Prisoner of the Indies Author:Geoffrey Household Miles Philips, at thirteen, signed on as cabin boy aboard the Jesus of Lubeck, hoping to see the world and make his fortune. He did not know then how difficult it would be to obey the orders of Mr. John Hawkins, General of Her Majesty's Fleet: "Serve God daily, love one another, preserve our victuals and beware of fire." — From the day of departu... more »re, October 2, 1567, the Jesus of Lubeck seemed destined for disaster. En route to New Spain she foundered in heavy seas; the food ran out; and the fleet was attacked by Spaniards. At San Juan de Ulua, Miles and a number of his comrades chose to be put ashore to trust to their own wits and the mercy of the Spanish, rather than die on the voyage back to England.
There were few mercies in the New World and many perils: fever, hunger, torture, the Inquisition. Though under the circumstances it was difficult to serve God and retain a love for his fellowmen, Miles endured imprisonment and slavery while he planned his escape from the Indies.
First recorded in Principle Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques, and Discoveries of the English Nation, published in 1589 by Richard Hakluyt, the adventures of Miles Philips are a testament to one boy's will to survive, and his ability to watch and learn from his Spanish captors. These qualities brought Miles Philips to manhood and freedom fifteen years after he sailed from England.« less