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pikes, bills, bows and arrows, and other weapons ; and at break of day to take to their boats and follow him into the harbour. In the morning, however, the ships were found to have drifted below the harbour, and it was past mid-day before they could be got up again. By this time the town became alarmed, and six hundred men were placed on the platform to oppose their landing. The admiral, however, resolved on the attack, and gave strict orders to all the boats and the galley, to run them with such violence on shore as to stave them, so that every man should land, and trust solely to God and his weapons, which order was cheerfully obeyed. Lancaster, at the same time, leaping into the water to set his men a good example, they all followed with undaunted spirit. Seven cannon were fired on them from the fort, but the guns being badly levelled, the only damage sustained .was the loss of an arm by one man. The admiral then called out, “Upon them, my lads ! upon them ! now's your time, and all's our own !” With that he rushed on, the rest following, with such determined resolution, that the enemy had not presence of mind left to reload their guns, but abandoned them together with the fort to the mercy of the invaders.
Having turned the guns towards the town, and at the same time marching upon it, the inhabitants forsook the place, and suffered the invaders to enter without resistance. Here they found a vast store of very valuable commodities. The commanders of the ships were placed at different parts of the town to preserve order, and the admiral directed that it should be notified in every quarter, that no man should presúme, under severe penalty and loss of all share of the booty, to enter any house or store without direction; and such was the result, that not the least disorder was committed, nor any spoil or pillage made. Three Dutch ships found lying there were engaged to carry home part of the spoil.
For three nights the Brazilians sent down the river fire-ships, followed by large rafts with prodigious fires upon them, but the English grappled and drew them to the shore. In the course of thirty days, the ships were laden with the plunder of the town, and on the night before their departure they were annoyed, for the eleventh time, with like attempts. In the morning a party pursuing a detached body of the enemy, with more courage than prudence, fell upon the main body, which had been some time in preparation, and were lying in ambush; and before relief could reach the invaders, two captains, and the admiral's lieutenant, two French captains, and several others, to the number of five and thirty, were slain.
The following night they departed, all laden with the spoil of Fernambuco, to the number of fifteen sail, consisting of three Dutch, five French, three of M. Venner's, and four of Captain Lancaster's, all of them richly freighted with treasure and valuable stores. In proceeding along the coast to the northward, this fleet separated in a violent gale of wind, and the admiral, with his four ships, put into a harbour to the northward. When, however, he reached the Downs, in July, 1594, he had the satisfaction to hear that all the others had safely arrived at their respective destinations.
Captain Lancaster's First Voyage to India on the Establishment of the East India Company. About the end of the year 1600, the merchants of London first began seriously to consider, of whatgreat advantage it would be to the wealth and prosperity of England, if a trade on a large scale were opened with India by the way of the Cape of Good Hope; but it was deemed impossible, on account of the length of the voyage, and the large sum of money requisite for the purchase of a cargo, for individuals singly to undertake it. At a meeting, therefore, of the citizens and aldermen of London, with others, to the number of more than two hundred persons, it was resolved to petition the Queen, requesting that, for the increase of trade, the improvement of navigation, and the wealth and honour of England, her Majesty would be graciously pleased to establish an East India Company to be endowed with certain privileges.
Elizabeth lent a willing ear to a petition, which entirely concurred with the favourite object of her
whole reign-the extension of navigation and commerce, which she justly considered to be the great source, from which the supply of seamen for her navy was to be derived. She therefore constituted them a body corporate by the title of “ The Governour and Company of Merchants of London trading into the East Indies.” The first governor and four and twenty directors were mentioned by name in the charter; and power was vested in the Company to elect a deputy-governor, and also to elect a governor, a deputy-governor, and four and twenty directors, yearly, for the future. What their other privileges were, it is not necessary here to state; what they now are is well known and duly appreciated.
For the first voyage, under the new charter, there were fitted out five ships. These were—the Dragon, admiral, 600 tons; Hector, vice-admiral, 300; Ascension, 200; Swan, 200; Guest, victualler, 130; carrying in the whole 450 men, with ammunition and victuals; in the latter were included provision for twenty merchant-passengers. In money and goods, they carried out to the value of seven and twenty thousand pounds. On the 13th of February, 1601, they departed from Woolwich, under the command and direction of Captain James Lancaster, admiral. This gallant seaman was therefore the first Englishman who opened the way round the Cape of Good Hope, and made himself acquainted with the trade of India.
Soon after passing the line, the crews were so reduced by extreme sickness, that the merchants were obliged to take their turns at the helms. They therefore deemed it expedient to put into Saldanha Bay, where they procured cattle from the natives, having by this time lost by death 150 of their men. Leaving this when refreshed, they doubled the Cape on the 1st of November. On the 25th of December they anchored in the Bay of Antongil, where they procured oranges, lemons, rice, peas, and beans, poultry, and oxen. On the 5th of June they anchored in the road of Achen. From hence Lancaster sent a message to the city where the King resided, announcing that he had a letter from Queen Elizabeth, and asking an audience, which was granted. The King, who very well knew the Queen's fame and power, and had heard of the overthrow of the Spanish Armada, gave to the English a splendid banquet. On delivering the Queen's letter and presents, the King expressed his great satisfaction, and appointed his chief ministers to treat with him on business. The privileges granted were such as the admiral wished, and all the points being arranged “ to our own contentment and the great advantage of our nation," the merchants set about providing a cargo of pepper for the ships, and one or two of them remained at Achen to conduct the Company's trade, under the protection of the King. . .