« EelmineJätka »
commanded by himself; the Fancy, a pinnace of sixty tons, Robert Thurlton captain ; and a victualler named the Hawk. When the Dainty was launched in the Thames, Lady Hawkins, his motherin-law, desired to have the naming of his ship, which being complied with, the good lady christened her “ The Repentance ;" “ for that,” she said, “ Repentance was the safest ship we could sail in to purchase the haven of heaven.” Sir Richard, however, was not then bound for that port; and it happened that the name, from an unlooked-for event, was shortly after changed; for when she was completely equipped and ready for sea, “ and riding at Deptford, the Queen's Majestie passing by her to her palace of Greenwich, commanded her bargemen to row round about her, and viewing her from post to stemme, disliked nothing but her name, and said that she would christen her anew; and tha thenceforth she should be called the Daintie.”
It is not usual to meet with a published seajournal, written entirely by the commander of the vessel, but we have here something much better than a common sea-journal. “ This work,” says Admiral Burney, "might with some propriety have been entitled “A Book of Good Counsel' Many of his Observations are unconnected with the voyage he is relating, but his digressions are ingenious and entertaining, and they frequently contain useful or curious information.” Its title is · The Observa
tions of Sir Richard Hawkins, Knight, in his Voyage into the South Sea, 1593.'*
It is, in truth, not only a Book of Good Counsel, but of good sense and observation, on all matters connected with the naval service, and in no way inferior to Sir William Monson’s Tracts,' without that author's self-conceit. It is in fact a more useful book, and treats of seamen and seamanship in a more practical manner. Of the habits and manners of our jolly tars, he describes them just as they now are:-“ When I begun to gather my company aboard, which occupied my good friends and the justices of the town two days, and forced us to search all lodgings, taverns, and ale-houses ; some drank themselves so drunk, that except they were carried aboard, they of themselves were not able to goe one steppe; others knowing the necessitie of the time, feigned themselves sicke; others to be indebted to their hostes, and forced me to ransom them; one for his chest; another for his sword; another his shirts; another his carde and instruments for sea; and others, to benefit themselves of the imprest given them, absented themselves, making a lewd living in deceiving all whose money they could lay hold of; which is a scandal too rife among our seamen.” The remedy he pro
* The editor observes, that the account of this voyage was written by Hawkins, and not published till 1622, and that while in the press the author died.
† Observations, &c.
poses is to take away all imprests—what is now called paying advance. The familiar account which he gives, as he voyages along, of the various subjects of natural history on sea and land is always clear and free from technical description. Of these kinds of subjects one or two, before proceeding on the incidents of the voyage, will show the manner in which they are found interspersed with the nautical details. Take the following as a specimen. Speaking of the sea-fowl in the Strait of Magelhaens, the ducks, he says, had a part of an island to themselves, which was the highest hill upon it :
“ In all the days of my life I have not seen greater art and curiositie in creatures voyd of reason then in the placing and making of their nestes; all the hill being so full of them, that the greatest mathematician of the world would not devise how to place one more then those upon the hill, leaving onely one pathway for a fowle to passe betwixt. The hill was all level as if it had been smoothed by art, the nestes made onely of earth, and seeming to be of the self-same mould. . . . Their nestes are for many yeares, and of one proportion, not one exceeding another in bigness, in height, nor in circumference, and in proportionable distance one from another. In all this hill, nor in any of their nestes, was to be found a blade of grass, a straw, a stick, a feather, a moate, no, nor the filing of any fowle, but all the nestes and passages betwixt them were so
smoothe and cleane as if they had beene newly swept and washed.”* And he adds, in a strain of piety: “ All which are motives to prayse and magnifie the universall Creator, who so wonderfully manifesteth his wisdome, bountie, and providence in all his creatures, and especially for his particular love to ingratefull mankinde, for whose contemplation and service he hath made them all.”
While in the strait, he says, “ Knowing that if once I consented to turne but one foote backe I should overthrow my voyage, and loose my reputation, I resolved rather to loose my life than to give eare to such prejudicial counsell, so we entertained ourselves in necessary works, as making coale to remedie our broken anchors, in which we succeeded, and pieced broken anchors without other art or addition than what my owne invention contrived.”
“ Some of our idle time we spent in gathering the barke and fruit of a certaine tree, which we found in all places of the Straites where we found trees. This tree carrieth his fruit in clusters, like a hawthorne, but that it is greene, each berry of the bignesse of a pepper-corne, and every of them containing within foure or five graynes, twyse as bigge as a mustard-seede, which broken, are white within as the good pepper, and bite much like it, but hotter. The barke of this tree hath the savour of all kinde of spices together, most comfortable to
the stomache, and held to be better then any spice whatsoever; and for that a learned countryman of ours, Doctor Turner, hath written of it, by the name of Winter's barke, what I have said may suffice. The leafe of this tree is of a whitish greene, and is not unlike to the aspen-leafe.” *
This plant was discovered by Captain John Winter, who deserted Drake, and came home from Magelhaens' Strait, and from whom it has its name. He found it very serviceable to his crew, who were infected with scurvy, affording an agreeable spice to their meat. It is a common plant in the valleys down to Cape Horn.t Sir R. Hawkins calls the scurvy " the plague of the sea," and found sour oranges and lemons the most effective in this disease; so that a remedy, for the merit of the supposed discovery of which, a few years ago, there was abundance of angry contention, was known to this brave commander two hundred and fifty years ago. He affords some excellent observations on the treatment of this destructive disease, and indeed on every subject regarding seamen and those who command them.
+ “A plant of the Winter's Bark was brought home by Captain King, and flourished in Kew Garden, the only one known in England ; and it is somewhat curious that this fine plant sickened and died at the very time that a new plant arrived with Sir James Ross from his antarctic voyage.”- Sir W. Hooker. Sir Joseph Banks was exceedingly anxious to have it propagated in England.