Some Representations of America and Their Diffusion in Elizabethan England: O Strange New World Reassessed

Eras Journal – Armstrong, C: “Some Representations of America and Their Diffusion in Elizabethan England”

Some Representations of America and Their Diffusion in Elizabethan England: O Strange New World Reassessed
Catherine Armstrong
(University of Warwick)


It is hard for us, in our era of global communications and the backpack and package holiday, to empathise with those men and women who decided to embark on the voyage of a lifetime and visit or relocate to the Americas. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the area was literally a ‘New World’ seen by only a handful of Europeans and information about the area was very slow in disseminating, due to snail’s pace communication networks and the inability of many English men and women to read. It was not until the 1580s that English authors with first hand experience of Trans-Atlantic travel published information about their journeys, though a few decades previous to that, the tales of Continental explorers had been translated into English for the perusal of the literate few. [1] Yet it was only a few years between the arousal of the interest of the English people in this mysterious land across the sea, and the establishment of their first permanent colony there, at Jamestown, in modern-day Virginia in 1607.[2] Though the English may have been late starters in the colonial venture, they were certainly not slow to progress once they became interested in America. Therefore, not only were these budding Elizabethan colonists faced with a perilous and long sea crossing, they were pretty unsure as to what would greet them on arrival in the New World. Nonetheless, the English migrated to North America throughout the seventeenth century, first in their hundreds, and then their thousands, bravely risking their lives and wealth in the process. [3] This essay will examine how their perceptions of the American environment were transmitted through their writing and how readers of these texts then adapted their understanding of the New World.

Historians of colonial America have had a great deal to say on the cultural exchange of ideas between the old world and the new during the first few centuries of European settlement of America. The ideas of one particular scholar, Howard Mumford Jones, are especially pertinent here.[4] He has postulated that the reason for England’s slow start in the colonial race (as compared to, for example, Spain, France or the Netherlands) was fear. He has suggested that an anti-image of America existed within the English-speaking world into the early decades of the seventeenth century that alarmed potential settlers and encouraged them to stay at home. Mumford Jones claims that this anti-image was created by the Elizabethan voyagers to America who reported that they had discovered a fearful land of extremes in weather and flora and fauna; a land of the incredible and unpredictable; a land of the horrifying.[5] Tales of fearsome Native Americans supplemented this image of a vicious climate and nature; the bloodthirsty savages who would like nothing better than to rape and pillage any European party that crossed their path. This is not to say of course that America was not also represented as an earthly paradise, which could be a social utopia, a medicinal store cupboard or an almost Eden-like wilderness. The image and anti-image, extremes at opposite ends of the medieval chivalric spectrum held great sway for even the most educated of men. Edmund Spencer, in his epic poemThe Faerie Queen, personified the New World as a fairyland as late as 1590. Mumford Jones[6] believes that the earliest explorers, when confronted with the chaos and strangeness of the Americas, reverted back to the pageantry of their medieval romances, but this idealised view was not maintained for long. Once the spiritually driven odysseys of Columbus had given way to the Machiavellian journeys of conquistadors such as Hernando Cortes and Bernal Diaz, the thirst for gold and contact with hostile nature and natives was to destroy the image of America as an earthly paradise. The vastness of the land and the extremes in climate and plant and animal life now shone fear into the heart of even the most seasoned traveller as the New World became the place where unbridled nature rampaged at her most fearsome.

Torrential Rivers and Horrible Natives

Mumford Jones is exactly right, of course, that English and European travel narratives of the sixteenth century were filled with impressive and incredible tales of the new land across the Atlantic. The author of a commentary on the voyage of Martin Frobisher was struck by the unusual weather as he and his crew searched for the fabled North West passage to create a trade link between England and Cathay. He wrote ‘In place of odiferous and fragrant smels of sweet gums, and pleasant notes of musicall birdes, which other countreys in more temperate zones do yeeld, we tasted the most boisterous Boreal blasts mixt with snow and haile in the moneths of June and July’.[7] Further to the south in Guiana, Walter Raleigh was also intimidated by the unusual power of nature, observing ‘if any boat but touch upon any tree or stake, it is impossible to save any one person therein … the river began to rage and overflowe very fearfully, and the raines came down in terrible showers, and the gustes in great abundance’.[8] Not only rivers, but the sea too held fearful reminders of man’s powerlessness against the forces of nature. A writer on the ship of Humphrey Gilbert (Raleigh’s half-brother) on his way to the Chesapeake area of North America described seeing ‘a very lion in shape, hair and colour, nor swimming after the maner of a beast by moving his feet but rather sliding upon the water with his whole body with ougly demonstration of long teeth and glaring eies, roaring or bellowing as doth a lion’. [9]

The most strange and fearsome encounters of all in the New World took place between European and Native American. Numerous cultural and linguistic misunderstandings meant that it took centuries for the two races to begin to understand one another, so the observations on the part of the earliest visitors to America were obviously flawed by modern standards. Even such a seasoned traveller as Francis Drake was repulsed when he discovered a tribe of Native Americans in what was later to become the San Francisco area who ‘offered their sacrifices unto them [the crew] with lamentable weeping, scratching and tearing their flesh from their faces with their nails whereof issued abundance of blood’. [10] On the East coast, the native tribes proved inconsistent in their dealings with the Virginia explorers of the 1580s. An anonymous man who describes the murder on Cape Hatteras of George Howe recorded the fourth voyage made in 1587 as follows:

These savages being secretly hidden among the reeds, where oftentimes they find deer asleep and so kill them espied our man wading in the water…without any weapon…catching crabs therewithal…and shot at him in the water where they gave him sixteen wounds with their arrows. And after they had slain him with their wooden swords they beat his head in pieces and fled over the water to the main.[11]

The Variety in Representations of the Americas

During the Elizabethan period there were two distinct sorts of contact experienced by Englishmen in the New World in these early days of English enthusiasm to cross the Atlantic.[12] The first was that of the visitor or explorer, the sailor who did not intend to remain in America for any length of time but wanted to utilise its resources for trade, or use it as a base from which to attack the Catholic foe, or simply to explore and map an area for the first time. The writing of these men is examined in the section below on ‘England’s Heroes’.[13] The second type of contact was experienced by those people who intended to settle permanently in the New World, who saw America and her potential through a much longer-term perspective. Their literature is examined in the part of this essay entitled ‘The Planting of America’.

England’s Heroes

It is easy to see how these tales of storms and droughts, rivers and tidal waves and fearsome animals, as well as the cruel natives, would have frightened and thrilled readers in England. But it is wrong to assume that this negative propaganda about the American environment was not tempered by knowledge of the positive potential of settlement in the New World, and throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries there were plenty of Englishmen ready to risk their lives for fame, wealth and glory across the ocean. Though England had not conquered lands, seized trophies and subjugated the natives in the same way the Spanish had done, she was still influential in the New World in several ways. Throughout the sixteenth century English fishermen worked alongside their continental European colleagues in the waters off Newfoundland, spending months at sea before returning to England with their catch to make their fortunes. [14] These sailors knew intimately the coastline of the Eastern shore of what is now Canada and had no inclination to begin a permanent settlement in that cold, inhospitable terrain.[15] It seems that they would rather be based at English ports such as Plymouth and Bristol and keep their own company on board ship during the fishing season. This can be deduced from the lack of information about exploration of the area until it was described by Christopher Carleill in 1583. These fishing expeditions produced no existing literature[16] and so knowledge of them would probably have spread very slowly by word of mouth from the ports at which the sailors were based. But the very fact that these men kept returning year after year to ply their trade along with hundreds of other Northern European sailors seems to indicate that, while treating their working environment with a healthy caution, they were certainly not prevented from making the Trans-Atlantic voyage through fear of what they may discover there.

English explorers were working in that region also, searching for the fabled North West passage, the sea lane that would cut through to the East Indies and Cathay and give England the advantage over her continental rivals in the race to import spices into Europe. Though, of course, such a trade route was never found (despite continuing efforts to search for it until the nineteenth century), the reports of the journeys of those, such as Martin Frobisher, who attempted to discover it served another purpose besides perpetuating the so-called anti-image of America. Tales of the courage and adventure of England’s seamen became useful tools for those who wished to promote a sense of English national pride during the war with Spain in the last decades of the sixteenth century. Men like Frobisher were portrayed as heroes valiantly striving to further the English cause abroad. [17] Because of the nature of this portrayal, it is probably true that the majority of those Englishmen who read about sailors such as him would not have thought of him as a timid, frightened voyager overawed by the extremes of the New World environment, but rather as a brave fighter, ready for anything that America (or indeed the Spanish) could throw at him. The literature written by English explorers was to become important propaganda in the effort against the long-term enemy, Catholic Spain. The stories of slave traders and explorers who journeyed further south, such as John Hawkins and Francis Drake were also presented to the English public as heroic exploits, seizing treasure and pride from the Spanish much to the joy of England’s patriotic countrymen. It was important for the English to become aware of their own identity in this period of expansion of trade as the known world was literally expanding before men’s eyes. These boys’ own stories of courage and adventure were headline news in the late sixteenth century and certainly formed the basis of an Englishman’s awareness of the New World across the sea.

The Planting of America

By the 1580s, certain influential men in England were thinking about the possibility of establishing a permanent settlement in America. The ways in which these ideas were conceived were influenced by England’s experience in Ireland. [18] Plantations were being established in places like Munster that brought investors some returns for their money, and Protestant families were being encouraged to transplant their households there, however the primary nature of English settlement in Ireland at this stage was military. It was proposed that the same sort of scheme be implemented in America.[19] The settlement could then provide a military base from which to attack the Spaniards and their ships, while at the same time creating a secure cordon within which the few English settlers there could remain in peace and safety away from the aggressive and heathen natives. Humphrey Gilbert was the leading proponent of this scheme, and he had cut his colonial teeth in Ireland where he was known as one of the strictest enforcers of English rule.[20] He proposed founding a colony in the Chesapeake region of America that would be rigidly hierarchical and run under martial law.[21] His partner George Peckham attempted to encourage Catholics to become involved in this colonial venture, but was unable to arouse enough interest. Gilbert too was unsuccessful in his ambitions; he was drowned before he was able to return from his second American voyage. It is possible that problems in Ireland with natives threatening the Protestant plantations had discouraged certain potential investors and travellers from trying the same experiment in the New World.[22] However, these difficulties probably also encouraged stalwarts such as Gilbert and Raleigh to try again in America in order to prove themselves to be successful planters.

Although the great Puritan migration was still decades away, Elizabeth’s reign did witness one exodus of religious separatists to the New World, though they only remained in Newfoundland for a very short time before removing to a permanent exile in Amsterdam. The Brownists were several non-conformist congregations led by Robert Browne of Norwich who found the weak Protestantism of the Church of England completely unacceptable and consequently were not able to live peaceably in England. In 1593, by the authority of Lord Burghley, the Brownists were granted a charter for fishing ventures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and in 1596 a group led by Francis Johnson (already describing themselves as ‘pilgrims’) made the long voyage across the sea. However, the journey was a failure from the start, the separatists and their sailors fought bitterly, and the second ship in the convoy was attacked by a French and Native American party preventing the Brownists from making a safe landing. They made almost immediately for sanctuary in Amsterdam. Though this venture failed, its very undertaking proves that English men and women were willing to see America as a religious haven where they could build a community for themselves, long before the Puritans set out for Plymouth two decades later.[23]

The failure of England’s colonial enterprises in North America before Jamestown was settled in 1607 is well documented. The colony at Roanoke came the closest of all to surviving and was still a source of interest and curiosity well into the reign of James I. The failure of the settlement was due to a complex mixture of economic and cultural naivety [24] but the literature produced by those involved in the Roanoke venture reveals a very different picture to the so-called anti-image of the New World that Mumford Jones assumes the English at this time were labouring under.[25] Thomas Hariot and John White were employed by Walter Raleigh to make a scientific and artistic survey of the areas that they explored, a task to which the two men proved more than equal.[26] White’s drawings, later turned into prints for mass consumption by publisher Theodore de Bry showed in colour detail the flora and fauna of the Chesapeake area, and most interestingly the natives, portrayed sympathetically, often in domestic scenes, as if they were similar in sophistication and character to the ancient Britons. As Arthur Barlowe wrote in his diary of the 1584 expedition ‘we found the people most gentle, loving and faithful, void of all guile and treason and such as live after the manner of the golden age’.[27] The landscape Barlowe described was ‘pleasant’, ‘plentiful’ and ‘fertile’, not dark and dangerous at all. The fruit, herbs and animals were not only to be wondered at but a use could be ascribed to them all, whether for feeding settlers, or trading with natives, or exporting to England. It must be borne in mind that this literature played a very important role in the propaganda effort encouraged by Raleigh who wanted to promote investment in the Roanoke expedition in order to allow him to exploit the natural resources of the area to the full. Of course, Roanoke and the surrounding area was not to prove a land of peace and plenty for those early English colonists. They remained there for less than two years before becoming so desperate to leave due to hunger and threat from hostile Native Americans that they jumped at the chance of a passage home with Francis Drake when he visited the colony in 1586.[28] The second attempt at settling the area was doomed to failure with vicious in-fighting between rival factions among the colonists and few attempts to pacify the worried natives.[29]John White had been chosen as governor but was persuaded (some say forced) to return to England on the first supply ship. Because of the Armada he was not able to get back to America until 1591, by which time the remaining colonists had vanished without a trace. The mystery aroused curiosity in England, and occasionally money was scraped together for a voyage to try to find the lost settlers, but the Roanoke survivors, if there had been any, were forgotten in 1607 when another settlement was attempted at Jamestown.[30] This failure reveals a chronic lack of understanding on the part of the colonists as to what was needed to succeed in an unusual climate. They were unable to feed themselves; rumours abounded that many spent so much time searching for gold that they went hungry in the process. Many of them wanted to live in exactly the same manner as they had been accustomed to at home, which was a practical impossibility. The Englishmen had no idea that by maintaining an uneasy peace with the Native Americans, their little colony would have more chance of success, as discovered by the later settlers in Jamestown, Plymouth and Massachusetts. [31] However, this bad planning and management, remedied with practice, does not reveal an underlying feeling of fear and hostility towards the New World environment and its peoples but rather an open acceptance of the potential that the Americas had to offer, and a avaricious desire to play an active part in the trade that would result from contact with this environment.

The English Learning about America

It has been possible to say then, that the travel narratives, diaries, letters and reports of those who sailed to the New World from England during the reign of Elizabeth revealed a certain desire to promote the positive aspects of America, that if it existed, the fear, mistrust or repulsion of a traveller was often hidden in order to encourage further interest in the New World, or merely to make the author seem braver or the country stronger. Sometimes negative experiences were described in these stories in order to make the long-suffering sailors appear even more heroic. But is it possible to say what the readers and listeners to these tales back in England made of it all? Did they share the excitement, the thrill of the new discovery, or did the mysterious forces, the horrors of America, repulse them?

The discovery of the New World coincided with the invention of printing. This had a radical effect on the ways in which information about the Americas reached audiences in late sixteenth century England. The printing press allowed for the mass copying of books and pamphlets, and effected a change in the way information was presented to the reading public. It is hard to estimate the readership of a single book, but it is helpful to think in terms of the greater number of different books available to the single reader. This diversity was to bring old classics to the attention of new readers, but also to facilitate the challenge to these ancient authorities such as the geographer Ptolemy who was entirely unaware of America. When, for example, maps and geographical texts were compiled together in the first atlases, it became easier for scholars to identify discrepancies. Elizabeth Eisenstein has described these changes as revolutionary, something that I believe does not under-estimate their impact.[32]

It is misleading to imagine an autonomous author sending his script for printing and then that text being released into the public domain. In early modern England the publishing and printing industries were held under tight, if controversial control.[33] It is very difficult to collect statistics on the readership of any book in the sixteenth century. However, there is evidence to show that, in general terms, Elizabeth’s reign did witness the development of what Louis B. Wright called ‘a middle class culture’ in England.[34] This involved not only an increase in literacy but also a development in the taste for the printed word; a literary culture outside the universities was emerging for the first time. [35] Already by this period, culture was being divided by its authors and consumers into the high and low varieties, and their relative merits were being debated as they are today. Travel narratives that were all written in the vernacular during this period managed to cross the boundaries and so were accessible to the educated reader and the lower status listener. The educated man (or occasionally woman) found they satisfied their thirst for knowledge for its own sake, while the listeners in the alehouses, especially of port towns and the south west, could enjoy a heroic tale which aroused their patriotic pride, especially at the expense of the Spanish. Even though many of the narratives written in Elizabeth’s reign were of ventures ending in failure, that failure was seen as heroic and tragic, and an inspiration to other Englishmen in the future.

The price of books during this period remained fairly constant, though illustrated works could be very expensive. The price of a book depended on the printing format (folio, quarto or octavo) and whether the work was bound or unbound. Large works such as Hakluyt’s Divers Voyages cost nine shillings unbound, putting it far out of the price range of all but the wealthier sort of people. Henry Percy, the Earl of Northumberland (nicknamed the Wizard Earl because of his interest in alchemy) was one of these people. He was a friend of Raleigh and Hariot and owned several travel narratives, including an annotated copy of Hakluyt’s Principall Navigations, another huge text that would have been unaffordable to the majority of readers. However, far more reasonable was a 1583 edition of Mandeville’s Travelscosting only 6d. Nicolas Monardes’ Joyfull Newes, and Raleigh’s Discovery of Guiana both cost one shilling each unbound. [36]

The transmission of news and ideas in early modern England was a very diversified process and deserves some mention here. Much of the book trade was based in London. St. Paul’s Walk, part of the churchyard of the cathedral, was the centre of this trade and the site of a large number of permanent shops and transitory stalls selling books and pamphlets.[37] Anyone visiting the capital would have been able to find a book they wanted all year round. The scale of the book trade is revealed by the inventory of Henry Bynneman’s property at his death in 1583. Bynneman was a prominent London printer; he owned several books on the New World including: 45 copies of ‘The Conqueste of the Weste Indians‘ valued at 30s, 350 copies of ‘Portes Creekes Havens of the W. Indyas‘(printed in 1578, this was the earliest information in England on navigating the New World) costing 12s 6d, and finally 150 books of ‘Survey of the Worlde‘ valued at 9 shillings.[38]

It was also possible to buy books in the provinces. Large towns often had bookshops of their own, sometimes selling just religious and devotional literature, but often stocking other titles, both ancient and contemporary. [39] During Elizabeth’s reign these shops rarely had catalogues, so it is hard to track the availability of certain texts across the country. Occasionally an inventory on the death of a provincial bookseller will reveal individual book titles. For example, when John Denys of Cambridge died in 1578, his shop contained four accounts of Martin Frobisher’s voyages, valued at 1d each. [40] Roger Ward’s shop in Shrewsbury was inventoried at his death in 1585, and he owned ‘one book on the West Indias’ and ‘one booke in praise of Furbisher’ among others. [41] Smaller books and pamphlets were carried to markets and fairs by itinerant peddlers. These peddlers were often on the margins of society, being prosecuted for vagrancy and suffering extreme financial hardship. They travelled mostly between urban centres but occasionally strayed off the main routes and visited smaller villages where a few literate people might buy their wares and read them for the rest of the community. The peddlers would buy their books in London or from packhorse carriers on the road, and would bring news of overseas travel to the lower status people who would have neither the money nor the inclination to buy larger volumes.[42] The level of mobility in early modern England was surprisingly high, and this facilitated the spread of news and ideas. The educated person could turn to book fairs for their intellectual sustenance, where one would be able to buy not only books in English but also those in ancient and European languages as well. One might even have contacts on the continent that would be able to visit Frankfurt whose bi-annual book fair was renowned throughout Europe.[43] It is impossible to follow the exact pattern of the spread of news of overseas travel, but it is safe to assume that the information was disseminated through all levels of society, whether literate or not, and that this information originated in London and the port towns of the south coast. There was also a growing educated elite who would have probably actively sought information on the latest geographical developments.

Prior to the groundbreaking work of Richard Hakluyt, [44] the only factual writing to appear in English on the Americas was translations from originals in other languages. The Spanish and French had both conducted expeditions to the New World and had published various books and pamphlets about their discoveries. [45] There were a few Englishmen in this period, scholars and merchants, who could read such texts in a foreign tongue, but it is likely that readers below the highly educated upper classes would only have become aware of their existence when translated into English. [46] John Frampton’s translation of Andre Thevet’s Antarctike and Thomas Hacket’s work on Nicolas Monardes’ Ioyfull Newes out of a Newe Found Worlde gave information to those who were interested about the discoveries being made by other nations. It took Richard Hakluyt and his compilations of English deeds in the Americas to awaken Englishmen’s belief in their ability to take their place in the New World. However, there were hints of the pride in the English nation that Hakluyt was to arouse in the work of the poet Thomas Churchyard. He seems to have been a very popular author and his work was published in small pamphlets of the sort which chapmen would distribute at a price affordable to many. His two poems of 1578 dedicated to Humphrey Gilbert and Martin Frobisher laud their valiant heroic failure, calling them ‘noble pilgrims’.[47] Churchyard encourages his readers to see overseas travel as a way to pursue their fortunes, while at the same time gaining glory for themselves and England. Another popular poet, Henry Roberts was to write directly to his fellow soldiers and sailors in his The Trumpet of Fameof 1595. ‘Let not your minds to mutiny be wrought’, he says, showing that by this stage of Elizabeth’s reign the lower orders of society were also aware of the potential glory to be found in America. The poorer members of society would have also heard news about the New World in taverns and inns, from sailors who had got off the boat and determined to impress fellow drinkers with their heroic tales. This oral tradition reflects the manner of transmission of news for the majority of English people of the period and operated alongside the literary networks already described.[48]


The concept of the anti-image of America operating alongside the utopian visions of early settlers is certainly a useful one to historians and must not be discarded altogether. Authors right down to Edgar Allan Poe have stressed the impact of the dark forces of nature and this has fascinated generations of eager readers.[49] I think however, that Howard Mumford Jones has overstated its impact on English travellers and the public at large during the first century of English settlement in the New World. England was a slow starter in the colonial venture in America, but fear of the environment and people of the New World was not a factor in this. This slow start was actually caused by reluctance on the part of the monarch to get involved in any moneymaking schemes abroad, and the religious upheaval caused by the Reformation. [50] Also, England’s rejection of the authority of the Catholic Church meant that, unlike Spain, they did not have the strength and structure of the church’s institutions to back England’s colonial attempts. However, the English were not slow starters in the sense that, once the information about the potential of America had started disseminating amongst the population, exploration and settlement by the English took off very quickly, within the space of one generation to be exact.

Elizabethan authors writing about the exploits of visitors to the continent were surprisingly positive about the realities of life there and the opportunities further investment would provide. An historian must be aware that this overt positivity was due to an author’s awareness of the propaganda value that a good report of English exploits in America would provide. The ways in which contemporary English men and women interpreted this writing is, of course, very complex, but it is safe to say that these authors encouraged ordinary people to consider leaving their homes and relocating in a strange land across the ocean.

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[1] For further information on distribution of translated material, see H.S. Bennett, English Books and Readers 1558-1603, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1965, p. 62. An argument for limited distribution of these texts is outlined in F. Chiapelli, (ed.),First Images of America, Volume I, University of California, Berkeley, 1976, p. 537. Back

[2] There are several seminal works on the settlement of Jamestown. Two of the most respected are C. Bridenbaugh,Jamestown 1544-1699 , Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1980, and A. MacFarlane, The English in the Americas 1480-1815, Longman, London, 1994. Back

[3] For migration to New England see P. Miller,Errand into the Wilderness, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1964, and for migration to the Chesapeake, see J. Horn, Adapting to a New World, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1994. Back

[4] H. Mumford Jones, O Strange New World, Chatto & Windus, London, 1952. Back

[5] H. Mumford Jones, O Strange New World, p. 35. Back

[6] H. Mumford Jones, O Strange New World, p. 10. Back

[7] R. Hakluyt. Principall Navigations, Vol. VII, Glasgow, 1903-5, p. 152. Back

[8] Hakluyt, Principall Navigations, Vol. X, p. 345. Back

[9] Hakluyt, Principall Navigations, Vol. VIII, p. 70. Back

[10] Hakluyt, The Tudor Venturers, Folio Society, London, 1970, p. 159. Back

[11] Hakluyt, Tudor Venturers , p. 212.Back

[12] For a more detailed discussion of the relationship between privateering voyages and those with the aim of colonisation see K.R. Andrews, Trade, Plunder and Settlement, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1984. Back

[13] For an overview of these expeditions see R. Cawley, Unpathed Waters, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1940.Back

[14] D.B. Quinn, England and the Discovery of America, Allen & Unwin, London, 1974, p. 313. Back

[15] A. MacFarlane, The British in the Americas, 1480-1815, p. 14. Back

[16] Mary Fuller also believes that no printed record has been left by these fishermen concerning their journeys to Newfoundland: M. Fuller, Voyages in Print: English Travel to America, 1576-1624, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995, p. 11. Back

[17] W. Franklin, Discoverers, Explorers and Settlers, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1979. Back

[18] N. Canny ‘The Permissive Frontier’ in Andrews, Canny & Hair, (eds), The Westward Enterprise, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, 1978. Back

[19] N. Canny, ‘The Permissive Frontier’, p. 19. Back

[20] A. MacFarlane, The English in the Americas, p. 22. Back

[21] N. Canny, ‘The Permissive Frontier’, p. 19. Back

[22] N. Canny, ‘The Permissive Frontier’, p. 25. Back

[23] For a more detailed description of the Brownist migration see D.B. Quinn, England and the Discovery of America, p. 345. Back

[24] D. B.Quinn is considered the authority on the English involvement in the failed Roanoke settlement, see England and the Discovery of America, pp. 287-305. Back

[25] H. Mumford Jones, O Strange New World, p. 69. Back

[26] T. Hariot, A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, London, 1588; John White’s paintings were turned into woodcuts and printed by Theodore de Bry for his 30 volume anthology of travel literature: America, 1590-1634Back

[27] Hakluyt, Tudor Venturers , p. 195.Back

[28] Details of Drake’s voyage to plunder St. Augustine and his visit to Roanoke in J. Leitch Wright, Anglo-Spanish Rivalry in North America, University of Georgia Press, Athens, 1971, p. 29.Back

[29] D.B. Quinn, England and the Discovery of America, p. 303. Back

[30] By 1607, Raleigh had fallen out of favour, and many others connected with Roanoke had lost interest in America, so the new colonisers had little intention of reviving or rebuilding the failed Roanoke settlement. Back

[31] An outstanding new survey of Indian relations with early British settlers can be found in K.O. Kupperman,Indians and English, Cornell University Press, Ithaca NY, 2000. Back

[32] E. Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1980. Back

[33] For further details about the regulation of printing see H.G. Aldis, The Book Trade 1557-1625, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1909. Back

[34] L.B. Wright, Middle Class Culture in Elizabethan England, Cornell University Press, Ithaca NY, 1958. Back

[35] Wright, Middle Class Culture in Elizabethan England, p. 81. Back

[36] F. Johnson. ‘Notes on English Book Prices’, The Library, Vol. 5, 1950-1, pp. 106-9. Back

[37] H.G. Aldis, The Book Trade, 1557-1625, p. 398. Back

[38] M. Eccles, ‘Bynneman’s Books’, The Library, Vol. 12, 1957, p. 128. Back

[39] While Greek and Roman texts were available in both the original and translation, contemporary books on astronomy, religion, geography in addition to plays and poetry were also widely available. Smaller pamphlets containing religious material and the news of the day were also sold. Back

[40] T. Watt, ‘Piety in the Pedlar’s Pack’ in M. Spufford, (ed.), The World of Rural Dissenters, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1995, p. 258. Back

[41] A. Rodger, ‘Roger Ward’s Shrewsbury Stock’, The Library, Vol. 13, 1958, pp. 251, 258. Back

[42] T. Watt, ‘Piety in the Pedlar’s Pack’ and M. Frearson, ‘Communications and Continuity of Dissent in the Chilton Hundreds during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries’ both in Spufford, (ed.), The World of Rural Dissenters.Back

[43] H.G. Aldis, The Book Trade 1557-1625, p. 403. Back

[44] Hakluyt’s two printed works: Diverse Voyages (1582) and Principall Navigations (1589) have been re-printed in E. Taylor, The Original Writings and Correspondence of the Two Richard Hakluyts, Hakluyt Society, London, 1935. Back

[45] For example: A. Thevet, The New Found World, 1568, and N. Monardes, Ioyfull Newes out of the New Found World , 1577. Back

[46] For a discussion of the emergence of a ‘middle class’ readership consuming books written in English, see L.B. Wright,Middle Class Culture in Elizabethan England, p. 526. Back

[47] T. Churchyard, A Discourse of the Quenes Maiesties, 1578. Back

[48] See primarily M. Spufford, (ed.), The World of Rural DissentersBack

[49] H. Mumford Jones, O Strange New World, p. 69. Back

[50] Henry VIII’s divorce and subsequent break from the Catholic Church in the 1530s left England struggling to find a religious balance throughout the Tudor period. By Elizabeth’s reign an established Church of England had been formed but there were many who were unhappy with the form it took, on both the extreme Protestant and Catholic sides. For a summary of the religious turmoil in England during this period, see C. Haigh, English Reformations, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1993.Back

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