previous next

The fourth voyage made to Virginia with three ships, in the yere 1587. Wherein was transported the second Colonie.

IN the yeere of our Lord 1587. Sir Walter Ralegh intending to persevere in the planting of his Countrey of Virginia, prepared a newe Colonie of one hundred and fiftie men to be sent thither, under the charge of John White, whom hee appointed Governour, and also appointed unto him twelve Assistants, unto whom hee gave a Charter, and incorporated them by the name of Governour and Assistants of the Citie of Ralegh in Virginia .


OUR Fleete being in number three saile, viz. the Admirall a shippe of one hundred and twentie Tunnes, a Flie-boate, and a Pinnesse, departed the sixe and twentieth of April from Portesmouth, and the same day came to an ancker at the Cowes in the Isle of Wight, where wee stayed eight dayes.


THE fift of May, at nine of the clocke at night we came to Plimmouth, where we remained the space of two dayes.

The 8 we weyed anker at Plimmouth, and departed thence for Virginia .

The 16 Simon Ferdinando, Master of our Admiral, lewdly forsooke our Fly-boate, leaving her distressed in the Bay of Portugal.


THE 19 we fell with Dominica , and the same evening we sayled betweene it, and Guadalupe : the 21 the Fly-boat also fell with Dominica .

The 22 we came to an anker at an Island called Santa Cruz, where all the planters were set on land, staying there till the 25 of the same moneth. At our first landing on this Island, some of our women, and men, by eating a small fruit like greene Apples, were fearefully troubled with a sudden burning in their mouthes, and swelling of their tongues so bigge, that some of them could not speake. Also a child by sucking one of those womens breasts, had at that instant his mouth set on such a burning, that it was strange to see how the infant was tormented for the time: but after 24 houres, it ware away of it selfe.

Also the first night of our being on this Island, we tooke five great Torteses, some of them of such bignes, that sixteene of our strongest men were tired with carying of one of them but from the sea side to our cabbins. In this Island we found no watring place, but a standing ponde, the water whereof was so evill, that many of our company fell sicke with drinking thereof: and as many as did but wash their faces with that water, in the morning before the Sunne had drawen away the corruption, their faces did so burne and swell, that their eyes were shut up, and could not see in five or sixe dayes, or longer.

The second day of our abode there, we sent forth some of our men to search the Island for fresh water, three one way, and two another way. The Governour also, with sixe others, went up to the top of an high hill, to viewe the Island, but could perceive no signe of any men, or beastes, nor any goodnes, but Parots, and trees of Guiacum. Returning backe to our cabbins another way, he found in the discent of a hill, certaine potsheards of savage making, made of the earth of that Island: whereupon it was judged, that this Island was inhabited with Savages, though Fernando had told us for certaine the contrary. The same day at night, the rest of our company very late returned to the Governour. The one company affirmed, that they had seene in a valley eleven Savages, and divers houses halfe a mile distant from the steepe, or toppe of the hill where they stayed. The other company had found running out of a high rocke a very fayre spring of water, whereof they brought three bottels to the company: for before that time, wee drank the stinking water of the pond.

The same second day at night Captaine Stafford, with the Pinnesse, departed from our fleete, riding at Santa Cruz, to an Island, called Beake, lying neere S. John, being so directed by Ferdinando, who assured him he should there find great plenty of sheepe. The next day at night, our planters left Santa Cruz, and came all aboord, and the next morning after, being the 25 of June we weyed anker, and departed from Santa Cruz.

The seven and twentieth we came to anker at Cottea, where we found the Pinnesse riding at our comming.

The 28 we weyed anker at Cottea, and presently came to anker at S. Johns in Musketos Bay, where we spent three dayes unprofitable in taking in fresh water, spending in the meane time more beere then the quantitie of the water came unto.


THE first day we weyed anker at Musketoes Bay, where were left behind two Irish men of our company, Darbie Glaven, and Denice Carrell, bearing along the coast of S. Johns till evening, at which time wee fell with Rosse Bay. At this place Ferdinando had promised wee should take in salte, and had caused us before, to make and provide as many sackes for that purpose, as we could. The Governour also, for that hee understood there was a Towne in the bottome of the Bay, not farre from the salt hils, appointed thirty shot, tenne pikes, and ten targets, to man the Pinnesse, and to goe aland for salt. Ferdinando perceiving them in a readines, sent to the Governour, using great perswasions with him, not to take in salt there, saying that hee knew not well whether the same were the place or not: also, that if the Pinnesse went into the Bay, she could not without great danger come backe, till the next day at night, and that if in the meane time any storme should rise, the Admirall were in danger to bee cast away. Whilest he was thus perswading, he caused the lead to be cast, and having craftily brought the shippe in three fadome and a halfe water, he suddenly began to sweare, and teare God in pieces, dissembling great danger, crying to him at the helme, beare up hard, beare up hard: so we went off, and were disappointed of our salt, by his meanes.

The next day sayling along the West end of S. John, the Governour determined to go aland in S. Germans Bay, to gather yong plants of Orenges, Pines, Mameas, and Plantanos, to set at Virginia , which we knew might easily be had, for that they grow neere the shore, and the places where they grew, well knowen to the Governour, and some of the planters: but our Simon denied it, saying: he would come to an anker at Hispaniola, & there land the Governour, and some other of the Assistants, with the pinnesse, to see if he could speake with his friend Alanson, of whom he hoped to be furnished both of cattel, and all such things as we would have taken in at S. John: but he meant nothing lesse, as it plainely did appeare to us afterwards.

The next day after, being the third of July, we saw Hispaniola, and bare with the coast all that day, looking still when the pinnesse should be prepared to goe for the place where Ferdinando his friend Alanson was: but that day passed, and we saw no preparation for landing in Hispaniola.

The 4 of July, sayling along the coast of Hispaniola, untill the next day at noone, and no preparation yet seene for the staying there, we having knowledge that we were past the place where Alanson dwelt, and were come with Isabella: hereupon Ferdinando was asked by the Governor, whether he meant to speake with Alanson, for the taking in of cattell, and other things, according to his promise, or not: but he answered that he was now past the place, and that Sir Walter Ralegh told him, the French Ambassador certified him, that the king of Spaine had sent for Alanson into Spaine: wherefore he thought him dead, and that it was to no purpose to touch there in any place, at this voyage.

The next day we left sight of Hispaniola, and haled off for Virginia , about foure of the clocke in the afternoone.

The sixt of July we came to the Island Caycos, wherein Ferdinando sayd were two salt pondes, assuring us if they were drie, we might find salt to shift with, untill the next supply: but it prooved as true as finding of sheepe at Baque. In this Island, whilest Ferdinando solaced himselfe ashore, with one of the company, in part of the Island, others spent the latter part of that day in other parts of the Island, some to seeke the salt ponds, some fowling, some hunting Swans, whereof we caught many. The next day early in the morning we weyed anker, leaving Caycos, with good hope, that the first land that we saw next should be Virginia .

About the 16 of July we fel with the maine of Virginia , which Simon Ferdinando tooke to be the Island of Croatoan, where we came to anker, and rode there two or three dayes: but finding himselfe deceived, he weyed, and bare along the coast, where in the night, had not Captaine Stafford bene more carefull in looking out, then our Simon Ferdinando, we had bene all cast away upon the breach, called the Cape of Feare, for we were come within two cables length upon it: such was the carelesnes, and ignorance of our Master.

The two and twentieth of July wee arrived safe at Hatorask, where our ship and pinnesse ankered: the Governour went aboord the pinnesse, accompanied with fortie of his best men, intending to passe up to Roanoak foorthwith, hoping there to finde those fifteene Englishmen, which Sir Richard Grinvile had left there the yeere before, with whom hee meant to have conference, concerning the state of the Countrey, and Savages, meaning after he had so done, to returne againe to the fleete, and passe along the coast, to the Bay of Chesepiok, where we intended to make our seate and forte, according to the charge given us among other directions in writing, under the hande of Sir Walter Ralegh: but assoone as we were put with our pinnesse from the ship, a Gentleman by the meanes of Ferdinando, who was appointed to returne for England , called to the sailers in the pinnesse, charging them not to bring any of the planters backe againe, but to leave them in the Island, except the Governour, & two or three such as he approved, saying that the Summer was farre spent, wherefore hee would land all the planters in no other place. Unto this were all the saylers, both in the pinnesse, and shippe, perswaded by the Master, wherefore it booted not the Governour to contend with them, but passed to Roanoak , and the same night at sunne-set went aland on the Island, in the place where our fifteene men were left, but we found none of them, nor any signe that they had bene there, saving onely wee found the bones of one of those fifteene, which the Savages had slaine long before.

The three and twentieth of July the Governour with divers of his company, walked to the North ende of the Island, where Master Ralfe Lane had his forte, with sundry necessary and decent dwelling houses, made by his men about it the yeere before, where wee hoped to find some signes, or certaine knowledge of our fifteene men. When we came thither, we found the fort rased downe, but all the houses standing unhurt, saving that the neather roomes of them, and also of the forte, were overgrowen with Melons of divers sortes, and Deere within them, feeding on those Melons: so wee returned to our company, without hope of ever seeing any of the fifteene men living.

The same day order was given, that every man should be employed for the repayring of those houses, which wee found standing, and also to make other newe Cottages, for such as should neede.

The 25 our Flyboate and the rest of our planters arrived all safe at Hatoraske, to the great joy and comfort of the whole company: but the Master of our Admirall Ferdinando grieved greatly at their safe comming: for hee purposely left them in the Bay of Portugal, and stole away from them in the night, hoping that the Master thereof, whose name was Edward Spicer, for that he never had bene in Virginia , would hardly finde the place, or els being left in so dangerous a place as that was, by meanes of so many men of warre, as at that time were abroad, they should surely be taken, or slaine: but God disappointed his wicked pretenses.

The eight and twentieth, George Howe, one of our twelve Assistants was slaine by divers Savages, which were come over to Roanoak , either of purpose to espie our company, and what number we were, or else to hunt Deere, whereof were many in the Island. These Savages being secretly hidden among high reedes, where oftentimes they find the Deere asleep, and so kill them, espied our man wading in the water alone, almost naked, without any weapon, save only a smal forked sticke, catching Crabs therewithall, and also being strayed two miles from his company, and shot at him in the water, where they gave him sixteen wounds with their arrowes: and after they had slaine him with their woodden swords, they beat his head in pieces, and fled over the water to the maine.

On the thirtieth of July Master Stafford and twenty of our men passed by water to the Island of Croatoan, with Manteo, who had his mother, and many of his kinred dwelling in that Island, of whom wee hoped to understand some newes of our fifteene men, but especially to learne the disposition of the people of the countrey towards us, and to renew our old friendship with them. At our first landing they seemed as though they would fight with us: but perceiving us begin to march with our shot towardes them, they turned their backes, and fled. Then Manteo their countrey man called to them in their owne language, whom, assoone as they heard, they returned, and threwe away their bowes and arrowes, and some of them came unto us, embracing and entertaining us friendly, desiring us not to gather or spill any of their corne, for that they had but little. We answered them, that neither their corne, nor any other thing of theirs, should be diminished by any of us, and that our comming was onely to renew the old love, that was betweene us and them at the first, and to live with them as brethren and friends: which answere seemed to please them well, wherefore they requested us to walke up to their Towne, who there feasted us after their maner, and desired us earnestly, that there might bee some token or badge given them of us, whereby we might know them to be our friends, when we met them any where out of the Towne or Island. They told us further, that for want of some such badge, divers of them were hurt the yeere before, being found out of the Island by Master Lane his company, whereof they shewed us one, which at that very instant lay lame, and had lien of that hurt ever since: but they sayd, they knew our men mistooke them, and hurt them in stead of Winginos men, wherefore they held us excused.


THE next day we had conference further with them, concerning the people of Secotan , Aquascogoc, & Pomeiok, willing them of Croatoan to certifie the people of those townes, that if they would accept our friendship, we would willingly receive them againe, and that all unfriendly dealings past on both parts, should be utterly forgiven and forgotten. To this the chiefe men of Croatoan answered, that they would gladly doe the best they could, and within seven dayes, bring the Wiroances and chiefe Governours of those townes with them, to our Governour at Roanoak , or their answere. We also understood of the men of Croatoan, that our man Master Howe was slaine by the remnant of Winginos men dwelling then at Dasamonguepeuk, with whom Wanchese kept companie: and also we understood by them of Croatoan, how that the 15 Englishmen left at Roanoak the yeere before, by Sir Richard Grinvile, were suddenly set upon, by 30 of the men of Secota , Aquascogoc, and Dasamonguepeuk, in manner following. They conveyed themselves secretly behind the trees, neere the houses where our men carelesly lived: and having perceived that of those fifteene they could see but eleven only, two of those Savages appeared to the 11 Englishmen, calling to them by friendly signes, that but two of their chiefest men should come unarmed to speake with those two Savages, who seemed also to bee unarmed. Wherefore two of the chiefest of our Englishmen went gladly to them: but whilest one of those Savages traiterously imbraced one of our men, the other with his sworde of wood, which he had secretly hidden under his mantell, strooke him on the head and slew him, and presently the other eight and twenty Savages shewed them selves: the other Englishman perceiving this, fled to his company, whom the Savages pursued with their bowes, and arrowes, so fast, that the Englishmen were forced to take the house, wherein all their victuall, and weapons were: but the Savages foorthwith set the same on fire: by meanes wherof our men were forced to take up such weapons as came first to hand, and without order to runne foorth among the Savages, with whom they skirmished above an howre. In this skirmish another of our men was shotte into the mouth with an arrow, where hee died: and also one of the Savages was shot into the side by one of our men, with a wild fire arrow, whereof he died presently. The place where they fought was of great advantage to the Savages, by meanes of the thicke trees, behinde which the Savages through their nimblenes, defended themselves, and so offended our men with their arrowes, that our men being some of them hurt, retyred fighting to the water side, where their boat lay, with which they fled towards Hatorask. By that time they had rowed but a quarter of a mile, they espied their foure fellowes comming from a creeke thereby, where they had bene to fetch Oysters: these foure they received into their boate, leaving Roanoak , and landed on a little Island on the right hand of our entrance into the harbour of Hatorask, where they remayned a while, but afterward departed, whither as yet we know not.

Having nowe sufficiently dispatched our businesse at Croatoan, the same day we departed friendly, taking our leave, and came aboord the fleete at Hatorask.

The eight of August, the Governour having long expected the comming of the Wiroanses of Pomeiok, Aquascogoc, Secota , and Dasamonguepeuk, seeing that the seven dayes were past, within which they promised to come in, or to send their answeres by the men of Croatoan, and no tidings of them heard, being certainly also informed by those men of Croatoan, that the remnant of Wingina his men, which were left alive, who dwelt at Dasamonquepeuk, were they which had slaine George Howe, and were also at the driving of our eleven Englishmen from Roanoak , hee thought to deferre the revenge thereof no longer. Wherefore the same night about midnight, he passed over the water, accompanied with Captaine Stafford, and 24 men, wherof Manteo was one, whom we tooke with us to be our guide to the place where those Savages dwelt, where he behaved himselfe toward us as a most faithfull Englishman.

The next day, being the 9 of August, in the morning so early that it was yet darke, we landed neere the dwelling place of our enemies, & very secretly conveyed our selves through the woods, to that side, where we had their houses betweene us and the water: and having espied their fire, and some sitting about it, we presently set on them: the miserable soules herewith amazed, fled into a place of thicke reedes, growing fast by, where our men perceiving them, shot one of them through the bodie with a bullet, and therewith we entred the reedes, among which we hoped to acquite their evill doing towards us, but we were deceived, for those Savages were our friends, and were come from Croatoan to gather the corne & fruit of that place, because they understood our enemies were fled immediatly after they had slaine George Howe, and for haste had left all their corne, Tobacco, and Pompions standing in such sort, that al had bene devoured of the birds, and Deere, if it had not bene gathered in time: but they had like to have payd deerely for it: for it was so darke, that they being naked, and their men and women apparelled all so like others, wee knew not but that they were al men: and if that one of them which was a Wiroances wife had not had a child at her backe, shee had bene slaine in stead of a man, and as hap was, another Savage knew master Stafford , and ran to him, calling him by his name, whereby hee was saved. Finding our selves thus disappointed of our purpose, we gathered al the corne, Pease, Pompions, and Tabacco that we found ripe, leaving the rest unspoyled, and tooke Menatoan his wife, with the yong child, and the other Savages with us over the water to Roanoak . Although the mistaking of these Savages somewhat grieved Manteo, yet he imputed their harme to their owne folly, saying to them, that if their Wiroances had kept their promise in comming to the Governour at the day appointed, they had not knowen that mischance.

The 13 of August our Savage Manteo, by the commandement of Sir Walter Ralegh, was christened in Roanoak , and called Lord thereof, and of Dasamonguepeuk, in reward of his faithfull service.

The 18 Elenor, daughter to the Governour, and wife to Ananias Dare one of the Assistants, was delivered of a daughter in Roanoak , and the same was christened there the Sonday following, and because this child was the first Christian borne in Virginia , shee was named Virginia . By this time our ships had unladen the goods and victuals of the planters, and began to take in wood, and fresh water, and to new calke and trimme them for England : the planters also prepared their letters and tokens to send backe into England .

Our two ships, the Lion and the Flyboat almost ready to depart, the 21 of August, there arose such a tempest at Northeast, that our Admirall then riding out of the harbour, was forced to cut his cables, and put to sea, where he lay beating off and on sixe dayes before he could come to us againe, so that we feared he had bene cast away, and the rather for that at the time that the storme tooke them, the most and best of their sailers were left aland.

At this time some controversies arose betweene the Governour and Assistants, about choosing two out of the twelve Assistants, which should goe backe as factors for the company into England : for every one of them refused, save onely one, which all other thought not sufficient: but at length by much perswading of the Governour, Christopher Cooper only agreed to goe for England : but the next day, through the perswasion of divers of his familiar friends, hee changed his minde, so that now the matter stood as at the first.

The next day, the 22 of August, the whole company both of the Assistants and planters came to the Governour, and with one voice requested him to returne himselfe into England , for the better and sooner obtaining of supplies, and other necessaries for them: but he refused it, and alleaged many sufficient causes, why he would not: the one was, that he could not so suddenly returne backe againe without his great discredite, leaving the action, and so many whome hee partly had procured through his perswasions, to leave their native countrey, and undertake that voyage, and that some enemies to him and the action at his returne into England would not spare to slander falsly both him and the action, by saying, hee went to Virginia , but politikely, and to no other end but to leade so many into a countrey, in which hee never meant to stay himselfe, and there to leave them behind him. Also he alleaged, that seeing they intended to remove 50 miles further up into the maine presently, he being then absent, his stuffe and goods might be both spoiled, & most of them pilfered away in the cariage, so that at his returne he should be either forced to provide himselfe of all such things againe, or else at his comming againe to Virginia find himselfe utterly unfurnished, whereof already he had found some proofe, being but once from them but three dayes. Wherefore he concluded that he would not goe himselfe.

The next day, not onely the Assistants but divers others, as well women as men, began to renew their requests to the Governour againe, to take upon him to returne into England for the supply, and dispatch of all such things as there were to be done, promising to make him their bond under all their handes and seales for the safe preserving of all his goods for him at his returne to Virginia , so that if any part thereof were spoyled or lost, they would see it restored to him, or his Assignes, when soever the same should be missed and demanded: which bond, with a testimony under their hands and seales, they foorthwith made, and delivered into his hands. The copie of the testimony I thought good to set downe.

May it please you, her Majesties subjects of England , we your friends and countrey-men, the planters in Virginia , doe by these presents let you and every of you to understand, that for the present and speedy supply of certaine our knowen and apparent lackes and needes, most requisite and necessary for the good and happy planting of us, or any other in this land of Virginia , wee all of one minde & consent, have most earnestly intreated, and uncessantly requested John White, Governour of the planters in Virginia , to passe into England , for the better and more assured help, and setting forward of the foresayd supplies: and knowing assuredly that he both can best, and wil labour and take paines in that behalfe for us all, and he not once, but often refusing it, for our sakes, and for the honour & maintenance of the action, hath at last, though much against his will, through our importunacie, yeelded to leave his governement, and all his goods among us, and himselfe in all our behalfes to passe into England , of whose knowledge and fidelitie in handling this matter, as all others, we doe assure ourselves by these presents, and will you to give all credite thereunto, the 25 of August 1587.

The Governour being at the last through their extreame intreating constrayned to returne into England , having then but halfe a dayes respite to prepare himselfe for the same, departed from Roanoak the seven and twentieth of August in the morning, and the same day about midnight, came aboord the Flieboat, who already had weyed anker, and rode without the barre, the Admirall riding by them, who but the same morning was newly come thither againe. The same day both the ships weyed anker, and set saile for England : at this weying their ankers, twelve of the men which were in the Flyboate were throwen from the Capstone, which by meanes of a barre and brake, came so fast about upon them, that the other two barres thereof strooke and hurt most of them so sore, that some of them never recovered it: neverthelesse they assayed presently againe to wey their anker, but being so weakened with the first fling, they were not able to weye it, but were throwen downe and hurt the second time. Wherefore having in all but fifteene men aboord, and most of them by this unfortunate beginning so bruised, and hurt, they were forced to cut their Cable, and leese their anker. Neverthelesse, they kept company with the Admirall, untill the seventeenth of September, at which time wee fell with Corvo , and sawe Flores .


THE eighteenth, perceiving of all our fifteene men in the Flyboate there remained but five, which by meanes of the former mischance, were able to stand to their labour: and that the Admirall meant not to make any haste for England , but to linger about the Island of Tercera for purchase: the Flyboate departed for England with letters, where we hoped by the help of God to arrive shortly: but by that time we had continued our course homeward about twenty dayes, having had sometimes scarse and variable windes, our fresh water also by leaking almost consumed, there arose a storme at North-east, which for sixe dayes ceased not to blowe so exceeding, that we were driven further in those sixe then we could recover in thirteene daies: in which time others of our saylers began to fall very sicke and two of them dyed, the weather also continued so close, that our Master sometimes in foure dayes together could see neither sunne nor starre, and all the beverage we could make, with stinking water, dregs of beere, and lees of wine which remayned, was but three gallons, and therefore now we expected nothing but famine to perish at Sea.


THE 16 of October we made land, but we knewe not what land it was, bearing in with the same land at that day: about sunne set we put into a harbour, where we found a Hulke of Dublin, and a pinnesse of Hampton riding, but we knew not as yet what place this was, neither had we any boate to goe ashore, untill the pinnesse sent off their boate to us with 6 or 8 men, of whom we understood wee were in Smerwick in the West parts of Ireland : they also releeved us presently with fresh water, wine, and other fresh meate.

The 18 the Governour and the Master ryd to Dingen a Cushe, 5 miles distant, to take order for the new victualing of our Flieboate for England , and for reliefe of our sicke and hurt men, but within foure daies after the Boatswain, the Steward, and the Boatswains mate died aboord the Flieboat, and the 28 the Masters mate and two of our chiefe sailers were brought sicke to Dingen.


THE first the Governour shipped himselfe in a ship called the Monkie, which at that time was ready to put to sea from Dingen for England , leaving the Flyboat and all his companie in Ireland . The same day we set sayle, and on the third day we fell with the North side of the lands end, and were shut up the Severne, but the next day we doubled the same for Mounts Bay.

The 5 the Governour landed in England at Martasew, neere Saint Michaels mount in Cornewall.

The 8 we arrived at Hampton , where we understood that our consort the Admiral was come to Portsmouth , and had bene there three weekes before: and also that Ferdinando the Master with all his company were not onely come home without any purchase, but also in such weaknesse by sicknesse, and death of their chiefest men, that they were scarse able to bring their ship into harbour, but were forced to let fall anker without, which they could not wey againe, but might all have perished there, if a small barke by great hap had not come to them to helpe them. The names of the chiefe men that died are these, Roger Large, John Mathew, Thomas Smith, and some other saylers, whose names I knew not at the writing hereof. An. Dom. 1587.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1587 AD (7)
August, 1587 AD (3)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: