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Of the following remark of Admiral Burney there can be but one opinion: “ The enterprise of Mr. Cavendish had great advantage over the more early ones of the English in the Pacific Ocean, in being legally authorized. In the conduct of it the commander was sometimes wanting in prudence and vigilance; but the activity and courage displayed by him are conspicuous, and his success has established the reputation of his undertaking. The acts of waste and outrage wantonly committed by him, without the smallest shadow of remorse, equally evince a rooted hatred against the Spaniards, and a disposition naturally cruel.”* On his return to England he addressed a letter to Lord Hunsdon, the Lord Chamberlain, in which is the following boast: “ I navigated along the coast of Chili, Peru, and Nueva Espanna, where I made great spoils. I burnt and sunk nineteen sailes of ships, small and great. All the villages and towns that ever I landed at I burnt and spoiled.” † We are told by Birch, that in coming to London he entered the River in a kind of triumph ; that his soldiers and sailors were clothed in silk dresses, the sails of his ships were of damask, and the prizes he had taken were the richest that had ever been brought into England. * Burney's Voyages and Discoveries in the Pacific, vol. ii.
MR. CAVENDISH'S SECOND VOYAGE.
1591. Three years after his return from the former voyage, Mr. Cavendish determined again to try his fortune in the South Sea, which is said to have become necessary, the wealth brought home in the former voyage having nearly disappeared. The known success of that voyage, however, obtained for him plenty of adventurers. He was at once enabled to equip for the expedition “three tall ships and two barks,”—the Leicester, galleon, the Admiral's ship; the old Desire, Mr. John Davis (the north-west Davis) commander; the Roebuck, commanded by Mr. Cooke; a bark, called the Black Pinnace; and another small bark not named, but fitted out by Mr. Adrian Gilbert. Altogether they were supposed to carry about 400 men.*
They sailed from Plymouth in August, made the coast of Brazil, captured a Portuguese vessel laden with sugar, and pillaged a place called Placencia. On the 16th December they surprised the town of Santos, landed a party of men when the inhabitants were at church, and kept them there prisoners the whole day. By the mismanagement of Captain Cooke all the prisoners in the church were released; the provisions, the want of which alone brought them hither, were conveyed into the country, and five weeks were expended of
the most favourable time of the year for passing the Strait of Magelhaens. The General perceived the error of this waste of time; for in his letter to Sir Tristram Gorges he complains, that “such was the adverseness of our fortunes, that in coming thither we spent the summer, and found in the Strait the beginning of a most extreme winter." *
The next feat of Cavendish was to burn the town of St. Vincent, and then to proceed towards the Strait. Calling at Port Desire, Cavendish had some disagreement with his officers, left the Leicester galleon in dudgeon, and went on board the Desire. On the 14th of April, 1592, they entered the Strait, and proceeded in it as far as Cape Froward, where they were detained three weeks by adverse winds from W.N.W., accompanied by continual snow and very cold weather. The people being in want both of food and clothing grew sickly, and many of them died. The General signified his intention to return out of the Strait to the eastward. but his officers and most of the people, and Captain John Davis in particular, opposed it. This produced a coolness between the latter and the General, who returned to his old ship the Leicester galleon.
Cavendish now repassed the eastern entrance of the Strait, with the view of trying his fortune in the East Indies, by the way of the Cape of Good Hope; but finding the crew resolutely bent against it, he proceeded to the coast of Brazil, and the squadron having arrived opposite to Port Desire, the Leicester and Roebuck tacked at night in order to fetch it; but the Desire and the Black Pinnace stood off all night and the next day, and were separated from the General, who at once accused Davis of having wilfully and treacherously deserted him. The General continued along the coast of Brazil with the Leicester and Roebuck, where at one place he lost fifty of his men, who were surprised on shore by the Portuguese. Among them was Anthony Knivet, whose wonderful adventures and incredible stories, on his arrival in England, were published by that quaint and credulous old chronicler, Purchas, in thirty or forty interminable pages. As a sample of these stories, he says, in speaking of the cold in the Strait, “ I was so nummed that I could not stirre my legs, and, pulling off my stockings, my toes came with them, and all my feet were as black as soote.” Again, “ Every day,” he says, “died eight or nine men out of our ship. Here one Harris, a goldsmith, lost his nose ; for going to blow it with his fingers, he cast it into the fire.” Almost perishing with hunger on an island, “I found a great whale lying on the shoare, like a ship with the keel upwards, all covered with a kind of short mosse. I made a little house, and fed on the whale for the space of a fortnight.” Another sample will suffice: “I saw a great thing come out of the water, with great
scales on the back, with great ugly clawes and a long tayle. This beast came towards me: I went and met it. I stood still, amazed to see so monstrous a thing before me. Hereupon this monstrous beast stood still and opened his mouth, and thrust out a long tongue like a harping-iron.'* His miraculous stories of cannibals and Amazons, salvages, Portugals, and pigmeys, make one exclaim, · Fernan Mendez Pinto was but a type of thee, thou liar of the first magnitude!'
Mr. Cavendish was soon afterwards forsaken by the Roebuck; the captain and crew of that ship having entertained a notion that he intended again to sail for the South Sea. The truth is, Mr. Cavendish's force was too reduced and the ship too ill - provided for further enterprise; his health, moreover, was broken down by fatigue and disappointment. His own letters or journal, addressed to Sir Tristram Gorges, and published by Purchas, give a most melancholy detail of all the misfortunes of the voyage, the despondency of his mind and deplorable condition, carried down to the point when the depression of his spirits and severe illness prevented the continuance of his narrative. His death speedily ensued, but not before he finished his will.
He was mistaken, however, in his censure and abuse of Davis. This captain and his officers declare,“ by what occasion we were severed we pro
* Purchas, vol. iv.