You have your own aromatic

You have your own aromatic

was the completion

2017-05-09 11:30:44 | Experience

So whilst his factors were busy at Acheen buying a cargo, he betook himself to the Straits of Malacca, the gateway for the shipping which voyaged between61 the Pacific and the Indian Ocean; and before long he had descried a fine Portuguese craft of 900 tons called the St Thomé. It was a little unfortunate that the day was nearly spent, as that meant that the enemy might possibly escape under cover of darkness. “And being toward night,” wrote one who was there at the time, “a present direction was given that we should all spread our selves a mile and a halfe one from another, that she might not passe us in the night.” So the four English ships did as the admiral wished them. The Hector shot two or three “peeces of ordnance,” and this warned the other three ships, who now closed in and surrounded the Portuguese carack on all sides. Then the Red Dragon began to fire at her from the bow guns, with the satisfactory result that the carack’s main-yard came tumbling down.

That was deemed enough for the present: it would be better to wait till the night had passed, thought Lancaster, for he feared “least some unfortunate shot might light betweene wind and water, and so sinke her,” which would mean that her valuable cargo would be for ever lost. He therefore stayed his hand for a little while: but next morning at daybreak he again attacked and this time took the prize. Only four of Lancaster’s men were placed on board, “for feare of rifling and pillaging the good things that were within her ... and their charge was, if any thing should be missing, to answer the same out of their wages and shares.” For he knew full well that when once a band of these rough seamen were aboard they would stop at nothing, and no threats could prevent them from helping themselves to the rare cargo in the holds.

So full was this St Thomé of Eastern goods that it took six days to unload her of her 950 packs of calicoes, etc. And then, as a storm came up, she had to be left behind, so Lancaster returned to Acheen, and took in his cargo of pepper, cinnamon and spices, together with a letter and presents from the King of Acheen to Elizabeth. He then set sail for Bantam, in the Island of Java, on the 9th of November, and soon after sent home to England the Ascension and the Susan, which had completed their cargoes. In the meantime Lancaster continued his cruise with the Dragon and Hector, and arrived at Bantam, “in the island of Java major,” which he reached on the 16th of December. Here, as was the routine of the venture, he put his merchants ashore with their goods and began trade with the natives. And although the English reckoned the Javanese “among the greatest pickers and theeves of the world,” yet our merchants were able to do some very good business; and so again the ships were laden with cargoes of pepper, and a regular factory was here established for further trade between England and the East. Lancaster had as fine an ability for trading enterprise as he had for capturing a Portuguese ship, and he obtained a 40-ton pinnace laden with merchandise, which was sent to the Moluccas to trade and establish a factory there Glass House, in charge of Master William Starkey. When the next English ships should come out they would thus find immediate opportunity for getting rid of their lead, iron, tin, cloth, and another cargo waiting to be taken on board.

Such, then, was the completion of the business in the Orient. The first voyage under the East India63 Company had done its work in the East Indies. It had got there in safety, it had established factories, it had disposed of its freights and obtained very valuable goods to take home. It had certainly been fortunate, the only real calamity being the sickness and death of Captain John Middleton of the Hector. It was a long period since they had set out from the Thames, and the time had now arrived when they must weigh their anchors and start back to England: so early in the new year they took on board stores and made their final preparations for the long voyage back over lonely seas.
On the 20th of February the two ships were ready for sea. “We went all aboord our ships, shot off our ordnance Neo skin lab derma21, and set sayle to the sea toward England, with thankes to God, and glad hearts, for his blessings towards us.” On the 13th of March they crossed the Tropic of Capricorn, steering south-west “with a stiff gale of wind at south-east,” and this was sending them over the Indian Ocean towards the African coast in fine style. But “the eight and twentieth day we had a very great and a furious storme, so that we were forced to take in all our sayles. This storme continued a day and a night, with an exceeding great and raging sea, so that in the reason of man no shippe was able to live in them: but God (in his mercie) ceased the violence thereof, and gave us time to breath: and to repaire all the distresses and harmes we had received, but our ships were so shaken, that they were leakie all the voyage after.”

This was, in fact, to be a return full of excitement and those serious incidents which bring out all the seamanship and resource of the real sons of the sea. If it be true that a man’s real character is exhibited only in big crises, then we see Lancaster standing65 out magnificently as a cool, resourceful, self-sacrificing leader of men, for whom we cannot help having the highest admiration. These Elizabethans were very far from perfect. They were guilty of some abominable and atrocious acts of sacrilege on occasions: their hatred of the Portuguese and Spaniards knew few bounds. They imagined that might on the sea was right, and honesty was deemed not always the best policy. But among their virtues they were the very opposite of cowards. They knew how to bear all kinds of pain with a courage and resignation that are to be extolled  . And if things went against them they knew how to die as bravely as they had fought and striven. There was no panic, no kicking against the inevitable: they did their best, and according to their own rough morality left the rest to God.

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