Imágenes de páginas

and maruellouslie admired, I began to sounde the olde man as touching Guina, ... He told me farther that fower daies iourney from his towne was Macureguarai, and that those were the next, & nearest of his subiectes of Inga, and of the Epuremei, and the first towne of apparrelled and rich people, and that all those plates of Golde which were scattered among the borderers and caried to other nations farre and neere, came from the saide Marcureguarai and were there made, but that those of the lande within were farre finer, and were fashioned after the Image of men, bestes, birdes, and fishes.

As yet our desire of gold, or our purpose of inuasion is not knowen vnto those of the empire: and it is likely that if her Maiesty vndertake the enterprize, they will rather submit themselues to her obedience then to Spaniards, of whose cruelty both themselues and the borderers haue already tasted; and therefore till I had knowen her Maiesties pleasure, I would rather haue lost the sacke of one or two townes (although they might haue beene uery profitable) then to haue defaced or indangered the future hope of so many millions, and the great good, & rich trade which England may bee possessed off · thereby. ...

W. Ralegh, The Discoverie of the Large, Rich, and Beautiful Empire of Guiana (London, 1596), 1-90 passim.

8. First Suggestion of Transconti

nental Trade (1602)


One of Sir Humphrey Gilbert's colonizing party to Newfoundland.

Of a conuenient passage and trade into the
South Sea, under temperate regions part by
riuers, and some part ouer land, in

the continent of America.




adde hereunto assured hope (grounded vpon infallible reasons) of a way to be made part ouerland, & part by riuers or lakes, into the South seas vnto Cathay, China, and those passing rich countreys, lying in the East parts of the world: which way or passage (supposed to be beyond the vttermost bounds of America, vnder the frozen Zone) is neuerthelesse, held by the opinion of many learned writers and men of iudgement now liuing, to be in these more temperate rigions; and that the same shall neuer be made knowen, vnlesse we plante firste; whereby we shall learne as much by inquisition of the naturall inhabitants, as by our owne nauigations.

I will not herein relie vpon reports made in the French mens discoueries; that the sea which giueth passage ynto Cathay, extendeth

from the North, neere vnto the riuer of Canada, into 44 degrees, where the same of the Saluages is called Tadouac.

Neither vpon the discoueries of laques Noel, who hauing passed beyond the three Saults, where Iaques Cartier left to discouer, finding the riuer of S. Laurence passable on the other side or branch; and afterwards, vnderstood of the inhabitants, that the same riuer did lead into a mighty lake, which at the entrance was fresh, but beyond, was bitter or salt; the end whereof was vnknowen.

Omitting therefore these hopes, I will ground my opinion vpon reason and nature, which will not faile.

For this we know alreadie, that great riuers haue beene discouered a thousand English miles into that continent of America ; namely, that of S. Laurence or Canada. But not regarding miles more or lesse, most assuredly, that and other knowen riuers there doe descend from the highest parts or mountaines, or middle of that continent, into our North sea. And like as those mountains doe cast from them, streames into our North seas; euen so the like they do into the South sea, which is on the backe of that continent.

For all mountaines haue their descents toward the seas about there which are the lowest places and proper mansions of water: and waters


į (which are contained in the mountaines, as it

were in cisternes) descending naturally, doe alwaies resort vnto the seas inuironing those lands: for example; From the Alps confining Germanie, France, and Italie, the mighty riuer Danubie doth take his course East, and dischargeth into the Pontique sea : the Rhine, North, and falleth into the Germane sea; the Rhosne, West, and goeth into the Mediterranean: the Po, South is emptied into the Adriatick or gulfe of Venice. other instances may be produced to like effect in Africk; yea, at home amongst the mountaines in England.

Seeing then in nature this can not be denied, and by experience elsewhere is found to be so, I will shew how a trade may be disposed more commodiously into the South sea thorow these temperate and habitable regions, than by the frozen Zones in the supposed passages of Northwest or Northeast: where, if the very moment be omitted of the time to passe, then are we like to be frozen in the seas, or forced to Winter in extreame cold and darkenesse like ynto hell: or in the midst of Summer, we shalbe in perill to haue our ships ouerwhelmed or crusht in pieces by hideous and fearefull mountaines of yce floting vpon those seas.

Therefore foure Staple-places must be erected, when the most short and passable way is found: that is to say, two vpon the North side, at the

head and fall of the riuer; and two others on the South side, at the head and fall also of that other riuer.

Prouided, that ships may passe vp those riuers vnto the Staples, so farre as the same be nauigable into the land; and afterwards, that boats with flat bottomes may also passe so high, and neere the heads of the riuers vnto the Staples, as possibly they can, euen with lesse than two foot water, which can not then be far from the heads; as in the riuer of Chagre.

That necke or space of land betweene the two heads of the said riuers, if it be 100 leagues (which is not like) the commodities from the North and from the South sea brought thither, may wel be carried ouer the same vpon horses, mules or beasts of that countrey apt to labour (as the elke or buffel) or by the aid of many Saluages accustomed to burdens; who shall stead vs greatly in these affaires.

It is moreouer to be considered, that all these countreys do yeeld (so farre as is knowen) Cedars, Pines, Firre trees and Oaks, to build, mast, and yeard ships; wherefore we may not doubt, but that ships maye be builded on the South sea.

Then as ships on the South side may goe and returne to and from Cathay, China, and other most rich regions of the East world in fiue moneths or thereabouts; euen so the goods being

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