Thus the earls of Cumberland and Essex, Sir Richard Greenvile, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Sir Robert Dudley, and, many other persons of rank and fortune, employed great sums of money, and exposed themselves to the greatest dangers, in expeditions against the Spaniards, making discoveries in distant parts of the world, and planting colonies, which were the glory of those times. Among these, no one distinguished himself more than the gentleman whose voyage forms the subject of this chapter: whether we consider the expence he incurred, the difficulties he encountered, or the success of his enterprise; all of which proceeded from that greatness of mind and ardent desire of fame, which taught him to despise danger and to encounter fatigue, at an age when most men of fortune think the season of youth a sufficient excuse for the indulgence of luxury and ease.
Thomas Candish, or Cavendish, of Trimley, in the county of Suffolk, Esquire, was a gentleman of an honourable family and large estate, which lay in the neighbourhood of Ipswich, then a place of very considerable trade. This circumstance gave him an early inclination for the sea, which he gratified as soon as he came of age, by selling part of his estate, and employing the money in equipping a stout bark of 120 tons, called the Tiger, in which he accompanied Sir Richard Greenvile in his voyage to Virginia in 1585. In this expedition he underwent many dangers and difficulties, without any profit, but returned safe to Falmouth on the 6th October of the same year. This want of success did not discourage him from undertaking still greater and more hazardous expeditions. Having, in his voyage to Virginia, seen a considerable part of the Spanish West Indies, and conversed with some persons who had sailed with Sir Francis Drake in, his circumnavigation, he became desirous of undertaking a similar voyage, as well for repairing the loss he had sustained in this first expedition, as to emulate that great and fortunate commander, who was now raised to the highest honours in his profession.
Returning home, therefore, he immediately applied himself to make such preparations as were necessary for the accomplishment of his new design; and either sold or mortgaged his estate, to procure a sufficient sum for building and equipping two such ships as he deemed requisite for the voyage; using such diligence, that his carpenters were at work upon his largest ship within a month, and in six months more his little squadron was entirely finished, and completely supplied with every necessary for the voyage.
The narrative of this voyage is chiefly taken from that given by Harris, compared and corrected from that in the collection of Hakluyt, which is said to have been written by Mr. Francis Pretty of Eye, in Suffolk, a gentleman who sailed, in the expedition. In Hakluyt, this circumnavigation is thus styled:—“The admirable and prosperous voyage of the worshipful Mr. Thomas Candish of Trimley, in the county of Suffolk, Esquire, into the South Sea, and from thence round about the circumference of the whole earth, began in the year of our Lord 1586, and finished 1588.”