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A letter of M. John Lok to the worshipfull company of Marchants adventurers for Guinie, written 1561, shewing reasons for his not proceeding in a voyage then intended to the foresayd countrey.

since the arrivall of M. Pet and Buttoll Monjoy (as I understand) for the voyage it is concluded that the Minion shall proceed on her voyage, if within 20 dayes she may be repaired of those hurts she hath received by the last storme: or in the moneth of January also, if the wind wil serve therfore. Wherefore for that your worships shall not be ignorant of my determined purpose in the same, with the reasons that have perswaded me thereunto; I have thought good to advertise you thereof, trusting that your worships will weigh them, as I uprightly and plainly meane them. And not for any feare or discouragement that I have of my selfe by the raging of the stormes of the sea, for that (I thanke the Lord) these have not beene the first that I have abiden, neither trust I they shalbe the last. First the state of the ship, in which, though I thinke not but M. Pet can do more for her strengthening then I can conceive, yet for all that, it will neither mend her conditions, nor yet make her so stanch that any cabin in her shalbe stanch for men to lie drie in: the which sore, what a weakening it will be to the poore men after their labour, that they neither can have a shift of apparell drie, nor yet a drie place to rest in, I referre to your discretion. For though that at Harwich she was both bound and caulked as much as might be, both within and without, yet for all that she left not, afore this flaw, in other weathers, being stressed, to open those seames, and become in the state she was before; I meane, in wetting her men: notwithstanding her new worke. And my judgement, with that little experience I have had, leadeth me to thinke that the ship whose water works and footings be spent and rotten cannot be but leake for men. Next, the unseasonable time of the yere which is now present. And how onely by meanes of the unseasonable times in the returne from the voyage home, many thereby have decayed, to the great misery and calamity of the rest, and also to the great slander of the voyage (which I much respect) the last and other voyages have declared. And what it is to make the voyage in unseasonable time, that hath the second voyage also declared. Wherefore weying and foreseeing this (as I may wel terme it) calamity and unevitable danger of men, and that by men she must be brought home againe (except that God will shew an extraordinary miracle) I purpose not nor dare I venture with a safe conscience to tempt God herein. Againe, forsomuch as she is alone, and hath so little helpe of boat or pinnesse in her trade, & also for her watering, where a long time of force must be spent, my going, to the accomplishment of your expectations, will be to small effect for this time, because I shall want both vessell and men to accomplish it. And I would not gladly so spend my time and travell, to my great charges and paine, and after, for not falling out accordingly, to lose both pot and water, as the proverbe is. As for the Primrose, if she be there, her trade will be ended or ever we come there, so that she of force, by want of provision, must returne : yea, though we should carry with us a supply for her, yet is the meeting of her doubtfull, and though we met her, yet will the men not tarry, as no reason is they should: howbeit my opinion of her is that she is put into Ireland . The Flowerdeluce was in Mil ford. Thus for that your worships might understand the whole cause why I doe not proceed, I have troubled you at this time with this my long Letter. And, as God is my Judge, not for feare of the Portugals, which there we shall meet (and yet alone without ayde) as here is a shippe which was in Lisbon , whose men say that there are in a readinesse (onely to meet us) foure great ships, of the which one is accounted 700 tunnes, & other pinnesses: yet not for feare of them, nor raging of the seas (whose rage God is above to rule) but onely for the premisses: the sequell whereof must by reason turne to a great misery to the men: the which I for my part (though it might turne me to as much gaine as the whole commeth to) yet would I not be so tormented, as the sight thereof would be a corsive to my heart, and the more, because foreseeing the same, I should be so leud, as yeelding, to have runne into the danger thereof, and therefore I have absolutely determined with my selfe not to goe this voyage. Howbeit if in a seasonable time of the yeere I had but one ship sufficient, though much lesse by the halfe, I would not refuse (as triall being made thereof should appeare) or if I had ability of my selfe to venture so much, it should well be seene. And this I speake to give you to understand that I refuse not this for feare: If you purpose to proceed heerein, send some one whom you please; to whom I will not onely deliver the articles which I have received, but also will give some particular notes which I have noted in the affaires which you have committed unto mee, with the best helpe and counsell I can. Thus the living God keepe your worships all. Bristoll this 11 of December 1561.

Your worships to comand to his power John Lok.

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