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A true relation of the voyage undertaken by Sir Anthony Sherley Knight in Anno 1596. intended for the Ile of San Tome, but performed to S. Iago, Dominica , Margarita, along the coast of Tierra firma, to the Ile of Jamaica, the bay of the Honduras , 30 leagues up Rio Dolce, and homewarde by Newfoundland . With the memorable exploytes atchieved in all this voyage.

WE departed from Hampton the 23 of Aprill with nine ships and a gallie. The Bevice Admirall being 300 tunnes, the Galeon Viceadmirall being 240 tunnes. The George Rereadmirall being 160 tunnes. The Archangel being 250 tunnes. The Swanne 200 tunnes, the George Noble being 140 tunnes, the Wolfe 70 tunnes, the Mermayde 120 tunnes, the Little John 40 tunnes the Galley and a Pinnesse. All which ships we sufficiently victualled and furnished for ten monethes, with all necessaries fit for the voyage. They were also manned with souldiers and saylers, exceeding well appointed with all furniture necessarie for the intended purpose of our Generall to the full number of 900. ratably & orderly distributed into every ship. We arrived at Plimmouth the 29 of Aprill, where wee found the Right honourable Earle of Essex readie for the attempt of his Cadiz Action, with whom our Generall left three ships and 500 souldiers well victualed and furnished. So the 21 of May we departed from Plimmouth with the Bevice, the Gallion, the George, the George Noble, the Wolfe and the Galley and Pinnesse, determining our voyage for the Ile of S. Tome. But if our whole force had remayned with us our Generals purpose was to have first sackt the Madera Ile, and so to have proceeded for S. Tome. The 27 of May we arrived upon the coast of Spaine, coasting all the shore, hoping to meete with some of the kings ships. From thence we past in sight of the coast of Barbary, and came to Masagant, within shot of the Fort, which our Generall reported to be an excellent fortification, where the Spaniard is in strong garrison. And bending our course for the Canarie Iles there purposing to water, our galley lost her rudder; so our Generall directed the George Noble to goe for the Ile Mogador, there to repaire the Gallies wants. Betweene which place and the Canarie lies we tooke a fly-bote of two hundred tunnes bound for Brasill, having nothing aboord her but some small portion of victuals for their reliefe. The Captaine of this Flybote tooke upon him to be a perfect Pilot of S. Tome, and willingly consented to stay with us, being a Fleming . Having watered at the Canaries, by the counsell of this Fleming we shaped our course for the Iles of Cape Verde, he assuring us that we should there meet the fleete of Saint Tome, for the yeere was so farre past, that we knewe they were all departed from S. Tome.

The first of July we fell with the Isle Maio, where wee saw small hope of any fleete to bee expected, & therefore departed for Cape Verde, the appointed place for the George noble to meete us: where we arrived the fift of July, and there found him. And so instantly we proceeded for our voyage, because the yeere was farre spent. At this place most unfortunately our General fell exceeding sicke, and we wanting water were enforced to goe with a place named Pescadores in 10 degrees of North latitude, where we had many skirmishes with the barbarous Negros. Our Generall now hopelesse of life, and we all dismayed and comfortlesse through that his exceeding extremity, having his memory very perfit, he called all his Captaines, Masters, and officers unto him, unto whom he made a very pithie and briefe speech, tending to this purpose: That as we were Christians and all baptised and bred up under one and the true faith, so wee should live together like Christians in the feare and service of God: And as we were the subjects of our most excellent sovereigne, and had vowed obedience unto her: so we should tend all our courses to the advancement of her dignity, and the good of our countrey, and not to enter into any base or unfit actions. And because we came for his love into this action that for his sake we would so love together as if himselfe were still living with us, and that we would follow (as our chiefe commander) him, unto whom under his hand he would give commission to succeede himselfe: all which with solemne protestation we granted to obey. Then for that the yere was past, and finding the cost of Guynea most tempestuous, hee saw in reason that the bay of Æthiopia would be our utter overthrow, and infect us all to death: whereupon he advised us to be respective of our selves, and to divert our purpose from S. Tome, either for Brasil or the West India, yeelding many reasons that it was our best course: but we all with one voice desired to proceede for S. Tome. And so departing from this contagious filthy place, we directed our course for S. Tome, but could by no means double the sholds of Madrabomba, but very dangerously ran into shold water, still hoping of the best. In fine we were enforced to beare up & take some other course; for the time wasted, our men fell sicke, and the coast was contagious alwayes raging & tempestuous. The water falling from the heavens did stinke, and did in 6 houres turne into maggots where it fell either among our clothes, or in wads of Ocombe .

So by a general consent it was held to be our best course to goe for the West India; & so much the rather, because we had good pilots for that place, who undertooke more then was after performed. So we bent our course for the Isles of Cape Verde, & arriving at the Isle of S. Iago the 30 of August, we presently landed at Praia , where we found a smal barke in the rode laden with wine and meale.

After we were departed from this vile coast of Guyny our Generall to our great comforts began to recover strength; so that being now at Praia , he was able to land with us. In our landing the people made a shew of great resistance, but we entred the towne without hindrance, being a very pretie towne, having a small fort in it, with 6 or 8 cast pieces.

Being here on shore, and finding nothing left in the towne, divers of our company were very importunate with our Generall, that he would go to the citie of S. Iago being 6 miles off: through their importunitie he yeelded consent, and so we marched towards the citie with 280 souldiers. As we passed by the Negros and herdsmen, they would crie unto us Guarda S. Iago. That night we lost our way, & lay under a hedge. The next morning the Ordinance of S. Iago was shot off to give us notice where the towne was: so wee marched towards it at the breake of the day. The countrey then being all spred over with people made shew of feare only to draw us into the town: but we farther marched with our colours flying by the drumme. The gentelmen would come gallopping by us and viewing us very much. But when we came in sight of the towne, we could see no way how to get into it, but by one little path downe a very steepe hill, only man by man to go downe. The strength and situation of this towne was sufficient to have danted a man of very good courage, for it standeth between two steepe cliffes strongly housed, & three exceeding good forts commanding the whole, the chiefest and best standing upon the top of the hill right over the towne: so that from thence with muskets they command every streete, the other 2 forts standing by the waters side, all three commanding the rode, and these two every streete in the towne. Upon the front of the towne the sea beateth, the rest standeth betweene two mighty cliffes, not accessible but by one small path, by which wee were enforced to goe. Our Generall seeing himselfe thus straighted, and perceiving the drift of the Portugals was to draw him into this trench, and knowing wel that he could not returne as we came, by reason of many straights and advantageable places, with an excellent resolution (like unto himselfe) cryed out, all courage my hearts: assure your selves that the device of the Portugals shall serve our turne this day; for they will suffer us quietly to passe downe into their supposed trappe, and then will pursue us, then which nothing can happen better. The day is ours now shew your selves as I know you will: and so presently we descended into the trench. And being downe the enemy pursued with a mightie crie, and all the cliffes on both sides were beset full of men; shot, and stones we wanted none from them on every side in great plenty; for this naturall trench was not halfe a musket shot over. Those that attempted our Rereward by our Generals policie were so received that they made a stand, and never more came neere us. We had now halfe a mile to the towne, into the which when wee came, wee were received with the streetes full of souldiers, who joyned with us at the push of the pike. But their captaine and divers of them being slaine (feare possessing them) they fled: and our Generall pursuing with such furious speede, did so dismay them that they fled the towne, and the third of August we possessed both the lower forts.

Being now masters of the towne, we presently by the Generals direction (whose skill, spirit, and diligence can never have sufficient commendation) baricadoed up all the streets, and brought our selves into a very convenient strength. After we had bene sixe houres in the towne the Portugals still comming in great multitudes to the upper fort, began to sally downe upon us, and to assault us at every baricado: so that in the first assault they slew and wounded eighty of our men, to our very great weakening. But they had small cause of triumph, for their losse was thrise more then ours: but they still prosecuted their assault, not giving us time either to sleepe or eate, so that we were in exceeding extremitie; for their forces did dayly increase to the number of three thousand persons: but we dayly lost of our poore number. Whilest we were thus keeping the towne, our ships came about unto us, who received many dangerous shot from the upper castle. Our Generall finding himselfe thus streighted, & discreetely looking into the policie and strength of the enemy, and scarse able to defend any one assault more, sent to the forts and to his ships that about ten of the clocke in the darke of the night they should shoote at the upper fort with all possible diligence, and send all the boates ashore, which was accordingly perfourmed. And wee likewise keeping a tumult in the towne, the enemie supposing that our purpose was to assault the upper fort, (which God knowes was most impregnable for us) retyred from their plotted purpose for the defence thereof. So we in a souldierlike order with very good safety departed the towne, although the Portugals having espied our Generals policie came very furiously upon the backe of us, after we had kept it two dayes and two nights.

In the rode of S. Iago we tooke a ship with wine and cloth, which did greatly refresh our men. From hence we sayled to an Isle called Fuego, being a very small Isle, with a very high hill in the midst of it, which continually burneth: this Isle is invincible by nature, high cliffed round about, yet by diligent search we found a small path where wee landed our men with exceeding much difficulty, and so were masters of the Isle the eleventh of September, where wee tooke in water, but the Isle yeelded us nothing but miserable infection. One night wee had a showre of ashes which fell so thicke into our ships from that burning hill of Fuego, that you might write your name with your finger upon the upper decke.

Departing from this place the twentieth of September, we shaped our course for Dominica an Isle in the West India: but before we came thither our men fell generally downe, so that the hole could not relieve the sicke, the disease was so vile that men grew lothsome unto them selves, franticke and desperately raving, among whom our good Generals part was not the least; for his disease was vehement, the griefe of his mind, the lamentation of his men, and the losse of those whom he loved were to him torments more then durable: all which with patience and humilitie in prayer he humbled himselfe unto. But had not his mind bene invincible and his desires above the ordinary course of men, it had bene impossible that life should now have rested in him: but God (I hope) hath preserved him to some exceeding good purpose.

Arriving at Dominica the seventeenth of October, with all our men sicke and feeble, wee found there two hote bathes, wherein our weake men washing themselves were greatly comforted: and the Indians of this place used us with great kindnesse, so that we were all perfectly well before we departed from this place. For here we stayed untill the 25 of November. From Dominica we sayled to Margarita, betweene the Isle and the maine, thinking to meete with the perle dredgers, but wee found them not. And comming to the point of Araia in the road of Cumana , we sawe a Flemish ship riding; the marchant and men whereof came aboord us, and brought with them my lord Admirals passe. By which meanes our General would in no sort meddle with them, yet they were very rich. Departing thence by Cape Coadera, going for Cape de la Vela at the Isle Buenaire our Fliboat was cast away, & some of the men lost, but the most part saved. Coasting all the shore from Cape de la Vela, being bound for S. Martha, we tooke a small frigat laden with Guiny corne, the eleventh of September: she had in her money to the valew of 500 pound, linnen cloth and China silke, all which our General bestowed upon his company to comfort them after their long sustained miseries: Out of which frigat we had 2 good pilots for those coasts: for our pilot, that promised many things before we came thither, was now absent in the Woolfe, who, we thinke, did wilfully loose us. Arriving at S. Martha, two leagues West from the towne in a faire bay, we landed the 12 of September, & so marched to the towne being often times encountred by the way, and in a narrow way at our descent downe a hill, they had placed two cast pieces of brasse, which we recovered, and so entred the towne, the enemie flying before us. While we abode in this towne, there came one Don Martin de Castilla, a gentleman of good education and a very great traveller, who knew the whole state of the West India, Malucos, & Philippinas: he had bene in China , and made many relations to our Generall, his purpose was to save the towne from burning, wherin he prevailed, but ransome I know of none we had: for this gentleman made many great protestations of great poverty to be in that place. So wee departed, onely taking their ordinance, and a prisoner lost there by sir Francis Drake, with some reliefe of victuals. Having stayed there al the time of Christmas, we departed thence on Newyeres day, with termes of great content to our General in the Spaniards great submission unto him, for they were now within a league of us with 700 souldiers. And being challenged by him to defend their towne like men of worth, they did notwithstanding intreat favour with great humilitie. Whilest we were at S. Martha, the Wolfe came againe unto us: so wee shaped our course for Jamaica , and missing the rode, were constrained to saile round about the Isle, a thing not before done. In this place the Wolfe absolutely againe forsooke us with the smal barke that we tooke at S. Iago, and returned for England with hard newes of our ruine, but by Gods favourable help wee arrived in the road of Jamaica the 29 of January, which is very dangerous to enter by reason of the sholds and rocks that lie before it. Here we landed and marched 6 miles into the countrey, where the towne standeth; the people all on horsebacke made shew of great matters, but did nothing. Now being masters of the towne and whole Isle, the people submitted themselves to our Generals mercy: and here they provided for us great store of dried beefe, and Cassavi meale, a base food, yet the best that the countrey yeeldeth, to continue at sea. This Isle is a marveilous fertil Isle, & is as a garden or store house for divers parts of the maine. It is full of plaine champion ground, which in the rest of the Indies we have not seene: it aboundeth with beeves and Cassavi, besides most pleasant fruits of divers sorts. We have not found in the Indies a more pleasant and holsome place. During the time that we remained in this Isle the captaine of the Isle came often aboord us, we having pledges for the security of their promise. They were in fine at our Generals devotion, to dispose of al things, and in all things as he pleased, so that now we were as one people & in one peace together. Being almost ready to depart, M. captaine Parker of Plimmouth came into the rode in his ships boat the second of March, with whom our Generall consorted to goe for the bay of Honduras , where by his perswasion we had great hope of a very good voyage. And departing from Jamaica the 6 of March, we sailed to Cape de Corrientes in Cuba , to looke for a barke of M. Parkers for our better strength: but not finding her, we went for the cape of Honduras , where we purposed to entrap the watch, & so to sacke the towne of Truxillo, but the watch discovering us, made great fires, and the towne presently shot off a great piece, and answered with fires. Notwithstanding the next day being the 31 of March we brought our ships under the fort, and landed our men, but it was a vaine purpose: for the towne is not to be taken but by exceeding multitudes, for it is invincible by nature. It standeth upon the top of a very steepe hill, bordering close to the sea: so environed with woods of such exceeding thicknes, that there is no passage among the trees, which if they were gone, yet there is no climbing up the hill, only having one narrow lane to go into the towne; at the end whereof is a great gate very strongly fortified, so that it is not to be approched unto, so that with the losse of some few men, we retired from this enterprise, being altogether impossible to be atchieved by our few and weake men.

We departed from Truxillo the second of April and went for Puerto de Cavallos lower down in the bay, stil nourishing our hope of good successe: and comming thither found it reasonably fortified, but wee presently prevailed and tooke it the 7 of April, being the most poore and miserable place of all India . Now our hopes were all frustrate and no likelihood remayning how we could by any meanes make a voyage: our General reserving unto himselfe his silent inward impatience, laboured to doe some memorable thing. And in fine concluded by Rio Dolce to search with his boats some narrow passage or Isthmos for the South sea, alleaging that if hee could but finde a boat there, it should serve him to great purpose; against which there could be no reasonable contradiction. All his chiefest sea men consented hereunto, but especially the Captaine of the Admirall. So sayling with the ships to Cape de tres puntas in the bottome of the bay, there leaving the ships well mored the tenth of Aprill he departed with his boats for Rio Dolce, which in many Charts hath his passage through the land. Up this river by many uncertaine windings we passed 30 leagues and better, where we found a strong built fort, a towne, and divers store-houses: but for money or merchandize we found none. Wee learned by the miserable people that we tooke, that the South sea was 20 leagues from the nerest of that river, and that it was 50 leagues to Guatimala, 40 leagues to Sonsonate , and 30 leagues to Sacatocaluca, being townes which we hoped to march unto: so that now we were in worse case then before: for wee were fallen sicke with the unholsomenesse of this ayre, and our victuals so wasted, as that we were desperate how to recover our countrey. Whereupon with most unwilling minds we returned to our shipping, and with all possible expedition weyed, & so laboured upon the tacke to turne out of this very deepe bay, being 60 leagues within the point of land. Being out of the bay, wee shaped our course for Cape S. Anthony. Our General, whose restles spirit continually laboured to avoide the frownes of fortune, had now plotted with the Bevice and Galeon to goe for Newfoundland , and there to revictual, and to have fresh men, of which we stood in good assurance, & so to depart for the streits of Magellan, and so by his very good policie would have concluded his voyage in the East India, which plat I thinke it unnecessary here to reveale, being put in principall trust by him.

Being thwart Havana , by what chance I know not, but all his ships forsooke him the 13 of May, and here in a desperate place hee was left desperately alone. The George departed by consent with his letters, the Galeon I know not how: but our misery in the Admirall was very great, for there was not one in the ship that was ever before in the Indies, besides our miserable want of victuals, the danger of the place, and the furious current of the chanel. Notwithstanding we were enforced without stay to disemboque: which happily being performed, we shaped our course for Newfoundland . And by Gods mercy we arrived there the fifteenth of June, not having one houres victuals to spare, and there by our countreymen we were well refreshed: where we stayed till the 24 of June, still expecting the Galeon, for the execution of this his last purpose: but she not comming, and that plat overthrowen, we returned for England , where we found the right honourable the Erle of Essex bound to the seas, with whom wee presently departed in his lordships ship, to doe him our humble service.

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