The Tempest, (11)
3.5 Dating The True Declaration (TD)
William Strachey went on to write The History of Travel into Virginia Britannica, a book that avoided duplicating the details of the TR. First published in 1849 and edited by R.H. Major, three manuscript copies survive dedicated to Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland; Sir William Apsley, Purveyor of his Majesty’s Navy Royal; and Sir Francis Bacon, Lord Chancellor. In the dedication to Bacon, which must have been composed after 1618, Strachey writes:
“Your Lordship ever approving himself a most noble fautor [supporter] of the Virginia Plantation, being from the beginning (with other lords and earls) of the principal counsel applied to propagate and guide it;”
This gives Bacon a prominent position on the Council. Hotson in his I, William Shakespeare Do Appoint Thomas Russell,Esquire (1937) has conjectured that Sir Dudley Digges, brother of Leonard Digges (who penned a eulogy for Shakespeare's First Folio), wrote the TD. However, we shall claim here that there is far more evidence for Sir Francis Bacon's hand. He certainly had an interest in the New World. In 1610, he was a founder member of the Newfoundland Fisheries Company and in 1618 was admitted a brother of the East India Company.
It is clear from the use of “I” that the TD has a single author:
“Now, I demand whether Sicilia, or Sardinia (sometimes the Barnes of Rome) could hope for increase without manuring”?
It also reveals that its author was privy to Sir Thomas Gates' report to the Council:
“An incredible example of their idlenesse, is the report of Sir Thomas Gates, who affirmeth, that after his first comming thither, he hath seene some of them eat their fish raw, rather then they would goe a stones cast to fetch wood and dresse it”.