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

The maner of the taking of two Spanish ships laden with quicksiluer and the Popes bulles, bound for the West Indies, by M. Thomas White in the Amity of London, 1592.

The 26 of Iuly 1592, in my returning out of Barbary in the ship called the Amity of London, being in the height of 36 degrees or thereabout, at foure of the clocke in the morning we had sight of two shippes, being distant from vs about three or foure leagues: by seuen of the clocke we fetched them vp, and were within gunshot: whose boldnesse, hauing the king of Spaines armes displayed, did make vs judge them rather ships of warre then laden with marchandise. And as it appeared by their owne speeches, they made full account to haue taken vs: it being a question among them, whether it were best to cary vs to S. Lucar, or to Lisbon. We waued ech other a maine. They hauing placed themselues in warlike order one a cables length before another, we began the fight. In the which we continued, so fast as we were able to charge and discharge, the space of fiue houres, being neuer a cables length distant either of vs from other. In which time we receiued diuers shot both in the hull of our ship, masts, and sailes, to the number of 32 great, besides 500 musket shot and harquebuzes a crocke at the least, which we tolde after the fight. And because we perceiued them to be stout, we thought good to boord the Biscaine, which was on head the other: where lying aboord about an houre, and plying our ordinance and small shot; in the end we stowed all his men. Now the other in the flieboat, thinking we had entred our men in their fellow, bare roome with vs, meaning to haue layed vs aboord, and so to haue intrapped vs betwixt them both: which we perceiuing, fitted our ordinance so for him, as we quitted our selues of him, and he boorded his fellow: by which meanes they both fell from vs. Then presently we kept our loofe, hoised our top-sailes, and weathered them, and came hard aboord the flieboat with our ordinance prepared, and gaue her our whole broad side, with the which we slew diuers of their men; so as we might see the blood run out at the scupper holes. After that we cast about, and new charged all our ordinance, and came vpon them againe, willing them to yeeld, or els we would sinke them: whereupon the one would haue yeelded, which was betweene winde and water; but the other called him traitor. Vnto whom we made answere, that if he would not yeeld presently also, we would sinke him first. Marke this othe. And thereupon he understanding our determination, presently put out a white flag, and yeelded, and yet refused to strike their own sailes, for that they were sworne neuer to strike to any Englishman. We then commanded their captaines and masters to come aboord vs; which they did. And after examination and stowing them, we sent certaine of our owne men aboord them, and strook their sailes, and manned their ships: finding in them both 126 persons liuing, and 8 dead, besides those which they themselues had cast ouerboord. So it pleased God to giue vs the victory being but 42 men and a boy, whereof 2 were killed and 3 wounded: for the which good successe we giue God the only praise. These two rich prizes laden with 1400 cheste of quicksiluer with the armes of Castile and Leon fastened vpon them, and with a great quantity of bulles or indulgences, and gilded Missals or Seruice books, with an hundred tonnes of excellent wines, we brought shortly after into the riuer of Thames vp to Blacke-wall.

By the taking of this quicksiluer, about 1400 chests, the king of Spaine loseth for euery quintall of the same a quintall of siluer that should haue beene deliuered him by the masters of the mines there, which amounteth to 600000 pounds.

More by taking of his bulles, to wit, two millions and 72 thousand for liuing and dead persons for the prouinces of Noua Hispania, Iucatan, Guatimala, the Honduras, and the Phillippinas, taxed at two reals the piece. And more for eighteene thousand bulles taxed at foure reals, amounteth all to 107700 pounds. Summa totalis 707700 li.

More there were taken ten fardels of gilt missals and breuiaries sent for the kings account.

So the hindrance that the king receiueth by the losse of his bulles and quicksiluer amounteth as is abouesaid: besides the sacking of his wines, about 100 tunnes, whereby his fleet is disappointed of a great part of their prouision.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55