A large testimony of Iohn Huighen van Linschoten Hollander, concerning the worthy exploits atchieued by the right honourable the Earle of Cumberland, By Sir Martine Frobisher, Sir Richard Greenuile, and diuers other English Captaines, about the Isles of the Açores, and vpon the coasts of Spaine and Portugall, in the yeeres 1589, 1590, 1591, &c. recorded in his excellent discourse of voiages to the East and West Indies, cap. 96. 97. and 99.
The 22 of Iuly 1589 about Euening, being by the Ilands of Flores and Coruo, we perceiued 3 ships that made towards vs, which came from vnder the land, which put vs in great feare: for they came close by our Admirall, and shot diuers times at him, and at another ship of our companie, whereby we perceiued them to be Englishmen, for they bare an English flagge vpon their maine tops, but none of them shewed to be aboue 60 tunnes in greatnes. About Euening they followed after vs, and all night bore lanternes with candles burning in them at their sternes, although the Moone shined. The same night passing hard by the Island of Fayal, the next day being betweene the Island of S. George that lay on our right hand, and the small Island called Graciosa on our left hand, we espied the 3 English ships still following vs that tooke counsell together, whereof one sailed backwards, thinking that some other ship had come after vs without company, and for a time was out of sight, but it was not long before it came again to the other two, wherwith they tooke counsel and came all, 3 together against our ship, because we lay in the lee of al our ships, and had the Island of S. George on the one side in stead of a sconce, thinking to deale so with vs, that in the end we should be constrained to run vpon the shore, whereof we wanted not much, and in that manner with their flagges openly displayed, came lustily towardes vs, sounding their Trumpets, and sayled at the least three times about vs, beating vs with Musket and Caliuer, and some great pieces, and did vs no hurt in the body of our shippe, but spoyled all our sayles and ropes, and to conclude, wee were so plagued by them, that no man durst put foorth his head, and when wee shot off a peece, wee had at the least an houres worke to lade it againe, whereby we had so great a noise and crie in the shippe, as if we had all bene cast away, whereat the English men themselues beganne to mocke vs, and with a thousand iesting words called vnto vs. In the meane time the other shippes hoised all their sayles, and did the best they could to saile to the Island of Tercera, not looking once behinde them to helpe vs, doubting they should come too late thither, not caring for vs, but thinking themselues to haue done sufficiently so they saued their owne stakes, whereby it may easily be seene what company they keepe one with the other, and what order is among them. In the ende the English men perceiuing small aduantage against vs, (little knowing in what case and feare we were, as also because wee were not farre from Tercera) left vs, which made vs not a litle to reioyce, as thinking our selues to bee risen from death to life, although wee were not well assured, neyther yet voyde of feare till we lay in the road before Tercera, and vnder the safetie of the Portingales fort, and that we might get thither in good time wee made all the sailes we could: on the other side we were in great doubt, because we knew not what they did in the Island, nor whether they were our friends or enemies, and we doubted so much the more, because we found no men of warre nor any Caruels of aduise from Portingal, as wee made our accounts to doe, that might conuoy vs from thence, or giue vs aduise, as in that countrey ordinarily they vse to do: and because the English men had bene so victorious in those parts, it made vs suspect that it went not well with Spaine: they of the Island of Tercera were in no lesse fear then we, for seeing our fleete, they thought vs to bee Englishmen, and that wee came to ouerrun the Island, because the 3. Englishmen had bound vp their flags, and came in company with vs: for the which cause the Iland sent out two Caruels that lay there with aduise from the king, for the Indians ships that should come thither. Those Caruels came to view vs, and perceiuing what we were, made after vs, whereupon the English ships left vs, and made towardes them, because the Caruels thought them to be friends, and shunned them not, as supposing them to bee of our company, but we shot foure or fiue times and made signes vnto them that they should make towards the Island, which they presently did. The Englishmen perceiuing that, did put forwards into the sea, and so the Caruels borded vs telling vs that the men of the Island were all in armes, as hauing receiued aduise from Portugall, that Sir Frances Drake was in readinesse, and would come vnto those Islands. They likewise brought vs newes of the ouerthrow of the Spanish fleet before England, and that the English men had bene before the gates of Lisbon; wereupon the king gaue vs commandement that we should put into the Island of Tercera, and there lie vnder the safety of the Castle vntill we receiued further aduise what we should do, or whether we should saile: for that they thought it too dangerous for vs to go to Lisbon. Those newes put our fleet in great feare, and made vs looke vpon eche other not knowing what to say, as being dangerous for them to put into the road, because it lieth open to the sea: so that the Indian ships, although they had expresse commandement from the king, yet they durst not anker there, but onely vsed to come thither, and to lie to and fro, sending their boates on land to fetch such necessaries as they wanted, without ankering: but being by necessitie compelled thereunto, as also by the kings commandement, and for that we vnderstood the Erle of Cumberland not to bee farre from those Islands with certaine ships of warre, we made necessitie a vertue, and entring the road, ankered close vnder the Castle, staying for aduise and order from the king, to performe our voyage, it being then the 24. of Iuly, and S. Iames day.
The day before the Erle of Cumberland with 6. or 7. ships of war, sailed by the Island of Tercera, and to their great good fortune passed out of sight, so that they dispatched themselues in all haste, and for the more securitie, tooke with them 4. hundred Spaniards of those that lay in Garrison in the Island, and with them they sayled towards Lisbon, hauing a good wind: so that within 11 daies after they arriued in the riuer of Lisbon with great gladnes and triumph: for if they had stayed but one day longer before they had entred the riuer, they had all beene taken by Captaine Drake, who with 40 ships came before Cascais at the same time that the Indian ships cast anker in the riuer of Lisbon, being garded thither by diuers Gallies.
While I remained in Tercera, the Erle of Cumberland came to S. Marie, to take in fresh water, and some other victuals: but the inhabitants would not suffer him to haue it, but wounded both himselfe and diuers of his men, whereby they were forced to depart without hauing any thing there.
The Erle of Cumberland while I lay in Tercera, came vnto the Isle of Graciosa, where himselfe in person, with seuen or eight in his company went on land, asking certaine beasts, hens, and other victuals, with wine and fresh water, which they willingly gaue him, and therewith he departed from thence, without doing them any hurt: for the which the inhabitants thanked him, and commended him for his courtesie, and keeping of his promise.
The same time that the Erle of Cumberland was in the Island of Graciosa, he came likewise to Fayall, where at the first time that he came, they beganne to resist him, but by reason of some controuersie among them, they let him land, where he razed the Castle to the ground, and sunke all their Ordinance in the sea, taking with him certaine Carauels and ships that lay in the road, with prouision of all things that he wanted: and therewith departed againe to sea. Whereupon the king caused the principall actors therein to be punished, and sent a company of souldiers thither againe, which went out of Tercera, with all kinde of warlike munition, and great shot, making the fortresse vp againe, the better to defend the Island, trusting no more in the Portugales.
The 99 Chapter.
The ninth of October 1589. there arriued in Tercera fourteene ships that came from the Spanish Indies, laden with Cochinile, Hides, Golde, Siluer, Pearles, and other rich wares. They were fiftie in companie, when they departed out of the Hauen of Hauana, whereof, in their comming out of the Channell, eleuen sunke in the same Channell by foule weather, the rest by a storme were scattered and separated one from the other. The next day there came another ship of the same companie, that sailed close vnder the Island, so to get into the Roade: where she met with an English ship that had not aboue three cast peeces, and the Spaniards 12. They fought a long time together, which we being in the Island might stand and behold: wherevpon the Gouernour of Tercera sent two boates of Musketiers to helpe the shippe: but before they could come at her, the English ship had shot her vnder water, and we saw her sinke into the Sea with all her sayles vp, and not any thing seene of her aboue the water. The Englishmen with their boate saued the Captaine and about thirtie others with him, but not one penie-worth of the goods, and yet in the shippe there was at the least to the value of two hundred thousand Duckats in Golde, Siluer and Pearles, the rest of the men were drowned which might be about fiftie persons, among the which were some Fryers and women, which the Englishmen would not saue. Those that they had saued they set on land: and then they sayled away. The seuen and twentieth of the same moneth, the sayd foureteene ships hauing refreshed themselues in the Island departed from Tercera toward Siuill, and comming vpon the coast of Spaine they were taken by the English ships that lay there to watch for them, two onely excepted which escaped away, and the rest were wholly caried into England.
About the same time the Erle of Cumberland with one of the Queenes ships, and fiue or sixe more, kept about those Islands and came oftentimes so close vnder the Island, and to the Road of Angra, that the people on land might easily tell all his men that he had aboord, and knewe such as walked on the Hatches: they of the Island not once shooting at them, although they might easily haue done it, for they were within Musket shot both of the towne and fort. In these places he continued for the space of two moneths, and sayled round about the Islands, and landed in Graciosa and Fayal, as in the description of those Islands I haue alreadie declared. Here he tooke diuers ships and Carauels, which he sent into England: so that those of the Island durst not once put foorth their heads. At the same time about three or foure dayes after the Erle of Cumberland had beene in the Island of Fayal, and was departed from thence, there arriued in the said Island of Fayal sixe Indian shippes, whose General was one Iuan Doriues: and there they discharged in the Iland 4 millions of golde and siluer. And hauing with all speede refreshed their ships, fearing the comming of the Englishmen they set sayle, and arriued safely in S. Lucar, not meeting with the enemie, to the great good lucke of the Spaniards and hard fortune of the Englishmen: for that within lesse then two dayes after the golde and siluer was laden againe into the Spanish ships, the Erle of Cumberland sayled againe by that Island: so that it appeared that God would not let them haue it, for if they had once had sight thereof, without doubt it had bene theirs, as the Spaniards themselues confessed.
In the moneth of Nouember there arriued in Tercera two great shippes, which were the Admirall and Viceadmirall of the Fleete laden with siluer, who with stormie weather were separated from the Fleete, and had beene in great torment and distresse, and readie to sinke: for they were forced to vse all their Pumps: so that they wished a thousand times to haue met with the Englishmen to whom they would willingly haue giuen their siluer and all that euer they brought with them onely to saue their liues. And although the Erle of Cumberland lay still about those Islands, yet they met not with him, so that after much paine and labour they got into the Road before Angra, where with all speede they vnladed and discharged aboue fiue millions of siluer, all in pieces of 8 or 10 pound great: so that the whole Kay lay couered with plates and chests of siluer, full of Ryales of eight, most wonderfull to behold, (each million being ten hundred thousand duckats,) besides pearles, gold and other stones, which were not registred. The Admirall and chiefe commander of those ships and Fleete called Aluaro Flores de Quiniones was sicke of the Neapolitan disease, and was brought to land, whereof not long after he died in Siuillia. He brought with him the Kings broad seale and full authoritie to be Generall and chiefe commander vpon the Seas, and of all Fleetes or ships, and of all places and Islands, or lands wheresoeuer he came: wherevpon the Gouernour of Tercera did him great honour, and betweene them it was concluded, perceiuing the weaknesse of their ships, and the danger of the Englishmen, that they would send the shippes, emptie with souldiers to conuey them, either to Siuill or Lisbon, where they could first arriue, with aduise vnto his Maiestie of all that had passed, and that he would giue order to fetch the siluer with good and safe conuoy. Wherevpon the said Aluero Flores stayed there, vnder colour of keeping the siluer, but specially because of his disease, and for that they were affraide of the Englishmen. This Aluaro Flores had alone for his owne part aboue 50000 Duckats in pearles which he shewed vnto vs, and sought to sell them or barter them with vs for spices or bils of exchange. The said two ships set saile with 3 or 4 hundred men, as well souldiers as others that came with them out of India, and being at sea had a storme, wherewith the Admirall burst and sunke in the sea, and not one man saued. The Vice–Admirall cut downe her mast, and ranne the ship on ground hard by Setuuel, where it burst in pieces, some of the men sauing them selues by swimming, that brought the newes, but the rest were drowned.
In the same moneth there came two great ships out of the Spanish Indies, and being within halfe a mile of the Road of Tercera, they met with an English ship, which, after they had fought long together, tooke them both. About 7 or 8 moneths before, there had beene an English shippe in Tercera, that vnder the name of a Frenchman came to traffike in the Island, there to lade woad, and being discouered was both ship and goods confiscated to the kings vse, and all the men kept prisoners: yet went they vp and downe the streetes to get their liuings, by labouring like slaues, being in deede as safe in that Island, as if they had beene in prison. But in the ende vpon a Sunday, all the Saylers went downe behinde the hils called Bresil: where they found a Fisher-boat, whereinto they got and rowed into the sea to the Erle of Cumberlands shippes, which to their great fortune chanced at that time to come by the Island, and ankered with his ships about halfe a mile from the Road of Angra, hard by two small Islands, which lie about a bases shot from the Island and are full of Goats, Deere and Sheepe, belonging to the inhabitants of the Island of Tercera. Those Saylers knew it well, and thereupon they rowed vnto them with their boates, and lying at anker that day, they fetched as many Goates and sheepe as they had neede of: which those of the towne and of the Island well saw and beheld, yet durst not once goe foorth: so there remained no more on land but the Master and the Marchant of the said English ship. This Master had a brother in lawe dwelling in England, who hauing newes of his brothers imprisonment in Tercera, got licence of the Queene of England to set forth a ship, therewith to see if he could recouer his losses of the Spaniards by taking some of them, and so to redeeme his brother that lay prisoner in Tercera, and he it was that tooke the two Spanish ships before the Towne, the Master of the ship aforesaid standing on the shore by me, and looking vpon them, for he was my great acquaintance. The ships being taken that were worth 300 thousand duckats, he sent al the men on land sauing onely two of the principall Gentlemen, which he kept aboord thereby to ransome his brother: and sent the Pilot of one of the Indian ships that were taken, with a letter to the Gouernor of Tercera; wherein he wrote that he should deliuer him his brother, and he would send the 2 Gentlemen on land: if not, he would saile with them into England, as indeed he did, because the Gouernour would not doe it, saying that the Gentlemen might make that suite to the king of Spaine himselfe. This Spanish Pilot we bid to supper with vs, and the Englishmen likewise, where he shewed vs all the manner of their fight, much commending the order and maner of the Englishmens fighting, as also their courteous vsing of him: but in the end the English Pilot likewise stole away in a French ship, without paying any ransome as yet.
In the moneth of Ianuarie 1590 there arriued one ship alone in Tercera, that came from the Spanish Indies, and brought newes that there was a Fleete of a hundred shippes which put out from the Firme land of the Spanish Indies, and by a storme were driuen vpon the coast called Florida, where they were all cast away, she hauing onely escaped, wherein there were great riches, and many men lost, as it may well be thought: so that they made their account, that of 220 ships that for certaine were knowen to haue put out of Noua Spagna, S. Domingo, Hauana, Capo verde, Brasilia, Guinea, &c. in the yeere 1589. to saile for Spaine and Portugall, there were not aboue 14 or 15 of them arriued there in safetie, all the rest being either drowned, burst or taken.
In the same moneth of Ianuarie there arriued in Tercera 15 or 16 ships that came from Siuil, which were most Flieboats of the Low countries, and some Britons that were arrested in Spaine: these came full of souldiers, and well appointed with munition, to lade the siluer that lay in Tercera, and to fetch Aluares de Flores by the kings commandement into Spaine. And because that time of the yeere there are alwayes stormes about those Ilands, therefore they durst not enter into the road of Tercera, for that as then it blew so great a storme that some of their ships that had ankred were forced to cut downe their mastes, and were in danger to be lost: and among the rest a ship of Biscaie ran against the land and was striken in pieces, but all the men saued themselues. The other ships were forced to keepe the sea and seperate themselues one from the other, where wind and weather would driue them vntill the 15 of March for that in all that time they could not haue one day of faire weather to anker in, whereby they endured much miserie, cursing both the siluer and the Iland. This storme being past, they chanced to meet with a small English ship of about 40 tunnes in bignesse, which by reason of the great wind could not beare all her sailes: so they set vpon her and tooke her, and with the English flag in their Admirals sterne, they came as proudly into the hauen as if they had conquered all the realme of England: but as the Admirall that bare the English flag vpon her sterne was entring into the road, there came by chance two English ships by the Iland that paied her so well for her paines, that they were forced to cry Misericordia, and without all doubt had taken her, if she had bene but a mile further in sea: but because she got vnder the Fortresse, which also began to shoot at the Englishmen, they were forced to leaue her, and to put further into the sea, hauing slaine fiue or sixe of the Spaniards. The Englishmen that were taken in the small shippe were put vnder hatches, and coupled in bolts, and after they had bene prisoners 3 or 4 dayes, there was a Spanish Ensigne bearer in the ship that had a brother slaine in the Fleet that came for England, who as then minding to reuenge his death, and withall to shew his manhood on the English captiues that were in the English ship, which they had taken, as is aforesayd, tooke a poiniard in his hand and went downe vnder the hatches, where finding the poore Englishmen sitting in boltes, with the same poiniard he stabbed sixe of them to the heart: which two others of them perceiuing, clasped each other about the middle, because they would not be murthered by him, and threw themselues into the sea and there were drowned. This acte was of all the Spaniards much disliked and very ill taken, so that they caried the Spaniard prisoner vnto Lisbon, where being arriued, the king of Spaine willed he should be sent into England, that the Queene of England might vse him as she thought good: which sentence his friends by intreatie got to be reuersed, notwithstanding he commanded he should without all fauour be beheaded: but vpon a good Friday the Cardinall going to masse, all the captaines and Commanders made so great intreaty for him, that in the end they got his pardon. This I thought good to note, that men might vnderstand the bloody and dishonest minds of the Spaniards when they haue men vnder their subiection.
The same two English ships which folowed the Spanish Admirall till he had got the Fort of Tercera, as I sayd before, put into the sea, where they met with another Spanish ship being of the same Fleet, that had likewise bene scattred by the storme and was onely missing, for the rest lay in the road. This small ship the Englishmen tooke, and sent all the men on shore, not hurting any of them: but if they had knowen what had bene done vnto the foresayd English captiues I belieue they would soone haue reuenged themselues, as afterward many an innocent soule paied for it. This ship thus taken by the Englishmen, was the same that was taken and confiscated in the Iland of Tercera by the Englishmen that got out of the Iland in a fisher boat (as I said before) and was sold vnto the Spaniards that as then came from the Indies, wherewith they sayled to S. Lucar, where it was also arrested by the duke, and appointed to go in company to fetch the siluer in Tercera, because it was a ship that sailed well, but among the Spaniards Fleet it was the meanest of the company. By this means it was taken from the Spaniards and caried into England, and the owners had it againe when they least thought of it.
The 19 of March the aforesayd ships being 19 in number, set saile, hauing laden the kings siluer, and receiued in Aluaro Flores de Quiniones, with his company and good prouision of necessaries, munition and souldiers that were fully resolued (as they made shew) to fight valiantly to the last man before they would yeeld or lose their riches: and although they set their course for S. Lucar, the wind draue them vnto Lisbon, which (as it seemed) was willing by his force to helpe them, and to bring them thither in safetie, although Aluaro de Flores, both against the wind and weather would perforce haue sailed to Saint Lucar, but being constrained by the wind and importunitie of the sailers that protested they would require their losses and damages of him, he was content to saile to Lisbon: from whence the siluer was by land caried vnto Siuil. At Cape S. Vincent there lay a Fleet of 20 English ships to watch for the Armada, so that if they had put into S. Lucar, they had fallen right into their hands, which if the wind had serued they had done. And therefore they may say that the wind hath lent them a happy voiage: for if the Englishmen had met with them, they had surely bene in great danger, and possibly but few of them had escaped, by reason of the feare wherewith they were possessed, because fortune of rather God was wholy against them: which is a sufficient cause to make the Spaniards out of heart, and to the contrary to giue the Englishmen more courage, and to make them bolder for that they are victorious, stout and valiant: and seeing all their enterprises do take so good effect, that thereby they are become lords and masters of the sea, and need care for no man, as it wel appeareth by this briefe discourse.
The 7 of August 1590. a nauie of English ships was seene before Tercera, being 20 in number, and 5 of them the Queenes ships: their Generall was one Martin Frobisher, as we after had intelligence. They came purposely to watch for the Fleet of the Spanish Indies, and for the Indian ships, and the ships of the countreys in the West: which put the Ilanders in great feare, specially those of Fayal, for that the Englishmen sent a trumpet to the Gouernour to aske certaine wine, flesh, and other victuals for their money and good friendship. They of Fayal did not onely refuse to giue eare vnto them, but with a shot killed their messenger or trumpeter: which the Englishmen tooke in euil part, sending them word that they were best to looke to themselues and stand vpon their guard, for they ment to come and visite them whether they would or no. The Gouernour made them answere that he was there in the behalfe of his maiestie of Spaine, and that he would doe his best to keepe them out, as he was bound: but nothing was done, although they of Fayal were in no little feare, sending to Tercera for aide, from whence they had certaine barkes with ponder and munition for warre, with some bisket and other necessary prouision.
The 30 of August we receiued very certaine newes out of Portugal, that there were 80 ships put out of the Groine laden with victuals, munition, money and souldiers, to goe for Britaine to aide the Catholiques and Leaguers of France against the king of Nauarre. At the same time two Netherland hulkes comming out of Portugall to Tercera being halfe the Seas ouer, met with 4 of the Queenes ships, their Generall being sir Iohn Hawkins, that staied them, but let them go againe without doing them any harme. The Netherlanders reported, that each of the Queenes ships had 80 pieces of Ordinance, and that captaine Drake lay with 40 ships in the English chanell watching for the armie of the Groine: and likewise that there lay at the Cape S. Vincent ten other English ships, that if any ships escaped from the Ilands, they might take them. These tidings put the Ilanders in great feare, least if they failed of the Spanish fleete and got nothing by them, that then they would fall vpon the Ilands, because they would not returne emptie home, whereupon they held streit watch, sending aduise vnto the king what newes they heard.
The first of September there came to the Iland of S. Michael a Portugall ship out of the hauen of Phernambuck in Brasile, which brought newes that the Admirall of the Portugall Fleet that came from India, hauing missed the Iland of S. Helena, was of necessitie constrained to put into Phernambuck, although the king had expresly vnder a great penaltie forbidden him so to doe, because of the wormes that there doe spoile the ships. The same shippe wherein Bernardin Ribero was Admirall the yeere before 1589. sailed out of Lisbon into the Indies, with 5 ships in her company, whereof but 4 got into India, the 5 was neuer heard of, so that it was thought to be cast away: the other foure returned safe againe into Portugall, though the Admiral was much spoiled, because he met with two English ships that fought long with him, and slew many of his men, but yet he escaped from them.
The 5 of the same moneth there arriued in Tercera a carauel of the Iland of Coruo, and brought with her 50 men that had bin spoiled by the Englishmen who had set them on shore in the Iland of Coruo, being taken out of a ship that came from the Spanish Indies, they brought tidings that the Englishmen had taken 4 more of the Indian ships, and a carauel with the king of Spaines letters of aduise for the ships comming out of the Portugal Indies, and that with those which they had taken, they were at the least 40 English ships together, so that not one bark escaped them, but fel into their hands, and that therefore the Portugall ships comming out of India durst not put into the Ilands, but tooke their course vnder 40 and 42 degrees, and from thence sailed to Lisbon, shunning likewise the cape S. Vincent, otherwise they could not haue had a prosperous iourney of it, for that as then the sea was ful of English ships. Great hauock of Spaniards. Whereupon the king aduised the fleete lying in Hauana in the Spanish Indies ready to come for Spaine, that they should stay there all that yeere till the next yeere, because of the great danger they might fal into by the Englishmen, which was no smal charge, and hinderance to the fleet, for that the ships that lie there do consume themselues, and in a manner eat vp one another, by reason of the great number of people, together with the scarcitie of al things, so that many ships chose rather one by one to aduenture themselues alone to get home, then to stay there: all which fell into the Englishmen hands, whereof diuers of the men were brought into Tercera, for that a whole day we could see nothing els, but spoiled men set on shore, some out of one ship, some out of another, that pitie it was to see all of them cursing the Englishmen and their owne fortunes, with those that had bene the causes to prouoke the Englishmen to fight, and complaining of the small remedie and order taken therein by the king of Spaines officers.
The 19 of the same moneth there came to Tercera a Carauel of Lisbon, with one of the kings officers, to cause the goods that were saued out of the ship which came from Malacca (for the which we staied there) to be laden and sent to Lisbon. And at the same time there put out of the Groine one Don Alonso de Baçan, with 40 great ships of warre to come vnto the Ilands, there to watch for the fleet of the Spanish and Portugall Indies, and the goods of the Malacca ship being laden, they were to convoy them all together into the riuer of Lisbon: but being certaine daies at sea, alwaies hauing a contrary wind, they could not get vnto the Ilands, onely two of them that were scattred from the fleet, arriued at Tercera, and not finding the fleet, they presently returned to seeke them: in the meane time the king changed his mind, and caused the fleet to stay in India, as I said before: and therefore hee sent worde vnto Don Alonso de Bassan, that hee should returne againe to the Groine, which he presently did (without doing any thing, nor once approching neer the Ilands, sauing onely the two foresayd ships, for he well knew that the Englishmen lay by the Iland of Coruo, but he would not visit them): and so he returned to the hauen the Groine, whereby our goods that came from Malacca were yet to ship, and trussed vp againe, and forced to stay a more fortunate time with patience perforce.
The 23 of October there arriued in Tercera a Carauel with aduise out of Portugall, that of 5 ships which in the yere 1590 were laden in Lisbon for the Indies, 4 of them were turned againe to Portin. After they had bene 4 moneths abroad, and that the Admirall, wherein the Viceroy called Mathias d’Albukerk sailed, had onely gotten to India, as afterward newes thereof was brought ouer-land, hauing bin at the least 11 moneths at sea and neuer saw land, and came in great misery to Malacca. In this ship there died by the way 280 men, according to a note by himselfe made, and sent to the Cardinal at Lisbon, with the names and surnames of euery man, together with a description of his voiage, and the misery they had endured, which was onely done, because he would not lose the gouernment of India: and for that cause he had sworne either to lose his life, or to arriue in India, as in, deed he did afterwards, but to the great danger, losse and hinderance of his companie, that were forced to buy it with their liues, and onely for want of prouision, as it may wel be thought: for he knew full well that if he had returned backe againe into Portugal as the other ships did, he should haue bin cassiered from his Indian regiment, because the people began already to murmure at him for his proud and lofty mind. And among other things that shewed his pride the more, behind aboue the gallery of his ship he caused Fortune to be painted, and his own picture with a staffe standing by her, as it were threatning Fortune, with this posie, Quero que vencas, that is, I wil haue thee to ouercome: which being read by the Cardinal and other gentlemen (that to honor him brought him aboord his ship) it was thought to be a point of exceeding folly: but it is no strange matter among the Portugals: for they aboue all others must of force let the foole peepe out of their sleeues, specially when they are in authority, for that I knew the said Mathias d’Albukerk in India, being a souldier and a captaine, where he was esteemed and accounted for one of the best of them, and much honoured, and beloued of all men, as behauing himselfe curteously to euery man, whereby they all desired that he might be Viceroy. But when he once had receiued his patent with full power and authoritie from the king to be Viceroy, he changed so much from his former behauiour, that by reason of his pride, they all began to feare and curse him, and that before hee departed out of Lisbon, as it is often seene in many men that are aduanced vnto state and dignitie.
The 20 of Ianuarie 1591. there was newes brought out of Portugall into Tercera, that the Englishmen had taken a ship that the king had sent into the Portugall Indies, with aduise to the Viceroy for the returning againe of the 4 ships that should haue gone to India, and because the ships were come backe againe, that ship was stuffed and laded as full of goods as possible it might be, hauing likewise in ready money 500 thousand duckets in roials of 8, besides other wares. It departed from Lisbon in the moneth of Nouember 1590. and met with the Englishmen, with whom for a time it fought, but in the end it was taken and caried into England with men and all, yet when they came there, the men were set at libertie, and returned into Lisbon, where the captaine was committed prisoner; but he excused himselfe and was released, with whom I spake my selfe, and he made this report vnto me. At the same time also they tooke a ship that came from the Mine laden with gold, and 2 ships laden with pepper and spices that were to saile into Italy, the pepper onely that was in them, being worth 170 thousand duckets: all these ships were caried into England, and made good prise.
In the moneth of Iuly 1591. there hapned an earthquake in the Iland of S. Michael, which continued from the 26 of Iuly, to the 12 of August, in which time no man durst stay within his house but fled into the fields, fasting and praying with great sorow, for that many of their houses fel down, and a towne called Villa Franca, was almost cleane razed to the ground, all the cloisters and houses shaken to the earth, and therein some people slaine. The land in some places rose vp, and the cliffs remooued from one place to another, and some hils were defaced and made euen with the ground. The earthquake was so strong, that the ships which lay in the road and on the sea, shaked as if the world would haue turned round: there sprang also a fountaine out of the earth, for whence for the space of 4 daies, there flowed a most cleare water, and after that it ceased. At the same time they heard such thunder and noise vnder the earth, as if all the deuils in hell had bin assembled together in that place, wherewith many died for feare. The Iland of Tercera shooke 4 times together, so that it seemed to turne about, but there hapned no misfortune vnto it. Earthquakes are common in those Ilands, for about 20 yeres past there hapned another earthquake, wherein a high hill that lieth by the same towne of Villa Franca, fell halfe downe, and couered all the towne with earth, and killed many men. The 25 of August the kings Armada comming out of Ferol arriued in Tercera being in all 30 ships, Biskaines, Portugals and Spaniards, and 10 Dutch flieboats that were arrested in Lisbon to serue the king, besides other small ships and pataxos, that came to serue as messengers from place to place, and to discouer the seas. This nauie came to stay for, and conuoy the ships that should come from the Spanish Indies, and the flieboats were appointed in their returne home, to take in the goods that were saued in the lost ship that came from Malacca, and to conuoy them to Lisbon.
The 13 of September the said Armada arriued at the Iland of Coruo, where the Englishmen with about 16 ships as then lay, staying for the Spanish fleet, whereof some or the most part were come, and there the English were in good hope to haue taken them. But when they perceiued the kings army to be strong, the Admiral being the lord Thomas Howard, commanded his Fleet not to fal vpon them, nor any of them once to separate their ships from him, vnlesse he gaue commission so to do: notwithstanding the viceadmirall sir Richard Greenuil being in the ship called the Reuenge, went into the Spanish fleet, and shot among them doing them great hurt, and thinking the rest of the company would haue folowed, which they did not, but left him there, and sailed away: the cause why could not be knowen. Which the Spaniards perceiuing, with 7 or 8 ships they boorded her, but she withstood them all, fighting with them at the least 12 houres together and sunke two of them, one being a new double Flieboat of 600 tunnes, and Admiral of the Flieboats, the other a Biscain; but in the end by reason of the number that came vpon her, she was taken, but to their great losse: for they had lost in fighting and by drowning aboue 400 men, and of the English were slaine about 100, Sir Richard Greenuil himselfe being wounded in his braine, whereof afterwards he died. He was caried into the ship called S. Paul, wherein was the Admirall of the fleet Don Alonso de Baçan: there his wounds were drest by the Spanish surgeons, but Don Alonso himselfe would neither see him nor speake with him: all the rest of the Captaines and gentlemen went to visite him, and to comfort him in his hard fortune wondering at his courage and stout heart, for that he shewed not any signe of faintnes nor changing of colour; but feeling the houre of death to approch, he spake these words in Spanish, and said: Here die I Richard Greenuil with a ioyful and quiet mind, for that I haue ended my life as a true souldier ought to do, that hath fought for his countrey, Queene, religion and honor, whereby my soule most ioyfull departeth out of this body, and shal alwayes leaue behind it an euerlasting fame of a valiant and true souldier that hath done his dutie as he was bound to doe. When he had finished these or such other like words, he gaue vp the Ghost, with great and stout courage, and no man could perceiue any true signe of heauines in him.
This sir Rich. Greenuil was a great and a rich gentleman in England, and had great yeerely reuenues of his owne inheritance, but he was a man very vnquiet in his mind, and greatly affected to war; insomuch as of his owne priuate motion he offred his seruice to the Queene: he had performed many valiant acts, and was greatly feared in these Ilands, and knowen of euery man, but of nature very seuere, so that his owne people hated him for his fiercenesse, and spake very hardly of him: for when they first entred into the fleet or Armada, they had their great saile in a readinesse, and might possibly enough haue sailed away, for it was one of the best ships for saile in England, and the master perceiuing that the other ships had left them, and folowed not after, commanded the great saile to be cut that they might make away: but sir Rich. Greenuil threatned both him and al the rest that were in the ship, that if any man laid hand vpon it, he would cause him to be hanged, and so by that occasion they were compelled to fight and in the end were taken. He was of so hard a complexion, that as he continued among the Spanish captains while they were at dinner or supper with him, he would carouse 3 or 4 glasses of wine, and in a brauerie take the glasses betweene his teeth and crash them in pieces and swalow them downe, so that oftentimes the blood ran out of his mouth without any harme at all vnto him: and this was told me by diuers credible persons that many times stood and beheld him. The Englishmen that were left in the ship, as the captaine of the souldiers, the master and others were dispersed into diuers of the Spanish ships that had taken them, where there had almost a new fight arisen between the Biscains and the Portugals: while each of them would haue the honour to haue first boorded her, so that there grew a great noise and quarel among them, one taking the chiefe ensigne, and the other the flag, and the captaine and euery one held his owne. The ships that had boorded her were altogether out of order, and broken, and many of their men hurt, whereby they were compelled to come into the Island of Tercera, there to repaire themselues: where being arriued, I and my chamberfelow, to heare some newes, went aboord one of the ships being a great Biscain, and one of the 12 Apostles, whose captaine was called Bartandono, that had bin General of the Biscains in the fleet that went for England. He seeing vs called vs up into the gallery, where with great curtesie he receiued vs, being as then set at dinner with the English captaine that sate by him, and had on a sute of blacke veluet, but he could not tell vs any thing, for that he could speake no other language but English and Latine, which Bartandano also could a litle speake. The English captaine got licence of the gouernour that he might come on land with his weapon by his side, and was in our lodging with the Englishman that was kept prisoner in the Iland, being of that ship whereof the sailers got away, as I said before. The gouernour of Tercera bade him to dinner, and shewed him great curtesie. The master likewise with licence of Bartandono came on land and was in our lodging, and had at the least 10 or 12 wounds, as well in his head as on his body, whereof after that being at sea betweene Lisbon and the Ilands he died. The captaine wrote a letter, wherein he declared all the maner of the fight, and left it with the English marchant that lay in our lodging, to send it to the lord Admiral of England. This English captaine comming vnto Lisbon, was there wel receiued and not any hurt done vnto him, but with good conuoy sent vnto Setuuel, and from thence sailed into England with all the rest of the Englishmen that were taken prisoners.
The Spanish armie staied at the Iland of Coruo til the last of September, to assemble the rest of the fleet together, which in the ende were to the number of 140 sailes of ships partly comming from India, and partly of the army, and being altogether readie to saile to Tercera in good company, there suddenly rose so hard and cruell a storme, that those of the Ilands did affirme, that in mans memorie there was neuer any such seen or heard off before: for it seemed the sea would haue swalowed vp the Ilands, the water mounting higher then the cliffs, which are so high that it amaseth a man to behold them: but the sea reached aboue them, and liuing fishes were throwen vpon the land. This storme continued not only a day or two with one wind, but 7 or 8 dayes continually, the wind turning round about in al places of the compasse, at the lest twise or thrise during that time, and all alike, with a continuall storme and tempest most terrible to behold, euen to vs that were on shore, much more then to such as were at sea: so that onely on the coasts and cliffes of the Iland of Tercera, there were aboue 12 ships cast away, and not onely vpon the one side, but round about it in euery corner, whereby nothing els was heard but complaining, crying, lamenting and telling, here is a ship broken in pieces against the cliffes, and there another, and all the men drowned: so that for the space of 20 dayes after the storme, they did nothing els but fish for dead men that continually came driuing on the shore. The wracke of the Reuenge. Among the rest was the English ship called the Reuenge, that was cast away vpon a cliffe neere to the Iland of Tercera, where it brake in an hundred pieces and sunke to the ground, hauing in her 70 men Galegos, Biscains, and others, with some of the captiue Englishmen, whereof but one was saued that got vp vpon the cliffes aliue, and had his body and head all wounded, and he being on shore brought vs the newes desiring to be shriuen, and thereupon presently died. The Reuenge had in her diuers faire brasse pieces that were all sunke in the sea, which they of the Iland were in good hope to waigh vp againe the next Sommer after. Among these ships that were cast away about Tercera, was likewise a Flie-boat, one of those that had bin arrested in Portugall to serue the king, called the white Doue, the master of her was one Cornelius Martenson of Schiedam in Holland, and there were in her 100 souldiers, as in euery one of the rest there were. He being ouer-ruled by the captaine that he could not be master of his owne, sayling here and there at the mercy of God, as the storme droue him, in the end came within the sight of the Iland of Tercera, which the Spaniards perceiuing thought all their safety onely to consist in putting into the road, compelling the Master and the Pilot to make towards the Iland, although the master refused to doe it, saying, that they were most sure there to be cast away and vtterly spoyled: but the captaine called him drunkard and Heretique, and striking him with a staffe, commaunded him to doe as he would haue him. The Master, seeing this and being compelled to doe it, sayd: well then my Masters, seeing that it is the desire of you all to bee cast away, I can but lose one life, and therewith desperately he sayled towards the shore, and was on that side of the Iland, where there was nothing els but hard stones and rocks, as high as mountaines, most terrible to beholde, where some of the inhabitants stood with long ropes and corke bound at the ende thereof, to throw them downe, vnto the men, that they might lay holde vpon them and saue their liues: but few of them got so neere, most of them being cast away, and smitten in pieces before they could get to the wall. The ship sailing in this maner (as I sayd before) towards the Iland, and approching to the shore, the master being an olde man, and full of yeeres, called his sonne that was in the ship with him, and hauing imbraced one another, and taken their last farewell, the good olde father willed his sonne not to take care for him, but seeke to saue himselfe; for (sayd he) sonne thou art yong, and mayest haue some hope to saue thy life, but as for me it is no great matter (I am olde) what become of me, and therewith ech of these shedding many teares, as euery louing father and kinde childe may well consider, the ship fell vpon the cliffes, and brake in pieces, the father on the one side, the sonne on the other side falling into the sea, ech laying holde vpon that which came next to hand, but to no purpose; for the sea was so high and furious, that they were all drowned, and onely foureteene or fifteene saued themselues by swimming, with their legs and armes halfe broken and out of ioynt, among which was the Masters sonne, and foure other Dutch boyes: the rest of the Spaniards and Sailers, with the Captaine and Master, were drowned. Whose heart would not melt with teares to beholde so grieuous a sight, specially considering with himselfe that the greatest cause thereof was the beastliness and insolency of the Spaniards, as in this onely example may well be seene? Whereby may be considered how the other shippes sped, as we ourselues did in part beholde, and by the men that were saued did heare more at large, as also some others of our countreymen that as then were in the like danger can well witnesse.
On the other Ilands the losse was no lesse then in Tercera: for on the Iland of Saint George there were two ships cast away: on the Iland of Pico two ships: on the Iland of Gratiosa three ships: and besides those there came euery where round about diuers pieces of broken ships, and other things fleeting towards the Ilands, wherewith the sea was all couered most pitifull to beholde. On the Iland of S. Michael there were foure ships cast away, and betweene Tercera and S. Michael three more were sunke, which were seene and heard to cry out; whereof not one man was saued. About 100 Spanish and Portugall ships drowned. The rest put into the sea without masts, all torne and rent: so that of the whole fleet and armada, being 140 ships in all, there were but 32 or 33 arriued in Spaine and Portugall, yea, and those few with so great misery, paine and labour, that not two of them arriued there together, but this day one, and tomorrow another, next day the third, and so one after the other to the number aforesayd. All the rest were cast away vpon the Ilands, and ouerwhelmed in the Sea, whereby may be considered what great losse and hindrance they receiued at that time: for by many mens iudgments it was esteemed to be much more then was lost by their army that came for England: and it may well be thought, and presumed, that it was no other but a iust plague purposely sent by God vpon the Spaniards, and that it might truely be sayd, the taking of the Reuenge was iustly reuenged vpon them, and not by the might or force of man, but by the power of God, as some of them openly sayd in the Ile of Tercera, that they beleeued verily God would consume them, and that he tooke part with the Lutherans and heretiks: saying further that so soone as they had throwen the dead body of the Viceadmirall Sir Richard Greenfield ouerboord, they verily thought that as he had a diuellish faith and religion, and therefore the diuels loued him, so he presently sunke into the bottome of the sea, and downe into hell, where he raised vp all the diuels to the reuenge of his death: and that they brought so great stormes and torments vpon the Spaniards, because they onely maintained the Catholike and Romish religion. Such and the like blasphemies against God, they ceased not openly to vtter, without being reprooued of any man therein, nor for their false opinions: but the most part of them rather sayd and affirmed, that of trueth it must needs be so.
As one of those Indian fleets put out of Noua Spagna, there were 35 of them by storme and tempest cast away and drowned in the Sea, being 50 in all; so that but 15 escaped. Of the fleet that came from Santo Domingo there were 14 cast away, comming out of the chanell of Hauana, whereof the Admirall and Viceadmirall were two of them: and from Terra Firma in India there came two ships laden with golde and siluer, that were taken by the Englishmen: and before the Spanish army came to Coruo, the Englishmen at times had taken at the least 20 ships, that came from S. Domingo, India, Brasilia, &c. and were all sent into England.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:51