p. 1696 C
ANTHONY PARCKHURST TO RICHARD HAKLUYT OF THE MIDDLE TEMPLE,
CONTEINING A REPORT OF THE TRUE STATE AND COMMODITIES OF NEWFOUNDLAND, BY M. ANTHONIE PARCKHURST, GENTLEMAN, 1578.
HAKLUTY'S PRINCIPAL NAVIGATIONS, VOL. VIII., pp. 9, 10, 11, 16.
Master Hakluyt, after most heartie commendations, with like thankes for your manifold kindnesse to me shewed, not for any merits that hitherto have beene mine, but wholly proceeding, I must needs confesse, of your owne good nature, which is so ready prest to benefit your countrey and all such poore men as have any sparke in them of good desires, that you do not onely become their friend, but also humble your selfe as servant in their affaires:
* * * *
Now to answer some part of your letter touching the sundry navies that come to Newfoundland, or Terra nova, for fish: you shal understand that some fish not neere the other by 200. leagues, and therefore the certaintie is not knowen; and some yeres come many more then other some, as I see the like among us: who since my first travell being but 4. yeeres, are increased from 30. sayle to 50. which commeth to passe chiefly by the imagination of the Western men, who thinke their neighbours have had greater gaines then in very deed they have, for that they see me to take such paines yeerely to go in proper person: they also suppose that I find some secret commoditie by reason that I doe search the harbors, creekes and havens, and also the land much more then ever any Englishman hath done. Surely I am glad that it so increaseth, whereof soever it springeth. But to let this passe, you shall understand that I am informed that there are above 100. saile of Spaniards that come to take Cod (who make all wet, and do drie it when they come home) besides 20. or 30. more that come from Biskaie to kill Whale for Traine. These be better appoynted for shipping and furniture of munition, then any nation saving the Englishmen, who commonly are lords of the harbors where they fish, and do use all strangers helpe in fishing if need require, according to an old custome of the countrey, which thing they do willingly, so that you take nothing from them more then a boat or twaine of salt, in respect of your protection of them against rovers or other violent intruders, who do often put them from good harbor, &c. As touching their tunnage, I thinke it
may be neere five or sixe thousand tunne. But of Portugals there are not lightly above 50 saile, and they make all wet in like sorte, whose tunnage may amount to three thousand tuns, and not upwarde. Of the French nation and Britons, are about one hundred and fiftie sailes, the most of their shipping is very small, not past fortie tunnes, among which some are great and reasonably well appointed, better then the Portugals, and not so well as the Spaniards, and the burden of them may be some 7000. tunne. Their shipping is from all parts of France and Britaine, and the Spaniards from most parts of Spaine, the Portugals from Aviero and Viana, and from 2. or 3. ports more. The trade that our nation hath to Island maketh, that the English are not there in such numbers as other nations.
* * * *
And thus I end, committing you to God. From Bristow the 13. of November, 1578.
Yours to use and command,