Abbildungen der Seite

observable occurrence, till, on the 11th of March, they came to anchor before the island of Java, and, sending to the king a present of cloth and silks, received from him, in return, a large quantity of provisions; and the day following Drake went himself on shore, and entertained the king with his musick, and obtained leave to store his ship with provisions.

The island is governed by a great number of petty kings, or raias, subordinate to one chief; of these princes three came on board together a few days after their arrival; and, having upon their return recounted the wonders which they had seen, and the civility with which they had been treated, incited others to satisfy their curiosity in the same manner; and Raia Donan, the chief king, came himself to view the ship, with the warlike armaments and instruments of navigation.

This intercourse of civilities somewhat retarded the business for which they came; but at length they not only victualled their ship, but cleansed the bottom, which, in the long course, was overgrown with a kind of shell-fish that impeded her passage.

Leaving Java on March 26, they sailed homewards by the Cape of Good Hope, which they saw on June the 5th; on the 15th of August passed the Tropic; and on the 26th of September arrived at Plymouth, where they found that, by passing through so many different climates, they had lost a day in their account of time, it being Sunday by their journals, but Monday by the general computation.

In this hazardous voyage they had spent two years, ten months, and some odd days; but were recompensed for their toils by great riches, and the universal applause of their countrymen. Drake afterwards brought his ship up to Deptford, where queen Elizabeth visited him on board his ship, and conferred the honour of knighthood upon him; an honour in that illustrious reign not made cheap by prostitution, nor even bestowed without uncommon merit.

It is not necessary to give an account equally particular of the remaining part of his life, as he was no longer a private man, but engaged in publick affairs, and associated in his expeditions with other generals, whose attempts, and the success of them, are related in the histories of those times.

In 1585, on the 12th of September, Sir Francis Drake set sail from Plymouth with a fleet of five and twenty ships and pinnaces, of which himself was admiral, Captain Martin Forbisher vice-admiral, and Captain Francis Knollis rear-admiral: they were fitted out to cruize upon the Spaniards ; and having touched at the isle of Bayonne, and plundered Vigo, put to sea again, and on the 16th of November arrived before St. Jago, which they entered without resistance, and rested there fourteen days, visiting in the mean time San Domingo, a town within the land, which they found likewise deserted; and, carrying off what they pleased of the produce of the island, they at their departure destroyed the town and villages, in revenge of the murder of one of their boys, whose body they found mangled in a most inhuman manner.

From this island they pursued their voyage to



the West Indies, determining to attack St.Domingo, in Hispaniola, as the richest place in that part of the world : they therefore landed a thousand men, and with small loss entered the town, of which they kept possession for a month without interruption or alarm ; during which time a remarkable acci. dent happened which deserves to be related.

Drake, having some intention of treating with the Spaniards, sent to them a negro-boy with a flag of truce, which one of the Spaniards so little regarded, that he stabbed him through the body with a lance. The boy, notwithstanding his wound, came back to the general, related the treatment which he had found, and died in his sight. Drake was so incensed at this outrage, that he ordered two friars, then his prisoners, to be conveyed with a guard to the place where the crime was committed, and hanged up in the sight of the Spaniards, declaring that two Spanish prisoners should undergo the same death every day, till the offender should be delivered up by them : they were too well acquainted with the character of Drake not to bring him on the day following, when, to impress the shame of such actions more effectually upon them, he compelled them to execute him with their own hands. Of this town, at their departure, they demolished part, and admitted the rest to be ransomed for five and twenty. thousand ducats.

From thence they sailed to Carthagena, where the enemy having received intelligence of the fate of St. Domingo, had strengthened their fortifications, and prepared to defend themselves with great obstinacy; but the English, landing in the

The gain

night, came upon them by a way which they did not suspect, and being better armed, partly by surprise, and partly by superiority of order and valour, became masters of the place, where they stayed without fear or danger six weeks, and at their departure received an hundred and ten thousand ducats, for the ransom of the town.

They afterwards took St. Augustin, and, touching at Virginia, took on board the governor, Mr. Lane, with the English that had been left there the year before by Sir Walter Raleigh, and arrived at Portsmouth on July 28, 1586, having lost in the voyage seven hundred and fifty men. of this expedition amounted to sixty thousand pounds, of which forty were the share of the ad. venturers who fitted out the ships, and the rest, distributed among the several crews, amounted to six pounds each man. So cheaply is life sometimes hazarded.

The transactions against the Armada, 1588, are in themselves far more memorable, but less necessary to be recited in this succinct narrative ; only let it be remembered, that the post of vice-admiral of England, to which Sir Francis Drake was then raised, is a sufficient proof, that no obscurity of

rth, or meanness of fortune, is unsurmountable to bravery and diligence.

In 1595 Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins were sent with a fleet to the West Indies, which expedition was only memorable for the destruction of Nombre de Dios, and the death of the two commanders, of whom Sir Francis Drake died January 9, 1597, and was thrown into the sea in a leaden coffin, with all the pomp of naval obsequies. It is reported by some that the ill success of this voyage hastened his death. Upon what this conjecture is grounded does not appear; and we may be allowed to hope, for the honour of so great a man, that it is without foundation; and that he, whom no series of success could ever betray to vanity or negligence, could have supported a change of fortune without impatience or dejection.

« ZurückWeiter »