George Fenner (1567)
The voyage of M. George Fenner to Guinie, and the Islands of Cape Verde, in the yeere of 1566. with three ships, to wit, the Admirall called the Castle of Comfort, the May Flower, and the George, and a Pinnasse also: Written by Walter Wren.
THE 10 day of December, in the yeere abovesayd, we departed from Plimmouth, and the 12 day we were thwart of Ushant .
The 15 day in the morning being Sunday, wee had sight of Cape Finister, and the same night we lost the company of our Admirall, wherefore we sayled along the coast of Portugall, hoping that our Admirall had bene before us.
The 18 day we met with a French ship of whom wee made inquirie for our Admirall, but he could not tell us newes of him: so we followed our course to the Ilands of the Canaries.
The 25 day in the morning we fell with a small Iland called Porto Santo, & within 3 houres wee had sight of another Iland called Madera which is 6 leagues from Porto Santo.
The said 25 day being the day of the Nativitie, we hoised out our boat, and fet master Edward Fenner captaine of the May Flower aboord us, being in the George, with the master whose name was Robert Cortise and others of the sayd shippe, and feasted them with such cheere as God had sent us.
The 28 day we fel with an Iland called Tenerif, which is 27 leagues from the said Iland, and on the East side thereof we came to an anker in 40 fadome water, within a base shot of the shore, in a litle Baie wherein were 3 or 4 small houses: which Baie and houses were distant from a litle towne called Santa Cruz, a league or thereabout, and as we rode in the said Baie, we might see an Iland called The grand Canarie which was 6 or 7 leagues from us.
The 29 day the May Flower for that she could not fet into ye road where we were at an anker, by reason the wind was off the shore, & because she bare more roomer from the land then we did, in the morning came bearing in with the towne of Santa Cruz, thinking to come to an anker in the road against the towne, and before she came within the reach of any of their ordinance, they shot at her foure pieces which caused her to come roome with us, and came at last to an anker by us. And about one of the clocke in the afternoone, the forenamed captaine of the May Flower wrote a letter a shore, directing it to the head officer of the towne of Santa Cruz, to the intent to understand the pretense of the shooting off the said ordinance.
The letter being written, Robert Courtise master of the May Flower, and Walter Wren were appointed to deliver the same a land at 3 or 4 houses to bee conveid to the foresayd towne, and so went with six men in the boate, and rowed to the shore as neere as they might, for setting the boat on ground, for the sea went cruelly at the shore.
The people stood in number 30 persons with such armour as they had: the foresayd Wren called to them in Spanish, declaring to them that they had a letter which they would very gladly have conveid unto the towne, shewing that they would traffique with them as marchants, desiring their helpe for the conveiance of the same letter. With that one of the Spaniards willed us to come on land, and we should be welcome, but doubting the worst, the said Walter answered them that they would not come on land, until they had answere of their letter which they had brought.
Whereupon one of the Spaniards unraied himselfe, and lept into the water, and swam to the boat, whom we received. And he saluted us, and demaunded what our request was: we made him answere, that by misfortune we lost the companie of our Admirall, and being bound to this Iland to traffique for wines and other things necessary for us, do here mind to stay untill he come.
Concerning our letter he made us answere, that he would with all diligence cary it, and deliver it according to the direction, and so the said Walter knit the letter in a bladder, and delivered it unto him, and also gave him foure roials of Spanish money for his paines: and promising that we should have answere of it, he tooke his leave and swamme againe on shore, where the people stood ready to receive him. And after that they had talked with him, and understood our meaning, some of them threw up their hats, & the other put them off holding them in their hands, and made us very curteous signes, alwaies desiring that the boat would come a land, but we resaluting them rowed backe againe aboord.
The 30 day the Governours brother of Santa Cruz came aboord the May Flower with sixe or seven Spaniards with him, who concluded with the Captaine that we might come a shore and traffique with them, but that day we did not, for we had no sufficient pledge of theirs for our assurance. Our Captaine entertained them well, and at their departure gave them foure pieces of ordinance for a farewell, and bestowed upon them two cheeses with other things.
The sayd Governours brother promised our Captaine that hee should have sufficient pledges the morrow folowing, which was not done, whereupon wee grew suspicious, and went not that day a shore.
The first day of January our captaine sent Nicholas Day and John Sumpter a shore, who were very well entertained with as many of our company as went after them.
In the said Iland is a marvellous high hill called the Pike, which is a far off more like a cloud in the aire, then any other thing: the hill is round and somewhat small at the top, it hath not bene knowen that ever any man could goe up to the top thereof. And although it stand in 28 degrees which is as hote in January, as it is in England at Midsommer, yet is the top of the said hil Winter and Sommer seldome without snow.
In this Iland about two leagues from the said Santa Cruz is a citie called Anagona.
The third day wee departed about the Westerne point of the Iland, about 12 or 14 leagues from Santa Cruz, into a Baie which is right agaynst the house of one Petro de Souses, in which Baie we came to an anker the 5 day, where we heard that our Admirall had bene there at an anker 7 dayes before us, and was gone thence to an Iland called Gomera, whereupon wee set saile presently to seeke him.
The 6 day we came to an anker against the towne of Gomera, where we found our Admirall, which was very joyfull of our comming, and we also of his sight.
In the sayd road we found Edward Cooke in a tall ship, and a shippe of the Coppersmiths of London, which the Portugals had trecherously surprised in the Baie of Santa Cruz, upon the coast of Barbarie, which ship we left there all spoiled.
Our General & marchants bought in the said towne for our provision, 14 buts of wine, which cost 15 duckats a but, which were offred us at Santa Cruz in Tenerif for 8, 9, and 10 duckats.
The 9 day we departed from this road to another Baie, about 3 leagues off, and there tooke in fresh water: & so the 10 day we set saile towards Cape Blanke, which is on the coast of Guinea.
The 12 day we fell into a Baie to the Eastward of Cape Pargos, which is 35 leagues from Cape Blanke. But having no knowledge of that coast, we went with Cape Blanke, and at the fall of the land we sounded and had 16 fadome water two leagues from the shore. The land is very lowe and white sand. Upon the fall of the sayd coast beware how you borow in 12 or 10 fadome, for within 2 or 3 casts of the lead you may be on ground.
The 17 day we set saile from Cape Blanke, directing our course South and by East, & South among, and so fell into a Baie to the Eastward of Cape Verde, about 16 leagues, and about sixe leagues from the shore. The sayd land seemed unto us as if it had bene a great number of shippes under saile, being in deed nothing els but the land which was full of Hammoks, some high some lowe, with high trees on them. We bare with the said land till we were within 3 leagues of the shore, and then we sounded, and found 28 fadome water, blacke oase. This day we saw much fish in sundry sculs swimming with their noses with the brim of the water.
Passing along this coast we might see two small round hils, seeming to us about a league one from the other, which is the Cape, and betweene them are great store of trees, and in all our dayes sailing we saw no land so high as the said two hils.
The 19 day we came to an anker at the Cape, in a roade fast by the Westermost side of two hils in 10 fadome of water where you may ride in five or sixe fadome, for the ground is faire, and alwayes you shall have the winde off the shore. And as soone as we were all at an anker, our Generall came aboord us, and with him the master of the Admirall, whose name was William Bats, and with them the captaine of the Viceadmirall, whose name was master Edward Fenner, and Robert Curtise the master, and dined aboord of us being in the George, wherein was Captaine John Heiwood, and John Smith of Hampton master, and there we concluded to goe aland, which was halfe a mile from us: and by the counsell of William Bats both Captaine and marchants and divers of the companie went without armour: for he sayd, that although the people were blacke and naked, yet they were civill : so that hee would needs give the venter without the consent of the rest to go without weapon. Thus they rowed to shore, where, we being in the shippe might see a great companie of Negros naked, walking to and fro by the sea side where the landing place was, waiting for the comming of our men, who came too soone, and landed to their losse as it fell out afterwards.
There went a shore the Admirals skiffe, and the May Flowers boate, and in them the number of 20 persons or thereabouts, as M. George Fenner the Generall, his brother M. Edward Fenner, Thomas Valentine, John Worme and Francis Leigh marchants, John Haward, William Bats, Nicholas Day, John Tomson and others.
At their comming to the shore there were 100 Negros or upward, with their bowes and arrowes: our Captaines and merchants talked with them, & according to the use of the country, the one demanded pledges of the other, & they were content to deliver 3 of their Negros for 5 of our men. Our 5 mens names were these, John Haward, Wil. Bats, Nich. Day, Joh. Tomson, & John Curtise: these were delivered them, and we received 3 Negros into our Admirals skiffe.
Our men being a shore among the Negros, began to talke with them, declaring what ware and marchandize we had, as woollen cloth, linnen cloth, iron, cheese & other things. The Negros answered againe, they had civet, muske, gold and graines, which pleased our captaines and marchants very well. Then the Negros desired to have a sight of some of our wares, to the which our marchants were content, and forthwith sent aboord one of the boats for part of their marchandise, and in the meane time while the boate went to the ship, our five men were walking on the shore with the Negros, and our Generall and marchants staied in the other boat by the sea side, having the 3 Negros with them.
Our boate then came againe and brought iron and other marchandise, with bread, wine, and cheese which they gave unto them. Then two of the Negros (which were the pledges) made themselves sicke, desiring to goe a shore, promising to send other two for them. Captaine Haiward perceiving that our men had let the Negros come a shore, asked what they meant, and doubting the worst began to drawe toward the boate, and two or three of the Negros folowed him. And when hee came to the boate they began to stay him, and he made signes unto them that hee would fetch them more drinke and bread: notwithstanding, when he was entering into the boate, one of them caught him by the breeches and would have staled him, but hee sprang from him and leapt into the boate, and as soone as hee was in, one of the Negros a shore beganne to blow a pipe, and presently the other Negro that was in our boate sitting on the boates side, and master Wormes sword by him, suddenly drew the sword out of the scabberd, and cast himselfe into the Sea and swamme a shore, and presently the Negros laied handes on our men that were on shore, and tooke three of them with great violence, and tore all their apparell from their backes and left them nothing to cover them, and many of them shot so thicke at our men in our boates, that they could scarse set hand to any Oare to rowe from the shore, yet (by the helpe of God) they got from them with their boates, although many of them were hurt with their poysoned arrowes: and the poison is uncurable, if the arrow enter within the skin and drawe blood, and except the poison bee presently suckt out, or the place where any man is hurt bee foorthwith cut away, hee dieth within foure dayes, and within three houres after they bee hurt or pricked, wheresoever it be, although but at the litle toe, yet it striketh up to the heart, and taketh away the stomacke, and causeth the partie marveilously to vomite, being able to brooke neither meat nor drinke.
The Negros having used our men with such cruelty, whose names were Nicholas Day, William Bats and John Tomson, led them away to a towne which was within a mile of the water side, or thereabout.
The 20 day we sent to land a boate or skiffe wherein were eight persons, and one of them was the foresayd John Tomson and our interpreter which was a Frenchman, (for there was one of the Negros which spake good French :) and they caried with them two harquebusses, two targets and a mantell.
The cause of sending them was to learne what ransome they demaunded for Bats and Day whom they detained. And when they came to the shore and told the Negros what they desired, they went and fetched them from among the trees, and brought them loose among fortie or fiftie of them. And being come within a stones cast of the sea side, William Bats brake from them, and ran as fast as he could into the sea towards the boat, and he was not so soone in the water but hee fell downe, either being out of breath or his foote failing him in the sand being soft: so that the Negros came and fell on him and tooke him and haled him, that we thought they had torne him in pieces: for they tore againe all the apparell from his backe, so that some of them caried our men againe to the towne, and the rest shot at us with their poisoned arrowes, and hurt one of our men called Androwes in the smal of the leg, who being come aboord, (for al that our Surgeons could do) we thought he would have died.
Our Generall (notwithstanding all this villanie) sent agayne to them, and offered them any thing that they desired for the raunsome of our men, but they would not deliver them: giving us this answere: That there was in the foresayd roade, three weekes before wee came, an English shippe which had taken three of their people, and untill wee did bring or send them againe, wee should not have our men although wee would give our three shippes with their furniture.
The 21 day a French shippe of the burden of 80 tunnes (or thereabouts,) came to the place where we were, being bound to traffique at the Cape: we told them of the detaining of our two men by the Negros: and seeing that these Frenchmen were very well welcome to the Negros, we wished them to see whether they could procure them againe of the Negros, and bring them along with them, and our Generall promised the Frenchmen 100 li. to obtaine them. So wee committed the matter to the Frenchmen and departed.
Of our men that were hurt by the Negros arrowes, foure died, and one to save his life had his arme cut off. Androwes that was last of all hurt, lay lame not able to helpe himselfe: onely two recovered of their hurts. So we placed other men in the roomes of those that we lost, and set saile.
The 26 day betweene Cape Verde and Bona vista we sawe many flying fishes of the bignesse of herrings, whereof two flew into our boat, which we towed at our sterne.
The 28 day we fell with an Iland called Bona vista, which is from Cape Verde 86 leagues. The Northside of the sayde Iland is full of white sandie hils and dales, and somewhat high land.
The sayd day wee came to an anker within the Westermost point, about a league within the point, and found in our sounding faire sand in ten fadome water, but you may goe neere till you be in five or six fadome, for the ground is faire.
As soone as we were at an anker, our Generall sent his pinnasse a land; and found five or sixe small houses, but the people were fled into the mountains: and the next day he sent a shore againe, and met with two Portugals, who willingly went aboord with his men, and at their comming he welcommed them, although they were but poore & simple, and gave each of them a paire of shoes, and so set them a shore againe.
The 30 day we weighed & sailed into a Bay within a smal Iland about a league from us, and tooke plentie of divers sortes of fishe. The forsayd Iland lieth in sixteene degrees. And if you meane to anker in the said Bay, you may borow in foure or five fadome of the Southermost point of the sayd Iland, which you may see when you ride in the road. But beware of the middle of the Baie, for there lieth a ledge of rocks, which at a lowe water breaketh, yet there is three fadome water over them.
The last day of Januarie our Generall with certaine of his men went a shore in the Baie to the houses, where he found 12 Portugals. In all the Iland there were not above 30 persons, which were banished men for a time, some for more yeeres, some for lesse, and amongst them there was one simple man which was their captaine.
They live upon goats flesh, cocks, hennes, and fresh water: other victuals they have none, saving fish, which they esteeme not, neither have they any boats to take them.
They reported that this Iland was given by the king of Portugall to one of his gentlemen, who hath let it foorth to rent for one hundreth duckats a yeere, which rent is reared onely in goats skinnes. For by their speaches there hath bene sent foorth of the sayd Iland into Portugall 40000 skins in one yeere.
We were to these men marveilously welcome, and to their powers very wel entertained, and they gave us the flesh of as many hee-goates as wee would have, and tooke much paines for us in taking them, and bringing them from the mountains upon their asses.
They have there great store of the oyle of Tortoises, which Tortoise is a fish which swimmeth in the Sea, with a shell on his backe as broad as a target. It raineth not in this Hand but in three moneths of the yeere, from the midst of July to the midst of October, and it is here alwayes very hote. Kine have bene brought hither, but by reason of the heate and drought they have died.
The 3 of February wee departed from this Iland, and the same day fell with another Iland called the Iland of Maiyo, which is 14 leagues from the other Iland: there is in the midst of the way between these two Ilands a danger which is alwayes to be scene.
We ankred in the Northwest side of the sayd le in a faire Baie of eight fadomes water and faire sand, but here we staied not, but the fourth day weighed and sailed to another Iland called S. Jago, which lieth off the said Iland of Maiyo East and by South, and about five leagues one from the other. Being come within the Westermost point, we saw a faire road, and a small towne by the water side, and also a fort or platforme by it: there we purposed to come to anker, and our marchants to make some sale. But before we came within their shot, they let flie at us two pieces, whereupon we went roomer and sailed along the shore two or three leagues from the road, where we found a small Baie and two or three small houses, where we came to an anker in 14 fadome faire ground.
Within an houre after we had ankered we might see divers horsemen and footmen on the land right against us riding and running to and fro.
The next day being the fift of Februarie, a great companie of their horsemen and footemen appeared on the shoare side, unto whom our Generall sent to understande whether they would quietly trafike with them: And they sent him worde againe, desiring that they might speake with him, promising that if he came to trafike as a marchant he should be welcome, and also that he should have any thing that he or the marchant would with reason demaund.
When this answere was brought unto our Generall he was very glad thereof and the whole companie, and presently (with as much speede as he could) he caused his boates to be made readie: but doubting the villanie of the Portugales, he armed his boates putting a double base in the head of his pinnesse, and two single bases in the head of the Skiffe, and so sent to the May-floure and the George, and willed them in like sort to man their two boates.
These boates being thus manned and well appointed, our Generall entered into his Skiffe, and with the rest rowed to the shoare where were threescore horsemen or more, and two hundreth footemen readie to receive them. Our Generall marveiled that they came in so great a number and all armed, and therefore with a flagge of truce sent to them to knowe their pleasure: and they answered him with many faire promises and othes, that their pretence was all true, and that they meant like Gentlemen and Marchantes to trafike with him, declaring also that their Captaine was comming to speake with him, and therefore desired our Generall to come and speake with him himselfe.
With this answere the boate returned, and then our Generall caused his pinnesse to rowe to them, and as he came neere the shoare they came in a great companie with much obeysance, opening their hands and armes abroade, bowing themselves with their bonnets off, with as much humble salutations outwardly as they might: earnestly desiring our Generall and Marchants to come on lande to them, whereunto he would not agree without sufficient gages of Gentlemen and Marchants. At length they promised to sende two gages to our Generals contentment, promising fresh water, victuall, money, or Negroes for ware, if it were such as they liked : and therefore desired our Generall and Marchants to sende them a shoare in writing the quantitie of their wares, and the names of them: all which our Generall departed to performe, looking for their answere the morrowe following. And being gone a litle from the shoare, he caused his bases, curriers, and harquebusses to be shot off, and our ships in like case shot off five or sixe pieces of great ordinance, and so came aboord to prepare the note. The Portugales most of them departed, saving those that were left to watch and to receive the note, which about foure or five a clocke in the afternoone was sent, and it was received. But all the purposes of the Portugals were villainously to betray us (as shal appeare hereafter) although we meant in truth and honestie, friendly to trafike with them.
There was to the Westwards of us and about two leagues from us, a towne behinde a point fast by the sea side, where they had certaine Caravels, or shippes and also two Brigandines, whereof they (with all the speede that they might) made readie foure Caravels, and both the brigandines which were like two Gallies, and furnished them both with men and ordinance as much as they could carrie, and as soone as it was night, they came rowing and falling towardes us: so that the land being high and weather somewhat cloudie or mystie, and they comming all the way close under the shoare we could not see them till they were right against one of our ships called the May-floure.
By this time it was about one or two of the clocke in the morning, and the May-floure roade neerer them then the other two by a base shotte, so that they made a sure account either to have taken her or burnt her. In the meane time our men that had the watch (litle thinking of such villanous treacheries after so many faire wordes) were singing and playing one with the other, and made such a noyse, that (being but a small gale of winde, and riding neere the lande) they might heare us from the shoare: so that we supposed that they made account that we had espyed them, which indeede we had not, neither had any one piece of ordinance primed, or any other thing in a readinesse.
They came so neere us that they were within gunshot of us, & then one of our men chanced to see a light, & then looking out spied the 4 ships, and suddenly cried out, Gallies, gallies, at which cry we were all amazed, and foorthwith they shot at us all the great ordinance that they had, and their harquebusses, and curriers, and so lighted certaine tronkes or pieces of wilde fire, and all of them with one voice (as well they on the shoare as they in the shippes) gave a great shoute, and so continued hallowing with great noyses, still approching neerer and neerer unto the May-floure. We (with all the speede that we might) made readie one piece of ordinance and shotte at them, which caused them somewhat to stay, so they charged their ordinance and shot at us freshly againe, and while they shotte this second time at us, we had made readie three pieces which we shot at them, but they approched still so neere, that at last we might have shot a sheafe arrowe to them. Whereupon we having a gale of winde off the shoare hoysed our foresayle, and cut our cable at the hawse, and went towarde our Admirall, and they continued following and shooting at us, and sometime at our Admirall, but our Admirall shotte one such piece at them, that it made them to retire, and at length to warpe away like traiterous villaines, and although they thus suddenly shot all their shot at us, yet they hurt neither man nor boy of ours, but what we did to them we know not.
But seeing the villanie of these men we thought it best to stay there no longer, but immediatly set sayle towards an Iland called Fuego, 12 leagues from the said Island of S. Jago. At which Island of Fuego we came to an anker the 11 day of this moneth, against a white chappell in the West end of the sayd Island, within halfe a league of a litle towne, and within a league or thereabout of the uttermost point of the said Island.
In this Island is a marveilous high hill which doth burne continually, and the inhabitants reported that about three yeeres past the whole Island was like to be burned with the abundance of fire that came out of it.
About a league from the said chappel to the Westward is a goodly spring of fresh water, where we had as much as we would. Wheate they have none growing here, but a certaine seede that they call Mill, and certaine peason like Guinie peason, which Mill maketh good breade, but they have here good store of rother beasts and goates. Their marchandize is cotton, which groweth there.
The inhabitants are Portugals which have commandement from the king to trafike neither with Englishmen nor Frenchmen for victuall or any other thing, except they be forced so to doe.
There lieth off this Island another called Ilha Brava, which is not passing two leagues over, it hath good store of goates and many trees, but there are not passing three or foure persons dwelling in it.
The 25 day of February we departed towardes the Islands of Azores: and on the 23 day of March we had sight of one of them called Flores, and then wee might see another Island to the Northward of it called Cuervo, lying two leagues or thereabouts off the other.
The 27 we came to an anker in Cuervo over against a village of about twelve simple houses; but in the night by a gale of winde, which caused us to drawe our anker after us, we hoysed sayle and went to the aforesayd Island of Flores, where we sawe strange streames of water running downe from the high cliffes by reason of the great abundance of raine that had suddenly fallen.
The 29 day we came againe to Cuervo and cast anker, but a storme arose and continued seven or eight houres together, so that we let slip a cable and anker, and after the storme was alayed we came againe thinking to have recovered the same, but the Portugals had either taken it, or spoiled it: the cable was new and never wet before, and both the cable and anker were better worth then 40 li. So that we accompt our selves much beholding to the honest Portugales.
The 18 day of April we tooke in water at the Island of Flores, and having ankered, our cable was fretted in sunder with a rocke and so burst, where wee lost that cable and anker also, and so departed to our coast.
Then wee set sayle to an Islande named Faial , about the which lie three other Islands, the one called Pico , the other Saint George, and the other Graciosa , which we had sight of on the eight and twentieth day.
The 29 we came to an anker in the Southwest side of Faial in a faire bay, and 22 fadom water against a litle towne where we had both fresh water and fresh victuall. In this Island by the report of the inhabitants, there groweth certaine greene woad, which by their speeches is farre better then the woad of S. Michael or of Tercera.
The 8 day of May we came to Tercera where we met with a Portugall ship, and being desititute of a cable and anker, our Generall caused us to keepe her companie, to see if she could conveniently spare us any. The next morning we might see bearing with us a great shippe and two Caravels, which we judged to be of the king of Portugals Armada, and so they were, whereupon we prepared our selves for our defence. The said ship was one of the kings Galliasses, about the burden of foure hundred tunnes, with about three hundred men in her, the shippe being well appointed with brasse pieces both great and small, and some of them so bigge that their shot was as great as a mans head, the other two Caravels were also very warlike and well appointed both with men and munition.
As soone as they were within shotte of us, they waved us amaine with their swords, we keeping our course, the greatest shippe shot at us freely and the caravell also, and we prepared our selves, and made all things cleare for our safegard as neere as we could. Then the great shippe shot at us all her broad side, and her foure greatest pieces that lay in her sterne, and therewith hurt some of our men, and we did the best we could with our shot to requite it. At last two other Caravels came off the shoare, and two other pinnesses full of men, and delivered them aboord the great shippe, and so went backe againe with two men in a piece of them. The ship and the Caravell gave us the first day three fights, and when the night was come they left off shooting, yet notwithstanding kept hard by us all the night. In the meane time we had as much as wee could doe all the night to mende our ropes, and to strengthen our bulwarkes, putting our trust in God, and resolving our selves rather to die in our defence then to bee taken by such wretches.
The next day being the 10 of May in the morning, there were come to aide the said Portugals foure great Armadas or Caravels more which made seven, of which 4 three of them were at the least 100 tunnes a piece, the other not so bigge, but all well appointed and full of men. All these together came bearing with us being in our Admirall, and one of the great Caravels came to lay us aboorde (as we judged) for they had prepared their false nettings, and all things for that purpose, so that the Gallias came up in our larboord side, and the Caravell in our starboord side.
Our Captaine and Master perceiving their pretence, caused our gunners to make all our ordinance readie with crossebarres, chaineshotte and haileshot: so the ship and Caravell came up, and as soone as they were right in our sides, they shotte at us as much ordinance as they could, thinking to have layde us presently aboord : whereupon we gave them such a heate with both our sides, that they were both glad to fall asterne of us, & so paused the space of two or three houres being a very small gale of winde.
Then came up the other five and shot all at us, and so fell all asterne of us, & then went to counsell together.
Then our small barke named the George came to us, and wee conferred together a great space. And as the Portugall shippes and Caravels were comming to us againe, our barke minding to fall asterne of us and so to come up againe, fell quickly upon the lee, and by reason of the litle winde, it was so long before she could fill her sailes againe, that both the shippe and Caravels were come up to us, and she falling in among them made reasonable shift with them, but they got a head of her, so that she could not fetch us: then 5 of the Caravels followed her, but we saw she defended her selfe against them all.
Then came the great shippe and the Caravell to us, and fought with us all that day with their ordinance.
The May-floure our other consort being very good by the winde, tooke the benefite thereof and halde all that day close by the winde, but could not come neere us. So when night againe was come, they gave over their fight and followed us all the night. In these many fights it could not otherwise be but needes some of our men must be slaine, (as they were indeede) and divers hurt, and our tackle much spoyled: yet for all this we did our best indevour to repaire all things, and to stand to it to the death with our assured trust in the mercie and helpe of God.
This night the May-floure came up to us, and our Captaine tolde them his harmes and spoyles, and wished them if they could spare halfe a dozen fresh men to hoyse out their boate and sende them to him, but they could not spare any, and so bare away againe. Which when our enemies sawe in the next morning that we were one from another, they came up to us again and gave us a great fight with much hallowing and hooping, making accompt either to boorde us or els to sinke us: but although our companie was but small, yet least they should see us any whit dismayed, when they hallowed we hallowed also as fast as they, and waved to them to come and boorde us if they durst, but that they would not, seeing us still so couragious: and having given us that day foure fights, at night they forsooke us with shame, as they came to us at the first with pride.
They had made in our ship some leakes with their shot which we againe stopped with al speed, and that being done, we tooke some rest after our long labour and trouble.
The next day in the morning the May-floure came to us, and brought us sixe men in her boate which did us much pleasure, and we sent to them some of our hurt men.
Then we directed our course for our owne countrey, and by the second day of June we were neere to our owne coast and sounded being thwart the Lyzard.
The third day we had sight of a shippe which was a Portugall, who bare with us, and at his comming to us (the weather being calme) our Captaine caused him to hoyse foorth his boate to come aboord to speake with him, and at their comming our Captaine and Marchants demanded of them what ware they had, and whither they were bound, and they made answere that their lading was sugar and cotton. Then our Captaine and Marchants shewed them five Negroes that we had, and asked them whether they would buy them, which they were very desirous to doe, and agreed to give for them 40 chests of sugar, which chests were small having not above 26 loaves in a piece: so they with their boate did fetch five of the chestes and delivered them and went for more, and when they had laden their boate and were come againe, we might see bearing with us a great ship and a small, which our Captaine supposed to be men of warre or Rovers, and then willed the Portugales to carie their sugar to their ship againe, purposing to make our selves readie for our defence. But the Portugales earnestly intreated our Captaine not so to forsake them, and promised him (if he would safegard them) to give him above the bargaine ten chests of sugar: whereupon our Captaine was content, and the Portugall not being good of sayle, we spared our topsayles for her: so at last the foresaid ship bare with us, and (seeing that we did not feare them) gave us over. And the next morning came two others bearing with us, and seeing us not about to flie a jot from them forsooke us also.
The 5 day of June we had sight of the Stert, and about noone we were thwart of the bay of Lime, and so sounded and had 35 fadom water.
The sixt day we came in at the Needles and so came to an anker under the Isle of Wight at a place called Meadhole, and from thence sayled to Southhampton where we made an ende of this voyage.