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the workman ; to make her swift is to give her a large run or way forward, and so afterward, done by art and just proportion; and that in laying out her bows before, and quarters behind, the shipwright be sure that she neither sink nor hang into the water, but lie clear and above it; wherein shipwrights do often fail, and then is the speed in sailing utterly spoiled.
That she be stout-sided, the same is provided by a long bearing floor, and by sharing off from above water to the lower edge of the ports, which done, then will she carry out her ordnance all weathers.
To make her to hull and to try well, which is called a good sea ship, there are two things principally to be regarded, the one that she have a good draught of water, the other that she be not overcharged: and this is seldom done in the king's ships, and therefore we are forced to lie, or try in them with our main course and mizzen, which with a deep keel and standing streak she would perform.
The extreme length of a ship makes her unapt to stay, especially if she be floaty, and want sharpness of way forward. And it is most true, that such overlong ships are fitter for the narrow seas in summer than for the ocean, or long voyages; and therefore an hundred foot by the keel, and thirty-five foot broad, is a good proportion for a great ship.
It is to be noted, that all ships sharp before, not having a long floor, will fall rough into the sea from a billow, and take in water over head and ears; and the same quality have all narrow quartered ships to sink after the tail. The high charging of ships is that that brings many ill qualities; it makes them extreme leeward, makes them sink deep into the seas, makes them labour sore in foul weather, and ofttimes overset. Safety is more to be respected than shows, or niceness for ease; in sea journeys both cannot well stand together, and therefore the most necessary is to be chosen.
Two decks and a half is enough, and no building at all above that but a low master's cabin. Our masters and mariners will say, that the ships will bear more well enough; and true it is, if none but ordinary mariners served in them.
But men of better sort, unused to such a life, cannot so well endure the rolling and tumbling from side to side, where the seas are never so little grown, which comes by high charging. Besides those high cabin works aloft are very dangerous in fight, to tear men with their splinters.
Above all other things have care that the great guns be four foot clear above water when all lading is in, or else these best pieces are idle at sea : for if the ports lie lower and be open, it is dangerous ; and by that default was a goodly ship, and many gallant gentlemen lost in the days of Henry the Eighth, before the Isle of Wight, in a ship called by the name of Mary Rose.
To Mr. Secretary Winwood, before his Journey to Guiana.
Honoured sir, I was lately persuaded by two gentlemen, my ancient friends, to acquaint your honour with some offers of mine made heretofore for a journey to Guiana, who were of opinion, that it would be better understood now than when it was first propounded, which advice having surmounted my despair, I have presumed to send unto your honour the copies of those letters which I then wrote, both to his majesty and to the treasurer Cecil, wherein as well the reasons that first moved me are remembered, as the objections by bim made are briefly answered.
What I know of the riches of that place, not by hearsay, but what mine eyes have seen, I have said it often, but it was then to no end: because those that had the greatest trust were resolved not to believe it, not because they doubted the truth, but because they doubted my disposition towards themselves; where (if God had blessed me in the enterprise) I had recovered his majesty's favour and good opinion. Other cause than this, or other suspicion, they never had any. Our late worthy prince of Wales was extreme curious in searching out the nature of my offences: the queen's majesty hath informed herself from the beginning ; the king of Denmark at both times of his being here was thoroughly satisfied of my innocency; they would otherwise never have moved his majesty on my behalf.
The wife, the brother, and the son of a king, do not use to sue for men suspect; but, sir, since they all have done it out of their charity, and but with references to me alone, your honour, (whose respect hath only relation to his majesty's service,) strengthened by the example of those princes, may with the more hardiness do the like, being princes to whom his majesty's good estate is no less dear, and all men that shall oppugn it no less hateful than to the king himself.
It is true, sir, that his majesty hath sometimes answered, that his counsel knew me better than he did; meaning some two or three of them; and it was indeed my infelicity; for had his majesty known me, I had never been here where I now am ; or had I known his majesty, they had never been so long there where they now are. His majesty not knowing of me hath been my ruin, and his majesty misknowing of them hath been the ruin of a goodly part of his estate : but they are all of them now, some living and some dying, come to his majesty's knowledge. But, sir, how little soever his majesty knew me, and how much soever he believed them, yet have I been bound to his majesty both for my life and all that remains, of which, but for his majesty, nor life nor ought else had remained. In this respect, sir, I am bound to yield up the same life, and all I have for his majesty's service: to die for the king, and not by the king, is all the ambition I have in the world.
To his Wife, from Guiana. Sweet heart, I can yet write unto you but with a weak band, for I have suffered the most violent calenture for fifteen days that ever man did, and lived: but God, that gave me a strong heart in all my adversities, hath also now strengthened it in the hell-fire of heat.
We have had two most grievous sicknesses in our ship, of which forty-two have died, and there are yet many sick, but having yet recovered the land of Guiana, this 12th of November, I hope we shall recover them. We are yet two hundred men, and the rest of the fleet reasonable strong, strong enough, I hope, to perform what we have undertaken, if the diligent care at London to make our strength known to the Spaniard by his ambassador have not taught the Spanish king to fortify all the entrances against us. Howsoever, we must make the adventure, and if we perish it shall be no honour for England, nor gain for his majesty, to lose among many other one hundred as valiant gentlemen as England hath in it.
Of captain Baylies base running from us at the Canaries see a letter of Kemish's to Mr. Story, and of the unnatural weather, storms, and rains, and winds. He hath in the same letter given a touch of the way, that, which ever hath been sailed in fourteen days, we hardly performed in forty days. God, I trust, will give us comfort in that which is to come.
In passing by the Canaries I stayed at Gomerah, where I took water in peace, because the country durst not deny it me. I received there from the countess (of an English race) a present of oranges, lemons, quinces a, and pomegranates, without which I could not have lived; those I preserved in fresh sand, and I have of them yet to my great refreshing. Your son had never so good health, having no manner of distemper in all that heat under the line. My servants have escaped but Crab and my cook, yet all have had the sickness. Crofts, and March, and the rest are all well. Remember my service to my lord Carew and Mr. secretary Winwood.
I wrote not to them, for I can write of nought but miseries yet. Of men of sort, we have lost our sergeant-major captain Piggot, and his lieutenant, captain Edward Hastings, who would have died had he stayed in London, for both his liver, spleen, and brains, were rotten. My son's lieutenant Payton, and my cousin Mr. Hews, Mr. * Citrons, MS. Ashm.781. Lines, ibid. 830.
Mordant, Mr. Gardiner, Mr. Hayward, captain Jenning, the merchant, Kemish of London, and the master chirurgeon, Mr. Refiner, Mr. Moor the governor of the Barmoudas, our provost marshal William Steed, lieutenant Vescie, but to mine extraordinary grief, Hammon and Talbot. By the next I trust you shall hear better of us; in God's hands we are, and in him we trust.
This bearer, captain Alley, for his infirmity of his head, I have sent back, an honest, valiant man; he can deliver you all that is past. Commend me to my worthy friends at Lothbury, to John Leigh and Mr. Bower, whose nephew Knevit is well, and to my cousin Blundel, and my most devoted and humble service to the queen's majesty.
To tell you that I might be here king of the Indians were a vanity; but my name hath still lived amongst them; here they feed me with fresh water and meat, and all that the country yields; all offer to obey me. Commend me to poor Carew my son.
Your ever loving husband,
WALTER RALEGH. From Calliana in Guiana, the fourteenth of Nov. 1617.
As I have not hitherto given you any account of our proceedings and passages towards the Indies, so bave I no other subject to write of, since our arrival, than of the greatest and sharpest misfortunes that have ever befallen any man : for whereas, for the first, all those that navigate between Cape de Verd and America do pass it in fifteen or twenty days at most, we found the winds so contrary, and (which is also contrary to nature) so many storms and rains, as we spent six weeks in the passage, by reason whereof, and that in so great heat, we wanted water: for at the isle of Prano, [Praya, St. Jago,] off Cape de Verd, we lost our anchors and cables, and our water-casks, being driven from the island with a hurricano, and were like all to have pe