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The voyage of John Oxnam of Plimmouth, to the west India , and over the straight of Dariene into the South sea. Anno 1575. Written by the foresaid Lopez Vaz in the said discourse.

THERE was another Englishman, who hearing of the spoyle that Francis Drake had done upon the coast of Nueva Espanna, and of his good adventure and safe returne home, was thereby provoked to undertake the like enterprise, with a ship of 140 tunnes, and 70 men, and came thither, and had also conference with the foresaide Negros: and hearing that the golde and silver which came upon the Mules from Panama to Nombre de Dios, was now conducted with souldiers, he determined to do that which never any man before enterprised: and landed in that place where Francis Drake before had had his conference with the Negros. This man covered his ship after he had brought her aground with boughes of trees, and hid his great Ordinance in the ground, and so not leaving any man in his ship, he tooke two small pieces of ordinance, and his calivers, and good store of victuals, and so went with the Negros about twelve leagues into the maine land, to a river that goeth to the South sea, and there he cut wood and made a Pinnesse, which was five and fortie foote by the keele, and having made this Pinnesse, he went into the South sea, carrying sixe Negros with him to be his guides, and so went to the Iland of Pearles, which is five & twentie leagues from Panama, which is in the way that they come from Peru to Panama, and there he was ten dayes without shewing himselfe to any man, to see if he might get any ship that came from Peru : At last there came a small Barke by, which came from Peru from a place called Quito , which he tooke and found in her sixtie thousand pezos of golde, and much victuals. But not contenting himselfe with this prize, hee stayed long without sending away his prize or any of the men, and in the ende of sixe dayes after, hee tooke another Barke which came from Lima , in which he tooke an hundred thousand pezos of silver in barres, with the which hee thought to have gone, & entred the river, but first he went into the Islands to see if he could find any pearles: where he found a few, and so returned to his pinnesse againe, & so sailing to the river from whence he came, and comming neere to the mouth of the sayd river, hee sent away the two prizes that hee tooke, and with his pinnesse he went up the river. The Negros that dwelt in the Island of pearls, the same night that he went from them, went in Canoas to Panama, and the Governour within two dayes sent foure barkes 100 men, 25 in every one, and Negros to rowe with the captaine John de Ortega, which went to the Island of pearles, and there had intelligence, which way the English men were gone, and following them he met by the way the ships which the English men had taken, of whom he learned, that the English men were gone up the river, and he going thither, when he came to the mouth of the river, the captaine of Panama knew not which way to take, because there were three partitions in the river to goe up in, and being determined to goe up the greatest of the three rivers, he saw comming downe a lesser river many feathers of hennes, which the Englishmen had pulled to eate, and being glad thereof, hee went up that river where hee saw the feathers, and after that he had bene in that river foure daies, he descried the Englishmens pinnesse upon the sands, and comming to her, there were no more then sixe Englishmen, whereof they killed one, and the other five escaped away, and in the pinnesse he found nothing but victuals: but this captaine of Panama not herewith satisfied, determined to seeke out the Englishmen by land, and leaving twenty men in his pinnesses, hee with 80 shot went up the countrey: hee had not gone halfe a league, but hee found a house made of boughs, where they found all the Englishmens goods, and the gold and silver also, and carying it backe to their pinnesses, the Spaniards were determined to goe away, without following the English men any further.

But at the end of three dayes, the English Captaine came to the river with all his men, and above 200 Negros, and set upon the Spaniards with great fury: But the Spaniards having the advantage of trees which they stood behind, did easily prevaile, and killed eleven Englishmen, and five Negros, and tooke other seven Englishmen alive, but of the Spaniards, two were slaine and five sore hurt.

Among other things, the Spaniards enquired of the Englishmen which they tooke, why they went not away in fifteene dayes liberty which they had. They answered, that their captaine had commanded them to carie all that golde and silver which they had, to the place where they had left their shippe, and they had promised him to carie it, although they made three or foure journeys of it, for hee promised to give them part of it besides their wages, but the mariners would have it by and by, and so their Captaine being angry because they would not take his word, fell out with them, and they with him, in so much that one of the company would have killed the Captaine, so that the Captaine would not have them to carie the treasure, but sayd hee would seeke Negros to carie it, and so he went and sought for Negros, and bringing those Negros to carie it, hee met with the five English men that hee had left in his pinnesse which ranne from the Spaniards, and the rest also which ran from the house, and they told him what the Spaniards had done, and then making friendship with all his men, he promised them halfe of all the treasure if they got it from the Spaniards, and the Negros promised to helpe him with their bowes and arrowes, and thereupon they came to seeke the Spaniards, and now that some of his company were killed and taken, hee thought it best to returne to his ship, and to passe backe for England . The Spanish captaine hearing this, having buried the dead bodies, and having gotten all things into his barkes, and taking the English men and their pinnesse with him, he returned to Panama: so the voyage of that English man did not prosper with him, as hee thought it would have done.

Nowe when the foure barkes were come to Panama, they sent advise also to Nombre de dios, and they of Nombre de dios sent also from them other foure barkes which (as the Spaniards say) found the English ship where she was hid, and brought her to Nombre de dios: and that the Viceroy of Peru not thinking it good to suffer fiftie English men to remaine in the countrey, sent a servant of his called Diego de Frees, with a hundreth and fifty shot into the mountaines to seeke them out, who found them making of certaine Canoas to goe into the North sea , and there to take some barke or other: some of them were sicke, and were taken, and the rest fled with the Negros, who in the end betrayed them to the Spaniards, so that they were brought to Panama. And the Justice of Panama asked the English captaine whether hee had the Queenes licence, or the licence of any other Prince or Lord for his attempt. And he answered he had none, whereupon hee and all his company were condemned to dye, and so were all executed, saving the Captaine, the Master, the Pilot, and five boyes which were caried to Lima , and there the Captaine was executed with the other two, but the boyes be yet living.

The King of Spaine having intelligence of these matters, sent 300 men of warre against those Negros which had assisted those English men, which before were slaves unto the Spaniards, and as before is sayd, fled from their masters unto those mountaines, and so joyned themselves to the Englishmen, to the ende they might the better revenge themselves on the Spaniards.

At the first comming of these 300 souldiers, they tooke many of the Negros, and executed great justice upon them: But after a season, the Negros grew wise and wary, and prevented the Spaniards, so that none of them could be taken.

The Spaniards of that country marvelled much at this one thing, to see that since the conquering of this land, there have bene many Frenchmen, that have come to those Countreys, but never saw English men there but onely those two of whom I have spoken. And although there have many Frenchmen bene on the coast, yet never durst they put foote upon land, only those two English men adventured it, and did such exploits, as are before remembred.

All these things comming to the hearing of the king of Spaine, he provided two Gallies well appointed to keepe those coastes : and the first yeere they tooke sixe or seven French ships. And after that this was knowen, there were no more Englishmen or Frenchmen of warre that durst adventure to approch the coast, untill this present yeere 1586, that the aforesayd Francis Drake, with a strong fleete of 24 ships arrived there, and made spoile of Santo Domingo, Carthagena, and S. Augustine, things that are knowen to all the worlde. But it is likely that if the King of Spaine live, he will in time provide sufficient remedy, to keepe his countreys and subjects from the invasion of other nations.

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