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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume VII by Robert Kerr

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Owing to some improper language he had used of certain princes,
Gonzalves was well buffetted by a Spaniard at his coming off from the
shore, and had been slain if the natives had not rescued him for our

When I went on shore to release Villanova, Pedro Gonzalves confessed to
Thomas Dassel, that he had concerted with some negroes and Portuguese
about detaining Dassel and the goods on shore; but that he had acted
nothing on this subject without authority from his king, contained in
certain letters he had received at Dartmouth from London, after our
departure from the Thames, occasioned by our presuming to trade to
Guinea without a servant of the king of Portugal; and declared likewise
that he had power or authority from Francisco de Costa, a Portuguese,
remaining in England, to detain the goods of Anthony Dassel in Guinea.
By consent of Francis Tucker, John Browbeare, and the other factors of
Richard Kelley, with whom this Pedro Gonzalves came from England, it was
agreed that we should detain Gonzalves in our ships until their
departure, to avoid any other mischief that he might contrive.
Therefore, on 9th January 1592, he was delivered to go for England in
the same ship that brought him, being all the time he remained in our
ship, well and courteously treated by me, though much against the will
of our mariners, who were much disgusted at seeing one who had been
nourished and relieved in our country, seeking, by villanous means, to
procure the destruction of us all.

Although the Spaniards and Portuguese are dissemblers and not to be
trusted, yet when they saw how the subjects of Amar Malek befriended and
favoured us, and that it would be prejudicial to their trade if we were
any way injured, they renounced their evil intentions against us,
shewing detestation of him who had been the cause of it, and promised to
defend us and our affairs in all faithfulness for the future; desiring
us, as the negro king had done already, to bring no more Portuguese with
us from England, for they esteemed one bar of iron as more valuable than
twenty Portuguese, and more serviceable towards the profitable trade
which had been of late carried on by us and the French; whereas the
Portuguese, whom we were in use to bring with us, endeavoured all they
could to do us injury, and even to hurt all parties concerned in the

At the beginning of these broils, Amar Malek had sent his chief
secretary with three horses for me, Richard Rainolds; but I refused
going, on account of the disturbances, though I might have had negroes
of condition left as hostages for my safety; yet I transmitted the
customary presents for the king. When he understood the reason of my not
coming to his residence, he was very sorry and much offended at the
cause, and immediately issued a proclamation, commanding that no injury
should be done to us in his dominions by his own people, neither
suffered to be done by the Spaniards or Portuguese; and declaring, if
any of the neighbouring negro tribes should confederate with the
Spaniards and Portuguese to molest us, that he and his subjects should
be ready to aid and defend us. Thus there appeared more kindness and
good will towards us in these ignorant negroes, than in the Spaniards
and Portuguese.

None of the Spaniards or Portuguese are in use to trade up the river
Senegal, except one Portuguese named _Ganigogo_ who dwells far up that
river, where he has married the daughter of one of the kings. In the
towns of Porto d'Ally and Joala, which are the places of chief trade on
this coast, and at Cauton and Cassan in the river Gambia, there are many
Spaniards and Portuguese who have become resident by permission of the
negroes, and carry on a valuable trade all along the coast, especially
to the Rio San Dominica and Rio Grande, which are not far distant from
the Gambia, to which places they transport the iron which they purchase
from us and the French, exchanging it for _negro slaves_, which are
transported to the West Indies in ships that come hither from Spain. By
order of the governor and renters of the castle of Mina, and of all
those places on the coast of Guinea where gold is to be had, these
residents have a place limited for them in the river Gambia, beyond
which they must not go under pain of death and confiscation of their
goods; as the renters themselves send their own barks at certain times
up the river, to those places where gold is to be had. In all those
places hereabout, where we are in use to trade, the Spaniards and
Portuguese have no castle or other place of strength, merely trading
under the licence and safe conduct of the negroes. Most of the Spaniards
and Portuguese who reside in those parts are banished men or fugitives,
who have committed heinous crimes; and their life and conversation is
conformable to their conditions, as they are the basest and most
villainously behaved persons of their nation that are to be met with in
any part of the world.




The present chapter is rather of an anomalous nature, and chiefly
consists of naval expeditions against the Spaniards and Portuguese,
scarcely belonging in any respect to our plan of arrangement: yet, as
contained mostly in the ancient English collection of Hakluyt, and in
that by Astley, we have deemed it improper to exclude them from our
pages, where they may be considered in some measure as an episode.
Indeed, in every extensively comprehensive plan, some degree of anomaly
is unavoidable. The following apology or reason given by the editor of
Astley's collection for inserting them in that valuable work, may serve
us likewise on the present occasion; though surely no excuse can be
needed, in a national collection like ours, for recording the exploits
of our unrivalled naval defenders.

"For want of a continued series of trading voyages to Guinea, we shall
here insert an account of some remarkable achievements by the English
against the Spaniards and Portuguese; who, being greatly alarmed to find
out merchants extending their commerce, and trading to those parts of
the world which they pretended a right of engrossing to themselves,
began to treat our ships very severely, wherever they had the
superiority; and when they wanted force, endeavoured to surprise them by
treachery, never scrupling to violate the most solemn oaths and
engagements to compass their designs. For this reason the English
merchant ships were obliged to go to sea armed and in company; by which
means they not only prevented the outrages of these faithless enemies,
but often revenged the injuries done to others of their countrymen. At
length, the resentment of the nation being inflamed by their repeated
treacheries and depredations, the English began to send out fleets to
annoy their coasts and disturb their navigation. Of these proceedings,
we propose to give a few instances in this chapter, which may suffice to
shew the noble spirit that prevailed in these early times."--_Astl_. I.


_Gallant escape of the Primrose from Bilboa in Spain, in 1585_[332].

It is not unknown to the world, what dangers our English ships have
lately escaped from, how sharply they have been entreated, and how
hardly they have been assaulted; insomuch that the valour of those who
managed and defended them is worthy of being held in remembrance.
Wherefore, the courageous attempt and valiant enterprize of the tall
ship named the Primrose of London, from before the town of Bilboa, in
the province of Biscay in Spain, (which ship the corregidore of that
province, accompanied by 97 Spaniards, offered violently to arrest, yet
was defeated of his purpose, and brought prisoner into England,) having
obtained renown, I have taken in hand to publish the truth thereof, that
it may be generally known to the rest of our English ships; that, by the
good example of this gallant exploit, the rest may be encouraged and
incited in like extremity to act in a similar manner, to the glory of
the realm and their own honour.--_Hakluyt_, II, 597.

[Footnote 332: Hakluyt, II. 537. Astley, I.194.]

* * * * *

Upon Wednesday the 26th of May 1585, while the ship Primrose of 150 tons
was riding at anchor off the bay of Bilboa, where she had been two days,
there came on board a Spanish pinnace, in which were the corregidore and
six others, who seemed to be merchants, bringing cherries with, them,
and spoke in a very friendly manner to the master of the ship, whose
name was Foster. He received them courteously, giving them the best
cheer he could, with beer, beef, and biscuit. While thus banqueting,
four of the seven departed in the pinnace for Bilboa; the other three
remaining, and seeming much pleased with their entertainment. Yet Mr
Foster was suspicious of some evil designs, and gave secret intimation
to his people that he was doubtful of the intentions of these men, but
said nothing to his guests by which they could any way surmise that he
distrusted them. Soon afterwards there came a shipboat in which were
seventy persons, seemingly merchants and the like of Biscay, and a
little behind came the pinnace in which were twenty-four other persons,
as the Spaniards afterwards confessed. On reaching the Primrose, the
corregidore and three or four of his men went on board that ship; but on
seeing such a multitude, Mr Foster desired that no more might come on
aboard which was agreed to: Yet suddenly all the Spaniards left their
boat and boarded the Primrose, all being armed with rapiers and other
weapons which they had brought secretly in the boat, and had even a drum
along with them to proclaim their expected triumph.

On getting on board, the Spaniards dispersed themselves over the ship,
some below deck, others entering the cabins, while the most part
remained in a body as if to guard their prize. Then the corregidore, who
had an officer along with him bearing a white rod in his hand, desired
Mr Foster to yield himself as a prisoner to the king of Spain; on which
he called out to his men that they were betrayed. At this time some of
the Spaniards threatened Mr Foster with their daggers in a furious
manner, as if they would have slain him, yet they had no such purpose,
meaning only to have taken him and his men prisoners. Mr Foster and his
men were amazed at this sudden assault, and were greatly concerned to
think themselves ready to be put to death; yet some of them, much
concerned for their own and Mr Fosters danger, and believing themselves
doomed to death if landed as prisoners, determined either to defend
themselves manfully or to die with arms in their hands, rather than to
submit to the hands of the tormentors[333]; wherefore they boldly took
to their weapons, some armed with javelins, lances, and boar-spears, and
others with five calivers ready charged, being all the fire-arms they
had. With these they fired up through the gratings of the hatches at the
Spaniards on deck, at which the Spaniards were sore amazed not knowing
how to escape the danger, and fearing the English had more fire-arms
than they actually possessed. Others of the crew laid manfully about
among the Spaniards with their lances and boar-spears, disabling two or
three of the Spaniards at every stroke. Then some of the Spaniards urged
Mr Foster to command his men to lay down their arms and surrender; but
he told them that the English were so courageous in the defence of their
lives and liberties, that it was not in his power to controul them, for
on such an occasion they would slay both them and him. At this time the
blood of the Spaniards flowed plentifully about the deck; some being
shot between the legs from below, the bullets came out at their
breasts; some were cut in the head, others thrust in the body, and many
of them so sore wounded that they rushed faster out at one side of the
ship than they came in at the other, tumbling fast overboard on both
side with their weapons, some falling into the sea, and others into
their boats, in which they made all haste on shore. But though they came
to the ship in great numbers, only a small number of them returned, yet
it is not known how many of them were slain or drowned. On this occasion
only one Englishman was slain named John Tristram, and six others
wounded; but it was piteous to behold so many Spaniards swimming in the
sea, and unable to save their lives, of whom four who had got hold of
some part of the ship, were rescued from the waves by Mr Foster and his
men, whose bosoms were found stuffed with paper to defend them from the
shot, and these four being wounded, were dressed by the English surgeon.
One of these was the corregidore himself, who was governor over an
hundred cities and towns, his appointments exceeding six hundred pounds
a year. This strange incident took place about six o'clock in the
evening; after they had landed upwards of twenty tons of goods from the
Primrose, which were delivered at Bilboa by John Barrell and John
Brodbank, who were made prisoners on shore.

[Footnote 333: This seems to allude to their fears of the Inquisition,
if made prisoners.--E.]

After this valiant exploit, performed by 28 Englishmen against 97
Spaniards, Mr Foster and his men saw that it were vain for them to
remain any longer; wherefore they hoisted their sails and came away with
the rest of their goods, and arrived safely by the blessing of God near
London, on the 8th June 1585. During their return towards England, the
corregidore and the other Spaniards they had made prisoners offered 500
crowns to be set on shore anywhere on the coast of Spain or Portugal;
but as Mr Foster would not consent, they were glad to crave mercy and
remain on board. On being questioned by Mr Foster as to their reason for
endeavouring thus to betray him and his men, the corregidore assured him
it was not done of their own accord, but by the command of the king of
Spain; and calling for his hose, which were wet, he took out the royal
commission authorising and commanding him to do what he had attempted,
which was to the following purport:

"Licentiate de Escober, my corregidore of my lordship of Biscay. Seeing
that I have caused a great fleet to be equipped in the havens of Lisbon
and Seville, that there is required for the soldiers, armour, victuals,
and ammunition, and that great store of shipping is wanted for the said
service: I therefore require you, on sight of this order, that with as
much secrecy as may be, you take order for arresting all the shipping
that may be found on the coast and in the ports of the said lordship,
particularly all such as belong to Holland, Zealand, Esterland, Germany,
England, or other provinces and countries that are in rebellion against
me; excepting those of France, which, being small and weak, are thought
unfit for the present service. And being thus arrested and staid, you
shall take special care, that such merchandise as are on board these
ships be taken out, and that all the armour, arms, ammunition, tackle,
sails, and provisions be bestowed in safe custody, so that none of the
ships and men may escape, &c. Done at Barcelona, the 29th May 1585."

In this gallant exploit is to be noted, both the great courage of the
master, and the love of the mariners to save their master; likewise the
great care of Mr Foster to save as much as he could of the goods of his
owners, although by this conduct he may never more frequent those parts,
without losing his own life and those of his people, as they would
assuredly, if known, subject themselves to the sharp torments of their
_Holy house_. As for the king of Spain pretending that the English were
in rebellion against him, it is sufficiently well known even to
themselves, with what love, unity, and concord our ships have ever dealt
with them, being always at least as willing to shew pleasure and respect
to their king and them, as they have been to deal hospitably by the


_Voyage of Sir Francis Drake, in 1585, to the West Indies_[334].

Upon the knowledge of the embargo laid by the king of Spain in 1585,
upon the English ships, men, and goods found in his country, having no
means to relieve her subjects by friendly treaty, her majesty authorised
such as had sustained loss by that order of embargo to right themselves
by making reprisals upon the subjects of the king of Spain; for which
she gave them her letters of reprisal, to take and arrest all ships and
merchandises they might find at sea or elsewhere, belonging to the
subjects of that King. At the same time, to revenge the wrongs offered
to her crown and dignity, and to resist the preparations then making
against her by the king of Spain, her majesty equipped a fleet of
twenty-five sail of ships, and employed them under the command of Sir
Francis Drake, as the fittest person in her dominions, by reason of his
experience and success in sundry actions.

[Footnote 334: Church. Collect. III. 155.]

It is not my intention to give all the particulars of the voyages
treated of, but merely to enumerate the services performed, and the
mistakes and oversights committed, as a warning to those who may read
them, to prevent the like errors hereafter. As this voyage of Sir
Francis Drake was the first undertaking on either side in this war, for
it ensued immediately after the arrest of our ships and goods in Spain,
I shall deliver my opinion of it before I proceed any farther. One
impediment to the voyage was, that to which the ill success of several
others that followed was imputed, viz. the want of victuals and other
necessaries fit for so great an expedition; for had not this fleet met
with a ship of Biscay, coming from Newfoundland with fish, which
relieved their necessities, they had been reduced to great extremity. In
this expedition Sir Francis Drake sailed in the Elizabeth Bonadventure;
captain Frobisher, in the Aid was second in command; and captain Carlee
was lieutenant-general of the forces by land, Sir Francis having the
supreme command both as admiral and general.

The services performed in this expedition were, the taking and sacking
of St Domingo in Hispaniola, of Carthagena on the continent of America,
and of St Justina in Florida, three towns of great importance in the
West Indies. This fleet was the greatest of any nation, except the
Spaniards, that had ever been seen in these seas since their first
discovery; and, if the expedition had been as well considered of before
going from home, as it was happily performed by the valour of those
engaged, it had more annoyed the king of Spain than all the other
actions that ensued during that war. But it seems our long peace had
made us incapable of advice in war; for had we kept and defended those
places when in our possession, and made provision to have relieved them
from England, we had diverted the war from Europe; for at that time
there was no comparison betwixt the strength of Spain and England by
sea, by means whereof we might have better defended these acquisitions,
and might more easily have encroached upon the rest of the Indies, than
the king of Spain could have aided or succoured them. But now we see and
find by experience, that those places which were then weak and
unfortified, are since fortified, so that it is to no purpose for us to
attempt annoying the king of Spain now in his dominions in the West
Indies. And, though this expedition proved fortunate and victorious, yet
as it was father an awakening than a weakening of the king of Spain, it
had been far better wholly let alone, than to have undertaken it on such
slender grounds, and with such inconsiderable forces[335].

[Footnote 335: It must be acknowledged that the present section can only
be considered as a species of introduction or prelude to an intended
narrative of an expedition: Yet such actually is the first article in
Sir William Monson's celebrated Naval Tracts, as published in the
Collection of Churchill; leaving the entire of the narrative an absolute
blank. Nothing could well justify the adoption of this inconclusive and
utterly imperfect article, but the celebrity of its author and actor:
For Sir William Monson, and the editor of Churchill's Collection, seem
to have dosed in giving to the public this _Vox et preterea nihil_.--E.]


_Cruizing Voyage to the Azores by Captain Whiddon, in 1586, written by
John Evesham_[336].

This voyage was performed by two barks or pinnaces, the Serpent of 35
tons, and the Mary Sparke of Plymouth of 50 tons, both belonging to Sir
Walter Raleigh, knight. Leaving Plymouth on the 10th June 1586, we
directed our course in the first place for the coast of Spain, and
thence for the islands called the Azores, in which course we captured a
small bark, laden with sumach and other commodities, in which was the
Portuguese governor of St Michael's Island, with several other
Portuguese and Spaniards. Sailing thence to the island of Gracioso,
westward of Tercera, we descried a sail to which we gave chase, and
found her to be a Spaniard. But at the first, not much respecting whom
we took, so that we might enrich ourselves, which was the object of our
expedition, and not willing it should be known what we were, we
displayed a white silk ensign in our maintop, which made them believe
that we were of the Spanish navy laying in wait for English cruizers;
but when we got within shot, we hauled down our white flag, and hoisted
the St Georges ensign, on which they fled as fast as they were able, but
all in vain, as our ships sailed faster than they; wherefore they threw
overboard all their ordnance and shot, with many letters and the chart
of the straits of Magellan, which lead into the south sea, immediately
after which we took her, finding on board a Spanish gentleman named
Pedro Sarmiento, who was governor of the straits of Magellan, whom we
brought home to England, and presented to the queen our sovereign.

[Footnote 336: Hakluyt; II. 606. Astley, I. 196. The command of this
expedition is attributed by the editor of Astley's Collection to captain
Whiddon, on the authority of the concluding sentence.--E.]

After this, while plying off and on about the islands, we espied another
sail to which we gave chase, during which our admiral sprung his
main-mast; yet in the night our vice-admiral got up with and captured
the chase, which we found was laden with fish from Cape Blanco on which
we let her go for want of hands to bring her home. Next day we descried
two vessels, one a ship and the other a caravel, to which we gave chase,
on which they made with all haste for the island of Gracioso, where they
got to anchor under protection of a fort; as having the wind of us we
were unable to cut them off from the land, or to get up to attack them
with our ships as they lay at anchor. Having a small boat which we
called a _light horseman_, there went into her myself and four men armed
with calivers, and four others to row, in which we went towards them
against the wind. On seeing us row towards them, they carried a
considerable part of their merchandise on shore, and landed all the men
of both vessels; and as soon as we got near, they began to fire upon us
both from their cannon and small arms, which we returned as well as we
could. We then boarded one of their ships, in which they had not left a
single man; and having cut her cables and hoisted her sails, we sent her
off with two of our men. The other seven of us then went very near the
shore and boarded the caravel, which rode within stones throw of the
shore, insomuch that the people on the land threw stones at us; yet in
spite of them, we took possession of her, there being only one negro on
board. Having cut her cables and hoisted her sails, she was so becalmed
under the land that we had to tow her off with our boat, the fort still
firing on us from their cannon, while the people on shore, to the number
of about 150, continually fired at us with muskets and calivers, we
answering them with our five muskets. At this time the shot from my
musket, being a bar-shot, happened to strike the gunner of the fort
dead, while he was levelling one of his great guns; and thus we got off
from them without loss or wound on our part. Having thus taken five[337]
sail in all, we did as we had done with the ship with the fish, we
turned them off without hurting them, save that we took from one of them
her mainmast for our admiral, and sent her away with all our Spanish and
Portuguese prisoners, except Pedro Sarmiento, three other principal
persons, and two negroes, leaving them within sight of land, with bread
and water sufficient to serve them ten days.

[Footnote 337: Four only are mentioned in the text; and it appears that
they only sent away at this time the first taken ship, in which they had
captured Sarmiento.--E.]

We now bent our course for England, taking our departure from off the
western islands in about the latitude of 41 deg. N. and soon afterwards one
of our men descried a sail from the foretop, then ten sail, and then
fifteen sail. It was now concluded to send off our two prizes, by
manning of which we did not leave above 60 men in our two pinnaces. When
we had dispatched them, we made sail towards the fleet we had
discovered, which we found to consist of 24 sail in all; two of them
being great caraks, one of 1200 and the other of 1000 tons, and 10
galeons, all the rest being small ships and caravels, laden with
treasure, spices, and sugars. In our two small pinnaces we kept company
with this fleet of 24 ships for 32 hours, continually fighting with them
and they with us; but the two huge caraks always kept between their
fleet and us, so that we were unable to take any one of them; till at
length, our powder growing short, we were forced to give over, much
against our wills, being much bent upon gaining some of them, but
necessity compelling us by want of powder, we left them, without any
loss of our men, which was wonderful, considering the disparity of force
and numbers.

We now continued our course to Plymouth, where we arrived within six
hours after our prizes, though we sent them away forty hours before we
began our homeward course. We were joyfully received, with the ordnance
of the town, and all the people hailed us with willing hearts, we not
sparing our shot in return with what powder we had left. From thence we
carried our prizes to Southampton, where our owner, Sir Walter Raleigh,
met us and distributed to us our shares of the prizes.

Our prizes were laden with sugars, elephants teeth, wax, hides,
Brazil-wood, and _cuser?_ as may be made manifest by the testimony of
me, John Evesham, the writer hereof, as likewise of captains Whiddon,
Thomas Rainford, Benjamin Wood, William Cooper master, William Cornish
master, Thomas Drak corporal, John Ladd gunner, William Warefield
gunner, Richard Moon, John Drew, Richard Cooper of Harwich, William
Beares of Ratcliff, John Row of Saltash, and many others.


_Brief relation of notable service performed by Sir Francis Drake in


The title of this article at large in Hakluyt is, A brief relation of
the notable service performed by Sir Francis Drake, upon the Spanish
fleet prepared in the road of Cadiz; and of his destroying 100 sail of
barks; passing from thence all along the coast of Spain to _Cape Sacre_,
where also he took certain forts; and so to the mouth of the river of
Lisbon; thence crossing over sea to the isle of St Michael, where he
surprised a mighty carak called the St Philip, coming from the East
Indies, being the first of that kind ever seen in England.

[Footnote 338: Hakl. II. 607. Astl. I. 197.]

The editor of Astleys Collection says, that this relation seems to have
been taken from a letter, written by one who was in the expedition to a
friend; and thinks that it is not unlike the manner of Sir Walter

* * * * *

Being informed of mighty naval preparations in Spain for the invasion of
England, her Majesty queen Elizabeth, by the good advice of her grave
and prudent council, thought it expedient to use measures to prevent the
same; for which purpose she caused a fleet of some thirty sail to be
equipped, over which she appointed as general Sir Francis Drake, of
whose many former good services she had sufficient proof. She
accordingly caused four ships of her royal navy to be delivered to him,
the Bonaventure, in which he went general; the Lion, under the command
of Mr William Borough, comptroller of the navy; the Dreadnought,
commanded by Mr Thomas Venner; and the Rainbow, of which Mr Henry
Bellingham was captain[339]. Besides these four ships, two of her
majestys pinnaces were appointed to serve as tenders or advice boats. To
this fleet, there were added certain tall ships belonging to the city of
London, of whose special good service the general made particular
mention, in his letters to the queen.

[Footnote 339: Sir William Monson in his Naval Tracts, in Churchills
Collection, III. 156, gives a short account of this expedition. By him
the admiral ship is called the Elizabeth Bonaventure, and Sir William
Burroughs is called vice admiral. From a list given by Sir William
Monson of the royal navy of England left by queen Elizabeth at her
death, (Church. Coll. III. 196.) the Bonaventure appears to have been of
the burden of 600 tons, carrying 50 pieces of cannon and 250 men, 70 of
whom were mariners, and the rest landsmen. The Lion and Rainbow of 500
tons each, with the same number of guns and men as the Bonaventure. The
Dreadnought of 400 tons, 20 guns, 200 men, 50 of them seamen.--E.]

This fleet sailed from Plymouth Sound, towards the coast of Spain, in
April 1587. The 16th of that month, in latitude of 40 deg. N. we met two
ships belonging to Middleburg, in Zealand, coming from Cadiz, by which
we were acquainted that vast abundance of warlike stores were provided
at Cadiz and that neighbourhood, and were ready to be sent to Lisbon.
Upon this information, our general made sail with all possible
expedition thither, to cut off and destroy their said forces and
stores, and upon the 19th of April entered with his fleet into the
harbour of Cadiz; where at our first entering we were assailed by six
gallies over against the town, but which we soon constrained to retire
under cover of their fortress. There were in the road at our arrival
sixty ships, besides sundry small vessels close under the fortress.
Twenty French ships fled immediately to Puerta Real, followed by some
small Spanish vessels that were able to pass the shoals. At our first
coming, we sunk a ship belonging to Ragusa of 1000 tons, very richly
laden, which was armed with 40 brass guns. There came two other gallies
from Port St Mary, and two more from Puerta Real, which shot freely at
us, but altogether in vain, so that they were forced to retire well
beaten for their pains. Before night we had taken 30 of their ships, and
were entire masters of the road in spite of the gallies, which were glad
to retire under the protection of the fort. Among the captured ships was
one quite new, of extraordinary size, being above 1200 tons burden,
belonging to the Marquis of Santa Cruz, high admiral of Spain. Five were
ships of Biscay, four of which were taking in stores and provisions
belonging to the king of Spain for his great fleet at Lisbon, which we
burnt. The fifth was of about 1000 tons, laden with iron spikes, nails,
hoops, horse shoes, and other things of a similar kind, for the West
Indies, which we likewise set on fire. We also took a ship of 250 tons,
laden with wines on the kings account, which ship we carried with us to
sea, when we took out the wines for our own use, and then set her on
fire. We took three fliboats of 300 tons each, laden with biscuit, one
of which we set on fire, after taking out half her loading, and took the
other two with us to sea. We likewise fired ten ships, which were laden
with wine, raisins, figs, oil, wheat, and the like. The whole number of
ships which we then burnt, sunk, or brought away, amounted to 30 at the
least, and by our estimation to the burden of 10,000 tons. Besides
these, there were about 40 ships at Puerta Real, not including those
that fled from Cadiz.

We found little ease during our stay in the road of Cadiz, as the enemy
were continually firing at us from the gallies, the fortress, and the
shore, being continually employed in planting new batteries against us
in all convenient situations; besides which, finding they could not
defend their ships any longer, they set them on fire that they might
come among us, so that at the tide of flood we had much ado to defend
ourselves: Yet was this a pleasant sight to behold, as we were thereby
relieved from the great labour and fatigue of discharging the provisions
and stores belonging to the enemy into our ships. Thus, by the
assistance of the Almighty, and the invincible courage and good conduct
of our general, this perilous but happy enterprize was achieved in one
day and two nights, to the great astonishment of the king of Spain, and
the so great vexation of the Marquis of Santa Cruz, the high admiral,
that he never had a good day after, and in a few months, as may justly
be supposed, he died of extreme grief. Having thus performed this
notable service, we came out from the road of Cadiz on Friday morning,
the 21st of April, having sustained so small loss as is not worth

After our departure, the ten gallies which were in the road of Cadiz
came out after us, as if in bravado, playing their ordnance against us.
At this time the wind scanted, upon which we cast round again, and made
for the shore, coming to anchor within a league of the town; and there,
for all their vapouring, the gallies allowed us to ride in quiet. Having
thus had experience of a galley fight, I can assure you that the four
ships of her majesty which we had with us would make no scruple to fight
with twenty gallies, if all alone, and not being occupied in guarding
others. There never were gallies that had better place and opportunity
of advantage to fight against ships; yet were they forced to retire from
us while riding at anchor in a narrow gut, which we were obliged to
maintain till we had discharged and fired their ships, which we could
only do conveniently upon the flood tide, at which time the burning
ships might drive clear of us. Being thus provisioned for several months
with bread and wine at the enemies cost, besides what we had brought
with us from England, our general dispatched captain Crosse to England
with his letters, giving him farther in charge to relate all the
particulars of this our first enterprize to her majesty.

We then shaped our course to Cape Sacre[340], and in our way thither we
took at several times near 100 ships, barks, and caravels, laden with
hoops, galley oars, pipe staves, and other stores belonging to the king
of Spain, intended for furthering his preparations against England, all
of which we set on fire and destroyed, setting all their men on shore.
We also spoiled and destroyed all the fishing boats and nets
thereabouts, to their great annoyance, and as we suppose to the entire
overthrow of their rich Tunny fishing for that year. We came at length
to Cape Sagres, where we landed; and the better to enjoy the harbour at
our ease[341], we assailed the castle of Sagres and three other strong
holds, some of which we took by storm and others by surrender. From
thence we came before the harbour of Lisbon or mouth of the Tagus, where
lay the Marquis of Santa Cruz with his fleet of gallies, who seeing us
chase his ships on shore, and take and carry away his barks and
caravels, was obliged to allow us to remain quietly at our pleasure, and
likewise to depart, without exchanging a single shot. When our general
sent him word that he was ready to combat with him, the marquis refused
his challenge, saying that he was not then ready, neither had he any
such commission from his sovereign.

[Footnote 340: Cape St Vincent, or rather Punta de Sagres, one of the
head lands of that great promontory.--E.]

[Footnote 341: Probably the harbour of Figuera in Algarve, a town near
Cape Sagres.--E.]

Thus having his challenge refused by the marquis, and seeing no more
good to be done on the coast of Spain, our general thought it improper
to spend any more time there; and therefore with consent of his chief
officers[342], he shaped his course towards the island of St Michael,
within 20 or 30 leagues of which he had the good fortune to fall in with
a Portuguese carak, called the San Philippo, being the same ship which
had carried out to the Indies three Japanese princes who had been in
Europe[343]. The carak surrendered without resistance, and being the
first that had ever been taken on the homeward voyage from India, the
Portuguese took it for a bad omen, especially as she had the kings own
name. Our general put all the people belonging to this carak into
certain vessels well provided with provisions, and sent them courteously
home to their own country. The riches of this prize seemed so great to
the whole fleet, as in truth they were, that every one expected to have
sufficient reward of their labour, and thereupon it was unanimously
resolved to return to England, which we happily did, and arrived safe
the same summer in Plymouth with our whole fleet and this rich booty, to
our own profit and due honour, and the great admiration of the whole

[Footnote 342: According to Sir William Monson, Church. Col. III. 156.
Sir Francis Drake went upon this expedition to conciliate the merchant
adventurers, to whom most of the ships of his squadron belonged.--E.]

[Footnote 343: Sir William Monson, in the place quoted above, says he
had intelligence of this carak having wintered at Mosambique, and being
now expected home.--E.]

It may be here noted, that the taking of this carak wrought two
extraordinary effects in England; as in the first place it taught others
that caraks were no such bugbears but that they might be easily taken,
as has been since experienced in taking the Madre de Dios, and in
burning and sinking others; and secondly in acquainting the English
nation more particularly with the exceeding riches and vast wealth of
the East Indies, by which themselves and their neighbours of Holland
have been encouraged, being no less skillful in navigation nor of less
courage than the Portuguese, to share with them in the rich trade of
India, where they are by no means so strong as was formerly supposed.


_Brief account of the Expedition of the Spanish Armada in 1588_[344].

Notwithstanding the great hurt and spoil made by Sir Francis Drake in
Cadiz roads the year before, by intercepting some part of the
preparations intended for the great navy of the king of Spain, he used
his utmost endeavours to be revenged this year, lest by longer delay his
designs might be prevented as before; wherefore he arrested all ships,
men, and necessaries that were wanting for his fleet, compelling every
one to serve him in his great expedition. He appointed for general of
this his so called Invincible Armada, the duke of Medina Sidonia, who
was employed on this occasion more for his high birth and exalted rank,
than for any experience in sea affairs; for so many dukes, marquises,
and earls had volunteered on this occasion, that it was feared they
might repine if commanded by a person of lower quality than themselves.
They departed from Lisbon on the 19th of May 1588, with the greatest
pride and glory, and with less doubt of victory than ever had been done
by any nation. But God, angry with their insolence, turned the event
quite contrary to their expectation.

[Footnote 344: Church. Col. III. 157.]

The directions given by the king of Spain to his general, the duke of
Medina Sidonia, were to repair, as wind and weather might allow, to the
road of Calais in Picardy, there to wait the arrival of the prince of
Parma and his army, and on their meeting they were to open a letter
containing their farther instructions. He was especially commanded to
sail along the coasts of Brittany and Normandy in going up the channel,
to avoid being discovered by the English; and, if he even met the
English fleet, he was in no case to offer them battle, but only to
defend himself in case of attack. On coming athwart the North Cape[345]
the duke was assailed with contrary wind and foul weather, by which he
was forced to take shelter in the _Groyne_, or bay of Corunna, where
part of his fleet waited for him.

[Footnote 345: Perhaps Cape Ortegal may be here meant, being the most
northern head land of Spain, and not far from Corunna, called the Groyne
in the text.--E.]

When about to depart from Corunna, the duke got intelligence from an
English fisherman, that our fleet had lately been at sea, but had put
back again and discharged most of their men, as not expecting the
Spanish armada this year. This intelligence occasioned the duke to alter
his resolutions, and to disobey the instructions given him by the king;
yet this was not done without some difficulty, as the council was
divided in opinion, some holding it best to observe the kings commands,
while others were anxious not to lose the opportunity of surprising our
fleet at unawares, when they hoped to burn and destroy them. Diego
Flores de Valdes, who commanded the squadron of Andalusia, and on whom
the duke most relied, because of his judgment and experience in maritime
affairs, was the main cause of persuading to make the attempt upon our
ships in harbour, and in that design they directed their course for

The first land they fell in with was the Lizard, being the most
southerly point of Cornwall, which they mistook for the Ram-head off
Plymouth; and as the night was at hand, they tacked out to sea, laying
their account to make an attempt upon our ships in Plymouth next
morning. In the mean time, while thus deceived in the land, they were
discovered by captain Fleming, a pirate or freebooter who had been
roving at sea, and who knowing them to be the Spanish fleet, repaired in
all haste to Plymouth, and gave notice to our fleet then, riding at
anchor, as follows:


_Ships. Commanders. Tons. Guns. Men._
The Ark Royal The Lord Admiral 800 32 400
Revenge Sir F. Drake, vice admiral
Victory Sir J. Hawkins, rear admiral 800 52 400
Lion Lord Thomas Howard 500 80 250
Bear Lord Sheffield 900 40 500
Elizabeth-Jonas Sir Robert Southwell 900 40 500
Triumph Sir Martin Frobisher 1000 40 500
Hope Captain Crosse 600 30 250
Bonaventure ---- Reyman 600 30 250
Dreadnought ---- George Beeston 400 20 200
Nonparielle ---- Thomas Fenner 500 50 250
Swiftsure ---- William Fenner 400 20 200
Rainbow Lord Henry Seymour
Vauntguard Sir William Wentworth
Mary-Rose Captain Fenton
Antilope Sir Henry Palmer 350 16 160
Foresight Captain Baker 300 16 160
Aid ---- John Wentworth
Swallow ---- Richard Hawkins 330 16 160
Tiger ---- William Wentworth 200 12 100
Scout ---- Ashley 120 8 66
Tremontanny 8 70
Acatice 100 8 60
Charles, pinnace Captain Roberts
Moon ---- Clifford
Spy ---- Bradbury 50 5 40

[Footnote 346: This list, as given by Sir William Monson in the present
article, contains only the names of the ships and commanders; the other
circumstances enumerated, tonnage, guns, and men, are added from a list
of the royal navy of England at the death of queen Elizabeth, which will
be given hereafter.--E.]

Immediately on receiving the intelligence brought by Fleming, the lord
admiral got out his ships to sea with all possible expedition; so that
before the Spaniards could draw near Plymouth, they were welcomed at sea
by the lord admiral and his fleet, who continued to fight with them till
they came to anchor at Calais. The particulars of the fight and its
success I purposely omit, being things so well known[347].

[Footnote 347: This surely is a poor excuse for omitting the glorious
destruction of the Spanish Armada; yet in a Collection of Voyages, it
were improper to attempt supplying even this great omission, by any
composition of our own; as it may be found in the historians of the

While this great armada was preparing, her majesty had frequent and
perfect intelligence of the designs of the Spaniards; and knowing that
the king of Spain intended to invade England by means of a mighty fleet
from his own coast, she caused her royal navy to be fitted out under the
conduct of the lord high admiral of England, whom she stationed at
Plymouth as the fittest place for attending their coming. Knowing
however, that it was not the Armada alone which could endanger the
safety of England, as it was too weak for any enterprise on land,
without the assistance of the Prince of Parma and his army in Flanders,
she therefore appointed thirty ships of the Hollanders to lie at anchor
off Dunkirk, where the prince and his army were to have embarked in flat
bottomed boats, which were built on purpose and all in readiness for the
expedition to England. Thus by the wise precautions of the queen, the
prince was effectually prevented from putting to sea with his flat
boats; but in truth neither his vessels nor his army were in readiness,
which caused the king of Spain to be jealous of him ever after, and is
supposed to have hastened his end.

Although her majesty had taken the most vigilant precautions to foresee
and prevent all dangers that might threaten from sea, yet did she not
deem herself and country too secure against the enemy by these means,
and therefore prepared a royal army to receive them in case of landing.
But it was not the will of God that the enemy should set foot on
England, and the queen became victorious over him at sea with small
hazard, and little bloodshed of her subjects. Having thus shewn the
designs of the Spaniards, and the course pursued by the queen to prevent
them, I propose now to consider the errors committed on both sides[348].

[Footnote 348: Our readers are requested to remember that these are the
reflections of Sir William Monson, a contemporary.--E.]

Nothing could appear more rational or more likely to happen, after the
Duke of Medina Sidonia had got intelligence of the state of our navy,
than a desire to surprise them at unawares in harbour; since he well
knew, if he had taken away or destroyed our strength at sea, that he
might have landed when and where he pleased, which is a great advantage
to an invading enemy: Yet, admitting it to have had the effect he
designed, I see not how he is to be commended for infringing the
instructions he had received from his sovereign. That being the case,
it is easy to appreciate what blame he deserved for the breach of his
instructions, when so ill an event followed from his rashness and
disobedience. It was not his want of experience, or his laying the blame
on Valdes, that excused him at his return to Spain, where he certainly
had been severely punished, had not his wife obtained for him the royal

Before the arrival in Spain of the ships that escaped from the
catastrophe of this expedition, it was known there that Diego Flores de
Valdes had persuaded the duke to infringe the royal instructions.
Accordingly, the king had given strict orders in all his ports, wherever
Valdes might arrive, to apprehend him, which was executed, and he was
carried to the castle of Santander, without being permitted to plead in
his defence, and remained there without being ever seen or heard of
afterwards; as I learned from his page, with whom I afterwards
conversed, we being both prisoners together in the castle of Lisbon. If
the directions of the king of Spain had been punctually carried into
execution, then the armada had kept along the coast of France, and had
arrived in the road of Calais before being discovered by our fleet,
which might have greatly endangered the queen and realm, our fleet being
so far off at Plymouth. And, though the Prince of Parma had not been
presently ready, yet he might have gained sufficient time to get in
readiness, in consequence of our fleet being absent. Although the prince
was kept in by the thirty sail of Hollanders, yet a sufficient number of
the dukes fleet might have been able to drive them from the road of
Dunkirk and to have possessed themselves of that anchorage, so as to
have secured the junction of the armada and the land army; after which
it would have been an easy matter for them to have transported
themselves to England. What would have ensued on their landing may be
well imagined.

But it was the will of HIM who directs all men and their actions, that
the fleets should meet, and the enemy be beaten, as they were, and
driven from their anchorage in Calais roads, the Prince of Parma
blockaded in the port of Dunkirk, and the armada forced to go about
Scotland and Ireland with great hazard and loss: Which shews how God did
marvellously defend us against the dangerous designs of our enemies.
Here was a favourable opportunity offered for us to have followed up the
victory upon them: For, after they were beaten from the road of Calais,
and all their hopes and designs frustrated, if we had once more offered
to fight them, it is thought that the duke was determined to surrender,
being so persuaded by his confessor. This example, it is very likely,
would have been followed by the rest. But this opportunity was lost, not
through the negligence or backwardness of the lord admiral, but through
the want of providence in those who had the charge of furnishing and
providing for the fleet: For, at that time of so great advantage, when
they came to examine into the state of their stores, they found a
general scarcity of powder and shot, for want of which they were forced
to return home; besides which, the dreadful storms which destroyed so
many of the Spanish fleet, made it impossible for our ships to pursue
those of them that remained. Another opportunity was lost, not much
inferior to the other, by not sending part of our fleet to the west of
Ireland, where the Spaniards were of necessity to pass, after the many
dangers and disasters they had endured. If we had been so happy as to
have followed this course, which was both thought of and discoursed of
at the time, we had been absolutely victorious over this great and
formidable armada. For they were reduced to such extremity, that they
would willingly have yielded, as divers of them confessed that were
shipwrecked in Ireland.

By this we may see how weak and feeble are the designs of men, in
respect of the great Creator; and how indifferently he dealt between the
two nations, sometimes giving one the advantage sometimes the other; and
yet so that he only ordered the battle.


_Account of the Relief of a part of the Spanish Armada, at Anstruther in
Scotland, in 1588_[349].

However glorious and providential the defeat and destruction of the
_Invincible Armada_, it does not belong to the present work to give a
minute relation of that great national event. It seems peculiarly
necessary and proper, however, in this work, to give a very curious
unpublished record respecting the miserable fate of the Spanish armada,
as written by a contemporary, the Reverend James Melville, minister of
Anstruther, a sea-port town on the Fife, or northern, shore of the
Frith of Forth.

[Footnote 349: From MS. Memoirs of James Melville, a contemporary.]

James Melville, who was born in 1556, and appears to have been inducted
to the living of Anstruther only a short time before the year 1588, left
a MS. history of his own life and times, extending to the year 1601. Of
this curious unpublished historical document, there are several copies
extant, particularly in the splendid library of the Faculty of
Advocates, and in that belonging to the Writers to the Signet, both at
Edinburgh. The present article is transcribed from a volume of MSS
belonging to a private gentleman, communicated to the editor by a valued
literary friend. It had formerly belonged to a respectable clergyman of
Edinburgh, and has the following notice of its origin written by the
person to whom it originally belonged.

"The following History of the Life of James Melville, was transcribed
from an old MS. lent to me by Sir William Calderwood of Poltoun, one of
the Judges of the Courts of Session and Justiciary, who had it among
other papers that belonged to his grand-uncle, Mr David Calderwood,
author of Altare Damascenum, History, &c."

This MS. so far as it contains the Life of James Melville, extends to
360 folio pages; of which the present article occupies about three
pages, from near the bottom of p. 184. to nearly the same part of p.
187. The orthography seems to have been considerably modernized by the
transcriber, but without changing the antiquated words and modes of
expression. Such of these as appeared difficult to be understood by our
English readers, are here explained between brackets.--E.

* * * * *

That winter, [1587-8] the King [James VI. of Scotland] was occupied in
commenting of the Apocalyps, and in setting out sermons thereupon,
against the papists and Spaniards; and yet, by a piece of great
oversight, the papists practiced never more busily in this land, and
[nor] made greater preparation for receiving of the Spaniards, nor
[than] that year. For a long time, the news of a Spanish navy and army
had been blazed abroad; and about the lambastyde of the year 1588, this
island had found a fearful effect thereof, to the utter subversion both
of kirk and policy, if God had not wonderfully watched over the same,
and mightily foughen and defeat that army, by his souldiers the
elements, which he made all four most fiercely till afflict them, till
almost utter consumption. Terrible was the fear, peircing were the
preachings, earnest zealous and fervent were the prayers, sounding were
the sighs and sabs, and abounding were the tears, at that fast and
general assembly keeped at Edinburgh, when the news were credibly told,
sometimes of their landing at Dunbar, sometimes at St Andrews and in
Tay, and now and then at Aberdeen and Cromerty firth: and, in very deed,
as we knew certainly soon after, the Lord of armies, who rides upon the
wings of the wind, the Keeper of his own Israel, was in the mean time
convying that monstrous navy about our coasts, and directing their hulks
and galliasses to the islands, rocks and sands, whereupon he had
distinat their wrack and destruction.

For, within two or three moneths thereafter, early in the morning by
break of day, one of our baillies[350] came to my bed side, saying, but
not with fray [fear], "I have to tell you news, Sir: There is arrived
within our harbour this morning, a shipfull of Spaniards, but not to
give mercy; but to ask." And so shews me that the commander had landed,
and he had commanded them to their ship again, and the Spaniards had
humbly obeyed. He therefore desired me to rise and hear their petition
with them. Up I got with diligence, and, assembling the honest men of
the town, came to the tolbooth[351], and after consultation taken to
hear them and what answer to make, there presented us a very venerable
man of big stature, and grave and stout countenance, grey haired and
very humble like, who, after much and very low courtesie, bowing down
with his face near the ground, and touching my shoe with his hand, began
his harangue in the Spanish tongue, whereof I understood the substance;
and, I being about to answer in Latin, he having only a young man with
him to be his interpreter, [who] began and told over again to us in good

[Footnote 350: The baillies of towns in Scotland are equivalent to
aldermen in England. The author here refers to the town of Anstruther, a
sea port town of Fife, on the northern shore of the Firth of Forth, of
which he was minister. There are two Anstruthers, easter and wester,
very near each other, and now separate parishes; but it does not appear
to which of these the present historical document refers: Perhaps they
were then one.--E.]

[Footnote 351: The town-house; but now generally applied to signify the
prison, then, and even now, often attached to the town hall.--E.]

The sum was, That king Philip his master had rigged out a navy and army
to land in England, for just causes to be avenged of many intollerable
wrongs which he had received of that nation. But God, for their sins,
had been against them, and by storm of weather had driven the navy _by_
[past] the coast of England, and him with certain captains, being the
general of twenty hulks, upon an isle of Scotland called the Fair isle,
where they had made shipwrack, and were, so many as had escaped the
merciless seas and rocks, more nor [than] six or seven weeks suffered
great hunger and cold, till conducting that bark out of Orkney, they
were come hither as to their special friends and confederates, to kiss
the kings majesties hand of Scotland, and herewith he _becked_ [bowed]
even to the _yeard_ [ground]; and to find relief and comfort thereby to
himself, these gentlemen, captains, and the poor souldiers, whose
condition was for the present most miserable and pitiful.

I answered this much in sum, That, howbeit neither our friendship, which
could not be great, seeing their king and they were friends to the
greatest enemy of Christ, the pope of Rome, and our king and we defied
him, nor yet their cause against our neighbours and special friends of
England, could procure any benefit at our hands for their relief or
comfort; nevertheless they should know by experience that we were men,
and so moved by human compassion, and christians of better religion
_nor_ [than] they, which should _kythe_ [appear manifest] in the fruits
and effects plain contrary to theirs: For, whereas our people, resorting
among them in peaceable and lawful affairs of merchandise, were
violently taken and cast in prison, their goods and _gier_ [chattels]
confiscate, and their bodies committed to the cruel flaming fire for the
cause of religion, they should find nothing amongst us but Christian
pity and works of mercy and alms, leaving to God to work in their hearts
concerning religion as it pleased him. This being truly reported again
to him by his townsmen, with great reverence he gave thanks and said,
"He could not make answer for their _kirk_ [church], and the laws and
order thereof, only for himself, that there were divers Scotsmen who
knew him, and to whom he had shewn courtesy and favour at Calice[352],
and as he supposed some of this same town of Anstruther."

[Footnote 352: _Calice_ in this passage, and _Calais_ in one subsequent,
certainly means Cadiz in Spain; which to this day is often called
_Cales_ by English mariners.--E.]

So [I] shewed him that the bailies had granted him licence, with the
captains, to go to their lodging for their refreshment, but to none of
their men to land, till the overlord of the town were advertised, and
understood the kings majesties mind _anent_ [concerning] them. Thus with
great courtesie he departed.

That night the _laird_ [lord of the manor] being advertised, came; and,
on the morn, with a good number of the gentlemen of the countrey round
about, gave the said general and the captains _presence_, [audience] and
after the same speeches in effect as before, received them in his house,
and suffered the souldiers to come a land and ly altogether to the
number of thirteen score, for the most part young beardless men,
_silly_, [weak] travelled, and hungered; to the which, one day or two
_kail pottage_[353] and fish was given; for my advice was conform to the
prophet Elizeus [Elisha] his to the king of Israel in Samaria, _Give
them bread and water, &c._

[Footnote 353: A mess formerly much used in Scotland among the commons,
being a kind of soup maigre, composed of _kail_, a species of greens or
coleworts, boiled in water, and thickened with oat-meal, grits, or
shelled barley.--E.]

The names of the commanders were Jan [Juan] Gomes de Medina, general of
twenty hulks, captain Patricio, captain de Lagaretto, captain de
Luffera, captain Mauretio, and Seingour Serrano. But verily all the
while, my heart melted within me for desire of thankfulness to God, when
I remembered the prideful and cruel natural temper of the people, and
how they would have used us, in case they had landed with their forces
among us, and the wonderful work of Gods mercy and justice in making us
see them, the chief commanders of them, to make such due-gard
[submission] and courtesie to poor seamen, and their souldiers, so
abjectly, to beg alms at our doors and in our streets.

In the mean time, they knew not of the wrack of the rest, but supposed
that the rest of the army was safely returned [to Spain,] till one day I
got in St Andrews, in print, the wrack of the gallies in particular,
with the names of the principal men, and how they were used, in Ireland
and our Highlands, in Wales and other parts of England. The which, when
I recorded to Jan Gomes, by particular and special names, he cried out
for grief, _bursted and grat_ [burst into tears.] This Jan Gomes shewed
great kindness to a ship of our town, which he found arriested at
_Calais_[354] at home coming, _rode_[355] to court for her, and made
great _russe_ [praise] of Scotland to his king, took the honest men to
his house, and inquired for the laird of Anstruther, for the minister,
and his host, and sent home many commendations: But we thanked God in
our hearts, that we had seen them in that form.

[Footnote 354: This must signify Cadiz, as mentioned before.--E.]

[Footnote 355: Perhaps ought to have been _wrote_.--E.]


_A cruising Voyage to the Azores in 1589, by the Earl of

We learn from Hakluyt, II. 647, that this narrative was written by Mr
Edward Wright, an eminent mathematician and engineer, who was the real
author of that admirable invention for charts, commonly called
_Mercators projection_, but unjustly, as Mr Wright complains in his work
entitled _Vulgar Errors_, where he charges Mercator with plagiarism.
From the narrative, Mr Wright appears to have been engaged in the
expedition and on board the Victory[357].

[Footnote 356: Hakluyt, II. 647. Churchill, III. 161. Astley, I. 206.]

[Footnote 357: Astley, I. 206. a.]

* * * * *

The right honourable the Earl of Cumberland, intending to cruize against
the enemy, prepared a small fleet of four ships only[358] at his own
charges, one of which was the Victory[359] belonging to the queens royal
navy. The others were the Meg and Margaret, two small ships, one of
which was soon obliged to be sent home as unable to endure the sea,
besides a small caravel. Having assembled about 400 men, sailors and
soldiers, with several gentlemen volunteers, the earl and they embarked
and set sail from Plymouth Sound on the 28th June 1589, accompanied by
the following captains and gentlemen. Captain Christopher Lister, an
officer of great resolution, Captain Edward Careless, _alias Wright_,
who had been captain of the Hope in Sir Francis Drakes expedition to
the West Indies against St Domingo and Carthagena; Captain Boswel, Mr
Mervin, Mr Henry Long, Mr Partridge, Mr Norton; Mr William Monson,
afterwards Sir William[360], who was captain of the Meg and
vice-admiral, and Mr Pigeon, who was captain of the caravel.

[Footnote 358: Sir William Monson, in Churchills collection, says there
were _five_ ships; and indeed we find a fifth, called the Saucy Jack,
mentioned in the narrative.--E.]

[Footnote 359: The Victory was of 800 tons, carrying 32 guns and 400
men; of whom, according to Sir William Monson, 268 were mariners, and
100 sailors, the remaining 32 being probably soldiers, or as we now call
them marines. The distinction between mariners and sailors is not
obvious; perhaps what are now called ordinary and able seamen,--E.]

[Footnote 360: Sir William Monson was author of some curious Naval
Tracts, giving an account of the Royal Navy of England in the reigns of
Queen Elizabeth and James I. which are preserved in Churchills
Collection, Vol. III. pp. 147--508.--E.]

About three days after our departure from Plymouth, we met with three
French ships, one of which belonged to Newhaven[361], and another to St
Maloes; and finding them to be leaguers[362], and therefore lawful
prizes, we took them, and sent two of them home to England with all
their loading, being mostly fish from Newfoundland, having first
distributed among our ships as much of the fish as they could find
stowage room for; and in the third ship we sent all the prisoners home
to France. On that day and the next we met some other ships, but finding
them belonging to Rotterdam and Embden, bound for Rochelle, we dismissed
them. On the 28th and 29th, we met several of our English ships
returning from an expedition to Portugal, which we relieved with
victuals. The 13th July, being in sight of the coast of Spain in lat.
39 deg. N. we descried eleven ships, on which we immediately prepared to
engage them, sending the Meg commanded by Captain Monson to ascertain
what and whence they were. On the approach of the Meg some shots were
exchanged, and as their admiral and vice-admiral displayed their flags,
we perceived that some fighting was likely to follow. Having therefore
prepared for battle, we made all haste towards them, always taking care
to get to windward, and between ten and eleven o'clock A.M. we came up
with them in the Victory, when they all yielded after a slight
resistance. The masters all came on board our admiral, and shewed their
several passports from Hamburg, Lubeck, Bremen, Pomerania, and Calais.
They had certain bags of pepper and cinnamon, which they confessed to
belong to a Jew in Lisbon, which they had charge of to deliver to his
factor in their country; and finding this to be lawful prize by their
own confession, the same was taken and divided among our whole company,
the value being estimated at L.4500, at two shillings the pound[363]. We
dismissed these ships on the 17th of July, but seven of their men,
having volunteered as sailors in our fleet, were taken to reinforce our
crew. After this we held on our course for the Azores or Western

[Footnote 361: Probably that port now called Havre de Grace.--E.]

[Footnote 362: Alluding to the _Catholic League_, then in alliance with
Spain, and in rebellious opposition to their lawful sovereign, for the
purpose of excluding the king of Navarre, afterwards Henry IV. from the
crown of France.--E.]

[Footnote 363: Sir William Monson, who gives a short account of this
expedition in the Naval Tracts already quoted, says that spices to the
value of L.7000 were taken out of these vessels.--E.]

In the morning of the 1st August we got sight of St Michael, one of the
eastermost of the Azores, towards which we made sail all that day; and,
putting up a Spanish flag at our maintop that we might not be suspected
for enemies, we approached at night to the chief town and road of the
island, where we espied three ships and some other vessels at anchor,
all of which we determined to take during the darkness of the night.
Accordingly about ten or eleven o'clock P.M. our boats were sent well
manned to cut their cables and hawsers and tow them out to sea. On
coming to them, one of the largest of these ships was found to be the
Falcon of London, commanded by a Scots pilot who passed her off as his
own. But our men let loose three other smaller ships, which they towed
towards us, most of their men leaping overboard and swimming on shore
with loud outcries, which were answered from the town, which was all in
an uproar on hearing what was going forwards. The castle discharged some
shots at our boats, but being unable to see them by reason of the
darkness, did us no harm. The Scotsman too, to make the Spaniards
believe him their friend, fired a few shots in the air. Shortly after,
he and some others came on board our admiral, offering their services.
The three ships brought out were laden with wine and sallad oil from
Seville. The same day our caravel chaced a Spanish caravel on shore,
which carried letters by which we learnt that the caraks had departed
from the island of Tercera eight days before.

The 7th of August we got sight of a small ship which we chased towards
Tercera with our pinnace, the weather being calm, and overtook her
towards evening, when we found in her 30 tons of good Madeira wine,
besides woollen cloth, silk, taffeta, and other goods. Coming on the
14th to the island of Flores, it was determined to take in fresh water,
and such fresh provisions as the island afforded; wherefore manning our
boats with about 120 men, we rowed towards the shore, where the
inhabitants, who were assembled at the watering-place, hung out a flag
of truce, and we did the like. On coming to them, the earl gave them to
understand, by means of his Portuguese interpreter, that he was a friend
to their king Don Antonio, and came not with any intention to injure
them, meaning only to procure water and fresh provisions, by way of
exchange for oil wine and pepper, to which they readily agreed, and sent
off some of their people immediately for beeves and sheep. In the
meantime we marched southwards to their town of Santa Cruz, whence all
the inhabitants had fled and carried off every thing of value. On
demanding the reason of this, they answered it proceeded from fear, and
that they always did so on the appearance of any ships near their coast.
That part of the island was mostly composed of large rocky hills and
barren mountains, and was little inhabited, being apt to be molested by
ships of war; and even Santa Cruz, one of their principal towns, was all
in ruins, having been burnt about two years before by some English ships
of war, according to what we were told by the inhabitants. As we were
rowing towards the Victory in the evening, a huge fish pursued us for
nearly two miles, mostly distant about a spear length from the stern of
the boat, and sometimes so near as to touch. The tips of his fins at the
gills, appearing often above water, were by estimation four or five
yards asunder, and his jaws gaping a yard and half wide, put us in fear
he might overset our pinnace; but God be thanked, by rowing as hard as
we could, we escaped.

When we were about the island of Flores, we got notice from a small
vessel called the Drake[364], that the caraks were at Tercera, of which
news we were very glad, and made sail thither with all the speed we
could. By the way we came to Fayal road on the 27th August after sunset,
where we saw some ships at anchor, towards which Captains Lister and
Monson were sent in the skiff to see what they were, and lest any
mischance should befall our boat, we sent in likewise the Saucy Jack and
the small caravel; but as the wind was off shore, these vessels were not
able to set up to where the Spanish ships were anchored. The skiff went
on however, and endeavoured to board a ship of 250 tons, which carried
14 pieces of ordnance, and continued fighting with her for an hour,
till our other boats came up to the rescue and aid of the skiff. A fresh
boarding was then attempted, by one boat on the quarter and another on
the bow, when we entered on one side while all the Spaniards leapt
overboard on the other side, except Juan de Palma the captain, and two
or three more. This ship was moored close to the castle, which fired at
us all the time; but the only one wounded on the occasion was the master
of our caravel, who had the calf of one of his legs shot away. This ship
was from St Juan de Puerto Rico, laden with sugar ginger and hides.
After we had towed her clear of the castle, our boats went in again and
brought out five other small ships; one laden with hides, another with
elephants teeth, grains[365], cocoa-nuts, and goats skins, come from
Guinea; another with woad, and two with dog-fish, which two last were
set adrift as of no value, but all the other four were sent for England
on the 30th of August. At the taking of these prizes there were
consorted with us some other small men of war, as Master John Davis,
with his ship, pinnace, and boat; Captain Markesburie with his ship,
whose owner was Sir Walter Raleigh; and the bark of Lyme, which also was
consorted with us before.

[Footnote 364: Sir William Monson says, from an English man of war.--E.]

[Footnote 365: Guinea Pepper.--E.]

The last of August we came in sight of Tercera in the morning, being
about nine or ten leagues from shore, when we espied a small boat under
sail coming towards us, which seemed strange at such a distance from
land and no ship in sight; but on coming near, we found it to contain
eight Englishmen, who had been prisoners in Tercera, and had committed
themselves to the sea in this open boat in hopes to escape. Their
mainyard consisted of two pipe-staves tied together by the ends, and
they had no other provisions than what they had been able to carry off
in their pockets and bosoms. When taken on board the Victory, they gave
us certain assurance that the caraks had left Tercera about a week
before. Being thus without any hopes of taking the caraks, it was
resolved to return for Fayal, intending to surprise the town; but till
the 9th of September, we had either the wind so contrary, or such calm
weather, that in all that time we scarcely made nine or ten leagues way,
lingering up and down near the island of Pico.

In the afternoon of the 10th September, we came again to Fayal road;
upon which the earl sent Captain Lister, with a person from Graciosa
whom Captain Monson had taken some time before, and some others,
carrying a message to Fayal. He was met by some of the inhabitants in a
boat, who were brought by Captain Lister to my lord, who gave them their
choice, either to allow him to take possession of the platform or fort,
when he and his company would remain quietly there for some space,
without injury, till the inhabitants had compounded for the ransom of
their town; or else to stand the chance of war. With this message they
returned on shore; but those who had charge of the fort said, that it
was contrary to their allegiance and the oath they had taken to king
Philip, to deliver up their garrison without endeavouring to defend it.
Upon this, the earl gave orders for all the boats of the different ships
to be manned and armed, and he soon afterwards landed with all his men
on the sandy beach under the side of a hill, about half a league from
the fort. Certain troops both horse and foot were seen on the top of the
hill, and two other companies appeared to oppose us with displayed
ensigns, one on the shore in front of the town, which marched towards
our landing place as if they meant to attack us; while the other was
seen in a valley to the south of the fort, as if coming to assist in
defending the town; and at the same time, the garrison in the fort fired
upon us briskly from their cannon. In spite of all these demonstrations
of resistance, having first marshalled his men in proper order, my lord
marched along the sandy beach towards the fort, passing between the sea
and the town for something more than a mile; and as the shore became
rocky, so as to render any farther progress in that direction extremely
difficult, he entered the town, and marched through the streets
unopposed to the fort, these companies of the enemy, that seemed at
first resolved to resist his progress, being soon dispersed. Those in
the fort likewise fled at our approach, leaving my lord and his men to
scale the walls and gain possession, without any resistance. In the
meantime the ships continued to batter the town and fort, until they saw
the _red cross_ of England floating from the walls.

Fayal is the principal town of this island, and is situated directly
over against the high and mighty mountain of _Pico_, towards the
north-west from that mountain, from which it is divided by a narrow sea
or strait, which at that place is some two or three leagues broad,
between the islands of Fayal and Pico. This town contained about 300
houses, which were handsomely and strongly built of stone and lime,
their roofs being double covered with hollow tyles, much like those used
in England, only that they are less at one end than at the other. Almost
every house had a cistern or well in a garden behind, in which likewise
there were vines with ripe grapes, forming pleasant arbours or shady
walks; and in every garden there grew some tobacco, then hardly known,
but now commonly used in England, with which the women of the place were
then in use to stain their faces, to make them look young and fresh. In
these gardens there likewise grew pepper, both Indian and common,
fig-trees with fruit both white and red, peach-trees rather of humble
growth, oranges, lemons, quinces, potatoes, and other fruits and roots.
Sweet wood, which I think is cedar, is very common in that island, and
is used both for building and fuel.

Having possessed himself of the town and fort, my lord issued orders
that none of the soldiers or mariners should enter into any of the
houses for plunder, and was especially careful that none of the churches
or religious houses should suffer injury of any kind, all of which were
preserved from violation by the appointment of guards for their
protection. But the rest of the town, either from the want of that
precaution, or owing to the cupidity of our people, was rifled and
ransacked by the soldiers and mariners, who scarcely left a single house
unsearched, taking out of them every thing that struck their fancy or
seemed worth carrying away, such as chests of sweet wood, chairs,
clothes, coverlets, hangings, bedding, and the like; besides many of our
people ranged the country in search of plunder, where some of them were
wounded by the inhabitants. The friery at this place contained
Franciscan friars, not one of whom was able to speak pure Latin. It was
built in 1506 by a friar of that order belonging to Angra in the island
of Tercera. The tables in its hall or refectory had seats only on one
side, and was always covered, as if ever ready for feasting. We
continued in the town from the Wednesday afternoon, at which time we
took possession, until the Saturday night, when the inhabitants agreed
to pay 2000 ducats for its ransom, which was mostly paid in church
plate. In the fort there were 58 pieces of iron ordnance, 23 of which,
according to my remembrance, were mounted upon carriages, and placed
between baricadoes or merlins on a platform by the sea side. Taking away
all the ordnance, we set the platform on fire. On the Sunday following,
my lord had invited as many of the inhabitants as chose to dine with him
on board the Victory, save only Diego Gomez the governor, who only came
once to confer about the ransom. Only four came, who were well
entertained, and were afterwards honourably dismissed with the sound of
drums and trumpets, and a salute from our cannon. To these persons my
lord delivered a letter subscribed by himself, requesting all other
Englishmen to abstain from any farther molestation of the place, save
only to take such water and provisions as might be necessary.

The day after we came to Fayal, being the 11th September, two men came
to us from Pico, who had been prisoners in that island; and we also set
a prisoner at liberty who had been sent thither from St Jago, being
cousin to a servant of Don Antonio king of Portugal, then residing in
England. On Monday we sent our boats on shore for fresh water, having
now abundance running down the hills in consequence of heavy rain the
night before, which otherwise had been hard to be got. Next day we sent
again on shore to complete our stock of water, which was not then so
easily brought off, by reason of a strong gale, which increased so much
in the afternoon that we did not think it safe to ride so near the land,
for which reason we weighed anchor, and stood N.W. by W. along the coast
of Fayal. Some of the inhabitants came on board this day, who told us
that the wind usually blew strong at W.S.W. at this time of the year on
this coast. While near St Georges Island we saw a huge fish of a black
colour right ahead of our ship, a little under water, or rather even
with its surface, on which the sea broke in such manner that we supposed
it a rock; and as we were going directly stem on, we were in great fear
for a time how to avoid the seeming danger, till at length we saw it
move out of our way.

It lightened much in the night of the 16th September, which was followed
by heavy rains and violent gales till the 21st. On the 23d we returned
to Fayal road, to weigh an anchor which we had left in our haste to
depart. We went on shore to the town, whence many of the people ran
away, or were preparing to depart with their goods, till assured by my
lord that they had nothing to fear, as we only came for fresh water and
other necessaries, for all of which they should be paid to their
satisfaction. We then went quietly about the town, purchasing such
things as we needed as peaceably as if we had been in England; and the
people helped us to fill our water casks, for which they received what
satisfied them. We were forced by a heavy tempest to depart on the 25th,
before we had completed our water; and the tempest came on so suddenly
that my lord himself had to raise the people from their beds to weigh
the anchors, himself assisting at the capstans, and cheering the men
with wine. Next day, the caravel and the Saucy Jack were sent to the
road of St Michaels to see what was there, and we followed on the 27th,
plying to and fro; but by contrary winds on the 28th, 29th, and 30th, we
were driven to leeward, and could not get near the island. The 1st
October, we sailed along the island of Tercera, and at Cape Brazil, near
Angra, the strongest town of that island, we espied some boats going
towards the town, which we attempted to intercept; but being near land,
they ran on shore and escaped.

Coming near Graciosa in the afternoon, my lord sent Captain Lister on
shore, to inform the islanders that he only wanted water, wine, and some
fresh provisions, and would not otherwise trouble them. They sent back
word that they could give no positive answer, until the governors of the
island had consulted on the subject, and desired therefore to send for
an answer next day. The 2d October, early in the morning, we dispatched
our long-boat and pinnace, with 50 or 60 men, together with the Margaret
and Captain Davis in his ship to protect them, as we now wanted our
other consorts; but when our people endeavoured to land, they were fired
at by the islanders, who would not permit them to go on shore, several
troops of armed men being drawn up to oppose us with displayed ensigns.
Our boats rowed along shore, seeking some place where they might land,
without the enemy having too much advantage, our ships and boats firing
all the while upon the islanders. No convenient place being found for
landing, we were under the necessity of retiring without any answer, as
had been promised. After some negociation and delay, they agreed to let
us have sixty butts of wine, together with fresh provisions to refresh
our men; but declared we could not have water, having little or none for
themselves, except what they had saved in tanks or cisterns, insomuch
that they would rather give us two tons of wine than one of water. They
requested that our soldiers might not come on shore, as they would
themselves bring all they had promised to the water side; which request
was granted, one of their messengers remaining on board as an hostage
for the fulfilment of their promise, while the other went ashore with
our empty casks and some of our men to assist in filling them and
bringing them away, with such other provision as was promised.

The Margaret, the ship of Captain Davis, and another belonging to
Weymouth remained at anchor before the town, to take in our wine and
provisions. This ship of Weymouth came to us only the day before, having
taken a rich prize said to be worth sixteen thousand pounds, and brought
us news that the West India fleet had not yet gone past, but was shortly
expected. We put to sea in the Victory, and on Saturday the 4th October,
we took a French ship of St Maloes, a city belonging to the league,
laden with fish from Newfoundland, which had been forced to cut away her
mast in a tempest, and was now bound to Gracioso for repairs. Taking out
her principal people, we put some of our own mariners and soldiers on
board, and sent her off for England. At night on the following Sunday,
having received all the supplies promised us at Gracioso, we parted from
the islanders in a friendly manner, and saluted them with our ordnance.

The three next days we plyed to and fro among these western islands,
having very rough weather. On Thursday night, being driven to within
three or four leagues of Tercera, we saw fifteen sail of the West India
fleet going into the haven of Angra in that island; but, though we lay
as close to windward as possible during the four following days, we were
unable to get near them. At this time we lost sight of our French prize,
which was not able to lay so close to the wind as our ships, and heard
no more of her till our return to England, where she arrived safe.
Getting at length on the fifth day near the mouth of Angra harbour, we
inclined to have run among the West India fleet, on purpose to have cut
out some of them if possible; but this enterprize was deemed too
hazardous, considering the strength of the place, as the ships were
hauled close to the town on our approach, under protection of the castle
of Brazil on one side, having 25 pieces of ordnance, and a fort on the
other side with 13 or 14 large brass cannon. Besides which, on nearing
the land, the wind proved too scanty for the attempt.

On Thursday the 14th October, we sent our boat into the road of Angra to
take the soundings, and to endeavour to find some proper place for us to
anchor, beyond the shot of the castle and within shot of some of the
ships, that we might either force them to come out to us or sink them
where they lay. Our boat found a fit place for us, but the wind would
not suffer us to get to it; and besides, if we had anchored there, it
was more likely that they would have run their ships on shore, to save
their lives and liberties and some of their goods, than have resigned
all to us by coming out. We therefore discharged a few guns at them, but
our shot fell far short; upon which we departed, as it was not likely
they would come out while we watched before the mouth of the harbour, or
remained within sight. We accordingly put to sea, where we cruized for
five days, sending a pinnace to watch them close in shore but out of
sight, to bring us word when they set sail. After some time the pinnace
brought us notice that all the ships had taken down their sails and
struck their top-masts, so that we concluded they would remain till sure
of our departure. Wherefore, having heard there were some Scots ships at
St Michael, we sailed thither on the 20th October, and found there one
Scots _roader_, and two or three more at Villa-franca, the next road, a
league or two east from St Michaels. From these we received five or six
butts of wine and some fresh water, but by no means sufficient to serve
our wants. The 21st October, we sent our long-boat on shore to procure
fresh water at a brook a short way west from Villa-franca; but the
inhabitants came down with about 150 armed men, having two ensigns
displayed, and our boat was forced to return without water, having spent
all its powder in vain, and being unable to prevail against such great

Learning that the island of St Mary was a place of no great strength, we
made sail for that place, intending to take in water there, and to go
thence to the coast of Spain. On the Friday following, my lord sent
captain Lister and captain Amias Preston, afterwards Sir Amias, with our
long-boat and pinnace, with between 60 and 70 arquebusiers, carrying a
friendly letter to the islanders, desiring leave to procure water, in
exchange for which he engaged to do them no harm. Captain Preston had
come on board the Victory not long before from his own ship, which lost
company with us in the night, so that he was under the necessity of
remaining with us. We departed from the Victory in our boats about nine
in the morning, rowing for the land, and by three in the afternoon had
got within a league or two of the shore, being then four or five leagues
from the Victory, and our men sore spent with hard rowing. At this time
we perceived, to our great joy, two ships at anchor close under the
town; upon which we shifted six or seven of our men into the boat
belonging to captain Davis, being too much crowded, and retaining about
20 arquebusiers in the pinnace, we made towards these two ships with all
possible haste.

While proceeding towards them, we saw several boats passing between the
_roaders_[366] and the shore, and many men in their shirts swimming and
wading on shore, who, as we afterwards learnt, were endeavouring to get
the ships fast aground; and the inhabitants were at the same time busied
in preparing to defend the ships and themselves against us. On coming
near them, captain Lister commanded the trumpets to be sounded, but
prohibited any firing till farther orders; yet some of the people,
either not hearing, or disregardful of these orders, began firing as
soon as the trumpets sounded, though with small injury to the islanders,
who mostly lay under the cover of trenches or other means of defence.
Captain Lister then urged on the rowers, who began to shrink at the shot
from the enemy which flew thick about their ears, and was himself the
first to board one of the ships which lay farther from shore than the
other, while we speedily followed, still plying the enemy with our shot,
and having cut her cables and hawsers, we towed her out to sea. In the
mean time, captain Davis came up in his boat, and boarded the other
ship, both having been abandoned by their crews; but, as she was quite
fast aground, he was under the necessity of quitting her, exposed to
shot and stones even from the shore. At this time, the towns-people made
an attempt to capture captain Davis and his boats crew, which were but
few in number; but they joined us, and we jointly towed off our prize,
which was a ship from Brazil laden with sugar. In this exploit we had
two men slain and sixteen wounded, while it is probable that the enemy
suffered small loss, as they were mostly sheltered behind stone walls,
many of which were built above one another on the end of the hill on
which the town stands, between two vallies. On the top of the hill they
had some large cannon, from which they fired leaden bullets, one only
of which went through the side of our prize, but did no other injury.

[Footnote 366: This uncommon word seems merely to signify, ships lying
at anchor in an open road.--E.]

Next day we made another attempt to get fresh water at this island, but
as we were ignorant of the landing-place, where we found many
inconveniences and disadvantages, we were unable to effect our purpose.
Wherefore we departed on the night of the 25th October for the island of
St George, in quest of fresh water, and got there on the 27th. Observing
a stream of water running down into the sea, the pinnace, and long-boat
were sent under captains Preston and Manson, by whom a letter was sent
by my lord to the islanders, desiring leave to take water quietly, and
no farther injury should be done them. On getting to the shore, our men
found some of the poor islanders hid among the rocks, being afraid of
us. On the 29th, our boats returned with fresh water, bringing only six
tons to the Victory, alleging they could get no more; thinking, as was
afterwards supposed, as he had only 12 tons of water and wine, that my
lord would now return direct for England, as many of our men greatly
desired. My lord, was very unwilling to do this, and meant next day to
have taken in more water, but from the roughness of the sea, and the
wind freshening, and owing to the unwillingness of the people, no more
water was procured: yet my lord would not return with so much provision
unspent, especially as the expedition had not hitherto produced such
fruits as might reasonably satisfy himself and others. Wherefore, with
consent of the whole ships companies, it was agreed to go for England by
way of the coast of Spain, to endeavour to make more captures, the whole
people being reduced to half allowance of water, except such as were
sick or wounded, who were to have whole allowance. On Saturday, the 31st
October, as the Margaret was very leaky, she was sent off direct for
England in charge of the Brazil ship, and in them our sick and wounded
men were sent home; but captain Monson was taken out of the _Megge_ into
the Victory[367].

[Footnote 367: In the commencement of this voyage, the Meg and Margaret
are named as distinct ships, one of which is said to have been sent home
soon after, as unfit for sea. In this passage the Margaret and Megge are
evidently different names for the same ship.--E.]

We now shaped our course for the coast of Spain, having the wind fair
and large, which had seldom been the case hitherto. On the 4th November
we saw a sail right before us, to which we gave chase, and coming up
with her about 3 P.M. we took possession of her, being a ship of about
110 tons burden, from _Pernambucke_ or Fernambucco, in Brazil, bound
for Portugal, having on board 410 chests of sugar, and 50 quintals of
Brazil wood, each quintal being 100 pounds weight. We took her in lat.
29 deg. N. about 200 leagues west from Lisbon. Captain Preston was sent on
board the prize, who brought her principal people into the Victory,
certain of our seamen and soldiers being appointed to take charge of
her. The Portuguese reported, that they had seen another ship that day
before them about noon; wherefore, when all things were properly
disposed respecting our prize, we left her under the charge of captain
Davis, with whom likewise we left our long-boat, taking his smaller boat
with us, and made all sail due east after this other ship, leaving
orders for captain Davis and the prize to follow us due east, and if he
had not sight of us next morning, to bear away direct for England. Next
morning we could not see the vessel of which we were in chase, neither
was the prize or the ship of captain Davis to be seen.

On the 6th November, being then in lat. 38 deg. 30' N. and about 60 leagues
west from Lisbon, captain Preston descried a sail early in the morning
two or three leagues a-head of us, which we came up with about 8 or 9
o'clock A.M. She was lastly from St Michaels, but originally from Brazil
laden with sugar. While employed shifting the prisoners into the
Victory, one of our men in the main-top espied another sail some three
or four leagues a-head, on which we immediately sent back our boat with
men to take charge of the prize, and made all sail in chase, so that we
overtook the other ship about 2 P.M. She made some preparation to resist
us, hanging many hides all round her sides, so that musquetry could not
have injured her; but by the time we had fired two cannon shot at her,
she lowered her sails and surrendered. She was of between 300 and 400
tons, bound from Mexico and St John de Lowe, (San Juan de Ulloa) her
cargo consisting of 700 dry hides; worth 10s. apiece, six chests of
cochineal, every chest holding 100 pounds weight, and every pound worth
L. 1, 6s. 8d., besides which she had several chests of sugar, some
packages of China ware, with some wrought plate and silver in coin. The
captain was an Italian, a grave, wise, and civil person, who had to the
value of 25,000 ducats adventure in this ship. He and some of the
principal Spanish prisoners were taken on board the Victory; and captain
Lister was sent into the prize, with some 20 of our best mariners,
soldiers, and sailors. In the meantime our other prize came up with us,
and having now our hands full, we joyfully shaped our course for
England, as we had so many Portuguese, Spanish, and French prisoners,
that we could not well have manned any more prizes with safety to
ourselves. Wherefore, about 6 P.M. when our other prize came up, we made
sail for England. But as our two prizes were unable to keep up with us
without sparing them many of our own sails, our ship rolled and wallowed
so that it was both exceedingly troublesome, and put our main-mast in
great danger of being carried away. Having accordingly acquainted them
with these circumstances, and taken back our sails, we directed them to
keep their course following us, so as to make for Portsmouth.

We took this last prize in lat. 39 deg. N. about 46 leagues west from the
Rock of Lisbon. She was one of the 16 ships we saw going into the
harbour of Angra in the island of Tercera on the 8th October. Some of
the prisoners taken from this ship told us, that while we were plying
off and on before that harbour in waiting for their coming out, three of
the largest of these ships were unloaded of all their treasure and
merchandize, by order of the governor of Tercera, and were each manned
with 300 soldiers, on purpose to have come out and boarded the Victory;
but by the time these preparations were made, the Victory was gone out
of sight.

We now went merrily before the wind with all the sails we could carry,
insomuch that between the noons of Friday and Saturday, or in 24 hours,
we sailed near 47 leagues, or 141 English miles, although our ship was
very foul, and much grown with sea grass, owing to our having been long
at sea. This quick sailing made some of our company expect to be present
at the tilting on the queens birth-day at Whitehall, while others were
flattering themselves with keeping a jolly Christmas in England from
their shares in the prizes. But it was our lot to keep a cold Christmas
with the Bishop and his Clerks, rocks to the westwards of Scilly; for
soon after the wind came about to the east, the very worst wind for us
which could blow from the heavens, so that we could not fetch any part
of England. Upon this our allowance of drink, before sufficiently
scanty, was now still farther curtailed, owing to the scarcity in our
ship, each man being confined to half a pint of cold water at a meal,
and that not sweet. Yet this was an ample allowance in comparison, as
our half pint was soon reduced to a quarter, and even at this reduced
rate our store was rapidly disappearing, insomuch that it was deemed
necessary for our preservation to put into some port in Ireland to
procure water. We accordingly endeavoured to do this, being obliged,
when near that coast, to lie to all night, waiting for day light; but
when it appeared we had drifted so far to leeward in the night that we
could fetch no part of Ireland, we were therefore constrained to return
again, with heavy hearts, and to wait in anxious expectation till it
should please God to send us a fair wind either for England or Ireland.

In the mean time we were allowed for each man two or three spoonfuls of
vinegar at each meal, having now no other drink, except that for two or
three meals we had about as much wine, which was wrung out of the
remaining lees. Under this hard fare we continued near a fortnight,
being only able to eat a very little in all that time, by reason of our
great want of drink. Saving that now and then we enjoyed as it were a
feast, when rain or hail chanced to fall, on which occasions we gathered
up the hail-stones with the most anxious care, devouring them more
eagerly than if they had been the finest comfits. The rain-drops also
were caught and saved with the utmost careful attention; for which
purpose some hung up sheets tied by the four corners, having a weight in
the middle, to make the rain run down there as in a funnel into some
vessel placed underneath. Those who had no sheets hung up napkins or
other clouts, which when thoroughly wet they wrung or sucked to get the
water they had imbibed. Even the water which fell on the deck under
foot, and washed away the filth and soil of the ship, though as dirty as
the kennel is in towns during rain, was carefully watched and collected
at every scupper-hole, nay, often with strife and contention, and caught
in dishes, pots, cans, and jars, of which some drank hearty draughts,
mud and all, without waiting for its settlement or cleansing. Others
cleaned it by filtrating, but it went through so slowly that they could
ill endure to wait so long, and were loath to lose so much precious
liquid. Some licked the water like dogs with their tongues from the
decks, sides, rails, and masts of the ship. Others, that were more
ingenious, fastened girdles or ropes about the masts, daubing tallow
between these and the mast, that the rain might not run down between;
and making one part of these girdles lower than the rest, fixed spouts
of leather at these lower parts, that the rain running down the masts
might meet and be received at these spouts. He who was fortunate enough
to procure a can of water by these means, was sued to, and envied as a
rich man.

_Quem pulchrum digito monstrari, et dicere hic est_.

Some of the poor Spaniards who were prisoners, though having the same
allowance with our own men, often begged us for the love of God to give
them as much water as they could hold in the hollow of their hands: And,
notwithstanding our own great extremity, they were given it, to teach
them some humanity, instead of their accustomed barbarity both to us and
other nations. Some put leaden bullets into their months, to slack their
thirst by chewing them. In every corner of the ship, the miserable cries
of the sick and wounded were sounding lamentably in our ears, pitifully
crying out and lamenting for want of drink, being ready to die, yea many
dying for lack thereof. Insomuch, that by this great extremity we lost
many more men than in all the voyage before; as before this, we were so
well and amply provided for, that we lived as well and were as healthy
as if we had been in England, very few dying among us; whereas now, some
of our men were thrown overboard every day.

The 2d of December 1589 was with us a day of festival, as it then rained
heartily, and we saved some considerable store of water, though we were
well wet for it, and that at midnight, and had our skins filled with it
besides. This went down merrily, although it was bitter and dirty, with
washing the ship, but we sweetened it with sugar, and were happy to have
our fill. Besides our other extremities, we were so tossed and turmoiled
with stormy and tempestuous weather, that every man had to hold fast his
can or dish, and to fasten himself by the ropes, rails, or sides of the
ship, to prevent falling on the deck. Our main-sail was torn from the
yard, and blown away into the sea; and our other sails so rent and torn
that hardly any of them remained serviceable. The raging waves and
foaming surges of the sea came rolling upon us in successive mountains,
breaking through the waste of the ship like a mighty river; although in
fine weather our deck was near twenty feet above water. So that we were
ready to cry out, with the royal prophet, Psalm 107, verses 26 and 27.
"They mount up to heaven, and go down again to the depths: Their soul is
melted because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a
drunken man, and are at their wits end." In this extremity of foul
weather, the ship was so tossed and shaken, that, by its creaking noise,
and the leaking which was now more than ordinary, we were in great fear
that it would have shaken asunder, and had just cause to pray, a little
otherwise than the poet, though marring the verse, yet mending the

Deus maris et caeli, quid enim nisi vota supersunt;
Solvere quassatae parcito membra ratis.

Yet it pleased God of his infinite goodness to deliver us out of this
danger. We made a new main-sail, which we fastened to the yard, and
repaired our other damages as well as we could. This was hardly done
when we were reduced to as great extremity as before, so that we had
almost lost our new main-sail, had not William Antony, the master of our
ship, when no one else would venture for fear of being washed overboard,
by crawling along the main-yard, then lowered close down upon the rails,
and with great danger of drowning, gathered it up out of the sea and
fastened it to the yard; being in the mean time often ducked overhead
and ears in the sea. So terrible were these storms, that some of our
company, who had used the sea for twenty years, had never seen the like,
and vowed, if ever they got safe to land, that they would never go to
sea again.

At night on the last day of November, we met with an English ship, and
because it was too late that night, it was agreed that they were to give
us two or three tons of wine next morning, being, as they said, all the
provision of drink they had, save only a butt or two which they must
reserve for their own use: But, after all, we heard no more of them till
they were set on ground on the coast of Ireland, where it appeared they
might have spared us much more than they pretended, as they could very
well have relieved our necessities, and had sufficient for themselves
remaining to bring them to England. The first of December we spoke with
another English ship, and had some beer out of her for our urgent
necessities, but not sufficient to carry us to England, wherefore we
were constrained to put into Ireland, the wind so serving. Next day we
came to an anchor under the land, not far from the S. Kelmes, under the
land and wind, where we were somewhat more quiet. But as that was not a
safe place to ride in, we endeavoured next morning to weigh our anchor,
when having some of our men hurt at the capstan, we were forced to leave
it behind, holding on our course for Ventrie Haven, [Bantry Bay?] where
we safely arrived the same day, and found that place a safe and
convenient harbour for us, so that we had just cause to sing with the
Psalmist, _They that go down to the sea in ships_, &c.

As soon as we had anchored, my lord went forthwith on shore, and
presently after brought off fresh provisions and water; such as sheep,
pigs, fowls, &c. to refresh his ships company, though he had lately been
very weak himself, and had suffered the same extremity with the rest:
For, in the time of our former want, having only a little water
remaining by him in a pot, it was broken in the night and all the water
lost. The sick and wounded were soon afterwards landed and carried to
the principal town, called _Dingenacush_[368], about three miles distant
from the haven, and at which place our surgeons attended them daily.
Here we well refreshed ourselves, while the Irish harp sounded sweetly
in our ears, and here we, who in our former extremity were in a manner
half dead, had our lives as it were restored.

[Footnote 368: Called otherwise Dingle Icouch by the editor of Astleys

This Dingenacush is the chief town in all that part of Ireland,
consisting but of one street, whence some smaller ones proceed on either
side. It had gates, as it seemed, in former times at either end, to shut
and open as a town of war, and a castle also. The houses are very
strongly built, having thick stone walls and narrow windows, being used,
as they told us, as so many castles in time of troubles, among the wild
Irish or otherwise. The castle and all the houses in the town, except
four, were taken and destroyed by the Earl of Desmond; these four being
held out against him and all his power, so that he could not win them.
There still remains a thick stone wall, across the middle of the street,
which was part of their fortification. Some of the older inhabitants
informed us, that they were driven to great extremities during their
defence, like the Jews of old when besieged by the Roman emperor Titus,
insomuch that they were constrained by hunger to feed on the carcasses
of the dead. Though somewhat repaired, it still remains only the ruins
of their former town. Except in the houses of the better sort, they have
no chimnies, so that we were very much incommoded by the smoke during
our stay at that place. Their fuel is turf, which they have very good,
together with whins or furze. As there grows little wood hereabout,
building is very expensive; as also they are in want of lime, which they
have to bring from a far distance. But they have abundance of stone, the
whole country appearing entirely composed of rocks and stones, so that
they commonly make their hedges of stone, by which each mans ground is
parted from his neighbour. Yet their country is very fruitful, and
abounds in grass and grain, as appears by the abundance of cattle and
sheep; insomuch that we had very good sheep, though smaller than those
of England, for two shillings, or five groats a-piece, and good pigs and
hens for threepence each.

The greatest want is of industrious and husbandly inhabitants, to till
and improve the ground; for the common sort, if they can only provide
sufficient to serve them from hand to mouth, take no farther care. Good
land was to be had here for fourpence an acre of yearly rent. They had
very small store of money among them, for which reason, perhaps, they
doubled and trebled the prices of every thing we bought, in proportion
to what they had been before our arrival. They have mines of alum, tin,
brass, and iron; and we saw certain natural stones, as clear as crystal,
and naturally squared like diamonds. That part of the country is full of
great mountains and hills, whence run many pleasant streams of fine
water. The native hardiness of the Irish nation may be conceived from
this, that their young children, even in the midst of winter, run about
the streets with bare legs and feet, and often having no other apparel
than a scanty mantle to cover their nakedness. The chief officer of
their town is called the sovereign, who hath the same office and
authority among them with our mayors in England, having his Serjeants to
attend upon him, and a mace carried before mm as they have. We were
first entertained at the sovereigns house, which was one of the four
that withstood the Earl of Desmond in his rebellion.

They have the same form of common prayer, word for word, that we have,
only that it is in Latin. On Sunday, the sovereign goeth to church
having his Serjeant before him, and accompanied by the sheriff and
others of the town. They there kneel down, every one making his prayers
privately by himself. They then rise up and go out of the church again
to drink. After this, they return again to church, and the minister
makes prayers. Their manner of baptising differs somewhat from ours,
part of the service belonging to it being in Latin and part in Irish.
The minister takes the child on his hands, dipping it first backwards
and then forwards, over head and ears into the cold water even in the
midst of winter. By this the natural hardiness of the people may appear,
as before specified. They had neither bell, drums, nor trumpet, to call
the parishioners together, but wait for the coming of the sovereign,
when those that have devotion follow him. Their bread is all baked in
cakes, and the bakers bake for all the town, receiving a tenth part for
their trouble. We had of them some ten or eleven tons of beer for the
Victory; but it acted as a severe purge upon all who drank it, so that
we chose rather to drink water.

Having provided ourselves with fresh water, we set sail from thence on
the 20th December, accompanied by Sir Edward Dennie and his lady, with
two young sons. In the morning of that day, my lord went on shore to
hasten the dispatch of some fresh water for the Victory, and brought us
news that sixty Spanish prizes were taken and brought to England. For
two or three days after we sailed, we had a fair wind; but it afterwards
scanted, so that we were fain to keep a cold Christmas with the bishop
and his clerks, as I said before. After this, meeting with an English
ship, we received the joyful news that ninety-one Spanish prizes were
come to England; and along with that, the sorrowful intelligence that
our last and best prize was cast away on the coast of Cornwal, at a
place the Cornish men call _Als-efferne_, that is Hell-cliff, where
Captain Lister and all the people were drowned, except five or six, half
English and half Spaniards, who saved their lives by swimming. Yet much
of the goods were saved and preserved for us, by Sir Francis Godolphin
and other worshipful gentlemen of the country. My lord was very sorry
for the death of Captain Lister, saying that he would willingly have
lost all the fruits of the voyage to have saved his life.

The 29th December we met another ship, from which we learned that Sir
Martin Frobisher and Captain Reymond had taken the admiral and
vice-admiral of the fleet we had seen going into the haven of Tercera;
but that the admiral had sunk, in consequence of much leaking, near the
Eddystone, a rock over against Plymouth sound, all the people however
being saved. We were likewise informed by this ship, that Captain
Preston had captured a ship laden with silver. My lord took his passage
in this last ship to land at Falmouth, while we held on our course for

Towards night we came near the Ram-head, the next cape westwards from
Plymouth sound, but we feared to double it in the night, by reason of
the scantness of the wind: so we stood out to seawards for half the
night, and towards morning had the wind more large. But we made too
little to spare thereof; partly for which reasons and partly mistaking
the land, we fell so much to leeward that we could not double the cape.
For this reason we turned back again and got into Falmouth haven, where
we grounded in 17 feet water; but as it was low ebb, the sea ready again
to flow, and the ground soft, we received no harm. Here we gladly set
our feet again on the long desired English ground, and refreshed
ourselves by keeping part of Christmas on our native soil.


_Valiant Sea Fight, by Ten Merchant Ships of London against Twelve
Spanish Gallies in the Straits of Gibraltar, on the 24th April_

In 1590, sundry ships belonging to the merchants of London, some
freighted for Venice, some for Constantinople, and some to divers other
parts, met on their homeward course within the Straits of Gibraltar,
having escaped all danger hitherto. The first of these was the Salomon,
belonging to Mr Alexander Barnam of London, and Messrs Bond and Tweed of
Harwich, which had sailed on the first of February last. The second was
the Margaret and John, belonging to Mr Wats of London. The third was the
Minion; the fourth the Ascension; the fifth the Centurion, belonging to
Mr Cordal; the sixth the Violet; the seventh the Samuel; the eighth the
Crescent; the ninth the Elizabeth; the tenth the Richard belonging to Mr
Duffield. All these ships, being of notable and approved service, and
coming near the mouth of the Straits hard by the coast of Barbary, they
descried twelve tall gallies bravely furnished, and strongly provided
with men and ammunition of war, ready to intercept and seize them.
Being perceived by our captains and masters, we made speedy preparation
for our defence, waiting the whole night for the approach of the enemy.

[Footnote 369: Hakluyt, II. 660.]

Next morning early, being Tuesday in Easter week, the 24th of April
1590, we had service according to our usual custom, praying to Almighty
God to save us from the hands of the tyrannous Spaniards, whom we justly
imagined and had always found to be our most mortal enemies on the sea.
Having finished our prayers, and set ourselves in readiness, we
perceived them coming towards us, and knew them indeed to be the Spanish
gallies, commanded by Andrea Doria, viceroy for the king of Spain in the
Straits of Gibraltar, and a notable enemy to all Englishmen. When they
came near us, they _waved us amain_ for the king of Spain, and in return
we waved them amain for the Queen of England[370]; at which time it
pleased the Almighty so to encourage our hearts, that the nearer they
came we the less feared their great strength and huge number of men;
they having to the amount of two or three hundred in each galley. It was
concluded among us, that our four largest and tallest ships should be
placed in the rear, the weaker and smaller ships going foremost; and so
it was performed, every one of us being ready to take part in such
successes as it should please God to send.

[Footnote 370: This waving amain seems to have been some salutation of
defiance, then usual at sea.--E.]

The gallies came upon us very fiercely at the first encounter, yet God
so strengthened us that, even if they had been ten times more, we had
not feared them at all. The Salomon, being a hot ship with sundry cast
pieces in her, gave the first shot in so effectual a manner on their
headmost galley, that it shared away so many of the men that sat on one
side of her, and pierced her through and through, insomuch that she was
ready to sink: Yet they assaulted us the more fiercely. Then the rest of
our ships, especially the four chiefest, the Salomon, Margaret and John,
Minion, and the Ascension, gave a hot charge upon them, and they on us,
commencing a hot and fierce battle with great valour on both sides,
which continued for the space of six hours. About the commencement of
this fight, our fleet was joined by two Flemish vessels. Seeing the
great force of the gallies, one of these presently struck his sails and
yielded to the enemy; whereas, had they exerted themselves on our side
and in their own defence, they needed not to have been taken in this
cowardly manner. The other was ready also to have yielded immediately,
and began to lower his sails: But the trumpeter of that ship drew his
faulcion, and stepping up to the pilot at the helm, vowed that he would
put him instantly to death, if he did not join and take part with the
English fleet: This he did, for fear of death, and by that means they
were defended from the tyranny which they had otherwise assuredly found
among the Spaniards.

When we had continued the fight somewhat more than six hours, God gave
us the upper hand, so that we escaped the hands of so many enemies, who
were constrained to flee into harbour to shelter themselves from us.
This was the manifest work of God, who defended us in such sort from all
danger, that not one man of us was slain in all this long and fierce
assault, sustaining no other damage or hurt than this, that the shrouds
and back-stays of the Salomon, which gave the first and last shot, and
sore galled the enemy during the whole battle, were clean shot away.
When the battle ceased, we were constrained for lack of wind to stay and
waft up and down, and then went back again to _Tition_ [Tetuan] in
Barbary, six leagues from Gibraltar, where we found the people
wondrously favourable to us; who, being but Moors and heathen people,
shewed us where to find fresh water and all other necessaries. In short,
we had there as good entertainment as if we had been in any place in
England. The governor favoured us greatly, to whom we in return
presented such gifts and commodities as we had, which he accepted of
very graciously: And here we staid four days.

After the cessation of the battle, which was on Easter Tuesday, we
remained for want of wind before Gibraltar till the next morning, being
all that time becalmed, and therefore expected every hour that they
would have sent out a fresh force against us: But they were in no
condition to do so, all their gallies being so sore battered that they
durst not come out of harbour, though greatly urged thereunto by the
governor of that town; but they had already met with so stout
resistance, that they could not be prevailed on to renew the fight.

While we were at Tetuan, we received a report of the hurt we had done
the gallies; as we could not well discern any thing during the fight,
on account of the great smoke. We there heard that we had almost spoiled
those twelve gallies, which we had shot clean through, so that two of
them were on the point of sinking; and we had slain so many of their
men, that they were not able to fit out their gallies any more all that
year. After going to Tetuan, we attempted three several times to pass
the straits, but could not: Yet, with the blessing of God, we came
safely through on the fourth attempt; and so continued on our voyage
with a pleasant breeze all the way to the coast of England, where we
arrived on the beginning of July 1590.


_A valiant sea fight in the Straits of Gibraltar, in April_ 1591, _by
the Centurion of London, against five Spanish gallies_.

In the month of November 1590, sundry ships belonging to different

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