Page images
PDF
EPUB

But Sir William, throughout the whole of his Tracts, is constantly speaking of himself, his services, and his grievances. “Since the death of Queen Elizabeth,” he says, “who was both gracious and bountiful to him, he never tasted or received either recompence or preferment, more than his ordinary entertainment, according to the services he was employed in; for he began the wars with ten shillings per month pay; then with two shillings and sixpence per day; after with five shillings, with ten shillings, with fifteen shillings, with twenty shillings, and sixteen pages allowed him for his retinue; after which thirty shillings per day, and lastly with forty shillings per day. He had served as a soldier, a private captain, a rear-admiral, a vice-admiral, a captain under the general; and lastly, an absolute

general.”*

Such pay and advancement at this period were much more than equal to what his services would have given him now; but Sir William would have been unhappy without a grievance real or imaginary; and in poring over these, and finding fault with the conduct of almost every other officer and services, he passed the latter part of his days in retirement at Kinnersley, in Surrey, employing his time in digesting and preparing his volume of • Naval Tracts' for publication. He died in 1643, in the seventy-third year of his age. * Monson's Tracts.

GEORGE RAYMOND AND JAMES LANCASTER.

1591 to 1602.

TO

THESE two sea-captains, in the year 1591, fitted out three ships for a voyage to the East Indies — the Penelope, the Merchant Royal, and the Edward Bonaventure; Raymond (or, as Camden calls him, Riman) being admiral and Lancaster vice-admiral. It appears somewhat strange that while Spain, and Portugal, and Holland should employ their fleets yearly on voyages round the Cape, of Good Hope for the East Indies, England, not the least adventurous in naval pursuits, should, for the first time, in the year 1591, resolve on a voyage round the Cabo dos Tormentos; and the more so, as Drake had passed it eleven years before, on his return from a voyage round the world. .

The present expedition left Plymouth on the 10th of April, and having crossed the line in August, the crew became sickly, so as to oblige them to put into Saldanha Bay, where they traded with the natives (Hottentots) for cattle, which they obtained in abundance, in exchange for mere trifles and useless trinkets. They bought fat bullocks, and oxen, and sheep, says Hakluyt, dog-cheap.“ The sheep are very big, and very good meat; they have no wool on their backs, but haire, and have greate tailes like the sheep in Syria.” And of these they shortly obtained, according to Purchas, about a thousand sheep and fifty fat oxen. “ The people," he says, “ are all of a tawnie colour, of a reasonable stature, swift of foote, and much given to picke and steal; their speeche is wholly uttered through the throate, and they clacke with their tongues in such sort that in seven weeks, which wee remained in this place, the sharpest wit among us could not learne one word of their language: and yet the people would soone understand any signe wee made to them.”* This is a true description of the happy state of the Hottentot before he was deprived of his land and liberty by the Portuguese and the Dutch. From hence they sent home the Merchant Royal with about fifty of the crew disabled by sickness, retaining about two hundred for the two remaining vessels. They passed the Cape of Good Hope, and coming near Cape Corientes, a violent storm arose, in which the Penelope, the admiral's ship, was separated from her consort, and probably foundered, being never more heard of; when last seen, a great sea was breaking over her, which extinguished her light. The storm was accompanied with the most awful thunder and lightning, during which four

* Purchas.

men are stated to have had their necks dislocated, which caused their death, above ninety were struck blind, and others made lame, or seized with horrible pains. Lancaster, however, with his mutilated crew, resolutely kept on their voyage. At Comoro Island thirty of his people and the master were murdered by the barbarians, while taking in fresh water; he proceeded, however, and wintered at Zanzibar.

From hence he continued his voyage to Nicobar, an island abounding with cinnamon and diamonds; and finding that thirty-three only of the crew remained alive, and that even with this reduced number his provisions grew short, Lancaster sailed hence homewards. Arriving at St. Helena they obtained some refreshment, and leaving this were driven to Trinidad, where, says Camden,“ they met with poor comfort and hungry entertainment.” At Mona, near Hispaniola, as Lancaster was refreshing himself with a part of his crew on shore, his ship was driven from her anchors by a-storm, with no more than seven distressed seamen in her (Hakluyt says only five men and a boy, and that the carpenter had cut the cable secretly), but got safe home, with a valuable cargo, leaving behind their captain and messmates in great misery and distress, who would in all probability have perished, but for the kindness of some Frenchmen, who gave them a passage in their ship that was homeward boundher name the Louisa, commanded by Mons. Felix ;

at this spot they had been starving nine and twenty days, on what little they could gather from the garden of an old Indian.

His Second Expedition. -Difficulties, disappointments, and failure of success in a promising undertaking are, to a brave and bold man, only so many spurs to a fresh attempt to try his fortune, in the hope of redeeming what he may have lost in wealth or reputation. Such a man Lancaster appears to have been. Towards the close of the very year in which he reached home from his former voyage, he received an invitation from certain merchants, who had been despoiled of their property by the Spaniards, to take the command of three ships and a pinnace or galley-frigate, to make reprisals on the enemy. On arriving at the island of Mayo, he found one Venner ready to join him with two ships and a pinnace. These two commanders came to the resolution of making a direct attack on Fernambuco, on the northern coast of Brazil, which was understood to contain much valuable property, besides treasure laid up there from an East India carrack, which had been wrecked near that place. · They arrived before the harbour in the middle of the night, and stood off and on till day-light. In the mean time, Lancaster put eighty men into the galley-frigate, and went round in his own boat from ship to ship, ordering the several commanders to supply such men as could be spared with muskets,

[ocr errors]
« EelmineJätka »