The principal navigations, voyages, traffiques, and discoveries of the English nation, by Richard Hakluyt

The course which Sir Francis Drake held from the hauen of Guatulco in the South sea on the backe side of Nueua Espanna, to the North-west of California as far as fourtie three degrees: and his returne back along the said Coast to thirtie eight degrees: where finding a faire and goodly hauen, he landed, and staying there many weekes, and discouering many excellent things in the countrey and great shewe of rich minerall matter, and being offered the dominion of the countrey by the Lord of the same, hee tooke possession thereof in the behalfe of her Maiestie, and named it Noua Albion.

Wee kept our course from the Isle of Cano (which lyeth in eight degrees of Northerly latitude, and within two leagues of the maine of Nicaragua, where wee calked and trimmed our ship) along the Coast of Nueua Espanna, vntill we came to the Hauen and Towne of Guatulco, which (as we were informed) had but seuenteene Spaniards dwelling in it, and we found it to stand in fifteene degrees and fiftie minutes.

Assoone as we were entred this Hauen we landed, and went presently to the towne, and to the Towne house, were we found a Iudge sitting in iudgement, he being associate with three other officers, vpon three Negroes that had conspired the burning of the Towne: both which Iudges, and prisoners we tooke, and brought them a shippeboord, and caused the chiefe Iudge to write his letter to the Towne, to command all the Townesmen to auoid, that we might safely water there. Which being done, and they departed, wee ransaked the Towne, and in one house we found a pot of the quantitie of a bushell full of royals of plate, which we brought to our ship.

And here one Thomas Moone one of our companie, took a Spanish gentleman as he was flying out of the Towne, and searching him he found a chaine of Gold about him, and other jewels, which we tooke and so let him goe.

The Portugal Pilote set on land. At this place our Generall among other Spaniards, set ashore his Portugall Pilote, which he tooke at the Island of Cape Verde, out of a ship of Saint Marie port of Portugall, and hauing set them ashoore, we departed thence.

Our General at this place and time thinking himselfe both in respect of his priuate injuries receiued from the Spaniards, as also of their contempts and indignities offered to our Countrey and Prince in generall, sufficiently satisfied, and reuenged: and supposing that her Maiestie at his returne would rest contented with this seruice, purposed to continue no longer vpon the Spanish coastes, but began to consider and to consult of the best way for his Countrey.

He thought it not good to returne by the Streights, for two speciall causes: the one, least the Spaniards should there waite, and attend for him in great number and strength, whose handes he being left but one ship, could not possibly escape. The other cause was the dangerous situation of the mouth of the Streits of the South side, with continuall stormes raining and blustring, as he found by experience, besides the shoals and sands vpon the coast, wherefore he thought it not a good course to aduenture that way: he resolued therefore to auoide these hazards, to goe forward to the Islands of the Malucos, and therehence to saile the course of the Portugales by the Cape of Bona Speran├ža.

Vpon this resolution, he began to thinke of his best way for the Malucos, and finding himselfe, where hee now was, becalmed, hee sawe that of necessitie hee must bee enforced to take a Spanish course, namely to saile somewhat Northerly to get a good winde, and thus much we sayled from the 16 of Aprill after our olde stile till the third of Iune.

Sir Francis Drake sayled on the backe side of America, to 43 degrees of Northerly latitude. 38 degrees. The fift day of Iune being in fortie three degrees towardes the pole Arcticke, being speedily come out of the extreame heate, wee found the ayre so colde, that our men being pinched with the same, complayned of the extremitie thereof, and the further we went, the more the colde increased vpon vs, whereupon we thought it best for that time to seeke land, and did so, finding it not mountainous, but low plaine land, and we drew backe againe without landing, til we came within thirtie eight degrees towardes the line. In which height it pleased God to send vs into a faire and good Bay, with a good winde to enter the same.

In this Bay wee ankered the seuententh of Iune, and the people of the Countrey, hauing their houses close by the waters side, shewed themselues vnto vs, and sent a present to our Generall.

When they came vnto vs, they greatly wondred at the things which we brought, but our Generall (according to his naturall and accustomed humanitie) curteously intreated them, and liberally bestowed on them necessarie things to couer their nakednesse, whereupon they supposed vs to be gods, and would not be perswaded to the contrary: the presentes which they sent vnto our Generall were feathers, and cals of net worke.

A description of the people and Countrey of Noua Albion. Their houses are digged round about with earth, and haue from the vttermost brimmes of the circle clifts of wood set vpon them, ioyning close together at the toppe like a spire steeple, which by reason of that closenesse are very warme.

Their bed is the ground with rushes strawed on it, and lying about the house, they haue the fire in the middest. The men goe naked, the women take bulrushes and kembe them after the maner of hempe, and thereof make their loose garments, which being knit about their middles, hang downe about their hippes, hauing also about their shoulders a skinne of Deere, with the haire vpon it. These women are very obedient and seruiceable to their husbands.

After they were departed from vs, they came and visited vs the second time, and brought with them feathers and bags of Tabacco for presents: And when they came to the toppe of the hil (at the bottome whereof wee had pitched our tents) they stayed themselues, where one appointed for speaker, wearied himselfe with making a long oration, which done, they left their bowes vpon the hill and came downe with their presents.

In the meane time the women remaining on the hill, tormented themselues lamentably, tearing their flesh from their cheekes, whereby we perceiued that they were about a sacrifice. In the meane time our Generall, with his companie, went to prayer, and to reading of the Scriptures, at which exercise they were attentiue and seemed greatly to be affected with it: but when they were come vnto vs they restored againe vnto vs those things which before we had bestowed vpon them.

The newes of our being there being spread through the countrey, the people that inhabited round about came downe, and amongst them the king himself, a man of a goodly stature, and comely personage, with many other tall and warlike men: before whose comming were sent two Ambassadours to our Generall, to signifie that their king was comming, in doing of which message, their speech was continued about halfe an howre. This ended, they by signes requested our Generall to send something by their hand to their king, as a token that his comming might bee in peace: wherein our Generall hauing satisfied them, they returned with glad tidings to their king, who marched to vs with a princely Maiestie, the people crying continually after their maner, and as they drewe neere vnto vs, so did they striue to behaue themselues in their actions with comelinesse.

These are like chaines of Esurnoy in Canada and Hochelage. In the fore front was a man of a goodly personage, who bare the scepter, or mace before the king, whereupon hanged two crownes, a lesse and a bigger, with three chaines of a marueilous length: the crownes were made of knit work wrought artificially with feathers of diuers colours: the chaines were made of a bony substance and few be the persons among them that are admitted to weare them: and of that number also the persons are stinted, as some ten, some twelue, &c. Next vnto him which bare the scepter, was the king himselfe, with his Guarde about his person, clad with Conie skinnes, and other skinnes: after them followed the naked common sort of people, euery one hauing his face painted, some with white, some with blacke, and other colours, and hauing in their hands one thing or other for a present, not so much as their children, but they also brought their presents.

In the meane time, our Generall gathered his men together, and marched within his fenced place, making against their approching, a very warlike shewe. They being trooped together in their order, and a general salutation being made, there was presently a generall silence. When he that bare the scepter before the king, being informed by another, whome they assigned to that office, with a manly and loftie voice, proclaimed that which the other spake to him in secret, continuing halfe an houre: which ended, and a generall Amen as it were giuen, the king with the whole number of men, and women (the children excepted) came downe without any weapon, who descending to the foote of the hill, set themselues in order.

In comming towards our bulwarks and tents, the scepter bearer began a song, obseruing his measures in a dance, and that with a stately countenance, whom the king with his Garde, and euery degree of persons following, did in like maner sing and dance, sauing onely the women which daunced and kept silence. The General permitted them to enter within our bulwark, where they continued their song and daunce a reasonable time. When they had satisfied themselues, they made signes to our Generall to sit downe, to whom the king, and diuers others made seueral orations, or rather supplication, that he would take their prouince and kingdom into his hand, and become their king, making signes that they would resigne vnto him their right and title of the whole land, and become his subiects. The king resignes his crowne and kingdome to Sir Frances Drake. Great riches in Noua Albion. In which to perswade vs the better, the king and the rest, with one consent and with great reuerence, ioyfully singing a song, did set the crowne vpon his head, inriched his necke with all their chaines, and offered vnto him many other things, honouring him by the name of Hioh, adding thereunto as it seemed a signe of triumph: which thing our Generall thought not meete to reiect, because hee knewe not what honour and profite it might bee to our countrey. Wherefore in the name, and to the vse of her Maiestie, he tooke the scepter, crowne and dignitie of the said Countrey in his hands, wishing that the riches and treasure thereof might so conueniently be transported to the inriching of her kingdome at home, as it aboundeth in the same.

The common sort of the people leauing the king and his Guarde with our Generall, scattered themselues together with their sacrifices among our people, taking a diligent viewe of euery person; and such as pleased their fancie, (which were the yongest) they inclosing them about offred their sacrifices vnto them with lamentable weeping, scratching, and tearing the flesh from their faces with their nayles, whereof issued abundance of blood. But wee vsed signes to them of disliking this, and stayed their hands from force, and directed them vpwardes to the liuing God, whome onely they ought to worshippe. They shewed vnto vs their wounds, and craued helpe of them at our handes, whereupon wee gaue them lotions, plaisters, and ointments agreeing to the state of their griefes, beseeching God to cure their deseases. Euery thirde day they brought their sacrifices vnto vs, vntill they vnderstoode our meaning, that we had no pleasure in them: yet they could not be long absent from vs, but daily frequented our company to the houre of our departure, which departure seemed so grieuous vnto them, that their ioy was turned into sorrow. They intreated vs, that being absent wee would remember them, and by stelth prouided a sacrifice, which we misliked.

Our necessarie businesse being ended, our Generall with his companie traueiled vp into the Countrey to their villages, where we found heardes of Deere by a thousand in a companie, being most large and fat of body.

Abundance of strange conies. We found the whole countrey to bee a warren of a strange kinde of Conies, their bodyes in bignes as be the Barbary Conies, their heads as the heades of ours, the feet of a Want, and the taile of a Rat being of great length: vnder her chinne on either side a bagge, into the which shee gathereth her meate when she hath filled her belly abroad. The people eate their bodies, and make great account of their skinnes, for their Kings coate was made of them.

Our Generall called this countrey, Noua Albion, and that for two causes: the one in respect of the white bankes and cliffes, which lye towardes the sea: and the other, because it might haue some affinitie with our Countrey in name, which sometimes was so called.

Golde and siluer in the earth of Noua Albion. There is no part of earth heere to be taken vp, wherein there is not some special likelihood of gold or siluer.

At our departure hence our Generall set vp a monument of our being there; as also of her Maiesties right and title to the same, namely a plate nailed vpon a faire great poste, whereupon was ingrauen her Maiesties name, the day and yeere of our arriuall there, with the free giuing vp of the Prouince and people into her Maiesties hands, together with her highnesse picture and armes, in a piece of sixe pence of current English money vnder the plate, where vnder was also written the name of our Generall.

It seemeth that the Spaniards hitherto had neuer bene in this part of the countrey, neither did euer discouer the land by many degrees to the Southwards of this place.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 19:52