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them.” And with regard to this last expedition Sir Walter Raleigh says, that “ Notwithstanding the disappointment and distresses they met with in their last
voyage, Sir Francis Drake, Sir John Hawkins, and Sir Thomas Baskerville were men, for their experience and valour, as eminent as England ever had."
In the Bodleian Library, at the head of the stairs, are two curious portraits of the two early navigators, Frobisher and Hawkins.
SIR FRANCIS DRAKE.
1565 to 1595.
AFTER the circumstantial detail of the Life, Voyages, and Exploits of Sir Francis Drake, published so recently as 1843, and a second edition called for in the following year, it would be a work of supererogation to go over the same ground; yet, as he was one of the most distinguished officers of Queen Elizabeth's reign, his name could not properly be omitted in the list of the Naval Worthies,' whose deeds are herein presented, in a general way, to the notice of the public.
It is intended, therefore, merely to glance over the various services which graced his career, with the addition however of two important documents, developing transactions in which he was essentially and prominently concerned ; which was calculated to cast a stigma of cruelty on a character which was, through life, peculiarly distinguished for acts of kindness and humanity,* but the imputation of which the document in question must remove.
The two cases are mentioned, but slightly, in the Life of Drake,' for want of information; they are now given in detail from manuscript documents which have never before been published.
One of the twelve sons of a poor deacon-if ever he reached that step in the church — Francis Drake, whether from necessity or inclination, was apprenticed to the master of a small bark, usually employed in the coasting trade and in carrying merchandise to and from Zealand and France. During his continuance in this service of drudgery, his peaceable and diligent conduct so pleased the old master, that he bequeathed to him at his death his little bark, by will and testament.
After carrying on the same trade in his small vessel for some time, he sold her, and embarked the proceeds in an adventure to the West Indies, with a Captain Lovell, in 1565 and 1566, and suffered much by the Spaniards at Rio de Hacha. On his return he attracted the notice of Captain John Hawkins, a merchant and shipowner, and one of the most experienced mariners of the time.
To enlarge his mind and to improve his seamanship, he engaged himself with Hawkins on a voyage to the West Indies. It turned out unfortunate, and Hawkins, on his return in January, 1568-9, in a letter to Secretary Cecil, deplores “the miseries and troubles of this melancholy voyage.” But it afforded an admirable lesson for the instruction of young Drake. It appears, however, from the narrative of his nephew Thomas, that Drake made a third voyage, with the Dragon and the Swan, in 1570, and with the Swan alone in 1571, for the
purpose, it is said, of gaining information respecting these countries, and such “as might further him to get some amende for his losse :” but nothing more is known of these voyages.
The great experience he must thus have gained would not suffer him to rest in idleness ; and, in May, 1572, he had provided two small ships, the Pacha, of 70 tons, and the Swan, of 25 tons—the latter commanded by his brother John-all ready for sea, and sailed on the 24th of that month for Nombre de Dios. Here he landed with his handful of men, dismounted the guns on the platform, and marched to the market-place, while the alarm-bells were ringing and drums beating. They were attacked, and Drake received a wound, which he concealed, knowing that “if the general's heart stoops, the men's will fail.” He ordered one of his trusty followers, Oxenham, and his brother, with sixteen men, to proceed to the king's treasure-house, where vast piles of silver were found, and still more in the governor's house: he then told his people “that he had brought them to the mouth of the treasury of the world, which if they did not gain, none but themselves were to be blamed."
Here, however, his strength and sight and speech failed him, from loss of blood ; his men bound up the wound with his scarf, and by main force (having refused their entreaties) carried him to his pinnace. On recovering, he speedily decided on crossing the
isthmus to Panama; but, having lost many of his men by sickness, and among them his brother Joseph, and also the other brother John, who was unfortunately killed in action with a Spanish ship, he removed the whole of the people into his own ship and pinnace, and sunk the Swan. His object on the isthmus was to intercept a recoe, or train of mules, laden with the king's treasure.
He met them, attacked, and chased the party as far as Venta Cruz; strictly charging all his company on no account to hurt any female or unarmed man.
This journey decided the future fate of Drake. He was led to a tree, “a goodlie and great high tree," and from it had a full view of that sea of which he had heard such golden reports; and, with great solemnity, “ besought God to give him life and leave once to sail an English ship in those seas.” Having so far gratified his curiosity, and intercepted a party of mules laden with treasure, and stripped them of as much as was convenient to carry away, he returned to his ship and made sail for England, where he arrived, at Plymouth, on Sunday the 9th of August, 1573, during divine service, when all the people in crowds ran out of the church, in the midst of the sermon, “ to witness the blessing of God on the dangerous adventures and enterprises of Captain Drake."
The next grand enterprise undertaken by Captain Francis Drake is one which, for its intrepidity and