« ElőzőTovább »
walk : there they found threescore old men, privy counsellors to the king, and on each side of the door without stood four old men of foreign countries, who served as interpreters in commerce.
In a short time the king came from the castle, dressed in cloth of gold, with his hair woven into gold rings, a chain of gold upon his neck, and on his hands rings very artificially set with diamonds and jewels of great value ; over his head was borne a rich canopy: and by his chair of state, on which he sat down when he had entered the house, stood a page with a fan set with sapphires, to moderate the excess of the heat. Here he received the com pliments of the English, and then honourably dismissed them.
The castle, which they had some opportunity of observing, seemed of no great force ; it was built by the Portuguese, who, attempting to reduce this kingdom into an absolute subjection, murdered the king, and intended to pursue their scheme by the destruction of all his sons; but the general abhorrence, which cruelty and perfidy naturally excite, armed all the nation against them, and procured their total expulsion from all the dominions of Ternate, which, from that time increasing in power, continued to make new conquests, and to deprive them of other acquisitions.
While they lay before Ternate, a gentleman came on board attended by his interpreter. dressed somewhat in the European manner, and soon distinguished himself from the natives of Ternate, or any other country that they had seen, by
civility and apprehension. Such a visitant may easily be imagined to excite their curiosity, which he gratified by informing them that he was a native of China, of the family of the king then reigning; and that being accused of a capital crime, of which, though he was innocent, he had not evidence to clear himself, he had petitioned the king that he might not be exposed to a trial, but that his cause might be referred to Divine Providence, and that he might be allowed to leave his country, with a prohibition against returning, unless Heaven, in attestation of his innocence, should enable him to bring back to the king some intelligence that might be to the honour and advantage of the empire of China. In search of such information he had now spent three years, and had left Tidore for the sake of conversing with the English general, from whom he hoped to receive such accounts as would enable him to return with honour and safety.
Drake willingly recounted all his adventures and observations, to which the Chinese exile listened with the utmost attention and delight, and, having fixed them in his mind, thanked God for the knowledge he had gained. He then proposed to the English general to conduct him to China, recounting, by way of invitation, the wealth, extent, and felicity of that empire; but Drake could not be induced to prolong
He therefore set sail on the 9th of November in quest of some convenient harbour, in a desert island, to refit his ship, not being willing, as it seems, to trust the generosity of the king of Ternate. Five days afterwards he found a very commodious harbour
in an island overgrown with wood, where he repaired his vessel and refreshed his men without danger or interruption.
Leaving this place the 12th of December, they sailed towards the Celebes; but, having a wind not very favourable, they were detained among a multitude of islands, mingled with dangerous shallows, till January 9, 1580. When they thought themselves clear, and were sailing forwards with a strong gale, they were at the beginning of the night. surprised in their course by a sudden shock, of which the cause was easily discovered, for they were thrown upon a shoal, and by the speed of their course fixed too fast for any hope of escaping. Here even the intrepidity of Drake was shaken, and his dexterity baffled; but his piety, however, remained still the same, and what he could not now promise himself from his own ability, he hoped from the assistance of Providence. The pump was plied, and the ship found free from new leaks.
The next attempt was to discover towards the sea some place where they might fix their boat, and from thence drag the ship into deep water; but upon examination it appeared that the rock, on which they had struck, rose perpendicularly from the water, and that there was no anchorage, nor any bottom to be found a boat's length from the ship. But this discovery, with its consequences, was by Drake wisely concealed from the common sailors, lest they should abandon themselves to despair, for which there was, indeed, cause; there being no prospect left but that they must there sink with the ship,
which must undoubtedly be soon dashed to pieces, or perish in attempting to reach the shore in their boat, or be cut in pieces by barbarians if they should arrive at land.
In the midst of this perplexity and distress, Drake directed that the sacrament should be administered, and his men fortified with all the consolation which religion affords ; then persuaded them to lighten the vessel by throwing into the sea part of their lading, which was cheerfully complied with, but without effect. At length, when their hopes had forsaken them, and no new struggles could be made, they were on a sudden relieved by a remission of the wind, which, having hitherto blown strongly against the side of the ship which lay towards the sea, held it úpright against the rock ; but when the blast slackened (being then low water) the ship lying higher with that part which rested on the rock than with the other, and being borne up no longer by the wind, reeled into the deep water, to the surprise and joy of Drake and his companions.
This was the greatest and most inextricable distress which they had ever suffered, and made such an impression upon their minds, that for some time afterwards they durst not adventure to spread their sails, but went slowly forward with the utmost circumspection.
They thus continued their course without any observable occurrence, till on the 11th of March, they came to an anchor before the island of Java, and, sending to the king a present of cloth and silks, received from him, in return, a large quan
tity of provisions; and the day following Drake went himself on shore, and entertained the king with his musick, and obtained leave to store his ship with provisions.
The island is governed by a great number of petty kings, or raias, subordinate to one chief; of these princes three came on board together a few days after their arrival; and, having upon their return recounted the wonders which they had seen, and the civility with which they had been treated, incited others to satisfy their curiosity in the same manner; and raia Donan, the chief king, came himself to view the ship, with the warlike armaments and instruments of navigation.
This intercourse of civilities somewhat retarded the business for which they came; but at length they not only victualled their ship, but cleansed the bottom, which, in the long course, was overgrown with a kind of shell-fish that impeded her passage.
Leaving Java on March 26, they sailed homewards by the Cape of Good Hope, which they saw on June the 5th; on the 15th of August passed the Tropic; and on the 26th of September arrived at Plymouth, where they found that, by passing through so many different climates, they had lost a day in their account of time, it being Sunday by their journal, but Monday by the general computation.
In this hazardous voyage they had spent two years, ten months, and some odd days; but were recompensed for their toils by great riches, and the