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rished. Great sickness also fell amongst us, and carried away great companies, and numbers of our ablest men both for sea and land. The seventeenth of November, [1617,] we had sight of the coasts of Guiana, and soon after came to anchor in five degrees at the river Calliana; bere we stayed till the fourth of December, landed our sick men, set up the barges and shallops which we brought out of England in quarters, washed our ships, and took in fresh water, being fed and cherished by the Indians of my old acquaintance, with a great deal of love and respect. Myself having been sick and in the hands of death, without any hope, some six weeks, (and yet not able otherwise to move, than as I was carried in a chair,) gave order to five small ships to sail into Oroonoko, having captain Keymis for their conductor towards the mines; and in those five ships five companies of fifty under the command of captain Parker and captain North, brethren to the lord Mounteagle and the lord North, valiant gentlemen, and of infinite patience for the labour, hunger, and heat which they have endured ; my son had the third company ; captain Thornix of Kent the fourth company; captain Chudley, by his lieutenant, the fifth : but as my sergeant-major, captain Piggot of the Low Countries, died in the former miserable passage, so now my lieutenant, sir Warham Saint Leger, lay sick without hope of life, and the charge was conferred on my nephew George Ralegh, who had also served long with singular commendations in the Low Countries, but by reason of my absence, and of sir Warham's, was not so well obeyed as the enterprise required. As they passed up the river, the Spaniards began the war, and shot at us both with their ordnance and muskets, whereupon the companies were forced to charge them, and soon after beat them out of the town. In the assault whereof my son (having more desire of honour than safety) was slain, and with him (to say truth) all the respects of this world have taken end in me. And although these five captains had as weak companies as ever followed any valiant leaders, yet were there amongst them some twenty or thirty very adventurous gentlemen, and of singular courage ; as of my son's company, Mr. Knivet, Mr. Hammond, Mr. Langworth, Mr. John Pleasington ; his officers, sir John Heydon, Mr. Simon Leak, corporal of the field, Mr. Hammond's elder brother, Mr. Nicholas of Buckingham, Mr. William Herbert, Mr. Roberts of Kent, Mr. Perin, Mr. Tresham, Mr. Mollineaux, Mr. Winter and his brother, Mr. Wray, Mr. Miles Herbert, Mr. Bradshaw, captain Hall, and others.
Sir, I have set down the names of these gentlemen, to the end that if his majesty shall have cause to use their service, it may please you to take notice of them for very sufficient men. The other five ships stayed at Trinidado, having no other port capable of them near Guiana. The second ship was commanded by my vice-admiral captain John Pennington, of whom (to do him right) I must needs confess he is one of the sufficientest gentlemen for the sea England hath. The third by sir Warham Saint Leger, an exceeding valiant and worthy gentleman. The fourth by sir John Fern; the fifth by captain Chudley of Devon. With these five ships I daily attended the armado of Spain, which had they set upon us, our force being divided, the one half in Oroonoko, an hundred and fifty miles from us, we had not only been torn in pieces, but all those in the river had also perished, being of no defence at all for sea-fight; for we were resolved to have burnt by their sides, and to have died there, had the armado arrived: but belike they stayed for us at Margarita, by which they knew we must pass towards the Indies; for it pleased his majesty to value us at so little, as to command me upon my allegiance to set down under my hand the country and the very river by which I was to enter it, to set down the number of my men, and the burden of my ships, with what ordnance every ship carried; which being made known to the Spanish ambassador, and by him, in post, sent to the king of Spain, a despatch was made and letters sent from Madrid, before my departure out of the Thames; for his first letter, sent by a bark of advice, was dated the 14th of March, 1617, at Madrid, which letter I have here enclosed sent your honour; the
rest I reserve, not knowing whether this may be intercepted or not. The second by the king, dated the 17th of May, sent also by a carvel to Diego de Palomeque, governor of Guiana, Elderedo, and Trinidado. The third by the bishop of Puerto Ricco, and delivered to Palomeque the 15th of July, at Trinidado. And the fourth was sent from the farmer or secretary of his customs in the Indies. At the same time, by that of the king's hand, sent by the bishop, there was also a commission for the speedy levying of three hundred b soldiers, and ten pieces of ordnance, to be sent from Puerto Ricco for the defence of Guiana; an hundred and fifty c from Nuevo Regno de Granada, under the command of captain Anthony Massica; and the other hundred and fifty d from Puerto Ricco, to be conducted by captain Fran. Lanchio.
Now, sir, if all that have traded to the Indies since his majesty's time know it, that the Spaniards have flayed alive all the poor men which they have taken, being but merchants men, what death and torment shall we expect, if they conquer us ? Certainly they have hitherto failed grossly, we being set out unto them as we were, and discovered, both for number, time, and place.
Lastly, to make an apology for not working the mine, although I know not (his majesty excepted) whom I am to satisfy so much as myself, having lost my son and my estate in the enterprise; yet it is true that the Spaniards took more care to defend the passage leading unto it, than they did their town, which, having the king's instructions, they might easily do, the countries being aspera et nemorosa e.
But it is true, that when captain Kemish found the river low, and that he could not approach the banks in most places near the mine by a mile, and when he found a descent, a volley of muskets came from the woods upon the boat, and slew two of our rowers, hurt six others, and shot a valiant gentleman, captain Thornix, in the head, of which wound he languisheth to this day; he, to wit Kemish, following his own advice, thought that it was in vain to discover the mine; for he gave me this for an excuse at his return, that the companies of English in the town of St. Thome were hardly able to defend it against the daily and nightly allarums and assaults of the Spaniards ; that the passages to the mines were of thick and unpassable woods ; and that the mine being discovered, they had no men to work it, and therefore he did not discover it at all: for it is true, the Spaniards having two gold mines near the town, the one possessed by Pedro Rodrigo de Parama, the second by Harman Franchino, the third, of silver, by captain Francisco Fachardo, they complain for want of negroes to work them; for as the Indians cannot be constrained by a law of Charles the Fifth, so the Spaniards will not, neither can they, endure the labour of these mines, whatsoever that braggadocia, the Spanish ambassador, saith; as I shall prove under the proprietor's hand by the custom-books, and the king's quinto, of which I recovered an ingot or two: I shall also make it appear, to any prince or state that will undertake it, how easily those mines and five or six more of them may be possessed, and the most of them in those places which never as yet have been attempted by any enemy, nor any passage to them ever discovered by the English, French, or Dutch. But at Kemish's return from Oroonoko, when I received his counsel and his course, and told him that he had undone me, and wounded my credit with the king past recovery, he slew himself : for I told him, that, seeing my son was slain, I cared not if I had lost an hundred more in opening of the mine, so my credit had been saved : for, I protest before God, had not captain Whitney (to whom I gave more countenance than to all the captains of my fleet) run from me at the Granadoes, and carried another ship with him of captain Wollaston's, I would have left my body at St. Thomes by my son's, or have brought with me out of that or other mines so much gold ore, as should have satisfied the king that I had propounded no vain thing. What shall become of me now, I know not; I am unpardoned in England, and my poor estate consumed; and
b Three thousand, MS. Ashm.
c Fifteen hundred, MS. Asbm.
whether any other prince or state will give me bread or no, I know not. I desire your honour to hold me in your good opinion, to remember my service to my lords of Arundel and Pembroke, to take some pity on my poor wife, to whom I dare not write, for renewing the sorrow of her son ; and beseech you to give a copy of this to my lord Carew: for to a broken mind, a sick body, and weak eyes, it is a torment to write many letters. I have found many things of importance for discovering the state and weakness of the Indies, which, if I live, I shall hereafter impart unto your honour, to whom I shall remain a faithful servant,
A postscript. SINCE the death of Kemish, it is confessed by the sergeant-major and others of his inward friends, that he told them, when he was at the river's mouth coming thence, that he could have brought them unto the mine within two hours' march from the river side ; but because my son was slain, myself unpardoned, and not like to live, he had no reason to open the mine either for the Spaniard or for the king. They answered, that the king (though I were not pardoned) had granted me a patent under the great seal. He replied, that the grant to me was to a man non ens in the law, and therefore of no force. This discourse they had, which I knew not of till after his death : but when I was resolved to write unto your honour, he prayed me to join with him in excusing his not going to the mine. I answered him, I would not do it; but if himself could satisfy the king and state that he had reason not to open it, I should be glad of it: but for my part, I must avow it that he knew it, and that he might with very little loss have done it; other excuse I would not frame: he told me that he would wait on me presently, and give me better satisfaction : but I was not sooner come from him into my cabin, but that I heard a pistol go off over my head, and sending to know who shot it; word was brought me that Kemish shot it out of his cabin window to cleanse it; and his boy, going into