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.

“For want of a continued series of trading voyages to Guinea, we shall here insert an account of some remarkable achievements by the English against the Spaniards and Portuguese; who, being greatly alarmed to find out merchants extending their commerce, and trading to those parts of the world which they pretended a right of engrossing to themselves, began to treat our ships very severely, wherever they had the superiority; and when they wanted force, endeavoured to surprise them by treachery, never scrupling to violate the most solemn oaths and engagements to compass their designs.  For this reason the English merchant ships were obliged to go to sea armed and in company; by which means they not only prevented the outrages of these faithless enemies, but often revenged the injuries done to others of their countrymen.  At length, the resentment of the nation being inflamed by their repeated treacheries and depredations, the English began to send out fleets to annoy their coasts and disturb their navigation.  Of these proceedings, we propose to give a few instances in this chapter, which may suffice to shew the noble spirit that prevailed in these early times.”—­Astl.  I. 194.


Gallant escape of the Primrose from Bilboa in Spain, in 1585[332].

It is not unknown to the world, what dangers our English ships have lately escaped from, how sharply they have been entreated, and how hardly they have been assaulted; insomuch that the valour of those who managed and defended them is worthy of being held in remembrance.  Wherefore, the courageous attempt and valiant enterprize of the tall ship named the Primrose of London, from before the town of Bilboa, in the province of Biscay in Spain, (which ship the corregidore of that province, accompanied by 97 Spaniards, offered violently to arrest, yet was defeated of his purpose, and brought prisoner into England,) having obtained renown, I have taken in hand to publish the truth thereof, that it may be generally known to the rest of our English ships; that, by the good example of this gallant exploit, the rest may be encouraged and incited in like extremity to act in a similar manner, to the glory of the realm and their own honour.—­Hakluyt, II, 597.

[Footnote 332:  Hakluyt, II. 537.  Astley, I.194.]

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Upon Wednesday the 26th of May 1585, while the ship Primrose of 150 tons was riding at anchor off the bay of Bilboa, where she had been two days, there came on board a Spanish pinnace, in which were the corregidore and six others, who seemed to be merchants, bringing cherries with, them, and spoke in a very friendly manner to the master of the ship, whose name was Foster.  He received them courteously, giving them the best cheer he could, with beer, beef, and biscuit.  While thus banqueting, four of the seven departed in the pinnace for Bilboa; the other three

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