Sir Francis Drake, The Queen's Pirate
ext. Bird's eye view of Tropical coastal mountains-day
Six English ships enter a harbor which consists of some rude huts and a small fortress. A small boat with two well dressed men aboard is rowed out to meet the ships.
This is the story of Francis Drake; was born the son of an English Protestant minister. With few opportunities available to him, he went to sea on his cousin's merchant ships exporting slaves from Africa to the Spanish sugar plantations in the new world.
"September 15, 1568. San Juan d'Ulua on the Spanish Main"
ext. top deck of english ship
JOHN HAWKINS, the 36 year-old commanderommander of the English ships greets the two Spanish dignitaries with grace as they climb aboard the ship.
Welcome aboard, gentlemen. Senor Martin De Marcana, it is good to see you again, old friend.
I am John Hawkins commander of this joint expedition of her majesty, the Queen's warships and my own trading vessels.
MARTIN DE MARCANA and FRANCISCO DE BUSTAMANTE are both elegantly dressed.
I thank you. Welcome to San Juan d'Ulua. May I introduce Francisco de Bustamante, my treasurer. Welcome to San Juan d'Ulua.
I request permission to restock our food and water and to make some needed repairs to our ships. We were blown off course and battered by the recent storms.
Spanish law prohibits foreign ships trespassing in these Spanish waters but we can appreciate your , y You are welcome tomay use this our harbor to restock and refit.
And… we find ourselves in possession of some 400 African slaves.
We had planned to take them northto Virginia but with the storm damage and the resulting delays, we could be persuaded to sell them here for the right price.
Sir, the King has forbidden..
Yes, yes. Captain Hawkins, unfortunately, his royal highness, the most catholic King Phillip of Spain and all these lands has decreed that trading with foreignersEngland is illegal.
And in light of your illegal request, it falls to me to give you the unhappy news that you may not trespass in this harbor. And that all of your ships must leave at once. I must also warn you that if you do not leave, we are prepared to defend ourselves and our town.
I understand that you must follow the decrees of your king, therefore… I intend to attack your town and you two will be held as prisoners. The battle will result in a defeat for the town. We will ransom the town for the value of the 400 slaves and we will leave the slaves here for another reason I cannot think of now.
Hawkins and Marcana smile and shake hands. Bustamante is in shock and speechless.
Now all that remains is to arrive at a fair price for your new property… or the ransom for the town. And to write a note to your town guard giving them proper instructions.
We don't want any casualties in the coming "battle".
Marcana follows Hawkins into the cabin. A steward follows the two men into the cabin carrying a silver tray with three crystal wineglasses and a crystal decanter all filled with wine.
Ah, Jones, excellent timing.
ext. sandy beach - day
About thirty Spanish soldiers are assembled on the beach. About 150 Englishmen climb out of their rowboats and assemble on the beach opposite the Spanish. Indistinct orders are yelled. Guns are fired into the air. Nobody is injured. The two largest English ships are tied to the dock of the harbor and slaves are led in chains off of the ships. HAWKINS observes the mock battle from dock of the harbor.
ext. dock of the harbor - day
HAWKINS is standing with FRANCIS DRAKE, a stout, red-haired man of 28 years.
Considering the Spanish laws forbidding this business, I would say this is going quite well.
It would seem so. What about the two men we lost during the raid on that African village.?
Two men… for 400 captured! That's goods a bargain. On the last trip I lost thirty men during the first raid and we only caught nine Africans. It is a dangerous business but the most profitable one I know. You don't have the stomach for slaving?
I can't put my finger on it but it bothers my soul. Trading in human misery.
God smiles on me, Francis. Just watch and learn how to make money from nothing.
Cousin, look to the sea!
Drake points to thirteen Spanish warships arriving at the entrance to the harbor. A small rowboat flying a white flag enters the harbor and comes toward the dock.
Spanish warships. There must be ten or more.
I count thirteen. What are you going to say to them?
int. office of spanish town Government - day
HAWKINS, DRAKE and several other English officers are seated at a large table. A door is opened and several Spanish dignitaries stride in. DON MARTIN ENRIQUEZ, a beautifully dressed officer steps forward.
I am Don Martin Enriquez, Viceroy of Mexico. Imagine my surprise and disappointment. I arrive in my beloved San Juan d'Ulua to find English raiders attacking. Among your ships are two of the Queen's own. Which means your actions represent the Queen. England and Spain are not at war but your attack is an act of war. Before I advance with my troops and crush your miserable six buckets, please tell me what in hell you think you are doing?
Very simply, we are on a trading voyage to the north and were battered by the storm. We required the use of this harbor. I'm told here but Spanish law prohibits the town from doing business with us. But we needed the use of this harbor to refit. We have not hurt even one Spaniard and so no real damage has been done. We agree to make reparations for any property damage to the town. As soon as we make our repairs and restock, we will leave.
You will not dictate terms to me. You are outnumbered and outgunned.
I must warn you, if you fire upon us, you will face the guns of our ships and the guns of your own fort, which happily, we control. You will not even make it into the harbor before we send all your ships to the bottom of the harbor. While it would be an act of war to fire upon us, we will fire back and you will feel it most painfully. So… I propose that each of us take ten prisoners to assure compliance on both sides and we will leave by tomorrow evening.g without any fighting.
A moment for me to consult with my officers.
ENRIQUEZ and his officers quietly have a discussion while the English officers wait. ENRIQUEZ quietly returns.
We agree to your terms. We will take ten of your men and you may hold ten of ours as a sign of good faith. Tomorrow, when you depart, we will each return our prisoners.
Agreed. I expect we will be ready to depart by tomorrow afternoon. As a sign of goodwill, we will leave with you fifty black Africans.
Trade with England is strictly prohibited. We cannot accept any gifts. If you
wish to rid yourself of any of your property, you may leave it with the town commissioner. Good day.
Hawkins extends his hand
You have my word and I have yours.
Enriquez hesitates and then then agrees. The two men shake hands. Enriquez and his officers walk out of the room. Hawkins sighs deeply.
Drake, I want you to be one of the ten who stay in the fort. I need you to and keep an eye things there. I need to know that the fort is secure… that we control the cannons. The cannons of the fort are our only assurance. Without the cannons, our lives… well…
They gave their word?
You have much to learn about Spaniards.
ext. deck of english ship – day
The Spanish ships are anchored right along side the English ships. English sailors are feverishly hard at work fixing, cleaning and refitting the ships. Hawkins is overseeing the work and consults with his young Lieutenant THORNTON.
I understand that she is taking on water and if things were different, I would have her brought out of the water and have her careened and re-tarred but we need to leave this port within the hour.
Within the hour! With all due respect, that is impossible.
Hawkins gets right in Thornton's face and calmly explains.
Plug the holes the best you can and man the pumps day and night, but we are sailing within the hour.
Aye aye, sir.
ext. top wall of the fort – late afternoon
Ten About twenty English sailors and about fifteentwenty Spanish soldiers are nervously passing the time by talking. The ships can be seen at anchor below the fort.
So, please do not take offense, I am curious and always wanted to ask a Englishman.
You have left the one true Catholic and Apostolic church of Christ. Yes? You are Protestant, no?
Uhh… we're all Protestant? Catholic ain't no true nothing. Bunch o' heretics.
You are separated from the church by his holy father, the Pope. You live with the black stain of sin on your soul. You will surely go to hell.
You are cut off from the savior, Jesus and heaven.
Does it say that in the Bible? Do you even know what the word of God is? Have you ever read a Bible?
The holy father reads it for us. I am not a priest.
Englishman #2 strolls over and spits.
See what you got here. A damned liar leading an ignorant, blind fool.
Drake quickly places a hand on Englishman #2's shoulder and leads him away from the discussion. They look out over the floating ships in the harbor.
Religion and politics are always bad subjects in mixed company.
At the top of the mast on one of the Spanish ships, someone has released a large white sheet to fly in the breeze.
What do you make of that?
Both men are turned toward the sea with their backs to the rest of the men. Englishman #2 sharply gasps and is thrust forward by Spaniard #2 who has violently stabbed a long dirk hilt-deep into his back. Englishman #2 stumbles forward. Drake reacts instinctively with a crushing sucker-punch to Spaniard #2's face knocking him unconscious. All the Spanish men have pulled their concealed knives out and are viciously attacking all the English. Within seconds, all the Englishmen except Drake lie bleeding, coughing and dying. Drake is spared only by the fact that he was some little distance from the rest of the Spaniards. Drake is trapped on the top of the tower overlooking the sea as some twenty Spaniards wielding bloody daggers rush him.
Bloody, wretched villains!
Drake turns toward the edge of the wall and dives off the edge several hundred feet to the sea as hundreds of cannons thunderously fire in unison from the Spanish ships point blank at the English ships. He dives into the water below.
ext. the surface of the water
Drake is swimming in a straight line between ships.
ext. Deck of the english ship, jesus
The Spanish ships are firing cannons and guns and throwing ropes with grappling hooks onto the decks of the English ships and pulling the ships togethercloser. The English take a moment to prepare but they start returning fire. Men are shouting from all sides and a massive chaotic naval battle is underway between the thirteen Spanish ships and the six English ships. The massive cannons of the fort start firing on the English ships. The English cut the ropes that are pulling the ships together. One of the large Spanish ships is hit, spectacularly explodes and sinks. Spanish soldiers are able to board the English ship, Jesus, (a large warship of 400 tons) by pulling their ship close and jumping from deck to deck. The English and Spanish engage in hand to hand combat.
By God and Saint George! Upon these traitorous villains, rescue the Jesus. The day shall be ours.
English sailors on the Minion (a large warship of 300 tons), which is alongside the English ship, the Jesus, jump to the deck of the Jesus and fight back the Spanish as they climb aboard. The deck of the Jesus is a massive hand to hand battle. A page boy brings Hawkins a large silver tankard of beer. Hawkins takes a long drink from it and sets it down on the railing. A cannonball hits the mug and it vanishes in a mist of beer.
Stand by your weapons, men. Fear nothing! For God who has protected me from this shot will deliver us from these traitors and villains.
The fight turns in favor of the English and the Spanish are repelled from the deck. But more Spanish ships are moving closer and the cannonballs continue to pound the sails and deck of the Jesus splintering everything beyond recognition. The mast falls into the sea.
ext. surface of the water
Drake swims to a small English ship (the Judith) which is the outermost ship in the harbor and protected by the physical proximity to the other English shipsd too far from the battle to be involved in it.
ext. deck of the judith - dusk
The Judith is also a small ship of only 50 tons and has no cannons. A sailorman sees Drake swimming in the water.
Look, it's our captain Drake, in the water.
Get a rope and help him aboard.
They throw a rope ladder over the side and Drake is able to board the Judith.
Welcome aboard, captain. Where are the rest of the men?
All murdered, the Spanish villains!
Drake looks to the battle. The English ships fare poorly. The small English ship, the Angel (30 tons) sinks. The medium size William and John (150 tons) and the Swallow (100 tons) are battered into submission and surrender. Drake sees Hawkins shouting something to them and motioning for them to come closer. Drake shouts an order to his men.
To the Jesus.
The Jesus was badly damaged and sinking. The Minion is riding low in the water and listing to one side.
ext. deck of the Jesus
Abandon the Jesus.
Three Spanish ships close the gap and one pulls alongside the Jesus. Another English ship, the Minion, is alongside the other side of the Jesus and Englishmen jump from the deck of the Jesus onto the deck of the Minion. Hawkins goes to the forecastle of the Jesus and unlocks the door. He enters the room.
int. forecastle of the jesus
Hawkins enters the dimly lit room. Ten Spanish soldiers look at him without speaking. Some appear defiant while others are fearful.
Although your commander, Don Martin Enriquez, is a wretched liar and villain and because of his evil actions, your lives are forfeit. However, I am a man of my word and a gentleman. I promised you would be safely returned and so you shall be. I wish you farewell and Godspeed.
Hawkins turned on his heal and left the room.
ext. deck of the jesus – near dusk
Hawkins hands his ring of keys to Thornton.
Thornton, release the Africans and abandon the Jesus, immediately.
Aye aye, captain.
Thornton takes the keys and unlocks the grates that contain the slaves and the slaves pour out onto the deck of the Jesus. Many run around in confusion and some dive directly into the sea. The Spanish soldiers pour onto the deck of the Jesus rounding up the Africans. An Englishman carries a large crystal plate and some silver goblets in his arms. He hesitates to jump onto the Minion as it pulls away from the Jesus and he is cut down by the Spanish as they swarm over the ship.
ext. deck of the minion - dusk
The Minion is pulled by rowboats out of range of the Spanish cannons. Drake's ship, the Judith, pulls alongside the Minion by men in rowboats. Drake boards the Minion and meets Hawkins.
Cousin, what shall we do? We at least must find fresh water. We have some food stores left but without water, we will all perish. It will take manyat least three months to reach Plymouth and home.
First, we need to get further from this harbor. I am not convinced that these villains will not attack us again and try to finish the job they started so well. Of course you are right. Where to find water?
A black male slave from the town is all wet and begging to talk with Hawkins.
What is all this racket?
Oh please, your majesty. Please take me to your country. I will be your servant till the end of my days. I can tell you of a small harbor not far from here. There is good fresh water from a clear stream.
Where is this stream?
It is past the second rocky point to the north. You can sail into the harbor there. It has deep, calm water there to anchor your ships. The Spanish devils will not know you are there and you can rest a while and there is much fruit and animals, pigs and birds.
To the north?
Yes. Very easy to find. I will take you there. But please take me with you to your land.
Hawkins turns to his second mate, Dodson, and gives him an order.
Dodson, set a course North to the second rocky point. There is an inlet there. This African will show the way.
ext. deck of the minion – morning
Two English ships, the Minion and the Judith, arrive in a peaceful, secluded, natural harbor. Hawkins addresses the entire crew crowded together on deck.
Men, simply put, we will fill our water barrels here and collect whatever victuals we can find and then we will set a course for England. The voyage home will be very difficult. The Minion may not be seaworthy. We are severely overcrowded and we will probably run short of food. It is entirely possible that we may not make it back at all. If any man here wishes to try his luck staying behind here, I will release him from his duty with my blessing but we cannot spare any victuals or supplies. You will be entirely on your own for your survival. So, those among you who wish to stay behind, please come forward to register.
A man is sitting at a table with a feather quill and paper. About 40 men line up to register and sign that they wish to remain behind. Drake is near Hawkins as he addresses the slave who led them to this harbor.
You there. I cannot bring you back with us.
But when they find me, they will kill me. Please, I will be your servant for all my days. Please!
You will just have to make sure they don't find you. We have no room for you.
Sir, has he not earned our protection? He led us to this harbor. It is our Christian duty to help him.
Hawkins is becoming impatient.
Drake, my only concern is for the safety of my crew. I care nothing for this creature.
He is a man and we owe him our lives.
A man? You have a lot to learn about Africans. Giles, Holmes, escort this African to the landing boat.
Two men step forward and grab the slave by the arms. They roughly turn him around and lead him to the side of the ship. Drake is appalled.
EXT. Minion and judith sailing in the ocean - day
It is a beautiful day. The sun is shining and the sails are full. The two ships are sailing at a strong speed. This pretty picture changes as we get a closer look aboard the Judith. Men are tragically emaciated, filthy and moving without energy as if they are already dead.
int. room inside the Judith
The room is dark. Men are lying about the room groaning in pain. The ship's doctor is giving drink of water to a man dying of starvation. Drake comes to the doctor's side.
What is wrong with him?
Nothing a little food wouldn't put right.
Do you think he will make it? If this good wind holds out, we only have a few days sailing left.
He'll be lucky to see tomorrow. We have already lost over two dozen men and more will perish before this is over.
The man coughs violently and then dies. The doctor listens for breathing.
Drake turns away and bites his fist. The other men look at him helplessly. Drake puts on a stoic face and walks out the door.
int. captain's quarters
Drake crashes into the room upsetting the table and chair. He collapses onto his knees by his bed and cries.
Oh God, make me an instrument of your will. The evil of Spain and Rome must not stand against you any longer. Strengthen me to the task. I swear whatever it takes, I will do. I will injure Don Martin Enriquez, his damned King Phillip. This is my task and with God's help, I will do it with the balance of my life's strength.
Drake stands and stares out the window. A distant voice from the deck is heard.
Drake smiles and closes his eyes.
Thank you, God. Home!