The Internet Wiretap edition of


(Written in 1626.)

From Ideal Commonwealths,

P.F. Collier & Son, New York.

(c)1901 The Colonial Press, expired.

Prepared by Kirk Crady <>

from scanner output provided by Internet Wiretap.

This book is in the public domain, released August 1993.




WE sailed from Peru, where we had continued by the

space of one whole year, for China and Japan, by the

South Sea, taking with us victuals for twelve months;

and had good winds from the east, though soft and weak, for

five months' space and more. But then the wind came about,

and settled in the west for many days, so as we could make

little or no way, and were sometimes in purpose to turn back.

But then again there arose strong and great winds from the

south, with a point east; which carried us up, for all that we

could do, toward the north: by which time our victuals failed

us, though we had made good spare of them. So that find-

ing ourselves, in the midst of the greatest wilderness of waters

in the world, without victual, we gave ourselves for lost men,

and prepared for death. Yet we did lift up our hearts and

voices to God above, who showeth His wonders in the deep;

beseeching Him of His mercy that as in the beginning He dis-

covered the face of the deep, and brought forth dry land, so

He would now discover land to us, that we might not perish.

And it came to pass that the next day about evening we

saw within a kenning before us, toward the north, as it were

thick clouds, which did put us in some hope of land, knowing

how that part of the South Sea was utterly unknown, and

might have islands or continents that hitherto were not come

to light. Wherefore we bent our course thither, where we

saw the appearance of land, all that night; and in the dawning

of next day we might plainly discern that it was a land flat

to our sight, and full of boscage, which made it show the more

dark. And after an hour and a half's sailing, we entered into

a good haven, being the port of a fair city. Not great, indeed,

but well built, and that gave a pleasant view from the sea.

And we thinking every minute long till we were on land, came

close to the shore and offered to land. But straightway we

saw divers of the people, with batons in their hands, as it

were forbidding us to land: yet without any cries or fierce-

ness, but only as warning us off, by signs that they made.

Whereupon being not a little discomfited, we were advising

with ourselves what we should do. During which time there

made forth to us a small boat, with about eight persons in it,

whereof one of them had in his hand a tipstaff of a yellow cane,

tipped at both ends with blue, who made aboard our ship,

without any show of distrust at all. And when he saw one

of our number present himself somewhat afore the rest, he

drew forth a little scroll of parchment (somewhat yellower

than our parchment, and shining like the leaves of writing-

tables, but otherwise soft and flexible), and delivered it to our

foremost man. In which scroll were written in ancient He-

brew, and in ancient Greek, and in good Latin of the school,

and in Spanish these words: "Land ye not, none of you, and

provide to be gone from this coast within sixteen days, except

you have further time given you; meanwhile, if you want

fresh water, or victual, or help for your sick, or that your ship

needeth repair, write down your wants, and you shall have

that which belongeth to mercy." This scroll was signed with

a stamp of cherubim's wings, not spread, but hanging down-

ward; and by them a cross.

This being delivered, the officer returned, and left only a

servant with us to receive our answer. Consulting hereupon

among ourselves, we were much perplexed. The denial of

landing, and hasty warning us away, troubled us much: on

the other side, to find that the people had languages, and were

so full of humanity, did comfort us not a little. And above all,

the sign of the cross to that instrument was to us a great rejoic-

ing, and as it were a certain presage of good. Our answer

was in the Spanish tongue, "That for our ship, it was well;

for we had rather met with calms and contrary winds, than

any tempests. For our sick, they were many, and in very ill

case; so that if they were not permitted to land, they ran in

danger of their lives." Our other wants we set down in par-

ticular, adding, "That we had some little store of merchandise,

which if it pleased them to deal for, it might supply our wants,

without being chargeable unto them." We offered some re-

ward in pistolets unto the servant, and a piece of crimson velvet

to be presented to the officer; but the servant took them not,

nor would scarce look upon them; and so left us, and went

back in another little boat which was sent for him.

About three hours after we had despatched our answer, there

came toward us a person (as it seemed) of a place. He had

on him a gown with wide sleeves, of a kind of water chamolet,

of an excellent azure color, far more glossy than ours; his

under-apparel was green, and so was his hat, being in the form

of a turban, daintily made, and not so huge as the Turkish

turbans; and the locks of his hair came down below the brims

of it. A reverend man was he to behold. He came in a boat,

gilt in some part of it, with four persons more only in that

boat; and was followed by another boat, wherein were some

twenty. When he was come within a flight-shot of our ship,

signs were made to us that we should send forth some to meet

him upon the water, which we presently did in our ship-boat,

sending the principal man amongst us save one, and four of

our number with him. When we were come within six yards

of their boat, they called to us to stay, and not to approach far-

ther, which we did.

And thereupon the man, whom I before described, stood

up, and with a loud voice in Spanish asked, "Are ye Chris-

tians?" We answered, "We were;" fearing the less, because

of the cross we had seen in the subscription. At which answer

the said person lift up his right hand toward heaven, and drew

it softly to his mouth (which is the gesture they use, when

they thank God), and then said: "If ye will swear, all of you,

by the merits of the Saviour, that ye are no pirates; nor have

shed blood, lawfully or unlawfully, within forty days past; you

may have license to come on land." We said, "We were all

ready to take that oath." Whereupon one of those that were

with him, being (as it seemed) a notary, made an entry of this

act. Which done, another of the attendants of the great per-

son, which was with him in the same boat, after his lord had

spoken a little to him, said aloud: "My lord would have you

know that it is not of pride, or greatness, that he cometh not

aboard your ship; but for that in your answer you declare that

you have many sick amongst you, he was warned by the conser-

vator of health of the city that he should keep a distance."

We bowed ourselves toward him and answered: "We were

his humble servants; and accounted for great honor and

singular humanity toward us, that which was already done; but

hoped well that the nature of the sickness of our men was not


So he returned; and awhile after came the notary to us

aboard our ship, holding in his hand a fruit of that country,

like an orange, but of color between orange-tawny and scarlet,

which cast a most excellent odor. He used it (as it seemed)

for a preservative against infection. He gave us our oath,

"By the name of Jesus, and His merits," and after told us that

the next day, by six of the clock in the morning, we should be

sent to, and brought to the strangers' house (so he called it),

where we should be accommodated of things, both for our

whole and for our sick. So he left us; and when we offered

him some pistolets, he smiling, said, "He must not be twice

paid for one labor:" meaning (as I take it) that he had salary

sufficient of the State for his service. For (as I after learned)

they call an officer that taketh rewards twice paid.

The next morning early there came to us the same officer

that came to us at first, with his cane, and told us he came

to conduct us to the strangers' house; and that he had pre-

vented the hour, because we might have the whole day before

us for our business. "For," said he," if you will follow my

advice, there shall first go with me some few of you, and see

the place, and how it may be made convenient for you; and

then you may send for your sick, and the rest of your num-

ber which ye will bring on land." We thanked him and said,

"That his care which he took of desolate strangers, God would

reward." And so six of us went on land with him; and when

we were on land, he went before us, and turned to us and

said "he was but our servant and our guide." He led us

through three fair streets; and all the way we went there were

gathered some people on both sides, standing in a row; but

in so civil a fashion, as if it had been, not to wonder at us,

but to welcome us; and divers of them, as we passed by them,

put their arms a little abroad, which is their gesture when

they bid any welcome.

The strangers' house is a fair and spacious house, built of

brick, of somewhat a bluer color than our brick; and with

handsome windows, some of glass, some of a kind of cambric

oiled. He brought us first into a fair parlor above stairs, and

then asked us "what number of persons we were? and how

many sick?" We answered, "We were in all (sick and whole)

one-and-fifty persons, whereof our sick were seventeen." He

desired us have patience a little, and to stay till he came back

to us, which was about an hour after; and then he led us to

see the chambers which were provided for us, being in num-

ber nineteen. They having cast it (as it seemeth) that four

of those chambers, which were better than the rest, might re-

ceive four of the principal men of our company; and lodge

them alone by themselves; and the other fifteen chambers

were to lodge us, two and two together. The chambers were

handsome and cheerful chambers, and furnished civilly. Then

he led us to a long gallery, like a dorture, where he showed

us all along the one side (for the other side was but wall and

window) seventeen cells, very neat ones, having partitions of

cedar wood. Which gallery and cells, being in all forty

(many more than we needed), were instituted as an infirmary

for sick persons. And he told us withal, that as any of our

sick waxed well, he might be removed from his cell to a cham-

ber; for which purpose there were set forth ten spare cham-

bers, besides the number we spake of before.

This done, he brought us back to the parlor, and lifting up

his cane a little (as they do when they give any charge or

command), said to us: "Ye are to know that the custom of

the land requireth that after this day and to-morrow (which

we give you for removing your people from your ship), you

are to keep within doors for three days. But let it not trouble

you, nor do not think yourselves restrained, but rather left to

your rest and ease. You shall want nothing; and there are

six of our people appointed to attend you for any business you

may have abroad." We gave him thanks with all affection

and respect, and said, "God surely is manifested in this land."

We offered him also twenty pistolets; but he smiled, and only

said: "What? Twice paid!" And so he left us. Soon after

our dinner was served in; which was right good viands, both

for bread and meat: better than any collegiate diet that I have

known in Europe. We had also drink of three sorts, all whole-

some and good: wine of the grape; a drink of grain, such

as is with us our ale, but more clear; and a kind of cider

made of a fruit of that country, a wonderful pleasing and re-

freshing drink. Besides, there were brought in to us great

store of those scarlet oranges for our sick; which (they said)

were an assured remedy for sickness taken at sea. There was

given us also a box of small gray or whitish pills, which they

wished our sick should take, one of the pills every night be-

fore sleep; which (they said) would hasten their recovery.

The next day, after that our trouble of carriage and remov-

ing of our men and goods out of our ship was somewhat

settled and quiet, I thought good to call our company to-

gether, and, when they were assembled, said unto them: "My

dear friends, let us know ourselves, and how it standeth with

us. We are men cast on land, as Jonas was out of the whale's

belly, when we were as buried in the deep; and now we are

on land, we are but between death and life, for we are beyond

both the Old World and the New; and whether ever we shall

see Europe, God only knoweth. It is a kind of miracle hath

brought us hither, and it must be little less that shall bring

us hence. Therefore in regard of our deliverance past, and

our danger present and to come, let us look up to God, and

every man reform his own ways. Besides, we are come here

among a Christian people, full of piety and humanity. Let

us not bring that confusion of face upon ourselves, as to show

our vices or unworthiness before them. Yet there is more,

for they have by commandment (though in form of courtesy)

cloistered us within these walls for three days; who knoweth

whether it be not to take some taste of our manners and con-

ditions? And if they find them bad, to banish us straightway;

if good, to give us further time. For these men that they

have given us for attendance, may withal have an eye upon

us. Therefore, for God's love, and as we love the weal of our

souls and bodies, let us so behave ourselves as we may be at

peace with God and may find grace in the eyes of this people."

Our company with one voice thanked me for my good ad-

monition, and promised me to live soberly and civilly, and

without giving any the least occasion of offence. So we spent

our three days joyfully, and without care, in expectation what

would be done with us when they were expired. During

which time, we had every hour joy of the amendment of our

sick, who thought themselves cast into some divine pool of

healing, they mended so kindly and so fast.

The morrow after our three days were past, there came to

us a new man, that we had not seen before, clothed in blue

as the former was, save that his turban was white with a small

red cross on top. He had also a tippet of fine linen. At his

coming in, he did bend to us a little, and put his arms abroad.

We of our parts saluted him in a very lowly and submissive

manner; as looking that from him we should receive sen-

tence of life or death. He desired to speak with some few of

us. Whereupon six of us only stayed, and the rest avoided

the room. He said: "I am by office, governor of this house

of strangers, and by vocation, I am a Christian priest, and

therefore am come to you to offer you my service, both as

strangers and chiefly as Christians. Some things I may tell

you, which I think you will not be unwilling to hear. The

State hath given you license to stay on land for the space of

six weeks; and let it not trouble you if your occasions ask

further time, for the law in this point is not precise; and I

do not doubt but myself shall be able to obtain for you such

further time as shall be convenient. Ye shall also understand

that the strangers' house is at this time rich and much afore-

hand; for it hath laid up revenue these thirty-seven years, for

so long it is since any stranger arrived in this part; and there-

fore take ye no care; the State will defray you all the time

you stay. Neither shall you stay one day the less for that.

As for any merchandise you have brought, ye shall be well

used, and have your return, either in merchandise or in gold

and silver, for to us it is all one. And if you have any other

request to make, hide it not; for ye shall find we will not

make your countenance to fall by the answer ye shall receive.

Only this I must tell you, that none of you must go above a

karan [that is with them a mile and a half] from the walls of

the city, without special leave."

We answered, after we had looked awhile upon one an-

other, admiring this gracious and parent-like usage, that we

could not tell what to say, for we wanted words to express our

thanks; and his noble free offers left us nothing to ask. It

seemed to us that we had before us a picture of our salvation

in heaven; for we that were awhile since in the jaws of death,

were now brought into a place where we found nothing but

consolations. For the commandment laid upon us, we would

not fail to obey it, though it was impossible but our hearts

should be inflamed to tread further upon this happy and holy

ground. We added that our tongues should first cleave to the

roofs of our mouths ere we should forget either this reverend

person or this whole nation, in our prayers. We also most

humbly besought him to accept of us as his true servants, by

as just a right as ever men on earth were bounden; laying and

presenting both our persons and all we had at his feet. He

said he was a priest, and looked for a priest's reward, which

was our brotherly love and the good of our souls and bodies.

So he went from us, not without tears of tenderness in his eyes,

and left us also confused with joy and kindness, saying among

ourselves that we were come into a land of angels, which did

appear to us daily, and prevent us with comforts, which we

thought not of, much less expected.

The next day, about ten of the clock; the governor came to

us again, and after salutations said familiarly that he was come

to visit us, and called for a chair and sat him down; and we,

being some ten of us (the rest were of the meaner sort or else

gone abroad), sat down with him; and when we were set he be-

gan thus: "We of this island of Bensalem (for so they called

it in their language) have this: that by means of our solitary

situation, and of the laws of secrecy, which we have for our

travellers, and our rare admission of strangers; we know well

most part of the habitable world, and are ourselves unknown.

Therefore because he that knoweth least is fittest to ask ques-

tions it is more reason, for the entertainment of the time, that

ye ask me questions, than that I ask you." We answered, that

we humbly thanked him that he would give us leave so to do.

And that we conceived by the taste we had already, that there

was no worldly thing on earth more worthy to be known than

the state of that happy land. But above all, we said, since that

we were met from the several ends of the world, and hoped

assuredly that we should meet one day in the kingdom of heaven

(for that we were both parts Christians), we desired to know

(in respect that land was so remote, and so divided by vast and

unknown seas from the land where our Saviour walked on

earth) who was the apostle of that nation, and how it was con-

verted to the faith? It appeared in his face that he took great

contentment in this our question; he said: "Ye knit my heart

to you by asking this question in the first place; for it showeth

that you first seek the kingdom of heaven; and I shall gladly,

and briefly, satisfy your demand.

"About twenty years after the ascension of our Saviour it

came to pass, that there was seen by the people of Renfusa (a

city upon the eastern coast of our island, within sight, the night

was cloudy and calm), as it might be some mile in the sea, a

great pillar of light; not sharp, but in form of a column, or cyl-

inder, rising from the sea, a great way up toward heaven; and

on the top of it was seen a large cross of light, more bright and

resplendent than the body of the pillar. Upon which so strange

a spectacle, the people of the city gathered apace together upon

the sands, to wonder; and so after put themselves into a number

of small boats to go nearer to this marvellous sight. But when

the boats were come within about sixty yards of the pillar, they

found themselves all bound, and could go no further, yet so

as they might move to go about, but might not approach nearer;

so as the boats stood all as in a theatre, beholding this light, as

a heavenly sign. It so fell out that there was in one of the

boats one of the wise men of the Society of Saloman's House

(which house, or college, my good brethren, is the very eye of

this kingdom), who having awhile attentively and devoutly

viewed and contemplated this pillar and cross, fell down upon

his face; and then raised himself upon his knees, and lifting

up his hands to heaven, made his prayers in this manner:

"'Lord God of heaven and earth; thou hast vouchsafed of

thy grace, to those of our order to know thy works of creation,

and true secrets of them; and to discern, as far as appertaineth

to the generations of men, between divine miracles, works of

nature, works of art and impostures, and illusions of all sorts.

I do here acknowledge and testify before this people that the

thing we now see before our eyes is thy finger, and a true mira-

cle. And forasmuch as we learn in our books that thou never

workest miracles, but to a divine and excellent end (for the

laws of nature are thine own laws, and thou exceedest them

not but upon great cause), we most humbly beseech thee to

prosper this great sign, and to give us the interpretation and

use of it in mercy; which thou dost in some part secretly prom-

ise, by sending it unto us.'

"When he had made his prayer, he presently found the boat

he was in movable and unbound; whereas all the rest remained

still fast; and taking that for an assurance of leave to approach,

he caused the boat to be softly and with silence rowed toward

the pillar; but ere he came near it, the pillar and cross of light

broke up, and cast itself abroad, as it were, into a firmament of

many stars, which also vanished soon after, and there was noth-

ing left to be seen but a small ark or chest of cedar, dry and not

wet at all with water, though it swam; and in the fore end of it,

which was toward him, grew a small green branch of palm;

and when the wise man had taken it with all reverence into his

boat, it opened of itself, and there were found in it a book and

a letter, both written in fine parchment, and wrapped in sindons

of linen. The book contained all the canonical books of the

Old and New Testament, according as you have them (for we

know well what the churches with you receive), and the Apoca-

lypse itself; and some other books of the New Testament,

which were not at that time written, were nevertheless in the

book. And for the letter, it was in these words:

"'I, Bartholomew, a servant of the Highest, and apostle of

Jesus Christ, was warned by an angel that appeared to me in a

vision of glory, that I should commit this ark to the floods of

the sea. Therefore I do testify and declare unto that people

where God shall ordain this ark to come to land, that in the

same day is come unto them salvation and peace, and good-will

from the Father, and from the Lord Jesus.'

"There was also in both these writings, as well the book as

the letter, wrought a great miracle, conform to that of the apos-

tles, in the original gift of tongues. For there being at that

time, in this land, Hebrews, Persians, and Indians, besides the

natives, everyone read upon the book and letter, as if they had

been written in his own language. And thus was this land

saved from infidelity (as the remain of the old world was from

water) by an ark, through the apostolical and miraculous evan-

gelism of St. Bartholomew." And here he paused, and a mes-

senger came and called him forth from us. So this was all that

passed in that conference.

The next day the same governor came again to us immedi-

ately after dinner, and excused himself, saying that the day be-

fore he was called from us somewhat abruptly, but now he

would make us amends, and spend time with us; if we held his

company and conference agreeable. We answered that we

held it so agreeable and pleasing to us, as we forgot both dan-

gers past, and fears to come, for the time we heard him speak;

and that we thought an hour spent with him was worth years of

our former life. He bowed himself a little to us, and after we

were set again, he said, "Well, the questions are on your part."

One of our number said, after a little pause, that there was

a matter we were no less desirous to know than fearful to ask,

lest we might presume too far. But, encouraged by his rare

humanity toward us (that could scarce think ourselves stran-

gers, being his vowed and professed servants), we would take

the hardness to propound it; humbly beseeching him, if he

thought it not fit to be answered, that he would pardon it,

though he rejected it. We said, we well observed those his

words, which he formerly spake, that this happy island, where

we now stood, was known to few, and yet knew most of the na-

tions of the world, which we found to be true, considering they

had the languages of Europe, and knew much of our State and

business; and yet we in Europe (notwithstanding all the remote

discoveries and navigations of this last age) never heard any

of the least inkling or glimpse of this island. This we found

wonderful strange; for that all nations have interknowledge

one of another, either by voyage into foreign parts, or by

strangers that come to them; and though the traveller into a

foreign country doth commonly know more by the eye than he

that stayeth at home can by relation of the traveller; yet both

ways suffice to make a mutual knowledge, in some degree, on

both parts. But for this island, we never heard tell of any ship

of theirs that had been seen to arrive upon any shore of Eu-

rope; no, nor of either the East or West Indies, nor yet of any

ship of any other part of the world, that had made return for

them. And yet the marvel rested not in this. For the situa-

tion of it (as his lordship said) in the secret conclave of such

a vast sea might cause it. But then, that they should have

knowledge of the languages, books, affairs, of those that lie

such a distance from them, it was a thing we could not tell what

to make of; for that it seemed to us a condition and propriety

of divine powers and beings, to be hidden and unseen to others,

and yet to have others open, and as in a light to them.

At this speech the governor gave a gracious smile and said

that we did well to ask pardon for this question we now asked,

for that it imported, as if we thought this land a land of magi-

cians, that sent forth spirits of the air into all parts, to bring

them news and intelligence of other countries. It was an-

swered by us all, in all possible humbleness, but yet with a coun-

tenance taking knowledge, that we knew that he spake it but

merrily. That we were apt enough to think there was some-

what supernatural in this island, but yet rather as angelical than

magical. But to let his lordship know truly what it was that

made us tender and doubtful to ask this question, it was not

any such conceit, but because we remembered he had given a

touch in his former speech, that this land had laws of secrecy

touching strangers. To this he said, "You remember it

aright; and therefore in that I shall say to you, I must reserve

some particulars, which it is not lawful for me to reveal, but

there will be enough left to give you satisfaction.

"You shall understand (that which perhaps you will scarce

think credible) that about 3,000 years ago, or somewhat more,

the navigation of the world (especially for remote voyages)

was greater than at this day. Do not think with yourselves,

that I know not how much it is increased with you, within these

threescore years; I know it well, and yet I say, greater then than

now; whether it was, that the example of the ark, that saved

the remnant of men from the universal deluge, gave men confi-

dence to venture upon the waters, or what it was; but such is

the truth. The Phoenicians, and especially the Tyrians, had

great fleets; so had the Carthaginians their colony, which is yet

farther west. Toward the east the shipping of Egypt, and of

Palestine, was likewise great. China also, and the great At-

lantis (that you call America), which have now but junks and

canoes, abounded then in tall ships. This island (as appeareth

by faithful registers of those times) had then 1,500 strong

ships, of great content. Of all this there is with you sparing

memory, or none; but we have large knowledge thereof.

"At that time this land was known and frequented by the

ships and vessels of all the nations before named. And (as

it cometh to pass) they had many times men of other countries,

that were no sailors, that came with them; as Persians, Chal-

deans, Arabians, so as almost all nations of might and fame re-

sorted hither; of whom we have some stirps and little tribes

with us at this day. And for our own ships, they went sundry

voyages, as well to your straits, which you call the Pillars of

Hercules, as to other parts in the Atlantic and Mediterranean

seas; as to Paguin (which is the same with Cambalaine) and

Quinzy, upon the Oriental seas, as far as to the borders of the

East Tartary.

"At the same time, and an age after or more, the inhabitants

of the great Atlantis did flourish. For though the narration

and description which is made by a great man with you, that

the descendants of Neptune planted there, and of the magnifi-

cent temple, palace, city, and hill; and the manifold streams of

goodly navigable rivers, which as so many chains environed the

same site and temple; and the several degrees of ascent, where-

by men did climb up to the same, as if it had been a Scala Coeli;

be all poetical and fabulous; yet so much is true, that the said

country of Atlantis, as well that of Peru, then called Coya, as

that of Mexico, then named Tyrambel, were mighty and proud

kingdoms, in arms, shipping, and riches; so mighty, as at one

time, or at least within the space of ten years, they both made

two great expeditions; they of Tyrambel through the Atlantic

to the Mediterranean Sea; and they of Coya, through the South

Sea upon this our island; and for the former of these, which

was into Europe, the same author among you, as it seemeth,

had some relation from the Egyptian priest, whom he citeth.

For assuredly, such a thing there was. But whether it were

the ancient Athenians that had the glory of the repulse and re-

sistance of those forces, I can say nothing; but certain it is

there never came back either ship or man from that voyage.

Neither had the other voyage of those of Coya upon us had bet-

ter fortune, if they had not met with enemies of greater clem-

ency. For the King of this island, by name Altabin, a wise

man and a great warrior, knowing well both his own strength

and that of his enemies, handled the matter so as he cut off

their land forces from their ships, and entoiled both their navy

and their camp with a greater power than theirs, both by sea

and land; and compelled them to render themselves without

striking a stroke; and after they were at his mercy, contenting

himself only with their oath, that they should no more bear

arms against him, dismissed them all in safety.

"But the divine revenge overtook not long after those proud

enterprises. For within less than the space of 100 years the

Great Atlantis was utterly lost and destroyed; not by a great

earthquake, as your man saith, for that whole tract is little sub-

ject to earthquakes, but by a particular deluge, or inundation;

those countries having at this day far greater rivers, and far

higher mountains to pour down waters, than any part of the

old world. But it is true that the same inundation was not

deep, nor past forty foot, in most places, from the ground, so

that although it destroyed man and beast generally, yet some

few wild inhabitants of the wood escaped. Birds also were

saved by flying to the high trees and woods. For as for men,

although they had buildings in many places higher than the

depth of the water, yet that inundation, though it were shallow,

had a long continuance, whereby they of the vale that were not

drowned perished for want of food, and other things necessary.

So as marvel you not at the thin population of America, nor at

the rudeness and ignorance of the people; for you must account

your inhabitants of America as a young people, younger a thou-

sand years at the least than the rest of the world, for that there

was so much time between the universal flood and their particu-

lar inundation.

"For the poor remnant of human seed which remained in

their mountains, peopled the country again slowly, by little and

little, and being simple and a savage people (not like Noah and

his sons, which was the chief family of the earth), they were not

able to leave letters, arts, and civility to their posterity; and

having likewise in their mountainous habitations been used, in

respect of the extreme cold of those regions, to clothe them-

selves with the skins of tigers, bears, and great hairy goats,

that they have in those parts; when after they came down into

the valley, and found the intolerable heats which are there, and

knew no means of lighter apparel, they were forced to begin

the custom of going naked, which continueth at this day.

Only they take great pride and delight in the feathers of birds,

and this also they took from those their ancestors of the moun-

tains, who were invited unto it, by the infinite flight of birds,

that came up to the high grounds, while the waters stood below.

So you see, by this main accident of time, we lost our traffic

with the Americans, with whom of all others, in regard they

lay nearest to us, we had most commerce. As for the other

parts of the world, it is most manifest that in the ages follow-

ing (whether it were in respect of wars, or by a natural revolu-

tion of time) navigation did everywhere greatly decay, and

specially far voyages (the rather by the use of galleys, and such

vessels as could hardly brook the ocean) were altogether left

and omitted. So then, that part of intercourse which could be

from other nations to sail to us, you see how it hath long since

ceased; except it were by some rare accident, as this of yours.

But now of the cessation of that other part of intercourse, which

might be by our sailing to other nations, I must yield you some

other cause. But I cannot say if I shall say truly, but our ship-

ping, for number, strength, mariners, pilots, and all things that

appertain to navigation, is as great as ever; and therefore why

we should sit at home, I shall now give you an account by itself;

and it will draw nearer, to give you satisfaction, to your prin-

cipal question.

"There reigned in this land, about 1,900 years ago, a King,

whose memory of all others we most adore; not superstitiously,

but as a divine instrument, though a mortal man: his name was

Salomana; and we esteem him as the lawgiver of our nation.

This King had a large heart, inscrutable for good; and was

wholly bent to make his kingdom and people happy. He, there-

fore, taking into consideration how sufficient and substantive

this land was, to maintain itself without any aid at all of the

foreigner; being 5,000 miles in circuit, and of rare fertility of

soil, in the greatest part thereof; and finding also the shipping

of this country might be plentifully set on work, both by fishing

and by transportations from port to port, and likewise by sail-

ing unto some small islands that are not far from us, and are

under the crown and laws of this State; and recalling into his

memory the happy and flourishing estate wherein this land then

was, so as it might be a thousand ways altered to the worse, but

scarce any one way to the better; though nothing wanted to his

noble and heroical intentions, but only (as far as human fore-

sight might reach) to give perpetuity to that which was in his

time so happily established, therefore among his other funda-

mental laws of this kingdom he did ordain the interdicts and

prohibitions which we have touching entrance of strangers;

which at that time (though it was after the calamity of Amer-

ica) was frequent; doubting novelties and commixture of man-

ners. It is true, the like law against the admission of strangers

without license is an ancient law in the Kingdom of China, and

yet continued in use. But there it is a poor thing; and hath

made them a curious, ignorant, fearful, foolish nation. But

our lawgiver made his law of another temper. For first, he

hath preserved all points of humanity, in taking order and mak-

ing provision for the relief of strangers distressed; whereof

you have tasted."

At which speech (as reason was) we all rose up and bowed

ourselves. He went on: "That King also still desiring to

join humanity and policy together; and thinking it against

humanity to detain strangers here against their wills, and

against policy that they should return and discover their knowl-

edge of this estate, he took this course; he did ordain, that of

the strangers that should be permitted to land, as many at all

times might depart as many as would; but as many as would

stay, should have very good conditions, and means to live from

the State. Wherein he saw so far, that now in so many ages

since the prohibition, we have memory not of one ship that ever

returned, and but of thirteen persons only, at several times, that

chose to return in our bottoms. What those few that returned

may have reported abroad, I know not. But you must think,

whatsoever they have said, could be taken where they came but

for a dream. Now for our travelling from hence into parts

abroad, our lawgiver thought fit altogether to restrain it. So

is it not in China. For the Chinese sail where they will, or

can; which showeth, that their law of keeping out strangers is

a law of pusillanimity and fear. But this restraint of ours hath

one only exception, which is admirable; preserving the good

which cometh by communicating with strangers, and avoiding

the hurt: and I will now open it to you.

"And here I shall seem a little to digress, but you will by

and by find it pertinent. Ye shall understand, my dear friends,

that among the excellent acts of that King, one above all hath

the pre-eminence. It was the erection and institution of an

order, or society, which we call Saloman's House, the noblest

foundation, as we think, that ever was upon the earth, and the

lantern of this kingdom. It is dedicated to the study of the

works and creatures of God. Some think it beareth the found-

er's name a little corrupted, as if it should be Solomon's House.

But the records write it as it is spoken. So as I take it to be

denominate of the King of the Hebrews, which is famous with

you, and no strangers to us; for we have some parts of his

works which with you are lost; namely, that natural history

which he wrote of all plants, from the cedar of Libanus to the

moss that groweth out of the wall; and of all things that have

life and motion. This maketh me think that our King finding

himself to symbolize, in many things, with that King of the

Hebrews, which lived many years before him, honored him with

the title of this foundation. And I am the rather induced to be

of this opinion, for that I find in ancient records, this order or

society is sometimes called Solomon's House, and sometimes

the College of the Six Days' Works, whereby I am satisfied

that our excellent King had learned from the Hebrews that God

had created the world and all that therein is within six days:

and therefore he instituted that house, for the finding out of

the true nature of all things, whereby God might have the more

glory in the workmanship of them, and men the more fruit in

their use of them, did give it also that second name.

"But now to come to our present purpose. When the King

had forbidden to all his people navigation into any part that

was not under his crown, he made nevertheless this ordinance;

that every twelve years there should be set forth out of this

kingdom, two ships, appointed to several voyages; that in either

of these ships there should be a mission of three of the fellows

or brethren of Saloman's House, whose errand was only to

give us knowledge of the affairs and state of those countries

to which they were designed; and especially of the sciences,

arts, manufactures, and inventions of all the world; and withal

to bring unto us books, instruments, and patterns in every kind:

that the ships, after they had landed the brethren, should re-

turn; and that the brethren should stay abroad till the new mis-

sion, the ships are not otherwise fraught than with store of

victuals, and good quantity of treasure to remain with the

brethren, for the buying of such things, and rewarding of such

persons, as they should think fit. Now for me to tell you how

the vulgar sort of mariners are contained from being discovered

at land, and how they must be put on shore for any time, color

themselves under the names of other nations, and to what places

these voyages have been designed; and what places of rendez-

vous are appointed for the new missions, and the like circum-

stances of the practice, I may not do it, neither is it much to

your desire. But thus you see we maintain a trade, not for

gold, silver, or jewels, nor for silks, nor for spices, nor any

other commodity of matter; but only for God's first creature,

which was light; to have light, I say, of the growth of all parts

of the world."

And when he had said this, he was silent, and so were we

all; for indeed we were all astonished to hear so strange things

so probably told. And he perceiving that we were willing to

say somewhat, but had it not ready, in great courtesy took us

off, and descended to ask us questions of our voyage and

fortunes, and in the end concluded that we might do well to

think with ourselves what time of stay we would demand of the

State, and bade us not to scant ourselves; for he would procure

such time as we desired. Whereupon we all rose up and pre-

sented ourselves to kiss the skirt of his tippet, but he would not

suffer us, and so took his leave. But when it came once among

our people that the State used to offer conditions to strangers

that would stay, we had work enough to get any of our men to

look to our ship, and to keep them from going presently to the

governor to crave conditions; but with much ado we restrained

them, till we might agree what course to take.

We took ourselves now for freemen, seeing there was no

danger of our utter perdition, and lived most joyfully, going

abroad and seeing what was to be seen in the city and places

adjacent, within our tedder; and obtaining acquaintance with

many of the city, not of the meanest quality, at whose hands

we found such humanity, and such a freedom and desire to take

strangers, as it were, into their bosom, as was enough to make

us forget all that was dear to us in our own countries, and con-

tinually we met with many things, right worthy of observation

and relation; as indeed, if there be a mirror in the world, worthy

to hold men's eyes, it is that country. One day there were two

of our company bidden to a feast of the family, as they call it;

a most natural, pious, and reverend custom it is, showing that

nation to be compounded of all goodness. This is the manner

of it; it is granted to any man that shall live to see thirty per-

sons descended of his body, alive together, and all above three

years old, to make this feast, which is done at the cost of the

State. The father of the family, whom they call the tirsan,

two days before the feast, taketh to him three of such friends

as he liketh to choose, and is assisted also by the governor of

the city or place where the feast is celebrated; and all the per-

sons of the family, of both sexes, are summoned to attend him.

These two days the tirsan sitteth in consultation, concerning

the good estate of the family. There, if there be any discord

or suits between any of the family, they are compounded and

appeased. There, if any of the family be distressed or decayed,

order is taken for their relief, and competent means to live.

There, if any be subject to vice, or take ill-courses, they are

reproved and censured. So, likewise, direction is given touch-

ing marriages, and the courses of life which any of them should

take, with divers other the like orders and advices. The gov-

ernor sitteth to the end, to put in execution, by his public au-

thority, the decrees and orders of the tirsan, if they should be

disobeyed, though that seldom needeth; such reverence and

obedience they give to the order of nature.

The tirsan doth also then ever choose one man from among

his sons, to live in house with him, who is called ever after the

Son of the Vine. The reason will hereafter appear. On the

feast day, the father, or tirsan, cometh forth after divine service

into a large room where the feast is celebrated; which room

hath a half-pace at the upper end. Against the wall, in the

middle of the half-pace, is a chair placed for him, with a table

and carpet before it. Over the chair is a state, made round or

oval and it is of ivy; an ivy somewhat whiter than ours, like

the leaf of a silver-asp, but more shining; for it is green all win-

ter. And the state is curiously wrought with silver and silk of

divers colors, broiding or binding in the ivy; and is ever of the

work of some of the daughters of the family, and veiled over

at the top, with a fine net of silk and silver. But the substance

of it is true ivy; whereof after it is taken down, the friends of

the family are desirous to have some leaf or sprig to keep. The

tirsan cometh forth with all his generation or lineage, the males

before him, and the females following him; and if there be a

mother, from whose body the whole lineage is descended, there

is a traverse placed in a loft above on the right hand of the

chair, with a privy door, and a carved window of glass, leaded

with gold and blue; where she sitteth, but is not seen.

When the tirsan is come forth, he sitteth down in the chair;

and all the lineage place themselves against the wall, both at

his back, and upon the return of the half-pace, in order of their

years) without difference of sex, and stand upon their feet.

When he is set, the room being always full of company, but

well kept and without disorder, after some pause there cometh

in from the lower end of the room a taratan (which is as much

as a herald), and on either side of him two young lads: whereof

one carrieth a scroll of their shining yellow parchment, and

the other a cluster of grapes of gold, with a long foot or stalk.

The herald and children are clothed with mantles of sea-water-

green satin; but the herald's mantle is streamed with gold, and

hath a train. Then the herald with three courtesies, or rather

inclinations, cometh up as far as the half-pace, and there first

taketh into his hand the scroll. This scroll is the King's char-

ter, containing gift of revenue, and many privileges, exemp-

tions, and points of honor, granted to the father of the family;

and it is ever styled and directed, "To such an one, our well-

beloved friend and creditor," which is a title proper only to this

case. For they say, the King is debtor to no man, but for

propagation of his subjects; the seal set to the King's charter

is the King's image, embossed or moulded in gold; and though

such charters be expedited of course, and as of right, yet they

are varied by discretion, according to the number and dignity

of the family. This charter the herald readeth aloud; and

while it is read, the father, or tirsan, standeth up, supported

by two of his sons, such as he chooseth.

Then the herald mounteth the half-pace, and delivereth the

charter into his hand: and with that there is an acclamation,

by all that are present, in their language, which is thus much,

"Happy are the people of Bensalem." Then the herald taketh

into his hand from the other child the cluster of grapes, which

is of gold; both the stalk, and the grapes. But the grapes are

daintily enamelled: and if the males of the family be the greater

number, the grapes are enamelled purple, with a little sun set

on the top; if the females, then they are enamelled into a green-

ish yellow, with a crescent on the top. The grapes are in num-

ber as many as there are descendants of the family. This

golden cluster the herald delivereth also to the tirsan; who

presently delivereth it over to that son that he had formerly

chosen, to be in house with him: who beareth it before his

father, as an ensign of honor, when he goeth in public ever

after; and is thereupon called the Son of the Vine. After this

ceremony ended the father, or tirsan, retireth, and after some

time cometh forth again to dinner, where he sitteth alone under

the state, as before; and none of his descendants sit with him,

of what degree or dignity so ever, except he hap to be of Salo-

man's House. He is served only by his own children, such as

are male; who perform unto him all service of the table upon

the knee, and the women only stand about him, leaning against

the wall. The room below his half-pace hath tables on the

sides for the guests that are bidden; who are served with great

and comely order; and toward the end of dinner (which in the

greatest feasts with them lasteth never above an hour and a

half) there is a hymn sung, varied according to the invention

of him that composeth it (for they have excellent poesy), but

the subject of it is always the praises of Adam, and Noah, and

Abraham; whereof the former two peopled the world, and the

last was the father of the faithful: concluding ever with a

thanksgiving for the nativity of our Saviour, in whose birth

the births of all are only blessed.

Dinner being done, the tirsan retireth again; and having

withdrawn himself alone into a place, where he maketh some

private prayers, he cometh forth the third time, to give the

blessing; with all his descendants, who stand about him as at

the first. Then he calleth them forth by one and by one, by

name as he pleaseth, though seldom the order of age be inverted.

The person that is called (the table being before removed)

kneeleth down before the chair, and the father layeth his hand

upon his head, or her head, and giveth the blessing in these

words: "Son of Bensalem (or daughter of Bensalem), thy

father saith it; the man by whom thou hast breath and life

speaketh the word; the blessing of the everlasting Father, the

Prince of Peace, and the Holy Dove be upon thee, and make

the days of thy pilgrimage good and many." This he saith to

every of them; and that done, if there be any of his sons of emi-

nent merit and virtue, so they be not above two, he calleth for

them again, and saith, laying his arm over their shoulders, they

standing: "Sons, it is well you are born, give God the praise,

and persevere to the end;" and withal delivereth to either of

them a jewel, made in the figure of an ear of wheat, which they

ever after wear in the front of their turban, or hat; this done,

they fall to music and dances, and other recreations, after their

manner, for the rest of the day. This is the full order of that


By that time six or seven days were spent, I was fallen into

straight acquaintance with a merchant of that city, whose

name was Joabin. He was a Jew and circumcised; for they

have some few stirps of Jews yet remaining among them, whom

they leave to their own religion. Which they may the better

do, because they are of a far differing disposition from the Jews

in other parts. For whereas they hate the name of Christ, and

have a secret inbred rancor against the people among whom

they live; these, contrariwise, give unto our Saviour many high

attributes, and love the nation of Bensalem extremely. Surely

this man of whom I speak would ever acknowledge that Christ

was born of a Virgin; and that he was more than a man; and

he would tell how God made him ruler of the seraphim, which

guard his throne; and they call him also the Milken Way, and

the Eliah of the Messiah, and many other high names, which

though they be inferior to his divine majesty, yet they are far

from the language of other Jews. And for the country of Ben-

salem, this man would make no end of commending it, being

desirous by tradition among the Jews there to have it believed

that the people thereof were of the generations of Abraham,

by another son, whom they call Nachoran; and that Moses by a

secret cabala ordained the laws of Bensalem which they now

use; and that when the Messias should come, and sit in his

throne at Hierusalem, the King of Bensalem should sit at his

feet, whereas other kings should keep a great distance. But

yet setting aside these Jewish dreams, the man was a wise man

and learned, and of great policy, and excellently seen in the

laws and customs of that nation.

Among other discourses one day I told him, I was much af-

fected with the relation I had from some of the company of

their custom in holding the feast of the family, for that, me-

thought, I had never heard of a solemnity wherein nature did

so much preside. And because propagation of families pro-

ceedeth from the nuptial copulation, I desired to know of him

what laws and customs they had concerning marriage, and

whether they kept marriage well, and whether they were tied

to one wife? For that where population is so much affected,

and such as with them it seemed to be, there is commonly per-

mission of plurality of wives. To this he said:

"You have reason for to commend that excellent institution

of the feast of the family; and indeed we have experience, that

those families that are partakers of the blessings of that feast,

do flourish and prosper ever after, in an extraordinary manner.

But hear me now, and I will tell you what I know. You shall

understand that there is not under the heavens so chaste a

nation as this of Bensalem, nor so free from all pollution or

foulness. It is the virgin of the world; I remember, I have

read in one of your European books, of a holy hermit among

you, that desired to see the spirit of fornication, and there ap-

peared to him a little foul ugly Ethiope; but if he had desired

to see the spirit of chastity of Bensalem, it would have appeared

to him in the likeness of a fair beautiful cherub. For there

is nothing, among mortal men, more fair and admirable than

the chaste minds of this people.

"Know, therefore, that with them there are no stews, no dis-

solute houses, no courtesans, nor anything of that kind. Nay,

they wonder, with detestation, at you in Europe, which permit

such things. They say ye have put marriage out of office; for

marriage is ordained a remedy for unlawful concupiscence;

and natural concupiscence seemeth as a spur to marriage. But

when men have at hand a remedy, more agreeable to their cor-

rupt will, marriage is almost expulsed. And therefore there

are with you seen infinite men that marry not, but choose rather

a libertine and impure single life, than to be yoked in marriage;

and many that do marry, marry late, when the prime and

strength of their years are past. And when they do marry,

what is marriage to them but a very bargain; wherein is sought

alliance, or portion, or reputation, with some desire (almost in-

different) of issue; and not the faithful nuptial union of man

and wife, that was first instituted. Neither is it possible that

those that have cast away so basely so much of their strength,

should greatly esteem children (being of the same matter) as

chaste men do. So likewise during marriage is the case much

amended, as it ought to be if those things were tolerated only

for necessity; no, but they remain still as a very affront to mar-


"The haunting of those dissolute places, or resort to courte-

sans, are no more punished in married men than in bachelors.

And the depraved custom of change, and the delight in mere-

tricious embracements (where sin is turned into art), maketh

marriage a dull thing, and a kind of imposition or tax. They

hear you defend these things, as done to avoid greater evils;

as advoutries, deflowering of virgins, unnatural lust, and the

like. But they say this is a preposterous wisdom; and they call

it Lot's offer, who to save his guests from abusing, offered his

daughters; nay, they say further, that there is little gained in

this; for that the same vices and appetites do still remain and

abound, unlawful lust being like a furnace, that if you stop the

flames altogether it will quench, but if you give it any vent it

will rage; as for masculine love, they have no touch of it; and

yet there are not so faithful and inviolate friendships in the

world again as are there, and to speak generally (as I said be-

fore) I have not read of any such chastity in any people as

theirs. And their usual saying is that whosoever is unchaste

cannot reverence himself; and they say that the reverence of a

man's self, is, next religion, the chiefest bridle of all vices."

And when he had said this the good Jew paused a little;

whereupon I, far more willing to hear him speak on than to

speak myself; yet thinking it decent that upon his pause of

speech I should not be altogether silent, said only this; that I

would say to him, as the widow of Sarepta said to Elias: "that

he was come to bring to memory our sins; "and that I confess

the righteousness of Bensalem was greater than the righteous-

ness of Europe. At which speech he bowed his head, and went

on this manner:

"They have also many wise and excellent laws, touching

marriage. They allow no polygamy. They have ordained

that none do intermarry, or contract, until a month be past from

their first interview. Marriage without consent of parents they

do not make void, but they mulct it in the inheritors; for the

children of such marriages are not admitted to inherit above

a third part of their parents' inheritance. I have read in a book

of one of your men, of a feigned commonwealth, where the

married couple are permitted, before they contract, to see one

another naked. This they dislike; for they think it a scorn to

give a refusal after so familiar knowledge; but because of many

hidden defects in men and women's bodies, they have a more

civil way; for they have near every town a couple of pools

(which they call Adam and Eve's pools), where it is permitted

to one of the friends of the man, and another of the friends of

the woman, to see them severally bathe naked."

And as we were thus in conference, there came one that

seemed to be a messenger, in a rich huke, that spake with the

Jew; whereupon he turned to me, and said, "You will pardon

me, for I am commanded away in haste." The next morning

he came to me again, joyful as it seemed, and said: "There

is word come to the governor of the city, that one of the fathers

of Salomon's House will be here this day seven-night; we have

seen none of them this dozen years. His coming is in state;

but the cause of this coming is secret. I will provide you and

your fellows of a good standing to see his entry." I thanked

him, and told him I was most glad of the news.

The day being come he made his entry. He was a man of

middle stature and age, comely of person, and had an aspect as

if he pitied men. He was clothed in a robe of fine black cloth

and wide sleeves, and a cape: his under-garment was of ex-

cellent white linen down to the foot, girt with a girdle of the

same; and a sindon or tippet of the same about his neck. He

had gloves that were curious, and set with stone; and shoes

of peach-colored velvet. His neck was bare to the shoulders.

His hat was like a helmet, or Spanish montero; and his locks

curled below it decently; they were of color brown. His heard

was cut round and of the same color with his hair, somewhat

lighter. He was carried in a rich chariot, without wheels, lit-

ter-wise, with two horses at either end, richly trapped in blue

velvet embroidered; and two footmen on each side in the like

attire. The chariot was all of cedar, gilt and adorned with

crystal; save that the fore end had panels of sapphires set in

borders of gold, and the hinder end the like of emeralds of the

Peru color. There was also a sun of gold, radiant upon the

top, in the midst; and on the top before a small cherub of gold,

with wings displayed. The chariot was covered with cloth-of-

gold tissued upon blue. He had before him fifty attendants,

young men all, in white satin loose coats up to the mid-leg, and

stockings of white silk; and shoes of blue velvet; and hats of

blue velvet, with fine plumes of divers colors, set round like

hat-bands. Next before the chariot went two men, bare-

headed, in linen garments down to the foot, girt, and shoes of

blue velvet, who carried the one a crosier, the other a pastoral

staff like a sheep-hook; neither of them of metal, but the crosier

of balm-wood, the pastoral staff of cedar. Horsemen he had

none, neither before nor behind his chariot; as it seemeth, to

avoid all tumult and trouble. Behind his chariot went all the

officers and principals of the companies of the city. He sat

alone, upon cushions, of a kind of excellent plush, blue; and

under his foot curious carpets of silk of divers colors, like the

Persian, but far finer. He held up his bare hand, as he went,

as blessing the people, but in silence. The street was wonder-

fully well kept; so that there was never any army had their men

stand in better battle-array than the people stood. The win-

dows likewise were not crowded, but everyone stood in them,

as if they had been placed.

When the show was passed, the Jew said to me, "I shall not

be able to attend you as I would, in regard of some charge the

city hath laid upon me for the entertaining of this great person."

Three days after the Jew came to me again, and said: "Ye are

happy men; for the father of Salomon's House taketh knowl-

edge of your being here, and commanded me to tell you that he

will admit all your company to his presence, and have private

conference with one of you, that ye shall choose; and for this

hath appointed the next day after to-morrow. And because

he meaneth to give you his blessing, he hath appointed it in the

forenoon." We came at our day and hour, and I was chosen

by my fellows for the private access. We found him in a fair

chamber, richly hanged, and carpeted under foot, without any

degrees to the state; he was set upon a low throne richly

adorned, and a rich cloth of state over his head of blue satin

embroidered. He was alone, save that he had two pages of

honor, on either hand one, finely attired in white. His under-

garments were the like that we saw him wear in the chariot; but

instead of his gown, he had on him a mantle with a cape, of the

same fine black, fastened about him. When we came in, as we

were taught, we bowed low at our first entrance; and when

we were come near his chair, he stood up, holding forth his

hand ungloved, and in posture of blessing; and we every one

of us stooped down and kissed the end of his tippet. That

done, the rest departed, and I remained. Then he warned the

pages forth of the room, and caused me to sit down beside him,

and spake to me thus in the Spanish tongue:

"God bless thee, my son; I will give thee the greatest jewel

I have. For I will impart unto thee, for the love of God and

men, a relation of the true state of Salomon's House. Son, to

make you know the true state of Salomon's House, I will keep

this order. First, I will set forth unto you the end of our foun-

dation. Secondly, the preparations and instruments we have

for our works. Thirdly, the several employments and func-

tions whereto our fellows are assigned. And fourthly, the

ordinances and rites which we observe.

"The end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes,

and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the

bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible.

"The preparations and instruments are these: We have

large and deep caves of several depths; the deepest are sunk 600

fathoms; and some of them are digged and made under great

hills and mountains; so that if you reckon together the depth

of the hill and the depth of the cave, they are, some of them,

above three miles deep. For we find that the depth of a hill

and the depth of a cave from the flat are the same thing; both

remote alike from the sun and heaven's beams, and from the

open air. These caves we call the lower region. And we use

them for all coagulations, indurations, refrigerations, and con-

servations of bodies. We use them likewise for the imitation

of natural mines and the producing also of new artificial metals,

by compositions and materials which we use and lay there for

many years. We use them also sometimes (which may seem

strange) for curing of some diseases, and for prolongation of

life, in some hermits that choose to live there, well accommo-

dated of all things necessary, and indeed live very long; by

whom also we learn many things.

"We have burials in several earths, where we put divers ce-

ments, as the Chinese do their porcelain. But we have them in

greater variety, and some of them more fine. We also have

great variety of composts and soils, for the making of the earth


"We have high towers, the highest about half a mile in

height, and some of them likewise set upon high mountains,

so that the vantage of the hill with the tower is in the highest

of them three miles at least. And these places we call the

upper region, account the air between the high places and the

low as a middle region. We use these towers, according to

their several heights and situations, for insulation, refrigera-

tion, conservation, and for the view of divers meteors -- as

winds, rain, snow, hail, and some of the fiery meteors also.

And upon them in some places are dwellings of hermits, whom

we visit sometimes and instruct what to observe.

"We have great lakes, both salt and fresh, whereof we have

use for the fish and fowl. We use them also for burials of some

natural bodies, for we find a difference in things buried in earth,

or in air below the earth, and things buried in water. We have

also pools, of which some do strain fresh water out of salt, and

others by art do turn fresh water into salt. We have also some

rocks in the midst of the sea, and some bays upon the shore for

some works, wherein are required the air and vapor of the sea.

We have likewise violent streams and cataracts, which serve us

for many motions; and likewise engines for multiplying and

enforcing of winds to set also on divers motions.

"We have also a number of artificial wells and fountains,

made in imitation of the natural sources and baths, as tincted

upon vitriol, sulphur, steel, brass, lead, nitre, and other min-

erals; and again, we have little wells for infusions of many

things, where the waters take the virtue quicker and better than

in vessels or basins. And among them we have a water, which

we call water of paradise, being by that we do it made very

sovereign for health and prolongation of life.

"We have also great and spacious houses, where we imitate

and demonstrate meteors -- as snow, hail, rain, some artificial

rains of bodies and not of water, thunders, lightnings; also gen-

erations of bodies in air -- as frogs, flies, and divers others.

"We have also certain chambers, which we call chambers

of health, where we qualify the air as we think good and proper

for the cure of divers diseases and preservation of health.

"We have also fair and large baths, of several mixtures, for

the cure of diseases, and the restoring of man's body from are-

faction; and others for the confirming of it in strength of

sinews, vital parts, and the very juice and substance of the body.

"We have also large and various orchards and gardens,

wherein we do not so much respect beauty as variety of ground

and soil, proper for divers trees and herbs, and some very spa-

cious, where trees and berries are set, whereof we make divers

kinds of drinks, beside the vineyards. In these we practise

likewise all conclusions of grafting, and inoculating, as well of

wild-trees as fruit-trees, which produceth many effects. And

we make by art, in the same orchards and gardens, trees and

flowers, to come earlier or later than their seasons, and to come

up and bear more speedily than by their natural course they do.

We make them also by art greater much than their nature; and

their fruit greater and sweeter, and of differing taste, smell,

color, and figure, from their nature. And many of them we so

order as that they become of medicinal use.

"We have also means to make divers plants rise by mixtures

of earths without seeds, and likewise to make divers new plants,

differing from the vulgar, and to make one tree or plant turn

into another.

"We have also parks, and enclosures of all sorts, of beasts

and birds; which we use not only for view or rareness, but like-

wise for dissections and trials, that thereby may take light what

may be wrought upon the body of man. Wherein we find many

strange effects: as continuing life in them, though divers parts,

which you account vital, be perished and taken forth; resusci-

tating of some that seem dead in appearance, and the like. We

try also all poisons, and other medicines upon them, as well of

chirurgery as physic. By art likewise we make them greater

or smaller than their kind is, and contrariwise dwarf them and

stay their growth; we make them more fruitful and bearing

than their kind is, and contrariwise barren and not generative.

Also we make them differ in color, shape, activity, many ways.

We find means to make commixtures and copulations of divers

kinds, which have produced many new kinds, and them not

barren, as the general opinion is. We make a number of kinds

of serpents, worms, flies, fishes of putrefaction, whereof some

are advanced (in effect) to be perfect creatures, like beasts or

birds, and have sexes, and do propagate. Neither do we this

by chance, but we know beforehand of what matter and com-

mixture, what kind of those creatures will arise.

"We have also particular pools where we make trials upon

fishes, as we have said before of beasts and birds.

"We have also places for breed and generation of those kinds

of worms and flies which are of special use; such as are with

you your silkworms and bees.

"I will not hold you long with recounting of our brew-

houses, bake-houses, and kitchens, where are made divers

drinks, breads, and meats, rare and of special effects. Wines

we have of grapes, and drinks of other juice, of fruits, of grains,

and of roots, and of mixtures with honey, sugar, manna, and

fruits dried and decocted; also of the tears or wounding of trees

and of the pulp of canes. And these drinks are of several ages,

some to the age or last of forty years. We have drinks also

brewed with several herbs and roots and spices; yea, with sev-

eral fleshes and white meats; whereof some of the drinks are

such as they are in effect meat and drink both, so that divers,

especially in age, do desire to live with them with little or no

meat or bread. And above all we strive to have drinks of ex-

treme thin parts, to insinuate into the body, and yet without

all biting, sharpness, or fretting; insomuch as some of them

put upon the back of your hand, will with a little stay pass

through to the palm, and yet taste mild to the mouth. We have

also waters, which we ripen in that fashion, as they become

nourishing, so that they are indeed excellent drinks, and many

will use no other. Bread we have of several grains, roots, and

kernels; yea, and some of flesh, and fish, dried; with divers

kinds of leavings and seasonings; so that some do extremely

move appetites, some do nourish so as divers do live of them,

without any other meat, who live very long. So for meats, we

have some of them so beaten, and made tender, and mortified,

yet without all corrupting, as a weak heat of the stomach will

turn them into good chilus, as well as a strong heat would meat

otherwise prepared. We have some meats also and bread, and

drinks, which, taken by men, enable them to fast long after;

and some other, that used make the very flesh of men's bodies

sensibly more hard and tough, and their strength far greater

than otherwise it would be.

"We have dispensatories or shops of medicines; wherein you

may easily think, if we have such variety of plants, and living

creatures, more than you have in Europe (for we know what

you have), the simples, drugs, and ingredients of medicines,

must likewise be in so much the greater variety. We have

them likewise of divers ages, and long fermentations. And for

their preparations, we have not only all manner of exquisite

distillations, and separations, and especially by gentle heats, and

percolations through divers strainers, yea, and substances; but

also exact forms of composition, whereby they incorporate al-

most as they were natural simples.

"We have also divers mechanical arts, which you have not;

and stuffs made by them, as papers, linen, silks, tissues, dainty

works of feathers of wonderful lustre, excellent dyes, and many

others, and shops likewise as well for such as are not brought

into vulgar use among us, as for those that are. For you must

know, that of the things before recited, many of them are grown

into use throughout the kingdom, but yet, if they did flow from

our invention, we have of them also for patterns and principals.

"We have also furnaces of great diversities, and that keep

great diversity of heats; fierce and quick, strong and constant,

soft and mild, blown, quiet, dry, moist, and the like. But above

all we have heats, in imitation of the sun's and heavenly bodies'

heats, that pass divers inequalities, and as it were orbs, prog-

resses, and returns whereby we produce admirable effects. Be-

sides, we have heats of dungs, and of bellies and maws of living

creatures and of their bloods and bodies, and of hays and herbs

laid up moist, of lime unquenched, and such like. Instruments

also which generate heat only by motion. And farther, places

for strong insulations; and, again, places under the earth, which

by nature or art yield heat. These divers heats we use as the

nature of the operation which we intend requireth.

"We have also perspective houses, where we make demon-

strations of all lights and radiations and of all colors; and out

of things uncolored and transparent we can represent unto you

all several colors, not in rainbows, as it is in gems and prisms,

but of themselves single. We represent also all multiplications

of light, which we carry to great distance, and make so sharp

as to discern small points and lines. Also all colorations of

light: all delusions and deceits of the sight, in figures, magni-

tudes, motions, colors; all demonstrations of shadows. We

find also divers means, yet unknown to you, of producing of

light, originally from divers bodies. We procure means of see-

ing objects afar off, as in the heaven and remote places; and

represent things near as afar off, and things afar off as near;

making feigned distances. We have also helps for the sight

far above spectacles and glasses in use; we have also glasses

and means to see small and minute bodies, perfectly and dis-

tinctly; as the shapes and colors of small flies and worms,

grains, and flaws in gems which cannot otherwise be seen, ob-

servations in urine and blood not otherwise to be seen. We

make artificial rainbows, halos, and circles about light. We

represent also all manner of reflections, refractions, and multi-

plications of visual beams of objects.

"We have also precious stones, of all kinds, many of them

of great beauty and to you unknown, crystals likewise, and

glasses of divers kind; and among them some of metals vitrifi-

cated, and other materials, besides those of which you make

glass. Also a number of fossils and imperfect minerals, which

you have not. Likewise loadstones of prodigious virtue, and

other rare stones, both natural and artificial.

"We have also sound-houses, where we practise and demon-

strate all sounds and their generation. We have harmony

which you have not, of quarter-sounds and lesser slides of

sounds. Divers instruments of music likewise to you unknown,

some sweeter than any you have; with bells and rings that are

dainty and sweet. We represent small sounds as great and

deep, likewise great sounds extenuate and sharp; we make

divers tremblings and warblings of sounds, which in their orig-

inal are entire. We represent and imitate all articulate sounds

and letters, and the voices and notes of beasts and birds. We

have certain helps which, set to the ear, do further the hearing

greatly; we have also divers strange and artificial echoes, re-

flecting the voice many times, and, as it were, tossing it; and

some that give back the voice louder than it came, some shriller

and some deeper; yea, some rendering the voice, differing in the

letters or articulate sound from that they receive. We have all

means to convey sounds in trunks and pipes, in strange lines

and distances.

"We have also perfume-houses, wherewith we join also

practices of taste. We multiply smells which may seem

strange: we imitate smells, making all smells to breathe out of

other mixtures than those that give them. We make divers

imitations of taste likewise, so that they will deceive any man's

taste. And in this house we contain also a confiture-house,

where we make all sweatmeats, dry and moist, and divers pleas-

ant wines, milks, broths, and salads, far in greater variety than

you have.

"We have also engine-houses, where are prepared engines

and instruments for all sorts of motions. There we imitate

and practise to make swifter motions than any you have, either

out of your muskets or any engine that you have; and to make

them and multiply them more easily and with small force, by

wheels and other means, and to make them stronger and more

violent than yours are, exceeding your greatest cannons and

basilisks. We represent also ordnance and instruments of war

and engines of all kinds; and likewise new mixtures and com-

positions of gunpowder, wild-fires burning in water and un-

quenchable, also fire-works of all variety, both for pleasure and

use. We imitate also flights of birds; we have some degrees

of flying in the air. We have ships and boats for going under

water and brooking of seas, also swimming-girdles and sup-

porters. We have divers curious clocks and other like motions

of return, and some perpetual motions. We imitate also mo-

tions of living creatures by images of men, beasts, birds, fishes,

and serpents; we have also a great number of other various

motions, strange for equality, fineness, and subtilty.

"We have also a mathematical-house, where are represented

all instruments, as well of geometry as astronomy, exquisitely


"We have also houses of deceits of the senses, where we rep-

resent all manner of feats of juggling, false apparitions, im-

postures and illusions, and their fallacies. And surely you will

easily believe that we, that have so many things truly natural

which induce admiration, could in a world of particulars de-

ceive the senses if we would disguise those things, and labor

to make them more miraculous. But we do hate all impostures

and lies, insomuch as we have severely forbidden it to all our

fellows, under pain of ignominy and fines, that they do not show

any natural work or thing adorned or swelling, but only pure

as it is, and without all affectation of strangeness.

"These are, my son, the riches of Salomon's House.

"For the several employments and offices of our fellows, we

have twelve that sail into foreign countries under the names of

other nations (for our own we conceal), who bring us the

books and abstracts, and patterns of experiments of all other

parts. These we call merchants of light.

"We have three that collect the experiments which are in all

books. These we call depredators.

"We have three that collect the experiments of all mechani-

cal arts, and also of liberal sciences, and also of practices which

are not brought into arts. These we call mystery-men.

"We have three that try new experiments, such as themselves

think good. These we call pioneers or miners.

"We have three that draw the experiments of the former

four into titles and tables, to give the better light for the draw-

ing of observations and axioms out of them. These we call

compilers. We have three that bend themselves, looking into

the experiments of their fellows, and cast about how to draw

out of them things of use and practice for man's life and knowl-

edge, as well for works as for plain demonstration of causes,

means of natural divinations, and the easy and clear discovery

of the virtues and parts of bodies. These we call dowry-men

or benefactors.

"Then after divers meetings and consults of our whole num-

ber, to consider of the former labors and collections, we have

three that take care out of them to direct new experiments, of

a higher light, more penetrating into nature than the former.

These we call lamps.

"We have three others that do execute the experiments so

directed, and report them. These we call inoculators.

"Lastly, we have three that raise the former discoveries by

experiments into greater observations, axioms, and aphorisms.

These we call interpreters of nature.

"We have also, as you must think, novices and apprentices,

that the succession of the former employed men do not fail; be-

sides a great number of servants and attendants, men and

women. And this we do also: we have consultations, which of

the inventions and experiences which we have discovered shall

be published, and which not; and take all an oath of secrecy for

the concealing of those which we think fit to keep secret;

though some of those we do reveal sometime to the State, and

some not.

"For our ordinances and rites we have two very long and

fair galleries. In one of these we place patterns and samples

of all manner of the more rare and excellent inventions; in the

other we place the statues of all principal inventors. There we

have the statue of your Columbus, that discovered the West

Indies, also the inventor of ships, your monk that was the in-

ventor of ordnance and of gunpowder, the inventor of music,

the inventor of letters, the inventor of printing, the inventor of

observations of astronomy, the inventor of works in metal, the

inventor of glass, the inventor of silk of the worm, the inventor

of wine, the inventor of corn and bread, the inventor of sugars;

and all these by more certain tradition than you have. Then

we have divers inventors of our own, of excellent works; which,

since you have not seen) it were too long to make descriptions

of them; and besides, in the right understanding of those de-

scriptions you might easily err. For upon every invention of

value we erect a statue to the inventor, and give him a liberal

and honorable reward. These statues are some of brass, some

of marble and touchstone, some of cedar and other special

woods gilt and adorned; some of iron, some of silver, some of


"We have certain hymns and services, which we say daily,

of laud and thanks to God for His marvellous works. And

forms of prayers, imploring His aid and blessing for the illumi-

nation of our labors; and turning them into good and holy uses.

"Lastly, we have circuits or visits, of divers principal cities

of the kingdom; where as it cometh to pass we do publish such

new profitable inventions as we think good. And we do also

declare natural divinations of diseases, plagues, swarms of

hurtful creatures, scarcity, tempest, earthquakes, great inunda-

tions, comets, temperature of the year, and divers other things;

and we give counsel thereupon, what the people shall do for the

prevention and remedy of them."

And when he had said this he stood up, and I, as I had been

taught, knelt down; and he laid his right hand upon my head,

and said: "God bless thee, my son, and God bless this relation

which I have made. I give thee leave to publish it, for the good

of other nations; for we here are in God's bosom, a land un-

known." And so he left me; having assigned a value of about

2,000 ducats for a bounty to me and my fellows. For they give

great largesses, where they come, upon all occasions.