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.
year.  We came at length to Cape Sagres, where we landed; and the better to enjoy the harbour at our ease[341], we assailed the castle of Sagres and three other strong holds, some of which we took by storm and others by surrender.  From thence we came before the harbour of Lisbon or mouth of the Tagus, where lay the Marquis of Santa Cruz with his fleet of gallies, who seeing us chase his ships on shore, and take and carry away his barks and caravels, was obliged to allow us to remain quietly at our pleasure, and likewise to depart, without exchanging a single shot.  When our general sent him word that he was ready to combat with him, the marquis refused his challenge, saying that he was not then ready, neither had he any such commission from his sovereign.

[Footnote 340:  Cape St Vincent, or rather Punta de Sagres, one of the head lands of that great promontory.—­E.]

[Footnote 341:  Probably the harbour of Figuera in Algarve, a town near Cape Sagres.—­E.]

Thus having his challenge refused by the marquis, and seeing no more good to be done on the coast of Spain, our general thought it improper to spend any more time there; and therefore with consent of his chief officers[342], he shaped his course towards the island of St Michael, within 20 or 30 leagues of which he had the good fortune to fall in with a Portuguese carak, called the San Philippo, being the same ship which had carried out to the Indies three Japanese princes who had been in Europe[343].  The carak surrendered without resistance, and being the first that had ever been taken on the homeward voyage from India, the Portuguese took it for a bad omen, especially as she had the kings own name.  Our general put all the people belonging to this carak into certain vessels well provided with provisions, and sent them courteously home to their own country.  The riches of this prize seemed so great to the whole fleet, as in truth they were, that every one expected to have sufficient reward of their labour, and thereupon it was unanimously resolved to return to England, which we happily did, and arrived safe the same summer in Plymouth with our whole fleet and this rich booty, to our own profit and due honour, and the great admiration of the whole kingdom.

[Footnote 342:  According to Sir William Monson, Church.  Col.  III. 156.  Sir Francis Drake went upon this expedition to conciliate the merchant adventurers, to whom most of the ships of his squadron belonged.—­E.]

[Footnote 343:  Sir William Monson, in the place quoted above, says he had intelligence of this carak having wintered at Mosambique, and being now expected home.—­E.]

It may be here noted, that the taking of this carak wrought two extraordinary effects in England; as in the first place it taught others that caraks were no such bugbears but that they might be easily taken, as has been since experienced in taking the Madre de Dios, and in burning and sinking others; and secondly in acquainting the English nation more particularly with the exceeding riches and vast wealth of the East Indies, by which themselves and their neighbours of Holland have been encouraged, being no less skillful in navigation nor of less courage than the Portuguese, to share with them in the rich trade of India, where they are by no means so strong as was formerly supposed.

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