Despite the relative obscurity surrounding the earliest English settlements in Newfoundland, the documents in this volume show that they were neither unimportant, nor, ultimately, unsuccessful. Unlike the sites of other English colonies founded in the New World in the early 17th century, Newfoundland had an already-established economic base - the flourishing fishery for cod in which European fishermen had engaged for over a century. Settlement, from its beginnings in 1610, was closely tied to the exploitation of the fishery. But fishing was not the only occupation; the early settlers searched for iron and tried to grow food, to make glass and soap, and to establish a trade in furs with the indigenous Beothuk Indians. Keenly aware of their new and often hostile environment, the colonists recorded their impressions of the island's geography, climate, resources, and people, as well as their own struggle to survive. Some of their earliest letters are printed in this collection. In the third decade of the century, the first wave of settlers sent by the Newfoundland company were followed by a second despatched by independent proprietors: the Welshmen, William Vaughan, the courtier, Lord Baltimore, and the lord deputy of Ireland, Lord Falkland. Their correspondence and the writings of their publicists reveal not only their idiosyncratic reasons for involvement in Newfoundland, but also place the island and its fishery firmly in the context of their economic and strategic significance to England. In the works of Richard Whitbourne, reprinted here for the first time, are to be found the most complete statements of the value and practice of the fishery and the international trade in fish, together with vividly detailed descriptions of the island with which a lifetime connection had bred a loving obsession.
Routledge is pleased to be the publisher for the Hakluyt Society.
The Hakluyt Society has for its object the advancement of knowledge and education, particularly in relation to the understanding of world history. The society publishes scholarly editions of primary sources on the 'Voyages and Travels' undertaken by individuals from many parts of the globe. These address the geography, ethnology and natural history of the regions visited, covering all continents and every period over the last two thousand years. Such texts, many previously available only in manuscript or in unedited publications in languages other than English, are the essential records of the stages of inter-continental and inter-cultural encounter.
Established in 1846, the Society has to date published over 350 volumes. All editions are in English. Although a substantial number of the Society's past editions relate to British ventures, with documentary sources in English, the majority concern non-British enterprises and are based on texts in languages other than English. Material originally written in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French or Dutch has regularly appeared, material in Russian, Greek, Latin, Ethiopic, Chinese, Persian or Arabic occasionally.
All editions contain an introduction and scholarly annotation, giving both the general reader and the student a degree of assistance in understanding the material and providing guidance on the relevance of the episodes described, within the context of global development and world history. Volumes are often generously furnished with maps and contemporary illustrations.
Information about the Society may be obtained from the Administrative Assistant at the following address:
Hakluyt Society, c/o Map Library, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DG, UK