Page images


From Corbett's "Drake and the Tudor Navy."

"On July 23 the English finally put to sea, and the last sight they had of their worshippers was crowding the hill-tops and making fires, as though by a parting sacrifice to implore their divine guests not to leave them forever. So was sought to be established the first of those protectorates upon which so large a part of the British Empire has been built. Though it was destined to go no further, there can be small doubt that Drake believed he had laid the foundations in America of a New England which was to rival New Spain. To a man so deeply impressed as he was with the cruelty of the Spaniards' native policy, it was perfectly natural that the Californians should wish to become the vassals of a monarch who could protect them. It was but the feudal process of commendation, and there is no reason to doubt he really took the native overtures to be what he represented them. Were this the only episode of its kind that occurred during the voyage, it would be enough to raise him out of the ranks of the pirates and buccaneers in which too often he has been made to stand. The space that is devoted to it in the Authorized Narrative is evidence of the importance he attached to his treaty. This alone should have been enough to suggest that, however much he desired wealth, however much he sought to be revenged on Don Martin Enriquez, it was the real ambition of the man, as sincerely as it was Frobisher's, to be the leader of English colonial expansion, and to stand in the eyes of his country as Cortez and the Conquistadores stood in the eyes of Spain. His gospel was to teach that what Spain had done England could do and do better. In his own time he was not understood except by few, and so was looked upon askance as a pirate or little better, as he is to this day. The 'spacious times' of Elizabeth is a phrase that with cloying reiteration is used whenever Drake's name is mentioned. The truth is, it was still a narrow time, that cramped the men of broad ideas. cious times were not till Elizabeth was dead, and the peace gave England time to grasp the ideas of Drake and Frobisher, to realize their vision of a New England in the West, and to dream of a vast empire in the East with Madagascar for its seat and centre."

The spa


Don Francisco de Zarate was the commander of a Spanish ship captured by Drake just before he reached Guatulco.


"The general of the Englishmen is a cousin of Juan AquiHe is the same who five years ago took Nombre de Dios. He must be a man of about thirty-five years, short, with a ruddy beard, one of the greatest mariners there are on the sea alike from his skill and his power of command. His ship is a galleon of about four hundred tons, a very fast sailer, and there are aboard her a hundred men, all skilled hands and of warlike age, and all so well trained that they might be old soldiers of the Italian tertias. Every one is specially careful to keep his harquebuss clean. He treats them with affection, and they him with respect. He carries with him nine or ten gentlemen, cadets of high families in England. These are members of his council, and he calls them together upon all occasions, however simple, and although he takes counsel from no one, he is pleased to hear their opinions before issuing his orders. He has no favorite (privado). These of whom I speak are admitted to his table, as well as a Portuguese pilot whom he brought from England. This man never spoke a word the whole time I was there. He is served with much plate with gilt borders and tops and engraved with his arms, and has all possible kinds of delicacies and scents, many of which he says the Queen gave him. None of the gentlemen sit or cover in his presence, without first being ordered once and even several times. The galleon carries about thirty pieces of heavy ordnance and a large quantity of fireworks, and a great deal of ammunition and other necessaries. They dine and sup to the music of violins; and he carries all the appliances of carpenters and caulkers, so as to careen his ship when there is occasion. His ship is not only of the latest type, but sheathed. I understand that all the men he carries are paid, because when they plundered our ship nobody dared take anything without his orders. He keeps very strict discipline, and punishes the slightest fault. He has painters, too, who sketch all the coast in its proper colours. This troubled me to see most of all, because it was so true to nature, that whosoever follows him can by no means lose his way. I heard that he started from his country with five ships and four sea-going shallops, and that the half of the

squadron was the Queen's; and I understand this is so, for the reasons I shall give your Excellency."

Sir Francis Drake set sail from Plymouth, England, on his famous voyage around the world, November 15, 1577, with five ships and about one hundred and sixty men. His own ship, of one hundred tons, was called the "Pelican "; but at the Straits of Magellan her name was changed to the "Golden Hind." The Straits of Magellan were reached August 20, 1578; and seventeen days were occupied in the passage through to the Pacific. The following months were spent in preying upon the Spanish ports and Spanish ships along the west coast of South America; and early in March, 1579, separated from his other ships, Drake in the Golden Hind" was at Cape San Francisco, just north of the equator. He set forward March 7, and on April 15 ran in to the harbor of Guatulco, a small port of Guatemala, for supplies. "And now having reasonably, as we thought, provided ourselves, we departed from the coast of America for the present.' Here the passage begins which is printed in the present leaflet. The passage is from the famous account of the voyage entitled "The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake," prepared under the direction of the admiral's heir and nephew from the notes of Francis Fletcher, the chaplain on Drake's ship, and "divers others his followers in the same." It was published in London in 1628,"offered now at last to publique view, both for the honour of the actor, but especially for the stirring up of heroick spirits, to benefit their countrie, and eternize their names by like noble attempts."

At Cape San Francisco, Drake seems to have decided to get back to England by circumnavigating North America, entering the western end of the "northwest passage," the eastern outlet of which Frobisher supposed he had already found. It was with this in view that he pushed up the California coast; and only when he found the effort vain did he strike across the Pacific to the Philippines, the Indian Ocean, and the Cape of Good Hope, thus sailing completely round the globe. On the 26th of September, 1580, we safely, with joyful minds and thankful hearts to God, arrived at Plimoth, the place of our first setting forth, after we had spent 2 yeares 10 moneths and some few odde daies beside, in seeing the wonders of the Lord in the deep, in discovering so many admirable things, in going through with so many strange adventures, in escaping out of so many dangers, and overcoming so many difficulties in this our encompassing of this neather globe, and passing round about the world."

It is most interesting to us that Drake, in this famous voyage of circumnavigation, should have explored the western coast of the present United States, and named it Albion. Only once, if ever, before when in 1542 Cabrillo had explored the coast-had Europeans been seen in Northern California. Drake may have sailed as far north as Vancouver, when the fogs and the cold drove him back, and he took refuge for a month or more in a bay which some believe to have been San Francisco harbor, but which Professor Davidson of the United States Coast Survey, who has studied the subject most critically, locates a little above that. Rev. E. E. Hale, who wrote the admirable chapter on Hawkins and Drake in the Narrative and Critical History of America" vol. iii., believes that the "convenient and fit harbor," the "fair and good bay" of the narrative, is that of San Francisco. "I do not hesitate to say that I believe it will prove that Drake repaired his ships in San Francisco Bay, and that this bay took its name not indirectly from Francis of Assisi, but from the bold English explorer who had struck terror to all the western coast of New Spain." "There is reason, says Burney, "to conclude that the Port of Drake was that which is now known by the name of Port San Francisco. Allowing them to be the same, it is remarkable that both the most northern and the most southern ports at which Drake anchored in the course of his voyage should afterwards by the Spaniards, doubtless without any intended reference to the name of Francis Drake, be named San Francisco."

"The World Encompassed by Sir Francis Drake," and several other contemporary accounts of the voyage of circumnavigation, have been gathered into a single volume, critically edited, with notes and introduction, by W. S. W. Vaux, published by the Hakluyt Society (London, 1854). The most complete and scholarly life of Drake is that in two volumes by Julian S. Corbett, who is also the author of the little volume on Drake in the English Men of Action" series. There is an excellent older biography by Barrow. See also Bourne's English Seamen under the Tudors," Froude's English Seamen in the Sixteenth Century," Markham's "Sea Fathers," Southey's "English Seamen," and Payne's Voyages of the Elizabethan Seamen." The valuable article on Drake in the " Dictionary of National Biography" is by Professor J. K. Laughton.



Old South Meeting-house, Boston, Mass.

[blocks in formation]


[ocr errors]

Old South Leaflets.

No. 117.





The colde regions of the worlde are those whiche, tending towarde the pole artike and antartike, are withoute the circuit or bounds of the seaven climates, which, agreeable to the opinion of the olde writers, is founde and sette out in our authore of the Sphere, Joannes de Sacrobosco, where he playnely sayeth, that without the seaventh climate, which is bounded by a parallel passing at fiftie degrees in latitude, all the habitation beyonde that to be discommodious and intollerable: but Gemma Phrisius, a late writer, finding England and Scotland to be withoute the compasse of those climates wherein he knew to be very temperate and good habitation, added thereunto two other climates, the uttermost paralell whereof passeth by 56 degrees in latitude, and therein comprehendeth over and above the first computation, England, Scotland, Denmarke, Moscovia, etc., which all are rich and mightie kingdomes.

The old writers, perswaded by bare conjecture, went aboute to determine of those places, by comparing them to their own complexions, bycause they felt them to be hardly tolerable to themselves, and so toke thereby an argument of the whole habitable earth, as if a man borne in Morochus, or other part of Barbarie, should at the latter end of sommer, upon the suddayne, eyther naked, or wyth hys thinne vesture, be broughte into England, he would judge this region presently not to be habitable, bycause he being broughte up in so warme a countrey, is not able heere to live, for so sodaine an alteration of the cold ayre; but if the same man hadde come at the beginning of sommer, and so afterwarde by little and little by certaine de

grees, had felt and acquainted himselfe with the frost of autumne, it would have seemed by degrees to harden him, and so to make it far more tollerable, and by use after one yeere or two, the ayre woulde seeme to hym more temperate. It was compted a greate matter in the olde time, that there was a brasse pot broken in sunder with frozen water in Ponthus, which after was broughte and shewed in Delphis, in token of a miraculous cold region and winter, and therefore consecrated to the Temple of Apollo.

This effect being wroghte in the paralell of 48 degrees in latitude, it was presentlye compted a place verye hardlye and uneasily to be inhabited for the greate colde. And howe then can suche men define uppon other regions very farre without that paralell, wh'er they were inhabited or not, seeing that in so neare a place they so grossely mistooke the matter, and others their followers being contented with the inventions of the olde authors, have persisted willingly in the same opinion, with more confidence than consideration of the cause, so lightly was that opinion received, as touching the unhabitable clime neare and under the Poles.

Therefore I am at this present to prove yt all the land lying betweene the laste climate even unto the point directly under either Poles, is or maye be inhabited, especially of suche creatures as are ingendred and bredde therein. For indeed it is to be confessed, that some particular living creature cannot live in every particular place or region, especially wyth the same joy and felicitie, as it did where it was first bredde, for the certane agreement of nature that is betweene the place, and the thing bredde in that place, as appeareth by the elephant, which being translated and brought out of the second or third climate, though they may live, yet will they never ingender or bring forth yong. Also wee see the like in many kinds of plants and hearbs: for example, the orange tree, although in Naples they bring forth fruit abundantly, in Rome and Florence they will beare onlye faire greene leaves, but not any fruite: and translated into England, they will hardly beare either flowers, fruite, or leaves, but are the next winter pinched and withered with colde: yet it followeth not for this, that England, Rome, and Florence should not be habitable.

In the proving of these colde regions habitable, I shall be verye shorte, bicause the same reasons serve for this purpose, which were alleaged before in the proving the middle zone to

« PreviousContinue »