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What commodities would ensue, this passage once discovered.
Cap. 10.

FIRST, it were the onely way for our princes, to possesse the wealth of all the East parts (as they terme them) of the world, which is infinite: as appeareth by the experience of Alexander the great, in the time of his conquest of India, and other the East parts of the world, alleaged by Quintus Curtius, which would be a great advancement to our countrey, a wonderfull inriching to our prince, and an unspeakable commoditie to all the inhabitants of Europe.

2 For through the shortnesse of the voyage, we should be able to sell all maner of merchandize, brought from thence, farre better cheape then either the Portugall or Spaniard doth or may do. And further, we should share with the Portugall in the East, & the Spaniard in the West, by trading to any part of America , thorow Mar del Sur, where they can no maner of way offend us.

3 Also we might sayle to divers very rich countreys, both civill and others, out of both their jurisdictions, trades and traffikes, where there is to be found great abundance of golde, silver, precious stones, cloth of gold, silkes, all maner of spices, grocery wares, and other kinds of merchandize of an inestimable price, which both the Spaniard and Portugall, through the length of their journies, cannot well attaine unto.

4 Also we might inhabite some part of those countryes, and settle there such needy people of our countrey, which now trouble the common wealth, and through want here at home are inforced to commit outragious offences, whereby they are dayly consumed with the gallowes.

5 Moreover, we might from all the aforesaid places have a yeerely returne, inhabiting for our staple some convenient place of America , about Sierra Nevada, or some other part, whereas it shal seeme best for the shortning of the voyage.

6 Beside uttering of our countrey commodities, which the Indians, &c. much esteeme: as appeareth in Hester, where the pompe is expressed of the great king of India, Assuerus, who matched the coloured clothes, wherewith his houses and tents were apparelled, with gold and silver, as part of his greatest treasure: not mentioning either velvets, silkes, cloth of gold, cloth of silver, or such like, being in those countreyes most plentifull: whereby it plainly appeareth in what great estimation they would have the clothes of this our countrey, so that there would be found a farre better vent for them by this meanes, then yet this realme ever had: and that without depending either upon France, Spaine, Flanders, Portugall, Hamborow, Emden , or any other part of Europe.

7 Also, here we shall increase both our ships and mariners, without burthening of the state.

8 And also have occasion to set poore mens children to learne handie craftes, and thereby to make trifles and such like, which the Indians and those people do much esteeme: by reason whereof, there should be none occasion to have our countrey combred with loiterers, vagabonds, and such like idle persons.

All these commodities would grow by following this our discovery, without injury done to any Christian prince, by crossing them in any of their used trades, whereby they might take any just occasion of offence.

Thus have I briefly shewed you some part of the grounds of mine opinion, trusting that you will no longer judge me fantasticke in this matter: seeing I have conceived no vaine hope of this voyage, but am perswaded thereunto by the best Cosmographers of our age, the same being confirmed both by reason and certaine experiences.

Also this discovery hath bene divers times heretofore by others both offered, attempted, and performed.

It hath bene offered by Stephan Gomes unto Carolus the fift Emperour, in the yeere of our Lord God 1527, as Alphonso Ullva testifieth in the story of Carolus life: who would have set him forth in it (as the story mentioneth) if the great want of money, by reason of his long warres had not caused him to surcease the same.

And the king of Portugall fearing least the Emperour would have persevered in this his enterprise, gave him to leave the matter unattempted, the summe of 350000 crownes: and it is to be thought that the king of Portugall would not have given to the Emperour such summes of money for egges in mooneshine.

It hath bene attempted by Sebastian Cabota in the time of king Henry the seventh, by Corterialis the Portugall, and Scolmus the Dane .

And it hath bene performed by three brethren, the Indians aforesaid, and by Urdaneta the Frier of Mexico.

Also divers have offered the like unto the French king, who hath sent two or three times to have discovered the same: The discoverers spending and consuming their victuals in searching the gulfes and bayes betweene Florida and Terra de Labrador, whereby the yce is broken to the after commers.

So that the right way may now easily be found out in short time: and that with litle jeoperdie and lesse expences.

For America is discovered so farre towardes the North as Cape Frio, which is at 62 degrees, and that part of Grondland next adjoyning is knowen to stand but at 72 degrees. So that wee have but 10 degrees to saile North & South, to put the world out of doubt hereof: and it is likely that the king of Spaine, and the king of Portugall would not have sit out all this while, but that they are sure to possesse to themselves all that trade they now use, and feare to deale in this discovery, least the Queenes Majestie having so good opportunitie, and finding the commoditie which thereby might ensue to the common wealth, would cut them off, and enjoy the whole traffique to her selfe, and thereby the Spaniards and Portugals, with their great charges, should beate the bush, and other men catch the birds: which thing they foreseeing, have commanded that no pilot of theirs upon paine of death, should seeke to discover to the Northwest, or plat out in any Sea card any thorow passage that way by the Northwest.

Now, and if you will indifferently compare the hope that remaineth, to animate me to this enterprise, with those likelihoods which Columbus alleaged before Ferdinando the king of Castilia, to proove that there were such Islands in the West Ocean, as were after by him and others discovered to the great commodity of Spaine and all the world: you will thinke then this Northwest passage to be most worthy travell therein.

For Columbus had none of the West Islands set foorth unto him, either in globe or card, neither yet once mentioned of any writer (Plato excepted, and the commentaries upon the same) from 942 yeeres before Christ, untill that day.

Moreover, Columbus himselfe had neither seene America nor any other of the Islands about it, neither, understood he of them by the report of any other that had seene them, but only comforted himselfe with this hope, that the land had a beginning where the Sea had an ending: for as touching that which the Spaniards doe write of a Biscaine, which should have taught him the way thither, it is thought to be imagined of them, to deprive Columbus of his honour, being none of their countrey man, but a stranger borne.

And if it were true of the Biscaine, yet did he but rove at the matter, or (at the least) gathered the knowledge of it, by conjectures onely.

And albeit my selfe have not seene this passage or any part thereof, but am ignorant of it as touching experience (as Columbus was before his attempt made) yet have I both the report, relation, and authoritie of divers most credible men, which have both seene and passed through some and every part of this discovery, besides sundry reasons for my assurance thereof: all which Columbus wanted.

These things considered, & indifferently weighed togither, with the wonderfull commodities which this discovery may bring, especially to this realme of England: I must needes conclude with learned Baptista Ramusius, and divers other learned men, who said, that this discovery hath bene reserved for some noble prince or woorthie man, thereby to make himselfe rich, and the world happie: desiring you to accept in good part this briefe and simple discourse, written in haste, which if I may perceive that it shall not sufficiently satisfie you in this behalfe, I will then impart unto you a large discourse, which I have written onely of this discovery.

And further, because it sufficeth not only to know that such a thing there is, without abilitie to performe the same, I wil at leasure make you partaker of another simple discourse of navigation, wherein I have not a litle travelled, to make my selfe as sufficient to bring these things to effect, as I have bene readie to offer my selfe therein.

And therein I have devised to amend the errors of usuall sea cards, whose common fault is, to make the degrees of longitude in every latitude of one like bignesse.

And have also devised therein a Spherical instrument, with a compasse of variation for the perfect knowing of the longitude.

And a precise order to pricke the sea card, together with certaine infallible rules for the shortning of any discovery, to know at the first entring of any fret, whether it lie open to the Ocean more wayes then one, how farre soever the sea stretcheth it selfe into the land.

Desiring you hereafter never to mislike with me, for the taking in hande of any laudable and honest enter prise: for if through pleasure or idlenesse we purchase shame, the pleasure vanisheth, but the shame remaineth for ever.

And therefore to give me leave without offence, alwayes to live and die in this mind, That he is not worthy to live at all, that for feare, or danger of death, shunneth his countries service, and his owne honour: seeing death is inevitable, and the fame of vertue immortall. Wherefore in this behalfe, Mutare vel timere sperno.

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1527 AD (3)
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