Page images
PDF
EPUB

according to Captain Fenner, slew from 1,200 to 1,300 Spaniards; three English captains and a number of their men were also killed.

The following letter states very briefly what they had accomplished at the Groyne :Sir Francis Drake to SECRETARY WOLLEY.

1589, May 8th. I have nether matter, or leasure, to write long. We saw Spayne the 23d of Aprell; we landed at Groyne the 24th: we toocke the lower towne of Groyne the 25th, with 4 great shipes, dyvers bar &c. and 150 peses of ordenance. The 6th day of May we gave the enemy a great overthrowgh, wherin were slayne nere a thowsand Spanyards. We have donne the Kyng of Spayne many pretty servyses here at this place, and yeat I beleve he will not thanck us. I desyre of God that the want of meat and powder be not repented ; fyve thowsand pound in vittuall before our comyng out of Yngland, to that we had, and tow thowsand pound in powder, hapely would a yelded Her Majestie and contry mych qwyettnes. The King of Spayne slepeth not, nor wanteth no will to dow us hurt. God grant we may prevent hym; humbly takyng my leave I besech God to blesse us all, and geve us grace to live in his ffeare. From the groyne, this 8th May, 1587.

Your Honor's, faythfully,

Fra: DRAKE. * It was the 19th of May before the expedition reached Peniche, where the troops were disembarked and marched for Lisbon, while Drake proceeded to Cascaes, at the mouth of the Tagus. It was undoubtedly a great mistake to lose time at

* MS., State Paper Office.

the Groyne, and suffer the Spaniards to reinforce Lisbon ; but a greater to march without having a single gun, or even a swivel to blow down the gates of the capital, which they were desirous of doing. They, therefore, were compelled to retreat after destroying the suburbs, and bringing away whatever was valuable and transportable; having a long march to perform through an enemy's country, down to Cascaes, where, immediately on their arrival, they were embarked for their return homewards. The fleet on their passage was dispersed in a storm. The loss of lives, mostly in the army, was very great; of 11,000 men, little more than 6,000 remained alive to reach England. Each soldier had five shillings to receive and his arms which Hakluyt says was believed to be more than their due. Camden is of opinion that England, notwithstanding the disappointment, was a gainer by this expedition, as from that time she had no apprehensions of Spanish incursions, but rather grew more warm and animated against that country.*

By the following letter it would appear that Drake, like many others, thought it to have been a mistake to land at the Groyne, instead of proceeding at once to Lisbon; the consequence of which was, that the powder and ammunition of the troops were expended at the Groyne and on the march before they got to the capital, and the delay

* Hakluyt-Camden.

[ocr errors]

gave time to the Spaniards to reinforce the garrison.

Sir Francis DRAKE TO Sir F. WALSINGHAM.

1589, June 2d.

Most Honourable, The best I cane write is, that I perfettly beleve the enemy will not truble Yngland sodenly, for first we haue destroyed very mych of his provysions at Groyne, and so haue we donne at Lysbone, and what we ourselves could not well dystroy, that hath the enemy burnt hymselfe,--as corne, wyne, roske, oyll, fleshe, and fyshe, with many other provisions which the Kyng had cawsed to be provyded for som new armey. The takyng of this thre skore and od saylles of hulks flyboots and hoies laden with corne and other provysyons, wilbe a great hendrance to his porposses. Ther is a great want of corne generally among the people, yeat had the Kyng great stoure of all provysyons in his stoure howses.

Yf we had not ben comanded to the contrary, but had fyrst Landed at Lysbone, all had bene as we could have desyred it, but God thowght it not mette. I assure your honor our Sicknes is very mych bothe of our Soldyers and maryners. God metagatt it accordyng to his good will and pleasure.

We ar not yeat throwghly resolved what Servis we shall next take in hand, and for that ther is as yeat no suplyes com out of Yngland it causeth our men to drowpe, and desyre mych to go for Yngland, but yf God will bless us with som lettell comfortable dewe of heaven, som crownes, or som reasonable bootys for our soldyers and maryners, all will take good hart agayne, althowghe they were halfe dead. To want meat, monycyon, and lybertty, is too heavy a burden for a souldyer to beare, specyally when they most comand ther people being ffare from ther owne contry. Thus humbly takyng my Leave, desyring pardon for my playnes of your honor, praying unto God we may haue all power to leve in his ffear. written this second of June, 1589. Your honour humbly to be comanded,

FRA: DRAKE.* The last and fatal expedition of the two commanders, Drake and Hawkins, was by express desire of the Queen, who gave them six of her ships to proceed on a voyage to the West Indies to intercept the Spanish Plate ships, and annoy their colonies. On this expedition Sir Thomas Baskerville was appointed to command the land forces. They left Plymouth on the 28th of August, 1595. In proceeding for Puerto Rico Sir John Hawkins became extremely sick; and at the eastern end of that harbour he breathed his last. The casualties of this unfortunate voyage did not end here: a heavy fire was poured into the ships from the forts, and a large cannon-shot passed through the side of Drake's ship into the cabin, where the officers were at supper, killed Sir Nicholas Clifford, wounded Mr. Brute Browne mortally, and Captain Stratford severely, and struck the stool from under Sir Francis Drake. t.

The expedition then proceeded to Nombre de Dios, where a party of soldiers were selected to cross the Isthmus to Panama, under the orders of Sir Thomas Baskerville. They got about half way, very much annoyed by the shot from parties in

* MS., State Paper Office. † Hakluyt-Monson.

wne 1

SO u

ambush, and from forts commanding the defiles, and soon returned heartily sick of the journey.

From hence they proceeded, on the 15th January, towards Puerto Bello, where Sir Francis Drake was so unwell with a flux as to keep his cabin, which Camden thinks the vexation of disappointment may have assisted in bringing on. He continued getting worse, and on the 28th, in great tranquillity and resignation, “ Our general, Sir Francis Drake, departed this life, having been extremely sick of a fluxe, which began the night before to stop on him."* “ With the usual solemnity of the funeral service at sea were the remains of this noble specimen of a British seaman consigned to the deep. He received a sailor's funeral very near to the place where his great reputation was first established, or, as Camden says, where he had borrowed so large a reputation. His body was committed to the deep in a leaden coffin, with the solemn service of the church of England; rendered more solemn by the volleys of musketry and the firing of guns in all the ships of the fleet." +

Sir William Monson, who never served under or with Drake, and who only knew his character to misrepresent it, could not record his death without an insinuation as unfounded as it is uncharitable. “ Sir Francis Drake,” he says, “ who was wont to rule fortune, now finding his error, and the differ* Hakluyt.

Ibid.

ore

« EelmineJätka »