Full text: Bacon, Francis: Sylva sylvarum

New Atlantis. fortune, if they had not met with enemies of greater clemency. 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 ſtroke; and after they were at his mercy, contenting himſelf one-
ly with their Oath, that they ſhould no more bear Arms againſt him, diſ-
miſſed them all in ſaſety. But the Divine revenge overtook not long
after thoſe proud enterpriſes; for within leſs then the ſpace of One hun-
dred years the Great Atlantis was utterly loſt and deſtroyed, not by a great
Earthquake, as your Man ſaith, (for that whole Tract is little ſubject to
Earthquakes) but by a particular Deluge or Inundation, thoſe Countreys
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, not paſt forty ſoot in moſt places from
the ground; ſo that although it deſtroyed Man and Beaſt generally,
yet ſome ſew wilde 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 then the depth of the VVater; 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 Popu-
lation 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 thouſand years at the leaſt than the reſt of the VVorld, for
that there was ſo much time between the Univerſal Flood, and their par-
ticular Inundation. For the poor remnant of Humane Seed which re-
mained in their Mountains peopled the Countrey 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 like wiſe
in their Mountainous Habitations been uſed (in reſpect of the extream
Cold of thoſe Regions) to cloath themſelves 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 intole [?] rable Heats which
are there, and knew no means of lighter Apparel, they were ſorced to
begin the cuſtom of going naked, which continueth at this day; onely
they take great pride and delight in the Feathers of Birds: And this alſo
they took from thoſe their Anceſtors of the Mountains, who were in-
vited 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 Traffick 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 following (whether it were in reſpect of VVars, or by a Natural
revolution of time) Navigation did every where greatly decay, and
eſpecially far voyages (the rather by theuſe of Gallies, and ſuch Veſſels
as could hardly brook the Ocean) were altogether left and omitted. So then, that part of entercourſe 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


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