previous next


Chap. 6.
Wherein is shewed how we were used in the religious houses, and that when the time was expired, that we were adjudged to serve in them, there came newes to Mexico of M. Francis Drakes being in the South Sea, and what preparation was made to take him, and how I seeking to escape, was againe taken and put in prison at Vera Cruz, and how againe I made mine escape from thence.

I MILES PHILIPS and William Lowe were appointed to the blacke Friers, where I was appointed to be an overseer of Indian workmen, who wrought there in building of a new church: amongst which Indians I learned their language or Mexican tongue very perfectly, and had great familiaritie with many of them, whom I found to be a courteous and loving kind of people, ingenious, and of great understanding, and they hate and abhorre the Spaniardes with all their hearts, they have used such horrible cruelties against them, and doe still keepe them in such subjection and servitude, that they and the Negros also doe daily lie in waite to practise their deliverance out of that thraldome and bondage, that the Spaniardes doe keepe them in. William Lowe he was appointed to serve the Cooke in the kitchin, Richard Williams and David Alexander were appointed to the gray Friers, John Story and Robert Cooke to the white Friers: Paul Horsewel the Secretary tooke to be his servant: Thomas Hull was sent to a Monastery of priests, where afterward he died. Thus we served out the yeeres that we were condemned for, with the use of our fooles coates, and we must needs confesse that the Friers did use us very courteously: for every one of us had his chamber with bedding & diet, and all things cleane and neat: yea many of the Spaniards and Friers themselves do utterly abhorre and mislike of that cruell Inquisition, and would as they durst bewaile our miseries, and comfort us the best they could, although they stood in such feare of that divelish Inquisition, that they durst not let the left hande know what the right doth. Now after that the time was expired for which we were condemned to serve in those religious houses, we were then brought againe before the chiefe Inquisitor, and had all our fooles coates pulled off and hanged up in the head church, called Ecclesia Major, and every mans name and judgement written thereupon with this addition, An heretike Lutheran reconciled. And there are also all their coates hanged up, which were condemned to the gallies, with their names and judgements, and underneath his coat, Heretike Lutheran reconciled. And also the coats and names of the three that were burned, whereupon were written, An obstinate heretike Lutheran burnt. Then were we suffered to goe up and downe the countrey, and to place our selves as we could, and yet not so free, but that we very well knew that there was good espiall alwayes attending us and all our actions, so that we durst not once speake or looke awry. David Alexander & Robert Cooke returned to serve the Inquisitor, who shortly after maried them both to two of his Negro women: Richard Williams maried a rich widow of Biskay with 4000 Pezos: Paul Horsewell is maried to a Mestisa, as they name those whose fathers were Spaniards, and their mothers Indians, and this woman which Paul Horsewell hath maried, is sayd to be the daughter of one that came in with Hernando Cortes the Conquerour, who had with her in marriage foure thousand Pezos, and a faire house: John Storie is maried to a Negro woman: William Lowe had leave and licence to goe into Spaine where he is now married: for mine owne part I could never throughly settle my selfe to marry in that countrey, although many faire offers were made unto me of such as were of great abilitie and wealth, but I could have no liking to live in that place, where I must every where see and know such horrible idolatrie committed, and durst not once for my life speake against it: and therefore I had alwayes a longing and desire to this my native countrey: and, to returne and serve againe in the Mines where I might have gathered great riches and wealth, I very well saw that at one time or another I should fall againe into the danger of that divelish Inquisition, and so be stript of all, with losse of life also, and therefore I made my choise rather to learne to weave Grogranes and Taffaties, and so compounding with a Silke-weaver, I bound my selfe for three yeeres to serve him, and gave him an hundred and fiftie Pezos to teach me the science, otherwise he would not have taught mee under seven yeeres prentiship, and by this meanes I lived the more quiet, and free from suspition. Howbeit I should many times be charged by familiars of that divelish house, that I had a meaning to runne away into England , and to be an heretike Lutherane againe: To whom I would answere that they had no neede to suspect any such thing in mee, for that they knewe all very well that it was impossible for me to escape by any maner of meanes: yet notwithstanding I was called before the Inquisitor, and demaunded why I did not marrie: I answered that I had bound my selfe at an occupation. Well said the Inquisitor, I knowe thou meanest to runne away, and therefore I charge thee here upon paine of burning as an heretike relapsed, that thou depart not out of this citie, nor come neere to the port of S. John de Ullua, nor to any other port: To the which I answered, that I would willingly obey. Yea said he, see thou doe so and thy fellowes also, they shall have the like charge.

So I remained at my science the full time, and learned the Art, at the end whereof there came newes to Mexico that there were certaine Englishmen landed with a great power at the port of Acapulco , upon the South sea, and that they were comming to Mexico to take the spoyle therof, which wrought a marvellous great feare amongst them, & many of those that were rich, began to shift for themselves, their wives & children: upon which hurlie burlie the Viceroy caused a generall muster to be made of all the Spaniards in Mexico , and there were found to be the number of 7000 and odde housholders of Spaniards in the citie and suburbs, and of single men unmaried, the number of 3000 and of Mestizoes, which are counted to be the sonnes of Spaniards borne of Indian women, twenty thousand persons, and then was Paul Horsewel & I Miles Philips sent for before the Viceroy, and were examined if we did know an English man named Francis Drake, which was brother to Captaine Hawkins: to which we answered, that Captaine Hawkins had not any brother but one, which was a man of the age of threescore yeeres or thereabouts, and was now governour of Plimmouth in England . And then he demanded of us if we knewe one Francis Drake, and we answered, no.

While these things were in doing, there came newes that all the Englishmen were gone, yet were there eight hundred men made out under the leading of several Captains, wherof two hundred were sent to the port of S. John de Ullua, upon the North Sea under the conduct of Don Luys Suares, two hundred were sent to Guatimala in the South sea, who had for their captaine John Cortes, two hundred more were sent to Guatulco, a port of the South sea, over whom went for captaine Don Pedro de Robles, and two hundred more were sent to Acapulco , the port where it was said that Captaine Drake had bene. And they had for Captaine doctor Robles Alcalde de Corte, with whom I Miles Philips went as interpreter, having licence given by the Inquisitors. When we were come to Acapulco , we found that Captaine Drake was departed from thence, more then a moneth before we came thither. But yet our captaine Alcalde de Corte there presently embarked himselfe in a small ship of threescore tunne or thereabout, having also in companie with him two other small barkes, and not past two hundred men in all, with whom I went as interpreter in his owne ship, which God knoweth was but weake and ill appointed, so that for certaine, if we had met with Captaine Drake, he might easily have taken us all: We being imbarked kept our course and ranne Southward towards Panama, keeping still as nigh the shore as we could, and leaving the land upon our left hand, and having coasted thus for the space of eighteene or twentie dayes, and being more to the South then Guatimala, we met at last with other ships which came from Panama, of whom we were certainely informed that he was cleane gone off the coast more then a moneth before: and so we returned backe to Acapulco againe, and there landed, our Captaine being thereunto forced, because his men were very sore seasicke: All the while that I was at Sea, with them, I was a glad man, for I hoped that if we met with master Drake, we should all be taken, so that then I should have beene freed out of that danger and miserie wherein I lived, and should returne to mine owne countrey of England againe. But missing thereof, when I sawe there was no remedie but that we must needes come on land againe, little doeth any man know the sorow and griefe that inwardly I felt, although outwardly I was constrained to make faire weather of it. And so being landed, ye next morow after, we began our journey towardes Mexico , and past these townes of name in our way, as first the towne of Tuatepec, 50 leagues from Mexico , from thence to Washaca, 40 leagues from Mexico : from thence to Tepiaca 24 leagues from Mexico , and from thence to Pueblo de los Angeles, where is a high hill which casteth out fire three times a day, which hill is 18 leagues in maner directly West from Mexico , from thence we went to Stapelapa, 8 leagues from Mexico , and there our captaine and most of his men tooke boat, and came to Mexico againe, having bene foorth about the space of seven weekes or thereabouts. Our captaine made report to the Viceroy what he had done, and how farre he had travelled, and that for certaine he was informed that captaine Drake was not to be heard of. To which the Viceroy replied and said, Surely we shall have him shortly come into our hands driven a land through necessitie in some one place or other, for he being now in these seas of Sur, it is not possible for him to get out of them againe, so that if he perish not at sea, yet hunger wil force him to land. And then againe I was commanded by the Viceroy that I should not depart the citie of Mexico , but alwaies be at my masters house in a readinesse at an houres warning, when soever I should be called: for that notwithstanding within one moneth after certaine Spaniards going to Mecameca, 18 leagues from Mexico , to send away certaine hides and Cochinilla, that they had there at their Stantias or dairie houses, and my master having leave of the Secretarie for me to go with them, I tooke my journey with them being very well horsed and appointed, and comming thither and passing the time there at Mecameca certaine dayes till we had perfect intelligence that the fleet was readie to depart, I not being past 3 daies journey from the port of S. John de Ullua, thought it to be the meetest time for me to make an escape, and I was the bolder, presuming upon my Spanish tongue, which I spake as naturally as any of them all, thinking with my selfe, that when I came to S. John de Ullua, I would get to be entertained as a souldiour, and so go home into Spaine in the same Fleete, and therefore secretly one evening late, the moone shining faire, I conveyed my selfe away, and riding so for the space of two nights and two dayes, sometimes in, and sometimes out, resting very little all that time, upon the second day at night I came to the towne of Vera Cruz, distant from the port of S. John de Ullua, where the ships rode, but only 5 leagues, and here purposing to rest my selfe a day or two, I was no sooner alighted, but within the space of one halfe houre after, I was by ill hap arrested, and brought before Justices there, being taken and suspected to be a gentlemans sonne of Mexico , that was runne away from his father, who in trueth was the man they sought for: So I being arrested, and brought before the Justices, there was a great hurly burly about the matter, every man charging me that I was the sonne of such a man dwelling in Mexico , which I flatly denied, affirming that I knewe not the man, yet would they not beleeve me, but urged stil upon me that I was he that they sought for, and so I was conveied away to prison. And as I was thus going to prison, to the further increase of my griefe, it chanced that at that very instant there was a poore man in the presse that was come to towne to sell hennes, who told the Justices that they did me wrong, and that in truth he knew very well that I was an Englishman and no Spaniard. They then demanded of him how he knew that, and threatned him that he said so, for that he was my companion, and sought to convey me away from my father, so that he also was threatned to be laid in prison with me: he for the discharge of himselfe stood stifly in it, that I was an Englishman, & one of captaine Hawkins men, and that he had knowen me weare the S. Benito in the Blacke-friers at Mexico , for 3 or 4 whole yeres together: which when they heard, they forsooke him, and began to examine me a new, whether that speech of his were true, yea or no, which when they perceived that I could not denie, and perceiving that I was run from Mexico , & came thither of purpose to convey my selfe away with the fleete, I was presently committed to prison with a sorrowfull heart, often wishing my selfe that that man which knew me had at that time bene further off: howbeit he in sinceritie had compassion of my distressed estate, thinking by his speech, and knowing of me, to have set me free from that present danger which he saw me in: howbeit, contrary to his expectation, I was thereby brought into my extreme danger, and to the hazard of my life, yet there was no remedy but patience perforce. And I was no sooner brought into prison, but I had a great paire of bolts clapt on my legs, and thus I remained in that prison for the space of 3 weekes, where were also many other prisoners which were thither committed for sundry crimes, & condemned to the gallies. During which time of imprisonment there, I found amongst those my prisonfellowes some that had knowen me before in Mexico , and truely they had compassion of me, & would spare of their victuals and any thing els that they had to dole me good: amongst whom there was one of them that told me that he understood by a secret friend of his which often came to the prison to him, that I shold be shortly sent backe againe to Mexico by wagon, so soone as the fleete was gone from S. John de Ullua, for Spaine. This poore man my prison-fellow of himselfe, & without any request made by me, caused his said friend which came often unto him to the grate of the prison, to bring him wine and victuals, to buy for him 2 knives which had files in their backes, which files were so wel made that they would serve & suffice any prisoner to file off his irons, & of those knives or files he brought one to me, & told me that he had caused it to be made for me, and let me have it at that very price it cost him, which was 2 Pezos, the value of 8.s. of our money: which knife when I had it, I was a joyfull man, and conveied the same into the foote of my boot, upon the inside of my left leg, and so within 3 or 4 dayes after that I had thus received my knife, I was suddenly called for, & brought before the head Justice which caused those my irons with the round bolt to be stricken off and sent to a Smiths in the towne, where was a new paire of bolts made ready for me of another fashion, which had a broad iron barre comming betweene the shackles, and caused my hands to be made fast with a paire of manacles, and so was I presently laid into a wagon all alone, which was there readie to depart with sundry other wagons, to the number of 60. towardes Mexico , and they all were laden with sundry merchandise which came in the fleete out of Spaine.

The wagon that I was in was foremost in all the companie, and as we travelled I being alone in the wagon, began to trie if I could plucke my hands out of the manacles, and as God would, although it were somewhat painefull for me, yet my handes were so slender that I could pull them out, and put them in againe, and ever as we went, when the wagon made most noyse, and the men were busiest, I would be working to file off my bolts, & travelling thus for the space of 8 leagues from Vera Cruz, we came to an high hill, at the entring up of which (as God would) one of the wheeles of the wagon wherein I was, brake, so that by that meanes the other wagons went afore, and the wagon-man that had charge of me set an Indian Carpenter a worke to mend the wheele: and here at this place they baited at an hostrie that a Negro-woman keepes: and at this place, for that the going up of the hill is very steepe, for the space of two leagues and better, they doe alwaies accustome to take the moiles of 3 or 4 wagons, and to place them altogether for the drawing up of one wagon, and so to come downe againe, and fetch up others in that order. All which came very well to passe: for as it drew towards night when most of the Wagoners were gone to draw up their wagons, in this sort I being alone had quickly filed off my boltes, and so espying my time in the darke of the evening before they returned downe the hill againe, I conveyed my selfe into the woods there adjoyning, carrying my bolts and manacles with me, & a few biscuits, and two small cheeses. And being come into the woods, I threw my yrons into a thicke bush, and then covered them with mosse and other things, and then shifted for my selfe as I might all that night. And thus by the good providence of Almightie God, I was freed from mine yrons all saving the collar that was about my necke, and so got my libertie the second time.

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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Mexico (Mexico) (57)
Acapulco (Guerrero, Mexico) (12)
England (United Kingdom) (9)
Negro (6)
Pueblo (Colorado, United States) (3)
Cortes (Honduras) (3)
Havana (Cuba) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: