Excerpt from the General History

Captain John Smith

FOR the Stories of Arthur, Malgo, and Brandon, that say a thousand yeares ago they were in the North of America; or the Fryer of Linn that by his blacke Art went to the North pole in the yeare 1360. in that I know them not. Let this suffice.

The Chronicles of Wales report, that Madock, sonne to Owen Quineth, Prince of Wales seeing his two brethren at debate who should inherit, prepared certaine Ships, with men and munition, and left his Country to seeke aduentures by Sea: leauing Ireland North he sayled west till he came to a Land vnknowne. Returning home and relating what pleasant and fruitfull Countries he had seene without Inhabitants, and for what barren ground his brethren and kindred did murther one another, he pro-vided a number of Ships, and got with him such men and women as were desirous to hue in quietnesse, that arriued with him in this new Land in the yeare 1170: Left many of his people there and returned for more. But where this place was no History can show.

The Spanyards say Hanno a Prince of Carthage was the first: and the next Christopher Cullumbus, a Genoesian, whom they sent to discover those vnknowne parts. 1492.

But we finde by Records, Cullumbus offered his seruice in the yeare 1488. to King Henry the seauenth; and by accident vndertooke it for the Spanyards. In the Interim King Henry gaue a Commission to Iohn Cabot, and his three sonnes, Sebastian, Lewis, and Sautius. Iohn and Sebastian well provided, setting sayle, ranged a great part of this vnknowne world, in the yeare 1497. For though Cullumbus had found certaine Iles, it was 1498. ere he saw the Continent, which was a yeare after Cabot. Now Americus came a long time after, though the whole Continent to this day is called America after his name, yet Sebastian Cabot discovered much more then them all, for he sayled to about forty degrees Southward of the lyne, and to sixty-seauen towards the North: for which King Henry the eight Knighted him and made him grand Pilate of England. Being very aged King Edward the sixt gaue him a Pention of 166l 13s. 4d. yearely. By his directions Sir Hugh Willowby was sent to finde out the Country of Russia, but the next yeare he was found frozen to death in his Ship, and all his Company.

Master Martin Frobisher was sent in the yeare 1576. by our most gracious Queene Elizabeth, to search for the Northwest passage, and Meta incognita: for which he was Knighted, honored, and well rewarded.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert a worthy Knight attempted a Plantation in some of those parts: and obtained Letters Pattents to his desire: but with this Proviso, He should [2] maintaine possession in some of those vast Countries within the tearme of sixe yeares. Yet when he was pro-vided with a Navy able to incounter a Kings power, even here at home they fell in diuisions, and so into confusion, that they gaue over the Designe ere it was begun, notwithstanding all this losse, his vndanted spirit began againe, but his Fleet fell with New-found land, and he perished in his returne, as at large you may read in the third Volume of the English Voyages, written by Master Hackluit [in 1599-1600].

Vpon all those Relations and inducements, Sir Walter Raleigh, a noble Gentleman, and then in great esteeme, vndertooke to send to discover to the Southward. And though his occasions and other imployments were such he could not goe himselfe, yet he procured her Maiesties Letters Pattents, and perswaded many worthy Knights and Gentlemen to adventure with him to finde a place fit for a Plantation. Their Proceedings followeth.

The most famous, renowned, and euer worthy of all memory, for her courage, learning, iudgement, and vertue, Qucene Elizabeth, granted her Letters Patents to Sir Walter Raleigh for the discovering and planting new Lands and Countries, not actually possessed by any Christians. This Patenty got to be his assistants Sir Richard Grenvell the valiant, Master William Sanderson a great friend to all such noble and worthy actions, and divers other Gentlemen and Marchants, who with all speede prouided two small Barkes well furnished with all necessaries, vnder the command of Captaine Philip Amidas and Captaine Barlow. The 27. of Aprill [1584] they set sayle from the Thames, the tenth of May passed the Canaries, and the tenth of lune the West Indies: which vnneedfull Southerly course, (but then no better was knowne) occasioned them in that season much sicknesse.

The second of Iuly [1584] they fell with the coast of Florida in shoule water, where they felt a most delicate sweete smell, though they saw no land, which ere long they espied, thinking it the Continent: an hundred and twenty myles they sayled not finding any harbor. The first that appeared with much difficulty they entred, and anchored, and after thankes to God they went to view the next Land adioyning to take possession of it for the Queenes most excellent Maiestie: which done, they found their first landing place very sandy and low, but so full of grapes that the very surge of the Sea sometimes over-flowed them: of which they found such plenty in all places, both on the sand, the greene soyle and hils, as in the plaines as well on euery little shrub, as also climbing towardes the tops of high Cedars, that they did thinke in the world were not the like abundance.

A Brief History of the European Myth of the Garden