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the hope of obtaining honour for themselves and their king.
The author who thus describes the manner in which the Spanish naval service was at that time conducted, had formed no favourable opinion of the English nation. They were a people, he says, very unlike all other nations; which he accounted for by the nature of the tribes from whom they sprung, and by that of their country, which abounded with food, and was rich in metals ; by their numbers, the land being exceeding populous, as well as of great extent; and by their maritime situation, by reason whereof they feared no other nation ; neither did they love peace, or ever desire to be at peace, for in times of peace it went ill with them at home: they were too many for the land, and all could not be maintained then; wherefore, when at any time they made peace, and the king gave his safe conduct to foreign merchants, it was very seldom regarded. And it was because king Richard had concluded a perpetual peace with France, he says, that his subjects had deposed him, and put him somewhere, where he never afterwards appeared, alive or dead. † When, however, in their attempt at crossing the Channel, the galleys met with bad weather, and after great danger put back to the French coast, some of the adventurers observed, that God favoured that vile people the English; though they comforted themselves with thinking that it was because of their own sins, and that though they were sinners the English were worse, and, therefore, better success might be hoped for.
The weather became favourable; they made the coast of Cornwall, captured some fishing boats, obtained from the fishermen such information as they wanted, and proceeded to attack an unfortified town, which the writer calls Chita, and describes as built on the side of a hill,
*Cronica del Conde D. Pero Niño, part ii. c. 22. The editor observes, in his preface to the only edition of this work that has ever appeared, that it contains a much fuller and clearer account of the Spanish marine in those times than is to be found in all the chronicles of the kings.
† Ib. c. 18, 19.
+ Ib. c. 22.
A CORNISH TOWN PLUNDERED AND BURNT. 25
with all its streets leading to the water: the place contained about 300 houses, and was very rich, being inhabited wholly by merchants and fishermen. The entrance of the port was difficult; for the tide retired with such force that the galleys would neither answer to the oars nor rudder, till it had carried them in about the distance of a crossbow-shot, when they found themselves in a port which was safe in all winds. Here they landed, slew or captured many of the inhabitants, who made a brave resistance, plundered and burnt the place, took two ships, and sent these with their lading and the spoils to Harfleur. No time was lost in this work of destruction; and it was well for the assailants that they made such speed, as they themselves acknowledged, when they saw in what numbers the country people came to assist their neighbours, and with what spirit they attacked the galleys with stones and arrows from both sides of the mouth of the harbour as they went out.*
They proceeded to Falmouth, where a good body of men at arms and archers were in readiness to oppose a landing. Pero Niño proposed to land, because he saw it seemed good fighting ground, and, moreover, it was necessary to land because they wanted water; but Mosen Charles (as the Spaniard calls the French commander) was of opinion, that, considering the disparity of their own numbers, with those whom they saw drawn up to resist them, the attempt ought not to be hazarded. A mistake on the part of the French, that this was the place where the sieur du Chastelt had been defeated and slain, had its effect in deterring them this day; and warm words ensued between the captain and Pero Niño: but when the latter had given up his intended enterprise, the mutual regard which they entertained for each
*Cronica del Conde D. Pero Niño, part ii. c. 23.
Gutierre Diez interrupts his own narration here to give an account of this knight, Mosen Guillen del Castel he calls him, and of his exploits and death porque de tan valiente è tan fuerte caballero como el fue en este mundo, razon es de facer grand mencion en las historias de los nobles Caballeros quando á caso vinieren (p. 99.). He makes no mention of the part which the Devonshire women had in his defeat.
other, and the sense of their common interest, soon reconciled them. They stood out to sea that night, being in fear of meeting an English fleet; on the morrow turned back along the coast, till they came to Plymouth: a good town it was at that time, and with a good fortress, where there was no landing against the will of the inhabitants, except at some distance from the place, which, if attacked from the land side, was not strong. It stood upon the banks of the river, about a gunshot from the sea, and there was a bridge of boats laid across the river, like that at Seville, some seven or eight barks sufficing. There were many vessels lying there, which, upon sight of the Spaniards, drew up to the bridge. The adventurers entered the river, hoping to capture, or at least set fire to some of these; but such a fire* was opened upon them from the town, that they found it necessary to make off with all speed, lest the galleys should be sunk. Both artillery and the old engines appear to have been in use here: a stone is said to have been projected to twice the height of a tower, and to have fallen in the sea half a league off.†
Their next attempt was upon the Isle of Portland, where they landed in the hope of carrying off some cattle, and what other booty they could find. The islanders, who were few and ill-armed, saw the galleys in time to retire into the caves, which they had converted into places of security or shelter on such occasions. The marauders made but few prisoners, and were soon recalled by sound of trumpet to their vessels; for the tide having gone out, archers and men at arms were hastening thither from the main land. Before they withdrew, the French set fire to some of the houses; but the Spaniards took no part in this, and prevented their friends from doing more mischief in this way, because the people were poor, and it was their captain's will that they should never thus make war against the weak; a rule, however, which neither he thought proper to que los de las galeras cuida
* Lanzaron tantas bombardas é truenos ron ser anegados.
† Cronica del Conde D. Pero Niño, part ii. c. 23, 24.
enforce nor they to observe at all times. When the two commanders saw that they could not prevent succours from entering the island, they landed to support their men, and there was sharp-shooting from the archers on one side and the arbalisters on the other, arrows falling as thick as snow till night came on, and the invaders reimbarked. From thence they coasted on, landing for wood and water, and to carry off cattle, and to burn the houses and the standing corn, till Pero Niño learned that he was not far from Poole. "This place," says the chronicler, "belongs to a knight called Arripay, who scours the seas, as a corsair, with many ships, plundering all the Spanish and French vessels that he could meet with. This Arripay came often upon the coast of Castille, and carried away many ships and barks; and he scoured the channel of Flanders so powerfully, that no vessel could pass that way without being taken. This Arripay burnt Gijon and Finesterra, and carried off the crucifix from Santa Maria de Finesterra, which was famous as being the holiest in all those parts, (as in truth it was, for I have seen it,) and much more damage he did in Castille, taking many prisoners, and exacting ransoms; and though other armed ships came there from England likewise, he it was who came oftenest.' It is edifying to perceive that every nation regarded this sort of piratical warfare, when it was carried on by their enemies, in its proper light, and yet all pursued it in the same spirit themselves! The sea captain, whose name when thus Hispaniolised looks as if it belonged to an Indian cacique, is no other than the Henry Paye of the English chroniclers.
Pero Niño no sooner heard that he was near Arripay's place of abode, than he determined to return the visits which that corsair, as he deemed him, had paid to the Spanish coast. Accordingly they entered the harbour, and came at daybreak in sight of Poole. The town was not walled, and a handsome tower with a cupolat, which
* Cronica del Conde D. Pero Niño, part ii. c. 25, 26.
+ Una fermosa torre cubierta de una capella de estaño, redonda toda entera á facion de una taza.
the chronicler describes, must have been erected for the sake of the view which it commanded over that beautiful inlet, not for defence. Here, as at Falmouth, the French commander thought it would be rash to attempt a landing; and when the Spaniard, as if the honour of his country required him to take some vengeance here, persisted in his purpose, Mosen Charles forbade any of his people to land with him. The Spaniards landed under the command of Pero's kinsman, Fernando Niño, with orders not to encumber themselves with plunder, but to plant their banner before the place, and set the houses on fire. One large building was maintained awhile against them; but when, after a stout resistance, they forced an entrance, the defendants escaped at the back part; and here the invaders found arms and sea stores of all kinds: they carried off what they could, and then set the storehouse on fire. By this time the English had collected, in some force, archers and men-atarms; and having put themselves in array, they came so near that it might well be seen, says Gutierre Diez, who was of a ruddy complexion and who of a dark one. They had taken the doors out of the houses, which they contrived, by means of supports, to place before them as pavaises, to protect them against the crossbow-shot. Under this cover the archers kept up a brisk discharge with such effect that the arbalisters dared not expose themselves, while they stooped to charge their arbalists. Many were wounded, and those whose armour protected them are described as fledged with arrows. Pero Niño seeing his people in danger, and that they were beginning to fall back*, landed with the rest of his men ; and the French then, notwithstanding their previous determination, hastened with all speed, like brave men, to support him. He set up the cry of Santiago, Santiago! and the English, who by their enemies' account fought
* Gutierre Diez has not failed to expatiate here upon the importance and danger of a standard bearer's office. Without directly extolling himself, he lets the reader understand that he stood that day a mark for the archers, like another St. Sebastian, but with this difference-que le mamparaban las buenas armas que tenia, aunque en algunos lugares yá eran falsadas.