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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 685 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels Volume 07.
her sails, we sent her off with two of our men.  The other seven of us then went very near the shore and boarded the caravel, which rode within stones throw of the shore, insomuch that the people on the land threw stones at us; yet in spite of them, we took possession of her, there being only one negro on board.  Having cut her cables and hoisted her sails, she was so becalmed under the land that we had to tow her off with our boat, the fort still firing on us from their cannon, while the people on shore, to the number of about 150, continually fired at us with muskets and calivers, we answering them with our five muskets.  At this time the shot from my musket, being a bar-shot, happened to strike the gunner of the fort dead, while he was levelling one of his great guns; and thus we got off from them without loss or wound on our part.  Having thus taken five[337] sail in all, we did as we had done with the ship with the fish, we turned them off without hurting them, save that we took from one of them her mainmast for our admiral, and sent her away with all our Spanish and Portuguese prisoners, except Pedro Sarmiento, three other principal persons, and two negroes, leaving them within sight of land, with bread and water sufficient to serve them ten days.

[Footnote 337:  Four only are mentioned in the text; and it appears that they only sent away at this time the first taken ship, in which they had captured Sarmiento.—­E.]

We now bent our course for England, taking our departure from off the western islands in about the latitude of 41 deg.  N. and soon afterwards one of our men descried a sail from the foretop, then ten sail, and then fifteen sail.  It was now concluded to send off our two prizes, by manning of which we did not leave above 60 men in our two pinnaces.  When we had dispatched them, we made sail towards the fleet we had discovered, which we found to consist of 24 sail in all; two of them being great caraks, one of 1200 and the other of 1000 tons, and 10 galeons, all the rest being small ships and caravels, laden with treasure, spices, and sugars.  In our two small pinnaces we kept company with this fleet of 24 ships for 32 hours, continually fighting with them and they with us; but the two huge caraks always kept between their fleet and us, so that we were unable to take any one of them; till at length, our powder growing short, we were forced to give over, much against our wills, being much bent upon gaining some of them, but necessity compelling us by want of powder, we left them, without any loss of our men, which was wonderful, considering the disparity of force and numbers.

We now continued our course to Plymouth, where we arrived within six hours after our prizes, though we sent them away forty hours before we began our homeward course.  We were joyfully received, with the ordnance of the town, and all the people hailed us with willing hearts, we not sparing our shot in return with what powder we had left.  From thence we carried our prizes to Southampton, where our owner, Sir Walter Raleigh, met us and distributed to us our shares of the prizes.

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