July 19: The Wild West in 1595

I know, it's off topic, but I'm as much a sucker for the Babe as he is for his coffin nails. Was, I should say.

Sir Walter Raleigh was an enterprising go-getter, and there was no greater field for enterprising or go-getting -- free of the dead hand of regulation! -- than the New World. Here's the kind of stuff he did in his Guianese voyage in 1595 -- first, he gets the Spanish who are already there drunk, to get some information:
...some Spaniards came aboard us to buy linen of the company, and such other things as they wanted, and also to view our ships and company, all which I entertained kindly and feasted after our manner. By means whereof I learned of one and another as much of the estate of Guiana as I could, or as they knew; for those poor soldiers having been many years without wine, a few draughts made them merry, in which mood they vaunted of Guiana and the riches thereof, and all what they knew of the ways and passages...
Clever. Add to that some strategic misrepresentation:
[I] bred in them an opinion that I was bound only for the relief of those English which I had planted in Virginia, whereof the bruit was come among them; which I had performed in my return, if extremity of weather had not forced me from the said coast...
So that they don't think he's actually come there to conquer them, which he has (and which he says, later, he would have done if someone else hadn't screwed up). I also like the idea that, you know, he meant to do the thing he was lying about doing, so it doesn't count.

Also, when you're in the business of colonizing , you can't be afraid to get your hair mussed:
They [the Spanish] abode not any fight after a few shot, and all being dismissed, but only Berreo and his companion, I brought them with me aboard, and at the instance of the Indians I set their new city of St. Joseph on fire.
But enough of the rough-and-tumble. What Raleigh wants you to know about the New World is that it's a fantastic sales proposition:
And whatsoever prince shall possess it [Guiana], that prince shall be lord of more gold, and of a more beautiful empire, and of more cities and people, than either the king of Spain or the Great Turk.
And speaking of the King of Spain, you don't want him to treat you like a pipsqueak, do you? Well, do you?
For we find that by the abundant treasure of that country the Spanish king vexes all the princes of Europe, and is become, in a few years, from a poor king of Castile, the greatest monarch of this part of the world, and likely every day to increase if other princes [I'm looking at you, Queen Elizabeth! -- ed.] forslow the good occasions offered, and suffer him to add this empire to the rest, which by far exceedeth all the rest. If his gold now endanger us, he will then be unresistible.
Pluck, luck, and setting cities on fire. That's what it took to bring us civilization.

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