We have at length arrived at the period when the English began to visit the East Indies in their own ships; this voyage of Captain Raymond, or, if you will, Lancaster, being the first of the kind ever performed by them. From this year, therefore, 1591, the oriental navigations of the English are to be dated; they did not push them with any vigour till the beginning of the next century, when they began to pursue the commerce of India with unwearied diligence and success, as will appear from the narratives in the next succeeding chapter.
[Footnote 7: Hakluyt, II. 286. Astley, I. 235.]
“As for Captain Raymond, his ship was separated near Cape Corientes, on the eastern coast of Africa, from the other two, and was never heard of more during the voyage, so that, whether he performed the voyage, or was lost by the way, does not appear from Hakluyt; from whose silence, however, nothing can be certainly concluded either way, for reasons that will appear in the sequel.”—Astley.
[Footnote 8: This is a singular oversight in the editor of Astley’s Collection, as by that time there were only two ships, the Royal Merchant having been sent home from Saldanha bay.—E.]
[Footnote 9: These promised reasons no where appear.—E.]
The full title of this voyage in Hakluyt’s Collection is thus: “A Voyage with three tall ships, the Penelope, Admiral; the Merchant-Royal, Vice-Admiral; and the Edward Bonadventure, Rear-Admiral, to the East Indies, by way of the Cape of Buona Speranza, to Quitangone, near Mozambique, to the isles of Comoro and Zanzibar, on the backside of Africa, and beyond Cape Comorin, in India, to the isles of Nicobar, and of Gomes Palo, within two leagues of Sumatra, to the Islands of Pulo Pinaom, and thence to the Mainland of Malacca; begun by Mr George Raymond in the year 1591, and performed by Mr James Lancaster, and written from the mouth of Edmund Barker of Ipswich, his Lieutenant in the said Voyage, by Mr Richard Hakluyt.”
This voyage is chiefly remarkable as being the first ever attempted by the English to India, though not with any view of trade, as its only object seems to have been to commit privateering depredations upon the Portuguese trading ships in India, or, as we would now call them, the country ships, which were employed in trading between Goa and the settlements to the eastwards. It is unnecessary here to point out the entire disappointment of the adventurers, or the disastrous conclusion of the expedition, as these are clearly related by Mr Edmund Barker. This article is followed by a supplementary account of the same voyage, by John May, one of the people belonging to the Edward Bonadventure, who relates some of the occurrences rather differently from Edmund Barker, or rather gives some information that Mr Barker seems to have wished to conceal. For these reasons, and because of some farther adventures in a French ship in which May embarked, it has been thought proper to insert that narrative in our collection—E.