vertisement written to a Secretarie of my L. Treasurers of Ingland by an Inglishe Intelligencer, 1592, p. 18). In May 1593 the coterie's proceedings were brought to the notice of the privy council. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Marlowe and another, but Marlowe died next month, before it took effect. Ralegh had doubtless returned to Sherborne after the dissolution of parliament on 10 April. But later in the year the lord keeper, Puckering, made searching inquiries into Ralegh's and his friends' relations with the freethinking dramatist. A witness deposed that Marlowe had read an atheistical lecture to Ralegh and others. On 21 March 1593–4 a special commission, headed by Thomas Howard, viscount Bindon, was directed to pursue the investigation at Cerne in Dorset, in the neighbourhood of Sherborne, and to examine Ralegh, his brother Carew, ‘Mr. Thynne of Wiltshire,’ and ‘one Heryott of Sir Walter Rawleigh's house’ as to their alleged heresies. Unfortunately the result of the investigation is not accessible (Harl. MS. 7042, p. 401) [see Kyd, Thomas; Marlowe, Christopher]. In June 1594 Ralegh spent a whole night in eagerly discussing religious topics with the jesuit John Cornelius [q. v.], while the latter lay under arrest at Wolverton (Foley, Jesuits, iii. 461–2).
But Ralegh was soon seeking with characteristic versatility somewhat less hazardous means of satisfying his speculative instinct. He had been fascinated by the Spanish legend of the fabulous wealth of the city of Manoa in South America, ‘which the Spaniards call Eldorado,’ and he desired to investigate it. Early in 1594 his wife, who deprecated the project, wrote to Cecil entreating him ‘rather to stay him than further him’ (Edwards, i. 160). Probably owing to his wife's influence, Ralegh delayed going out himself, and in the first instance sent his tried servant, Jacob Whiddon, with instructions to explore the river Orinoco and its tributaries, which intersect the country now known as Venezuela, but long called by the Spanish settlers Guayana or Guiana. Whiddon returned towards the end of the year without any definite information. Ralegh was undaunted. He had already resolved to essay the adventure himself, and on 9 Feb. 1594–5 he sailed from Plymouth with a fleet of five ships, fitted out principally at his own cost, Cecil and the lord admiral being also interested in the voyage, and with a commission from the queen to wage war against the Spaniard. On 22 March he arrived at the island of Trinidad, off the Venezuelan coast, where he attacked and took the town of San Josef. He seized Berreo, governor of Trinidad, who, stimulated by the appearance of Whiddon the year before, had written home suggesting the immediate occupation of the country adjoining the Orinoco. In fact an expedition for this purpose sailed from San Lucar about the same time that Ralegh sailed from Plymouth, but it did not arrive at Trinidad till April.
Ralegh's intercourse with his prisoner had meantime been most friendly, and Berreo showed Ralegh an official copy of a deposition made by one Juan Martinez, who, on the point of death, declared that, having fallen into the hands of the Indians of the Orinoco, he had been detained for seven months in Manoa, the richness and wonders of which he described at length. Ralegh, like the Spaniards, accepted the story, in which there is nothing improbable. ‘It is not yet proven that there was not in the sixteenth century some rich and civilised kingdom, like Peru or Mexico, in the interior of South America’ (Kingsley, Miscellanies, 1859, i. 44). The reports of dog-headed men, or of ‘men whose heads do grow beneath their shoulders,’ may have originated in the disguises of the Indian medicine-men (ib. i. 45). Early in April, leaving his ships at Los Gallos, Ralegh started on his adventurous search for the gold-mine of Manoa, with a little flotilla of five boats, about one hundred men, and provisions for a month.
The equipment and the means at his disposal proved inadequate. Entering by the Manamo mouth from the Bay of Guanipa, and so into the Orinoco itself, near where San Rafael now is, the labour of rowing against the stream of the river in flood was excessive; and when, after struggling upwards for an estimated distance of four hundred miles, they turned into the Caroni, it was often found impossible to make more than ‘one stone's cast in an hour.’ They pushed on for forty miles further, when their provisions were nearly exhausted, and they were still without any prospect of reaching Manoa. Ralegh reluctantly decided to give up the attempt for the present, hoping to try again at some future time. Leaving a man and a boy behind with a tribe of friendly Indians, so that on his return he might find competent interpreters, or possibly even guides to Manoa, he and his companions rapidly descended the river with the current, and rejoined their ships. They carried with them sundry pieces of ‘white spar’ or quartz, ‘on the outside of which appeared some small grains of gold,’ and these, being afterwards assayed in London, were reported to contain pure gold in proportions varying from 12,000 to 26,900 pounds to the ton, the reference being apparently to the ‘assay pound’ of 12 grains (information from Professor Ro-