The Editor takes this opportunity of making grateful acknowledgements to the Marquis of Stafford, for his permission to print this Tract from his curious Manuscript; and to the Reverend H. J. Todd, for furnishing him with the accurate transcript from which it is printed.
The first and greatest occasion let slip in our Voyage was, that we did not possess ourselues of the fleete that was bound for the Indies, the lading whereof would not onelie haue paid all charges of the iorneie, but haue enabled vs a great while to wage warre with Spaine, with the meanes of Spaine. To which I aunswere, that if either I had ben followed the first morning of our comminge before the harbor when I bare with it, or if we had entred the same Sundaie in the afternoone when we were vnder saile, and within cannon shot of the enemies fleete, or after the men of warre were taken and burnt, the nexte daie if anie shipping had gone vp as I vrged by mine owne speech sent by Sir Anthonie Ashlie, who being secretaire at wars was to record euerie mans seruice or omission; if anie of these had ben don, then I saie had that fleete ben easilie possessed. For the first morning they had neither their men aboard, as it was since confessed by our prisoners, nor were provided of any counsel what to doe. In the afternoone the same daie we had found the men of warre and the Marchaunts fleet altogether in one bodie, and engaged them both at once, so as at the same time we had defeated the one, we had possessed the other. And the next daie presentlie vpon the fight and victorie against the Kings shipps, we had found them all so amazed and confounded as they would haue thought of nothing but of sauing themselues, and we had taken the ships, the riches in them, and the fleet of gallies, without striking a blow; as both our prisoners and captaines out of the gallies haue assured vs. But the first morninge when I boare with the harbor, almost all the fleet came to an ancker by the point Saint Sebastian a league wide of me, and gaue the enemie leasure to send men and all necessaries aboard. When I was gon in, I could neither get my companion to waigh his anckor, nor most of those that were waied to goe in with me. And the next daie I had much a do to make our ships fight at all. And when God had giuen vs victorie, my perswasions nor protestations could make them that were sea-commaunders go or send vp to possess the fleet of the Indies, whiles we assailed the towne, so as the enemie had almost 48. howers to burne his owne shipps.
The second imputation that maie be laid to vs, was, that we did abandon Cales, when we were possesst of it, whereas the holding of it would haue ben a naile not in the foote of this great monarch but in his side, and haue serued for a diversion of all the wars in these parts. To which I aunswere, that some of our sea-commaunders, and especiallie my colleague, did not onelie oppose themselues to that designe, (whose oppositions mine instructions made an absolute barre,) but when we came to see how the forces that should be left there might be victualed till succours came, the victualls were for the most part hidden and embeazled, and euery ship began at that instant to feare their wants, and to talke of goeing home; soe as I should neither haue had one ship to staie at Cales, nor victualls for the garrison for 2. moneths. And therefore I was forced to leaue Cales, and did not choose to abandon it.
The third obiection we haue to aunswere is, whie we did not lie for the carricks and Indian ships, seing we were on the coast the verie time that is thought fittest for their intercepting and vsual of their retourne. In which I must first cite the testimonie of all our commanders by land and sea, that when we had in our retourne from Cales doubled the Cape St. Vincent comonlie called the South Cape, I vrged our going to th’ Islands of Ozores, founding my selfe vpon these reasons: first, that it was more certaine to attend them at the land-fall where theie must needs touch, then to seeke them in the wide sea; and next, that the aduises sent out of Spaine and Portingall since our being of myght meete them at the Islands, and make them divert from coming thither. Besides, the Spaniards after theie saw vs engaged at Cales would neuer suspect or dreame of our goeing to the Islands. And when this counsell was reiected, and we come in the sight of Lisbon, I there againe pressed the lieing for them with a selected fleet, and offered vpon that condition to send home the land-forces, and all such ships as want of victualls, leaks sickness, or anie thing els had made vnfit to staie out at sea. But first the L. Admirall and Sr. Wa[l]ter Rawligh did directlie by attestation vnder their hands contradict the first proposition that I made, that some ships should attend that seruice. And when we came to the hypothesis, which were fitt and their captaines content to staie out in all the fleet, except the Low Countrie Squadron, there could be found but two, my L. Thom. Howard and my selfe; so as by the whole counsell at wars, it was resolued that as well my offer and opinion, as euerie mans els amongst vs, should be kept vnder his hand, for our particuler discharges, and I be barred of staieing, except my L. Admirall would assent to leaue some 8. or 10. of the Marchaunts ships besides 2. of the Queenes: which he refused to doe: and soe our dessigne brake of.
The last omission maie seeme to be in this, that since all our seruice consisted in taking or distroyinge the Spanish shipping and sea prouisions, that we did not looke into all his chiefe ports, and do him in that kind as much hurt as we might haue done. To which I aunswere, that first my end in going to Cales was not onlie because it was a principall port and the likeliest to be held by vs, by cause of the seat and naturall strength of it; but also for that it was the farthest good porte south-ward; so as beginning with it we might, if some greater seruice did not diuert vs, goe to all the good ports betwixt that and the northmost ports of Biskaie: which was a better waie then to haue begonne or giuen the enemie an alarum in the middest of his Countrie, or the neerest ports to vs; for so our attempts would haue ben more difficile, and our retreats at last from those farthest ports less safe; considering the wants, infections, and other inconveniences that for the most parte doe accompanie the retraicts of our fleet and armies in long iourneies. But after we had ended at Cales, it was by all our seamen thought a capitall offence to name the goeing ouer the Barre at St. Lucars. Betwixt St Lucars and Lisbone there is no good porte. From Lisbone I was barred by name, if it had bene free for vs to haue gone. Yet our seamen are made of the same stuffe, Sr. Francis D: and his companie was, when theie lost the occasion of his taking Lisbone, for feare of passing by the castle of St. Iulian’s. From Lisbone to the Groine there is no port to hold the Kings or anie other great shipping. To the Groin with cart-ropes I drew them: for both I vowed and protested against their refusall, and parted companie with them when they offered to hold another course. But when we came to the mouth of the harbor, and sent in some of our small vessells, we saw there was nothing there, nor yet at Furroll; for into that port also we made our discouveries to looke.
After which discouverie we held our last counsell. And then I vrged our goeing to St. Audica, the passage St. Sebastian, and all other good ports all along the coast. But mine associat did altogether refuse to goe farther alonge the coaste, complaininge of wants, and obiecting our being embayed, and I know not what. In which opinion Sir Walter Rawlighe strengthened him; and theie were both desirous to take vpon them the honnor of breaking that dessigne. And of landing at the Groyne, or attempting the towne, theie would not heare by anie meanes. And presentlie euery man cried to set saile homewards. Since which time theie haue made such haste, as I, tarieing behind to bring along with me the St. Andrew taken at Cales and the flie boate that carries our artillarie haue lost them all, sauing Monsieur Oauerworme and his squadron, and some few small shipps.
[These “Omissions” were not included in the early editions, but appeared in Woodfall’s edition of 1812].
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Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:09