For a day and a night and another day Drake and his men pushed on, loaded with plunder, back to their rendezvous along the coast, leaving Tetu and two of his devoted Frenchmen to be rescued later. When they arrived, worn out, at the rendezvous, not a man was in sight. Drake built a raft out of unhewn tree trunks and, setting up a biscuit bag as a sail, pushed out with two Frenchmen and one Englishman till he found his boats. The plunder was then divided up between the French and the English, while Oxenham headed a rescue party to bring Tetu to the coast. One Frenchman was found. But Tetu and the other had been caught by Spaniards.
The Pascha was given to the accumulated Spanish prisoners to sail away in. The pinnaces were kept till a suitable, smart-sailing Spanish craft was found, boarded, and captured to replace them; whereupon they were broken up and their metal given to the Maroons. Then, in two frigates, with ballast of silver and cargo of jewels and gold, the thirty survivors of the adventure set sail for home. ’Within 23 days we passed from the Cape of Florida to the Isles of Scilly, and so arrived at Plymouth on Sunday about sermon time, August 9, 1573, at what time the news of our Captain’s return, brought unto his friends, did so speedily pass over all the church, and surpass their minds with desire to see him, that very few or none remained with the preacher, all hastening to see the evidence of God’s love and blessing towards our Gracious Queen and country, by the fruit of our Captain’s labour and success. Soli Deo Gloria.’
DRAKE’S ‘ENCOMPASSMENT OF ALL THE WORLDE’
When Drake left for Nombre de Dios in the spring of 1572, Spain and England were both ready to fly at each other’s throats. When he Came back in the summer of 1573, they were all for making friends—hypocritically so, but friends. Drake’s plunder stank in the nostrils of the haughty Dons. It was a very inconvenient factor in the diplomatic problem for Elizabeth. Therefore Drake disappeared and his plunder too. He went to Ireland on service in the navy. His plunder was divided up in secrecy among all the high and low contracting parties.
In 1574 the Anglo-Spanish scene had changed again. The Spaniards had been so harassed by the English sea-dogs between the Netherlands and Spain that Philip listened to his great admiral, Menendez, who, despairing of direct attack on England, proposed to seize the Scilly Isles and from that naval base clear out a way through all the pirates of the English Channel. War seemed certain. But a terrible epidemic broke out in the Spanish fleet. Menendez died. And Philip changed his policy again.
This same year John Oxenham, Drake’s old second-in-command, sailed over to his death. The Spaniards caught him on the Isthmus of Darien and hanged him as a pirate at Lima in Peru.
In the autumn of 1575 Drake returned to England with a new friend, Thomas Doughty, a soldier-scholar of the Renaissance, clever and good company, but one of those ‘Italianate’ Englishmen who gave rise to the Italian proverb: Inglese italianato e diavolo incarnato—’an Italianized Englishman is the very Devil.’ Doughty was patronized by the Earl of Essex, who had great influence at court.