December 13: A Sad Footnote, A Polite Execution

Today we're talking about Sir Francis Drake's circumnavigation, 1577-80. Here's a routine occurrence in the travelogue:

The 7. day we were driven by a great storm from the entering into the South Sea, 200 leagues and odd in longitude, and one degree to the southward of the Strait; in which height, and so many leagues to the westward, the 15. day of September, fell out the eclipse of the moon at the hour of six of the clock at night. But neither did the ecliptical conflict of the moon impair our state, nor her clearing again amend us a whit; but the accustomed eclipse of the sea continued in his force, we being darkened more than the moon sevenfold. 7
And if you click on footnote 7 you get this:
Note 7. In this storm the Marigold went down with all hands.
Think of how much drama must have been packed into that footnote! Like being in turbulence, only you can actually try to keep the vessel from going under, and finally, wet and cold, you realize that it's not going to happen and you're not going to attain the extravagant goal that didn't even exist a century ago -- instead, you're going to die halfway there, in a place you'd never ever heard of when you were growing up in Plymouth or Devon or wherever.

And the other thing I like is the extremely polite execution for mutiny:
In this port our General began to enquire diligently of the actions of Master Thomas Doughty, and found them not to be such as he looked for, but tending rather of contention or mutiny, or some other disorder, whereby, without redress, the success of the voyage might greatly have been hazarded...Which when our General saw, although his private affection to Master Doughty, as he then in the presence of us all sacredly protested, was great, yet the care he had of the state of the voyage, of the expectation of her Majesty, and of the honour of his country did more touch him, as indeed it ought, than the private respect of one man. So... it was concluded that Master Doughty should receive punishment according to the quality of the offence. ...Which being done, and the place of execution made ready, he having embraced our General, and taken his leave of all the company, with prayers for the Queen’s Majesty and our realm, in quiet sort laid his head to the block, where he ended his life.
The English, they hate to be unseemly.

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