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his cabin, found him lying upon his bed with much blood by him, and looking in his face saw him dead; the pistol being but little, the bullet did but crack his rib, but turning him over, he found a long knife in his body, all but the handle. Sir, I have sent into England a fly-boat with my cousin Harbert, (a very valiant, honest gentleman,) divers unworthy persons, good for nothing, neither by sea nor land, and, though it was at their own suit, yet I know they will wrong me in all that they can. I beseech your honour, that these scum of men may not be believed of me, who have taken more pains, and suffered more than the meanest rascal in the ship; these being gone, I shall be able, if I live, to keep the sea until the end of August, with some four reasonable good ships. Sir, whensoever God shall permit me to arrive in any part of Europe, I will not fail to let your honour know what we have done ; till then and ever I remain
WALTER RALEGH. From St. Christopher's, out of
the island of the Antilles, the 21st of March, 1618.
. To his Wife. I was loath to write, because I know not how to comfort you; and God knows, I never knew what sorrow meant till now. All that I can say to you is this; that you must obey the will and providence of God; and remember, that the queen's majesty bare the loss of prince Henry with a magnanimous spirit, as the lady Harrington of her only son. Comfort your heart, (dearest Bess,) I shall sorrow for us both; and I shall sorrow the less, because I have not long to sorrow, because not long to live. I refer you to Mr. Decretary Winwood's letter, who will give you a copy of it, if you send for it; therein you shall know what hath passed. I have written but that letter, for my brains are broken, and it is a torment to me to write, especially of misery. I
have desired Mr. Secretary to give my lord Carew a copy of his letter. I have cleansed my ship of sick men, and sent them home; and hope that God will send us somewhat before we return. Commend me to all at Lothbury. You shall hear from me, if I live, from Newfoundland, where I mean to clean my ships and revictual; for I have tobacco enough will pay for it. The Lord bless and comfort you, that you may bear patiently the death of your most valiant son.
This 220 of March, 1618, from the isle of Christophers, yours,
Postscript. I PROTEST before the majesty of God, that as sir Francis Drake and sir John Hawkins died heartbroken when they failed of their enterprise, I could willingly do the like, did I not contend against sorrow for your sake, in hope to provide somewhat for you, to comfort and relieve you. If I live to return, resolve yourself that it is the care for you that hath strengthened my heart. It is true, that Kemish might have gone directly to the mine, and meant it; but, after my son's death, he made them believe that he knew not the way, and excused himself upon the want of water in the river, and, counterfeiting many impediments, left it unfound. When he came back, I told him he had undone me, and that my credit was lost for ever. He answered, that seeing my son was slain, and that he left me so weak that he thought not to find me alive, he had no reason to enrich a company of rascals, who, after my son's death, made no account of him. He further told me, that the English sent up into Guiana could hardly defend the Spanish town of St. Thome which they had taken, and therefore for them to pass through thick woods it was impossible, and more impossible to have victuals brought them to the mountains. And it is true, that the governor Diego Palomeque, and other four captains, being slain, whereof my son wat slew one, Plessington, Wat’s sergeant, another, and John of Moroccoes, one of his men, slew two other. I say, five of them being slain in the entrance into the town, the rest went off in a whole body, and took more care to defend the passages to their mines, (of which they had three within a league of the town, besides a mine f that was about five miles off,) than they did of the town itself. Yet Kemish at the first was resolved to go to the mine ; but when he came to the bank-side to land, he had two of his men slain outright from the bank, and six others hurt, and captain Thornix shot in the head, of which wound, and the accident thereof, he hath pined away these twelve weeks.
Now when Kemish came back, and gave me the former reasons which moved him not to open the mine; the one, the death of my son; a second, the weakness of the English, and their impossibilities to work it, and to be victualled ; a third, that it were a folly to discover it for the Spaniards; and, lastly, my weakness, and being unpardoned ; and that I rejected all these his arguments, and told him that I must leave him to himself, to answer it to the king and state, he shut himself into his cabin, and shot himself with a pocket pistol, which broke one of his ribs; and finding that he had not prevailed, he thrust a long knife under his short ribs up to the handle, and died. Thus much I have written to Mr. Secretary, to whose letters I refer you ; but because I think my friends will rather hearken after you than any other to know the truth, I did after the sealing break open the letter again, to let you know in brief the state of that business, which I pray you impart to my lord of Northumberland, and Silvanus Scorie, and to sir John Leigh.
For the rest, there was never poor man so exposed to the slaughter as I was; for being commanded upon mine allegiance to set down, not only the country, but the very river by which I was to enter it, to name my ships' number, men, and my artillery ; this was sent by the Spanish ambassador to his master the king of Spain. The king wrote his letters to all parts of the Indies, especially to the governor Palameque, of Guiana, Eldorado, and Trinadado; of which the
Other miues five miles without the town, MS. Ashm. 781.98.
first letter bore date 19th of March, 1617, at Madrid, when I had not yet left the Thames, which letter I have sent to Mr. Secretary. I have also two other letters of the king's, which I reserve, and one of the council's. The king also sent a commission to levy three hundred soldiers out of his garrisons of Nuevo Regno de Granada and Puarto Richo, with ten pieces of brass ordnance to entertain us; he also prepared an armada by sea to set upon us. It were too long to tell you how we were preserved; if I live, I shall make it known; my brains are broken, and I cannot write much ; I live yet, and I told you why. Witney, for whom I sold all my plate at Plymouth, and to whom I gave more credit and countenance than to all the captains of my feet, ran from me at the Granadoes, and Woolenston with him; so as I have now but five ships, and one of those I have sent home; and in my fly-boat a rabble of idle rascals, which I know will not spare to wound me; but I care not. I am sure there is never a base slave in all the fleet had taken the pains and care that I have done, that hath slept so little, and travailed so much; my friends will not believe them; and for the rest I care not; God in heaven bless you and strengthen your heart.
To King James at his Return from Guiana. May it please your most excellent Majesty. If in my journey outward-bound I had my men murdered at the islands, and yet spared to take revenge; if I did discharge some Spanish barks taken without spoil ; if I forbore all parts of the Spanish Indies, wherein I might have taken twenty of their towns on the sea coasts, and did only follow the enterprise I undertook for Guiana ; where, without any directions from me, a Spanish village was burnt, which was new set up within three miles of the mine: by your majesty's favour, I find no reason why the Spanish ambassador should complain of me. If it were
RALEGH, MISC. WORKS. It
lawful for the Spaniards to murder twenty-six Englishmen, tying them back to back, and then cutting their throats, when they had traded with them a whole month, and came to them on the land without so much as one sword amongst them all; and that it may not be lawful to your majesty's subjects, being charged first by them, to repel force by force; we may justly say, O miserable English!
If Parker and Metham took Campeachy and other places in the Honduras, seated in the heart of the Spanish Indies, burnt towns, and killed the Spaniards, and had nothing said unto them at their return; and myself forbore to look into the Indies, because I would not offend, I may as justly say, 0 miserable Ralegh!
If I have spent my poor estate, lost my son, suffered by sickness and otherwise a world of miseries; if I have resisted with the manifest hazard of my life the robberies and spoils with which my companions would have made me rich; if when I was poor I could have made myself rich; if when I had gotten my liberty, which all men and nature herself do much prize, I voluntary lost it; if when I was master of my life I rendered it again ; if I might elsewhere have sold my ship and goods, and put five or six thousand pounds in my purse, and yet brought them into England; I beseech your majesty to believe, that all this I have done, because it should not be said to your majesty, that your majesty had given liberty and trust to a man, whose end was but the recovery of his liberty, and who had betrayed your majesty's trust.
My mutineers told me, that if I returned for England I should be undone; but I believed in your majesty's goodness more than in all their arguments. Sure I am, that I am the first who, being free and able to enrich myself, have yet embraced poverty and peril. And as sure I am, that my example shall make me the last. But your majesty's wisdom and goodness I have made my judges, who have ever been, and shall ever remain, Your majesty's most humble vassal,