Volume 7, Chapter 9, Section 6 -- First Voyage of the English to India in 1591; begun by Captain George Raymond, and completed by Captain James Lancaster.
We have at length arrived at the period when the English began to visit the East Indies in their own ships; this voyage of Captain Raymond, or, if you will, Lancaster, being the first of the kind ever performed by them. From this year, therefore, 1591, the oriental navigations of the English are to be dated; they did not push them with any vigour till the beginning of the next century, when they began to pursue the commerce of India with unwearied diligence and success, as will appear from the narratives in the next succeeding chapter.
"As for Captain Raymond, his ship was separated near Cape Corientes, on the eastern coast of Africa, from the other two, and was never heard of more during the voyage, so that, whether he performed the voyage, or was lost by the way, does not appear from Hakluyt; from whose silence, however, nothing can be certainly concluded either way, for reasons that will appear in the sequel." --Astley.
The full title of this voyage in Hakluyt's Collection is thus: "A Voyage with three tall ships, the Penelope, Admiral; the Merchant-Royal, Vice-Admiral; and the Edward Bonadventure, Rear-Admiral, to the East Indies, by way of the Cape of Buona Speranza, to Quitangone, near Mozambique, to the isles of Comoro and Zanzibar, on the backside of Africa, and beyond Cape Comorin, in India, to the isles of Nicobar, and of Gomes Palo, within two leagues of Sumatra, to the Islands of Pulo Pinaom, and thence to the Mainland of Malacca; begun by Mr George Raymond in the year 1591, and performed by Mr James Lancaster, and written from the mouth of Edmund Barker of Ipswich, his Lieutenant in the said Voyage, by Mr Richard Hakluyt."
This voyage is chiefly remarkable as being the first ever attempted by the English to India, though not with any view of trade, as its only object seems to have been to commit privateering depredations upon the Portuguese trading ships in India, or, as we would now call them, the country ships, which were employed in trading between Goa and the settlements to the eastwards. It is unnecessary here to point out the entire disappointment of the adventurers, or the disastrous conclusion of the expedition, as these are clearly related by Mr Edmund Barker. This article is followed by a supplementary account of the same voyage, by John May, one of the people belonging to the Edward Bonadventure, who relates some of the occurrences rather differently from Edmund Barker, or rather gives some information that Mr Barker seems to have wished to conceal. For these reasons, and because of some farther adventures in a French ship in which May embarked, it has been thought proper to insert that narrative in our collection--E.
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Our fleet, consisting of three tall ships, the Penelope, Merchant-Royal, and Edward Bonadventure, sailed from Plymouth the 10th April, 1591, and arrived at the Canary Islands on 25th of that month, whence we again took our departure on the 29th. The 2d May we were in the latitude of Cape Blanco, and passed the tropic of Cancer on the 5th. All this time we had a fair wind at north-east, sailing always before the wind, till the 13th May, when we came within eight degrees of the line, where we met a contrary wind. We lay off and on from that time till the 6th June, when we crossed the equinoctial line. While thus laying off and on, we captured a Portuguese caravel, laden by some merchants of Lisbon for Brasil, in which vessel we got about 60 tons of wine, 1200 jars of oil, 100 jars of olives, some barrels of capers, three vats of pease, and various other necessaries fit for our voyage; the wine, oil, olives, and capers, being more valuable to us than gold.
We had two men died before passing the line, and several sick, who first became unwell in these hot climates, as it is wonderfully unwholsome from 8° N. lat. to the equator at that season of the year; for we had nothing but tornadoes, with such thunder, lightning, and rain, that we could not keep our men dry three hours together; which, with scanty cloathing to shift them, and living entirely on salt provisions, occasioned an infection among them. After passing the line, we had the wind continually at east-south-east, which carried us along the coast of Brasil, at 100 leagues from the land, till we were in lat. 26° S. when we had the wind from the north; at which time we estimated the Cape of Good Hope to bear E. by S. 900 or 1000 leagues distant.
In passing this great gulf from the coast of Brasil to the Cape of Good Hope, we had the wind often variable, as it is on our own coast, but, for the most part, so as that we could hold our course. The 28th of July we had sight of the Cape; and till the 31st we plied off and on, with a contrary wind, always in hopes to double the Cape, meaning to have gone 70 leagues farther, to a place called Aguada de San Bras, before seeking to put in at any harbour. But as our men were sick in all our ships, we thought it good to seek some place of refreshment for them; wherefore we bore up with the land to the northward of the Cape, on the west coast of Africa; and going along shore, we espied a goodly bay, having an island to leeward of its mouth, into which we entered, and found it very commodious to ride in at anchor. This bay is called Aguada de Saldanha, being in lat. 33° S. 15 leagues northward on this side from the Cape; and in it we anchored on Sunday the 1st August, and immediately sent our sick men on shore.
Certain very brutish black savages came to them, but would not stay, and immediately retired. For the space of 15 or 20 days, we could procure no fresh provisions, except some cranes and geese which we shot; and we could get no fish but mussels and other shell-fish, which we gathered on the rocks. At the end of this time, our admiral went one day with his pinnace to the island off the mouth of the bay, where he found great numbers of penguins and seals, of which he brought plenty with him to the ships, and twice afterwards some of our people brought their boats loaded with these animals. After we had been here some time, we got hold of a negro, whom we compelled to go along with us into the country, making signs to him to procure us some cattle; but not being able at this time to come in sight of any, we let the negro go, giving him some trifling presents. Within eight days after, he and 30 or 40 other negroes brought us down about 40 oxen and as many sheep, at which time we only bought a few of them; but, about eight days afterwards, they brought down as many more, when we bought 24 oxen and as many sheep. The oxen were large and well-fleshed, but not fat; and we bought an ox for two knives, and a stirk, or young beast, for one knife. The sheep are very large, and excellent mutton, having hair instead of wool, and great tails like those of Syria. We gave a knife for a sheep, and even got some for less value. We saw various wild beasts, as antilopes, red and fallow deer, and other large beasts, which we knew not, with a great number of overgrown monkies or baboons. Mr Lancaster killed an antilope as large as a young colt.
Holding a consultation in respect to the prosecution of our, voyage, it was thought best to proceed rather with two ships well manned, than with three weakly manned, having only 198 men in sound health, of whom 100 went in the Penelope with our admiral, and 98 in the Edward, with the worshipful Captain Lancaster. We left behind 50 men in the Royal Merchant, Captain Abraham Kendal, of whom a good many were well recovered, thinking proper, for many reasons, to send home that ship. The disease that consumed our men was the scurvy. Our soldiers, who had not been used to the sea, held out best, while our mariners dropt away, which, in my judgment, proceeded from their evil diet at home.
Six days after sending home the Royal Merchant from Saldanha bay, our admiral, Captain Raymond, in the Penelope, and Captain James Lancaster in the Edward Bonadventure, set forward to double the Cape of Good Hope, which they now did very readily. When we had passed as far as Cape Corientes, on the east coast of Africa, at the entry into the channel of Mozambique, we encountered a dreadful storm, with excessive gusts of wind, during which we lost sight of our admiral, and could never hear of him nor his ship more, though we used our best endeavours to seek him, by plying up and down a long while, and afterwards staid for him several days at the island of Comoro, which we had appointed our rendezvous in case of separation. Four days after this unfortunate separation, we had a tremendous clap of thunder at ten o'clock one morning, which slew four of our men outright, without speaking one word, their necks being wrung asunder. Of 94 other men, not one remained untouched, some being struck blind, some bruised in their arms and legs, others in their breasts, so that they voided blood for two days: some were as it were drawn out in length, as if racked. But, God be praised, they all recovered, except the four men who were struck dead. With the same flash of lightning our mainmast was terribly split from the head to the deck, some of the spikes that went ten inches into the wood being melted by the fervent heat.
From thence we shaped our course north-east, and not long afterwards fell in with the north-west point of the island of St. Lawrence, or Madagascar, which, by God's blessing, one of our men espied late in the evening by moonlight.
Seeing from afar the breaking of the sea, he called to some of his comrades, asking what it meant, when they told him it was the sea breaking upon shoals or rocks, upon which we put about ship in good time, to avoid the danger we were like to have incurred. Continuing our voyage, it was our lot to overshoot Mozambique, and to fall in with Quitangone, two leagues farther north, where we took three or four barks belonging to the Moors, laden with millet, hens, and ducks, going as provisions for Mozambique, and having one Portuguese boy on board. These barks are called pangaias in their language.
Within a few days after, we came to an island called Comoro, which we found exceedingly populous, the inhabitants being tawny Moors, of good stature, but very treacherous, and requiring to be sharply looked after. Being desirous of procuring fresh water, of which we stood in great need, we sent sixteen of our men, well armed, on shore, whom the natives allowed very quietly to land and take the water. A good many of them came on board, along with their king, who was dressed in a gown of crimson satin, reaching to the knee, pinked after the Moorish fashion. We entertained him in the best manner we could, and had some conference with him as to the state of the place and merchandise, using the Portuguese boy we had taken as our interpreter. We then dismissed the king and his company courteously, and sent our boat on shore again for water, when also they dispatched their business quietly, and returned. A third time the boat went for the same purpose, and returned unmolested. We now thought ourselves sufficiently provided; but our master, William Mace, of Ratcliff, pretending that it might be long before we should find any good watering-place, would needs go again on shore, much against the will of our captain. He went accordingly with sixteen men in a boat, which were all we had, [the] other sixteen of our men being on shore with our other boat, washing their clothes, directly over against our ship. The perfidious Moors attacked all these men, who were mostly slain in our sight, while we could not yield them the smallest aid, as we had now no boat.
Going from thence with heavy hearts on the 7th November, we shaped our course for the island of Zanzibar, where we arrived shortly after, and there made ourselves a new boat, of such boards as we had in our ship. We continued here till the 15th of February, 1591, during which time we saw several pangaias, or boats, of the Moors, which are pinned with wooden pins, and sewed together with cords made of the palmito, and caulked with the husks of the cocoa-nut, beaten into a substance like oakum. At length a Portuguese pangaia came out of the harbour of Zanzibar, where they have a small factory, and sent a Moor to us who had been christened, bringing with him a letter in a canoe, in which they desired to know what we were, and what was our business. We sent them back word that we were Englishmen, who had come from Don Antonio, upon business to his friends in the East Indies. They returned with this answer to their factory, and would never more look near us. Not long after this we manned our boat, and took a pangaia belonging to the Moors, in which was one of their priests, called in their language a sherife, whom we used very courteously. The king took this in very good part, having his priests in high estimation, and furnished us with two months' provisions for his ransom, during all which time we detained him on board. From these Moors we were informed of the false and spiteful dealing of the Portuguese towards us, as they had given out we were barbarous people, and canibals, desiring the Moors, as they loved their safety, not to come near us; using these contrivances to cut us off from all knowledge of the state and commerce of the country.
While we rode from the end of November till the middle of February in this harbour, which has sufficient water for a ship of 500 tons, we one day attempted to take a Portuguese pangaia; but as our boat was so small that our men had not room to move, and as they were armed with ten good guns, like fowling-pieces, we were not able to take them. For the excellence of its harbour and watering-place; its plenty of fish, of which we took great store with our nets; for sundry sorts of fruits, as cocoa-nuts and others, which were brought to us in abundance by the Moors; and for oxen and poultry, this place is well worth being carefully sought after by such of our ships as shall hereafter pass this way; but our people had good need to beware of the Portuguese. While we lay here their admiral of the coast, from Melinda to Mozambique, came to view us, and would have taken our boat, if he had found an opportunity. He was in a galley frigate, or armed pinnace, with eight or nine oars of a side. We were advertised of the strength of this galley, and their treacherous intentions, by an Arabian Moor, who came frequently to us from the King of Zanzibar, about the delivery of the priest, and afterwards by another Moor, whom we carried from thence along with us: for, wheresoever we came, we took care to get one or two of the natives into our hands, to learn the languages and conditions of the parts at which we touched.
We had at this place another thunder clap, which shivered our foremast very much, which we fished and repaired with timber from the shore, of which there is abundance, the trees being about forty feet high, the wood red and tough, and, as I suppose, a kind of cedar. At this place our surgeon, Mr Arnold, negligently caught a great heat, or stroke of the sun, in his head, while on land with the master in search of oxen, owing to which he fell sick, and shortly died, though he might have been cured by letting blood before the disease had settled. Before leaving this place we procured some thousand weight of pitch, or rather a grey and white gum, like frankincense, as clammy as turpentine, which grows black when melted, and very brittle; but we mixed it with oil, of which we had 300 jars from the prize taken to the north of the equator, not far from Guinea. Six days before leaving Zanzibar, the head merchant of the factory sent a letter to our captain, in friendship, as he pretended, requesting a jar of wine, a jar of oil, and two or three pounds of gunpowder. This letter he sent by a negro servant and a Moor, in a canoe. Our captain sent him all he asked by the Moor, but took the negro along with us, as we understood he had been formerly in the Indies, and knew something of the country. By this negro we were advertised of a small bark of some thirty tons, called junco by the Moors, which was come hither from Goa, laden with pepper for the factory, and for sale in that kingdom.
Having put our ship into as good order as we could, while we lay in the road of Zanzibar, we set sail for India on the 15th of February, 1592, as said before, intending, if we could, to have reached Cape Comorin, the head-land, or promontory, of the main-land of Malabar, and there to have lain off and on for such ships as should pass from Ceylon, San Thome. Bengal, Pegu, Malacca, the Moluccas, China, or Japan, which ships are full of wealth and riches. But in our course we were much deceived by the currents, which set into the gulf of Arabia, all along the coast of Melinda; and the winds so scanted upon us from the east and north-east, that we could not get off, and set us to the northward, within fourscore leagues of Socotoro, far from our destined course. During all this time we never wanted dolphins, bonitos, and flying fishes. Finding ourselves thus far to the northward, and the season being far spent, we determined upon going to the Red Sea, or the island of Socotoro, both for refreshment and to look out for some purchase (prize). But, while in this mind, the wind fortunately sprung up at north-west, and carried us direct for Cape Comorin.
Before doubling that cape, it was our intention to touch at the islands of Mamale in 12° of N. lat. at one of which we were informed we might procure provisions. But it was not our luck to find it, partly by the obstinacy of our master; for the day before we should have fallen in with part of these islands, the wind shifted to the south-west, and we missed finding it. As the wind now became more southerly, we feared not being able to double the cape, which would have greatly hazarded our being cast away upon the coast of Malabar, the winter season and western monsoon being already come in, which monsoon continues on that coast till August. But it pleased God that the wind came about more westerly, so that in May, 1592, we happily doubled Cape Comorin, without being in sight of the coast of India. Having thus doubled the cape, we directed our course for the islands of Nicobar, which lie north and south with the western part of Sumatra, and in lat. 7° N. We ran from Cape Comorin to the meridian of these islands in six days, having a very large wind, though with foul weather, excessive rain, and gusts of wind.
Through the negligence of our master, by not taking due observation of the south star, we missed these islands, falling to the southward of them, within sight of the islands of Gomes Polo, immediately off the great island of Sumatra, it being then the 1st of June; and we lay two or three days becalmed at the north-east side of these islands, hoping to have procured a pilot from the island of Sumatra, which was in sight, within two leagues of us. Winter now coming on, with much tempestuous weather, we directed our course for the islands of Pulo Pinao; it is to be noted that Pulo, in the Malayan language, signifies island. We arrived there early in June, and came to anchor in a very good harbour between three islands. At this time our men were very sick, and many of them fallen; and we determined to remain here till the winter were well over. This place is in lat. 5° 15' N. and about five leagues from the main land, between Malacca and Tanaserim, belonging to Pegu.
We remained at this place till the end of August, our refreshments being very small, consisting only of oysters, growing on the rocks, great wilks, or conchs, and a few fish, which we took with hooks and lines. We landed our sick upon one of these uninhabited islands, for the sake of their health, yet twenty-six of them died here, among whom was John Hall, our master, and Rainald Golding, a merchant of much honesty and discretion. There are abundance of trees in these islands of white wood, so tall and straight as to be well fitted for masts, being often an hundred feet long. When winter was past, and our ship fitted for going to sea, we had only now remaining thirty-three men and one boy, twenty-two only of whom were sound and fit for labour, and not above a third even of these were mariners. Being under the necessity of seeking some place for refreshments, we went over to the main-land of Malacca, and came next day to anchor in a bay two leagues from the shore. Then our captain, Mr James Lancaster, with his lieutenant, Mr Edmund Barker, the author of this narrative, having manned the boat, went on shore, to see if we could fall in with any inhabitants. On landing, we could see the tracks of some barefooted people, who had been there not long before, for their fire was still burning; yet we could see no people, nor any living creature, except a fowl called oxbird, being a grey sea-bird, in colour like a snipe, but different in the beak. Being by no means shy, we killed about eight dozen of them with small shot, and having spent the day fruitlessly, we went on board in the evening.
About two o'clock next day we saw a canoe, in which were about sixteen naked Indians, who came near us, but would not come on board; yet, going afterwards on shore, we had some friendly converse with them, and they promised to bring us victuals. Next morning we espied three ships, all of them about sixty or seventy tons burden, one of which surrendered even to our boat; and understanding that they were of the city of Martaban, a chief sea-port of the great city of Pegu, and that the goods belonged to some Portuguese jesuits, and a biscuit-baker of that nation, we took that ship; but as the other two were laden on account of merchants of Pegu, we let them go. Having this other along with us, we came to anchor together at night; and in the night time all her men, being mostly natives of Pegu, fled away in their boat, except twelve, whom we had taken on board our ship. Next day we weighed anchor, and went to leeward of an island hard by, where we took out her lading of pepper, which they had taken on board at Pera, a place on the main-land, thirty leagues to the south. We likewise stopt another ship of Pegu, laden with pepper; but finding her cargo to belong to native merchants of Pegu, we dismissed her untouched.
Having employed about ten days in removing the goods from the prize into our own ship, and our sick men being greatly refreshed, and strengthened by the relief we had found in the prize, we weighed anchor about the beginning of September, determining to run into the straits of Malacca, to the islands called Pulo Sambilam, about forty-five leagues north from the city of Molucca, past which islands the Portuguese ships must necessarily pass on their voyages from Goa, or San Thome, for the Moluccas, China, or Japan. After cruizing off and on here for about five days, we one Sunday espied a Portuguese ship of 250 tons, from Negapatnam, a town on the main-land of India, opposite the northern end of Ceylon, laden with rice for Malacca, and took her that night. Captain Lancaster ordered her captain and master on board our ship, and sent me, Edmund Barker, his lieutenant, with seven men, to take charge of the prize. We came to anchor in thirty fathoms, as in all that channel there is good anchorage three or four leagues from shore.
While thus at anchor, and keeping out a light for the Edward, another Portuguese ship of 400 tons, belonging to San Thome, came to anchor hard by us. The Edward had fallen to leeward, for want of a sufficient number of men to handle her sails, and was not able next morning to fetch up to this other ship, until we who were in the prize went in our boat to help her. We then made sail towards the ship of San Thome: but our ship was so foul that she escaped us. We then took out of our prize what we thought might be useful to us, after which we liberated her with all her men, except a pilot and four Moors, whom we detained to assist in navigating the Edward. We continued to cruize here till the 6th of October, at which time we met the galeon of the captain of Malacca, a ship of 700 tons, coming from Goa. After shooting at her many times, we at length shot through her main-yard, on which she came to anchor and surrendered. We then commanded the captain, master, pilot, and purser to come on board our ship; but only the captain came, accompanied by one soldier, saying that the others would not come, unless sent for; but having got to some distance from us in the evening, all the people of the ship, to the number of about 300, men, women, and children, got on shore in two great boats, and we saw no more of them.
When we came on board, we found she was armed with sixteen brass cannon. She had 300 butts of wine, Canary, Nipar wine, which is made of the palm-trees, and raisin-wine, which is very strong. She had likewise an assortment of all kind of haberdashery wares; as hats, red caps knit of Spanish wool, knit worsted stockings, shoes, velvets, camblets, and silks; abundance of surkets, (sweet-meats,) rice, Venice glasses; papers full of false and counterfeit stones, brought from Venice by an Italian, wherewith to deceive the rude Indians; abundance of playing cards, two or three bales of French paper, and sundry other things. What became of the treasure usually brought in this vessel, in ryals of plate, we could not learn. After the mariners had pillaged this rich ship in a disorderly manner, as they refused to unlade the excellent wines into the Edward, Captain Lancaster abandoned the prize, letting her drive at sea, after taking out of her the choicest of her goods.
Being afraid that we might be attacked by a greatly superior force from Malacca, we now departed from the neighbourhood of the Sambilam islands, and went to a bay in the kingdom of Junkseylon, between Malacca and Pegu, in the lat. of 8° N. We here sent on shore the soldier who had been left on board our ship by the captain of the galeon, because he could speak the Malay language, to deal with the people for pitch, of which we were in much need, which he did very faithfully, procuring two or three quintals, with promise of more, and several of the natives came off along with him to our ship. We sent commodities to their king, to barter for ambergris and the horns of the abath, the trade in both of which articles is monopolized by the king of this country. This abath is a beast having only one horn in her forehead, thought to be the female unicorn, and the horn is highly prized by all the Moors in those parts, as a most sovereign remedy against poison. We got two or three of these horns, and a reasonable quantity of ambergris. At length the king was disposed to detain the Portuguese soldier and our merchandise treacherously; but he told the king that we had gilt armour, shirts of mail, and halberts, which things they prize greatly, and in hope of procuring some of these he was allowed to return on board.
Leaving this coast, we returned in sight of Sumatra, and went thence to the islands of Nicobar, which we found inhabited by Moors. After we came to anchor, the people came daily on board in their canoes, bringing fowls, cocoas, plantains, and other fruits; and within two days they brought ryals of plate, which they gave us in exchange for calicut cloth. They find these ryals by diving for them in the sea, having been there lost in two Portuguese ships not long before, that were cast away when bound for China. In their language the cocoa-nut is called calambo; the plantain, pison; a hen, jam; a fish, iccan; and a hog, babee. Departing from the Nicobar Islands on the 21st November, we made sail for the island of Ceylon, where we arrived about the 3d December, 1592, and anchored on its south side, in six fathoms water, but lost our anchor, as the ground was foul and rocky. We then ran along the south-west side of the island, and anchored at a place called Punta del Galle, meaning to remain there in waiting for the Bengal fleet of seven or eight ships, the Pegu fleet of two or three, and the ships from Tanaserim, a great bay to the south of Martaban, in the kingdom of Siam, which ships, according to different informations we had got, were expected to come this way within fourteen days, with commodities for the caraks, which usually depart from Cochin, on the homeward voyage, about the middle of January.
The commodities of the ships which come from Bengal are, fine pavilions for beds, wrought quilts, fine cotton cloth, pintados (painted chintz), and other fine goods, together with rice; and they usually make this voyage twice a year. The ships from Pegu bring the most precious jewels, as rubies and diamonds; but their principal lading is rice and certain cloths. Those from Tanaserim are chiefly freighted with rice and Nipar wine, which is very strong, and as colourless as rock water, with a somewhat whitish tinge, and very hot in taste, like aqua vitae. We came to anchor at Punta Galle, in foul ground, so that we lay all that night a-drift, having only two anchors left, which were in the hold, and had no stocks. Upon this our men took occasion to insist upon going home, our captain at that time being very sick, and more likely to die than recover. In the morning we set our foresail, meaning to bear up to the northward, standing off and on to keep away from the current, which otherwise would have set us to the south, away from, all known land. When the foresail was set, and we were about to hand our other sails, to accomplish our before-mentioned purpose, our men unanimously declared that they would stay no longer in this country, and insisted upon directing our course for England; and as they would listen to no persuasions, the captain was under the necessity of giving way to their demand, leaving all hope of the great possibility we had of making some rich prizes.
Accordingly, on the 8th of December, 1592, we made sail for the Cape of Good Hope, passing the Maldive Islands, and leaving the great island of St. Lawrence to starboard, or on our right hand; we passed its southern end in lat. 26° S. In our passage from the island of St. Lawrence, or Madagascar, to the main-land of Africa, we found immense quantities of bonitos and albicores, which are large fishes, and of which our captain, who was now recovered from his sickness, took as many with a hook in two or three hours as would have served forty persons a whole day. This skole of fish continued with us for five or six weeks, in all which time we took every day as many as sufficed our whole company, which was no small refreshment to us.
In February, 1593, we fell in with the eastern coast of Africa, at a place called Baia de Agoa, something more than 100 leagues to the north-east of the Cape of Good Hope; and having contrary winds, we spent a month before we could double the cape. After doubling that cape in March, we steered for the island of St. Helena, where we arrived on the 3d of April, and remained there to our great comfort nineteen days, in which time several individuals amongst us caught thirty sizeable congers in a day, with other rock fish, and some bonitos. I, Edmund Barker, went one day on shore, with four or five Peguers and our surgeon, where I found an Englishman in a house near the chapel, one John Segar, of Bury, in Suffolk, who was left there eighteen months before by Abraham Kendal; who put in there with the Royal Merchant, and who left him there to refresh on the island, being like to perish on shipboard. At our coming he was fresh in colour, and seemed in perfect health of body; but he was crazed in mind, and half out of his wits, as appeared afterwards. Whether it was that he was terrified at our arrival, not knowing at first whether we were friends or foes, or if sudden joy so affected him on finding again his countrymen and old comrades, I know not, but he became quite light headed, and during eight days and nights he could not get any natural rest, so that he died for lack of sleep. At this place two of our men recovered their health in a short time, one of whom was diseased with the scurvy, and the other had been nine months sick of the flux. We found abundance of green figs, fine oranges and lemons, plenty of goats and hogs, and numbers of partridges, pintados, and other wild fowls. Having now supplied the ship with fresh water, and having some store of fish, our discontented mariners insisted upon resuming the voyage home; and our captain, being inclined to go for Fernambuco, in Brasil, agreed to their request. We departed therefore from St. Helena about the 12th April, 1593, directing our course for the Brasils; and next day, on calling the sailors to finish a foresail they had then in hand, some of them declared they would not put their hands to any thing, unless the ship's course was directed for England; so that he was obliged to follow their humour, henceforwards directing our course towards our own country, which we continued to do till we came to lat. 8° N. between the equator and which latitude we spent about six weeks, with perpetual calms or contrary winds from the north, sometimes north-east and north-west; owing to which loss of time, and our small store of provisions, we were very doubtful of being able to keep our course. At this time some of our men became very mutinous, threatening to break up other people's chests, to the entire consumption of our provisions and ourselves; for every man had now his share of provisions in his own custody, that they might know what they had to trust to, and husband that the more thriftily.
Anxious to prevent the occurrence of absolute famine, and being informed by one of the ship's company who had been at the island of Trinidada, in a voyage with Mr Chudlei, and that we might be sure of having provisions there, our captain directed the course for that island; but not knowing the currents, we overshot it in the night, getting into the gulf of Paria, in which we were for eight days, unable to get out again, as the current constantly set in, and our ship was often in three fathoms water. At length the current put us over to the western side of the gully under the main-land, so that by keeping close in shore, and having the wind off the land in the night, we got out to the northward. Being now clear, we came in four or five days to the isle of Mona, where we anchored and remained about eighteen days, during which time the Indians of Mona gave us some victuals. In the meantime there arrived a French ship of Caen, in Normandy, of which one Monsieur de Barbaterre was captain, from whom we bought two butts of wine, with some bread, and other provisions. We then watered and repaired our ship, stopping a great leak that sprung upon us while beating out of the gulf of Paria; and being thus in readiness for sea, we determined upon going to the island of Newfoundland: but, before we could put this in execution, there arose a great storm from the north, which drove us from our anchor, and forced us to the southwards of San Domingo. We were that night in great danger of shipwreck upon an island called Savona, which is environed with flats for four or five miles all round; yet it pleased God to enable us to clear them, when we directed our course westwards, along the southern shore of St Domingo, and having doubled Cape Tiberoon, we passed through the old channel between St Domingo and Cuba, shaping our course for Cape Florida.
In this part of our course we again met with the Caen ship, which could now spare us no more victuals; but having some hides, which he had taken in traffic among the islands, we were glad to procure them, and gave him for them to his contentment. After this we passed Cape Florida, and clearing the Bahama channel, we directed our course for Newfoundland. Running to the lat. of 36° N. and as far east as the isle of Bermuda, we found the winds, on the 17th September, very variable, contrary to expectation and all men's writings, so that we lay there a day or two with a north wind, which continually increased, till it blew a storm, which continued twenty-four hours with such violence that it carried away our sails, though furled, and occasioned the ship to take in much water, so that we had six feet water in our hold. Having freed our ship by baling, the wind shifted to the north-west, and somewhat dulled; but presently after the storm renewed with such violence, and our ship laboured so hard, that we lost our foremast, and our ship became as full of water as before.
When the storm ceased, the wind remained as much contrary as ever, on which we consulted together how we might best save our lives. Our victuals were now utterly spent; and as we had subsisted for the last six or seven days entirely on hides, we thought it best to bear away back again for Dominica and the adjoining islands, as we might there have some relief. Upon this we turned back for these islands; but before we could get there the wind scanted upon us, so that we were in the utmost extremity for want of water and provisions; wherefore we were forced to bear away to the westwards, to the islands called Las Nueblas, or the Cloudy Islands, towards the isle of San Juan de Porto Rico. At these islands we found land-crabs and fresh water, and sea-tortoises, or turtle, which come mostly on land about full noon. Having refreshed ourselves there for seventeen or eighteen days, and having supplied our ship with fresh water and some provision of turtle, we resolved to return again for Mona, upon which determination five of our men left us, remaining on the isles of Nueblas, in spite of everything we could say to the contrary. These men came afterwards home in an English ship.
Departing from the Nueblas, we arrived again at Mona about the 20th December, 1593, and came to anchor there towards two or three in the morning. The captain and I, with a few others, went on shore to the dwelling of an old Indian and his three sons, thinking to procure some food, our victuals being all expended, so that we could not possibly proceed without a supply. We spent two or three days on shore, seeking provisions to carry on board for the relief of our people; and on going to the shore, for the purpose of returning with these to the ship, the wind being somewhat northerly and the sea rough, our people could not come near the shore with the boat, which was small and feeble, and unable to row in a rough sea. We remained therefore till the next morning, in hopes there might then be less wind and smoother sea. But about twelve o'clock that night our ship drove away to sea, having only five men and a boy, our carpenter having secretly cut the cable, leaving nineteen of us on shore, to our great distress, having no boat or any thing else.
In this miserable situation we reposed our trust in God, who had many times before succoured us in our greatest extremity, and contenting ourselves with our poor estate, sought for the means of preserving our lives. As one place was unable to sustain us, we divided ourselves into several companies, six of us remaining with our captain. The greatest relief that we could find during twenty-nine days was the stalks of purselin, boiled in water, with now and then a pompion, or gourd, which we found in the garden of the old Indian, who, on this our second arrival, fled with his three sons, and kept himself continually aloft on the mountains. At the end of these twenty-nine days we espied a French ship, which we afterwards learnt was the Louisa, of Dieppe, commanded by a Monsieur Felix. As a signal to this ship we made a fire, at sight of which he took in his top-sails, and bore up for the land, shewing his French colours. Then coming to anchor at the Western end of the island, we came down with all speed towards him; and the old Indian, with his three sons, now joined us, and accompanied us towards the ship. This night Captain Lancaster went on board the ship, where he received good entertainment; and next morning they fetched another eleven of us on board, and used us all very courteously.
This day came another French ship belonging to Dieppe, which remained till night, expecting our other seven men to come down; but though several shots were fired to call them, none of them came. Next morning, therefore, we departed thence for the north side of St Domingo, where we remained till April, 1594, spending two months in traffic, upon permission, with the inhabitants, for hides and other articles, six of us being in one of the ships and six in the other. In this time we were joined by a third French ship of Newhaven, by which we had intelligence of the seven men who were left by us at the island of Mona. Two of them had broken their necks by clambering on the cliffs to catch fowls; other three were slain by the Spaniards, who came over from St Domingo, having received information of our being on Mona, from our people who went away in the Edward; the other two were in this ship of Newhaven, which had relieved them from the bloody hands of the Spaniards.
From this place Captain Lancaster and I shipped ourselves in another ship belonging to Dieppe, of which one Monsieur Jean la Noe was captain, being the first that was ready to come away, leaving the rest of our men in the other ships, where they were all well treated. We sailed for Europe on Sunday the 7th April, 1594; and passing through the Caycos, we arrived safe in Dieppe in forty-two days after, on the 19th of May. After staying two days to refresh ourselves, giving thanks to God and to our friendly preservers, we took our passage for Rye, where we landed on Friday the 24th May, 1594, having spent in this voyage three years, six weeks, and two days, which the Portuguese perform in half the time, chiefly because we lost the fit time and season to begin our voyage.
We understood, in the East Indies, from certain Portuguese, that they have lately discovered the coast of China as high as the latitude of 59° N. finding the sea still open to the northwards, by which great hopes are entertained of finding the north-east or north-west passage.
Witness, JAMES LANCASTER.
[Footnote 7: Hakluyt, II. 286. Astley, I. 235.]
[Footnote 8: This is a singular oversight in the editor of Astley's Collection, as by that time there were only two ships, the Royal Merchant having been sent home from Saldanha bay.--E.]
[Footnote 9: These promised reasons nowhere appear.--E.]
[Footnote 10: Tornado signifies a storm, during which the wind shifts about, or turns to all points of the compass.--E.]
[Footnote 11: It will appear distinctly in the sequel of these early voyages, that this Aguada de Saldanha, called likewise Saldanha or Saldania bay, was that now named Table bay, on which stands Cape Town, and not that which is now called Saldanha bay, which is ten or twelve leagues farther north, and on the same western coast of Africa.--E.]
[Footnote 12: This negro must, of course, have been a Hotentot.--E.]
[Footnote 13: The place of shaping this course is by no means obvious. It could not be from Comoro, which is farther north than the north end of Madagascar, and was therefore probably from near Cape Corientes.--E.]
[Footnote 14: From the sequel, the text is certainly not accurate in this place, as they were not so far as this cape by 100 leagues. It probably was Cape St Andrews.--E.]
[Footnote 15: Sheríf, sharíf, in Arabic, more properly denotes one of the descendants of Mahomet.--Astl. 1. 287. b.]
[Footnote 16: Perhaps the Maldives are here meant; but the northern extremity of that group is in lat. 7° N., and the latitude of 10°, which reaches to the southernmost of the Lakedives, is very far out of the way for doubling Cape Comorin.--E.]
[Footnote 17: The Nicobar Islands are in 8° N.; but Great Sambelong is in the latitude mentioned in the text, and may have been considered as belonging to the Nicobar group.--E.]
[Footnote 18: Probably the islands now called Pulo Brasse, and Pulo Way.--E.]
[Footnote 19: Most probably the same with Pulo Pinang, now called Prince of Wales's Island: the Portuguese orthography being used in the text, in which language ao, or rather aom, as in the next section, has oar sound of ang.--E.]
[Footnote 20: This Abath, or Abadia, is the Rhinoceros Monoceros, or One-horned Rhinoceros. The virtue of the horn, mentioned in the text, is altogether imaginary.--E.]
[Footnote 21: At this place Hakluyt makes the following remark on the margin: --"Some small quantity of these things might be carried out to pleasure those kings."]
[Footnote 22: Most probably what we now call arrack is here meant.--E.]
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