A true discourse written (as is thought) by Colonel Antonie Winkfield emploied in the voiage to Spaine and Portugall, 1589. sent to his particular friend, and by him published for the better satisfaction of all such as hauing bene seduced by particular report, haue entred into conceits tending to the discredite of the enterprise and Actors of the same.
Although the desire of aduancing my reputation caused me to withstand the many perswasions you vsed to hold me at home, and the pursuite of honorable actions drew me (contrary to your expectation) to neglect that aduise, which in loue I know you gaue me: yet in respect of the many assurances you haue yeelded mee of your kindest friendship, I cannot suspect that you will either loue or esteeme me the lesse, at this my returne: and therefore I wil not omit any occasion which may make me appeare thankfull, or discharge any part of that duetie I owe you; which now is none other then to offer you a true discourse how these warres of Spaine and Portugall haue passed since our going out of England the 18 of Aprill, till our returne which was the first of Iuly. Wherein I wil (vnder your fauourable pardon) for your further satisfaction, as well make relation of those reasons which confirmed me in my purpose of going abroad, as of these accidents which haue happened during our aboad there; thereby hoping to perswade you that no light fansie did drawe me from the fruition of your dearest friendship, but an earnest desire by following the warres to make my selfe more woorthy of the same.
Hauing therefore determinately purposed to put on this habite of a souldier, I grew doubtfull whether to employ my time in the wars of the low Countries, which are in auxiliarie maner maintained by her maiestie, or to folow the fortune of this voiage, which was an aduenture of her and many honorable personages, in reuenge of vnsupportable wrongs offered vnto the estate of our countrey by the Castilian king: in arguing whereof, I find that by how much the chalenger is reputed before the defendant, by so much is the iourney to be preferred before those defensiue wars. For had the duke of Parma his turne bene to defend, as it was his good fortune to inuade: from whence could haue proceeded that glorious honor which these late warres haue laid vpon him, or what could haue bene said more of him, then of a Respondent (though neuer so valiant) in a priuate Duell: Euen, that he hath done no more then by his honor he was tied vnto. For the gaine of one towne or any small defeat giueth more renoume to the Assailant, then the defence of a countrey, or the withstanding of twentie encounters can yeeld any man who is bound by his place to guard the same: whereof as well the particulars of our age, especially in the Spaniard, as the reports of former histories may assure us, which haue still laied the fame of all warres vpon the Inuader. And do not ours in these dayes liue obscured in Flanders, either not hauing wherewithall to manage any warre, or not putting on armes, but to defend themselues when the enemie shall procure them? Whereas in this short time of our aduenture, we haue won a towne by escalade, battered and assaulted another, ouerthrowen a mightie princes power in the field, landed our armie in 3 seueral places of his kingdom, marched 7 dayes in the heart of his country, lien three nights in the suburbs of his principall citie, beaten his forces into the gates thereof, and possessed two of his frontier forts, as shall in discourse thereof more particularly appeare: whereby I conclude, that going with an Inuader, and in such an action as euery day giueth new experience, I haue much to vaunt of, that my fortune did rather cary me thither then into the wars of Flanders. Notwithstanding the vehement perswasions you vsed with me to the contrary, the grounds whereof sithence you receiued them from others, you must giue me leaue to acquaint you with the error you were led into by them, who labouring to bring the world into an opinion that it stood more with the safetie of our estate to bend all our forces against the prince of Parma, then to folow this action by looking into the true effects of this journey, will iudicially conuince themselues of mistaking the matter. For, may the conquest of these countries against the prince of Parma be thought more easie for vs alone now, then the defence of them was 11 yeeres ago, with the men and money of the Queene of England? the power of the Monsieur of France? the assistance of the principal states of Germanie? and the nobilitie of their owne country? Could not an armie of more then 20000 horse, and almost 30000 foot, beat Don Iohn de Austria out of the countrey, who was possessed of a very few frontier townes? and shall it now be laid vpon her maiesties shoulders to remoue so mightie an enemie, who hath left vs but 3 whole parts of 17 vnconquered? It is not a iourney of a few moneths, nor an auxiliarie warre of fewe yeeres that can damnifie the king of Spaine in those places where we shall meet at euery 8 or 10 miles end with a towne, which will cost more the winning then will yeerely pay 4 or 5 thousand mens wages, where all the countrey is quartered by riuers which haue no passage vnfortified, and where most of the best souldiers of Christendom that be on our aduerse party be in pension. But our armie, which hath not cost her maiestie much aboue the third part of one yeres expenses in the Low countries, hath already spoiled a great part of the prouision he had made at the Groine of all sortes, for a new voyage into England; burnt 3 of his ships, whereof one was the second in the last yeres expedition called S. Iuan de Colorado, taken from him aboue 150 pieces of good artillerie; cut off more then 60 hulks and 20 French ships wel manned fit and readie to serue him for men of war against vs, laden for his store with corne, victuals, masts, cables, and other marchandizes; slaine and taken the principal men of war he had in Galitia; made Don Pedro Enriques de Gusman, Conde de Fuentes, Generall of his forces in Portugall, shamefully run at Peniche; laid along of his best Commanders in Lisbon; and by these few aduentures discouered how easily her maiestie may without any great aduenture in short time pull the Tirant of the world vpon his knees, as wel by the disquieting his vsurpation of Portugall as without difficultie in keeping the commoditie of his Indies from him, by sending an army so accomplished, as may not be subiect to those extremities which we haue endured: except he draw, for those defences, his forces out of the Low countries and disfurnish his garisons of Naples and Milan, which with safetie of those places he may not do. And yet by this meane he shall rather be enforced therevnto, then by any force that can be vsed there against him: wherefore I directly conclude that this proceeding is the most safe and necessary way to be held against him, and therefore more importing then the war in the Low countries. Yet hath the iourney (I know) bene much misliked by some, who either thinking too worthily of the Spaniards valure, too indifferently of his purposes against vs, or too vnworthily of them that vndertooke this iourney against him, did thinke it a thing dangerous to encounter the Spaniard at his owne home, a thing needlesse to proceed by inuasion against him, a thing of too great moment for two subjects of their qualitie to vndertake: And therefore did not so aduance the beginnings as though they hoped for any good successe therof.
The chances of wars be things most vncertaine: for what people soeuer vndertake them, they are in deed as chastisements appointed by God for the one side or the other. For which purpose it hath pleased him to giue some victories to the Spaniards of late yeeres against some whom he had in purpose to ruine. But if we consider what wars they be that haue made their name so terrible, we shal find them to haue bin none other then against the barbarous Moores, the naked Indians, and the vnarmed Netherlanders, whose yeelding rather to the name then act of the Spaniards, hath put them into such a conceit of their mightines, as they haue considerately vndertaken the conquest of our monarchie, consisting of a people vnited and always held sufficiently warlike: against whom what successe their inuincible army had the last yeere, as our very children can witness, so I doubt not but this voiage hath sufficiently made knowen what they are euen vpon their owne dunghill, which, had it bene set out in such sort as it was agreed vpon by their first demaund, it might haue made our nation the most glorious people of the world. For hath not the want of 8 of the 12 pieces of artillerie, which were promised vnto the Aduenture, lost her maiestie the possession of the Groine and many other places, as hereafter shall appeare, whose defensible rampires were greater then our batterie (such as it was) cold force: and therefore were left vnattempted?
It was also resolued to haue sent 600 English horses of the Low countries, whereof we had not one, notwithstanding the great charges expended in their transportation hither: and that may the army assembled at Puente de Burgos thanke God of, as well as the forces of Portugall, who foreran vs 6 daies together: Did we not want 7 of the l3 old Companies, which we should haue had from thence; foure of the 10 Dutch Companies; and 6 of their men of war for the sea, from the Hollanders: which I may iustly say we wanted, in that we might haue had so many good souldiers, so many good ships, and so many able bodies more then we had?
Did there not vpon the first thinking of the iourney diuers gallant Courtiers put in their names for aduenturers to the summe of 10000 li. who seeing it went forward in good earnest, aduised themselues better, and laid the want of so much money vpon the iourney?
Was there not moreouer a rounde summe of the aduenture spent in leuying, furnishing, and maintaining 3 moneths 1500 men for the seruice of Berghen, with which Companies the Mutinies of Ostend were suppressed, a seruice of no smal moment?
What misery the detracting of the time of our setting out, which should haue bene the 1 of February, did lay vpon vs, too many can witnes: and what extremitie the want of that moneths victuals which we did eat, during the moneth we lay at Plimouth for a wind, might haue driuen vs vnto, no man can doubt of, that knoweth what men do liue by, had not God giuen vs in the ende a more prosperous wind and shorter passage into Galitia then hath bene often seen, where our owne force and fortune reuictualled vs largely: of which crosse windes, that held vs two dayes after our going out, the Generals being wearie, thrust to Sea in the same, wisely chusing rather to attend the change thereof there, then by being in harborough to lose any part of the better, when it should come by hauing their men on shore: in which two dayes 25 of our companies shipped in part of the fleet were scattered from vs, either not being able or willing to double Vshant.
These burdens layed vpon our Generals before their going out, they haue patiently endured, and I thinke they haue thereby much enlarged their honour: for hauing done thus much with the want of our artillery, 600 horse, 3000 foot, and 20000 li. of their aduenture, and one moneths victuals of their proportion, what may be conjectured they would haue done with their ful complement?
For the losse of our men at sea, since we can lay it on none but the will of God, what can be said more, then that it is his pleasure to turne all those impediments to the honor of them against whom they were intended: and he will still shew himselfe the Lord of hosts in doing great things by them, whom many haue sought to obscure: who if they had let the action fall at the height thereof in respect of those defects, which were such especially for the seruice at land, as would haue made a mighty subiect stoope vnder them, I do not see how any man could iustly haue layd any reproch vpon him who commanded the same, but rather haue lamented the iniquity of this time, wherein men whom forren countries haue for their conduct in seruice worthily esteemed of, should not only in their owne countrey not be seconded in their honorable endeuors, but mightily hindred, euen to the impairing of their owne estates, which most willingly they haue aduentured for the good of their countries: whose worth I will not value by my report, lest I should seem guiltie of flattery (which my soule abhorreth) and yet come short in the true measure of their praise. Onely for your instruction against them who had almost seduced you from the true opinion you hold of such men, you shall vnderstand that Generall Norris from his booke was trained vp in the wars of the Admiral of France, and in very yong yeeres had charge of men vnder the erle of Essex in Ireland: which with what commendations he then discharged, I leaue to the report of them who obserued those seruices. Vpon the breach betwixt Don Iohn and the States, he was made Colonel generall of all the English forces there present, or to come, which he continued 2 yeeres: he was then made Marshal of the field vnder Conte Hohenlo: and after that, General of the army in Frisland: at his comming home in the time of Monsieurs gouernment in Flanders, he was made lord President of Munster in Ireland, which he yet holdeth, from whence within one yere he was sent for, and sent Generall of the English forces which her maiestie then lent to the Low countries, which he held til the erle of Leicesters going ouer. And he was made Marshall of the field in England, the enemy being vpon our coast, and when it was expected the crowne of England should haue bene tried by battel. Al which places of commandement which neuer any Englishman successiuely attained vnto in forren wars, and the high places her maiestie had thought him woorthy of, may suffice to perswade you, that he was not altogether vnlikely to discharge that which he vndertooke.
What fame general Drake hath gotten by his iourney about the world, by his aduentures to the west Indies, and the scourges he hath laid vpon the Spanish nation, I leaue to the Southerne parts to speake of, and refer you to The Booke extant in our own language treating of the same, and beseech you considering the waighty matters they haue in all the course of their liues with wonderfull reputation managed, that you wil esteeme them not wel informed of their proceedings, that thinke them insufficient to passe through that which they vndertooke, especially hauing gone thus far in the view of the world, through so many incombrances, and disappointed of those agreements which led them the rather to vndertake the seruice. But it may be you wil thinke me herein either to much opinionated of the voiage, or conceited of the Commanders, that labouring thus earnestly to aduance the opinion of them both, haue not so much as touched any part of the misorders, weaknes and wants that haue bene amongst vs, whereof they that returned did plentifully report. True it is, I haue conceiued a great opinion of the iourney, and do thinke honorably of the Commanders: for we find in greatest antiquities, that many Commanders haue bene receiued home with triumph for lesse merite, and that our owne countrey hath honored men heretofore with admiration for aduentures vnequal to this: it might therefore in those daies haue seemed superfluous to extend any mans commendations by particular remembrances, for that then all men were ready to giue enery man his due. But I hold it most necessary in these daies, sithence euery vertue findeth her direct opposite, and actions woorthy of all memory are in danger to be enuiously obscured, to denounce the prayses of the action, and actors to the ful, but yet no further then with sinceritie of trueth, and not without grieuing at the iniury of this time, wherein is enforced a necessitie of Apologies for those men and matters, which all former times were accustomed to entertaine with the greatest applause that might be. But to answere the reports which haue bene giuen out in reproach of the actors and action by such as were in the same: let no man thinke otherwise, but that they, who fearing the casuall accidents of war had any purpose of returning, did first aduise of some occasion that should moue them thereunto: and hauing found any whatsoever did thinke it sufficiently iust, in respect of the earnest desire they had to seeke out matter that might colour their coming home.
Of these there were some, who hauing noted the late Flemish warres did finde that many yong men haue gone ouer and safely returned souldiers within fewe moneths, in hauing learned some wordes of Arte vsed in the warres, and thought after that good example to spend like time amongst vs: which being expired they beganne to quarrell at the great mortalitie that was amongst vs.
The neglect of discipline in the Armie, for that men were suffered to be drunke with the plentie of wines.
The scarsitie of Surgions.
The want of carriages for the hurt and sicke: and the penurie of victuals in the Campe:
Thereupon diuining that there would be no good done: And that therefore they could be content to lose their time, and aduenture to returne home againe.
These men haue either conceiued well of their owne wits (who by obseruing the passages of the warre were become sufficient souldiers in these fewe weeks, and did long to be at home, where their discourses might be wondred at) or missing of their Portegues and Milrayes435 which they dreamed on in Portugall, would rather returne to their former maner of life, then attend the ende of the iourney. For seeing that one hazard brought another; and that though one escaped the bullet this day it might light vpon him to morow, the next day, or any day; and that the warre was not confined to any one place, but that euery place brought foorth new enemies, they were glad to see some of the poore souldiers fal sicke, that fearing to be infected by them they might iustly desire to go home.
Answere to the first. The sicknesse I confesse was great, because any is too much. But hath it bene greater then is ordinary among Englishmen at their first entrance into the warres, whithersoeuer they goe to want the fulnesse of their flesh pots? Haue not ours decayed at all times in France, with eating yong fruits and drinking newe wines? haue they not abundantly perished in the Low countreys with cold, and rawnesse of the aire, euen in their garrisons? Haue there not more died in London in sixe moneths of the plague, then double our Armie being at the strongest? And could the Spanish armie the last yeere (who had all prouisions that could be thought on for an Armie, and tooke the fittest season, in the yeere for our Climate) auoyd sicknes among their souldiers? May it then be thought that ours could escape there, where they found inordinate heat of weather, and hot wines to distemper them withall?
But can it be, that we haue lost so many as the common sort perswade themselues wee haue? It hath bene prooued by strickt examinations of our musters, that we were neuer in our fulnesse before our going from Plimouth 11000. souldiers, nor aboue 2500. Marriners. It is also euident that there returned aboue 6000. of all sorts, as appeareth by the seuerall paiments made to them since our comming home. And I haue truely shewed you that of these numbers very neere 3000. forsooke the Armie at the Sea, whereof some passed into France and the rest returned home. So as we neuer being 13000. in all, and hauing brought home aboue 6000. with vs, you may see how the world hath bene seduced, in belieuing that we haue lost 16000. men by sicknes.
Answere to the second. To them that haue made question of the gouernment of the warres (little knowing what appertained thereunto in that there were so many drunkards amongst vs) I answere that in their gouernment of shires and parishes, yea in their very housholdes, themselues can hardly bridle their vassals from that vice. For we see it is a thing almost impossible, at any your Faires or publique assemblies to finde any quarter thereof sober, or in your Townes any Ale-poles vnfrequented: And we obserue that though any man hauing any disordered persons in their houses, do locke vp their drincke and set Butlers vpon it, that they will yet either by indirect meanes steale themselues drunke from their Masters tables, or runne abroad to seeke it. If then at home in the eyes of your Iustices, Maiors, Preachers, and Masters, and where they pay for euery pot they take, they cannot be kept from their liquor: doe they thinke that those base disordered persons whom themselves sent vnto vs, as liuing at home without rule, who hearing of wine doe long for it as a daintie that their purses could neuer reach to in England, and having it there without mony euen in their houses where they lie and hold their guard, can be kept from being drunk; and once drunke, held in any order or tune, except we had for euery drunkard an officer to attend him? But who be they that haue runne into these disorders? Euen our newest men, our yongest men, and our idelest men, and for the most part our slouenly prest men, whom the Justices, (who haue alwayes thought vnwoorthily of any warre) haue sent out as the scumme and dregs of their countrey. And those were they, who distempering themselues with these hote wines, haue brought in that sicknesse, which hath infected honester men then themselues. But I hope, as in other places the recouerie of their diseases doeth acquaint their bodies with the aire of the countries where they be, so the remainder of these which haue either recouered, or past without sicknesse will proue most fit for Martiall seruices.
Answere to the third. If we haue wanted Surgeons, may not this rather be laid vpon the captaines (who are to prouide for their seuerall Companies) then vpon the Generals, whose care hath bene more generall. And how may it be thought that euery captaine, vpon whom most of the charges of raising their Companies was laid as an aduenture, could prouide themselues of all things expedient for a war, which was alwaies wont to be maintained by the purse of the prince. But admit euery Captaine had his Surgeon: yet were the want of curing neuer the lesse: for our English Surgeons (for the most part) be vnexperienced in hurts that come by shot; because England hath not knowen wars but of late, from whose ignorance proceeded this discomfort, which I hope wil warne those that hereafter go to the wars to make preparation of such as may better preserue mens liues by their skill.
Answere to the fourth. From whence the want of cariages did proceed, you may conjecture in that we marched through a countrey neither plentifull of such prouisions, nor willing to part from any thing: yet this I can assure you, that no man of worth was left either hurt or sicke in any place vnprouided for. And that the General commanded all the mules and asses that were laden with any baggage to be vnburdened and taken that vse: and the earle of Essex and he for money hired men to cary men vpon pikes. And the earle (whose true vertue and nobilitie, as it doeth in all other his actions appeare, so did it very much in this) threw down his own stuffe, I meane apparel and necessaries which he had there, from his owne cariages, and let them be left by the way, to put hurt and sicke men vpon them. Of whose honourable deseruings I shall not need here to make any particular discourse, for that many of his actions do hereafter giue me occasion to obserue the same.
Answere to the fift. And the great complaint that these men make for the want of victuals may well proceed from their not knowing the wants of the war; for if to feed vpon good bieues, muttons and goats, be to want, they haue endured great scarcitie at land, wherunto they neuer wanted, two daies together, wine to mixe with their water, nor bread to eat with their meat (in some quantitie) except it were such as had vowed rather to starue then to stir out of their places for food: of whom we had too many, who if their time had serued for it, might haue seen in many campes in the most plentifull countries of the world for victuals, men daily die with want of bread and drinke in not hauing money to buy, nor the countrey yeelding any good or healthful water in any place; whereas both Spaine and Portugall do in euery place affoord the best water that may be, and much more healthful then any wine for our drinking.
And although some haue most injuriously exclaimed against the smal prouisions of victuals for the sea, rather grounding the same vpon an euill that might haue fallen, then any that did light vpon vs: yet know you this, that there is no man so forgetfull, that will say they wanted before they came to the Groine, that whosoeuer made not very large prouisions for himselfe and his company at the Groine, was very improuident, where was plentiful store of wine, biefe, and fish, and no man of place prohibited to lay in the same into their ships, wherewith some did so furnish themselues, as they did not onely in the journey supplie the wants, of such as were lesse provident then they, but in their returne home made a round commoditie of the remainder thereof. And that at Cascais there came in such store of prouisions into the Fleet out of England, as no man that would haue vsed his diligence could haue wanted his due proportion thereof, as might appeare by the remainder that was returned to Plimmouth, and the plentifull sale thereof made out of the marchants ships after their comming into the Thames.
But least I should seeme vnto you too studious in confuting idle opinions, or answering friuolous questions, I wil adresse me to the true report of those actions that haue passed therein: wherein I protest, I will neither hide any thing that hath hapned against vs, nor attribute more to any man or matter, then the iust occasions thereof lead me vnto: wherein it shall appeare that there hath bene nothing left vndone by the Generals which was before our going out vndertaken by them, but that there hath bene much more done then was at the first required by Don Antonio, who should haue reaped the fruit of our aduenture.
Our men land within a mile of the Groine the 20 of April. After 6 daies sailing from the coast of England, and the 5 after we had the wind good being the 20 of April in the euening, we landed in a baie more then an English mile from the Groine, in our long boats and pinnasses without any impeachment: from whence we presently marched toward the towne, within one halfe mile we were encountred by the enemie who being charged by ours, retired into their gates. For that night our armie lay in the villages, houses and mils next adioining, and very neere round about the towne, into the which the Galeon named S. Iohn (which was the second of the last yeeres Fleet agaynst England) one hulke, two smaller ships and two Gallies which were found in the road, did beate vpon vs and vpon our Companies as they passed too and fro that night and the next morning. Generall Norris hauing that morning before day viewed the Towne, found the same defended on the land side (for it standeth vpon the necke of an Iland) with a wall vpon a dry ditch; whereupon he resolued to trie in two places what might bee done against it by escalade, and in the meane time aduised for the landing of some artillery to beat vpon the ships and gallies, that they might not annoy vs: which being put in execution, vpon the planting of the first piece the gallies abandoned the road, and betooke them to Feroll, not farre from thence: and the Armada being beaten with the artillery and musketers that were placed vpon the next shore, left her playing vpon vs. The rest of the day was spent in preparing the companies, and other prouisions ready for the surprise of the base towne which was effected in this sort.
There were appointed to be landed 1200 men vnder the conduct of Colonell Huntley, and Captaine Fenner the Viceadmirall, on that side next fronting vs by water in long boats and pinnesses, wherein were placed many pieces ol artillery to beat vpon the tonne in their aproch: at the corner of the wall which defended the other water side, were appointed Captaine Richard Wingfield Lieutenant Colonell to Generall Norris, and Captaine Sampson Lieutenant Colonell to Generall Drake to enter at low water with 500 men if they found it passable, but if not, to betake them to the escalade, for they had also ladders with them: at the other corner of the wall which joyned to that side that was attempted by water, were appointed Colonell Vmpton, and Colonell Bret with 300 men to enter by escalade. All the companies which should enter by boat being imbarked before the low water, and hauing giuen the alarme, Captaine Wingfield and Captaine Sampson betooke them to the escalade, for they had in commandement to charge all at one instant. The boats landed without any great difficulty: yet had they some men hurt in the landing. Colonell Bret and Colonell Vmpton entred their quarter without encounter, not finding any defence made against them: for Captaine Hinder being one of them that entred by water, at his first entry, with some of his owne company whom he trusted well, betooke himselfe to that part of the wall, which be cleared before that they offered to enter, and so still scoured the wall till hee came on the backe of them who mainteined the fight against Captaine Wingfield and Captaine Sampson; who were twise beaten from their ladders, and found very good resistance, till the enemies perceiuing ours entred in two places at their backs, were driuen to abandon the same. The reason why that place was longer defended then the other, is (as Don Iuan de Luna who commanded the same affirmeth) that the enemy that day had resolued in councell how to make their defences, if they were approched: and therein concluded, that, if we attempted it by water, it was not able to be held, and therefore vpon the discouery of our boats, they of the high towne should make a signall by fire from thence, that all the lowe towne might make their retreat thither: but they (whether troubled with the sudden terror we brought vpon them, or forgetting their decree) omitted the fire, which made them guard that place til we were entred on euery side.
Then the towne being entred in three seuerall places with an huge cry, the inhabitants betooke them to the high towne: which they might with lesse perill doe, for that ours being strangers here, knew not the way to cut them off. The rest that were not put to the sword in fury, fled to the rocks in the Iland, and others hid themselues in chambers and sellers, which were euery day found out in great numbers.
Amongst those Don Iuan de Luna, a man of very good commandement, hauing hidden himselfe in a house, did the next morning yeeld himselfe.
There was also taken that night a commissary of victuals called Iuan de Vera, who confessed that there were in the Groine at our entry 500 souldiours being in seuen companies which returned very weake (as appeareth by the small numbers of them) from the iourney of England, namely:
Vnder Don Iuan de Luna.
Don Diego Barran, a bastard sonne of the Marques of Santa Cruz; his company was that night in the Galeon.
Don Antonio de Herera then at Madrid.
Don Pedro de Manriques brother to the Earle of Paxides.
Don Ieronimo de Mourray of the Order of S. Iuan, with some of the towne were in the fort.
Don Gomez de Caramasal then at Madrid.
Captaine Manço Caucaso de Socas.
Also there came in that day of our landing from Retanzas the companies of Don Iohn de Mosalle, and Don Pedro Poure de Leon.
Also he saith that there was order giuen for baking of 300000 of biscuit, some in Batansas, some in Ribadeo, and the rest there.
There were then in the towne 2000 pipes of wine, and 150 in the ships.
That there were lately come vnto the Marques of Seralba 300000 ducats.
That there were 1000 iarres of oile.
A great quantity of beanes, peaze, wheat, and fish.
That there were 3000 quintals of beefe.
And that not twenty dayes before, there came in three barks laden with match and harquebuzes.
Some others also found fauour to be taken prisoners, but the rest falling into the hands of the common souldiers, had their throats cut, to the number of 500, as I coniecture, first and last, after we had entred the towne; and in the entry thereof there was found euery celler full of wine, whereon our men, by inordinate drinking, both grew themselues for the present senselesse of the danger of the shot of the towne, which hurt many of them being drunke, and tooke the first ground of their sicknesse; for of such was our first and chiefest mortality. There was also abundant store of victuals, salt, and all kinde of prouision for shipping and the warre: which was confessed by the sayd Commissary of victuals there, to be the beginning of a magasin of all sorts of prouision for a new voyage into England: whereby you may conjecture what the spoile thereof hath aduantaged vs, and prejudiced the king of Spaine.
The next morning about eight of the clocke the enemies abandoned their ships. And hauing ouercharged the artillery of the gallion, left her on fire, which burnt in terrible sort two dayes together, the fire and ouercharging of the pieces being so great, as of fifty that were in her, there were not aboue sixteene taken out whole; the rest with ouercharge of the powder being broken, and molten with heat of the fire, were taken out in broken pieces into diuers shippes. The same day was the cloister on the South side of the towne entred by vs, which ioyned very neere to the wall of the towne, out of the chambers and other places whereof we beat into the same with our musquetiers.
The next day in the afternoone there came downe some 2000 men, gathered together out of the countrey, euen to the gates of the towne, as resolutely (ledde by what spirit I know not) as though they would haue entred the same: but at the first defence made by ours that had the guard there, wherein were slaine about eighteene of theirs, they tooke them to their heeles in the same disorder they made their approch, and with greater speed then ours were able to follow: notwithstanding we followed after them more then a mile. The second day Colonell Huntley was sent into the countrey with three or foure hundred men, who brought home very great store of kine and sheepe for our reliefe.
The third day in the night the Generall had in purpose to take a long munition-house builded vpon their wall, opening towards vs, which would haue giuen vs great aduantage against them; but they knowing the commodity thereof for vs, burnt it in the beginning of the euening; which put him to a new councell: for he had likewise brought some artillery to that side of the towne. During this time there happened a very great fire in the lower end of the towne; which, had it not bene by the care of the Generals heedily sene vnto, and the fury thereof preuented by pulling downe many houses which were most in danger, as next vnto them, had burnt all the prouisions we found there, to our woonderfull hinderance.
The fourth day were planted vnder the gard of the cloister two demy-canons, and two coluerings against the towne, defended or gabbioned with a crosse wall, thorow the which our battery lay; the first and second fire whereof shooke all the wall downe, so as all the ordinance lay open to the enemy, by reason whereof some of the Canoniers were shot and some slaine. The Lieutenant also of the ordinance, M. Spencer, was slaine fast by Sir Edward Norris, Master thereof: whose valour being accompanied with an honourable care of defending that trust committed vnto him, neuer left that place, till he receiued direction from the Generall his brother to cease the battery, which he presently did, leauing a gard vpon the same for that day; and in the night following made so good defence for the place of the battery, as after there were very few or none annoyed therein. That day Captaine Goodwin had in commandement from the Generall, that when the assault should be giuen to the towne, he should make a proffer of an escalade on the other side, where he held his guard: but he (mistaking the signall that should haue bene giuen) attempted the same long before the assault, and was shot in the mouth. The same day the Generall hauing planted his ordinance ready to batter, caused the towne to be summoned; in which summons they of the towne shot at our Drum; immediatly after that there was one hanged ouer the wall, and a parle desired; wherein they gaue vs to vnderstand, that the man hanged was he that shot at the Drum before: wherein also they intreated to haue faire warres, with promise of the same on their parts. The rest of the parle was spent in talking of Don Iuan de Luna, and some other prisoners, and somewhat of the rendring of the towne, but not much, for they listened not greatly thereunto.
Generall Norris hauing by his skilfull view of the towne (which is almost all seated vpon a rocke) found one place thereof mineable, did presently set workemen in hand withall; who after three dayes labour (and the seuenth after we were entred the base towne) had bedded their powder, but indeede not farre enough into the wall. Against which time the breach made by the canon being thought assaultable, and companies appointed as well to enter the same, as that which was expected should be blowen vp by the mine: namely, to that of the canon, Captaine Richard Wingfield, and Captaine Philpot who lead the Generals foot-companie, with whom also Captaine Yorke went, whose principall commandment was ouer the horsemen. And to that of the Myne, Captaine Iohn Sampson, and Captaine Anthonie Wingfield Lieutenant Colonell to the Master of the Ordinance, with certaine selected out of diuers Regiments. All these companies being in armes, and the assault intended to be giuen in al places at an instant, fire was put to the traine of the mine; but by reason the powder brake out backewards in a place where the caue was made too high, there could be nothing done in either place for that day. During this time Captaine Hinder was sent with some chosen out of euery company into the countrey for prouisions, whereof he brought in good store, and returned without losse.
The next day Captaine Anthony Sampson was sent out with some 500 to fetch in prouisions for the army, who was encountred by them of the countrey, but he put them to flight, and returned with good spoile. The same night the miners were set to worke againe, who by the second day after had wrought very well into the foundation of the wall. Against which time the companies aforesayd being in readinesse for both places (Generall Drake on the other side, with two or three hundred men in pinnesses, making proffer to attempt a strong fort vpon an Iland before the towne, where he left more then thirty men) fire was giuen to the traine of the mine, which blew vp halfe the tower vnder which the powder was planted. The assailants hauing in charge vpon the effecting of the mine presently to giue the assault, performed it accordingly; but too soone: for hauing entred the top of the breach, the other halfe of the tower, which with the first force of the powder was onely shaken and made loose, fell vpon our men: vnder which were buried about twenty or thirty, then being vnder that part of the tower. This so amazed our men that stood in the breach, not knowing from whence that terror came, as they forsooke their Commanders, and left them among the ruines of the mine. The two Ensignes of Generall Drake and Captaine Anthony Wingfield were shot in the breach, but their colours were rescued: the Generals by Captaine Sampsons Lieutenant, and Captaine Wingfields by himselfe. Amongst them that the wall fell vpon, was Captaine Sydenham pitifully lost; who hauing three or foure great stones vpon his lower parts, was held so fast, as neither himselfe could stirre, nor any reasonable company recouer him. Notwithstanding the next day being found to be aliue, there was ten or twelue lost in attempting to relieue him.
The breach made by the canon was woonderfully well assaulted by them that had the charge thereof, who brought their men to the push of the pike at the top of the breach. And being ready to enter, the loose earth (which was indeed but the rubbish of the outside of the wall) with the weight of them that were thereon slipped outwards from vnder their feet. Whereby did appeare halfe the wall vnbattered. For let no man thinke that culuerin or demy-canon can sufficiently batter a defensible rampire: and of those pieces which we had; the better of the demy-canons at the second shot brake in her carriages, so as the battery was of lesse force, being but of three pieces.
In our retreat (which was from both breaches thorow a narrow lane) were many of our men hurt: and Captaine Dolphin, who serued very well that day, was hurt in the very breach. The failing of this attempt, in the opinion of all the beholders, and of such as were of best judgement, was the fall of the mine; which had doubtlesse succeeded, the rather, because the approch was vnlooked for by the enemy in that place, and therefore not so much defence made there as in the other; which made the Generall grow to a new resolution: for finding that two dayes battery had so little beaten their wall, and that he had no better preparation to batter withall: he knew in his experience, there was no good to be done that way; which I thinke he first put in proofe, to trie if by that terror he could get the vpper towne, hauing no other way to put it in hazzard so speedily, and which in my conscience had obtained the towne, had not the defendants bene in as great perill of their liues by the displeasure of their king in giuing it vp, as by the bullet or sword in defending the same. For that day before the assault, in the view of our army, they burnt a cloister within the towne, and many other houses adioyning to the castle, to make it more defensible: whereby it appeared how little opinion themselues had of holding it against vs, had not God (who would not haue vs suddenly made proud) layed that misfortune vpon vs.
Hereby it may appeare, that the foure canons, and other pieces of battery promised to the iourney, and not performed, might haue made her Maiesty mistresse of the Groine: for though the mine were infortunate, yet if the other breach had bene such as the earth would haue held our men thereon, I doe not thinke but they had entred it thorowly at the first assault giuen: which had bene more then I haue heard of in our age. And being as it was, is no more then the Prince of Parma hath in winning of all his townes endured, who neuer entred any place at the first assault, nor aboue three by assault.
The next day the Generall hearing by a prisoner that was brought in, that the Conde de Andrada had assembled an armie of eight thousand at Puente de Burgos, sixe miles from thence in the way to Petance, which was but the beginning of an armie: in that there was a greater leauie readie to come thither vnder the Conde de Altemira, either in purpose to relieue the Groine, or to encampe themselues neere the place of our embarking, there to hinder the same; for to that purpose had the marquesse of Seralba written to them both the first night of our landing, as the Commissarie taken then confessed, or at the least to stop our further entrance into the countrey, (for during this time, there were many incursions made of three or foure hundred at a time, who burnt, spoyled, and brought in victuals plentifully) the General, I say, hearing of this armie, had in purpose the next day following to visite them, agaynst whom hee caried but nine Regiments: in the vantgard were the Regiment of Sir Roger Williams, Sir Edward Norris, and Colonell Sidney: in the Battaile, that of the Generall, of Colonell Lane, and Colonel Medkerk: and in the Rereward, Sir Henrie Norris, Colonell Huntley, and Colonell Brets Regiments; leauing the other fiue Regiments with Generall Drake, for the guard of the Cloister and Artillerie. About ten of the clocke the next day, being the sixt of May, halfe a mile from the campe, we discouering the enemy, Sir Edward Norris, who commanded the vantgard in chiefe, appointed his Lieutenant Colonell Captaine Anthonie Wingfield to command the shot of the same, who diuided them into three troups; the one he appointed to Captaine Middleton to be conducted in a way on the left hand: another to Captaine Erington to take the way on the right hand, and the body of them (which were Musquetiers) Captaine Wingfield tooke himselfe, keeping the direct way of the march. But the way taken by Captaine Middleton met a little before with the way held by Captaine Wingfield, so as be giuing the first charge vpon the enemy, was in the instant seconded by Captaine Wingfield, who beat them from place to place (they hauing very good places of defence, and crosse walles which they might haue held long) till they betooke them to their bridge, which is ouer a creeke comming out of the Sea, builded of stone vpon arches. On the foot of the further side whereof, lay the Campe of the enemy very strongly entrenched, who with our shot beaten to the further end of the bridge, Sir Edward Norris marching in the point, of the pikes, without stay passed to the bridge, accompanied with Colonell Sidney, Captaine Hinder, Captaine Fulford, and diuers others, who found the way cleare ouer the same, but through an incredible volley of shot; for that the shot of their army flanked vpon both sides of the bridge, the further end whereof was barricaded with barrels: but they who should haue guarded the same, seeing the proud approch we made, forsooke the defence of the barricade, where Sir Edward entred, and charging the first defendant with his pike, with very earnestnesse in ouerthrusting, fell, and was grieuously hurt at the sword in the head, but was most honourably rescued by the Generall his brother, accompanied with Colonell Sidney, and some other gentlemen: Captaine Hinder also hauing his Caske shot off, had fiue wounds in the head and face at the sword: and Captaine Fulford was shot into the left arme at the same encounter: yet were they so thorowly seconded by the Generall, who thrust himselfe so neere to giue encouragement to the attempt (which was of woonderfull difficulty) as their brauest men that defended that place being ouerthrowen, their whole army fell presently into rout, of whom our men had the chase three miles in foure sundry wayes, which they betooke themselues vnto. The notable ouerthrow giuen to the Spaniards at Puente de Burgos. There was taken the Standard with the Kings armes, and borne before the Generall. How many two thousand men (for of so many consisted our vantgard) might kill in pursuit of foure sundry parties, so many you may imagine fell before vs that day. And to make the number more great, our men hauing giuen ouer the execution, and returning to their standes, found many hidden in the Vineyards and hedges, which they dispatched. Also Colonell Medkerk was sent with his regiment three miles further to a Cloister, which he burnt and spoiled, wherein he found two hundred more, and put them to the sword. There were slaine in this fight on our side onely Captaine Cooper and one priuate souldier; Captaine Barton was also hurt vpon the bridge in the eye. But had you seene the strong baricades they had made on either side of the bridge, and how strongly they lay encamped thereabouts, you would haue thought it a rare resolution of ours to giue so braue a charge vpon an army so strongly lodged. After the furie of the execution, the Generall sent the vantgard one way, and the battell another, to burne and spoile; so as you might haue seene the countrey more then three miles compasse on fire. There was found very good store of munition and victuals in the Campe, some plate and rich apparell, which the better sort left behinde, they were so hotly pursued. Our sailers also landed in an Iland next adioyning to our ships, where they burnt and spoiled all they found. Thus we returned to the Groine, bringing small comfort to the enemy within the same, who shot many times at vs as we marched out; but not once in our comming backe againe.
The next day was spent in shipping our artillery landed for the battery, and of the rest taken at the Groine, which had it bene such as might haue giuen vs any assurance of a better battery, or had there bene no other purpose of our iourney but that, I thinke the Generall would haue spent some more time in the siege of the place.
The last two nights, there were that vndertooke to fire the higher towne in one place, where the houses were builded vpon the wall by the water side: but they within suspecting as much, made so good defence against vs, as they preuented the same. In our departure there was fire put into euery house of the low towne, insomuch as I may iustly say, there was not one house left standing in the base towne, or the cloister.
The next day being the eight of May, we embarked our army without losse of a man, which (had we not beaten the enemy at Puente de Burgos) had bene impossible to haue done; for that without doubt they would haue attempted something against vs in our imbarking: as appeared by the report of the Commissary aforesayd, who confessed, that the first night of our landing the Marques of Seralba writ to the Conde de Altemira, the Conde de Andrada, and to Terneis de Santisso, to bring all the forces against vs that they could possible raise, thinking no way so good to assure that place, as to bring an army thither, where withall they might either besiege vs in their base towne, if we should get it, or to lie betweene vs and our place of imbarking, to fight with us vpon the aduantage; for they had aboue 15000 souldiers vnder their commandements.
After we had put from thence, we had the winde so contrary, as we could not vnder nine dayes recouer the Burlings: in which passage on the thirteenth day the Earle of Essex, and with him M. Walter Deuereux his brother (a Gentleman of woonderfull great hope) Sir Roger Williams Colonell generall of the footmen, Sir Philip Butler, who hath alwayes bene most inward with him, and Sir Edward Wingfield, came into the fleet. The Earle hauing put himselfe into the iourney against the opinion of the world, and as it seemed to the hazzard of his great fortune, though to the great aduancement of his reputation, (for as the honourable cariage of himselfe towards all men doth make him highly esteemed at home; so did his exceeding forwardnesse in all seruices make him to bee woondered at amongst vs) who, I say, put off in the same winde from Falmouth, that we left Plimmouth in, where he lay, because he would auoid the importunity of messengers that were dayly sent for his returne, and some other causes more secret to himselfe, not knowing (as it seemed) what place the Generals purposed to land in, had bene as farre as Cadiz in Andaluzia, and lay vp and downe about the South Cape, where he tooke some ships laden with corne, and brought them vnto the fleet. Also in his returne from thence to meet with our fleet, he fell with the Ilands of Bayon; and on that side of the riuer which Cannas standeth vpon, he, with Sir Roger Williams, and those Gentlemen that were with him went on shore, with some men out of the ship he was in, whom the enemy, that held guard vpon that coast, would not abide, but fled vp into the countrey.
The 16 day we landed at Peniche in Portugall, vnder the shot of the castle, and aboue the waste in water, more then a mile from the towne, wherein many were in perill of drowning, by reason the winde was great, and the sea went high, which ouerthrew one boat, wherein fiue and twenty of Captaine Dolphins men perished. The enemy being fiue companies of Spaniards vnder the commandement of the Conde de Fuentes, sallied out of the towne against vs, and in our landing made their approch close by the water side. But the Earle of Essex with Sir Roger Williams, and his brother, hauing landed sufficient number to make two troups, left one to holde the way by the water side, and led the other ouer the Sandhils; which the enemy seeing, drew theirs likewise further into the land; not, as we coniectured, to encounter vs, but indeed to make their speedy passage away: notwithstanding, they did it in such sort, as being charged by ours which were sent out by the Colonell generall vnder Captaine Iackson, they stood the same euen to the push of the pike: in which charge and at the push, Captaine Robert Piew was slaine. The enemy being fled further then we had reason to follow them, all our companies were drawen to the towne; which being vnfortified in any place, we found vndefended by any man against vs. And therefore the Generall caused the castle to be summoned that night; which being abandoned by him that commanded it, a Portugall named Antonio de Aurid, being possessed thereof, desired but to be assured that Don Antonio was landed, whereupon he would deliuer the same; which he honestly performed. Peniche taken. There was taken out of the castle some hundred shot and pikes, which Don Emanuel furnished his Portugals withall, and twenty barrels of powder: so as possessing both the towne and the castle, we rested there one day: wherein some Friers and other poore men came vnto their new king, promising in the name of their countrey next adioyning, that within two dayes he should haue a good supply of horse and foote for his assistance. That day we remained there, the Generals company of horses were vnshipped.
The Generals there fully resolued, that the armie should march ouer land to Lisbone vnder the conduct of Generall Norris; and that Generall Drake should meete him in the riuer therof with the Fleete; and there should be one Company of foote left in the garde of the Castle, and sixe in the ships: also that the sicke and hurt should remaine there with prouisions for their cures. The Generall, to trie the euent of the matter by expedition, the next day beganne to march in this sort: his owne Regiment, and the Regiment of Sir Roger Williams, Sir Henrie Norris, Colonell Lane, and Colonell Medkerk, in the vantgard: Generall Drake, Colonell Deuereux, Sir Edward Norris, and Colonell Sidneis in the battel: Sir Iames Hales, Sir Edward Wingfield, Colonell Vmptons, Colonell Huntlies, and Colonell Brets in the arrereward. By that time our army was thus marshalled, Generall Drake, although hee were to passe by Sea, yet to make knowen the honourable desire he bad of taking equall part of all fortunes with vs, stood vpon the ascent of an hill, by the which our battalions must of necessity march and with a pleasing kindnesse tooke his leaue seuerally of the Commanders of euery regiment, wishing vs all most happy successe in our iourney ouer the land, with a constant promise that he would, if the injury of the weather did not hinder him, meet vs in the riuer of Lisbon with our fleet. The want of cariages the first day was such, as they were enforced to cary their munition vpon mens backs, which was the next day remedied.
In this march captaine Crispe the Prouost Marshall caused one who (contrary to the Proclamation published at our arriuall in Portugall) had broken vp an house for pillage, to be hanged, with the cause of his death vpon his brest, in the place where the act was committed: which good example prouidently giuen in the beginning of our march, caused the commandement to be more respectiuely regarded all the iourney after, by them whom feare of punishment doeth onely holde within compasse. The campe lodged that night at Lorinha: the next day we had intelligence all the way, that the enemy had made head of horse and foot against vs at Torres Vedras, which we thought they would haue held: but comming thither the second day of our march, not two houres before our vantgard came in, they left the towne and the castle to the possession of Don Antonio.
There began the greatest want we had of victuals, especially of bread, vpon a commandement giuen from the Generall, that no man should spoile the countrey, or take any thing from any Portugall: which was more respectiuely obserued, then I thinke would haue bene in our owne countrey, amongst our owne friends and kindred: but the countrey (contrary to promise) wholly neglected the prouision of victuals for vs, whereby we were driuen for that time into a great scarsity. Which mooued the Colonell generall to call all the Colonels together, and with them to aduise for some better course for our people: who thought it best, first to aduertise the king what necessity we were in, before we should of our selues alter the first institution of abstinence. The Colonell generall hauing acquainted the Generall herewith, with his very good allowance thereof, went to the king: who after some expostulations vsed, tooke the more carefull order for our men, and after that our army was more plentifully relieued.
The third day we lodged our army in three sundry villages, the one battalion lying in Exarama de los Caualleros, another in Exarama do Obispo, and the third in San Sebastian.
Captaine Yorke who commanded the Generals horse company, in this march made triall of the valour of the horsemen of the enemy; who by one of his Corporals charged with eight horses thorow 40 of them, and himselfe thorow more than 200 with forty horses: who would abide him no longer then they could make way from him.
The next day we marched to Lores, and had diuers intelligences that the enemy would tary vs there: for the Cardinall had made publique promise to them of Lisbon, that he would fight with vs in that place, which he might haue done aduantageously; for we had a bridge to passe ouer in the same place: but before our comming he dislodged, notwithstanding it appeared vnto vs that he had in purpose to encampe there; for we found the ground staked out where their trenches should haue bene made: and their horsemen with some few shot shewed themselues vpon an hill at our comming into that village; whom Sir Henry Norris (whose regiment had the point of the vantgard) thought to draw vnto some fight, and therefore marched without sound of drumme, and somewhat faster then ordinary, thereby to get neere them, before he were discouered, for he was shadowed from them by an hil that was betweene him and them: but before he could draw his companies any thing neere, they retired.
General Drakes regiment that night, for the commodity of good lodging, drew themselues into a village, more than one English mile from thence, and neere the enemy: who not daring to do any thing against vs in foure dayes before, tooke that occasion, and in the next morning fell downe vpon that regiment, crying, Viua el Rey Don Antonio, which was a generall salutation thorow all the Countrey, as they came: whom our yoong shouldiers (though it were vpon their guard, and before the watch was discharged) began to entertaine kindly, but hauing got within their guard, they fell to cut their throats: but the alarme being taken inwards, the officers of the two next Companies, whose Captaines (Captaine Sydnam and Captaine Young) were lately dead at the Groine, brought downe their colours and pikes vpon them in so resolute manner, as they presently draue them to retire with losse: they killed of ours at their first entrance foarteene, and hurt sixe or seuen.
The next day we lodged at Aluelana within three miles of Lisbon, where many of our souldiers drinking in two places of standing waters by the way were poisoned, and thereon presently; died. Some do think it came rather by eating hony, which they found in the houses plentifully. But whether it were by water or by hony, the poor men were poisoned.
That night the Earle of Essex, and Sir Rodger Williams went out about eleuen of the clock with 1000 men to lie in ambuscade neere the town, and hauing layed the same very neere, sent some to giue the alarme vnto the enemy: which was well performed by them that had the charge thereof, but the enemy refused to issue after them, so as the Earle returned assone as it was light without doing any thing, though he had in purpose, and was ready to haue giuen an honourable charge on them.
The 25 of May in the evening we came to the suburbs of Lisbon at the very entrance whereof Sir Rodger Williams calling Captaine Anthony Wingfield with him, tooke thirty shot or thereabouts, and first scowred all the streets till they came very neere the town; where they found none but old folks and beggars, crying, Viua el Rey Don Antonio, and the houses shut vp: for they had caried much of their wealth into the towne, and had fired some houses by the water side, full of corne and other prouisions of victuals, least we should be benefited thereby, but yet left behinde them great riches in many houses.
The foure regiments that had the vantgard that day, which were Colonell Deuereux, Sir Edward Norris, Colonell Sidneys, and Generall Drakes (whom I name as they marched) the Colonell generall caused to hold guard in the neerest street of the Suburbs: the battell and arreward stood in armes all the night in the field neere to Alcantara. Before morning Captaine Wingfield, by direction from the Colonell generall Sir Roger Williams, held guard with Sir Edward Norris his regiment in three places very neere the town wall, and so held the same till the other regiments came in the morning. About midnight they within the towne burnt all their houses that stood upon their wall either within or without, least we possessing them, might thereby greatly haue annoyed the towne.
The next morning Sir Roger Williams attempted (but not without peril) to take a church called S. Antonio, which ioyned to the wall of the towne, and would haue bene a very euill neighbor to the towne: but the enemy hauing more easie entry into it then we gained it before vs. The rest of that morning was spent in quartering the battell and arrereward in the Suburbs called Bona Vista, and in placing Musquetiers in houses, to front their shot vpon the wall, who from the same scowred the great streets very dangerously.
By this time our men being thorowly weary with our six days march, and the last nights watch, were desirous of rest; whereof the enemy being aduertised, about one or two of the clocke sallied out of the towne, and made their approach in three seuerall streets vpon vs, but chiefly in Colonell Brets quarter: who (as most of the army was) being at rest, with as much speed as he could, drew his men to armes, and made head against them so thorowly, as himselfe was slaine in the place, Captaine Carsey shot thorow the thigh, of which hurt he died within foure dayes after, Captaine Carre slaine presently, and Captaine Caue hurt (but not mortally) who were all of his regiment.
This resistance made aswell here, as in other quarters where Colonell Lane and Colonell Medkerk commanded, put them to a sudden foule retreat; insomuch, as the Earle of Essex had the chase of them euen to the gates of the towne, wherein they left behinde them many of their best Commanders: their troupe of horsemen also came out, but being charged by Captaine Yorke, withdrew themselues again. Many of them also left the streets, and betooke them to houses which they found open: for the Sergeant maior Captaine Wilson slew with his owne hands three or foure, and caused them that were with him to kill many others. Their losse I can assure you did triple ours, as well in quality as in quantity.
During our march to this place, Generall Drake with the whole fleet was come into Cascais, and possessed the towne without any resistance: many of the inhabitants at their discouery of our nauy, fledde with their baggage into the mountaines, and left the towne for any man that would possesse it, till Generall Drake sent vnto them by a Portugall Pilot which he had on boord, to offer them all peaceable kindnesse, so farre foorth as they would accept of their King, and minister necessaries to all the army he had brought; which offer they ioyfully imbraced, and presently sent two chiefe men of their towne, to signifie their loyalty to Don Antonio, and their honest affections to our people. Whereupon the Generall landed his companies not farre from the Cloister called San Domingo, but not without perill of the shot of the castle, which being guarded by 65 Spaniards, held still against him.
As our fleet were casting ancre when the camne first into that road, there was a small ship of Brasil that came from thence, which bare with them, and seemed by striking her sailes, as though she would also haue ancred: but taking her fittest occasion hoised againe, and would haue passed vp the riuer, but the Generall presently discerning her purpose, sent out a pinnesse or two after her, which forced her in such sort, as she ran herselfe upon the Rocks: all the men escaped out of her, and the lading (being many chests of sugar) was made nothing woorth, by the salt water. In his going thither also, he tooke ships of the port of Portugall, which were sent from thence, with fifteene other from Pedro Vermendes Xantes Sergeant maior of the same place, laden with men and victuals to Lisbon: the rest that escaped put into Setuuel.
The next day it pleased Generall Norris to call all the Colonels together, and to aduise with them, whether it were more expedient to tary there to attend the forces of the Portugall horse and foot, whereof the King had made promise, and to march some conueuient number to Cascais to fetch our artillery and munition, which was all at our ships, sauing that which for the necessity of the seruice was brought along with vs: whereunto, some caried away with the vaine hope of Don Antonio, that most part of the towne stood for vs, held it best to make our abode there, and to send some 3000 for our artillery; promising to themselues, that the enemy being wel beaten the day before, would make no more sallies: some others (whose vnbeliefe was very strong of any hope from the Portugall) perswaded rather to march wholly away, then to be any longer carried away with the opinion of things, whereof there was so little appearance. The Generall not willing to leaue any occasion of blotte to be layed vpon him for his speedy going from thence, nor to lose any more time by attending the hopes of Don Antonio; tolde them that though the expedition of Portugall were not the onely purpose of their iourney, but an aduenture therein (which if it succeeded prosperously, might make them sufficiently rich, and woonderfull honourable) and that they had done so much already in triall thereof, as what end soeuer happened, could nothing impaire their credits: yet in regard of the Kings last promise, that he should haue that night 3000 men armed of his owne Countrey, he would not for that night dislodge. And if they came thereby to make him so strong, that he might send the like number for his munition, he would resolue to trie his fortune for the towne. But if they came not, he found it not conuenient to diuide his forces, by sending any to Cascais, and keeping a remainder behinde, sithence he saw them the day before so boldly sally vpon his whole army, and knew that they were stronger of Souldiours armed within the towne, then he was without: and that before our returne could be from Cascais, they expected more supplies from all places, of Souldiours: for the Duke of Bragança, and Don Francisco de Toledo were looked for with great reliefe. Whereupon his conclusion was, that if the 3000 promised came not that night, to march wholly away the next morning.
It may be here demanded, why a matter of so great moment should be so slenderly regarded, as that the Generall should march with such an army against such an enemy, before he knew either the fulnesse of his owne strength, or certaine meanes how he should abide the place when he should come to it. Wherein I pray you remember the Decrees made in the Councell at Peniche, and confirmed by publique protestation the first day of our march, that our nauy should meet vs in the riuer of Lisbon, in the which was the store of all our prouisions, and so the meane of our tariance in that place, which came not, though we continued till we had no munition left to entertaine a very small fight. We are also to consider, that the King of Portugall (whether carried away with imagination by the aduertisements he receiued from the Portugals, or willing by any promise to bring such an army into his Countrey, thereby to put his fortune once more in triall) assured the Generall, that vpon his first landing, there would be a reuolt of his subiects: whereof there was some hope giuen at our first entry to Peniche, by the maner of the yeelding of that towne and fort, which made the Generall thinke it most conuenient speedily to march to the principall place, thereby to giue courage to the rest of the Countrey. The Friers also and the poore people that came vnto him, promised, that within two dayes the gentlemen and others of the Countrey would come plentifully in: within which two dayes came many more Priests, and some very few gentlemen on horsebacke; but not til we came to Torres Vedras: where they that noted the course of things how they passed, might somewhat discouer the weaknesse of that people. There they tooke two dayes more: and at the end thereof referred him till our comming to Lisbon, with assurance, that so soone as our army should be seene there, all the inhabitants would be for the King and fall vpon the Spaniards.
After two nights tariance at Lisbon, the King, as you haue heard, promised a supply of 3000 foot, and some horse: but all his appointments being expired, euen to the last of a night, all his horse could not make a cornet of 40, nor his foot furnish two ensignes fully, although they caried three, or foure colours: and these were altogether such as thought to inrich themselues by the ruine of their neighbours: for they committed more disorders in euery place where we came by spoile, then any of our owne.
The Generall, as you see, hauing done more then before his comming out of England was required by the King, and giuen credit to his many promises, euen to the breach of the last, he desisted not to perswade him to stay yet nine dayes longer: in which time he might haue engaged himselfe further, then with any honour he could come out of againe, by attempting a towne fortified, wherein were more men armed against vs, then we had to oppugne them withall, our artillery and munition being fifteene miles from vs, and our men then declining; for there was the first shew of any great sickenesse amongst them. Whereby it seemeth, that either his prelacy did much abuse him in perswading him to hopes, whereof after two or three dayes he saw no semblance: or he like a silly louer, who promiseth himselfe fauor by importuning a coy mistresse, thought by our long being before his towne, that in the end taking pity on him, they would let him in.
What end the Friers had by following him with such deuotion, I know not, but sure I am, the Laity did respite their homage till they might see which way the victory would sway; fearing to shew themselues apparently vnto him, least the Spaniard should after our departure (if we preuailed not) call them to account: yet sent they vnder hand messages to him of obedience, thereby to saue their owne, if he became King; but indeed very well contented to see the Spaniards and vs try by blowes, who should carry away the crowne. For they be of so base a mould, as they can very wel subiect themselues to any gouernment, where they may liue free from blowes, and haue liberty to become rich, being loth to endure hazzard either of life or goods. For durst they haue put on any minds thorowly to reuolt, they had three woonderfull good occasions offered them during our being there.
Themselues did in generall confesse, that there were not aboue 5000 Spaniards in that part of the Countrey, of which number the halfe were out of the towne till the last day of our march: during which time, how easily they might haue preuailed against the rest, any man may conceiue. But vpon our approch they tooke them all in, and combined themselues in generall to the Cardinall.
The next day after our comming thither, when the sally was made vpon vs by their most resolute Spaniards, how easily might they haue kept them out, or haue giuen vs the gate which was held for their retreat, if they had had any thought thereof?
And two dayes after our comming to Cascais, when 6000 Spaniards and Portugals came against vs as farre as S. Iulians by land, as you shal presently heare (all which time I thinke there were not many Spaniards left in the towne) they had a more fit occasion to shew their deuotion to the King, then any could be offered by our tarying there. And they could not doubt, that if they had shut them out, but that we would haue fought with them vpon that aduantage, hauing sought them in Galitia vpon disaduantage to beat them: and hauing taken so much paines to seeke them at their owne houses, whereof we gaue sufficient testimony in the same accident. But I thinke the feare of the Spaniard had taken so deepe impression within them, as they durst not attempt any thing against them vpon any hazzard.
For, what ciuill countrey hath euer suffered themselues to be conquered so few men as they were; to be depriued of their naturall King, and to be tyrannized ouer thus long, but they? And what countrey, liuing in slauery vnder a stranger whom they naturally hate, hauing an army in the field to fight for them and their liberty, would lie still with the yoke vpon their necks, attending if any strangers would vnburthen them, without so much as rousing themselues vnder it, but they? They will promise much in speeches, for they be great talkers, whom the Generall had no reason to distrust without triall, and therefore marched on into their countrey: but they performed little in action, whereof we could haue had no proofe without this thorow triall. Wherein he hath discouered their weaknesse, and honorably performed more then could be in reason expected of him: which had he not done, would not these maligners, who seeke occasions of slander, haue reported him to be suspicious of a people, of whose infidelity he had no testimony: and to be fearefull without cause, if he had refused to giue credit to their promises without any aduenture? Let no friuolous questionist therefore further enquire why he marched so many dayes to Lisbon, and taried there so small a while.
The next morning, seeing no performance of promise kept, he gaue order for our marching away; himselfe, the Earle of Essex, and Sir Roger Williams remaining with the stand that was made in the high street, till the whole army was drawen into the field, and marched out of the towne, appointing Captaine Richard wingfield, and Captaine Anthony Wingfield in the arrereward of them with the shot; thinking that the enemy (as it was most likely) would haue issued out vpon our rising; but they were otherwise aduised. When we were come into the field, euery battalion fell into that order which by course appertained vnto them, and so marched that night vnto Cascais. Had we marched thorow this Countrey as enemies, our Souldiours had beene well supplied in all their wants: but had we made enemies of the Suburbs of Lisbon, we had beene the richest army that euer went out of England: for besides the particular wealth of euery house, there were many Warehouses by the water side full of all sorts of rich marchandizes.
In our march that day the gallies which had somewhat, but not much, annoyed vs at Lisbon, (for that our way lay along the riuer) attended vs till we were past S. Iulians, bestowing many shot amongst vs, but did no harme at all, sauing that they strooke off a gentlemans legend, and killed the Sergeant majors moile vnder him. The horsemen also followed vs afarre off, and cut off as many sicke men as were not able to holde in marche, nor we had cariage for.
After we had bene two dayes at Cascais, we had intelligence by a Frier, that the enemy was marching strongly towards vs, and then came as farre as S. Iulian: which newes was so welcome to the Earle of Essex and the Generals, as they offered euery one of them to giue the messenger an hundred crownes if they found them in the place; for the Generall desiring nothing more then to fight with them in field roome, dispatched that night a messenger with a trumpet, by whom he writ a cartell to the Generall of their army, wherein he gaue them the lie, in that it was by them reported that we dislodged from Lisbon in disorder and feare of them (which indeed was most false) for that it was fiue of the clocke in the morning before we fell into armes, and then went in such sort, as they had no courage to follow out vpon vs. Also he challenged him therein, to meet him the next morning with his whole army, if he durst attend his comming, and there to try out the iustnesse of their quarrel by battell: by whom also the Earle of Essex (who preferring the honor of the cause, which was his countreys, before his owne safety) sent a particular cartel, offering himselfe against any of theirs, if they had any of his quality; or if they would not admit of that; sixe, eight, or tenne, or as many as they would appoint, should meet so many of theirs in the head of our battell to trie their fortunes with them; and that they should haue assurance of their returne and honourable intreaty.
The Generall accordingly made all his army ready by three of the clocke in the morning and marched euen to the place where they had encamped, but they were dislodged in the night in great disorder, being taken with a sudden feare that we had bene come vpon them, as the Generall was the next day certainely informed: so as the Trumpet followed them to Lisbon, but could not get other answere to either of his letters, but threatening to be hanged, for daring to bring such a message. Howbeit the Generall had caused to be written vpon the backside of their passport, that if they did offer any violence vnto the messengers, he would hang the best prisoners he had of theirs: which made them to aduise better of the matter, and to returne them home; but without answere.
After our army came to Cascais, and the castle summoned, the Castellan thereof granted, that vpon fiue or sixe shot of the canon he would deliuer the same, but not without sight thereof. The Generall thinking that his distresse within had bene such for want of men or victuals as he could not holde it many dayes, because he saw it otherwise defensible enough, determined rather to make him yeeld to that necessity then to bring the cannon, and therefore onely set a gard vpon the same, lest any supply of those things which he wanted should be brought vnto them. But he still standing vpon those conditions, the Generall about two dayes before he determined to goe to Sea, brought three or foure pieces of battery against it: vpon the first fire whereof he surrendered, and compounded to go away with his baggage and armies; he had one canon, two culuerings, one basiliske, and three or foure other field pieces, threescore and fiue Souldiours, very good store of munition and victualles enough in the Castle: insomuch as he might haue held the same longer then the Generall had in purpose to tarry there. One company of footmen was put into the guard thereof, till the artillery was taken out, and our army embarked; which without hauing that fort, we could not without great peril haue done. When we were ready to set saile (one halfe of the fort being by order from the Generall blowen vp by mine) the company was drawne away.
During the time we lay in the road, our fleet began the second of Iune, and so continued sixe dayes after to fetch in some hulks to the number of threescore, of Dansik, Stetin, Rostock, Lubeck and Hamburgh, laden with Spanish goods, and as it seemed for the kings prouision, and going for Lisbon: their principall lading was Corne, Masts, Cables, Copper, and waxe: amongst which were some of great burthen woonderful well builded for sailing, which had no great lading in them, and therefore it was thought that they were brought for the kings prouision, to reinforce his decayed nauy: whereof there was the greater likelyhood, in that the owner of the greatest of them which caried two misnes, was knowen to be very inward with the Cardinall, who rather then he would be taken with his ships, committed himself vnto his small boat, wherein he recouered S. Sebastians: into the which our men, that before were in flieboats, were shipped, and the flieboats sent home with an offer of corne, to the value of their hire. But the winde being good for them for Rochel, they chuse rather to lose their corne then the winde, and so departed. The Generall also sent his horses with them, and from thence shipped them into England.
The third of Iune, Colonell Deuereux and Colonell Sidney, being both very sicke, departed for England, who in the whole iourney had shewed themselues very forward to all seruices, and in their departure very vnwilling to leave vs: that day we imbarked all our army, but lay in the road vntill the eight thereof.
The sixt day the Earle of Essex, vpon receit of letters from her Maiesty, by them that brought in the victuals, presently departed towards England, with whom Sir Roger Williams was very desirous to go, but found the Generalls very vnwilling he should do so, in that he bare the next place vnto them, and if they should miscarry, was to command the army. And the same day there came vnto vs two small barks that brought tidings of some other shippes come out of England with victuals, which were passed vpwards to the Cape: for meeting with whom, the second day after we set saile for that place, in purpose after our meeting with them to go with the Iles of Açores, the second day, which was the ninth, we met with them comming backe againe towards vs, whose prouision little answered our expectation. Notwithstanding we resolued to continue our course for the Ilands.
About this time was the Marchant Royall, with three or foure other ships, sent to Peniche, to fetch away the companies that were left there; but Captaine Barton hauing receiued letters from the Generals that were sent ouerland, was departed before not being able by reason of the enemies speedy marching thither either to bring away the artillery, or all his men, according to the direction those letters gaue him; for he was no sooner gone than the enemy possessed both town and castle, and shot at our ships as they came into the road.
At this time also was the Ambassador from the Emperor of Marocco, called Reys Hamet Bencasamp, returned, and with him M. Ciprian, a gentleman of good place and desert, was sent from Don Antonio, and Captaine Ousley from the Generals to the Emperor.
The next morning the nine gallies which were sent not fiue dayes before out of Andaluzia for the strengthening of the riuer of Lisbon (which being ioyned with the other twelue that were there before, though we lay hard by them at S. Iulians, durst neuer make any attempt against vs) vpon our departure from thence returning home, and in the morning being a very dead calme, in the dawning thereof, fell in the winde of our fleet, in the vttermost part whereof they assailed one stragling barke of Plimmouth, of the which Captaine Cauerly being Captaine of the land company, with his Lieutenant, the Master and some of the Mariners abandoned the ship, and betooke them to ship-boats, whereof one, in which the Master and Captaine were, was ouerrunne with the gallies, and they drowned. There were also two hulks stragled farre from the strength of the other ships, which were so calmed, as neither they could get to vs, or we to them, though all the great shippes towed with their boats to haue releiued them, but could not be recouered; in one of which was Captaine Minshaw with his company, who fought with them to the last, yea after his ship was on fire, which whether it was fired by himselfe or by them we could not well discerne, but might easily iudge by his long and good fight, that the enemy could not but sustaine much loose: who setting also vpon one other hulke wherein was but a Lieutenant, were by the valour of the Lieutenant put off although they had first beaten her with their artillery, and attempted to boord her. And seeing also another hulke a league off, a sterne off vs, they made towards her; but finding that she made ready to fight with them, they durst not further attempt her: whereby it seemed, their losse being great in other fights, they were loth to proceed any further.
From that day till the 19 of Iune, our direction from the Generall was, that if the wind were Northerly, we should plie for the Açores; but if Southerly, for the Iles of Bayon. We lay with contrary windes, about that place and the Rocke, till the Southerly winde preuailing carried vs to Bayon: part of our ships to the number of 25, in a great winde which was two dayes before, hauing lost the Admirals and the fleet, according to their direction, fell in the morning of that day with Bayon, among whom was Sir Henry Norris in the Ayde; who had in purpose (if the Admirals had not come in) with some 500 men out of them all to haue landed, and attempted the taking of Vigo. The rest of the fleet held with Generall Drake, who though he were two dayes before put vpon those Ilands, cast off againe to sea for the Açores: but remembering how vnprouided he was for iourney and seeing that he had lost company of his great ships, returned for Bayon, and came in there that night in the euening where he passed vp the riuer more than a mile aboue Vigo.
Vigo taken. The next morning we landed as many as were able to fight, which were not in the whole aboue 2000 men (for in the 17 dayes we continued on boord we had cast many of our men ouerboord) with which number the Colonell generall marched to the towne of Vigo, neere the which when he approched, he sent Captaine Anthony Wingfield with a troupe of shot to enter one side of the same, who found vpon euery streets end a strong barricade, but altogether abandoned; for hauing entered the towne, he found but one man therein, but might see them making way before him to Bayon. On the other side of the towne entred Generall Drake with Captaine Richard Wingfield, whose approch on that side (I thinke) made them leaue the places they had so artificially made for defence: there were also certaine shippes sent with the Vice-admirall to lie close before the towne to beat vpon the same with their artillery.
In the afternoone were sent 300 vnder the conduct of Captaine Petuin and Captaine Henry Poure, to burne another village betwixt that and Bayon, called Borsis, and as much of the country as the day would giue them leaue to do; which was a very pleasant rich valley: but they burnt it all, houses and corne, as did others on the other side of the towne, both that and the next day, so as the countrey was spoiled seuen or eight miles in length. There was found great store of wine in the towne, but not any thing els: for the other dayes warning of the shippes that came first in, gaue them a respit to cary all away.
Vigo burned. The next morning by breake of the day the Colonell generall (who in the absence of the Generalls that were on boord their ships, commanded that night on shore) caused all our companies to be drawen out of the towne, and sent in two troups to put fire in euery house of the same: which done, we imbarked againe.
This day there were certaine Mariners which (without any direction) put themselues on shore, on the contrary side of the riuer from vs for pillage; who were beaten by the enemy from their boats, and punished by the Generals for their offer, in going without allowance.
The reasons why we attempted nothing against Bayon were before shewed to be want of artillery, and may now be alledged to be the small number of our men: who should haue gone against so strong a plade, manned with very good souldiers, as was shewed by Iuan de Vera taken at the Groine, who confessed that there were sixe hundred olde Souldiers in garrison there of Flanders, and the Tercios of Naples, lately also returned out of the iourney of England,
Vnder the leading of
Capitan Puebla, Christofero Vasques de Viralta a souldier of Flanders. Don Pedro Camascho, del tercio de Napoles. Don Francisco de Cespedes. Cap. Iuan de Solo, del tercio de Naples. Don Diego de Cassaua. Cap. Sauban.
Also he sayth there be 18 pieces of brasse, and foure of yron, lately layed vpon the walles of the towne, besides them that were there before.
The same day the Generals seeing what weake estate our army was drawn into by sicknesse, determined to man and victuall twenty of the best ships for the Ilands of Açores with Generall Drake, to see if he could meet with the Indian fleet, and Generall Norris to returne home with the rest: And for the shifting of men and victualles accordingly, purposed the next morning to fall downe to the Ilands of Bayon againe, and to remaine there that day. But Generall Drake, according to their apointment, being vnder saile neuer strooke at the Ilands, but put straight to sea; whom all the fleet followed sauing three and thirty, which being in the riuer further then he, and at the entrance out of the same, finding the winde and tide too hard against them, were inforced to cast ancre there for that night; amongst whom, by good fortune, was the Foresight, and in her Sir Edward Norris. And the night folowing, Generall Norris being driuen from the rest of the Fleet by a great storme, (for all that day was the greatest storme we had all the time we were out) came againe into the Ilands, but not without great perill, he being forced to trust to a Spanish Fisherman (who was taken two dayes before at sea) to bring him in.
The next morning he called a council of as many as he found there, holding the purpose he had concluded with sir Francis Drake the day before, and directed all their courses for England, tarrying there all that day to water and helpe such with victuall, as were left in wonderfull distresse by hauing the victuals that came last, caried away the day before to sea.
Their returne to Plimmouth. The next day he set saile, and the l0 day after, which was the 2 of Iuly came into Plimmouth, where he found sir Francis Drake and all the Queens ships, with many of the others but not all; for the Fleet was dispersed into other harbors, some led by a desire of returning from whence they came, and some being possessed of the hulks sought other Ports from their Generals eie, where they might make their priuate commoditie of them, as they haue done to their great aduantage.
Presently vpon their arriual there, the Generals dissolued all the armie sauing 8 companies which are yet held together, giuing euery souldier fiue shillings in money, and the armies hee bare to make money of, which was more then could by any means be due vnto them: for they were not in seruice three moneths, in which time they had their victuals, which no man would value at lesse then halfe their pay, for such is the allowance in her maiesties ships to her mariners, so as there remained but 10 shillings a moneth more to be paid, for which there was not any priuate man but had apparel and furniture to his owne vse, so as euery common souldier discharged, receiued more in money, victuals, apparel and furniture, then his pay did amount vnto.
Notwithstanding, there be euen in the same place where those things haue passed, that either do not or will not conceiue the souldiers estate, by comparing their pouertie and the shortness of the time together, but lay some iniuries vpon the Generals and the action. Where, and by the way, but especially here in London, I find there haue bene some false prophets gone before vs, telling strange tales. For as our countrey doeth bring foorth many gallant men, who desirous of honour doe put themselues into the actions thereof, so doeth it many more dull spirited, who though their thoughts reach not so high as others, yet doe they listen how other mens acts doe passe, and either beleeuing what any man will report vnto them, are willingly caried away into errors, or tied to some greater mans faith, become secretaries against a noted trueth. The one sort of these doe take their opinions from the high way side, or at the furthest go no further then Pauls to enquire what hath bene done in this voiage; where if they meet with any, whose capacitie before their going out could not make them liue, nor their valour maintaine their reputation, and who went onely for spoile, complaining on the hardnesse and misery thereof, they thinke they are bound to giue credite to these honest men who were parties therein, and in very charitie become of their opinions. The others to make good the faction they had entred into, if they see any of those malecontents (as euery iourney yeeldeth some) doe runne vnto them like tempting spirits to confirme them in their humour, with assurance that they foresaw before our going out what would become thereof.
Be ye not therefore too credulous in beleeuing euery report: for you see there haue bene many more beholders of these things that haue passed, then actors in the same; who by their experience, not hauing the knowledge of the ordinary wants of the warre, haue thought, that to lie hard, not to haue their meat well dressed, to drinke sometimes water, to watch much, or to see men die and be slaine, was a miserable thing; and not hauing so giuen their mindes to the seruice, as they are any thing instructed thereby, doe for want of better matter discourse ordinarily of these things: whereas the iourney (if they had with that iudgement seene into it, which their places required) hath giuen them far more honorable purpose and argument of discourse.
A worthy question dilated. These mens discontentments and mislikings before our comming home haue made mee labour thus much to instruct you in the certaintie of euery thing, because I would not willingly haue you miscaried in the indgements of them, wherein you shall giue me leaue somewhat to dilate vpon a question, which I onely touched in the beginning of my letter, namely, whether it bee more expedient for our estate to maintain an offensiue war against the king of Spaine in the Low countries, or as in this iourney, to offend him in his neerer territories, seeing the grounds of arguing thereof are taken from the experience which the actions of this iourney haue giuen vs.
There is no good subiect that will make question, whether it be behoofeful for vs to hold friendship with these neighbours of ours or no, as well in respect of the infinite proportion of their shipping, which must stand either with vs or against vs; as of the commoditie of their harbors, especially that of Vlishing, by the fauour whereof our Nauie may continually keepe the Narrow seas, and which would harbour a greater Fleete agaynst vs, then the Spaniard shall need to annoy vs withall, who being now distressed by our common enemie, I thinke it most expedient for our safetie to defend them, and if it may be, to giue them a reentrie into that they haue of late yeeres lost vnto him. The one without doubt her maiestie may do without difficultie, and in so honorable sort as he shal neuer be able to dispossesse her or them of any the townes they now hold. But if any man thinke that the Spaniard may be expelled from thence more speedily or conueniently by keeping an armie there, then by sending one against him into his owne countrey: let him foresee of how many men and continuall supplies that armie must consist, and what intollerable expenses it requireth. And let him thinke by the example of the duke of Alua, when the prince of Orenge had his great armie agaynst him; and of Don Iuan, when the States had their mightie assembly against him; how this wise enemie, with whom we are to deale, may but by prolonging to fight with vs, leaue vs occasions enough for our armie within few moneths to mutine and breake; or by keeping him in his townes leaue vs a spoyled field: where though our prouision may bee such of our owne as we starue not, yet is our weaknesse in any strange country such, as with sicknes and miserie we shal be dissolued. And let him not forget what a continual burthen we hereby lay vpon vs, in that to repossesse those countreys which have been lately lost, wil be a warre of longer continuance then we shall be able to endure.
In the very action whereof, what should hinder the king of Spaine to bring his forces home vnto vs? For it is certaine he hath long since set downe in councell, that there is no way for him wholy to recouer those Low countries, but by bringing the warre vpon England it selfe, which hath alwayes assisted them against him: and that being determined, and whereunto he hath bene vehemently urged by the last yeeres losse he sustained vpon our coasts, and the great dishonor this iourney hath laid vpon him; no doubt if we shall giue him respite to doe it, but he will mightily advance his purpose, for he is richly able thereunto, and wonderfull desirous of reuenge.
To encounter wherewith, I wish euen in true and honest zeale to my Countrey, that we were all perswaded that there is no such assured meanes for the safetie of our estate, as to busy him with a well furnished armie in Spaine, which hath so many goodly Bayes open, as we may land without impeachment as many men as shall be needfull for such an inuasion. And hauing an armie of 20000 roially furnished there, we shall not need to take much care for their payment: for shal not Lisbon be thought able to make so few men rich, when the Suburbs thereof were found so abounding in riches, as had we made enemie of them, they had largely enriched vs all? Which with what small losse it may be won, is not here to shew; but why it was not won by vs, I haue herein shewed you. Or is not the spoyle of Siuil sufficient to pay more then shall bee needful to bee sent against it, whose defence (as that of Lisbone) is onely force of men, of whom how many may for the present be raised, is not to be esteemed, because wee haue discouered what kind of men they be, euen such as will neuer abide ours in field, nor dare withstand any resolute attempt of ours agaynst them: for during the time we were in many places of their countrey, they cannot say that euer they made 20 of our men turne their faces from them. And be there not many other places of lesse difficultie to spoyle, able to satisfie our forces?
But admit, that if vpon this alarme that we haue giuen him, he tendering his naturall and neerest soile before his further remooued off gouernments, do draw his forces of old souldiers out of the Low countreys for his owne defence, is not the victory then won by drawing and holding them from thence, for the which we should haue kept an armie there at a charge by many partes greater then this, and not stirred them?
Admit further our armie be impeached from landing there, yet by keeping the Sea and possessing his principall roades, are we not in possibilitie to meet with his Indian merchants, and very like to preuent him of his prouisions comming out of the East countreys; without the which, neither the subiect of Lisbon is long able to liue, nor the king able to maintaine his Nauie? For though the countrey of Portugall doe some yeeres find themselues corne, yet are they neuer able to victuall the least part of that Citie. And albeit the king of Spaine be the richest prince in Christendome, yet can he neither draw cables, hewe masts, nor make pouder out of his mettals, but is to be supplied of them all from thence. Of whom (some will hold opinion) it is no reason to make prize, because they bee not our enemies: and that our disagreeance with them will impeach the trade of our marchants, and so impouerish our countrey, of whose mind I can hardly be drawen to be: For if my enemie fighting with me doe breake his sword, so as I thereby haue the aduantage against him; what shall I thinke of him that putteth a new sword into his hand to kill me withall? And may it not bee thought more fitting for vs in these times to loose our trades of Cloth, then by suffering these mischiefes, to put in hazard whether we shall haue a countrey left to make cloth in or no? And yet though neither Hamburgh, Embden, nor Stode doe receiue our cloth, the necessary vse thereof in all places is such, as they will find means to take it from vs with our sufficient commoditie.
And admit (which were impossible) that we damnifie him neither at sea nor land (for vnlesse it be with a much more mightie armie then ours, he shall neuer be able to withstand vs) yet shall we by holding him at his home, free our selues from the warre at our owne wals; the benefit whereof let them consider that best can iudge, and haue obserued the difference of inuading, and being inuaded; the one giuing courage to the souldier, in that it doeth set before him commoditie and reputation; the other a fearefull terror to the countrey-man, who if by chance he play the man yet is he neuer the richer: and who knowing many holes to hide himselfe in, will trie them all before he put his life in perill by fighting: whereas the Inuader casteth vp his account before hee goeth out, and being abroad must fight to make himselfe way, as not knowing what place or strength to trust vnto. I will not say what I obserued in our countrey-men when the enemy offred to assaile vs here: but I wish that all England knew what terror we gaue to the same people that frighted vs, by visiting them at their owne houses.
Were not Alexanders fortunes great against the mightie Darius, onely in that his Macedonians thirsted after the wealth of Persia, and were bound to fight it out to the last man, because the last man knew no safer way to saue himselfe then by fighting? Whereas the Persians either trusting to continue stil masters of their wealth by yeelding to the Inuader, began to practise against their owne king: or hauing more inward hopes, did hide themselues euen to the last, to see what course the Conquerour would take in his Conquest. And did not the aduise of Scipio, though mightily impugned at the first, prooue very sound and honourable to his countrey? Who seeing the Romans wonderfully amazed at the neerenesse of their enemies Forces, and the losses they daily sustained by them, gaue counsell rather by way of diuersion to cary an army into Afrike, and there to assaile, then by a defensiue warre at home to remaine subiect to the common spoiles of an assailing enemie. Which being put in execution drew the enemie from the gates of Rome, and Scipio returned home with triumph: albeit his beginnings at the first were not so fortunate against them, as ours haue bene in this smal time against the Spaniard. The good successe whereof may encourage vs to take armes resolutely against him. And I beseech God it may stirre vp all men that are particularly interested therein, to bethinke themselues how small a matter will assure them of their safetie, by holding the Spaniard at a Baie, so farre off: whereas, if we giue him leaue quietly to hatch and bring foorth his preparations, it will be with danger to vs all.
He taketh not armes against vs by any pretense of title to the crowne of this realme, nor led altogether with an ambicious desire to command our countrey, but with hatred towrrds our whole Nation and religion. Her maiesties Scepter is already giuen by Bull to another, the honours of our Nobilitie are bestowed for rewards vpon his attendants, our Clergie, our Gentlemen, our Lawyers, yea all the men of what conditon soeuer are offered for spoyle vnto the common souldier. Let euery man therefore, in defence of the liberty and plentie he hath of long enjoyed, offer a voluntarie contribution of the smallest part of their store for the assurance of the rest. It were not much for euery Iustice of peace, who by his blew coat proteceth the properest and most seuiceable men at euery muster from the warres, to contribute the charge that one of these idle men doe put him to for one yeere: nor for the Lawyer, who riseth by the dissensions of his neighbours, to take but one yeeres gifts (which they call fees) out of his coffers. What would it hinder euery officer of the Exchequer, and other of her Maiesties courts, who without checks doe suddenly grow to great wealth, honestly to bring foorth the mysticall commoditie of one yeeres profits? Or the Clergie, who looke precisely for the Tenths of euery mans increase, simply to bring forth the Tenth of one yeeres gathering, and in thankfulnesse to her Maiestie (who hath continued for all our safeties a most chargeable warre both at land & sea) bestow the same for her honor & their own assurance, vpon an army which may make this bloody enemy so to know himselfe and her Maiesties power, as he shall bethinke him what it is to mooue a stirring people? Who, though they haue receiued some small checke by the sicknesse of this last iourney, yet doubt I not, but if it were knowen, that the like voyage were to bee supported by a generalitie, (that might and would beare the charge of a more ample prouision) but there would of all sortes most willingly put themselues into the same: some caried with an honourable desire to be in action, and some in loue of such would affectionately folow their fortunes; some in thirsting to reuenge the death and hurts of their brethren, kinred, and friends: and some in hope of the plentifull spoyles to be found in those countreys, hauing bene there already and returned poore, would desire to goe againe, with an expectation to make amends for the last: and all, in hatred of that cowardly proud Nation, and in contemplation of the true honour of our owne, would with courage take armes to hazard their liues agaynst them, whom euery good Englishman is in nature bound to hate as an implacable enemie to England, thirsting after our blood, and labouring to ruine our land, with hope to bring vs vnder the yoke of perpetuall slauerie.
Against them is true honour to be gotten, for that we shall no sooner set foot in their land, but that euery step we tread will yeeld vs new occasion of action, which I wish the gallantrie of our Countrey rather to regard then to folow those soft vnprofitable pleasures wherein they now consume their time and patrimonie. And in two or three townes of Spaine is the wealth of all Europe gathered together, which are the Magasins of the fruits and profits of the East and West Indies, whereunto I wish our yong able men, who (against the libertie they are borne vnto) terme themselues seruing men, rather to bend their desires and affections, then to attend their double liuerie and 40 shillings by the yeere wages, and the reuersion of the old Copy-hold, for carying a dish to their masters table. But let me here reprehend my selfe and craue pardon for entring into a matter of such state and consequence, the care whereof is already laid vpon a most graue and honorable counsell, who will in their wisdoms foresee the dangers that may be threatned agaynst vs. And why do I labour to disquiet the securitie of these happy gentlemen, and the trade of those honest seruing men, by perswading them to the warres when I see the profession thereof so slenderly esteemed? For though all our hope of peace be frustrate, and our quarels determinable by the sword: though our enemie hath by his owne forces, and his pensionaries industry, confined the united Prouinces into a narow roume, and almost disunited the same: if he be now in a good way to harbor himselfe, in the principall hauens of France, from whence he may front vs at pleasure: yea though we are to hope for nothing but a bloodie warre, nor can trust to any helpe but Armes; yet how far the common sort are from reuerencing or regarding any persons of condition, was too apparant in the returne of this our iourney, wherein the base and common souldier hath bene tollerated to speake against the Captaine, and the souldier and Captaine against the Generals, and wherein mechanicall and men of base condicion doe dare to censure the doings of them, of whose acts they are not woorthy to talke.
The ancient graue degree of the Prelacie is vpheld, though Martin raile neuer so much, and the Lawyer is after the old maner worshipped, whosoeuer inueigh against him. But the ancient English honour is taken from our men of war, and their profession in disgrace, though neuer so necessary. Either we commit idolatry to Neptune, and will put him alone stil to fight for vs as he did the last yeere, or we be inchanted with some diuelish opinions, that trauell nothing more then to diminish the reputation of them, vpon whose shoulders the burden of our defence against the enemie must lie when occasion shall be offred. For whensoeuer he shall set foote vpon our land, it is neither the preaching of the Clergie that can turne him out againe, nor the pleading of any Lawyers that can remoue him out of possession: no, then they will honour them whom now they thinke not on, and then must those men stand betweene them and their perils, who are now thought vnwoorthy of any estimation.
May the burning of one towne (which cost the king then being six times as much as this hath done her maiestie, wherein were lost seuen times as many men as in any one seruice of this iourney, and taried not the tenth part of our time in the enemies Countrey) be by our elders so highly reputed and sounded out by the historie of the Realme: and can our voyage be so meanly esteemed, wherein we burned both townes and Countreys without the losse of fortie men in any such attempt?
Did our kings in former times reward some with the greatest titles of honour for ouerthrowing a number of poore Scots, who, after one battell lost, were neuer able to reenforce themselues against him; and shall they in this time who have ouerthrowen our mightie enemie in battell, and taken his roiall Standerd in the field, besieged the marquesse of Saralba 15 dayes together, that should haue bene the Generall of the Armie against vs, brought away so much of his artillerie (as I haue before declared) be vnwoorthily esteemed of?
It is possible that some in some times should receiue their reward for looking vpon an enemie, and ours in this time not receiue so much as thanks for hauing beaten an enemie at handie strokes?
But is it true that no man shall bee a prophet in his Countrey: and for my owne part I will lay aside my Armes till that profession shal haue more reputation, and liue with my friends in the countrey, attending either some more fortunate time to vse them, or some other good occasion to make me forget them.
But what? shall the blind opinion of this monster, a beast of many heads, (for so hath the generaltie of old bene termed) cause me to neglect the profession from whence I chalenge some reputation, or diminish my loue to my countrey, which hitherto hath nourished me? No, it was for her sake I first tooke armes, and for her sake I will handle them so long as I shall be able to vse them: not regarding how some men in private conuenticles do measure mens estimations by their owne humors; nor how euery popular person doeth giue sentence on euery mans actions by the worst accidents. But attending the gracious aspect of our dread Soueraigne, who neuer yet left vertue vnrewarded: and depending vpon the iustice of her most rare and graue aduisors, who by their heedie looking into euery mans worth, do giue encouragement to the vertuous to exceed others in vertue: and assuring you that there shall neuer any thing happen more pleasing vnto me, then that I may once againe bee a partie in some honorable journey against the Spaniard in his owne countrey, I will cease my complaint: and with them that deserue beyond me, patiently endure the vnaduised censure of our malicious reproouers.
If I haue seemed in the beginning hereof troublesome vnto you, in the discouering of those impediments, and answering the slanders which by the vulgar malicious and mutinous sort are laid as blemishes vpon the iourney, and reprochse vpon the Generals (hauing indeed proceeded from other heads:) let the necessitie of conseruing the reputation of the action in generall, and the honors of our Generals in particular, bee my sufficient excuse: the one hauing by the vertue of the other made our countrey more dreaded and renowmed, then any act that euer England vndertooke before. Or if you haue thought my perswasible discourse long in the latter end; let the affectionate desire of my countreys good be therein answerable for me. And such as it is I pray you accept it, as only recommended to your selfe, and not to be deliuered to the publique view of the world, lest any man take offence thereat: which some particular men may seeme iustly to do, in that hauing deserued very well, I should not herein giue them their due considerations: whereas my purpose in this priuate discourse hath bene onely to gratifie you with a touch of those principall matters that haue passed, wherein I haue onely taken notes of those men who either commaunded euery seruice, or were of chiefest marke: if therefore you shall impart the same to one, and he to another, and so it passe through my hands, I know not what constructions would be made thereof to my preiudice; for that the Hares eares may happily be taken for hornes. Howbeit I hold it very necessary (I must confesse) that there should be some true manifestation made of these things: but be it far from me to be the author thereof, as very vnfit to deliuer my censure of any matter in publique, and most vnwilling to haue my weaknesse discouered in priuate. And so I doe leaue you to the happy successe of your accustomed good exercises, earnestly wishing that there may be some better acceptance made of the fruits of your studies, then there hath bene of our hazards in the wars. From London the 30 of August 1589.
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