This fell out the first of June, 1586, and the eight of the same came advertisement to me from captaine Stafford, lying at my lord Admirals Island, that he had discovered a great fleet of three and twentie sailes: but whether they were friends or foes, he could not yet discerne. He advised me to stand upon as good guard as I could.

The ninth of the sayd moneth he himselfe came unto me, having that night before, and that same day travelled by land twenty miles: and I must truely report of him from the first to the last; hee was the gentleman that never spared labour or perill either by land or water, faire weather or foule, to performe any service committed unto him.

He brought me a letter from the Generall Sir Francis Drake, with a most bountifull and honourable offer for the supply of our necessities to the performance of the action wee were entred into; and that not only of victuals, munition, and clothing, but also of barks, pinnesses, and boats; they also by him to be victualled, manned and furnished to my contentation.

The tenth day he arrived in the road of our bad harborow: and comming there to an anker, the eleventh day I came to him, whom I found in deeds most honourably to performe that which in writing and message he had most curteously offered, he having aforehand propounded the matter of all the captaines of his fleet, and got their liking and consent thereto.

With such thanks unto him and his captaines for his care both of us and of our action, not as the matter deserved, but as I could both for my company and myselfe, I (being aforehand prepared what I would desire) craved at his hands that it would please him to take with him into England a number of weake and unfit men for any good action, which I would deliver to him; and in place of them to supply me of his company with oare-men, artificers, and others.

That he would leave us so much shipping and victuall, as about August then next following would cary me and all my company into England, when we had discovered somewhat, that for lacke of needfull provision in time left with us as yet remained undone.

That it woulde please him withall to leave some sufficient Masters not onely to cary us into England, when time should be, but also to search the coast for some better harborow, if there were any, and especially to helpe us to some small boats and oare-men. Also for a supply of calievers, hand weapons, match and lead, tooles, apparell, and such like.

He having received these my requests, according to his usuall commendable maner of government (as it was told me) calling his captains to counsell; the resolution was that I should send such of my officers of my company as I used in such matters, with their notes, to goe aboord with him; which were the Master of the victuals, the Keeper of the store, and the Vicetreasurer: to whom he appointed forthwith for me The Francis, being a very proper barke of 70 tun, and tooke present order for bringing of victual aboord her for 100 men for foure moneths, with all my other demands whatsoever, to the uttermost.

And further, he appointed for me two pinnesses, and foure small boats: and that which was to perform all his former liberality toward us, was that be had gotten the full assents of two of as sufficient experimented Masters as were any in his fleet, by judgment of them that knew them, with very sufficient gings to tary with me, and to employ themselves most earnestly in the action, as I should appoint them, untill the terme which I promised of our returne into England againe. The names of one of those Masters was Abraham Kendall, the other Griffith Herne.

While these things were in hand, the provision aforesaid being brought, and in bringing aboord, my sayd Masters being also gone aboord, my sayd barks having accepted of their charge, and mine owne officers, with others in like sort of my company with them (all which was dispatched by the sayd Generall the 12 of the sayde moneth) the 13 of the same there arose such an unwoonted storme, and continued foure dayes, that had like to have driven all on shore, if the Lord had not held his holy hand over them, and the Generall very providently foreseene the woorst himselfe, then about my dispatch putting himselfe aboord: but in the end having driven sundry of the fleet to put to Sea, the Francis also with all my provisions, my two Masters, and my company aboord, she was seene, to be free from the same, and to put cleere to Sea.

This storme having continued from the 13 to the 16 of the moneth, and thus my barke put away as aforesayd, the Generall comming ashore made a new proffer unto me; which was a ship of 170 tunne, called The barke Bonner, with a sufficient Master and guide to tary with me the time appointed, and victualled sufficiently to cary me and my company into England, with all provisions as before: but he tolde me that he would not for any thing undertake to have her brought into our harbour, and therefore he was to leave her in the road, and to leave the care of the rest unto my selfe, and advised me to consider with my company of our case, and to deliver presently unto him in writing what I would require him to doe for us; which being within his power, he did assure me as well for his Captaines as for himselfe, shoulde be most willingly performed.

Heereupon calling such Captaines and gentlemen of my company as then were at hand, who were all as privy as my selfe to the Generals offer; their whole request was to me, that considering the case that we stood in, the weaknesse of our company, the small number of the same, the carying away of our first appointed barke, with those two speciall Masters, with our principall provisions in the same, by the very hand of God as it seemed, stretched out to take us from thence; considering also, that his second offer, though most honourable of his part, yet of ours not to be taken, insomuch as there was no possibility for her with any safety to be brought into the harbour: seeing furthermore, our hope for supply with Sir Richard Greenville, so undoubtedly promised us before Easter; not yet come, neither then likely to come this yeere, considering the doings in England for Flanders, and also for America, that therefore I would resolve my selfe with my company to goe into England in that fleet, and accordingly to make request to the Generall in all our names, that he would be pleased to give us present passage with him. Which request of ours by my selfe delivered unto him, hee most readily assented unto: and so he sending immediately his pinnesses unto our Island for the fetching away of a few that there were left with our baggage, the weather was so boisterous, and the pinnesses so often on ground, that the most of all we had, with all our Cards, Books and writings were by the Sailers cast overboard, the greater number of the fleet being much agrieved with their long and dangerous abode in that miserable road.

From whence the Generall in the name of the Almighty, weying his ankers (having bestowed us among his fleet) for the reliefe of whom hee had in that storme susteined more perill of wracke then in all his former most honourable actions against the Spanyards, with praises unto God for all, set saile the nineteenth of Iune 1596, and arrived in Portsmouth the seven and twentieth of luly the same yeere.

1Ralph Lane went out to Virginia in 1585 with the ships dispatched in that year by Raleigh and commanded by Sir Richard Grenville, the company numbering one hundred householders. After landing at Roanoke, Grenville returned to England for supplies, leaving the colony in charge of Lane. Lane has left an important account of the experiences and sufferings of the colonists during the absence of Grenville, whose return was delayed. Drake, meanwhile coming up from St. Augustine, which he had just destroyed, put in at Roanoke in 1586, and the whole company returned to England with him. Grenville afterward arrived in Roanoke, finding no one there. He then returned to England, leaving on the island fifteen men. In the following year Raleigh sent out to Roanoke John White. When White arrived he found that these men had all been massacred by the Indians. Other expeditions were sent out later, but none was able to establish any colony at Roanoke. Line's account is printed in "Old South Leaflets."
Return to text.

Table of Contents
Return to Main Page
© 2002 by Lynn Waterman