But while wee were yet there, it happened one day, that our watch called the Centinell, upon the Churchsteeple, had discovered in the Sea a couple of small Barkes or Boates, making in with the Harbour of Cartagena, whereupon Captaine Moone and Captaine Varney, with John Grant the Master of the Tyger, and some other Seamen, embarked themselves in a couple of small Pinnesses, to take them before they should come nigh the shore, at the mouth of the Harbour, lest by some stragling Spanyardes from the Lande, they might bee warned by signes from comming in: which fell out accordingly, notwithstanding all the diligence that our men could use: for the Spanish Boates, upon the sight of our Pinnesses comming towardes them, ranne themselves ashore, and so their men presently hidde themselves in bushes hard by the Sea side, amongst some others that had called them by signes thither. Our men presently without any due regard had to the qualitie of the place, and seeing no man of the Spanyards to shew themselves, aboorded the Spanish Barkes or Boates, and so standing all open in them, were suddenly shotte at by a troope of Spanyardes out of the bushes: by which volley of shotte there were slaine Captaine Varney, which dyed presently, and Captaine Moone, who dyed some fewe dayes after, besides some foure or five others that were hurt: and so our folkes returned without their purpose, not having any sufficient number of souldiers with them to fight on shore. For those men they caryed were all Mariners to rowe, few of them armed, because they made account with their ordinance to have taken the Barkes well enough at sea, which they might full easily have done, without any losse at all, if they had come in time to the harbour mouth, before the Spaniards boates had gotten so neere the shore. During our abode in this place, as also at S. Domingo, there passed divers courtesies betweene us and the Spaniards, as feasting, and using them with all kindnesse and favour: so as amongst others there came to see the Generall, the Governour of Cartagena, with the Bishop of the same, and divers other Gentlemen of the better sort. This towne of Cartagena we touched in the out parts, & consumed much with fire, as we had done S. Domingo upon discontentments, and for want of agreeing with us in their first treaties touching their ransome, which at the last was concluded between us, should be 100. and 10000. Ducats for that which was yet standing, the Ducat valued at five shillings sixe pence sterling. This towne though not halfe so bigge as S. Domingo, gives as you see, a farre greater ransome, being in very deede of farre more importance, by reason of the excellencie of the Harbour, and the situation thereof, to serve the trade of Nombre de Dios and other places, and is inhabited with farre more richer Merchants. The other is chiefly inhabited with Lawyers and brave Gentlemen, being the chiefe or highest appeale of their suites in law of all the Islands about it, and of the maine land coast next unto it. And it is of no such accompt as Cartagena , for these and some other like reasons, which I could give you, over long to be now written. The warning which this towne received of our comming towards them from S. Domingo, by the space of twentie dayes before our arrivall here, was cause that they had both fortified and every way prepared for their best defence. As also that they had caried and conveyed away all their treasure and principall substance. The ransome of an hundred & ten thousand Ducats thus concluded on, as is aforesaid, the same being written, and expressing for nothing more then the towne of Cartagena , upon the payment of the sayd ransome, we left the said towne, and drewe some part of our souldiers into the Priorie or Abbey, standing a quarter of an English mile belowe the towne upon the harbour waterside, the same being walled with a wall of stone, which we told the Spaniards was yet ours, and not redeemed by their composition: whereupon they finding the defect of their contract, were contented to enter into another ransome for all places, but specially for the sayde house, as also the Blockehouse or Castle, which is upon the mouth of the inner harbour. And when wee asked as much for the one as for the other, they yeelded to give a thousand Crownes for the Abbey, leaving us to take our pleasure upon the Blockehouse, which they sayd they were not able to ransome, having stretched themselves to the uttermost of their powers: and therefore the sayd Blockehouse was by us undermined, and so with gunne powder blowen up in pieces. While this latter contract was in making, our whole Fleete of ships fell downe towards the harbour mouth, where they anchored the third time, and imployed their men in fetching of fresh water aboord the ships for our voyage homewards, which water was had in a great well, that is in the Island by the harbour mouth: which Island is a very pleasant place as hath bene seene, having in it many sorts of goodly and very pleasant fruites, as the Orenge trees and others, being set orderly in walkes of great length together. Insomuch as the whole Island being some two or three miles about, is cast into grounds of gardening and orchards. After sixe weekes abode in this place, we put to sea the last of March, where after two or three dayes a great ship which we had taken at S. Domingo, and thereupon was called The new yeeres gift, fell into a great leake, being laden with ordinance, hides, and other spoyles, and in the night she lost the company of our Fleete; which being missed the next morning by the Generall, hee cast about with the whole Fleete, fearing some great mischance to bee happened unto her, as in very deede it so fell out: for her leake was so great, that her men were all tyred with pumping. But at the last having found her & the Bark Talbot in her company, which stayed by great hap with her, they were ready to take their men out of her, for the saving of them. And so the Generall being fully advertised of their great extremitie, made saile directly backe againe to Cartagena with the whole Fleete, where having staied eight or ten dayes more, about the unlading of this ship, and the bestowing thereof and her men into other Ships, we departed once againe to Sea, directing our course towards the Cape S. Antony, being the Westermost part of Cuba , where wee arrived the seven and twentieth of April. But because fresh water could not presently be found, we weyed anchor, and departed, thinking in few dayes to recover the Matancas, a place to the Eastward of Havana. After wee had sailed some fourteen dayes, wee were brought to Cape S. Anthony againe, through lacke of favourable wind: but then our scarcity was growen such, as neede made us looke a litle better for water, which we found in sufficient quantitie, being indeede, as I judge, none other then raine water newly fallen, and gathered up by making pits in a plot of marrish ground, some three hundred pases from the sea side. I doe wrong if I should forget the good example of the Generall at this place, who to encourage others, and to hasten the getting of fresh water aboord the ships, tooke no lesse paine himselfe then the meanest; as also at S. Domingo, Cartagena , and all other places, having alwayes so vigilant a care and foresight in the good ordering of his Fleete, accompanying them, as it is sayde, with such wonderfull travell of body, as doubtlesse had he bene the meanest person, as hee was the chiefest, he had yet deserved the first place of honour: and no lesse happy doe we account him, for being associated with Master Carliel his Lieutenant generall, by whose experience, prudent counsell, and gallant performance he atchieved so many and happy enterprises of the warre, by whom also he was very greatly assisted, in setting downe the needfull orders, lawes, and course of justice, and the due administration of the same upon all occasions. After three dayes spent in watering our Ships, wee departed now the second time from this Cape of S. Anthony the thirteenth of May, and proceeding about the Cape of Florida, wee never touched any where; but coasting alongst Florida , and keeping the shore still in sight, the 28. of May early in the Morning wee descried on the shore a place built like a Beacon, which was in deede a scaffold upon foure long mastes raised on ende, for men to discover to the seaward, being in the latitude of thirtie degrees, or very neere thereunto. Our Pinnesses manned, and comming to the shore, wee marched up alongst the river side, to see what place the enemie held there: for none amongst us had any knowledge thereof at all. Here the Generall tooke occasion to march with the companies himselfe in person, the Lieutenant Generall having the Vantguard; and going a mile up or somewhat more by the river side, we might discerne on the other side of the river over against us, a Fort which newly had bene built by the Spaniards: and some mile or thereabout above the Fort was a little Towne or Village without walles, built of woodden houses, as the Plot doeth plainely shew. Wee forthwith prepared to have ordinance for the batterie; and one peece was a litle before the Evening planted, and the first shot being made by the Lieutenant generall himselfe at their Ensigne, strake through the Ensigne, as wee afterwards understood by a French man, which came unto us from them. One shot more was then made, which strake the foote of the Fort wall, which was all massive timber of great trees like Mastes. The Lieutenant generall was determined to passe the river this night with 4. companies, and there to lodge himselfe intrenched as neere the Fort, as that he might play with his muskets and smallest shot upon any that should appeare, and so afterwards to bring and plant the batterie with him: but the helpe of Mariners for that sudden to make trenches could not be had, which was the cause that this determination was remitted untill the next night. In the night the Lieutenant generall tooke a little rowing Skiffe, and halfe a dozen well armed, as Captaine Morgan, and Captaine Sampson, with some others besides the rowers, & went to view what guard the enemie kept, as also to take knowledge of the ground. And albeit he went as covertly as might be, yet the enemie taking ye Alarme, grew feareful that the whole force was approching to the assault, and therefore with all speede abandoned the place after the shooting of some of their peeces. They thus gone, and hee being returned unto us againe, but nothing knowing of their flight from their Fort, forthwith came a French man being a Phipher (who had bene prisoner with them) in a litle boate, playing on his Phiph the tune of the Prince of Orenge his song; and being called unto by the guard, he tolde them before he put foote out of the boate, what he was himselfe, and how the Spaniards were gone from the Fort, offering either to remaine in hands there, or els to returne to the place with them that would goe. Upon this intelligence, the Generall, the Lieutenant generall, with some of the Captaines in one Skiffe, and the Vice-admirall with some others in his Skiffe and two or three Pinnesses furnished of souldiers with them, put presently over towards the Fort, giving order for the rest of the Pinnesses to follow. And in our approch, some of the enemie bolder then the rest, having stayed behinde their company, shot off two peeces of ordinance at us: but on shore wee went, and entred the place without finding any man there. When the day appeared, we found it built all of timber, the walles being none other but whole Mastes or bodies of trees set up right and close together in maner of a pale, without any ditch as yet made, but wholy intended with some more time; for they had not as yet finished al their worke, having begunne the same some three or foure moneths before: so as, to say the trueth, they had no reason to keepe it, being subject both to fire, and easie assault. The platforme whereon the ordinance lay, was whole bodies of long pine trees, whereof there is great plentie, layd a crosse one on another, and some litle earth amongst. There were in it thirteene or fourteene great peeces of Brasse ordinance, and a chest unbroken up, having in it the value of some two thousand pounds sterling by estimation of the kings treasure, to pay the souldiers of that place, who were a hundred and fiftie men. The Fort thus wonne, which they called S. Johns Fort, and the day opened, wee assayed to goe to the towne, but could not by reason of some rivers and broken ground which was betweene the two places: and therefore being enforced to imbarke againe into our Pinnesses, wee went thither upon the great maine river, which is called as also the Towne, by the name of S. Augustin. At our approching to land, there were some that began to shew themselves, and to bestow some few shot upon us, but presently withdrew themselves. And in their running thus away, the Sergeant Major finding one of their horses ready sadled and brideled, tooke the same to follow the chase; and so overgoing all his company, was (by one layd behind a bush) shotte through the head: and falling downe therewith, was by the same and two or three more, stabbed in three or foure places of his body with swords and daggers, before any could come neere to his rescue. His death was much lamented, being in very deede an honest wise Gentleman, and a souldier of good experience, and of as great courage as any man might be. In this place called S. Augustin, we understood the king did keepe, as is before said, one hundred and fiftie souldiers, and at another place some dozen leagues beyond to the Northwards, called S. Helena, he did there likewise keepe an hundred and fiftie more, serving there for no other purpose, then to keepe all other nations from inhabiting any part of all that coast; the governement whereof was committed to one Pedro Melendez Marquesse, nephew to that Melendez the Admiral, who had overthrowen Master John Hawkins in the bay of Mexico some seventeen or eighteene yeers agoe. This Governour had charge of both places, but was at this time in this place, and one of the first that left the same. Heere it was resolved in full assembly of Captaines, to undertake the enterprise of S. Helena, and from thence to seeke out the inhabitation of our English countreymen in Virginia , distant from thence some sixe degrees Northward. When wee came thwart of S. Helena, the sholds appearing dangerous, and we having no Pilot to undertake the entrie, it was thought meetest to goe hence alongst. For the Admirall had bene the same night in foure fadome and a halfe, three leagues from the shore: and yet wee understood by the helpe of a knowen Pilot, there may and doe goe in Ships of greater burthen and draught then any we had in our Fleete. We passed thus alongst the coast hard aboord the shore, which is shallow for a league or two from the shore, and the same is lowe and broken land for the most part. The ninth of June upon sight of one speciall great fire (which are very ordinarie all alongst this coast, even from the Cape of Florida hither) the Generall sent his Skiffe to the shore, where they found some of our English countreymen (that had bene sent thither the yeere before by Sir Walter Ralegh) and brought them aboord: by whose direction wee proceeded along to the place which they make their Port. But some of our ships being of great draught unable to enter, anchored without the harbour in a wilde roade at sea, about two miles from shore. From whence the General wrote letters to master Ralfe Lane, being governour of those English in Virginia , and then at his Fort about sixe leagues from the Rode in an Island which they call Roanoac , wherein especially he shewed how ready he was to supply his necessities and wants, which he understood of, by those he had first talked withall. The morrow after, Master Lane himselfe and some of his company comming unto him, with the consent of his captaines he gave them the choice of two offers, that is to say : Either he would leave a ship, a pinnesse, and certaine boates with sufficient Masters and Mariners, together furnished with a moneths victuall, to stay and make farther discovery of the countrey and coastes, and so much victuall likewise as might be sufficient for the bringing of them all (being an hundred and three persons) into England , if they thought good after such time, with any other thing they would desire, and that he might be able to spare. Or els if they thought they had made sufficient discoverie already, and did desire to returne into England , he would give them passage. But they, as it seemed, being desirous to stay, accepted very thankefully and with great gladnesse, that which was offred first. Whereupon the ship being appointed and received into charge by some of their owne company sent into her by Master Lane, before they had received from the rest of the Fleete the provision appoynted them, there arose a great storme (which they sayd was extraordinary and very strange) that lasted three dayes together, and put all our Fleete in great danger, to bee driven from their anchoring upon the coast. For we brake many Cables, and lost many Anchors: and some of our Fleete which had lost all (of which number was the ship appointed for Master Lane and his company) was driven to put to sea in great danger, in avoyding the coast, and could never see us againe untill we mette in England . Many also of our small Pinnesses and boates were lost in this storme. Notwithstanding after all this, the Generall offred them (with consent of his Captaines) an other ship with some provision, although not such a one for their turnes, as might have bene spared them before, this being unable to be brought into their Harbour. Or els if they would, to give them passage into England , although he knew we should performe it with greater difficultie then he might have done before. But Master Lane with those of the chiefest of his company which hee had then with him, considering what should be best for them to doe, made request unto the General under their hands, that they might have passage for England : the which being graunted, and the rest sent for out of the countrey and shipped, we departed from that coast the 18. of June. And so, God bee thanked, both they and wee in good safetie arrived at Portesmouth the 28. of July 1586. to the great glory of God, and to no small honour to our Prince, our Countrey, and our selves. The totall value of that which was gotten in this voyage is esteemed at three score thousand pounds, whereof the companies which have travelled in the voyage were to have twentie thousand pounds, the adventurers the other fortie. Of which twentie thousand pounds (as I can judge) will redound some sixe pounds to the single share. We lost some seven hundred and fiftie men in the voyage: above three parts of them onely by sicknesse. The men of name that dyed and were slaine in this voyage, which I can presently call to remembrance, are these.
|Captaine Powel.||Captaine Bigges.|
|Captaine Varney.||Captaine Cecill.|
|Captaine Moone.||Captaine Hannam.|
|Captaine Fortescue.||Captaine Greenefield.|