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on board the Minion, which, however, got clear of her. The great ship with two others now set upon the Jesus, but she, too, with great difficulty, and the loss of many of her men, got clear of them. Three hundred Spaniards now got on board the Minion, when, says one of the writers, “ Our General, with a loud and fierce voice, called unto us, • God and St. George! upon those traitourous villains, and rescue the Minion !' and with that the mariners and soldiers leaped out of the Jesus into the Minion, and drove out the Spaniards.”
“ No sooner,” says the Admiral, “ had the Jesus and the Minion got about two ships' length from the Spanish fleet, than the fight began to be so warm on all sides, that, in less than an hour, the Spanish Admiral was supposed to be sunk, the ViceAdmiral burnt, and another of their chief ships believed to be sunk, so that they, from their vessels, could not do us much harm.” During the fight, we are told that “ Our General courageously cheered up his souldiers and gunners, and called to Samuel, his page, for a cup of beere, who brought it him in a silver cup; and he, drinking to all his men, willed the gunners to stand by their ordinance lustily, like men. He had no sooner set the cup out of his hand but a demi-culverin shot stroke away the cup, and a cooper's plane that stoode by the mainemast, and ran out on the other side of the ship; which nothing dismayed our Generall, for he
ceased not to encourage us, saying, 'Feare nothing; for God, who hath preserved me from this shot, will also deliver us from these traitours and villaines.'"'*
The battle ended by the Jesus being abandoned, the Angel sunk, and the Swallow taken; so there remained only the Minion and the little Judith : the latter being ordered away, as of no use, was not again met with during the voyage.
Their miseries did not end here. They are best told in the Admiral's own narrative :-“ We were now left alone in the Minion), with only two anchors and two cables ; our ship so damaged that it was as much as we could do to keep her above water, and with very little provisions. We were besides divided in opinion what to do: some were for yielding to the Spaniards; others chose rather to submit to the mercy of the savages; and again, others thought it more eligible to keep the sea, though with so scanty an allowance of victuals as would hardly suffice to keep us alive. In this miserable plight, we ranged an unknown sea for fourteen days, till extream famine obliged us to seek for land. So great was our misery, that hides were reckoned good food ; rats, cats, mice, and dogs, none escaped us, that we could lay our hands upon : parrots and monkeys were our dainties. In this condition we came to land on the 8th of October, at the bottom of the bay of Mexico, in 2310,
where we hoped to have found inhabitants of the Spaniards, relief of victuals, and a proper place to repair our ship : but we found everything just contrary to our expectation; neither inhabitants, nor provisions, nor haven for the relief of our ship. Many of the men, nevertheless, being worn out with hunger, desired to be set on shore, to which I consented. Of about two hundred souls, which we then were, one hundred chose to seek their fortune on land, on which they were set with great difficulty; and with the remainder, after having watered, I again submitted to the mercy of the seas, and set sail on the 16th of October.”*
After encountering every species of misery, they arrived in England about the end of January, 1569. Hawkins concludes his relation of this unfortunate expedition by saying that, “ if all the miseries and troubles of this melancholy, voyage were to be completely and thoroughly written, it would require a laborious man with his pen as much time as the author had who wrote the lives and deaths of the martyrs." |
Of the hundred men that were put on shore, three only appear to have ever reached England; two of whom, Miles Philips and Job Hortop, published † a most melancholy account of the sufferings of these poor wretches, the privations, the * Hakluyt--from Hawkins. † Hakluyt.
I In Purchas's “ Pilgrims.'-Hakluyt.
torments, and indignities they endured; some murdered outright, others tortured, and others again delivered over to the merciless wretches of the Holy Inquisition, whipped, and exposed to public ridicule, and branded as “ English dogs and Lutheran heretics.” Miles Philips arrived in England in 1582, after an absence of fifteen years; and Job Hortop in 1590, having endured a state of misery twenty-three years.
To console Hawkins for his own sufferings, the Lord Treasurer finding that, by the increase and frequent employment of the Queen's naval forces, it became necessary he should appoint some confidential person to assist him in the important duty of keeping the accounts, and in the payment of the seamen's wages, recommended her Majesty to confer on Captain Hawkins the appointment of Treasurer of the Navy, which he readily accepted: he, however, soon found that the situation was likely to be a more irksome and laborious task than he had calculated upon, as it proved, especially after the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Nor was the office free from danger to his life; for, returning from one of his frequent visits to Lord Burleigh, he was waylaid by a discontented assassin of the name of Burchet, who attacked and severely wounded him, having mistaken him for a different person.*
In 1587, when the intention of Spain to invade England was more than suspected, and after the return of Drake from his successful voyage of that year to Cadiz, the Lord High Admiral, Lord Charles Howard of Effingham, on consultation with Drake, Hawkins, and Frobisher, arranged the stations and selected the officers for the several ships then in readiness to meet that formidable fleet of Spain, which soon after entered the English Channel under the presumptuous name of the Invincible Armada. It is not necessary to repeat here what has been so often told, the active part taken by Hawkins on that memorable occasion. He was appointed Vice-Admiral, commanded one of the four divisions, and was distinguished by the honour of knighthood. His great troubles, as treasurer, only began after the dispersion of that fleet. We then find him at Harwich with the whole of the detachment of ships placed under his orders, from whence he writes to Lord Howard as follows :
SIR JOHN HAWKINS, &c. to LORD CHARLES HOWARD. MY VERIE GOOD LORD,
This Thursdaie beinge the 8th of August we came into Harwiche with these shippes [eight Queen's ships and twenty-six Londoners, all named]; we are in hande to haue out the ordenaunce and Ballast of the Hope, and to grounde her. With the nexte faire wynde we mynde with those shippes that are heare to follow your Lordshippe into the Downes, or where we maye hear of your Lordshippe, and to bringe all the victuallers with us.