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honour; and no less happy do we account him for being
associated with Master Carlile, his Liuetenant-General, by
whose experience, prudent counsel, and gallant performance
he achieved so many and happy enterprises of the war, by
whom also he was very greatly assisted in setting down the
needful orders, laws, and course of justice, and the due ad-
ministration of the same upon all occasions.

After three days spent in watering our ships, we departed
now the second time from this Cape of St. Anthony the
13. of May. And proceeding about the Cape of Florida, we
never touched anywhere; but coasting alongst Florida, and
keeping the shore still in sight, the 28. of May, early in the
morning, we descried on the shore a place built like a
beacon, which was indeed a scaffold upon four long masts
raised on end for men to discover to the seaward, being
in the latitude of thirty degrees, or very near thereunto.
Our pinnaces manned and coming to the shore, we marched


up alongst the river-side to see what place the enemy held
there; for none amongst us had any knowledge thereof
at all.

Here the General took occasion to march with the com-
panies himself in person, the Lieutenant-General having the
vant-guard ; and, going a mile up, or somewhat more, by the
river-side, we might discern on the other side of the river
over against us a fort which newly had been built by the
Spaniards ; and some mile, or thereabout, above the fort was
a little town or village without walls, built of wooden houses,
as the plot doth plainly shew. We forthwith prepared to
have ordnance for the battery; and one piece was a little
before the evening planted, and the first shot being made by
the Lieutenant-General himself at their ensign, strake
through the ensign, as we afterwards understood by a
Frenchman which came unto us from them. One shot more
was then made, which struck the foot of the fort wall, which
was all massive timber of great trees like masts. The
Lieutenant-General was determined to pass the river this
night with four companies, and there to lodge himself en-
trenched as near the fort as that he might play with his
muskets and smallest shot upon any that should appear, and
so afterwards to bring and plant the battery with him; but
the help of mariners for that sudden to make trenches could
not be had, which was the cause that this determination
was remitted until the next night.

In the night the Lieutenant-General took a little rowing
skiff and half a dozen well armed, as Captain Morgan and
Captain Sampson, with some others, besides the rowers, and
went to view what guard the enemy kept, as also to take
knowledge of the ground. And albeit he went as covertly
as might be, yet the enemy, taking the alarm, grew fearful
that the whole force was approaching to the assault, and
therefore with all speed abandoned the place after the shoot-
ing of some of their pieces. They thus gone, and he being
returned unto us again, but nothing knowing of their flight
from their fort, forthwith came a Frenchman, 9 being a fifer
(who had been prisoner with them) in a little boat, playing

9 Nicolas Borgoignon. The ' Prince of Orange's Song ' was a popular
ditty in praise of William Prince of Orange (assassinated 1584), the leader
of the Dutch Protestant insurgents.


on his fife the tune of the Prince of Orange his song. And
being called unto by the guard, he told them before he
put foot out of the boat what he was himself, and how the
Spaniards were gone from the fort; offering either to re-
main in hands there, or else to return to the place with them
that would go.

Upon this intelligence the General, the Lieutenant-Gen-
eral, with some of the captains in one skiff and the Vice-
Admiral with some others in his skiff, and two or three
pinnaces furnished of soldiers with them, put presently over
towards the fort, giving order for the rest of the pinnaces
to follow. And in our approach some of the enemy, bolder
than the rest, having stayed behind their company, shot off
two pieces of ordnance at us ; but on shore we went, and
entered the place without finding any man there.

When the day appeared, we found it built all of timber,
the walls being none other than whole masts or bodies of
trees set upright and close together in manner of a pale,
without any ditch as yet made, but wholly intended with
some more time. For they had not as yet finished all their
work, having begun the same some three or four months
before; so as, to say the truth, they had no reason to keep
it, being subject both to fire and easy assault.

The platform whereon the ordnance lay was whole bodies
of long pine-trees, whereof there is great plenty, laid across
one on another and some little earth amongst. There were in
it thirteen or fourteen great pieces of brass ordnance and a
chest unbroken up, having in it the value of some two
thousand pounds sterling, by estimation, of the king's
treasure, to pay the soldiers of that place, who were a
hundred and fifty men.

The fort thus won, which they called St. John's Fort, and
the day opened, we assayed to go to the town, but could not
by reason of some rivers and broken ground which was be-
tween the two places. And therefore being enforced to
embark again into our pinnaces, we went thither upon the
great main river, which is called, as also the town, by the
name of St. Augustine. At our approaching to land, there
were some that began to shew themselves, and to bestow
some few shot upon us, but presently withdrew themselves.


And in their running thus away, the Sergeant-Major finding
one of their horses ready saddled and bridled, took the same
to follow the chase ; and so overgoing all his company, was
by one laid behind a bush shot through the head ; and falling
down therewith, was by the same and two or three more,
stabbed in three or four places of his body with swords and
daggers, before any could come near to his rescue. His
death was much lamented, being in very deed an honest
wise gentleman, and soldier of good experience, and of as
great courage as any man might be.

In this place called St. Augustine we understood the king
did keep, as is before said, 150 soldiers, and at another place
some dozen leagues beyond to the northwards, called St.
Helena, he did there likewise keep 150 more, serving there
for no other purpose than to keep all other nations from in-
habiting any part of all that coast; the government whereof
was committed to one Pedro Melendez, marquis, nephew to
that Melendez the Admiral, who had overthrown Master
John Hawkins in the Bay of Mexico some 17 or 18 years
ago. This governor had charge of both places, but was at
this time in this place, and one of the first that left the

Here it was resolved in full assembly of captains, to un-
dertake the enterprise of St. Helena, and from thence to
seek out the inhabitation of our English countrymen in Vir-
ginia, distant from thence some six degrees northward.
When we came thwart of St. Helena, the shoals appearing
dangerous, and we having no pilot to undertake the entry,
it was thought meetest to go hence alongst. For the Ad-
miral had been the same night in four fathom and a half,
three leagues from the shore; and yet we understood, by
the help of a known pilot, there may and do go in ships of
greater burden and draught than any we had in our fleet.
We passed thus along the coast hard aboard the shore, which
is shallow for a league or two from the shore, and the same
is low and broken land for the most part. The ninth of
June upon sight of one special great fire (which are very
ordinary all alongst this coast, even from the Cape of
Florida hither) the General sent his skiff to the shore, where
they found some of our English countrymen that had been


sent thither the year before by Sir Walter Raleigh, and
brought them aboard ; by whose direction we proceeded
along to the place which they make their port. But some
of our ships being of great draught, unable to enter, an-
chored without the harbour in a wild road at sea, about two
miles from shore. From whence the General wrote letters
to Master Ralph Lane, being governor of those English in
Virginia, and then at his fort about six leagues from the
road in an island which they called Roanoac; wherein
especially he shewed how ready he was to supply his neces-
sities and wants, which he understood of by those he had
first talked withal.

The morrow after, Master Lane himself and some of his
company coming unto him, with the consent of his captains
he gave them the choice of two offers, that is to say: either
he would leave a ship, a pinnace, and certain boats with
sufficient masters and mariners, together furnished with a
month's victual, to stay and make further discovery of the
country and coasts, and so much victual likewise as might
be sufficient for the bringing of them all (being an hundred
and three persons) into England, if they thought good after
such time, with any other thing they would desire, and that
he might be able to spare : or else, if they thought they had
made sufficient discovery already, and did desire to return
into England, he would give them passage. But they, as it
seemed, being desirous to stay, accepted very thankfully and
with great gladness that which was offered first. Where-
upon the ship being appointed and received into charge by
some of their own company sent into her by Master Lane,
before they had received from the rest of the fleet the pro-
vision appointed them, there arose a great storm (which
they said was extraordinary and very strange) that lasted
three days together, and put all our fleet in great danger to
be driven from their anchoring upon the coast; for we brake
many cables, and lost many anchors; and some of our fleet
which had lost all, of which number was the ship appointed
for Master Lane and his company, were driven to put to sea
in great danger, in avoiding the coast, and could never see
us again until we met in England. Many also of our small
pinnaces and boats were lost in this storm.


Notwithstanding, after all this, the General offered them,
with consent of his captains, another ship with some pro-
visions, although not such a one for their turns as might
have been spared them before, this being unable to be
brought into their harbour: or else, if they would, to give
them passage into England, although he knew he should per-
form it with greater difficulty than he might have done be-
fore. But Master Lane, with those of the chiefest of his
company which he had then with him, considering what
should be best for them to do, made request unto the Gen-
eral under their hands, that they might have passage for
England: the which being granted, and the rest sent for out
of the country and shipped, we departed from that coast
the 18. of June. And so, God be thanked, both they and
we in good safety arrived at Portsmouth the 28. of July,
1586, to the great glory of God, and to no small honour to
our Prince, our country, and ourselves. The total value of
that which was got in this voyage is esteemed at three score
thousand pounds, whereof the companies which have trav-
ailed in the voyage were to have twenty thousand pounds,
the adventurers the other forty. Of which twenty thousand
pounds (as I can judge) will redound some six pounds to
the single share. We lost some 750 men in the voyage;
above three parts of them only by sickness. The men of
name that died and were slain in this voyage, which I can
presently call to remembrance, are these : Captain Powell,
Captain Varney, Captain Moon, Captain Fortescue, Captain
Bigg s > Captain Cecil, Captain Hannam, Captain Greenfield;
Thomas Tucker, a lieutenant; Alexander Starkey, a lieu-
tenant; Master Escot, a lieutenant; Master Waterhouse,
a lieutenant ; Master George Candish, Master Nicholas
Winter, Master Alexander Carlile, Master Robert Alexander,
Master Scroope, Master James Dyer, Master Peter Duke.
With some other, whom for haste I cannot suddenly
think on.

The ordnance gotten of all sorts, brass and iron, were
about two hundred and forty pieces, whereof the two hun-
dred and some more were brass, and were thus found and
gotten : At Santiago some two or three and fifty pieces.
In St. Domingo about four score, whereof was very much


great ordnance, as whole cannon, 10 demi-cannon, culverins,
and such like. In Carthagena some sixty and three pieces,
and good store likewise of the greater sort. In the Fort of
St. Augustine were fourteen pieces. The rest was iron ord-
nance, of which the most part was gotten at St. Domingo,
the rest at Carthagena.

10 The ' whole cannon ' had a bore of 8 inches, and carried a shot of
6o ft> ; the 'demi-cannon' 6% inches, shot 30 lb; the culverin 5V6 inches,
shot 18 lb.




Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the founder of the first English colony
in North America, was bom about 1539, the son of a Devonshire
gentleman, whose widow afterward married the father of Sir
Walter Raleigh. He was educated at Eton and Oxford, served
under Sir Philip Sidney's father in Ireland, and fought for the
Netherlands against Spain. After his return he composed a
pamphlet urging the search for a northwest passage to Cathay,
which led to Frobisher's license for his explorations to that end.

In 1578 Gilbert obtained from Queen Elisabeth the charter he
had long sought, to plant a colony in North America. His first
attempt failed, and cost him his whole fortune; but, after further
service in Ireland, he sailed again in 1383 for Newfoundland. In
the August of that year he took possession of the harbor of St.
John and founded his colony, but on the return voyage he went
down with his ship in a storm south of the Azores.

The following narrative is an account of this last voyage of
Gilbert's, told by Edward Hayes, commander of "The Golden
Hind," the only one to reach England of the three ships which
set out from Newfoundland with Gilbert.

The settlement at St. John was viewed by its promoter as
merely the beginning of a scheme for ousting Spain from
America in favor of England. The plan did not progress as
he hoped; but after long delays, and under far other impulses
than Gilbert ever thought of, much of his dream was realised.




A report of the Voyage and success thereof, attempted in the year of
our Lord 1583, by Sir HUMFREY GILBERT, Knight, with other
gentlemen assisting him in that action, intended to discover and to
plant Christian inhabitants in place convenient, upon those large
and ample countries extended northward from the Cape of Florida,
lying under very temperate climes, esteemed fertile and rich in
minerals, yet not in the actual possession of any Christian prince.
Written by Mr. Edward Hayes, gentleman, and principal actor in
the same voyage*, who alone continued unto the end, and, by God's
special assistance, returned home with his retinue safe and entire.

MANY voyages have been pretended, yet hitherto
never any thoroughly accomplished by our nation,
of exact discovery into the bowels of those main,
ample, and vast countries extended infinitely into the north
from thirty degrees, or rather from twenty-five degrees, of
septentrional latitude, neither hath a right way been taken of
planting a Christian habitation and regiment 2 upon the
same, as well may appear both by the little we yet do actually
possess therein, and by our ignorance of the riches and
secrets within those lands, which unto this day we know
chiefly by the travel and report of other nations, and most
of the French, who albeit they cannot challenge such right
and interest unto the said countries as we, neither these
many years have had opportunity nor means so great to dis-
cover and to plant, being vexed with the calamities of in-
testine wars, as we have had by the inestimable benefit of our
long and happy peace, yet have they both ways performed

1 Hayes was captain and owner of the Golden Hind, Gilbert's Rear-
AdmiraL 3 Government.



more, and had long since attained a sure possession and
settled government of many provinces in those northerly-
parts of America, if their many attempts into those foreign
and remote lands had not been impeached by their garboils
at home.

The first discovery of these coasts, never heard of before,
was well begun by John Cabot the father and Sebastian his
son, an Englishman born, who were the first finders out of
all that great tract of land stretching from the Cape of
Florida unto those islands which we now call the Newfound-
land; all which they brought and annexed unto the crown
of England. Since when, if with like diligence the search
of inland countries had been followed, as the discovery upon
the coast and outparts thereof was performed by those two
men, no doubt her Majesty's territories and revenue had
been mightily enlarged and advanced by this day ; and, which
is more, the seed of Christian religion had been sowed
amongst those pagans, which by this time might have
brought forth a most plentiful harvest and copious congre-
gation of Christians; which must be the chief intent of such
as shall make any attempt that way; or else whatsoever is
builded upon other foundation shall never obtain happy suc-
cess nor continuance.

And although we cannot precisely judge (which only be-
longeth to God) what have been the humours of men stirred
up to great attempts of discovering and planting in those
remote countries, yet the events do shew that either God's
cause hath not been chiefly preferred by them, or else God
hath not permitted so abundant grace as the light of His
word and knowledge of Him to be yet revealed unto those
infidels before the appointed time. But most assuredly, the
only cause of religion hitherto hath kept back, and will also
bring forward at the time assigned by God, an effectual and
complete discovery and possession by Christians both of
those ample countries and the riches within them hitherto
concealed; whereof, notwithstanding, God in His wisdom
hath permitted to be revealed from time to time a certain
obscure and misty knowledge, by little and little to allure the
minds of men that way, which else will be dull enough in the
zeal of His cause, and thereby to prepare us unto a readiness


for the execution of His will, against the due time ordained
of calling those pagans unto Christianity.

In the meanwhile it behoveth every man of great calling,
in whom is any instinct of inclination unto this attempt, to
examine his own motions, which, if the same proceed of
ambition or avarice, he may assure himself it cometh not of
God, and therefore cannot have confidence of God's protec-
tion and assistance against the violence (else irresistible)
both of sea and infinite perils upon the land ; whom God yet
may use [as] an instrument to further His cause and glory
some way, but not to build upon so bad a foundation.
Otherwise, if his motives be derived from a virtuous and
heroical mind, preferring chiefly the honour of God, com-
passion of poor infidels captived by the devil, tyrannising in
most wonderful and dreadful manner over their bodies and
souls; advancement of his honest and well-disposed country-
men, willing to accompany him in such honourable actions;
relief of sundry people within this realm distressed; all
these be honourable purposes, imitating the nature of the
munificent God, wherewith He is well pleased, who will
assist such an actor beyond expectation of man. And the
same, who feeleth this inclination in himself, by all likeli-
hood may hope, or rather confidently repose in the preor-
dinance of God, that in this last age of the world (or likely
never) the time is complete of receiving also these gentiles
into His mercy, and that God will raise Him an instrument
to effect the same; it seeming probable by event of pre-
cedent attempts made by the Spaniards and French sundry
times, that the countries lying north of Florida God hath
reserved the same to be reduced unto Christian civility by
the English nation. For not long after that Christopher
Columbus had discovered the islands and continent of the
West Indies for Spain, John and Sebastian Cabot made dis-
covery also of the rest from Florida northwards to the be-
hoof of England.

And whensoever afterwards the Spaniards, very prosper-
ous in all their southern discoveries, did attempt anything
into Florida and those regions inclining towards the north,
they proved most unhappy, and were at length discouraged
utterly by the hard and lamentable success of many both


religious and valiant in arms, endeavouring to bring those
northerly regions also under the Spanish jurisdiction, as if
God had prescribed limits unto the Spanish nation which
they might not exceed ; as by their own gests recorded may
be aptly gathered.

The French, as they can pretend less title unto these
northern parts than the Spaniard, by how much the
Spaniard made the first discovery of the same continent so
far northward as unto Florida, and the French did but re-
view that before discovered by the English nation, usurping
upon our right, and imposing names upon countries, rivers,
bays, capes, or headlands as if they had been the first finders
of those coasts; which injury we offered not unto the
Spaniards, but left off to discover when we approached the
Spanish limits; even so God hath not hitherto permitted
them to establish a possession permanent upon another's
right, notwithstanding their manifold attempts, in which the
issue hath been no less tragical than that of the Spaniards,
as by their own reports is extant.

Then, seeing the English nation only hath right unto these
countries of America from the Cape of Florida northward
by the privilege of first discovery, unto which Cabot was
authorised by regal authority, and set forth by the expense
of our late famous King Henry the Seventh ; which right
also seemeth strongly defended on our behalf by the power-
ful hand of Almighty God withstanding the enterprises of
other nations; it may greatly encourage us upon so just
ground, as is our right, and upon so sacred an intent, as
to plant religion (our right and intent being meet founda-
tions for the same), to prosecute effectually the full posses-
sion of those so ample and pleasant countries appertaining
unto the crown of England; the same, as is to be conjectured
by infallible arguments of the world's end approaching, being
now arrived unto the time by God prescribed of their voca-
tion, if ever their calling unto the knowledge of God may
be expected. Which also is very probable by the revolution
and course of God's word and religion, which from the be-
ginning hath moved from the east towards, and at last unto,
the west, where it is like to end, unless the same begin again
where it did in the east, which were to expect a like world


again. But we are assured of the contrary by the prophecy
of Christ, whereby we gather that after His word preached
throughout the world shall be the end. And as the Gospel
when it descended westward began in the south, and after-
ward spread into the north of Europe; even so, as the same
hath begun in the south countries of America, no less hope
may be gathered that it will also spread into the north.

These considerations may help to suppress all dreads rising
of hard events in attempts made this way by other nations,
as also of the heavy success and issue in the late enterprise
made by a worthy gentleman our countryman, Sir Humfrey
Gilbert, Knight, who was the first of our nation that carried
people to erect an habitation and government in those north-
erly countries of America. About which albeit he had con-
sumed much substance, and lost his life at last, his people
also perishing for the most part: yet the mystery thereof
we must leave unto God, and judge charitably both of the
cause, which was just in all pretence, and of the person,
who was very zealous in prosecuting the same, deserving
honourable remembrance for his good mind and expense
of life in so virtuous an enterprise. Whereby nevertheless,
lest any man should be dismayed by example of other folks'
calamity, and misdeem that God doth resist all attempts in-
tended that way, I thought good, so far as myself was an
eye-witness, to deliver the circumstance and manner of our

Online LibraryHerodotusVoyages and travels; ancient and modern → online text (page 24 of 35)