I was born in 1540 in Tavistock, Devonshire, the son of a poor village clergyman. My father worked as a young executioner and owned 180 acres of land, but his addiction to rum and cards made him a gambling man. My mother, who was of the Milway family and the daughter of an Esquire, was a woman of honour in every respect, and who, tired of having a baby every year, ran away from my father with the Wandering Freaks Circus when I was not thirteen years old. I left home early, enlisted as a cabin boy on the merchant ship Adam, where through kicks and punches I was quick to learn the art of seamanship. Dexterous and calculating, I took a fancy to the captain, an old drunkard who had never had any family. He loved me as his own son and bequeathed me his ship, which I took possession of as soon as the old miser had hit an oak tree in the port brothel in the Solomon Islands. As a fortunate négociant captain I undertook several long voyages to the Bay of Biscay and Black Guinea, where I engaged profitably in the slave-trade, supplying negroes to Haiti. In 1567 I took command of the ship Pelican in the squadron of the then famous John Hawkins, plundering the coast of Mexico with the blessing of Queen Elizabeth I, the last of the Tudor dynasty. On the forecastle of my ship there were always a couple of scoundrels hanging by the ribs, which made me famous as the most cruel among the less than fine-hearted corsairs and slave-traders. I had made two voyages across the ocean, to places where they had no place on maps. I kissed death, my name was Francis Drake at the time. Everything you see before you today I have obtained at the risk of my life, with the blood of brave sailors, carefully transferred and presented to posterity ... may the devils tear them to pieces.