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To prove by authoritie a passage to be on the Northside of America, to goe to Cathaia, and the East India.WHEN I gave my selfe to the studie of Geographic, after I had perused and diligently scanned the descriptions of Europe, Asia & Afrike, and conferred them with the Mappes and Globes both Antique and Moderne: I came in fine to the fourth part of the world, commonly called America , which by all descriptions I found to bee an Iland environed round about with Sea, having on the Southside of it the frete or straight of Magellan, on the West side Mar del Sur, which Sea runneth towards the North, separating it from the East parts of Asia, where the Dominions of the Cathaians are: On the East part our West Ocean, and on the North side the sea that severeth it from Groneland, thorow which Northren Seas the Passage lyeth, which I take now in hand to discover. Plato in Timaeo, and in the Dialogue called Critias, discourseth of an incomparable great Iland then called Atlantis, being greater then all Affrike and Asia, which lay Westward from the Straights of Gibraltar, navigable round about: affirming also that the Princes of Atlantis did aswell enjoy the governance of all Affrike, and the most part of Europe, as of Atlantis it selfe. Also to prove Platos opinion of this Iland, and the inhabiting of it in ancient time by them of Europe, to be of the more credite; Marinaeus Siculus in his Chronicle of Spaine, reporteth that there have bene found by the Spaniards in the gold Mines of America, certaine pieces of Money ingraved with the Image of Augustus Caesar: which pieces were sent to the Pope for a testimonie of the matter, by John Rufus Archbishop of Consentinum. Moreover, this was not only thought of Plato, but by Marsilius Ficinus, and excellent Florentine Philosopher, Crantor the Graecian, and Proclus, and Philo the famous Jew (as appeareth in his booke De Mundo, and in the Commentaries upon Plato) to be overflowen and swallowed up with water, by reason of a mightie earthquake, and streaming downe of the heavenly Fludgates. The like whereof happened unto some part of Italy , when by the forciblenes of the Sea, called Superum, it cut off Sicilia from the Continent of Calabria, as appeareth in Justine, in the beginning of his fourth booke. Also there chanced the like in Zetland a part of Flanders. And also the Cities of Pyrrha and Antissa, about Meotis palus: and also the Citie Burys, in the Corynthian bosome, commonly called Sinus Corinthiacus, have bene swallowed up with the Sea, and are not at this day to be discerned: By which accident America grew to be unknowen of long time, unto us of the later ages, and was lately discovered againe, by Americus Vespucius, in the yeere of our Lord 1497. which some say to have bene first discovered by Christophorus Columbus a Genuois, Anno 1492. The same calamitie happened unto this Isle of Atlantis 600. and odde yeres before Plato his time, which some of the people of the Southeast parts of the world accompted as 9000. yeeres: for the maner then was to reckon the Moone her Period of the Zodiak for a yeere, which is our usual moneth, depending a Luminari minori. So that in these our dayes there can no other mayne or Islande be found or judged to bee parcell of this Atlantis, then those Westerne Islands, which beare now the name of America : countervailing thereby the name of Atlantis, in the knowledge of our age. Then, if when no part of the sayd Atlantis was oppressed by water, and earthquake, the coasts round about the same were navigable: a farre greater hope now remaineth of the same by the Northwest, seeing the most part of it was (since that time) swallowed up with water, which could not utterly take away the olde deeps and chanels, but rather, be an occasion of the inlarging of the olde, and also an inforcing of a great many new: why then should we now doubt of our Northwest passage and navigation from England to India? &c. seeing that Atlantis now called America , was ever knowen to be an Island, and in those dayes navigable round about, which by accesse of more water could not be diminished. Also Aristotle in his booke De Mundo, and the learned Germaine Simon Gryneus in his annotations upon the same, saith that the whole earth (meaning thereby, as manifestly doth appeare, Asia, Africk, and Europe, being all the countreys then knowen) is but one Island, compassed about with the reach of the sea Atlantine: which likewise prooveth America to be an Island, and in no part adjoyning to Asia, or the rest. Also many ancient writers, as Strabo and others, called both the Ocean sea, (which lieth East of India) Atlanticum pelagus, and that sea also on the West coasts of Spaine and Africk, Mare Atlanticum: the distance betweene the two coasts is almost halfe the compasse of the earth. So that it is incredible, as by Plato appeareth manifestly, that the East Indian Sea had the name Atlanticum pelagus of the mountaine Atlas in Afrik, or yet the sea adjoining to Africk, had the name Oceanus Atlanticus of the same mountaine: but that those seas and the mountaine Atlas were so called of this great Island Atlantis, and that the one and the other had their names for a memorial of the mighty prince Atlas, sometime king thereof, who was Japhet yongest sonne to Noah, in whose time the whole earth was divided between the three brethren, Sem, Cam, and Japhet. Wherefore I am of opinion that America by the Northwest will be found favourable to this our enterprise, and am the rather imboldened to beleeve the same, for that I finde it not onely confirmed by Plato, Aristotle, and other ancient Phylosophers: but also by all the best moderne Geographers, as Gemma Frisius, Munsterus, Appianus, Hunterus, Gastaldus, Guyccardinus, Michael Tramasinus, Franciscus Demongenitus, Bernardus Puteanus, Andreas Vavasor, Tramontanus, Petrus Martyr, and also Ortelius, who doth coast out in his generall Mappe set out Anno 1569, all the countreys and Capes, on the Northwest side of America , from Hochelaga to Cape de Paramantia: describing likewise the sea coastes of Cataia and Gronland , towards any part of America , making both Gronland and America , Islands disjoyned by a great sea, from any part of Asia. All which learned men and painefull travellers have affirmed with one consent and voice, that America was an Island: and that there lyeth a great Sea betweene it, Cataia, and Grondland, by the which any man of our countrey, that will give the attempt, may with small danger passe to Cataia, the Moluccae, India, and all other places in the East, in much shorter time, then either the Spaniard, or Portugal doeth, or may doe, from the neerest parte of any of their countreys within Europe. What moved these learned men to affirme thus much, I know not, or to what ende so many and sundry travellers of both ages have allowed the same: But I conjecture that they would never have so constantly affirmed, or notified their opinions therein to the world, if they had not had great good cause, and many probable reasons, to have lead them thereunto. Now least you should make small accompt of ancient writers or of their experiences which travelled long before our times, reckoning their authority amongst fables of no importance: I have for the better assurance of those proofes, set downe some part of a discourse, written in the Saxon tongue, and translated into English by M. Nowel servant to Sir William Cecil, lord Burleigh, and lord high treasurer of England, wherein there is described a Navigation, which one Ochther made, in the time of king Alfred, king of Westsaxe Anno 871. the words of which discourse were these: Hee sailed right North, having alwaies the desert land on the Starborde, and on the Larbord the maine sea, continuing his course, untill hee perceived that the coast bowed directly towards the East, or else the Sea opened into the land he could not tell how farre, where he was compelled to stay until he had a westerne winde, or somewhat upon the North, and sayled thence directly East alongst the coast, so farre as hee was able in foure dayes, where he was againe inforced to tary untill hee had a North winde, because the coast there bowed directly towards the South, or at least opened he knew not howe farre into the land, so that he sayled thence along the coast continually full South, so farre as he could travell in the space of five dayes, where hee discovered a mighty river, which opened farre into the land, and in the entrie of this river he turned backe againe. Whereby it appeareth that he went the very same way, that we now doe yerely trade by S. Nicholas into Moscovia, which way no man in our age knew for certaintie to be by sea, until it was since discovered by our English men, in the time of King Edward the sixt; but thought before that time that Groneland had joyned to Normoria, Byarmia, &c. and therefore was accompted a new discovery, being nothing so indeede, as by this discourse of Ochther it appeareth. Neverthelesse if any man should have taken this voyage in hand by the encouragement of this onely author, he should have bene thought but simple: considering that this Navigation was written so many yeres past, in so barbarous a tongue by one onely obscure author, and yet we in these our dayes finde by our owne experiences his former reports to be true. How much more then ought we to beleeve this passage to Cataia to bee, being verified by the opinions of all the best, both Antique, and Moderne Geographers, and plainely set out in the best and most allowed Mappes, Charts, Globes, Cosmographical tables & discourses of this our age, and by the rest not denied, but left as a matter doubtfull.
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