Relations of the Most Famous Kingdomes and Common-wealths Thorowout the World
About this text
Relations of the most famous kingdoms and common-wealths throughout the world discoursing of their situations was published in 1630. It was written by Giovanni Botero. It is a narrative which looks at various aspects of travel in some countries including Great Britain.Giovanni Botero was born around 1544. He was an Italian poet, thinker and diplomat. He died in 1617. Relations of the most famous kingdoms and common-wealths throughout the world has detail on Great Britain , something not readily available from a contemporary European perspective. Primary Reading Botero Giovanni, Relations of the most famous kingdoms and common-wealths throughout the world,John Havilland. Suggested Reading Edward, Reading Enquiries touching the diversity of languages , John Bill.
THE MOST FAMOUS
Discoursing of their Situations, Religions, Languages,
Manners, Customes, Strengths, Greatnesse and Policies.
Translated out of the best Italian Impression of Boterus.
And since the last Edition by R. I.
Now once againe inlarged according to moderne observation;
With Addition of new Estates and Countries.
Wherein many of the oversights both of the Author and
Translator, are amended.
And unto which, a Mappe of the whole World, with a Table of the
Countries, are now newly added.
Printed by JOHN HAVILAND, and are to be sold by JOHN
PARTRIDGE at the signe of the Sunne in Pauls
PUBLISHED BY JOHN HAVILAND
First therefore, according to best Authoritie, let us firmely beleeve, that the Creator of all things hath not bestowed upon any particular Region like and semblable blessings to another; but that (as experience may warrant) to some one Countrey he hath given this good favour, to another that; partly in regard of situation, partly by operation of his ministers, as starres, winds, heat, cold, water, aire, diet, &c. Athenis tenue coelum, Thebis crassum: Athens enjoyes a cleare skie, and Thebes a foggie. And therefore without offence, by the testimonie of good Authors, wee may bee bold to conjecture, that the people & Nations inhabiting divers climates of this vast universe, are endowed with divers, strange, and opposite dispositions: It is naturall to the Inhabitants bounding upon the North, to be biggest boned, strongest set, and aptest for labour: and to the nations of the South, to bee weake, yet more subtill. Acuriores Attici, valentes Thebani; The Athenians are the sharper witted, but the Thebans are the abler bodied.
Now, how farre these Influences of North and South stretch in operation; or where the East and West put periods to their owne potencies; or what, in generall truth, is to be affirmed of their divers manners and qualities, is hard to say; and the harder, for that no man hitherto hath presumed to undertake the taske amidst so many obscurities. For if all credit should be given to Hippocrates, (whose authoritie was ever held oraculous) he will tell you, That the people of the North are slender, dwarfish, lean and swarthie: And Averrois will be bold to affirme, that the mountaine people are most pious and wittie: whereas universall experience doth condemne them of rudenesse and barbarisme. The ignorance of the Ancients (saith Bodin) was once so grosse, that not a few of them deemed the Ocean a River, all Iberia but a Citie.
And because all the Ancients in like error (except Possidonius and Avicen) limited the possibilitie of habitation, to consist wholly betweene the Tropikes and the polar Circles; affirming, that beyond there was no health, no place peopled, &c. let this erroneous imagination for evermore be silenced, by the authoritie of all moderne Navigators, who have found the wholsomest and best peopled Countries of all those parts, to lie under the Aequator: and the regions situated under the Tropikes, to bee tormented with more rigorous heat. Alvarez reporteth, that the Abassine Embassador arriving at Lisbon in Portugall, was that day almost choaked with heat; and yet is Abassia or Prester Johns country from whence he came, neere upon 30. degrees more Southerly than Lisbon is: yea, and betweene the Tropike of Cancer and the Aequator also, part of it lying even beyond the Line. And Purquer the Germane reported, that he had felt the weather hotter about Dantzike, and the Baltike Sea, than at Tholouza in a fervent Summer; not-withstanding that Dantzike be farre more Northerly than Tholouza. And this is no paradox: The cause with good judgement being to bee ascribed to the grossnesse and thicknesse of the aire; considering that Europe and the North are full of waters; which bursting out from [Page 4] hidden and unknowne concavities, doe produce infinite bogs, fens, lakes, and marishes, in the Summer seasons causing thicke vapours to ascend. Which (without doubt) being incorporated with heat, scorch more fervently, than the purer aire of Affrike, being stored with no such super-abundance of watry elements: Even so fire, being invested in the body of liquors, or metals, scaldeth more furiously than in wood; and in wood, more fervently than in flame. And if the keepers of stoves and hot houses, doe not sprinkle the ground with water, that the vapour being contracted and the aire thickned, they may thereby the longer and better maintaine heat, and spare fuell; you must (for me) wander into the schooles of more profound Philosophers for further satisfaction.
Lastly, sithence Plato, one of the Daystarres of that knowledge, which then but dawning, hath since shone out in cleerer brightnesse; thought nothing fitter, for the bettering of our understanding, than Travell: as-well by having a conference with the wiser sort in all kindes of learning, as by the Eyesight of those things, which otherwise a man cannot attaine unto, but by Tradition. (A sandy foundation either in matter of Science, or Conscience) Let me also in this place be bold to informe you, that all purpose to Travell, if it be not, ad voluptatem solùm, sed ad utilitatem, argueth an industrious and generous minde. Base and vulgar spirits hover still about home: Those are more Noble and Divine, that imitate the Heavens, and joy in motion.
Hee therefore that intends to Travell out of his owne Countrey, must likewise resolve to Travell out of his Countrey fashion, and indeed out of himselfe: that is, out of his former intemperate feeding, disordinate drinking, thriftlesse gaming, fruitlesse timespending, violent exercising, and irregular misgoverning whatsoever. He must determine, that the end of his Travell, is his ripening in knowledge; and the end of his knowledge, is the service of his Countrey, which of right, challengeth the better part of us.
This is done, by preservation of himselfe from Hazards of Travell, and Observation of what he heares and sees in his Travelling. The Hazards, are two: of the Minde, and of the Body: that, by the infection of Errours, this by the corruption of Manners. For who so drinketh of the poysonous cup of the one, or tasteth the sower liquor of the other, the true rellish of Religion and Vertue, bringeth ome a leaprous Soule, and a tainted body, retaining nothing [Page 47] thing but the shame of either, or repentance of both: whereof in my Travell I have seene some examples, and by them made use, to prevent both mischiefes, which I will briefly shew: And first of the better part. Concerning the Travellers Religion, I teach not what it should be, (being out of my Element) nor inquire what it is, (being out of my Commission;) only my hopes are, he be of the religion here established: and my advice is, he be therein well setled; and that howsoever his imagination shall be carried in the voluble Sphere of divers mens discourses; yet his inmost thoughts (like lines in a Circle) shall alwayes concenter in this immoveable point; Not to alter his first Faith: For I know, that, as all innovation is dangerous in a State; so is this change in the little Commonwealth of a Man. And it is to be feared, that he which is of one Religion in his youth, and of another in his manhood, will in his age be of neither.
Wherefore, if my Traveller will keep this Bird safe in his bosome, he must neither be inquisitive after other mens Religions, nor prompt to discover his owne. For I hold him unwise, who in a strange Countrey, will either shew his minde, or his money. A true friend is as hard to finde as a Phoenix, of which the whole world affoords but one, and therefore let not this my Traveller, be so blinde as to thinke to finde him every where, in his owne imagination. Damon and Pithias, Pilades and Orestes are all dead, or else it is but a dead Story. And therefore let him remember that Nature alters, like humours and complexions, every minute of an houre.
And as I would not have him to change, so would I wish him, to beware how he heare any thing repugnant thereto: for as I have tied his tongue, so must I stop his ears, left they be open to the smooth incantations of an insinuating Seducer, or the subtill arguments of a sophisticall adversarie. To this effect, I must precisely forbid him the fellowship or company of one sort of people in generall; those are the lefvites, underminers and inveiglers of greene wits, seducers [Page 48] of men in matter of Faith, and subverters of men in matter of State; making of both a bad Christian, and a worse Subject. These men I would have my Traveller never heare, except in the Pulpit; for being eloquent, they speake excellent language; and being wise, (therefore best knowing how to speake to best purpose) they seldome, or never handle matter of controversie.
As for other orders of Religion, Friers of Monkes, or whatsoever, let him use them for his bettering, either in matter of language, or other knowledge. They are good companions, they are not so dangerous; they talke more of their cheere, than of their Church; of their feasts, than their Faith; of good wine, than good workes; of Curtisans, than Christianitie. The reason is, because few of them are learned, many carelesse in their profession, almost all dissolute in their conversation. I have excepted against the Persons: I will now protest against the Places. These are, Rome, Rhemes, and Doway, but these two last, being out of all ordinary road of Travell; I say, he that goes that way, goes doubly out of his way, and shall neither have this discourse for his direction, nor me for his companion. Let me only say of Rome, because it is the Seminary and Nursery of English Fugitives, and yet a place most worthy to be seene, (vel antiquitatis causa, vel novitatis) that it is suspected of all, knowne to many, and proved by some, to be dangerous that way.
Thus much of the Persons and Places have I noted, hee that shall meet with others of like condition and danger, let him see and shun. It remaneth I speake of bettering the minde, by the knowledge and understanding of tongues: for, as for learning the liberall Sciences, he hath much better meanes at home; their manner of teaching, and orders of Universities, being farre inferiour to ours.
For the attaining therefore of Language, it is convenient, that he make choice of the best places: These are, Orleans for the French; Florence for the Italian; and Lipsicke for the Dutch tongues: for in these places is the best Language spoken.
And as we observe a difference of speech in our Countrey; of the North, from the South; and the West, from both: or as wee have learned of the Greeks, that they had five severall kindes of Dialects: so differ they infinitely in Germany, but that of Misnia is the best, where Lipsicke stands. More in France, where the Picard speakes one, the Norman another, the Gascoigne his, the Provenciall and Savoyard theirs, the Inlanders theirs: but of all these, the Orleanois is the best. As also in Italy, the Roman hath one kinde of phrase and pronunciation; the Neapolitan, another; the Venetian a third; the Bergamasco, a worse; but the best of all is the Tuscan, where Florence stands: yet I prescribe not these places so precisely, as that he may not live in others, and learne the Language as well: for in Tuscany, Stena, and Prato, are some places, where the speech is as good, as that of Florence, and more retired, and of lesse charge: therefore fitter for some, whose proportion for expence is but small. So have ye in Germany, Heidleburge as good as Lipsick. And in France, Blois as good as Orleans.
Having made choice of the place, his next care must be to make choice of a good Reader, whereof he shall finde in Travell great scarcity. Let good acquaintance, or good fortune, bring him to the best.
For were it, that there were good Readers, it were here needlesse to set downe a course of learning: for hee might have a better direction from them. But for the cause alleaged, I will presume to advise him, that the most compendious way of attaining the tongue (whether French, or Italian) is by Booke; I meane for the knowledge. For as for the speaking, he shall never attaine it, but by continuall practice and conversation. He shall therefore first learne his Nounes and Verbs by heart, and specially the Articles, and their uses, with the words, Sum and Habeo: for in these, consist the greatest observation of that part of speech. Let not your Reader reade any Booke of Poetry and the first, but some other kinde of Stile; and I thinke meetest, some moderne Comedie.
Let his Lecture consist, more in questions and answers, either of the one or the other, than in the Readers continued speech; for this is for the most part idle and fruitlesse: by the other, many errours and mistakings, either in pronunciation, or sense, are reformed.
After three moneths, he shall quit his Lectures, and use his Master, only to walke with, and discourse, first the one and then the other: for thus shall be observe the right use of the phrase in his Reader, heare his owne faults reproved, and grow readie and prompt in his owne delivery: which with the right straine of the accent, are the two hardest things in language.
Privately hee may for his pleasure reade Poetry, especially, if at his returne, hee meane to Court it: but for his profit, if hee be a man of meanes, and likely hereafter to beare charge in his Countrey: or if a man of endevours, and willing to preferre himselfe by service, I wish him to Historie: If one that would make a fortune by the warres, I commend him (beside History) to the Mathematicks, discourses of warre, and bookes of fortification.
To this Reading he must adde a continuall talking, and exercising of his speech with all sorts of people, with boldnesse, and much assurance in himselfe: for I have often observed in others, that nothing hath more prejudiced their profiting, than their owne diffidence and distrust. To this I would have him adde an often writing, either of matter of translation, or of his owne invention, where againe is requisite to the Readers eye, to censure and correct: for who so cannot write the language he speakes, I count he hath but halfe the language.
These then, are the two only meanes of obtaining a language, of speaking and writing: but the first is the chiefest, and therefore I must advertise the Traveller of the one thing, which in other Countries, is a greater hinderer thereof: namely, the often haunting, and frequenting of our own Countreymen, whereof he must have a speciall care, neither to distaste them by a too much retirednesse, nor to [Page 51] hinder himselfe by too much familiarity.
It is thought also, that one language is a hinderance to the pronunciation (if not learning) of another: which if it be in any, is in the pronouncing, not the learning: and in the Italian to the French, not contrary. To this effect therefore, I would wish the Traveller, first to spend his time in France, which language will much helpe to the understanding, and nothing hinder the speaking of the Italian, especially in us; who of all other Nations pronounce this language best next themselves, by their owne confession.
There is also another reason, why I would have him see Italy last, because we best remember the last impressions; and I would rather he should come home Italianate, than Frenchified: I speake of both in the better sense: for the French is stirring, bold, respectlesse, inconstant, sudden. The Italian, stayed, demure, respective, grave, advised. I would wish the Traveller therefore (because I speake now of bettering his minde by conversation) observe with judgement, what he seeth in these Nations of Italy, France and Germany, (for further I guide him not) & out of their better parts, leaving the worse to themselves, gather so much to his use, as may make him a complete Gentleman. For example, he shall observe, that the French hath valour; but he hath withall, Vanitatem & Levitatem. The Italian hath a discreet fashion of carriage; but, with this he hath Proterviam & libidinem: The Dutch hath an honest and reall manner of dealing, but non sine commessatione & ebrietate. Let him now of these three, learne their three vertues, so shall he come home a Valiant, Wise and Honest man. This is a better purchase than the Italian huffe of the shoulder, or the Dutch puffe with the pot, or the French Apishnesse, which many Travellers bring home.
Touching conference, observe these rules: For the time, let it be, when you give leave to your minde to recreate your spirits, that you may the better conceive what you heare, and best digest things subject to your understanding. Let therefore the houres be in the morning, and in the Evening, [Page 52] when the senses are fresh, and the wits quiet. But if you finde your senses dull with melancholy passions, quicken them shortly with some good societie. Touching the persons, let them be of some good yeares for the most part, though sometime to heare a young man, will prove no prejudice. Observe opportunitie, sometime discoursing with the learned concerning History, the better to benefit memory by application of examples. At other times, frequent the company of the expert, that by noting their observations, and suting them to particular judgement, you may discerne the difference betweene Art and Nature, Experience and Learning. Sometime discourse with the souldier, that in hearing of a drumme, you be not daunted in a skirmish. Conferre much with Travellers, that by their discourse of forren natures, you may the better discerne of domesticall disposition: Forget not the Divines for the comfort of your soules, nor neglect the reading of Scripture, for the better direction of your life and conscience. Talke not with women upon idle occasions, lest you trouble their wits, or displease their humours. To conferre with fooles is frivolous; with the wicked dangerous; but with the honest availeable, for they are vertuous; and with the wise profitable, for they are gracious.
It now followeth, that I speake of the Body, which is preserved in good state, by diet and exercise: For his diet, I neither prescribe what, nor how much to eat, I presume him able before he set out, to keepe his nose from his sleeve, feed himselfe, and be his owne carver: Onely, I must advise him to beware of their Wines, which agree not with some natures, & are hurtfull to all, in those hotter Countries, except sparingly taken, or well qualified with water. As for his viands, I feare not his surfetting; his provision is never so great, but ye may let him loose to his allowance. For I would not have him live at his owne provision, (especially in France) it will hinder his profiting, and onely further him with some few kitchen and market phrases. Let him be still in pension with others, so they be such, whose language he [Page 53] learneth. His care shall be the lesse, his profit the greater, & his expence nothing the more. I shall not need to tell him before, what his diet shall be, his appetite will make it better than it is; for he shall be still kept sharpe: onely of the difference of diets, he shall observe thus much; that that of Germany is full, or rather fulsome; that of France, allowable; that of Italy, tolerable; with the Dutch, he shall have much meat, ill dressed; with the French, lesse, but well handled; with the Italian, neither the one, nor the other. As for his Exercises, there is danger but of one in France, and this is Tennis play: this is dangerous (if used with too much violence) for the body: and (if followed with too much diligence) for the purse, a maine point of the Travellers care. There is another exercise to be learned in France, because there are better teachers: and the French fashion is in most request with us, and that is Dancing. This I meane to my Traveller that is young, & means to follow the Court; otherwise, I hold it needlesse, and in some ridiculous.
These former therefore are two exrcises, which I permit, but with their limitation. There remaine two other, to which I perswade: those tolerable, these commendable; those of grace and complement, these of use and necessity, to him that will returne ably qualified for his Countries service in warre, and his owne defence in private quarrell. These are Riding, and Fencing. His best place for the first (excepting Naples) is in Florence: and for the second (excepting Rome) is in Padua. I must now advise him, of such things as are without himselfe, but within the compasse of his owne care: Those are Money, Bookes, Apparell.
Money, the finewes of warre, and soule of Travell, as at home, so abroad, is the man. They say he should have two bagges, the one of Crownes, the other of Patience: but howsoever this last bee empty, I could wish that other were still full, whereout he must proportion his yearly expence, not exceeding the limits of his propounded allowance. If hee Travell without a servant, fourescore pounds [Page 54] sterling is a competent proportion, except he learne to ride: if he maintaine both these charges, he can be allowed no lesse than an hundred and fifty pounds: and to allow above two hundred, were superfluous, and to his hurt. And thus ratably according to the number he keepeth.
The ordinary rate of his expence, is this: ten gold Crownes a moneth his owne diet, eight for his man, (at the most) two Crownes a moneth his Fencing, as much for Dancing, and no lesse for his Reading, and fifteene crownes monethly for his Riding: but this exercise hee shall discontinue all the heat of the yeare. The remainder of his hundred and fifty pound, I allow him for Apparell, Books, Travelling, Charges, Tennisplay, and other extraordinary expences.
Let him have foure bils of exchange with him, for the whole yeare, with Letters of advice, to be paid him quarterly, by equall portions: so shall he not want his money at the day, nor be driven to those shifts, which I have seene divers put to, by long expecting Letters out of England; which either their friends forgetfulnesse, or the Carriers negligence, or the miscarrying of their letters, by intercepting or other accident, hath caused.
If he carry over money with him (as by our Law he cannot carry much) let it bee in double Pistolets, or French crownes of weight: by these he is sure to sustaine losse in no place: and in Italy to gaine above twelve pence in the pound. Concerning his bookes, let them be few or none, to carry from place to place: or if any, that they be not such as are prohibited by the Inquisition: lest, when his Male is searched (as it is at every Cities gate in Italy) they bring him to trouble: whatsoever they be, they will put him to charge, for he payeth Tole for them at every such Towne. I would only have him to carry the papers of his own observation; especially a Journall, wherin from day to day, he shall set downe the divers Provinces he passeth, with their commodities; the Townes, with their manner of buildings; the [Page 55] names, and benefit of the Rivers; the distance of places; the condition of the soyle; manners of the people, and: what else his eye meeteth by the way remarkable.
When hee commeth to the place of his residence, let him furnish himselfe with the best bookes of that profession, to which he addicted his study, or other he shall finde, not to be got here in England; and at his departure, send them home by his Merchants meanes.
I must advise as well for his Apparell, as for his Bookes: that upon his journey, he be not overcharged with overmuch luggage; even a light burthen farre carried, is heavy: beside, somewhat is like wise to be paid for these, at the entry of every City gate. Let him also take heed, that the apparell he weares, be in fashion in the place where he resideth: for it is no lesse ridiculous to weare clothes of our fashion among them, than at our returne to use still their fashion among us. A notorious affectation of many Travellers.
And lastly, because it is not amisse, to be acquainted as well with the divers natures of Nations, soyles, and people, as with theorike of instructions: first, I counsell my Traveller, not to make any long abode in any Region, which he findeth not agreeable to his naturall constitution; neither let him be ignorant of such comforts, as may prove best preservatives for his health: for although I hold it not best discretion to use the body to much physicke, yet in causes of extremity, to know the helpe of Nature, I hold it no vanity.
For the Soile (wherein Townes and Cities are seated) if it be sandy or gravelly ground, and neere unto some fresh brooks, springs, or river, it may probably promise health, both to the inhabitant and stranger: but if the earth bee moorish, and stand much upon springs, and low towards the Sea, it may prove healthfull to the inhabitant, yet hurtfull to the stranger, comming from a more healthfull Soile.
For the people, let him chuse chiefly, and longest to stay amongst those kinde of Nations, who stand most affected [Page 56] to the nature of his native Country, and let him bee never perswaded, that his neerest neighbours are his greatest friends; for you shall often finde no greater an enemy, than within the wals of thine owne house.
I will first speake of the Spaniard: Him you shall finde in nature proud, yet cunning. He will ordinarily use a kinde of courtesie, and seeme wise touching the world, and politike in plotting his will: valiant where he may either purchase riches, or reputation: jealous of his mistresse, envious of worthinesse, malicious upon suspition, and bloudy in execution.
THe whole Island of Brittaine once divided, now reunited, under the name of the kingdome of Great Brittaine, is an Island situated in the maine Ocean, over against France, and divided into foure great Provinces: The first whereof the Englishmen doe inhabit; the second, the Scots; the third, the Welshmen; and the last, the Cornishmen. Every one of those doe differ from other, either in language, in manners, or in customes.
England, so termed of the Englishmen (the Inhabitants thereof) is by much the greater and goodlier portion, and divided into nine and twenty Provinces, which they terme Shires. Of the which, ten doe make the prime part of the Kingdome, and inclining towards the South, have their existence betweene the Thames and the Sea. Next as farre as the Trent, which runneth thorow the middest of England, are sixteene other Shires proportioned, whereof the first six lie towards the East, and the other ten lie more to the Inland, other six border upon Wales, and are bounded towards the West. About the heart of the Kingdome lie Darbishire, Yorkeshire, Lancashire, and Cumberland. And upon the left hand, inclining towards the West, Westmerland. Upon the contrary side lie Durham, and Northumberland; Provinces opposed to the North, and sometime appertaining to the Crowne of Scotland.
For provision of the Inhabitants, neither is it lesse stored with corne, wilde fowle, and fish, so that for plenty, goodnesse, and sweetnesse, it needeth neither the helpe of France, no, nor of any neighbour-bordering Country. Among other things, the flesh especially of their Swine, Oxen, and Veales, have the best rellish of any part of Christendome; and of Fish, their Pike and Oysters. It bringeth not forth Mules nor Asses, but of Horse, for pace the best in the world, and of those infinite proportions, for service, running, and coursing.
The wealth hereof consisteth in the never-decaying Mines of Tinue and Lead, of Copper, Iron, and Coales; On the Downes groweth a small and tender kinde of grasse, neither dunged nor watred with spring or river; but in Winter nourished with the moisture of the aire, and in Summer with the dew of Heaven; which is so gratefull and pleasing to the Sheepe, that it causeth them to beare fleeces of singular goodnesse, and exceeding finenesse. The Island breedeth no Wolves, nor any other ravening beast; and therefore these their flockes wander night and day, by Hils, Dales, and Fields, as well inclosed, as common, without feare or danger. Most delicate Cloths are woven of this Wooll, which from thence are transported in great abundance, into Germany, Poland, Denmarke, Sweveland, Italy, Turkie, and the Indies, where they are in high request. There grow all sorts of pulse, great store of Saffron; yea, infinite quantities of Beere are transported from thence into Belgia; as also Pelts, Hides, Tallow, and Seacoale. The Island is so commodiously seated for the Sea, that it is never without resort of Portugall, Spanish, French, Flemmish, and Easterling Merchants. The traffike betweene the English and the Flemmish, ariseth to an inestimable value: for Guicciardin writeth, that before the tumults of the Lowcountries, they bartered for twelve millions of crownes yearely.
The aire is somewhat thicke, and therefore more subject to the gathering of clouds, raine, and winds; but withall, lesse distempered with heat or cold, for the same reasons of crassitude. The nights are lightsome, and in the Northermost parts of the Land, they are so short, that the falling and rising of the Sunne is discernde but by a small intermission; for that the Island is situated almost full North, and the Sunne in the Summer time moving slowly, and staying long in the Northerne Climates, doth almost compasse it round above. In the Winter, it is as farre removed, when approaching neerer the South, it runneth towards the East. I my selfe have observed, that in the City of London (being seated in the Southerly part of the Island) about the Summer Solstice, the night hath not beene above five houres long. At all seasons of the yeare the Country is most temperate, being subject to no extraordinary evill influence of the Heavens, so that diseases are not there very common, and therefore lesse use of Physicke than in other places: yea, many times some people there are, who attaine unto one hundred and ten yeares of age; yea some to one hundred and twenty.
Earthquakes are here seldome heard of: and lightnings almost to speake of, as seldome. The soyle is very fruitfull and plentifull, and of all necessaries it yeeldeth abundance, except of those things which are peculiar to hotter, or colder Regions. Vines are fostered rather for the pleasure of their shadowes, than for the increase of their profits: yet prosper they in all places, and bring forth Grapes; which notwithstanding hardly wax ripe, unlesse an unusuall hot Summer, or an artificiall reflexion doe helpe them. Wheat, Rye, Barley, and Oats, are sowed in their seasons: other graines they commonly use not; and of Pulse, onely Beanes and Pease. The fruits suddenly knot, but ripen slowly; the cause of either is the overmuch moisture both of the soile and the aire. Wine (as aforesaid) the Land affordeth not; in stead whereof, beere is in request; without controversie by use, a pleasant and wholsome Beverage.
Wines are transported from France, Spaine, and Canaie. The Woods are full of fruit trees, and most plentifull of Mast. The Rivers faire, and runne through many Provinces. The Downes are many, yet neither cumbred with wood, nor overlayed with water, which by reason therof bringeth forth a tender and short grasse, gratefull and sufficient for the pasturage of infinite flockes of sheepe; And whether it be by the influence of the Heavens, or the goodnesse of the land, they yeeld the finest and softest freeces thorow the whole world.
And first I must put you in minde of a Miracle; how this beast, besides the dew of Heaven ordinarily tasteth of no other water, so that the shepherds of purpose doe drive them from all watry places, upon true observation; That to let them drinke, is to let them bane. Without doubt this is the true golden Fleece, wherein the maine wealth of the whole Island consisteth. And for to buy this commoditie, immensive treasure is yearely reconveyed into the Land by Merchants; from whence it is never conveyed, because it is provided by the Lawes of the Kingdome; That no person transport Gold or Silver, Plate, Jewels, &c. Whereby it commeth to passe, that no Countrey under the Cope of Heaven is richer than England. For, besides those masses of Coyne, which passe this way and that way, through the hands of Tradesmen, Merchants, and Gentlemen; there is almost no person of meane condition, but for the use of his daily table, he hath either a Salt, Cups, or Spoones of Silver, and according to his estate, more or lesse, for divers services.
It is no lesse stored with all kinde of Beasts, except Asses, Mules, Camels, and Elephants. It bringeth forth no materiall venomous Creature, or Beast of prey, save the Fox, worthy talking of: for the race of the Wolves is quite extinguished, and therefore all sorts of cattell stray as they list, and are in safetie without any great caretaking for an Heardsman: so that you shall see Heards of Rother Beasts and Horses, and Flocks of Sheepe, in all places wandring by [Page 79] day and by night, upon Hils and in Vallies, in Commons, and inclosed Grounds, (by ancient Customes laid open after Harvest) wherein every Neighbour claimeth communitie to feed his Cattell.
For in truth, the Oxe and the Weather are Creatures especially ordained for the Table, than whose flesh there is not in any place a more savourie or delicious service. Of the two, the Steere is the best, especially if it be seasonably powdered: of which there is no marvell, for that this choice is altogether exempted from labour, and fed up for food, and withall the diet of the English Nation consisting most upon flesh.