A briefe and summary discourse vpon the intended voyage to the hithermost parts of America: written by Captaine Carlile in April, 1583. for the better inducement to satisfie such Merchants of the Moscouian companie and others, as in disbursing their money towards the furniture of the present charge, doe demand forthwith a present returne of gaine, albeit their said particular disbursements are required but in very slender summes, the highest being 25. li. the second at 12. li. 10. s. and the lowest at 6. pound fiue shilling.
When the Goldsmith desireth to finde the certaine goodnesse of a piece of golde, which is newly offered vnto him, he presently bringeth the same to the touchstone, where by comparing the shewe or touch of this new piece with the touch or shew of that which he knoweth of old, he forthwith is able to iudge what the value is of that, which is newly offered vnto him. After the example whereof I haue thought it good to make some briefe repetition of the particular estate of many other forren voyages and trades already frequented and knowen vnto vs, whereby we may be the better able to conceiue and iudge what certaine likelihood of good there is to be expected in the voyage, which is presently recommended vnto your knowledge and resolution.
And first to lay downe that of Moscouia, whose beginning is yet in the remembrance of many: It is well knowen, that what by the charges of the first discouery, and by the great gifts bestowed on the Emperour and his Nobilitie, togither with the leud dealing of some of their seruants, who thought themselues safe enough from orderly punishment, it cost the company aboue fourescore thousand pounds, before it could be brought to any profitable reckoning. And now that after so long a patience and so great a burthen of expences, the same began to frame to some good course and commoditie: It falleth to very ticklish termes, and to as slender likelihood of any further goodnesse, as any other trade that may be named.
For first the estate of those Countreys and the Emperours dealings, are things more fickle then are by euery body vnderstood.
Next, the Dutchmen are there so crept in as they daily augment their trade thither, which may well confirme that vncertainty of the Emperours disposition to keepe promise with our nation.
Thirdly, the qualitie of the voyage, such as may not be performed but once the yeere.
Fourthly, the charges of all Ambassadours betweene that Prince and her Maiesty, are alwayes borne by the merchants stocke.
And lastly, the danger of the king of Denmarke, who besides that presently he is like to enforce a tribute on vs, hath likewise an aduantage vpon the ships in their voyage, either homewards or outwards whensoeuer he listeth to take the opportunitie.
The badde dealings of the Easterlings are sufficiently knowen to be such towards our merchants of that trade, as they doe not onely offer them many iniuries ouerlong to bee written, but doe seeke all the meanes they can, to depriue them wholy of their occupying that way: and to the same purpose haue of late cleane debarred them their accustomed and ancient priuiledges in all their great townes.
The traffique into Turkie, besides that by some it is thought a hard point to haue so much familiaritie with the professed and obstinate enemie of Christ: It is likewise a voyage which can not be made but at the deuotion, and as it were in the danger of many states, who for sundry respects are apt to quarell with vs vpon sudden occasions, and the presents to be giuen away in Turkie this yeere, cost little lesse then two thousand pounds.
As for the trades into all the parts of Italie, it may easily be considered by euery one of iudgement, that the same stand in the like termes touching the passages, as that of Turkie, and that many times our shippes being taken in the way by the Gallies of Alger, our poore Mariners after the losse of their goods and trauell, are set at such excessiue ransoms before they can bee freed of their slauerie, as for the most part they are no way able to discharge. As for example, at this instant there are some prisoners, poore ordinarie Mariners, for whose releasing there must be payed two hundred Duckets the man, for some three hundred, yea, foure or fiue hundred Duckets the man for some of them. And how enuiously the Venetians doe already oppose themselues against our frequenting into their parts, may appeare by the late customs which they haue imposed as well vpon our English merchandize which we bring them, as also vpon such their merchandize which we fetch from them.
The trade into Barbarie groweth likewise to worse termes then before times, and when it was at the best, our merchants haue bene in danger of all their goods they had there, whensoever it happened the king to die. For vntill a new were chosen, the libertie of all disordered persons is such, as they spoile and wrong whom they list, without any redresse at all.
Remember the great arrest of the Hollanders. An. 1598. Touching Spaine and Portugall, with whom wee haue very great trade, and much the greater, by meanes of their venting a good part of our wares in their Indies, as also of the prouision they haue from the same, wherewith are made many of our returnes from them againe: It falleth out that twise the yeere ordinarily we send our Fleetes into those parts: So that whensoeuer the king of Spaine listeth to take the opportunitie, hee may at these seasons depriue vs not onely of a great number of our very good ships, but also of our honestest and ablest sort of Mariners that are to bee found in our whole Realme againe, which is a matter of no small consequence: for it is to bee noted, that when hee shall take a quarrell in hand, though it be but his owne particularly, yet hath he the meanes to put in hazard as well those our shippes which are in his owne Countreys of Spaine and Portugall, as also all others which shall bee bound to any the partes of all Italie or of Turkie either. And further whosoeuer hee bee that is but meanely affected in Religion, as of necessitie becommeth euery ordinarie man and good Christian to be, cannot but be agrieued in his heart to consider, that his children and seruants whom hee desireth to haue well brought vp, are in these trades of Spaine and Portugall, and all Italie, forced to denie their owne profession, and to acquaint themselues with that which the Parents and Masters doe vtterly deny and refuse, yea which many of them doe in their owne hearts abhorre as a detestable and most wicked doctrine.
But who shall looke into the qualitie of this voyage, being directed to the latitude of fortie degrees or thereaboutes, of that hithermost part of America, shal find it hath as many points of good moment belonging vnto it, as may almost be wished for.
Commodities of this voyage in shortnesse. 1 As first it is to be vnderstood, that it is not any long course, for it may be perfourmed too and fro in foure moneths after the first discouerie thereof.
2 Secondly, that one wind sufficeth to make the passage, whereas most of your other voyages of like length, are subiect to 3. or 4. winds.
3 Thirdly, that it is to be perfourmed at all times of the yeere.
4 Fourthly, that the passage is vpon the high sea, wherby you are not bound to the knowledge of dangers, on any other coast, more then of that Countrey, and of ours here at home.
5 Fiftly, that those parts of England and Ireland, which lie aptest for the proceeding outward or homeward vpon this voyage. are very well stored of goodly harbours.
6 Sixtly, that it is to bee accounted of no danger at all as touching the power of any foreine prince or state, when it is compared with any the best of all other voyages before recited.
7 And to the godly minded, it hath this comfortable commoditie, that in this trade their Factours, bee they their seruants or children, shall haue no instruction or confessions of Idolatrous Religion enforced vpon them, but contrarily shall be at their free libertie of conscience, and shall find the same Religion exercised, which is most agreeable vnto their Parents and Masters.
As for the merchandising, which is the matter especially looked for, albeit that for the present we are not certainely able to promise any such like quantitie, as is now at the best time of the Moscouian trade brought from thence: So likewise is there not demanded any such proportion of daily expences, as was at the first, and as yet is consumed in that of Moscouia and other.
Commodities of the countrey more then those of Moscouie. But when this of America shall haue bene haunted and practised thirtie yeeres to an ende as the other hath bene, I doubt not by Gods grace, that for the tenne shippes that are now commonly employed once the yeere into Moscouia, there shall in this voyage twise tenne be imployed well, twise the yeere at the least. And if for the present there doe fall out nothing els to bee found then the bare Fishing, yet doubt I not after the first yeeres planting but by that matter only to serue halfe a dozen of your best sorts of ships, although my supply of people doe not follow me so substantially, as in all reason may be well looked for.
The seuerall merchandise. But when it is asked what may be hoped from thence after some yeeres, it is first to be considered, that this situation in fourtie degrees, shall bee very apt to gather the commodities either of those parts which stand to the Southward of it, as also of those which are to the Northward.
In the Northerlie may be expected not onely an especiall good fishing for Salmon, Codde, and Whales, but also any other such commodities, as the Easterne Countreys doe yeeld vs now: as Pitch, Tarre, Hempe, and thereof cordage, Masts, Losshe hides, rich Furres, and other such like without being in any son beholding to a king of Denmarke, or other prince or state that shall be in such sort able to command our shippes at their pleasure, as those doe at this day, by meanes of their strait passages and strong shipping.
As for those partes which lie West and to the Southwardes, it may well bee hoped they will yeeld Wines with a small helpe, since the grapes doe growe there of themselues alreadie very faire and in great abundance. Oliues being once planted, will yeelde the like Oyle as Spaine, Prouince and Italie. The Countrey people being made to know, that for Waxe and honie, we will giue them such trifling things as they desired of vs, and shewing them once the means how to prouide the same, the labour thereof being so light, no doubt but in short time they will earnestly care to haue the same in good quantitie for vs. A lake of salt in Vasques his voyage. Besides, what great likelihoode there is of good meanes to make Salt, which may serue for the fishing of those partes, may well appeare vnto them, who can iudge the qualitie of such places as are required to make the same in.
Thus much for the beginning, because they may bee had with an easie kinde of trauell: but when it may haue pleased God to establish our people there any such time as they may haue planted amongst them in sundry partes of the Countrey, and that by gentle and familiar treating them, they bee made to see what is better for them then they doe as yet vnderstand of, and that in so many sorts of occasions as were infinite to be set downe: It is to bee assuredly hoped, that they will daily by little and little forsake their barbarous and sauage liuing, and growe to such order and ciuilitie with vs, as there may be well expected from thence no lesse quantitie and diuersitie of merchandize then is now had out of Dutchland, Italie, France or Spaine. And as the bordering neighbours are commonly the aptest to fall out with vs, so these parts being somewhat remote, are the liker to take, or giue lesse occasion of disquiet. But when it is considered that they are our own kindred, and esteemed our own countrey nation which haue the government, meaning by those who shall be there planted, who can looke for any other then the dealing of most louing and most assured friends?
There are further to be considered these two poynts of good importance, concerning the matter of trade. The one is, that by the good prospering of this action, there must of necessitie fall but a very liberall vtterance of our English Clothes into a maine Country, described to bee bigger then all Europe, the larger part whereof bending to the Northward, shall haue wonderfull great vse of her sayde English Clothes, after they shall come once to knowe the commoditie thereof. The like will bee also of many other things, ouer many to bee reckoned, which are made here by our Artificers and labouring people, and of necessitie must bee prouided from hence.
The other is, if there be any possible meanes to finde a sea passage or other fresh water course, which may serue in some reasonable and conuenient sort, to transport our Merchandize into the East Indian Sea, through any of these Northerly partes of America, it shall be soonest and most assuredly perfourmed by these who shall inhabite and first grow into familiaritie with the Inland people.
What minerall matter may fall out to bee found, is a thing left in suspence, vntill some better knowledge, because there be many men, who hauing long since expected some profits herein, vpon the great promises that haue bene made them, and being as yet in no point satisfied, doe therevpon conceiue that they be but wordes purposely cast out for the inducing of men to bee the more ready and willing to furnish their money towards the charge of the first discouerie.
But nowe to answere some others who begin with an other objection, saying: That it is not for the Marchants purse to continue the charges of transporting and planting: and that once these hundred men which are nowe to bee planted will cost foure thousand pound: It is then to bee thought, that the charge of a farre greater number, will bee also a farre greater summe of money.
Whereunto I answere, that in all attempts vnknowen, especially such a one as this is, wherewith wee are presently in hand, the first charges are commonly aduentured in more desperate kinde, then those that followe vpon some better knowledge: and therewith it falleth out, that whereas one aduentureth in the first enterprise, an hundred for that one will of themselues bee willing and desirous to aduenture in the next, if there bee neuer so little more appearance, that the intended matter is by some knowledge of our owne, found true in some poynts of our first presumption.
The examples are many, and may easily bee remembred by those who be Merchants, euen in their ordinarie and dayly trades, as well as in extraordinarie attempts, which of late yeeres haue fallen into those termes of some likelyhood, as is aforesayde.1 So then no doubt, but when certaine reports shall bee brought by them who directly came from thence, that such a Countrey and people they haue themselues seene, as is by vs spoken of, but that then there will come forwarde a greater number of those, who haue nowe neither heard any thing of the matter, as also of others, who presently make such friuolous scruple, and will not otherwise be satisfied, then by the report of Saint Thomas. I speake not this by the Marchants whom for their fredoms of trade I would not haue pressed to any further charge then this first preparation, but rather as such as haue great affection to hazard the changing of their estates, and would be well content to goe in the voyage if they might onely be assured that there is such a Countrey, and that their money should not be wasted to nothing in the preparations.
The right examination of this point must bee the contrary sequell of the common Prouerbe that is vsed, Nothing venture, nothing haue: so on the other side by venturing, many great good profites are found out, to the wonderfull benefite of Common weale, and to those especially in priuate, who take on them the hazard of their life and trauell, or substance in the first attempts: and therefore I would wish that they, who (God be thanked) are well able to spare that which is required of each one towardes the vndertaking of this aduenture, be well content and willing to imploy the same, since the sequell in good and substantiall reasons doth promise, not onely a great commoditie in particular to the Marchant, who shall here at home exercise the trade of Marchandise: but also to an infinite number of other, who presently liue in poore estate, and may by taking the opportunitie of this discouerie, alter the same to a far better degree. Wherefore to make some conclusion vpon this point of the Marchants misdoubt, who suspecteth lest this first disbursement without returne of present gaine, should not be all his charge, but that afterwards he might yet further be vrged to continue the like again, as hath happened in the discouery of the Moscouian trade: It may suffice to consider, that this is not an action which concerneth onely the Marchants particularly, but a great deale more the generall sort of people throughout all England: And that when such relation shall be returned, as that it may bee found a matter worthy the following, the whole generalitie will not refuse to contribute towards the furtherance thereof, rather then it should sinke, for want of any reasonable supply.
But as it is a very little time, since I haue beene throughly resolued to trie my fortune in the matter, so it is more then time the preparation were in hand already, and therefore no fit time now to make any number of ignorant men to vnderstand with reason the circumstance that belongeth to a matter of so great consideration and importance.
To those who haue any forward mindes in well doing to the generalitie of mankind, I say thus much more, that Christian charitie doth as greatly perswade the furtherance of this action, as any other that may be layed before vs, in as much as thereby wee shall not onely doe a most excellent worke, in respect of reducing the sauage people to Christianitie and ciuilitie, but also in respect of our poore sorte of people, which are very many amongst vs, liuing altogether vnprofitable, and often times to the great disquiet of the better sort. For who knoweth not, how by the long peace, happie health, and blessed plentifulnesse, wherewith God hath endued this Realme, that the people is so mightily encreased, as a great number being brought vp, during their youth in their parents houses, without any instruction how to get their liuings after their parents decease, are driuen to some necessitie, whereby very often for want of better education they fall into such disorders, and so the good sort of people, as I sayde before, are by them ordinarily troubled, and themselues led on to one shamefull ende or other, whereas if there might bee found some such kinde of imployment as this would be, no doubt but a greater part of them would be withheld from falling into such vile deedes: and insteade thereof, prooue greatly seruiceable in those affaires, where they might be so imployed.
Master Carliles owne experience This I speake of mine owne experience, hauing seene diuers come ouer to the warres of the lowe Countreys during my residence in the same, who here had bene very euill and idle liuers, and by some little continuance with vs, haue growen to be very industrious in their facultie, which I can assure you, was a more painefull maner of liuing then in this action is like to fall out, and withall to a purpose of farre lesse value, in respect of their particular recompence, then with an assured kind of good hope is looked for in this.
Thus you see in euery point that may bee wished for in a good action and voyage, there is matter and reason enough to satisfie the well disposed. But nowe to growe somewhat neerer the quicke, and to shewe you some greater appearance, then hath bene yet spoken of touching the trade which is the onely subiect wherewith I doe meane to intermeddle at this time, because my addresse hereby is chiefly to men of such like facultie: you may vnderstande by that which followeth, the circumstance of a little discourse, which doeth concerne these matters, very directly.
In the yeere 1534. Iames Carthier, of S. Malo made his first discouerie of those partes of America, which lie to the Westwardes, and as it were on the backside of Newfoundland. In which voyage his principall intention was to seeke out the passage, which hee presumes might haue bene found out into the East Indian Sea, otherwise called the passage to Cathaya, but this yeere he went no higher then the Island of the Assumption in the great bay of S. Laurence, and so returned backe into France.
The next yeere following hee went with greater prouision into the Grand bay againe, where he keping the Northerly shoare, ran vp the great Riuer that comes downe from Canada and other places, vntill at last with his small pinnesses, (hauing left his great shipping by the way) be arriued at Hochelaga towne, being three hundreth leagues within the entrance of the Grand bay. In which trauaile he had spent so much of the yeere, that it was nowe the moneth of October, and therefore thought it conuenient for the better enforming himselfe at large in this discouerie, to winter it out in those partes, which he did at a place called by himselfe Holy Crosse. This winter fell out to bee a very long and hard winter, as many times the like happeneth with vs in these partes, and the sauage people, who for the most part make but a slender kinde of prouision, euen as it were from hande to mouth, fell into some scarcitie of victuals; yet did they not refuse to serue the Frenchmen, with any thing they had all the winter long, albeit at somewhat higher prices towardes the ende when the neede was most, as with our selues the like happeneth at such times.
But when the French had their wants serued all the yeere and that as yet they sawe not any appearance of their intended matter, which was the discouerie of the passage, and yet imagining by the signes, wherewith the willing people endeuoured to declare their knowledge in that poynt, that some good matter might bee had from them, if they might haue beene well vnderstoode, they resolued with themselues to take some of the sufficientest men of that countrey home into France, and there to keepe them so long, as that hauing once atchieued the French tongue, they might declare more substantially their minde, and knowledge in the sayde passage, concluding this to be the meane of least charge, of least trauaile, and of least hazard.
And when they came to bethinke themselues, who might bee meetest for it, they determined to take the King, as the person who might bee best infourmed of such partes as were somewhat remote from his owne Countrey, as also that for the respect of him, the people would bee alwayes readie, and content to doe them any further seruice, when it should happen them to returne thither againe about the discouerie.
Thus the poore king of the Countrey, with two or three others of his chiefe companions comming aboorde the French shippes, being required thither to a banquet, was traiterously caryed away into France, where hee liued foure yeeres, and then dyed a Christian there, as Theuet the French Kings Cosmographer doeth make mention. The Frenchmens trade renewed in Canada, in the yeere 1581. This outrage and iniurious dealing did put the whole Countrey people into such dislike with the French, as neuer since they would admit any conuersation or familiaritie with them, vntill of late yeeres, the olde matter beginning to grow out of minde, and being the rather drawen on by gifts of many trifling things, which were of great value with them, they are as (I sayde) within these two or three yeeres content againe to admit a traffique, which two yeeres since was begunne with a small barke of thirtie tunnes, whose returne was found so profitable, as the next yeere following, being the last yeere, by those Marchants, who meant to haue kept the trade secret vnto themselves, from any others of their owne Countrey men, there was hired a shippe of fourescore tunnes out of the Isle of Iersey, but not any one Mariner of that place, sauing a shipboy. This shippe made her returne in such sorte, as that this yeere they haue multiplyed three shippes, to wit, one of nine score tunnes, another of an hundreth tunnes, and a third of fourescore tunnes: which report is giuen by very substantiall and honest men of Plimmouth, who sawe the sayd shippes in readinesse to depart on their voyage, and were aboord of some of them.
Here is at this instant in the towne a man of Guernsey, Lewis de Vike, who reporteth to haue credibly heard, that by this last yeeres voyage the Frenchmen got foureteene or fifteene hundreth for euery one hundreth: But how soeuer it be, it carrieth good likelyhood of some notable profite, in asmuch as they doe so greatly, and thus suddenly encrease the burthen and number of their ships this present yeere.
The South part best for inhabiting and traffique. Nowe if in so little as two yeeres time this voyage of the Northerne partes bee growen to such good passe as hath beene declared vnto you: it is worth the thinking on to consider what may be hoped for from the Southerne part, which in all reason may promise a great deale more. And so, as one who was neuer touched with any indirect meaning, I presume to wish and perswade you to some better taking of this matter to heart, as a thing which I do verely thinke will turne to your greater and more assured commodity, then you receiue by any other voyage, as yet frequented of so short and safe a course as this hath: dealing herein no otherwise with you for your seuerall small summes, then I doe with myselfe, both for more of mine owne, then is required of any one of you: besides the hazard and trauaile of my person, and the totall imployment of my poore credit, which (I thanke God) hath hitherto passed cleare and vnspotted in matters of greater importance and difficultie, then is like to fall out in this matter betweene you and me.
1 Marginal note. — The ewer of metal brought by M. Fromisher, caused two seuerall supplies, the two yeeres next following; whereof the latter was of thirteene tall ships.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55