« EelmineJätka »
relied on what he told them, and immediately set the hostage, Martin Cockeram, at liberty, who returned with his old master, and obtained some small office in Plymouth, where he continued till his death.*
John, the second son of William Hawkins, was born at Plymouth about the year 1520.† From an early period of his life he became addicted to navigation, and made several voyages to Spain, Portugal, and the Canaries, in all of which he was encouraged by his father; so that, while yet young, he acquired the reputation of a skilful seaman. So high did his character stand in this respect, that the sons of several gentlemen embarked with him, as volunteers, for the
purpose of gaining instruction in sea affairs. Among them was the son of his own brother, and Sir Francis Drake himself, with several of his brothers, all of whom became celebrated as among the first of able sea officers. I
Readers of the present day, however, will not be disposed to think the better of John Hawkins, when told that he was the first Englishman regularly engaged in the African slave trade, and that the negroes he procured were mostly got by violence, and many of them by his own personal exertions. Some mention, however, is made of his father
purchasing slaves on the coast of Africa for sale in the Brazils.
† Prince's Worthies of Devon.
In the year 1562, by his own exertions and the assistance of several adventurers, three ships were prepared to proceed to the coast of Guinea. At Sierra Leone, where he made some stay, he obtained, partly by the sword, and partly by other means, upwards of three hundred negroes and some other commodities, with which he departed for Hispaniola (Hayti or Domingo), where he found so good a market, that he speedily got rid of his whole cargo, with the returns of which he not only loaded his own ships, but freighted two hulks more, with articles for Spain, and arrived in England in September, 1563.
In the following year a second voyage of the same description as the first was undertaken. On this occasion he had two ships, the Jesus of Lubeck, of 700 tons, and the Solomon, of 140 tons, besides the bark Tyger, of 50 tons, and the Swallow, of 30 tons. In various places, at which he touched on the coast of Africa, negroes were obtained, some by force, others by purchase. At one place he received only ten negroes,
“ obtained with the loss of seven of his best men, among whom was the captain of the Solomon, besides seven and twenty men wounded.”
On the 29th of January, 1565, departing from this unhappy country, Hawkins set sail for the West Indies with his cargo. It would afford but little interest to follow these slave-dealers to the
various islands and towns at which they disposed of their traffic. At St. Domingo an official command had been received “ to have no dealings with the English.” At Burboroata, on meeting with a refusal, Hawkins landed one hundred men, well armed, who marched directly up to the town, which soon “ brought the Spaniards to reason," and they were admitted to trade in a peaceable manner. Having disposed of their cargoes, they ranged the coasts of America, procuring such supplies as they were in need of, till they reached the banks of Newfoundland, where they took a great quantity of cod, and with a favourable wind proceeded homewards, and arrived at Padstow about the end of September;
bringing with them good store of gold, silver, pearl, jewels, and other commodities.”
The persons who joined Hawkins on this expedition were among the principal traders in the city of London ; and his skill and success in this new traffic, of seizing and selling human creatures into slavery, was so laudably spoken of, that it procured for him, from the Heralds' Office, a patent for his crest—a demi-Moor in his proper colour bound with a cord;the very symbol that, more than two hundred years afterwards, was used as a stamp of infamy and disgrace on those concerned in such traffic.* That the trade, indeed, was in no respect considered dishonourable, may further be inferred by the Queen
* Life of Drake.
having lent him one of her large ships, the Jesus of Lubeck, which, as will be seen, was again employed on a third voyage, wherein more systematic force and violence were used than in the two former.
In the year 1567 a squadron was prepared under the superintendence of Hawkins. It consisted of the Jesus of Lubeck, in which he commanded as admiral, the Minion, the William and John, and the Judith, commanded by Captain Francis Drake; these were attended by the Angel and the Swallow, two small barks. Drake is said to have embarked all his little property in this voyage, and lost it all. The ships met with a violent storm off Cape Finisterre, which lasted four days: the fleet was entirely dispersed, most of their boats lost, and the Jesus suffered so much as to render her almost unable to proceed. Having collected their scattered ships, they pursued their course, and having reached Cape de Verde, Hawkins landed one hundred and fifty of the crews to hunt down the negroes, of whom they got but few, their men returning much damaged by the envenomed arrows of the natives; and “ although they seemed at first to be but small hurts, yet there hardly escaped any, that had blood drawn of them, but died in strange sort, with their mouthes shutte some tenne dayes before they died, and after their wounds were whole; when I myself,” says Hawkins,
had one of the greatest wounds, yet, thanks be to God, escaped.” Mr. Miles Philips, one of Haw
kins's men that were left on the Spanish Main, says, in speaking of the seven or eight men with closed mouths, “We were forced to put sticks and other things into their mouths to keep them open, which it would appear they died of lock-jaw.
Proceeding along the coast of Guinea, after many difficulties, hard fighting, and loss of men, Hawkins succeeded in getting on board about two hundred more negroes, and completed his living cargoes at a place called St. Jorge de Mina, where we have a specimen of the mode in which this infamous traffic was carried on. It is communicated by Hawkins himself to Hakluyt :-“A negro king asked the assistance of Hawkins against another and neighbouring king, on condition that all the negroes captured should be given to him, the admiral. This tempting bargain was concluded, and 150 Englishmen were armed and landed to assist this black tyrant. They assaulted a town containing 8000 souls, strongly fenced by paling, and so well defended that, in the attack, the English had six slain and forty wounded
More help was called for : Whereupon,” says Hawkins, “ considering that the good success of this enterprise might highly further the commodity of our voyage, I went myself; and with the help of the king of our side, assaulted the town both by sea and land; and very hardly, with fire (their houses being covered with