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An Epistle Dedicatorie to sir Walter Ralegh, prefixed by master Richard Hakluyt before the history of Florida , which he translated out of French 1587

To the right honourable Sir Walter Ralegh Knight, Captaine of her Majesties Gard , Lord Warden of the Stanneries, and her Highnesse Lieutenant generall of the County of Cornewall, R. H. wisheth true felicite.
SIR, after that this historie, which had bene concealed many yeeres, was lately committed to print and published in France under your Name by my learned friend M. Martine Basanier of Paris, I was easily enduced to turne it into English, understanding that the same was no lesse gratefull to you here, then I know it to be acceptable to many great and worthie persons there. And no marvaile though it were very welcome unto you, and that you liked of the translation thereof, since no history hitherto set forth hath more affinitie, resemblance or conformitie with yours of Virginia , then this of Florida . But calling to minde that you had spent more yeeres in France then I, and understand the French better then my selfe, I forthwith perceived that you approoved mine endevour, not for any private ease or commoditie that thereby might redound unto you, but that it argued a singular and especiall care you had of those which are to be employed in your owne like enterprise, whom, by the reading of this my translation, you would have forewarned and admonished aswell to beware of the gross negligence in providing of sufficiency of victuals, the securitie, disorders, and mutinies that fell out among the French, with the great inconveniences that thereupon ensued, that by others mishaps they might learne to prevent and avoyde the like, as also might be put in minde, by the reading of the manifolde commodities and great fertilitie of the places herein at large described and so neere neighbours unto our Colonies, that they might generally bee awaked and stirred up unto the diligent observation of every thing that might turne to the advancement of the action, wherinto they are so cheerefully entred. Many speciall poynts concerning the commodities of these partes, the accidents of the French mens government therein, the causes of their good or bad successe, with the occasions of the abandoning one of their forts, and the surprise of the other by the enemie are herein truely and faithfully recorded: Which because they be quoted by me in the margents, and reduced into a large alphabeticall table, which I have annexed to the ende of the worke, it shall be needlesse to recken up againe. And that the rather, because the same with divers other things of chiefest importance are lively drawne in colours at your no smal charges by the skillfull painter James Morgues, sometime living in the Black-fryers in London (whom Monsieur Chastillion then Admirall of France sent thither with Laudonniere for that purpose) which was an eye-witnesse of the goodnesse and fertility of those regions, and hath put downe in writing many singularities which are not mentioned in this treatise: which since he hath published together with the purtraitures. These foure voyages I knew not to whom I might better offer then to your selfe, and that for divers just considerations. First, for that as I have sayd before, they were dedicated unto you in French: secondly because now foure times also you have attempted the like upon the selfe same coast neere adjoyning: thirdly in that you have persed as farre up into the maine and discovered no lesse secrets in the partes of your aboad, then the French did in the places of their inhabiting lastly considering you are now also ready (upon the late returne of Captaine Stafford and good newes which he brought you of the safe arrival of your last Colony in their wished haven) to prosecute this action more throughly then ever. And here to speake somewhat of this your enterprise, I affirme, that if the same may speedily and effectually be pursued, it will proove farre more beneficiall in divers respects unto this our realme, then the world, yea many of the wiser sort, have hitherto imagined. The particular commodities whereof are wel knowen unto your selfe and some few others, and are faithfully and with great judgement committed to writing, as you are not ignorant, by one of your followers, which remained there about a twelvemonth with your worshipful Lieutenant M. Ralph Lane, in the diligent search of the secrets of those Countreys. Touching the speedy and effectual pursuing of your action, though I wote well it would demaund a princes purse to have it throughly followed without lingring, yet am I of opinion, that you shall drawe the same before it be long to be profitable and gainful aswel to those of our nation there remaining, as to the merchants of England that shall trade hereafter thither, partly by certaine secret commodities already discovered by your servants, & partly by breeding of divers sorts of beasts in those large and ample regions, and planting of such things in that warme climat as wil best prosper there, and our realme standeth most in need of. And this I find to have bin the course that both the Spaniards and Portugals tooke in the beginnings of their discoveries & conquests. For the Spaniards at their first entrance into Hispaniola found neither suger-canes nor ginger growing there, nor any kind of our cattel: But finding the place fit for pasture they sent kine & buls and sundry sorts of other profitable beasts thither, & transported the plants of suger-canes, and set the rootes of ginger: the hides of which oxen, with suger and ginger, are now the chiefe merchandise of that Island. The Portugals also at their first footing in Madera, as John Barros writes in his first Decade, found nothing there but mighty woods for timber, whereupon they called the Island by that name. Howbeit the climate being favourable, they inriched it by their own industry with the best wines and sugers in the world. The like maner of proceeding they used in the Isles of the Acores by sowing therin great quantity of Woad. So dealt they in S. Thomas under the Equinoctial, and in Brasil , and sundry other places. And if our men will follow their steps, by your wise direction I doubt not but in due time they shall reape no lesse commoditie and benefit. Moreover there is none other likelihood but that her Majesty, which hath Christned, and given the name to your Virginia , if need require, will deale after the maner of honorable godmothers, which, seeing their gossips not fully able to bring up their children themselves, are wont to contribute to their honest education, the rather if they find any towardlines or reasonable hope of goodnesse in them. And if Elizabeth Queene of Castile and Aragon , after her husband Ferdinando and she had emptied their cofers and exhausted their treasures in subduing the kingdome of Granada and rooting the Mores, a wicked weed, out of Spayne, was neverthelesse so zealous of Gods honour, that (as Fernandus Columbus the sonne of Christopher Columbus recordeth in the history of the deedes of his father) she layd part of her owne jewels, which she had in great account, to gage, to furnish his father foorth upon his first voyage, before any foot of land of all the West Indies was discovered; what may we expect of our most magnificent and gracious prince ELIZABETH of England , into whose lappe the Lord hath most plentifully throwne his treasures, what may wee, I say, hope of her forwardnesse and bounty in advancing of this your most honourable enterprise, being farre more certaine then that of Columbus , at that time especially, and tending no lesse to the glorie of God then that action of the Spanyardes? For as you may read in the very last wordes of the relation of Newe Mexico extant nowe in English, the maine land, where your last Colonie meane to seate themselves, is replenished with many thousands of Indians, Which are of better wittes then those of Mexico and Peru , as hath bene found by those that have had some triall of them : whereby it may bee gathered that they will easily embrace the Gospell, forsaking their idolatrie, wherein at this present for the most part they are wrapped and intangled. A wise Philosopher noting the sundry desires of divers men, writeth, that if an oxe bee put into a medowe hee will seeke to fill his bellie with grasse, if a Storke bee cast in shee will seeke for Snakes, if you turne in a Hound he will seeke to start an Hare: So sundry men entring into these discoveries propose unto themselves severall endes. Some seeke authoritie and places of commandement, others experience by seeing of the worlde, the most part worldly and transitorie gaine, and that often times by dishonest and unlawfull meanes, the fewest number the glorie of God and the saving of the soules of the poore and blinded infidels. Yet because divers honest and well disposed persons are entred already into this your businesse, and that I know you meane hereafter to sende some such good Churchmen thither, as may truely say with the Apostle to the Savages, Wee seeke not yours but you: I conceive great comfort of the successe of this your action, hoping that the Lorde, whose power is wont to bee perfected in weakenesse, will blesse the feeble foundations of your building. Onely bee you of a valiant courage and faint not, as the Lorde sayd unto Josue, exhorting him to proceede on forward in the conquest of the land of promise, and remember that private men have happily wielded and waded through as great enterprises as this, with lesser meanes then those which God in his mercie hath bountifully bestowed upon you, to the singuler good, as I assure my selfe, of this our Common wealth wherein you live. Hereof we have examples domesticall and forreine. Remember I pray you, what you find in the beginning of the Chronicle of the conquest of Ireland newly dedicated unto your selfe. Read you not that Richard Strangbow the decayed earle of Chepstow in Monmuthshire, being in no great favour of his soveraigne, passed over into that Island in the yere 1171. and accompanied only with certain of his private friends had in short space such prosperous successe, that he opened the way for king Henry the second to the speedy subjection of all that warlike nation to this crowne of England ? The like conquest of Brasilia , and annexing the same to the kingdome of Portugall was first begun by meane and private men, as Don Antonio de Castillio, Ambassadour here for that realme, and by office keeper of all the records and monuments of their discoveries, assured me in this city in the yere 1581. Now if the greatnes of the maine of Virginia , and the large extension therof, especially to the West, should make you thinke that the subduing of it, were a matter of more difficulty then the conquest of Ireland , first I answere, that as the late experience of that skilfull pilote and Captaine M. John Davis to the Northwest (toward which his discovery your selfe have thrise contributed with the forwardest) hath shewed a great part to be maine sea, where before was thought to be maine land, so for my part I am fully perswaded by Ortelius late reformation of Culvacan and the gulfe of California , that the land on the backe part of Virginia extendeth nothing so far westward as is put downe in the Maps of those parts. Moreover it is not to be denied, but that one hundred men will do more now among the naked and unarmed people in Virginia , then one thousand were able then to do in Ireland against that armed and warlike nation in those dales. I say further, that these two yeres last experience hath plainly shewed, that we may spare 10000. able men without any misse. And these are as many as the kingdome of Portugal had ever in all their garrisons of the Acores , Madera, Arguin, Cape verde, Guinea, Brasill, Mozambique , Melinde, Zocotora, Ormus, Diu, Goa, Malaca , the Malucos, and Macao upon the coast of China . Yea this I say by the confession of singuler expert men of their own nation (whose names I suppresse for certaine causes) which have bene personally in the East Indies, & have assured me that their kings had never above ten thousand natural borne Portugals (their slaves excepted) out of their kingdome remaining in all the aforesaid territories. Which also this present yeere I saw confirmed in a secrete extract of the particular estate of that kingdome and of every governement and office subject to the same, with the several pensions thereunto belonging. Seeing therefore we are so farre from want of people, that retyring daily home out of the Lowe Countreys they go idle up and downe in swarms for lack of honest intertainment, I see no fitter place to employ some part of the better sort of them trained up thus long in service, then in the inward partes of the firme of Virginia against such stubborne Savages as shal refuse obedience to her Majestie. And doubtlesse many of our men will bee glad and faine to accept this condition, when as by the reading of this present treatie they shal understand the fertilitie and riches of the regions confining so neere upon yours, the great commodities and goodnesse wherof you have bin contented to suffer to come to light. In the meane season I humbly commend my selfe and this my translation unto you, and your selfe, and all those which under you have taken this enterprise in hand to the grace and good blessing of the Almighty, which is able to build farther, and to finish the good worke which in these our dayes he hath begun by your most Christian and charitable endevour.

From London the 1. of May 1587.Your L. humble at commandement.

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