In the latter ende of the yeere 1593. the right honourable Erle of Cumberland, at his owne charges and his friends, prepared 3 ships, all at equall rate, and either of them had like quantitie of victuals, and like numbers of men, there being embarked in all 3 ships 420 men of al sorts. Besides these three ships there was a pinnas called the Violet, or the Why not I. The Roial Exchange went as Admirall, wherein M. George Caue was captaine. The May-flower Viceadmirall vnder the conduct of William Anthonie: and the Sampson, the charge whereof it pleased his honour to commit vnto me Nicholas Dounton. Our directions were sent vs to Plimmouth, and we were to open them at sea.
The sixt of Aprill 1594 we set sayle in the sound of Plimmouth, directing our course toward the coast of Spaine.
The 24 of the sayd moneth at the Admirals direction wee diuided our selues East and West from ech other, being then in the heigth of 43 degrees, with commaundement at night to come together againe.
The 27 day in the morning we descried the May-flower and the litle Pinnasse with a Prise that they had taken, being of Viana in Portugall, and bound for Angola in Africa. This Barke was of 28 tunnes, hauing some 17 persons in the same. Commodities fit for Angola. There were in her some 12 Buts of Galicia wine, whereof we tooke into euery shippe a like part, with some Ruske in chests and barrels, with 5 buts of blew course cloth, and certaine course linnen-cloth for Negros shirts, which goods were diuided among our fleet.
The 4 of May we had sight of our Pinnasse, and the Admirals Shallop which had taken three Portugall Carauels, whereof they had sent two away and kept the third.
The second of Iune we had sight of S. Michael. The third day in the morning we sent our small pinnasse, which was of some 24 tunnes, with the small Carauell which we had taken at the Burlings to range the road of all the Ilands, to see if they could get any thing in the same: appointing them to meet vs W. S. W. 12 leagues from Faiall. Their going from vs was to no purpose. They missed comming to vs when we appointed, as also we missed them, when we had great cause to haue vsed them.
The 13 of Iune we met with a mightie Carack of the East. Indies, called Las cinque Llagas, or The fiue wounds. The May-flower was in fight with her before night. I, in the Sampson, fetched her vp in the euening, and as I commanded to giue her the broad side, as we terme it, while I stood very heedefully prying to discouer her strength: and where I might giue counsel to boord her in the night when the Admirall came vp to vs, and as I remember at the very first shot she discharged at vs, I was shot in a litle aboue the belly, whereby I was made vnseruiceable for a good while after, without touching any other for that night. Yet by meanes of an honest truehearted man which I had with me, one captaine Grant, nothing was neglected: vntill midnight when the Admirall came vp, the May-flower, and the Sampson neuer left by turnes to ply her with their great ordinance; but then captaine Caue wished vs to stay till morning, at what time each one of vs should giue her three bouts with our great ordinance, and so clap her aboord: but indeed it was long lingered in the morning vntil 10 of the clocke before wee attempted to boord her. The Admirall laid her a boord in the mid ship: the May-flower comming vp in the quarter, as it should seeme, to lie at the sterne of the Admirall on the larboord-side. The captaine of the sayd May-flower was slaine at the first comming vp: whereby the ship fell to the sterne of the out-licar of the Carack, which (being a piece of timber) so wounded her foresaile, that they sayd they could come no more to fight, I am sure they did not, but kept aloofe from vs. The Sampson went aboord on the bow, but hauing not rome enough, our quarter lay on the Exchanges bow, and our bowe on the Caracks bowe. The Exchange also at the first comming had her captaine M. Caue shot into both the legs, the one whereof he neuer recouered, so he for that present was not able to doe his office, and in his absence he had not any that would vndertake to lead out his company to enter vpon the enemie. My friend captaine Grant did lead my men on the Caracks side, which being not manfully backed by the Exchanges men, his forces being smal, made the enemie bolder than he would haue bene, whereby I had sixe men presently slaine and many more hurt, which made them that remained vnhurt to returne aboord, and would neuer more giue the assault. I say not but some of the Exchanges men did very well, and many more (no doubt) would haue done the like, if there had bene any principall man to haue put them forward, and to haue brought all the company to the fight, and not to haue run into corners themselues. But I must needs say, that their ship was as well prouided for defence, as any that I haue seene. And the Portugals peraduenture encouraged by our slacke working, plaied the men and had Barricados made, where they might stand without any danger of our shot. They plied vs also very much with fire, so that most of our men were burnt in some place or other: and while our men were putting out of the fire, they would euer be plying them with small shot or darts. This vnusuall casting of fire did much dismay many of our men and made them draw backe as they did. When we had not men to enter, we plied our great ordinance much at them as high vp as they might be mounted, for otherwise we did them little harme, and by shooting a piece out of our forecastle being close by her, we fired a mat on her beak head, which more and more kindled, and ran from thence to the mat on the bow-sprit, and from the mat vp to the wood of the bow-sprit, and thence to the top saile yard, which fire made the Portugals abaft in the ship to stagger, and to make shew of parle. But they that had the charge before encouraged them, making shew, that it might easily be put out, and that it was nothing. Whereupon againe they stood stifly to their defence. Anone the fire grew so strong, that I saw it beyond all helpe, although she had bene already yeelded to vs. Then we desired to be off from her, but had little hope to obtaine our desire; neuerthelesse we plied water very much to keep our ship well. Indeed I made little other reckoning for the ship, my selfe, and diuers hurt men, then to haue ended there with the Carak, but most of our people might haue saved themselues in boats. And when my care was most, by Gods prouidence onely, by the burning asunder of our spritsaile-yard with ropes and saile, and the ropes about the spritsaile-yarde of the Carack, whereby we were fast intangled, we fell apart, with burning of some of our sailes which we had then on boord. The Exchange also being farther from the fire, afterward was more easily cleared, and fell off from abaft And as soone as God had put vs out of danger, the fire got into the fore-castle, where, I think, was store of Beniamin, and such other like combustible matter, for it flamed and ran ouer all the Carack at an instant in a maner. The Portugals lept ouer-boord in great numbers. Then sent I captaine Grant with the boat, with leaue to vse his owne discretion in sauing of them. So he brought me aboord two gentlemen, the one an old man called Nuno Velio Pereira, which (as appeareth by the 4 chapter in the first booke of the woorthy history of Huighen de Linschoten) was gouernour of Moçambique and Cefala, in the yeere 1582. and since that time had bene likewise a gouernour in a place of importance in the East Indies. And the shippe wherein he was comming home was cast away a little to the East of the Cape of Buona Speranza, and from thence be traueiled ouer-land to Moçambique, and came as a passenger in this Carack. The other was called Bras Carrero, and was captaine of a Carack which was cast away neere Moçambique, and came likewise in this ship for a passenger. Also three men of the inferior sort we saued in our boat, onely these two we clothed and brought into England. The rest which were taken vp by the other ship boats, we set all on shore in the Ile of Flores, except some two or three Negros, whereof one was borne in Moçambique, and another in the East Indies. This fight was open off the Sound between Faial and Pico 6 leagues to the Southward. The people which we saued told vs that the cause why they would not yeeld, was, because this Carack was for the king, and that she had all the goods belonging to the king in the countrey for that yeere in her, and that the captaine of her was in fauor with the king, and at his returne into the Indies should haue bene Viceroy there. And withall this ship was nothing at all pestered neither within boord nor without, and was more like a ship of warre then otherwise: moreouer she had the ordinance of a Carak that was cast away at Moçambique, and the company of her, together with the company of another Carack that was cast away a little to the Eastwards of the Cape of Buona Speranza. Yet through sicknesse which they caught at Angola, where they watered, they say, they had not now aboue 150 white men, but Negros a great many. They likewise affirmed that they had three noblemen and three ladies in her, but we found them to differ in most of their talke. All this day and all the night she burned, but the next morning her poulder which was lowest being 60 barrels blew her abroad, so that most of the ship did swim in parts aboue the water. Some of them say, that she was bigger then the Madre de Dios, and some, that she was lesse: but she was much vndermastered, and vndersailed, yet she went well for a ship that was so foule. The shot which wee made at her in great Ordinance before we layde her aboord might be at seuen bouts which we had, and sixe or 7 shot at a bout, one with another, some 49 shot: the time we lay aboord might be two houres. The shot which we discharged aboord the Carack might be some twentie Sacars. And thus much may suffice concerning our daungerous conflict with that vnfortunate Carack.
The last of Iune after long traversing of the seas we had sight of another mightie Carack which diuerse of our company at the first tooke to be the great S. Philip the Admiral of Spaine, but the next day being the first of Iuly fetching her vp we perceiued her indeede to be a Carack, which after some few shot bestowed vpon her we summoned to yeeld; but they standing stoutly to their defence vtterly refused the same. Wherefore seeing no good could be done without boording her I consulted what course we should take in the boording. But by reason that wee which were the chiefe captaines were partly slaine and partly wounded in the former conflict, and because of the murmuring of some disordered and cowardly companions, our valiant and resolute determinations were crossed: and to conclude a long discourse in few words, the Carack escaped our hands. After this attending about Coruo and Flores for some West Indian purchase, and being disappointed of our expectation, and victuals growing short, we returned for England, where I arriued at Portesmouth the 28 of August.
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55