Online Books |Francis Bacon – THE NEW ATLANTIS

Publicat deIoana Ioana

From Ideal Commonwealths,
P.F. Collier & Son, New York.

(c)1901 The Colonial Press, expired.

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.


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