The principal navigations, voyages, traffiques, and discoveries of the English nation, by Richard Hakluyt

The casting away of the Tobie neere Cape Espartel corruptly called Cape Sprat, without the Straight of Gibraltar on the coast of Barbarie. 1593.

The Tobie of London a ship of 250 tunnes manned with fiftie men, the owner whereof was the worshipful M. Richard Staper, being bound for Liuorno, Zante and Patras in Morea, being laden with marchandize to the value of 11 or 12 thousand pounds sterling, set sayle from Black-wall the 16 day of August 1593, and we went thence to Portesmouth where we tooke in great quantine of wheate, and set sayle foorth of Stokes bay in the Isle of Wight, the 6. day of October, the winde being faire: and the 16 of the same moneth we were in the heigth of Cape S. Vincent, where on the next morning we descried a sayle which lay in try right a head off vs, to which we gaue chase with very much winde, the sayle being a Spaniard, which wee found in fine so good of sayle that we were faine to leaue her and giue her ouer. Two dayes after this we had sight of mount Chiego, which is the first high-land which we descrie on the Spanish coast at the entrance of the Straight of Gibraltar, where we had very foule weather and the winde scant two dayes together. Here we lay off to the sea. The Master, whose name was George Goodley, being a young man, and one which neuer tooke charge before for those parts, was very proud of that charge which he was litle able to discharge, neither would take any counsel of any of his company, but did as he thought best himselfe, and in the end of the two dayes of foule weather cast about, and the winde being faire, bare in with the straights mouth. The 19 day at night he thinking that he was farther off the land than he was, bare sayle all that night, and an houre and an halfe before day had ranne our shippe ypon the ground on the coast of Barbarie without the straight foure leagues to the South of Cape Espartel. Whereupon being all not a litle astonied, the Master said vnto vs, I pray you forgiue me; for this is my fault and no mans else. The company asked him whether they should cut off the main mast: no said the Master, we will hoyse out our boate. But one of our men comming speedily vp, said, Sirs, the ship is full of water, well sayd the Master, then cut the mayne-mast ouer boord: which thing we did with all speede. But the afterpart suddenly split a sunder in such sort that no man was able to stand vpon it, but all fled vpon the foremast vp into the shrouds thereof; and hung there for a time: but seeing nothing but present death approch (being so suddenly taken that we could not make a raft which we had determined) we committed our selues vnto the Lord and beganne with dolefull tune and heauy hearts to sing the 12 Psalme. Helpe Lord for good and godly men &c. Howbeit before we had finished foure verses the waues of the sea had stopped the breathes of most of our men. For the foremast with the weight of our men and the force of the sea fell downe into the water, and vpon the fall thereof there were 38 drowned, and onely 12 by Gods prouidence partly by swimming and other meanes of chests gote on shoare, which was about a quarter of a mile from the wracke of the ship. The master called George Goodley, and William Palmer his mate, both perished. M. C├Žsar also being captaine and owner was likewise drowned: none of the officers were saued but the carpenter.

We twelue which the Lord had deliuered from extreme danger of the Sea, at our comming ashore fell in a maner into as great distresse. At our first comming on shore we all fell downe on our knees, praying the Lord most humbly for his merciful goodnesse. Our prayers being done, we consulted together what course to take, seeing we were fallen into a desert place, and we traueled all that day vntill night, sometimes one way and sometimes another, and could finde no kinde of inhabitants; onely we saw where wilde beasts had bene, and places where there had bene houses, which after we perceiued to haue bene burnt by the Portugals. So at night falling into certaine groues of oliue trees, we climed vp and sate in them to auoid the danger of lions and other wilde beasts, whereof we saw many the next morning. The next day we trauelled vntill three of the clocke in the afternoone without any food but water and wilde date roots: then going ouer a mountaine, we had sight of Cape Espartel; whereby we knew somewhat better which way to trauell, and then we went forward vntill we came to an hedgerow made with great long canes; we spied and looked ouer it, and beheld a number of men aswell horsemen as footmen, to the number of some fiue thousand in skirmish together with small shot and other weapons. And after consultation what we were best to do, we concluded to yeeld our selues vnto them, being destitute of all meanes of resistance. So rising vp we marched toward them, who espying vs, foorthwith some hundred of them with their iauelings in their hands came running towards vs as though they would haue run vs thorow: howbeit they onely strooke vs flatling with their weapons, and said that we were Spaniards: and we tolde them that we were Englishmen: which they would not beleeue yet. By and by the conflict being ended, and night approching, the captaine of the Moores, a man of some 56 yeres olde, came himselfe vnto vs, and by his interpreter which spake Italian, asked what we were and from whence we came. One Thomas Henmer of our company which could speake Italian, declared vnto him that we were marchants, and how by great misfortune our ship, marchandise, and the greatest part of our company were pitifully cast away vpon their coast. But he void of all humainity and all manhood, for all this, caused his men to strip vs out of our apparel euen to our shirts to see what money and iewels we had about vs: which when they had found to the value of some 200 pounds in golde and pearles they gaue vs some of our apparel againe, and bread and water onely to comfort vs. The next morning they carried vs downe to the shore where our shippe was cast away, which was some sixteene miles from that place. In which iourney they vsed vs like their slaues, making vs (being extreame weake,) to carry their stuffe, and offering to beat vs if we went not so fast as they. We asked them why they vsed vs so, and they replied, that we were their captiues: we said we were their friends, and that there was neuer Englishman captiue to the king of Marocco. So we came downe to the ship, and lay there with them seuen dayes, while they had gotten all the goods they could, and then they parted it amongst them. After the end of these seuen dayes the captaine appointed twenty of his men wel armed, to bring vs vp into the countrey: and the first night we came to the side of a riuer called Alarach, where we lay on the grasse all that night: so the next day we went ouer the riuer in a frigate of nine oares on a side, the riuer being in that place aboue a quarter of a mile broad: and that day we went to a towne of thirty houses, called Totteon: there we lay foure dayes hauing nothing to feed on but bread and water: and then we went to a towne called Cassuri, and there we were deliuered by those twenty souldiers vnto the Alcaide, which examined vs what we were: and we tolde him. He gaue vs a good answere, and sent vs to the Iewes house, where we lay seuen dayes. In the meane while that we lay here, there were brought thither twenty Spaniards and twenty Frenchmen, which Spaniards were taken in a conflict on land, but the Frenchmen were by foule weather cast on land within the Straights about Cape de Gate, and so made captiues. Thus at the seuen dayes end we twelue Englishmen, the twelue French, and the twenty Spaniards were all conducted toward Marocco with nine hundred souldiers horsemen and fotmen, and in two dayes iourney we came to the riuer of Fez, where we lodged all night, being prouided of tents. The next day we went to a towne called Salle, and lay without the towne in tents. From thence we trauelled almost an hundred miles without finding any towne, but euery night we came to fresh water, which was partly running water and sometime raine water. So we came at last within three miles of the city of Marocco, where we pitched our tents: and there we mette with a carrier which did trauel in the countrey for the English marchants: and by him we sent word vnto them of our estate; and they returned the next day vnto vs a Moore, which brought vs victuals, being at that instant very feeble and hungry: and withall sent vs a letter with pen, inke, and paper, willing vs to write vnto them what ship it was that was cast away, and how many and what men there were aliue. For said they we would knowe with speed, for to morow is the kings court: and therefore we would know, for that you should come into the citie like captiues. But for all that we were carried in as captiues and with ropes about our neckes as well English as the French and Spaniards. And so we were carried before the king: and when we came before him he did commit vs all to ward, where wee lay 15 dayes in close prison: and in the end we were cleared by the English Marchants to their great charges; for our deliuerance cost them 700 ounces, euery ounce in that country contayning two shillings. And when we came out of prison we went to the Alfandica, where we continued eight weekes with the English marchants. At the end of which time being well apparelled by the bountie of our marchants we were conueyed downe by the space of eight dayes iourney to S. Cruz, where the English ships road: where we tooke shipping about the 20 of March, two in the Anne Francis of London, and fiue more of vs fiue dayes after in the Expedition of London, and two more in a Flemish flie-boat, and one in the Mary Edward also of London, other two of our number died in the countrey of the bloodie-fluxe: the one at our first imprisonment at Marocco, whose name was George Hancock, and the other at S. Cruz, whose name was Robert Swancon, whose death was hastened by eating of rootes and other vnnatural things to slake their raging hunger in our trauaile, and by our hard and cold lodging in the open fields without tents. Thus of fiftie persons through the rashnesse of an vnskilfull Master ten onely suruiued of vs, and after a thousand miseries returned home poore, sicke, and feeble into our countrey.

Richard Iohnson. William Williams Carpenter. Iohn Durham. Abraham Rouse. Iohn Matthewes. Thomas Henmore. Iohn Siluester. Thomas Whiting. William Church. Iohn Fox.

Last updated Monday, March 10, 2014 at 22:20