Third Voyage of William Towerson to Guinea, in 1558.
On the 30th of January of the above year, we set sail from Plymouth with three ships and a pinnace, bound by the grace of God for the Canaries and the coast of Guinea. Our ships were the Minion, admiral; the Christopher, vice-admiral; the Tiger, and a pinnace called the Unicorn. Next day we fell in with two hulks of Dantziek, one called the Rose of 400 tons, and the other the Unicorn of 150, both laden at Bourdeaux, mostly with wine. We caused them to hoist out their boats and come on board, when we examined them separately as to what goods they had on board belonging to Frenchmen. At first they denied having any; but by their contradictory stories, we suspected the falsehood of their charter parties, and ordered them to produce their bills of lading. They denied having any, but we sent certain persons to the place where they were hid, and thus confronted their falsehood. At length they confessed that there were 32 tons and a hogshead of wine in the Unicorn belonging to a Frenchman, and 128 tons in the Rose belonging to the, same person; but insisted that all the rest was laden by Peter Lewgues of Hamburgh, and consigned to Henry Summer of Campvere. After a long consultation, considering that to capture or detain them might lose our voyage, already too late, we agreed that each of our ships should take out as much as they could stow for necessaries, and that we should consider next morning what was farther to be done. We accordingly took out many tuns of wine, some aquavitae, cordage, rosin, and other things, giving them the rest of the Frenchmans wines to pay for what we had taken of their own, and took a certificate under their hands of the quantity of French goods they had confessed to, and then allowed them to continue their voyage.
[Footnote 270: Hakluyt, II. 504. Astley, I. 169.—In the last London edition of Hakluyt, 1810, it is dated erroneously in 1577, but we learn from the editor of Astley’s Collection that in the edition 1589, it is dated in 1557. Yet, notwithstanding that authority, we may be assured that the date of this voyage could not have been earlier than January 1558, as Towerson did not return from his former voyage till the 29th of April 1557.—E.]