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´╗┐Title: Summarie and true discourse of Sir Frances Drakes West Indian voyage - Drake's Great Armada
Author: Bigges, Walter, -1586
Language: English
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by Captain Walter Biggs


This text was prepared from a 1910 edition, published by P. F. Collier &
Son Company, New York.


Nearly five years elapsed between Drake's return from his Famous
Voyage and the despatch of the formidable armament commemorated in the
following pages. During the last of these years the march of events had
been remarkably rapid. Gilbert, who had been empowered by Elizabeth, in
the year of Frobisher's last expedition, to found colonies in America,
had sailed for that purpose to Newfoundland (1583), and had perished
at sea on his way homeward. Raleigh, who had succeeded to his
half-brother's enterprises, had despatched his exploring expedition to
'Virginia,' under Amadas and Barlow, in 1584, and had followed it up
in the next year (1585) by an actual colony. In April Sir Richard
Greenville sailed from Plymouth, and at Raleigh's expense established
above a hundred colonists on the island of Roanoak. Drake's Great Armada
left Plymouth in September of the same year. It marked a turning-point
in the relations between the English and Spanish monarchs. Elizabeth,
knowing that the suppression of the insurrection in the Netherlands
would be followed by an attack upon England, was treating with the
insurgents. Philip deemed it prudent to lay an embargo on all her
subjects, together with their ships and goods, that might be found in
his dominions. Elizabeth at once authorized general reprisals on the
ships and goods of Spaniards. A company of adventurers was quickly
formed for taking advantage of this permission on a scale commensurate
with the national resources. They equipped an armada of twenty-five
vessels, manned by 2,300 men, and despatched it under the command of
Drake to plunder Spanish America. Frobisher was second in command.
Two-thirds of the booty were to belong to the adventurers; the remaining
third was to be divided among the men employed in the expedition.

Drake's armament of 1585 was the greatest that had ever crossed the
Atlantic. After plundering some vessels at the Vigo river, he sailed for
the West Indies by way of the Canaries and Cape Verde Islands, hoisted
the English flag over Santiago and burnt the town, crossed the Atlantic
in eighteen days, and arrived at Dominica. At daybreak, on New Year's
Day, 1586, Drake's soldiers landed in Espanola, a few miles to the west
of the capital, and before evening Carlile and Powell had entered the
city, which the colonists only saved from destruction by the payment of
a heavy ransom. Drake's plan was to do exactly the same at Carthagena
and Nombre de Dios, and thence to strike across the isthmus and secure
the treasure that lay waiting for transport at Panama. Drake held St.
Domingo for a month, and Carthagena for six weeks. He was compelled to
forego the further prosecution of his enterprise. A deadly fever, which
had attacked the men during the sojourn at Santiago, still continued
its ravages. In existing circumstances, even had Nombre de Dios been
successfully attacked, the march to Panama was out of the question;
and after consultation with the military commanders, Drake resolved on
sailing home at once by way of Florida. He brought back with him all
the colonists who had been left by Sir Richard Greenville in 'Virginia.'
Drake had offered either to furnish them with stores, and to leave them
a ship, or to take them home. The former was accepted: but a furious
storm which ensued caused them to change their minds. They recognized
in it the hand of God, whose will it evidently was that they should no
longer be sojourners in the American wilderness; and the first English
settlement of 'Virginia' was abandoned accordingly.

Ten years afterwards (1595) Drake was again at the head of a similar
expedition. The second command was given to his old associate Hawkins,
Frobisher, his Vice-Admiral in 1585, having recently died of the wound
received at Crozon. This time Nombre de Dios was taken and burnt, and
750 soldiers set out under Sir Thomas Baskerville to march to Panama:
but at the first of the three forts which the Spaniards had by this time
constructed, the march had to be abandoned. Drake did not long survive
this second failure of his favourite scheme. He was attacked by
dysentery a fortnight afterwards, and in a month he died. When he felt
the hand of death upon him, he rose, dressed himself, and endeavoured to
make a farewell speech to those around him. Exhausted by the effort, he
was lifted to his berth, and within an hour breathed his last. Hawkins
had died off Puerto Rico six weeks previously.

The following narrative is in the main the composition of Walter Biggs,
who commanded a company of musketeers under Carlile. Biggs was one of
the five hundred and odd men who succumbed to the fever. He died shortly
after the fleet sailed from Carthagena; and the narrative was completed
by some comrade. The story of this expedition, which had inflicted such
damaging blows on the Spaniards in America, was eminently calculated to
inspire courage among those who were resisting them in Europe. Cates,
one of Carlile's lieutenants, obtained the manuscript and prepared
it for the press, accompanied by illustrative maps and plans. The
publication was delayed by the Spanish Armada; but a copy found its way
to Holland, where it was translated into Latin, and appeared at Leyden,
in a slightly abridged form, in 1588. The original English narrative
duly appeared in London in the next year. The document called the
'Resolution of the Land-Captains' was inserted by Hakluyt when he
reprinted the narrative in 1600.



_A Summary and True Discourse of Sir Francis Drake's West Indian Voyage,
begun in the year 1585. Wherein were taken the cities of Santiago,
Santo Domingo, Carthagena, and the town of St. Augustine, in Florida.
Published by Master Thomas Cates._

This worthy knight, for the service of his prince and country,
having prepared his whole fleet, and gotten them down to Plymouth, in
Devonshire, to the number of five and twenty sail of ships and pinnaces,
and having assembled of soldiers and mariners to the number of 2,300 in
the whole, embarked them and himself at Plymouth aforesaid, the 12th day
of September, 1585, being accompanied with these men of name and charge
which hereafter follow: Master Christopher Carlile, Lieutenant-General,
a man of long experience in the wars as well by sea as land, who had
formerly carried high offices in both kinds in many fights, which he
discharged always very happily, and with great good reputation; Anthony
Powell, Sergeant-Major; Captain Matthew Morgan, and Captain John
Sampson, Corporals of the Field. These officers had commandment over the
rest of the land-captains, whose names hereafter follow: Captain Anthony
Platt, Captain Edward Winter, Captain John Goring, Captain Robert Pew,
Captain George Barton, Captain John Merchant, Captain William Cecil,
Captain Walter Biggs [The writer of the first part of the narrative.],
Captain John Hannam, Captain Richard Stanton. Captain Martin Frobisher,
Vice-Admiral, a man of great experience in seafaring actions, who
had carried the chief charge of many ships himself, in sundry voyages
before, being now shipped in the Primrose; Captain Francis Knolles,
Rear-Admiral in the galleon Leicester; Master Thomas Venner, captain
in the Elizabeth Bonadventure, under the General; Master Edward Winter,
captain in the Aid; Master Christopher Carlile, the Lieutenant-General,
captain of the Tiger; Henry White, captain of the Sea-Dragon; Thomas
Drake [Francis Drake's brother.], captain of the Thomas; Thomas Seeley,
captain of the Minion; Baily, captain of the Talbot; Robert Cross,
captain of the bark Bond; George Fortescue, captain of the bark Bonner;
Edward Careless, captain of the Hope; James Erizo, captain of the White
Lion; Thomas Moon, captain of the Francis; John Rivers, captain of the
Vantage; John Vaughan, captain of the Drake; John Varney, captain of the
George; John Martin, captain of the Benjamin; Edward Gilman, captain
of the Scout; Richard Hawkins, captain of the galliot called the Duck;
Bitfield, captain of the Swallow.

After our going hence, which was the 14th of September, in the year of
our Lord 1585, and taking our course towards Spain, we had the wind for
a few days somewhat scant, and sometimes calm. And being arrived
near that part of Spain which is called the Moors [Muros, S. of Cape
Finisterre.], we happened to espy divers sails, which kept their course
close by the shore, the weather being fair and calm. The General caused
the Vice-Admiral to go with the pinnaces well manned to see what they
were; who upon sight of the said pinnaces approaching near unto them,
abandoned for the most part all their ships, being Frenchmen, laden all
with salt, and bound homewards into France. Amongst which ships, being
all of small burthen, there was one so well liked, which also had no man
in her, as being brought unto the General, he thought good to make stay
of her for the service, meaning to pay for her, as also accordingly he
performed at our return; which bark was called the Drake. The rest of
these ships, being eight or nine, were dismissed without anything at all
taken from them. Who being afterwards put somewhat farther off from the
shore, by the contrariety of the wind, we happened to meet with some
other French ships, full laden with Newland fish, being upon their
return homeward from the said Newfoundland; whom the General after
some speech had with them, and seeing plainly that they were Frenchmen,
dismissed, without once suffering any man to go aboard of them.

The day following, standing in with the shore again, we decried another
tall ship of twelve score tons or thereabouts, upon whom Master Carlile,
the Lieutenant-General, being in the Tiger, undertook the chase; whom
also anon after the Admiral followed. And the Tiger having caused the
said strange ship to strike her sails, kept her there without suffering
anybody to go aboard until the Admiral was come up; who forthwith
sending for the master, and divers others of their principal men, and
causing them to be severally examined, found the ship and goods to
be belonging to the inhabitants of St. Sebastian, in Spain, but the
mariners to be for the most part belonging to St. John de Luz, and the
Passage. In this ship was great store of dry Newland fish, commonly
called with us Poor John; whereof afterwards, being thus found a lawful
prize, there was distribution made into all the ships of the fleet, the
same being so new and good, as it did very greatly bestead us in the
whole course of our voyage. A day or two after the taking of this ship
we put in within the Isles of Bayon [The Cies Islets, at the mouth of
the Vigo River.], for lack of favourable wind. Where we had no sooner
anchored some part of the fleet, but the General commanded all the
pinnaces with the shipboats to be manned, and every man to be furnished
with such arms as were needful for that present service; which being
done, the General put himself into his galley, which was also well
furnished, and rowing towards the city of Bayon, with intent, and the
favour of the Almighty, to surprise it. Before we had advanced one
half-league of our way there came a messenger, being an English
merchant, from the governor, to see what strange fleet we were; who
came to our General, conferred a while with him, and after a small time
spent, our General called for Captain Sampson, and willed him to go to
the governor of the city, to resolve him of two points. The first to
know if there were any wars between Spain and England; the second, why
our merchants with their goods were embarged or arrested? Thus departed
Captain Sampson with the said messenger to the city, where he found the
governor and people much amazed of such a sudden accident. The General,
with the advice and counsel of Master Carlile, his Lieutenant-General,
who was in the galley with him, thought not good to make any stand, till
such time as they were within the shot of the city, where they might be
ready upon the return of Captain Sampson, to make a sudden attempt, if
cause did require, before it were dark.

Captain Sampson returned with his message in this sort:--First, touching
peace or wars, the governor said he knew of no wars and that it lay not
in him to make any, he being so mean a subject as he was. And as for the
stay of the merchants with their goods, it was the king's pleasure,
but not with intent to endamage any man. And that the king's
counter-commandment was (which had been received in that place some
seven-night before) that English merchants with their goods should be
discharged. For the more verifying whereof, he sent such merchants as
were in the town of our nation, who trafficked those parts; which being
at large declared to our General by them, counsel was taken what might
best be done. And for that the night approached, it was thought needful
to land our forces, which was done in the shutting up of the day; and
having quartered ourselves to our most advantage, with sufficient guard
upon every strait, we thought to rest ourselves for that night there.
The Governor sent us some refreshing, as bread, wine, oil, apples,
grapes, marmalade and such like. About midnight the weather began to
overcast, insomuch that it was thought meeter to repair aboard, than to
make any longer abode on land. And before we could recover the fleet a
great tempest arose, which caused many of our ships to drive from their
anchorhold, and some were forced to sea in great peril, as the bark
Talbot, the bark Hawkins, and the Speedwell; which Speedwell only was
driven into England, the others recovered us again. The extremity of the
storm lasted three days; which no sooner began to assuage, but Master
Carlile, our Lieutenant-General, was sent with his own ship and three
others, as also with the galley and with divers pinnaces, to see what
he might do above Vigo, where he took many boats and some carvels,
diversely laden with things of small value, but chiefly with household
stuff, running into the high country. And amongst the rest he found one
boat laden with the principal church stuff of the high church of Vigo,
where also was their great cross of silver, of very fair embossed work
and double-gilt all over, having cost them a great mass of money. They
complained to have lost in all kinds of goods above thirty thousand
ducats in this place.

The next day the General with his whole fleet went from up the Isles of
Bayon to a very good harbour above Vigo, where Master Carlile stayed his
coming, as well for the more quiet riding of his ships, as also for the
good commodity of fresh watering which the place there did afford full
well. In the meantime the governor of Galicia had reared such forces as
he might (his numbers by estimate were some 2000 foot and 300 horse),
and marched from Bayona to this part of the country, which lay in sight
of our fleet; where, making a stand, he sent to parley with our General.
Which was granted by our General, so it might be in boats upon the
water; and for safety of their persons there were pledges delivered on
both sides. Which done, the governor of Galicia put himself with two
others into our Vice-Admiral's skiff, the same having been sent to the
shore for him, and in like sort our General went in his own skiff. Where
by them it was agreed we should furnish ourselves with fresh water, to
be taken by our own people quietly on the land, and have all other such
necessaries, paying for the same, as the place would afford.

When all our business was ended we departed, and took our way by the
Islands of Canaria, which are esteemed some 300 leagues from this part
of Spain; and falling purposely with Palma, with intention to have taken
our pleasure of that place, for the full digesting of many things into
order, and the better furnishing our store with such several good things
as it affordeth very abundantly, we were forced by the vile sea-gate,
which at that present fell out, and by the naughtiness of the
landing-place, being but one, and that under the favour of many
platforms well furnished with great ordnance, to depart with the receipt
of many of their cannon-shot, some into our ships and some besides,
some of them being in very deed full cannon high. But the only or chief
mischief was the dangerous sea-surge, which at shore all alongst plainly
threatened the overthrow of as many pinnaces and boats as for that time
should have attempted any landing at all.

Now seeing the expectation of this attempt frustrated by the causes
aforesaid, we thought it meeter to fall with the Isle Ferro, to see if
we could find any better fortune; and coming to the island we landed a
thousand men in a valley under a high mountain, where we stayed some two
or three hours. In which time the inhabitants, accompanied with a young
fellow born in England, who dwelt there with them, came unto us, shewing
their state to be so poor that they were all ready to starve, which was
not untrue; and therefore without anything gotten, we were all commanded
presently to embark, so as that night we put off to sea south-south-east
along towards the coast of Barbary.

Upon Saturday in the morning, being the 13th of November, we fell with
Cape Blank, which is a low land and shallow water, where we catched
store of fish; and doubling the cape, we put into the bay, where we
found certain French ships of war, whom we entertained with great
courtesy, and there left them. This afternoon the whole fleet assembled,
which was a little scattered about their fishing, and put from thence to
the Isles of Cape Verde, sailing till the 16th of the same month in the
morning; on which day we descried the Island of Santiago. And in the
evening we anchored the fleet between the town called the Playa or Praya
and Santiago; where we put on shore 1000 men or more, under the leading
of Master Christopher Carlile, Lieutenant-General, who directed the
service most like a wise commander. The place where we had first to
march did afford no good order, for the ground was mountainous and full
of dales, being a very stony and troublesome passage; but such was his
industrious disposition, as he would never leave, until we had gotten up
to a fair plain, where we made stand for the assembling of the army. And
when we were all gathered together upon the plain, some two miles from
the town, the Lieutenant-General thought good not to make attempt till
daylight, because there was not one that could serve for guide or giving
knowledge at all of the place. And therefore after having well rested,
even half an hour before day, he commanded the army to be divided into
three special parts, such as he appointed, whereas before we had marched
by several companies, being thereunto forced by the badness of the way
as is aforesaid. Now by the time we were thus ranged into a very brave
order, daylight began to appear. And being advanced hard to the wall,
we saw no enemy to resist. Whereupon the Lieutenant-General appointed
Captain Sampson with thirty shot, and Captain Barton with other thirty,
to go down into the town, which stood in the valley under us, and might
very plainly be viewed all over from that place where the whole army
was now arrived; and presently after these captains was sent the great
ensign, which had nothing in it but the plain English cross, to be
placed towards the sea, that our fleet might see St. George's cross
flourish in the enemy's fortress. Order was given that all the ordnance
throughout the town and upon all the platforms, which were about fifty
pieces all ready charged, should be shot off in honour of the Queen's
Majesty's coronation day, being the 17th of November, after the yearly
custom of England, which was so answered again by the ordnance out of
all the ships in the fleet, which now come near, as it was strange to
hear such a thundering noise last so long together. In this mean while
the Lieutenant-General held still the most part of his force on the
hilltop, till such time as the town was quartered out for the lodging
of the whole army. Which being done, every captain took his own quarter;
and in the evening was placed such a sufficient guard upon every part
of the town that we had no cause to fear any present enemy. Thus we
continued in the city the space of fourteen days, taking such spoils as
the place yielded, which were, for the most part, wine, oil, meal, and
some other such like things for victual as vinegar, olives, and some
other trash, as merchandise for their Indian trades. But there was not
found any treasure at all, or anything else of worth besides.

The situation of Santiago is somewhat strange; in form like a triangle,
having on the east and west sides two mountains of rock and cliff, as it
were hanging over it; upon the top of which two mountains were builded
certain fortifications to preserve the town from any harm that might be
offered, as in a plot is plainly shewed. From thence on the south side
of the town is the main sea; and on the north side, the valley lying
between the aforesaid mountains, wherein the town standeth. The said
valley and town both do grow very narrow; insomuch that the space
between the two cliffs of this end of the town is estimated not to
be above ten or twelve score [yards] over. In the midst of the valley
cometh down a riveret, rill, or brook of fresh water, which hard by the
seaside maketh a pond or pool, whereout our ships were watered with
very great ease and pleasure. Somewhat above the town on the north side,
between the two mountains, the valley waxeth somewhat larger than at the
town's end; which valley is wholly converted into gardens and orchards,
well replenished with divers sorts of fruits, herbs, and trees, as
lemons, oranges, sugar-canes, _cocars_ or cocos nuts, plantains,
potato-roots, cucumbers, small and round onions, garlic, and some other
things not now remembered. Amongst which the cocos nuts and plantains
are very pleasant fruits; the said cocos hath a hard shell and a green
husk over it as hath our walnut, but it far exceedeth in greatness, for
this cocos in his green husk is bigger than any man's two fists. Of
the hard shell many drinking cups are made here in England, and set in
silver as I have often seen. Next within this hard shell is a white rind
resembling in show very much, even as any thing may do, to the white of
an egg when it is hard boiled. And within this white of the nut lieth a
water, which is whitish and very clear, to the quantity of half a pint
or thereabouts; which water and white rind before spoken of are both
of a very cool fresh taste, and as pleasing as anything may be. I
have heard some hold opinion that it is very restorative. The plantain
groweth in cods, somewhat like to beans, but is bigger and longer, and
much more thick together on the stalk; and when it waxeth ripe, the
meat which filleth the rind of the cod becometh yellow, and is exceeding
sweet and pleasant.

In this time of our being there happened to come a Portugal to the
western fort, with a flag of truce. To whom Captain Sampson was sent
with Captain Goring; who coming to the said messenger, he first asked
them, What nation they were? they answered Englishmen. He then required
to know if wars were between England and Spain; to which they answered,
that they knew not, but if he would go to their General he could best
resolve him of such particulars. And for his assurance of passage and
repassage these captains made offer to engage their credits, which he
refused for that he was not sent from his governor. Then they told him
if his governor did desire to take a course for the common benefit of
the people and country his best way were to come and present himself
unto our noble and merciful governor, Sir Francis Drake, whereby he
might be assured to find favour, both for himself and the inhabitants.
Otherwise within three days we should march over the land, and consume
with fire all inhabited places, and put to the sword all such living
souls as we should chance upon. So thus much he took for the conclusion
of his answer. And departing, he promised to return the next day; but we
never heard more of him.

Upon the 24th of November, the General, accompanied with the
Lieutenant-General and 600 men, marched forth to a village twelve
miles within the land, called Saint Domingo, where the governor and the
bishop, with all the better sort, were lodged; and by eight of the clock
we came to it, finding the place abandoned, and the people fled into the
mountains. So we made stand a while to ease ourselves, and partly to see
if any would come to speak to us. After we had well rested ourselves,
the General commanded the troops to march away homewards. In which
retreat the enemy shewed themselves, both horse and foot, though not
such force as durst encounter us; and so in passing some time at the
gaze with them, it waxed late and towards night before we could recover
home to Santiago.

On Monday, the 26th of November, the General commanded all the pinnaces
with the boats to use all diligence to embark the army into such ships
as every man belonged. The Lieutenant-General in like sort commanded
Captain Goring and Lieutenant Tucker, with one hundred shot, to make
a stand in the marketplace until our forces were wholly embarked; the
Vice-Admiral making stay with his pinnace and certain boats in the
harbour, to bring the said last company abroad the ships. Also the
General willed forthwith the galley with two pinnaces to take into them
the company of Captain Barton, and the company of Captain Biggs, under
the leading of Captain Sampson, to seek out such munition as was hidden
in the ground, at the town of Praya, or Playa, having been promised to
be shewed it by a prisoner which was taken the day before.

The captains aforesaid coming to the Playa, landed their men; and
having placed the troop in their best strength, Captain Sampson took
the prisoner, and willed him to show that he had promised. The which
he could not, or at least would not; but they searching all suspected
places, found two pieces of ordnance, one of iron, another of brass. In
the afternoon the General anchored with the rest of the fleet before the
Playa, coming himself ashore, willing us to burn the town and make all
haste aboard; the which was done by six of the clock the same day,
and ourselves embarked again the same night. And so we put off to sea

But before our departure from the town of Santiago, we established
orders for the better government of the army. Every man mustered to his
captain, and oaths were ministered, to acknowledge her Majesty supreme
Governor, as also every man to do his utter-most endeavour to advance
the service of the action, and to yield due obedience unto the
directions of the General and his officers. By this provident counsel,
and laying down this good foundation beforehand, all things went forward
in a due course, to the achieving of our happy enterprise.

In all the time of our being here, neither the governor for the said
King of Spain, which is a Portugal, neither the bishop, whose authority
is great, neither the inhabitants of the town, or island, ever came at
us; which we expected they should have done, to entreat us to leave
them some part of their needful provisions, or at the least to spare
the ruining of their town at our going away. The cause of this their
unreasonable distrust, as I do take it, was the fresh remembrance of
the great wrongs that they had done to old Master William Hawkins, of
Plymouth, in the voyage he made four or five years before, whenas they
did both break their promise, and murdered many of his men; whereof I
judge you have understood, and therefore it is needless to be repeated.
But since they came not at us, we left written in sundry places, as also
in the Spital House (which building was only appointed to be spared),
the great discontentment and scorn we took at this their refraining to
come unto us, as also at the rude manner of killing, and savage kind of
handling the dead body of one of our boys found by them straggling all
alone, from whom they had taken his head and heart, and had straggled
the other bowels about the place, in a most brutish and beastly manner.
In revenge whereof at our departing we consumed with fire all the
houses, as well in the country which we saw, as in the town of Santiago.

From hence putting off to the West Indies, we were not many days at sea
but there began among our people such mortality as in a few days there
were dead above two or three hundred men. And until some seven or eight
days after our coming from Santiago, there had not died any one man
of sickness in all the fleet. The sickness showed not his infection,
wherewith so many were strucken, until we were departed thence; and then
seized our people with extreme hot burning and continual agues, whereof
very few escaped with life, and yet those for the most part not without
great alteration and decay of their wits and strength for a long time
after. In some that died were plainly shown the small spots which are
often found upon those that be infected with the plague. We were not
above eighteen days in passage between the sight of Santiago aforesaid,
and the island of Dominica, being the first island of the West Indies
that we fell withal; the same being inhabited with savage people, which
go all naked, their skin coloured with some painting of a reddish
tawny, very personable and handsome strong men, who do admit little
conversation with the Spaniards; for, as some of our people might
understand them, they had a Spaniard or twain prisoners with them.
Neither do I think that there is any safety for any of our nation, or
any other, to be within the limits of their commandment; albeit they
used us very kindly for those few hours of time which we spent with
them, helping our folks to fill and carry on their bare shoulders fresh
water from the river to our ships' boats, and fetching from their houses
great store of tobacco, as also a kind of bread which they fed on,
called cassavi, very white and savoury, made of the roots of cassavi. In
recompense whereof we bestowed liberal rewards of glass, coloured beads,
and other things, which we had found at Santiago; wherewith, as it
seemed, they rested very greatly satisfied, and shewed some sorrowful
countenance when they perceived that we would depart.

From hence we went to another island westward of it, called Saint
Christopher's Island; wherein we spent some days of Christmas, to
refresh our sick people, and to cleanse and air our ships. In which
island were not any people at all that we could hear of.

In which time by the General it was advised and resolved, with the
consent of the Lieutenant-General, the Vice-Admiral, and all the rest of
the captains, to proceed to the great island of Hispaniola, as well
for that we knew ourselves then to be in our best strength, as also
the rather allured thereunto by the glorious fame of the city of St.
Domingo, being the ancientest and chief inhabited place in all the tract
of country thereabouts. And so proceeding in this determination, by
the way we met a small frigate, bound for the same place, the which the
Vice-Admiral took; and having duly examined the men that were in her,
there was one found by whom we were advertised the haven to be a barred
haven, and the shore or land thereof to be well fortified, having a
castle thereupon furnished with great store of artillery, without the
danger whereof was no convenient landing-place within ten English miles
of the city, to which the said pilot took upon him to conduct us.

All things being thus considered on, the whole forces were commanded
in the evening to embark themselves in pinnaces, boats, and other small
barks appointed for this service. Our soldiers being thus embarked, the
General put himself into the bark Francis as Admiral; and all this
night we lay on the sea, bearing small sail until our arrival to the
landing-place, which was about the breaking of the day. And so we
landed, being New Year's Day, nine or ten miles to the westwards of that
brave city of St. Domingo; for at that time nor yet is known to us
any landing-place, where the sea-surge doth not threaten to overset
a pinnace or boat. Our General having seen us all landed in safety,
returned to his fleet, bequeathing us to God, and the good conduct of
Master Carlile, our Lieutenant-General; at which time, being about eight
of the clock, we began to march. And about noon-time, or towards one of
the clock, we approached the town; where the gentleman and those of the
better sort, being some hundred and fifty brave horses, or rather more,
began to present themselves. But our small shot played upon them, which
were so sustained with good proportion of pikes in all parts, as they
finding no part of our troop unprepared to receive them (for you must
understand they viewed all round about) they were thus driven to give us
leave to proceed towards the two gates of the town which were the next
to the seaward. They had manned them both, and planted their ordnance
for that present and sudden alarm without the gate, and also some troops
of small shot in _ambuscado_ upon the highway side. We divided our whole
force, being some thousand or twelve hundred men, into two parts, to
enterprise both the gates at one instant; the Lieutenant-General having
openly vowed to Captain Powell, who led the troop that entered the other
gate, that with God's good favour he would not rest until our meeting in
the market-place.

Their ordnance had no sooner discharged upon our near approach, and made
some execution amongst us, though not much, but the Lieutenant-General
began forthwith to advance both his voice of encouragement and pace of
marching; the first man that was slain with the ordnance being very near
unto himself; and thereupon hasted all that he might, to keep them from
the recharging of the ordnance. And notwithstanding their _ambuscados_,
we marched or rather ran so roundly into them, as pell-mell we entered
the gates, and gave them more care every man to save himself by flight,
than reason to stand any longer to their broken fight. We forthwith
repaired to the market-place, but to be more truly understood, a place
of very spacious square ground; whither also came, as had been agreed,
Captain Powell with the other troop. Which place with some part next
unto it, we strengthened with _barricados_, and there as the most
convenient place assured ourselves, the city being far too spacious
for so small and weary a troop to undertake to guard. Somewhat after
midnight, they who had the guard of the castle, hearing us busy about
the gates of the said castle, abandoned the same; some being taken
prisoners, and some fleeing away by the help of boats to the other side
of the haven, and so into the country.

The next day we quartered a little more at large, but not into the half
part of the town; and so making substantial trenches, and planting all
the ordnance, that each part was correspondent to other, we held this
town the space of one month.

In the which time happened some accidents, more than are well remembered
for the present. But amongst other things, it chanced that the General
sent on his message to the Spaniards a negro boy with a flag of white,
signifying truce, as is the Spanish ordinary manner to do there, when
they approach to speak to us; which boy unhappily was first met withal
by some of those who had been belonging as officers for the king in the
Spanish galley, which with the town was lately fallen into our hands.
Who, without all order or reason, and contrary to that good usage
wherewith we had entertained their messengers, furiously struck the poor
boy through the body with one of their horsemen's staves; with which
wound the boy returned to the General, and after he had declared
the manner of this wrongful cruelty, died forthwith in his presence.
Wherewith the General being greatly passioned, commanded the
provost-marshal to cause a couple of friars, then prisoners, to be
carried to the same place where the boy was strucken, accompanied with
sufficient guard of our soldiers, and there presently to be hanged,
despatching at the same instant another poor prisoner, with this reason
wherefore this execution was done, and with this message further, that
until the party who had thus murdered the General's messenger were
delivered into our hands to receive condign punishment, there should no
day pass wherein there should not two prisoners be hanged, until they
were all consumed which were in our hands. Whereupon the day following,
he that had been captain of the king's galley brought the offender
to the town's end, offering to deliver him into our hands. But it was
thought to be a more honourable revenge to make them there, in our
sight, to perform the execution themselves; which was done accordingly.

During our being in this town, as formerly also at Santiago there had
passed justice upon the life of one of our own company for an odious
matter, so here likewise was there an Irishman hanged for the murdering
of his corporal.

In this time also passed many treaties between their commissioners and
us, for ransom of their city; but upon disagreements we still spent the
early mornings in firing the outmost houses; but they being built very
magnificently of stone, with high lofts, gave us no small travail to
ruin them. And albeit for divers days together we ordained each morning
by daybreak, until the heat began at nine of the clock, that two hundred
mariners did naught else but labour to fire and burn the said houses
without our trenches, whilst the soldiers in a like proportion stood
forth for their guard; yet did we not, or could not in this time consume
so much as one-third part of the town, which town is plainly described
and set forth in a certain map. And so in the end, what wearied with
firing, and what hastened by some other respects, we were contended to
accept of 25,000 ducats of five shillings six-pence the piece, for the
ransom of the rest of the town.

Amongst other things which happened and were found at St. Domingo, I may
not omit to let the world know one very notable mark and token of the
unsatiable ambition of the Spanish king and his nation, which was found
in the king's house, wherein the chief governor of that city and country
is appointed always to lodge, which was this. In the coming to the hall
or other rooms of this house, you must first ascend up by a fair large
pair of stairs, at the head of which stairs is a handsome spacious
place to walk in, somewhat like unto a gallery. Wherein, upon one of the
walls, right over against you as you enter the said place, so as your
eye cannot escape the sight of it, there is described and painted in
a very large scutcheon the arms of the King of Spain; and in the
lower part of the said scutcheon there is likewise described a globe,
containing in it the whole circuit of the sea and the earth, whereupon
is a horse standing on his hinder part within the globe, and the other
forepart without the globe, lifted up as it were to leap, with a scroll
painted in his mouth, wherein was written these words in Latin, _NON
SUFFICIT ORBIS_, which is as much to say as, _The world sufficeth not_.
Whereof the meaning was required to be known of some of those of the
better sort that came in commission to treat upon the ransom of the
town; who would shake their heads and turn aside their countenance,
in some smiling sort, without answering anything, as greatly ashamed
thereof. For by some of our company it was told them, that if the Queen
of England would resolutely prosecute the wars against the King of
Spain, he should be forced to lay aside that proud and unreasonable
reaching vein of his; for he should find more than enough to do to keep
that which he had already, as by the present example of their lost town
they might for a beginning perceive well enough.

Now to the satisfying of some men, who marvel greatly that such a famous
and goodly-builded city, so well inhabited of gallant people, very
brave in their apparel (whereof our soldiers found good store for their
relief), should afford no greater riches than was found there. Herein
it is to be understood that the Indian people, which were the natives
of this whole island of Hispaniola (the same being near hand as great
as England), were many years since clean consumed by the tyranny of the
Spaniards; which was the cause that, for lack of people to work in the
mines, the gold and silver mines of this island are wholly given over.
And thereby they are fain in this island to use copper money, whereof
was found very great quantity. The chief trade of this place consisteth
of sugar and ginger, which groweth in the island, and of hides of oxen
and kine, which in this waste country of the island are bred in infinite
numbers, the soil being very fertile. And the said beasts are fed up
to a very large growth, and so killed for nothing so much as for their
hides aforesaid. We found here great store of strong wine, sweet oil,
vinegar, olives, and other such-like provisions, as excellent wheat-meal
packed up in wine-pipes and other cask, and other commodities likewise,
as woollen and linen cloth and some silks; all which provisions are
brought out of Spain, and served us for great relief. There was but a
little plate or vessel of silver, in comparison of the great pride in
other things of this town, because in these hot countries they use much
of those earthen dishes finely painted or varnished, which they call
_porcellana_, which is had out of the East India; and for their drinking
they use glasses altogether, whereof they make excellent good and fair
in the same place. But yet some plate we found, and many other good
things, as their household garniture, very gallant and rich, which had
cost them dear, although unto us they were of small importance.

From St. Domingo we put over to the main or firm land, and, going all
along the coast, we came at last in sight of Carthagena, standing upon
the seaside, so near as some of our barks in passing alongst approached
within the reach of their culverin shot, which they had planted upon
certain platforms. The harbour-mouth lay some three miles toward the
westward of the town, whereinto we entered at about three or four of
the clock in the afternoon without any resistance of ordnance or other
impeachment planted upon the same. In the evening we put ourselves on
land towards the harbour-mouth, under the leading of Master Carlile, our
Lieutenant-General. Who, after he had digested us to march forward about
midnight, as easily as foot might fall, expressly commanded us to keep
close by the sea-wash of the shore for our best and surest way; whereby
we were like to go through, and not to miss any more of the way, which
once we had lost within an hour after our first beginning to march,
through the slender knowledge of him that took upon him to be our guide,
whereby the night spent on, which otherwise must have been done by
resting. But as we came within some two miles of the town, their
horsemen, which were some hundred, met us, and, taking the alarm,
retired to their townward again upon the first volley of our shot that
was given them; for the place where we encountered being woody and
bushy, even to the waterside, was unmeet for their service.

At this instant we might hear some pieces of artillery discharged, with
divers small shot, towards the harbour; which gave us to understand,
according to the order set down in the evening before by our General,
that the Vice-Admiral, accompanied with Captain Venner, Captain White,
and Captain Cross, with other sea captains, and with divers pinnaces
and boats, should give some attempt unto the little fort standing on the
entry of the inner haven, near adjoining to the town, though to small
purpose, for that the place was strong, and the entry, very narrow, was
chained over; so as there could be nothing gotten by the attempt more
than the giving of them an alarm on that other side of the haven, being
a mile and a-half from the place we now were at. In which attempt the
Vice-Admiral had the rudder of his skiff strucken through with a saker
shot, and a little or no harm received elsewhere.

The troops being now in their march, half-a-mile behither the town or
less, the ground we were on grew to be strait, and not above fifty paces
over, having the main sea on the one side of it and the harbour-water or
inner sea (as you may term it) on the other side, which in the plot is
plainly shewed. This strait was fortified clean over with a stone wall
and a ditch without it, the said wall being as orderly built, with
flanking in every part, as can be set down. There was only so much of
this strait unwalled as might serve for the issuing of the horsemen or
the passing of carriage in time of need. But this unwalled part was
not without a very good _barricado_ of wine-butts or pipes, filled with
earth, full and thick as they might stand on end one by another, some
part of them standing even within the main sea. This place of strength
was furnished with six great pieces, demiculverins and sakers, which
shot directly in front upon us as we approached. Now without this wall,
upon the inner side of the strait, they had brought likewise two great
galleys with their prows to the shore, having planted in them eleven
pieces of ordnance, which did beat all cross the strait, and flanked our
coming on. In these two galleys were planted three or four hundred small
shot, and on the land, in the guard only of this place, three hundred
shot and pikes.

They, in this their full readiness to receive us, spared not their shot
both great and small. But our Lieutenant-General, taking the advantage
of the dark (the daylight as yet not broken out) approached by the
lowest ground, according to the express direction which himself had
formerly given, the same being the sea-wash shore, where the water
was somewhat fallen, so as most of all their shot was in vain. Our
Lieutenant-General commanded our shot to forbear shooting until we were
come to the wall-side. And so with pikes roundly together we approached
the place, where we soon found out the _barricados_ of pipes or butts to
be the meetest place for our assault; which, notwithstanding it was well
furnished with pikes and shots, was without staying attempted by us.
Down went the butts of earth, and pell-mell came our swords and pikes
together, after our shot had first given their volley, even at the
enemy's nose. Our pikes were somewhat longer than theirs, and our bodies
better armed; for very few of them were armed. With which advantage our
swords and pikes grew too hard for them, and they driven to give place.
In this furious entry the Lieutenant-General slew with his own hands the
chief ensign-bearer of the Spaniards, who fought very manfully to his
life's end.

We followed into the town with them, and, giving them no leisure to
breathe, we won the market-place, albeit they made head and fought
awhile before we got it. And so we being once seized and assured of
that, they were content to suffer us to lodge within their town, and
themselves to go to their wives, whom they had carried into other places
of the country before our coming thither. At every street's end they had
raised very fine _barricados_ of earthworks, with trenches without them,
as well made as ever we saw any work done; at the entering whereof was
some little resistance, but soon overcome it was, with few slain or
hurt. They had joined with them many Indians, whom they had placed in
corners of advantage, all bowmen, with their arrows most villainously
empoisoned, so as if they did but break the skin, the party so touched
died without great marvel. Some they slew of our people with their
arrows; some they likewise mischiefed to death with certain pricks of
small sticks sharply pointed, of a foot and a-half long, the one end put
into the ground, the other empoisoned, sticking fast up, right against
our coming in the way as we should approach from our landing towards the
town, whereof they had planted a wonderful number in the ordinary way;
but our keeping the sea-wash shore missed the greatest part of them very

I overpass many particular matters, as the hurting of Captain Sampson at
sword blows in the first entering, unto whom was committed the charge of
the pikes of the vant-guard by his lot and turn; as also of the taking
of Alonzo Bravo, the chief commander of that place, by Captain Goring,
after the said captain had first hurt him with his sword; unto which
captain was committed the charge of the shot of the said vant-guard.
Captain Winter was likewise by his turn of the vant-guard in this
attempt, where also the Lieutenant-General marched himself; the said
Captain Winter, through a great desire to serve by land, having now
exchanged his charge at sea with Captain Cecil for his band of footmen.
Captain Powell, the Sergeant-Major, had by his turn the charge of the
four companies which made the battle. Captain Morgan, who at St. Domingo
was of the vant-guard, had now by turn his charge upon the companies
of the rearward. Every man, as well of one part as of another, came so
willingly on to the service, as the enemy was not able to endure the
fury of such hot assault.

We stayed here six weeks, and the sickness with mortality before spoken
of still continued among us, though not with the same fury as at the
first; and such as were touched with the said sickness, escaping death,
very few or almost none could recover their strength. Yea, many of
them were much decayed in their memory, insomuch that it was grown an
ordinary judgment, when one was heard to speak foolishly, to say he had
been sick of the _calentura_, which is the Spanish name of their burning
ague; for, as I told you before, it is a very burning and pestilent
ague. The original cause thereof is imputed to the evening or first
night air, which they term _la serena_; wherein they say and hold very
firm opinion that whoso is then abroad in the open air shall certainly
be infected to the death, not being of the Indian or natural race of
those country people. By holding their watch our men were thus subjected
to the infectious air, which at Santiago was most dangerous and deadly
of all other places.

With the inconvenience of continual mortality we were forced to give
over our intended enterprise to go with Nombre de Dios, and so overland
to Panama, where we should have strucken the stroke for the treasure,
and full recompense of our tedious travails. And thus at Carthagena
we took our first resolution to return homewards, the form of which
resolution I thought good here to put down under the principal captains'
hands as followeth:--

A Resolution of the Land-Captains, what course they think most expedient
to be taken. Given at Carthagena, the 27th of February, 1585.

WHEREAS it hath pleased the General to demand the opinions of his
captains what course they think most expedient to be now undertaken, the
land-captains being assembled by themselves together, and having advised
hereupon, do in three points deliver the same.

THE FIRST, touching the keeping of the town against the force of the
enemy, either that which is present, or that which may come out of
Spain, is answered thus:--

'We hold opinion, that with this troop of men which we have presently
with us in land service, being victualled and munitioned, we may well
keep the town, albeit that of men able to answer present service we have
not above 700. The residue, being some 150 men, by reason of their hurts
and sickness, are altogether unable to stand us in any stead: wherefore
hereupon the sea-captains are likewise to give their resolution, how
they will undertake the safety and service of the ships upon the arrival
of any Spanish fleet.'

THE SECOND point we make to be this, whether it be meet to go
presently homeward, or else to continue further trial of our fortune in
undertaking such like enterprises as we have done already, and thereby
to seek after that bountiful mass of treasure for recompense of our
travails, which was generally expected at our coming forth of England:
wherein we answer:--

'That it is well known how both we and the soldiers are entered into
this action as voluntary men, without any impress or gage from her
Majesty or anybody else. And forasmuch as we have hitherto discharged
the parts of honest men, so that now by the great blessing and favour of
our good God there have been taken three such notable towns, wherein
by the estimation of all men would have been found some very great
treasures, knowing that Santiago was the chief city of all the islands
and traffics thereabouts, St. Domingo the chief city of Hispaniola, and
the head government not only of that island, but also of Cuba, and of
all the islands about it, as also of such inhabitations of the firm
land, as were next unto it, and a place that is both magnificently built
and entertaineth great trades of merchandise; and now lastly the city of
Carthagena, which cannot be denied to be one of the chief places of most
especial importance to the Spaniard of all the cities which be on this
side of the West India: we do therefore consider, that since all these
cities, with their goods and prisoners taken in them, and the ransoms of
the said cities, being all put together, are found far short to satisfy
that expectation which by the generality of the enterprisers was first
conceived; and being further advised of the slenderness of our strength,
whereunto we be now reduced, as well in respect of the small number of
able bodies, as also not a little in regard of the slack disposition of
the greater part of those which remain, very many of the better minds
and men being either consumed by death or weakened by sickness and
hurts; and lastly, since that as yet there is not laid down to our
knowledge any such enterprise as may seem convenient to be undertaken
with such few as we are presently able to make, and withal of such
certain likelihood, as with God's good success which it may please
him to bestow upon us, the same may promise to yield us any sufficient
contentment: we do therefore conclude hereupon, that it is better to
hold sure as we may the honour already gotten, and with the same to
return towards our gracious sovereign and country, from whence, if it
shall please her Majesty to set us forth again with her orderly means
and entertainment, we are most ready and willing to go through with
anything that the uttermost of our strength and endeavour shall be able
to reach unto. But therewithal we do advise and protest that it is far
from our thoughts, either to refuse, or so much as to seem to be weary
of anything which for the present shall be further required or directed
to be done by us from our General.'

THE THIRD and last point is concerning the ransom of this city of
Carthagena, for the which, before it was touched with any fire, there
was made an offer of some 27,000 or 28,000 pounds sterling:--

'Thus much we utter herein as our opinions, agreeing, so it be done in
good sort, to accept this offer aforesaid, rather than to break off by
standing still upon our demands of 100,000 pounds; which seems a matter
impossible to be performed for the present by them. And to say truth,
we may now with much honour and reputation better be satisfied with that
sum offered by them at the first, if they will now be contented to give
it, than we might at that time with a great deal more; inasmuch as we
have taken our full pleasure, both in the uttermost sacking and spoiling
of all their household goods and merchandise, as also in that we have
consumed and ruined a great part of their town with fire. And thus much
further is considered herein by us; that as there be in the voyage
a great many poor men, who have willingly adventured their lives and
travails, and divers amongst them having spent their apparel and such
other little provisions as their small means might have given them leave
to prepare, which being done upon such good and allowable intention as
this action hath always carried with it (meaning, against the Spaniard,
our greatest and most dangerous enemy), so surely we cannot but have an
inward regard, so far as may lie in us, to help them in all good sort
towards the satisfaction of this their expectation; and by procuring
them some little benefit to encourage them, and to nourish this ready
and willing disposition of theirs, both in them and in others by their
example, against any other time of like occasion. But because it may be
supposed that herein we forget not the private benefit of ourselves, and
are thereby the rather moved to incline ourselves to this composition,
we do therefore think good for the clearing ourselves of all such
suspicion, to declare hereby, that what part or portion soever it be of
this ransom or composition for Carthagena which should come unto us,
we do freely give and bestow the same wholly upon the poor men who
have remained with us in the voyage (meaning as well the sailor as the
soldier), wishing with all our hearts it were such or so much as might
see a sufficient reward for their painful endeavour. And for the firm
confirmation thereof, we have thought meet to subsign these presents
with our own hands in the place and time aforesaid.

'Captain Christopher Charlie, Lieutenant-General; Captain Goring,
Captain Sampson, Captain Powell, etc.'

But while we were yet there, it happened one day that our watch called
the sentinel, upon the church-steeple, had discovered in the sea
a couple of small barks or boats, making in with the harbour of
Carthagena. Whereupon Captain Moon and Captain Varney, with John Grant,
the master of the Tiger, and some other seamen, embarked themselves in a
couple of small pinnaces, to take them before they should come nigh the
shore, at the mouth of the harbour, lest by some straggling Spaniards
from the land, they might be warned by signs from coming in. Which fell
out accordingly, notwithstanding all the diligence that our men could
use: for the Spanish boats, upon the sight of our pinnaces coming
towards them, ran themselves ashore, and so their men presently hid
themselves in bushes hard by the sea-side, amongst some others that had
called them by signs thither. Our men presently without any due regard
had to the quality of the place, and seeing no man of the Spaniards to
shew themselves, boarded the Spanish barks or boats, and so standing all
open in them, were suddenly shot at by a troop of Spaniards out of the
bushes; by which volley of shot there were slain Captain Varney, which
died presently, and Captain Moon, who died some few days after, besides
some four or five others that were hurt: and so our folks returned
without their purpose, not having any sufficient number of soldiers with
them to fight on shore. For those men they carried were all mariners to
row, few of them armed, because they made account with their ordnance
to have taken the barks well enough at sea; which they might full easily
have done, without any loss at all, if they had come in time to the
harbour mouth, before the Spaniards' boats had gotten so near the shore.

During our abode in this place, as also at St. Domingo, there passed
divers courtesies between us and the Spaniards, as feasting, and using
them with all kindness and favour; so as amongst others there came to
see the General the governor of Carthagena, with the bishop of the same,
and divers other gentlemen of the better sort. This town of Carthagena
we touched in the out parts, and consumed much with fire, as we had done
St. Domingo, upon discontentments, and for want of agreeing with us
in their first treaties touching their ransom; which at the last was
concluded between us should be 110,000 ducats for that which was yet
standing, the ducat valued at five shillings sixpence sterling.

This town, though not half so big as St. Domingo, gives, as you see, a
far greater ransom, being in very deed of far more importance, by reason
of the excellency of the harbour, and the situation thereof to serve the
trade of Nombre de Dios and other places, and is inhabited with far more
richer merchants. The other is chiefly inhabited with lawyers and brave
gentlemen, being the chief or highest appeal of their suits in law of
all the islands about it and of the mainland coast next unto it. And
it is of no such account as Carthagena, for these and some like reasons
which I could give you, over long to be now written.

The warning which this town received of our coming towards them from St.
Domingo, by the space of 20 days before our arrival here, was cause that
they had both fortified and every way prepared for their best defence.
As also that they had carried and conveyed away all their treasure and
principal substance.

The ransom of 110,000 ducats thus concluded on, as is aforesaid, the
same being written, and expressing for nothing more than the town of
Carthagena, upon the payment of the said ransom we left the said town
and drew some part of our soldiers into the priory or abbey, standing a
quarter of an English mile below the town upon the harbour water-side,
the same being walled with a wall of stone; which we told the Spaniards
was yet ours, and not redeemed by their composition. Whereupon they,
finding the defect of their contract, were contented to enter into
another ransom for all places, but specially for the said house, as also
the blockhouse or castle, which is upon the mouth of the inner harbour.
And when we asked as much for the one as for the other, they yielded to
give a thousand crowns for the abbey, leaving us to take our pleasure
upon the blockhouse, which they said they were not able to ransom,
having stretched themselves to the uttermost of their powers; and
therefore the said blockhouse was by us undermined, and so with
gunpowder blown up in pieces. While this latter contract was in making,
our whole fleet of ships fell down towards the harbour-mouth, where
they anchored the third time and employed their men in fetching of fresh
water aboard the ships for our voyage homewards, which water was had in
a great well that is in the island by the harbour-mouth. Which island
is a very pleasant place as hath been seen, having in it many sorts of
goodly and very pleasant fruits, as the orange-trees and others, being
set orderly in walks of great length together. Insomuch as the whole
island, being some two or three miles about, is cast into grounds of
gardening and orchards.

After six weeks' abode in this place, we put to sea the last of March;
where, after two or three days, a great Ship which we had taken at St.
Domingo, and thereupon was called The New Year's Gift, fell into a great
leak, being laden with ordnance, hides, and other spoils, and in the
night she lost the company of our fleet. Which being missed the next
morning by the General, he cast about with the whole fleet, fearing some
great mischance to be happened unto her, as in very deed it so fell out;
for her leak was so great that her men were all tired with pumping. But
at the last, having found her, and the bark Talbot in her company, which
stayed by great hap with her, they were ready to take their men out of
her for the saving of them. And so the General, being fully advertised
of their great extremity, made sail directly back again to Carthagena
with the whole fleet; where, having staid eight or ten days more about
the unlading of this ship and the bestowing thereof and her men into
other ships, we departed once again to sea, directing our course toward
the Cape St. Anthony, being the westermost part of Cuba, where we
arrived the 27th of April. But because fresh water could not presently
be found, we weighed anchor and departed, thinking in few days to
recover the Matanzas, a place to the eastward of Havana.

After we had sailed some fourteen days we were brought to Cape St.
Anthony again through lack of favourable wind; but then our scarcity
was grown such as need make us look a little better for water, which we
found in sufficient quantity, being indeed, as I judge, none other than
rain-water newly fallen and gathered up by making pits in a plot of
marish ground some three hundred paces from the seaside.

I do wrong if I should forget the good example of the General at this
place, who, to encourage others, and to hasten the getting of fresh
water aboard the ships, took no less pain himself than the meanest; as
also at St. Domingo, Carthagena, and all other places, having always
so vigilant a care and foresight in the good ordering of his fleet,
accompanying them, as it is said, with such wonderful travail of body,
as doubtless had he been the meanest person, as he was the chiefest,
he had yet deserved the first place of honour; and no less happy do
we account him for being associated with Master Carlile, his
Lieutenant-General, by whose experience, prudent counsel, and gallant
performance he achieved so many and happy enterprises of the war, by
whom also he was very greatly assisted in setting down the needful
orders, laws, and course of justice, and the due administration of the
same upon all occasions.

After three days spent in watering our ships, we departed now the second
time from this Cape of St. Anthony the 13th of May. And proceeding about
the Cape of Florida, we never touched anywhere; but coasting alongst
Florida, and keeping the shore still in sight, the 28th of May, early in
the morning, we descried on the shore a place built like a beacon, which
was indeed a scaffold upon four long masts raised on end for men to
discover to the seaward, being in the latitude of thirty degrees, or
very near thereunto. Our pinnaces manned and coming to the shore, we
marched up alongst the river-side to see what place the enemy held
there; for none amongst us had any knowledge thereof at all.

Here the General took occasion to march with the companies himself in
person, the Lieutenant-General having the vant-guard; and, going a mile
up, or somewhat more, by the river-side, we might discern on the other
side of the river over against us a fort which newly had been built by
the Spaniards; and some mile, or thereabout, above the fort was a little
town or village without walls, built of wooden houses, as the plot doth
plainly shew. We forthwith prepared to have ordnance for the battery;
and one piece was a little before the evening planted, and the first
shot being made by the Lieutenant-General himself at their ensign,
strake through the ensign, as we afterwards understood by a Frenchman
which came unto us from them. One shot more was then made, which struck
the foot of the fort wall, which was all massive timber of great trees
like masts. The Lieutenant-General was determined to pass the river this
night with four companies, and there to lodge himself entrenched as near
the fort as that he might play with his muskets and smallest shot upon
any that should appear, and so afterwards to bring and plant the battery
with him; but the help of mariners for that sudden to make trenches
could not be had, which was the cause that this determination was
remitted until the next night.

In the night the Lieutenant-General took a little rowing skiff and half
a dozen well armed, as Captain Morgan and Captain Sampson, with some
others, beside the rowers, and went to view what guard the enemy kept,
as also to take knowledge of the ground. And albeit he went as covertly
as might be, yet the enemy, taking the alarm, grew fearful that the
whole force was approaching to the assault, and therefore with all speed
abandoned the place after the shooting of some of their pieces. They
thus gone, and he being returned unto us again, but nothing knowing
of their flight from their fort, forthwith came a Frenchman, [Nicolas
Borgoignon] being a fifer (who had been prisoner with them) in a little
boat, playing on his fife the tune of the Prince of Orange his song. And
being called unto by the guard, he told them before he put foot out of
the boat what he was himself, and how the Spaniards were gone from the
fort; offering either to remain in hands there, or else to return to
the place with them that would go. [The 'Prince of Orange's Song' was a
popular ditty in praise of William Prince of Orange (assassinated 1584),
the leader of the Dutch Protestant insurgents.]

Upon this intelligence the General, the Lieutenant-General, with some of
the captains in one skiff and the Vice-Admiral with some others in his
skiff, and two or three pinnaces furnished of soldiers with them,
put presently over towards the fort, giving order for the rest of the
pinnaces to follow. And in our approach some of the enemy, bolder than
the rest, having stayed behind their company, shot off two pieces of
ordnance at us; but on shore we went, and entered the place without
finding any man there.

When the day appeared, we found it built all of timber, the walls being
none other than whole masts or bodies of trees set upright and close
together in manner of a pale, without any ditch as yet made, but wholly
intended with some more time. For they had not as yet finished all their
work, having begun the same some three or four months before; so as, to
say the truth, they had no reason to keep it, being subject both to fire
and easy assault.

The platform whereon the ordnance lay was whole bodies of long
pine-trees, whereof there is great plenty, laid across one on another
and some little earth amongst. There were in it thirteen or fourteen
great pieces of brass ordnance and a chest unbroken up, having in it the
value of some two thousand pounds sterling, by estimation, of the king's
treasure, to pay the soldiers of that place, who were a hundred and
fifty men.

The fort thus won, which they called St. John's Fort, and the day
opened, we assayed to go to the town, but could not by reason of some
rivers and broken ground which was between the two places. And therefore
being enforced to embark again into our pinnaces, we went thither upon
the great main river, which is called, as also the town, by the name of
St. Augustine. At our approaching to land, there were some that began
to shew themselves, and to bestow some few shot upon us, but presently
withdrew themselves. And in their running thus away, the Sergeant-Major
finding one of their horses ready saddled and bridled, took the same
to follow the chase; and so overgoing all his company, was by one laid
behind a bush shot through the head; and falling down therewith, was by
the same and two or three more, stabbed in three or four places of his
body with swords and daggers, before any could come near to his
rescue. His death was much lamented, being in very deed an honest wise
gentleman, and soldier of good experience, and of as great courage as
any man might be.

In this place called St. Augustine we understood the king did keep, as
is before said, 150 soldiers, and at another place some dozen leagues
beyond to the northwards, called St. Helena, he did there likewise keep
150 more, serving there for no other purpose than to keep all other
nations from inhabiting any part of all that coast; the government
whereof was committed to one Pedro Melendez, marquis, nephew to that
Melendez the Admiral, who had overthrown Master John Hawkins in the
Bay of Mexico some 17 or 18 years ago. This governor had charge of both
places, but was at this time in this place, and one of the first that
left the same.

Here it was resolved in full assembly of captains, to undertake the
enterprise of St. Helena, and from thence to seek out the inhabitation
of our English countrymen in Virginia, distant from thence some six
degrees northward. When we came thwart of St. Helena, the shoals
appearing dangerous, and we having no pilot to undertake the entry, it
was thought meetest to go hence alongst. For the Admiral had been the
same night in four fathom and a half, three leagues from the shore; and
yet we understood, by the help of a known pilot, there may and do go
in ships of greater burden and draught than any we had in our fleet. We
passed thus along the coast hard aboard the shore, which is shallow for
a league or two from the shore, and the same is low and broken land for
the most part. The ninth of June upon sight of one special great fire
(which are very ordinary all alongst this coast, even from the Cape
of Florida hither) the General sent his skiff to the shore, where they
found some of our English countrymen that had been sent thither the
year before by Sir Walter Raleigh, and brought them aboard; by whose
direction we proceeded along to the place which they make their port.
But some of our ships being of great draught, unable to enter, anchored
without the harbour in a wild road at sea, about two miles from shore.
From whence the General wrote letters to Master Ralph Lane, being
governor of those English in Virginia, and then at his fort about six
leagues from the road in an island which they called Roanoac; wherein
especially he shewed how ready he was to supply his necessities and
wants, which he understood of by those he had first talked withal.

The morrow after, Master Lane himself and some of his company coming
unto him, with the consent of his captains he gave them the choice of
two offers, that is to say: either he would leave a ship, a pinnace, and
certain boats with sufficient masters and mariners, together furnished
with a month's victual, to stay and make further discovery of the
country and coasts, and so much victual likewise as might be sufficient
for the bringing of them all (being an hundred and three persons) into
England, if they thought good after such time, with any other thing
they would desire, and that he might be able to spare: or else, if they
thought they had made sufficient discovery already, and did desire to
return into England, he would give them passage. But they, as it seemed,
being desirous to stay, accepted very thankfully and with great gladness
that which was offered first. Whereupon the ship being appointed and
received into charge by some of their own company sent into her by
Master Lane, before they had received from the rest of the fleet the
provision appointed them, there arose a great storm (which they said was
extraordinary and very strange) that lasted three days together, and put
all our fleet in great danger to be driven from their anchoring upon the
coast; for we brake many cables, and lost many anchors; and some of our
fleet which had lost all, of which number was the ship appointed for
Master Lane and his company, were driven to put to sea in great danger,
in avoiding the coast, and could never see us again until we met in
England. Many also of our small pinnaces and boats were lost in this

Notwithstanding, after all this, the General offered them, with consent
of his captains, another ship with some provisions, although not such
a one for their turns as might have been spared them before, this being
unable to be brought into their harbour: or else, if they would, to give
them passage into England, although he knew he should perform it with
greater difficulty than he might have done before. But Master Lane,
with those of the chiefest of his company which he had then with him,
considering what should be best for them to do, made request unto the
General under their hands, that they might have passage for England:
the which being granted, and the rest sent for out of the country and
shipped, we departed from that coast the 18th of June. And so, God be
thanked, both they and we in good safety arrived at Portsmouth the 28th
of July, 1586, to the great glory of God, and to no small honour to our
Prince, our country, and ourselves. The total value of that which was
got in this voyage is esteemed at three score thousand pounds, whereof
the companies which have travailed in the voyage were to have twenty
thousand pounds, the adventurers the other forty. Of which twenty
thousand pounds (as I can judge) will redound some six pounds to the
single share. We lost some 750 men in the voyage; above three parts of
them only by sickness. The men of name that died and were slain in this
voyage, which I can presently call to remembrance, are these:--Captain
Powell, Captain Varney, Captain Moon, Captain Fortescue, Captain Biggs,
Captain Cecil, Captain Hannam, Captain Greenfield; Thomas Tucker, a
lieutenant; Alexander Starkey, a lieutenant; Master Escot, a lieutenant;
Master Waterhouse, a lieutenant; Master George Candish, Master Nicholas
Winter, Master Alexander Carlile, Master Robert Alexander, Master
Scroope, Master James Dyer, Master Peter Duke. With some other, whom for
haste I cannot suddenly think on.

The ordnance gotten of all sorts, brass and iron, were about two hundred
and forty pieces, whereof the two hundred and some more were brass, and
were thus found and gotten:--At Santiago some two or three and fifty
pieces. In St. Domingo about four score, whereof was very much great
ordnance, as whole cannon, demi-cannon, culverins, and such like. In
Carthagena some sixty and three pieces, and good store likewise of the
greater sort. In the Fort of St. Augustine were fourteen pieces.
The rest was iron ordnance, of which the most part was gotten at St.
Domingo, the rest at Carthagena.

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