A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 785 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07.
and Edward Castelin.  There were two ships employed, one called the John Baptist, of which Lawrence Rondell was master, and the other the Merlin, Robert Revell master.  The factors were Robert Baker, the author, Justinian Goodwine, James Gliedell, and George Gage.  They set out on their voyage in November 1563, bound for Guinea and the river Sestos, but the port whence they fitted out is nowhere mentioned.  After the unlucky disaster that befel him in Guinea in the year before, Baker had made a kind of poetical vow not to go near that country any more; but after his return to England, and recovery from his wounds, he soon forgot past sorrows; and being invited to undertake the voyage in quality of factor, he consented.—­Astley.

[Footnote 286:  Astley I. 180.  Hakluyt, II. 523-531.  The prose abstract here inserted is chiefly taken from Astleys collection, carefully compared with the original versified narrative in Hakluyt.—­E.]

After we had been at sea two days and a night, the man from the main-top descried a sail or two, the tallest of which they immediately made up to, judging her to be the most valuable; and, as captains are in use to do[287], I hailed her to know whence she was.  She answered from France, on which we waved her, but she nothing dismayed, waved us in return.  I immediately ordered armed men aloft into the main and fore-tops, and caused powder to be laid on the poop to blow up the enemy if they should board us that way.  At the sound of trumpets we began the fight, discharging both chain and bar-shot from our brazen artillery; while the Frenchmen, flourishing their swords from the main-yard, called out to us to board their ship.  Willing to accept their invitation, we plied them warmly with our cannon, and poured in flights of arrows, while our arquebuses plied them from loop-holes, and we endeavoured to set their sails on fire by means of arrows and pikes carrying wildfire.  I encouraged, the men to board, by handing spiced wine liberally among them, which they did with lime-pots, after breaking their nets with stones, while those of our men who were aloft entered the enemys tops, after killing those who defended them.  Then cutting the ropes, they brought down the yard by the board, and those who entered the ship plied the enemy so well with their swords, that at length the remaining Frenchmen ran below deck and cried out for quarter.  Having thus become masters of the ship, we carried her to the Groin in Spain, or Corunna, where we sold the ship and cargo for ready money.

[Footnote 287:  In these early trading voyages, the chief factor, who here appears to have been Baker, seems to have had the supreme command—­Astl.  I. 180. b.]

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