America and West Indies: 1580

Pages 1-2

Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 1, 1574-1660. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1860.

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[1580.] 2. Fragment of report of certain persons who "travelled the aforesaid countries" [of America]. Account of the people, their disposition, "courteously given;" dress, the women wearing great plates of gold, covering their whole bodies like armour; habits and customs; mode of warfare; religion, their god, a devil which speaks to them sometimes in likeness of a calf. Order of choosing their kings, and ceremonies observed towards them. One Capt. Champion, of Newhaven in France, had given to him 100 pieces of silver for one of their ancients or war flags. Description of the soil, most excellent, especially towards the north of the river May, and produce of the country. Of animals and birds, and the manner of killing "great beasts as big as two of our oxen" [probably buffaloes]. Of their treasures, in every cottage pearl to be found, and in some houses a peck. About the bar of "St. Maries" to be seen fire dragons, "which make the air very red as they fly." The streets broader than London streets. Banquetting houses built of crystal, with pillars of massive silver, some of gold. Pieces of clean gold as big as a man's fist in the heads of some of the rivers. Plenty of iron. Great abundance of silkworms. A mountain called Banchoonan, to the northwards of the sea coast, about 30 leagues from the bay of St. Maries, very rich with mines. This report is contained in the examination of David Ingram, who adds that he embarked for England at the river called Bauda. Then follows the report of Vererzamis, Jacques Cartier, John Barros, Andrew Thevett, and John Walker; with the last three "Sir Humphrey Gylbert did confer in person." In 1579, Simon Ferdinando, Sec. Walsingham's man, went and came from "the said coast" within three months, in "the little frigate," without any other consort. In 1580, John Walker and his company discovered a silver mine within the river of Norumbega. Here the paper abruptly ends. [In 1578, Queen Elizabeth granted letters patent to Sir Hump. Gylbert to discover and take possession of all remote and barbarous lands unoccupied by any Christian prince or people (Hakluyt, I.; 677–9). By reference to DOMESTIC Corresp. Eliz., Vol. CXL VI., No. 40, Cal. p. 695, it will be seen that articles of petition were subsequently presented by Sir Thos. Gerrard and Sir Geo. Peckham to Sec. Walsingham. The petitioners set forth that Gylbert has assigned to them his patent for the discovery and possession, &c., of certain heathen lands, &c., and they pray that all such persons whose names shall be set down in a book may have licence "to travel into those countries" at the next voyage for conquest, and to remain or return to England at their pleasure.]