath the Spaniarde perced the Indies, and planted here and there very thinlye and slenderlye, withoute havinge the Indian multitude in subjection, or in their townes and fortes any nomber to holde any of them againste the meanest force of a prince; so as in truthe the Spaniarde ys very weake there. And it is knowen to Sir Fraunces Drake, and to Mr. Hawkins, and Miles Phillipps (which Miles lyved xiiij. yeres in Nova Spania), and to dyvers others of her Majesties subjectes besides that have been there, that the ilandes there abounde with people and nations that rejecte the proude and bluddy government of the Spaniarde, and that doe mortally hate the Spaniarde. And they also knowe that the Moores, and suche as the Spaniardes have broughte thither for the mynes and for slavery, have fledd from them into the inlandes, and of them selves maineteine in many places frontier warres againste the Spaniarde, and many tymes so prevaile, and especially of late, that the Spaniardes have bene inforced to sende the Spanishe marchauntes them selves into the warres, althoughe yt be againste the speciall priviledges graunted by Charles, the late Emperour, to the marchauntes, as may plainely appere by Spanishe marchauntes letters taken by Sir Fraunces Drake passinge in the sea of Sur towarde Panama, to be conveyed into Spaine. And it is thoughte that Sir Fraunces Drake and some other Englishe are of so greate credite with the Symerons and with those that mayneteyne those frontier warrs, that he mighte, bringinge thither a fewe capitaines and some of our meaner souldiers late trayned in the Base Contries, with archers and lighte furniture, &c., bringe to passe that, joyninge with those inland people, Kinge Phillippe mighte either be deprived of his governmente there, or at the leaste of the takinge of his yerely benefite of the mynes. Thus with small chardge and fewe men, nowe and then renewinge this matter by a few sailes to be sent thither for the comforte of suche as shalbe there resident, and for the incouragemente of the Symerons, greater effecte may followe then by meetinge with his golden flete, or by takinge of his treasures once or twise at the sea; for by this meanes, or by a platforme well to be sett downe, England may enjoye the benefite of the Indian mynes, or at the leaste kepe Phillippe from possessinge the same.

Hereunto yf wee adde our purposed westerne discoueries, and there plante and people ryally, and fortifie strongly, and there builde shippes and maineteine a navy in special porte or portes, wee may by the same either encounter the Indian fleete, or be at hande as it were to yelde freshe supplye, courage, and comforte, by men or munition, to the Chichimici and the Symerons, and suche other as shalbe incited to the spoile of the mynes; which in tyme will, if it be not looked to, bringe all princes to weake estate, that Phillippe, either for religion or other cause, dothe hate; as the aforesaide Monsieur de Aldegond, in his pithie and moste earneste exhortation to all Christian kinges, princes, and potentates to beware of Kinge Phillipps ambitious growinge, dothe wisely and moste providently forwarne.

To this may be added (the realme swarming with lustie youthes that be turned to no profitable use), there may be sente bandes of them into the Base Contries in more rounde nombers then are sente as yet. For if he presently prevaile there, at our doores, farewell the traficque that els wee have there (whereof wise men can say moche). And if he settle there, then let the realme saye adewe to her quiet state and safetie.

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 proude 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; with such a mayme to the Pope and to that side, as never hapned to the sea of Rome by the practise of the late Kinge of famous memory, her Majesties father, or by all the former practises of all the Protestant princes of Germanie, or by any other advise layde downe by Monsieur de Aldegond, here after by them to be put in execution. 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.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 20:00