Cavendish, Thomas

, of Frimly in Suffolk, esq. was descended from a noble family in Devonshire, and possessed of a plentiful estate; which he, being a man of more wit than prudence, contrived to impoverish, and determined to repair his shattered fortunes at the expence of the Spaniards. With this view he built two ships from the stocks, one of 120, the other of 60 tons; and with these and a bark of 40 tons he sailed from Plymouth July 21, 1586. He first made the coast of Barbary, then steered for Brazil, and entered the streights of Magellan Jan. 5, 1585, and passed them very happily. Then coasting along Chili and Peru, he took abundance of rich prizes; and continuing his course as high as California, there took the St. Anne, which Cavendish, in a letter to lord Hunsdon, rightly calls an Acapulco ship, though in most relations of his voyage she is styled the admiral of the south seas. Her cargo was of immense value, which, his ships being too small to carry, he was forced to burn; taking out of her, however, as much gold as was worth 60,000l. He then, steered for the Philippine islands, where he safely arrived, and proceeded from them to Java Major, which he reached March 1, 1588. He doubled the cape of Good Hope the 1st of June, and without any remarkable incident returned safe to Plymouth Sept. 9; having sailed completely round the globe, and brought home an immense fortune. This however he quickly wasted, and in 1591 was compelled to think of another voyage; which was far from being so successful as the former. He left Plymouth Aug. 26, 1591, with three stout ships and two barks. April 8, 1592, he fell in with the streights of Magellan, and continued in them to May 15 when, on account of the badness of the weather, he determined to return which accordingly he did, to the coast of Brazil and there, it is said, died of grief. 2


Biog. Brit.