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raise, he thrust himself again into the action, for which he


was not fit, presuming the cause pretended on God's behalf
would carry him to the desired end. Into which having
thus made re-entry, he could not yield again to withdraw,
though he saw no encouragement to proceed ; lest his credit,
foiled in his first attempt, in a second should utterly be dis-
graced. Between extremities he made a right adventure,
putting all to God and good fortune ; and, which was worst,
refused not to entertain every person and means whatso-
ever, to furnish out this expedition, the success whereof
hath been declared.

But such is the infinite bounty of God, who from every
evil deriveth good. For besides that fruit may grow in
time of our travelling into those north-west lands, the
crosses, turmoils, and afflictions, both in the preparation and
execution of this voyage, did correct the intemperate
humours which before we noted to be in this gentleman,
and made unsavoury and less delightful his other manifold
virtues. Then as he was refined, and made nearer drawing
unto the image of God, so it pleased the Divine will to re-
sume him unto Himself, whither both his and every other
high and noble mind have always aspired.




Sir Walter Raleigh may be taken as the great typical figure
of the age of Elizabeth. Courtier and statesman, soldier and
sailor, scientist and man of letters, he engaged in almost all the
main lines of public activity in his time, and was distinguished
in tli em all.

His father was a Devonshire gentleman of property, connected
with many of the distinguished families of the south of England.
Walter was born about 15s 2 and was educated at Oxford. He
first saw military service in the Huguenot army in France in
1369, and in 1578 engaged, with his half-brother, Sir Humphrey
Gilbert, in the first of his expeditions against the Spaniards.
After some service in Ireland, he attracted the attention of the
Queen, and rapidly rose to the perilous position of her chief
favorite. With her approval, he fitted out two expeditions for
the colonization of Virginia, neither of which did his royal mis-
tress permit him to lead in person, and neither of which suc-
ceeded in establishing a permanent settlement.

After about six years of high favor, Raleigh found his posi-
tion at court endangered by the rivalry of Essex, and in 1592, on
returning from convoying a squadron lie had fitted out against
the Spanish, he was thrown into the Tower by the orders of the
Queen, who had discovered an intrigue between him and one of
her ladies whom he subsequently married. He was ultimately
released, engaged in various naval exploits, and in 1594 sailed for
South America on the voyage described in the following narrative.

On the death of Elizabeth, Raleigh's misfortunes increased.
He was accused of treason against James I. condemned, re-
prieved, and imprisoned for twelve years, during which he wrote
his "History of the World," and engaged in scientific researches.
In 1616 he was liberated, to make another attempt to find the
gold mine in Venezuela ; but the expedition was disastrous, and,
on his return, Raleigh was executed on the old charge in 1618.
In his vices as in his virtues, Raleigh is a thorough representa-
tive of the great adventurers who laid the foundations of the
British Empire.



The Discovery of the large, rich, and beautiful Empire of Guiana;
with a Relation of the great and golden City of Manoa, which
the Spaniards call El Dorado, and the Provinces of Emeria,
Aromaia, Amapaia, and other Countries, with their rivers, adjoin-
ing. Performed in the year 1595 by Sir WALTER RALEIGH,
Knight, Captain of her Majesty's Guard, Lord Warden of the
Stannaries, and her Highness' Lieutenant-general of the
County of Cornwall.

To the Right Honourable my singular good Lord and kinsman
CHARLES HOWARD, Knight of the Garter, Baron, and Coun-
cillor, and of the Admirals of England the most renowned ; and
to the Right Honourable Sir ROBERT CECIL, Knight, Coun-
cillor in her Highness' Privy Councils.

FOR your Honours' many honourable and friendly parts, I
have hitherto only returned promises ; and now, for answer
of both your adventures, I have sent you a bundle of pa-
pers, which I have divided between your Lordship and Sir Robert
Cecil, in these two respects chiefly ; first, for that it is reason that
wasteful factors, when they have consumed such stocks as they
had in trust, do yield some colour for the same in their account ;
secondly, for that I am assured that whatsoever shall be done, or
written, by me, shall need a double protection and defence. The
trial that I had of both your loves, when I was left of all, but of
malice and revenge, makes me still presume that you will be
pleased (knowing what little power I had to perform aught, and
the great advantage of forewarned enemies) to answer that out
of knowledge, which others shall but object out of malice. In
my more happy times as I did especially honour you both, so I
found that your loves sought me out in the darkest shadow of
adversity, and the same affection which accompanied my better
fortune soared not away from me in my many miseries; all
which though I cannot requite, yet I shall ever acknowledge ; and
the great debt which I have no power to pay, I can do no more



for a time but confess to be due. It is true that as my errors
were great, so they have yielded very grievous effects; and if
aught might have been deserved in former times, to have coun-
terpoised any part of offences, the fruit thereof, as it seemeth,
was long before fallen from the tree, and the dead stock only
remained. I did therefore, even in the winter of my life, under-
take these travails, fitter for bodies less blasted with misfortunes,
for men of greater ability, and for minds of better encouragement,
that thereby, if it were possible, I might recover but the modera-
tion of excess, and the least taste of the greatest plenty formerly
possessed. If I had known other way to win, if I had imagined
how greater adventures might have regained, if I could conceive
what farther means I might yet use but even to appease so pow-
erful displeasure, I would not doubt but for one year more to hold
fast my soul in my teeth till it were performed. Of that little
remain I had, I have wasted in effect all herein. I have under-
gone many constructions ; I have been accompanied with many
sorrows, with labour, hunger, heat, sickness, and peril ; it ap-
peareth, notwithstanding, that I made no other bravado of going
to the sea, than was meant, and that I was never hidden in Corn-
wall, or elsewhere, as was supposed. They have grossly belied
me that forejudged that I would rather become a servant to the
Spanish king than return ; and the rest were much mistaken,
who would have persuaded that I was too easeful and sensual
to undertake a journey of so great travail. But if what I have
done receive the gracious construction of a painful pilgrimage,
and purchase the least remission, I shall think all too little, and
that there were wanting to the rest many miseries. But if both
the times past, the present, and what may be in the future, do
all by one grain of gall continue in eternal distaste, I do not
then know whether I should bewail myself, either for my too
much travail and expense, or condemn myself for doing less than
that which can deserve nothing. From myself I have deserved
no thanks, for I am returned a beggar, and withered ; but that
I might have bettered my poor estate, it shall appear from the
following discourse, if I had not only respected her Majesty's
future honour and riches.

It became not the former fortune, in which I once lived, to go
journeys of picory; 1 it had sorted ill with the offices of honour,
1 Fr. picoree (marauding).


which by her Majesty's grace I hold this day in England, to run
from cape to cape and from place to place, for the pillage of
ordinary prizes. Many years since I had knowledge, by relation,
of that mighty, rich, and beautiful empire of Guiana, and of that
great and golden city, which the Spaniards call El Dorado, and
the naturals Manoa, which city was conquered, re-edified, and en-
larged by a younger son of Guayna-capac, Emperor of Peru, at
such time as Francisco Pizarro and others conquered the said
empire from his two elder brethren, Guascar and Atabalipa, both
then contending for the same, the one being favoured by the
orejones of Cuzco, the other by the people of Caxamalca. I
sent my servant Jacob Whiddon, the year before, to get knowl-
edge of the passages, and I had some light from Captain Parker,
sometime my servant, and now attending on your Lordship, that
such a place there was to the southward of the great bay of
Charuas, or Guanipa: but I found that it was 600 miles farther
off than they supposed, and many impediments to them unknown
and unheard. After I had displanted Don Antonio de Berreo,
who was upon the same enterprise, leaving my ships at Trinidad,
at the port called Curiapan, I wandered 400 miles into the said
country by land and river; the particulars I will leave to the
following discourse.

The country hath more quantity of gold, by manifold, than
the best parts of the Indies, or Peru. All the most of the kings
of the borders are already become her Majesty's vassals, and
seem to desire nothing more than her Majesty's protection and
the return of the English nation. It hath another ground and
assurance of riches and glory than the voyages of the West
Indies; an easier way to invade the best parts thereof than by
the common course. The king of Spain is not so impoverished
by taking three or four port towns in America as we suppose;
neither are the riches of Peru or Nueva Espana so left by the
sea side as it can be easily washed away with a great flood, or
spring tide, or left dry upon the sands on a low ebb. The port
towns are few and poor in respect of the rest within the land,
and are of little defence, and are only rich when the fleets are to
receive the treasure for Spain; and we might think the Spaniards
very simple, having so many horses and slaves, if they could
not upon two days' warning carry all the gold they have into the
land, and far enough from the reach of our footmen, especially


the Indies being, as they are for the most part, so mountainous,
full of woods, rivers, and marishes. In the port towns of the
province of Venezuela, as Cumana, Coro, and St. Iago (whereof
Coro and St. Iago were taken by Captain Preston, and Cumana
and St. Josepho by us) we found not the value of one real of plate
in either. But the cities of Barquasimeta, Valencia, St. Sebastian,
Cororo, St. Lucia, Laguna, Maracaiba, and Truxillo, are not so
easily invaded. Neither doth the burning of those on the coast
impoverish the king of Spain any one ducat; and if we sack
the River of Hacha, St. Martha, and Carthagena, which are the
ports of Nuevo Reyno and Popayan, there are besides within the
land, which are indeed rich and prosperous, the towns and cities
of Merida, Lagrita, St. Christophoro, the great cities of Pam-
plona, Santa Fe de Bogota, Tunxa, and Mozo, where the emeralds
are found, the towns and cities of Marequita, Velez, la Villa de
Leiva, Palma, Honda, Angostura, the great city of Timana,
Tocaima, St. Aguila, Pasto, [St.] Iago, the great city of Popayan
itself, Los Remedios, and the rest. If we take the ports and vil-
lages within the bay of Uraba in the kingdom or rivers of Darien
and Caribana, the cities and towns of St. luan de Rodas, of
Cassaris, of Antiochia, Caramanta, Cali, and Anserma have gold
enough to pay the king's part, and are not easily invaded by
way of the ocean. Or if N ombre de Dios and Panama be taken,
in the province of Castilla del Oro, and the villages upon the rivers
of Cenu and Chagre; Peru hath, besides those, and besides the
magnificent cities of Quito and Lima, so many islands, ports,
cities, and mines as if I should name them with the rest it would
seem incredible to the reader. Of all which, because I have
written a particular treatise of the West Indies, I will omit the
repetition at this time, seeing that in the said treatise I have
anatomized the rest of the sea towns as well of Nicaragua, Yu-
catan, Nueva Espana, and the islands, as those of the inland, and
by what means they may be best invaded, as far as any mean
judgment may comprehend.

But I hope it shall appear that there is a way found to answer
every man's longing; a better Indies for her Majesty than the
king of Spain hath any; which if it shall please her Highness
to undertake, I shall most willingly end the rest of my days in
following the same. If it be left to the spoil and sackage of
common persons, if the love and service of so many nation;, be


despised, so great riches and so mighty an empire refused ; I hope
her Majesty will yet take my humble desire and my labour
therein in gracious part, which, if it had not been in respect of
her Highness' future honour and riches, could have laid hands
on and ransomed many of the kings and caciqui of the country,
and have had a reasonable proportion of gold for their redemp-
tion. But I have chosen rather to bear the burden of poverty
than reproach; and rather to endure a second travail, and the
chances thereof, than to have defaced an enterprise of so great
assurance, until I knew whether it pleased God to put a disposi-
tion in her princely and royal heart either to follow or forslow*
the same. I will therefore leave it to His ordinance that hath
only power in all things; and do humbly pray that your honours
will excuse such errors as, without the defence of art, overrun
in every part the following discourse, in which I have neither
studied phrase, form, nor fashion; that you will be pleased to
esteem me as your own, though over dearly bought, and I shall
ever remain ready to do you all honour and service.

* Neglect, decline (lose through sloth).


BECAUSE there have been divers opinions conceived of the
gold ore brought from Guiana, and for that an alderman
of London and an officer of her Majesty's mint hath given
out that the same is of no price, I have thought good by the addi-
tion of these lines to give answer as well to the said malicious
slander as to other objections. It is true that while we abode
at the island of Trinidad I was informed by an Indian that not
far from the port where we anchored there were found certain
mineral stones which they esteemed to be gold, and were there-
unto persuaded the rather for that they had seen both English
and Frenchmen gather and embark some quantities thereof.
Upon this likelihood I sent forty men, and gave order that
each one should bring a stone of that mine, to make trial of
the goodness; which being performed, I assured them at their
return that the same was marcasite, and of no riches or value.
Notwithstanding, divers, trusting more to their own sense
than to my opinion, kept of the said marcasite, and have tried
thereof since my return, in divers places. In Guiana itself
I never saw marcasite; but all the rocks, mountains, all stones
in the plains, woods, and by the rivers' sides, are in effect
thorough-shining, and appear marvellous rich ; which, being
tried to be no marcasite, are the true signs of rich minerals, but
are no other than El madre del oro, as the Spaniards term them,
which is the mother of gold, or, as it is said by others, the scum
of gold. Of divers sorts of these many of my company brought
also into England, every one taking the fairest for the best, which
is not general. For mine own part, I did not countermand any
man's desire or opinion, and I could have afforded them little if
I should have denied them the pleasing of their own fancies
therein ; but I was resolved that gold must be found either in
grains, separate from the stone, as it is in most of the rivers in
Guiana, or else in a kind of hard stone, which we call the



white spar, of which I saw divers hills, and in sundry places,
but had neither time nor men, nor instruments fit for labour.
Near unto one of the rivers I found of the said white spar or
flint a very great ledge or bank, which I endeavoured to break
by all the means I could, because there appeared on the outside
some small grains of gold ; but finding no mean to work the
same upon the upper part, seeking the sides and circuit of the
said rock, I found a clift in the same, from whence with daggers,
and with the head of an axe, we got out some small quantity
thereof; of which kind of white stone, wherein gold is engen-
dered, we saw divers hills and rocks in every part of Guiana
wherein we travelled. Of this there have been made many trials;
and in London it was first assayed by Master Westwood, a refiner
dwelling in Wood Street, and it held after the rate of twelve or
thirteen thousand pounds a ton. Another sort was afterward
tried by Master Bulmar, and Master Dimock, assay-master; and
it held after the rate of three and twenty thousand pounds a ton.
There was some of it again tried by Master Palmer, Comptroller
of the Mint, and Master Dimock in Goldsmith's Hall, and it held
after six and twenty thousand and nine hundred pounds a ton.
There was also at the same time, and by the same persons, a
trial made of the dust of the said mine; which held eight pounds
and six ounces weight of gold in the hundred. There was like-
wise at the same time a trial of an image of copper made in
Guiana, which held a third part of gold, besides divers trials
made in the country, and by others in London. But because there
came ill with the good, and belike the said alderman was not pre-
sented with the best, it hath pleased him therefore to scandal all
the rest, and to deface the enterprise as much as in him lieth.
It hath also been concluded by divers that if there had been
any such ore in Guiana, and the same discovered, that I would
have brought home a greater quantity thereof. First, I was
not bound to satisfy any man of the quantity, but only such as
adventured, if any store had been returned thereof; but it is
very true that had all their mountains been of massy gold it was
impossible for us to have made any longer stay to have wrought
the same; and whosoever hath seen with what strength of stone
the best gold ore is environed, he will not think it easy to be
had out in heaps, and especially by us, who had neither men, in-
struments, nor time, as it is said before, to perform the same.


There were on this discovery no less than an hundred persons,
who can all witness that when we passed any branch of the river
to view the land within, and stayed from our boats but six
hours, we were driven to wade to the eyes at our return; and
if we attempted the same the day following, it was impossible
either to ford it, or to swim it, both by reason of the swiftness,
and also for that the borders were so pestered with fast woods,
as neither boat nor man could find place either to land or to
embark; for in June, July, August, and September it is im-
possible to navigate any of those rivers; for such is the fury
of the current, and there are so many trees and woods overflown,
as if any boat but touch upon any tree or stake it is impossible
to save any one person therein. And ere we departed the land it
ran with such swiftness as we drave down, most commonly
against the wind, little less than an hundred miles a day. Besides,
our vessels were no other than wherries, one little barge, a small
cock-boat, and a bad galiota which we framed in haste for that
purpose at Trinidad; and those little boats had nine or ten men
apiece, with all their victuals and arms. It is further true that
we were about four hundred miles from our ships, and had
been a month from them, which also we left weakly manned
in an open road, and had promised our return in fifteen days.

Others have devised that the same ore was had from Barbary,
and that we carried it with us into Guiana. Surely the singularity
of that device I do not well comprehend. For mine own part, I
am not so much in love with these long voyages as to devise
thereby to cozen myself, to lie hard, to fare worse, to be sub-
jected to perils, to diseases, to ill savours, to be parched and
withered, and withal to sustain the care and labour of such an
enterprise, except the same had more comfort than the fetching
of marcasite in Guiana, or buying of gold ore in Barbary. But
I hope the better sort will judge me by themselves, and that the
way of deceit is not the way of honour or good opinion. I have
herein consumed much time, and many crowns; and I had no
other respect or desire than to serve her Majesty and my country
thereby. If the Spanish nation had been of like belief to these
detractors wc should little have feared or doubted their attempts,
wherewith we now are daily threatened. But if we now consider
of the actions both of Charles the Fifth, who had the maidenhead
of Peru and the abundant treasures of Atabalipa, together with


the affairs of the Spanish king now living, what territories he
hath purchased, what he hath added to the acts of his predeces-
sors, how many kingdoms he hath endangered, how many armies,
garrisons, and navies he hath, and doth maintain, the great losses
which he hath repaired, as in Eighty-eight above an hundred sail
of great ships with their artillery, and that no year is less in-
fortunate, but that many vessels, treasures, and people are de-
voured, and yet notwithstanding he beginneth again like a storm
to threaten shipwrack to us all ; we shall find that these abilities
rise not from the trades of sacks and Seville oranges, nor from
aught else that either Spain, Portugal, or any of his other prov-
inces produce; it is his Indian gold that endangereth and dis-
turbeth all the nations of Europe; it purchaseth intelligence,
creepeth into counsels, and setteth bound loyalty at liberty in the
greatest monarchies of Europe. If the Spanish king can keep
us from foreign enterprises, and from the impeachment of his
trades, either by offer of invasion, or by besieging us in Britain,
Ireland, or elsewhere, he hath then brought the work of our peril
in great forwardness.

Those princes that abound in treasure have great advantages
over the rest, if they once constrain them to a defensive war,
where they are driven once a year or oftener to cast lots for
their own garments; and from all such shall all trades and inter-
course be taken away, to the general loss and impoverishment
of the kingdom and commonweal so reduced. Besides, when
our men are constrained to fight, it hath not the like hope as
when they are pressed and encouraged by thj desire of spoil and
riches. Farther, it is to be doubte * how those that in time of
victory seem to affect their neightour nations will remain after
the first view of misfortunes or ill success ; to trust, also, to the
doubtfulness of a battle is but ? fearful and uncertain adventure,
seeing therein fortune is as likely to prevail as virtue. It shall
not be necessary to allege all that might be said, and therefore I
will thus conclude; that whatsoever kingdom shall be enforced
to defend itself may be compared to a body dangerously diseased,
which for a season may be preserved with vulgar medicines, but
in a short time, and by little and little, the same must needs fall
to the ground and be dissolved. I have therefore laboured all
my life, both according to my small power and persuasion, to
advance all those attempts that might either promise return


of profit to ourselves, or at least be a let and impeachment to the
quiet course and plentiful trades of the Spanish nation ; who,
in my weak judgement, by such a war were as easily endangered
and brought from his powerfulness as any prince in Europe, if it
be considered from how many kingdoms and nations his revenues
are gathered, and those so weak in their own beings and so far
severed from mutual succour. But because such a preparation
and resolution is not to be hoped for in haste, and that the time
which our enemies embrace cannot be had again to advantage, I
will hope that these provinces, and that empire now by me dis-
covered, shall suffice to enable her Majesty and the whole king-
dom with no less quantities of treasure than the king of Spain
hath in all the Indies, East and West, which he possesseth ; which

Online LibraryHerodotusVoyages and travels; ancient and modern → online text (page 28 of 35)