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.

Don Alonso de Bacan, having a greater fleet, and yet suffering these two great caraks to be lost, the Santa Cruz burnt, and the Madre de Dios taken, was disgraced by the king of Spain for his negligence.

SECTION XV.

The taking of two Spanish Ships, laden with quicksilver and the Popes bulls, in 1592, by Captain Thomas White.[390]

While returning from Barbary in the Amity of London, and in the latitude of 36 deg.  N. at 4 in the morning of the 26th of July 1592, Captain White got sight of two ships at the distance of three or four leagues.  Giving immediate chace, he came within gun-shot of them by 7 o’clock; and by their boldness in shewing Spanish colours, he judged them rather to be ships of war than laden with merchandize; indeed, by their own confession afterwards, they made themselves so sure of taking him, that they debated among themselves whether it were better for them to carry his ship to San Lucar or Lisbon.  After waving each other amain, the Spaniards placed themselves in order of battle, a cables length before the other, when the fight began, both sides charging and firing as fast as they were able, at the distance of a cables length, for the space of five hours.  In this time, the Amity received 32 great shots in her hull, masts, and sails, besides at least 500 iron muskets and arquebuses, which were counted after the fight.

[Footnote 390:  Astley, I. 249.  The editor of Astleys collection gives no notice of the source whence he procured this narrative.  The Spanish ships with quicksilver are usually called azogue or assogue ships; the word assogue signifying quicksilver.—­E.]

Finding them to make so stout a resistance, Captain White attempted to board the Biscaian, which was foremost; and after lying on board about an hour, plying his ordnance and small shot, he stowed all her men[391].  At this time, the other vessel, which was a fliboat, thinking Captain White had boarded her consort with all his men, bore room with him[392], intending to have laid him close on board, so as to entrap him between both ships, and place him between two fires.  Perceiving this intention, he fitted his ordnance in such sort as to get quit of her, so that she boarded her consort, and both fell from him.  Mr White now kept his loof, hoisted his main-sails, and weathering both ships, came close aboard the fliboat, to which he gave his whole broadside, by which several of her men were slain, as appeared by the blood running from her scuppers.  After this he tacked about, new charged all his ordnance, and coming round again upon both ships, ordered them to yield or he would sink them outright.  One of them being shot between wind and water, would have complied, but the other called him a traitor; on which Captain White called out, that if he also did not presently yield, he would sink him first.  Intimidated by this threat, they both hung out white flags and yielded; yet refused to strike their own sails, as they had sworn not to strike to any Englishman.

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