Bourne Archive: People: Job Hartop’sHartop.htm                         Latest edit 22 Jul 2010

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The Bourne Archive.

Swift’s Biographies: Job Hartop.

From John Swift’s Bourne and People Associated with Bourne.

Transcript (pp. 32 – 33)


Job Hartopp, apparently being of an adventurous disposition, and becoming tired of the monotony of life in Bourne, left our old town in the year 1568.

Arriving at the seaport of Bristol, he found a ship there called the Jesus, commanded by that great seaman Sir John Hawkins, one of the eminent commanders of that great period. He at once took service in this ship, and sailed with it. First to the coast of Africa, where they loaded the vessel with negroes, took them to America and sold them. They then sailed along the American coast, picking up now and then a Spanish ship and taking possession of its cargo. They then sometimes landed on the coast, surprising and looting small Spanish settlements, or raiding Indian villages. In one of these raids, their leader John Hawkins, was wounded by an Indian poisoned arrow, and they were very much afraid they would lose him, but a negro who was with them, being used to these poisoned weapons, managed to extract the poison and the great commander’s life was spared. One day through some misunderstanding, Job Hartopp, our Bourne man, and a few of his comrades got left on the shore, and the Jesus sailed away without them, leaving them in the country of their enemies. They hid themselves in the forest, and then wandered into the interior, concealing themselves and hiding from the Indians, whom they knew would have no mercy on them. They forded or swam rivers, living on fish or fruit. After many months of this life, being thoroughly depressed, tired out, their powder and shot spent, they decided to surrender themselves to the Spaniards, and hoped thy would have pity on them. But they soon found they had made a big mistake. The Spanish had no pity for the hated Englishmen; the wicked heretics must receive no mercy. They were sent to work on the plantations as slaves, or as oarsmen on the Spanish ships. Job Hartopp was sent on a galleon and worked at the oars for 12 years. Chained to a bench, he was hardly ever allowed to go on land, and then only as a prisoner chained to another slave. After 12 years at the oars he was taken into the Spanish governor’s house, where he worked as a drudge, doing all the mean and base work of the establishment. Fortunately for him, a Flemish ship called at their port, and being short handed, asked for some men. The governor1, knowing Job was a sailor, gave him to the captain, and so once more he went to sea. On the voyage home they were pursued by an English ship which followed them for many leagues, caught them, and summoned the Flemish ship to haul down its flag. Job Hartopp making himself known to the Captain, was taken on board the English ship, and in a few weeks was safely landed by the Dudley at Portsmouth, very glad after all his troubles and trials, to make his way to the old town of Bourne again.

RJP’s Footnotes

1.                 Marrat, following Fuller, gives him the name ‘Hernando de Soria’.

See also, William Marrat’s version of this story. The two versions are broadly parallel but Swift gives more detail. Unfortunately, his version reads as though he has inserted some of this the detail from his imagination, to make for easier reading. The broader story of Hawkins’ third voyage is covered by the Dictionary of National Biography article. (See DNB: enter ‘Sir John Hawkins’ then select the ‘merchant and naval commander’). The relevant voyage is the third one.

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