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A letter written to M. Richard Staper by John Whithal from Santos in Brasil , the 26. of June 1578.

WORSHIPFULL sir, and welbeloved friend M. Staper, I have me most heartily commended unto you, wishing your health even as mine owne.

These few words may bee to let you understand, that whereas I wrote unto you not many dayes past by the way of Lisbon , howe that I determined to bee with you very shortly, it is in this countrey offered mee to marry, and to take my choice of three or foure : so that I am about three dayes agoe consorted with an Italian gentleman to marry with his daughter within these foure dayes. This my friend and father in law Signor Ioffo Dore is borne in the citie of Genua in Italy : his kindred is well knowen amongst the Italians in London : also hee hath but onely this childe which is his daughter, which hee hath thought better bestowed upon mee then on any Portugal in all the countrey, and doeth give with her in marriage to me part of an Ingenio which he hath, that doeth make every yeere a thousand roves of sugar. This my mariage will be worth to me two thousand duckets, little more or lesse. Also Signor Ioffo Dore my father in law doeth intende to put into my handes the whole Ingenio with sixtie or seventie slaves, and thereof to make me factor for us both. I give my living Lord thankes for placing me in such honour and plentifulnesse of all things.

Also certaine dayes past I talked with the Provedor and the Captaine, and they have certified me, that they have discovered certaine Mines of silver and gold, and looke every day for Masters to come to open the said Mines: which when they be opened will inrich this countrey very much. This place is called S. Vincent, and is distant from you two thousand leagues, and in 24. degrees of latitude on the South side of the Equinoctial line, & almost under the Tropike of Capricorne. A countrey it is very healthfull without sicknesse.

Moreover, I have talked with the Captaine and Provedor, and my father in law, who rule all this countrey, for to have a ship with goods to come from London hither, which have promised mee to give mee licence, saying that nowe I am free denizen of this countrey. To cause a ship to come hither with such commodities as would serve this countrey, would come to great gaines, God sending in safety the profite and gaines. In such wares and commodities as you may ship hither from London is for every one commoditie delivered here three for one, and then after the proceed may be imployed in white sugar at foure hundred reis the rove.

I meane also to have a friend in London to sende mee a ship of 60. or 70. tunnes, little more or lesse, with such commodities as I shall give advise for. This voyage is as good as any Peru-voyage. If you and Master Osborne will deale here, I will deale with you before any other, because of our old friendly friendship in time past. If you have any stomacke thereto, in the Name of God do you espie out a fine barke of seventie or eightie tunnes, and send her hither with a Portugal Pilot to this port of S. Vincent in Brasil , bordering upon the borders of Peru .

Also I herewith write unto you in what forme and maner you shall furnish this voyage both in commodities and otherwise.

First you must lade in the said ship certaine Hampshire and Devonshire karsies: for the which you must let her depart from London in October, and to touch in the Canaries, and there to make sale of the saide karsies, and with the proceed thereof to lade fifteene tunnes of wines that be perfect and good, and sixe dozen of Cordovan skinnes of these colours, to wit, orenge, tawnie, yellow, red, and very fine black. I thinke you shall not finde such colours there. Therefore you must cause them that shall go upon this voyage, to take saffron with them, to cause the same skinnes to bee put into the saide colours. Also I thinke you shall finde oyles there. Three hogsheads of sweete oyle for this voyage are very necessary, or a hundred & fiftie jarres of oyle. Also in London you may lade in the said ship these parcels of commodities or wares, as followeth:

  • In primis, Foure peeces of hollands of middle sort.
  • Item, One peece of fine holland.
  • Foure hundred elles of osenbriges very fine.
  • Foure dozen of sizzors of all sorts.
  • Sixteene kintals of pitch of the Canaries.
  • Twentie dozen of great knives which be made in fardles, of a low price.
  • Foure dozen of a small sort.
  • Sixe peeces of bayes of the lowest sort.
  • One very fine peece of bayes.
  • Foure hundred elles of Manchester-cottons, most blacke, greene, some yellow.
  • Eight or tenne dozen of hats, the one halfe trimmed with taffata, the other plaine, with the bands of Cypresse.
  • Sixe dozen of course shirts.
  • Three dozen of doublets of canvas.
  • Three dozen of doublets of stitched canvas.
  • One peece of fine Millan-fustian barred.
  • Sixe dozen of locks for doores and chests.
  • Sixe thousand of all maner of fish hooks.
  • Foure dozen reames of paper.
  • Two dozen of glasses of divers sorts.
  • Two dozen of Venice glasses, the one halfe great, the other middle sort.
  • Two dozen of mantles of frize, of the lowest price that can be.
  • Three dozen of frize gownes.
  • Foure hundred pound of tinne of the use of Portugall, most smal dishes and trenchers.
  • Foure pound of silke of all colours.
  • Twentie pound of spices, cloves, cinamom, pepper, and saffron.
  • Two kintals of white sope.
  • Three pound of threed, white, blacke, and blew.
  • Three pound of fine white threed.
  • Item, halfe a dozen of Northerne karsies of divers colours.
  • Foure sorting clothes, blew, red, yellow, and green.
  • Sixe Northerne dozens of divers colours.
  • One fine blew cloth of eight pound.
  • One fine stamell of tenne or twelve pound.
  • One fine sheeps coloured cloth of twelve pound.
  • One fine blacke karsie. } { One fine stamell karsie.
  • Sixe yards of blacke velvet.
  • Three barrels of nailes for chests.
  • Two barrels of nailes for ships and barks.
  • Sixe kintals of Occom.
  • Two dozen of velvet girdles without hangers.
  • Foure yards of taffata red, blacke, and blew, with some greene.
  • Two dozen of leather girdles.
  • Sixe dozen of axes, hatchets, and small billes to cut wood.
  • Foure mases of gitterne strings.
  • Foure hundred or five hundred elles of some linnen cloth that is of a low price to make shirts and sheets.
  • Foure tunne of yron.

These be such sort of wares as I would you should send. If you meane to deale, or send any ship hither, have you no doubt, but by the helpe of God I shall put all things in good order according to your contentment and profit: for my father in lawe with the Captaine and Provedor doe rule this countrey.

My father in law & I shal (God willing) make a good quantitie of sugar every yeere, which sugar we intend to ship for London from henceforth, if we can get such a trustie & good friend as you to deale with us in this matter. I pray you presently after the receit of this my letter to write mee answere thereof, & send your letter to M. Holder to Lisbone, & he wil convey it to me out of hand.

  • Besides the premisses send sixe yards of skarlet, parchment lace of divers colours.
  • Sixe yards of crimosin velvet.
  • Sixe yards of crimosin satten.
  • Twelve yards of fine puke blacke.

Here in this countrey in stead of John Whithall they have called me John Leitoan: so that they have used this name so long time, that at this present there is no remedie but it must remaine so. When you write unto me, let the superscription be unto John Leitoan.

Thus I commit you with all yours to the holy Ghost for ever.

If you send this ship, I would have you give order that she touch in no part of the coast of Guinie nor any other coast, but to come directly hither to the port of S. Vincent, and from the Canaries let her be dispatched in my name, to wit, John Leitoan.

  • Also a dozen of shirts for my wearing let be sent, if you send the ship.
  • Item, sixe or eight pieces of sayes for mantles for women, which is the most necessary thing that can be sent.

By your assured friend
John Whithall.

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June, 1578 AD (2)
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