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The maner of the taking of two Spanish ships laden with quicksilver & the Popes bulles, bound for the West Indies, by M. Thomas White in the Amity of London. 1592.

THE 26 of July 1592, in my returning out of Barbary in the ship called the Amity of London, being in the height of 36 degrees or thereabout, at foure of the clocke in the morning we had sight of two shippes, being distant from us about three or foure leagues: by seven of the clocke we fetched them up, and were within gunshot: whose boldnesse, having the king of Spaines armes displayed, did make us judge them rather ships of warre, then laden with marchandise. And as it appeared by their owne speeches, they made full account to have taken us: it being a question among them, whether it were best to cary us to S. Lucar, or to Lisbon . We waved ech other a maine. They having placed themselves in warlike order one a cables length before another, we began the fight. In the which we continued, so fast as we were able to charge and discharge, the space of five houres, being never a cables length distant either of us from other. In which time we received divers shot both in the hull of our ship, masts, and sailes, to the number of 32 great, besides 500 musket shot and harquebuzes a crocke at the least, which we tolde after the fight. And because we perceived them to be stout, we thought good to boord the Biscaine, which was on head the other: where lying aboord about an houre, and plying our ordinance and small shot; in the end we stowed all his men. Now the other in the flieboat, thinking we had entred our men in their fellow, bare roome with us, meaning to have layed us aboord, and so to have intrapped us betwixt them both: which we perceiving, fitted our ordinance so for him, as we quitted our selves of him, and he boorded his fellow: by which meanes they both fell from us. Then presently we kept our loofe, hoised our top-sailes, and weathered them, and came hard aboard the flieboat with our ordinance prepared, and gave her our whole broad side, with the which we slew divers of their men; so as we might see the blood run out at the scupper holes. After that we cast about, and new charged all our ordinance, and came upon them againe, willing them to yeeld, or els we would sinke them: wherupon the one would have yeelded, which was shot betweene winde and water; but the other called him traitor. Unto whom we made answere, that if he would not yeeld presently also, we would sinke him first. And thereupon he understanding our determination, presently put out a white flag, and yeelded, and yet refused to strike their own sailes, for that they were sworne never to strike to any Englishman. We then commanded their captaines and masters to come aboord us; which they did. And after examination & stowing them, we sent certaine of our owne men aboord them, and strook their sailes, and manned their ships: finding in them both 126 persons living, & 8 dead, besides those which they themselves had cast overboord. So it pleased God to give us the victory being but 42 men and a boy, whereof 2 were killed and 3 wounded: for the which good successe we give God the only praise. These two rich prizes laden with 1400 chests of quicksilver with the armes of Castile and Leon fastened upon them, and with a great quantity of bulles or indulgences, and guilded Missals or Service books, with an hundred tunnes of excellent wines, we brought shortly after into the river of Thames up to Blacke-wall.

By the taking of this quicksilver, about 1400 chests, the king of Spaine loseth for every quintall of the same a quintall of silver, that should have beene delivered him by the masters of the mines there, which amounteth to 600000 pounds.

More by taking of his bulles, to wit, two millions and 72 thousand for living and dead persons for the provinces of Nova Hispania, Iucatan, Guatimala, the Honduras , and the Phillipinas, taxed at two reals the piece. And more for eighteene thousand bulles taxed at foure reals, amounteth all to 107700 pounds. Summa totalis 707700 li.

More there were taken ten fardels of gilt missals and breviaries sent for the kings account.

So the hinderance that the king receiveth by the losse of his bulles and quicksilver amounteth as is abovesaid: besides the lacking of his wines, about 100 tunnes, whereby his fleet is disappointed of a great part of their provision.

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