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A true report of the honourable service at Sea perfourmed by Sir John Burrough Knight, Lieutenant generall of the fleet prepared by the honor. Sir Walter Ralegh Knight, Lord warden of the Stanneries of Cornwall and Devon . Wherin chiefly the Santa Clara of Biscay, a ship of 600 tunnes was taken, and the two East Indian caraks, the Santa Cruz and the Madre de Dios were forced, the one burnt, and the other taken and brought into Dartmouth the seventh of September, 1592.

SIR WALTER RALEGH upon commission received from her Majesty for an expedition to be made to the West Indies, slacked not his uttermost diligence to make full provision of all things necessary, as both in his choise of good ships, and sufficient men to performe the action evidently appeared. For his shippes which were in number 14 or 15, those two of her Majesties, the Garland & the Foresight were the chiefest; the rest either his owne or his good friends or adventurers of London. For the gentlemen his consorts and officers, to give them their right, they were so well qualited in courage, experience, & discretion, as the greatest prince might repute himselfe happy to be served with their like. The honor of Lieutenant generall was imposed upon sir John Burrough, a gentleman, for his manifold good and heroicall parts, thought every way worthy of that commandement: with whom after sir W. R. returned was joyned in commission sir Martin Frobisher, who for his speciall skill & knowledge in marine causes had formerly caried imploiments of like or greater place. The rest of the captaines, souldiers, and sailers were men of notable resolution, and for the most part such as heretofore had given to the world sufficient proofe of their valour in divers services of the like nature. With these ships thus manned sir Walter Ralegh departed towards the West countrey, there to store himselfe with such further necessaries as the state of his voyage did needfully require: where the Westerly windes blowing for a long time contrary to his course, bound and constrained him to keepe harborough so many weeks, that the fittest season for his purpose was gone, the mindes of his people much altered, his victuals consumed; and withall, her Majesty understanding how crosly all this sorted, began to call the proceeding of this preparation into question: insomuch that, whereas the sixt of May was first come before sir Walter could put to sea, the very next day sir Martin Frobisher in a pinnesse of my lord Admirals called The Disdaine, met him, and brought to him from her Majesty letters of revocation, with commandement to relinquish (for his owne part) the intended attempt, and to leave the charge and conduct of all things in the hands of sir John Burrough and sir Martin Frobisher. But sir Walter finding his honor so farre engaged in the undertaking of this voyage, as without proceeding he saw no remedy either to salve his reputation, or to content those his friends which had put in adventures of great summes with him; and making construction of the Queenes letters in such sort as if her commandement had bene propounded in indifferent termes, either to advance forward or to retire, at his owne discretion; would in no case yeeld to leave his fleet now under saile. Wherefore continuing his course into the sea, he met within a day or two, with certaine sailes lately come from Spaine: among which was a ship appertaining to Monsieur Gourdon governor of Caleis, and found aboord her one M. Nevel Davies an Englishman, who having indured a long and miserable captivity for the space of twelve yeeres, partly in the inquisition in Spaine, was now by good fortune escaped, and upon returne to his countrey. This man, among other things, reported for certaine, that there was little hope of any good this yeere to be done in the West India; considering that the king of Spaine had sent expresse order to all the ports both of the Ilands and of Terra firma, that no ship should stirre that yeere, nor any treasure be layed aboord for Spaine. But neither this unpleasant relation nor ought els could stay his proceedings, untill a tempest of strange and uncouth violence arising upon Thursday the 11 of May, when he was athwart the Cape Finister, had so scattered the greater part of the fleet, and sunke his boats and pinnesses, that as the rest were driven and severed, some this way and some that, sir Walter himselfe being in the Garland of her Majesty was in danger to be swallowed up of the Sea. Whereupon sir W. Ralegh finding that the season of the yere was too farre gone to proceed with the enterprise which he had upon Panama, having bene held on the English coast from February till May, and thereby spent three moneths victuals; and considering withall, that to lie upon the Spanish coast or at the Ilands to attend the returne of the East or West Indian fleets was rather a worke of patience then ought els: he gave directions to sir John Burgh and sir M. Frobisher to divide the fleet in two parts; sir M. with the Garland, cap. George Gifford, cap. Henry Thin, cap. Grenvile and others to lie off the South cape, thereby to amaze the Spanish fleet, and to holde them on their owne coast; while sir J. Burgh, capt. Robert Crosse, capt. Tomson, & others should attend at the Ilands for the caraks or any other Spanish ships comming from Mexico or other parts of the West Indies. Which direction tooke effect accordingly; for the king of Spaines Admirall receiving intelligence that the English fleet was come on the coast, attended to defend the South parts of Spaine, & to keepe himselfe as nere sir Mart. Frobisher as he could, to impeach him in all things which he might undertake; and thereby neglected the safeconduct of the caraks, with whom it fared as hereafter shall appeare. Before the fleet severed themselves they mette with a great Biscain on the Spanish coast called Santa Clara a ship of 600 tunnes.

The noise of the artillery on both sides being heard, immediatly they drew to their fleet; where after a reasonable hot fight, the ship was entred and mastered, which they found fraighted with all sorts of small yron-worke, as horse-shoes, nailes, plough-shares, yron barres, spikes, boults, locks, gimbols, & such like, valued by us at 6000 or 7000 li. but woorth to them treble the value. This Biscain was sailing towards S. Lucar, there to take in some further provision for the West India. This ship being first roomaged, and after sent for England, our fleet coasted along towards the Southcape of S. Vincent, and by the way, about the Rocke nere Lisbon , sir John Burrough in the Robucke spying a saile afarre off, gave her present chase; which being a flieboat and of good saile, drew him farre Southwards before he could fetch her; but at last she came under his lee and strooke saile. The master of which flieboat comming aboord him, confessed that the king indeed had prepared a great fleet in S. Lucar and Cadiz , and (as the report in Spaine was currant) for the West Indies. But in deed the Spanish king had provided this fleet upon this counsel. He received intelligence, that sir Walter Ralegh was to put out strong for the West India: to impeach him, and to ranconter his force he appointed this fleet; although looking for the arrivall of his East Indian caraks, he first ordained those ships to waft them from the Acores . But perswading himseife, that if the fleet of sir Walter Ralegh did go for the West India, then the Ilands should have none to infest them but small men of warre, which the caraks of themselves would be well able to match; his order was to Don Alonso de Bacan brother to the Marques of Santa Cruz, and Generall of his armada, to pursue sir Walters fleet, and to confront him, what course soever he held. And that this was true, our men in short time by proofe understood: for sir John Burrough, not long after the taking of his last prize the flieboat, as he sailed backe againe towards the rest of his company, discovered the Spanish fleet to sea-ward of him: which having likewise espied him betwixt them and the shore, made full account to bring him safe into Spanish harbour; and therefore spred themselves in such sort before him, that indeed his danger was very great: for both the liberty of the sea was brought into a narrow straight, and the shore being enemy could give him no comfort of reliefe: so that trusting to Gods helpe onely and his good saile, he thrust out from among them in spight of all their force, and to the notable illusion of all their cunning, which they shewed to the uttermost, in laying the way for his apprehension. But now sir John Burrough having happily escaped their clouches, finding the coast guarded by this fleet, and knowing it was but folly to expect a meeting there with sir Martin Frobisher (who understanding of this armada aswell as himselfe, would be sure not to come that way) beganne to shape his course to the Acores according to sir W. Raleghs direction, and came in sight of S. Michael, running so neere by Villa Franca, that he might easily discerne the shippes lying there at anker. Divers small caravels both here and betweene S. Georges and the Pike in his course toward Flores he intercepted; of which no great intelligence for his affaires could be understood. Arriving before Flores upon Thursday the 21 of June, towards evening, accompanied onely with captaine Caufield and the Master of his shippe, the rest not being yet arrived, he made towards the shore with his boat, finding all the people of Santa Cruz, a village of that Iland, in armes, fearing their landing, and ready marshalled to defend their towne from spoile. Sir John contrariwise made signes of amity unto them by advancing a white flagge, a common token of peace, which was answered againe of them with the like: whereupon ensued entercourses of good friendship; and pledges were taken on both sides, the captaine of the towne for them, and captaine Caufield for ours: so that whatsoever our men wanted, which that place could supply either in fresh water, victuals, or the like, was very willingly granted by the inhabitants: and good leave had they to refresh themselves on shore as much and as oft as they would without restraint. At this Santa Cruz sir John Burrough was informed, that indeed there was among them no expectation of any fleet to come from the West, but from the East, that no longer since then three dayes before his arrivall a carak was passed by for Lisbon , and that there were foure caraks more behinde, of one consort. Sir John being very glad of this newes, stayed no longer on shore, but presently imbarqued himselfe, having onely in company a small barke of threescore tunnes belonging to one M. Hopkins of Bristoll. In the meane while that these things thus passed at Flores, part of the rest of the English fleet, which sir John Burrough had left upon the coast of Spaine, drew also towards the Acores : and whereas he quickly at sea had discovered one of the caraks, the same evening he might descry two or three of the Earle of Cumberlands ships (whereof one M. Norton was captaine) which having in like sort kenned the carak, pursued her by that course which they saw her to runne towards the Ilands. But on no side was there any way made by reason of a great calme which yeelded no breath to spread a saile. Insomuch that fitly to discover her what she was, of what burthen, force, and countenance, sir John Burrough tooke his boat, and rowed the space of three miles, to make her exactly: and being returned, he consulted with the better sort of the company then present, upon the boording her in the morning. But a very mighty storme arising in the night, the extremity thereof forced them all to wey ankers, yet their care was such in wrestling with the weather not to lose the carak, that in the morning, the tempest being qualified, and our men bearing againe with the shore, they might perceive the carak very neere the land, and the Portugals confusedly carrying on shore such things as they could any maner of way convey out of her; and seeing the haste our men made to come upon them, forsooke her: but first, that nothing might be left commodious to our men, set fire to that which they could not cary with them, intending by that meanes wholly to consume her; that neither glory of victory nor benefit of shippe might remaine to ours. And least the approch and industry of the English should bring meanes to extinguish the flame, thereby to preserve the residue of that which the fire had not destroyed; being foure hundred of them in number and well armed, they intrenched themselves on land so neere to the carak, that she being by their forces protected, and our men kept aloofe off, the fire might continue to the consumption of the whole. This being noted by sir John Burrough he soone provided a present remedy for this mischiefe. For landing one hundred of his men, whereof many did swim and wade more then brest high to shore, and easily scattering those that presented themselves to guard the coast, he no sooner drew toward their new trenches, but they fled immediatly, leaving as much as the fire had spared to be the reward of our mens paines. Here was taken among others one Vincent Fonseca a Portugall, Purser of the carak, with two others, one an Almaine and the second a Low-dutchman, canoniers: who refusing to make any voluntary report of those things which were demanded of them, had the torture threatened, the feare whereof at the last wrested from them this intelligence, that within fifteene dayes three other greater caraks then that lately fired would arrive at the same Iland: and that being five caraks in the fleet at their departure from Goa, to wit, the Buen Jesus admirall, the Madre de Dios, the S. Bernardo, the S. Christophoro, and the S. Cruz, (whose fortune you have already heard) they had received speciall commandement from the king not to touch in any case at the Iland of S. Helena, where the Portugall caraks in their returne from the East India were alwayes till now woont to arrive to refresh themselves with water and victuals. And the kings reason was; because of the English men of warre, who (as he was informed) lay there in wait to intercept them. If therefore their necessity of water should drive them to seeke supply any where, he appointed them Angola in the maine of Africa , with order there to stay onely the taking in of water to avoid the inconvenice of infections, wherunto that hot latitude is dangerously subject. The last rendevous for them all was the Iland of Flores, where the king assured them not to misse of his armada thither sent of purpose for their wafting to Lisbon . Upon this information sir John drew to counsel, meeting there captaine Norton , captaine Dounton, captaine Abraham Cocke, captaines of three ships of the Earle of Cumberland, M. Tomson of Harwich cap. of the Dainty of sir John Haukins, one of sir W. Raleghs fleet, and M. Christopher Newport cap. of the Golden dragon newly returned from the West India, and others. These being assembled, he communicated with them what he had understood of the foresaid examinates, and what great presumptions of trueth their relation did cary: wishing that forasmuch as God & good fortune had brought them together in so good a season, they would shew the uttermost of their indevors to bring these Easterlings under the lee of the English obedience. Hereupon a present accord on all sides followed not to part company or leave of those seas till time should present cause to put their consultations in execution. The next day her Majesties good ship the Foresight commanded by sir Rob. Crosse came in to the rest: and he likewise informed of the matter was soone drawen into this service. Thus sir John with al these ships departing thence 6 or 7 leagues to the West of Flores, they spread themselves abroad from the North to the South, ech ship two leagues at the least distant from another. By which order of extension they were able to discover the space of two whole degrees at sea. In this sort they lay from the 29 of June to the third of August, what time cap. Thomson in the Dainty had first sight of the huge carak called the Madre de Dios, one of the greatest receit belonging to the crowne of Portugall. The Dainty being of excellent saile got the start of the rest of our fleet, and began the conflict somewhat to her cost, with the slaughter and hurt of divers of her men. Within a while after, sir John Burrough in the Robucke of sir W. Raleghs, was at hand to second her, who saluted her with shot of great ordinance, and continued the fight within musket shot assisted by cap. Tomson and cap. Newport till sir R. Crosse viceadmirall of the fleet came up being to leeward, at whose arrival sir J. Burgh demanded of him what was best to be done, who answered, that if the carak were not boorded she would recover the shore and fire herselfe as the other had done. Wherupon sir J. Burgh concluded to intangle her; and sir R. Crosse promised also to fasten himselfe to her together at the instant; which was performed: but after a while sir John Burgh receiving a shot with a canon perier under water, and ready to sinke, desired sir R. C. to fall off, that he might also cleere himselfe, and save his ship from sinking, which with difficulty he did: for both the Roebucke and the Foresight were so intangled, as with much adoe could they cleere themselves.

The same evening sir R. Crosse finding the carak then sure & drawing nere the Iland perswaded his company to boord her againe, or els there was no hope to recover her: who after many excuses & feares, were by him incouraged, and so fell athwart her foreships all alone; and so hindered her sailing that the rest had time to come up to his succour, & to recover the carak yer she recovered the land: and so toward the evening after he had fought with her alone three houres single, my lord of Cumberlands two ships came up, & with very litle losse entred with sir R. Crosse, who had in that time broken their courages, and made the assault easie for the rest.

The generall having disarmed the Portugals, and stowed them for better security on all sides, first had presented to his eyes the true proportion of the vast body of this carak, which did then and may still justly provoke the admiration of all men not formerly acquainted with such a sight. But albeit this first apparance of the hugenesse thereof yeelded sights enough to entertaine our mens eyes; yet the pitifull object of so many bodies slaine and dismembred could not but draw ech mans eye to see, and heart to lament, and hands to helpe those miserable people, whose limnes were so torne with the violence of shot, and paine made grievous with the multitude of woundes. No man could almost steppe but upon a dead carkase or a bloody floore, but specially about the helme, where very many of them fell suddenly from stirring to dying. For the greatnesse of the stirrage requiring the labour of twelve or foureteene men at once, and some of our shippes beating her in at the sterne with their ordinance often times with one shot slew foure or five labouring on either side of the helme; whose roomes being still furnished with fresh supplies, and our artillery still playing upon them with continuall volleys, it could not be but that much bloud should be shed in that place. Whereupon our Generall moved with singular commiseration of their misery, sent them his owne chyrurgions, denying them no possible helpe or reliefe that he or any of his company could affoord them. Among the rest of those, whose state this chance had made very deplorable, was Don Fernando de Mendoca Grand captaine and Commander of this Carake: who indeed was descended of the house of Mendoca in Spaine; but being married into Portugall, lived there as one of that nation; a gentleman well stricken in yeeres, well spoken, of comely personage, of good stature, but of hard fortune. In his severall services against the Moores he was twise taken prisoner, and both times ransomed by the king. In a former voyage of returne from the East India he was driven upon the Baxos or sands of Juda nere the coast of Cephala, being then also captaine of a caracke which was there lost, and himself, though escaping the seadanger, yet fell into the hands of infidels on land; who kept him under long and grievous servitude. Once more the king carying a loving respect to the man, and desirous to better his condition, was content to let him try his fortune in this Easterly navigation, and committed unto him the conduct of this caracke, wherein he went from Lisbon Generall of the whole fleet, and in that degree had returned, if the Vice-rey of Goa embarked for Portugall in the Bon Jesus had not, by reason of his late office, bene preferred. Sir John intending not to adde too much affliction to the afflicted, mooved with pity and compassion of humane misery, in the end resolved freely to dismisse this captaine & the most part of his followers to their owne countrey, and for the same purpose bestowed them in certaine vessels furnished with all kindes of necessary provision. This businesse thus dispatched, good leasure had he to take such view of the goods as conveniency might affoord. And having very prudently (to cut off the unprofitable spoile & pillage whereunto he saw the minds of many inclined) seised upon the whole to her Majesties use, after a short & slender romaging & searching of such things as first came to hand, he perceived that ye wealth would arise nothing disanswerable to expectation; but that the variety and grandure of all rich commodities would be more then sufficient to content both the adventurers desire & the souldiers travell. And here I cannot but enter into the consideration and acknowledgement of Gods great favor towards our nation, who by putting this purchase into our hands hath manifestly discovered those secret trades & Indian riches, which hitherto lay strangely hidden, and cunningly concealed from us; whereof there was among some few of us some small and unperfect glimse onely, which now is turned into the broad light of full and perfect knowledge. Whereby it should seeme that the will of God for our good is (if our weaknesse could apprehend it) to have us communicate with them in those East Indian treasures, & by the erection of a lawfull traffike to better our meanes to advance true religion and his holy service. The caracke being in burden by the estimation of the wise and experienced no lesse then 1600 tunnes had full 900 of those stowed with the grosse bulke of marchandise, the rest of the tunnage being allowed, partly to the ordinance which were 32 pieces of brasse of all sorts, partly to the passengers and the victuals, which could not be any small quantity, considering the number of the persons betwixt 600 and 700, and the length of the navigation. To give you a taste (as it were) of the commodities, it shall suffice to deliver you a generall particularity of them, according to the catalogue taken at Leaden hall the 15 of September 1592. Where upon good view it was found, that the principall wares after the jewels (which were no doubt of great value, though they never came to light) consisted of spices, drugges, silks, calicos, quilts, carpets and colours, &c. The spices were pepper, cloves, maces, nutmegs, cinamom, greene ginger: the drugs were benjamim, frankincense, galingale, mirabolans, aloes zocotrina, camphire: the silks, damasks, taffatas, sarcenets, altobassos, that is, counterfeit cloth of gold, unwrought China silke, sleaved silke, white twisted sike, curled cypresse. The calicos were book-calicos, calico launes, broad white calicos, fine starched calicos, course white calicos, browne broad calicos, browne course calicos. There were also canopies, and course diapertowels, quilts of course sarcenet and of calico, carpets like those of Turky; wherunto are to be added the pearle, muske, civet, and amber-griece. The rest of the wares were many in number, but lesse in value; as elephants teeth, porcellan vessels of China , coco-nuts, hides, ebenwood as blacke as jet, bedsteds of the same, cloth of the rindes of trees very strange for the matter, and artificiall in workemanship. All which piles of commodities being by men of approved judgement rated but in reasonable sort amounted to no lesse then 150000 li. sterling, which being divided among the adventurers (whereof her Majesty was the chiefe) was sufficient to yeeld contentment to all parties. The cargazon being taken out, and the goods fraighted in tenne of our ships sent for London, to the end that the bignesse, heigth, length, bredth, and other dimensions of so huge a vessell might by the exact rules of Geometricall observations be truly taken, both for present knowledge, and derivation also of the same unto posterity, one M. Robert Adams, a man in his faculty of excellent skill, omitted nothing in the description, which either his arte could demonstrate, or any mans judgement thinke woorthy the memory. After an exquisite survey of the whole frame he found the length from the beak-head to the sterne (whereupon was erected a lanterne) to containe 165 foote. The breadth in the second close decke whereof she had three, this being the place where there was most extension of bredth, was 46 foot and 10 inches. She drew in water 31 foot at her departure from Cochin in India, but not above 26 at her arrivall in Dartmouth , being lightened in her voyage by divers meanes, some 5 foote. She caried in height 7 severall stories, one maine Orlop, three close decks, one fore-castle, and a spar-decke of two floores a piece. The length of the keele was 100 foote, of the maine-mast 121 foot, and the circuite about at the partners 10 foote 7 inches, the maine-yard was 106 foote long. By which perfect commensuration of the parts appeareth the hugenesse of the whole, farre beyond the mould of the biggest shipping used among us either for warre or receit.

Don Alonso de Bacan having a great Fleet and suffer ing these two caraks, the Santa Cruz to be burnt, and the Madre de Dios to be taken, was disgraced by his prince for this negligence.

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