Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 15.djvu/436

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Drake
Drake
430

in question, may be accepted as conclusive evidence that the justice and legality ot the sentence were admitted.

Before leaving Port St. Julian the Swan, the Christopher, and the prize, being no longer seaworthy, were broken up for firewood, and on 20 Aug. the squadron, now reduced to three ships, entered the Straits of Magellan, a point in the voyage which Drake celebrated by changing the name of his own ship, Pelican, to Golden Hind, in reference to the crest of his friend and patron Sir Christopher Hatton. They were now in difficult and utterly unknown navigation, never before attempted by Englishmen ; but the passage was safely made in sixteen days, Drake himself from time to time going ahead in a boat to act as pioneer and guide (Vaux, p. 77). As they got clear of the straits, however, a furious storm swept them towards the south. For fifty-two days they vainly struggled against its violence. The Marigold was overwhelmed by the sea and went down with all hands. The Elizabeth lost sight of the Admiral ; and ' partly through the negligence of those that had the charge of her, partly through a kind of desire that some in her had to be out of these troubles, and to be at home again' (ib. p. 84), partly also perhaps because, no exact rendezvous having been given, there seemed little prospect of again joining the Admiral, Wynter, on making the entrance to the straits on 8 Oct., resolved to return home. He arrived in England on 2 June 1579. The Golden Hind was meantime driven south as far as 57° S., and in this way may be said to have virtually solved the problem of the continuance of the land, which had been till then supposed to extend southwards to unknown regions. Numerous islands they sighted, the most southern of which Drake named Elizabeth Island. Modern geographers have pretended to identify it with Cape Horn, but of this there is no evidence whatever, and we may doubt whether at that time the Golden Hind was ever so far to the eastward.

It was 28 Oct. before the violence of the wind moderated, so as to permit them to lay their course for more temperate climes. Their progress, however, was slow, and their charts, which, though not perhaps wilfully falsified, were extremely inaccurate, led them astray far to the westward. It was 25 Nov. before they anchored at Mocha, an island in lat. 38° 21’S., well stocked with cattle, where they hoped to get provisions and water, and to refresh the men with a run on shore ; but the inhabitants,mistaking them for Spaniards, attacked them savagely, killed two and severely wounded the rest of those who had landed, to the number of ten, including Drake himself, who was shot in the face by an arrow, `with no small danger to his life.' The surgeon of the Golden Hind was dead; the Elizabeth had carried off the other;' none was left but a boy whose goodwill was more than any skill he had.' Drake himself had fortunately some simple knowledge of surgery, and under his treatment the wounded men all recovered. He did not, however, attempt to take any revenge on the Indians, chiefly, no doubt, being ' more desirous to preserve one of his own men alive than to destroy a hundred of his enemies,' but also as feeling that the attack was due to a mistake, the natives not having knowledge of any white men except Spaniards. So putting to sea, an Indian fisherman showed them the way to Valparaiso, where from the Spanish storehouses and a ship in the harbour they plentifully provisioned themselves, taking also a ` certain quantity of fine gold and a great cross of gold beset with emeralds on which was nailed a god of the same metal.' Afterwards, keeping in with the coast, everywhere inquiring, but in vain, about the missing ships, plundering when opportunity offered, capturing also several vessels, on board one of which they found a pilot, by name Colchero, and a number of charts, which in seas utterly unknown to the English had an extreme value, they arrived on 15 Feb. 1579 off Callao. Here, as the centre of the civilisation of the South Sea, they had hoped to get some news of their missing consorts. In this, of course, they were unsuccessful, but having ` intelligence of a certain rich ship, loaden with gold and silver for Panama,' which had sailed on 2 Feb., they made haste to follow, first cutting the cakes of all the ships lying at Callao and letting them drift out to sea, so as to prevent them giving an alarm. On 1 March, off Cape Francisco, they fell in with their expected prize, the 'certain rich ship' named the Cacafuego, or in equivalent English Spitfire, captured her without much difficulty, and eased her of her precious cargo to such an extent that, as they dismissed her, her pilot is reported to have grimly said, ` Our name should be no longer Cacafuego but Cacaplata.' The booty consisted of 26 tons of silver, 80lb. of gold, thirteen chests of money, and ` a certain quantity of jewels and precious stones,' valued in all at from 150,000l. to 200,000l. (Burney, i. 338n.) The amount, however, grew enormously in public estimation, and a hundred years later it was currently said and believed that they took out of her ` twelve score tons of plate ; insomuch that they were forced to heave much of it overboard, because their ship could not