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

A letter of M. Iohn Lok to the worshipfull company of Marchants aduenturers for Guinie, written 1561, shewing reasons for his not proceeding in a voyage then intended to the foresayd countrey.

Worshipfull sirs; since the arriuall of M. Pet and Buttoll Monioy (as I vnderstand) for the voyage it is concluded that the Minion shall proceed on her voyage, if within 20 dayes she may be repaired of those hurts she hath receiued by the last storme: or in the moneth of Ianuary also, if the wind wil serue therfore. Wherefore for that your worships shall not be ignorant of my determined purpose in the same, with the reasons that haue perswaded me thereunto; I haue thought good to aduertise you thereof, trusting that your worships will weigh them, as I vprightly and plainly meane them. And not for any feare or discouragement that I haue of my selfe by the raging of the stormes of the sea, for that (I thanke the Lord) these haue not beene the first that I haue abiden, neither trust I they shalbe the last. First the state of the ship, in which, though I thinke not but M. Pet can do more for her strengthening than I can conceiue, yet for all that, it will neither mend her conditions, nor yet make her so stanch that any cabin in her shalbe stanch for men to lie drie in: the which sore, what a weakening it will be to the poore men after their labour, that they neither can haue a shift of apparell drie, nor yet a drie place to rest in, I referre to your discretion. For though that at Harwich she was both bound and caulked as much as might be, both within and without, yet for all that she left not, afore this flaw, in other weathers, being stressed, to open those seames, and become in the state she was before; I meane, in wetting her men: notwithstanding her new worke. And my iudgement, with that litle experience I haue had, leadeth me to thinke that the ship whose water works and footings be spent and rotten cannot be but leake for men. Next, the vnseasonable time of the yeere which is now present. And how onely by meanes of the vnseasonable times in the returne from the voyage home, many thereby haue decayed, to the great misery and calamity of the rest, and also to the great slander of the voyage, (which I much respect) the last and other voyage haue declared. And what it is to make the voyage in vnseasonable time, that hath the second voyage also declared. Wherefore weying and foreseeing this (as I may wel terme it) calamity and vneuitable danger of men, and that by men she must be brought home againe (except that God will shew an extraordinary miracle) I purpose not nor dare I venture with a safe conscience to tempt God herein. Againe, forsomuch as she is alone, and hath so little helpe of boat or pinnesse in her trade, and also for her watering, where a long time of force must be spent, my going, to the accomplishment of your expectations, will be to small effect for this time, because I shall want both vessell and men to accomplish it. And I would not gladly so spend my time and trauell, to my great charges and paine, and after, for not falling out accordingly, to lose both pot and water, as the prouerbe is. As for the Primrose, if she be there, her trade will be ended or euer we come there, so that she of force, by want of prouision, must returne: yea, though we should carry with vs a supply for her, yet is the meeting of her doubtfull, and though we met her, yet will the men not tarry, as no reason is they should: howbeit my opinion of her is that she is put into Ireland. The Flowerdeluce was in Milford. Thus for that your worships might vnderstand the whole cause why I doe not proceed, I haue troubled you at this time with this my long Letter. And, as God is my Iudge, not for feare of the Portugals, which there we shall meet (and yet alone without ayde) as here is a shippe which was in Lisbon, whose men say that there are in a readinesse (onely to meet vs) foure great ships, of the which one is accounted 700 tunnes, and other pinnesses: yet not for feare of them, nor raging of the seas (whose rage God is aboue to rule) but onely for the premisses: the sequell whereof must by reason turne to a great misery to the men; the which I for my part (though it might turne me to as much gaine as the whole commeth to) yet would I not be so tormented, as the sight thereof would be a corsiue to my heart, and the more, because foreseeing the same, I should be so leud, as yeelding, to haue runne into the danger thereof, and therefore I haue absolutely determined with my selfe not to goe this voyage. Howbeit if in a seasonable time of the yeere I had but one ship sufficient, though much lesse by the halfe, I would not refuse (as triall being made thereof should appeare) or if I had ability of my selfe to venture so much, it should well be seene. And this I speake to giue you to vnderstand that I refuse not this for feare: If you purpose to proceed heerein, send some one whom you please; to whom I will not onely deliuer the articles which I haue receiued, but also will giue some particular notes which I haue noted in the affaires which you haue committed vnto mee, with the best helpe and counsell I can. Thus the liuing God keepe your worships all. Bristoll this 11 of December 1561.

Your worships to comand to his power.

Iohn Lok.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55