The famous voyage of Sir Francis Drake into the South Sea ... (1589)

The famous voyage of Sir Francis Drake into the South Sea, and there hence about the whole Globe of the Earth, begun in the yeere of our Lord, 1577.

In: Richard Hakluyt, The Principall Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English Nation, made by Sea or ouer Land to the most remote and farthest distant Quarters of the earth at any time within the compass of these 1500 yeers. London: George Bishop and Ralph Newberie, 1589.

Facsimile: 2 vols., Cambridge University Press, 1965.

Twelve un-numbered pages bound between pages 643 and 644. The following account of the journey from Central America/Mexico and the stay in Nova Albion is on the 7th, 8th, and 9th of these pages. Spelling and capitalization has been modernized.

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. . . This pilot brought us to the haven of Guatulca, the town whereof as he told us, had but seventeen Spaniards in it. As soon as we were entered this haven we landed, and went presently to the town, and to the town house, where we found a judge sitting in judgement, he being associate with three other officers, upon three Negroes that had conspired the burning of the town: both which judges, and prisoners we took, and brought them on shipboard, and caused the chief judge to write his letter to the town, to command all the townsmen to avoid, that we might safely water there. Which being done, and they departed, we ransacked the town, and in one house we found a pot of the quantity of a bushel, full of royals of plate, which we brought to our ship.

And here one Thomas Moone one of our company, took a Spanish gentleman as he was flying out of the town, and searching him, he found a chain of gold about him, and other jewels, which he took and so let him go.

At this place our General [= Drake] among other Spaniards, set ashore his Portugal pilot, which he took at the Islands of Cape Verde, out of a ship of Saint Marie port of Portugal, and having set them ashore, we departed thence, and sailed to the Island of Canon, where our General landed, and brought to shore his own ship, and discharged her, mended, and grauted her, and furnished our ship with water and wood sufficiently.

And whiles we were here, we espied a ship, and set sail after her, and took her, and found in her two pilots, and a Spanish governor, going for the Islands of the Philippinas: we searched the ship, and took some of her merchandises, and so let her go. Our General at this place, and time, thinking himself both in respect of his private injuries received from the Spaniards, as also of their contempts and indignities offered to our country and Prince in general, sufficiently satisfied and revenged; and supposing that her Majesty at his return would rest contented with this service, purposed to continue no longer upon the Spanish coasts, but began to consider and to consult of the best way for his country.

He thought it not good to return by the Straits, for two special causes: the one, lest the Spaniards should there wait, and attend for him in great number and strength, whose hands he being left but one ship, could not possibly escape. The other cause was the dangerous situation of the mouth of the Straits in the south side; where continual storms raining and blustering, as he found by experience, besides the shoals, and sands upon the coast, he thought it not a good course to adventure that way: he resolved therefore to avoid these hazards, to go forward to the Islands of the Moluccaes, and therehence to sail the course of the Portuguese by the Cape of Bona Speranza.

Upon this resolution, he began to think of his best way for the Moluccaes, and finding himself where he now was becalmed, he saw, that of necessity he must be forced to take a Spanish course, namely to sail somewhat northerly to get a good wind. We therefore set sail, and sailed in longitude 600 leagues at the least for a good wind, and thus much we sailed from the 16th of April, till the 3rd of June.

The 5th day of June being in 42 degrees towards the pole Arctic, we found the air so cold, that our men being grievously pinched with the same, complained of the extremity thereof, and the further we went, the more the cold increased upon us, whereupon we thought it best for that time to seek the land, and did so, finding it not mountainous but low plain land, and clad, and covered over with snow, so that we drew back again without landing, till we came within 38 degrees towards the line. In which height it pleased God to send us into a fair and good bay, with a good wind to enter the same.

In this bay we anchored, and the people of the country, having their houses close by the water's side, shewed themselves unto us, and sent a present to our General.

When they came unto us, they greatly wondered at the things that we brought, but our General (according to his natural and accustomed humanity) courteously intreated them, and liberally bestowed on them necessary things to cover their nakedness, whereupon they supposed us to be gods, and would not be persuaded to the contrary; the presents which they sent unto our General, were feathers, and cals of network.

Their houses are digged round about with earth, and have from the uttermost brims of the circle, clifts of wood set upon them, joining close together at the tops like a spire steeple, which by reason of that closeness are they warm.

Their bed is the ground with rushes strowed on it, and lying about the house, have the fire in the midst. The men go naked, the women take bulrushes, and kembe them after the manner of hemp, and thereof make their loose garments, which being knit about their middles, hang down about their hips, having also about their shoulders a skin of deer, with the hair upon it. These women are very obedient and serviceable to their husbands.

After they were departed from us, they came and visited us the second time, and brought with them feathers and bags of Tabacco for presents: And when they came to the top of the hill (at the bottom whereof we had pitched our tents) they stayed themselves, where one appointed for speaker, wearied himself with making a long oration, which done, they left their bows upon the hill, and came down with their presents.

In the meantime, the women remaining upon the hill, tormented themselves lamentably, tearing their flesh from their cheeks, whereby we perceived that they were about a sacrifice. In the meantime, our General, with his company, went to prayer, and to reading of the Scriptures, at which exercise they were attentive, and seemed greatly to be affected with it: but when they were come unto us, they restored again unto us those things which before we had bestowed upon them.

The news of our being there, being spread through the country, the people that inhabited round about came down, and amongst them the King himself, a man of a goodly stature, and comely personage, and with many other tall, and warlike men; before whose coming were sent two ambassadors to our General, to signify that their king was coming, in doing of which message, their speech was continued about half an hour. This ended, they by signs requested our General to send something by their hand to their King, as a token that his coming might be in peace: wherein our General having satisfied them, they returned with glad tidings to their King, who marched to us with a princely majesty, the people crying continually after their manner; and as they drew near unto us, so did they strive to behave themselves in their actions with comeliness.

In the forefront was a man of goodly personage, who bare the sceptre, or mace before the King, whereupon hanged two crowns, a less and a bigger, with three chains of a marvellous length: the crowns were made of knit work, wrought artificially with feathers of divers colours; the chains were made of a bony substance, and few be the persons among them that are admitted to wear them: and of that number also the persons are stinted, as some ten, some twelve, &c. Next unto him which bare the sceptre, was the King himself, with his guard about his person, clad with conie skins, and other skins: after them followed the naked common sort of people, every one having his face painted, some with white, some with black, and other colours, and having in their hands one thing or another for a present, not so much as their children, but they also brought their presents.

In the meantime, our General gathered his men together, and marched within his fenced place, making against their approaching, a very warlike show. They being trooped together in their order, and a general salutation being made, there was presently a general silence. Then he that bare the sceptre before the King, being informed by another, whom they assigned to that office, with a manly and lofty voice, proclaimed that which the other spake to him in secret, continuing half an hour: which ended, and a general Amen, as it were, given, the king with the whole number of men, and women (the children excepted) came down without any weapon, who descending to the foot of the hill, set themselves in order.

In coming towards our bulwarks and tents, the sceptre bearer began a song, observing his measures in a dance, and that with a stately countenance, whom the King with his guard, and every degree of persons following, did in like manner sing and dance, saving only the women which danced, and kept silence. The General permitted them to enter within our bulwark, where they continued their song and dance a reasonable time. When they had satisfied themselves, they made signs to our General to sit down, to whom the King, and divers others made several orations, or rather supplications, that he would take their province and kingdom into his hand, and become their King, making signs that they would resign unto him their right and title of the whole land, and become his subjects. In which, to persuade us the better, the King and the rest, with one consent, and with great reverence, joyfully singing a song, did set the crown upon his head, enriched his neck with all their chains, and offered him many other things, honouring him by the name of Hioh, adding thereunto as it seemed a sign of triumph: which thing our General thought not meet to reject, because he knew not what honour and profit it might be to our country. Wherefore in the name, and to the use of her Majesty, he took the sceptre, crown, and dignity of the said country into his hands, wishing that the riches and treasure thereof might so conveniently be transported to the enriching of her kingdom at home, as it aboundeth in the same.

The common sort of the people leaving the King, and his guard with our General, scattered themselves together with their sacrifices among our people, taking a diligent view of every person: and such as pleased their fancy, (which were the youngest) they enclosing them about offered their sacrifices unto them with lamentable weeping, scratching, and tearing their flesh from their faces with their nails, whereof issued abundance of blood. But we used signs to them of disliking this, and stayed their hands from force, and directed them upwards to the living God, whom only they ought to worship. They shewed unto us their wounds, and craved help of them at our hands, whereupon we gave them lotions, plaisters, and ointments agreeing to the state of their griefs, beseeching God to cure their diseases. Every third day they brought their sacrifices unto us, until they understood our meaning, that we had no pleasure in them: yet they could not be long absent from us, but daily frequented our company to the hour of our departure, which departure seemed so grievous unto them, that their joy was turned into sorrow. They entreated us, that being absent we would remember them, and by stealth provided a sacrifice, which we misliked.

Our necessary business being ended, our General with his company travelled up into the country to their villages, where we found herds of deer by 1000s in a company, being most large, and fat of body.

We found the whole country to be a warren of a strange kind of conies; their bodies in bigness as be the Barbary conies, their heads as the heads of ours, the feet of a want [= mole], and the tail of a rat being of great length: under her chin is on either side a bag, into the which she gathereth her meat, when she hath filled her belly abroad. The people eat their bodies, and make great account of their skins, for their King's coat was made of them.

Our General called this country, Nova Albion, and that for two causes: the one in respect of the white banks and cliffs, which lie towards the sea: and the other, because it might have some affinity with our country in name, which sometime was so called.

There is no part of earth here to be taken up, wherein there is not a reasonable quantity of gold or silver.

At our departure hence our General set up a monument of our being there, as also of her Majesty's right and title to the same, namely a plate, nailed upon a fair great post, whereupon was ingraven her Majesty's name, the day and year of our arrival there, with the free giving up of the province and people into her Majesty's hands, together with her highness picture and arms, in a piece of six pence of current English money under the plate, where under was also written the name of our General.

It seemeth that the Spaniards hitherto had never been in this part of the country, neither did ever discover the land by many degrees, to the southwards of this place.

After we had set sail from hence, we continued without sight of land till the 13th day of October following, which day in the morning we fell with certain islands eight degrees to the northward of the line, from which islands came in a great number of canoas, having in some of them 4, in some 6, and in some also 14 men, bringing with them cocos and other fruits. Their canoas were hollow within, and cut with great art, and cunning, being very smooth within and without , and bearing a glaze as if it were a horn daintily burnished, having a prow, and a stern or one sort, yielding inward circle wise, being of great height, and full of certain white shells for a battery, and on each side of them lie out two pieces of timber about a yard and a half long, more or less, according to the smallness, or bigness of the boat.

This people have the nether part of their ears cut into a round circle, hanging down very low upon their cheeks, whereon they hang things of a reasonable weight. The nails of their hands are an inch long, their teeth are as black as pitch, and they renew them often, by eating of an herb with a kind of powder, which they always carry with them in a case for the same purpose.

We leaving this island the night after we fell in with it, the 18th of October, we light[ed] upon divers others, some whereof made a great show of the inhabitants.

We continued our course by the Islands of Tagulada, Zelon, and Zewarra, being subject to the Portuguese, the first whereof hath growing in it a great store of cinnamon.

The 14th of November we fell with the Islands of Molucca . . .

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