Page images
PDF
EPUB

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,”* by 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

* Hakluyt.

W01

[ocr errors]

palm-leaves) obtained the town, and put the inhabitants to flight; where we took 200 persons, men, women, and children ; and by our friend, the king on our side, there were taken 600 prisoners, whereof we hoped to have our choice; but the negro (in which nation is never or seldom found truth) meant nothing less ; for that night he removed his camp, so that we were fain to content us with those few that we had gotten ourselves.”*

On the 27th of March they came in sight of Dominica, coasted Margarita, Cape de Vela, and other places, disposing of the remainder of their negroes, and carrying on a tolerable good trade. Proceeding towards Carthagena they were overtaken by “ a terrible storm of four days," and continuing for Florida, they had a second storm, which drove them into the Gulf of Mexico, where they entered the port of San Juan d'Ulloa, with three ships they had captured, having 100 passengers on board. “ I found in this port,” says Hawkins, “twelve ships, which had in them, by report, 200,0001. in gold and silver, all which were in my possession, together with the king's island, and also the passengers, which I set at liberty, without taking from them the weight of a groat.” The Spaniards mistook the English ships for their own Plate ships ; but when they found they were English, they were greatly dismayed, till Hawkins assured them he

* Hakluyt-from Hawkins.

te se

had nothing to demand but provisions, on which “they were re-comforted.” The next day, however, there appeared before the port the expected fleet, consisting of thirteen large ships. Hawkins says he could, without difficulty, have prevented them from entering the harbour, but had he done so the whole fleet, valued at 1,800,0001., must inevitably have perished by shipwreck among the rocks. He sent to the General, however, to let him know that, before he permitted their entrance, he must require from him certain conditions, concerning his safebeing and maintenance of peace. What he required was security for himself and for all his people and property, victuals for his money, liberty of trade, and that, during his stay there, he should keep possession of the island, with the eleven pieces of brass cannon which were mounted upon it.*

Hawkins, however, soon began to think that his presumption might have carried him too far. “I began to bewail,” says he, “ that which afterwards followed, for now, said I, I am in two dangers : that either I must have kept out the fleet from entering the port, or else suffer them to enter in : if I had kept them out, there would be present shipwreck of all the fleet, which was in value of our money 1,800,0001., which I considered I was not able to answer, fearing the Queen's Majesty's indignation in so weighty a matter.”+ Well might he call it * Hakluyt.

† Ibid.--Camden.

[ocr errors]

weighty. That the commander of such a miserable squadron should be bold enough to presume to talk of making conditions with five and twenty large ships, in their own port, defended by a fortified island, is as audacious as it was presumptuous. It marks, however, most strongly the wide difference in point of character and feeling between an English sea commander and a Spanish one.* It was the cause of both parties suffering, but mostly that of Hawkins, who, by this act of imprudence, occasioned a deplorable termination of the voyage.t

In the Spanish fleet there was a new Viceroy from Mexico, who, after some demur, agreed to the conditions, and gave a writing, signed and sealed by him, and each party gave and exchanged ten hostages for the due performance of the stipulations. The two fleets now saluted each other, the English occupying one side of the harbour, the Spaniards the other, " the officers and seamen promising all friendly offices to each other.” But the treachery of the Spaniards soon became apparent. A thousand men were introduced from the continent into the island, and also into their ships. These movements created suspicion. The Viceroy was sent to, who gave his assurance,“ on the faith of a Viceroy," that he would protect them against any treachery. Just at this time, however, one of the large ships of 900 tons, loosening her moorings, fell immediately * Life of Drake.

† Camden.

evi

« EelmineJätka »