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Cape of Good Hope

17 December 1607

Before I came on this voyage, I was told that when the men on a ship disagree with what the captain says, they can confront him, and sometimes even stage what is called a ‘mutiny’, where they take away his command. We did not have a mutiny, but this is as close as we have come to one. Many men on both ships are sick, and we are very short on food and water, and so we were all looking forward to stopping at a place called Saldania, right at the bottom of Africa, where ships often stop. When it seemed that our General did not intend to stop there, some of the men protested that they had been without fresh food for eight months, and, though he did not seem happy about it, the General finally agreed that we could anchor in Saldania. Because ships have stopped here before, the local people understand what we need; our General has even met some of them before, on a previous voyage.  

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An admiral dissuading a crew from mutiny.

An admiral dissuading a crew from mutiny.

We have exchanged some iron hoops for some sheep and cows, and now everyone is much happier that we can rest and gather our strength. I am also pleased that we have a commander who will listen to his men - I am told that not all commanders are like this, and that some will show their power by punishing anyone who disagrees with them. 

Ship's boy

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Sources

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"The Company in the Admyrall, and our men in the Hector perceavinge, knewe yt was not the Generalls pleasure to touche at Saldania, assembled themselves in the Waste, and they abord the Dragon besought our Generall, that in regard of the Weakenesse of our men in both shippes, and of those that were sicke by reasone of long beinge at sea wthout ffreshe meate, and ffor that Water would shortlye growe shorte, yt might please him to put in to Saldania. [...] The Generall although as yt seemed was very loathe [to] doe yt, yet at his menes Importunytie, came Roome to speake wth us. And hayling us, demaunded what weake and sicke men wee had abord. Wch beinge answered unto, sprunge his looffe, wch wee followed, and stood in ffor Saldania baye."

The Hector Journal of Anthony Marlowe; cited in Richmond Barbour, The Third Voyage Journals (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), p. 99

 

 

"The companie, perceiving that our gennerall hadd given order to steer E.S.E. so to procede towards St. Laurence, then they did all wth one accorde come to our gennerall and intreated him, as hee did respect the lyves of so many poore menn wch hadd bene 8 months and upwards wthout ffresh victualls, that hee would bee pleased to put into Saldania wherby they might strengthen themselves. For they did ffynde their bodies verry much weakened, although they made no show therof thorough the hope they hadd to put into this place."

Red Dragon Journal of Hearne and Finch; cited in Richmond Barbour, The Third Voyage Journals (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), p. 188.

Anon. 1887: Admiral Duncan Addressin his Crew, British Library, London