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A voyage of Master William Parker of Plimmouth gentleman, to Margarita, Jamaica , Truxillo, Puerto de Cavallos situate within the bay of Honduras , and taken by sir Anthony Sherley and him, as likewise up Rio dolce: with his returne from thence, and his valiant and happie enterprize upon Campeche the chiefe towne of Yucatan , which he tooke and sacked with sixe and fifty men, and brought out of the harbour a Frigat laden with the kings tribute, and surprized also the towne of Sebo.

IN the yeere 1596, Master William Parker of Plimmouth gentleman being furnished with a tall shippe and a barke at his owne charges, the ship called the Prudence of one hundreth and twenty tunnes, wherein himselfe went captaine, and the barke called the Adventure of five and twentie tunnes, whereof was captain one Richard Hen, departed from the foresayd haven of Plimmouth in the moneth of November, having one hundreth men in his company.

The first place where wee touched in the West Indies was the Isle of Margarita on the coast of Tierra firma, where we tooke a Spanish gentleman and others, who for his ransome set at libertie Master James Willis, and five other Englishmen which were prisoners in Cumana, who otherwise were never like to have come from thence. Thus passing from thence, wee sayled over to the Isle of Jamaica, where the second of March we met with sir Anthony Sherley, who before our comming had taken the chiefe towne in the Island, and was now almost in a readines to depart. And here consorting our selves with him, we departed from Jamaica the sixt of March, and resolved to set upon the strong towne of Truxillo neere the mouth of the bay of the Honduras . And having sayled to Cape de Corrientes upon Cuba , to seeke a barke of mine for our better strength; but not finding her, we went for the cape of Honduras , where wee purposed to intrap the watch, and so to have sacked 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 one and thirtieth of March, wee brought our ships under the fort, and landed our men: but it was a vaine purpose, for the towne is invincible by nature, and standeth upon the top of a very steepe hill joyning close to the sea, environed with woods of such exceeding thicknes, that there is no passage through the trees: there is also but one very narrow and steepe lane to goe into the towne, at the end whereof is a gate very strongly fortified: so that it is not to be approched unto, unlesse it be upon the sudden, and with surprize of the watch: wherefore with the losse of some few men wee retired from this enterprize.

From hence we passed up farther into the gulfe the second of April, with intention to invade the towne of Puerto de Cavallos, where wee arrived the seventh of April, and tooke the same, finding it well fortified, but nothing answering our expectation for wealth. Whereupon Sir Anthony Sherley and I being hitherto frustrate of our hopes, resolved here to enter up to the bottome of Rio dolce, and to passe overland unto the South sea. Wherefore wee set forward, and entred above thirty leagues up the sayd Rio dolce, thinking to have passed overland with two companies of men, and to have caried a pinnesse in sixe quarters to be set together with skrewes, and therein to have embarked our selves in the South sea, and there for a time to have tried our fortune; and to have returned overland to the bay of Honduras . But this our diligence tooke no effect, because of the huge highnes of the mountaines, and the length of the way, being more then was given out at the first. Then with much griefe we returned out to Truxillo, where I departed from Sir Anthony Sherley.

After my departure from this worthy knight, I set my course for Cape de Cotoche which lieth on the East part of Yucatan from whence I ranged al the North coast of the said promontory of Yucatan , untill I came unto Cape Desconoscido, where I put 56 of my men into a Periago, or long Indian Canoa; and leaving my ship sixe leagues from the towne of Campeche at three of the clocke in the morning I landed hard by the monasterie of San Francisco, and tooke the sayd towne of Campeche , with the captaine and Alcalde, finding therein five hundreth Spaniards, and in two townes close adjoyning to the same eight thousand Indians. The multitude of the Spaniards which fled upon my first assault by ten of the clocke in the morning assembling together renued their strength, and set furiously upon me and my small company. In which assault I lost some sixe of my men, and my selfe was shot under the left brest with a bullet, which bullet lieth still in the chine of my backe. Being thus put unto our shifts wee devised on the sudden a newe stratagem: for having divers of the townesmen prisoners, we tied them arme in arme together, and placed them in stead of a baricado to defend us from the fury of the enemies shot. And so with ensigne displayed, taking with us our sixe dead men, wee retired with more safetie to the haven, where we tooke a frigat which rode ready fraught with the kings tribute in silver and other good commodities, which were presently to bee transported to S. Juan de Ullua, and brought the same and our Periago or Canoa to my ship, which lay in two fadome water sixe leagues from the town, being not able to come any neerer for the sholds upon that coast. Over against the place where our ship rode, stoode a towne of 300 or 400 Indians called Sebo, which we likewise tooke, where wee found Champechewood good to dye withall, with waxe, and hony. This done we left this coast, and turned up to Cape de Cotoche againe, and ankored every day at noone, because of the brizes, and in turning up I lost my barke called the Adventure, which was taken by 2 frigats of warre, which were manned out from Campeche : wherein Captaine Hen and thirteen of my men were taken, and afterward executed, as since we understand by some Spanish prisoners that were taken in those parts. After we had stayed five weekes on this coast, wee shaped our course for Havana , where finding nothing, we disemboqued, and came along by the Isle of Bermuda, and crossed over to The banke neere Cape Race in 22 fadomes : and from thence sayling for England , we fel with Sillie about the first of July, and within two dayes after arrived at Plimmouth, where we found the Right honorable the Erle of Essex setting forth with a great fleet for the Isles of the Azores.

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1596 AD (2)
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