The second voyage to Benin
, set foorth by Master John
Newton, and Master John Bird Marchants of London
in the yeere 1590 with a ship called the Richard of
Arundell of the burthen of one hundreth tunnes, and
a small pinnesse, in which voyage Master James Welsh
was chiefe Maister.
THE third of September 1590 we set saile from Ratcliffe,
and the 18 of the said moneth we came into Plimouth
sound, and the two and twentieth we put to sea againe,
and at midnight we were off the Lisart, and so passed on
our voyage untill the 14 of October, on which day we
had sight of Forteventura one of the Canarie Islands
which appeared very ragged as we sailed by it.
The 16 of October, in the latitude of 24 degrees and
nine minutes we met with a great hollow sea, the like
whereof I never saw on this coast, and this day there
came to the ships side a monstrous great fish (I thinke it
was a Gobarto) which put up his head to the steepe tubs
where ye cooke was in shifting the victuals, whom I
thought the fish would have caried away.
The 21 in this latitude of 18 degrees we met with a
countersea out of the North boord, and the last voyage in
this very place we had the countersea out of the South,
being very calme weather as now it is also.
The 24 we had sight of Cavo Verde, and the 25 we
met with a great hollow sea out of the North, which is a
common signe that the winde will be Northerly, and so it
The 15 of November we met with three currants out
of the West and Northwest, one after another, with an
houres time betweene each currant. This was in the
latitude of 6 degrees and 42 minutes.
The 18 day we met with two other great currants out
of the Southwest, and the 20 we saw another current out
of the Northeast, and the 24 we had a great current out
of the Southsouthwest, and at 6 of the clocke towards
night we had 3 currents more.
The 27 we thought that we had gone at the least 2
leagues and a halfe every watch, and it fell out that we
sailed but one league every watch for the space of 24
hours, by meanes of a great billow and current that came
still out of the South.
The 5 of December in setting the watch we cast about
and lay East Northeast, and Northeast, and here in 5
degrees and a halfe our pinnesse lost us wilfully.
The 7 at the going downe of the Sunne we saw a great
blacke spot in the Sunne, and the 8. day both at rising
and setting we saw the like, which spot to our seeming
was about the bignesse of a shilling, being in 5 degrees
of latitude, and still there came a great billow out of the
The 14 we sounded and had 15 fadom water and grosse
red sand, and 2 leagues from the shore the currant set
Southeast along the shore with a billow still out of the
The 15 we were thwart a rocke somewhat like the
Mewstone in England, it was 2 leagues from us, here we
sounded and had 27 fadom, but the rocke is not above a
mile from the shore, and a mile farther we saw another
rocke, and betweene them both broken ground; here we
sounded and had but 20 fadome and blacke sand, and we
might see plaine that the rockes went not along the shore,
but from the land to the seaward, and about 5 leagues to
the Southward we sawe a great bay, here we had 4
degrees and 27 minuts.
The 16 we met with a French ship of Hunfleur, who
robbed our pinnesse, we sent a letter by him, and this
night we saw another spot in the Sunne at his going
downe. And towards evening we were thwart of a river,
and right over the river was a high tuft of trees.
The 17 we ankered in the rivers mouth, and then we
found the land to be Cavo de las Palmas, and betweene
us & the cape was a great ledge of rockes, one league
and a halfe into the sea, and they bare to the West of
, we saw also an Island off the point of the
foreland, thus it waxed night that we could perceive no
more of the lande, but onely that it trended in like a bay,
where there runneth a streame as if it were in the river of
, and this was the change day of the Moone.
The 19 a faire temperate day, and the wind South, we
went East, and the lande a sterne of us West, and it
shewed low by the water side like Islands, this was the
east of Cavo de las Palmas, and it trended in with a great
sound, and we went East all night, and in the morning
wee were but 3 or 4 leagues from the shore.
The 20 we were thwart of a river called Rio de los
The 21 we went along the shore East, & 3 or 4 leagues
to the West of Cavos de tres puntas, I find the bay to be
set deeper then it is by 4 leagues, and at 4 of the clocke
the land begun to shewe high, and the first part of it full
of Palme trees.
The 24 still going by the shore, the land was very low
and full of trees by the water side, and at 12 of the clocke
we ankered thwart of the river called, Rio de Boilas
Here we sent our boate a shore with the marchants,
but they durst not put into the river because of a great
billow that continually brake at the enterance upon the
The 28 we sailed alongst the shore, and ankered at
night in seven fadom because a great current would have
put us backe, which came from the East Southeast from
The 29 at noone we were thwart of Arda
, and there
we tooke a Caravel but the men were fled on land, then
we went aboord her, but she had nothing in her but only
a litle oyle of Palme trees, and a few roots. The next
morning our Captaine and marchants went to meete
Portugals, that came in a boate to speake with us, where
they communed about the buying of the Caravell of our
men againe, and the Portugals promised that we should
have for the Caravell, certaine bullocks and Elephants
teeth, and they gave us one tooth and one bullocke
presently, and sayd they would bring us the rest the
The first of Januarie our Captaine went on land to
speake with the Portugales, but when he saw they did
dissemble, he came aboord againe, and presently we
unrigged the Caravell, and set her on fire before the
towne. Then we set saile and went along the coast,
where we saw a Date tree, the like whereof is not in all
that coast upon the water side, also we fell on ground a
litle in one place: Thus we went to Villa longa, and there
The third we were as far shot as Rio de Lagoa
our marchants went a shore and upon the barre they
found 3 fadom flat, but they went not in because it was
late. There is also to the Eastward of this river a Date
tree higher then all the rest of the other trees thereabout.
Thus we went along the coast, and every night ankered,
& al the shore as we went was full of trees and thicke
The 6 day in the morning it was very foggy, so that
we could not see the land, and at three of the clocke in
the afternoone it cleared up, & then we found our selves
thwart of the river of Jaya, and when we found the
shallow water, we bare into the sea South, as we did the
voyage before, and came to an ancre in five fadom water.
The next day we set saile againe, and towards noone
we were thwart of the river of Benin
in foure fadom
The 10 day our Captaine went on land with the shallop
at 2 a clocke in the afternoone. All this weeke it was
very foggy every day untill ten a clocke, and all this time
hitherto hath beene as temperate as our summer in
England. This day we went into the road and ankered,
& the west point of the road bare East northeast off us,
wee riding in foure fadome water.
The 21 a faire temperate day, this day M. Hassald
went to the towne of Goto, to heare newes of the
The 23 came the Caravell, and Samuell in her, and she
brought 63 Elephants teeth, and three bullocks.
The 28 a faire temperate day, and towards night there
fell much raine, lightning, and thunder, this day our boate
came aboord from Goto.
The 24 of Februarie, we tooke in 298 Cerons or sackes
of pepper, and 4 Elephants teeth, and the winde was at
Southeast. And the 26 we put the rest of our goods into
the Caravell, and M. Hassald went with her to Goto.
The 5 of March ye Caravel came againe & brought 21
Cerons of pepper, & 4 Elephants teeth.
The 9 of Aprill our Caravell came aboord with water
for our provision for the sea, and this day also we lost
The 17 a drowsie rainie day, and in the afternoone we
saw 3 great spoutes of raine, two on our larbord side, and
one right with the ships head, but God be thanked, they
came not at us, and this day we tooke in the last of our
water for the sea, and the 26 we victualed our Caravell to
go with us to the sea.
The 27 we set saile to goe homewarde with the winde
at Southwest, and at two a clocke in the afternoone, the
river of Benin
was Northeast 8 leagues from us.
The 3 of May we had such a terrible gust with raine,
lightning & thunder, that it tore and split our fore saile,
and also the Caravels fore-sayle and maine-sayle, with the
wind at Southeast.
The 12 a faire temperate day, much like our sommer
mornings in England, being but one degree & a halfe
from the line, but at midnight we had a cruell gust of
raine, & the wind at northeast.
The 24 we were South from Cavo de las Palmas 37
The first of July we had sight of the Island of Brava
and it bare East 7 leagues off, and this Iland is one of
the Islands of Cavo Verde.
The 13 of August we spake with the Queenes ships,
the Lord Thomas Howard being Admirall, and sir Richard
Greenevill Viceadmirall. They kept us in their company
untill the 15 day at night, themselves lying a hull, in
waight for purchase 30 leagues to the Southwest of the
Island of Flores
The 15 we had leave to depart with a fly-boat laden
with sugar that came from Sant Thome, which was taken
by the Queenes ships, whereof my Lord Admirall gave
me great charge, not to leave her untill she were harbored
The three and twentieth the Northeast part of the
Island of Corvo
bare off us East and by South sixe
The 17 of September we met with a ship of Plimouth
that came out of the West Indies, but she could tell us no
newes. The next day we had sight of another sayle, this
day also one of our company named M. Wood died.
The 23 we spake with the Dragon of my Lord of
Cumberland, whereof Master Ivie was Maister.
The second of October we met with a ship of Newcastle
which came from Newfoundland
, and out of her we had
300 couple of Newland
The 6 we had sight of Sillie, and with raine and winde
we were forced to put into S. Maries sound, where we
staied all night, and 4 dayes after.
The 11 we set saile againe, and comming out had three
fadom upon the barre at a high water, then we lay out
Southeast, through Crow-sand, and shortly after we had
sight of the lands end, and at ten of the clocke we were
thwart of the Lysart.
The 13 we were put into Dartmouth
, and there we stayd
untill the 12 of December. From thence we put out with
the winde at West, and the 18 of December, God be
praised, we ankered at Limehouse
in the Thames
we discharged 589 sacks of Pepper, 150 Elephants teeth,
and 32 barrels of oile of Palme trees.
The commodities that we caried out this second voyage
were Broad cloth, Kersies, Bayes, Linnen cloth, Yron
unwrought, Bracelets of Copper, Corall, Hawks belles,
Horsetailes, Hats, and such like.
This voyage was more comfortable unto us then the
first, because we had good store of fresh water, and that
very sweet: for as yet we have very good water in the
shippe which we brought out of the river of Benin
first day of Aprill 1591. and it is at this day (being the
7 of June 1592.) to be seen aboord the ship as cleare and
as sweet as any fountaine can yeeld.
In this voiage we sailed 350 leagues within halfe a
degree of the equinoctiall line, and there we found it
more temperate, then where we rode. And under the
line wee did kill great store of small Dolphines, and many
other good fishes, and so did we all the way, which was
a very great refreshing unto us, and the fish never forsooke us, until we were to the Northwards of the Ilands
, and then we could see no more fish, but God
be thanked wee met with good company of our countrey
ships which were great comfort unto us, being five
moneths before at Sea without any companie.
By me James Welsh master of the Richard
of Arundell, in both these voyages to
the river of Benin