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Now seeing the expectation of this attempt frustrated by
the causes aforesaid, we thought it meeter to fall with the
Isle Ferro, to see if we could find any better fortune; and
coming to the island we landed a thousand men in a valley
under a high mountain, where we stayed some two or three
hours. In which time the inhabitants, accompanied with a
young fellow born in England, who dwelt there with them,
came unto us, shewing their state to be so poor that they
were all ready to starve, which was not untrue; and there-
fore without anything gotten, we were all commanded pres-
ently to embark, so as that night we put off to sea south-
south-east along towards the coast of Barbary.

Upon Saturday in the morning, being the 13. of Novem-
ber, we fell with Cape Blank, which is a low land and shallow
water, where we catched store of fish; and doubling the
cape, we put into the bay, where we found certain French
ships of war, whom we entertained with great courtesy, and
there left them. This afternoon the whole fleet assembled,
which was a little scattered about their fishing, and put from
thence to the Isles of Cape Verde, sailing till the 16. of the
same month in the morning; on which day we descried the
Island of Santiago. And in the evening we anchored the
fleet between the town called the Play a or Praya and San-
tiago; where we put on shore 1000 men or more, under the
leading of Master Christopher Carlile, Lieutenant-General,
who directed the service most like a wise commander. The
place where we had first to march did afford no good order,
for the ground was mountainous and full of dales, being a
very stony and troublesome passage ; but such was his in-
dustrious disposition, as he would never leave, until we had
gotten up to a fair plain, where we made stand for the as-
sembling of the army. And when we were all gathered
together upon the plain, some two miles from the town, the
Lieutenant-General thought good not to make attempt till
daylight, because there was not one that could serve for
guide or giving knowledge at all of the place. And there-
fore after having well rested, even half an hour before day,
he commanded the army to be divided into three special
parts, such as he appointed, whereas before we had marched
by several companies, being thereunto forced by the badness


of the way as is aforesaid. Now by the time we were thus
ranged into a very brave order, daylight began to appear.
And being advanced hard to the wall, we saw no enemy to
resist. Whereupon the Lieutenant-General appointed Cap-
tain Sampson with thirty shot, 8 and Captain Barton with
other thirty, to go down into the town, which stood in the
valley under us, and might very plainly be viewed all over
from that place where the whole army was now arrived;
and presently after these captains was sent the great ensign,
which had nothing in it but the plain English cross, to be
placed towards the sea, that our fleet might see St. George's
cross flourish in the enemy's fortress. Order was given that
all the ordnance throughout the town and upon all the plat-
forms, which were about fifty pieces all ready charged,
should be shot off in honour of the Queen's Majesty's corona-
tion day, being the 17. of November, after the yearly custom
of England, which was so answered again by the ordnance
out of all the ships in the fleet, which now was come near,
as it was strange to hear such a thundering noise last so long
together. In this mean while the Lieutenant-General held
still the most part of his force on the hilltop, till such time
as the town was quartered out for the lodging of the whole
army. Which being done, every captain took his own quar-
ter; and in the evening was placed such a sufficient guard
upon every part of the town that we had no cause to fear
any present enemy. Thus we continued in the city the space
of fourteen days, taking such spoils as the place yielded,
which were, for the most part, wine, oil, meal, and some
other such like things for victual as vinegar, olives, and some
other trash, as merchandise for their Indian trades. But
there was not found any treasure at all, or anything else of
worth besides.

The situation of Santiago is somewhat strange ; in form
like a triangle, having on the east and west sides two moun-
tains of rock and cliff, as it were hanging over it; upon the
top of which two mountains were builded certain fortifica-
tions to preserve the town from any harm that might be
offered, as in a plot is plainly shewed. From thence on the
south side of the town is the main sea; and on the north side,



the valley lying between the aforesaid mountains, wherein
the town standeth. The said valley and town both do grow
very narrow; insomuch that the space between the two
cliffs of this end of the town is estimated not to be above
ten or twelve score [yards] over. In the midst of the valley
cometh down a riveret, rill, or brook of fresh water, which
hard by the seaside maketh a pond or pool, whereout our
ships were watered with very great ease and pleasure.
Somewhat above the town on the north side, between the
two mountains, the valley waxeth somewhat larger than at
the town's end; which valley is wholly converted into gar-
dens and orchards, well replenished with divers sorts of
fruits, herbs, and trees, as lemons, oranges, sugar-canes,
cocars or cocos nuts, plantains, potato-roots, cucumbers,
small and round onions, garlic, and some other things not
now remembered. Amongst which the cocos nuts and plan-
tains are very pleasant fruits ; the said cocos hath a hard
shell and a green husk over it as hath our walnut, but it far
exceedeth in greatness, for this cocos in his green husk is
bigger than any man's two fists. Of the hard shell many
drinking cups are made here in England, and set in silver as
I have often seen. Next within this hard shell is a white
rind resembling in show very much, even as any thing may
do, to the white of an egg when it is hard boiled. And
within this white of the nut lieth a water, which is whitish
and very clear, to the quantity of half a pint or thereabouts ;
which water and white rind before spoken of are both of a
very cool fresh taste, and as pleasing as anything may be.
I have heard some hold opinion that it is very restorative.
The plantain groweth in cods, somewhat like to beans, but
is bigger and longer, and much more thick together on the
stalk; and when it waxeth ripe, the meat which filleth the
rind of the cod becometh yellow, and is exceeding sweet
and pleasant.

In this time of our being there happened to come a Por-
tugal to the western fort, with a flag of truce. To whom
Captain Sampson was sent with Captain Goring; who com-
ing to the said messenger, he first asked them, What nation
they -were? they answered Englishmen. He then required
to know if wars were between England and Spain; to which


they answered, that they knew not, but if he would go to
their General he could best resolve him of such particulars.
And for his assurance of passage and repassage these
captains made offer to engage their credits, which he
refused for that he was not sent from his governor.
Then they told him if his governor did desire to take
a course for the common benefit of the people and country
his best way were to come and present himself unto our
noble and merciful governor, Sir Francis Drake, whereby he
might be assured to find favour, both for himself and the in-
habitants. Otherwise within three days we should march
over the land, and consume with fire all inhabited places, and
put to the sword all such living souls as we should chance
upon. So thus much he took for the conclusion of his an-
swer. And departing, he promised to return the next day;
but we never heard more of him.

Upon the 24. of November, the General, accompanied with
the Lieutenant-General and 600 men, marched forth to a
village twelve miles within the land, called Saint Domingo,
where the governor and the bishop, with all the better sort,
were lodged; and by eight of the clock we came to it, finding
the place abandoned, and the people fled into the mountains.
So we made stand a while to ease ourselves, and partly to
see if any would come to speak to us. After we had well
rested ourselves, the General commanded the troops to march
away homewards. In which retreat the enemy shewed them-
selves, both horse and foot, though not such force as durst
encounter us; and so in passing some time at the gaze with
them, it waxed late and towards night before we could re-
cover home to Santiago.

On Monday, the 26. of November, the General commanded
all the pinnaces with the boats to use all diligence to embark
the army into such ships as every man belonged. The
Lieutenant-General in like sort commanded Captain Goring
and Lieutenant Tucker, with one hundred shot, to make a
stand in the marketplace until our forces were wholly em-
barked ; the Yice-Admiral making stay with his pinnace
and certain boats in the harbour, to bring the said last com-
pany aboard the ships. Also the General willed forthwith
the galley with two pinnaces to take into them the company


of Captain Barton, and the company of Captain Biggs, under
the leading of Captain Sampson, to seek out such munition
as was hidden in the ground, at the town of Praya, or Playa,
having been promised to be shewed it by a prisoner which
was taken the day before.

The captains aforesaid coming to the Playa, landed their
men ; and having placed the troop in their best strength,
Captain Sampson took the prisoner, and willed him to show
that he had promised. The which he could not, or at least
would not; but they searching all suspected places, found two
pieces of ordnance, one of iron, another of brass. In the
afternoon the General anchored with the rest of the fleet
before the Playa, coming himself ashore, willing us to burn
the town and make all haste aboard; the which was done by
six of the clock the same day, and ourselves embarked again
the same night. And so we put off to sea south-west.

But before our departure from the town of Santiago, we
established orders for the better government of the army.
Every man mustered to his captain, and oaths were minis-
tered, to acknowledge her Majesty supreme Governor, as
also every man to do his uttermost endeavour to advance the
service of the action, and to yield due obedience unto the
directions of the General and his officers. By this provident
counsel, and laying down this good foundation beforehand,
all things went forward in a due course, to the achieving of
our happy enterprise.

In all the time of our being here, neither the governor for
the said King of Spain, which is a Portugal, neither the
bishop, whose authority is great, neither the inhabitants of
the town, or island, ever came at us ; which we expected
they should have done, to entreat us to leave them some part
of their needful provisions, or at the least to spare the ruining
of their town at our going away. The cause of this their
unreasonable distrust, as I do take it, was the fresh remem-
brance of the great wrongs that they had done to old Master
William, Hawkins, of Plymouth, in the voyage he made four
or five years before, whenas they did both break their prom-
ise, and murdered many of his men; whereof I judge you
have understood, and therefore it is needless to be repeated.
But since they came not at us, we left written in sundry


places, as also in the Spital House (which building was only
appointed to be spared), the great discontentment and scorn
we took at this their refraining to come unto us, as also at
the rude manner of killing, and savage kind of handling the
dead body of one of our boys found by them straggHng all
alone, from whom they had taken his head and heart, and
had straggled the other bowels about the place, in a most
brutish and beastly manner. In revenge whereof at our de-
parting we consumed with fire all the houses, as well in the
country which we saw, as in the town of Santiago.

From hence putting off to the West Indies, we were not
many days at sea but there began among our people such
mortality as in a few days there were dead above two or
three hundred men. And until some seven or eight days
after our coming from Santiago, there had not died any one
man of sickness in all the fleet. The sickness showed not his
infection, wherewith so many were strucken, until we were
departed thence; and then seized our people with extreme
hot burning and continual agues, whereof very few escaped
with life, and yet those for the most part not without great
alteration and decay of their wits and strength for a long
time after. In some that died were plainly shown the
small spots which are often found upon those that be in-
fected with the plague. We were not above eighteen days
in passage between the sight of Santiago aforesaid, and the
island of Dominica, being the first island of the West Indies
that we fell withal; the same being inhabited with savage
people, which go all naked, their skin coloured with some
painting of a reddish tawny, very personable and handsome
strong men, who do admit little conversation with the Span-
iards ; for, as some of our people might understand them,
they had a Spaniard or twain prisoners with them. Neither
do I think that there is any safety for any of our nation,
or any other, to be within the limits of their commandment;
albeit they used us very kindly for those few hours of time
which we spent with them, helping our folks to fill and
carry on their bare shoulders fresh water from the river to
our ships' boats, and fetching from their houses great store
of tobacco, as also a kind of bread which they fed on, called
cassavi, very white and savoury, made of the roots of


cassavi. In recompense whereof we bestowed liberal re-
wards of glass, coloured beads, and other things, which we
had found at Santiago; wherewith, as it seemed, they rested
very greatly satisfied, and shewed some sorrowful counte-
nance when they perceived that we would depart.

From hence we went to another island westward of it,
called Saint Christopher's Island; wherein we spent some
days of Christmas, to refresh our sick people, and to cleanse
and air our ships. In which island were not any people at
all that we could hear of.

In which time by the General it was advised and resolved,
with the consent of the Lieutenant-General, the Vice-
Admiral . and all the rest of the captains, to proceed to the
great island of Hispaniola, as well for that we knew our-
selves then to be in our best strength, as also the rather
allured thereunto by the glorious fame of the city of St.
Domingo, being the ancientest and chief inhabited place in
all the tract of country thereabouts. And so proceeding in
this determination, by the way we met a small frigate, bound
for the same place, the which the Vice- Admiral took ; and
having duly examined the men that were in her, there was
one found by whom we were advertised the haven to be
a barred haven, and the shore or land thereof to be well
fortified, having a castle thereupon furnished with great
store of artillery, without the danger whereof was no con-
venient landing-place within ten English miles of the city,
to which the said pilot took upon him to conduct us.

All things being thus considered on, the whole forces
were commanded in the evening to embark themselves in
pinnaces, boats, and other small barks appointed for this
service. Our soldiers being thus embarked, the General put
himself into the bark Francis as Admiral ; and all this night
we lay on the sea, bearing small sail until our arrival to the
landing-place, which was about the breaking of the day.
And so we landed, being New Year's Day, nine or ten miles
to the westwards of that brave city of St. Domingo ; for at
that time nor yet is known to us any landing-place, where
the sea-surge doth not threaten to overset a pinnace or boat.
Our General having seen us all landed in safety, returned to
his fleet, bequeathing us to God, and the good conduct of


Master Carlile, our Lieutenant-General ; at which time, being
about eight of the clock, we began to march. And about
noon-time, or towards one of the clock, we approached the
town ; where the gentlemen and those of the better sort,
being some hundred and fifty brave horses, or rather more,
began to present themselves. But our small shot played
upon them, which were so sustained with good proportion
of pikes in all parts, as they finding no part of our troop
unprepared to receive them (for you must understand they
viewed all round about) they were thus driven to give us
leave to proceed towards the two gates of the town which
were the next to the seaward. They had manned them both,
and planted their ordnance for that present and sudden alarm
without the gate, and also some troops of small shot in
ambuscado upon the highway side. We divided our whole
force, being some thousand or twelve hundred men, into
two parts, to enterprise both the gates at one instant ; the
Lieutenant-General having openly vowed to Captain Powell,
who led the troop that entered the other gate, that with God's
good favour he would not rest until our meeting in the

Their ordnance had no sooner discharged upon our near
approach, and made some execution amongst us, though
not much, but the Lieutenant-General began forthwith to
advance both his voice of encouragement and pace of march-
ing; the first man that was slain with the ordnance being
very near unto himself; and thereupon hasted all that he
might, to keep them from the recharging of the ordnance.
And notwithstanding their ambuscados, we marched or
rather ran so roundly into them, as pell-mell we entered the
gates, and gave them more care every man to save himself
by flight, than reason to stand any longer to their broken
fight. We forthwith repaired to the market-place, but to be
more truly understood, a place of very spacious square
ground ; whither also came, as had been agreed, Captain
Powell with the other troop. Which place with some
part next unto it, we strengthened with barricados, and
there as the most convenient place assured ourselves, the
city being far too spacious for so small and weary a troop
to undertake to guard. Somewhat after midnight, they who


had the guard of the castle, hearing us busy about the gates
of the said castle, abandoned the same; some being taken
prisoners, and some fleeing away by the help of boats to the
other side of the haven, and so into the country.

The next day we quartered a little more at large, but
not into the half part of the town; and so making substantial
trenches, and planting all the ordnance, that each part was cor-
respondent to other, we held this town the space of one month.

In the which time happened some accidents, more than
are well remembered for the present. But amongst other
things, it chanced that the General sent on his message to
the Spaniards a negro boy with a flag of white, signifying
truce, as is the Spanish ordinary manner to do there, when
they approach to speak to us ; which boy unhappily was
first met withal by some of those who had been belonging
as officers for the king in the Spanish galley, which with the
town was lately fallen into our hands. Who, without all
order or reason, and contrary to that good usage wherewith
we had entertained their messengers, furiously struck the
poor boy through the body with one of their horsemen's
staves ; with which wound the boy returned to the General,
and after he had declared the manner of this wrongful
cruelty, died forthwith in his presence. Wherewith the
General being greatly passioned, commanded the provost-
marshal to cause a couple of friars, then prisoners, to be
carried to the same place where the boy was strucken, ac-
companied with sufficient guard of our soldiers, and there
presently to be hanged, despatching at the same instant an-
other poor prisoner, with this reason wherefore this execu-
tion was done, and with this message further, that until
the party who had thus murdered the General's messenger
were delivered into our hands to receive condign punish-
ment, there should no day pass wherein there should not two
prisoners be hanged, until they were all consumed which were
in our hands. Whereupon the day following, he that had
been captain of the king's galley brought the offender to
the town's end, offering to deliver him into our hands. But
it was thought to be a more honourable revenge to make
them there, in our sight, to perform the execution them-
selves; which was done accordingly.


During our being in this town, as formerly also at San-
tiago there had passed justice upon the life of one of our
own company for an odious matter, so here likewise was
there an Irishman hanged for the murdering of his corporal.

In this time also passed many treaties between their com-
missioners and us, for ransom of their city; but upon dis-
agreements we still spent the early mornings in firing the
outmost houses; but they being built very magnificently of
stone, with high lofts, gave us no small travail to ruin them.
And albeit for divers days together we ordained each morn-
ing by daybreak, until the heat began at nine of the clock,
that two hundred mariners did naught else but labour to
fire and burn the said houses without our trenches, whilst
the soldiers in a like proportion stood forth for their guard;
yet did we not, or could not in this time consume so much
as one-third part of the town, which town is plainly described
and set forth in a certain map. And so in the end, what
wearied with firing, and what hastened by some other
respects, we were contented to accept of 25,000 ducats of
five shillings six-pence the piece, for the ransom of the
rest of the town.

Amongst other things which happened and were found
at St. Domingo, I may not omit to let the world know one
very notable mark and token of the unsatiable ambition of
the Spanish king and his nation, which was found in the
king's house, wherein the chief governor of that city and
country is appointed always to lodge, which was this. In
the coming to the hall or other rooms of this house, you
must first ascend up by a fair large pair of stairs, at the
head of which stairs is a handsome spacious place to walk
in, somewhat like unto a gallery. Wherein, upon one of
the walls, right over against you as you enter the said place,
so as your eye cannot escape the sight of it, there is described
and painted in a very large scutcheon the arms of the King
of Spain; and in the lower part of the said scutcheon their
is likewise described a globe, containing in it the whole cir-
cuit of the sea and the earth, whereupon is a horse stand-
ing on his hinder part within the globe, and the other fore-
part without the globe, lifted up as it were to leap, with a
scroll painted in his mouth, wherein was written these


words in Latin, Non sufficit orbis, which is as much to say
as, The world sufficeth not. Whereof the meaning was re-
quired to be known of some of those of the better sort that
came in commission to treat upon the ransom of the town;
who would shake their heads and turn aside their
countenance, in some smiling sort, without answering any-
thing, as greatly ashamed thereof. For by some of our
company it was told them, that if the Queen of England
would resolutely prosecute the wars against the King of
Spain, he should be forced to lay aside that proud and un-
reasonable reaching vein of his ; for he should find more
than enough to do to keep that which he had already, as
by the present example of their lost town they might for
a beginning perceive well enough.

Now to the satisfying of some men, who marvel greatly
that such a famous and goodly-builded city, so well inhabited
of gallant people, very brave in their apparel (whereof our
soldiers found good store for their relief), should afford no
greater riches than was found there. Herein it is to be
understood that the Indian people, which were the natives of
this whole island of Hispaniola (the same being near hand
as great as England), were many years since clean con-
sumed by the tyranny of the Spaniards; which was the
cause that, for lack of people to work in the mines, the
gold and silver mines of this island are wholly given over.
And thereby they are fain in this island to use copper money,

Online LibraryHerodotusVoyages and travels; ancient and modern → online text (page 22 of 35)