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- Thomas Hariot - 5/22 -


appeared in 1877 as the second volume of the second series of the Society's Collections.

This Treatise of Hakluyt under Raleigh's inspiration may be regarded as the harbinger of Virginia history. Though intended for a special purpose, it is of the highest importance in developing the history of English maritime policy at that time, and defining the growth of the English arguments, advantages and reasons for western planting. The book is full of personal hints, and is immensely suggestive, showing us more than anything else the master hand of Master Hakluyt in moulding England's 'sea policie' and colonial navigation. No mere geographical study by Hakluyt could alone have produced this remarkable volume. It is the combination of many materials, and the result of compromising divers interests. Hakluyt had already, though still a young man under thirty, entered deeply into the study of commercial geography, and had in 1582 published his _Divers Voyages_ dedicated to his friend Sir Philip Sidney, son-in-law to the chief Secretary Walsingham. In the Spring of 1583 the Secretary sent Hakluyt down to Bristol with a letter to the principal merchants there to enlist their co-operation in a project of discovery and planting in America somewhere between the possessions of the French in Canada and the Spaniards in Florida, which his son-in-law Master Christopher Carleil was developing under the auspices of the Muscovie Company, and for which they were about to ask the Queen for a patent independent of Sir Humphrey Gilbert's.

In the summer of 1583 Hakluyt thought to go to Newfoundland with Gilbert's expedition, according to the letter of Parmenius, but fortunately did not go. But in the autumn of the same year Walsingham sent him to Paris nominally as chaplain to the English Ambassador at the French court, Sir Edward Stafford, but really to pursue his geographical investigations into the west and learn what the French and Spanish were doing in these remote regions, and what were their particular claims, resources and trade.

Before his departure for Paris, the 'Golden Hinde' had returned to Falmouth with the heavy news of the fate of Gilbert and the consequent certain forfeiture of his patent, notwithstanding it had still some nine months to run. Though Sir Humphrey had taken formal possession of Newfoundland, as no colony was left there, his rights and privileges would lapse as a matter of course.

Western planting now became the talk and fashion. Many projects were hatching for new patents. Raleigh alone succeeded. Hakluyt's position and circumstances in Paris seem made for the occasion, and he soon found all these western eggs put into his basket. The materials of the several previous writers and of the rival claimants were all apparently thrust upon him. He thus became in 1583-4, though perhaps unconsciously, the mouthpiece of a snug family party all playing into the hands of Raleigh. There were Walsingham, and Sidney, and Carleil, and Leicester, all connected with each other and with Raleigh. Then there were the papers of Sir George Peckham, Edward Hayes, Richard Clarke master of the Delight, and Steven Par-menius, rich alike in hints and facts. The interests of these distinguished persons were by family ties or other influence suddenly merged into a single patent and that Raleigh's. The papers mostly passed through Raleigh's hands into Hakluyt's, who acknowledges himself indebted to him for his chiefest light.

Raleigh, besides being the half-brother and representative of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, held also a large share in that venture. Gilbert's real aim, policy and plan, in this last yearof his patent, to prospect for a suitable place in which to take possession and found a colony, was to begin at the south and work northward as the French had done, but his previous failures since 1578, the inevitable impediments and delays, the advanced season of this his last year 1583, and the necessity of making a final strike for success, in behalf of himself and his assignees, compelled him at the last hour to go direct to Newfoundland, take possession, and then, if thought best, work southward. He was however unquestionably influenced or professed to be by rumours of metals or gold mines in Newfoundland. This northern passage was his fatal mistake. Had he taken a middle or southern course say between 37 and 42 he might perhaps have succeeded.

Under these circumstances Hakluyt's Discourse of Western Planting was written, and may be considered as a digest of many plans without much originality and a consolidation of many interests. Hakluyt and Raleigh were at Oxford together, but we find no particular evidence of their intimacy before the Spring of 1584, when Hakluyt had returned to London from Paris with his Discourse, or perhaps it was partly written in England. It is pretty certain that it was not shown to the Queen before the date of the Patent, the 25th of March, as Hakluyt speaks of her seeing it in the summer. It was probably intended principally for the promotion of the interests of the Patent in Parliament.

At all events with his investigations in France Hakluyt's Discourse became thoroughly English in its tone and tenor, and from this time he labored zealously in the interests of Raleigh. A main point of inquiry in Paris was to avail himself of the many opportunities at the Spanish and Portuguese embassies, and with the French merchants and sailors of Paris, Rouen, Havre and Dieppe, to pick up the particulars of the West India trade of the Spaniards, and the nature of the French dealings in Cape Breton and Canada. This led him to set forth the advantages of direct English western trade independent of France and Spain, and of French and Spanish routes.

The fisheries of Newfoundland and the Banks were extensive, and by repeated treaties neutral, but gave no exclusive rights on the adjoining territory to any one of the fishing nations; though in all cases the English by common consent exercised leadership in the Newfoundland harbors among the fishing ships, of which there were now some six or eight hundred a year, notwithstanding the English still fished also at Iceland.

It was necessary however in the interests of England for Hakluyt in this Discourse to revive and substantiate the English rights in America by putting forward the prior discovery by the Cabots in 1497-1498. Though he presents this direct claim modestly, yet like Sir Humphrey Gilbert he founds it upon insufficient evidence. In a loose manner he speaks of Cabot and not the Cabots, and attributes to Sebastian the son what properly belongs to John the father. He reposes full confidence in the loose and gossiping statements of Peter Martyr that Sebastian Cabot, a quarter of a century after the discovery, told him that at the time, 1497 or 98,he had explored the coast to the latitude of Gibraltar, that is to Chesapeake Bay and the longitude of Cuba or the city of Cincinnati, a thing not probable, in as much as the active old pilot mayor was never able to declare, down to the time of Gomez, that he had been on that coast before. It would have been foolish in him to fit out in 1524 Gomez to ' discover ' what the pilot mayor had already explored in 1497.

Hakluyt's arguments and historical statements in this Discourse of 1584 to the present time have always been presented by English diplomatists with confidence, especially against the French. Yet the French continued to maintain their occupation of Cape Breton, the Gulf of St Lawrence and Canada, which together they called New France. It is now however made apparent from contemporary historical documents that have recently been brought to light from the archives of Spain and Venice that John Cabot, accompanied by his son Sebastian, then a youth of some nineteen or twenty years, in 1497 took possession of Cape Breton in the names of Venice and England conjointly, and raised the flags of St Mark and St George. There is not yet any trustworthy evidence that they went south of Cape Breton either in that or the voyage of 1498.

Hakluyt in his Divers Voyages in 1582 did not venture to make this Cabot claim so strong as in this Discourse. In his dedication to Sir Philip Sidney he quaintly says that he ' put downe the title which we haue to this part of America which is from Florida to 67 degrees northwarde by the letters patentes graunted to John Cabote and his three sonnes,' simply meaning that he had printed the first patent of 5th May 1496. In his title page he speaks of the Discoverie of America,' made first of all by our Englishmen and afterwards by the Frenchmen and Bretons.' He does not question the rights and privileges of Frenchmen to the Gulf of St Lawrence and Canada, because they were in the occupation of a Christian prince.

This Discourse of Western Planting therefore, and the voyage of Amadas and Barlow, in 1584, at the instigation and expense of Raleigh, based on a thorough knowledge of the Huguenot and Spanish expeditions to Florida in 1562-1568, are all parts of Virginia history, and therefore are preliminary to Hariot's Report. It should be borne in mind that these terms Florida and Virginia as used by the Spaniards, French, and English, included the whole country from the point of Florida through the Carolinas and Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay, or perhaps even to Bacalaos.

Raleigh's patent, in which all interests were thus consolidated, came before Parliament in the Autumn of 1584 well fortified in its historical and geographical bearings by Hakluyt's learned Discourse. In the House of Commons the matter was adroitly referred to a Commitee of which Walsingham and Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Christopher Hatton and Sir Francis Drake were members. The bill having passed the House was sent up to the Lords, and there read the first time on Sunday the 19th of December 1584, as appears by the following entry in the Lords' Journal, volume ii, page 76. ' Hodie allatae sicut a Dome Communi 4 Billae; _Prima,_ For the Confirmation of the Queen's Majesty's Letters Patents, granted to Walter Raughlieghe, Esquire, touching the Discovery and Inhabiting of certain Foreign Lands and Countries, quae ia _vice_ lecta est.' It does not appear precisely at what date the Bill received the Queen's signature, but probably as early as Christmas or New Year.

Having now early in 1585 secured the Confirmation of this much coveted patent which liberally permitted him in the name and under the aegis of England to plant a ' colonie' and found an English empire in the New World at his own expense of money, men, and enterprise; having pocketed the geographical results and valuable experience of the French in Florida and Canada; having vainly attempted a visit to Newfoundland in 1578, and having succeeded to the rights and privileges of his noble half-brother Sir Humphrey Gilbert; having received by the return in September of his two reconnoitring barks favorable reports as to the properest place to begin his Western Planting in Wingandacoa ; and being thoroughly supported by the good wishes and hearty co-operation of the Queen and many of her prominent and influential subjects, Raleigh rose superior to all jealousies and opposition.

This lasted as usual just so long as he was successful and no longer. But he was blessed in his household, or at his table, or in his confidence, with four sterling adherents who stuck to him through thick and thin, through prosperity and adversity. These were Richard Hakluyt, Jaques Le Moyne, John White and Thomas Hariot. When Wingandacoa makes up her jewels she will not forget these Four, whom it is just to call Raleigh's Magi.

With marvellous energy, enterprise, and skill Raleigh collected and fitted out in an incredibly short time a fleet of seven ships well stocked and well manned to transport his ' first colonie ' into the wilds of America. It was under the command of his valiant cousin, Admiral Sir Richard Grenville, and sailed from Plymouth on the 19th of May 1585. Never before did a finer fleet leave the shores of England, and never since was one more honestly or hopefully dispatched. There were the ' Tyger' and the ' Roe Buck' of 140 tons each, the ' Lyon' of 100 tons, the 'Elizabeth' of 50 tons, the ' Dorothea," a small bark, and


Thomas Hariot - 5/22

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