Francis Drake Essay

1792 Words8 Pages
The year was 1575, Queen Elizabeth I summoned a seasoned mariner by the name of Francis Drake for a meeting that was deeply shrouded in secrecy. Details regarding this meeting were kept from the public eye for many years, until well after the death of Francis Drake. This rendezvous was so secret, the Queen specifically ordered Drake to keep this secret from even one of her most trusted advisor, Lord Treasurer Burghley. The Queen commanded that no one involved discuss the specifics with anyone on pain of death. Bawlf, the author of The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake, provides an in-depth account of what happened on that mysterious voyage as well as the precedent events and the aftermath. The 400-page book recounts the life and death…show more content…
The author tells the story in such a way to resemble a captain’s logbook on a seafaring vessel. Each new section begins in italics, which makes the reader believe that they are reading Drake’s personal log. As a person reads this book, they are made to feel like they are reviewing a captain’s log of their journey. Bawlf includes excerpts from letters the players involved. Letters from Drake, his crewmembers, the Queen, and even his prisoners are included to paint a complete picture of Drake’s voyage. For a journey that was supposed to be so secret, people sure had a lot to write. Letters from the most obscure individuals are included. One such letter is one from Magistrate Gaspar de Vargis, which was sent by courier to another town, Oaxaca, in effort to warn them of a corsair who was raiding coastal towns. That corsair, of course, was Francis Drake. The varied nature of the origins of the letters that the author includes serves to reinforce the idea that Bawlf went to great lengths to research his topic and to make sure that both sides were represented. The first part of the book covers Drake’s early maritime career as he served under Captain John Hawkins. They spent most of their time raiding Spanish settlements in the Caribean Sea while trading slaves from Africa to local towns. They acted under the protection of Elizabeth I, with Letters of Marque, which legitimatized their activities, making them privateers as opposed to pirates.
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