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Samuel Purchas as editor--a case study: Anthony Knyvett's journal.

Among the manuscripts that Samuel Purchas obtained from Richard Hakluyt, which in 1625 he published in Purchas His Pilgrims, was the journal of Anthony Knyvett, the son of a Wiltshire knight, who in 1601 returned to England after a seven-year captivity in Brazil. Purchas had taken on too much to be able to be a truly conscientious editor. But Knyvett's journal, for all its still detectable merits, has suffered from more than mere editorial negligence, and religious prejudice may reasonably be suspected as a factor.


Anthony Knyvett was the illegitimate son of Sir Henry Knyvett of Charlton near Malmesbury in Wiltshire. (1) He could not therefore inherit. His future welfare was protected by the reversion to a lease on the estates of Thomas 5th Lord Burgh in Surrey and elsewhere, but there was no saying when he would be able to benefit as Katherine, dowager Lady Burgh, would have to die first and she showed no sign of doing that. (2)

In the meanwhile it was decided he would have a military career like his father and grandfather before him. Thomas Cavendish, whose reputation was at its zenith after his 1586-88 circumnavigation, was fitting out a bold new expedition for which he would need an exceptional number of 'gentlemen', in current military parlance, or marines. Sir Henry Knyvett would have had early news of this since both men were interest-bound to the Earl of Pembroke at nearby Wilton, Cavendish as a protege who had twice been MP for boroughs the family controlled, and Knyvett both as an MP and as a frequent Deputy Lieutenant of the county, the Earl being the Lieutenant. For Sir Henry Knyvett, naturally ambitious on his son's behalf, the projected expedition must have seemed opportune if not providential. Cavendish's success in 1586-88 had been a theme for ballad-makers. Not only had he sailed round the world, the first Englishman to do this since Drake, he had brought home shiploads of Spanish treasure. (3) The prospects therefore were excellent for 'gentlemen' who, instead of pay, would have a share of the profits of the voyage plus frequent opportunities for pillage. There would be every reason, moreover, for Sir Henry to believe that his son was just the kind of young hopeful Cavendish was looking for. In his 'last letter', (4) also printed by Samuel Purchas in Hakluytus Posthumus, Cavendish does not use the term 'gentlemen', which is Purchas's word and also the word used in John Jane's narrative of the voyage in Hakluyt. (5) The soldiers who represented 60% of the manpower of his fleet, he termed instead 'Musketeeres' (Pilgrimes, xvi, 191). The proper handling of the musket would therefore have been an essential qualification of the enlistees, young though they were and many of them gentlemen also in the social sense. This qualification Anthony had. In the journal he was later to write, he recalled with pride the compliment he had received from the replacement governor of Rio de Janeiro: he was 'ready with his peece' (Pilgrimes, xvi, 235). He was after all the son of the man who, as Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire, had been responsible for raising and training the county militia, in whose ranks there were also 'striplings', (6) according to the pamphlet Sir Henry wrote about militia training, The Defense of the Realm (1596), which he dedicated to the Queen. Probably many of the gentlemen in Cavendish's fleet had a similar militia-training background.

The fleet of five ships--three tall ships, a bark, and a pinnace--left Plymouth on 26 August 1591. Anthony was on board the Galleon Dudley, Cavendish's flagship. The voyage was to be as much of a tragic failure as Cavendish's 1586-88 voyage had been a famous success. This is not the place to analyse the reasons for that failure. The story must be pieced together in the main from Cavendish's last letter, the diary kept by John Jane, supercargo on the Desire, the dedication to the The Seamens Secrets in which John Davis, captain of the Desire, attempted to refute the charge Cavendish has brought against him of desertion, and Anthony's journal. It is fair to say that it is only Anthony's account that contains no special pleading or falsehood since he did not have a responsibility for what went wrong, nor did he wish to protect someone who had, Jane's case.

Fifteen months into the voyage Cavendish had Anthony put ashore, together with other sickmen, on the uninhabited island of Sao Sebastiao off the southern coast of Brazil. He had contracted frostbite in the Straits of Magellan and his chances of survival looked better ashore. The sick and other men who had deserted were shortly set upon by Portuguese from Rio de Janeiro and their Indians. Most were brained with brands from their fire. In spite of a mutilated text, it is possible to be positive that Anthony was able to save his life and that of a friend, Henry Barwell, by claiming they were Catholic (Pilgrimes, xvi, 194); he evidently knew--as who on the ship would not have done?--that the Portuguese of Brazil spared the lives of co-religionists among the English. Since he could not walk so far, he was carried to a waiting canoa by Indian porters.

For the greater part of the next seven years, he was either working on the sugar plantation on the Ilha do Gato belonging to the governor of Rio de Janeiro or bushwhacking with the governor's illegitimate son. His journal contains much sympathetic reporting on Brazilian Indians, even though he fought against them and enslaved them; these tribes of the eastern seaboard have now ceased to exist. He also prospected for gold, not only with Martim de Sa but also with the Governor-General of Brazil himself, D. Francisco de Sousa. All in all, he may fairly claim to be the first English traveller in Brazil, who even went, on his escapes, where no Portuguese had gone. It was because of his knowledge of the interior and of the possible location of precious metals that he began to suspect the Rio Governor, Salvador Correa de Sa, and his son of planning to do away with him. This led to the longest of his many escape attempts, when he lived with Tamoio Indians in what is now the state of Sao Paulo. Another escape attempt took him to Bantu West Africa; he had been able to buy his passage by working for the governor in the paid job of crateiro, sugar-chest packer. The account of his stay in Congo and Angola was rendered almost unintelligible as a result of Purchas's negligence as an editor but may, with patience and optimism, in large part be reconstructed; the effort is worth making as he is as illuminating about these two countries in the sixteenth century as he is about Brazil.

The Rio Governor soon, however, obtained his extradition. He was not punished as by this time he had gained a powerful protector. Instead, he became a member of Salvador Correa de Sa's bodyguard, composed of 'strangers' or foreigners, though this did not put an end to his forays into the interior. When the Governor's term of office came to an end, he took his trusty Englishman to Portugal with him. Even there he did not allow him his liberty; he still feared what he might tell if ever he returned to his own country (the Portuguese had a cautious policy of secrecy where the resources of their overseas possessions were concerned).

Anthony's good angel in Lisbon was a kinswoman, 'Mistris Foster', (7) a novice in the Briggetine convent there. She gave him money, helped him when he was seriously ill, and with her brother, Father 'Seth', (8) confessor to the convent, probably contrived his final escape, though the details cannot be certainly known since at the very end of the narrative part of his journal, Purchas makes his most drastic cut. At all events, the Mayor of Portsmouth, John Man, (9) was able to write to Robert Cecil, Secretary of State, that on 27 September 1601 a Wiltshire-born Englishman, Anthony 'Knevett', 'who as he sayeth hath byn prysoner in Spayne (10) and Brasile theis seven years', had landed at Stokes Bay in the company of two Dutch merchants, having travelled from Portugal in their hulk. This was not because he was of any importance but because he would be able to report to Cecil on 'a fleete lately sete forth from Lysbonne appoynted for Ireland', which he presumably did. Anthony's family name would have been well known to Cecil since the latter was co-MP for Westminster (11) with Thomas, later Lord, Knyvett, Anthony's uncle and future benefactor. Thismay have had something to do with the inspiration for Mayor Man's letter: Anthony, by his own admission, was now seeking a 'preferment' (Pilgrimes, xvi, 245).

Sir Henry Knyvett had died in 1598. The relation on whom Anthony was now obliged to depend was this uncle Thomas, (12) Sir Henry's younger brother, a successful figure at Court who was a gentleman of the Privy Chamber from 1572 or earlier to at least 1597. He had first been returned as an MP in 1572 and since 1584, as noted, had been co-MP for Westminster with Robert Cecil. His most important appointment was as Warden of the Royal Mint. However, he was not yet able to help Anthony to a 'preferment'. That came later. Until then in all probability his nephew was a living-in member of his household in King Street, Westminster, where he took charge of his uncle's business affairs. (13)

The Journal

Almost immediately Anthony began work on a journal of what Purchas calls 'his admirable adventures and strange fortunes'. He had almost certainly completed it before the new reign began: there is a suggestion in it that the old Queen is still alive (Pilgrimes, xvi, 270), and Spain is still the enemy whereas James soon introduced a policy of conciliation to that country. Although it would eventually, in 1625, be published by Purchas in the Pilgrimes, we know that he sold it to Hakluyt, but too late for publication in the Principal Navigations, and Hakluyt did not publish again. In the preface to the Pilgrimes Purchas tells us that in the table of contents documents previously belonging to Hakluyt are indicated by the printing of an H, whereas 'such as have H. and P. pertain to both, being otherwise printed or in my possession written', and 'such as have no letter annexed are Mine'. Anthony Knyvett's journal falls into the second category. Probably Purchas elicited from him further material on the manners and customs of the Indians, which was of greater interest to him than the pellmell narrative to which Anthony had largely confined himself. The two had certainly met, for in a marginal note to the journal he wrote: 'Master Knivet told me [...]' (Pilgrimes, xvi, 212), (14) the information being on the possession of Indians by spirits.

When they met, when Purchas took possession of his manuscript, when indeed he took possession of any of the manuscripts that had previously belonged to Hakluyt can only be conjectured. The evidence, such as it is, lies in the various editions of the other of his two major publications. In 1613 he published Purchas His Pilgrimage; or, Relations of the World and Religions Observed in all Ages and Places Discovered from the Creation unto this Present. If Hakluyt's purpose in collecting and publishing the Principal Navigations (15) was to help to create a national awareness of England's maritime destiny, Purchas's in publishing his own vast collection of voyages was altogether different. The title of his first book suggests it was rather to illustrate the diversity of God's creation and thereby to illuminate his purpose. In the Pilgrimage he expounds an Anglican world-view based on material he would later publish in full, apart from editorial cuts, in the Pilgrimes. The Pilgrimage can therefore be regarded as a companion to the Pilgrimes, or the Pilgrimes as an extended (20 vols, in the Glasgow edition of 1906) appendix to the Pilgrimage. (16) Unlike the Pilgrimes, the Pilgrimage can have few readers today. It does, however, contain information on some of Purchas's authors not available in the Pilgrimes. In it, he discloses that Anthony was kin to Lord Knyvett (Pilgrimage, p. 909) and, more to the point in this context, that he had had to pay an exceptionally large sum for the journal (p. 910) presumably because it was long, longer indeed than most other items in the Pilgrimes: 'out of whose observations', Purchas wrote, 'bought at so deere a rate, I have mustered these many people before thee'. In the 1614 edition of the Pilgrimage there is a first tabulation of manuscripts obtained from Hakluyt, including Anthony's, which he would use in the Pilgrimes, together with lengthy summaries in the text. In the 1613 and 1614 editions there is a reference to his personal acquaintance with Hakluyt (Pilgrimage, (1613), p. 653). It is as ambiguous as only Purchas can be, but he seems to be saying that until recently they had not even met. Taking together these disparate pieces of evidence, it is possible to argue that Purchas met Hakluyt for the first time in 1613/14 when he bought--paying more than he wanted to for Anthony's journal--some of the older man's carefully garnered manuscripts. The rest were to be bought later.

Purchas was sufficiently impressed by Anthony's connections to note his potentially useful kinship to Lord Knyvett in the margin of the Pilgrimage, the journal had cost him dear and yet, as publisher of the Pilgrimes--which in effect, as well as editor, he was--Purchas did not cherish Anthony as an author, and a purpose of this article will be to suggest why that should have been so.

Among the papers Purchas acquired from Hakluyt was the strange letter that Thomas Cavendish wrote on his flagship, the Galleon Dudley, shortly before his death--the exact cause of which is now unlikely ever to be known--in which he blamed John Davis, captain of the Desire, for the expedition's failure, probably rightly. Purchas seems to have decided that the coupling of two documents relating to the 1591-93 expedition required notice, and he exceptionally interrupted the flow from other men's pens to write an introduction (Pilgrimes, xvi, To the Reader, pp. 146-51). The theme is contrasts: between Drake and his mariner, Peter Carder--'a mariner following a mariner'--whose writings he also published, on the one hand, and Cavendish and Anthony 'Knivet', 'the gentleman following a gentleman' (p. 150) on the other; between Cavendish's past successes and his present failure; and, by implication, between Cavendish's tragic and Anthony's less than tragic fates. Cavendish merits an unadorned solemnity of style in his tribute to him. When he turns to Anthony, it is to engage in foolish word-play which could hardly have recommended his journal to anyone. (17) The introduction contains some striking imagery from the theatre. If for Purchas Cavendish was a tragic hero, he was the hero in a Shakespearean or Jacobean tragedy in which there was also room for a clown.

In the Pilgrimage Purchas even casts doubt on Anthony Knyvett's veracity, in which he did him, at least in the instance he cites, an injustice. (18) Anthony must have made notes during the period covered by his journal. How else could he have remembered so much? When he did not note something down, then as like as not, by the time he got back to England he misremembered. (19) However, there are occasions when he misheard a name, especially if it was an Indian word, or confused similar Indian names for things or places, which is what happened in the story that occasions Purchas's inuendo. It is about a snake that Anthony killed. The snake was one that the Indians called surucucu, the name by which the bushmaster, the largest venomous snake in tropical America, is still known in Brazil. But the anaconda, a very different kind of snake, has a very similar Indian name, sucuri. Because of their similar names, Anthony confused their natures. This is proved by his comment, of the surucucu, that 'These serpents when they seeke their prey will stand about a small tree or bough, and when any wilde beast passeth, hee falleth upon him, thrusting his taile into the fundament of whatsoever it seizeth upon' (Pilgrimes, xvi, 261), (20) which in fact describes the sucuri, due allowance made for fanciful elements. Still describing the sucuri, instead of the surucucu, he wrote that the Indians told him that they 'dare not go to kill one of them except that they goe five or six of them with bows and arrows'. Purchas exploits what we now know to have been a mistake natural enough in the circumstances. He comments in the Pilgrimage: 'The Indians will not goe (under five or six) to set upon one of them; this yet he killed with the helve of an axe' (Pilgrimage, p. 913). Purchas is surely not noted for a sense of humour, yet he had one, for he adds that he would rather believe more than this 'than to adventure the search amongst those cruell Barbarians'.

Anthony Knyvett's uncut journal was a good deal longer than most other items Purchas intended to publish. His editor, as has been noted, did not have much interest in narrative detail for its own sake. In the Pilgrimage, he wrote, of Anthony, of 'this tedious following him in his epitomized discourse of disasters' (Pilgrimage, p. 912). Some cutting was probably inevitable. Purchas alludes to cuts in a marginal note to the Pilgrimes, at a point in the narrative part of the journal at which Anthony was about to embark on an extended description of one of the epidemics that periodically ravaged colonial Brazil, in which today's historians would certainly have found interest: 'Mortalitie. Divers frayes, dangers of the Author, which here followed, as in other places of the Historie, for brevities sake are omitted' (Pilgrimes, xvi, 237). Purchas's cuts are almost consistently injudicious. They are frequent, often drastic, and may easily be recognized by interruption of the sense. Some of the material cut in the narrative may be recovered because it was transposed to the gazetteer--of which more shortly--but most is lost for ever (unless by some happy accident the uncut original one day comes to light). The accumulation of cuts, even more than the uncorrected compositors' errors, is such as to render the journal at times unintelligible to the average reader. A. H. Markham failed to use it at all in writing the uncritical introduction to his edition of the works of John Davis (21) because, as he said, it was 'rambling'. If he had used it, he would have had to deal with material that is in effect prejudicial to Davis.

I am able to suggest a reason for Purchas's punitive treatment of this major contribution to the Pilgrimes. Two of the more extensive cuts seem to have been inspired by the wish to prevent any advantage that he conceived might accrue to the Catholic church or to countries that were its chief defenders in Europe. The first occurs during the account of the attack by the Portuguese and their Indians on the sick and some deserters from the Galleon Dudley on the island of Sao Sebastiao. At the moment when he and Henry Barwell were about to be slaughtered, Anthony was able to save his and his friend's lives by quick thinking: 'with that a Portugall passed by, and I caught hold of him, so well as I could I told him a Tale which saved my life at that time' (Pilgrimes, xvi, 194). We are prevented from knowing what the 'Tale' was but it was certainly that he and his friend were Catholic. Since Henry later married a girl from Portugal and settled in Sao Paulo de Piratininga (later modern Sao Paulo), there can be little doubt that he was. (22) Moreover, the Portuguese of Rio de Janeiro believed Anthony was. Otherwise there would have been little point in the action taken in revenge by a sometime English friend, also a prisoner of the Portuguese, who tells the Portuguese Governor that Anthony is a 'Heretick' (Pilgrimes, xvi, 232). The 'Tale' that Anthony told was perhaps the only recourse that could have saved their lives--there is documentary evidence that the Portuguese spared the lives of English who could say they were Catholic (23)--but one can see that this was not the kind of information that anyone who had a bias against Catholicism and a distrust of the Catholic powers would want to see in print.

The other 'anti-Catholic cut'--if that is what it is--is the most flagrant excision in the whole journal, which even Purchas could not justify on the grounds of 'brevitie'. It is impossible to know how much has been lost by Purchas's deletion of the closing pages of Anthony's narrative. Its author is left crying for help from the grate of the Lisbon prison to which Salvador Correa de Sa had had him committed (and it has to be remembered that many English prisoners at this time remained in Iberian prisons for years). It is only because of the Mayor of Portsmouth's letter to Robert Cecil that we know beyond dispute that on 27 September 1601 Anthony reached England. I have inferred that his kinswoman, 'Mistris Foster', and her brother, Father Seth, confessor to the English convent in Lisbon, aided his escape. Usefully, there is documentary evidence of how the escape may have been achieved. In 1620 the Cambridge drop-out and sailor down on his luck, Thomas Robinson, published a pamphlet, Anatomie of the English Nunnery at Lisbon in Portugal, exposing the alleged malpractices of the Briggetine house, which was a scurvy recompense for the aid and succour it had given him. According to Robinson, it took in young Englishmen in trouble with the authorities, like himself, and until they could be got away, passed them off as lay brothers and converts: 'And of this sorte I could have instanced in twentie who within a few years have been recorded in their Register book, for Apostate runneaways' (pp. 26-27; the Briggetine was a mixed Order of men and women, which made it vulnerable to trashy libels like Robinson's). I have no doubt that this is what his kinswoman and her brother also did for Anthony. Still left open is the question of whether he was a Catholic, but in any case could Purchas, since 1613 chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury and since 1614 Rector of St Martin's Ludgate as well, permit a favourable, necessarily grateful, account of the charity of a Catholic Order? It would be simpler to suppress it.

With these cuts in mind and the possible reason for them, I also see Purchas's hand in a single anti-Catholic slur occurring in the text. Anthony's journal is otherwise completely free of anti-Catholic sentiment. Yet at one point a remark is made that would come naturally to an eminent Anglican in these years. Anthony has already mentioned the bishop in Brazil in connection with one of the episodes in his journal. When he refers to him again, it is as the 'High Priest' (Pilgrimes, xvi, 233), which with its New Testament overtones packs a powerful anti-Catholic punch, and I suspect an emendation by his editor.

If Purchas allowed his religion to affect his editorial task, which I believe to be the case, might it not have affected his attitude to the journal as a whole, explaining why he may be said to have withheld his endorsement of it? Anthony died an Anglican (24) but that does not mean that he was not a Catholic earlier. The Norfolk family from which his branch of the family derived remained obstinately recusant. (25) One of his legitimate sisters married a man known to be a Catholic (26) and another a man strongly suspected of being one. (27) Possible references to his mother suggest she may have been a Catholic. (28) The evidence that his father was Protestant is by no means conclusive. (29)

As already mentioned, Purchas transposed parts of the narrative to a gazetteer which represents one quarter of the length of the journal (there is also a 'rutter' for the use of landing parties covering the eastern coast of South America from Recife in north-east Brazil down to Buenos Aires, which is just over an eighth of the journal's length). (30) During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries several books of the gazetteer type were published in Portugal, some of them to promote emigration to its colonies by members of the rentier class. It is probable that Purchas got the idea of presenting a part of Anthony's journal in this way from one of these Portuguese gazetteers part of which was published for the first time in the Pilgrimes under the title of 'A treatise of Brazil written by a Portuguese which had long lived there'. It had first come into Hakluyt's hands (Pilgrimage, p. 907). The Jesuit father Pe. Fernao Cardim was returning to Portugal in 1601 when the ship in which he was travelling was attacked by the English pirate Francis Cook. Cardim was taken prisoner and carried towards England but was later, when the English ship reached the Bay of Biscay, put into a small boat in which he and the other prisoners were able to reach land. He was robbed of the manuscript of the two books he had written, Do clima e terra do Brasil and Do principio e origem dos Indios do Brasil, which Francis Cook was able to sell to Hakluyt, from whom it was bought or inherited by Purchas. Since Purchas was less interested in voyages than in the information of an ethno-religious nature obtained, the gazetteer would have been a literary form that appealed to him. The consequence was further to reduce the coherence of Anthony's narrative.

The dating of events in the journal is unreliable and has to be checked against other documents when available and, when unavailable, considered in the light of probability. The longest cut, of the last pages of the narrative, led to a singular dating error which can only have resulted from confusion reigning in the printing establishment used by the stationer, Henry Fetherstone. (31) Anthony says that the retiring Governor of Rio de Janeiro left his governorate for the last time, taking his English bond-servant with him, on the 'fourteenth of August 1601' (Pilgrimes, xvi, 237). But this is impossible since it is only just over a month before the date of his return to England, for which there is incontrovertible evidence in the Portsmouth Mayor's letter, and we know that the Governor's party spent at least six months in north-east Brazil before their convoy departed, there was then the sea voyage, and finally the several months if not over a year before Anthony was able to escape from Portugal. So what has happened? In fact, 14 August can only be the date on which he secretly boarded the Dutch hulk that would convey him to England, which would have been written on one of the pages of the narrative part of the journal which Purchas suppressed. How it got into Anthony's story at the point when he was leaving Rio de Janeiro can only be guessed at, but I can imagine a compositor's eye alighting on the date on a discarded page lying near. Elsewhere in the text there are chance date references that suggest that the date of his departure from Rio de Janeiro was towards the end of January 1599. This is borne out by a fact of Brazilian history. The Governor's party was still in Pernambuco when in June 1599 (32) peace was signed with an Indian tribe, the Potyguar, with whom the Portuguese had been at war in Rio Grande do Norte. Anthony makes a point of mentioning this since he had been able to capitalize on the delay in sailing by taking part in a short and probably decisive campaign against them.

Quite apart from any animus that Purchas had against Anthony as a Catholic, which I believe led to a special downgrading reserved for the journal, chiefly evidenced by the jeering tone of his introduction to it, generally it may be said that Purchas had taken on too much. Together the four books of the Pilgrimes fill over 5,000 folio pages of close print. In the preface he tells us that he would not have been able to see the book through the press at all if he had not been allowed four summers off from parish and chaplaincy work, though not from the obligation to preach on Sundays (Pilgrimes, vol 1, Publisher's Note, p. xxvi). It was all to little avail: he needed longer than four full years, not four half ones.

Judging by Anthony's journal, proof-reading in the Pilgrimes seems not to have taken place at all, or at least not in any significant way. It is a work abounding in outlandish foreign names which the compositors were reading, or trying to read, for the first time, apparently without any help from Purchas, his authors, or the stationer. Where there was difficulty, (33) then each time the name occurs the chances are there will be a different spelling, intensifying the obscurity of the piece. Os baixos de Dom Rodrigo are notorious shallows off the coast of Brazil where many ships had come to grief, their passengers sometimes falling victim to the Caite Indians. In Anthony's journal, as printed, these shallows appear as the Bayshas Deamrobrio, Ous Busshos de Dom Rodrigo, and Os Bayos de Dom Rodrigo. The Paraiba rivers, north and south, are the Paraeyva, the Pareyva, and the Parieva. Bahia, the seat of the governor-general, is Bahya and Bacia. The Wayanasse Indians are the Wyanasses, the Waanasses, and the Vannasses. Many such errors could be cited. (34) Alternatively, different but similar names are printed as though they were the same. The west African episode is rendered almost unintelligible by the compositors' confusion of Angola and Anjeca, the latter being a territory immediately to the north of the Congo from which raiders had terrorized Bantu west Africa in the first half of the sixteenth century. (An)jeca is also confused with Jaga, another and fiercer raiding tribe, so that the customs of the one are indistinguishable, until the mistake has been realized, from those of the other. Massangana was the Portuguese fort on the Cuanza river from which the Europeans controlled the interior of Angola. It is also the name as printed--though hardly likely to be in fact--of a frontier post on the northern border of the Congo. That these two places are not the same and that Anthony is not somehow in Angola again, which the text renders in any case unlikely, is only realized when importance is attached to his statement that the second Massangana 'lieth right under the line' (Pilgrimes, xvi, 272). In 1620-25, when the Pilgrimes was going to the press, Anthony, now Anthony Knyvett of Westminster and, thanks to Lord Knyvett, co-Teller of the Royal Mint, (35) was resident in London. It would have been an easy matter for him to check on what the compositors were doing. I suspect that Purchas was so uncomfortable about what he had done to the journal that he did not give him the chance. On the other hand, by 1620-25 the journal represented a scapegrace past he perhaps preferred to forget. Nothing about it was now relevant to his present life. He was now a respected civil servant with a wide circle of friends in capital and country, and an Anglican if he was not one before.

It is often said in Purchas's defence that if he had not published these authors, they would have remained unpublished, to the detriment of the history of English navigation and exploration in the sixteenth century. That may be so. However, in the case of Anthony Knyvett's journal, one can only say that it is desperately to be wished that someone else had published it. Not only has it been robbed of a good part of its value as historical evidence, but enough remains to be able to say that what would have been a personal recollection unique in its time has been largely lost to us: a young man's story brimming with journalistic vigour, and at the same time quirky, humorous, and confessional.

I must gratefully acknowledge the advice on the publishing history of Purchas His Pilgrims given me by Professor Loren E. Pennington, Emeritus Professor of History, Emporia State University, Kansas, and editor of The Purchas Handbook, 2 vols (London: Hakluyt Society, 2000).

References to Samuel Purchas, Hakluytus Posthumus; or, Purchas His Pilgrimes (London: Imprinted at London for Henry Fetherstone at ye signe of the Rose in Paul's Churchyard, 1625), abbreviated to Pilgrimes, are to the Hakluyt Society edn in 20 vols (Glasgow, 1906); to Samuel Purchas, Purchas His Pilgrimage; or, Relations of the World and the Religions Observed in all Ages and Places Discovered from the Creation unto this Present, abbreviated to Pilgrimage, are to the 4th edn of 1626 by the same publisher, unless otherwise stated.

(1) Pilgrimage, p. 909; N(orfolk) R(ecord) O(ffice), Knyvett-Wilson Collection, KNY nos 505, 512;ArthurCollins, Proceedings, Precedents, and Arguments on Claims and Controversies, concerning Baronies by Writ and other Honours (London, 1734), pp. 356-57; R. F. Hitchcock, 'The Knyvetts of Charlton: An Explorer in the Family', Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine, 88 (1995), 82-90.

(2) Collins, Proceedings, p. 356; The Complete Peerage, ed. by G. E. Cokayne, 13 vols (London: St Catherine's Press, 1910-88), 11 (1912), s.n. Burgh.

(3) 'The prosperous voyage of M. Thomas Candish esquire into the South Sea, and so round about the circumference of the whole earth, begun in the yere 1586 and finished 1588' (Richard Hakluyt, The Prinicipall Navigations of the English Nation, 8 vols (London: Everyman, 1926), viii, 205-55).

(4) 'Master Thomas Candish his discourse of his fatall and disastrous voyage towards the South Sea, with its many disadventures in the Magellan Straits and other places; written with his owne hand to Sir Tristram Gorges his Executor' (Pilgrimes, xvi, 151-77).

(5) 'The last voyage of M. Thomas Candish intended for the South sea, the Phillipines, and the coast of China, with three tall ships, and two barks, begun 1591' (Principall Navigations, viii, 289-95).

(6) Sir Henry Knyvett, The Defense of the Realm (1596; repr. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1906), p. 8.

(7) Pilgrimes, xvi, 244; Thomas Robinson, Anatomie of the English Nunnery at Lisbon (1620; repr. King's Lynn: Greenland Fishery Museum, 1916), p. 32. She was Anthony Knyvett's fourth cousin once removed.

(8) According to Thomas Robinson (Anatomie, passim), 'Seth' was his alias. His baptismal name was Joseph.

(9) P(ublic) R(ecord) O(ffice) SP12/281.

(10) Although Brazil had been colonized by Portugal, after the Union of Crowns in 1580 it became part of the overseas possessions of Spain, which it continued to be until 1640.

(11) P. W. Hasler, The House of Commons 1558-1603, 3 vols (London: HMSO, 1981), 11, 424.

(12) DNB, s.n. Knyvett, Thomas, Lord Knyvett of Escrick; Hasler, House of Commons, 11, 424.

(13) NRO, Knyvett-Wilson Collection, KNY 787-98, 73-75, 593-97, 473-75. These and other documents relating to Anthony Knyvett are in the Norwich Record Office because Thomas Knyvett of Ashwellthorpe, Norfolk, d. 1658, was his executor (PRO, Prob. 10/711).

(14) The name was spelt in various ways, Knyvett being the most common and that preferred by Anthony himself. Purchas prefers 'Knivet'.

(15) 2nd and enlarged edn, 3 vols (London: G. Bishop, R. Newberie, and R. Barker, 1598-1600).

(16) Pilgrimage, The Epistle Dedicatorie, To His Most Excellent Majestie Charles, etc., pp. 3-4: James I, whose favourite bedtime reading the Pilgrimage was--'Ordinarie of his Bed Chamber'--recognized this and it was he, according to Purchas, who suggested that the 4th edn of the Pilgrimage (1626) should appear in a format uniform with that of the Pilgrimes. He also enjoyed the Pilgrimes 'till God called him by a fatall sicknesse to a better Pilgrimage' (ibid.).

(17) Pilgrimes, xvi, To the Reader, pp. 150-51: 'especially Master Knivet, who betwixt the Brasillian and the Portugall, as betwixt two Mill stones, was almost ground to poulder: whom Colds, Sicknes, Famine, Wandrings, Calumnies, Desertions, Solitarines, Deserts, Woods, Mountaines, Fennes, Rivers, Seas, Flights, Fights; wilde Beasts, wilder Serpents, wildest Men, and straight passages beyond all names of wildnesse (those Magellan Straits succeeded by drowning, fainting, freesing, betraying, beating, starving, hanging Straits) have in various successions made the subject of their working: whom God yet delivered, that out of his manifold paines, thou maist gather this posie of pleasures, and learne to be thankfull for thy native sweets at home, even delights in the multitude of peace.'

(18) There is one episode that I believe Knyvett invents because he wanted a pretext to expose the corruption of Salvador Correa de Sa, Governor of Rio de Janeiro. The harvesting of Brazil wood in the sixteenth century was a monopoly of the Portuguese Crown. There was a contraband trade in the product which it was the duty of the colonial authorities to prevent. Knyvett reports that Martim de Sa, the Governor's illegitimate son, was 'making Brasill ready for a ship of his father's'. The episode that contains this comment is implausible in the extreme (Pilgrimes, xvi, 232-33).

(19) He calls the bark part-owned by John Davis, captain of the Desire in Cavendish's fleet, the Dainty, whereas, according to Davis's editor, it was the Delight (The Voyages and Works of John Davis, the Navigator, ed. by A. H. Markham (London: Hakluyt Society, 1880), p. 232). He misremembers the family name of John Whithall, the Englishman who had initiated trade with Santos in Brazil and who lived there, having married the daughter of a rich Genoese immigrant. He calls him John King (Pilgrimes, xvi, 182).

(20) The name of this snake occurs only once at this point in the text, 'socoruev' as printed, which is intermediate between surucucu and sucuri (p. 260). There is plenty of evidence, however, of the heat-sensitive membrane of the pit-viper (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edn, xxvii, 125, 2a; xxii, 991, 2a). The Indians told him 'it was the kinde of snake, that flyeth at the fire' (Pilgrimes, xvi, 215). This is why when he goes to kill it, Anthony takes 'a little Waxe Candle in a guard'. After he hoped he had killed it, he threw the 'Torch' to the ground, 'then looked still towards [his] Torch, to prove if it were true that they would .y in the fire', but it was dead (p. 216). Elsewhere (p. 203) surucucu is printed 'surococous'.

(21) See above, n. 19.

(22) Fortuna e estranhos fados de Anthony Knivet, ed. by Francisco de Assis Carvalho, versao do original ingles por Guiomar de Carvalho Franco (Sao Paulo: Brasiliense, 1947), p. 41.

(23) D. Martin del Barco Centenara, Argentina y conquista del Rio de la Plata (1602), trans. by Walter Owen (Buenos Aires: Instituto Walter Owen, 1952), p. 462; Calendar of State Papers, Domestic-Elizabeth, 1591-94, ccxxv, 356.

(24) The Knyvett Letters 1620-1644, ed. by B. Schofield (Norfolk: Norfolk Record Society, 1949), p. 160. We are told he took the Covenant with misgivings.

(25) This was the main branch of the family based on Old Buckenham, of which the Wiltshire Knyvetts were an offshoot. Sir Phillip Knyvett, 1st Bart., was convicted as a recusant, in 1642 conformed but relapsed, 'brought up his children Papists and paid large sums to a nun beyond the sea' (Calendar of the Proceedings of the Committee for Advance of Money, ed. by M. A. E. Green, 3 pts (London: HMSO, 1888), 11, 970.

(26) Francis Manners, later to be 6th Earl of Rutland, married Frances Knyvett, Anthony's youngest legitimate sister (d. 1605), on 6 May 1602; he was a Catholic (DNB, s.n. Villiers, George first Duke of Buckingham, p. 329); their daughter, Katherine, became briefly a Protestant in order to marry Villiers.

(27) Anthony's eldest legitimate sister, Katherine, married Thomas, Lord Howard, Earl of Suffolk. 'To the anti-Spanish party at Court and most of the nation, the Howards were odious as being all more or less openly Catholic at heart, and giving support to the marriage with the Infanta' (S. H. Gardiner, History of England from the Accession of James I to the Outbreak of the Civil War, 1603-1642, 10 vols (London: Longmans, 1883-84), 111, 185). 'Lady Suffolk was an intermediary between the Spanish ambassador and Salisbury. One section of public opinion made her the centre of a conspiracy of "Spaniolized Romanists" for tolerating Roman Catholicism in England' (A. Cecil, A Life of Robert Cecil (London: J. Murray, 1915), p. 364).

(28) NRO, Knyvett-Wilson Archive, KNY 512 informs us that the lady who was certainly Anthony's mother (name withheld) died at Ely, although her home county was Wiltshire. In 1596 the bishop's palace in Elywas one of two government detention centres for recusants. Women were not detained (Acts of the Privy Council of England, 1596-97, p. 367), but she could have accompanied a male relative subject to the detention order and perhaps infirm in health.

In 1592, in between his two marriages, there was an unnamed 'gentlewoman' residing in Sir Henry Knyvett's house at Charlton on whom a process was served (Acts of the Privy Council of England, 1592-93, pp. 21, 33-35). Sir Henry treated the process-server roughly and spent time in the Fleet prison. It is possible to suspect that she was Anthony's mother and that the process was in respect of recusancy.

(29) In 1586 Sir Henry Knyvett and his brother, then plain Thomas Knyvett, were appointed by Parliament to search houses in Westminster suspected of sheltering Jesuits (Hasler, The House of Commons 1558-1603, 11, 424). This is not conclusive evidence that Sir Henry was Protestant since the Jesuits were regarded by many in positions of authority, whatever their religion, as enemies of the regime who were suspected of plotting to murder the Queen. In September 1604 (DNB, s.n. Howard, Henry, Earl of Northampton) the Earl sat on a commission appointed to arrange the expulsion of Jesuits and seminary priests, yet 'there can be little doubt that he lived and died a Roman Catholic' (ibid.).

(30) The largest transpositions are (1) the account of the tribes lying west of the southern Paraiba river who were encountered during the 1596 expedition (Pilgrimes, xvi, 256-60), and (2) the account of an expedition against the Temimino Indians of Espirito Santo (pp. 250-51). The first was transposed from p. 211, after 'to other Townes'. There is a reference to the second on p. 218 ('he holdeth against me falsely rumered by his Cosen, who is now present, because I would not save him'), though it is impossible to say where it should key in.

It is unlikely that Anthony Knyvett was the author of the rutter, even though one or two of his personal comments are obtruded. He could not have had a pilot's intimate knowledge of this South American coast line (and be able to suggest, for example, desirable sites for landing parties.) There was one Englishman (probably living in Limehouse still) who had this knowledge, who had been a pirate specializing in Brazilian waters and even for several years a pilot working for a Portuguese ship owner in Brazil, who may have been the author. He is Abraham Cocke whose name crops up in several narratives in Hakluyt and Purchas, including Knyvett's journal (Pilgrimes, xvi, 231).

(31) Pilgrimes, 1, Publisher's Note, p. xxv: 'Hakluytus Posthumus, etc.' was 'Imprinted at London for Henry Fetherstone at ye signe of the Rose in Paul's Churchyard 1625'.

(32) John Hemming, Red Gold: The Conquest of the Brazilian Indians (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1978), p. 171; Frei do Salvador Vicente, Historia do Brasil (1627), 7th edn (Sao Paulo: Editora Itatiaia Limitada, Editora da Universidade de Sao Paulo, 1982), pp. 273-74.

(33) Anthony wrote a clear italic hand, as can be seen in the preamble to his draft will (NRO, Knyvett-Wilson Archive, KNY 505) and, to a lesser extent because he was near death, in his deathbed letter (KNY 506).

(34) Even the family name of his English friend who also survives to be taken prisoner is spelt Barrawell, Barway, and Baraway. DNB gives only Barwell, significantly a Norfolk family. 'Barwell' is confirmed by the known Portugalization of his name after he had married (see n. 22 above), which is 'Baruel'.

(35) PRO, C66/1807.


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Author:Hitchcock, Richard F.
Publication:The Modern Language Review
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 1, 2004
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