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THE LAST FIGHT OF THE REVENGE.
And after that, Syr Iohn Norris marched from Peniche in Portugall, with a handfull of souldiers, to the gates of Lisbone, being aboue 40. English miles. Where the Earle of Essex himselfe and other valiant Gentlemen, braued the Cittie of Lisbone, encamped at the verie gates; from whence after many daies abode, finding neither promised partie, nor prouision to batter: made retrait by land, in despight of all their Garrisons, both of Horse and foote. In this sort I haue a little digressed from my first purpose, only by the necessarie comparison of theirs and our actions: the one couetous of honour without vaunt or ostentation; the other so greedy to purchase the opinion of their own affaires, and by false rumors to resist the blasts of their owne dishonors, as they wil not only not blush to spread all maner of vntruthes: but euen for the least advantage, 4 be it but for the taking of one poor aduenturer of the English, will celebrate the victorie with bonefiers in euerie town, alwaies spending more in faggots, then the purchase was worth they obtained. When as we neuer yet thought it worth the consumption of two billets, when we haue taken eight or ten of their Indian shippes at one time, and twentie of the Brasill fleet. Such is the difference between true valure, and ostentation: and betweene honourable actions, and friuolous vaineglorious vaunts. But now to returne to my first purpose.
The L. Thomas Howard, with sixe of her Maiesties ships, sixe victualers of London, the barke Ralegh, and two or three Pinnasses riding at anchor nere vnto Flores, one of the Westerlie Ilands of the Azores, the last of August in the after noone, had intelligence by one Captaine Midleton, of the approach of the Spanish Armada. Which Midleton being in a verie good Sailer, had kept them companie three daies before, of good purpose, both to discouer their forces the more, as also to giue aduice to my L. Thomas of their approch. He had no sooner deliuered the newes but the Fleet was in sight: manie of our shippes companies were on shore in the Iland; some prouiding balast for their ships; others filling of water and refreshing themselues from the land with such thinges as they coulde either for money, or by force recouer. By reason whereof our ships being all pestered and romaging euerie thing out of order, verie light for want of balast. And that which was most to our disaduantage, the one halfe part of the men of euerie shippe sicke, and vtterly vnseruiceable. For in the Reuenge there were nintie diseased: in the Bonauenture, not so many in health as could handle her maine saile. For had not twentie men beene taken out 5 of a Barke of Sir George Caryes, his being commanded to be sunke, and those appointed to her, she had hardly euer recouered England. The rest for the most part, were in little better state. The names of her Maiesties shippes were these as followeth: the Defiaunce, which was Admirall, the Reuenge Viceadmirall, the Bonauenture commanded by Captaine Crosse, the Lion by George Fenner, the Foresight by M. Thomas Vauisour, and the Crane by Duffeild. The Foresight and the Crane being but small ships; onely the other were of the middle size; the rest, besid[e]s the Barke Ralegh, commanded by Captaine Thin, were victualers, and of small force or none. The Spanish fleete hauing shrouded their approch by reason of the Iland; were now so soone at hand, as our ships had scarce time to waye their anchors, but some of them were driuen to let slippe their Cables, and set sayle. Sir Richard Grinuile was the last waied, to recouer the men that were vpon the Iland, which otherwise had beene lost. The L. Thomas with the rest verie hardly recouered the winde, which Sir Richard Grinuile not being able to do, was perswaded by the maister and others to cut his maine saile, and cast about, and to trust to the sailing of his shippe: for the squadron of Siuil were on his wether bow. But Sir Richard vtterly refused to turne from the enimie, alledging that he would rather chose to dye, then to dishonour him selfe, his countrie, and her Maiesties shippe, perswading his companie that he would passe through the two Squadrons, in despight of them: and enforce those of Siuill to giue him way. Which he performed vpon diuerse of the formost, who as the Marriners terme it, sprang their luffe, and fell vnder the lee of the Reuenge. But the other course had beene the better, and might right well haue 6 beene answered in so great an impossibilitie of preuailing. Notwithstanding out of the greatnesse of his minde, he could not bee perswaded. In the meane while as hee attended those which were nearest him, the great San Philip being in the winde of him, and comming towards him, becalmed his sailes in such sort, as the shippe could neither way nor feele the helme: so huge and high carged was the Spanish ship, being of a thousand and fiue hundreth tuns. Who after laid the Reuenge aboord. When he was thus bereft of his sailes, the ships that wer vnder his lee luffing vp, also laid him aborde: of which the next was the Admirall of the Biscaines, a verie mightie and puysant shippe commanded by Brittan Dona. The said Philip carried three tire of ordinance on a side, and eleuen peeces in euerie tire. She shot eight forth right out of her chase, besides those of her Sterne portes.
After the Reuenge was intangled with this Philip, foure other boorded her; two on her larboord, and two on her starboard. The fight thus beginning at three of the clocke in the after noone, continued verie terrible all that euening. But the great San Philip hauing receyued the lower tire of the Reuenge, discharged with crossebarshot, shifted hir self with all diligence from her sides, vtterly misliking hir first entertainment. Some say that the shippe foundred, but wee cannot report it for truth, vnlesse we were assured. The Spanish ships were filled with companies of souldiers, in some two hundred besides the Marriners; in some fiue, in others eight hundreth. In ours there were none at all, beside the Marriners, but the seruants of the commanders and some fewe voluntarie Gentlemen only. After many enterchanged voleies of great ordinance and small shot, the Spaniards deliberated to 7 enter the Reuenge, and made diuers attempts, hoping ot force her by the multitudes of their armed souldiers and Musketiers, but were still repulsed againe and againe, and at all times beaten backe, into their owne shippes, or into the seas. In the beginning of the fight, the George Noble of London, hauing receiued some shot thorow her by the Armados, fell vnder the Lee of the Reuenge, and asked Syr Richard what he would command him, being but one of the victualers and of small force: Syr Richard bid him saue himselfe, and leaue him to his fortune. After the fight had thus without intermission, continued while the day lasted and some houres of the night, many of our men were slaine and hurt, and one of the great Gallions of the Armada, and the Admirall of the Hulkes both sunke, and in many other of the Spanish ships great slaughter was made. Some write that Sir Richard was verie dangerously hurt almost in the beginning of the fight, and laie speechlesse for a time ere he recouered. But two of the Reuenges owne companie, brought home in a ship of Lime from the Ilandes, examined by some of the Lordes, and others: affirmed that he was neuer so wounded as that hee forsooke the vpper decke, til an houre before midnight; and then being shot into the bodie with a Musket as hee was a dressing, was againe shot into the head, and withall his Chirugion wounded to death. This agreeth also with an examination taken by Syr Frances Godolphin, of 4. other Marriners of the same shippe being returned, which examination, the said Syr Frances sent vnto maister William Killigrue, of her Maiesties priuie Chamber.
But to return to the fight, the Spanish ships which attempted to board the Reuenge, as they were wounded and beaten of, so alwaies others came in their places, she 8 hauing neuer lesse then two mightie Gallions by her sides, and aboard her. So that ere the morning, from three of the clocke the day before, there had fifteene seuerall Armados assailed her; and all so ill approued their entertainment, as they were by the breake of day, far more willing to harken to a composition, then hastily to make any more assaults or entries. But as the day encreased, so our men decreased: and as the light grew more and more, by so much more grew our discomforts. For none appeared in sight but enemies, sauing one small ship called the Pilgrim, commanded by Iacob Whiddon, who houered all night to see the successe: but in the mornyng bearing with the Reuenge, was hunted like a hare amongst many rauenous houndes, but escaped.
All the powder of the Reuenge to the last barrell was now spent, all her pikes broken, fortie of her best men slaine, and the most part of the rest hurt. In the beginning of the fight she had but one hundreth free from sicknes, and fourescore and ten sicke, laid in hold vpon the Ballast. A small troupe to man such a ship, and a weake Garrison to resist so mighty an Army. By those hundred all was sustained, the voleis, bourdings, and entrings of fifteene shippes of warre, beside those which beat her at large. On the contrarie, the Spanish were alwaies supplied with souldiers brought from euerie squadron: all maner of Armes and pouder at will. Vnto ours there remained no comfort at all, no hope, no supply either of ships, men, or weapons; the mastes all beaten ouer board, all her tackle cut a sunder, her vpper worke altogither rased, and in effect euened shee was with the water, but the verie foundation or bottom of a ship, nothing being left ouer head either for flight or defence. Syr Richard finding himselfe 9 in this distresse, and vnable anie longer to make resistance, hauing endured in this fifteene houres fight, the assault of fifteene seuerall Armadoes, all by tornnes aboorde him, and by estimation eight hundred shot of great artillerie, besides manie assaults and entries. And that himself and the shippe must needes be possessed by the enemie, who were now all cast in a ring round about him; The Reuenge not able to moue one way or other, but as she was moued with the waues and billow of the sea: commanded the maister Gunner, whome he knew to be a most resolute man, to split and sinke the shippe; that thereby nothing might remaine of glorie or victorie to the Spaniards: seeing in so manie houres fight, and with so great a Nauie they were not able to take her, hauing had fifteene houres time, fifteene thousand men, and fiftie and three saile of men of warre to performe it withall. And perswaded the companie, or as manie as he could induce, to yeelde themselues vnto God, and to the mercie of none els; but as they had like valiant resolute men, repulsed so manie enimies, they should not now shorten the honour of their nation, by prolonging their owne lives for a few houres, or a few daies. The maister Gunner readilie condescended and diuers others; but the Captaine and the Maister were of an other opinion, and besought Sir Richard to haue care of them: alleaging that the Spaniard would be as readie to enertaine a composition, as they were willing to offer the same: and that there being diuerse sufficient and valiant men yet liuing, and whose woundes were not mortall, they might doe their countrie and prince acceptable seruice hereafter. And (that where Sir Richard had alleaged that the Spaniards should neuer glorie to haue taken one shippe of her Maiesties, seeing 10 that they had so long and so notably defended them selues) they answered, that the shippe had sixe foote water in hold, three shot vnder water which were so weakly stopped, as with the first working of the sea, she must needes sinke, and was besides so crusht and brused, as she could neuer be remoued out of the place.
And as the matter was thus in dispute, and Sir Richard refusing to hearken to any of those reasons: the maister of the Reuenge (while the Captaine wan vnto him the greater party) was conuoyde aborde the Generall Don Alfaonso Bassan. Who finding none ouer hastie to enter the Reuenge againe, doubting least S. Richard would haue blowne them vp and himself, and perceiuing by the report of the maister of the Reuenge his daungerous dispositon: yeelded that all their liues should be saued, the companie sent for England, and the better sorte to pay such reasonable ransome as their estate would beare, and in the meane season to be free from Gally or imprisonment. To this he so much the rather condescended as well as I haue saide, for feare of futher losse and mischiefe to them selues, as also for the desire hee had to recouer Sir Richard Grinuile; whom for his notable valure he seemed greatly to honour and admire.
When this answere was returned, and that safetie of life was promised, the common sort being now at the end of their perill, the most drew backe from Sir Richard and the maister Gunner, being no hard matter to diswade men from death to life. The maister Gunner finding him selfe and Sir Richard thus preuented and maistered by the greater number, would haue slaine himself with a sword, had he not beene by force withheld and locked into his Cabben. Then the Generall sent manie boates 11 abord the reuenge, and diuerse of our men fearing Sir Richards disposition, stole away aboorde the Generall and other shippes. Sir Richard thus ouermatched, was sent vnto by Alonso Bassan to remoue out of the Reuenge, the shippe being maruellous unsauerie, filled with bloud and bodies of deade, and wounded men like a slaughter house. Sir Richard answered that he might do with his bodie what he list, for he esteemed it not, and as he was carried out of the shippe he swounded, and reuiuing agine desired the companie to pray for him. The Generall vsed Sir Richard with all humanitie, and left nothing vnattempted that tended to his recouerie, highly commending his valour and worthines, and greatly bewailed the daunger wherein he was, beeing vnto them a rare spectacle, and a resolution sildome approued, to see one ship turne toward so many enemies, to endure the charge and boording of so many huge Armados, and to resist and repell the assaults and entries of so many souldiers. All which and more, is confirmed by a Spanish Captaine of the same Armada, and a present actor in the fight, who being seuered from the rest in a storm, was by the Lyon of London a small ship taken, and is now prisoner in London.
The generall commander of the Armada, was Don Alphonso Bassan, brother to the Marquesse of Santa Cruce. The Admirall of the Biscaine squadron, was Britan Dona. Of the squadron of Siuil, Marques of Arumburch. The Hulkes and Flybotes were commaunded by Luis Cutino. There were slaine and drowned in this fight, well neere two thousand of the enemies, and two especiall commanders Don Luis de sant Iohn, and Don George de Prunaria de Mallaga, as the Spanish Captain 12 confesseth, besides diuers others of speciall account, wherof as yet report is not made.
The Admirall of the Hulkes and the Ascention of Siuill, were both suncke by the side of the Reuenge; one other recouered the rode of Saint Michels, and suncke also there; a fourth ranne her selfe with the shore to saue her men. Syr Richard died as it is said, the second or third day aboard the Generall, and was by them greatly bewailed. What became of his bodie, whether it were buried in the sea or on the lande wee know not: the comfort that remaineth to his friendes is, that he hath ended his life honourably in respect of the reputation wonne to his nation and country, and of the same to his posteritie, and that being dead, he hath not outliued his owne honour.
For the rest of her Maiesties ships that entred not so far into the fight as the Reuenge, the reasons and causes were these. There were of them but six in all, wherof two but smal ships; the Reuenge ingaged past recouerie: The Iland of Flores was on the side, 53. saile of the Spanish, diuided into squadrons on the other, all as full filled with soldiers as they could containe. Almost the one halfe of our men sicke and not able to serue: the ships growne foule, vnroomaged, and scarcely able to beare anie saile for want of ballast, hauing been sixe moneths at the sea before. If al the rest had entred, all had been lost. For the verie hugenes of the Spanish fleet, if no other violence had been offred, would haue crusht them between them into shiuers. Of which the dishonour and losse to the queene had been far greater than the spoile or harme that the enemy could any way haue receiued. Notwithstanding it is verie true, that the Lord Thomas would 13 haue entred betweene the squadrons, but the rest wold not condescend; and the maister of his owne ship offred to leape Into the sea, rather then to conduct that her Maiesties ship and the rest to be a praie to the enemy, where there was no hope nor possibilitie either of defence or victorie. Which also in my opinion had il sorted or answered the discretion and trust of a Generall, to commit himselfe and his charge to an assured destruction, without hope or any likelihood of preuailing: therby to diminshe the strength of her Maiesties Nauy, and to enrich the pride and glorie of the enemie. The Foresight of the Queenes commanded by M. Th. Vauisor, performed a verie great fight, and stayd two houres as neere the Reuenge as the wether wold permit him, not forsaking the fight, till hee was like to be encompassed by the squadrons, and with great difficultie cleared himself. The rest gave diuers voleies of shot, and entred as far as the place permitted and their own necessities, to keep the weather gage of the enemy, vntill they were parted by night. A fewe daies after the fight was ended, and the English prisoners dispersed into the Spanish and Indy ships, there arose so great a storme from the West and Northwest that all the fleet was dispersed, as well the Indian fleet which were then come vnto them as the rest of the Armada that attended their arriuall, of which 14. saile togither with the Reuenge, and in her 200. Spaniards, were cast away vpon the Isle of S. Michaels. So it pelased them to honor the buriall of that renowned ship the Reuenge, suffring her to perish alone, for the great honour she acheiued in her life time. On the rest of the Ilandes there were cast away in this storme, 15. or 16. more of the ships of war; and of a hundred and odde saile 14 of the Indie fleet, expected this yeere in Spaine, what in this tempest, and what before in the bay of Mexico, and about the Bermudas there were 70. and odde consumed and lost, with those taken by our ships of London, besides one varie rych Indian shippe, which set her self on fire, being boorded by the Pilgrim, and fiue other taken by Maister Wats his ships of London, between the Hauana and Cape S. Antonio. The 4. of this month of Nouember, we receiued letters from the Tercera, affirming yat there are 3000. bodies of men remaining in that Iland saued out of the perished ships: and that by the Spaniards own confession, there are 10000. cast away in this storm, besides those that are perished betweene the Ilands and the maine. Thus it hath pleased God to fight for vs,and to defend the iustice of our cause, against the ambicious and bloudy pretenses of the Spaniard, who seeking to deuour all nations, are themselues deuoured. A manifest testimonie how iniust and displeasing, their attempts are in the sight of God, who hath pleased to witnes by the successe of their affaires, his mislike of their bloudy and iniurious designes, purposed and practised against all Christian Princes, ouer whom they seeke vnlawfull and vngodly rule and Empery.
One day or two before this wrack hapned to the spanish fleet, when as some of our prisoners desired to be set on shore vpon the Ilands, hoping to be from thense transported into England, which libertie was formerly by the Generall promised: One Morice Fitz Iohn, sonne of old Iohn of Desmond a notable traitor, cousen german to the late Earle of Desmond, was sent to the English from ship to ship, to persuade them to serue the King of Spaine. The arguments he vsed to induce them, were these. The 15 increase of pay which he promised to bee trebled; aduancement to the better sort: and the exercise of the true Catholicke religion, and safetie of their soules to all. For the first, euen the beggerly and vnnaturall behauiour of those English and Irish rebels, that serued the King in that present action, was sufficient to answere that first argument of rich paie. For so poore and beggerly they were, as for want of apparel they stripped their poore country men prisoners out of their ragged garments, worne to nothing by six months seruice, and spared not to despoile them euen of their bloudie shirts, from their wounded bodies, and the very shooes from their feete; A notable testimonie of their rich entertainment and great wages. The second reason was hope of aduancement if they served well, and would continue faithfull to the King. But what man can be so blockishly ignorant euer to expect place or honour from a forraine king, hauing no argument or perswasion then his owne disloyaltie; to bee vnnaturall to his owne countrie that bredde him; to his parents that begat him, and rebellious to his true prince, to whose obedience he is bound by othe, by nature, by religion. No, they are onely assured to be imployed in all desperate enteprises, to be held in scorne and disdaine euer among those whom they serue. And that euer traitor was either trusted or aduanced I could neuer yet reade, neither can I at this time remember any example. And no man could haue lesse becommed the place of an Orator for such a purpose, then this Morice of Desmond. For the Earle his cosen being one of the greatest subjects in that kingdom of Ireland, hauing almost whole countries in his possession; so many goodly manners, Castles, and Lordships; the Count Palatine of Kerry, fiue hundred 16 gentlemen of his owne name and familie to follow him, besides others. All which he possessed in peace for three or foure hundred yeares: was in lesse then three yeares after his adhering to the Spaniards and rebellion, beaten from all his holdes, not so many as ten gentlemen of his name left liuing, him selfe taken and beheaded by a souldiour of his owne nation, and his land giuen by a Parlament to her Maiestie, and possessed by the English. His other Cosen Sir Iohn of Desmond taken by M. Iohn Zouch, and his body hanged ouer the gates of his natiue citie to bee deuoured by Rauens: the third brother of Sir Iames hanged, drawne, and quartered in the same place. If he had withall vaunted of this success of his owne house, no doubt the argument woulde haue moued much, and wrought great effect; which because he for that present forgot, I thought it good to remember in his behalfe. For matter of religion it would require a particuler volume, if I should set downe how irreligiously they couer their greedy and ambicious pretences, with that vayle of pietie. But sure I am, that there is no kingdom or common wealth in all Europe, but if they bee reformed, they then inuade it for religion sake: if it be, as they terme Catholike, they pretende title; as if the Kinges of Castile were the naturall heires of all the worlde: and so betweene both, no kingdom is vnsought. Where they dare not with their own forces to inuade, they basely entertaine the traitors and vacabondes of all nations; seeking by those and by their runnagate Iesuits to win partes, and haue by that meane ruined many Noble houses and others in this land, and haue extinguished both their liues and families. What good, honour, or fortune euer man yet by them achiued, is yet vnheard of, or vnwritten. And if our English 17 Papists do but looke into Portugall, against whom they haue no pretence of religion, how the Nobilitie are put to death, imprisoned, their rich men made a pray, and all sortes of people captiued; they shall find that the obedience euen of the Turke is easie and a libertie, in respect of the slauerie and tyrannie of Spaine. What they haue done in Sicill, in Naples, Millayne, and in the low countries; who hath there beene spared for religion at all? And it commeth to my remembrance of a certaine Burger of Antwerpe, whose house being entred by a companie of Spanish souldiers, when they first sacked the Citie, hee besought them to spare him and his goodes, being a good Catholike, and one of their owne partie and faction. The Spaniardes answered, that they knew him to be of a good conscience for him selfe, but his money, plate, iewels, and goodes were all hereticall, and therfore good prize. So they abused and tormented the foolish Flemming, who hoped that an Agnus Dei had beene a sufficient Target against all force of that holie and charitable nation. Neither haue they at any time as they protest inuaded the kingdomes of the Indies and Peru, and els where, but onely led thereunto, rather, to reduce the people to Christianitie, then for either golde or emperie. When as in one onely Iland called Hispaniola, they haue wasted thirtie hundred thousand of the naturall people, besides manie millions els in other places of the Indies: a poore and harmelesse people created of God, and might haue beene won to his knowledge, as many of them were, and almost as manie as euer were perswaded thereunto. The Storie wherof is at large written by a Bishop of their owne nation called Bartholome de las Casas, and translated into English and manie other languages, intituled The Spanish cruelties. 18 Who would therefore repose trust in such a nation of rauinous straungers, and especially in those Spaniardes which more greedily thirst after English bloud, then after the liues of anie other people of Europe; for the manie ouerthrowes and dishonours they haue receiued at our handes, whose weaknesse we haue discouered to the world, and whose forces at home, abroad, in Europe, in India, by sea and land; we haue euen with handfulles of men and shippes, ouerthrowne and dishonoured. Let not therefore anie English man of what religion soueuer, haue other opinion of the Spaniards, but that those whom hee seeketh to winne of our nation, hee esteeemeth base and traiterous, vnworthie persons, or vnconstant fooles: and that he vseth his pretence of religion, for no other purpose, but to bewitch vs from the obedience of our naturall prince; thereby hoping in time to bring vs to slauerie and subiection, and then none shall be vnto them so odious, and disdained as the traitours themselves, who haue solde their countrie to a straunger, and forsaken their faith and obedience contrarie to nature or religion; and contrarie to that humane and generall honour, not onely of Christians, but of heathen and irreligious nations, who haue alwaies sustained what labour soeuer, and embraced euen death it selfe, for their countrie, prince or common-wealth. To conclude, it hath euer to this day pleased God, to prosper and defend her Maiestie, to breake the purposes of malicious enimies, of foresworne traitours, and of iniust practises and inuasions. She hath euer beene honoured of the worthiest Kinges, serued by faithfull subiects, and shall by the fauour of God, resist, repell, and confound all whatsoever attempts against her sacred Person or kingdome. In the meane time, let the Spaniard and traitour 19 vaunt of ther successe; and we her true and obedient vassalles guided by the shining light of her vertues, shall alwaies loue her, serue her, and obey her to the end of our liues.
THIS EDITION OF RALEIGH'S LAST FIGHT OF THE REVENGE AT SEA WAS PRINTED BY HAND FROM TYPE AT THE RIVERSIDE PRESS, CAMBRIDGE IN FEBRUARY, MDCCCCII.
IT CONSISTS OF THREE HUNDRED NUMBERED COPIES, PUBLISHED BY HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY BOSTON, NEW YORK AND CHICAGO.