« ForrigeFortsett »
TO THE LORD TREASURER BURGHLEY, AND
THE LORD HIGH ADMIRAL.
From the Original. Burghley Papers in MS. Lansdowne, vol. cxv
fol. 173 (British Museum). In the hand of an Amanuensis. With
autograph subscription and signature. MY VERIE GOOD LORDS,
I HAVE receaved a letter from your Lordships con1592. Aug. 27
cerning the taking of a shipp of Bayon, laden with fish, To Lord
by Captain JOHN FLOIRE, whereunto your Lordships Burghley require my aunsweare. I acquainted the Judg of th' and Lord Howard of Admiraltie and Captain FLOIRE with the complaint, Effingham.
and do finde that in the Bay of Portugal, JOHN FLOIRE, On the taking of a
meeting with this shipp of Bayon, which a little before ship of
was taken going into Spaine with victuell, without Bayonne by Capt. license, by a man of warre ‘of Diep,' as was said,—though John Floyer.
Captain FLOIRE judged him rather to be of Newhaven, —was earnestly entreated to succor and rescue them from the captain and others which were putt abord from the man of warr. Captain FLOIRE, perceaving that they were the French king's frends and like to be spoiled by Leaguers, caused the supposed captain of Diep and the master of the ship of Bayon to come abord his shipp, where one accused the other : the one, for carying victuel to the enemy; the other, for landing the greatest part of his men in Spaine. Hereupon the master, standing upon his integritie and innocencie, promised Captain FLOIRE great recompence to rescue him and to bring his shipp and lading safelie into some port of England, affirming that in France he should be
1592. Aug. 27.
oppressed by the Ligue, and find no justice in recoverie of them againe; during which time there arose a great tempest,-so violent that Captain FLOIRE could neither return the French captain and master to the shipp from whence they came, nor receave his own men out of the ship of Bayon. This storm severed the shipps, and the French ship was by Captain FLOIRE's men, which did swim abord her, caried to Uphil in Severn with intent to have made spoile of her; which Captain FLOIRE understanding was forced to put into Plymmouth, and to victuel his ship for a moneth longer, all which time he followed the French shipp, and tooke her againe. Within 2 or 3 daies after, came commission from you, my Lord Admiral, to take the ship and fish from Captain FLOIRE, which he accordinglie obeyed, and delivered the same to your Lordship's officer, with a very small diminucion.
What became afterwards of the ship and goods Captain FLOIRE protesteth he is ignorant; neither was he inquisytive, because he held himself discharged of anie farther account, uppon receipt of your Lordship's commission. Onelie he hath heard that by the negligence of such as had charge thereof the ship was lyke to perish in harbor, and the fish being removed and landed did begin noisomlie to smell; and so it seemeth some losse was susteined after JOHN FLOIRE was commanded to leave her; himself making no benefytt by the ship or her lading, although they made him great promises of recompence before he rescued them. Besides, he lost the benefitt of his voyage to the Indies; victuelled his ship twise; and is almost undone in seeking their safetie, never receaving penny for his travel, charges, and losse of time.
1592. Aug. 27.
Thus I make bold to dilate unto your Lordships the particularities at large, because Captain FLOIRE is reputed and known to be my man, and the ship mine wherein he was going to the Indies; yet do I write nothing partyallie, but what shall be confirmed by the testimonies of honest persons. And so do humblie take my leave, the 27th August, 1592. Your Lordships' humblie att cummandmente,
Lord Admirall of England.
PREFATORY NOTE TO LETTERS XXVIII. TO XXXIV. INCLU.
THE capture of the “Great Carrack' of 1592, and the pro- PREFA
ceedings which ensued in relation to the partition of her spoils, have an interest which extends far beyond the mere LETTERS occurrence itself. It was, in one sense, the most brilliant feat XXXIV. of privateering ever accomplished by Englishmen, even in the
1592. days of Queen Elizabeth. It was also a piece of mercantile July-Oct. enterprise,-pregnant with results,—and the history of which English
Privateers throws light, alike on some curious points connected both with
and our Admiralty law and with the growth of our commerce Spanish
Prizes. and colonies, and on several later incidents in the biography of Ralegh himself. The letters which follow will, I think, be found, intrinsically, very readable ; but they will be the better understood if a few particulars be first mentioned, in addition to those which have been already noticed in the ninth chapter of the preceding volume.
The Expedition of 1592 was headed by two Queen's ships, and by two admirals. But it was none the less a privateering cruise-in which the Queen was only a chief adventurer,' jointly with others, combined with a plan for an attack on the Spanish settlement at Panama. That colony had been founded by Pedrarias de Avila more than seventy years before. It had already survived great dangers and hardships; but was not destined to be put into any new peril by Ralegh's present enterprise, -which had, eventually, to confine itself to the cruise at sea.
In addition to her two ships, the Queen contributed eighteen hundred pounds in money. This was her whole outlay, beyond
be so spec: oa tbe repairs of the ships themselves. The citizens of Los ioa contributed six thousand pounds towards se ocret of the expedition. The amount adventured by Ralegi is not exactly ascertainable, but it was very large.
To Burgeley, it wit be seen, he stated that he had risked his i 1922 -0c bole fortune ind it is certain that he borrowed a large sum
oa interest, expressly for the occasion. His ship, The Roebuck, bore the flag of Vice Admiral Sir John Borough. Carew Ralegh, Waiter's brother, sent a ship of 250 tons, manned by 160 men, called The Gallarr Raleyh.
The Earl of Cumberland had previously fitted out six ships on a privateering expedition of his own ; quite independently -at the outset-of the enterprise of Ralegh. How the two came at length into combination will be seen hereafter,
Ralegh's ships were ready for sea in February, but from adverse winds were unable to set sail until April; and then they encountered severe storms. Under the obscure circumstances which have been noticed in Chapter IX. the Admiral himself left the fleet, by the Queen's express and reiterated order, about the middle of May, and divided it into two squadrons; entrusting the command of one squadron to Frobisher, with orders to watch the Spanish coast, and that of the other to Borough, with instructions to cruise about the Azores.
Towards the end of July Sir John Borough met at Flores with two ships of London, and for the purpose of strengthening his squadron made an agreement with their commanders which had some bearing on subsequent transactions. Its terms and tenor were thus expressed :
“ I, Sir John Burrowes, Knighte, and by vertue of her Majestie's commission, Generall of a fleet appoynted for the seas, have consorted, covenaunted, and agreed, and by theis presents doe consorte, covenaunte, and agree, to and wyth Chrystopher Newporte, capitayne of The Goulden Dragon of London, a shippe of the borthen of 180 tonne, for himselfe ; and on shipp more, of his consortshipp, called The Prudence,