Sunday, 23 October 2011

The link above contains the accounts made in 1585 by Sir Richard Greenville for Sir Walter Raleigh in the months of May and June. Reading these accounts was extremely enticing and it gave me a real perspective on what it must have been like for people there at that time, despite many of the notes being quite brief, there is still a lot that can be learnt and drawn from by reading them.

This particular account was one which I found particularly interesting and was accounted on the 26th of May.

The 26. day our Lieutenant Master Ralph Lane went in one of the Frigats which we had taken, to Roxo bay upon the Southwest side of Saint Johns, to fetch salt, being thither conducted by a Spanish Pilot: as soone as hee arrived there, hee landed with his men to the number of 20. and intrenched himselfe upon the sandes immediately, compassing one of their salte hils within the trench: who being seene of the Spaniards, there came downe towardes him two or three troopes of horsemen and footmen, who gave him the looking, and gazing on, but durst not come neere him to offer any resistance, so that Master Lane maugre their troopes, caryed their salte aboord and laded his Frigat, and so returned againe to our fleete the 29. day, which road at S. Germans Bay. The same day we all departed, and the next day arrived in the Iland of Hispaniola.

In this account, Greenville describes how one of the lieutenants visits an area on one of the Frigats (a large ship) in order to fetch salt for the group. It outlines how the British people had complete and utter disregard for the native people there, and even though the Brits were outnumbered, they still had overwhelming control over the people who lived there. This shows how the process of the British people colonising the Americas was quite an aggressive one, and wasn't done in a very ethical manner, as they seem to just overrule the native people and are disrespectful towards them- they take the salt in such a casual manner, almost suggesting that the British people believed that they almost had the right to take the salt as if it belonged to them, which was obviously not the case.

The 5. day the aforesayd Governour accompanied with a lusty Fryer, and twenty other Spaniards, with their servants, and Negroes, came downe to the Sea side, where our ships road at anker, who being seene, our Generall manned immediately the most part of his boates with the chiefe men of our Fleete, every man appointed, and furnished in the best sort: at the landing of our Generall, the Spanish governour received him very courteously, and the Spanish Gentlemen saluted

Page 314
our English Gentlemen, and their inferiour sort did also salute our Souldiers and Sea men, liking our men, and likewise their qualities, although at first they seemed to stand in feare of us, and of so many of our boates, whereof they desired that all might not land their men, yet in the end, the courtesies that passed on both sides were so great, that all feare and mistrust on the Spaniards part was abandoned.

This account was logged on June 5th, it describes how one of the Spanish governers comes to one of the English boats with numerous other Spanish men and their servants and Negroes- who aren't even referred to as 'men'- exemplifying the racism that existed in the time, along with the obvious racist connotations of the word 'Negroes'. The superiority of the British people is further shown by how the Spaniards seem to fear them at first, but due to their apparent qualities and them liking their men, their mistrust disappears. The reference to the Spaniards losing their 'mistrust' seems to be suggesting that the Spanish men aren't trustworthy, and that they are weak because of their fear being so great.

Reading these accounts from a modern perspective is interesting because we do not see the English people being particularly powerful nowadays, with the development of countries such as America and China, but at the time when this was written, the British Empire was at the peak of it's powerfulness and was one of, if not, the most dominating forces in the world; therefore the British people's sense of prosperity in these accounts is understandable if you read it in the context of the time at which it was written.

Sorry for posting this so late, I've been at home this weekend and didn't have any internet access! I'm assuming the seminar is at the normal time tomorrow, but I know doing it on a Tuesday was suggested, if anyone knows more about this could they let me know? Thanks!

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