« EelmineJätka »
sent and courage entered her, and were left fighting aboard her all night, the seas being so grown that our barks were forced to ungrapple and fall off. The Spaniards betook themselves to their close fights, and made two attempts, by trains of powder, to blow up their decks, on which we were; but we happily prevented it by fire-pikes. Thus continued the fight till seven in the morning, when the Spaniards found they had so many men killed and disabled that they were forced to yield.”
When we came to take a view of our people, we found few left alive but could shew a wound or shot through their cloaths in that fight. We were a woeful spectacle, as well as the Spaniards; and I dare say that, in the whole time of the war, there was not so rare a manner of fight, or so great a slaughter of men on both sides.” · The passage, “we were forced to ungrapple, and to leave our men fighting on board her,” leaves a doubt whether he was one of the fighters, or one of the crew in the bark.* This was in the year 1585, and the first of his seamanship, being then in his sixteenth year. At this time, war being declared against Spain, Queen Elizabeth was holding out every encouragement to the naval profession, by countenancing expeditions against her greatest enemy, Philip of Spain. This event may have decided the future lot of Monson;
* Monson's Tracts, p. 459.
and the rapid progress he made in navigation may be inferred, from his having obtained the command of a merchant vessel in little more than two years. And it may also be inferred, that he aimed at something higher than the mercantile service, by being engaged in the following year, 1588, on board the Charles pinnace, one of the Queen's ships employed against the Invincible Armada, but, as he tells us, not in the command of her.
i · In the following year, 1589, Monson, now styled Captain, commanded one of the ships in the expedition of the Earl of Cumberland against the Terceira Islands, in which they took several valuable ships, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. But the details of this expedition are already given in the memoir of the Earl of Cumberland. · The next voyage of 1591, in which Monson went as Captain of the Earl of Cumberland's own ship, was a very unfortunate one for Monson, he having, when detached, been captured by six galleys, and detained as a hostage for performance of covenants for the release of the crew, and suffered imprisonment for nearly two years. From the galleys he was removed to the castle of Lisbon, where, in the same prison, was a Portuguese gentleman of the name of Emanuel Fernandez, who had been a follower of the unfortunate Don Antonio, and had been imprisoned nearly seven years, for bringing messages and letters to the friends of that pretended sovereign. At the suggestion of Monson, an attempt was made for his escape, but failed; a second succeeded; but after various adventures, consequent on his liberation, Fernandez was recognised, and being informed against, fled for refuge into a church: but when the Prince Cardinal was acquainted with this, he ordered him to be taken from the sanctuary, brought to Lisbon, and confined in his old dun
When this unfortunate captive was taken out for execution, one of the soldiers, moved with pity, fled at his request to the House of the Miseracordia, to report the injury which had been done to God, to themselves, and the holy church, by removing by force a penitent sinner from the sanctuary. Some of the members forth with proceeded to the place of execution, where they found poor Fernandez in the act of recommending his spirit to God, and the hangman ready to perform his office. By the intercession of this humane and charitable institution, he was redeemed from present death, but returned to the place from whence he came. But what ultimately became of him, Monson, being himself released, does not say. Previous to his release, however, Monson was strictly examined as aiding and abetting the escape of Fernandez; but insisting that by the law of arms, being a prisoner of war, and taken in arms, he challenged the privilege of that law, which was reluctantly conceded to him.
In 1593 the Earl of Cumberland having obtained from Her Majesty two of her ships, the Lyon and Bonaventure, appointed Captain Monson as his flag-captain. These ships, and seven others to accompany them, were victualled at his own expense; and, arriving off the coast of Spain, he took two French ships of the League, which Monson says did produce more than treble the expense of this voyage.
Having understood that a fleet of twenty sail of Spaniards was gone to the Islands, the Earl proceeded to Flores, where he met with and captured one of the fleet; and received from the Captain, then on his deathbed, intelligence where the rest were, and what was their strength. The next day he fell in with them; but, being far too weak to engage, left them to pursue their course, and spent some time in expectation of the carracks, which, however, had passed without being discovered.
Captain Monson says, the Earl being now so ill that his recovery was despaired of, unless he speedily got to the shore or could receive a supply of cow's milk, the Captain ventured on shore in the island of Corvo, where by threats and promises of reward he obtained a cow, which he says was the means in all likelihood of saving the Earl's life. Captain Monson, however, thought it most prudent for the whole fleet to make the best of its way home.
But the most important voyage, in which Captain Monson was concerned, was that in which the Lord High Admiral and the Earl of Essex, “Generals equally," as Monson styles them, “both by sea and land," were associated. Monson was Captain to the Earl of Essex in the Repulse; and Sir Amos Preston Captain to the Lord High Admiral in the Ark Royal. Monson, having acquired an extensive knowledge of sea affairs, and being well acquainted with the coasts and harbours of the European states, strongly advised Essex, as soon as they discovered the land, to get possession of the harbour of Cadiz and the shipping before they attempted a landing. But as the detail of the transactions of this expedition has been narrated in the memoirs of the Lord High Admiral and the Earl of Essex, it is not necessary to repeat it here, except so far as personally regards Monson. He says in his narrative, “that Lord Essex, with his usual impetuosity, and without consulting the Admiral, landed with three regiments, which his Captain (Monson) did not approve, more especially as the Lord Admiral was in his barge, ready with his troops of seamen to land, hastening to support the soldiers." And he adds, “though the Earl of Essex's carriage and forwardness merited much, yet if it had been with more deliberation and less haste, it would have succeeded better; and he (Monson) advised him rather to seek to be masters of the