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and in the same moment Don Augustine de Villa Neuva, a Spaniard whom he had treated with the utmost courtesy, felt in his sleeve for a dagger to assassinate him: but one Chamberlayne, who waited at table, perceived the motion in time to stop his hand. Having secured his treacherous guest, he instantly flew upon deck, and perceiving the Spanish troops boarding one of his ships, exclaimed with ardour, "God and Saint George fall upon these traitors, and rescue the Minion: I trust in God the day shall be ours." Upon which his crew boarded the Minion, drove out the Spaniards, and fired a shot into the viceadmiral, which it is imagined passed through the powder-room, as three hundred Spaniards on board were blown up. Another shot set fire to the Spanish Admiral, which continued burning for half an hour. But this dreadful havock was unhappily retaliated upon the English on shore, of whom three only escaped by swimming to their ships. Hawkins, though overpowered, continued the engagement even after the ordnance of the fort had sunk his small vessels, at the peril of his life; telling his men to fear nothing, for God who had preserved him in the midst of the enemies' shot, would also deliver them all from those traitors and villains the Spaniards.' At length, the masts and rigging of his own ship, the Jesus, being so shattered by the artillery of the fort that it was impossible to bring her off, it was resolved to place her as a screen to the Minion till night, and subsequently to abandon her. But soon afterward two Spanish fire-ships bearing down upon the latter, the crew, without waiting for orders, hove away from the Jesus with so much precipitation, that it was with extreme difficulty Hawkins was received on board. Of his followers, a few only reached the
Minion, the rest falling victims to the cruelty of the foe.
The Spanish fleet suffered greatly in the action. The admiral and vice-admiral were rendered unfit for service, and four other ships were totally destroyed. Of the English, the Minion, crowded with hands from the Jesus and some of the other ships, remained at sea, in want of provisions and water for their numerous complement till the eighth of October, 1569, when they entered a creek in the bay of Mexico in search of refreshments. This was near the mouth of the river Tampico, and here upward of a hundred of the crew requested to be put on shore, preferring the doubtful result of barbarian hospitality* to the apparent certainty of perishing by famine before the ship could reach a friendly port.
Captain Hawkins with the remainder of his men, consisting likewise of about one hundred, sailed through the Gulf of Florida about the latter end of October; and after incurring the risk of being seized at a Spanish port, which they were obliged to enter for provisions, got safe to Vigo, where they met with
* These unhappy people endured every species of human misery. A few of them were killed, and others wounded, by the Indians on their march up the country; but when the savages found they were not Spaniards, they treated them kindly, and directed them to the port of Tampico. Here, they divided; and the major part unfortunately marching westward fell into the hand of the governors of different Spanish settlements, by whom they were inhumanly treated and sold to slavery. Some were burnt, and others tortured, as heretics; and out of sixty-five persons, we have no certain account of the return of any to their native country, except that of Job Hortop gunner of the Jesus, who after a long imprisonment in the dungeons of the Inquisition arrived in England in 1590, having endured incredible hardships for twenty-three years.
some English ships. From them they received full supplies, and in January, 1570, reached their native shore; Hawkins having suffered greatly in his fortune by the loss of his merchandise, and his compamions having saved nothing but their lives.
To indemnify him for his fatigues, Elizabeth promoted him to an office at home, admirably suited to his capacity: he was in 1573 made Treasurer of the Navy. In virtue of this post, which gave him the chief direction of the royal docks, he exerted himself to keep the marine upon a respectable footing; more ships being built and repaired during his exercise of the function, than had ever been known in England within the same period. It was, likewise, part of his duty to take the command of squadrons fitted out for the purpose of clearing the narrow seas of pirates: and this he discharged so effectually, that the merchants returned him their formal thanks for the protection afforded to commercial navigation, in 1575.
From this time to the year 1588, nothing memorable is recorded concerning him, except an accident, which occurred as he was walking in the Strand. A lunatic,* mistaking him for Sir Christopher Hatton, suddenly stabbed him in the back. He recovered, however, to bear a glorious part in the memorable engagement with the Armada; in which, as RearAdmiral, he chased the flying Spaniards with such success, that the Queen publicly applauded his con
*This desperate wretch was committed to the Tower, where he killed his keeper with a billet brought to him for firing; and being tried and condemned for the murther, he was executed in the Strand near the place where he had wounded Captain Haw kins.
duct, and conferred upon him the honour of knighthood.
The war continuing, a grand expedition was meditated to annoy the coasts of Spain, and at the same time to defray the expenses and reward the valour of the enterprise by intercepting the Plate-fleet. An armament of ten ships of the line was fitted out for these purposes, and divided into two squadrons of five sail each, with instructions to act in concert, though each squadron had a separate commander. Upon this occasion, Sir Martin Frobisher was joined in commission with Sir John Hawkins.
Sir Martin Frobisher, a native of Yorkshire, had been put apprentice by his parents (who were of low degree) to the master of a coasting-vessel, and was distinguished early in life as an able seaman. He subsequently obtained recommendations to Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, who with other persons of rank and fortune patronised an enterprise, which Frobisher had long meditated, of discovering a north-west passage to the EastIndies. Being provided with three small vessels at the expense of his patrons, he sailed from Deptford in 1576, and in 61° N. lat. discovered high points of land covered with snow; but he was not able to approach the shore on account of the quantity of ice, and the impossibility of casting anchor from the depth of the water. He gave the title of Queen Elizabeth's Foreland,' however, to the eastern promontory of the coast.
In the month of August, he entered the Straits lying to the northward of Cape Farewell and West-Greenland, in 63° N. lat.; these he named Frobisher's Straits,' and so they still continue to be called. But his endeavours to open an intercourse with the natives on the coast proved unsuccessful, the Indians seizing his men and his boats; and having either by storms or hostilities lost two of his vessels, he returned to England in the October following. Though the chief object of his voyage however remained unaccomplished, the discovery of the situation of these places proved highly beneficial to later navigators.
Frobisher in two subsequent voyages (in 1577, and 1578) with great perseverance attempted to approach nearer to the North
The King of Spain, gaining early intelligence of the strength and destination of this armament, at first proposed to oppose it with a more formidable fleet; but his council judiciously concluding that Elizabeth, with her powerful navy, would speedily reinforce her two admirals if she found it requisite, advised the sending of expresses overland to India, to order the Plate-fleet to remain in port. Thus circumstanced, the English commanders cruized off the Azores for seven months without taking a single ship. At
Pole; but being the first adventurer, his observations (as it frequently happens) served rather for instructions to his successors, than as monuments of his own reputation. His unpolished manners, indeed, might probably intercept the good fortune, which he had promised himself in these enterprises; for he was extremely rigid in his discipline, and more dreaded than beloved by his followers. With this cast of temper, his success was more signal in military conflicts, than in attempts to traffic, or to establish a friendly communication with the nations he visited. Accordingly, he distinguished himself against the Spanish Armada, and was knighted on the recommendation of the Lord Admiral in 1588.
In 1592, he commanded a squadron of three ships, fitted out at the expense of Sir Walter Ralegh and his friends, with instructions to watch the arrival of the Plate-fleet on the coast of Spain; upon which occasion he burned one galleon richly laden, and brought home another.
Two years afterward the Queen sent him to assist Henry IV. of France against his rebellious subjects the Leaguers and the Spaniards, who had gained possession of part of Bretagne, and had strongly fortified themselves at Croyzon near Brest. Frobisher with four ships of the line blocked up the port, while Sir John Norris with 3,000 infantry attacked the place by land; which, however, would not have been carried, unless the Admiral had landed his sailors to aid in the assault. In this struggle, Frobisher received a musket-ball in his side, and by the mismanagement of the surgeon the wound proving mortal, he died a few days after his arrival at Plymouth.