An extract of Master Ralph Lanes letter to M. Richard Hakluyt Esquire, and another Gentleman of the middle Temple, from Virginia.
In the meane while you shall vnderstand, that since Sir Richard Greenuils departure from vs, as also before, we haue discouered the maine to be the goodliest soyle vnder the cope of heauen, so abounding with sweete trees, that bring such sundry rich and pleasant gummes, grapes of such greatenesse, yet wilde, as France, Spaine nor Italie haue no greater, so many sortes of Apothecarie drugs, such seuerall kindes of flaxe, and one kind like silke, the same gathered of a grasse, as common there, as grasse is here. And nowe within these few dayes we haue found here Maiz or Guinie wheate, whose eare yeeldeth corne for bread 400. vpon one eare, and the Cane maketh very good and perfect sugar, also Terra Samia, otherwise Terra sigillata. Besides that, it is the goodliest and most pleasing Territorie of the world: for the continent is of an huge and vnknowen greatnesse, and very well peopled and towned, though sauagely, and the climate so wholsome, that wee had not one sicke since we touched the land here. To conclude, if Virginia had but horses and kine in some reasonable proportion, I dare assure my selfe, being inhabited with English, no realme in Christendome were comparable to it. The rich and manifold commodities of Virginia. For this already we finde, that what commodities soeuer Spaine, France, Italy, or the East partes doe yeeld vnto vs, in wines of all sortes, in oyles, in flaxe, in rosens, pitch, frankensence, corrans, sugers, and such like, these partes doe abound with the growth of them all, but being Sauages that possess the land, they know no vse of the same. And sundry other rich commodities, that no parts of the world, be they West or East Indies, haue, here wee finde great abundance of. Commodities fit to carie to Virginia. The people naturally are most curteous, and very desirous to haue clothes, bvt especially of course cloth rather then silke, course canuas they also like well of, but copper caryeth the price of all, so it be made red. Thus good M. Hakluyt and M.H. I haue inioyned you both in one letter of remembrance, as two that I loue dearely well, and commending me most heartily to you both I commit you to the tuition of the Almightie. From the New Fort in Virginia, this third of September, 1585.
Your most assured friend. Ralph Lane.
Last updated Friday, October 31, 2014 at 19:58