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Hawkins, Sir John 1520-1595

Naval officer; born in Plymouth, England, in 1520; carried a cargo of 300 slaves from Guinea in 1562, and sold them in Cuba. In 1564 he attempted to capture and enslave a whole town near Sierra Leone, and narrowly escaped being captured himself and sold into slavery. Hawkins was filled with the most pious reflections at his escape, and in his narrative (which is the first English narrative of American adventure printed) he says: “God, who worketh all things for the best, would not have it so, and by Him we escaped without danger. His name be praised for it.” His second cargo of slaves he sold in Venezuela and elsewhere. In this second voyage he coasted the peninsula of Florida, and gives a fairly detailed account of it in his narrative. He made a third [328] voyage in 1568, and in spite of the King of Spain's prohibition, sold his cargoes of slaves to advantage. In the port of San Juan de Ulloa he met a Spanish fleet much stronger than his own. He made a solemn compact of mutual forbearance

Defeat of Hawkins at San Juan De Ulloa.

with the Spanish commander, which he treacherously broke, and in the ensuing conflict Hawkins was utterly defeated. Sir Francis Drake was with him on this third voyage. Returning to England, Hawkins was made a vice-admiral in the fleet which fought the Armada in 1595. Sir John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake were sent on an expedition against the Spanish settlements in America in 1589. Porto Rico successfully defied him, and, much depressed at his reverses, he died at sea, Nov. 21, 1595.

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