Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by
Apex Data Services, Inc.
Images scanned by Don Chalfant
Text encoded by Apex Data Services, Inc. and Melissa Meeks
First edition, 2002
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
(series title) Old South Leaflets (General Series) ; No. 92.
(caption title) The First Voyage to Roanoke. 1584.
(caption title) The First Voyage Made to the Coasts of America, with Two Barks, wherein Were Captains M. Philip Amadas and M. Arthur Barlowe, Who Discovered Part of the Countrey Now Called Virginia, anno 1584. Written by One of the Said Captaines, and Sent to Sir Walter Ralegh, Knight, at Whose Charge and Direction, the Said Voyage Was Set Forth.
Barlowe, Arthur, ca. 1550-1620.
[Directors of the Old South Work]
Call number Cp970.1b25f (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH
digitization project, Documenting the American South.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved. Encountered typographical errors have been preserved, and appear in red type.
All footnotes are inserted at the point of reference within paragraphs.
Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as " and " respectively.
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as ' and ' respectively.
All em dashes are encoded as --.
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.
Spell-check and verification made against printed text using Author/Editor (SoftQuad) and Microsoft Word spell check programs.
LC Subject Headings:
SICUT PATRIBUS SIT DEUS NOBIS.
The 27 day of Aprill, in the yeere of our redemption, 1584 we departed the West of England, with two barkes well furnished with men and victuals, having received our last and perfect directions by your letters, confirming the former instructions, and commandements delivered by your selfe at our leaving the river of Thames. And I thinke it a matter both unnecessary, for the manifest discoverie of the Countrey, as also for tediousnesse sake, to remember unto you the diurnall of our course, sayling thither and returning; onely I have presumed to present unto you this briefe discourse, by which you may judge how profitable this land is likely to succeede, as well to your selfe, by whose direction and charge, and by whose servantes this our discoverie hath beene performed, as also to her Highnesse, and the Commonwealth, in which we hope your wisdome wilbe satisfied, considering that as much by us hath bene brought to light, as by those smal meanes, and number of men we had, could any way have bene expected, or hoped for.
The tenth of May we arrived at the Canaries, and the tenth of June in this present yeere, we were fallen with the Islands of the West Indies, keeping a more Southeasterly course then was needefull, because wee doubted that the current
of the Bay of Mexico, disbogging betweene the Cape of Florida and Havana, had bene of greater force then afterwards we found it to bee. At which Islands we found the ayre very unwholsome, and our men grew for the most part ill disposed: so that having refreshed our selves with sweet water, & fresh victuall, we departed the twelfth day of our arrivall there. These islands, with the rest adjoining, are so well knowen to your selfe, and to many others, as I will not trouble you with the rememberance of them.
The second of July we found shole water, wher we smelt so sweet, and so strong a smel, as if we had bene in the midst of some delicate garden abounding with all kinde of odoriferous flowers, by which we were assured, that the land could not be farre distant: and keeping good watch, and bearing but slacke saile, the fourth of the same moneth we arrived upon the coast, which we supposed to be a continent and firme lande, and we sayled along the same a hundred and twentie English miles before we could finde any entrance, or river issuing into the Sea. The first that appeared unto us, we entred, though not without some difficultie, & cast anker about three harquebuz-shot within the havens mouth on the left hand of the same: and after thanks given to God for our safe arrivall thither, we manned our boats, and went to view the land next adjoyning, and to take possession of the same, in the right of the Queenes most excellent Majestie, and rightfull Queene, and Princesse of the same, and after delivered the same over to your use, according to her Majesties grant, and letters patents, under her Highnesse great seale. Which being performed, according to the ceremonies used in such enterprises, we viewed the land about us, being, whereas we first landed, very sandie and low towards the waters side, but so full of grapes, as the very beating and surge of the Sea overflowed them, of which we found such plentie, as well there as in all places else, both on the sand and on the greene soile on the hils, as in the plaines, as well on every little shrubbe, as also climing towardes the tops of high Cedars, that I thinke in all the world the like abundance is not to be found: and my selfe having seene those parts of Europe that most abound, find such difference as were incredible to be written.
We passed from the Sea side towardes the toppes of those hilles next adjoyning, being but of meane higth, and from
thence wee behelde the Sea on both sides to the North, and to the South, finding no ende any of both wayes. This lande laye stretching it selfe to the West, which after wee found to bee but an Island of twentie miles long, and not above sixe miles broade. Under the banke or hill whereon we stoode, we behelde the vallyes replenished with goodly Cedar trees, and having discharged our harquebuz-shot, such a flocke of Cranes (the most part white), arose under us, with such a cry redoubled by many ecchoes, as if an armie of men had showted all together.
This Island had many goodly woodes full of Deere, Conies, Hares, and Fowle, even in the middest of Summer in incredible abundance. The woodes are not such as you finde in Bohemia, Moscouia, or Hercynia, barren and fruitles, but the highest and reddest Cedars of the world, farre bettering the Ceders of the Açores, of the Indies, or Lybanus, Pynes, Cypres, Sassaphras, the Lentisk, or the tree that beareth the Masticke, the tree that beareth the rine of blacke Sinamon, of which Master Winter brought from the streights of Magellan, and many other of excellent smell and qualitie. We remained by the side of this Island two whole dayes before we saw any people of the Countrey: the third day we espied one small boate rowing towardes us having in it three persons: this boat came to the Island side, foure harquebuzshot from our shippes, and there two of the people remaining, the third came along the shoreside towards us, and wee being then all within boord, he walked up and downe upon the point of the land next unto us: then the Master and the Pilot of the Admirall, Simon Ferdinando, and the Captaine Philip Amadas, my selfe, and others rowed to the land, whose comming this fellow attended, never making any shewe of feare or doubt. And after he had spoken of many things not understood by us, we brought him with his owne good liking, aboord the ships, and gave him a shirt, a hat & some other things, and made him taste of our wine, and our meat, which he liked very wel: and after having viewed both barks, he departed, and went to his owne boat againe, which hee had left in a little Cove or Creeke adjoyning: assoone as hee was two bow shoot into the water, hee fell to fishing, and in lesse then halfe an houre, he had laden his boate as deepe as it could swimme, with which hee came againe to the point of the lande, and there he divided his fish into two parts, pointing
one part to the ship, and the other to the pinnesse: which, after he had, as much as he might, requited the former benefites received, departed out of our sight.
The next day there came unto us divers boates, and in one of them the Kings brother, accompanied with fortie or fiftie men, very handsome and goodly people, and in their behaviour as mannerly and civill as any of Europe. His name was Granganimeo, and the king is called Wingina, the countrey Wingandacoa, and now by her Majestie Virginia. The manner of his comming was in this sort: hee left his boates altogether as the first man did a little from the shippes by the shore, and came along to the place over against the shipes, followed with fortie men. When he came to the place, his servants spread a long matte upon the ground, on which he sate downe, and at the other ende of the matte foure others of his companie did the like, the rest of his men stood round about him, somewhat a farre off: when we came to the shore to him with our weapons, hee never mooved from his place, nor any of the other foure, nor never mistrusted any harme to be offered from us, but sitting still he beckoned us to come and sit by him, which we performed: and being set hee made all signes of joy and welcome, striking on his head and his breast and afterwardes on ours to shew wee were all one, smiling and making shewe the best he could of al love, and familiaritie. After hee had made a long speech unto us, wee presented him with divers things, which hee received very joyfully, and thankefully. None of the company durst speake one worde all the time: only the foure which were at the other ende, spake one in the others eare very softly.
The King is greatly obeyed, and his brothers and children reverenced: the King himself in person was at our being there, sore wounded in a fight which hee had with the King of the next countrey, called Wingina, and was shot in two places through the body, and once cleane through the thigh, but yet he recovered: by reason whereof and for that hee lay at the chief towne of the countrey, being sixe dayes journey off, we saw him not at all.
After we had presented this his brother with such things as we thought he liked, wee likewise gave somewhat to the other that sat with him on the matte: but presently he arose and tooke all from them and put it into his owne basket, making signes and tokens, that all things ought to bee delivered
unto him, and the rest were but his servants, and followers. A day or two after this, we fell to trading with them, exchanging some things that we had, for Chamoys, Buffe, and Deere skinnes: when we shewed him all our packet of merchandize, of all things that he sawe, a bright tinne dish most pleased him, which hee presently tooke up and clapt it before his breast, and after made a hole in the brimme thereof and hung it about his necke, making signes that it would defende him against his enemies arrowes: for those people maintaine a deadly and terrible warre, with the people and King adjoyning. We exchanged our tinne dish for twentie skinnes, woorth twentie Crownes, or twentie Nobles: and a copper kettle for fiftie skins woorth fifty Crownes. They offered us good exchange for our hatchets, and axes, and for knives, and would have given any thing for swordes: but wee would not depart with any. After two or three dayes the Kings brother came aboord the shippes, and dranke wine, and eat of our meat and of our bread, and liked exceedingly thereof: and after a few dayes overpassed, he brought his wife with him to the ships, his daughter and two or three children: his wife was very well favoured, of meane stature, and very bashfull: shee had on her backe a long cloake of leather, with the furre side next to her body, and before her a piece of the same: about her forehead shee had a bande of white Corall, and so had her husband many times: in her eares shee had bracelets of pearles hanging downe to her middle, whereof wee delivered your worship a little bracelet, and those were of the bignes of good pease. The rest of her women of the better sort had pendants of copper hanging in either eare, and some of the children of the Kings brother and other noble men, have five or sixe in either eare: he himselfe had upon his head a broad plate of golde, or copper, for being unpolished we knew not what mettal it should be, neither would he by any means suffer us to take it off his head, but feeling it, it would bow very easily. His apparell was as his wives, onely the women weare their haire long on both sides, and the men but on one. They are of colour yellowish, and their haire black for the most part, and yet we saw children that had very fine aburne and chesnut coloured haire.
After that these women had bene there, there came downe from all parts great store of people, bringing with them leather, corall, divers kindes of dies, very excellent, and exchanged
with us: but when Granganimeo the kings brother was present, none durst trade but himselfe: except such as weare red pieces of copper on their heads like himselfe: for that is the difference betweene the noble men, and the gouvernours of countreys, and the meaner sort. And we both noted there, and you have understood since by these men, which we brought home, that no people in the worlde cary more respect to their King, Nobilitie, and Governours, then these doe. The Kings brothers wife, when she came to us, as she did many times, was followed with forty or fifty women alwayes: and when she came into the shippe, she left them all on land, saving her two daughters, her nurse and one or two more. The kings brother alwayes kept this order, as many boates as he would come withall to the shippes, so many fires would hee make on the shore a farre off, to the end we might understand with what strength and company he approched. Their boates are made of one tree, either of Pine or of Pitch trees: a wood not commonly knowen to our people, nor found growing in England. They have no edge-tooles to make them withall: if they have any they are very fewe, and those it seemes they had twentie yeres since, which, as those two men declared, was out of a wrake which happened upon their coast of some Christian ship, being beaten that way by some storme and outragious weather, whereof none of the people were saved, but only the ship, or some part of her being cast upon the sand, out of whose sides they drew the nayles and the spikes, and with those they made their best instruments. The manner of making their boates is thus: they burne downe some great tree, or take such as are winde fallen, and putting gumme and rosen upon one side thereof, they set fire into it, and when it hath burnt it hollow, they cut out the coale with their shels, and ever where they would burne it deeper or wider they lay on gummes, which burne away the timber, and by this meanes they fashion very fine boates, and such as will transport twentie men. Their oares are like scoopes, and many times they set with long poles, as the depth serveth.
The Kings brother had great liking of our armour, a sword, and divers other things which we had: and offered to lay a great boxe of pearle in gage for them: but we refused it for this time, because we would not make them knowe, that we esteemed thereof, untill we had understoode in what places of the countrey the pearle grew: which now your Worshippe doeth very well understand.
He was very just of his promise: for many times we delivered him merchandize upon his word, but ever he came within the day and performed his promise. He sent us every day a brase or two of fat Bucks, Conies, Hares, Fish and best of the world. He sent us divers kindes of fruites, Melons, Walnuts, Cucumbers, Gourdes, Pease, and divers rootes, and fruites very excellent good, and of their Countrey corne, which is very white, faire and well tasted, and groweth three times in five moneths: in May they sow, in July they reape, in June they sow, in August they reape: in July they sow, in September they reape: onely they cast the corne into the ground, breaking a little of the soft turfe with a wodden mattock, or pickaxe; our selves prooved the soile, and put some of our Pease in the ground, and in tenne dayes they were of fourteene ynches high: they have also Beanes very faire of divers colours and wonderfull plentie: some growing naturally, and some in their gardens, and so have they both wheat and oates.
The soile is the most plentifull, sweete, fruitfull and wholesome of all the worlde: there are above fourteene severall sweete smelling timber trees, and the most part of their underwoods are Bayes and such like: they have those Okes that we have, but farre greater and better. After they had bene divers times aboord our shippes, my selfe, with seven more went twentie mile into the River, that runneth towarde the Citie of Skicoak, which River they call Occam: and the evening following wee came to an Island which they call Roanoak, distant from the harbour by which we entred, seven leagues: and at the North end thereof was a village of nine houses, built of Cedar, and fortified round about with sharpe trees, to keepe out their enemies, and the entrance into it made like a turnepike very artificially; when wee came towardes it, standing neere unto the waters side, the wife of Granganimo the Kings brother came running out to meete us very cheerfully and friendly, her husband was not then in the village; some of her people shee commanded to drawe our boate on shore for the beating of the billoe: others she appointed to cary us on their backes to the dry ground, and others to bring our oares into the house for feare of stealing. When we were come into the utter roome, having five roomes in her house, she caused us to sit downe by a great fire, and after tooke off our clothes and washed them, and dryed them againe: some of the women plucked off our stockings and washed them, some washed our
feete in warme water, and she herselfe tooke great paines to see all things ordered in the best maner shee could, making great haste to dresse some meate for us to eate.
After we had thus dryed ourselves, she brought us into the inner roome, where shee set on the boord standing along the house, some wheate like furmentie, sodden Venison, and roasted, fish sodden, boyled and roasted, Melons rawe, and sodden, rootes of divers kindes and divers fruites: their drinke is commonly water, but while the grape lasteth, they drinke wine, and for want of caskes to keepe it, all the yere after they drink water, but it is sodden with Ginger in it and blacke Sinamon, and sometimes Sassaphras, and divers other wholesome, and medicinable hearbes and trees. We were entertained with all love and kindnesse, and with much bountie, after their maner, as they could possibly devise. We found the people most gentle, loving and faithfull, voide of all guile and treason, and such as live after the manner of the golden age. The people onely care howe to defend themselves from the cold in their short winter, and to feed themselves with such meat as the soile affoordeth: there meat is very well sodden and they make broth very sweet and savorie: their vessels are earthen pots, very large, white and sweete, their dishes are wooden platters of sweet timber: within the place where they feede was their lodging, and within that their Idoll, which they worship, of whome they speake incredible things. While we were at meate, there came in at the gates two or three men with their bowes and arrowes from hunting, whom when wee espied, we beganne to looke one towardes another, and offered to reach our weapons: but assoone as shee espied our mistrust, shee was very much mooved, and caused some of her men to runne out, and take away their bowes and arrowes and breake them, and withall beate the poore fellowes out of the gate againe. When we departed in the evening and would not tary all night she was very sorry, and gave us into our boate our supper halfe dressed, pottes and all, and brought us to our boate side, in which wee lay all night, remooving the same a prettie distance from the shoare: shee perceiving our jealousie, was much grieved, and sent divers men and thirtie women, to sit all night on the banke side by us, and sent us into our boates five mattes to cover us from the raine, using very many wordes, to entreate us to rest in their houses: but because wee were fewe men, and if wee had miscaried, the voyage had bene
in very great danger, wee durst not adventure any thing, although there was no cause of doubt: for a more kinde and loving people there can not be found in the worlde, as farre as we have hitherto had triall.
Beyond this Island there is the maine lande, and over against this Island falleth into this spacious water, the great river called Occam by the inhabitants on which standeth a towne called Pomeiock, & sixe days journey from the same is situate their greatest citie, called Skicoak, which this people affirme to be very great: but the Savages were never at it, only they speake of it by the report of their fathers and other men, whom they have heard affirme it to bee above one houres journey about.
Into this river falleth another great river, called Cipo, in which there is found great store of Muskles in which there are pearles: likewise there descendeth into this Occam, another river, called Nomopana, on the one side whereof standeth a great towne called Chawanook, and the Lord of that towne and countrey is called Pooneno: this Pooneno is not subject to the King of Wingandacoa, but is a free Lord: beyond this country is there another king, whom they cal Menatonon, and these three kings are in league with each other. Towards the Southwest, foure dayes journey is situate a towne called Sequotan, which is the Southermost towne of Wingandacoa, neere unto which, sixe and twentie yeres past there was a ship cast away, whereof some of the people were saved, and those were white people whom the countrey people perserved.
And after ten dayes remaining in an out Island unhabited, called Wocokon, they with the help of some of the dwellers of Sequotan fastened two boates of the countrey together & made mastes unto them and sailes of their shirtes, and having taken into them such victuals as the countrey yeelded, they departed after they had remained in this out Island 3 weekes: but shortly after it seemed they were cast away, for the boates were found upon the coast cast a land in another Island adjoyning: other then these, there was never any people apparelled, or white of colour, either seene or heard of amongst these people, and these aforesaid were seene onely of the inhabitantes of Secotan, which appeared to be very true, for they wondred marvelously when we were amongst them at the whitenes of our skins, ever coveting to touch our breasts, and to view the same. Besides they had our ships in marvelous
admiration, & all things els were so strange unto them, as it appeared that none of them had ever seene the like. When we discharged any piece, were it but an hargubuz, they would tremble thereat for very feare and for the strangenesse of the same: for the weapons which themselves use are bowes and arrowes: the arrowes are but of small canes, headed with a sharpe shell or tooth of a fish sufficient ynough to kill a naked man. Their swordes be of wood hardened: likewise they use wooden breastplates for their defence. They have beside a kinde of club, in the end whereof they fasten the sharpe horns of a stagge, or other beast. When they goe to warres they cary about with them their idol, of whom they aske counsel, as the Romans were woont of the Oracle of Apollo. They sing songs as they march towardes the battell in stead of drummes and trumpets: their warres are very cruell and bloody, by reason whereof, and of their civill dissentions which have happened of late yeeres amongst them, the people are marvelously wasted, and in some places the countrey left desolate.
Adjoyning to this countrey aforesaid called Secotan beginneth a countrey called Pomouik, belonging to another king whom they call Piamacum, and this king is in league with the next king adjoyning towards the setting of the Sunne, and the countrey Newsiok, situate upon a goodly river called Neus: these kings have mortall warre with Wingina king of Wingandacoa: but about two yeeres past there was a peace made betweene the King Piemacum, and the Lord of Secotan, as these men which we have brought with us to England, have given us to understand: but there remaineth a mortall malice in the Secotanes, for many injuries & slaughters done upon them by this Piemacum. They invited divers men, and thirtie women of the best of his countrey to their towne to a feast: and when they were altogether merry, & praying before their Idoll, which is nothing els but a meer illusion of the devill, the captaine or Lord of the town came suddenly upon the, and slewe them every one, reserving the women and children: and these two have oftentimes since perswaded us to surprise Piemacum his towne, having promised and assured us, that there will be found in it great store of commodities. But whether their perswasion be to the ende they may be revenged of their enemies, or for the love they beare to us, we leave that to the tryall hereafter.
Beyond this Island called Roanoak, are maine Islands very
plentifull of fruits and other naturall increases, together with many townes, and villages, along the side of the continent, some bounding upon the Islands, and some stretching up further into the land.
When we first had sight of this countrey, some thought the first land we saw to bee the continent: but after we entred into the Haven, we saw before us another mighty long Sea: for there lyeth along the coast a tracte of Islands, two hundreth miles in length, adjoyning to the Ocean sea, and betweene the Islands, two or three entrances: when you are entred betweene them, these Islands being very narrow for the most part, as in most places sixe miles broad, in some places lesse, in few more, then there appeareth another great Sea, containing in bredth in some places, forty, and in some fifty, in some twenty miles over, before you come unto the continent: and in this inclosed Sea there are above an hundreth Islands of divers bignesses, whereof one is sixteene miles long, at which we were, finding it a most pleasant and fertile ground; replenished with goodly Cedars, and divers other sweete woods, full of Corrants, of flaxe, and many other notable commodities, which we at that time had no leasure to view. Besides this Island there are many, as I have sayd, some of two, or three, of foure, of five miles, some more, some lesse, most beautifull and pleasant to behold, replenished with Deere, Conies, Hares and divers beasts, and about them the goodliest and best fish in the world, and in greatest abundance.
Thus, Sir, we have acquainted you with the particulars of our discovery made this present voyage, as farre foorth as the shortnesse of the time we there continued would affoord us to take viewe of: and so contenting our selves with this service at this time, which wee hope here after to inlarge, as occasion and assistance shalbe given, we resolved to leave the countrey, and to apply ourselves to returne for England, which we did accordingly, and arrived safely in the West of England about the middest of September.
And whereas wee have above certified you of the countrey taken in possession by us to her Majesties use, and so to yours by her Majesties grant, wee thought good for the better assurance thereof to record some of the particular Gentlemen & men of accompt, who then were present, as witnesses of the same, that thereby all occasion of cavill to the title of the countrey, in her Majesties behalfe may be prevented, which otherwise,
such as like not the action may use and pretend, whose names are:
William Greenvile, John Wood, James Browewich, Henry Greene, Benjamin Wood, Simon Ferdinando, Nicholas Petman, John Hewes, of the companie.
We brought home also two of the Savages being lustie men, whose names were Wanchese and Manteo.
Elizabeth by the grace of God of England, France and Ireland Queene, defender of the faith, &c. To all people to whom these presents shal come, greeting. Know ye that of our especial grace, certaine science, & meere motion, we have given and graunted, and by these presents for us, our heires and successors doe give and graunt to our trusty and welbeloved servant Walter Ralegh Esquire, and to his heires and assignes for ever, free liberty & licence from time to time, and at all times for ever hereafter, to discover, search, finde out, and view such remote, heathen and barbarous lands, countreis, and territories, not actually possessed of any Christian prince, nor inhabited by Christian people, as to him, his heires and assignes, and to every or any of them shall seeme good, and the same to have, holde, occupy & enjoy to him, his heires and assignes for ever, with all prerogatives, commodities, jurisdictiõs, royalties, privileges, franchises and preeminences, thereto or thereabouts both by sea and land, whatsoever we by our letters patents may grant, and as we or any of our noble progenitors have heretofore granted to any person or persons, bodies politique or corporate: and the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and all such as from time to time, by licence of us, our heires and successors, shal goe or travaile thither to inhabite or remaine, there to build and fortifie, at the discretion of the said Walter Ralegh, his heires & assignes, the statutes or act of Parliament made against fugitives, or against such as shall depart, remaine or continue out of our Realme of
England without licence, or any statute, act, law, or any ordinance whatsoever to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
And we do likewise by these presents, of our especial grace, meere motion, and certaine knowledge, for us, our heires and successors, give and graunt full authoritie, libertie and power to the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and every of them, that he and they, and every or any of them shall and may at all and every time and times hereafter, have, take, and leade in the sayde voyage, and travaile thitherward, or to inhabite there with him or them, and every or any of them, such and so many of our subjects as shall willingly accompany him or them, and every or any of them: and to whom also we doe by these presents, give full libertie and authoritie in that behalfe, and also to have, take and employ, and use sufficient shipping and furniture for the transportations, and Navigations in that behalfe, so that none of the same persons or any of them be such as hereafter shall be restrained by us, our heires or successors.
And further that the said Walter Ralegh his heires and assignes, and every of them, shall have, holde, occupie and enjoy to him, his heires and assignes, and every of them for ever, all the soyle of all such landes, territories, and Countreis, so to be discovered and possessed as aforesayd, and of all such Cities, Castles, Townes, Villages, and places in the same, with the right royalties, franchises, and jurisdictions, as well marine as other within the sayd landes, or Countreis, or the seas thereunto adjoyning, to be had, or used, with full power to dispose thereof, and of every part in fee simple or otherwise, according to the order of the lawes of England, as neere as the same conveniently may be, at his, and their wil and pleasure, to any persons then being, or that shall remaine within the allegiance of us, our heires and successors: reserving alwayes to us, our heires and successors, for all services, dueties, and demaunds, the fift part of all the oare of golde and silver, that from time to time, and at all times after such discoverie, subduing and possessing, shall be there gotten and obteined: All which lands, Countreis, and territories shall for ever be holden of the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, of us, our heires and successors, by homage, and by the sayd payment of the said fift part, reserved onely for all services.
And moreover, we do by these presents, for us, our heires
and successors, give and grant licence to the said Walter Ralegh, his heires, and assignes, and every of them, that he and they, and every or any of them, shall and may from time to time, and at all times for ever hereafter, for his and their defence, encounter and expulse, repell and resist aswell by sea as by lande, and by all other wayes whatsoever, all and every such person and persons whatsoever, as without especiall liking and licence of the sayd Walter Ralegh, and of his heires and assignes, shall attempt to inhabite within the sayde Countreys, or any of them, or within the space of two hundreth leagues neere to the place or places within such Countreys as aforesayd (if they shall not bee before planted or inhabited within the limits as aforesayd with the subjects of any Christian Prince being in amitie with us) where the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires, or assignes, or any of them, or his, or their, or any of their associats or company, shall within sixe yeeres (next ensuing) make their dwellings or abidings, or that shall enterprise or attempt at any time hereafter unlawfully to annoy, eyther by Sea or Lande the sayde Walter Ralegh, his heires or assignes, or any of them, or his or their, or any of his or their companies: giving and graunting by these presents further power and authoritie to the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and every of them from time to time, and at all times for ever hereafter, to take and surprise by all maner of meanes whatsoever, all and every those person or persons, with their Shippes, Vessels, and other goods and furniture, which without the licence of the sayde Walter Ralegh, or his heires, or assignes, as aforesayd, shalbe found traffiquing into any Harbour, or Harbours, Creeke, or Creekes, within the limits aforesayd, (the subjects of our Realmes and Dominions, and all other persons in amitie with us, trading to the Newfound lands for fishing as heretofore they have commonly used, or being driven by force of a tempest, or shipwracke onely excepted:) and those persons, and every of them, with their shippes, vessels, goods, and furniture to deteine and possesse as of good and lawfull prize, according to the discretion of him the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires, and assignes, and every, or any of them. And for uniting in more perfect league and amitie, of such Countryes, landes, and territories so to be possessed and inhabited as aforesayd with our Realmes of England and Ireland, and the better incouragement of men to these enterprises: we
doe by these presents, graunt and declare that all such Countries, so hereafter to be possessed and inhabited as is aforesayd, from thencefoorth shall be of the allegiance of us, our heires and successours. And wee doe graunt to the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires, and assignes, and to all, and every of them, and to all, and every other person and persons, being of our allegiance, whose names shall be noted or entred in some of our Courts of recorde within our Realme of England, that with the assent of the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires or assignes, shall in his journeis for discoverie, or in the journeis for conquest hereafter travaile to such lands, countreis and territories, as aforesayd, and to their, and to every of their heires, that they, and every or any of them, being eyther borne within our sayde Realmes of England or Irelande, or in any other place within our allegiance, and which hereafter shall be inhabiting within any the Lands, Countryes, and Territories, with such licence (as aforesayd) shall and may have all the priviledges of free Denizens, and persons native of England, and within our allegiance in such like ample maner and forme, as if they were borne and personally resident within our said Realme of England, any law, custome, or usage to the contrary notwithstanding.
And forasmuch as upon the finding out, discovering, or inhabiting of such remote lands, countries, and territories as aforesaid, it shalbe necessary for the safety of all men, that shall adventure themselves in those journeys or voyages, to determine to live together in Christian peace, and civill quietnesse eche with other, whereby every one may with more pleasure and profit enjoy that whereunto they shall atteine with great paine and perill, wee for us, our heires and successors, are likewise pleased and contented, and by these presents doe give & grant to the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes for ever, that he and they, and every or any of them, shall and may from time to time for ever hereafter, within the said mentioned remote lands and countries, in the way by the seas thither, and from thence, have full and meere power and authoritie to correct, punish, pardon, governe, and rule by their and every or any of their good discretions and policies, as well in causes capitall, or criminall, as civill, both marine and other, all such our subjects, as shal from time to time adventure themselves in the said journeis or voyages, or that shall at any time hereafter inhabite any such lands, countreis, or territories
as aforesayd, or that shall abide within 200. leagues of any of the sayde place or places, where the sayde Walter Ralegh, his heires or assignes, or any of them, or any of his or their associats or companies, shall inhabite within 6. yeeres next ensuing the date hereof, according to such statutes, lawes and ordinances as shall be by him the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and every or any of them devised, or established, for the better government of the said people as aforesaid. So alwayes as the said statutes, lawes, and ordinances may be, as nere as conveniently may bee, agreeable to the forme of the lawes, statutes, government, or pollicie of England, and also so as they be not against the true Christian faith, nowe professed in the Church of England, nor in any wise to withdrawe any of the subjects or people of those lands or places from the alleagance of us, our heires and successours, as their immediate Soveraigne under God.
And further, we doe by these presents for us, our heires and successors, give and grant ful power and authoritie to our trustie and welbeloved Counsailour Sir William Cecill knight, Lorde Burghley, or high Treasourer of England, and to the Lorde Treasourer of England for us, our heires and successors, for the time being, and to the privie Counsaile of us, our heires and successors, or any foure or more of them, for the time being, that he, they, or any foure or more of them, shall and may from time to time, and at all times hereafter, under his or their handes or Seales by vertue of these presents, authorize and licence the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and every or any of them by him, & by themselves, or by their, or any of their sufficient Atturnies, Deputies, Officers, Ministers, Factors, and servants, to imbarke & transport out of our Realme of England and Ireland, and the Dominions thereof, all or any of his or their goods, and all or any the goods of his and their associats and companies, and every or any of them, with such other necessaries and commodities of any our Realmes, as to the sayde Lorde Treasurer, or foure or more of the privie Counsaile, of us our heires and successors for the time being (as aforesaid) shalbe from time to time by his or their wisedomes, or discretions thought meete and convenient, for the better reliefe and supportation of him the sayde Walter Ralegh, his heires, and assignes, and every or any of them, and of his or their or any of their associats and companies, any act, statute, law, or any thing to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.
Provided alwayes, and our wil and pleasure is, and we do hereby declare to all Christian kings, princes, and states, that if the sayde Walter Ralegh, his heires or assignes, or any of them, or any other by their licence or appointment, shall at any time or times hereafter robbe or spoile by sea or by land, or doe any acte of unjust or unlawfull hostilitie, to any of the subjects of us, our heires or successors, or to any of the subjects of any the kings, princes, rulers, Governours, or estates, being then in perfect league and amitie with us, our heires and successours, and that upon such injurie, or upon just complaint of any such Prince, Ruler, Governour or estate, or their subjects, wee, our heires and successors, shall make open Proclamation within any the portes of our Realme of England, that the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and adherents, or any to whom these our Letters patents may extende, shall within the termes to bee limited, by such Proclamation, make full restitution, and satisfaction of all such injuries done: so as both we and the said Princes, or other so complaining, may hold us and themselves fully contented: And that if the said Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, shall not make or cause to be made satisfaction accordingly within such time so to be limited, that then it shal be lawful to us, our heires and successors, to put the sayd Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and adherents, and all the inhabitants of the saide places to be discovered (as is aforesaid) or any of them out of our allegeance and protection, and that from and after such time of putting out of protection of the sayde Walter Ralegh, his heires, assignes and adherents, and others so to be put out, and the said places within their habitation, possession and rule, shall be out of our allegeance and protection, and free for all Princes and others to pursue with hostilitie, as being not our subjects, nor by us any way to be avouched, maintained, or defended, nor to be holden as any of ours, nor to our protection, or dominion, or allegeance any way belonging: for that expresse mention of the cleere yeerely value of the certaintie of the premisses, or any part thereof, or of any other gift, or grant by us, or any our progenitors, or predecessors to the said Walter Ralegh, before this time made in these presents bee not expressed, or any other grant, ordinance, provision, proclamation, or restraint to the contrary thereof, before this time, given, ordained, or provided, or any other thing, cause,
or matter whatsoever, in any wise notwithstanding. In witnesse whereof, wee have caused these our letters to be made Patents. Witnesse our selves, at Westminster the five and twentie day of March, in the sixe and twentith yeere of our Raigns.
IN the meane while you shall understand, that since Sir Richard Greenvils departure from us, as also before, we have discovered the maine to be the goodliest soyle under the cope of heaven, so abounding with sweete trees, that bring such sundry rich and pleasant gummes, grapes of such greatnesse, yet wilde, as France, Spaine nor Italie have no greater, so many sorts of Apothecarie drugs, such severall kindes of flaxe, & one kind like silke, the same gathered of a grasse, as common there, as grasse is here. And now within these few dayes we have found here Maiz or Guinie wheate, whose eare yeeldeth corne for bread 400. upon 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 unknowen greatnesse, and very well peopled and towned, though savagely, and the climate so wholesome, 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. For this already we finde, that what commodities soever Spaine, France, Italy, or the East partes doe yeeld unto us, in wines of all sortes, in oyles, in flaxe, in rosens, pitch, frankensence, corrans, sugers, and such like, these parts doe abound with the growth of them all, but being Savages that possesse the land, they know no use of the same. And sundry other rich commodities, that no parts of the world, be they the West or East Indies, have, here wee finde great abundance of. The people naturally are most courteous and very desirous to have clothes, but especially of course cloth rather then silke, course canvas 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 have joyned you both in one letter of remembrance, as two that I love 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
"History has recorded the lives of few men more renowned than Walter Ralegh,--the soldier, the sailor, the statesman, the courtier, the poet, the historian, and the philosopher. The age in which he lived, the versatility of his genius, his conspicuous services, and 'the deep damnation of his taking off,'--all conspired to exalt his memory among men and to render it immortal. Success often crowned his efforts in the service of his country, and the impress of his genius is clearly traced upon her history; but his greatest service to England and to the world was his pioneer effort to colonize America, in which he experienced the most mortifying defeat. Baffled in his endeavor to plant the English race upon this continent, he yet called into existence a spirit of enterprise which first gave Virginia and then North America to that race, and which led Great Britain from this beginning to dot the map of the world with her colonies, and through them to become the greatest power of the earth."
These are the opening words of Mr. William Wirt Henry's valuable chapter upon Ralegh in the third volume of the "Narrative and Critical History of America," which volume is entirely devoted to English explorations and settlements in North America. Mr. Henry's chapter is followed by a critical essay on the sources of information about Ralegh's life and efforts for American colonization; and this is commended to the student as the completest bibliography. The article on Ralegh in the "Dictionary of National Biography" should also be consulted.
This great pioneer in the work of English colonization in America is in many ways the most brilliant name in the whole history of our period of colonization. As early as 1578, when he was but twenty-six years old, Ralegh sailed for America, commanding one of the seven ships in the fleet of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, his half-brother. He had already discovered that the power of Spain was largely due to the wealth she derived from America, and he desired to secure for England the same source of power. His attention had been attracted to the coast of Florida by Coligny, whose Huguenot colony there had been destroyed by Menendez in 1565. Gilbert's fleet met with disaster, and was forced to return. The object of Ralegh's passionate desire remained, however, the English colonization of America. He furnished one of the five ships with which Sir Humphrey sailed, in 1583, upon his last and most disastrous voyage to America, and was only prevented from going with him by the order of the queen, who was unwilling that her favorite should incur the risk of any "dangerous sea fights." In 1584 Ralegh obtained a new charter, given in the present leaflet, drawn more carefully with a view to foster colonization, giving the colonists "all the privileges of free denizens and persons native of England." To this provision, which was the ground upon which the struggle with the mother country leading to the Revolution and to American independence was maintained, we are doubtless indebted to Ralegh. In April, 1584, Ralegh sent Captains Amadas and Barlowe with two ships to explore the Atlantic coast north of Florida, with a view to a permanent colony. Their report to Ralegh upon their return is given in the present leaflet. Their enthusiastic account delighted the queen as much as it delighted Ralegh, and she named the newly discovered country Virginia. Ralegh made everything ready by the next spring for planting a colony in Virginia. In April, 1585, seven ships sailed from Plymouth in command of his cousin, Sir Richard Grenville, "with one hundred householders and many things necessary to begin a new state."
The colony itself was put in the immediate charge of Ralph Lane; and his deputy was Captain Philip Amadas, who had been one of the commanders of the first expedition, described in this leaflet. Thomas Cavendish and Thomas Hariot were other leading men in the company. Grenville landed the colony at Roanoke Island, leaving Lane in charge of more than a hundred men, and sailed for England, promising to return with supplies. His return was delayed, and the sufferings of the colony were severe; and Sir Francis Drake, putting in at Roanoke with his fleet, in 1586, after sacking St. Augustine, took the whole company back to England. A ship soon arrived with supplies sent by Ralegh, but, finding no one on the island, returned, as did Grenville, who arrived with three ships immediately afterwards. He left fifteen men, however, with provisions for two years, to retain possession of the country; but when John White, sent by Ralegh the next year, with a hundred and fifty persons, came to Roanoke, it was to find that these men had been massacred by the natives. White, leaving his colony, returned to England for help; and, in his absence, the company mysteriously disappeared. It was learned after the settlement of Jamestown that they had intermixed with the natives, and finally had been massacred, only seven escaping. Ralegh, who had already spent forty thousand pounds in his efforts to colonize Virginia, continued to send out ships to look for his lost colony; and in 1602 he expressed his faith in the colonization of Virginia in the words, "I shall yet live to see it an English nation."
Mr. Henry well says: "Although the colonies he sent to Virginia perished, to Ralegh must be awarded the honor of securing the possession of North America to the English. It was through his enterprise that the advantages of its soil and climate were made known in England, and that the Chesapeake Bay was fixed upon as the proper place of settlement; and it was his genius that created the spirit of colonization which led to the successful settlement upon that bay." Ten of the nineteen merchants who co-operated with him in sending out White's colony, which was destined ultimately for the Chesapeake, were afterwards subscribers to the Virginia Company which settled Jamestown.
There is a considerable original literature touching the Roanoke enterprise. Besides the account of the first expedition here given, the account of Grenville's voyage, in 1585, was written by one of the persons accompanying Grenville; and the account of what happened after their arrival was written by one of the colonists, probably Ralph Lane himself. An account of the country was written by Thomas Hariot; and John White wrote accounts of his voyages. These are all found together in Hakluyt, in the first volume of Hawks's "History of North Carolina," and (in best form) in the volume on "Sir Walter Ralegh and his Colony in America," edited, with memoir and historical illustrations, by Rev. Increase N. Tarbox, published by the Prince Society.
In 1595, and again in 1617, Ralegh himself commanded expeditions to the coast of South America, on the former sailing four hundred miles up the Orinoco. Returning broken and dispirited from the second expedition in 1618, it was to find himself overwhelmed by his enemies; and his execution followed almost immediately. But Jamestown was now eleven years old, and the Pilgrims in Holland were thinking of New England.
The voyages to Guiana are related by Ralegh himself. In Ralegh's "History of the World," as Mr. Henry notes, "he often illustrates his subject by the incidents of his own life; and thus we have in the book much of an autobiography."
The lives of Ralegh are almost numberless. No Englishman of that great time, almost no man of any time, has been the subject of so many biographies. The most important of the early ones is that by William Oldys. The completest and most critical work is that by Edward Edwards (1868), who in his introduction gives a good estimate of the preceding biographies. Perhaps the best of the shorter lives is that by Stebbing (1891); and the brief biographies by Gosse, Towle, and Louise Creighton will serve the younger people. Gardiner, in his History of England, gives a complete account of Ralegh's public life from the ascension of James I., which is invaluable for the careful student.