Ten years afterwards (1595) Drake was again at the head of a similar expedition. The second command was given to his old associate Hawkins, Frobisher, his Vice-Admiral in 1585, having recently died of the wound received at Crozon. This time Nombre de Dios was taken and burnt, and 750 soldiers set out under Sir Thomas Baskerville to march to Panama: but at the first of the three forts which the Spaniards had by this time constructed, the march had to be abandoned. Drake did not long survive this second failure of his favourite scheme. He was attacked by dysentery a fortnight afterwards, and in a month he died. When he felt the hand of death upon him, he rose, dressed himself, and endeavoured to make a farewell speech to those around him. Exhausted by the effort, he was lifted to his berth, and within an hour breathed his last. Hawkins had died off Puerto Rico six weeks previously.
The following narrative is in the main the composition of Walter Biggs, who commanded a company of musketeers under Carlile. Biggs was one of the five hundred and odd men who succumbed to the fever. He died shortly after the fleet sailed from Carthagena; and the narrative was completed by some comrade. The story of this expedition, which had inflicted such damaging blows on the Spaniards in America, was eminently calculated to inspire courage among those who were resisting them in Europe. Cates, one of Carlile's lieutenants, obtained the manuscript and prepared it for the press, accompanied by illustrative maps and plans. The publication was delayed by the Spanish Armada; but a copy found its way to Holland, where it was translated into Latin, and appeared at Leyden, in a slightly abridged form, in 1588. The original English narrative duly appeared in London in the next year. The document called the 'Resolution of the Land-Captains' was inserted by Hakluyt when he reprinted the narrative in 1600.
NARRATIVE MAINLY BY CAPTAIN WALTER BIGGS
A Summary and True Discourse of Sir Francis Drake's West Indian Voyage, begun in the year 1585. Wherein were taken the cities of Santiago, Santo Domingo, Carthagena, and the town of St. Augustine, in Florida. Published by Master Thomas Cates.
This worthy knight, for the service of his prince and country, having prepared his whole fleet, and gotten them down to Plymouth, in Devonshire, to the number of five and twenty sail of ships and pinnaces, and having assembled of soldiers and mariners to the number of 2,300 in the whole, embarked them and himself at Plymouth aforesaid, the 12th day of September, 1585, being accompanied with these men of name and charge which hereafter follow: Master Christopher Carlile, Lieutenant-General, a man of long experience in the wars as well by sea as land, who had formerly carried high offices in both kinds in many fights, which he discharged always very happily, and with great good reputation; Anthony Powell, Sergeant-Major; Captain Matthew Morgan, and Captain John Sampson, Corporals of the Field. These officers had commandment over the rest of the land- captains, whose names hereafter follow: Captain Anthony Platt, Captain Edward Winter, Captain John Goring, Captain Robert Pew, Captain George Barton, Captain John Merchant, Captain William Cecil, Captain Walter Biggs [The writer of the first part of the narrative.], Captain John Hannam, Captain Richard Stanton. Captain Martin Frobisher, Vice- Admiral, a man of great experience in seafaring actions, who had carried the chief charge of many ships himself, in sundry voyages before, being now shipped in the Primrose; Captain Francis Knolles, Rear-Admiral in the galleon Leicester; Master Thomas Venner, captain in the Elizabeth Bonadventure, under the General; Master Edward Winter, captain in the Aid; Master Christopher Carlile, the Lieutenant-General, captain of the Tiger; Henry White, captain of the Sea-Dragon; Thomas Drake [Francis Drake's brother.], captain of the Thomas; Thomas Seeley, captain of the Minion; Baily, captain of the Talbot; Robert Cross, captain of the bark Bond; George Fortescue, captain of the bark Bonner; Edward Careless, captain of the Hope; James Erizo, captain of the White Lion; Thomas Moon, captain of the Francis; John Rivers, captain of the Vantage; John Vaughan, captain of the Drake; John Varney, captain of the George; John Martin, captain of the Benjamin; Edward Gilman, captain of the Scout; Richard Hawkins, captain of the galliot called the Duck; Bitfield, captain of the Swallow.
After our going hence, which was the 14th of September, in the year of our Lord 1585, and taking our course towards Spain, we had the wind for a few days somewhat scant, and sometimes calm. And being arrived near that part of Spain which is called the Moors [Muros, S. of Cape Finisterre.], we happened to espy divers sails, which kept their course close by the shore, the weather being fair and calm. The General caused the Vice-Admiral to go with the pinnaces well manned to see what they were; who upon sight of the said pinnaces approaching near unto them, abandoned for the most part all their ships, being Frenchmen, laden all with salt, and bound homewards into France. Amongst which ships, being all of small burthen, there was one so well liked, which also had no man in her, as being brought unto the General, he thought good to make stay of her for the service, meaning to pay for her, as also accordingly he performed at our return; which bark was called the Drake. The rest of these ships, being eight or nine, were dismissed without anything at all taken from them. Who being afterwards put somewhat farther off from the shore, by the contrariety of the wind, we happened to meet with some other French ships, full laden with Newland fish, being upon their return homeward from the said Newfoundland; whom the General after some speech had with them, and seeing plainly that they were Frenchmen, dismissed, without once suffering any man to go aboard of them.
The day following, standing in with the shore again, we decried another tall ship of twelve score tons or thereabouts, upon whom Master Carlile, the Lieutenant-General, being in the Tiger, undertook the chase; whom also anon after the Admiral followed. And the Tiger having caused the said strange ship to strike her sails, kept her there without suffering anybody to go aboard until the Admiral was come up; who forthwith sending for the master, and divers others of their principal men, and causing them to be severally examined, found the ship and goods to be belonging to the inhabitants of St. Sebastian, in Spain, but the mariners to be for the most part belonging to St. John de Luz, and the Passage. In this ship was great store of dry Newland fish, commonly called with us Poor John; whereof afterwards, being thus found a lawful prize, there was distribution made into all the ships of the fleet, the same being so new and good, as it did very greatly bestead us in the whole course of our voyage. A day or two after the taking of this ship we put in within the Isles of Bayon [The Cies Islets, at the mouth of the Vigo River.], for lack of favourable wind. Where we had no sooner anchored some part of the fleet, but the General commanded all the pinnaces with the shipboats to be manned, and every man to be furnished with such arms as were needful for that present service; which being done, the General put himself into his galley, which was also well furnished, and rowing towards the city of Bayon, with intent, and the favour of the Almighty, to surprise it. Before we had advanced one half-league of our way there came a messenger, being an English merchant, from the governor, to see what strange fleet we were; who came to our General, conferred a while with him, and after a small time spent, our General called for Captain Sampson, and willed him to go to the governor of the city, to resolve him of two points. The first to know if there were any wars between Spain and England; the second, why our merchants with their goods were embarged or arrested? Thus departed Captain Sampson with the said messenger to the city, where he found the governor and people much amazed of such a sudden accident. The General, with the advice and counsel of Master Carlile, his Lieutenant-General, who was in the galley with him, thought not good to make any stand, till such time as they were within the shot of the city, where they might be ready upon the return of Captain Sampson, to make a sudden attempt, if cause did require, before it were dark.
Captain Sampson returned with his message in this sort:--First, touching peace or wars, the governor said he knew of no wars and that it lay not in him to make any, he being so mean a subject as he was. And as for the stay of the merchants with their goods, it was the king's pleasure, but not with intent to endamage any man. And that the king's counter-commandment was (which had been received in that place some seven-night before) that English merchants with their goods should be discharged. For the more verifying whereof, he sent such merchants as were in the town of our nation, who trafficked those parts; which being at large declared to our General by them, counsel was taken what might best be done. And for that the night approached, it was thought needful to land our forces, which was done in the shutting up of the day; and having quartered ourselves to our most advantage, with sufficient guard upon every strait, we thought to rest ourselves for that night there. The Governor sent us some refreshing, as bread, wine, oil, apples, grapes, marmalade and such like. About midnight the weather began to overcast, insomuch that it was thought meeter to repair aboard, than to make any longer abode on land. And before we could recover the fleet a great tempest arose, which caused many of our ships to drive from their anchorhold, and some were forced to sea in great peril, as the bark Talbot, the bark Hawkins, and the Speedwell; which Speedwell only was driven into England, the others recovered us again. The extremity of the storm lasted three days; which no sooner began to assuage, but Master Carlile, our Lieutenant- General, was sent with his own ship and three others, as also with the galley and with divers pinnaces, to see what he might do above Vigo, where he took many boats and some carvels, diversely laden with things of small value, but chiefly with household stuff, running into the high country. And amongst the rest he found one boat laden with the principal church stuff of the high church of Vigo, where also was their great cross of silver, of very fair embossed work and double- gilt all over, having cost them a great mass of money. They complained to have lost in all kinds of goods above thirty thousand ducats in this place.