Even the loyalty among Raleigh’s
men in Guiana crumbles with the realisation that there is no hope now of getting rich quick, for when it becomes clear that
he intends to return to England, two of his captains desert. Then discontent runs riot among the fleet and Raleigh learns
that part of his crews want to steal a ship and turn pirates on their own account. The mutineers almost succeed but are thwarted
by men still loyal to Sir Walter. Shaken, he sets sail immediately for England on the Destiny with the mutiny malcontents
still aboard ‘at the peril of my life’, as he reports later. ‘I have brought myself and my ship to England…
for even death itself shall not make me turn thief and vagabond, nor will I ever betray the noble courtesy of the several
gentlemen who gave sureties for me’.
Having kept his promise to the King that whatever the outcome of the Guiana venture he would return
to England with his men, once ashore Raleigh now plans to escape to France. Telling his trusted Captain King to arrange a
ship for his later return, he sets out on horseback for his Dorset home.
But King James is no fool. Well aware of Sir Walter’s return,
he has ordered his Vice Admiral of Devon to arrest him. So, ironically it is Stukely, Raleigh’s own cousin who captures
him at Ashburton and takes him back to Radford near Plymouth. There he is joined by his wife Bess, together with Captain King
and a French physician, Dr Manurie. The Captain tells Raleigh that his French rescue ship lies offshore but, stealing out
of the house at night and being rowed out to the vessel, amazingly he changes his mind and returns to land. Days after, the
final journey to London begins.
Stopping at Salisbury Raleigh tries to delay events by pretending to be mad but Stukely ignores the
play-acting and forces the party onwards to the capital. There surprisingly, Raleigh is lodged in his own house where unsurprisingly,
he plots to escape. He thinks he’s bribed Stukely with a jewel but in his attempt to escape by boat
down the Thames to an awaiting French ship, he is recaptured by his cousin near Plumstead. There is no family loyalty. Stukely
has betrayed the plan to the King and will be rewarded. Raleigh is taken to the Tower of London.