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'3 1822 00194 8298 



J 1822 00194' 8298 



Page itS. 



{Tbomas IFUlson and Sons, 




Mixtures and DiscoYeries 


, Ca\>ent>i6b, anfc SDampier* 

" The spirits of your fathers 

Shall start from every wave ; 
For the deck it was their field of fame, 
And ocean was their grave." 






I. SIR FRANCIS DRAKE, ... ... ... ... ... 11 

ii. DRAKE'S CIRCUMNAVIGATION, ... ... ... ... so 



I. VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD, ... .. ... ... 133 


D A M P I E R. 

I. THE BUCCANEERS OF AMERICA, ... ... ... ... 197 




V. VOYAGE TO NEW HOLLAND, ... ... ... ... 420 




SIR FRANCIS DRAKE, ... ... ... ... ... ... 13 

SIR JOHN HAWKINS, ... ... ... ... - ... ... 17 

QUEEN ELIZABETH, ... ... ... ... ... ... 31 

PENGUINS OF THE SOUTH SEAS, ... ... ... ... 57 




DRAKE'S FUNERAL, ... ... ... ... ... ... 127 

THOMAS CAVENDISH, ... ... ... ... ... ... 135 

WILLIAM DAMPIER, ... ... ... ... ... ... 199 

INDIANS BUCCANING A TAPIR, ... ... ... ... ... 203 

INDIANS OF DARIEN, ... ... ... ... ... ... 313 

SEA LIONS, ... ... ... ... ... ... 335 

MALAY PROA, ... ... ... ... 367 





FRANCIS DRAKE, in common with many of the great 
men whose names impart lustre to the annals of En- 
gland, may be termed the son of his own brave deeds. 
His family, and the rank of his father, have, however, 
been made the subject of much unprofitable discussion. 
In the heroic ages, the birth of so illustrious a man, if 
at all obscure, would at once have been derived from 
the gods, an origin of extreme convenience to such 
biographers as, influenced by the prejudices of descent, 
disdain to relate the history of a poor man's son. 
Modern scepticism and coldness of imagination making 
this no longer possible, a struggle is nevertheless made 
for distinguished origin of some kind. The godfather 
of Drake was Sir Francis Russell of Tavistock, after- 
wards Earl of Bedford ; and though various authorities 
are given for his father having been in orders, there 
remains no doubt that he was an honest mariner be- 


longing to the same place. An attempt has been made 
to reconcile the contradictory accounts of Camden and 
Stowe, by assuming that the father of Drake, originally 
a seaman, was converted to the Reformed faith in the 
reign of Henry VIII., fell under the cognizance of some 
of his capricious and arbitrary edicts, and, fleeing into 
Kent, obtained orders, first read prayers to the fleet, 
and afterwards was appointed vicar of Upnore on the 
Medway, in which river the royal fleet then usually 
rode. Though Johnson, following Camden, without 
hesitation assumes the fact of the elder Drake being a 
clergyman, it is superfluous to cite the dates and ac- 
curate authority which disprove what both the annalist 
and the sage had a strong inclination to believe. 
Stowe, and the " Biographia Britannica," restore to the 
"honest mariner of Tavistock" the son of whom he 
had been innocently deprived by the real or imaginary 
vicar of Upnore; and Burney, in later times, though 
searching and accurate, does not even advert to a claim 
of birth which could add nothing to the renown of 
Francis Drake. The credit of having had Sir Francis 
Russell for his godfather is also disputed ; and with 
this too Drake could dispense, especially as he is allowed 
to have gained nothing by this distinction save the 
Christian name which he bore. 

But, whatever were his ancestry, it is clearly as- 
certained that Francis was the eldest of twelve sons, 
who, with few exceptions, went to sea. It is said that 
he was brought up and educated by Sir John Hawkins, 


Page II. 


who was his kinsman. The degree or existence of the 
relationship is not clearly made out ; and it is certain 
that young Drake was not long a charge upon any 
patron ; for at a very tender age, his father, having a 
large family, put him apprentice to a neighbour who 
traded to Zealand and France. Here he speedily ac- 
quired that practical knowledge of his profession which 
made him early in life as experienced and expert a 
seaman as he afterwards became an able commander. 
His fidelity and diligence in this service gained the 
goodwill and regard of his master, who, dying a bachelor, 
bequeathed his vessel to young Drake ; and thus, in 
the active and vigilant discharge of his first humble 
duties, was laid the sure foundation of future eminence 
and prosperity. At the early age of eighteen, Drake 
was made purser of a ship trading to Biscay, and soon 
afterwards engaged in the Guinea trade, which had 
lately been opened by the enterprise of his reputed 
relation Captain John Hawkins. The cruelty and 
injustice of this traffic were the discovery of a much 
later age. 

The regular course of the trade, the most lucrative 
in which England had ever been engaged, was for ships 
to repair first to the Guinea coast for the human cargo, 
obtained by fraud, violence, and the most inhuman 
means, and then to the Spanish islands and the colonies 
on the Main, where the Africans were bartered for 
silver, sugar, hides, etc., etc. The history of the first 
voyage to the Guinea coast is that of every succeeding 


one, "Master John Hawkins coming upon the coast 
of Sierra Leone, stayed for some time, and partly by the 
sword, and partly by other means, got into his posses- 
sion three hundred negroes at the least." 

Few voyages had been made from England to this 
new El Dorado, when Drake, at the age of twenty, 
desirous of extending his professional knowledge and 
participating in the gains of the slave-trade, embarked 
for Guinea in the squadron of Captain John Hawkins. 
Though Hawkins, for his exploits on the Guinea coast, 
had already obtained for his coat-of-arms, by patent 
from the Herald's Office, " a demi-Moor, in his proper 
colour, bound with a cord," he was not knighted till 
after he had obtained distinction in the public service. 
Whether Drake sailed from Plymouth captain of the 
Judith, one of the smallest ships of Hawkins's squadron, 
in the expedition undertaken to Guinea in 15C7, or 
obtained this honour during the voyage, or in the 
harbour of St. Juan de Ulloa, is not clear ; though it is 
asserted, in the relation of Miles Philip, that he went 
out captain. It is sufficient that, in the desperate 
encounter at St. Juan de Ulloa, between the Spaniards 
and the English squadron, he held a command, and 
honourably distinguished himself. But this somewhat 
anticipates the order of events in the first remarkable 
period of Drake's history. 

Having completed his cargo of slaves, Hawkins and 
his company took the usual course to the Canaries and 
Spanish America, to exchange the Africans for other 



Page 16. 


wares more valued in England. In passing, he took 
the town of Rio de la Hacha, because the governor did 
not choose to trade with him. This circumstance is 
noticed, as it affords the only shadow of palliation for 
the subsequent treachery displayed by the Spaniards 
in the port of St. Juan de Ulloa, whither Hawkins was 
driven in to obtain shelter and refreshments by the 
severe gales which, on his way to England, were en- 
countered off the coast of Florida. When the squadron 
of six ships entered the port, they were believed by the 
inhabitants to be a Spanish fleet, then hourly expected; 
and those who came on board were in some consterna- 
tion on discovering the mistake. Hawkins, who from 
the first professed that he came in peace and friendship, 
to obtain shelter from stress of weather, and provisions 
for his money and merchandise, treated them with 
civility, but thought it prudent to detain two persons 
of consequence as hostages till assured of the terms on 
which he was to be received. The temptation of 
twelve merchant ships lying in the port, with cargoes 
estimated at 200,000, did not shake his integrity, 
though he was aware that they might easily be over- 
mastered by his force. It is indeed candidly confessed 
by Hawkins that he dreaded the displeasure of the 
queen. A messenger was despatched to the Viceroy of 
Mexico; but before any answer could be returned to 
the demand of Hawkins, the expected fleet appeared, 
and his situation became uneasy and critical. The 
Spanish fleet had on board a cargo valued at six or 


seven million. If Hawkins prevented them from 
entering the harbour, they ran imminent risk of de- 
struction ; and if admitted, his own safety was put in 
jeopardy, the port being confined, the town populous, 
and the Spaniards ready, he believed, and fatally ex- 
perienced, to practise any treachery. At last the fleet 
was admitted, the Governor of Mexico agreeing to the 
terms stipulated, which were the exchange of hostages, 
a supply of provisions on fair terms, and that a fortified 
island, which lay across and commanded the port, 
should be given up to the English till their departure. 
On the faith of this treaty the Spanish fleet was 
allowed to sail in ; mutual salutations were fired by 
the ships of both nations, and visits and civilities ex- 
changed between the officers and the seamen. 

Save for embroiling England in war, and thereby 
incurring the wrath of Elizabeth, and perhaps en- 
dangering his own neck, Hawkins, dissatisfied and 
rendered suspicious by the tardiness of the late nego- 
tiation, would certainly have put all to the hazard of a 
fight, and have gained glory and the seven million, or 
have lost himself; but he was now lulled into tem- 
porary security, on the faith of a treaty which the 
Spaniards had never meant to observe longer than 
until they were able to violate it with impunity. 
Their fleet was reinforced by a thousand men secretly 
conveyed from the land. An unusual bustle and shift- 
ing of men and weapons from ship to ship were noticed 
by the English ; and their demand for explanation of 


these symptoms was answered by an instant attack on 
all sides. The Minion, and the Judith, the small 
vessel commanded by Drake, were the only English 
ships that escaped, and their safety was owing to the 
valour and conduct of the commanders, and only insured 
after a desperate though short conflict. The other four 
vessels were destroyed, and many of the seamen were 
rather butchered in cold blood than killed in action. 
The English who held the fortress, struck with alarm, 
fled to reach the ships at the beginning of the fight ; 
and in the attempt were massacred without mercy. 
Such an engagement in a narrow port, each of the 
English vessels surrounded and attacked by three or 
four of those of Spain, presents a scene of havoc and 
confusion unparalleled in the records of maritime war- 
fare. By the desperate valour of the English in this 
unequal combat, the Admiral and several more of the 
Spanish ships were burnt and sunk. 

Placed between the fortress and the still numerous 
fleet, it was by miracle that even one English vessel 
got away. Hawkins reached England in the Minion, 
which suffered incredible hardships in the homeward 
voyage. She left the port without provisions or water, 
and crowded with seamen who had escaped the general 
slaughter, many of them wounded. The relation of 
their hardships, produced as they were by the basest 
treachery, must have made an indelible impression in 
England, where the Spaniards were already in bad 
odour. The details given by Miles Philip of the hard- 


ships of the voyage are too revolting to be transferred 
to this narrative, but may be imagined from the words 
of Hawkins: "If all the miseries and troublesome 
affairs of this voyage be thoroughly written, there 
would need a painful man with his pen, and as great a 
time as he that wrote the ' Lives of the Martyrs.'" The 
Judith, Drake's vessel, which parted from the Minion 
on the fatal night (" forsook us in our great misery," 
are the words of Hawkins) made the homeward voy- 
age with less hardship and difficulty than the Minion. 

Here Drake had lost his all, and here was laid the 
foundation of that hatred and distrust of the Spaniards 
which must have palliated many of his subsequent 
actions, and reconciled his countrymen to conduct they 
might not so readily have pardoned in one less sinned 
against. The chaplain of the fleet obtains the credit 
of expounding the justice of making reprisals on all 
Spaniards for the wrong inflicted by a few ; but this 
might well be a spontaneous feeling, in a brave young 
man burning with resentment at the perfidy by which 
his comrades had been murdered, and himself betrayed 
and beggared. It has been quaintly said, "that in 
sea-divinity the case was clear. The King of Spain's 
subjects had undone Mr. Drake, and therefore Mr. 
Drake was entitled to take the best satisfaction he 
could on the subjects of the King of Spain." 

This doctrine was very taking in England, where 
"the good old rule, the simple plan," was still fol- 


" That they should take who have the power, 
And those should keep who can." 

The scheme of Drake, for a new expedition to the 
Spanish American colonies, was accordingly no sooner 
made public than he found numbers of volunteers and 
friends ready to promote so praiseworthy a design as 
that which he was presumed to entertain, and who, 
having no personal quarrel of their own, were quite 
ready to adopt his, if the issue promised any share of 
those treasures with the fame of which Europe rung. 
But Drake was not yet prepared for the full develop- 
ment of his projects, and in all probability it \vas but 
gradually that they arose in his own mind. 

The infamous transaction of St. Juan de Ulloa took 
place in September 1568, and in 1570 Drake undertook 
his first voyage with two ships, the Dragon and the 
Swan. In the following year he sailed with the Swan 
alone. That the means of undertaking any voyage 
were placed in the hands of a man still so young, is 
highly creditable to his character and good conduct. 
These might be called preparatory or experimental 
voyages, in which he cautiously and carefully recon- 
noitred the scene of future exploits; and, improving his 
acquaintance with the islands and coasts of South 
America, on the only side hitherto supposed accessible 
to Englishmen, amassed the wealth which enabled him 
to extend his sphere of enterprise, and enrich himself 
and his owners, while paying back part of his old debt 
to Spain. 


Drake's first bold and daring attempt at reprisal was 
made in 1572. His squadron consisted of two vessels 
of small weight, and this kind of light bark he seemed 
always to prefer, the Pacha of seventy tons burden, 
which he commanded; and the Sivan, once again afloat, 
a vessel of twenty-five tons, in which he placed his 
brother, Mr. John Drake. His whole force consisted of 
seventy-three men and boys. Instead of setting out, 
as has been alleged, with so slender a force as twenty- 
three men and boys, to take ships and storm towns, it 
is probable that Drake, after leaving England, recruited 
his numbers from vessels with which he fell in among the 
islands, as Lopez Vaz relates that at Nombre de Dios he 
landed one hundred and fifty men. This town was at 
that time what Porto Bello, a much more convenient 
station, afterwards became, the entrepot between the 
commodities of Old Spain and the wealth of India and 
Peru, and in riches imagined to be inferior only to 
Panama on the western shore. It was, however, merely 
a stage in the transmission of treasure and merchandise, 
and not their abiding place ; and at particular seasons 
the town, which did not at any time exceed thirty 
houses, was almost deserted. 

On the 24th March, Drake sailed from Plymouth, 
and on the 22nd July, in the night, made the attack 
on the town. A relation of this adventure, written by 
Philip Nicols, preacher, and afterwards published by 
Sir Francis Drake, nephew, heir, and godson of the 
navigator, is both less accurate and circumstantial than 


the narrative of Lopez Vaz, who, if not an eye-witness, 
was near the spot, and conversant with the actors and 
spectators. Drake's force is estimated at one hundred 
and fifty men, half of which he left at a small fort, and 
with the other division advanced in cautious silence to 
the market-place, when he ordered the calivers to be 
discharged, and the trumpet to be loudly sounded, the 
trumpeter in the fort replying, and the men firing at the 
same time, which made the alarmed Spaniards, startled 
out of their sleep, believe the place was attacked on all 
sides. Some, scarcely awake, fled to the mountains ; 
but a band of fourteen or fifteen rallied, and, armed 
with harquebusses, repaired to the scene of action. 
Discovering the small number of the assailants, they 
took courage, fired and killed the trumpeter, and 
wounded one of the leaders of the party, Drake was 
also wounded. The men in the fort, hearing the 
trumpet silenced, which had been the preconcerted 
signal, while the firing continued more briskly than 
before, became alarmed, and fled to their pinnaces. 

Lopez Vaz relates that Drake's followers, retiring on 
the fort and finding it evacuated, shared in the panic, 
hastened to the shore, leaving their equipments behind, 
and by wading and swimming reached the pinnaces. 
One Spaniard, looking out at a window, was accident- 
ally killed. 

Disappointed of the rich booty expected in the town, 
Drake, on information obtained from the Symerons, a 
tribe of Indians in the Darien who lived in constant 


hostility with the Spaniards, resolved to intercept the 
mules employed to carry treasure from Panama to 
Nombre de Dios. Leaving his small squadron moored 
within the Sound of Darien, he set out, with a hundred 
men and a number of Indians, to attack and plunder 
this caravan of the New World. The plan, so well 
laid, was in the first instance frustrated by a drunken 

It was in this expedition across the Isthmus that 
Drake, from the first sight of the Pacific, received that 
inspiration which, in the words of Camden, " left him 
no rest in his own mind till he had accomplished his 
purpose of sailing an English ship in those seas." The 
account of this adventure is in one original history 
so interesting and picturesque that we transfer it 
without mutilation : " On the twelfth day we came 
to the height of the desired hill (lying east and west 
like a ridge between the two seas) about ten of the 
clock ; where the chiefest of the Symerons took our 
captain by the hand and prayed him to follow him. 
Here was that goodly and great high tree, in which 
they had cut, and made divers steps to ascend near 
the top, where they had made a convenient bower, 
wherein ten or twelve men might easily sit ; and from 
thence we might see the Atlantic Ocean we came from, 
and the South Atlantic so much desired. South and 
north of this tree they had felled certain trees, that 
the prospect might be the clearer. 

" After our captain had ascended to this bower with 


the chief Symeron, and having, as it pleased God at 
this time by reason of the breeze, a very fair day, had 
seen that sea of which he had heard such golden reports, 
he besought of Almighty God of his goodness to give 
him life and leave to sail once in an English ship in 
that sea, and then, calling up all the rest of our men, 
acquainted John Oxnam especially with this his petition 
and purpose, if it should please God to grant him that 

This enthusiasm of a noble ambition did not, how- 
ever, divert the thoughts of the adventurer from enter- 
prises of a more questionable kind. Disappointed at 
Nombre de Dios, and again of intercepting the mules, 
he stormed Venta Cruz, a half-way station for the 
lodgment of goods and refreshment of travellers making 
their way through the difficult and fatiguing passes of 
the Isthmus. According to Lopez Vaz, six or seven 
merchants were killed; and as no gold or silver was 
obtained to satiate the thirst of the English seamen, 
goods were wantonly destroyed to the amount of two 
thousand ducats. It is, however, not easy to say 
whether it was before or after this outrage that a string 
of treasure-mules was by accident surprised. The gold 
was carried off, and as much silver as it was possible 
to bear away. The rest was buried till a new voyage 
should be undertaken, and Drake and his company re- 
gained their ships just in time to escape the Spaniards. 
"Fortune so favoured his proceedings," says Vaz, 
"that he had not been above half an hour on board 


when there came to the seaside above three hundred 
soldiers, which were sent of purpose to take him ; but 
God suffered him to escape their hands to be a further 
plague unto the Spaniards." In this expedition a trait 
of Drake's character is recorded which at once marks 
his generosity and enlightened policy. To the cacique 
of the friendly Symerons he had presented his own 
cutlass, for which the chief had discovered a true 
Indian longing. In return the Indian gave him four 
large wedges of gold, which, declining to appropriate, 
Drake threw into the common stock, saying "he 
thought it but just that such as bore the charge of so 
uncertain a voyage on his credit should share the 
utmost advantage that voyage produced." And now, 
"God suffering him to be a further plague to the 
Spanish nation, he sailed away with his treasure." 
This was considerable, and good fortune attended 
Drake to the end of his voyage ; for, leaving Florida, 
in twenty-three days he reached the Scilly Isles prob- 
ably the quickest passage that had yet been made. 
It was in time of public service, on Sunday the 9th 
August, 1573, that he returned to Plymouth; and 
"news of Captain Drake's return being carried to 
church, there remained few or no people with the 
preacher; all running out to observe the blessing of 
God upon the dangerous adventures of the captain, 
who had spent one year two months and some odd 
days in this voyage." 

The next undertaking of Drake was of a more am- 


bitious character. With the wealth acquired thus 
gallantly, and in the opinion of his contemporaries 
fairly and honourably, though the means may not 
stand the test of the morality of a more enlightened 
and philosophic age, Drake fitted out three stout 
frigates, which, with himself as a volunteer, he placed 
at the disposal of Walter, Earl of Essex, father of the 
unfortunate favourite of Elizabeth. Of these he was, 
as a matter of course, appointed commander, and 
performed good service in subduing the rebellion in 
Ireland. His former reputation and his late exploits 
had now acquired for Drake high fame and noble 
patronage. He became known to the queen through 
the introduction of her favourite and privy-councillor, 
Sir Christopher Hatton a distinction doubly desirable 
as it promised assistance in "that haughty design 
which every day and night lay next his heart, pricking 
him forwards to the performance." 

Though, in the enthusiasm of the moment of inspira- 
tion, Drake had betrayed his project, when the time 
came for its accomplishment he maintained an almost 
suspicious reserve, meditating his great design without 
" confiding it to any one." His character through life 
was that of a man who listens to every one's counsel, 
but follows his own ; and doubtless in the purpose he 
meditated there was no judgment so well-informed 
and ripe. 



SPAIN and England were still nominally at peace, though 
the national animosity was continually breaking out in 
fits of aggression and violence ; and if Elizabeth did 
not absolutely discountenance, her policy forbade open 
approbation of a project so equivocal as that which 
Drake contemplated. It is, however, certain that the 
plan of his voyage was laid before the queen ; and her 
majesty, once convinced of its importance and the glory 
and advantage which might be derived to her kingdom 
from its prosperous issue, was easily reconciled to the 
justice of what appeared so expedient. The plan accord- 
ingly at last received her decided though secret appro- 
bation. In one relation of the voyage it is even affirmed 
that Drake held the royal commission, though this is 
not probable. What follows is more true to the char- 
acter of Elizabeth, subtle at once and bold. At a part- 
ing interview she is said to have presented Drake 
with a sword, delivered with this emphatic speech, 
" We do account that he who striketh at thee, Drake, 
striketh at us." Even this verbal commission saves 


rage JO. 


Drake from the charge of having made a piratical 
voyage, or divides the shame with his sovereign. 

The high estimation in which Drake was now held 


may be gathered from the readiness with which friends 
and admirers placed in his hands their ships, and the 
means of equipping a squadron to go on some expedition 
of which the destination lay hid in his own bosom. 
Nor, though the horrible sufferings of Hawkins's crew 

' O O 

and more recent disasters were still fresh in the public 
memory, did he lack both officers and seamen, from 
among the most bold, able, and active of that age, who 
were ready to follow him blindfold to the end of the 
world. Some of the more sordid might from afar smell 
the spoils of the Spaniards, but many were actuated by 
nobler motives. 

The squadron was ostensibly fitted out for a trading 
voyage to Alexandria, though the pretence deceived no 
one, and least of all the watchful Spaniards. It con- 
sisted of five vessels of light burden, the largest being 
only one hundred tons. This was named the Pelican, 
and was the captain-general's ship. The others were, 
the Elizabeth, a bark of eighty tons belonging to London, 
and commanded by Captain John Winter ; the Swan, 
a fly-boat of fifty tons burden, Captain John Chester ; 
the Christopher, a pinnace of fifteen tons, Captain 
Thomas Moone; and the Marigold, a bark of thirty tons, 
Captain John Thomas. The Benedict, a pinnace of 
twelve tons, accompanied the Elizabeth. The frames 
of four pinnaces were taken out, to be set up as they 

(829) 3 


were wanted. The anxiety displayed for the proper 
outfit of the squadron, the extent of preparations in 
provisioning the ships, and laying in arms and stores 
equal to a very long voyage, and the improbability of 
Drake, after his late exploits, undertaking a peaceful 
expedition for traffic, had betrayed in part his design 
before the fleet left England ; but when, out of sight 
of the land, the captain-general, in case of separation, 
appointed a rendezvous at the island of Mogadore on 
the Barbary coast, there was no remaining doubt that 
his enterprise pointed to a place more distant and im- 
portant than Alexandria. 

Though it is probable that traversing the Pacific was 
a subsequent idea arising from the condition in which 
we shall find him after leaving the coast of New Albion, 
Drake is not the less entitled to the praise he has often 
received for attempting an enterprise like that of pass- 
ing the Strait of Magellan with so small a force, and 
adventuring into wild, stormy, and unknown seas with 
ships of so little weight. The passage of the Strait, 
even to a man not so obnoxious to the Spanish nation, 
was a project which could only rationally be entertained 
by a bold and commanding genius relying implicitly 
on its own resources. The dangers and difficulties of 
Magellan Strait had made it be for a long period of years 
almost abandoned by the Spaniai'ds, and it was come 
to be a saying among them that the passage had closed 
up. A superstitious prejudice was conceived against all 
further attempts in the SOUTH SEA, which, it was 


asserted, had proved fatal to every one who had been 
celebrated as a discoverer there, as if Providence had 
a controversy with those who were so daring as to pass 
the insuperable barriers placed between the known and 
the unknown world. Magellan had been killed by the 
heathen in this new region, which Europeans had no 
sanction to approach ; Vasco Nunez de Balboa, the Eu- 
ropean who first saw the South Sea, had been put to 
death by his countrymen; and De Solis was cruelly 
murdered by the natives of Rio de la Plata when pro- 
ceeding to the Strait. Most of the commanders had 
successively perished of diseases produced by the hard- 
ships and anxiety attending the voyage. The mariner 
De Lope, who from the topmast of a ship of Magellan's 
fleet first saw the Strait, had a fate still more dreadful 
in the eyes of the good Catholics of Castile, as he had 
turned a renegade and Mohammedan. None of these 
real and imaginary dangers deterred Drake ; and he, 
who at all times preferred vessels of light burden, as 
of greater utility in threading narrow and intricate 
channels and coasting unknown shores than ships of 
large and unwieldy size, selected those mentioned above. 
Besides the cargoes usually exported for trading, both 
with civilized and savage nations, Drake, who knew the 
full value of shows and pageants, and whatever strikes 
the senses, had taken care to equip himself with many 
elegancies seldom thought of by early navigators. His 
own furniture and equipage were splendid, and his 
silver cooking utensils and the plate of his table of rich 


and curious workmanship. He also carried out a band 
of musicians, and studied everything that could impress 
the natives in the lands he was to visit or discover with 
the magnificence, and the high state of refinement and 
of the arts in his own country. 

On the loth November, 1577, the squadron sailed 
from Plymouth, but encountering a violent gale on the 
same night, were forced to put back into Falmouth: the 
mainmast of the Pelican was cut away, and the Man- 
gold was driven on shore and shattered. This was a 
disheartening outset ; but after refitting at Plymouth, 
they sailed once more on the 13th December, and pro- 
ceeded prosperously. 

On Christmas-day they reached Cape Cantin on the 
coast of Barbary, and, on the 27th, Mogadore, an island 
lying about a mile from the mainland, between which 
and it they found a safe and convenient harbour. 
Mogadore is an island of moderate height ; it is about 
a league in circuit. Having sent out a boat to sound, 
they entered by the north approach to the port, the 
southern access being found rocky and shallow. Here 
Drake halted to fit up one of the pinnaces for service ; 
and while thus engaged, some of the Barbary Moors 
appeared on the shore, displaying a flag of truce, and 
making signals to be taken on board. Two of superior 
condition were brought to the ships, an English hostage 
being left on shore for their safe return. The strangers 
were courteously received and hospitably regaled by 
the captain-general, who presented them with linen, 


shoes, and a javelin. When sent on shore, the hostage 
was restored ; and next day, as several loaded camels 
were seen approaching, it was naturally presumed their 
burdens were provisions and merchandise, and the 
English sent off a boat to trade. On the boat reaching 
the shore, a seaman, more alert than his neighbours, 
leapt among the Moors, and was instantly snatched up, 
thrown across a horse, and the whole party set off at a 
round gallop. The boat's crew, instead of attempting 
to rescue their companion, consulted their personal 
safety by an immediate retreat to the ships. Indignant 
at the treachery of the Moors, Drake landed with a 
party to recover the Englishman and take vengeance, 
but was compelled to return without accomplishing his 
object. Time, which cleared up the mystery, also partly 
exculpated the Moors. It was ascertained that the 
seaman had been seized to be examined by the king, 
the famous Muley Moloch, respecting an armament 
then fitting out by the Portuguese to invade his terri- 
tory, an invasion which soon afterwards took place, 
and of which the results are well known. Before the 
prisoner was dismissed the fleet had sailed ; but he was 
well treated, and permitted to return to England by the 
first ship that offered. 

The fleet having taken in wood, sailed on the 31st 
December, and on the 17th January, 1578, reached 
Cape Blanco, having on the cruise captured three 
caunters, as the Spanish fishing-boats were called, and 
two or else three caravels, the accounts on this, as on 


several other minor points, being often contradictory. A 
ship, which was surprised in the harbour with only two 
men on board, shared the same fate. At Cape Blanco 
they halted for five days' fishing : while on shore Drake 
exercised his company in arms, thus studying both their 
health and the maintenance of good discipline. From 
the stores of the fishermen they helped themselves to 
such commodities as they wanted, and sailed on the 
22nd, carrying off also a caunter of forty tons burden, 
for which the owner received, as a slight indemnification, 
the pinnace Christopher. At Cape Blanco fresh water 
was at this season so scarce that, instead of obtaining 
a supply, Drake, compassionating the condition of the 
natives, who came down from the heights offering 
ambergris and gums in exchange for it, generally filled 
their leathern bags without accepting any recompense, 
and otherwise treated them humanely and hospitably. 
Four of the prizes were released here. After six days' 
sailing they came to anchor on the 28th at the west part 
of Mayo, an island where, according to the information 
of the master of the caravel, dried goat's flesh might be 
had in plenty, the inhabitants preparing a store annually 
for the use of the king's ships. The people on the 
island, mostly herdsmen and husbandmen belonging to 
the Portuguese of the island of St. Jago, would have no 
intercourse with the ships, having probably been warned 
of danger. Next day a party of sixty men landed, 
commanded by Captain Winter and Mr. Doughty, a 
name with which, in the sequel, the reader will become 


but too familiar. They repaired to what was described 
as the capital of the island, by which must be under- 
stood the principal aggregation of cabins or huts, but 
found it deserted. The inhabitants had fled, and had 
previously salted the springs. The country appeared 
fertile, especially in the valleys ; and in the depth of 
the winter of Great Britain they feasted on ripe and 
delicious grapes. The island also produced cocoa-nuts, 
and they saw abundance of goats and wild hens; though 
these good things, and the fresh springs, were unfor- 
tunately too far distant from the ships to be available. 
Salt produced by the heat of the sun formed here an 
article of commerce, and one of the prizes made was a 
caravel bound to St. Jago for salt. 

Leaving Mayo on the 30th, on the south-west side of 
St. Jago they fell in with a prize of more value, a 
Portuguese* ship bound to Brazil laden with wine, 
cloth, and general merchandise, and having a good 
many passengers on board. The command of this 
prize was given to Doughty, who was, however, soon 
afterwards superseded by Mr. Thomas Drake, the 
brother of the general. This is the first time we hear 
of offences being charged against the unfortunate 
Doughty. It is said he appropriated to his own use 
presents, probably given as bribes to obtain good usage, 
by the Portuguese prisoners. These captives Drake 

* Portugal was at this time annexed to the crown of Spain, which 
enabled the English navigators to reconcile an attack on the Portuguese 
ships, to consciences not, however, particularly scrupulous. 


generously dismissed at the first safe and convenient 
place, giving every passenger his wearing apparel, and 
presenting them with a butt of wine, provisions, and 
the pinnace he had set up at Mogadore. Only the 
pilot was detained, Nuno de Silva, who was acquainted 
with the coast of Brazil, and who afterwards published 
a minute and accurate account of Drake's voyage. 

Here, near the island named by the Portuguese Isla 
del Fogo or the Burning Island, where, says the " Famous 
Voyage," "on the north side is a consuming fire, the 
matter whereof is said to be sulphur," lies Brava, 
described in the early narratives as a terrestrial para- 
dise, " a most sweet and pleasant island, the trees 
whereof are always green, and fair to look upon ; in 
respect of which they call it Isla Brava, that is, The 
Brave Island." The " soil was almost full of trees ; so 
that it was a storehouse of many fruits and commo- 
dities, as figs, always ripe, cocoas, plantains, oranges, 
lemons, citrons, and cotton. From the brooks into the 
sea do run in many places silver streams of sweet and 
wholesome water," with which ships may easily be sup- 
plied. There was, however, no convenient harbour nor 
anchoring found at this " sweet and pleasant" island, 
the volcanic tops of Del Fogo " not burning higher in 
the air " than the foundations of Brava dipped sheer 
into the sea. 

The squadron now approached the equinoctial line, 
sometimes becalmed, and at other times beaten about 
with tempests and heavy seas. In their progress they 


were indebted to the copious rains for a seasonable 
supply of water. They also caught dolphins, bonitos, 
and flying-fish, which fell on the decks, and could not 
rise again "for lack of moisture on their wings." They 
had left the shore of Brava on the 2nd February. On 
the 28th March, their valuable Portuguese prize, which 
was their wine-cellar and store, was separated in a 
tempest, but afterwards rejoined at a place which, in 
commemoration of the event, was called Cape Joy. The 
coast of Brazil was now seen in 31 1* south. On the 
5th April the natives, having discovered the ships on 
the coast, made great fires, went through various in- 
cantations, and offered sacrifices, as was imagined, to 
the devil, that the prince of the powers of the air might 
raise storms to sink the strangers. To these diabolical 
arts the mariners doubtless attributed the violent light- 
ning, thunder, and rain, which they encountered in this 

About Cape Joy the air was mild and salubrious, the 
soil rich and fertile. Troops of wild deer, " large and 
mighty," were the only living creatures seen on this 
part of the coast, though the foot-prints of men of large 
stature were traced on the ground. Some seals were 
killed here, fresh provisions of any kind never being 
neglected. On the 14th of April, Drake anchored 
within the entrance of Bio de la Plata, where he had 

* Another account says 38 south. In determining the latitude or 
longitude, the authority of Burney is generally followed in this volume, 
as his eminent practical skill makes his observations on the discrepancies 
in the different accounts of great value. 


appointed a rendezvous in case of separation after leav- 
ing the Cape de Verd Islands ; and here the caunter, 
which had separated in a gale on the 7th, rejoined, 
when the expedition sailed eighteen leagues further into 
the river, where they killed sea- wolves (seals), "whole- 
some but not pleasant food." Still further in, they rode 
in fresh water; but finding no good harbour, and having 
taken in water, the fleet, on the 27th, stood out, and 
afterwards southward. The Sivan lost them on the 
first night, and the caunter, ever apt to go astray, was 
separated ten days afterwards. In 47 south a head- 
land was seen, within which was a bay that promised 
safe harbourage ; and having, on the 12th May, entered 
and anchored, Drake, who seldom devolved the duty of 
examination on an inferior officer, went off in the boat 
next morning to explore the bay. Before he made land, 
a thick fog came on, and was followed by bad weather, 
which took from him the sight of the fleet. The com- 
pany became alarmed for their protector and general, in 
whom all their hopes of fortune, fame, and even of 
preservation, were placed. The Marigold, a bark of 
light weight, stood in for the bay, picked up the captain- 
general, and came to anchor. In the meanwhile the 
other ships, as the gale increased, had been compelled 
to stand out to sea. The fog which had fallen between 
Drake and the fleet also took from his sight an Indian, 
who, loudly shaking a rattle, danced in time to the 
discordant music he made, and by his gestures seemed 
to invite the strangers on shore. Next day Drake 


landed, and several Indians came in sight, to whom a 
white flag was waved in token of amity, and as a signal 
to approach. The natives acknowledged the symbol of 
peace, but still kept at a wary distance. 

Drake now ordered fires to be lighted as signals to 
the ships ; and they all rejoined, save the two vessels 
formerly separated. 

In a sort of storehouse here, above fifty dried ostriches 
were found, besides other birds laid up, dry or drying 
for provision, by the Indians. It was believed by some 
of the English that these had been left as a present ; 
and Drake, whether believing or not in so rare an in- 
stance of hospitality, appropriated the dried birds to 
the use of his company. It is a charitable conjecture 
that some of his own wares were left in return. The 
manner in which these ostriches, whose flesh supplied 
food while their feathers furnished ornaments, were 
snared deserves notice. Plumes of feathers were affixed 
to a stick, made to resemble the head and neck of the 
bird. Behind these decoys the hunter concealed himself, 
and, moving onwards, drove the ostriches into some 
narrow tongue of land, across which strong nets were 
placed to intercept the return of the bird, which runs, 
but cannot fly.* Dogs were then set upon the prey, 
which was thus taken. 

The choice of the place in which the fleet now lay 

* It is to be understood that in this volume objects of natural history 
are often described according to the notions of early voyagers, and not as 
further research and observation, and the discoveries and classifications 
of science, warrant. 


had been dictated by necessity alone. On the 15th it 
was abandoned, and on the 17th they anchored in a 
good port, in 47| south. Here seals were so plentiful 
that upwards of two hundred were killed in an hour. 
While the crews were filling the water-butts, killing 
seals, and salting birds for future provision, Drake in 
the Pelican, and Captain Winter in the Elizabeth, set 
out on different courses in quest of the Swan and the 
Portuguese prize. On the same day Drake fell in with 
the Swan, and before attempting the Strait, formed 
the prudent resolution of diminishing the cares and 
hazards of the voyage by reducing the number of his 
ships. The Swan was accordingly broken up for fire- 
wood, after all her materials and stores had been 

When the ships had lain here a few days, a party of 
the natives came to the shore, dancing, leaping, and 
making signs of invitation to a few of the seamen then 
on a small island, which at low water communicated 
with the mainland. They were a handsome, strong, 
agile race, lively and alert. Their only covering was 
the skin of an animal, which, worn about their middle 
when walking, was wrapped round their shoulders while 
they squatted or lay on the ground. They were painted 
over the whole body after a grotesque fashion. Though 
fancy and ingenuity were displayed in the figures and 
patterns, and in the contrast and variety of colours, it 
is reasonable to conclude that the practice had its origin 
in utility, and was adopted as a defence against cold, 


ornament being at first only a secondary consideration, 
though, as in more refined regions, it sometimes usurped 
the place of the principal object. These Indians being 
first painted all over, on this ground-work many freaks 
of fancy were displayed : white full-moons were ex- 
hibited to advantage on a black ground, and black suns 
on a white one. Some had one shoulder black and the 
other white ; but these were probably persons who 
carried the mode to the extreme. 

On seeing that the signals made were interpreted in 
a friendly way, Drake sent a boat to the shore with 
bells, cutlery, and such small wares as were likely to be 
attractive and acceptable to the tastes of the natives. 
As the boat neared the shore, two of the group, who 
had been standing on a height, moved swiftly down, 
but stopped short at a little distance. The presents were 
fastened to a pole, and left on the beach; and after the 
boat put off they were removed, and in return such 
feathers as the natives wore, and the carved bones 
which they used as ornaments, were deposited near or 
fastened to the same pole. Thus a friendly, if not 
profitable or useful, traffic was established. For such 
trifles as the English bestowed, they gave in return the 
only articles they possessed to which value was attached. 
These were bows, arrows made of reeds and pointed 
with flint, feathers, and carved bones. Their mode of 
exchange was to have everything placed on the ground, 
from whence the goods were removed, and the article 
bartered for substituted. By some of the voyagers 


these people are described as of gigantic stature. They 
were of a gay and cheerful disposition ; the sound of 
the trumpets delighted them ; and they danced merrily 
with the sailors. One of their number who had tasted 
wine, and became, it is stated, intoxicated with the 
mere smell before the glass reached his lips, always 
afterwards approached the tents crying, " Wine, wine !" 
Their principal article of food was seals, and sometimes 
the flesh of other animals ; all of which they roasted, 
or rather scorched for a few minutes, in large lumps of 
six pounds weight, and then devoured nearly raw, 
"men and women tearing it with their teeth like lions." 
The fleet sailed from Seal Bay, as this place was 
named, on the 3rd June, and on the 12th came to anchor 
in a bay where they remained for two days, during which 
they stripped the caunter and allowed it to drift. 
Drake had thus reduced his force to a more compact 
and manageable form. The place from which this 
vessel was sent adrift is sometimes called the Cape of 
Good Hope, but seems to have been named Cape 
Hope. From the 14th to the 17th May the fleet cruised 
about in search of the Mary, the Portuguese prize, and 
then came to anchor in a bay 50 20' south. On the 
19th the missing vessel was found, and next day the 
whole squadron anchored in the Port St. Julian of 
Magellan in 40 30' south ; where, says one relation, 
" we found the gibbet still standing on the Main where 
Magellan did execute justice upon some of his rebellious 
and discontented company." So soon as the ships were 


safely moored, Drake and some of his officers went off 
in a boat to examine the capabilities of this part of the 
coast, and on landing met two men of immense stature, 
who appeared to give them welcome. These were of the 
Patagonian tribes of Magellan. A few trifles presented 
to them were accepted with pleasure, and they were 
apparently delighted by the dexterity with which the 
gunner used the English bow in a trial of skill, sending 
his arrows so far beyond their best aim. Nothing, 
however, can be more fickle and capricious than the 
friendship of most savage tribes. An Indian of less 
amiable disposition than his companions approached, and 
with menacing gestures signified to the crew to be gone. 
Mr. Winter, an English gentleman, displeased with 
the interruption given to their pastime by this churlish 
fellow, between jest and earnest drew a shaft partly in 
intimidation, but also to prove the superiority of the 
English bow and skill. The bow-string unfortunately 
snapped ; and while he was repairing it a sudden shower 
of arrows wounded him in the shoulder and the side. 
Oliver, the gunner, instantly levelled his piece ; but it 
missed fire, and the attempt proved the signal for his 
destruction. He was pierced through with an arrow, 
and immediately dropped. At this critical moment 
Drake ordered the rest of the party to cover themselves 
with their targets, and advance upon the Indians, who 
were fast mustering. With ready presence of mind, he 
directed his men, at the same time, to break every arrow 
aimed at them, as the assailants must thus soon expend 


their stock. The captain-general might at this juncture 
have remembered that, in the TiuUe where Magellan 
lost his life, the same arrows were picked up by the 
people of Matan, and repeatedly shot, as they drove the 
Spaniards into the water. At the same instant in which 
he gave the order, Drake seized the gunner's piece, and 
taking aim at the man who had killed Oliver and begun 
the affray, he shot him in the belly. This turned the 
fate of the hour, and probably prevented the massacre 
of the whole party of English ; for many more of the 
Patagonians were seen hastening from the woods to 
support their countrymen, when the hideous bellowing 
of the wounded man struck with panic those already 
engaged, and the whole fled. It was not thought pru- 
dent to pursue them, nor even to tarry on shore. Mr. 
Winter was therefore borne off to the ships ; but in the 
haste of embarkation the body of the gunner was left. 
Next day, when looked after, the body was found 
uninjured, save that an English arrow had been thrust 
into the left eye. The clothes were in part stripped off, 
and formed into a pillow or truss, which was placed 
under the head of the corpse. Winter soon afterwards 
died of his wounds. 

This unfortunate affray appears to have been more 
the consequence of misunderstanding than design ; and 
the usage of the dead body, and subsequent conduct of 
the natives, evince a less revengeful and ferocious dispo- 
sition than is usually displayed even among the mildest 
savage tribes when inflamed by recent battle. During 


the remainder of the time that the fleet lay here no 
further molestation was offered to the English. 

The stature of these tribes, and of those in the 
Strait, has been the subject of dispute among navi- 
gators from the voyage of Magellan to our own times, 
each succeeding band being unwilling to yield an inch 
to their precursors, or to meet with "giants" less 
formidable than those which had been previously seen. 
Cliffe, however, says "they were of ordinary height, 
and that he had seen Englishmen taller than any of 
them ; " and then, like a true seaman of the period, he 
imputes their exaggerated stature to the " lies " of the 
Spaniards, from whom no good thing could come, and 
who, in the imaginary impunity of escaping detection 
from the navigators of other nations, related these 
marvellous tales^ "The World Encompassed" makes 
the height of these people seven feet and a half. It is 
not unlikely that the mists, haze, and storms, through 
which the natives were often partially seen in the 
Strait, or on those wild coasts, perched on a rock or 
grovelling on the ground, may be the origin of the 
pigmies and giants of the early navigators ; but that 
"tribes of tall though not gigantic stature were seen in 
the South Sea islands, and also on the western coasts 
of the continent of America, from its southern ex- 
tremity as far north as was then explored, does not 
admit of doubt. 

While the fleet lay at Port St. Julian an event 
occurred, which, as the contradictory evidence is viewed, 

(829) 4 


must either be termed the most heroic or the most 
questionable act in the life of Admiral Drake. Mr. 
Thomas Doughty, a man of talent, and too probably of 
ill-regulated ambition, had served as an officer in the 
fleet, and it is said enjoyed in a high degree the affec- 
tion and confidence of the captain-general, who must 
voluntarily have selected him as one of his company. 
Doughty was at this place accused of conspiracy and 
mutiny ; of a plan to massacre Drake and the principal 
officers, and thus defeat the whole expedition, as if the 
first-imagined crime did not constitute sufficient guilt. 
The details of this singular affair are scanty, obscure, 
and perplexed ; and no contemporary writer notices 
any specific fact or ground of charge. The offence of 
Doughty is purely constructive. Cliffe dismisses the 
subject in one seaman -like sentence, merely saying, 
"Mr. Thomas Doughty was brought to his answer, 
accused, convicted, and beheaded." The account in 
" The World Encompassed " is more elaborate, and for 
Drake apologetic, but not much more satisfactory. It 
contains strong general charges, but no record of facts, 
nor a shadow of proof of the general allegations. These 
early chroniclers appear either thoroughly convinced of 
the guilt of the culprit, or indifferent to the propriety 
of convincing others of the justice and necessity of their 
captain's sentence, or they were fully convinced that 
the accused merited his fate. Doughty had previously 
been called in question for his conduct in accepting 
gifts or bribes while in the Portuguese prize, and he 


had afterwards strayed once or twice with the same 
vessel, which was burnt to prevent like accidents. 
According to one account his treason was of old date ; 
and before the fleet left Plymouth, he had been hatch- 
ing plots against his commander, who refused to believe 
" that one he so dearly loved would conceive evil 
against him, till perceiving that lenity and favour did 
little good, he thought it high time to call those prac- 
tices in question, and therefore, setting good watch 
over him, and assembling all his captains and gentle- 
men of his company together, he propounded to them 
the good parts that were in this gentleman, and the great 
good-will and inward affection, more than brotherly, 
which he had ever since his first acquaintance borne 
him, and afterwards delivered the letters which were 
written to him (Drake), with the particulars from time 
to time, which had been observed not so much by him- 
self as by his good friends; not only at sea, but even at 
Plymouth ; not bare words, but writings ; not writings, 
but actions tending to the overthrow of the service in 
hand, and making away his person. Proofs were 
required, and alleged so many and so evident that the 
gentleman himself, stricken with remorse, acknowledged 
himself to have deserved death, yea, many deaths ; for 
that he conspired not only the overthrow of the action, 
but of the principal actor also." The account continues 
in the same strain, asserting that forty of the principal 
men of Drake's band adjudged the culprit to deserve 
death, and gave this judgment under their hand and 


seal, leaving the manner to the general, who allowed 
the unfortunate man the choice of being either aban- 
doned on the coast, taken back to England to answer 
to the lords of the queen's council, or executed here. 
He chose the last, requesting, it is said, that he might 
"once more receive the holy communion with the 
captain-general before his death, and that he might not 
die other than the death of a gentleman." The circum- 
stances of the execution are striking. Mr. Fletcher 
celebrated the communion on the next day. Drake re- 
ceived the sacrament with the condemned man, and 
afterwards they dined together " at the same table, as 
cheerfully in sobriety as ever in their lives they had 
done ; and taking their leaves, by drinking to each 
other, as if some short journey only had been in hand." 
Without further delay, all things being in readiness, 
Doughty walked forth, requested the bystanders to 
pray for him, and submitted his neck to the executioner. 
Camden's version of this transaction does not differ 
materially from the above. The chaplain of the fleet, 
Mr. Francis Fletcher, left a manuscript journal of the 
voyage, now deposited in the British Museum, which 
contradicts many of the important statements in the 
other relations. He asserts that the criminal utterly 
denied the truth of the charges against him, upon his 
salvation, at the time of communicating, and at the 
hour and moment of his death. Mr. Fletcher likewise 
affirms that no choice of life or death was given him 
upon any conditions. It is evident that, in the opinion 


of the chaplain, Doughty was an innocent and a mur- 
dered man; the victim of a conspiracy not rigidly sifted 
by the general, and in which the actors too probably 
consulted his secret wishes. 

The fleet had not long left England when the affair 
of the Portuguese prisoners, in which there might be 
dishonour, but no crime deserving severity of punish- 
ment, and still less death, was brought against him. 
But in Port St. Julian, Fletcher remarks, "more dan- 
gerous matter is laid to his charge, and by the same 
persons (John Brewer, Edward Bright, and others of 
their friends) namely, for words spoken by him to them 
in the general's garden at Plymouth, which it had 
been their part and duty to have discovered them at 
the time, and not have concealed them for a time and 
place not so fitting." Besides the vague charges made 
of plots and mutinous conduct, and the anomalous 
offence of being " an emulator of the glory of his com- 
mander," another cause is assigned for the death of 
Doughty, which, if it were supported by reasonable 
proof, would fix a deeper stigma on the character of 
Drake than all his other questionable deeds put to- 
gether. In England the age of dark iniquitous intrigue 
had succeeded the times of ferocity and open violence ; 
but the dependants and partisans of the leading men 
in the state were still as criminally subservient to the 
flagitious designs of their patrons as when their daggers 
had been freely drawn in their service. It was alleged 
that Captain Drake had carried this man to sea to rid 


the powerful Earl of Leicester of a dangerous prater, 
and in time and place convenient to revenge his quarrel. 
It is probable that the intimacy of Doughty with 
Captain Drake had commenced in Ireland, as both had 
served under Essex; and it is affirmed that the real 
crime of the former was accusing Leicester of plotting 
the secret murder of his noble rival, of which few men 
in England believed him wholly guiltless. On the 
other hand, Essex was the patron of Drake, who, it is 
reasonably urged, was thus much more likely to protect 
than punish a friend brought into trouble for freedom 
of speech on an occasion that would have moved stocks 
or stones. It may be further pleaded on behalf of 
Drake, that, with the exception of the chaplain, whose 
relation has, however, every mark of sincerity and good 
faith, no man nor officer in the fleet has left any record 
or surmise of objection to the justice of the execution, 
though the affair, after the return of the expedition, 
was keenly canvassed in England. In his whole course 
of life Drake maintained the character of integrity and 
humanity ; nor did he lack generosity in fitting season. 
He at all times discovered a strong sense of religion, 
and of moral obligation, save in the case of the Spaniards 
and " Portugals," for which, however, " sea-divinity " 
afforded an especial exception. That he could have 
put an innocent man to death to conceal the crimes or 
to execute the vengeance of Leicester, is too monstrous 
for belief ; and that, conscious of the deepest injustice, 
he should have gone through the solemn religious 


observances which preceded the perpetration of his 
crime, presents a picture of odious hypocrisy and cold- 
blooded cruelty more worthy of a demon than a brave 
man. The case resolves itself into the simple necessity 
of maintaining discipline in the fleet, and sustaining 
that personal authority which, in a commander, is 
a duty even more important than self-preservation. 
Drake's notions of authority might have been some- 
what overstrained; nor is it unlikely that he uncon- 
sciously imbibed slight feelings of jealousy of "this 
emulator of his glory." Every one who mentions 
Doughty speaks of him as a man of great endowments. 
Mr. Fletcher is warm in his praise. " An industrious 
and stout man," says Camden, even when relating his 
crimes, and one, it appears, of sufficient consequence to 
be imagined the cause of disquiet to the still all-power- 
ful Leicester. 

Immediately after the execution, Drake, who to his 
other qualities added the gift of a bold natural elo- 
quence, addressed his whole company, " persuading us 
to unity, obedience, love, and regard of our voyage; 
and, for the better confirmation thereof, wished every 
man the next Sunday following to prepare himself to 
receive the communion as Christian brethren and friends 
ought to do; which was done in very reverent sort, and 
so with good contentment every man went about his 

Doubt and darkness will, however, always hang over 
this transaction, though probably only from the simple 


reason of no formal record being kept of the proceedings. 
Doughty was buried with Mr. Winter and the gunner 
on an island in the harbour, and the chaplain relates 
that he erected a stone, and on it cut the names of these 
unfortunate Englishmen, and the date of their burial. 

The ships, by the breaking up of the Portuguese 
prize, were now reduced to three; and being "trimmed" 
and supplied with wood and water, and such other 
necessaries as could be obtained, they sailed from this 
" port accursed " on the 17th August. Cliffe relates that 
while they lay here the weather, though in July and 
August, was as cold as at midwinter in England. On 
the 20th they made Cape de las Virgines, entered the 
Strait, and on the 24th anchored thirty leagues within it. 

There is a considerable variation in the relations of 
Drake's passage of the Strait. The statements are 
even absolutely contradictory on some points, though 
the disagreements, when the facts are sifted, are more 
apparent than real, every narrator noting only what he 
had himself witnessed or casually gathered from the 
information of others. The original narrative of the 
passage by the Portuguese pilot Nuno de Silva is 
among the most interesting and accurate ; but in the 
present account an attempt is made to combine what- 
ever appears most striking and important in the differ- 
ent relations. The eastern mouth of the Strait was 
found about a league broad ; the land bare and flat. 
On the north side Indians were seen making great 
fires ; but on the south no inhabitants appeared. The 




length was computed at one hundred and ten leagues. 
The tide was seen to rise (setting in from both sides) 
about fifteen feet. It met about the middle, or rather 
nearer the western entrance. The medium breadth was 
one league. Where the ships came to anchor on the 
24th were three small islands, on which they killed 
three thousand " of birds (penguins) having no wings, 
but short pinions which serve their turn in swimming." 
They were as " fat as an English goose." 

" The land on both sides was very huge and moun- 
tainous ; the lower mountains whereof, although they 
be very monstrous to look upon for their height, yet 
there are others which in height exceed them in a 
strange manner, reaching themselves above their fol- 
lowers so high that between them did appear three 
regions of clouds. These mountains are covered with 
snow at both the southerly and easterly parts of the 
Strait. There are islands among which the sea hath 
his indraught into the Strait even as it hath at the 
main entrance. The Strait is extreme cold, with frost 
and snow continually. The trees seem to stoop with 
the burden of the weather, and yet are green continu- 
ally, and many good and sweet herbs do very plentifully 
increase and grow under them." 

Such are the natural appearances described. Near 
the western entrance a number of narrow channels, 
with which the whole of that side abounds, occasioned 
some difficulty in the navigation ; and Drake, with his 
usual caution, brought the fleet to anchor near an 


island, while he went out in his boat to explore these 
various openings to the South Sea. In this expedition 
Indians of the pigmy race, attributed to a region 
abounding in all monstrous things, were seen ; though 
both the gigantic and the diminutive size of these tribes 
are brought in question even by contemporary relations. 
Yet these pigmy Indians were seen close at hand, in 
a canoe ingeniously constructed of the bark of trees, 
of which material the people also formed vessels for 
domestic use. The canoe was semicircular, being high 
in the prow and the stern. The seams were secured 
by a lacing of thongs of seal-skin, and fitted so nicely 
that there was little leakage. The tools of these in- 
genious small folks were formed of the shell of a very 
large species of mussel, containing seed-pearls, which 
was found in the Strait. These shells they tempered, 
if the word may be used, so skilfully that they cut the 
hardest wood, and even bone. One of their dwellings, 
which might, however, be but a fishing-hut, was seen 
rudely formed of sticks stuck in the ground, over which 
skins were stretched. 

Early in September the western entrance was reached; 
and on the 6th of the same month, Drake attained the 
long-desired happiness of sailing an English ship on the 
South Sea. 

The passage of Drake was the quickest * and easiest 

* Lopez Vaz makes the time spent in passing the Strait only twelve 
days, and it could not be above fifteen, where months had been occupied 
by less fortunate or skilful navigators. 


that had yet been made, fortune favouring him here as 
at every other point of this voyage. The temperature 
was also much milder than had been experienced by 
former navigators, or the English seamen might pro- 
bably be more hardy and enduring than those of Spain. 

One main object of Drake in leaving England was 
undoubtedly the discovery of a North-west Passage, by 
following the bold and novel track his genius chalked 
out, and in which he might still hope to anticipate all 
other adventurers, whether their career commenced 
from the east or the west. On clearing the Strait he 
accordingly held a north-west course, and in two days 
the fleet had advanced seventy leagues. Here it was 
overtaken by a violent and steady gale from the north- 
east, which drove them into 57 south latitude, and 
two hundred leagues to the west of Magellan Strait. 
While still driving before the wind, under bare poles, 
the moon was eclipsed at five o'clock in the afternoon 
of the loth, but produced neither abatement nor change 
of the wind. " Neither did the ecliptical conflict of the 
moon improve our state, nor her clearing again mend 
us a whit, but the accustomed eclipse of the sea con- 
tinued in his force, we being darkened more than the 
moon sevenfold." 

On the 24th the weather became more moderate, the 
wind shifted, and they partly retraced their course, for 
seven days standing to the north-east, during which 
land was seen, near which a vain attempt was made to 
anchor. Their troubles did not end here : once more 


the wind got back to its old quarter, and with great 
violence ; and on the 30th the Marigold was separated 
from the Elizabeth and the Golden Hind, as Drake on 
entering the South Sea had named his ship, in compli- 
ment, it is said, to his patron Sir Christopher Hatton. 
They made the land ; but the Marigold was borne to 
sea by the stress of the gale, and was never heard of 
more. We do not even find a conjecture breathed about 
the fate of this ship. On the evening of the 7th October 
the Golden Hind and Elizabeth made a bay near the 
western entrance of Magellan Strait, which was after- 
wards named the Bay of Parting Friends ; and here 
they intended to lie by till the weather improved. 
During the night the cable of the Hind broke, and she 
drove to sea; nor did Captain Winter, in the Elizabeth, 
make any attempt to follow his commander. Heartily 
tired of a voyage of which he had just had so unpleasant 
a specimen, he next day entered the Strait, secretly 
purposing to return home. Edward Cliffe, who sailed 
in the Elizabeth, and whose relation stops with her 
return to England, stoutly denies for the seamen the 
craven intention of abandoning their commander, Cap- 
tain Drake; and even asserts that some efforts were 
made to find the admiral's ship, though of a very 
passive kind. Anchoring in a bay within the Strait, 
fires were kindled on the shore; so that, if Drake 
sought them in this direction and on that day, there 
was a chance of his finding them. This duty discharged, 
they went into secure harbourage in a place which they 


named Port Health, from the rapid recovery of the 
crew, who had lately suffered so much from cold, wet, 
and fatigue. In the large mussels and other shell-fish 
found here they obtained pleasant and restorative food ; 
and they remained till the beginning of November, 
when the voyage was formally abandoned, " on Mr. 
Winter's compulsion, and full sore against the mariners' 
minds." Winter alleged that he now despaired of the 
captain-general's safety, or of being able to hold his 
course with the Elizabeth for the imagined Ophir of 
New Spain. 

It was the llth of November before the Elizabeth 
got clear of the Strait an eastward voyage that had 
only been once performed, and by a Spanish navigator, 
Ladrilleros, twenty years before, and believed to be 
next to impossible and June in the following year 
before Winter returned to England, with the credit of 
having made the passage of the Strait eastward, and 
the shame of having deserted his commander, while his 
company, with nobler spirit, showed unshaken fidelity 
and unabated ardour. 

There is more interest in following the fortunes of 
the Hind, which we left tossed about in the misnamed 
Pacific. Drake was once more carried back to 55 
south, when he judged it expedient to run in among 
the islands or broken land of Tierra del Fuego, where, 
together with a supply of seals and fresh water, a 
season of repose was found from the continual fatigues 
of the last month. But this interval of ease was of 


short duration : they were once more driven to sea in 
a gale, and suffered the further calamity of being parted 
from the shallop, in which were eight seamen with 
almost no provisions. While the Hind drove further 
and further south, the shallop was in the first instance 
so far fortunate as to regain the Strait, where the 
men salted and stored penguins for future supply. 
They soon lost all hope of rejoining the captain-general; 
so, passing the Strait, they contrived to make, in their 
frail bark, first for Port St. Julian, and afterwards Rio 
de la Plata, where six of them, wandering into the 
woods in quest of food, were attacked by a party of 
Indians. All were wounded with arrows; but while 
four were made prisoners, two escaped, and joined their 
two comrades left in charge of the boat. The Indians 
pursued, and the whole four were wounded before the 
natives were beaten back and the shallop got off. The 
Englishmen made for a small island at three leagues' 
distance, where two of their number died of their 
wounds. Nor was this the last calamity they were to 
endure : the shallop was dashed to pieces in a storm. 

A melancholy interest is connected with this frag- 
ment of Drake's original company. On the desolate 
island in which they remained for two months no fresh 
water was to be found ; and though they obtained food 
from eels, small crabs, and a species of fruit resembling 
an orange, their sufferings from intense thirst came to 
an extremity too painful and revolting to be made the 
subject of narrative. At the end of two months a 


plank ten feet long, which had drifted from Rio de la 
Plata, was picked up, smaller sticks were fastened to 
it, and a store of provision was laid in; then com- 
mitting themselves to God, paddling and clinging to 
this ark, they in three days and two nights made the 
mainland which had so long tantalized their sight. 
In relating the issue of this adventure, the words of 
Peter Carder the survivor are adopted : " At our first 
coming on land we found a little river of sweet and 
pleasant water, where William Pitcher, my only com- 
fort and companion, although I dissuaded him to the 
contrary, overdrank himself, being perished before with 
extreme thirst ; and, to my unspeakable grief and dis- 
comfort, died half an hour after in my presence, whom 
I buried as well as I could in the sand." 

The subsequent adventures of Peter Carder among 
the savages on the coast of Brazil, and his captivity 
among the Portuguese of Bahia de Todos los Santos, 
form an amusing and interesting section of Purchas's 
Pilgrims. After a nine years' absence he got back to 
England, and had the honour of relating his adven- 
tures before Queen Elizabeth, who presented him with 
twenty-two angels, and recommended him to her lord- 
high-admiral, Howard. 

To return to Drake. His ship, now driven south- 
ward further than before, again ran in among the 
islands. This is an important stage in the navigation 
of Drake as a voyage of discovery. He had reached 
the southern extremity of the American continent, and 

(829) 5 


been driven round it; for " here no land was seen, but the 
Atlantic and South Sea meeting in a large free scope." 

On the 28th October, the weather, which since the 
6th September, when they entered the Pacific, had 
been nearly one continued hurricane, became moderate, 
and the Golden Hind came to anchor in twenty 
fathoms water, though within a gunshot of the land, 
in a harbour of an island of which the southern point 
has long been known as Cape Horn. 

Sir Richard Hawkins, the son of Sir John, and the 
reputed kinsman of Admiral Drake, relates that he 
was informed by the navigator 'himself that, " at the 
end of the great storm, he found himself in 50 S.." 
which was sufficient proof that he had been beaten 
round without the Strait; and, moreover, that from 
the change of the wind not being able to double the 
southernmost island, he anchored under the lee of it, 
cast himself down upon the extreme point, and reached 
over as far as was safe ; and, after the ship sailed, told 
his company that he had been " upon the southernmost 
point of land in the world, known or likely to be 
known, and further than any man had ever before 

Mr. Fletcher, the chaplain, also landed here. He 
found this island three parts of a degree further south 
than any of the other islands. 

To all the islands discovered here Drake gave the 
general name of the Elizabethides, in compliment to 
his royal mistress. They were inhabited, and the 


natives were frequently seen, though little appears to 
have been learned of their character or customs. 

Having thus discovered and landed on the southern- 
most part of the continent, Drake changed the Terra 
Incognita of the Spanish geographers into the Terra 
bene nunc Cognita of his chaplain, and on the 30th 
October, with a fair wind from the south, he held a 
course north-west ; but, being bent on exploring, after- 
wards kept east, not to lose the coast. On the 25th 
November they anchored at the island of Mocha, off 
the coast of Chili, where the captain-general landed. 
Cattle and sheep were seen here, and also maize and 
potatoes. Presents were exchanged with the Indians, 
and next day a watering-party, which Drake accom- 
panied, rowed towards the shore, in full security of 
their pacific dispositions. Two seamen, who landed to 
fill the water-casks, were instantly killed, and the rest 
of the party narrowly escaped an ambush laid for them 
in case they should come to the assistance of their 
countrymen. They were fiercely assailed with arrows 
and stones, and every one was wounded more or less 
severely. The general was wounded both in the face 
and on the head; and the attack was continued so 
warmly and close that the Indians seized four of the 
oars. This unprovoked attack was imputed by the 
ship's company to the hatred which the inhabitants of 
Chili bore the Spaniards, whom, it was presumed, they 
had not yet learned to distinguish from other Euro- 
peans. In this view it was forgiven by men whose 


prejudices and animosity were equally strong with 
those of the Indians. 

Sailing along the coast with the wind at south, on 
the 30th November they anchored in a bay about 32^ 
S., and sent out a boat to examine the shores, which 
captured and brought before the captain an Indian 
found fishing in his canoe. This man was kindly 
treated. A present of linen and a chopping-knife 
gained his affections ; and he bore the message of Drake 
to his countrymen, who, induced by the hope of like 
gifts, brought to the ship's side a fat hog and poultry. 
It was at this time of more consequence to one main 
object of the voyagers, who, doing much for the glory 
of England and Elizabeth, wished at the same time to 
do a little for themselves, that an intelligent Indian 
repaired to the ship who spoke the Spanish language, 
and, believing them mariners of that nation, unwit- 
tingly gave them much valuable information. From 
him they learned that they had by six leagues over- 
sailed Valparaiso, the port of St. Jago, where a Spanish 
vessel then lay at anchor. The innocent offer of Felipe, 
when he saw their disappointment, to pilot them back, 
was eagerly accepted. On the 4th December they 
sailed from Philip's Bay, as they named this harbour 
in honour of their Indian pilot, and next day, without 
any difficulty, captured the ship the Grand Captain 
of the South Seas, in which was found sixty thousand 
pesos of gold, besides jewels, merchandise, and one 
thousand seven hundred and seventy jars of Chili wine. 


This was a joyful beginning : each peso was reckoned 
worth eight shillings. The people of the town, which 
consisted of only nine families, fled ; and Drake's fol- 
lowers revelled in the unforbidden luxury of a general 
pillage of wine, bread, bacon, and other things most 
acceptable to men who had been so long at sea, both 
for present refreshment and also for storing the ship. 
In every new Spanish settlement, however small, a 
church rose as it were simultaneously. The small 
chapel of Valparaiso was plundered of a silver chalice, 
two cruets, and its altar-cloth, which, to prevent their 
desecration, and to obtain a blessing on the voyage, 
were presented to Fletcher, the pastor of this ocean- 
flock. They sailed on the 8th with their prize, taking, 
however, only one of the crew, a Greek named Juan 
Griego, who was capable of piloting them to Lima. 
Their Indian guide, Felipe, was rewarded, and sent on 
shore near his own home. From the most southern 
point of this coasting voyage Drake had been continu- 
ally on the outlook for the Marigold and Elizabeth ; 
and the Hind being too unwieldy to keep in near the 
coast in the search, a pinnace was intended to be built 
for this duty as well as for other operations which the 
cap tain -general kept in view. A convenient place 
for this purpose had been found at Coquimbo. Near 
the spot selected the Spaniards had raised or collected 
a considerable force ; and a watering-party of fourteen 
of the English were here surprised, and with some 
difficulty escaped from a body of three hundred horse 


and two hundred foot. One seaman was killed, owing, 
however, to his own braggart temerity. 

In a quieter and safer bay the pinnace was set up, 
and Drake himself embarked in it to look after the 
strayed ships; but the wind becoming adverse, he 
soon returned. They quitted this harbour on the 19th 
January 1579, invigorated by a season of repose, by 
the refreshments and booty obtained, and by the hopes 
of richer plunder and more glorious conquest. With 
few adventures they sailed along the coast, till, ac- 
cidentally landing at Tarapaza, they found a Spaniard 
asleep on the shore with thirteen bars of silver lying 
beside him, as if waiting their arrival. Advancing a 
little further, on landing to procure water they fell in 
with a Spaniard and an Indian boy driving eight 
llamas, each of which was laden with two leathern bags 
containing fifty pounds of silver, or eight hundred 
pounds in all. The llamas, or Peruvian sheep, are de- 
scribed by the old voyagers as of the size of an ass, 
with a neck like a camel, and of great strength and 
steadiness, forming the beast of burden of these countries. 
They were indeed the mules of the New World ; but a 
much more valuable animal, as the wool is fine and the 
flesh good. The credulity of the most credulous of the 
family of John Bull his sons of the ocean was here 
amusingly displayed. If the coast of Peru was not liter- 
ally strewed with gold, pure silver was found so richly 
mixed with the soil that every hundredweight of com- 
mon earth yielded, on a moderate calculation, five ounces. 


The eight llamas and their precious burden being 
brought on board, the Golden Hind next entered the 
port of Arica, where two or three small barks then lay. 
These, when rifled, were found perfectly unprotected, 
the crews being on shore, unable to imagine danger on 
this coast. Arica is described as a beautiful and fertile 
valley. The town contained about twenty houses, 
which, the " Famous Voyage " states, " we would have 
ransacked, if our company had been better and more 
numerous ; but our general, contented with the spoil of 
the ships, put to sea, and sailed for Lima " in pursuit 
of a vessel very richly laden, of which they had ob- 
tained intelligence. The ship, of which they were now 
in hot pursuit, got notice of her danger in time to land 
the treasure with which she was freighted, eight 
hundred bars of silver, the property of the King of 
Spain. Drake, now preparing for active measures, rid 
himself of every encumbrance by setting all the sails 
of his prizes, and turning them adrift whithersoever 
the winds might carry them. The arrival of these 
tenantless barks on some wild coast or lonely island 
may yet form the theme of Indian tradition, though 
more probably they must all have been dashed to 

Tidings of the English being upon the coast had by 
this time been despatched overland to the governor at 
Lima; but the difficulty of travelling in these still 
tangled and trackless regions enabled Drake to outstrip 
the messenger, and on the 13th September to surprise 


the Spanish ships lying in Callao, the port of Lima. 
The spoil was trifling for the number of vessels. In 
boarding a ship from Panama, which was just then 
entering the port, an Englishman was killed. Another 
account says he was shot from a boat while pursuing 
the crew, who were abandoning the vessel. In one 
ship a chest of ryals of plate, and a considerable store 
of linens, silks, and general merchandise, were obtained. 
From the prisoners Drake learned that ten days before 
(Lopez Vaz makes it but three) the Cacafuego, laden 
with treasure, had sailed for Panama, the point from 
whence all goods were carried across the Isthmus. 
This information at once determined the course of our 
navigator ; and as ships from Callao to Panama were 
in the habit of touching at intermediate places, he 
reckoned the Cacaftiego already his prize. As a 
measure of precaution, the mainmasts of the two 
largest prizes found here were cut away, the cables 
of the smaller ones were severed, and the goods and 
people being previously removed, the whole were aban- 
doned to the mercy of the winds and waves; while 
Drake bore northward in full sail, or, when the wind 
slackened, was towed on by the boats, each man strain- 
ing to reach the golden goal. But this rather anti- 
cipates the course of the narrative. 

When intelligence of Drake's ship at last reached 
Lima, it was presumed some of the Spanish crews had 
mutinied, and that the Golden Hind was a Spanish 
vessel turned pirate, so little was an attack by the 


English on this side of the continent deemed possible, 
or that the ships of any nation, save Spain, could pass 
the intricate and fatal Strait of Magellan. On being 
apprised of the real fact, and of the danger impending, 
Don Francisco de Toledo, the viceroy at Lima, im- 
mediately repaired to the port with a force estimated 
by Lopez Vaz at two thousand horse and foot. The 
Golden Hind still remained in sight of the port, and 
nearly becalmed. Two vessels, in each of which two 
hundred fighting men were embarked, were equipped 
in all haste, and the capture of Drake the pirate- 
heretic was already confidently reckoned upon. At 
the same hour in which they left the port to make the 
attack a fresh gale sprung up, and the English ship 
pressed onward. The flight and pursuit were con- 
tinued for some time, as it was not the policy of Drake, 
with his very inferior force, to risk an action. By an 
oversight, most fortunate for the English, the Spaniards, 
in their eagerness and confidence of an easy conquest, 
had neglected to take provisions on board. Famine 
compelled them to abandon the pursuit, but Don 
Francisco lost no time in remedying this inadvertence. 
A force of three ships, fully equipped, was despatched 
under the command of Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, 
but arrived too late. The same commander afterwards 
long watched, and waited in vain, the return of Drake 
by the Strait. On his recommendation they were after- 
wards fortified, and a colony planted, an abortive at- 
tempt which cost Spain much treasure and many lives. 


Near Payti, a small vessel, in which some silver 
ornaments were found, was rifled and dismissed ; and 
on passing Payti, from the crew of a vessel which was 
searched they learned that the Cacafuego had the start 
of them now only by two days. Every nerve was 
fresh-braced for pursuit; but the future advantage 
hoped for did not lead them, in the meantime, to 
despise present small gains. Two more vassels were 
intercepted, rifled, and turned adrift the crews being 
first landed. In one of these some silver and eighty 
pounds of gold were found, and a golden crucifix in 
which was set "a goodly and great emerald." They 
also found a good supply of useful stores and a large 
quantity of cordage, which made most part of the 
cargo. On the 24th February they crossed the Line, 
the Cacajuego still ahead and unseen ; and Drake, to 
animate the hopes and quicken the vigilance of his 
company, offered as a reward to whoever should first 
descry the prize the gold chain which he usually wore. 
The reward was gained by Mr. John Drake, who, at 
three o'clock in the afternoon of the 1st March, from 
the mast-head discerned the prize, which by six o'clock 
was boarded and taken. This capture was made off 
Cape Francisco. The captain, a Biscayan named Juan 
de Anton, was so little aware of his danger, that seeing 
a vessel coming up to him under a press of sail, he 
concluded that the viceroy had sent some important 
message, and struck his sails to await the approach of 
the Golden Hind. When aware, from closer inspection, 


of his mistake, he tried to escape ; but he was already 
within reach of Drake's guns, and possessed no defensive 
weapons of any kind. Yet, with the brave spirit of 
his province, the Biscayan refused to strike till his 
rnizzenmast was shot away, and he himself wounded by 
an arrow. 

This ship proved to be a prize worth gaining. It 
contained twenty-six tons of silver, thirteen chests of 
ryals of plate, and eighty pounds of gold, besides 
diamonds and inferior gems, the whole estimated at 
three hundred and sixty thousand pesos. 

Among the spoils were two very handsome silver 
gilt bowls belonging to the pilot, of which Drake de- 
manded one; which the doughty Spaniard surrender- 
ing, presented the other to the steward, as if he disdained 
to hold anything by the favour of the English. The 
" Famous Voyage " records some capital salt-water jests 
made on this occasion at the expense of the Spaniards. 
It must be owned that the laugh was wholly on the 
side of the English. 

Had Drake, thus richly laden, now been assured of a 
safe and an easy passage to England, it is probable 
that the Golden Hind might not on this voyage have 
encompassed the globe. The advanced season, however, 
and the outlook which he was aware the Spaniards 
would keep for his return, forbade the attempt of re- 
passing the Strait ; while the glory of discovery, and 
the hope of taking his immense treasure safely to 
England, determined him in the resolution of seeking a 


north-west passage homeward. Though not in general 
communicative, his plans were no sooner formed than 
he unfolded them to the ship's company, with the 
persuasive eloquence of a man eminently fitted for 
command. The crew were now in high spirits, and 
full of confidence in their skilful, bold, and successful 
leader. His counsel, which carried all the weight of 
command, was " to seek out some convenient place to 
trim the ship, and store it with wood, water, and such 
provisions as could be found, and thenceforward to 
hasten our intended journey for the discovery of the 
said passage, through which we might with joy return 
to our longed homes." 

With this resolution they steered for Nicaragua, and 
on the 16th March anchored in a small bay of the 
island of Canno, which proved a good station to water 
and refit. The pinnace was once more on active duty, 
and a prize was brought in laden with honey, butter, 
sarsaparilla, and other commodities. Among the papers 
of the prize were letters from the King of Spain to the 
governor of the Philippines, and sea-charts which after- 
wards proved of use to the English. While Drake lay 
here, a violent shock of an earthquake was felt. From 
Canno they sailed on the 24th March, the captain- 
general never loitering in any port beyond the time 
absolutely necessary to repair the ship and take in 
water. On the 6th April they made another valuable 
prize. Being already well supplied with stores, their 
choice was become more nice and difficult ; and select- 


ing only silks, linen, delicate porcelain, and a falcon of 
finely-wrought gold, in the breast of which a large 
emerald was set, the vessel was dismissed, and of her 
crew only a negro and the pilot detained, who steered 
them into the harbour of Guatalco. Landing, accord- 
ing to their approved good practice, to ransack the 
town, it is related in the " Famous Voyage " that they 
surprised a council then holding on certain negroes 
accused of a plot to burn the place. To their mutual 
astonishment, judges and culprits were hurried on 
board in company, and the chief men were compelled 
to write to the townspeople to make no resistance to 
the English. The only plunder found in ransacking 
this small place, in which there were but fourteen 
persons belonging to Old Spain, consisted of about a 
bushel of ryals of plate. One of the party, Mr. John 
Winter, seeing a Spaniard taking flight, pursued and 
took from the fugitive a chain of gold and some jewels. 
This is related with great exultation, as a feat of 
peculiar dexterity and merit. All the Spaniards on 
board the Golden Hind were now set at liberty. The 
Portuguese pilot, Nuno Silva, who had been brought 
from the Cape de Verd Islands, was also dismissed, and 
probably at this place wrote the relation of the voyage 
from which quotations have been made in this memoir. 
Silva's account was sent to the Portuguese viceroy in 
India, and long afterwards fell into the hands of the 

Satiated with plunder on sea and shore, Drake, on 


the ICth April, sailed on that bold project of discovery 
formerly communicated to his company, and by the 
3rd of June had gone over one thousand four hundred 
leagues, in different courses, without seeing land. They 
had now reached 43 north ; the cold was become very 
severe, and, on advancing two or three degrees further, 
so intense, that meat froze the instant it was removed 
from the fire, and the ropes and tackling of the ship 
became rigid from the influence of the frost. On the 
5th, being driven in by the winds, land was seen, and 
they anchored in a small bay, too unsheltered, however, 
to permit of their remaining. Drake had not expected 
to find the coast stretching so far westward. The 
wind was now become adverse to holding a northerly 
course, although the extreme cold, and the chill, raw, 
unwholesome fogs which surrounded them had made 
such a track desirable. The land seen here was in 
general low ; but wherever a height appeared it was 
found covered with snow, though now almost mid- 
summer. The land seen was the western coast of 
California. On the 17th June they anchored in a good 
harbour, on an inhabited coast. As the Hind drew 
near the shore the natives approached, and an am- 
bassador or spokesman put off in a canoe, who made a 
formal harangue, accompanied with much gesticulation. 
When the oration was concluded, he made a profound 
obeisance and retired to the land. A second and a 
third time he returned in the same manner, bringing, 
as a gift or tribute, a bunch of feathers neatly trimmed 


and stuck together, and a basket made of rushes. Of 
these rushes it was afterwards found that the natives 
fabricated several useful and pretty things. The 
females, though the men were entirely naked, wore a 
sort of petticoat composed of rushes, previously stripped 
into long threads resembling hemp. They also wore 
deer-skins round their shoulders ; and some of the men 
occasionally used furs as a covering. It was remarked 
that the Indians appeared as sensible to the extreme 
severity of the weather as the English seamen, cower- 
ing, shivering, and keeping huddled together, even 
when wrapped up in their furs. The basket brought 
by the Indian ambassador or orator was filled with an 
herb which, in some of the original relations of the 
voyage, is called tabah, the native name, and in others 
tobacco. The Indian was either afraid or unwilling to 
accept of any present from the English in return for 
this simple tribute, but picked up a hat which was 
sent afloat towards him. The kindness of Drake 
ultimately gained the confidence of these people. 

The ship had some time before sprung a leak, and it 
was here found necessary to land the goods and stores, 
that she might be repaired. On the 21st this was 
done, though the natives appeared to view the move- 
ment with suspicion and dissatisfaction. They, how- 
ever, laid aside their bows and arrows when requested 
to do so, and an exchange of presents further cemented 
the growing friendship. They retired apparently satis- 
fied; but had no sooner reached their huts, which 


stood at a considerable distance, than a general howling 
and lamentation commenced, which lasted all night. 
The females especially continued shrieking in a wild 
and doleful manner, which, if not absolutely appalling 
to the English, was yet to the last degree painful, 
Drake, whose presence of mind never forsook him, and 
who was seldom lulled into false security by appear- 
ances of friendship, mistrusting the state of excitement 
into which the Indians were raised, took the precaution 
of intrenching the tents into which the goods and the 
crew had been removed while the repairs of the ship 
were in progress. For the two days following "the 
night of lamentation " no native appeared. At the end 
of that time a great number seemed to have joined the 
party first seen ; and the whole assembled on a height 
overlooking the fortified station of the ship's company, 
and appeared desirous of approaching the strangers. 
The ceremonies were opened by an orator or herald 
making a long speech or proclamation, with which 
the audience were understood to express assent, by 
bowing their bodies at the conclusion, and groaning in 
chorus Oh ! or Oh ! oh ! After this friendly demon- 
stration for as such it was intended a deputation 
of the assembly stuck their bows into the earth, and 
bearing gifts of feathers and rush-baskets with tabah, 
descended towards the fort. While this was passing 
below, the women, mixed with the group on the height, 
began to shriek and howl as on the " night of lamen- 
tation," to tear their flesh with their nails, and dash 


themselves on the ground, till the blood sprung from 
their bodies. This is said, in the " Famous Voyage," 
to have been part of the orgies of their idol or demon 
worship. Drake, it is said, struck with grief and 
horror, and probably not without a tincture of super- 
stition, ordered divine service to be solemnized. The 
natives sat silent and attentive, at proper pauses 
breathing their expressive " Oh ! " in token of assent 
or approbation. With the psalms, sung probably to 
one of the simple solemn chants of the Old Church, 
they appeared affected and charmed; and they re- 
peatedly afterwards requested their visitors to sing. 
On taking leave they declined the gifts tendered, either 
from superstitious dread, or as probably on the same 
principle which makes a clown at a fair afraid to 
accept the tempting shilling offered by a recruiting- 
sergeant, from no dislike to the coin, or reluctance to 
drink the king's health, but from great distrust of the 
motives of the giver. The voyagers, with amusing 
self-complaisance, ascribe this fear or delicacy to the 
deep veneration of the natives, and to their thinking 
" themselves sufficiently enriched and happy that they 
had free access to see us." 

The Indians here managed their foreign relations 
with ceremonial that might have sufficed for more re- 
fined societies. The news of the arrival of the English 
having spread, on the 26th two heralds or pursuivants 
arrived at headquarters, craving an audience of the 
captain-general on the part of their hioh or king. The 

(829) 6 


precursor of majesty harangued a full half-hour, his 
associate dictating to or prompting him, and concluded 
by demanding tokens of friendship and safe-conduct 
for the chief. These were cheerfully given. 

The approach of the hioh was well arranged, and 
imposing in effect. First came the sceptre or mace 
bearer, as he is called, though club-bearer would be the 
more correct phrase. This officer was a tall and hand- 
some man, of noble presence. His staff or club of office 
was about five feet in length, and made of a dark wood. 
To this were attached two pieces of net-work or chain- 
work, curiously and delicately wrought, of a bony 
substance, minute, thin, and burnished, and consisting 
of innumerable links. He had also a basket of tabah. 
These net-cauls or chains were supposed to be insignia 
of personal rank and dignity, akin to the crosses, stars, 
and ribbons of civilized nations, the number of them 
worn denoting the degree of consequence, as the im- 
portance of a pasha is signified by the number of his 
tails. The king followed his minister, and in his turn 
was succeeded by a man of tall stature, with an air of 
natural grandeur and majesty which struck the English 
visitors. The royal-guard came next in order. It was 
formed of one hundred picked men, tall and martial- 
looking, and clothed in skins. Some of them wore 
ornamental head-dresses made of feathers, or of a 
feathery-down which grew upon a plant of the country. 
The king wore about his shoulders a robe made of the 
skins of the species of marmot afterwards described. 


Next in place in this national procession came the 
common people, every one painted, though in a variety 
of patterns, and with feathers stuck in the club of hair 
drawn up at the crown of their heads. The women 
and children brought up the rear, carrying each, as a 
propitiatory gift, a basket, in which was either tabali, 
broiled fish, or a root that the natives ate both raw 
and baked. 

Drake, seeing them so numerous, drew up his men in 
order, and under arms, within his fortification or block- 
house. At a few paces' distance the procession halted, 
and deep silence was observed, w r hile the sceptre -bearer, 
prompted as before by another official, harangued for 
a full half-hour. His eloquent address, whatever it 
might import, received the concurrent " Oh " of the 
national assembly. The same orator commenced a song 
or chant, keeping time in a slow, solemn dance, per- 
formed with a stately air, the king and all the warriors 
joining both in the measure and the chorus. The 
females also moved in the dance, but silently. Drake 
could no longer doubt of their amicable feelings and 
peaceful intentions. They were admitted, still singing 
and moving in a choral dance, within the fort. The 
orations and songs were renewed and prolonged ; and 
the chief, placing one of his crowns upon the head of 
the captain-general, and investing him with the other 
imagined insignia of royalty, courteously tendered him 
his whole dominions, and hailed him king ! Songs of 
triumph were raised, as if in confirmation of this 


solemn cession of territory and sovereignty. Such is 
the interpretation which the old voyagers put upon a 
ceremony that has been more rationally conjectured to 
resemble the interchange or exchange of names, which 
in the South Sea islands seals the bonds of friendship ; 
or as something equivalent to a European host telling 
his visitor that he is master of the house. "The 
admiral," it is shrewdly observed, "accepted of this 
new-offered dignity in her majesty's name, and for her 
use; it being probable that, from this donation, whether 
made in jest or earnest by these Indians, some real 
advantage might hereafter redound to the English 
nation and interest in these parts." We are expressly 
informed that the natives afterwards actually wor- 
shipped their guests, and that it was necessary to 
check their idolatrous homage. They roamed about 
among the tents, admiring all they saw, and expressing 
attachment to the English in their own peculiar fashion. 
It was for the youngest of the company these fondnesses 
were imbibed. To express affection, the Indians sur- 
rounded and gazed upon them, and then began to howl 
and tear their flesh till they streamed in their own 
blood, to demonstrate the liveliness and strength of 
their affection. The same unnatural and uncouth 
shows of regard continued to be made while the English 
remained on the coast; and obeisances and homage 
were rendered which, being considered as approaching 
to sacrifice or worship, were strenuously and piously 
disclaimed. These people are described as an amiable 


race ; of a free, tractable, kindly nature, without guile 
or treachery. To mark their esteem of the English, 
and confidence in their skill and superiority, it may be 
noticed that they applied for medicaments for their 
wounds and sores. 

The men, as has been noticed, were generally naked ; 
but the women, besides the short petticoat woven of 
peeled bulrushes, wore deer-skins, with the hair on, 
round their shoulders. They were remarked to be 
good wives, very obedient and serviceable to their 
husbands. The men were so robust and powerful that 
a burden which could hardly be borne by two of the 
seamen, a single native would with ease carry up and 
down hill for a mile together. Their weapons were 
bows and arrows, but of a feeble, useless kind. Their 
dwellings were constructed in a round form, built of 
earth, and roofed with pieces of wood joined together 
at a common centre, somewhat in form of a spire. 
Being partly under ground, they were close and warm. 
The fire was placed in the middle, and beds of rushes 
were spread on the floor. 

Before sailing, Drake made an excursion into the 
interior. Immense herds of deer were seen, large and 
fat; and the country seemed one immense warren of 
a species of cony of the size of a Barbary rat, " their 
heads and faces like rabbits in England, their paws 
like a mole, their tails like a rat. Under their chin on 
each side was a pouch, into which they gathered meat 
to feed their young, or serve themselves another time." 


The natives ate the flesh of those animals, and greatly 
prized their skins, of which the state robes worn by 
the king at his interview with Drake were made. 

The admiral named this fair and fertile country New 
Albion, and erected a monument of his discovery, to 
which was nailed a brass plate, bearing the name, effigy, 
and arms of her majesty, and asserting her territorial 
rights, and the date of possession being taken. 

Drake had spent thirty-six days at this place, a 
long but necessary sojourn ; but the repairs of the ship 
being completed, on the 23rd July he bore away from 
Port Drake the kind-hearted natives deeply bewail- 
ing the departure of their new friends. The regret, 
good -will, and respect were indeed mutual. The 
Indians entreated the English to remember them ; and 
as a farewell offering or homage, secretly provided 
what is called a sacrifice. While the ship remained in 
sight they kept fires burning on the heights. It is 
delightful at this time to hear of Europeans leaving 
grateful remembrances of their visits on any coast, and 
the pleasure is enhanced by being able to claim this 
honour for our countrymen. It was from some fancied 
resemblance to the white cliffs of England that Drake 
bestowed on the coast he had surveyed the name of 
New Albion.* 

Next day a store of seals and birds were caught at 

* After passing Punta de los Reyes, Captain Beechey awaited the 
return of day off some white cliffs, which he believed must be those 
which made Sir Francis Drake bestow on this tract of country the name 
of New Albion. 


some small islands, which are now supposed to be the 
Farellones of modern charts. 

Thus far had Drake boldly explored in search of a 
passage homeward, either through an undiscovered 
strait or around the northern extremity of the continent 
of America ; but now this design, so honourable to his 
enterprise, and even to his sagacity, was for the present 
abandoned, the winds being adverse, and the season 
too far advanced to prosecute further so perilous an 
adventure. Leaving the scene of his discoveries on 
the western coast of America, which are reckoned to 
begin immediately to the north of Cape Mendocino 
and to extend to 48 N., Drake, with the unanimous 
consent of his company, having formed the design of 
returning home by India and the Cape of Good Hope, 
sailed westwards for sixty-eight days without coming 
in sight of land. On the 13th September he fell in 
with some islands in 8 N. As soon as the Golden 
Hind appeared, the natives came off in canoes, each 
containing from four to fourteen men, bringing cocoa- 
nuts, fish, and fruits. Their canoes were ingeniously 
formed, and prettily ornamented, hollowed out of a 
single tree, and so high at the stern and prow as to be 
nearly semicircular. The islanders were not yet suf- 
ficiently enlightened in mercantile affairs to have 
learned that honesty is the dealers' best policy. Drake, 
however, instead of imitating the conduct of Magellan, 
and instantly shooting them for thieving, or burning 
their houses, endeavoured to bring them to a sense of 


propriety, merely by refusing to traffic with those who 
were found dishonest. This excited their displeasure, 
and a general attack of stones was commenced. A 
cannon, not shotted, fired over their heads to scare 
them away, had only this effect for a short time. The 
general was at last compelled to adopt more severe 
measures of retaliation, and we are told, in vague 
terms, that "smart was necessary as well as terror." 
The natives of those Islands of Thieves, as they were 
named by the English, had the lobes of their ears cut 
out into a circle, which hung down on their cheeks. 
Their teeth were black as jet, from the use of a powder 
which they constantly employed for the purpose of 
staining them. This powder they carried about with 
them in a hollow cane. Another peculiarity observed 
was the length of their nails, which was above an inch. 
It has been conjectured, with every mark of probability, 
that Drake's Islands of Thieves are the islands named 
De Sequeira, discovered by Diego da Rocha, and the 
Pelew Islands of our own times. If so, the morals of 
the inhabitants must have improved greatly in the long 
interval which elapsed between this first visit of the 
English and that made by Captain Wilson in the Duff. 
The wind coming fair, on the 3rd October the Golden 
Hind stood westward, and on the 16th of the month 
made the Philippines in 7 5' north of the Line. They 
first fell in with four islands having a thick population, 
or the appearance of it. These they visited, and after- 
wards anchored in Mindanao. Sailing hence on the 22nd, 


they kept a southerly course, and passed between two 
islands, about six or eight leagues south of Mindanao, 
supposed to be Sarangan and Candigar. 

On the 3rd November the Moluccas were seen, and 
they steered for Tidore: but in coasting along Motir 
a boat came off, from which Drake learned that the 
Portuguese, expelled from Terrenate (or Ternate) by the 
king of that island, had fixed their headquarters at 
Tidore. In this boat was the Viceroy of Motir, which 
island was under the sovereignty of the powerful and 
warlike King of Ternate. As soon as the viceroy 
understood that Drake had no reason either to love or 
trust the Portuguese, he entreated him to change his 
destination; and the ship accordingly steered for the 
port of Ternate. 

Previous to coming to an anchor before the town, a 
courteous offer of friendship was made by the general, 
through a messenger whom he sent on shore, with a 
velvet cloak as a present to the king, and who was 
instructed to say that the English came hither only to 
trade, and to procure refreshments. The Viceroy of 
Motir had previously disposed the king to give Drake 
a favourable reception. To the general's message a 
gracious answer was returned. All that the territories 
of the King of Ternate afforded was at the disposal of 
the English ; and that prince was ready to lay himself 
and his whole dominions at the feet of so glorious a 
princess as the Queen of England. By some of the 
voyagers this flourish of Oriental hyperbole was most 


literally interpreted. The English envoy was received 
with great pomp ; and as credentials, or safe-conduct, 
a signet, we are not told in what form, was transmitted 
through him to the captain-general. Before the ship 
came to anchor the king put off to pay it a visit of 
welcome and ceremony. The royal equipment con- 
sisted of three state barges or canoes, filled with the 
most distinguished persons of his retinue. They wore 
dresses of white muslin, "white lawn, of cloth of 
Calicut." Over their heads was a canopy or awning 
of perfumed mats, supported on a framework of reeds. 
Their personal attendants, also dressed in white, stood 
next them ; and beyond these were ranks of warriors, 
armed with dirks and daggers ; these again were en- 
circled by the rowers, of whom there were eighty to 
each barge, placed in galleries raised above the other 
seats, three on each side. They rowed, or rather paddled, 
in cadence to the clashing of cymbals, and altogether 
made a gallant show. The king, who advanced in the 
last barge, was saluted with a discharge of all the great 
guns; and the martial music which Drake employed 
on occasions of ceremonial struck up. The canoes 
paddled round and round the ship, the king appearing 
delighted with the music, and gratified by the signs of 
wealth and magnificence exhibited by his visitors. He 
was himself a tall, stout, graceful man, and celebrated 
as a conqueror and warrior. By policy and force of 
arms he had not only expelled the Portuguese from this 
island, but had subdued many others, so that seventy 


islands now owned his sway. He professed the faith of 
Mohammed, which was now become the religion of all 
his dominions. It is worthy of remark that, in the 
ceremonies and external observances of royalty, the 
native princes of these Indian islands might have vied 
with the most polished courts of Europe. Elizabeth, 
whose board was daily spread with lowly bends and 
reverences, was not more punctilious in ceremonial and 
etiquette than the sovereign of Ternate. His courtiers 
and attendants approached the royal presence with the 
most profound respect, no one speaking to the king 
save in a kneeling posture. As soon as the ship came 
to an anchor the king took leave, promising another 
visit on the following day. 

That same evening a present of fowls, rice, sugar, 
cloves, and frigo, was received, and "a sort of fruit," 
says the " Famous Voyage," " they call sago, which is 
a meal made out of the tops of trees, melting in the 
mouth like sugar, but eating like sour curd, but yet 
when made into cakes will keep so as to be very fit 
for eating at the end of ten years." It is pleasant to 
come thus upon the first simple notice of those pro- 
ductions of other climes which have so long contributed 
to the comfort, variety, or luxury of European com- 

Instead of coming on board next day, the king sent 
his brother to bear his excuses, and to remain as a 
hostage for the safe return of the cap tain -general, who 
was invited to land. The invitation was not accepted, 


the English having some doubts of the good faith of 
the fair-promising sovereign of Ternate. But some of 
the gentlemen went on shore ; their first acquaintance, 
the Viceroy of Motir, remaining as a hostage as well as 
the king's brother. On landing they were received 
with the pomp which had been intended to grace the 
entrance of Drake into the capital. Another brother of 
the king and a party of the nobles conducted them to 
the palace, which stood near the dismantled fort of the 
expelled Portuguese. There they found an assembly 
of at least a thousand persons, sixty of them being 
courtiers or privy councillors, " very grave persons ; " 
and four Turkish envoys in robes of scarlet and turbans, 
who were then at the court of Ternate concluding a 
treaty of commerce. The king was guarded by twelve 
lances. "A glorious canopy, embroidered with gold, 
was carried over his head." His garb was a robe of 
cloth of gold hanging loose about his person ; his legs 
were bare, but on his feet he wore slippers of Cordovan 
leather. Around his neck hung a weighty chain of 
gold, and fillets of the same metal were wreathed 
through his hair. On his fingers " were many fair 
jewels." At the right side of his chair of state stood 
a page cooling him with a fan, two feet in length 
and one in breadth, embroidered and adorned with 
sapphires, and fastened to a staff three feet long, by 
which it was moved. His voice was low and his aspect 

Drake did not afterwards land ; and the offers made 


of exclusive traffic with the English were, it appears, 
received by him with indifference. 

Having procured a supply of provisions and a con- 
siderable quantity of cloves, the Golden Hind left 
the Moluccas on the 9th November, and on the 14th 
anchored at a small island near the eastern part of 
Celebes, which they named Crab Island. This place 
being uninhabited and affording abundance of wood, 
though no water was found, tents were erected on 
shore, and fences formed around them ; and here they 
resolved effectually to repair the ship for her homeward 
voyage. This proved a pleasant sojourn. The island 
was one continued forest of a kind of trees, large, lofty, 
and straight in the stem, nor branching out till near 
the top ; the leaves resembling the broom of England. 
About these trees flickered innumerable bats " as big as 
hens." There were also multitudes of shining flies, no 
bigger than the common fly in England, which, skim- 
ming up and down in the air between the trees and 
bushes, made them appear " as if they were burning." 
There were also great numbers of land-crabs, described 
as a sort of cray-fish, " which dig holes in the earth 
like conies, and are so large that one of them will dine 
four persons, and very good meat." 

At a small neighbouring island water was procured, 
and on the 12th December, having lain at Crab Island 
about a month, the Hind sailed for the west, and soon 
got entangled among islets and shoals, which induced 
them to steer for the south to get free of such dangerous 


ground. At this time occurred the most imminent 
peril and providential escape that attended this re- 
markable voyage, an incident as much resembling a 
visible interposition of divine aid, where human hope 
was perished, as any to be found among the almost 
miraculous records of preservation contained in the 
relations of maritime adventure. 

After being teased for many days, on the 9th January 
they flattered themselves that the shoals were at last 
cleared. On that same evening, early in the first 
watch, while the Golden Hind, with all her sails set, 
was running before a fair wind, she came suddenly 
upon a shelving rock, and stuck fast. Violent as 
was the shock, she had sprung no leak, and the boats 
were immediately lowered to sound, and ascertain if 
an anchor could be placed in such a situation as would 
permit the ship to be drawn off into deep water. But 
the rock in which she was as it were jammed shelved 
so abruptly that at the distance of only a few yards 
no bottom could be found. A night of great anxiety 
was passed; and when the dawn permitted a second 
search for anchorage-ground, it only ended in more 
confirmed and bitter disappointment. There seemed 
no help of man; yet in the midst of their calamity 
several fortunate, or more properly providential, cir- 
cumstances intervened. No leak had been sprung; and 
though the ebb-tide left the ship in only six feet of 
water, while (so deeply was she treasure-laden) thirteen 
were required to float her, a strong and steady gale, 


blowing from the side to which she must have heeled 
as the tide gradually receded, supported her in this 
dangerous position. In this dreadful situation, instead 
of giving themselves up to despair or apathy, Drake and 
his company behaved with the manliness, coolness, and 
resolution which have ever in the greatest perils char- 
acterized British seamen. The crew were summoned 
to prayers; and this solemn duty fulfilled, a last united 
effort was made for the common safety. A quantity 
of meal, eight of the guns, and three tons of cloves 
were thrown overboard. This partial lightening pro- 
duced no visible effect ; the ship stuck as fast as before. 
The simple language of the original narrative is so 
much more forcible and touching than any modern 
paraphrase that we at once adopt it. In a single 
sentence it displays the manly and self -depending 
character of Drake, and the veneration and implicit 
confidence with which his crew regarded him. " Of 
all other days," says one old relation, "on the 9th 
January, in the yeere 1579 (1580), we ranne upon a 
rocke, where we stuck fast from eight of the clocke at 
nighte till four of the clocke in the afternoon of next 
day, being indeed out of all hope to escape the danger ; 
but our generall, as hee had alwayes shown himself 
couragious, and of a good confidence in the mercie and 
protection of God, so now he continued in the same ; 
and lest he should seem to perish wilfully, both hee 
and wee did our best endevour to save ourselves, which 
it pleased God so to bless that in the ende wee cleared 


ourselves most happily of the danger." It was, how- 
ever, by no effort of their own that they were finally 
extricated, though nothing that skill and courage could 
suggest or accomplish was wanting. The wind slackened 
and fell with the tide, and at the lowest of the ebb 
veered to the opposite point, when the vessel suddenly 
heeled to her side. The shock loosened her keel, and 
at the moment of what appeared inevitable destruction 
she plunged into the deep water, once more as freely 
afloat as when first launched on the ocean. The 
thankfulness of the ship's company may be imagined. 
This dangerous shoal or reef is not far from the coast 
of Celebes, in 1 56' S. 

Their perilous adventure made them afterwards very- 
wary, and it was not till some weeks had elapsed that, 
cautiously exploring their way, they finally extricated 
themselves from this entangled coast. 

On the 8th February they fell in with the island of 
Baratane, probably the island now called Booton, a 
pleasant and fruitful place. It afforded gold, silver, 
copper, and sulphur. The fruits and other natural 
productions were ginger, long-pepper, lemons, cocoas, 
cucumbers, nutmegs, frigo, sago, etc., etc. Ternate 
excepted, this island afforded better and greater variety 
of refreshments for the mariner than any land at which 
our navigators had touched since they had left England. 
The inhabitants were worthy of the fertile region they 
inhabited. In form and features they were a hand- 
some people ; in disposition and manners, mild and 


friendly; fair in their dealings, and obliging in their 
behaviour. The men were naked, save a small turban, 
and a piece of cloth about their waists; but the women 
were clothed from the middle to the feet, and had their 
arms loaded with bracelets, fashioned of bone, horn, 
and brass. The men universally wore ornaments in 
their ears. These islanders received the English with 
kindness and civility, and gladly supplied their wants. 

Leaving Baratane, with very favourable impressions 
of the country and the people, they made sail for Java, 
which was reached on the 12th of March. Here the 
navigators remained for twelve days in a course of 
constant festivity. The island was at this time gov- 
erned by five independent chiefs or rajahs, who lived 
in perfect amity, and vied with each other in showing 
hospitality and courtesy to their English visitors. 

The social condition of the Javans at this compara- 
tively early period exhibits a pleasing and attractive 
picture of semi-barbarous life, if a state of society may 
be thus termed which appears to realize many of our 
late Utopian schemes of visionary perfection. The 
Javans were of good size and well formed, bold and 
warlike. Their weapons and armour were swords, 
bucklers, and daggers of their own manufacture, the 
blades admirably tempered, the handles highly orna- 
mented. The upper part of their bodies was entirely 
naked, but from the waist downwards they wore a 
flowing garment of silk, of some gay and favourite 
colour. In every village there was a house of assembly 

(829) 7 


or public ball, where these social and cheerful people, 
whom we may call the French of the Indian islands, 
met twice a day to partake of a kind of picnic meal, 
and enjoy the pleasures of conversation. To this 
common festival every one contributed at his pleasure 
or convenience, bringing fruits, boiled rice, roast fowls, 
and sago. On a table raised three feet the feast was 
spread, and the party gathered round, "every one 
delighting in the company of another." While the 
Hind lay here, a constant intercourse and interchange 
of kindnesses and civilities were maintained between 
the sea and shore the rajahs coming frequently on 
board, either singly or together. 

But the delights of Java could not long banish the 
remembrance of England, to which every wish was 
now directed. Making sail from Java, the first land 
seen was the Cape of Good Hope, which they passed 
on the loth June. The Spaniards had not more studi- 
ously magnified the real dangers of Magellan Strait 
than the Portuguese had exaggerated and misrepre- 
sented the storms and perils which surround the Cape ; 
and it required the characteristic intrepidity and con- 
summate skill of Drake to venture, with his single 
bark, on this doubtful and almost untried navigation. 
It is, however, probable that he suspected the craft 
which suggested this attempt to hoodwink and delude 
all other maritime nations, that Portugal might lon<r 

o o o 

retain a monopoly of her important discovery. Certain 
it is that the ship's company were surprised that close 


by the Cape, "the most stately thing and goodliest 
cape seen in the circumference of the whole earth," 
no violent tempests or awful perils were encountered, 
and they accordingly shrewdly concluded the report of 
the " Portugals most false." 

Deeming it unsafe or inexpedient to halt here, Drake 
stood for land of which he had better knowledge ; and 
on the 22nd July arrived at Sierra Leone. Water was 
obtained, and the refreshment of fruits and oysters, of 
which we are told "one kind was found on trees, 
spawning and increasing wonderfully, the oyster suf- 
fering no bud to grow." It was imagined the 26th of 
September 1580, when, without touching at other 
land, Captain Drake, after a voyage of two years and 
ten months, came to an anchor in the harbour of Ply- 
mouth, whence he had set out. The day of the week 
was Monday, though, by the reckoning kept by the 
voyagers, Sunday, and the 25th the true time; the 
same loss of a day having befallen them which had 
puzzled Magellan's crew, a mystery now clear to the 
most juvenile student in geography. 

The safe return of the expedition, the glory attend- 
ing so magnificent an enterprise, and the immense mass 
of wealth brought home, made the arrival of Drake be 
hailed throughout England as an event of great national 
importance. Such in fact it was, as his success gave 
an incalculable impetus to the rapidly-increasing mari- 
time spirit of the country. 

The bravery, the exploits, and the wonderful ad- 


ventures of Drake immediately became the theme of 
every tongue. Courtiers patronized and poets praised 
him, and, to complete his celebrity, envious detractors 
were not wanting, who, with some plausibility, re- 
presented that England and Spain, though cherishing 
the bitterest national antipathy, being still nominally 
at peace, his enterprises were at best but those of a 
splendid corsair, and that his spoliation of the subjects 
of Spain must provoke reprisal on such merchants as 
had goods and dealings in that country. It was urged 
that, of all countries, a trading nation like England 
should carefully avoid offending in a kind which laid 
her open to speedy punishment, and must frustrate the 
advancement of her maritime prosperity. On the 
other hand, the friends and admirers of the navigator 
contended that he of all men, who had been so deep a 
sufferer from their perfidy, was entitled to take the 
punishment of the Spaniards into his own hands ; and 
that his gallant enterprise, while it inspired foreign 
nations with a high opinion of the maritime talent and 
power of England, would at home excite the noblest 
emulation, an effect which it already had, the island, 
from the one extreme to the other, being now inflamed 
with the ardour that his splendid achievements had 
kindled, and which was soon to be manifested in a 
series of actions emanating directly from his expedition. 
In the meanwhile Drake lost no time in repairing 
to court. Elizabeth, who with all her faults never 
favoured the despicable, was more purely the fountain 


Page 104. 


of all favour and honour than any preceding sovereign, 
and her personal regard more the object of ambition. 
Drake was graciously received, but not yet openly 
countenanced. The queen permitted the first fervours 
of both his admirers and enemies to abate before she 
openly declared her own sentiments. A show of cold- 
ness was also a necessary part of the subtle game she 
was still playing with Spain. 

The complaints of the Spaniards were violent and 
loud ; and the queen deemed it prudent to place the 
wealth brought home under sequestration till their 
claims should be investigated, or, more correctly, till 
the complainers could be either baffled or wearied 
out in solicitation. It was the policy of Elizabeth to 
protract the long-impending hostilities between the 
countries, and among other means the plundered gold 
was employed. As a foretaste, or a bribe to purchase 
peace a little longer, several small sums were paid to 
the agent for Spanish claims ; but when tired of the 
game of diplomacy, which the queen relished as much 
for the enjoyment of the play as the value of the stakes, 
she suddenly took the resolution of openly countenanc- 
ing the daring navigator, whose boldness, discretion, 
and brilliant success were so happily adapted to gain 
her favour. 

On the 4th of April 1581, the queen went in state to 
dine on board the Golden Hind, now lying at Deptf ord ; 
and Drake, who naturally loved show and magnificence, 
spared no pains in furnishing a banquet worthy of his 


royal guest. After dinner the queen conferred upon 
him the honour of knighthood, enhancing the value 
of the distinction by politely saying " that his actions 
did him more honour than the title which she con- 
ferred." The queen also gave orders that his ship 
should be preserved as a monument of the glory of the 
nation and of the illustrious commander. This was done, 
and when it would no longer hold together a chair was 
made of one of the planks, and presented as a relic to 
the University of Oxford. On the day of the queen's 
visit, in compliment to her majesty's scholarship, a 
variety of Latin verses, composed by the scholars of 
Winchester College, were nailed to the mainmast, in 
which the praises of the ship and of the queen were 
alternated and intermingled. The Golden Hind after- 
wards became the theme of the muse of Cowley. One 
translation of a Latin epigram on the ship we select 
from a multitude of verses, as its quaintness is redeemed 
by its elegance : 

" The stars above will make thee known, 

If man were silent here ; 
The Sun himself cannot forget 
His fellow-traveller. " 

The reputation of Sir Francis Drake had now ob- 
tained that court -stamp which, without increasing 
value, gives currency. Though Elizabeth had so far 
temporized as to sequestrate for a time the wealth 
brought home, the Spanish complaints of the English 
sailing in the South Sea she scornfully dismissed, 


Page 104- 


denying "that, by the Bishop of Rome's donation or 
any other right, the Spaniards were entitled to debar 
the subjects of other princes from these new countries 
the gift of what is another's constituting no valid 
right; that touching here and there, and naming a 
river or cape, could not give a proprietary title, nor 
hinder other nations from trading or colonizing in those 
parts where the Spaniards had not planted settlements." 
One objectionable part of Drake's conduct thus obtained 
royal vindication; and as the war, long impending, 
was no longer avoidable, his alleged depredations were 
forgotten even by his envious detractors, and his fame 
became as universal as it was high. Envy itself had 
even been forced to acknowledge not merely his mari- 
time skill and genius for command, but the humanity 
and benevolence that marked his dealings with the 
Indians, and the generosity with which he uniformly 
treated his captives of that nation, of all others the 
most hateful to Englishmen, and in some respects the 
most injurious to himself. 

But the further achievements of the Nelson of the 
reign of Elizabeth demand a new chapter, the life of 
Drake from this point being intimately blended with 
the public history of England. 



HOSTILITIES with Spain, so long protracted by the 
policy of Elizabeth, were now about to commence in 
good earnest, and Drake may be said to have struck 
the first blow. War was not formally declared when 
he projected an expedition in concert with Sir Philip 
Sydney, the two most popular men of their time 
being to command, the one the land and the other the 
sea force. On the part of Sir Philip the design was 
abandoned at the express command of the queen, who 
required his services in the Netherlands, where he had 
already been usefully employed for the public cause, 
and where, in the following year, he met his early and 
glorious death. Sir Francis Drake's armament con- 
sisted of twenty-five sail, of which two vessels were 
queen's ships. His force amounted to two thousand 
three hundred seamen and soldiers. Under his command 
were several officers of experience and high reputation. 
His lieutenant-general was Christopher Carlile ; his 
vice-admiral, the celebrated navigator Martin Frobisher; 
and Captain Francis Knollys and other officers of 


celebrity were among his coadjutors in an enterprise 
the object of which was to unite public advantage with 
private emolument. 

The fleet stood at once for the coast of Spain, where 
Drake meditated a bold stroke at the enemy's naval 
force in passing to his ulterior objects in the West 
Indies; and this without very rigid preliminary inquiry 
whether war had been declared or not. His demand 
to know why an embargo had been laid upon the goods 
of certain English merchants was answered in terms so 
pacific that, finding it impossible to fasten a quarrel 
upon the Spaniards which would justify reprisal, the 
fleet cruised from St. Sebastian to Vigo, capturing 
some small tenders. They next stood for the Cape de 
Verd Islands, where, landing one thousand men in the 
night, Drake, with a handful of them, surprised and 
took St. Jago, which the inhabitants hastily abandoned. 
This was on the 17th November 1585, the anniversary of 
Elizabeth's accession, which was celebrated by the guns 
of the castle firing a salute, to which those of the fleet 
replied. The conquest had proved easy, but the booty 
was in proportion inconsiderable, consisting chiefly of 
trifling merchandise, and the tawdry, worthless wares 
employed in trading with the Indians of the islands 
and on the shores of the continent of America. If 
there had been any treasure in the place, it was either 
carried away or effectually concealed ; and the threats 
of the invaders to burn and slay, unless the terms of 
ransom which they dictated were complied with, pro- 


duced no effect. The islanders seemed determined 
either to weary or to starve out the invaders; and 
their easy conquest soon became no desirable possession. 
On the 24th, a village twelve miles in the interior, 
named St. Domingo, was taken. But the islanders still 
kept aloof; and, posting placards denouncing the 
former cowardice and cruelty of the Portuguese and 
their present pusillanimity, the English prepared to 
depart. Then, for the first time, a force appeared 
hanging off and on, as if to annoy their retreat. 
Burning the town, and every place within reach, the 
English re-embarked in good order, and stood for the 
West Indies. 

In palliation of what may appear useless severity, 
it must be stated that, besides refusing the terms of 
ransom offered them, the Portuguese had perpetrated 
the most wanton cruelty on an English boy who had 
straggled, and whose corpse was found by his country- 
men torn, disfigured, and dismembered, as if he had 
rather fallen into the hands of the most ferocious tribe 
of cannibals than among a Christian people. The 
islanders had also, five years before, murdered, under 
the protection of a truce, the crew of a Bristol vessel 
commanded by Captain William Hawkins. The 
vengeance which may afterwards be taken by their 
countrymen forms a strong protection to a single ship's 
company or to a weak crew on a distant coast ; and if 
there may not be strict equity, there is at least com- 
mendable policy in a commander showing that neither 


former kindness nor yet treachery to the people of his 
nation is either unknown or forgotten. 

While the fleet lay here, that malignant fever which 
proves the scourge of soldiers and seamen in these 
climes broke out with great inveteracy, and carried off 
between two and three hundred of the men. 

They next touched at St. Christopher and Dominica, 
where they had a friendly interview with some of the 
aborigines, at which the toys and wares of St. Jago 
were liberally exchanged for tobacco and cassada. 

Attracted by the fame of the "brave city" of St. 
Domingo, one of the oldest and wealthiest of the 
Spanish settlements in the West Indies, it was deter- 
mined to carry it. Drake's common plan of attack 
was simple and uniform : a party was landed in the 
night to make the assault from the land side, while 
the ships co-operated from the water. On New-Year's 
day the English landed ten miles to the westward of 
the town, and, forming into two divisions, made the 
attack at opposite gates ; and, to save themselves from 
the guns of the castle, rushed forward sword in hand, 
pell-mell, till according to agreement they met in the 
market-place in the centre of the town, and changed 
the fight of the Spaniards into precipitate retreat. 
Here they hastily barricaded themselves, resolved to 
maintain their post, and confidently expecting an attack. 
But the Spaniards gave them little trouble. Struck 
with panic, they next night abandoned the castle to 
the invaders, and escaped by boats to the other side of 


the haven. The following day the English strengthened 
their position, planting the ordnance which they took 
within their trenches ; and, thus secured, they held the 
place for a month, collecting what plunder was to be 
found, while they negotiated with the Spaniards for 
the ransom of the city. The terms were such that the 
inhabitants were unable to redeem the town; and 
burning and negotiation went on simultaneously and 
leisurely. Two hundred seamen, and as many soldiers 
forming their guard, were employed daily in the work 
of destruction. But the buildings being lofty piles, 
substantially constructed of stone, their demolition 
proved a fatiguing duty to the men ; and after much 
labour, spent with little loss to the enemy and no 
profit to themselves, the ransom of twenty -five thou- 
sand ducats was finally accepted for the safety of what 
remained of the city. The plunder obtained was very 
inconsiderable for the size and imagined riches of the 

A little episode in the history of this enterprise 
against St. Domingo deserves notice, as it places the 
energetic character of Drake in a striking point of 
view. A negro boy, sent with a flag of truce to the 
leading people while the negotiation for ransom was 
pending, was met by some Spanish officers, who furi- 
ously struck at him, and afterwards pierced him 
through with a horseman's spear. Dreadfully wounded 
as he was, the poor boy tried to crawl back to his 
master ; and while relating the cruel treatment he had 


received, he fell down and expired in the presence of 
Drake. The insult offered to his flag of truce, and 
the barbarous treatment of the lad, roused the captain- 
general to the highest pitch of indignation. He com- 
manded the provost-marshal, with a guard, to carry 
two unfortunate monks, who had been made prisoners, 
to the place where his flag was violated, there to be 
hanged. Another prisoner shared the same fate ; and 
a message was sent to the Spaniards announcing that, 
until the persons guilty of this breach of the law of 
nations were given up, two Spanish prisoners should 
suffer daily. Next day the offenders were sent in; 
and to make their merited punishment the more igno- 
minious and exemplary, their own countrymen were 
compelled to become their executioners. 

Among other instances of Spanish boasting and vain- 
glory, recorded by the historians of the voyage, is an 
account of an escutcheon of the arms of Spain, found 
in the town-hall of the city, on the lower part of which 
was a globe, over which was represented a horse 
rampant, or probably volant, with the legend Non 
sufficit orbis. This vaunt gave great offence at this 
particular time to the national pride of the English, 
who told the negotiators that, should their queen be 
pleased resolutely to prosecute the war, instead of the 
whole globe not satisfying his ambition, Philip would 
find some difficulty in keeping that portion of it which 
he already possessed. 

Their next attempt was directed against Carthagena, 


which was bravely defended and gallantly carried 
Carlile making the attack on the land side, while 
Drake's fleet presented itself before the town. The 
governor, Alonzo Bravo, was made prisoner ; and after 
holding the place for six weeks, and destroying many 
houses, the trifling ransom of eleven thousand ducats 
was accepted for the preservation of the rest of the 
town. The Spaniards might not have got off on such 
easy terms, but that the fearful pest, the deadly bilious 
fever, which has so often proved fatal to English ex- 
peditions in the very same locality, now raged in the 
fleet, and compelled the commanders to revise their 
plans and lower their demands. About seven hundred 
men perished in this expedition of the calentura alone, 
as the disease, since described by Smollett and Glover 
and others, was then named. Those who struggled 
through this frightful malady, if we may fully credit 
the early accounts, were even more to be pitied than 
those that sunk under the disease. Though they sur- 
vived, it was with loss of strength, not soon if ever 
recovered; and many suffered the decay of memory 
and impaired judgment, so that, when a man began to 
talk foolishly and incoherently, it became a common 
phrase in the fleet to say that such an one had been 
seized with the calenture. 

The design of attempting Nombre de Dios and 
Panama, "there to strike the stroke for treasure," of 
which they had hitherto been disappointed, was aban- 
doned in a council of war ; and, sailing by the coast of 


Florida, they burned St. Helena and St. Augustin, two 
forts and small settlements of the Spaniards, and 
brought off from Virginia Mr. Lane, the governor, with 
the remains of an unfortunate colony sent out under 
the auspices of Sir Walter Raleigh in the former year. 

It was July 1586 before the armament returned, 
bringing two hundred brass and forty iron cannon, and 
about 60,000 in prize-money, of which 20,000 was 
divided among the men, and the remainder allotted 
to the adventurers. Though the private gains result- 
ing from the expedition were trifling, the dismantling 
of so many fortresses at the beginning of a war was a 
service to the country of no inconsiderable value. It 
was but the first of many which our navigator per- 
formed in its progress. 

The next exploit of Drake was wholly for the public 
service. The rumour of that formidable armament 
fitted out by Spain to invade England, and first in 
fear, though afterwards in jest, named the Invincible 
Armada, had spread general alarm. In a noble spirit 
of patriotism, the merchants of London, at their own 
expense, fitted out twenty-six vessels of different sizes, 
to be placed under the command of Drake, to annoy 
the enemy, and, if possible, frustrate or delay the 
boasted design of invading England. To this arma- 
ment the queen added four ships of the royal fleet; and 
with this considerable force Drake bore for Lisbon, and 
afterwards for the harbour of Cadiz, where he had the 
good fortune to burn and destroy ten thousand tons 


burden of shipping, either destined for the threatened 
invasion or subservient to this purpose. Here he re- 
mained for a short time, annoying the enemy's galleys, 
which he destroyed piecemeal, though his great enter- 
prise had been accomplished in one day and two nights. 
Drake having thus happily accomplished his public 
duty, was impelled by gratitude and gallantry to 
attempt a stroke which might enable him to reward 
the spirited individuals who had enabled him so essen- 
tially to serve their common country. Having private 
information that the St. Philip, a Portuguese carack 
from the East Indies, was about this time expected at 
Terceira, he sailed for the Azores. Before he fell in 
with the prize the fleet became short of provisions; 
but, by dint of promises and threats, Drake prevailed 
with his company to bear up against privations, and 
soon had the felicity of bringing in triumph to England 
the richest prize that had ever yet been made, and the 
first-fruits of the numerous captures to which his success 
soon led the way both among the Dutch and English. 
The name of the prize was hailed as an omen of future 
victory to England. Drake is blamed for discovering 
undue elation at the close of this triumphant expedition. 
He is said to have become boastful of his own deeds, 
though the only ground of charge is gaily describing 
his bold and gallant service as " burning the Spanish 
king's beard." But surely this may well be forgiven 
to the hero who, delaying the threatened Armada for a 
year, laid the foundation of its final discomfiture. Nor 


were Drake's eminent services to his country limited 
to warlike operations. In the short interval of leisure 
which followed this expedition he brought water into 
the town of Plymouth, of which it was in great want, 
from springs eight miles distant, and by a course 
measuring more than twenty miles. 

In the following year his distinguished services re- 
ceived the reward to which they were fully entitled, 
in his appointment of vice-admiral under Lord Charles 
Howard of Effingham, high-admiral of England. 

Drake had hitherto been accustomed to give orders, 
not to obey them; and his vivacity under command 
had nearly been productive of serious consequences. 
Positive information had been received of the sailing 
of the Invincible Armada, but it was likewise known 
that the fleet had been dispersed in a violent tempest ; 
and believing that the attempt would be abandoned at 
this time, orders were despatched to the lord-high- 
admiral to send four of his best ships back to Chatham, 
as the frugal government of Elizabeth grudged the 
expense of keeping them afloat an hour longer than 
they were positively required. This order had hardly 
been given when Howard was made aware by the 
information of Thomas Fleming, the captain of an 
English pinnace, of the close approach of the fleet; and 
it soon after passed Plymouth, where he lay taking in 
supplies after cruising on the Spanish coasts looking 
out for it. It was four in the afternoon of the 19th 
July 1588, when the intelligence of Fleming put the 


lord -high-admiral upon the alert ; and by next day at 
noon his ships were manned, warped out, and in fight- 
ing trim. At the same hour the Spanish fleet came 
in sight ; and on the 21st, Howard, with his greatly 
inferior force, ventured the attack which, by the blessing 
of Heaven on the valour and skill of the English, was 
continued from day to day in various quarters, till the 
proud Armada was swept from the English Channel. 
On the night of the 21st, Drake, who had been ap- 
pointed to carry the lantern, forgot this duty, and gave 
chase to several hulks which were separated from the 
fleet, and thus so far misled the high-admiral that, 
following the Spanish lantern under the idea that it 
was carried by his own vice-admiral, when day dawned 
he found himself in the midst of the enemy's ships. 
The high-admiral instantly extricated himself; and 
Drake amply atoned for this oversight by the dis- 
tinguished service performed by his squadron in 
harassing, capturing, and destroying the Spaniards. 
On the day following this erring night he performed 
a memorable action. Among the fleet was a large 
galleon commanded by Don Pedro de Valdez, a man of 
illustrious family and high official rank, with whom 
nearly fifty noblemen and gentlemen sailed. His ship 
had been crippled and separated from the fleet, and 
Howard, in hot pursuit, had passed it, imagining that 
it was abandoned. There was on board a crew of four 
hundred and fifty persons, who, when summoned to 
surrender in the formidable name of Drake, attempted 


no resistance. Kissing the hand of his conqueror, Don 
Pedro said they had resolved to die in battle, had they 
not experienced the good fortune of falling into the 
hands of one courteous and gentle, and generous to the 
vanquished foe ; one whom it was doubtful whether 
his enemies had greater cause to admire and love for 
his valiant and prosperous exploits, or dread for his 
great wisdom and good fortune ; whom Mars, the god 
of war, and Neptune, the god of the sea, alike favoured. 
To merit this high eulogium, Drake behaved with the 
utmost kindness and politeness to his involuntary 
guests, who were sent prisoners to England. Two 
years afterwards he received 3,500 for their ransom. 
In the ship fifty-five thousand ducats were found, and 
liberally divided among the crew. The broken, running 
fight between the fleets was renewed from day to day, 
and from hour to hour, as the superior sailing of the 
light English vessels promised advantage, till the 
Spaniards were driven on that line of conduct which 
ended in the complete destruction of their mighty 
armament. In the fight of the 29th, which was 
desperate on both sides, Drake's ship was pierced with 
forty shot, two of which passed through his cabin. Of 
one hundred and thirty-four ships which left the coast 
of Spain, only fifty-three returned. 

In the following year, Drake, as admiral, commanded 
the fleet sent to restore Don Antonio of Portugal, while 
Sir John Norris led the land-forces. Differences arose 
between the commanders about the best mode of pro- 


secuting their joint enterprise. The failure of Norris's 
scheme gives probability to the assertion that the plan 
of operations suggested by Drake would, if followed, 
have been successful. It is at least certain that the 
expedition miscarried, which had never happened to 
any single-handed undertaking in which Drake engaged. 
Don Antonio, taken out to be made a king by the 
prowess of the English, returned as he went. Before 
the queen and council Drake fully justified his own 
share of the affair, and the confidence placed in his 
ability and skill remained undiminished. This was 
the first check that the fortunes of Drake had ever 
received ; and it would have been happy for him, it 
has been said, had he now withdrawn his stake. The 
principal and fatal error of his succeeding expedition 
was once more undertaking a joint command. 

The war in 1595, though it languished for want of 
fuel to feed the flame, was not yet giving any prospect 
of drawing to a conclusion; and in conjunction with 
Sir John Hawkins, Drake offered his services in an 
expedition to the West Indies, to be undertaken on a 
scale of magnificence which must at once crush the 
Spanish power in that quarter, where the enemy had 
already been so often and effectually galled by the 
same commanders. Elizabeth and her ministers re- 
ceived the proposal with every mark of satisfaction. 
The fleet consisted of six of the queen's ships and 
twenty-one private vessels, with a crew, in seamen and 
soldiers, amounting to two thousand five hundred men 


and boys. They sailed from Plymouth in August, 
having been detained for some time by the reports of 
another Armada being about to invade England. This 
rumour was artfully spread to delay the fleet, of which 
one object was known to be the destruction of Nombre 
de Dios and the plunder of Panama. They had hardly 
put to sea when the demon of discord, which ever 
attends conjunct expeditions, appeared in their councils. 
Sir John Hawkins wished at once to accomplish an 
object recommended by the queen ; but time was lost 
in an attempt, suggested by Sir Thomas Baskerville, to 
invade or capture the Canaries, and again at Dominica. 
All these delays were improved by the enemy in the 
colonies, in preparing for the reception of the English. 
A few days before sailing, information had been sent 
to the fleet of a Spanish galleon richly laden, that had 
been disabled and separated from those ships which 
annually brought plate and treasure from the Indies to 
Spain; and the capture of this vessel was recommended 
to the commanders by the English government as an 
especial service. The galleon now lay at Porto Rico; 
but before this time five frigates had been sent by the 
Spaniards to convoy it away in safety. On the 30th 
October, Sir John Hawkins made sail from the coast of 
Dominica, where the ships had been careened, and had 
taken in water ; and on the same evening he sustained 
the misfortune of having the Francis, one of his vessels, 
captured by the enemy's frigates. This stroke, which 
appeared fatal to the enterprise, by informing the 


Spaniards of his approach and putting them on their 
guard, gave him inexpressible chagrin. He immediately 
fell sick, and on the 12th November, when the fleet had 
got before Porto Rico, died of combined disease and 
grief. He was succeeded by Sir Thomas Baskerville, 
who took command in the Garland, the queen's ship in 
which Hawkins had sailed. The English fleet, medi- 
tating an instant attack, now lay within reach of the 
guns of Porto Rico; and while the officers, on the night 
of Sir John Hawkins's death, were at supper together, 
a shot penetrated to the great cabin, drove the stool 
on which Drake sat from under him, killed Sir Nicolas 
Clifford, and mortally wounded Mr. Brute Browne and 
some other officers. An attack, this night decided 
upon, was attempted next day, with the desperate 
valour which has ever characterized the maritime 
assaults of the English. But the enemy were fully 
prepared; the treasure had been carefully conveyed 
away, and also the women and children. The fortifi- 
cations had been repaired and placed in good order; 
and though the hot, impetuous attack of the English 
inflicted great suffering on the Spaniards, to themselves 
there remained but a barren victory. After lying two 
or three days before the place, it was judged expedient 
to bear off and abandon this enterprise. They stood 
for the Main, where Rio de la Hacha, La Rancheria, 
and some other places were taken, and, negotiations for 
their ransom failing, burned to the ground. The same 
course was followed with other petty places; but 


Drake began seriously to find that, while giving the 
enemy this trifling annoyance, he was gradually re- 
ducing his own force without gaining any substantial 
advantage. His health was injured by this series of 
disappointments, and from the first misunderstanding 
with Hawkins his spirits had been affected. On the 
morning of the assault on Porto Rico, in taking leave 
of Mr. Brute Browne, then breathing his last, he ex- 
claimed, " Brute, Brute, how heartily could I lament 
thy fate, but that I dare not suffer my spirits to sink 

The Spanish towns, from which everything of value 
was taken away, were rather abandoned to the occupa- 
tion than taken by the arms of the English. In this 
way Santa Martha and Nombre de Dios fell into their 
hands with scarce a show of resistance. They were 
both burned. On the 29th December, two days after 
the capture of Nombre de Dios, Sir Thomas Baskerville, 
with seven hundred and fifty soldiers, attempted to 
make his way to Panama through the fatiguing and 
dangerous passes of the Isthmus of Darien, the Spaniards 
annoying his whole line of march by a desultory fire 
of musketry from the woods. At certain passes forti- 
fications had been thrown up to impede their progress ; 
and coming upon these unexpectedly, they were exposed 
to a sudden fire, by which many fell. About midway 
the design was abandoned, and the party turned back, 
still exposed in the retreat to the fire of the Spaniards 
from the woods. Destitute of provisions, and suffering 


great privation and fatigue, they returned to the ships 
depressed and disheartened. This last and most 
grievous of the train of disappointments that had 
followed Drake throughout an expedition from which 
the nation expected so much, and wherein he had 
embarked much of his fortune and risked his high re- 
putation, threw the admiral into a lingering fever, 
accompanied by a flux, under which he languished for 
three weeks. He expired while the fleet lay off Porto 
Bello. The death of Admiral Drake took place on the 
28th January 1596, and in his fifty-first year. His 
remains were placed in a leaden coffin, and committed 
to the deep with all the pomp attending naval obsequies. 
Unsuccessful as his latest enterprises had been, his 
death was universally lamented by the nation. The 
tenderness of pity was now mingled with admiration 
of the genius and valour of this great man, "whose 
memory will survive as long as the world lasts, which 
he first surrounded." 

Drake is described as low in stature, but extremely 
well made, with a broad chest and a round, compact 
head. His complexion was fair and sanguine ; his 
countenance open and cheerful, with large and lively 
eyes ; his beard full, and his hair of a light brown. 
From the lowest point and rudiments of his art, Drake 
was a thorough-bred seaman, able in his own person to 
discharge every duty of a ship, even to attending the 
sick and dressing the wounded. In repairing and 
watering his ships, as readily as in what are esteemed 


higher offices, he at all times bore an active part ; and 
to his zealous superintendence and co-operation in these 
subordinate duties, much of the facility and celerity of 
his movements, and of his consequent success, is to be 
attributed. The sciences connected with navigation, 
as they were then known, he thoroughly understood, 
and particularly that of astronomy. Whatever he 
attempted on his own judgment, without being con- 
trolled by the opinions of others, he accomplished with 
success. He has been charged with ambition; but it 
is well remarked that no man's ambition ever took a 
happier direction for his country. His example did 
more to advance the maritime power and reputation of 
England than that of all the navigators who preceded 
him. He indicated or led the way to several new 
sources of trade, and opened the career of commercial 
prosperity which his countrymen are still pursuing. 
Among the many natural gifts of this lowly-born sea- 
man was a ready and graceful eloquence. He was 
fond of amassing wealth, but in its distribution was 
liberal and bountiful. Among other deeds of enlight- 
ened benevolence was his establishment, in conjunction 
with Sir John Hawkins, of the CHEST at Chatham for 
the relief of aged or sick seamen, by the honourable 
means of their own early providence. Drake sat in 
two Parliaments, in the first for a Cornish borough, 
and in the next for the town of Plymouth in the 
thirty-fifth of Elizabeth. Though often described as a 
bachelor, it is ascertained that he married the daughter 

(829) 9 


and sole heiress of Sir George Sydenham, of Coombe 
Sydenham in Devonshire, who survived him. He left 
no children, but bequeathed his landed estate, which 
was considerable, to his nephew Francis Drake, after- 
wards created a baronet by James the First. Three 
quarters of the globe had contributed to its acquisition ; 
yet there is certainly no ancient family estate in the 
south of England of the title-deeds of which the 
proprietors have less cause to be ashamed than that 
still held by the heirs of the son of the honest mariner 
of Tavistock. 





THE reign of Elizabeth is by nothing more honourably 
distinguished than the manliness and dignity which 
characterized the pursuits of her courtiers, and, through 
their example, those of the entire body of English 
gentry. A period illustrious in the national annals 
owes much of its glory and felicity to this single cause. 
To the queen herself belongs the praise of having, 
during her long reign, studiously kept alive the flame 
of public spirit; and of having striven, by her influence 
and public acts, to inspire the flower of the youth of 
her kingdom with that ardent thirst of glory which in 
so many ways redounded to the national advantage. 
Distinguished personal merit, whether displayed in the 
field or at the council-board, was the certain road to 
the favour of Elizabeth ; and though her favourites 
might have possessed very different degrees of moral 
worth, all of them were celebrated for ability or 


patriotism. It was thus, in the age of Elizabeth, 
nothing unusual for men of the highest rank to devote 
their private fortunes and personal services to the 
advancement of the national interests, either by under- 
taking or promoting voyages of discovery, establishing 
colonies, opening up new branches of trade, or protect- 
ing the state against the aggressions of the Spaniards. 
At that period it was considered as nothing wonderful 
that the Earls of Essex and Cumberland, and such men 
as Raleigh, Dudley, Grenville, Gilbert, and many other 
persons of family and condition, should, in pursuit of 
honourable distinction, court fatigue and hardship, from 
which their degenerate successors in the reigns of the 
Stuarts would have shrunk in dismay. 

Of this class was Thomas Cavendish, the second 
Englishman that circumnavigated the globe. He was 
of an ancient and honourable family of Suffolk, the 
ancestor of which had come into England with the 
Conqueror. The residence of Cavendish, or Candish, 
as the name was then written, was at Trimley St. 
Martin, and his estates lay near Ipswich, at that period 
a place of considerable trade. From this vicinage to a 
maritime town he is said to have imbibed an early 
inclination for the sea. 

His father died while Cavendish was still a minor ; 
and coming early into the possession of his patrimony, 
he is reported to have squandered it " in gallantry, and 
following the court," and to have been compelled to 
embrace the nobler pursuits to which his subsequent 



years were devoted to redeem his shattered fortunes. 
Truth may lie between the contradictory statements of 
the motives which determined this gentleman to follow 
the career of Sir Francis Drake, in seeking fortune and 
reputation on the western shores of America and in the 
South Sea. 

Though the relations of his voyages are ample and 
complete, the truth is that very little is known of the 
personal history of Cavendish. In the year 1585, he 
accompanied Sir Richard Grenville's expedition to 
Virginia, in a vessel equipped at his own expense. 
This voyage, undertaken to plant the unfortunate 
colony which was brought home by Sir Francis Drake 
in 1586 (see page 115), was both profitless and difficult; 
but it enabled Cavendish to obtain nautical experience, 
and in its progress he had seen the Spanish West India 
settlements, and conversed with some of those who had 
accompanied Drake into the South Sea. The youthful 
ambition of Cavendish was thus roused to emulate the 
glory of so eminent a navigator in this rich and newly- 
opened field of enterprise. 

Grenville's- fleet, which sailed for Virginia in April, 
returned in October, and from the wrecks of his fortune 
and the remains of his credit, Mr. Cavendish, in six 
months afterwards, had equipped a small squadron for 
his projected voyage. While the carpenters were at 
work he procured every draught, map, chart, and 
history of former navigations that might be useful to 
him ; and having, through the patronage or recommen- 


dation of Lord Hunsdon, procured the queen's com- 
mission, he sailed from Plymouth on the 21st July 
1586. His light squadron consisted of the Desire, a 
vessel of one hundred and twenty tons burden, in 
which he sailed himself as admiral and commander of 
the expedition ; the Content, of sixty tons ; and the 
Hugh Gallant, a light bark of forty tons. A crew of 
one hundred and twenty-three soldiers, seamen, and 
officers manned this little fleet, which was provided 
with every requisite for a long voyage in latitudes 
with which the navigation of Drake had now made 
the English somewhat familiar. 

If so much interest is still awakened by the maritime 
undertakings of contemporary navigators, who set out 
in a familiar track under the guidance of former ex- 
perience and observation, with the advantage of instru- 
ments nearly perfect, and with all appliances and 
means to boot, how much more must attach to the 
relation of the adventures of one who, like Cavendish, 
could have no hope or dependence, save in his own 
capacity and courage ! 

The squadron first touched at Sierra Leone, where 
the conduct of the young commander was not wholly 
blameless. On a Sunday, part of the ships' companies 
went on shore, and spent the day in dancing and 
amusing themselves with the friendly negroes, their 
secret object being to gain intelligence of a Portuguese 
vessel that lay in the harbour, and which Cavendish 
intended to capture. This was found impracticable, 


and next day the English landed, to the number of 
seventy, and made an attack on the town, of which 
they burned one hundred and fifty houses, almost the 
whole number, and plundered right and left. It was 
but little that they found. The negroes fled at their 
landing, but on their retreat shot poisoned arrows at 
the marauders from the shelter of the woods. This 
African village is described as neatly built, enclosed by 
mud walls, and kept, both houses and streets, in the 
cleanest manner. The yards were paled in, and the 
town was altogether trim and comfortable, exhibiting 
signs of civilization, of which at this point the slave- 
trade subsequently destroyed every trace. A few days 
afterwards a party of the sailors landed to wash linen ; 
and repeating the visit next day, a number of negroes 
lying in ambush in the woods nearly surprised and 
cut them off. A soldier died of a shot from a poisoned 
arrow ; though the case, as described, appears more 
like mortification of the parts than the effects of poison. 
Several of the men were wounded, but none mortally 
save the soldier. On the 3rd of September a party 
went some miles up the river in a boat, caught a store 
of fish, and gathered a supply of lemons for the fleet, 
which sailed on the 6th. No reason is assigned for the 
unprovoked devastation on this coast, save "the bad 
dealing of negroes with all Christians." 

On the 16th December the squadron made the coast 
of America, in 47J S. The land, stretching west, was 
seen at the distance of six leagues, and next day the 


fleet anchored in a harbour in 48 S. This harbour 
they named Port Desire, in honour of the admiral's 
ship. Seals were found here of enormous size, which 
in the fore part of their body resembled lions; their 
young was found delicate food, equal, in the taste of 
the seamen, to lamb or mutton. Sea-birds were also 
found in great plenty, of which the description given 
seems to apply to the penguin. In this excellent 
harbour the ships' bottoms were careened. On the 
24th December, Christmas eve, a man and boy belong- 
ing to the Content went on shore to wash their linen, 
when they were suddenly surrounded and shot at by 
fifty or more Indians. Cavendish pursued with a 
small party, but the natives escaped. "They are as 
wild as ever was a buck," says an old voyager, " as 
they seldom or never see any Christians." Their foot- 
prints were measured, and found to be eighteen inches 
in length. The squadron left Port Desire on the 28th, 
and halted at an island three leagues off, to cure and 
store the penguins that had been taken. On the 30th, 
standing to sea they passed a rock about fifty miles 
from the harbour they had left, which resembled the 
Eddystone Rock near Plymouth. About the first day 
of the year they saw several capes, to which no names 
are given, and on the 6th, without further preparation, 
entered Magellan Strait, which the Spaniards had 
lately attempted to fortify and colonize. At twilight 
the squadron anchored near the first Angostura; and 
in the night lights were observed on the north side of 


the Strait, which were supposed to be signals. Re- 
cognition was made by lights from the ships, and a 
boat was sent off in the morning, to which three men 
on the shore made signs by waving a handkerchief. 
These were part of the survivors of a wretched Spanish 

The history of the misfortunes and sufferings of the 
first settlers in different parts of America would make 
one of the most melancholy volumes that ever were 
penned ; nor could any portion of it prove more heart- 
rending than that which should record the miseries of 
this colony, left by Pedro Sarmiento in the Strait of 
Magellan. It may be recollected that, on the appear- 
ance of Drake on the coast of Peru, this commander 
was despatched by the viceroy to intercept the daring 
interloper on his return by the Strait. Sarmiento 
afterwards bestowed much pains in examining the 
western shores of Patagonia and the coast of Chili, and 
the many inlets, labyrinths, and intricate channels of 
the islands and broken lands of Tierra del Fuego, 
which, as he conjectured, must communicate with the 
Strait of Magellan by one or more passages. After a 
long time had thus been consumed fruitlessly he entered 
the Strait, and passed through eastward in about a 
month, minutely examining the coast on both sides. 
When this discoverer reached Spain, his exaggerated 
statements, the desire of checking the progress of the 
English in this quarter, and an apprehension that they 
were preparing to seize this master-key to the South 


Seas (the passage by the Cape of Good Hope being 
still monopolized by the Portuguese, and that by Cape 
Horn not yet discovered), induced Philip to listen to 
the proposals of Sarmiento, an enthusiast in the cause, 
and to colonize and fortify this important outlet of his 
American dominions. A powerful armament of twenty- 
three ships with three thousand five hundred men. 
destined for different points of South America, was in 
the first place to establish the new colony. This ex- 
pedition, undertaken on so magnificent a scale, was 
from first to last unfortunate. While still on the 
coast of Spain, from which the fleet sailed on the 25th 
September 1581, five of the ships were wrecked in a 
violent gale, and eight hundred men perished. The 
whole fleet put back, and sailed a second time in 
December. Misfortunes followed in a thick train. 
Sickness thinned their numbers; and at Rio Janeiro, 
where they wintered, many of the intended settlers 
deserted. Some of the ships became leaky ; the bottoms 
of others were attacked by worms ; and a large vessel, 
containing most of the stores of the colonists of the 
Strait, sprung a leak at sea, and before assistance 
could be obtained went down, three hundred and 
thirty men and twenty of the settlers perishing in her. 
Three times was Sarmiento driven back to the Brazils 
before he was able to accomplish his purpose ; and it 
was February 1584 before he at last arrived in the 
Strait, and was able to land the colonists. Nor did 
his ill fortune close here. His consort, Riviera, either 


wilfully abandoned him, or was forced from his an- 
chorage by stress of weather. He stood for Spain, 
carrying away the greater part of the remaining stores 
which were to sustain the people through the rigour of 
the winter of the South, which was now commencing, 
and until they were able to raise crops and obtain 
provisions. The foundation of a town was laid, which 
was named San Felipe, and bastions and wooden edifices 
were constructed. Another city, named Nombre de 
Jesus, was commenced. These stations were in favour- 
able points of the Strait, and at the distance of about 
seventy miles from each other. In the meanwhile the 
southern winter set in with uncommon severity. In 
April snow fell incessantly for fifteen days. Sarmiento, 
who, after establishing the colonists at these two points, 
intended to go to Chili for provisions, was driven from 
his anchors in a gale, and forced to seek his own safety 
in the Brazils, leaving the settlers without a ship. He 
has been accused of intentionally abandoning this 
helpless colony, which he was the instrument of estab- 
lishing, and of which he was also the governor. The 
accusation appears unjust, as he made many subsequent 
efforts for its relief, which his ill fortune rendered 
abortive. The governors at the different settlements 
at length refused to afford further assistance to a pro- 
ject which had lost the royal favour; and in return- 
ing to Spain to solicit aid, Sarmiento was captured 
by three ships belonging to Sir Walter Raleigh, 
luckily, in all probability, for himself, as the indigna- 


tion of King Philip at the failure of so expensive and 
powerful an expedition, and at the misrepresentations 
of this officer, might not have been easily appeased. 
Of the wretched colonists, about whom neither Old 
Spain nor her American settlements gave themselves 
any further trouble, many died of famine and cold 
during the first winter. The milder weather of the 
spring and summer allowed a short respite of misery, 
and afforded the hope of the return of Sarmiento, or 
some ship with provisions and clothing. But the year 
wore away, and no vessel appeared, and the colonists 
at San Felipe, in their despair, contrived to build two 
boats, in which all who remained alive, fifty men and 
five women, embarked with the hope of getting out of 
the Strait. One of their boats was wrecked, and the 
design was abandoned, as there were no seamen among 
their number, nor any one capable of conducting the 
perilous navigation. Their crops all failed; the natives 
molested them; and out of four hundred men and 
thirty women landed by Sarmiento, only fifteen men 
and three women survived when Mr. Cavendish entered 
the Strait. In San Felipe many lay dead in their 
houses and in their clothes, the survivors not having 
strength to bury them; and along the shores, where 
these miserable beings wandered, trying to pick up a 
few shell-fish or herbs, they often came upon the body 
of a deceased companion who had perished of famine, 
or of the diseases caused by extreme want. 

It was, as has been said, part of these forlorn wan- 


derers whom Cavendish saw on the morning after he 
entered the Strait. A passage to Peru was offered 
them, but they at first hesitated to trust the English 
heretics ; though afterwards, when willing to accept 
the generous offer, their resolution came too late, and 
before they could be mustered, a fair wind offering, 
Cavendish sailed on, having tantalized these wretched 
Spaniards with hopes which the safety of his own crew 
in this precarious navigation, and the success of his 
expedition, did not permit him to fulfil. The offer had 
likewise been made in ignorance of their numbers. If 
Cavendish be blamed for abandoning these wretched 
victims to their fate, what shall be said of the nation 
which, having sent out this colony, left it to perish 
of famine and cold ? One Spaniard was brought off, 
named Tome' Hernandez, who became the historian of 
the miserable colony of the Strait. 

The squadron of Cavendish, after passing both the 
Angosturas, as the Spaniards named the narrowest 
points of the Strait, anchored first at the island of 
Santa Magdalena, where in two hours they killed and 
salted two pipes full of penguins; and afterwards at 
San Felipe, the now desolate station of the Spanish 
colonists, some of whom the English found still lying 
in their houses, " where they had died like dogs." 
Here they brought on board six pieces of ordnance 
which the settlers had buried. This place Cavendish 
named Port Famine ; it was found to be in 53 S. On 
the 22nd a few natives were seen ; but the Spaniard, 

(829) 10 


Hernandez, cautioned the English against all inter- 
course, representing them as a treacherous people, a 
character which European knives and swords seen in 
their possession, converted into darts, confirmed; and 
when they again approached, Cavendish carried his 
precautions to so extravagant a length as to order a 
discharge of muskets, by which many of them were 
killed, and the rest took to flight, certainly not corrected 
of their bad propensities by this harsh discipline. They 
were represented as cannibals, who had preyed upon 
the Spanish colonists, and this excused all wrong. 

For the next three weeks the fleet lay in a sheltered 
port, unable to enter the South Sea from a continuance 
of strong westerly winds ; but on the 24th February, 
after a favourable though a tedious passage, they 
finally emerged from the Strait. To the south was a 
fair high cape with a point of low land adjoining it ; on 
the other side were several islands, with much broken 
ground around them, at about six leagues off from the 
mainland. On the 1st of March the stormy Spirit of 
the Strait, which no fleet ever wholly escaped, over- 
took Cavendish ; and the Hugh Gallant was separated 
from the larger vessels, one of which was found so 
leaky that the crew were completely exhausted in 
working the pumps for three days and nights without 
ceasing. On the 15th the Hugh Gallant rejoined her 
consorts at the Isle of Mocha, on the coast of Chili. 
They were here taken for Spaniards, and landing on 
the Main experienced but a rough reception from the 


Indians, who bore no good will to the natives of Spain. 
But a similar mistake sometimes operated to their 
advantage; and next day, when the captain with a 
party of seventy men landed on the island of Santa 
Maria, they were received as Spaniards, with all kind- 
ness and humility, by the principal people of the island; 
and a store of wheat, barley, and potatoes, ready pre- 
pared, and presumed by the voyagers to be a tribute to 
the conquerors, was unscrupulously appropriated. To 
this the islanders added presents of hogs, dried dog-fish, 
fowls, and maize, and received in return an entertain- 
ment on board the captain's ship. These Indians are 
represented as being in such subjection that not one 
of them durst eat a hen or hog of his own rearing, all 
being sacred to their task-masters, who had, however, 
made the whole of the islanders Christians. When 
they came to understand that their visitors were not 
Spaniards, it was believed that they attempted to in- 
vite them to an assault upon their enslavers ; but for 
want of an interpreter their meaning was imperfectly 
comprehended. The squadron, thus refreshed at the 
expense of the Spaniards, sailed on the 18th, but over- 
shot Valparaiso, at which place they intended to halt. 
On the 30th they anchored in the Bay of Quintero, 
seven leagues to the north of Valparaiso. A herdsman 
asleep on a hill-side awaking, and perceiving three 
strange ships in the bay, caught a horse grazing beside 
him, and fled to spread the alarm. Cavendish, unable 
to prevent this untoward movement, landed with a 


party of thirty men, and Hernandez, the Spaniard 
whom he had brought from the Strait, and who made 
strong protestations of fidelity. Three armed horse- 
men appeared, as if come to reconnoitre. With these 
Hernandez conferred, and reported that they agreed to 
furnish as much provision as the English required. A 
second time the interpreter was despatched to a con- 
ference ; but on this occasion, forgetting all his vows of 
fidelity to his benefactors, he leaped up behind one of 
his countrymen, and they set off at a round gallop, 
leaving Cavendish to execrate Spanish bad faith. The 
English filled some of their water-casks, and attempted 
in vain to obtain a shot at the wild cattle, which were 
seen grazing in great herds. Next day a party of from 
fifty to sixty marched into the interior in the hope of 
discovering some Spanish settlement. They did not 
see one human being, native or European, though 
they travelled till arrested by the mountains. The 
country was fruitful and well watered with rivulets, 
and abounded in herds of cattle and horses, and with 
hares, rabbits, and many kinds of wild-fowl. They 
also saw numerous wild dogs. The party did not sleep 
on shore. The boats were sent next day for water, 
which was found a quarter of a mile from the beach. 
While the seamen were employed in filling the casks, 
they were suddenly surprised by a party of two hun- 
dred horsemen, who came pouncing down upon them 
from the heights, and cut off twelve of the party, some 
of whom were killed, and the rest made prisoners. The 


remainder were rescued by the soldiers, who ran from 
the rocks to support their unsuspecting comrades, and 
killed twenty-four of the Spaniards. Notwithstanding 
this serious misadventure, Cavendish, keeping strict 
watch and ward, remained here till the watering was 
completed. Of the nine prisoners snatched off in this 
affray, it was afterwards learned that six were executed 
at Santiago as pirates, though they sailed with the 
queens commission, and though the nation to which 
they belonged was at open war with Spain. 

The discipline which the Spaniards had taught the 
natives was again found of use to our navigators, who, 
after leaving Quintero, came on the loth to Morro 
Moreno, or the Brown Mountain, where the Indians, on 
their landing, met them with loads of wood and water, 
which they had carried on their backs down the rocks. 
These slaves of the Spaniards were found to be a very 
degraded race, almost at the lowest point in the scale 
of civilization. Their dwellings consisted of a few 
sticks placed across two stakes stuck in the ground, on 
which a few boughs were laid. Skins spread on the 
floor gave a higher idea of comfort. Their food con- 
sisted of raw, putrid fish ; yet their fishing-canoes were 
constructed with considerable ingenuity. They were 
made of skins " like bladders." Each boat consisted of 
two of these skins, which were inflated by means of 
quills, and sewed or laced together with gut, so as to 
be perfectly water-tight. In these they fished, paying 
large tribute of their spoils to their conquerors. When 


any one died, his bows and arrows, canoe, and all his 
personal property, were buried along with him, as the 
English verified by opening a grave. 

On the 23rd a vessel, with a cargo of Spanish wine, 
was captured near Arica, and also a small bark, the 
crew of which escaped in their boat. This vessel was 
permanently added to the squadron, and named the 
George. Another large ship, captured in the road of 
Arica, proved but a worthless prize, the cargo having 
been previously taken away, and the ship deserted by 
the crew. A design of landing and storming the 
town was abandoned, as, before the squadron could be 
mustered, the Spaniards were apprised of their danger, 
and prepared to stand on the defensive. A third vessel 
was taken close by the town; and the English squadron 
and the batteries even exchanged a few harmless shots ; 
after which Cavendish, in hopes of relieving some of 
the English prisoners made at Quintero, sent in a flag 
of truce inviting the Spaniards to redeem their vessels; 
but proposals of this nature were, by order of the vice- 
roy at Lima, in all cases rejected. 

On the 25th, while the squadron still rode before 
the town, a vessel from the southward was perceived 
coming into the port. Cavendish sent out his pinnace 
to seize this bark ; while the towns-people endeavoured 
from the shore to make the crew sensible of their 
danger. They understood the signals, and rowed in 
among the rocks, while a party of horsemen advanced 
from the town to protect the crew and passengers. 


Among these were several monks, who had a very 
narrow escape. The deserted vessel, when searched, 
afforded nothing of value ; and burning their prizes, 
early on the 26th they bore away northward from Arica. 
Next day they captured a small vessel which had been 
despatched from Santiago with intelligence to the viceroy 
that an English squadron probably Drake himself 
was upon the coast. Great severity was used to make 
the crew reveal the nature of their despatches, which 
were thrown overboard while the English gave chase. 
They had solemnly sworn not to tell their errand ; but 
their fidelity was barely proof against the torture to 
which Cavendish thought it necessary to subject them to 
extort their secret. An old Fleming whom he threat- 
ened to hang, and actually caused to be hoisted up, 
stood the test, and chose rather to die than to perjure 
himself by betraying his trust. At last one of the 
Spaniards confessed; and burning the vessel, Cavendish 
carried the crew along with him as the safest way to 
prevent tale-telling. In this vessel was found a Greek 
pilot well acquainted with the coast of Chili. 

On the 3rd May they landed at a small Spanish 
town, where they obtained a supply of bread, wine, 
figs, and fowls. This cruise was continued for a fort- 
night, and several prizes were made, from which needful 
supplies were obtained, but none that afforded the 
species of wealth which the captors valued. On the 
20th they landed at Payta, to the amount of seventy 
men, took the town, drove out the inhabitants, and 


continued the pursuit till they came to the place 
whither the towns-people had conveyed their most 
valuable goods. Here they found twenty-five pounds 
of silver, with other costly commodities. Cavendish, 
however, expecting an attack, had the prudence not to 
allow his men to encumber themselves with much spoil 
on their return to the ships. The town, which was 
regularly built and very clean, consisted of two hundred 
houses. It was burned to the ground, with goods to 
the value of five or six thousand pounds. A ship in 
the harbour was also burned ; and the fleet held a course 
northward, and anchored at the island of Puna in a 
good harbour. A Spanish sloop of two hundred and 
fifty tons burden, which they found here, was sunk. 
They landed forthwith at the dwelling of the cacique, 
who was found living in a style of elegance and even 
magnificence rarely seen among the native chiefs. His 
house stood near the town, by the water's edge, and 
contained many handsome apartments, with verandas 
commanding fine prospects seaward and landward. 
The chief had married a beautiful Spanish woman, who 
was regarded as the queen of the island. She never 
set her foot upon the ground, holding it " too low a 
thing for her," but was earned abroad on men's shoulders 
in a sort of palanquin, with a canopy to shelter her 
from the sun and wind, and attended by native ladies 
and the principal men of the island. The cacique and 
his lady fled on the first approach of the English, 
carrying with them one hundred thousand crowns, 


which, from the information of a captive scout, were 
ascertained to have been in their possession. Induced 
by the information of the Indian captive, Cavendish 
landed on the Main with an armed party, intending to 
surprise the fugitives ; but they once more fled, leaving 
the meat roasting at their fires, and their treasures 
could not be discovered. In a small neighbouring 
island the cacique had previously for safety deposited 
his most valuable furniture and goods, consisting of 
hangings of Cordovan leather, richly painted and gilded, 
with the tackling of ships, nails, spikes, etc., of which 
the English took a large supply. At Puna sail-cloth 
of sea-grass was manufactured for the use of the ships 
in the South Sea. The island was about the size of 
the Isle of Wight, and contained several towns ; the 
principal one, near which was the cacique's palace, 
consisted of two hundred houses, with a large church. 
This the English burned down, carrying away the bells. 
The Indian chief of Puna had been baptized previous 
to his marriage; and the Indians were all obliged to 
attend Mass. Adjoining the dwelling of the cacique 
was a fine garden laid out in the European style, with 
a fountain. In it were cotton-plants, fig-trees, pome- 
granates, and many varieties of herbs and fruits. An 
orchard, with lemons, oranges, etc., ornamented the 
other side of this pleasant dwelling, the under part of 
which consisted of a large hall, in which goods of all 
kinds were promiscuously stored. Cattle and poultry 
were seen in great abundance, with pigeons, turkeys, 


and ducks of unusual size. Though the general, both 
from personal observation and report, was aware that 
a force was to be sent against him from Guayaquil, he 
hauled up his ship to have her bottom cleaned, keeping 
vigilant watch in the chief's house, where the English 
had established their headquarters. 

The ship was again afloat, and the squadron about 
to sail, when, by one of those mischances which prove 
the danger of indulging for a single moment in false 
security, the English suffered a severe loss. On the 
2nd of June, before weighing anchor, a party were 
permitted to straggle about the town to amuse them- 
selves and forage for provisions. Thus scattered, they 
were suddenly assailed in detached groups by a hundred 
armed Spaniards; and of the twenty thus dispersed, 
seven were killed, three made prisoners, and two 
drowned, while eight escaped. Forty-six Spaniards 
and Indians fell in this skirmish. Cavendish imme- 
diately landed with an armed band, drove the Spanish 
soldiers from the town, and burned it completely down, 
together with four ships then building. He also de- 
stroyed the gardens and orchards. Persisting in main- 
taining his ground, Cavendish next day laid up the 
other ship to be careened, and did not sail till the 5th, 
when they went to Bio Dolce, where they watered. 
Here they sunk the Hugh Gallant, all the hands being 
now required for the other vessels. They also sent on 
shore their Indian prisoners, and without touching at 
any other land, held a northerly course for nearly a 


month. On the 9th July they captured a new ship of 
one hundred and twenty tons, which, first taking away 
her ropes and sails, they immediately burned. In this 
vessel was a Frenchman, Michael Sancius, who gave 
information of the Manilla ship then expected from the 
Philippines. This was a prize worth looking after; 
and they were so far fortunate as to intercept a small 
bark sent to give her warning. On the 27th, by day- 
break, they entered the harbour of Guatulco, and 
burned the town, the church, and custom-house, in 
which was found a quantity of dye-stuffs and cocoas. 
Some trifling adventures marked the following day, in 
which they by mistake oversailed Acapulco. Landing 
at Puerto de Navidad, they burned two ships, each 
of two hundred tons, then on the stocks, and made 
prisoner a mulatto, who earned letters of advice of 
their progress along the coast of New Galicia. In 
this manner they proceeded northward, often landing 
small detachments, and spreading alarm along the 
shores. On the 8th they came into the bay of 
Chaccalla (supposed Compostella), described as being 
eighteen leagues from Cape de los Corrientes, and to a 
harbour presumed to be that known in modern geog- 
raphy as San Bias. Next morning an officer with 
forty men, and Michael Sancius as their conductor, 
marched two leagues into the interior, by "a most 
villainous and desert path through the woods and 
wilderness," and came to a place where they found 
three Spanish families, a carpenter of the same nation, 


a Portuguese, and a few Indians. Their ordinary mode 
of proceeding on such occasions is told in few words : 
"We bound them all, and made them to come to the 
seaside with us." The general, however, set the women 
free; and on their bringing to the ships a supply of 
pine-apples, lemons, and oranges, allowed their husbands 
to depart, as there was nothing to be obtained from 
them. The carpenter and the Portuguese were kept, 
and next day the fleet sailed. On the 12th September 
they reached the Isle of St. Andrew, where they laid 
in a store of wood, and of dried and salted wild-fowl. 
Seals were also found, and iguanas a species " of ser- 
pent, with four feet and a long sharp tail, strange to them 
who have not seen them," but which, nevertheless, made 
very palatable food to the keen appetites of seamen. In 
their frequent exigencies these hardy voyagers never 
scrupled to act upon the opinion of the old Symeron 
chief in the Isthmus of Darien. When Drake, with the 
natural disgust of an Englishman, showed some tokens of 
aversion to otter's flesh, the Indian is reported to have 
thus addressed him: "Are you a warrior and in want, 
and yet doubt if that be food which hath blood in it ? " 
On the 24th September they put into the Bay of 
Mazatlan, and at an island a league to the northward 
careened the ships, new-built the pinnace, and by 
digging deep in the sands found water, of which they 
stood much in need, as without this seasonable supply 
they must have been compelled to turn back, and thus 
might have missed their prey. 


The squadron sailed from this island on the night of 
the 9th of October for the Cape of St. Lucas, which 
was made on the 14th. Here they lay in wait for the 
anticipated prize, cruising about the headland, without 
going far off, till the 4th of November, on the morning 
of which day the trumpeter from the mast-head de- 
scried a sail bearing in for the cape. Chase was 
immediately given, and continued for some hours, when 
the English came up with the Santa Anna, gave her a 
broadside, poured in a volley of musketry, and prepared 
to board. The attempt was bravely repelled by the 
Spaniards, who courageously repulsed the assailants, 
with the loss of two men killed and five wounded. 
The most formidable weapons of the Spaniards were 
stones, which, from behind their protecting barricades, 
they hurled upon the boarders. "But we new-trimmed 
our sails," says the early relation, "and fitted every 
man his furniture, and gave them a fresh encounter 
with our great ordnance, and also with our small-shot, 
raking them through and through, to the killing and 
wounding of many of their men. Their captain still, 
like a valiant man, with his company, stood very 
stoutly into his close-fights, not yielding as yet. Our 
general, encouraging his men afresh with the whole 

O ' O O 

voice of trumpets, gave them the other encounter with 
our great ordnance and all our small -shot, to the great 
discouragement of our enemies, raking them through in 
divers places, killing and wounding many of their men. 
They being thus discouraged and spoiled, and their 


ship being in hazard of sinking by reason of the great 
shot which were made, whereof some were under water, 
within five or six hours' fight, sent out a flag of truce, 
and parleyed for mercy, desiring our general to save 
their lives and to take their goods, and that they would 
presently yield. Our general, of his goodness, promised 
them mercy, and called them to strike their sails, and 
to hoist out their boat and come on board; which news 
they were full glad to hear of, and presently struck 
their sails, hoisted out their boat, and one of their 
chief merchants came on board unto our general, and, 
falling down upon his knees, offered to have kissed 
our general's feet, and craved mercy. Our general 
graciously pardoned both him and the rest, upon 
promise of their true dealing with him and his com- 
pany concerning such riches as were in the ship ; and 
sent for their captain and pilot, who, at their coming, 
used the like duty and reverence as the former did. 
The general, out of his great mercy and humanity, 
promised their lives and good usage." 

The Santa Anna was a prize worth the trouble 
bestowed in securing her. She was of seven hundred 
tons burden, and the property of the King of Spain. 
Besides a rich cargo of silks, satins, damasks, wine, 
preserved fruits, musk, etc., there were on board one 
hundred and twenty-two thousand pesos in gold. The 
provision made for the passengers was also of the 
best kind, and afforded luxuries to the English ships' 
companies to which they had hitherto been strangers. 


Cavendish carried his prize into a bay within Cape 
St. Lucas, named by the Spaniards Aguada Segura, or 
the Safe Watering-place, where he landed the crew 
and passengers to the number of one hundred and 
ninety persons, among whom were some females. 

The captain-general deemed it impolitic to allow 
these persons to proceed direct to New Spain; and 
the place on which he landed them afforded water, 
wood, fish, fowl, and abundance of hares and rabbits. 
He presented them with part of the ship's stores, with 
wine, and with the sails of their dismantled vessel to 
construct tents for their shelter. He also gave the 
seamen weapons for their defence against the natives, 
and planks, of which they might build a bark to 
convey the whole party to the settlements. 

Among the passengers by the Santa Anna were two 
lads, natives of Japan, who could both read and write 
their own language ; and three boys from Manilla. 
These, with a Portuguese who had been in Canton, 
the Philippines, and the islands of Japan, Cavendish 
carried with him, and also a Spanish pilot. 

The division of the spoils occasioned great discontent, 
particularly among the crew of the vice-admiral's ship, 
who imagined that Cavendish favoured the company 
of the Desire. But the dissatisfaction was apparently 
suppressed ; and by the 17th November, " the Queen 's- 
day," all business being completed, a few hours were 
devoted by the loyal English to gaiety and festivity ; 
and a discharge of the great guns and a display of 


fire-works proclaimed to these lonely shores the glory 
of Elizabeth of England. As the completion of their 
rejoicing, the Santa Anna, with all of her goods that 
could not be stowed into the English ships, was set on 
fire, and left burning ; and, firing a parting salute to 
the deserted Spaniards, the Desire and the Content 
bore away for England, which before they could again 
arrive at, so much of the circumference of the globe 
must be traversed. Before coming to St. Lucas, the 
George, the Spanish prize, had been abandoned ; and 
now, in coming out of the bay, the Content lagged 
astern, and was never again seen by her consort. 

The Desire thus left alone, as the Golden Hind had 
been before her, holding her solitary course across the 
Pacific, on the 3rd January 1588 came in sight of 
Guahan, one of the Ladrones. For forty-five days 
the English had enjoyed fair winds, and had sailed a 
distance roughly estimated at between seventeen and 
eighteen hundred leagues. When within five or six 
miles of Guahan, fifty or more canoes full of people 
came off to meet the ship, bringing the commodities 
with which they were now in the habit of supplying 
the Spaniards, namely, fish, potatoes, plantains, and 
cocoas, which were exchanged for pieces of iron. This 
traffic was plied so eagerly that it became trouble- 
some, and Cavendish, who was never distinguished for 
patience or forbearance, with five of his men, fired to 
drive the natives back from the ship. They dived 
so nimbly to evade the shot that it could not be 


ascertained what execution was done. The people 
here were of tawny complexion, corpulent, and of 
taller stature than ordinary-sized Englishmen. Their 
hair was long, but some wore it tied up in one or two 
knots on the crown of the head. The construction of 
their canoes greatly excited the admiration of the 
English seamen, formed as they were without any 
"edge-tool." These canoes were from six to seven 
yards in length, but very narrow, and moulded in the 
same way at prow and stern. They had square and 
triangular sails of cloth made of bulrushes, and were 
ornamented with head-figures carved in wood, "like 
unto images of the devil." The natives appeared in the 
canoes entirely naked, and were dexterous divers and 
excellent swimmers. 

On the 14th January the Desire made Cape Spirito 
Santo, the first point of the Philippines which was 
seen; and on the same night entered the strait now 
named the Strait of San Bernardino. Next morning 
they came to anchor in a fine bay and safe harbour in 
the island then named Capul. Though the Spanish 
settlement at Manilla was still comparatively recent, 
it had risen and flourished so rapidly that it was 
already become a place of great wealth and commercial 
importance. Besides the annual fleet to New Spain, 
it possessed a very considerable trade with China and 
the Indian islands in the most valuable commodities. 
The people with whom Manilla enjoyed this trade, and 
particularly a people they name the Sanguelos, are 

(829) 11 


described by the voyagers as "of great genius and 
invention in handicrafts and sciences; every one so 
expert, perfect, and skilful in his faculty, as few or no 
Christians are able to go beyond them in that they 
take in hand. For drawing and embroidery upon 
satin, silk, or lawn, either beast, fowl, fish, or worm ; 
for liveliness and perfectness, both in silk, silver, gold, 
and pearl, they excel." 

As soon as the Desire came to anchor off Capul, one 
of the chiefs, of whom there were seven in the island, 
came on board, presuming the ship to be Spanish. 
His people brought a supply of potatoes, which they 
called camotaes, and green cocoas. The rate of ex- 
change, or the prices, would now be thought high. 
A yard of linen was given for four cocoas, and the 
same quantity for about a quart of potatoes. These 
roots were thought good either boiled or roasted, and 
were much relished by the crew. The cacique was 
"carved" (tattooed) in various streaks and devices. 
He was requested to remain on board, and a message 
of invitation being sent to the other chiefs, they also 
repaired to the ship, bringing hogs and hens to ex- 
change. The rate, which was uniform, was, for a hog 
eight ryals of plate, and for a fowl one. This trade 
went on all day, and the ship, after her long run, was 
well supplied with refreshments. On the same night 
a fortunate discovery was made by the Portuguese 
taken out of the Santa Anna on account of his 
knowledge of the Philippines and of China. The 


Spanish pilot had, it appeared, prepared a letter, which 
he hoped secretly to convey to the governor at Manilla, 
informing him of the English ship, which it would not 
be difficult to surprise and overpower. If this vessel 
was allowed to escape with impunity, he pointed out 
that the settlement might next year be taken by those 
who had now the audacity, with so small a force, to 
approach its vicinity. He described in what manner 
the English ship might be taken where she now rode. 
This crime, or act of patriotism, was clearly brought 
home to the pilot, who was next morning hanged for 
doing his duty to his native country and sovereign. 

Cavendish remained here nine days for the refresh- 
ment of the ship's company, and to obtain a store of 
provisions. Some singular customs are ascribed to the 
natives of Capul. They practised circumcision. By 
an opinion not rare " of the heathen " in those days, 
nor yet altogether exploded among persons better 
instructed than the early navigators, the islanders are 
alleged to have "wholly worshipped the devil, and often- 
times to have conference with him, who appeareth 
unto them in a most ugly, monstrous shape." On the 
23rd January the captain-general caused the seven 
chiefs of this island, " and of a hundred islands more," 
to appear before him and pay him tribute in hogs, 
poultry, cocoas, and potatoes; at which-,.ceremony he 
informed them of his country, spread the banner of 
England from his mast-head, and sounded the drums 
and trumpets. Due homage and submission were 


made to the representative of England and the enemy 
of Spain ; and this being all that was required, the 
value of the tribute was paid back to the natives in 
money. The Indians, at parting, promised to assist 
the English in conquering the Spaniards at any future 
time, and, to amuse their new friends, showed feats of 
swift rowing round the ship. The general fired off a 
piece of ordnance as a farewell, and the new tributaries 
went away contented and pleased. The "hundred 
islands more" look like a flourish of the narrator, 
thickly as islands are clustered together at this place. 

Next day they ran along the coast of Manilla, and 
on the 28th chased a frigate, which escaped into some 
inlet. Chase was given by the boat in those places 
which were so shallow that the ship could not approach. 
The crew was afterwards shot at by a party of Spanish 
soldiers from the shore ; and a frigate was manned by 
them and sent in pursuit, which chased the English 
boat till within reach of the guns of the Desire. The 
boat's crew had previously made a Spaniard prisoner, 
whom they found in a canoe from which the natives 
escaped ; and next day Cavendish sent a message by 
him to the captain of the Spanish party, who at 
different stations kept watch along the coast, desiring 
that officer to provide a good store of gold, as he 
intended to visit him at Manilla in a few years, and, 
if his boat had been larger, would have visited him 

About the middle of February Cavendish passed 


near the Moluccas, but did not touch at these islands. 
Fever now visited the ship's company, which had 
hitherto been very healthy ; but only two of the men 
died, and one of these had long been sick, so that his 
death could not be attributed to the climate and the 
excessive heat which occasioned the illness of the 
others. On the 1st of March the Desire passed through 
the strait at the west end of Java Minor, and on the 
5th anchored in a bay at the west end of Java Major. 
A negro found in the Santa Anna was able to con- 
verse with some natives who were here found fishing. 
Through this interpreter, who spoke the Morisco or 
Arabic language, they were informed that provisions 
might be obtained ; and in a few days afterwards two 
or three canoes arrived laden with fowls, eggs, fresh 
fish, oranges, and limes. That the ship might be more 
conveniently victualled, they stood in nearer the town, 
and were visited by the king's secretary, who brought 
the general a present, including, among other things, 
" wine as strong as aqua vitse, and as clear as rock- 
water." This distinguished official, who promised that 
the ship should be supplied in four days, was treated 
with all the magnificence that Cavendish could com- 
mand. The wines and preserves of the Spanish prize 
were produced for his entertainment, and the English 
musicians exerted their skill. The secretary, who 
remained on board all night, saw the watch set and 
the guns fired off, and was informed that the ship's 
company were Englishmen, natives of a country which 


already traded with China, and that they were come 
hither for discovery and traffic. The Portuguese had 
already established a factory on the island, where they 
traded in cloves, pepper, sugar, slaves, and other mer- 
chandise of the East. Two of these Portuguese mer- 
chants afterwards visited the ship, eager to obtain 
news of their country and of Don Antonio their prince. 
They were informed that he was then in England, 
honourably entertained by the queen; and were de- 
lighted to hear of the havoc Cavendish had made 
among the Spanish shipping in the South Sea, as he 
told them that he was " warring upon them (the 
Spaniards) under the King of Portugal." The Euro- 
peans who met on this distant coast were mutually 
delighted with their short intercourse. Cavendish 
banqueted the Portuguese merchants, and entertained 
them with music as well as with political intelligence ; 
and to him they described the riches of Java, and the 
most remarkable customs observed by the natives. 
The reigning king or rajah was named Bolamboam, 
and was reported to be one hundred and fifty years of 
age. He was held in great veneration by his subjects, 
none of whom durst trade with any nation without his 
license under pain of death. The old king had a 
hundred wives, and his son fifty. In Bolamboam the 
old voyagers give a perfect picture of an absolute 
prince. The Javans paid him unlimited obedience. 
Whatever he commanded, be the undertaking ever so 
dangerous or desperate, no one durst shrink from 


executing it ; and their heads were the forfeit of their 
failure. They were " the bravest race in the south-east 
parts of the globe, never fearing death." The men 
were naked, and dark in colour ; but the women were 
partly clothed, and in complexion much fairer. When 
the king died his body was burned, and the ashes were 
preserved. Five days afterwards his queen, or principal 
wife, threw a ball from her with which she was pro- 
vided, and wherever it ran thither all the wives re- 
paired. Each turned her face eastward, and, with a 
dagger as sharp as a razor, stabbed herself to the heart, 
and, bathed in her own blood, fell upon her face, and 
thus died. " This thing," we are assured, " is as true 
as it may seem to any hearer to be strange." The 
Portuguese factors, before parting with Cavendish, 
proposed that their acknowledged king, Don Antonio, 
should come out and here found an empire, which 
should comprehend the Moluccas, Ceylon, China, and 
the Philippines. They were assured that all the 
natives of these countries would declare for him. A 
kind reception was also promised to the English at 
their return ; and Cavendish, having fully satisfied 
them for the supplies furnished to his ship, fired a 
parting salute of three guns, and on the 16th March 
sailed for the Cape of Good Hope. 

The rest of this month and the month of April were 
spent " in traversing that mighty and vast sea between 
the island of Java and the main of Africa, observing 
the heavens, the Crosiers or South Pole, the other 


stars, and the fowls, which are marks unto seamen ; 
fair weather, foul weather, approaching of lands or 
islands, the winds, tempests, the rains and thunders, 
with the alteration of the tides and currents." On 
the 10th of May a storm arose, and they were after- 
wards becalmed ; and, in the thick hazy weather of 
the calm, mistook Cape False for the Cape of Good 
Hope, which they passed on the 16th, having run 
one thousand eight hundred and fifty leagues in nine 

On the 8th June the island of St. Helena was seen, 
and on the 9th they anchored in the harbour. The 
description of this station, so important to navigators, 
would apply with perfect accuracy even at this day, 
so far as regards external appearance or the natural 
productions of that delicious resting-place, of which at 
that time the Portuguese still enjoyed sole possession. 
They had now held this island for upwards of eighty 
years ; and, though it had never been regularly colon- 
ized, they had done much to store it with everything 
necessary to the refreshment of seamen on a long voy- 
age. Already it abounded in all sorts of herbs, and in 
delicious fruits. Partridges, pheasants, turkeys, goats, 
and wild hogs, were also obtained in abundance. 

At St. Helena Cavendish remained till the 20th, 
cleaning the ship, and obtaining refreshments, when 
the Desire once more got under way for England. 
About the end of August they passed the Azores, and 
on the 3rd September met a Flemish hulk from Lisbon, 


which informed them of the defeat of the Spanish 
Armada, to their "great rejoicing." In the Channel 
they were overtaken by the same terrible tempest that 
made such havoc among the Spanish ships which were 
driven round the coast of Ireland and to the north of 
Scotland; but were so fortunate as to complete the 
third circumnavigation of the globe at Plymouth on 
the 9th September, 1588, two years and fifty days 
from the time they had left the same harbour, and in a 
considerably shorter time than either Magellan or Drake 
had made the same voyage. 

Very copious nautical notes and remarks on this 
voyage were published by Mr. Thomas Fuller of 
Ipswich, the sailing-master of the Desire. They must 
have been of great value at the time, but have been 
superseded by more modern charts, in forming which, 
though the observations may not be more accurate, 
the navigators have had the advantage of more perfect 
instruments. The only geographical discovery made 
by Cavendish in this navigation was Port Desire, on 
the Patagonian coast, the landmarks of which Fuller 
has accurately described, though it has frequently 
been made the subject of dispute among modern 

The fame of the exploits of Cavendish, and of the 
great wealth which he had brought home, " enough to 
buy a fair earldom," almost rivalled the accounts of 
Drake's wonderful voyage. Among other rumours it 
was said that when he entered the harbour of Ply- 


inouth his sails were all of silk. In the tempest which 
overtook them in the Channel the sails were lost ; and 
it is probable that Cavendish might have been com- 
pelled to employ some of his rich Indian damasks in 
the homely office of rigging his vessel ; though it is 
conjectured, with more feasibilit} 7 ', that his new suit of 
sails was canvas fabricated of the silk-grass used in 
the South Seas, which, being very lustrous, might 
easily be mistaken for silk. 

The earliest leisure of Cavendish was employed in 
writing to his patron, Lord Hunsdon, giving an account 
of his prosperous expedition. Whatever blame may in 
a more enlightened age be imputed to this navigator, 
for the wanton outrages committed on the Spanish 
settlements and on the subjects of Spain, he appears 
to have thought himself entitled to credit for their 
performance. Instead, therefore, of trying to conceal 
these deeds, in setting forth his services for her majesty, 
he makes them his boast; and doubtless they were 
highly esteemed. No better recapitulation of the 
events of this celebrated voyage can be found than 
that contained in his letter to Lord Hunsdon, an 
extract of which may form an appropriate conclusion 
to this chapter. "It hath pleased Almighty God," 
says the writer, " to suffer me to circumpass the whole 
globe of the world, entering in at the Strait of Magellan, 
and returning by the Cape de Buena EsperanQa; in 
which voyage I have either discovered or brought 
certain intelligence of all the rich places of the world 


which were ever discovered by any Christian. I 
navigated along the coast of Chili, Peru, and New 
Spain, where I made great spoils. I burned and sunk 
nineteen sails of ships small and great. All the 
villages and towns that ever I landed at I burned and 
spoiled. And had I not been discovered upon the 
coast, I had taken great quantity of treasure. The 
matter of most profit unto me was a great ship of the 
king's, which I took at California ; which jship came 
from the Philippines, being one of the richest of mer- 
chandise that ever passed those seas From the 

Cape of California, being the uttermost part of all 
New Spain, I navigated to the islands of the Philip- 
pines, hard upon the coast of China, of which country 
I have brought such intelligence as hath not been 
heard of in these parts; the stateliness and riches of 
which I fear to make report of, lest I should not be 

credited I found out by the way homeward the 

island of Santa Helena, where the Portuguese used 
to relieve themselves ; and from that island God hath 
suffered me to return into England. All which services, 
with myself, I humbly prostrate at her majesty's feet, 
desiring the Almighty long to continue her reign 
among us ; for at this day she is the most famous and 
victorious princess that liveth in the world." 



THE second and final expedition of Cavendish to the 
South Sea was as remarkable for ill fortune as his 
first voyage had been distinguished by uninterrupted 
prosperity. This fortunate voyage, however, which 
gave such strong confirmation to the hopes excited by 
the adventure of Drake, encouraged many to a similar 
attempt, and during the two years following his return 
several expeditions were fitted out from England, 
though none of them proved successful. 

In three years after his return, Cavendish having, 
according to some accounts, spent the greater part of 
the riches he had acquired in the South Sea, planned 
an expedition for China by Magellan Strait, and 
upon an extensive scale. It is asserted, with as much 
probability, that his wealth was laid out in equipping 
the new squadron, with which he put to sea on the 
26th August 1591. It consisted of "three tall ships" 
and two barks. As admiral of the fleet Cavendish 
sailed in the Leicester galleon; and his old ship, the 
Desire, was commanded by the celebrated pilot, navi- 


gator, and fortunate discoverer, Captain John Davis. 
The Roebuck, commanded by Mr. Cook, the Black 
Pinnace, and a small bark named the Dainty, which 
belonged to Mr. Adrian Gilbert, a gentleman of Devon- 
shire, who had been among the promoters of the 
discovery of the North-west Passage, completed the 
fleet. The two Japanese youths, captured in the 
Acapulco ship on the former voyage, accompanied 
Cavendish in this. 

Under the equinoctial line they were becalmed for 
twenty-seven days, burning beneath a hot sun, and 
exposed to the deadly night-vapours, which threw 
many of the men into the scurvy. Their first capture 
was a Portuguese vessel, on the 2nd December, off the 
coast of Brazil. It was laden with sugar, small-wares, 
and slaves. 

On the 5th they pillaged Placenzia, a small Portu- 
guese settlement ; and on the 16th surprised the town 
of Santos, where the inhabitants were at Mass when 
the party landed. Though Cavendish, both from 
principle and from natural disposition, never lost an 
opportunity of spoiling the enemy, the object of this 
attack was to obtain provisions ; but this design, from 
the negligence of the captain of the Roebuck, was 
completely frustrated. The Indians carried everything 
away ; and next day the prisoners in the church were 
either set free or contrived to escape, four old men 
being retained as hostages till the supplies came in. 
They never appeared; and the consequence of mis- 


management and delay was, that in lying five weeks 
before this place the provisions were wasted which 
should have sustained them in passing the Strait, 
and the voyage was delayed, by this and other causes, 
till they found themselves, in the beginning of the 
southern winter, distant from the Strait, and short of 

On the 22nd January they left Santos, burned St. 
Vincent on the 23rd, and next day bore for the Strait 
of Magellan; Port Desire, which Cavendish had dis- 
covered on his former voyage, being appointed as a 
rendezvous in case of separation. On the 7th February 
the fleet was overtaken by a violent gale, and next 
day they were separated. Davis, in the Desire, made 
for the appointed harbour, and on the way fell in with 
the Roebuck, which had suffered dreadfully. On the Gth 
of March these two ships reached Port Desire together, 
and in ten days afterwards were joined by the Black 
Pinnace. The Dainty, the volunteer bark, returned 
to England, having stored herself with sugar at Santos 
while the other ships lay idle : her captain was in the 
meanwhile on board the Roebuck, and was left without 
anything save the clothes which he wore. 

In the gale, which scarcely abated from the 7th of 
February to the middle of March, Cavendish suffered 
severely, and his officers and men had shown a dis- 
position to mutiny; so that, on rejoining the other 
ships on the 18th, he left the Leicester galleon in 
displeasure, and remained in the Desire with Captain 


Davis. Cavendish did not at this time complain more 
bitterly of the gentlemen of his own ship than he 
afterwards violently accused Davis of having betrayed 
and abandoned him. His subsequent misfortunes 
affected his temper, and, it may be presumed, perverted 
his sense of justice. Though his company had not 
recovered from the excessive fatigue and exhaustion 
caused by the late continued tempest, the galleon sailed 
with the fleet on the 20th, and after enduring fresh 
storms all the ships made the Strait on the 8th April, 
and on the 14th passed in. In two days they had beat 
inward only ten leagues. 

An account is given in Purchas's Pilgrims of this 
most disastrous voyage, drawn up at sea by Cavendish 
in his last illness. It is addressed to Sir Tristram 
Gorges, whom the unfortunate navigator appointed his 
executor, and is one of the most affecting narratives 
that ever was written, the confession, wrung in 
bitterness of heart, from a high-spirited, proud, and 
headstrong man, who having set his all upon a cast, 
and finding himself undone, endured the deeper morti- 
fication of believing he had been the dupe of those he 
implicitly trusted. Though we cannot admit the force 
of many of his allegations, nor the justice of his 
unmeasured invective, it is impossible to withhold 
sympathy from his extreme distress. " We had been 
almost four months," says this melancholy relation, 
"between the coast of Brazil and the Strait, beimr in 


distance not above six hundred leagues, which is 


commonly run in twenty or thirty days ; but such was 
the adverseness of our fortune, that in coming thither 
we spent the summer, and found the Strait, in the 
beginning of a most extreme winter, not durable for 

Christians After the month of May was come in, 

nothing but such flights of snow, and extremity of 
frosts, as in all my life I never saw any to be compared 
with them. This extremity caused the weak men (in 
my ship only) to decay ; for in seven or eight days in 
this extremity, there died forty men and sickened 
seventy, so that there were not fifteen men able to 
stand upon the hatches." Another relation of the 
voyage, written by Mr. John Jane, a friend of Captain 
Davis, even deepens this picture of distress. The 
squadron, beating for above a week against the wind 
into the Strait, and in all that time advancing only 
fifty leagues, now lay in a sheltered cove on the south 
side of the passage, and nearly opposite Cape Froward, 
where they remained till the loth May, a period of 
extreme suffering. "In this time," says Jane, "we 
endured extreme storms with perpetual snow, where 
many of our men died of cursed famine and miserable 
cold, not having wherewith to cover their bodies, nor 
to fill their belly, but living by mussels, water, and 
weeds of the sea, with a small relief from the ship's 
stores of meal sometimes." Nor was this the worst. 
"All the sick men in the galleon were most uncharitably 
put on shore into- the woods, in the snow, wind, and 
cold, when men of good health could scarcely endure 


it, where they ended their lives in the highest degree 
of misery." Though Cavendish was still on board the 
Desire, it is impossible to free him of the blame of this 
inhuman abandonment of the sick. A consultation 
was now held, at which Davis, who had had great 
experience of the severities of the seasons in his north- 
west voyages, declared for pushing forward, as the 
weather must speedily improve ; while Cavendish pre- 
ferred the attempt of reaching China by doubling the 
Cape of Good Hope. For this voyage, however, the 
other commanders thought there were neither pro- 
visions nor equipments. At length, on a petition by 
the whole company being presented to Cavendish, he 
agreed to return to the coast of Brazil for supplies, and, 
thus furnished, again to attempt the Strait. 

On the 15th May they accordingly sailed eastward, 
and on the midnight of the 20th, Davis in the Desire, 
and the Black Pinnace, were separated from the galleon, 
to which Cavendish had now returned. They never 
met again, and Cavendish, to the last moment of his 
unhappy life, accused Davis of having wilfully aban- 
doned him. This treacherous desertion, if such it was, 
and by the. friends of Davis it is strenuously denied, 
took place in the latitude of Port Desire, for which 
harbour Davis stood in, and also the Black Pinnace, 
expecting, as they at least pretended, to find the 
general. Here they took in water, and obtained at 
ebb-tide mussels, and with hooks made of pins caught 
smelts, and thus spared their slender stock of provisions. 

(829) 12 


An effort made by Davis to go in search of the 
captain-general in the pinnace was overruled, it is 
alleged, by the ship's company, who would not permit 
its departure. They are even charged with open 
mutiny, and two ringleaders are named. 

To clear himself of all suspicion, Davis, on the 2nd 
June, drew up a relation of the voyage, of the separa- 
tion, and of the state of the two ships lying here, 
which all the men subscribed. It certainly goes far to 
exonerate him. They remained in Port Desire till the 
6th of August, keeping watch on the hills for the 
galleon and the Roebuck; one part of the company 
foraging for provisions of any kind that could be 
obtained, while others made nails, bolts, and ropes 
from an old cable, and thus supplied their wants in the 
best manner they could devise. There are, however, 
surmises that all this labour was undertaken that 
Davis might be able to accomplish his great object of 
passing the Strait, whatever became of the general, 
and whatever might have been his wishes or orders. 
After this refitting was accomplished, it was accord- 
ingly resolved to await the coming of Cavendish in the 
Strait, for which, having at Penguin Isle salted 
twenty hogsheads of seals, they sailed on the night 
of the 7th August, "the poorest wretches that ever 
were created." 

Several times they obtained a sight of the South 
Sea, but were driven back into the Strait. While 
tossed about, they were on the 14th driven in "among 


certain islands never before discovered by any known 
relation, lying fifty leagues or better off the shore, east 
and northerly from the Strait." These were the 
Falkland Islands, of which Captain Davis certainly has 
the honour of being the original discoverer, as he had 
already been of the Strait which still goes by his name, 
and of other ports in the North Seas. This discovery 
was shortly afterwards claimed by Sir Richard Haw- 
kins, who gave these islands the name of Hawkins's 
Maiden Land, " for that it was discovered in the reign 
of Queen Elizabeth, my sovereign lady, and a maiden 
queen." The discovery of these islands has been 
claimed by the navigators of other countries, and a 
variety of names have been imposed upon them. 
Burney christens them anew, "Davis's Southern Isl- 
ands," a distinction to which that celebrated navigator 
is fully entitled, though it will not be easy to change 
a name so established as that of the Falkland Islands. 
On the 2nd October they got into the South Sea once 
more, and in the same night encountered a severe gale, 
which continued with unabated violence for many 
days. On the 4th the pinnace was lost: on the 5th 
the fore-sail was split and all torn ; " and the mizzen 
was brought to the fore-mast to make our ship work, 
the storm continuing beyond all description in fury, 
with hail, snow, rain, and wind, such and so mighty as 
that in nature it could not possibly be more ; the sea 
such and so lofty, with continual breach, that many 
times we were doubtful whether our ship did sink 


or swim." The relation proceeds thus with earnest 
pathetic simplicity : " The 10th of October, being, by 
the account of our captain and master, very near the 
shore, the weather dark, the storm furious, and most 
of our men having given over to travail, we yielded 
ourselves to death without further hope of succour. 
Our captain (Davis) sitting in the gallery very pensive, 
I came and brought him some Rosa Solis to comfort 
him ; for he was so cold he was scarce able to move 
a joint. After he had drunk, and was comforted in 
heart, he began for the ease of his conscience to make 
a large repetition of his forepassed time, and with 
many grievous sighs he concluded in these words : 
'Oh most glorious God, with whose power the mightiest 
things among men are matters of no moment, I most 
humbly beseech thee, that the intolerable burden of 
my sins may through the blood of Jesus Christ be 
taken from me ; and end our days with speed, or show 
us some merciful sign of thy love and our preservation.' 
Having thus ended, he desired me not to make known 
to the company his intolerable grief and anguish of 
mind, because they should not thereby be dismayed ; 
and so, suddenly before I went from him, the sun 
shined clear ; so that he and the master both observed 
the true elevation of the Pole, whereby they knew by 
what course to recover the Strait." The narrative 
goes on to relate a wonderful instance of preservation 
in doubling a cape at the mouth of the Strait on the 
llth of October. 


They at last put back into the Strait in a most 
pitiable condition, the men "with their sinews stiff, 
their flesh dead," and in a state too horrible to be de- 
scribed. They found shelter and rest in a cove for a 
few days, but famine urged them on, and the weather, 
after a short interval of calm, became as stormy as 
before. "The storm growing outrageous, our men 
could scarcely stand by their labour; and the Strait 
being full of turning reaches, we were constrained, 
by the discretion of the captain and master in their 
accounts, to guide the ship in the hell-dark night when 
we could not see any shore." In this extremity they 
got back to Port Desire, and obtained wood and water ; 
and in Penguin Island found abundance of birds. One 
day, while most of the men were absent on their several 
duties, a multitude of the natives showed themselves, 
throwing dust upon their heads, " leaping and running 
like brute beasts, having vizards on their faces like 
dogs' faces, or else their faces are dogs' faces indeed. 
We greatly feared lest they should set the ship on fire, 
for they would suddenly make fire, whereat we much 
marvelled. They came to windward of our ship, and 
set the bushes on fire, so that we were in a very stink- 
ing smoke ; but as soon as they came within reach of 
our shot we shot at them, and striking one of them in 
the thigh they all presently fled, and we never saw 
them more." At this place a party of nine men were 
killed by the Indians, or were presumed to be so, as 
they went on shore, and were never again heard of. 


The relation points out that " these were the mutineers, 
and this the place at which they had formerly devised 
mischief" against Davis and his officers. Here they 
made salt by pouring salt water in the hollows of the 
rocks, which in six days was granulated from evapora- 
tion by the heat of the sun. They found abundance of 
food in eggs, penguins, seals, and young gulls; and 
with train-oil fried scurvy-grass with eggs, "which 
(herb) took away all kinds of swellings, whereof many 
had died, and restored us to perfect health of body, so 
that we were in as good case as when we left England." 
" Thus God did feed us as it were with manna from 

On the 22nd December they sailed for Brazil with a 
stock of fourteen thousand dried penguins, of which 
they had an ample allowance, though their other pro- 
vision was scantily dealt out. In the beginning of 
February, in attempting by violence to obtain some 
provisions at the Isle of Placenzia, on the coast of 
Brazil, thirteen of the men were killed by the Indians 
and Portuguese; and of an original company of seventy 
only twenty-seven were now left in the Desire. They 
were again the sport of baffling winds ; the water ran 
short ; and in the warm latitudes the penguins, their 
sole dependence for food, began to corrupt, " and ugly 
loathsome worms of an inch long were bred in them." 
The account of this plague is painfully striking. " This 
worm did so mightily increase, and devour our victuals, 
that there was in reason no hope how we should avoid 


famine, but be devoured of the wicked creatures. 
There was nothing that they did not devour, iron only 
excepted our clothes, hats, boots, shirts, and stockings. 
And for the ship, they did eat the timbers ; so that we 
greatly feared they would undo us by eating through 
the ship's side. Great was the care and diligence of 
our captain, master, and company to consume these 
vermin; but the more we laboured to kill them, the 
more they increased upon us, so that at last we could 
not sleep for them, for they would eat our flesh like 
mosquitoes." The men now fell into strange and 
horrible diseases, and some became raging mad. A 
supply of water was, however, obtained from the heavy 
rains which fell ; and this was the only solace of this 
most miserable voyage. Eleven died between the coast 
of Brazil and Bear Haven in Ireland: and of the 
sixteen that survived only five were able to work the 
ship. If the design of Davis had been treacherously to 
abandon Mr. Cavendish, he was subjected to speedy 
and severe retribution. 

To this unfortunate commander we must now return; 
and brief space may suffice to relate a series of cala- 
mities which might weary the attention and exhaust 
the sympathies of even the most compassionate reader. 
The conjecture which Cavendish formed of the pro- 
ceedings of Davis and the captain of the Black Pinnace 
was perfectly correct. He states in his letter that he 
believed they would return to Port Desire a safe 
place of anchorage for ships of small burden, though 


not such as he could safely approach and there refresh 
themselves, lay in a store of seals and birds, and seize 
a favourable season to pass the Strait. And they did 
so. In speaking of Davis, and of his conduct, Cavendish 
exclaims : " And now to come to that villain, that hath 
been the death of me and the decay of this whole 
action I mean Davis whose only treachery in run- 
ning from me hath been utter ruin of all, if any good 
return by him, as ever you love me, make such friends, 
as he, least of all others, may reap least gain. I assure 
myself you will be careful in all friendship of my last 
requests. My debts which be owing be not much ; but 
I (most unfortunate villain !) was matched with the 
most abject-minded and mutinous company that ever 
was carried out of England by any man living." " The 
short of all is this Davis's only intent was utterly to 
overthrow me, which he hath well performed." 

After the Desire and the Black Pinnace separated 
from the fleet, the Leicester galleon and Roebuck shaped 
their course for Brazil, keeping sight of each other. 
In 36 S. they encountered a dreadful storm, and were 
parted. For some time the galleon lay at anchor in 
the Bay of St. Vincent; and while here a party, 
almost in open defiance of the orders of Cavendish, 
landed to forage for provisions, and plunder the houses 
of the Portuguese farmers on the coast. They were 
wholly cut off, to the number of twenty-four men and 
an officer; and the only boat which Cavendish had 
now left was thus lost. 


The Roebuck, about this time, returned without 
masts or sails, and "in the most miserable case ever 
ship was in." The captain-general felt the want of 
the boats and pinnace doubly severe, from being unable 
in the larger ships to enter the harbours, which were 
often barred, to be revenged on the " base dogs " who 
had killed his men. At some risk he made an attempt 
to go up the river before the town, that he might have 
the gratification of razing it ; but was compelled by his 
company to desist from an attempt which " was both 
desperate and most dangerous." With some difficulty 
they got back into deep water, and with the boat of 
the Roebuck, and a crazy boat seized from the Portu- 
guese, a party landed which destroyed a few of the 
farm-houses and got some provisions. It was now the 
intention of Cavendish to break up the Roebuck, and 
with the Leicester galleon, as Davis never appeared, 
return to the Strait alone. But of this purpose he did 
not venture to inform his company, lest they might 
have broken out into open mutiny. So great was 
their horror of returning, " that all of the better sort," 
he says, "had taken an oath upon the Bible to die 
rather than go back." St. Helena was therefore the 
point now talked of ; and in the meanwhile an attempt 
was made to seize three Portuguese ships in the harbour 
of Spirito Santo. The plan of attack was unsuccessful. 
Of eighty armed men who left the ship on this ill- 
starred expedition, about thirty-eight were killed and 
forty wounded. Among the killed was Captain Morgan, 


an officer whom Cavendish highly esteemed, who in 
this expedition was taunted into the commission of 
acts of foolhardy daring by the insulting speeches of 
those whom he led ; a weakness which, despite of their 
better judgment, has often proved fatal to brave men, 
as well as to the rash persons themselves whose ignor- 
ance and vanity tempt them to become the critics and 
censors of enterprises of which they cannot comprehend 
the danger. Inability to endure the imputation of 
cowardice is indeed one of the most lamentable in- 
firmities of noble minds. On the present occasion 
some of the seamen swore "that they never thought 
other than that Morgan was a coward that durst not 
land upon a bauble ditch ; " upon which, wilfully run- 
ning upon what he saw to be certain destruction, he 
declared that he would land happen what would, and 
though against the counsel of his commander, who 
remained in the ship. The consequences have been 

One circumstance strongly moved the generous in- 
dignation of Cavendish. A party with the great boat 
called to another, which were attempting to storm a 
fort, to come and help them to hasten off, as they were 
exposed to a galling fire. The numbers that rushed 
into the boat ran her aground, and ten men were 
obliged to leave her, who, to save themselves from the 
Indian arrows which flew thick, again ran in under the 
fort, and poured in a volley of musketry. Meanwhile 
the boat was got afloat, " and one that was master of 


the Roebuck (the most cowardly villain that ever was 
born of a woman), caused them in the boat to row 
away, and so left those brave men a spoil for the 
Portugals. Yet they waded up to their necks in the 
water to them ; but those merciless villains in the boat 
would have no pity on them. Their excuse was, that 
the boat was so full of water, that had they come in 
she would have sunk with them all in her. Thus 
vilely were those poor men lost." 

By the fatal adventure which he has thus narrated, 
Cavendish, already in want of every necessary, was 
left with hardly as many efficient men as could raise 
the anchor. To add to his already accumulated mis- 
fortunes, the Roebuck forsook him, the company of that 
ship being resolved to return home; and though the 
wounded lay in his vessel, they carried off the two 
surgeons and a great part of the common stores. In 
these distressing circumstances he got to the small un- 
inhabited island of St. Sebastian, where he mended 
the old boats, and obtained a seasonable supply of 
water, of which they were in great want. Again 
Cavendish spoke of returning to the Strait, and used 
all the arts of persuasion with his company; but in 
vain. He showed them that they could " relieve them- 
selves by salting seals and birds, etc. ; and further, 
should they get through the Strait (which they might 
easily perform, considering they had the chiefest part 
of the summer before them), they could not but make 
a most rich voyage ; and that we should be the most 


infamous in the world, being within six hundred 
leagues of the place where we so much desired to 
return home again so far being most infamous and 
beggarly. These persuasions," continues Cavendish, 
" took no place with them ; but most boldly they all 
affirmed that they had sworn they would never again 
go to the Strait ; neither by no means would they. 
And one of the chiefest of this faction most proudly 
and stubbornly uttered these words to my face, in 
presence of all the rest; which I seeing, and finding 
mine own faction to be so weak (for there were not 
any favoured my side but my poor cousin Locke, and 
the master of the ship), I took this bold companion by 
the bosom, and with mine own hands put a rope about 
his neck, meaning resolutely to strangle him, for 
weapon about me I had none. His companions seeing 
one of their chief champions in this case, and perceiving 
me go roundly to work with him, they all came to the 
master and desired him to speak, affirming they would 
all be ready to take any course I thought good of ; so 
I, hearing this, stayed myself, and let the fellow go." 

Having now boldly avowed his intention of return- 
ing to the Strait, Cavendish landed on the island with 
a party of his soldiers and the carpenters, to new-build 
the boat, while the sailors on board mended and patched 
up the rigging and tackle of the ship. But he still 
suspected his men of treachery, and of the intention of 
deserting, and was in constant anxiety to get them 
once more on board, that the ship might depart for the 


Strait. Before this could be accomplished, Cavendish, 
whom fortune never wearied of persecuting, sustained 
another severe mischance. The wounded men were on 
shore on the island, which lay about a mile from the 
mainland, from whence the Portuguese watched all the 
proceedings of the ship's company during the building 
of the boat. Before all the wood and water were got 
in, and while some soldiers and seamen were still on 
the island, an Irishman, " a noble villain," contrived to 
go over to the continent upon a raft, and betray his 
defenceless comrades to the Portuguese. This was 
done in the night-time ; and besides those employed on 
the island and the sick, there chanced to be several 
men ashore, who frequently stole away from the ship 
at night to enjoy the freedom of the land. All were 
indiscriminately butchered. One of the few remaining 
sails which lay here was also seized, and in their 
distressed circumstances proved another serious loss. 
" Thus," says the luckless adventurer, " I was forced to 
depart, Fortune never ceasing to lay her greatest ad- 
versities upon me. And now I am grown so weak that 
I am scarce able to hold the pen in my hand ; where- 
fore I must leave you to inquire of the rest of our most 
unhappy proceedings. But know this, that for the 
Strait I could by no means get my company to give 
their consent to go. In truth, I desired nothing more 
than to attempt that course, rather desiring to die in 
going forward than basely in returning back again ; 
but God would not suffer me to die so happy a man." 


These " unhappy proceedings " to which he refers may, 
so far as they are known, be very briefly noticed. An 
attempt was made to reach the island of St. Helena, 
for which the company had reluctantly consented to 
steer only on Cavendish solemnly declaring that to 
England he would never go, and that, if they refused 
to take such courses as he intended, the " ship and all 
should sink in the seas together." This for a time 
made them more tractable ; but having beat to the 20 
S. they refused to proceed further, choosing rather to 
die where they were " than be starved in searching for 
an island which could never be found again." They 
were, however, once more induced to proceed south- 
ward, and in dreadful weather beat back to 28 S., and 
stood for St. Helena, which was most unhappily missed, 
owing to contrary winds and the unskilfulness of the 
sailing-master. One more effort this unfortunate com- 
mander made to induce his mutinous crew to regain 
the island, alarming them with the scarcity of pro- 
visions ; but they unanimously replied, " that they 
would be perished to death rather than not make for 

It is believed that Cavendish did not long sur- 
vive the events recorded above ; and it is certain that 
he died before the ship reached England. His letter, 
from which we have quoted, was not closed when 
the galleon reached 8 N. From its commencement 
and it must have been written at many different 
sittings Cavendish had considered himself a dying 


man. It opens with great tenderness : " Most loving 
friend, there is nothing in this world that makes a 
truer trial of friendship than at death to show mind- 
fulness of love and friendship, which now you shall 
make a perfect experience of ; desiring you to hold my 
love as dear dying poor as if I had been most infinitely 
rich. The success of this most unfortunate action, the 
bitter torments whereof lie so heavy upon me, as with 
much pain am I able to write these few lines, much 
less to make discourse to you of all the adverse haps 
that have befallen me in this voyage, the least whereof 
is my death." He adverts to the illness of "a most 
true friend, whom to name my heart bleeds," who, like 
himself, became the victim of the complicated distresses 
of this voyage. After the crowning misfortune of 
missing St. Helena, he says : " And now to tell you of 
my greatest grief, which was the sickness of my dear 
kinsman John Locke, who by this time was grown in 
great weakness, by reason whereof he desired rather 
quietness and contentedness in our course than such 
continual disquietness as never ceased me. And now 
by this, what with grief for him and the continual 
trouble I endured among such hell-hounds, my spirits 
were clean spent, wishing myself upon any desert place 
in the world, there to die, rather than thus basely 
return home again. Which course, I swear to you, I 
had put in execution, had I found an island which the 
cardes (charts) make to be in 8 S. of the line. I swear 
to you I sought it with all diligence, meaning there to 


have ended my most unfortunate life. But God suf- 
fered not such happiness to light upon me, for I could 
by no means find it ; so, as I was forced to go towards 
England, and having got eight degrees by the north of 
the Line, I lost my most dearest cousin. And now con- 
sider whether a heart made of flesh be able to endure 
so many misfortunes, all falling upon me without inter- 
mission. And I thank my God, that in ending me he 
hath pleased to rid me of all further troubles and 
mishaps." The rest of the letter refers to his private 
concerns, and especially to the discharge of his debts 
and the arrangement of his affairs for this purpose an 
act of friendship which he expected from the kindness 
of the gentleman he addressed. It then takes an 
affecting farewell of life and of the friend for whom 
he cherished so warm an affection. 

In his two voyages Cavendish experienced the great- 
est extremes of fortune, his first adventure being even 
more brilliant and successful than the last (chiefly 
through the bad discipline and evil dispositions of his 
company) was disastrous and unhappy. Cavendish 
was still very young when he died. No naval com- 
mander ever more certainly sunk under the disease to 
which so many brave men have fallen victims a 
broken heart. In many things his conduct discovered 
the rashness and impetuosity of youth, and the want 
of that temper and self-command which are among the 
first qualities of a naval chief. The reproach of cruelty. 
or at least of culpable indifference to the claims of 


humanity, which, from transactions in both voyages, 
and especially in the first, must rest upon his memory, 
ought in justice to be shared with the age in which he 
lived, and the state of moral feeling among the class to 
which he belonged by birth. By the aristocracy, " the 
vulgar," "the common sort," were still regarded as 
creatures of a different and inferior species; while 
among seamen the destruction of Spaniards and 
"Portugals" was regarded as a positive virtue. By 
all classes, negroes, Indians, and Gentiles were held in 
no more esteem than brute animals human life as 
existing in beings so abject being regarded as of no 
value whatever. But if Cavendish was tinged with 
the faults of his class, he partook largely of its virtues 
high spirit, courage, and intrepidity. Those who 
might be led to judge of some points of his conduct 
with strictness, will be disposed to lenity by the re- 
collection of his sufferings. As an English navigator 
his name is imperishable. On the authority of the 
accurate and veracious Stowe, we may in conclusion 
state that Thomas Cavendish "was of a delicate wit 
and personage." 



D A M P I E R. 



CAPTAIN WILLIAM DAMPIER, the remarkable person 
whose eventful life forms the subject of the remaining 
portion of this volume, was so long and so intimately 
associated with the buccaneers of America, that an 
account of this extraordinary brotherhood forms an 
almost indispensable introduction to the adventures 
and discoveries of this eminent navigator. 

The buccaneers owed their origin to the monopolizing 
spirit and selfish and jealous policy with which Spain 
administered the affairs of her West India colonies. 
Early in the sixteenth century, both English and 
French ships, bound on trafficking adventures, had 
found their way to these settlements ; but it was not 
till after the enterprises of Drake, Raleigh, and Cum- 
berland that they became frequent. The jealousy of 
Spain had been alarmed by their first appearance ; and 
the adoption of that system of offensive interference 


with the vessels of every nation that ventured near 
the tropic, soon gave rise to the well-known maxim of 
the buccaneers " No peace beyond the Line." 
Though the name 

" Linked to one virtue and a thousand crimes" 

by which the freebooters came to be distinguished, is 
of much later date than the era of Drake and his daring 


follower John Oxnam, there is no great violation of 
historical truth in ascribing to them the character which 
it signified, of indiscriminate plunderers of the Spaniards 
by sea and land, and in peace as well as in war. 

To the gradual rise of the extraordinary association, 
of which Drake and Oxnam were only the precursors, 
many causes contributed. The diminished population 
and decayed manufactures of Old Spain could no 
longer supply her wealthy and rapidly - increasing 
settlements with those commodities which the West 
Indies and South America still continue to receive 
from the workshops and looms of France, England, 
and the Low Countries; nor could the strictness and 
severity of the Spanish laws for regulating trade 
prevent the settlers on many parts of the coast and 
the islands from cheaply supplying themselves with 
luxuries and necessaries brought direct from these 
countries. Thus the contraband trade, eagerly fol- 
lowed by the ships of England, France, and Holland, 
and encouraged by the colonists, increased in defiance 
of prohibitions and of guarda costas, as the ships 


Page iyj. 


armed to protect the exclusive commerce of Spain 
were named, and became a thriving seminary for the 
growth of maritime freebooters, self-defence leading 
the contraband traders to retaliation, injustice to re- 
prisal, and spoliation to actual piracy. 

Another collateral branch of the buccaneering system 
sprung up at the same time in a different quarter. No 
portion of the New World had suffered more from the 
injustice and enormous cruelty of the Spaniards than 
the fine islands of Cuba and Hispaniola. About the 
beginning of the sixteenth century, the mines and 
plantations of these islands had been abandoned for 
the more productive new settlements and richer mines 
of Mexico ; and the desolated and depopulated tracts, 
from which the aboriginal inhabitants had been extir- 
pated, were soon overrun by immense herds of cattle, 
which, originally introduced by the Spaniards, had 
multiplied so rapidly that it was become a profitable 
employment to hunt them for the hides and tallow 
alone. While the matadores, or Spanish hunters, pur- 
sued this avocation, a more peaceful description of 
settlers began to form plantations around them, and to 
both classes the stolen visits of the French and English 
traders became every year more welcome. From 
trafficking on the coast, and occasionally foraging for 
provisions for their vessels on these uninhabited shores, 
the smugglers from time to time adopted the hunter's 
life, and ranged at will, though regarded by the 
Spanish government and settlers as interlopers. 


The first predatory hunters of Cuba and Hispaniola, 
if men following the chase in a desert may be so harshly 
termed, were natives of France. From the customs 
connected with their vocation in the woods arose the 
formidable name of Buccaneer, by which the association 
came to be distinguished, whether pirates or forayers, 
on shore or in the wilderness. The term was adopted 
from the Carib Indians, who called the flesh which 
they prepared boucan, and gave the hut, where it was 
slowly dried and smoked on wooden hurdles or bar- 
becues, the same appellation. To the title by which 
the desperadoes of England were known the French 
preferred the name of Flibustier, said to be a corruption 
of the English word " freebooter." The Dutch named 
the natives of their country employed in this lawless 
mode of life Sea-rovers. Brethren of the Coast was 
another general denomination for this fraternity of 
pirates and outlaws; till all distinctions were finally 
lost in the title of Buccaneers of America. But the 
same feeling which induced men of respectable family 
to lay aside their real names on entering this associa- 
tion, led others of them to sweeten their imaginations 
with a term less intimately allied with every species 
of crime and excess; and Dampier, among others, 
always spoke of the individual members of the brother- 
hood as "privateers," while their vocation of piracy 
was named " privateering." 

The depredations of this fortuitous assemblage of 
bold and dissolute men had been carried on in time of 


peace as hunters, smugglers, and pirates, and in time 
of war as privateers holding commissions from their 
respective countries, for a long series of years before 
they attempted to form any regular settlement. During 
this time they had acted as the rude pioneers of the 
European states to which they respectively belonged, 
clearing the way for the industrious and peaceful 
settlers of France and England, both of which countries 
secretly cherished, while they ostentatiously disclaimed, 
the buccaneers. From the era of the discovery of 
Columbus, both of these nations had cast longing eyes 
upon the West India Islands, and if not under the 
auspices, yet by the assistance of their bold though 
lawless offspring the buccaneers, settlements were at 
last effected. At the beginning of the seventeenth 
century, a point on which to rest their levers was all 
that was required ; and by a previous treaty of joint 
occupation and partition, the French and English, in 
1625, on the same day, landed at opposite points of the 
island of St. Christopher, and took possession. The 
rights of the Caribs, whom the Spaniards had neither 
been able to enslave nor wholly to extirpate, do not 
appear to have obtained a moment's consideration from 
the statesmen of either France or England. Though 
the Spaniards had no settlement upon this island them- 
selves, their policy and interests did not quietly permit 
the natives of two active and industrious nations to 
obtain a permanent footing at a point whence they 
might quickly extend their territory ; and instead of 


patiently waiting the result of misunderstanding be- 
tween the colonists, which would more effectually have 
fought their battle, in 1629 they expelled the intruders 
by force of arms, after a residence of above three years. 
The settlers only waited the departure of the Spanish 
armament to return to their old possessions, though 
some of them, thus cruelly expelled from their new- 
formed homes, and rendered desperate by poverty and 
hatred of the Spaniards, had meanwhile augmented the 
bands of the freebooters, and to the reckless bravery of 
these lawless vagabonds brought their own knowledge 
and experience, and the habits of social life. 

It was thus that step by step the narrow policy and 
oppression of the Spaniards raised up those predatory 
hordes, haunting the ocean and the coasts, which, from 
infringing their absurd commercial laws, or shooting a 
wild bullock in the forests, came at last continually to 
infest their trade, and to destroy and pillage their 
richest settlements. 

As a convenient mart for their trade, which had 
been prodigiously increased by the settlement of St. 
Christopher and other causes, the hunters of His- 
paniola and Cuba seized the island of Tortuga by 
surprising the small Spanish garrison which defended 
it, and here built magazines for their hides, tallow, and 
boucan or dried meat, established their headquarters, 
and opened a place of retreat for all buccaneers. In 
the course of a few years European adventurers of 
every nation save Spain flocked to Tortuga; and 


French and English settlements were rapidly planted, 
almost at random, on different islands, the new colonists 
being the natural allies and also the best customers of 
the buccaneers, whom they on the other hand supplied 
with powder, shot, rum, tobacco, hatchets, and every- 
thing necessary to their wild and irregular mode of life. 
As these new colonies rose into consequence, they were 
severally claimed by the mother-country of the settlers, 
who, whether French or English, were not unfrequently 
turned out to make way for new proprietors who had 
been able iniquitously to obtain or purchase, from the 
venal government at home, the lands cleared and im- 
proved by the industry of the original adventurers. 
Many of the French settlers, indignant at the unmerited 
injustice of their distant government, who had left 
them unprotected in the first instance and pillaged 
them in the last, retired to other deserts, or joined the 
ranks of their friends the buccaneers. 

The buccaneer settlement of Tortuga, situated at the 
very threshold of Hispaniola, was on every account 
obnoxious to the Spaniards, who took the first oppor- 
tunity of destroying it. This was effected while the 
boldest of the population were absent in the chase, 
which they often followed for months and even years 
together on the western shores of Hispaniola, without 
once visiting the scene of comparative civilization 
which they had created on the smaller island. Of the 
more peaceful of the settlers of Tortuga, who had 
already formed plantations, and begun with success to 


cultivate tobacco, which turned out of excellent quality, 
many were massacred; those who fled to the woods 
and afterwards surrendered themselves were hanged; 
while only a few escaped to their brethren in the 
forests of Hispaniola. Thus every new occurrence 
tended to inflame the mutual hatred which had so long 
subsisted between the Spaniards and all other Euro- 
peans, and to propagate outrage. Tortuga was soon 
abandoned by the Spaniards, who took so much pains 
to destroy the nest that they flattered themselves the 
hornets would not again congregate. In this they 
were deceived. The buccaneers returned almost im- 
mediately, and became more formidable than ever, 
giving Spain a practical lesson on the impolicy of 
converting those who were in the fair way of becoming 
peaceful and industrious neighbours into active enemies, 
regularly banded and organized, and cordially united 
against a common foe. 

Above three hundred of the hunters returned to 
Tortuga after it had been thus desolated and aban- 


doned by the Spaniards; and their ranks were speedily 
recruited by constant levies of the young, the brave, 
and the enterprising of different European countries. 

From about this time cruising upon the Spaniards 
became more and more frequent, and as the diminished 
number of cattle made the chase a less profitable 
occupation, piratical excursions increased, and became 
more bold and alarming. The Brethren of the Coast 
had now been long known as a distinct association, and 


their laws, manners, and customs had become the 
subject of speculation and curiosity. Though their 
peculiarities have been egregiously magnified by the 
natural love of the marvellous, from which even phil- 
osophic historians are not altogether exempt, many of 
their customs were sufficiently remarkable to deserve 
notice. Like the laws and customs of other com- 
munities, the "statutes of the buccaneers" originated 
in the necessities and exigencies of their condition. 
Property, so far as regarded the means of sustenance, 
whether obtained in the chase or by pillage, was in 
common among this hardy brotherhood ; and as they 
had no domestic ties, neither wife nor child, brother 
nor sister being known among the buccaneers, the want 
of family relations was supplied by strict comrade- 
ship, one partner occasionally attending to household 
duties while the other was engaged in the chase. It 
has been said that the surviving partner in this firm, 
whether seaman or hunter, became the general heir ; 
and this was probably often the case, though not a 
fixed law, as the buccaneers frequently bequeathed 
property to their relatives in France or England. 
Their chief virtue was courage, which, urged by des- 
peration, was often carried to an extreme unparalleled 
among other warlike associations. The fear of the 
gallows, which has frequently converted the thief into 
a murderer, made the buccaneer a hero and a savage. 
Hardihood, the habit and the power of extreme en- 
durance, might also, if exerted in a better cause, be 

(829) H 


reckoned among the virtues of the buccaneers, had not 
their long seasons of entire privation been always fol- 
lowed by scenes of the most brutal excess. Their 
grand principle, the one thing needful to their existence, 
was fidelity ; and so far, at least, as regarded the 
Spaniards, the maxim of " Honour among thieves " was 
never more scrupulously observed than among them. 
As their associations were voluntary, their engagements 
never extended beyond the cruise or enterprise on 
hand, though they were frequently renewed. The 
ablest, the most brave, active, fortunate, and intriguing 
of their number, was elected their commander ; but all 
the fighting-men appear to have assisted at councils. 
The same power which chose their leader could displace 
him, which was frequently done, either from caprice or 
expediency. They sometimes settled personal quarrels 
by duel ; but offences against the fraternity were visited 
by different punishments, as in extreme cases death, 
abandonment on a desert island, or simply banishment 
from the society. There appears to have been no 
obstacle to voluntarily quitting the brotherhood as 
often as inclination dictated such a step. Many of the 
peculiar habits of the buccaneers are so fully detailed 
in the adventures of Dampier, that it is unnecessary to 
expatiate upon them in this place. In the division of 
their booty, one main concern of all banditti, they 
appear, as soon as buccaneering became a system, to 
have followed nearly the same laws which regulate 
privateers ; the owners' shares being of course included 


in those of the company, who were themselves the 
owners. A party being agreed upon a cruise, the day 
and place for embarkation were fixed, and every man 
repaired on board the ship with a specified quantity of 
powder and shot. The next concern was to procure 
provisions, which consisted mostly of pork. Many of 
the Spaniards raised large herds of swine for the supply 
of the planters, and from their yards abundance was 
procured with no trouble save that in which the fero- 
cious buccaneers delighted robbery often accompanied 
by murder. Turtle slightly salted was another article 
of the food which they stored ; and for beeves and 
wild hogs they trusted to their fire-arms. Bread they 
seldom tasted, and at sea never thought about, though 
in later periods they sometimes procured supplies of 
cassada, maize, and potatoes. Of this food every man 
ate generally twice a day, or at his own pleasure, and 
without limitation, there being in this respect no dis- 
tinction between the commander and the meanest sea- 
man. The vessel fairly victualled, a final council was 
held, which determined the destination of the cruise 
and the plan of operations ; and articles were generally 
drawn up and subscribed, which regulated the division 
of the spoils. The carpenter, the sail-maker, the sur- 
geon, and the commander, were in the first place paid 
out of the common stock. Wounds were next con- 
sidered the value of the right arm, the most useful 
member of the buccaneer's body, being reckoned equal 
to six slaves, or six hundred pieces of eight. It is 


worthy of notice that the eye and finger of the buc- 
caneer had the same value, which was one slave, or a 
hundred pieces of eight. The remainder was equally 
shared, save that the captain, besides his specific agree- 
ment, had five shares, and his mate two. Boys received 
a half -share. The first maxim in the code of the bucca- 
neer, dictated by necessity, was " no prey, no pay." An 
oath was sometimes taken, to prevent desertion before 
the cruise was ended, and against concealment of booty. 
In their cruises the freebooters often put into remote 
harbours to careen or refit their ships, to obtain fruits 
and fish, to lie in wait for the Spanish traders, and to 
plunder either natives or Spaniards. The former they 
sometimes carried away, selling the men as slaves, 
while the women were compelled to labour among 
those of the buccaneers who followed the chase. The 
dress of these ruffians assorted well with their brutal 
and ferocious character. It has been described as a 
fixed costume, though there is little doubt that the same 
necessity which dictates to the savage his clothing of 
skins, prescribed to the buccaneer his filthy and terrific 
garb. This consisted of a shirt dipped in the blood of 
the cattle hunted and killed ; trowsers prepared in the 
same rude manner; buskins without stockings, a cap 
with a small front, and a leathern girdle, into which 
were stuck knives, sabres, and pistols. The bloody 
garments, though attributed to design, were probably 
among the hunters the effect of chance and slovenliness. 
Such was the complete equipment of the buccaneer. 


Among some few of the French buccaneers, who had 
been driven to adopt an outlaw's life by the severity 
and injustice of the colonial government and other 
causes, there sometimes existed sentiments of honour, 
and even a perverted sense of religion. Prayers were 
occasionally put up for the success of a piratical ex- 
pedition, and thanks given for victory. We hear of 
one buccaneer commander who shot a seaman for be- 
having indecently during the performance of Mass, but 
never once of the chalices and images belonging to 
any church being spared, whether the plunderers were 
French Catholics or English heretics. One rare instance 
is mentioned, where a buccaneer carried his notions of 
honour to so overstrained a height as to punish breach 
of faith with a Spaniard, and to repress symptoms of 
treachery to the common foe with the most prompt 
severity. Under a humane commander these lawless 
bands were occasionally less brutal and remorseless; 
though, taking them as a whole, more unfavourable 
specimens of humanity could not be selected. In the 
buccaneer were united the cruelty and ferocity of the 
savage with the circumvention and rapacity which are 
among the worst consequences of an imperfect civiliza- 
tion. The buccaneers, however, have their admirers. 
They are said to have been open and unsuspecting 
among themselves, liberal in their dealings, and guided 
in their private intercourse by a frank and strictly 
honourable spirit. The French fondly name them 
" nos braves ; " the English boast of their unparalleled 


exploits ; and writers of fiction grace the character 
with many brilliant traits of generosity and delicacy 
of feeling. We confess that there appears little in their 
actual history to vindicate the elevated character given 
by those who from bravoes and lawless ruffians would 
fashion heroes of romance, and convert the buccaneers 
of America into a new order of chivalry ; yet there is a 
wild and vivid interest about their roving adventures, 
independently of the powerful curiosity naturally felt 
to learn how men placed in circumstances so different 
from the ordinary modes and usages of social life in 
civilized communities thought and acted. They afford 
another lesson. All forms of privation and endurance, 
with which the vicissitudes of maritime adventure 
bring us acquainted, sink into insignificance when 
compared with the hardships voluntarily and heroically 
sustained by the buccaneers from the love of a life of 
boundless license and rapacity for Spanish gold. Base 
as were their governing motives, and ruthless as was 
their trade, it is impossible not to admire their manly 
hardihood and unconquerable perseverance. 

The buccaneers had not long regained Tortuga, when 
it was betrayed by certain Frenchmen of their number 
into the hands of the French governor of the West 
Indies, who took possession of the island for the crown 
of France, and expelled the English buccaneers, who 
had domineered over their associates. From that time 
the English pirates began to frequent the islands which 
were now reckoned to belong; to their own nation. 


These they enriched by the lavish expenditure of their 
spoils. In 1655, the buccaneers lent powerful aid to 
their countrymen in the conquest of Jamaica, which 
thenceforth became their principal haunt when not 
cruising upon the enemy. There, in a few weeks or 
nights, they disgorged the plunder or gains of months 
and years in a course of riotous excess and the most 
dissolute profligacy. 

In a few years after the capture of Jamaica, the 
French freebooters had increased amazingly on the 
western shores of Hispaniola. The first remarkable 
exploits of the buccaneers at sea were chiefly performed 
by these Frenchmen. Ships were their primary want ; 
but from small Indian canoes, in which they at first 
embarked, the naval power of the pirates soon rose to 
large fleets. Among their first brilliant exploits, which 
led the way to many others, was the capture of a 
richly-laden galleon, vice-admiral of the yearly Spanish 
fleet. This was achieved by Pierre Legrand, a native 
of Dieppe, who by one bold stroke gained fame and 
fortune. With a boat carrying four small pieces, which 
proved of no use to him, and twenty resolute followers, 
Pierre surprised this ship. For days and weeks he 
and his comrades had lain in wait for a prey, burning 
under a tropical sun. They were almost exhausted by 
suffering and disappointment, when the galleon was 
descried separated from the fleet. The manner in 
which the capture was made offers a fair specimen of 
buccaneering daring and strategy. The boat in which 


the men lay concealed had been seen by the galleon all 
day, and one of the company had warned the captain 
of his suspicion of a nest of pirates lurking in the 
distant speck. The Spaniard haughtily and carelessly 
replied, " And what then ? shall I be afraid of so pitiful 
a thing ? No, though she were as good a ship as my 
own." He probably thought no more of the circum- 
stance till, seated at cards with his friends in the same 
evening, he saw the buccaneers rush into his cabin, 
having already overpowered the crew. Nor had the 
task proved difficult. 

Pierre and his company had kept aloof till dusk, 
when they made for the galleon with all the force of 
oars. The game was for death ignominious and cruel 
death ; slavery in the mines or victory and fortune : 
they must make good their attempt to board the 
galleon or perish. To render their courage desperate, 
Pierre ordered the surgeon to bore holes in the side of 
the boat, that no other footing might be left to his 
men than the decks of the Spaniard. This was directly 
performed, while each man, armed with a sword and 
pistols, silently climbed the sides of the ship. While 
one party rushed into the great cabin, and presented 
their pistols to the officers who sat at cards, another 
seized the gun-room, cutting down whoever stood in 
their way. As the Spaniards had been completely 
surprised, little opposition was offered. The ship sur- 
rendered, and was carried into France by Pierre, who, 
by a rare instance of good sense and moderation, from 


the time of obtaining this prize gave up the vocation 
of a buccaneer, in which, if fortunes were sometimes 
quickly acquired, they were as often rapidly lost or cer- 
tainly squandered. Legrand appears to have exercised 
no unnecessary cruelty, and all of the Spanish seamen 
not required in navigating the vessel were sent on shore. 
The enterprise by which Pierre Legrand had in one 
night gained fame and fortune was a signal for half 
the hunters and planters of Tortuga to rush to the sea. 
In their small canoes they cruised about, lying in wait 
for the barks in which the Spaniards conveyed to 
Havannah, and other adjacent ports, hides, tobacco, and 
the produce of the boucan. These cargoes, together 
with the boats, were sold at Tortuga, and with the 
proceeds the freebooters were enabled to procure and 
equip larger vessels. Campeachy and even the shores 
of New Spain were now within their extended range 
of cruising, and their expeditions became daily more 
distant and bold. The Spaniards now found it necessary 
to arm ships to protect the coast-trade, as well as the 
galleons and flota. The Indian fleet and the treasure- 
ships were always the especial mark of the pirates, 
who found no species of goods so convenient either for 
transport or division as pieces of eight, though their 
friends and correspondents in the islands did all in 
their power to relieve them of the embarrassment of 
heavier cargoes. The merchants of Jamaica and Tor- 
tuga might at this time have not inaptly been termed 
the brokers of the buccaneers. 


Among other brilliant acts, Pierre Fra^ois, another 
Frenchman, with a handful of men in a boat, surprised 
and captured the vice-admiral of the pearl fleet ; and 
was no sooner possessed of this ship than he raised his 
ambitious thoughts to the capture of the ship of war 
which formed the convoy. In this bold project he was 
disappointed, and his prize retaken ; but not before he 
had stipulated for honourable conditions to himself 
and his company, and that they should be safely set 
on shore. About this time another noted buccaneer, 
Bartholomew Portugues, cruising from Jamaica with a 
boat carrying four small pieces and a crew of thirty 
men, captured a large ship of twenty great guns, with 
a crew of seventy men. This prize also was retaken 
in a few days by three Spanish ships, and the pirate 
carried into Campeachy; whence, however, he con- 
trived to escape, burning for vengeance upon the 
Spaniards for the severity with which he had been 
treated. The ingenuity of the Portuguese in evading 
the jail and the gallows, and his hair-breadth escapes 
and stratagems to extricate himself from the con- 
sequences of his crimes, may vie with those of any 
hero in the Newgate calendar. 

The Spanish coasting-vessels, taught by experience, 
now ventured cautiously to sea, and the number of 
buccaneers at the same time increasing, land-expedi- 
tions were first undertaken, and villages, towns, and 
cities pillaged, sacked, and held to ransom. The first 
land-pirate was named Lewis Scot, who stormed and 


plundered Campeachy, and obtained a large sum for 
its ransom. Mansvelt, and John Davies, a renowned 
buccaneer born in Jamaica, next followed this new 
career with success. In these attempts Mansvelt con- 
ceived the design of forming an independent buccaneer 
establishment, holding neither of France, England, nor 
Holland, which should form a place of safe retreat to 
the freebooters of every nation. His success will be 
seen in the course of the narrative. 

In the annals of the sea-rovers no names are to 
be found more terrible than those of Lolonnois and 
Montbar, natives of France, and distinguished among 
the fraternity by pre-eminence in crime. The former 
was rather a monster in human form than a merely 
cruel man ; the latter appears to have had a taint of 
constitutional madness, which, however, took a most 
diabolical character. The nom de guerre of Lolonnois 
was borrowed from the native place of this fiend, 
which was near the Sands of Olone. Little, however, 
is known about the ancestry of the pirate, who after- 
wards became so celebrated for the variety and vicissi- 
tudes of his life, for desperate courage, and for in- 
satiable cruelty. He had either been kidnapped when 
young, or had left France under a form of engagement, 
then in common use in several countries of Europe, 
by which the adventurer agreed to serve for a certain 
number of years in the colonies. This practice, which 
was termed indenting, was indeed common till a very 
recent period, and was liable to great abuses. From 


this servitude Lolonnois escaped, and entered with the 
buccaneers. His address and courage soon rendered 
him conspicuous, and in a few years he was the owner 
of two canoes, and commanded twenty-two freebooters. 
With this small force he captured a Spanish frigate 
off the coast of Cuba. This buccaneer commander, of 
whom almost incredible atrocities are related, is said 
to have frequently thrown overboard the crews of the 
ships which he took. He is said to have struck off the 
heads of eighty prisoners with his own hand, refreshing 
himself by sucking the blood of the victims as it 
trickled down his sabre. It is even related that, in 
transports of frantic cruelty, he has been known to 
tear out and devour the hearts of those who fell by his 
hand, and to pluck out the tongues of others. To this 
monster cruelty was an affair of calculation as well as 
of delight, and he reckoned the terror inspired by his 
name among the best means of success. 

With the fruits of rapine Lolonnois extended his range 
of depredation, and at last joined forces with another no- 
torious brother of the order, Michael de Basco. With 
a force of eight ships and six hundred and fifty men 
they stormed and plundered the towns of Gibraltar 
and Maracaibo; the former place being burned on 
ransom not being paid, and the latter pillaged though 
terms of safety had been agreed upon. We shall not 
dwell upon the atrocities which distinguish this ex- 
pedition, the most lucrative that had yet been under- 
taken, as many ships were captured during the cruise, 


besides the plunder and ransom obtained in the towns. 
In this affair many of the French hunters had joined ; 
and the booty divided among the whole band, at the 
island to which they retired for this purpose, amounted 
to four hundred thousand pieces of eight in money, 
plate, merchandise, household furniture, and clothes, 
for nothing escaped the ravages of the buccaneers. 
The name of Fra^ois Lolonnois, already so formidable 
on the Spanish Main and the islands, now became a 
word of deeper horror to the miserable settlers, who 
lived in continual dread of a descent. 

After the plunder had been obtained and divided, 
the next stage of a regular buccaneering voyage was 
to some friendly island, Tortuga or Jamaica, where a 
market might be obtained for the divided spoils, and 
an opportunity given for the indulgence of the un- 
bridled and gross licentiousness in which the pirates 
squandered their gains. This was either in gaming, to 
which the buccaneers were strongly addicted, in the 
most brutal debauchery, or in those freaks of profligate 
extravagance which more or less characterize all un- 
educated seamen after long voyages. " Some of them," 
says their brother and historian, Exquemelin, " will 
spend three thousand pieces of eight in one night, not 
leaving themselves, peradventure, a shirt to wear on 
their backs in the morning." He tells of one who 
would place a pipe of wine in the streets of Jamaica, 
and, offering his pistols at their breast, force all who 
passed to drink with him. " At other times he would 


do the same with barrels of ale and beer ; and very 
often with both his hands he would throw these liquors 
about the streets, and wet the clothes of such as passed 
by, without regarding whether he spoiled their apparel 
or not, were they men or women." Of Roche Brazi- 
liano, a pirate somewhat less cruel than many of the 
fraternity, and of great courage and capacity in the 
affairs of his command, the chronicler states, " Howbeit 
in his domestic and private affairs he had no good 
behaviour nor government over himself; for in these 
he would oftentimes show himself either brutish or 
foolish. Many times, being in drink, he would run up 
and down the streets, beating or wounding whom he 
met, no person daring to oppose him or make any 
resistance." Such was the buccaneer in his moments 
of relaxation and social enjoyment, and such the 
delights, which in a few weeks left the companions 
of Lolonnois penniless, and eager for the new expedi- 
tion in which that detestable monster met a death 
worthy of his enormous crimes. 

The reputation which Lolonnois had gained by his last 
expedition made many new adventurers eager to swell 
his armament. Cruising along the coast of Cuba, and 
wherever he went making rapid descents on Indian vil- 
lages or Spanish settlements, he at last experienced re- 
verses, and on proposing to go to Guatemala many of 
the leading buccaneers left him upon projects of their 
own. Finally, after a train of disasters, Lolonnois fell 
into the hands of certain of the Indians of the Darien, 


a fierce and cruel tribe, who were not unacquainted with 
the atrocities of the buccaneers. By them he was torn 
alive limb from limb, his body consumed, and the 
ashes scattered abroad, " to the intent," says his his- 
torian, "that no trace nor memory might remain of 
such an infamous creature." Many of his companions 
shared the same fate. 

The character of Montbar, the other French bucca- 
neer formerly mentioned, is more romantic, if not more 
humane. He appears to have been one of those un- 
happy though detestable beings, to whom the soil of 
France occasionally gives birth, who are created with a 
raging thirst for blood, and with whom cruelty is a 
passion and appetite. Montbar was a gentleman of 
Languedoc, who, from reading in his youth of the hor- 
rible cruelties practised by the Spaniards upon the Mexi- 
cans and Caribs, imbibed a hatred of the whole Spanish 
nation which possessed him like a frenzy. It is, how- 
ever, somewhat strange that the impulse which led this 
singular person to join the ranks of the buccaneers 
urged him to the commission of worse cruelties than 
those which he reprobated. His comrades were often 
merciless from the lust of gold ; but Spanish blood was 
the sole passion of Montbar. It is related by Raynal 
that while at college, in acting the part of a Frenchman 
who quarrels with a Spaniard, he assaulted the youth 
who personated an individual of that hated nation with 
such fury that he had well-nigh strangled him. His 
imagination was perpetually haunted by the shapes of 


multitudes of persons butchered by monsters from 
Spain, who called upon him to revenge them. While 
on his passage outward to league himself with the 
Brethren of the Coast, the inveterate enemies of Spain, 
the vessel in which he sailed fell in with a Spanish 
ship and captured it. No sooner had the Frenchmen 
boarded the vessel, than Montbar, with his sabre 
drawn, twice rushed along the deck, cutting his 
frantic way through the ranks of Spaniards, whom 
he swept down. While his comrades divided the 
booty acquired by his prowess, Montbar gloated over 
the mangled limbs of the detested people against 
whom he had vowed everlasting and deadly hate. 
From this and similar actions he acquired the name 
of the Exterminator. 

The buccaneers of America had now become so 
numerous and powerful, and had been so successful 
in their depredations upon the richest and best fortified 
places, both on the Main and the Spanish islands, that 
several settlements were compelled to submit to the 
degradation of purchasing their forbearance by paying 
them contributions, equivalent in principle to the 
black-mail formerly levied by banditti in Scotland. 
This, however, merely increased their gains, and par- 
tially changed the scene of havoc. Their predatory 
excursions were immediately carried further into the 
interior, and stretched more extensively along the 
coasts of the continent. It was about this time that 
the popular buccaneer commander named Mansvelt 


formed the design before alluded to, of establishing 
a buccaneer independent empire, a project which was 
afterwards entertained by his lieutenant, the famous 
or infamous Morgan, and reluctantly abandoned by 
such of the fraternity as were endowed with more 
foresight or greater ambition than their associates. 
The intended seat of an empire, which might easily 
have been extended on all sides, was the island of 
Santa Katalina, now known by the name of Old 
Providence Island. For this point Mansvelt sailed 
from Jamaica in 1664, stormed the fort, and garrisoned 
the place with his own men ; but the English governor 
of Jamaica, who thought the buccaneers more profit- 
able as customers than desirable as independent allies, 
looked coldly upon the project of a settlement so far 
beyond his control. He forbade recruiting in Jamaica 
in furtherance of this project, and Mansvelt died 
suddenly before it could otherwise be effected. He 
was succeeded by the most renowned of the English 
buccaneers, Captain Sir Henry Morgan. The new 
buccaneer generalissimo, though equally brave and 
daring with his predecessor, was of a more sordid and 
brutal character, selfish and cunning, and without any 
spark of the reckless generosity which sometimes 
graced the freebooter and contrasted with his crimes. 
He was a native of Wales, and the son of a respectable 
yeoman. Early inclination led him to the sea; and 
embarking for Barbadoes, by a fate common to all 
unprotected adventurers, he was sold for a term of 

(829) 15 


years. After effecting his escape, or emancipation, 
Morgan joined the buccaneers, and in a short time 
saved a little money, with which, in concert with a 
few comrades, he equipped a bark, of which he was 
chosen commander. The adventurers made a fortunate 
cruise in the Bay of Campeachy ; after which Morgan 
joined Mansvelt in the assault on Santa Katalina or 
Providence, and by a lucky stroke, at the death of 
Mansvelt, succeeded, as has been noticed, to the chief 
command. Notwithstanding the efforts of Morgan to 
retain Old Providence, as the governor of Jamaica still 
refused to allow recruits to go from that island, and 
the merchants of Virginia and New England declined 
sending him supplies, it fell once more into the hands 
of the Spaniards, and the buccaneers were driven to 
seek a new place of refuge. The Cayos, or islets near 
the south coast of Cuba, had for some time been 
their haunting-place. At these Keys, as they were 
corruptly termed by the English, they mustered from 
all quarters as often as a joint expedition was contem- 
plated; and here they watered, refitted, held their 
councils in safety, and waited till their fleet had been 
victualled either by pillage or purchase. 

To the Keys on the south of Cuba, the rendezvous 
appointed by Morgan, about twelve sail in ships and 
boats had now repaired, with above seven hundred 
fighting-men, French and English. The disposal of 
this armament and force was the cause of difference 
of opinion, some wishing to attack Havannah, while 


others, deeming this enterprise too formidable for 
their numbers, declared for Puerto del Principe in 
Cuba, which was accordingly taken and plundered, 
after a desperate assault and brave resistance. The 
buccaneers, as soon as they became masters, shut up 
the principal inhabitants in the churches, as the easiest 
way of disposing of them while they pillaged the city. 
Many of these unfortunate persons died of hunger; 
others were put to the torture to compel them to 
discover concealed treasures, which probably had no 
existence save in the rapacious desires and extrava- 
gant fancies of the brutal and ignorant buccaneers. 
The booty obtained, or wrung from the inhabitants, 
was, however, considerable. Five hundred bullocks 
formed part of the ransom, which the insolent free- 
booters compelled the Spaniards to kill and salt for 
them. A characteristic quarrel between a French and 
an English buccaneer, which took place at this time, 
crippled the strength of Morgan, from whom, in con- 
sequence of this difference, many of his Gallican 
followers withdrew. The occasion of this national 
quarrel was an English buccaneer snatching the mar- 
row-bones which the Frenchman had carefully pre- 
pared for his own repast. A challenge was the 
consequence; and the Frenchman was unfairly or 
treacherously stabbed by his opponent. His country- 
men embraced his cause, and Morgan put the murderer 
in chains, and afterwards had him hung in Jamaica for 
this breach of the laws of honour and of brotherhood. 


In the meanwhile the pillage of Puerto del Principe 
being divided, the French buccaneers, indignant at the 
murder of their countryman, left Morgan in spite of 
his entreaties, and the English were obliged to pursue 
their fortunes alone. 

The enterprises of Morgan, who was at once am- 
bitious and greedy, display capacity, coolness, and 
daring. His next attempt combined all these qualities 
in a remarkable degree. With nine ships and boats, 
and four hundred and sixty of his countrymen, he 
resolved to assault Porto Bello ; but did not venture to 
disclose so bold a design, till it was no longer advisable 
to conceal it. To those who then objected that their 
force was inadequate to the attack, Morgan boldly 
replied, " that though their numbers were small, their 
hearts were good; and the fewer the warriors the 
larger the shares of plunder." This last was an irre- 
sistible argument ; and this strongly -fortified city was 
carried by a handful of resolute men, who never 
scrupled at cruelty needful to the accomplishment of 
their object, and often revelled in the wantonness of 
unnecessary crime. The first fort or castle was de- 
liberately blown up by fire being set to the powder 
magazine, after many miserable prisoners, whose man- 
gled limbs soon darkened the air, had been huddled 
into one room. Resistance was still attempted by the 
Spaniards, which greatly exasperated the besiegers, as 
it was into the forts which held out that the wealthy 
inhabitants had retired with their treasure and valu- 


ables. One strong fort it was necessary to carry 
without delay; and broad scaling-ladders being con- 
structed, Morgan compelled his prisoners to fix them 
to the walls. Many of those employed in this office 
were friars and nuns, dragged for this purpose from 
the cloisters. These it was thought their countrymen 
would spare ; while under their protection the buc- 
caneers might advance without being exposed to the 
fire of the castle. In these trying circumstances, 
forgetting the claims of country, and the sacred char- 
acter of the innocent persons exposed to suffering so 
unmerited, the Spanish governor consulted only his 
official duty ; and while the unhappy prisoners of the 
buccaneers implored his mercy, he continued to fire 
upon all who approached the walls, whether pirates or 
the late peaceful inhabitants of the cloisters, his stern 
answer being that he would never surrender alive. 
Many of the friars and nuns were killed before the 
scaling-ladders could be fixed; but that done, the 
buccaneers, carrying with them fire-balls and pots full 
of gunpowder, boldly mounted the walls, poured in 
their combustibles, and speedily effected an entrance. 
All the Spaniards demanded quarter except the gover- 
nor, who died fighting, in presence of his wife and 
daughter, declaring that he chose rather to die as a 
brave soldier than be hanged like a coward. The 
next act in the horrid drama of buccaneering conquest 
followed rapidly, pillage, cruelty, brutal license, 
the freebooters giving themselves up to so mad a 


course of riot and debauchery that fifty resolute men 
might have cut them off and regained the town, had 
the panic -struck Spaniards been able to form any 
rational plan of action or to muster a force. During 
these fifteen days of demoniac revel, interrupted only 
by torturing the prisoners to make them give up 
treasures which they did not possess, many of the 
buccaneers died from the consequences of their own 
brutal excesses, and Morgan deemed it expedient to 
draw off his force. Information had by this time 
reached the governor of Panama ; and though aid was 
distant from the miserable inhabitants of Porto Bello, 
it might still come. Morgan, therefore, carried off a 
good many of the guns, spiked the rest, fully supplied 
his ships with every necessary store, and having 
already plundered all that was possible, insolently 
demanded an exorbitant ransom for the preservation 
of the city and for his prisoners, and prepared to 
depart from the coast. These terms he even sent 
to the governor of Panama, who was approaching the 
place, and whose force the buccaneers intercepted in a 
narrow pass, and compelled to retreat. The inhabitants 
collected among themselves a hundred thousand pieces 
of eight, which Morgan graciously accepted, and retired 
to his ships. 

The astonishment of the governor of Panama at so 
small a force carrying the towi; and the forts, and 
holding them so long, induced him, it is said, to send 
a message to the buccaneer leader, requesting a speci- 


men of the arms which he used. Morgan received the 
messenger with civility, gave him a pistol and a few 
bullets, and ordered him to bid the president to accept 
of so slender a pattern of the weapons with which he 
had taken Porto Bello, and to keep it for a twelve- 
month, at the end of which time he (Morgan) proposed 
to come to Panama to fetch it away. The governor 
returned the loan with a gold ring, and requested 
Morgan not to give himself the trouble of travelling 
so far, certifying to him that he would not fare so well 
as he had done at Porto Bello. 

On this subject Morgan formed and afterwards acted 
upon his own opinions. In the meanwhile, the spoils 
were divided at the Keys of Cuba. The booty amounted 
to two hundred and fifty thousand pieces of eight, 
besides goods of all kinds, including silks, linen, cloth, 
and many things that found a ready market in Jamaica, 
for which buccaneers' paradise the fleet next sailed, 
to fit themselves for a fresh expedition by a month's 
carousing, and the prodigal expenditure of the fruits of 
their toils and crimes. 

This brilliant exploit, in which so few men, and 
these armed only with pistols and sabres, had taken 
a large fortified city, raised the character of Morgan as 
a commander higher than ever; and his invitation to 
the Brethren of the Coast to meet him at the Isla de 
la Vaca, or Cow Island, which was appointed as a ren- 
dezvous preparatory to another cruise, was so eagerly 
accepted that he found himself at the head of a con- 


siderable force. A large French buccaneering vessel, 
which refused to join in this expedition, he obtained 
by fraud. Inviting the commander and several of the 
best men to dine with him, under some frivolous 
pretext he made them prisoners. But Morgan did not 
reap much advantage from this act of treachery. 
While the men whom he had placed in the ship were 
carousing, celebrating the commencement of another 
cruise, it suddenly blew up, and three hundred and 
fifty Englishmen and the French prisoners perished 
together. This accident, so disastrous to Morgan, was 
imputed to the revengeful spirit of the Frenchmen 
confined in the hold. The true character of the sordid 
buccaneer was never more strongly displayed than in 
the way in which Morgan tried to make the best for him- 
self of this mischance. When eight days of mourning 
had elapsed, he made the dead bodies be fished up, 
stripped of clothes, linen, and of the gold rings which 
buccaneers often wore, and then be thrown back into 
the sea to feed the sharks. 

Morgan had now a fleet of fifteen ships, some of 
which he owed to the kindness of the governor of 
Jamaica, who connived at, or took a share in, such 
adventures. His force consisted of one thousand fight- 
ing-men. Several of his vessels were armed, and his 
own carried fourteen guns. With these, which, how- 
ever, through discontent, diminished a full half on the 
way, he shaped his course for the devoted cities of 
Gibraltar and Maracaibo, formerly visited by Lolonnois, 


which were once more taken and plundered. At the 
former place the cruelties of Morgan exceeded, if that 
were possible, the enormities of the French pirate. 
Such of the inhabitants as fled to the woods and were 
retaken were tortured with fiend-like ingenuity to 
make them discover their wealth. It would be painful 
and revolting to dwell upon the black record of the 
atrocities perpetrated here. 

So much time had been consumed at Gibraltar that 
Morgan, when about to withdraw, found himself in a 
snare, from which it required all his talent and pres- 
ence of mind to extricate the buccaneer fleet. Coolness 
and readiness were, however, the familiar qualities of 
men whose lives were a series of perils and escapes, 
and whose natural element was danger; and they 
never were more admirably displayed than by Morgan 
and his men at this time. 

In the interval spent by the buccaneers in pillage 
and debauchery at Gibraltar, the Spaniards had repaired 
the fort which protected the passage of the lake or 
lagoon of Maracaibo, and stationed three men-of-war 
at the entrance, whose vigilance it was conceived im- 
possible the pirates could escape. These vessels carried 
one twenty, another thirty, and the third forty guns. 
Putting a bold face upon his embarrassing situation, 
Morgan, with the audacity natural to him, and which 
was one of his instruments of success, sent a message to 
the Spanish admiral, demanding a ransom as the only 
condition on which the city could be preserved. To 


this insolent vaunt the Spaniard replied, that though 
the buccaneer commander had taken the castle from 
a set of cowards, it was now in a good state of defence; 
and that he not only intended to dispute the egress 
from the lagoon, but to pursue the pirates everywhere. 
If, however, they chose to give up the prisoners and 
the slaves they had taken, they would be permitted to 
pass forth unmolested. 

This reply was as usual submitted to a council of 
buccaneers, and at this assembly one of their number 
suggested the stratagem by which Morgan destroyed 
the Spanish men-of-war. One of the buccaneer vessels 
was prepared as a fire-ship, and at the same time was 
made to wear the appearance of a vessel ready for 
action. Logs were placed in rows on the deck, on 
which clothes, hats, and montero caps were placed ; 
and these decoy-figures were also armed with swords 
and muskets. When this was done, the plate, jewels, 
female prisoners, and whatever was of most value to 
the buccaneers, were placed in their large boats, each 
of which carried twelve armed men. These boats 
were to follow the fire-ship, which led the van ; an oath 
was exacted from each buccaneer of resistance to the 
last, and the refusal of quarter from the Spaniards; and 
ample rewards were promised for valour and firmness. 

Next evening the fleet sailed, and about dusk 
came up with the Spanish ships riding at anchor in 
the middle of the lagoon. The buccaneer vessels also 
anchored, resolved to await here the effect of their 


stratagem, and either to fight, escape, or perish. No 
attack was offered that night, and they lay in quiet 
till dawn, when the anchors were weighed, and they 
steered directly towards the Spanish ships, which 
advanced as if to meet them. The fire-ship, still in 
advance, with all her decoys of armed men as before, 
came up with the largest of the Spanish vessels and 
grappled to her ; then the deception was first dis- 
covered, but too late for escape. The conflagration 
commenced. The Spanish ship caught fire in tackling 
and timbers, and the fore part of her hull soon went 
down. The second Spanish vessel escaped under the 
guns of the castle, and was sunk by her own company 
as a fate preferable to falling a prey to the buccaneers. 
The third vessel was taken. The crew of the burning 
ship endeavoured to escape to the shore, and all chose 
rather to perish in the sea than accept of the quarter 
offered by the pirates. The triumphant buccaneers, 
without losing a moment, gave chase, and immediately 
landed, resolving forthwith to attempt the castle ; but 
as they were ill-armed for such an assault, and the 
place was well-fortified and manned, they desisted 
from the attempt, and returned to their ships, having 
lost in that day's work thirty men killed and many 
more wounded. 

Though the Spanish ships were destroyed, the castle 
still remained to be passed; and the Spaniards had 
laboured all night in completing its defences. Morgan 
again had recourse to stratagem. All day long, in 


sight of the garrison, he affected to be sending boats 
filled with men to a point of the shore concealed from 
view of the castle by trees. These men returned on 
board lying flat in the boats, where, in going back, 
only the rowers were visible. They mounted their 
ships at a side on which the Spaniards could not 
perceive their return. This mano3uvre was repeated, 
till the Spaniards believed that from the number of 
men landed an attack upon the castle was meditated. 
This seemed the more probable, as Morgan, who had 
now hoisted his flag in their captured war-ship, again 
sent a message demanding a ransom for Maracaibo as 
the condition of his departure. To meet the presumed 
movement of the buccaneers, the guns of the castle 
were changed from a position which commanded the 
lagoon, and pointed to landward. As soon as he was 
aware of this arrangement, Morgan raised his anchors 
by moonlight, and favoured by the ebb-tide, the wind 
also being favourable, pressed past the castle the 
mortified Spaniards trying in vain to hasten back 
with their pieces to bear upon him. He gave them a 
parting volley from his great guns, so lately their own, 
and bore away for Jamaica, exulting in good fortune, 
enhanced likewise by what he learned of the mis- 
adventures of those who had forsaken him in the 
early part of the cruise. 

Money and credit were, as usual, quickly outrun in 
the taverns of Port Royal by the dissolute companions 
of Morgan, and another expedition was concerted, 


which was to exceed all the former achievements of the 
sea-rovers. And no time was to be lost, as a pending 
treaty between Great Britain and Spain threatened for 
ever to put an end to what their admiring countrymen 
termed the " unparalleled exploits of the buccaneers." 
Letters were despatched by the commander to every 
noted buccaneer, and the south side of the island of 
Tortuga was named as the rendezvous. Early in 
October 1670 Morgan found himself surrounded by 
pirates, hunters, cultivators, English, French, and Dutch, 
who, from land and sea, the plantation and the wilder- 
ness, had nocked to the standard of him who was to 
lead them to fortune and victory. The first duty was 
to victual the fleet, and this was done by pillaging the 
hog-yards, and with the boucan sent in by hunters 
who either joined in the expedition or traded with the 
pirates. The buccaneer fleet, consisting of thirty-seven 
vessels fully provisioned, next sailed for Cape Tiburon, 
on the west coast of Hispaniola, the fighting-men 
amounting to two thousand. At the general council 
now held three places of attack were deliberated upon, 
Vera Cruz, Carthagena, and Panama. The last and 
most difficult was that which was chosen, recommended 
by the extravagant notions entertained in Europe and 
the West Indies of its amazing wealth, and of the 
great riches of Peru. 

Morgan had never renounced the idea, which origin- 
ated with Mansvelt, of a buccaneer settlement on the 
conveniently-situated island of Providence. Once more 


it was captured on his way, the Spanish governor 
making a farce of resistance. From this point Morgan 
detached a force of four hundred men to attack the 
castle of Chagre, the possession of which he judged 
necessary to the success of his future operations against 
Panama. It was eventually carried by the accident of 
fire communicating with the powder-magazine, which 
blew up part of the defences. 

While the Spaniards were occupied in suppressing 
the conflagration, the buccaneers laboured hard to in- 
crease the confusion, by setting fire to the palisades 
in several places. At last they effected a breach, in 
defiance of the liquid combustibles which the Spaniards 
poured down among them, and which occasioned con- 
siderable loss of their numbers. But the attack and 
resistance were still continued throughout the whole 
night, the buccaneers directing an incessant fire towards 
the breaches, which the Spanish governor pertinaciously 

By noon the next day the buccaneers had gained 
a breach, which was defended by the governor himself 
and twenty-five soldiers. The Spanish soldiers fought 
with desperate valour, despair lending them super- 
natural courage. But nothing could resist the im- 
petuosity of the pirates : they burst their way through 
every obstacle, and the unfortunate Spaniards who 
survived, preferring death to the dishonour of either 
falling into the hands of these infuriated ruffians, or 
of begging quarter, precipitated themselves into the 


sea. The governor had retired into the corps du 
garde, before which he planted two pieces of cannon, 
and bravely maintained the hopeless and unequal con- 
flict till he fell by a musket-shot which entered the 
brain. Of the garrison of three hundred and fourteen 
men only thirty remained alive, and of these few 
twenty were wounded. Not a single officer escaped. 

From the survivors of the siege the buccaneer party 
learned that the governor of Panama was already 
apprised of their design against that place ; that all 
along the course of the Chagre ambuscades were laid, 
and that a force of three thousand six hundred men 
awaited their arrival. But this did not deter Morgan, 
who pressed forward for Chagre the instant that he 
received intelligence of the capture of the castle, carry- 
ing with him all the provisions that could be obtained 
in Santa Katalina, to which island he intended to 
return after the capture of Panama. 

The English colours flying upon the castle of Chagre 
was a joyful sight to the main body of the buccaneers 
upon their arrival. Morgan was admitted within the 
fort by the triumphant advanced troop with all the 
honours of conquest. Before his arrival, the wounded, 
the widows of the soldiers killed in the siege, and the 
other women of the place, had been shut up in the 
church, and subjected to the most brutal treatment. 
To their fate Morgan was entirely callous ; but he lost 
no time in setting the prisoners to work in repairing 
the defences and forming new palisades. He also 


seized all the craft in the river, many of which carried 
from two to four small pieces. 

These arrangements concluded, Morgan left a garrison 
of five hundred men in his castle of Chagre, and in the 
ships one hundred and fifty; while at the head of 
one thousand two hundred buccaneers, he, on the 18th 
January 1671, commenced his inland voyage to Panama, 
indifferent about or determined to brave the Spanish 
ambuscades. His artillery was carried by five large 
boats, and thirty-two canoes were filled with part of 
the men. Anxious to push forward, Morgan committed 
one capital blunder in carrying almost no provisions, 
calculating upon a shorter period being consumed on 
the march than it actually required, and on foraging 
upon the Spaniards. Even on the first day their 
provisions failed ; and on the second they were com- 
pelled to leave the canoes, the lowness of the river, 
and the fallen trees lying across it, making this mode 
of travelling tedious and nearly impracticable. Their 
progress was now continued by land and water alter- 
nately, and was attended with great inconvenience, the 
extremity of famine being of the number of their 
hardships. Their best hopes were now placed in 
falling in with the threatened ambuscades, as there 
they might find a store of provisions. So extremely 
were they pinched with hunger, that the leathern bags 
found at a deserted Spanish station formed a delicious 
meal. About this delicacy they even quarrelled, and, 
it is said, openly regretted that no Spaniards were 


found, as, failing provisions, they had resolved to have 
roasted or boiled a few of the enemy to satisfy their 
ravenous appetites. 

Throughout the wiiole track to Panama, the Spaniards 
had taken care not to leave the smallest quantity of 
provisions, and any other soldiers than the buccaneers 
must have perished long before even a distant view 
was obtained of the city; but their powers of endurance, 
from their hardy modes of life, were become almost 
superhuman. At nightfall, when they reached their 
halting-place, " happy was he who had reserved since 
morn any small piece of leather whereof to make his 
supper, drinking after it a good draught of water for 
his greatest comfort." Their mode of preparing this 
tough meal deserves to be noticed. The skins were 
first sliced, then alternately dipped in water and beat 
between two stones to render them tender ; lastly, the 
remaining hair was scraped off, and the morsel broiled, 
cut into small bits, and deliberately chewed, w r ith 
frequent mouthfuls of water to eke out and lengthen 
the repast. 

On the fifth day, at another deserted ambuscade, 
a little maize was found, and also some wheat, wine, 
and plantains. This, scanty as it was, proved a season- 
able supply to those who drooped, and it was thriftily 
dealt out among them. Next day a barn full of maize 
was discovered, which, beating down the door, the 
famished buccaneers rushed upon and devoured with- 
out any preparation. Yet all this hardship could not 

(829) 16 


turn them aside from the scent of prey, though symp- 
toms of discontent became visible in their ranks. At a 
village called Cruz, perceiving from a distance a great 
smoke, they joyfully promised themselves rest and re- 
freshments; but on reaching it found no inhabitant, 
and every house either burned down or in flames, so 
determined were the Spaniards to oppose the onward 
march of the terrible beings, presented to their im- 
aginations under every shape of horror. The only 
animals remaining, the dogs and cats of the village, fell 
an immediate sacrifice to the wolfish hunger of the 

Morgan had now some difficulty in preserving dis- 
cipline, and in keeping his companions or followers 
from falling into the hands of the Spaniards or Indians 
when straggling about in search of anything they 
could devour. In this way one man was lost. 

They were now within eight leagues of Panama, and 
the nearer they approached, the more anxious and 
vigilant was Morgan in looking out for the threatened 
ambuscades of the enemy, who, he naturally con- 
jectured, might have retired to consolidate his forces. 
On the eighth day, they were surprised by a shower of 
Indian arrows poured upon them from some unseen 
quarter, and advancing into the woods, maintained 
a sharp, short contest with a party of Indians, many 
of whom fell, offering a brave though vain resistance. 
Ten of the freebooters were killed in this skirmish. 
The buccaneers, who had already three Indian guides, 


runaways found in Santa Katalina, endeavoured at 
this place to make some prisoners for the purpose of 
procuring intelligence ; but the Indians were too swift 
of foot. 

After another twenty-four hours of suffering, under 
which only freebooters or Indians could have borne 
up, on the morning of the ninth day of the march, 
from a high mountain, the majestic South Sea was 
joyfully descried, with ships and boats sailing upon 
its bosom, and peacefully setting out from the con- 
cealed port of Panama. Herds of cattle, horses, and 
asses, feeding in the valley below the eminence on 
which they stood, formed a sight not less welcome. 
They rushed to the feast, and, cutting up the animals, 
devoured their flesh half-raw, " more resembling can- 
nibals than Europeans at this banquet, the blood many 
times running down from their beards unto the middle 
of their bodies." 

This savage meal being ended the journey was 
resumed, Morgan still endeavouring to gain infor- 
mation by taking prisoners, as on his whole line of 
march he had obtained speech of neither Spaniard nor 

In the same evening the steeple of Panama was 
beheld at a distance; and, forgetting all their sufferings, 
the buccaneers gave way to the most rapturous exulta- 
tion, tossing their caps into the air, leaping, shouting, 
beating their drums, and sounding their trumpets at 
the sight of so glorious a plunder, and as if victory 


were already consummated. They encamped for the 
night near the city, intending to make the assault 
early in the morning. The same night, a party of 
fifty Spanish horsemen came out as if to reconnoitre, 
advanced within musket-shot of the pirates, scornfully 
challenged "the dogs" to come on, and then retired, 
leaving six or eight of their number to watch the 
enemy's motions. Upon this the great guns of the 
town began to play on the camp, but were too distant 
or ill-directed to do any execution ; and instead of 
betraying alann, the buccaneers, having placed sen- 
tinels around their camp, made another voracious meal 
preparatory to the next day's business, threw them- 
selves upon the grass, and, lulled by the Spanish 
artillery, slept soundly till the dawn. 

The camp was astir betimes, and the men being 
mustered and arrayed, with drums and trumpets sound- 
ing they advanced towards the city; but instead of 
taking the ordinary route, which the Spaniards were 
prepared to defend, by the advice of one of the Indian 
guides they struck through a wood, by a tangled and 
difficult path, in which, however, immediate obstruction 
could not be apprehended. Before the Spaniards could 
counteract this unexpected movement, the buccaneers 
had advanced some way. The governor of Panama, 
who led the forces, commanded two hundred cavalry 
and four regiments of infantry; and a number of 
Indian auxiliaries conducted an immense herd of wild 
bulls, to be driven among the ranks of the buccaneers, 


and which were expected to throw them into disorder. 
This extraordinary arm of war was viewed by the 
hunters of Hispaniola and Campeachy with indiffer- 
ence ; but they were somewhat alarmed at the regular 
and imposing array of the troops drawn up to receive 
them. It was, however, too late to retreat. They 
divided into three detachments, two hundred dexterous 
marksmen leading the advance. They now stood on 
the top of a little eminence, whence the whole Spanish 
force, the city, and the champaign country around, 
were distinctly seen. As they moved downward, the 
Spanish cavalry, shouting " Viva el Rey," immediately 
advanced to meet them ; but the ground happened to 
be soft and marshy, which greatly obstructed the 
manosuvres of the horsemen. The advance of the 
buccaneers, all picked marksmen, knelt and received 
them with a volley, and the conflict instantly became 
close and hot. The buccaneers, throwing themselves 
between the Spanish horse and foot, succeeded in 
separating them, and the wild bulls, taking fright from 
the tumult and the noise of the guns, ran away, or 
were shot by the buccaneers before they could effect 
any mischief. 

After a contest of two hours the Spanish cavalry 
gave way. Many were killed, and the rest fled ; 
which the foot -soldiers perceiving, fired their last 
charge, threw down their muskets, and followed the 
example of the cavaliers. Some of them took refuge 
in the adjoining thickets ; and though the buccaneers 


did not continue the pursuit, they took a savage 
pleasure in shooting without mercy all who accident- 
ally fell into their hands. In this way several priests 
and friars who were made prisoners were pistolled 
by the orders of Morgan. A Spanish officer who was 
made prisoner gave the buccaneers minute intelligence 
of the force of the enemy and the plan of defence, 
which enabled them to approach the town from the 
safest point; but the advance was still attended with 

After the rout which had taken place in the open 
field, and the slaughter which followed, the buccaneers 
rested for a little space, and during this pause solemnly 
plighted their honour, by oaths to each other, never 
to yield while a single man remained alive. This done, 
carrying their prisoners with them, they advanced upon 
the great guns planted in the streets, and the hasty 
defences thrown up to repel them. In this renewed 
assault the buccaneers suffered severely before they 
could make good those close quarters in which they 
ever maintained a decided superiority in fighting. Still 
they resolutely advanced to the final grapple, the 
Spaniards keeping up an incessant fire. The town 
was gained after a desperate conflict of three hours, 
maintained in its open streets. 

In this assault the buccaneers neither gave nor ac- 
cepted quarter, and the carnage on both sides was great. 
Six hundred Spaniards fell on that day : nor was the 
number of the buccaneers who perished much less ; but 


to those who survived a double share of plunder was at 
all times ample consolation for the loss of companions 
whose services were no longer required in its acquisition. 
The city was no sooner gained than Morgan, who saw 
the temper of the inhabitants in the obstinate nature of 
the resistance they had offered, and who well knew the 
besetting sins of his followers, prudently prohibited 
them from tasting wine ; and, aware that such an order 
would be very little regarded were it enforced by noth- 
ing save a simple command, he affirmed that he had 
received private intelligence that all the wine had been 
poisoned. They were therefore enjoined not to touch 
it under the dread of poisoning and the penalties of 
discipline. Neither of these motives was sufficient to 
enforce rigid abstinence among the buccaneers, though 
they operated till indulgence became more safe. 

As soon as possession of the city was gained guards 
were placed; and, at the same time, fires broke out 
simultaneously in different quarters, which were attri- 
buted by the Spaniards to the pirates, and by them to 
the inhabitants. Both assisted in endeavouring to ex- 


tinguish the dreadful conflagration, which raged with 
fury ; but the houses, being built of cedar, caught the 
flames like tinder, and were consumed in a very short 
time. The inhabitants had previously removed or 
concealed the most valuable part of their goods and 

The city of Panama consisted of about twelve thou- 
sand houses, many of them large and magnificent. It 


contained also eight monasteries and two churches, all 
richly furnished. The concealment of the church-plate 
drew upon the ecclesiastics the peculiar vengeance of 
the heretical buccaneers, who, however, spared no one. 
The conflagration which they could not arrest they 
seemed at last to take a savage delight in spreading. 
A slave-factory belonging to the Genoese was burned to 
the ground, together with many warehouses stored with 
meal. Many of the miserable Africans, whom the 
Genoese brought for sale to Peru, perished in the 
flames, which raged or smouldered for nearly four 

For some time the buccaneers, afraid of being sur- 
prised and overpowered by the Spaniards, who still 
reckoned ten for one of their numbers, encamped with- 
out the town. Morgan had also weakened his force by 
sending a hundred and fifty men back to Chagre with 
news of his victory. Yet by this handful of men the 
panic-struck Spaniards were held in check and subjec- 
tion, while the buccaneers either raged like demons 
through the burning town, or prowled among the 
ruins and ashes in search of plate and other valu- 
able articles. 

The property which the Spaniards had concealed in 
deep wells and cisterns was nearly all discovered, and the 
most active of the buccaneers were sent out to the 
woods and heights to search for and drive back the 
miserable inhabitants, who had fled from the city with 
their effects. In two days they brought in about two 


hundred of the fugitives as prisoners. Of those un- 
happy persons many were females, who found the 
merciless buccaneers no better than their fears had 
painted them. 

In plundering the land Morgan had not ' neglected 
the sea. By sea many of the principal inhabitants had 
escaped ; and a boat was immediately sent in pursuit, 
which brought in three prizes, though a galleon, in 
which were embarked all the plate and jewels belonging 
to the King of Spain and the wealth of the principal 
nunnery of the town, escaped, from the buccaneers in- 
dulging in a brutal revel in their own bark till it was 
too late to follow and capture the ship. The pursuit 
was afterwards continued for four days, at the end of 
which the buccaneers returned to Panama with another 
prize, worth twenty thousand pieces of eight in goods, 
from Payta. 

Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, the ships' companies 
left at Chagre were exercising their vocation, and had 
captured one large Spanish vessel, which, unaware of 
the hands into which the castle had fallen, ran in under 
it for protection. 

While the buccaneers were thus employed at sea, and 
at Panama and Chagre, parties continued to scour the 
surrounding country, taking in turn the congenial duty 
of foraying and bringing in booty and prisoners, on 
whom they exercised the most atrocious cruelties, un- 
scrupulously employing the rack, and sparing neither 
age, sex, nor condition. Religious persons were the 


subjects of the most refined barbarity, as they were 
believed to direct and influence the rest of the inhabit- 
ants, both in their first resistance and in the subsequent 
concealment of property. During the perpetration of 
these outrages, Morgan fell in love with a beautiful 
Spanish woman, his prisoner, and the wife of one of 
the principal merchants. She rejected his infamous 
addresses with firmness and spirit ; and the buccaneer 
commander, alike a ruffian in his love and hate, used 
her with severity that disgusted even those of his own 
gang who had not thrown aside every feeling of man- 
hood, and he was fain to charge his fair prisoner with 
treachery, to excuse the baseness of the treatment she 
received by his orders. This alleged treachery con- 
sisted in corresponding with her countrymen, and en- 
deavouring to effect her escape. 

In the meanwhile a plan had entered the minds of a 
party of the buccaneers, which did not suit the views 
nor meet the approbation of their leader. They had 
resolved to seize a ship in the port, cruise upon the 
South Sea on their own account till satiated with booty, 
and then either establish themselves on some island or 
return to Europe by the East Indies. Captain Morgan 
could neither spare equipments nor men for this pro- 
ject, of which he received private information. He 
immediately ordered the mainmast of the ship to be 
cut down and burned, together with every other vessel 
in the port, thus effectually preventing desertion on this 
side of America. The arms, ammunition, and stores, 


secretly collected for this bold cruise on the South Sea, 
were applied to other purposes. 

Nothing more was to be wrung from Panama, which, 
after a destructive sojourn of four weeks, Morgan 
resolved to leave. Beasts of burden were therefore 
collected from all quarters to convey the spoils to the 
opposite coast. The cannon were spiked, and scouts 
sent out to learn what measures had been taken by the 
governor of Panama to intercept the return to Chagre. 
The Spaniards were too much depressed to have made 
any preparation either to annoy or cut off the retreat of 
their inveterate enemies; and on the 24th February the 
buccaneers, apprehensive of no opposition, left the ruins 
of Panama with a hundred and seventy -five mules 
laden with their spoils, and above six hundred prisoners, 
including women, children, and slaves. The misery of 
these wretched captives, driven on in the midst of the 
armed buccaneers, exceeds description. They believed 
that they were all to be carried to Jamaica, England, or 
some equally wild, distant, and savage country, to be 
sold for slaves ; and the cruel craft of Morgan height- 
ened these fears, the more readily to extort the ransom 
he demanded for the freedom of his unhappy prisoners. 
In vain the women threw themselves at his feet, sup- 
plicating for the mercy of being allowed to remain 
amidst the ruins of their former homes, or in the woods 
in huts with their husbands and children. His answer 
was, "that he came not there to listen to cries and 
lamentations, but to get money, which unless he ob- 


tained, he would assuredly carry them all where they 
would little like to go." Three days were granted in 
which they might avail themselves of the conditions 
of ransom. Several were happy enough to be able to 
redeem themselves, or were rescued by the contributions 
sent in ; and with the remaining captives the pirates 
pushed onward, making new prisoners and gathering 
fresh spoils on their way. 

The conduct of Morgan at this time disproves many 
of the extravagant notions propagated about the high 
honour of the buccaneers in their dealings with each 
other. Halting at a convenient place for his purpose, 
in the midst of the wilderness, and about half-way to 
Chagre, he drew up his comrades, and insisted that, 
besides taking an oath declaring that all plunder had 
been surrendered to the common stock, each man should 
be searched, he himself submitting in the first place to 
the degrading scrutiny, though it was suspected that 
the leading motive of the whole manoeuvre was the 
desire of concealing his own peculation and fraudulent 
dealing with his associates. The French buccaneers 
who accompanied the expedition were indignant at 
treatment so much at variance with the maxims and 
usages of the gentlemen rovers ; but being the weaker 
party, they were compelled to submit. 

The buccaneers and their prisoners performed the 
remainder of the journey by water, and when arrived 
at Chagre, Morgan, who knew not how to dispose of 
his unredeemed prisoners, shipped them all off for Porto 


Bello, making them the bearers of his demand of ransom 
from the governor of that city for the castle of Chagre. 
To this insolent message the governor of Porto Bello 
replied that Morgan might make of the castle what he 
pleased, not a ducat should be given for its ransom. 

There was thus no immediate prospect of any more 
plunder in this quarter, and nothing remained to be 
done but to divide the spoils already acquired. The 
individual shares fell so far short of the expectations of 
the buccaneers that they openly grumbled, and accused 
their chief of the worst crime of which in their eyes he 
could be guilty, secreting the richest of the jewels for 
himself. Two hundred pieces of eight each man was 
thought a very small return for the plunder of so 
wealthy a city, and a very trifling reward for the toil 
and danger that had been undergone in assaulting it. 
Matters were assuming so serious an aspect among the 
fraternity, that Morgan, who knew the temper of his 
friends, deemed it advisable to steal away with what 
he had obtained. He immediately made the walls of 
Chagre be destroyed, carried the guns on board his 
own ship, and, followed by one or two vessels com- 
manded by persons in his confidence, sailed for Jamaica, 
leaving his enraged associates in want of every necessary. 
Those who followed him were all Englishmen, who, 
as the French buccaneers fully believed, connived at 
the frauds and shared in the gains of Morgan. They 
would instantly have pursued him to sea, and the Span- 
iards might have enjoyed the satisfaction of seeing the 


buccaneer fleet divided and fighting against itself, had 
they, with a force so much weaker, dared to venture so 
unequal an encounter. The vessels deserted by Morgan 
separated here, and the companies sought their fortunes 
in different quarters, none of them much the richer for 
the misery and devastation they had carried to Panama. 
Morgan, on arriving at Jamaica laden with plunder, 
and exulting in his late exploit, endeavoured once more 
to levy recruits for the independent state he still longed 
to establish at Santa Katalina, and of which he himself, 
already admiral and generalissimo of the buccaneers, 
was to be the prince or governor. But circumstances 
were still unfavourable. Lord John Vaughan, the newly- 
appointed governor of Jamaica, had orders strictly to 
enforce the treaty with Spain formed in the previous 
year, but to proclaim pardon and indemnity, and offer 
a grant of lands to such of the buccaneers as chose to 
become peaceful cultivators. Future depredations on 
the trade or settlements of Spain were forbidden by the 
royal proclamation, and under severe penalties. But 
it was not a proclamation, however strongly worded, 
that could at once tame down the lawless buccaneer 
into a planter, or confine to thirty-seven acres of ground 
him who had for years freely roamed through sea and 
land, with his sword reaping his harvest wherever men 
of greater industry had sown it. To adopting the 
habits of peaceful life many of the English buccaneers 
preferred joining the flibustiers at Tortuga, or becoming 
logwood-cutters in the Bay of Campeachy; and, luckily 


for the remainder, in the next year a war broke out 
between Great Britain and Holland, which enabled 
some of them to follow their old vocation as privateers, 
buccaneers and flibustiers alike exercising their in- 
dustry for a short time against the Dutch, instead of 
their old enemies the Spaniards. 

Before quitting this part of the subject, it may be 
proper to notice the conclusion of the adventures of the 
notorious Morgan. In the years which elapsed between 
the plunder of Panama and 1680, he had sufficient 
address and interest, or, more probably, skill in the 
appliance of his ill-gotten wealth, to obtain from 
Charles II. the honour of knighthood, and afterwards 
to be appointed deputy -governor of Jamaica. Though 
it was believed that he still secretly shared in the 
plundering adventures of the buccaneers, Morgan treated 
many of his old comrades with very great severity. 
Several of them were hanged under his administration, 
and others he delivered up to the Spaniards at Cartha- 
gena, as was believed, for the price of blood ,- nor does 
the character of Morgan make this suspicion improbable. 
The strict justice and severity exercised by the deputy- 
governor on his old friends and countrymen did not, 
however, dispose the Spaniards to unlimited confidence 
in Morgan; and suspecting him of secretly favouring 
the buccaneers, who had once more increased, they were 
able, after the accession of James II., to get him re- 
moved from his office and committed for a time to 
prison in England. 


The same unwise restrictions, and troublesome inter- 
ference with the cultivation and commerce of the 
colonies, which had encouraged the system of buccan- 
eering in its commencement, fostered it once more, 
though France, instead of Spain, was become the agent 
in this mistaken policy. The regulations adopted by 
the government of France for the West India trade, 
and the partial and oppressive administration of colonial 
affairs, tended more than any other circumstance to 
recruit the ranks of the freebooters, men, disturbed 
in their peaceful industry by vexatious and annoying 
prohibitions and monopolies, readily placing themselves 
beyond the law, which was more their torment than 
protection. Thus, though the freebooters were at 
length crushed by the express prohibitions of their 
several countries, they were incited by causes more 
powerful, originating in the same source. 

In 1683, the buccaneers, led by three noted chiefs, 
Van Horn, Grammont, and Laurent de Graff, by a 
stratagem took the city of Vera Cruz in the Gulf of 
Mexico. Many of the English buccaneers were engaged 
in this expedition, though none of them held high com- 
mand. This was reckoned the most brilliant exploit 
that had yet been achieved by the flibustiers. Their 
mode of attack was similar to that which had been 
practised by Drake a century before. In the darkness 
of night a sufficient force was landed, which marched 
three leagues over-land, and before dawn surprised and 
captured the city. The inhabitants were shut up in 


the churches, the usual prison of the buccaneers, at the 
door of each of which barrels of gunpowder were 
placed, and sentinels beside them, holding a lighted 
match, ready to produce an explosion at a moment's 
notice, or on the slightest symptom of revolt. The 
city was thus pillaged without molestation from the 
inhabitants; and the famished prisoners in the churches 
were afterwards glad to purchase their freedom on any 
terms their conquerors chose to dictate. Ten millions 
of livres were demanded as a ransom ; and the half of 
it had been raised and paid in, when the appearance of 
a body of troops, and a fleet of seventeen ships, caused 
the freebooters to make a precipitate but well-ordered 
retreat, carrying off one thousand five hundred slaves. 
Loaded with their booty and prisoners, they boldly 
sailed through the fleet sent to attack them, which 
did not venture to fire a single gun. They might 
probably have roused the Spaniards from their fear 
or lethargy by an assault, had they not been more 
careful to preserve the plunder they had obtained than 
desirous of a barren naval victory over ships carrying 
no cargoes. 

Fortunately for the freedom and repose of the 
Spanish colonists, no buccaneer corps ever agreed or 
acted in harmony for any length of time. Their law- 
less unions fell to pieces even more rapidly than they 
were formed ; and those of the French and English 
seldom adhered even to the conclusion of a joint ex- 
pedition. On the present occasion they separated in 

(829) 17 


wrath, the Frenchmen employing the pretext of the 
quarrel they artfully fomented to withhold the English- 
men's share of the pillage. The later cruises of the 
buccaneers were in few respects distinguished by the 
honour and integrity among themselves which were 
said to have marked their first exploits. The French 
flibustier now sought but a shallow excuse to plunder 
the English buccaneer, who, on the other side, lost no 
opportunity of retaliation. 

The tardy though now earnest efforts of France and 
Britain to crush the Brethren of the Coast, the increas- 
ing military and maritime strength of the Spanish 
colonists, and above all a field too narrow and exhausted 
for the numerous labourers, together with wild and 
magnificent ideas of the wealth of Peru, were so many 
powerful motives urging the buccaneers, whether French 
or English, upon enterprises in a new and wider region. 
Among them an estimate was formed of the riches of 
the western shores from the single circumstance that, 
in a few years after the visit of Morgan, a new city of 
Panama had arisen, which in splendour and wealth 
eclipsed the desolated town. The Peruvian coast and 
the South Sea, in all their riches and extent, presented 
a field which neither the long arm of France nor the 
powerful hand of England could reach ; and of the 
opposition to be feared from the indolent and effem- 
inate inhabitants, the expedition of Morgan had 
afforded a very satisfactory specimen. In the new 
design of crossing the continent, and searching for 


untried regions of conquest and spoliation, the buc- 
caneers were rather urged by personal motives of 
rapacity, and the desire of escaping from the colonial 
officials of the West India Islands who latterly either 
shared their booty or treated them with great severity, 
and not unfrequently did both than influenced by 
any enlightened or comprehensive plan of operations. 
The wealth of this new region, and the ease with 
which it might be acquired, were primary reasons; 
personal security was merely secondary ; and beyond 
these motives this chaotic banditti never once looked 
all their ideas of conquest being limited to the plunder 
of a city or a ship, to plate, silks, and pieces of eight ; 
nor were their enjoyments and pleasures of a more 
liberal or elevated kind. We may therefore, without 
much regret, here close this general sketch of the buc- 
caneers. All that is interesting in their subsequent 
career, from the plundering of Vera Cruz in the Bay of 
Mexico to their decay and suppression, is closely inter- 
woven with the personal adventures of Dampier, on 
which we are now to enter. And in the narrative of 
this remarkable navigator, instead of monotonous de- 
tails of fraud, rapacity, and cruelty, on which it has 
been painful to linger, the reader is gratified with the 
researches and discoveries of natural science, and with 
pictures of life and manners, curious, novel, and at- 
tractive, which have never yet, among the multitude 
of succeeding European navigators, fallen under the 
notice of a more acute and accurate observer, or ob- 


tained a delineator more faithful and lively, and 
occasionally more glowing and poetical, than the ex- 
traordinary man whose history we are now to follow, 
commencing with his early wanderings among the 



To Captain Dampier himself the world is indebted 
for the only record of his early history which can be 
considered authentic. He was born about 1652, at 
East Coker, near Yeovil, a considerable market-town 
in Somersetshire. His father was probably a farmer ; 
and we learn incidentally that his mother, when a 
widow, along with whatever other property she might 
possess, held the lease of a small farm at East Coker 
from Colonel Hellier, the lord of the manor. The 
small farms in this parish were held for lives, and 
varied in rent from 20 to 50. By a singular but 
probably a then common arrangement, each occupier 
had a patch of land of every different kind of soil, 
lying apart or scattered throughout the parish, as black- 
loam, clayey, and sandy ground, which varied in rent 
from forty, thirty, and twenty shillings an acre, down 
to ten groats for the poorest. On these scattered 
patches every yeoman raised wheat, oats, barley, beans, 
rye, hemp, and flax, for the consumption of his own 


family. The statistics of East Coker afford a curious 
picture of English agriculture, and of that race of 
primitive cultivators who have long since disappeared, 
and will ever be regretted. 

Before the death of his parents, which happened 
while he was very young, Dampier had begun to re- 
ceive the elements of a classical education ; but on this 
event taking place his studies were suspended, and he 
was sent to acquire writing and arithmetic, to qualify 
him for some humbler employment than might have 
been originally designed ; and in a short time after the 
death of his mother he was placed with a shipmaster 
belonging to Weymouth. Slender as his advantages of 
early education appear to have been, he profited so 
largely by them as to afford one more proof that the 
best part of a man's learning is that which he acquires 
by himself. 

William Dampier's first voyage was to France, his 
next to Newfoundland, in which he suffered so severely 
from the climate that he almost resolved against re- 
turning to sea ; but this determination was commuted 
into a resolution not to try the same ungenial quarter. 
Dampier, now about eighteen, was already animated 
by the restless activity, the curiosity, love of vicis- 
situde, adventure, and peril, which form the strong and 
marking characteristics of the youth who is born a 
seaman. " The offer," he says, " of a long voyage and a 
warm one soon carried me to sea again." He entered 
as a foremastman on board the Martha East Indiaman, 


which sailed direct from London to Bantam; from 
whence, after a stay of two months, he returned within 
little more than the year. From his early childhood 
Dampier had been a keen observer. On his former 
voyages he had gained some nautical experience, which 
he enlarged during the present, diligently studying the 
practical part of his profession, though he had not yet 
commenced a journal, the keeping of which came to be 
the solace of his roaming, unconnected life, and the 
means of great mental improvement. 

The summer after his return from India D'ampier 
spent with his brother in Somersetshire, whose house, 
in early life, seems to have been his home while on 
shore. His next service was on board the Royal Prince, 
in which he enlisted, England being then at war with 
Holland. He was in two engagements ; but of a third 
fought by the ship, in which the commander, Sir 
Edward Sprague, was killed, he was not a witness, 
having previously fallen into bad health. From the 
ship he was sent to Harwich Hospital, and finally to 
his brother's, where he slowly recovered. 

With returning health the love of the sea recurred ; 
but Dampier meanwhile accepted the offer of Colonel 
Hellier, and went to Jamaica as under-manager of a 
plantation belonging to that gentleman, forming a 
special agreement with the captain to protect himself 
from the frauds of the kidnappers. The ship went 
" merrily along," steering for Barbadoes, which was the 
first of the islands that Dampier beheld. He was at 


this time twenty-two years of age, active, intelligent, 
and full of an instinctive curiosity, already under the 
guidance of a strong, clear, and prompt understanding. 

St. Lucia was next seen, and afterwards Tobago 
and St. Vincent. He whose glance was ever quick and 
sure for every natural production of a new country, 
was not likely to neglect its people. The condition of 
the Carib Indians, the aborigines of the islands, forcibly 
arrested the attention of the young voyager ; and he 
relates a contemporary incident in a manner which 
betrays rather than states the soundness and, when the 
era is considered, the liberality of his opinions and the 
correctness of his moral feelings, while it places the 
Indian character in a favourable and also in a fair 
light, as contrasted with the European of the colonies. 

In passing St. Lucia, the captain of the vessel seeing 
a smoke on the shore, the usual token of inhabitation, 
sent off a boat to purchase those fruits with which the 
Indians often supplied English vessels sailing by. Three 
Indians came to the ship's side in a canoe laden with 
sugar-canes, and also with plantains, pine-apples, and 
other tropical fruits. They seemed much agitated, and 
often repeated the name of " Captain Warner." It 
proved that this Captain Warner was the son of 
Governor Warner of Antigua, by an Indian woman. 
He had been bred in his father's family as an English 
youth, but had acquired the language of his mother's 
tribe. As he grew up, finding himself ill-treated and 
despised, he fled to St. Lucia, and living among his 


Carib kinsmen, adopted their manners, and became one 
of their chiefs, roving with them from island to island, 
making inroads upon the planters, not sparing even 
Antigua. To avenge these injuries the legitimate son 
of the governor went out at the head of a party to 
encounter the Indians, and accidentally met with his 
Carib brother. The young man affected great joy at 
the meeting, and invited his half-blood elder brother 
with his warriors to a feast, at which, on a preconcerted 
signal, the chief and all the Indians were treacherously 
slaughtered. It was said that the murdered Warner 
had been the friend of the English, and that pride 
alone instigated the young Creole to this perfidious 
butchery. " Such perfidious doings as these," says 
Dampier, "are great hinderances to our gaining an 
interest with the Indians, besides the baseness of 

As a planter Dampier was " clearly out of his 
element;" and after spending some time in this un- 
congenial occupation, he engaged with different traders 
belonging to Port Royal, who coasted round Jamaica, 
carrying goods from the plantations to that port. In 
these coasting voyages he became thoroughly acquainted 
with all the harbours and bays of the island, and with 
the land and sea winds and currents. Availing himself 
of every opportunity and means of acquiring know- 
ledge, Dampier appears through life to have become 
wearied of every scene the moment he had exhausted 
the information it afforded, and to have longed for 


change as soon as he had overmastered its difficulties. 
His next voyage, undertaken in August 1675, was to 
the island of Trist, in the Bay of Campeachy, for a 
cargo of logwood. In these later voyages he acted in 
the capacity of a common sailor in a small vessel ; but 
he now kept a regular journal, and was no common 
observer. On this voyage to Campeachy, his nautical 
remarks, and observations on the appearances and bear- 
ings of the coasts, the headlands, bays, and islands, are 
ample and exact distinguished by the clearness and 
perspicuity which are visible in all his subsequent re- 
lations. They anchored at One-Bush-Key, an islet 
about a mile from the shore, and so named from having 
a single stunted tree. 

The life of the logwood-cutters of the Bay of Cam- 
peachy, free and unrestrained, had many charms for 
the young adventurer; and their jovial manners and 
frank hospitality, with the lucrative nature of the 
occupation of these merry foresters, made him resolve 
to return and join their ranks as soon as his present 
engagement terminated. 

Logwood-cutting had now in many instances taken 
the place of hunting wild cattle, which were become 
scarce. Some adventurers pursued both vocations, and 
others were wood-cutters alone. A third class occa-' 
sionally added the variety and profit of a privateering 
cruise to their quieter employments. 

The logwood-cutters in the Bay of Campeachy at 
this time amounted to about two hundred and fifty 


men, mostly natives of England, though there were 
also Scotchmen and Irishmen among their number. 
By Spain they were considered interlopers, and the 
trade contraband ; but this did not much disturb their 
consciences. Their general practice was to make up a 
cargo in joint-stock companies, the partnership lasting 
till the contract for the number of tons agreed on was 

The traders who bought the dye-wood carried the 
wood-cutters rum, sugar, tobacco, and other things 
necessary to them. The trade was usually opened by 
a solemn drinking-match on board the ships, where 
healths were pledged, and salvoes fired in honour of 
each pledge, with all the customary demonstrations of 
buccaneer banqueting. The trader who was the most 
liberal of his rum -punch on such festive occasions 
might assure himself of the best bargain of logwood 
the cutters priding themselves upon cheating those 
they thought niggardly of their liquor and good cheer. 

While taking in the cargo Dampier was often on 
shore, and frequently visited the cabins of the wood- 
men, who hospitably entertained him with the rough 
substantial fare which abounded among them pork 
and pease; or beef, for which they hunted in the 
savannas; with dough -boys, a kind of thick un- 
leavened cake, which, when on shore, the buccaneers 
and hunters often kneaded for themselves. They were 
equally profuse of their liquor while the supply lasted. 

The returning voyage of Dampier to Jamaica was 


singularly disastrous, and between Trist and Port- 
Royal the passage occupied thirteen weeks. Of the 
adventures and perils of this voyage he has left a very 
lively account. A passenger who returned with them 
to Jamaica a prisoner who had escaped from the 
Spaniards from his experience of this coast, was the 
means of saving them from being captured by a Span- 
ish vessel, which gave chase to their bark. Though 
the crew had both fished and hunted at several places 
before they reached Jamaica, they were during most 
part of the passage greatly pinched for provisions ; and 
on coming to anchor after so many hardships, they 
sent ashore for a supply, made a feast, and were just 
compounding a flowing bowl of punch, when the captain 
of a New England trader came on board to visit them, 
and was invited to share in the carouse. What follows 
is an amusing trait of the nautical manners of the 
place and time : " Mr. Hooker being drank to by 
Captain Rawlins, who pledged Captain Hudswell, and 
having the bowl in his hands, said that he was under 
an oath to drink but three draughts of strong liquor in 
one day, and putting the bowl to his head turned it off 
at one draught, and so making himself drunk, dis- 
appointed our expectations till we made another bowl. 
I think it might contain six quarts." 

As soon as he was discharged, Dampier returned to 
the Bay of Campeachy to try his fortunes among the 
logwood-cutters. Preparatory to this voyage he had 
provided himself with hatchets, knives, axes, saws, 


wedges, the sleeping -pavilion necessary for defence 
against the insects in this climate, and a gun, with a 
supply of powder and shot. A power of attorney, 
lodged with a merchant who acted as factor for the 
logwood-cutters, completed his arrangements. 

The logwood-forest, in which the men laboured who 
were joined by Dampier, was on the west lagoon of 
Trist Island, in the Bay of Campeachy. 

The first wood-cutters were men who had adopted 
this occupation when buccaneering was overdone from 
the number of competitors, and become dangerous from 
prohibitory edicts. They originally settled near the 
forests of the dye-wood at Cape Catoch. When these 
were exhausted, they had removed to the Isle of Trist, 
the first intimation to the Spaniards of their arrival 
on a new point being the strokes of their axes on the 
trees, or the report of their guns in the woods and 
savannas. These wood -cutters were divided into 
parties of from three to ten or twelve. The company 
which consented to receive Dampier as a helper, 
ignorant as he still was of their employment, consisted 
of six individuals, who had a cargo of logwood of a 
hundred tons already felled and chipped, and ready to 
be brought to the creek, whence it was to be shipped 
for New England. His wages were to be the price of a 
ton of wood per month. 

The wood-cutters had constructed their cabins close 
by the sides of the creeks of the east and west lagoons 
of Trist, for the enjoyment of the refreshing sea-breezes, 


and to be as near the dye-wood groves as was found 
convenient. As the nearest trees gradually fell beneath 
their axes, they frequently, instead of abandoning a 
favourite habitation, repaired to the scene of their 
daily labours in their canoes. To each company be- 
longed a canoe, pirogue or large boat, which was 
necessary in conveying their lading to the traders, and 
also in the chase ; for they hunted cattle by water as 
well as land, for this purpose driving them into narrow 
creeks. Their cabins were of fragile construction, but 
thickly thatched with palm-leaves, to shelter the in- 
mates from the violent rains of the wet season. Above 
the floor a wooden frame was raised three or four feet, 
and this barbecue, with the pavilion or mosquito- 
curtains stretched and supported over it, formed the 
sleeping-place of the wood-cutters ; another, equal in 
height, covered with earth, formed the domestic hearth; 
and a third served as seats. 

The first adventurers who frequented the Bay, after 
the existence and the value of the dye-wood in this 
tract had been accidentally discovered by an English 
ship, were actual buccaneers, " who, though they could 
work well enough, yet thought it a dry business to 
toil at cutting wood." They were, moreover, good 
marksmen, and took great delight in hunting, though 
piracy was still their favourite pursuit. Besides plun- 
dering on the seas, they often sallied out among the 
nearest Indian villages, which they pillaged without 
remorse, carrying off the Indian women to serve in 


bearing wood and other drudgery, while their husbands 
were sold to the logwood-merchants who visited the 
Bay, and resold at Jamaica. To these ruffians the 
cabins of the ships, which came to minister to their 
pleasures and necessities, were now what the taverns 
of Port-Royal, from which they were banished, had 
been. In these vessels they would gather at a grand 
drinking-match, and spend 30 or 40 at a sitting, 
carousing and firing off guns for three or four days 
successively. Whatever might have been the pre- 
vailing character of the wood-cutters at the time of 
Dampier's visit, the small company to which he was 
attached appear to have been of a more respectable 
description than ordinary. Two or three of them were 
natives of Scotland, who, if not actuated by higher 
motives, were restrained from falling into the extrav- 
agance and riot of their companions by the desire of 
accumulating money sufficient to enable them to enter 
upon a better way of life. 

The logwood groves were near the sea this wood 
growing and thriving best in low wet ground, and 
among timber of lower growth. The trees were from 
two to six feet in circumference. They resembled the 
white thorn of England save in size. The heart of the 
trunk, which is red, is alone used as a dye-stuff, the 
spongy outer part being chipped away. It is a heavy 
wood, and burns well ; and for this reason the hunters, 
wood-cutters, and buccaneers always, when it could be 
obtained, preferred it for hardening the steel of their 


fire-arms. Bloodwood, another dye-stuff much esteemed, 
was found in the Gulf of Nicaragua, and sold at double 
the price of the logwood the latter selling at 15 per 
ton, when the bloodwood cost 30. 

Through five days, the logwood-cutters, while the 
industrious fit was upon them, plied their labours in 
the groves, and on Saturday hunted in the savannas 
as a recreation, and also to store their larders for the 
ensuing week. When a bullock was shot, it was cut 
up where it lay, divided into quarters, and the large 
bones taken out, when each man thrust his head 
through a portion, and trudged home. If his load 
became too weighty, part was cut off and flung to the 
beasts and birds of prey which ever prowled and 
hovered near the hunter. But this mode of lightening 
their burdens was rarely resorted to from necessity. 
The wood-cutters were sturdy, robust fellows, accus- 
tomed to carry loads of wood of from three to four 
hundredweight, though their burdens, like everything 
else, were regulated by their own pleasure and dis- 
cretion. During the rainy season, when the logwood- 
grounds were flooded, they would step from their high 
bed-frames into two feet of water, and remain thus all 
day improving this cool season as that most favour- 
able to a good day's work. If there were more than 
four about the killing of a bullock, while two or three 
dressed the meat the others went in search of more 
game a carcass being the ordinary weekly allowance 
of four persons. 


In this part of the Bay of Campeachy, the dry 
season commences in September and continues till 
April or May, when the wet weather sets in with 
fierce tornadoes, and continues thus till June, from 
which period rain falls almost incessantly till the end 
of August. By this time the rivers have risen, and the 
savannas and all the low grounds are overflowed; and 
in this state they remain, the savannas appearing like 
inland lakes, till December and January, when the 
water begins visibly to drain off, and by the middle 
of February leaves the land dry. About the beginning 
of April the pools in the savannas are dried up, and 
the whole country is so parched that, but for a bounti- 
ful provision of Nature, the human beings and the 
birds and beasts, so lately surrounded with water, must 
perish of thirst. 

During the fervid consuming heats of this season, 
the wood-cutters betook themselves to the forests in 
search of the wild pine, which afforded them a hearty 
and refreshing draught. This interesting plant is 
minutely described by Dampier, in that clear and 
succinct manner which characterizes all his notices of 
natural productions. " The wild pine," he says, " is a 
plant so called because it somewhat resembles the bush 
that bears the pine ; they are commonly supported, or 
grow from some bunch, knot, or excrescence of the tree, 
where they take root and grow upright. The root is 
short and thick, from whence the leaves rise up in folds 
one within another, spreading off at the top. They are 

(829) IS 


of a good thick substance, and about ten or twelve 
inches long. The outside leaves are so compact as to 
contain the rain-water as it falls. They will hold a 
pint and a half, or a quart ; and this water refreshes 
the leaves and nourishes the root. When we find these 
pines we stick our knives into the leaves just above the 
root, and that lets out the water, which we catch in our 
hats, as I have done many times to my great relief." 
Dampier's account of all the natural productions of 
this country is equally curious. The animals, besides 
those termed domestic, were the squash, the waree, and 
peccary, a species of wild-hog, the opossum, tiger-cat, 
monkeys, ant-bears, armadilloes, porcupines, land-turtle, 
and the sloth, besides lizards, snakes, and iguanas of 
many varieties. 

The general features of the country in this part 
of the Bay are, the land near the sea, and the la- 
goons, always wet and "mangrovy." A little way back 
from the shore the soil is a strong yellow clay, with 
a thin surface of black mould. Here logwood-trees 
and low-growing timber of many kinds thrive. As it 
recedes further from the sea, the land rises, and trees 
of taller growth are met with, till the forests terminate 
in large savannas covered with long grass. These flats 
or natural meadows are generally three miles wide, and 
often much more. The soil of the savannas is black, 
deep, and rich, and the grass luxuriant in growth, but 
of a coarse kind. As an easy mode of husbandry which 
suited them well, the cattle-hunters at the close of the 


dry season set fire to the grass of the savannas, which, 
immediately after the setting in of the rains, were 
covered by a new and delicate herbage. These plains are 
bounded by high ridges and declivities of the richest 
land, covered with stately trees; and these alternate 
ridges and flats, fine woodlands and grassy plains, stretch 
from ten to twenty miles into the interior, which was 
as far as Dampier's knowledge extended. 

In the woods, monkeys abound, ranging in bands of 
from twenty to thirty, leaping from tree to tree, inces- 
santly chattering with frightful noise, making antic 
gestures, and throwing sticks and other missiles at the 
passers-by. When first alone in the woods Dampier 
felt afraid to shoot at them. They accompanied him 
on his ramble, leaping from branch to branch, swinging 
overhead with threatening gestures, as if about to leap 
upon him, and only took leave at the wood-cutters' huts. 
Though they were easily shot, it was difiicult to take 
them, as after being wounded they pertinaciously clung 
to the high branches by their tails or claws while life 
remained. " I have pitied," says our navigator, " the 
poor creature, to see it look on and handle the wounded 
limb, and turn it about from side to side." The sloths 
feed on leaves, and are very destructive to trees, never 
forsaking one on which they have pitched till it is 
stripped as bare as winter. A sloth requires eight or 
nine minutes to move one of its feet three inches 
forward, and it can neither be provoked nor frightened 
to move faster. Of some of the species of snakes, 


Darapier relates that they lurk in trees, "and are so 
mighty in strength as to hold a bullock fast by one of 
his horns," if it comes so near the tree as to allow the 
snake to twist itself about the horn and a limb of the 
tree at the same time. The buccaneers sometimes ate 
them, though Dampier makes no favourable report of 
this kind of food. An anecdote, which he relates of a 
snake in the Bay, gives a rational account of what is 
termed fascination in birds. The green-snake, which 
is from four to five feet long and no thicker than a 
man's thumb, lurked among green leaves, from which 
it could hardly be distinguished, and preyed upon 
small birds. Dampier was one day about to take hold 
of a bird, which, to his astonishment, though it fluttered 
and cried, did not attempt to fly away. He discovered 
that about the upper part of the poor bird a green- 
snake had twisted itself. Spiders of prodigious size 
were seen here, some almost as big as a man's hand, 
with long small legs like the spiders of Europe: 
" They have two teeth, or rather horns, an inch and a 
half in length, and of a proportionable bigness, which 
are black as jet, smooth as glass, and their small end 
sharp as a thorn." These the buccaneers and wood-cut- 
ters used as tooth-picks, as they were said to cure tooth- 
ache. They also used them to pick their tobacco-pipes. 
The country abounded in ants of different species, some 
of which had a sting " sharp as a spark of fire." They 
build their habitations between the limbs of great trees; 
and some of the hillocks were " as large as a hogshead." 


In this manner the ants provide against the consequences 
of the rainy season, when their hillocks, if on the 
ground, must be overflowed. One species marched in 
troops, always in haste, as if in search of something, 
but steadily following their leaders wherever they 
went. Sometimes a band of these ants would march 
through the cabins of the wood-cutters, over their 
beds, or into their chests, wherever the foremost went 
the rest all following. The logwood-cutters let them 
pass on, though some hours might be spent in the 

Frequently as the humming-bird has been described 
since it was seen by Dampier, his account of this, the 
most delicate and lovely of the feathered tribes, is as 
fresh and beautiful as when the young seaman, charmed 
with its loveliness, first entered a description of it into 
his rude journal : " The humming-bird is a pretty 
little feathered creature, no bigger than a great over- 
grown wasp ; with a black bill no bigger than a small 
needle, and with legs and feet in proportion to his body. 
This creature does not wave its wings like other birds 
when it flies, but keeps them in a continued quick 
motion, like bees or other insects ; and like them makes 
a continued humming noise as it flies. It is very quick 
in motion, and haunts about flowers and fruit like a 
bee gathering honey ; making many addresses to its 
delightful objects, by visiting them on all sides, and 
yet still keeps in motion, sometimes on one side, some- 
times on the other, as often rebounding a foot or two 


back on a sudden, and as quickly returns again, keep- 
ing thus about one flower five or six minutes or more." 
The wood-cutters and hunters, in their out-door and 
silvan life, became familiar with all the living creatures 
of these prolific regions, and gave them English names 
significant of their habits. They adopted the super- 
stition of the Spaniards against killing the carrion- 
crows, which were found so useful in clearing the 
country of the putrid carcasses of animals. Trains of 
these birds gathered from all quarters about the hunters, 
and regularly followed them into the savannas for 
their own share of the prey. A bird which they named 
the Subtle Jack was about as big as the pigeons of the 
Bay. It suspended its nest from the boughs of lofty 
trees, choosing such as, up to a considerable height, 
were without limbs. The branches selected were those 
that spread widest; and of these the very extremity 
was chosen. The nests hung down two or three feet 
from the twigs to which they were fastened, and looked 
like " cabbage-nets stuffed with hay." The thread by 
which it is suspended, like the nest itself, is made of 
long grass ingeniously twisted and interwoven, small at 
the twig, but thickening as it approaches the nest. 
On trees that grow singly and apart the birds build all 
round; but where the trees stand in proximity to others, 
the Subtle Jack chooses only those that border upon a 
savanna, pool, or creek ; and of these, the limbs that 
stretch over the water or the grass, avoiding such as may 
be easily approached from neighbouring trees. The 


nest has a hole at the side for the bird to enter. 
" Tis pretty," says Dampier, " to see twenty or thirty of 
them hanging round a tree." 

In these savannas and primeval forests, an endless 
variety of birds and insects engaged the attention of 
the young seaman, to which we cannot now advert. 
The creeks, rivers, and lagoons, as well as the open 
shores, were equally prolific of fishes unknown in the 
English waters. No place in the world was better 
stored with alligators than the Bay of Campeachy. 
These the buccaneers, who scrupled at no sort of food, 
never ate save in cases of great necessity, as even their 
intrepid stomachs were offended by the strong musky 
flavour of the flesh of this hideous creature. The 
alligators of the Bay were generally harmless when not 
molested ; though accidents sometimes occurred, of which 
one is recorded by Dampier that merits notice. In the 
height of the dry season, when in those torrid regions 
all animated nature pants with consuming thirst, a party 
of the wood-cutters, English and Irish, went to hunt 
in the neighbourhood of a lake called Pies Pond in Beef 
Island, one of the smaller islands of the Bay. To this 
pond the wild cattle repaired in herds to drink, and here 
the hunters lay in wait for them. The chase had been 
prosecuted with great success for a week, when an 
Irishman of the party, going into the water during the 
day, stumbled upon an alligator, which seized him by 
the knee. His cries alarmed his companions, who, 
fearing that he had been seized by the Spaniards, to 


whom the island belonged, and who chose the dry 
season to hunt and repel their unwelcome neighbours, 
instead of affording assistance, fled from the huts which 
they had erected. The Irishman seeing no appearance 
of help, with happy presence of mind quietly waited 
till the alligator loosened its teeth to take a new and 
surer hold ; and when it did so, he snatched away his 
knee, interposing the butt-end of his gun in its stead, 
which the animal seized so firmly that it was jerked out 
of the man's hand and carried off. He then crawled 
up a neighbouring tree, again shouting after his com- 
rades, who now found courage to return. His gun was 
found next day dragged ten or twelve paces from the 
place where it had been seized by the alligator. 

At the same place, Pies Pond in Beef Island, Dampier 
had a remarkable escape from an alligator. Passing 
with some of his comrades through a small savanna, 
where the water lay two or three feet deep, in search 
of a bullock to shoot for supper, a strong scent of an 
alligator was perceived, and presently Dampier stumbled 
over one and fell down. He cried out for help, but his 
companions ran towards the woods to save themselves. 
No sooner had he scrambled up to follow them, than in 
the agitation of the moment he fell a second and even 
a third time, expecting every instant to be devoured, 
and yet escaped untouched ; but he candidly says, " I 
was so frighted, that I never cared to go through the 
water again as long as I was in the Bay." 

On the first Saturday after he commenced wood- 


cutter Dampier followed his employers in the humble 
capacity of raising and driving the cattle out of the 
savannas into the woods, where the hunters lay in 
wait to shoot them. The following Saturday his am- 
bition took a higher flight. He thought it more 
honourable to have a shot himself than to drive the 
game for others ; and, after going five miles by water 
and one by land to the hunting-ground, he gave his 
companions the slip, and rambled so far into the woods 
that he lost himself, going at every step further astray 
through small strips of savanna and skirts of wood- 
land a maze of plain and forest which seemed inter- 
minable. The rest of this youthful adventure, from 
which Dampier drew a beneficial lesson for the regula- 
tion of his future life, cannot be better narrated than 
in his own words : " This was in May (the dry season), 
and it was between ten o'clock and one when I began 
to find that I was, as we call it, marooned, or lost, 
and quite out of the hearing of my comrades' guns. 
I was somewhat surprised at this ; but, however, I knew 
that I should find my way out as soon as the sun was 
a little lower. So I sat down to rest myself, resolving, 
however, to run no further out of my way, for the sun 
being so near the zenith I could not distinguish how 
to direct my course. Being weary and almost faint for 
want of water, I was forced to have recourse to the 
wild pines, and was by them supplied, or else I must 
have perished with thirst. About three o'clock I 
went due north, or as near as I could judge, for the 


savanna lay east and west, and I was on the south 
side of it. 

"At sunset I got out into the clear open savanna, 
being about two leagues wide in most places, but how 
long I know not. It is well stored with bullocks, but by 
frequent hunting they grow shy, and remove further up 
into the country. There I found myself four or five miles 
to the west of the place where I had straggled from my 
companions. I made homewards with all the speed I 
could; but being overtaken by the night I lay down 
on the grass a good distance from the woods, for the 
benefit of the wind to keep the mosquitoes from me ; 
but in vain, for in less than an hour's time I was so 
persecuted, that though I endeavoured to keep them off 
by fanning myself with boughs, and shifting my quar- 
ters three or four times, yet still they so haunted me 
that I could get no sleep. At daybreak I got up and 
directed my course to the creek where we landed, from 
which I was then about two leagues. I did not see 
one beast of any sort whatever in all the way, though 
the day before I saw several young calves that could not 
follow their dams ; but even these were now gone away, 
to my great vexation and disappointment, for I was 
very hungry. But, about a mile further, I espied ten or 
twelve quaums perching on the boughs of a cotton-tree. 
These were not shy : therefore I got well under them, 
and, having a single bullet but no shot about me, fired 
at one of them and missed it, though I had often before 
killed them so. Then I came up with and fired at five 


or six turkeys with no better success, so that I was 
forced to march forward, still in the savanna, toward 
the creek ; and when I came to the path that led to it 
through the woods, I found to my great joy a hat stuck 
upon a pole, and when I came to the creek another. 
These were set up by my consorts, who had gone home 
in the evening, as signals that they would come and 
fetch me. Therefore I sat down and waited for them ; 
for although I had not above three leagues home by 
water, yet it would have been very difficult, if not 
impossible, for me to have got thither overland, by 
reason of those vast impassable thickets abounding 
everywhere along the creek's side, wherein I have 
known some puzzled for two or three days, and have 
not advanced half a mile, although they laboured 
extremely every day. Neither was I disappointed of 
my hopes, for within half an hour after my arrival in 
the creek my consorts came, bringing every man his 
bottle of water and his gun, both to hunt for game and 
to give me notice by firing, that I might hear them ; 
for I have known several men lost in the like manner, 
and never heard of afterwards." 

Dampier had the more reason to congratulate himself 
on the issue of this adventure, that shortly before the cap- 
tain and six of the crew of a Boston ship had wandered 
into the woods, part of whom were never again heard of. 
The captain, who was found in a thicket in a state of 
extreme exhaustion, stated that his men had dropped one 
by one, fainting for thirst in the parched savannas. 


When his first month's service was ended, Dampier 
received as pay the price of a ton of wood, with which 
he bought provisions, and entered into a new engage- 
ment, on the footing of comradeship, but with other 
partners. Of the former company to which he had 
been attached, some went to Beef Island to hunt bul- 
locks for their skins, which they prepared for sale by 
pegging them strongly down to the ground, turning 
first the fleshy and then the hairy side uppermost, till 
they were perfectly dry. It required thirty-two pegs, 
each as thick as a man's arm, to stretch one hide; after- 
wards, they were hung in heaps upon a pole, that they 
might not touch the ground, and from time to time 
well beat with sticks to drive out the worms which 
bred in the skins and spoiled them. Before being 
shipped off, they were soaked in salt water to kill the 
remaining worms. While still wet they were folded 
up, left thus for a time, and once more thoroughly dried 
and packed for exportation. 

To this trade Dampier preferred wood-cutting. His 
partners were three Scotchmen, Price Morrice, Duncan 
Campbell, and a third, who is called by his Christian 
name of George only. The two latter were persons of 
education, who had been bred merchants, and liked 
neither the employment nor the society of the Bay ; 
they therefore only waited the first opportunity of 
getting away by a logwood-ship. The first vessel that 
arrived was from Boston, and this they freighted with 
forty tons of dye-wood, which it was agreed Duncan 


Campbell should go to New England to sell, bringing 
back flour and other things suited to the market of the 
Bay, to exchange for hides and logwood ; while George 
remained making up a fresh cargo against Campbell's 
return. And here Dampier makes an observation on 
the character of his associates, which deserves to be 
noticed as the result of the experience of a man who 
had seen and reflected much upon life and manners. 
" This," he says, " retarded our business, for I did not 
find Price Morrice very intent on work ; for 'tis like he 
thought he had logwood enough. And I have particu- 
larly observed there, and in other places, that such as 
had been well-bred were generally most careful to 
improve their time, and would be very industrious and 
frugal when there was any probability of considerable 
gain. But, on the contrary, such as had been inured to 
hard labour, and got their living by the sweat of their 
brows, when they came to have plenty, would extrava- 
gantly squander away their time and money in drinking 
and making a bluster." 

To make up for the indolence of his comrade Dampier 
kept the closer to work himself, till attacked by a very 
singular disease. A red and ill-conditioned swelling or 
boil broke out upon his right leg, which he was directed 
to poultice with the roasted roots of the white lily. This 
he persisted in doing for some days, " when two white 
specks appeared in the centre of the boil, and on squeez- 
ing it two small white worms spurted out, about the 
thickness of a hen's quill and three or four inches long.'"' 


These were quite different from the Guinea-worm, com- 
mon in some of the West India Islands, and in the time 
of Dampier very common in Curagoa. From the latter 
he afterwards suffered severely. 

Shortly after his recovery from this attack the Bay 
was visited by one of those tremendous hurricanes 
known only in tropical countries, which raged for 
twenty-four hours without intermission. This was in 
June 1676. Two days before the storm came on the 
wind " whiffled " about to the south and back again to 
the east, but blew faintly, while the weather continued 
very fair, though it was remarked that the men-of-war 
birds came trooping towards the shore in great numbers, 
and hovered over the land. The hunters and logwood- 
cutters, among their numerous superstitions, augured 
the arrival of ships from the appearance of those birds, 
and imagined that as many birds as hovered overhead 
so many vessels might be expected. At this time there 
appeared whole flocks. 

It was noticed by Dampier that for two days the 
tide kept ebbing, till the creek by which the wood- 
men's huts stood was left nearly dry. In it there was 
commonly at ebb-tide seven or eight feet of water, 
but now scarcely three remained even in the deepest 
places. At four o'clock, in the afternoon following this 
strange ebbing of the waters, the sky looked very black, 
the wind sprung up at south-east, fresh and rapidly 
increasing, and in less than two hours blew down all 
the cabins of the woodmen save one : this they propped 


with posts, and as it were anchored by casting ropes 
over the roof, which were then made fast on both sides 
to stumps of trees. In this frail shed they all huddled 
together while the hurricane raged abroad. It rained 
in torrents during the whole period of the tempest; and 
in two hours after the wind had risen the water flowed 
so fast into the creek that it was as high as the banks. 
Though the wind now blew off-shore, the waters con- 
tinued to rush in ; nor did the rain abate ; and by ten 
o'clock next morning the banks of the creek were over- 

The situation of the woodmen now became perilous. 
They brought their canoe to the side of the hut, and 
fastened it to the stump of a tree as a means of escape 
this being their only hope of safety, as beyond the 
banks which edged the creek the land fell, and there "was 
now no walking through the woods because of the 
water. Besides, the trees were torn up by the roots, 
and tumbled down so strangely across each other that 
it was almost impossible to pass through them." In 
this violent tempest many fish were either cast alive 
upon the shore or found floating dead in the lagoons. 
It was remarkable that the hurricane, as was afterwards 
ascertained, did not extend ninety miles to windward. 

Of four ships riding at anchor at One -Bush Key, 
three were driven from their moorings, and one of them 
was carried up into the woods of Beef Island. 

The wood-cutters suffered in many ways. The whole 
country was laid under water to a considerable depth, 


there being three feet even on the highest land ; so that 
they could not for some time prosecute their labours. 
Much of their provision was destroyed, and what re- 
mained they had no way of cooking save in their 

As soon as the storm abated, Dampier's company 
embarked in the canoe and made for One-Bush Key, 
about four leagues distant, hoping to procure assistance 
from the ships there. These, as has been noticed, had 
all been driven from their anchors save one ; and the 
kindness of the crew of this fortunate vessel had already 
been severely taxed by an influx of the flooded wood- 
cutters from different points. Dampier and his com- 
panions could get "neither bread nor punch, nor so 
much as a dram of rum, though they offered to pay for 
it." From this inhospitable quarter they rowed for 
Beef Island, their singular landmark being the flag of a 
ship displayed in the woods. The vessel herself was 
found two hundred yards from the sea, from which she 
had cut her way in the storm, levelling the trees on 
each side, and making a clear path before her through 
the forest. In this transit the stumps had gone through 
her bottom, and there was no way of saving her. 
Meanwhile she held together, and the forlorn woodmen 
were well entertained with victuals and punch, and 
invited to remain for the night ; but hearing a signal- 
gun fired from a distant lagoon, they concluded that 
one of the ships was driven in there by distress, and 
rowed off to her assistance. With a Captain Chandler, 


whom they found here greatly in want of their services, 
Dampier and his partners laboured for two days, and 
then went to Beef Island to hunt for cattle. This island 
is about seven leagues long, and in breadth from three 
to four: at the east end "low drowned land;" the 
middle is one large savanna, bordered with trees ; the 
south side, between the savannas and the mangrove- 
belt or swampy ground, is very rich. 

But the social condition of Beef Island, at the time 
specified, is more an object of interest than its natural 
productions. It had been lately settled by a colony of 
Indians. " It is no new thing," says Dampier, " for the 
Indians of these woody parts of America to fly away, 
whole towns at once, and settle themselves in the unfre- 
quented woods to enjoy their freedom ; and if they are 
accidentally discovered, they will remove again ; which 
they can easily do, their household goods being little 
else but their hammocks and their calabashes. They 
build every man his own house, and tie up their 
hammocks between two trees, wherein they sleep till 
their houses are made. The woods afford them some 
subsistence, such as pecaree and waree ; but they that 
are thus strolling, or marooning as the Spaniards call 
it, have plantain-walks that no man knows but them- 
selves, and from thence have their food till they have 
raised plantation-provision near their new-built town. 
They clear no more ground than what they actually 
employ for their subsistence. They make no paths; 
but when they go far from home they break now and 

(829) 19 


then a bough, letting it hang down, which serves as a 
mark to guide them in their return. If they happen to 
be discovered by other Indians inhabiting among the 
Spaniards, or do but distrust it, they immediately shift 
their quarters to another place, this large country 
affording them good fat land enough, and very woody, 
and therefore a proper sanctuary for them." 

It was some of these fugitive Indians that came 
to settle at Beef Island, where, besides gaining their 
freedom from the Spaniards, they might see their 
friends and acquaintances, that had been taken some 
time before by the privateers and sold to the log- 
wood-cutters, with whom some of the women lived 
still, though others had been conducted by them to 
their own habitations. It was these women, after 
their return, that made known the kind entertainment 
they met with from the English, and persuaded their 
friends to leave their dwellings near the Spaniards 
and settle on this island. They had been here almost 
a year before they were discovered by the English, 
and even then were accidentally found out by the 
hunters as they followed their game. "They were 
not very shy all the time I was there," continues 
Dampier; "but I know that upon the least disgust 
they would have been gone." This avoidance of their 
"kind entertainers," the English, does not look as if 
the Indians had been peculiarly anxious to cultivate 
their further acquaintance. The poor Indians were 
undoubtedly equally anxious to conceal themselves and 


their plantations from the Spaniards, from whom they 
fled, and the English hunters and log wood -cutters, 
whom they shunned. 

John d'Acosta, a Spaniard of the town of Campeachy, 
who held a grant of this island, managed better than 
any of his countrymen in securing his property from 
the depredations of the buccaneers. In the dry season 
he spent usually a couple of months here with his 
servants, " hocksing " cattle for their hides and tallow. 
Beef was to him of course of small value ; and happen- 
ing at one time to encounter the logwood-men hunting 
in his savannas, he requested them to desist, saying 
that firing made the cattle wild; but that if they 
wanted beef he would supply them with as much as 
they pleased by hocksing. They accepted the offer, 
and acted with honour to John d'Acosta, who soon 
became very popular among them, though their friend- 
ship did him no good with his own countrymen. He 
was thrown into prison upon suspicion of conniving 
with the buccaneers, and forfeited his right to Beef 
Island, which henceforth the Spaniards abandoned to 
the English hunters and freebooters. 

The manner of hunting wild cattle, termed hocksing 
or houghing, was peculiar to the Spaniards, the English 
always using fire-arms in the chase. The Spanish 
hocksers, in the course of many years' practice, became 
dexterous at their art. They were always mounted on 
good horses, which were as diligently and early trained 
to the sport as the rider, and as well aware when to 


advance and retreat with advantage. The hunter was 
armed with a hocksing-iron in the shape of a crescent, 
about seven inches in length, and having a very sharp 
edge. This was fastened to a pole about fourteen feet 
in length, which the hunter laid over the horse's head, 
the instrument projecting forward. Riding up to his 
prey, with this he strikes, and seldom fails to ham- 
string it, when the horse instantly wheels to the left to 
avoid the attack of the wounded animal. If the stroke 
has not quite severed all the sinews, the animal soon 
breaks them himself by continually attempting to leap 
forward. While limping thus, and somewhat exhausted, 
the hunter rides up to him again, and at this time 
attacks him in front, striking the iron into the knee of 
one of his fore legs. The animal usually drops, when 
the hunter dismounts, and with a sharp-pointed knife 
strikes into the head a little behind the horns so 
dexterously that at one stroke the head drops as if 
severed from the neck, and the poor beast is dead. 
The hunter remounts and pursues other game while 
the skinners take off the hide. 

The English hunters had so greatly thinned the 
numbers of wild cattle on Beef Island, that it was now 
dangerous for a single man to hunt them, or to venture 
through the savannas, so desperate and vicious had 
they become. An old bull, once shot at, never failed 
to remember the attack and to offer battle ; and the 
whole herd sometimes drew up in array to defend 
themselves. The account which Dampier gives of the 


tactics of the wild cattle almost borders upon the 
marvellous, though he is one of the most veracious and 
unpretending of travellers, rather diminishing than 
exaggerating the dangers he had passed and the 
wonders he had seen. The old bulls led the van, 
behind them were ranged the cows, and next in order 
the young cattle. Wherever the hunters attempted 
to break the line, the bulls opposed their embattled 
front, wheeling round in every direction to face the 
enemy. The aim of the hunter was therefore rather 
an animal detached from the herd than a general or 
open attack. If the prey was desperately wounded, 
in its rage it made for the hunter ; but if only slightly, 
it scampered off. These assaults of the infuriated 
animals were sometimes attended by fatal accidents. 

The hurricane had deprived Dampier of his slender 
stock of provisions, and having neither money nor 
credit to obtain a fresh supply from the traders who 
arrived from Jamaica, he was forced, for immediate 
subsistence, to join a company of " privateers " then in 
the Bay. With these buccaneers he continued for 
nearly a year, rambling about the Bay of Campeachy, 
visiting its numerous creeks, islands, and rivers, and 
making with them frequent descents upon Indian 
villages and Spanish settlements. At these places 
they obtained supplies of Indian corn, which, with the 
beef for which they hunted, turtle, and 'manatee, 
formed their principal subsistence, Dampier, in every 
passing hour, adding to his stores of knowledge. 


The manatee or sea-cow, as seen by Dampier in 
the Bay of Campeachy, the river Darien, at Mindanao, 
and on the coast of New Holland, he describes as of 
the thickness of a horse, and in length ten or twelve 
feet. The mouth is like that of a cow; the lips are 
very thick, the eyes no bigger than a pea, and the ears 
two small holes. It frequents creeks, inlets, and 
mouths of rivers, and never leaves the water for any 
length of time. It lives on a sort of grass which 
grows in the sea. The flesh is white, sweet, and 
wholesome. The tail of a young cow was esteemed 
a delicate morsel by the buccaneers, and so was a 
sucking-calf, which they cooked by roasting. The 
tough thick skin of the manatee they applied to 
various uses. 

The Mosquito Indians were peculiarly dexterous in 
fishing, and also in striking manatee and catching 
turtle ; for which purpose the buccaneers always tried 
to have one or two natives of the Mosquito Shore 
attached to their company as purveyors on their 

In the river of Tobasco, near its mouth, abundance 
of manatee was found, there being good feeding for 
them in the creeks. In one creek which ran into the 
land for two or three hundred paces, and where the 
water was so shallow that the backs of the animals 
were seen as they fed, they were found in great 
numbers. On the least noise they dashed out into the 
deep water of the river. There was also a fresh-water 


species resembling those of the sea, but not so large. 
The banks of the creek which they frequented were 
swampy and overgrown with trees, and the same place 
afforded great abundance of land-turtle, the largest 
Dampier ever saw save at the Gallapagos Islands in 
the South Sea, the very head-quarters of turtle. On 
the borders of the Tobasco lie ridges of dry rich land, 
covered with lofty "cotton and cabbage-trees, which 
make a pleasant landscape," and in some places guava- 
trees, bearing large and finely -flavoured fruit; there 
were also cocoa-plums and grapes. The savannas, on 
which herds of deer and bullocks were seen feeding, 
especially in the mornings and evenings, were fenced 
with natural groves of the guava. Dampier appears 
to have been delighted with the aspect of this "delicious 
place." While he was here, a party hunting in the 
savannas late in the evening shot a deer. One of 
them, while skinning the animal, was shot dead by a 
comrade, who in the twilight mistook him for another 

For above twenty miles up the river there was no 
settlement; after which there was a small fort, with 
a garrison consisting of a Spaniard, and eight or ten 
Indians whom he commanded, whose business was 
rather to spread alarm into the interior if the buc- 
caneers approached, than to resist their attacks. Their 
precautions were, however, useless when opposed to 
the address and activity of the buccaneers, who had 
frequently pillaged the towns and villages on this 


river, though latterly they had sometimes been repulsed 
with loss. In some of these towns there were mer- 
chants and planters, cocoa-walks being frequent on 
both sides of the river. Some parts along the banks 
were thickly planted with Indian towns, each having 
a padre, and also a cacique, or governor. These 
Indians were free labourers in the cocoa-walks of the 
Spanish settlers, though a few of them had plantations 
of maize, plantain-walks, and even small cocoa-walks 
of their own. Some of the natives were bee-hunters, 
searching in the hollow trees in the woods for hives, 
and selling the wax and honey. These Indian bee- 
hunters were so ingenious as to supply the wild bees 
with trees artificially hollowed, and thus increased 
the number of hives and the profits of their traffic. 
" The Indians inhabiting these villages live like gentle- 
men," says Dampier, "in comparison of many near 
any great towns, such as Campeachy or Merida; for 
there even the poorer and rascally sort of people that 
are not able to hire one of these poor creatures, will 
by violence drag them to do their drudgery for 
nothing, after they have worked all day for their 

The Indians of the villages on the Tobasco lived 
chiefly on maize, which they baked into cakes ; and 
from which they also made a sort of liquor, which, 
when allowed to sour, afforded a pleasant refreshing 
draught. When a beverage for company was wanted, 
a little honey was mixed with this drink. A stronger 


liquor was made of parched maize and anotta, which 
was drunk without straining. The Indians reared 
abundance of turkeys, ducks, and fowls, the padre 
taking such strict account of the tithe that it was 
necessary to procure his license before they durst kill 
one. They also raised cotton, and manufactured their 
own clothing, which for both sexes was decent and 

Under the sanction of the village-priest all marriages 
were contracted, the men marrying at fourteen, the 
women at twelve. If at this early age they had made 
no choice, then the padre selected for them. These 
early marriages were one means of securing the power 
and increasing the gains of the priest ; and the young 
couples themselves were contented, happy, and affec- 
tionate. They inhabited good houses, lived comfortably 
by the sweat of their brows, and on holy eves and 
saints' days enjoyed themselves under the direction of 
their spiritual guides, who permitted them the re- 
creation of pipe and tabor, hautboys and drums, and 
lent them vizards and ornaments for the mummings 
and other amusements which they practised. The 
village churches were lofty, compared with the ordinary 
dwelling-houses, and ornamented with coarse pictures 
of tawny or bronze -coloured saints and madonnas, 
recommended to the Indians by the tint of the native 
complexion. To their good padres, notwithstanding 
the tithe-fowls, the Indian flocks were submissive and 


We cannot here follow the minute account which 
Dampier has given of all the rivers of Campeachy 
during his cruise of eleven months around this rich 
country. The farthest west point which he visited 
was Alvarado, to which the buccaneers with whom 
he sailed went in two barks, thirty men in each. 
The river flows through a fertile country, thickly 
planted with Spanish towns and Indian villages. At 
its mouth was a small fort, placed on the declivity 
of a sand-bank, and mounted with six guns. The 
sand-banks are here about two hundred feet high on 
both sides. 

This fort the buccaneers attacked; but it held out 
stoutly for five hours, during which time the country 
was alarmed, and the inhabitants of the adjoining town 
got off in their boats, carrying away all their money 
and valuables, and the best part of their goods. The 
buccaneers lost ten men killed or desperately wounded; 
and when they landed next morning to pillage, it being 
dark before the fort yielded, little booty was found. 
Twenty or thirty bullocks they killed, salted, and sent 
on board, with salt-fish, Indian corn, and abundance of 
poultry. They also found and brought away many 
tame parrots of a very beautiful kind, yellow and 
scarlet curiously blended ; the fairest and largest birds 
of their kind Dampier ever saw in the West Indies. 
" They prated very prettily." 

Though little solid booty was obtained, what with 
provisions, chests, hen-coops, and parrots' cages, the 


ships were filled and lumbered ; and while in this state, 
seven Spanish armadilloes from Vera Cruz, detached 
in pursuit of the buccaneers, appeared coming full sail 
over the bar into the river. Not a moment was to be 
lost. Clearing their decks of lumber, by throwing all 
overboard, the buccaneers got under full sail, and drove 
over the bar at the river's mouth, before the enemy, 
who could with difficulty stem the current, had scarcely 
reached it. The Spanish vessels were to windward, 
and a few shots were of necessity exchanged ; and now 
commenced one of those singular escapes from tre- 
mendous odds of strength of which buccaneer history 
is so full. The Toro, the admiral of the Spanish barks, 
was of itself more than a match for the freebooters. 
It carried ten guns and one hundred men, while their 
whole force was now diminished to fifty men in both 
ships, one of which carried six, the other two guns. 
Another of the Spanish vessels carried four guns, with 
eighty men, and the remaining five, though not mounted 
with great guns, had each sixty or seventy men armed 
with muskets. " As soon," says Dampier's journal, " as 
we were over the bar, we got our larboard tacks aboard, 
and stood to the eastward as nigh the wind as we could 
lie. The Spaniards came quartering on us, and our 
ship being the headmost the Toro came directly to- 
wards us, designing to board us. We kept firing at 
her, in hopes to have lamed either a mast or a yard ; 
but failing, just as she was sheering aboard we gave 
her a good volley, and presently clapped the helm 


aweather, wore our ship, and got our starboard tacks 
aboard, and stood to the westward, and so left the 
Toro ; but were saluted by all the small craft as we 
passed them, who stood to the eastward after the Toro, 
that was now in pursuit and close to our consort. We 
stood to the westward till we were against the river's 
mouth, then we tacked, and by the help of the current 
that came out of the river we were near a mile to 
windward of them all. Then we made sail to assist 
our consort, who was hard put to it; but on our 
approach the Toro edged away toward the shore, as 
did all the rest, and stood away for Alvarado; and 
we, glad of the deliverance, went away to the east- 
ward, and visited all the rivers in our return again 
to Trist." 

These visits produced little booty. They also searched 
the bays for munjack, "a sort of bitumen which we 
find in a lump washed up by the sea, and left dry on 
all the sandy bays of the coast." This substance the 
buccaneers, who were compelled to find substitutes 
for many necessary things, tempered with tallow or 
oil, and employed as pitch in repairing their ships and 

On the return of Dampier to the island of Trist, the 
effects of the dismal hurricane of the former year had 
disappeared, and he resumed his labours among the 
woodmen. This employment was probably more pro- 
fitable than his buccaneering cruise ; as in the course 
of the following season he was able to visit England, 


intending to return to the Bay when he had seen his 
friends. He sailed for Jamaica in April 1678, and in 
the beginning of August reached London. 

Cutting dye-wood was still a profitable though a 
laborious trade; and Dampier shrewdly remarks, "that 
though it is not his business to say how far the English 
had a right to follow it, yet he was sure that the 
Spaniards never received less damage from the persons 
who usually followed that trade than when they had 
exchanged the musket for the axe, and the deck of the 
privateer for the logwood-groves." 

During his short residence in England at this time 
Dampier must have married ; for though a trifling 
matter of this kind is too unimportant to be entered in 
a seaman's journal, we long afterwards, while he lay 
off the Bashee or Five Islands, learn that he had left 
a wife in England, as, in compliment to the Duke of 
Grafton, he named the northernmost of the Bashee 
group Graf ton's Isle, " having," as he says, " married 
my wife out of his duchess's family, and leaving her at 
Arlington House at my going abroad." 



AFTER spending five or six months with his wife and 
his friends, Dampier, in the beginning of 1679, sailed 
as a passenger for Jamaica, intending immediately to 
return to his old trade and companions in the Bay of 
Campeachy. He took out goods from England, which 
he meant to exchange at Jamaica for the commodities 
in request among the wood-cutters. Instead, however, 
of prosecuting this design, Dampier remained in Jamaica 
all that year, and by some means was enabled to pur- 
chase a small estate in Dorsetshire. This new possession 
he was about to visit, when he was induced to engage 
in a trading voyage to the Mosquito Shore. It promised 
to be profitable, and he was anxious to realize a little 
more ready money before returning to England to 
settle for life. He accordingly sent home the title- 
deeds of his estate, and embarked with a Mr. Hobby. 

Soon after leaving Port-Royal, they came to anchor 
in a bay at the west end of the island, in which they 
found Captains Coxon, Sawkins, Sharp, and "other 
privateers," as Dampier gently terms the most noted 


buccaneer commanders of the period. Hobby's crew 
deserted him to a man to join the buccaneer squadron ; 
and the Mosquito voyage being thus frustrated, Dampier 
" was the more easily persuaded to go with them too." 

Their first attempt was on Porto Bello, of which 
assault Dampier gives no account, and he might not 
have been present at the capture. Two hundred men 
were landed, and, the better to prevent alarm, at such 
a distance from the town that it took them three days 
to march upon it, as during daylight they lay concealed 
in the woods. A negro gave the alarm, but not before 
the buccaneers were so close upon his heels that the 
inhabitants were completely taken by surprise, and 
fled in every direction. The buccaneers plundered for 
two days and two nights, in momentary expectation of 
the country rising upon them, and overpowering their 
small number, but, from avarice and rapacity, they 
were unable to tear themselves away. 

To the shame of the Spaniards they got clear off, 
and divided shares of one hundred and sixty pieces of 
eight a-head. Inspired by this success, they resolved 
immediately to march across the Isthmus. They knew 
that such strokes of good fortune as this at Porto Bello 
could not longer be looked for on the eastern shores of 
America, and for some time their imaginations had 
been running upon the endless wealth to be found in 
the South Sea. They remained for about a fortnight 
at the Samballas Isles, and during this time, preparatory 
to their grand attempt, endeavoured to conciliate the 


Indians of the Darien by gifts of toys and trinkets 
and many fair promises. They also persuaded some of 
the Mosquito-men to join them, who on account of 
their expertness in fishing, and striking turtle and 
manatee, besides their warlike qualities, were useful 
auxiliaries either in peace or war. Of this tribe, so 
long the friends, and, as they named themselves, the 
subjects of Britain, Dampier has given an exceedingly 
interesting account. In his time the clan or sept, 
properly called Mosquito-men, must have been very 
small, as he says the fighting-men did not amount to 
one hundred. They inhabited a tract on the coast 
near Cape Gracios Dios, stretching between Cape Hon- 
duras and Nicaragua. " They are," says our navigator, 
who appears partial to these Indians, " very ingenious 
at throwing the lance, fisgig, harpoon, or any manner 
of dart, being bred to it from their infancy; for the 
children, imitating their parents, never go abroad with- 
out a lance in their hands, which they throw at any 
object till use hath made them masters of the art. 
Then they learn to put by a lance, arrow, or dart ; the 
manner is thus : Two boys stand at a small distance, 
and dart a blunt stick at one another, each of them 
holding a small stick in his right hand, with which he 
strikes away that which is darted at him. As they 
grow in years they become more dexterous and coura- 
geous; and then they will stand a fair mark to any 
one that will shoot arrows at them, which they will 
put by with a very small stick no bigger than the rod 


of a fowling-piece; and when they are grown to be 
men they will guard themselves from arrows though 
they come very thick at them, provided they do not 
happen to come two at once. They have extraordinary 
good eyes, and will descry a sail at sea, and see any- 
thing, better than we. Their chiefest employment in 
their own country is to strike fish, turtle, or manatee. 
For this they are esteemed and coveted by all privateers, 
for one or two of them in a ship will maintain one 
hundred men; so that when we careen our ships we 
choose commonly such places where there is plenty of 
turtle or manatee for these Mosquito-men to strike, and 
it is very rare to find a privateer destitute of one or 
more of them, when the commander and most of the 
crew are English ; but they do not love the French, 
and the Spaniards they hate mortally. 

"They are tall, well-made, raw-boned, lusty, strong, 
and nimble of foot, long-visaged, lank black hair, look 
stern, hard-favoured, and of a dark copper complexion. 
When they come among the privateers they get the use 
of fire-arms, and are very good marksmen. They 
behave themselves very bold in fight, and never seem 
to flinch nor hang back ; for they think that the white 
men with whom they are know better than they do 
when it is best to fight, and, let the disadvantage of 
their party be never so great, they will never yield nor 
give back while any of their party stand. I could 
never perceive any religion nor any ceremonies or su- 
perstitious observations among them, being ready to 

(829) 20 


imitate us in whatsoever they saw us do at any time. 
Only, they seem to fear the devil, whom they call 
Willesaw ; and they say he often appears to some 
among them, whom our men commonly call their priests, 
when they desire to speak with him on urgent business. 
They all say they must not anger him, for then he 
will beat them ; and he sometimes carries away these 
their priests. They marry but one wife, with whom 
they live till death separates them. At their first 
coming together the man makes a very small planta- 
tion They delight to settle near the sea, or by some 

river, for the sake of striking fish, their beloved em- 
ployment ; for within land there are other Indians with 
whom they are always at war. After the man hath 
cleared a spot of land, and hath planted it, he seldom 
minds it afterwards, but leaves the managing of it to 
his wife, and he goes out a-striking. Sometimes he 
seeks only for fish, at other times for turtle or manatee, 
and whatever he gets he brings home to his wife, and 
never stirs out to seek for more till it is eaten. When 
hunger begins to bite, he either takes his canoe and 
seeks for more game at sea, or walks out into the woods 
and hunts for pecaree and waree, each a sort of wild- 
hogs, or deer, and seldom returns empty-handed, nor 
seeks any more as long as it lasts. Their plantations 
have not above twenty or thirty plantain-trees, a bed 
of yams and potatoes, a bush of pimento, and a small 
spot of pine-apples, from which they make a sort of 
drink, to which they invite each other to be merry. 


Whoever of them makes pine-drink treats his neigh- 
bours, providing fish and flesh also." 

At their drinking-matches they often quarrelled, but 
the women prevented mischief by hiding their weapons. 
The Mosquito-men were kind and civil to the English, 
who endeavoured to retain the regard of such useful 
allies. For this purpose it was necessary to let them 
have their own way in everything, and to return home 
the moment they desired it, for if contradicted there 
was an end of their services ; and though turtle and 
fish abounded, they would manage to kill nothing. 
They called themselves, as has been noticed, subjects 
of the King of England, and liked to have their chiefs 
nominated by the Governor of Jamaica, which island 
they often visited. Pity that in subsequent periods the 
fidelity and regard of this brave and ingenious tribe 
were so ill and ungratefully requited by their powerful 
and ungenerous allies. 

The buccaneers commenced their march across the 
Isthmus on the 5th April 1680, about three hundred 
and thirty strong, each man armed with a hanger, fusil, 
and pistol, and provided with four cakes of the bread 
which they called dough-boys. Their generalissimo 
was Captain Sharp ; and the men, marshalled in divi- 
sions, marched in something like military order, with 
flags and leaders. They were accompanied by those 
Indians of Darien who were the hereditary enemies 
of the Spaniards, whom they had subsidized with the 
hatchets, knives, beads, and toys, with which they pro- 


vided themselves at Porto Bello. These auxiliaries 
furnished them with plantains, venison, and fruit, in 
exchange for European commodities. The march was 
easily performed, and in nine days' journey they reached 
Santa Maria, which was taken without opposition, 
though this did not prevent the exercise of cruelty. 
The Indians cruelly and deliberately butchered many 
of the ^inhabitants. The plunder obtained falling far 
short of the expectations of the buccaneers, made them 
the more desirous to push forward. They accordingly 
embarked on the river of Santa Maria, which falls into 
the Gulf of St. Michael, in Indian canoes and pirogues, 
having previously, in their summary way, deposed 
Captain Sharp, and chosen Captain Coxon commander. 

On the same day that they reached the Bay, whither 
some of the Darien chiefs still accompanied them, they 
captured a Spanish vessel of thirty tons burden, on board 
of which a large party planted themselves, happy after 
the march, and being cramped and huddled up in the 
canoes, again to tread the deck of a ship of any size. 
At this time they divided into small parties, first 
appointing a rendezvous at the island of Chepillo, in 
the mouth of the river Cheapo. Dampier was with 
Captain Sharp, who went to the Pearl Islands in search 
of provisions. 

In a few days the buccaneers mustered for the attack 
of Panama, and on the 23rd April did battle for the 
whole day with three Spanish ships in the road, of 
which two were captured by boarding, while the third 


got off. The action was fierce and sanguinary : of the 
buccaneers, eighteen men were killed and thirty 
wounded. The resistance was vigorous and brave, and 
the Spanish commander with many of his people fell 
before the action terminated. Even after this victory 
the buccaneers did not consider themselves strong 
enough to attack the new city of Panama, but they 
continued to cruise in the Bay, making valuable prizes. 
In the action with the Spanish ships Captain Sawkins 
had greatly distinguished himself by courage and con- 
duct ; and a quarrel breaking out among the buccaneers, 
while Coxon returned to the North Sea, he was chosen 
commander. He had not many days enjoyed this office, 
when, in an attack on Puebla Nueva, he was killed 
leading on his men to the assault of a breast-work ; and 
on his death Sharp, the second in command, showing 
faint heart, the buccaneers retreated. New discontents 
broke out, and the party once more divided, not being 
able to agree in the choice of a leader ; of those who 
remained in the South Sea, among whom was Dampier, 
Sharp was chosen commander. For some months he 
cruised off the coast of Peru, occasionally landing to 
pillage small towns and villages; and on Christmas-day 
anchored in a harbour of the Island of Juan Fernandez 
to rest and refit. Here they obtained abundance of cray- 
fish, lobsters, and wild -goats, which were numerous. 

Sharp, who had always been unpopular, was once 
more formally deposed, and Captain Watling elected in 
his stead. 


Having enjoyed themselves till the 12th of January, 
the buccaneers were alarmed by the appearance of three 
vessels, which they concluded to be Spanish ships of 
war in pursuit of them. They put off to sea in all 
haste, in the hurry leaving one of their Mosquito Indians 
named William upon the island. 

They again cruised along the coast, and the attack of 
the Spanish settlements by hasty descent was resumed. 
In attempting to capture Arica, Captain Watling was 
killed, and the buccaneers were repulsed, having had 
a narrow escape from being all made prisoners. For 
want of any more competent leader, Sharp was once 
more raised to the command; and the South Sea had so 
greatly disappointed their hopes, that it was now agreed 
to return eastward by recrossing the Isthmus. But 
another quarrel broke out: one party would not con- 
tinue under Sharp, and another wished to try their 
fortunes further on the South Sea. It was therefore 
agreed that the majority should retain the ship, the 
other party taking the long-boat and canoes. Sharp's 
party proved the more numerous. They cruised in the 
South Sea, off the coast of Patagonia and Chili, for the 
remainder of the season of 1681, and early in the 
following year returned to the West Indies by doubling 
Cape Horn, but durst not land at any of the English 
settlements. Sharp, soon afterwards going home, was 
tried in England with several of his men for piracy, but 
escaped conviction. 

In the minority which broke off from Sharp was 


William Dampier, who appears at this time to have 
been little distinguished among his companions. The 
party consisted of forty-four Europeans and two Mos- 
quito Indians. Their object was to recross the Isthmus, 
an undertaking of no small difficulty, from the 
nature of the country and the hostility of the Spaniards. 
Before they left the ship they sifted a large quantity of 
flour, prepared chocolate with sugar, as provision, and 
entered into a mutual engagement, that if any man sank 
on the journey he should be shot by his comrades, as 
but one man falling into the hands of the Spaniards 
must betray the others to certain destruction. In a 
fortnight after leaving the ship near the island of Plata, 
they landed at the mouth of a river in the Bay of St. 
Michael, where, taking out all their provisions, arms, 
and clothing, they sank their boat. While they spent 
a few hours in preparing for the inland march, the 
Mosquito-men caught fish, which afforded one plentiful 
meal to the whole party ; after which they commenced 
their journey late in the afternoon of the 1st of May. 
At night they constructed huts in which they slept. 
On the 2nd they struck into an Indian path, and 
reached an Indian village, where they obtained refresh- 
ments ; but were uneasy on understanding the closeness 
of their vicinity to the Spaniards, who had placed ships 
at the mouths of the navigable rivers to look out for 
them, and intercept their return eastward. Next day, 
with a hired Indian guide, they proceeded, and reached 
the dwelling of a native, who received them with 


sullen churlishness, which in ordinary times the bucca- 
neers would ill have brooked; "though this," says 
Dampier, "was neither a time nor place to be angry 
with the Indians, all our lives lying at their hands." 
Neither the temptation of dollars, hatchets, nor long- 
knives, would operate on this intractable Indian, till 
one of the seamen, taking a sky-coloured petticoat from 
his bag, threw it over the lady of the house, who was 
so much delighted with the gift that she soon wheedled 
her husband into better humour, and he now not only 
gave them information, but found them a guide. It 
rained hard and frequently on both days, but they 
were still too near the Spanish garrisons and guard- 
ships to mind the weather or to dally by the way. The 
country was found difficult and fatiguing, without any 
trace of a path, the Indians guiding themselves by the 
rivers, which they were sometimes compelled to cross 
twenty or thirty times in a day. Rainy weather, hard- 
ship, and hunger soon expelled all fear of the Span- 
iards, who were, besides, not likely to follow their foes 
into these intricate solitudes. 

On the 5th they reached the dwelling of a young 
Spanish Indian, a civilized person, who had lived with 
the Bishop of Panama, and spoke the Spanish language 
fluently. He received them kindly, and though unable 
to provide for the wants of so many men, freely gave 
what he had. At this place they rested to dry their 
clothes and ammunition, and to clean their fire-arms. 
While thus employed, Mr. Wafer, the surgeon of the 


buccaneers, who had been among the malcontents, had 
his knee so much scorched by an accidental explosion 
of gunpowder, that, after dragging himself forward 
during another day, he was forced to remain behind his 
companions, together with one or two more who had 
been exhausted by the march. Among the Indians of 
the Darien, Wafer remained for three months, and he 
has left an account which is considered the best we 
yet possess of those tribes. 

The march was continued in very bad weather, this 
being the commencement of the rainy season, and 
thunder and lightning frequent and violent. As the 
bottoms of the valleys and the river-banks were now 
overflowed, instead of constructing huts every night for 
their repose, the travellers were often obliged to seek 
for a resting-place, and to sleep under trees. To add to 
their hardships their slaves deserted, carrying off what- 
ever they could lay their hands upon. 

Before leaving the ship, foreseeing the difficulties of 
the journey, and the necessity of perpetually fording the 
rivers, Dampier had taken the precaution to deposit his 
journal in a bamboo closed at both ends with wax. 
In this way his papers were secured from wet, while 
the journalist frequently swam across the rivers which 
so greatly impeded the progress of the march. In cross- 
ing a river, where the current ran very strong, one 
man, who carried his fortune of three hundred dollars 
on his back, was swept down the stream and drowned ; 
and so worn out were his comrades that, fond as they 


were of gold, they would not at this time take the 
trouble to look for or burden themselves with his. 

It was the eighteenth day of the march before the 
buccaneers reached the river Conception, where they 
obtained Indian canoes, in which they proceeded to La 
Sound's Key, one of the Samballas Islands, which were 
much frequented by buccaneers. Here they entered a 
French privateer, commanded by Captain Tristian ; 
and, with better faith than buccaneers usually displayed, 
generously rewarded their Indian guides with money, 
toys, and hatchets, and dismissed them. The bucca- 
neers of this time were somewhat less ferocious in man- 
ners than those under Morgan and Lolonnois, though it 
never entered into their thoughts that there could be 
any wrong in robbing the Spaniards. Sawkins and 
Watling maintained stricter discipline than had been 
customary in former periods, approximating their dis- 
cipline and regulations to those of privateers or ships of 
war. They even made the Sabbath be observed with out- 
ward signs of respect. On one occasion when Sawkins's 
men, who like all buccaneers were inveterate gamblers, 
played on Sunday, the captain flung the dice overboard. 

In two days after Dampier and his friends had gone 
on board the French vessel, it left La Sound's for 
Springer's Key, another of the Samballas Islands, where 
eight buccaneer vessels then lay, of which the companies 
had formed the design of crossing to Panama. From 
this expedition they were, however, diverted by the 
dismal report of the newly-arrived travellers ; and the 


assault of other places was taken into consideration. 
From Trinidad to Vera Cruz the buccaneers had now 
an intimate knowledge of every town upon the coast, 
and for twenty leagues into the interior ; and acquaint- 
ance with the strength and wealth of each, and with 
the number and quality of the inhabitants. The 
preliminary consultations now held lasted for a week, 
the French and English not agreeing ; but at last they 
sailed for Carpenter River, going first towards the 
Isle of St. Andreas. In a gale the ships were separated ; 
and Dampier being left with a French captain, con- 
ceived such a dislike to his shipmates that he, and his 
fellow-travellers in crossing the Isthmus, induced a 
countryman of their own, named Captain Wright, to fit 
up and arm a small vessel, with which they cruised 
about the coast in search of provisions, still, however, 
keeping their jackals, the Mosquito-men, who caught 
turtle while the buccaneers hunted in the woods for 
peccaries, waree, deer, quaums, parrots, pigeons, and 
curassow birds, and also monkeys, which in times of 
hardship they esteemed a delicate morsel. At one 
place several of the men were suddenly taken ill from 
eating land-crabs which had fed upon the fruit of the 
manchineel-tree. All animals that fed on this fruit 
were avoided by the freebooters as unwholesome, if not 
poisonous. In selecting unknown wild-fruits the buc- 
caneers were guided by the birds, freely eating whatever 
kind had been pecked, but no bird touched the fruit of 
the manchineel. 


On returning to La Sound's Key from this cruise, 
they were joined by Mr. Wafer.' He had been for three 
months kindly entertained by an Indian chief, who had 
offered him his daughter in marriage, and grudged him 
nothing save the liberty of going away. From this 
kind but exacting chief he escaped under pretence of 
going in search of English dogs to be employed in 
hunting, the Indian being aware of the superiority 
which dogs gave the Spaniards in the chase. Mr. Wafer 
had been painted by the women of the Darien, and his 
own clothes being worn out, he was now dressed, or 
rather undressed, like the natives; whom, under this 
disguise, he resembled so much that it was some time 
before Dampier recognized his old acquaintance the 

From the Samballas they cruised towards Carthagena, 
which they passed, having a fair view of the city, and 
casting longing eyes upon the rich monastery on the 
steep hill rising behind it. This monastery, dedicated 
to the Virgin, is, says Dampier, " a place of incredible 
wealth, by reason of the offerings made here continually; 
and for this reason often in danger of being visited by 
the privateers, did not the neighbourhood of Carthagena 
keep them in awe. 'Tis, in short, the very Loretto of 
the West Indies, and hath innumerable miracles related 
of it. Any misfortune that befalls the privateers is 
attributed to this Lady's doing; and the Spaniards 
report that she was abroad that night the Oxford man- 
of-war was blown up at the isle of Vaca, and that she 


came home all wet; as belike she often returns with 
her clothes dirty and torn with passing through woods 
and bad ways when she has been upon an expedition, 
deserving doubtless a new suit for such eminent pieces 
of service." 

The company of Captain Wright pillaged several 
small places about Rio de la Hacha and the Rancheries, 
which was the head-quarters of a small Spanish pearl- 
fishery. The pearl-banks lay about four or five leagues 
off the shore. In prosecuting this fishery, the Indian 
divers, first anchoring their boats, dived, and brought 
up full the baskets previously let down; and when 
their barks were filled, they went ashore, and the 
oysters were opened by the old men, women, and 
children, under the inspection of a Spanish over- 

In a short time afterwards the buccaneers captured, 
after a smart engagement, an armed ship of twelve 
guns and forty men, laden with sugar, tobacco, and 
marmalade, bound to Carthagena from St. Jago in 
Cuba. From the disposal of this cargo, some insight 
is afforded into the mysteries of buccaneering. It was 
offered first to the Dutch governor of Cura^oa, who 
having, as he said, a great trade with the Spaniards, 
could not openly admit the freebooters to this island, 
though he directed them to go to St. Thomas, which 
belonged to the Danes, whither he would send a sloop 
with such commodities as the buccaneers required, and 
take the sugar off their hands. The rovers, however, 


declined the terms offered by the cautious Dutchman, 
and sailed from St. Thomas to another Dutch colony, 
where they found a better merchant. From hence they 
sailed for the isle of Aves, which, as its name imports, 
abounded in birds, especially boobies and men-of-war 
birds. The latter bird was about the size of a kite, 
black, with a red throat. It lives on fish, yet never 
lights in the water, but soaring aloft like the kite, 
"when it sees its prey, darts down, snatches it, and 
mounts, never once touching the water." 

On a coral reef off the south side of this island the 
Count d'Estre'es had shortly before lost the French 
fleet. Firing guns in the darkness to warn the ships 
that followed him to avoid the danger on which he 
had run, they imagined that he was engaged with the 
enemy, and crowding all sail ran upon destruction. 
The ships held together next day, till part of the men 
got on shore, though many perished in the wreck. 
Dampier relates that those of the ordinary seamen who 
got to land died of fatigue and famine, while those who 
had been buccaneers and were wrecked here, "being 
used to such accidents, lived merrily, and if they had 
gone to Jamaica with 30 in their pockets, could not 
have enjoyed themselves more ; for they kept a gang 
by themselves, and watched when the ships broke up 
to get the goods that came out of them ; and though 
much was staved against the rocks, yet abundance of 
wine and brandy floated over the reef, where they 
waited to take it up." The following anecdote of the 


wrecked crew is horribly striking: " There were about 
forty Frenchmen on board one of the ships, in which 
was good store of liquor, till the after-part of her broke, 
and floated over the reef, and was carried away to sea, 
with all the men drinking and singing, who, being in 
drink, did not mind the danger, but were never heard 
of afterwards." 

In a short time after, this island was the scene of a 
clever buccaneering trick, which Dampier relates with 
some glee. The wreck of the French fleet had left 
Aves Island a perfect arsenal of masts, yards, timbers, 
and so forth, and hither the buccaneers repaired to 
careen and refit their ships, and among others Captain 
Pain, a Frenchman. A Dutch vessel of twenty guns, 
despatched from Cura9oa to fish up the guns lost on 
the reef, descried the privateer, which she resolved to 
capture before engaging in the business of her voyage. 
The Frenchman abandoned his ship, which he saw no 
chance of preserving, but brought ashore some of his 
guns, and resolved to defend himself as long as possible. 
While his men were landing the guns, he perceived at 
a distance a Dutch sloop entering the road, and at 
evening found her at anchor at the west end of the 
island. During the night, with two canoes, he boarded 
and took this sloop, found considerable booty, and 
made off with her, leaving his empty vessel as a prize 
to the Dutch man-of-war. 

At this island Dampier's party remained for some 
time, careened the largest ship, scrubbed a sugar-prize 

(829) 21 


formerly taken, and recovered two guns of the wreck 
of D'Estrdes' fleet. They afterwards went to the Isles 
of Rocas, where they fell in with a French ship of 
thirty -six guns, which bought ten tons of their sugar. 
The captain of this vessel was a Knight of Malta. To 
Dampier both he and his lieutenant were particularly 
attentive and kind, and oifered him every encourage- 
ment to enter the French navy. This he declined from 
feelings of patriotism. 

Here he saw, besides men-of-war birds, boobies, and 
noddies, numbers of the tropic-bird. It was as big as 
a pigeon, and round and plump as a partridge, all 
white, save two or three light-gray feathers in the 
wing. One long feather or quill, about seven inches in 
length, growing out of the rump, is all the tail these 
birds have. They are never seen far without the tropics, 
but are met with at a great distance from land. After 
taking in what water could be obtained, they left 
Rocas and went to Salt Tortuga, so called to distinguish 
it from Dry Tortuga near Cape Florida, and from the 
Tortuga of the first buccaneers, near Hispaniola, which 
place was now, however, better known as Petit Guaves. 
They expected to sell the remainder of their sugar to 
the English vessels which came here for salt ; but not 
succeeding, they sailed for Blanco, an island north of 
Margarita, and thirty leagues from the Main. It was 
an uninhabited island, flat and low, being mostly 
savanna, with a few wooded spots, in which flourished 
the lignum vitce. Iguanas, or guanoes, as they were 


commonly called in the West Indies, abounded on 
Blanco. They resembled the lizard species, but were 
bigger, about the size of the small of a man's leg. 
From the hind quarter the tail tapers to a point. If 
seized by the tail near the extremity, it broke off at a 
joint, and the animal escaped. They are amphibious crea- 
tures. Both their eggs and flesh were highly esteemed 
by the buccaneers, who made soup of the latter for their 
sick. There were many species found here, living on 
land or water, in the swamps, among bushes, or on trees. 
Green-turtle frequented this island in numbers. 

From Blanco they returned to Salt Tortuga, and 
went from thence, after four days, to the coast of the 
Caraccas on the Main. 

While cruising on this coast, they landed in some of 
the bays, and took seven or eight tons of cocoa, and 
afterwards three barks, one laden with hides, another 
with brandy and earthen ware, and a third with European 
goods. With these prizes they returned to the Rocas to 
divide the spoil; after which Dampier, and other nineteen 
out of a company of sixty, took one of the captured vessels, 
and with their share of the plunder held their course 
direct for Virginia, which was reached in July 1682. 

Of the thirteen months which our navigator spent in 
Virginia he has left no record ; but from another portion 
of his memoirs it may be gathered that he suffered from 
sickness during most of the time. His disease was not 
more singular than was the mode of cure practised by 
a negro Esculapius, whose appropriate fee was a white 


cock. The disease was what is called the Guinea- 
worm. " These worms," says Dampier, " are no bigger 
than a large brown thread, but (as I have heard) five 
or six yards long, and if it break in drawing out, that 
part which remains in the flesh will putrify, and en- 
danger the patient's life, and be very painful. I was 
in great torment before it came out. My leg and 
ankle swelled, and looked very red and angry, and I 
kept a plaster to it to bring it to a head. Drawing oft 
my plaster, out came about three inches of the worm, 
and my pain abated presently. Till then I was ig- 
norant of my malady, and the gentlewoman at whose 
house I lodged took it (the worm) for a nerve, but I 
knew well enough what it was, and presently rolled it 
upon a small stick. After that I opened it every 
morning and evening, and strained it out gently, about 
two inches at a time, not without pain." The negro 
doctor first stroked the place affected; then applied 
some rough powder to it, like tobacco-leaves crumbled ; 
next muttered a spell ; blew upon the part three times ; 
waved his hands as often, and said that in three days 
it would be well. It proved so, and the stipulated fee 
of the white cock was gladly paid. 

The next adventure of Dampier was the circumnavi- 
gation of the globe a voyage and ramble extending 
to about eight years, which, in point of interest and 
variety, has never yet been surpassed. To it we 
dedicate the following chapter. 



AMONG the companions of Dampier in his journey 
across the Isthmus, and in his subsequent cruise, was 
Mr. John Cook, a Creole, born in St. Christopher's, and 
a man of good capacity. He had acted as quarter- 
master, or second in command, under Captain Yanky, 
a French flibustier, who at this time held a commission 
as a privateer. By the ordinary laws of the buccaneers, 
when a prize fit for a piratical cruise was taken, the 
second in command was promoted to it ; and in virtue 
of this title Cook obtained an excellent Spanish ship. 
At this, however, the French commanders were secretly 
discontented, and on the first opportunity they seized 
the ship, plundered the crew, who were Englishmen, of 
their arms and goods, and turned them ashore. The 
French captain, Tristian, either took compassion on 
some of the number, or hoped to find them serviceable, 
for he carried eight or ten of them with him to Petit 
Guaves, among whom were Cook and Davis. They 
had not lain long here when Captain Tristian and part 
of his men being one day on shore, the English party, 


in revenge of the late spoliation, overmastered the rest 
of the crew, took the ship, and sending the Frenchmen 
ashore, sailed for Isle a la Vache, where they picked up 
a straggling crew of English buccaneers, and before 
they could be overtaken, sailed for Virginia, where 
Dampier now was, taking two prizes by the way, one 
of which was a French ship laden with wine. Having 
thus dexterously swindled Tristian out of his ship, 
which might, however, be considered as but a fair act 
of reprisal, and having afterwards committed open 
piracy on the French commerce, the West Indies was 
no longer a safe latitude for these English buccaneers. 
The wines were therefore sold with the other goods, 
and two of the ships; and the largest prize, which 
carried eighteen guns, was new-named the Revenge, and 
equipped and provisioned for a long voyage. Among 
her crew of seventy men were almost all the late 
fellow-travellers across the Isthmus, including William 
Dampier, Lionel Wafer the surgeon, Ambrose Cowley, 
who has left an account of the voyage, and the com- 
mander, Captain John Cook. Before embarking on this 
new piratical expedition, they all subscribed certain 
rules for maintaining discipline and due subordination, 
and for the observance of sobriety on their long voyage. 
They sailed from the Chesapeake on the 23rd August 
1683, captured a Dutch vessel, in which they found six 
casks of wine and a quantity of provisions, and near 
the Cape de Verd Islands encountered a storm which 
raged for a week, "drenching them all like so many 


drowned rats." After this gale they had the winds 
and weather both favourable, and anchored at the Isle 
of Sal, one of the Cape de Verd group, so named from 
its numerous salt-ponds. 

A Portuguese at this place, by affecting the mystery 
which gives so much zest to clandestine bargains, pre- 
vailed with one of the buccaneers to purchase from him 
a lump of what he called ambergris, which Dampier 
believed to be spurious. Of the genuine substance 
Dampier relates that he was once shown a piece which 
had been broken off a lump weighing one hundred 
pounds, found in a sandy bay of an island in the Bay 
of Honduras. It was found by a person of credit, a 
Mr. Barker of London, lying dry above high-water 
mark, and in it a multitude of beetles. It was of a 
dusky black colour, the consistence of mellow ordinary 
cheese, and of a very fragrant scent. 

At the Isle of Sal, Dampier first saw the flamingo. 
It was in shape like the heron, but larger, and of a red 
colour. The flamingoes kept together in large flocks, 
and standing side by side by the ponds at which they 
fed, looked at a distance like a new brick wall. Their 
flesh was lean and black, but not unsavoury nor fishy- 
tasted. A knob of fat at the root of the tongue "makes 
a dish of flamingoes' tongues fit for a prince's table." 

From this island they went to St. Nicholas, where 
the governor and his attendants, though not quite so 
tattered as those seen at the Isle of Sal, were not very 
splendidly equipped. Here they dug wells, watered 


the ship, scrubbed its bottom, and went to Mayo to 
obtain provisions, but were not suffered to land, as, 
about a week before, Captain Bond, a pirate of Bristol, 
had entrapped the governor and some of his people, 
and carried them away. 

From the Cape de Verd Isles the Revenge intended 
to keep a direct course to the Strait of Magellan ; but 
by adverse weather was compelled to steer for the 
Guinea coast, which was made in November, near 
Sierra Leone. They anchored in the mouth of the 
river Sherborough, near a large Danish ship, which 
they afterwards took by stratagem. While in sight of 
the Dane, which felt no alarm at the appearance of a 
ship of the size of the Revenge, most of the buccaneer 
crew remained under deck, no more of the hands ap- 
pearing above than were necessary to manage the sails. 
Their bold design was to board the ship without dis- 
covering any sign of their intention, and the Revenge 
advanced closely, still wearing the semblance of a 
weakly-manned merchant-vessel. When quite close, 
Captain Cook in a loud voice commanded the helm to 
be put one way, while by previous orders and a pre- 
concerted plan the steersman shifted it into a quite 
opposite direction; and the Revenge, as if by accident, 
suddenly fell on board the Dane, which by this dexter- 
ous manoeuvre was captured with only the loss of five 
men, though a ship of double their whole force. She 
carried thirty-six guns, and was equipped and vic- 
tualled for a long voyage. 


This fine vessel was, by the exulting buccaneers, 
named the Bachelors Delight, and they immediately 
burned the Revenge, that she "might tell no tales," 
sent their prisoners on shore, and steered for Magellan 

On the voyage to the Strait, the Bachelors Delight 
encountered frequent tornadoes, accompanied by thunder, 
lightning, and rain. Many of the men were seized 
with fever, and one man died. Having little fresh 
animal food of any kind, they caught sharks during 
the calms between the gusts of the tornadoes, which 
they prepared by first boiling and afterwards stewing 
them with pepper and vinegar. About the middle of 
January they lost one of the surgeons, who was greatly 
lamented, as there now remained but one for the long 
voyage which was meditated. On the 28th they made 
John Davis's Southern Islands, or the Falkland Isles, 
then, however, more generally known as the Sebald de 
Weert Islands. 

In the course of their voyage, Dampier, who pos- 
sessed more geographical and nautical knowledge than 
his companions, had been persuading Captain Cook to 
stop here to water, and afterwards to prosecute the 
voyage to Juan Fernandez by doubling Cape Horn, 
avoiding the Strait altogether, which, he judiciously 
says, " I knew would prove very dangerous to us, the 
rather because our men being privateers, and so more 
wilful and less under command, would not be so ready 
to give a watchful attendance in a passage so little 


known. For although these men were more under 
command than I had ever seen any privateers, yet I 
could not expect to find them at a moment's call, on 
coming to an anchor, or weighing anchor." The Falk- 
land Islands are described by Dampier as rocky and 
barren, without trees, and having only some bushes 
upon them. Shoals of small lobsters, which coloured 
the sea red in spots for a, mile round, were seen here. 
They were only of the size of the tip of a man's little 
finger, yet perfect in shape, and naturally of the colour 
that other lobsters assume after they are boiled. 

The advice of Dampier was not taken ; but westerly 
winds prevented Cook from making the entrance of 
the Strait, and on the 6th February they fell in with 
the Strait of Le Maire, high land on both sides, and 
the passage very narrow. They ran in for four miles, 
when a strong tide setting in northward " made such 
a short cockling sea," which ran every way, as if in a 
place where two opposing tides meet; sometimes break- 
ing over the poop, sometimes over the waist and the 
bow, and tossing the Bachelors Delight " like an egg- 

In the same evening they had a breeze from west- 
uorth-west, bore away eastward, and having the wind 
fresh all night, passed the east end of Staten Island next 
day. Our navigator, on the 7th at noon, found the lati- 
tude to be 54 52' S., and the same night they lost sight 
of Tierra del Fuego, and saw no other land till they 
entered the South Sea. In doubling Cape Horn they 


were so fortunate as to catch twenty -three barrels of 
rain-water, besides an abundant supply for present 

On the 3rd March they entered the South Sea with 
a fair fresh breeze, which from the south had shifted to 
the eastward. On the 9th they were in latitude 47 
10', and on the 17th in latitude 36, still bearing for 
Juan Fernandez. On the 19th a strange sail was seen 
to the southward, bearing full upon them, which was 
mistaken for a Spaniard, but proved to be the Nicholas 
of London, commanded by Captain Eaton, fitted out as 
a trader, but in reality a buccaneer ship. Captain 
Eaton came on board the Bachelors Delight, related his 
adventures, and, like a true brother, gave the company 
water, while they spared him a supply of bread and 
beef. Together they now steered for Juan Fernandez, 
and on the 23rd anchored in a bay at the south end of 
the island, in twenty -five fathoms water. From Eaton 
they had heard of another London vessel, the Cygnet, 
commanded by Captain Swan, which was really a trader, 
and held a license from the then Lord High Admiral of 
England, the Duke of York, afterwards James II. With 
this ship the Nicholas had entered the South Sea, but 
they had been separated in a gale. 

It may be remembered that when Captain Watling 
and his company escaped from Juan Fernandez three 
years before, they had left a Mosquito Indian on the 
island, who was out hunting goats when the alarm 
came. This Mosquito man, named William, was the 


first and the true Robinson Crusoe, the original hermit 
of this romantic solitude. Immediately on approaching 
the island, Dampier and a few of William's old friends, 
together with a Mosquito-man named Robin, put off for 
the shore, where they soon perceived William standing 
ready to give them welcome. From the heights he 
had seen the ships on the preceding day, arid, knowing 
them to be English vessels by the way they were 
worked, he had killed three goats, and dressed them 
with cabbage of the cabbage-tree, to have a feast ready 
on the arrival of the ships. How great was his de- 
light, as the boat neared the shore, when Robin leaped 
to the land, and running up to him, fell flat on his 
face at his feet. William raised up his countryman, 
embraced him, and in turn prostrated himself at 
Robin's feet, who lifted him up, and they renewed 
their embraces. " We stood with pleasure," says Dam- 
pier, " to behold the surprise, tenderness, and solemnity 
of their interview, which was exceedingly affecting 
on both sides; and when these their ceremonies of 
civility were over, we also that stood gazing at them 
drew near, each of us embracing him we had found 
here, who was overjoyed to see so many of his old 
friends, come hither, as he thought, purposely to fetch 

At the time William was abandoned, he had with 
him in the woods his gun and knife, and a small 
quantity of powder and shot. As soon as his ammuni- 
tion was expended, by notching his knife into a saw 


he cut up the barrel of his gun into pieces, which he 
converted into harpoons, lances, and a long knife. To 
accomplish this he struck fire with his gun-flint and a 
piece of the barrel of his gun, which he hardened for 
this purpose in a way he had seen practised by the 
buccaneers. In this fire he heated his pieces of iron, 
hammered them out with stones, sawed them with his 
jagged knife, or ground them to an edge, and tempered 
them ; " which was no more than these Mosquito-men 
were accustomed to do in their own country, where 
they make their own fishing and striking instruments 
without either forge or anvil, though they spend a 
great deal of time about them." Thus furnished, 
William supplied himself with goat's flesh and fish, 
though, till his instruments were formed, he had been 
compelled to eat seal. He built his house about a half- 
mile from the shore, and lined it snugly with goat- 
skins, with which he also spread his couch or barbecue, 
which was raised two feet from the floor. As his 
clothes wore out he supplied this want also with goat- 
skins, and, when first seen, he wore nothing save a 
goat's skin about his waist. Though the Spaniards, 
who had learned that a Mosquito-man was left here, 
had looked for William several times, he had always, 
by retiring to a secret place, contrived to elude their 

The island of Juan Fernandez was hilly, and inter- 
sected by small pleasant valleys ; the mountains were 
partly savanna and partly woodland; the grass of 


the flat places being delicate and kindly, of a short 
thick growth, unlike the coarse sedgy grass of the 
savannas of the West Indies. The cabbage-tree was 
found here, and well-grown timber of different kinds, 
though none that was fit for masts. There were in 
the island two bays, both at the east end, where ships 
might anchor, and into each of them flowed a rivulet 
of good water. Water was also found in every valley. 
Goats, which according to Dampier were originally 
brought to the island by the discoverer, were now 
found in large flocks, and seals swarmed about the 
island " as if they had no other place in the world to 
live in, every bay and rock being full of them." Sea- 
lions were also numerous, and different kinds of fish 
were found. The seals were of different colours 
black, gray, and dun with a fine thick short fur. 
Millions of them were seen sitting in the bays, going 
or coming into the sea, or, as they lay at the top of the 
waves, sporting and sunning themselves, covering the 
water for a mile or two from the shore. When they 
come out of the sea "they bleat like sheep for their young; 
and though they pass through hundreds of others' 
young, yet they will not suffer any of them to suck." 
The sea-lion is shaped like a seal, but is six times as 
big, with " great goggle eyes," and teeth three inches 
long, of which the buccaneers sometimes made dice. 

The buccaneers remained for sixteen days at this 
island getting in provisions, and for the recovery of the 
sick and those affected with scurvy, who were placed 


on shore, and fed with vegetables and fresh goat's 
flesh, which regimen was found beneficial. On the 
8th April they sailed for the American coast, which 
they approached in 24 S. ; but stood off at the distance 
of fourteen or fifteen leagues, that they might not be 
observed from the high grounds by the Spaniards. 

The nautical and geographical observations of Dam- 
pier in this tract of the Pacific are important. The 
land from the 24th to the 10th degree south was of 
prodigious height. " It lies generally in ridges parallel 
to the shore, and three or four ridges, one within an- 
other, each surpassing the other in height ; those that 
are farthest within land being much higher than the 
others. They always appear blue when seen at sea." 
To the excessive height of the mountain-ridges Dampier 
imputes the want of rivers in this region. 

The first capture of the buccaneers, made on the 3rd 
of May, was a Spanish ship bound for Lima, laden with 
timber from Guayaquil ; from which they learned that 
it was known in the settlements that pirates were on 
the coast. 

On the 9th they anchored at the Isle of Lobos de 
la Mar with their prize. Lobos de la Mar is properly 
a cluster of small islets, divided by narrow channels. 
They are sandy and barren, destitute of water, and 
frequented by sea-fowl, penguins, and a small black 
fowl that our navigator never saw save here and at 
Juan Fernandez, which made holes in the sand for a 
night-habitation. This black fowl made good meat. 

(829) 22 


At this place the ships were scrubbed, and the prisoners 
rigidly examined, that from their information the voy- 
agers might guide their future proceedings. Truxillo 
was the town at last fixed upon for making a descent. 
The companies of both ships were mustered, for Eaton 
and Cook had now agreed to hunt in couples, and the 
arms were proved. The men amounted to one hundred 
and eight fit to bear arms, besides the sick. Before 
they sailed on this expedition, three ships were seen 
steering northward. Cook stood after one of them, 
which made for the land, and Eaton pursued the other 
two to sea, and captured them on the same day. They 
contained cargoes of flour from Lima for the city of 
Panama, whither they carried intelligence, from the 
governor, of the formidable buccaneer force which now 
threatened the coast. One of the ships carried eight 
tons of quince-marmalade. The buccaneers were deeply 
mortified to learn that they had narrowly missed a 
prize containing eight hundred thousand pieces of eight, 
which had been landed at an intermediate port, upon a 
rumour that English ships were cruising off the coast 
of Peru. 

The design against Truxillo was now abandoned, as 
they learned that it had lately been fortified, and a 
Spanish garrison established for its defence; and on 
the evening of the 19th they sailed with their flour- 
prizes for the Galapagos Islands, which they descried 
on the 31st, " some appearing on the lee-bow, some on 
the weather-bow, and others right ahead." The Gala- 


pagos Islands were still very little known at the time 
the buccaneers made this visit. They lie under the 
equator, are numerous, and were uninhabited, and 
abounded in iguanas and large land-turtle ; otherwise 
they are rocky and barren, and mostly destitute of water, 
though in some of them this article, so essential to the 
mariner, was found of excellent quality both in brooks 
and ponds. Several of the isles are seven or eight 
leagues long, and from three to four broad, and partially 
wooded. Land-turtle were found, here in such multi- 
tudes that Dampier says "five hundred or six hundred 
men might subsist on them for several months without 
any other sort of provision." Some of them weighed 
from one hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds, 
and were two feet or two feet six inches over the 
calipee, and sweet as a young pullet. The islands 
also abounded in sea-turtle, the creeks and shallows 
being filled with the turtle-grass on which the green- 
turtle feed. The sea-turtle were of four kinds the 
green-turtle, the loggerhead, the trunk-turtle, and the 
hawksbill; on the back of this last species is found 
the shell so much valued in commerce. The largest of 
them afforded about three pounds and a half of this 

At the Galapagos Isles the buccaneers remained for 
ten days, and deposited a store of their prize-flour 
against future necessity. Salt was found here, pigeons 
abounded, the sea teemed with fish, and the leaves of 
the mammee-tree furnished them with vegetables ; so 


that the Galapagos were in all respects well adapted 
for a buccaneer station. 

By the advice of an Indian, one of their prisoners, 
the buccaneers were induced to visit Ria Lexa, his 
native place, where he promised them a rich harvest in 

At Juan Fernandez, Captain Cook had been taken 
ill ; he now died somewhat suddenly as they stood off 
Cape Blanco, and, as a mark of respect, was buried on 
shore. While his men were digging the grave they 
were seen by three Spanish Indians, who held aloof, 
but asked them many questions ; " and one man," says 
Dampier, "did not stick to sooth them up with as 
many falsehoods, purposely to draw them into our 
clutches; and at length drilled them by discourse so 
near that our men laid hold on all three at once." 
One escaped before the burial of Cook was over, and 
the other two were taken on ship-board. When ex- 
amined, notwithstanding their pretended simplicity, 
they confessed that they had been sent out as spies by 
the governor of Panama, who had received intelligence 
of the buccaneer squadron. 

The voyagers were informed by these prisoners that 
large herds of cattle were reared in this neighbourhood, 
which was welcome news to seamen who had seen no 
fresh meat since their run from the Galapagos. Two 
boats were immediately sent to the shore with an 
Indian guide to bring off cattle ; but the enterprise 
appeared dangerous, and Dampier with twelve men 


returned on board. Those who were more foolhardy, 
and who even slept on shore, found themselves next 
morning watched by forty or fifty armed Spaniards, 
and their boat burned. The cowardly Spaniards, afraid 
to come forward, still lurked in their ambush ; and one 
of the seamen on landing, having noticed an insulated 
rock which just appeared above water, they made off 
for this fortress, and holding fast by each other, and 
wading to the neck, they reached the rock, while the 
Spanish shot whistled after them. In this perilous 
condition they had remained for seven hours, the tide, 
which was at the ebb when they took refuge here, 
rising around them, and gaining on the rock so rapidly, 
that, had not help come from the ships, in another hour 
they must have been swept away. The Spaniards, 
who relished bush-fighting better than the open field, 
meanwhile lay in wait for the catastrophe ; but when 
the canoe from the English ships bore off the men, they 
offered no resistance. 

The quarter-master, Edward Davis, was now elected 
commander in the room of Captain Cook; and after 
taking in water, and cutting lancewood for handles to 
their oars, they bore away for Ria Lexa, and on the 
23rd July were opposite the harbour. The situation 
of the town is known by a high-peaked volcanic 
mountain, which rises within three leagues of the 
harbour, but may be seen at the distance of twenty 
leagues. A small flat island, about a mile long and a 
quarter of a mile broad, forms the harbour, in which 


two hundred sail can ride. It may be entered by a 
channel at each end. 

The Spaniards had here also got the start of their 
enemy. They had thrown up a breastwork on a strong 
position, and stationed sentinels to give instant alarm ; 
and the buccaneers, who wished to surprise and plunder, 
and not to fight against great odds, deemed it prudent 
to steer for the Gulf of Amapalla, an arm of the sea 
running inland eight or ten leagues, and made remark- 
able by two headlands at the entrance, Point Casivina 
on the south side, in latitude 12 40" N., and on the 
north-west Mount St. Michael. 

At a previous consultation it had been agreed that 
Captain Davis should advance first, in two canoes, and 
endeavour to seize some Indians to labour at careening 
the ships, and also a prisoner of better condition, from 
whom intelligence might be obtained. On the Island 
of Mangera the padre of a village, from which all the 
other inhabitants had fled, was caught while endeavour- 
ing to escape, and with him two Indian boys. With 
these Davis proceeded to Amapalla, where, having 
previously gained over or frightened the priest, he told 
the Indians drawn up to receive him that he and his 
company were Biscayners, sent by the King of Spain 
to clear the seas of pirates, and that his business in the 
bay of this island was only to careen his ships. On 
this assurance Davis and his men were well received, 
and they all marched together, strangers and natives, 
to church, which was the usual place of public assembly, 


whether for business or amusement. The images in 
the churches here, like those in the Bay of Campeachy, 
were painted of the Indian complexion; and the people, 
under the sway of their padres, lived in much the 
same condition as the tribes described on the banks of 
the Tobasco, cultivating maize, rearing poultry, and 
duly paying the priest his tithe. Here, too, they were 
indulged in masques and other pastimes, with abun- 
dance of music, on saints' eves and holidays. " Their 
mirth," says Dampier, " consists in singing, dancing, 
and using as many antic gestures. If the moon shine, 
they use but few torches ; if not, the church is full of 
light. They meet at these times all sorts of both 
sexes. All the Indians that I have been acquainted 
with who are under the Spaniards seem to be more 
melancholy than other Indians who are free; and at 
these public meetings, when they are in the greatest of 
their jollity, their mirth seems to be rather forced than 
real. Their songs are very melancholy and doleful ; so 
is their music." 

In attending them to the church under the guise of 
friendship, Davis intended to ensnare these unsuspect- 
ing people and make them all his prisoners, till he had 
dictated his own terms of ransom, the padre having, 
probably from compulsion, promised his aid in entrap- 
ping his flock. This hopeful project was frustrated 
by one of the buccaneers rashly and rudely pushing 
a man into the church before him. The alarm was 
given, the Indian fled, and his countrymen "sprung 


out of the church like deer." Davis and his men im- 
mediately fired, and killed a leading man among the 

The buccaneers were, however, afterwards assisted 
by several of the natives in storing the ships with 
cattle plundered from an island in the gulf belonging 
to a nunnery in some distant place ; and, from some 
feelings of remorse, on leaving this quarter Davis pre- 
sented the islanders of Amapalla with one of his prize- 
ships, and a considerable part of the cargo of flour 
which it contained. The ships here broke off consort- 
ship. The crews had quarrelled, Davis's party, in 
right of priority in marauding, claiming the larger 
share of the spoils. Eaton left the gulf on the 2nd of 
September, and Davis, with whom Dampier continued, 
on the day following, having previously set the padre 
on shore. They stood for the coast of Peru, having 
almost every day tornadoes accompanied with thunder 
and lightning, weather of this kind generally pre- 
vailing in these latitudes from June to November. 
When these gusts were over, the wind generally shifted 
to the west. Near Cape San Francisco they had settled 
weather and the wind at south. About this place they 
again fell in with Eaton, who had encountered terrible 
storms " such tornadoes as he and his men had never 
before seen; the air smelling very much of sulphur, 
and they fancying themselves in great danger of being 
burned by the lightning." Captain Eaton had touched 
at Cocos Island, where he laid up a store of flour, and 


took in water and cocoa-nuts. Cocos Island, as de- 
scribed by Eaton, is nearly surrounded by rocks ; but 
at the north-east end there is one small and secure 
harbour, a brook of fresh water flowing into it. The 
middle of the island is high, and, though destitute of 
trees, looks verdant and pleasant from the abundance 
of an herb which the Spaniards called gramadiel grow- 
ing upon the high grounds. Near the shore all round 
the island were groves of cocoas. 

At the Island of La Plata so named, according to 
Dampier, from Sir Francis Drake having divided upon 
it the plunder of the plate-ship the Cacajuego the 
buccaneers found water, though but a scanty rivulet, 
and plenty of small sea-turtle. Captain Eaton's com- 
pany would again have joined their former consorts ; 
but Dampier relates that Davis's men, his own comrades, 
were still so unreasonable that they would not consent 
to new-comers having an equal share of what they 
pillaged; so the Nicholas held southward, while the 
Bachelors Delight steered for Point Santa Elena in 
2 15' S., pretty high but flat land, naked of trees and 
overgrown with thistles. There was no fresh water on 
the Point, and this article the inhabitants brought from 
four leagues' distance, from the river Colanche, the 
innermost part of the bay. Water-melons, large and 
very sweet, were the only things cultivated on the 
Point. Pitch was the principal commodity of the 
inhabitants. It boiled out of a hole in the earth, at 
five paces above high-water mark, and was found 


plentifully at flood-tide. When first obtained it was 
like thin tar, but was boiled down to the consistence of 

Davis's men landed at Manta, a village on the main- 
land, about three leagues to the east of Cape San 
Lorenzo, where they made two old women prisoners, 
from whom they learned that many buccaneers had 
lately crossed the Isthmus from the West Indies, and 
were cruising off the coast in canoes and pirogues. 
The viceroy had taken every precaution against this 
new incursion. On all the uninhabited islands the 
goats had been destroyed ; ships were burned to save 
them from the buccaneers ; and no provisions were 
allowed to remain at any place on the coast, but such 
as might be required for the immediate supply of the 
inhabitants. Davis returned to La Plata, at a loss 
what course to take ; when, on the 2nd October, he 
was joined by the Cygnet of London, commanded by 
Captain Swan, who, ill-treated by the Spaniards, and 
disappointed of peaceful traffic, for which he had come 
prepared with an expensive cargo, had been compelled 
by his men to receive on board a party of buccaneers, 
and in self-defence to commence freebooter. Before he 
had adopted this course some of his men had been 
killed by the Spaniards at Baldivia, where he had 
attempted to open a trade. With this small buccaneer 
party, which had come by the Darien, plundering by 
the way, Swan fell in near the Gulf of Nicoya. It 
was led by Peter Harris, the nephew of a buccaneer 


commander of the same name who had been killed in 
the battle with the Spanish ships in the Bay of Panama 
three years before. Harris took command under Swan, 
in a small bark wholly manned by buccaneers. 

This was a joyful meeting of old associates ; and the 
departure of Eaton was now deeply regretted, as their 
united force might have insured success to more im- 
portant undertakings than any they had yet ventured 
to contemplate. While the ships were refitting at La 
Plata, a small bark, which Davis had taken after the 
Spaniards had set it on fire, was sent out to cruise, and 
soon brought in a prize of four hundred tons burden, 
laden with timber, and gave intelligence that the viceroy 
was fitting out a fleet of ten frigates to sweep them 
from the South Seas. Again the loss of Eaton was 
felt, and this bark was despatched to search for him on 
the coast of Lima. It went as far as the Isle of Lobos. 
Meanwhile Swan's ship, which was still full of English 
goods, was put in better fighting trim, and made fit to 
accommodate her additional crew. The supercargo sold 
his goods on credit to every buccaneer who would pur- 
chase, taking his chance of payment, and the bulky 
commodities which remained were pitched overboard, 
silks, muslins, and finer goods, and iron bars, which 
were kept for ballast, being alone retained. In lieu of 
these sacrifices, the whole buccaneers on board the 
Cygnet agreed that ten shares of all booty should be set 
aside for Swan's owners. 

The men-of-war were now scrubbed and cleaned, a 


small bark was equipped as a fire-ship ; and the vessel 
which had been cruising after Eaton not having re- 
turned, the squadron sailed without it on the 20th 
October, and on the 3rd November landed at Payta, 
which was found nearly abandoned, but left without 
"money, goods, or a meal of victuals of any kind." 
They anchored before the place, and demanded ransom 
for its safety, ordering in the meanwhile three hundred 
pecks of flour, three thousand pounds of sugar, twenty- 
five jars of wine, and one thousand of water, to be 
brought off to the ships ; but, after wasting six days, 
they obtained nothing, and in revenge burned the town. 
The road of Payta was one of the best in Peru roomy, 
and sheltered from the south-west by a point of land. 
The town had no water except what was carried thither 
from Golan, from whence the place was also supplied 
with fruits, hogs, plantains, and maize. Dampier says 
that on this coast, from about " Cape Blanco to 30 S.. 
no rain ever falls that he ever observed or heard of." 
He calls this range " the dry country." Wafer states 
that heavy nightly dews fertilize the valleys. The 
country around it was mountainous and sterile. 

From information obtained here, it was gathered 
that Captain Eaton had been before them, and had 
burned a large ship in the road, and landed all his 
prisoners. They also learned that a small vessel, 
which they concluded to be their own bark, had 
approached the harbour, and made some fishermen 
bring out water. 


Harris's small vessel being found a heavy sailer, was 
burned before leaving Payta, from which the squadron 
steered for Lobos de Tierra, and on the 14th anchored 
near the east end of the island, and took in a supply of 
seals, penguins, and boobies, of which they ate " very 
heartily, not having tasted flesh in a great while be- 
fore." To reconcile his men to what had been the best 
fare of the crews of Drake, Cavendish, and the earlier 
navigators, Captain Swan commended this food as of 
extraordinary delicacy and rarity, comparing the seals 
to roasting pigs, the boobies to pullets, and the penguins 
to ducks. On the 19th the fleet reached Lobos de la 
Mar, where a letter was found deposited at the rendez- 
vous by the bark, which was still in search of Eaton. 
It was now feared he had sailed for the East Indies, 
which turned out to be the fact. 

Here the Mosquito -men supplied the companies of 
both ships with turtle ; while the seamen laboured to 
clean and repair, and provide them with fire-wood, 
preparatory to an attempt upon Guayaquil. For this 
place they sailed on the morning of the 29th. According 
to Dampier, Guayaquil was then one of the chief ports 
of the South Seas. The commodities it exported were 
hides, tallow, cocoa, sarsaparilla, and a woollen fabric 
named Quito cloth, generally used by the common 
people throughout all Peru. The buccaneers left the 
ships anchored off Cape Blanco, and entered the bay 
with their canoes and a bark. They captured a small 
vessel laden with Quito cloth, the master of which 


informed them of a look-out being kept at Puna, which 
lay in their way, and that three vessels with negro 
slaves were then about to sail from Guayaquil. One 
of these vessels they took shortly afterwards, cut clown 
her mainmast, and left her at anchor, and next momma- 

' O 

captured the other two, though only a few negroes 
were picked out of this to them useless cargo. 

From mismanagement, and disagreement between 
the commanders and the men in the two ships, the 
expedition against Guayaquil misgave. It was ima- 
gined that the town was alarmed and prepared to 
receive them warmly ; and after having landed, lain in 
the woods all night, and made their way with consid- 
erable difficulty, they abandoned the design before one 
shot had been fired, and while the place lay full in 
view of them at a mile's distance without manifesting 
any appearance of opposition being intended. 

Dampier, whose ideas took a wider and bolder range 
than those of his companions, deeply lamented their ill 
conduct upon the fair occasion which offered at this 
time of enriching themselves at less expense of crime 
than in their ordinary pursuits. "Never," he says, 
" was there put into the hands of men a greater oppor- 
tunity to enrich themselves." His bold and compre- 
hensive plan was, with the one thousand negroes found 
in the three ships, to have gone to Santa Martha and 
worked the gold-mines there. In the Indians he 
reckoned upon finding friends, as they mortally hated 
the Spaniards ; for present sustenance they had two 


hundred tons of flour laid up at the Galapagos Islands ; 
the North Sea would have been open to them; 
thousands of buccaneers would have joined them from 
all parts of the West Indies, and, united, they might 
have been a match for all the force Peru could muster, 
masters of the richest mines in this quarter and of all 
the west coast as high as Quito. Whether Dampier 
unfolded this "golden dream" at the time does not 
appear. The buccaneers, at all events, sailed to La 
Plata, where they found the bark, and divided the 
cloth of Quito equally between the companies of Swan 
and Davis, converting the vessel in which it had been 
taken into a tender for the Cygnet. 

This ship had since joining depended almost wholly 
upon the Bachelor's Delight for provisions, as it had 
neither Mosquito purveyors nor a store of flour ; and 
the original buccaneer company of Davis now mur- 
mured loudly at feeding the cowards who they alleged 
had balked the attempt on Guayaquil. But neither 
could afford to part consortship, and they sailed in com- 
pany on the 23rd December to attack Lavelia, in the 
Bay of Panama. In this cruise, from the charts and 
books found in their prizes, they supplied the ignorance 
and deficiencies of the Indian and Spanish pilots whom 
they had as prisoners on board, these drafts being 
found surer guides. Their object was in the first place 
to search for canoes the want of boats being greatly 
felt in rivers where the Spaniards had no trade with 
the natives, nor settlements of any kind, as conceal- 


ment was most important to the success of their opera- 
tions. From the equinoctial line to the Gulf of St. 
Michael the coast abounded in unfrequented rivers 
where boats might be found. When five days out from 
La Plata, they made a sudden descent upon a village 
named Tomaco, where they captured a vessel laden 
with timber, in which was a Spanish knight with a crew 
of eight Spaniards, and also took, what the buccaneers 
valued much more, a canoe with twelve jars of old wine- 
A canoe with a party that rowed six leagues further 
up the river, which Dampier names St. Jago, came to 
a house belonging to a Spanish lady of Lima, whose 
servants at this remote station traded with the natives 
for gold. They fled ; but the buccaneers found several 
ounces of gold left in their calabashes. The land on 
the banks of this river was a rich black mould, pro- 
ducing tall trees. The cotton and cabbage trees flour- 
ished here on the banks ; and a good way into the 
interior, Indian settlements were seen, with plantations 
of maize, plantain-walks, hogs, and poultry. At To- 
maco a canoe with three natives visited the strangers, 
whom they did not distinguish from Spaniards. They 
were of middling stature, straight, and well-limbed, 
" long-visaged, thin-faced, with black hair, ill-looked 
men of a very dark copper complexion." The buc- 
caneers presented them with wine, which they drank 

On the 1st of January the Cygnet and Bachelors 
Delight sailed for the Island of Gallo, carrying with 


them the Spanish knight, Don Pinas, and two canoes. 
On the way one of their boats captured the packet- 
boat from Lima, and fished up the letters which the 
Spaniards when pursued had thrown overboard at- 
tached to a line and buoy. From these despatches 
they learned the welcome and important fact .of the 
Governor of Panama hastening the sailing of the trien- 
nial plate-fleet from Callao to Panama, previous to the 
treasure being conveyed across the Isthmus to Porto 
Bello on mules. To intercept this fleet would enrich 
every man among them at one stroke; and to this 
single object every faculty was now bent. As a fit 
place to careen their ships, and at the same time lie in 
wait for their prey, they fixed upon the Pearl Islands, 
in the Bay of Panama, for which they sailed from Gallo 
on the morning of the 7th two ships, three barks, a fire- 
ship, and two small tenders, one attached to each ship. 
On the 8th they opportunely captured a bark with 
flour, and then "jogged on with a gentle gale" to 
Gorgona, an uninhabited island, well -wooded and 
watered with brooklets issuing from the high grounds. 
Pearl-oysters abounded here. They were found in 
from four to six fathoms water, and seemed flatter in 
the shell than the ordinary eating oyster. The pearl 
was found at the head of the oyster, between the shell 
and the meat, sometimes one or two pretty large in 
size, and at other times twenty or thirty seed-pearls. 
The inside of the shell was " more glorious than the 
pearl itself." 

(829) 23 


Landing most of their prisoners at Gorgona, the 
squadron, now consisting of six sail, steered for the 
Bay of Panama, and anchored at Galera, a small, bar- 
ren, uninhabited island, from which they again sailed 
on the 25th to one of the southern Pearl Islands, as a 
place more suitable to hale up and clean the ships. 
While this was in progress, the small barks cruised, and 
brought in a prize laden with beef, Indian corn, and 
fowls, which were all highly acceptable. They next 
took in water and fire- wood, and were at last in fit 
order to fight as well as to watch the plate-fleet, which 
they did cruising before Panama, between the Pearl 
Islands and the Main, where, says Dampier, " it was very 
pleasant sailing, having the Main on one side, which 
appears in divers forms. It is beautified with many 
small hills, clothed with wood of divers sorts of trees, 
which are always green and flourishing. There are 
some few small high islands within a league of the 
Main, scattered here and there one, partly woody, partly 
bare, and they as well as the Main appear very plea- 
sant." Most of the Pearl Islands were wooded and 
fertile ; and from them were drawn the rice, plantains, 
and bananas which supplied the city of New Panama, 
" a fair city standing close by the sea, about four miles 
from the ruins of the old town," encompassed behind 
with a fine country of hill and valley, beautified with 
groves and spots of trees appearing like islands in the 
savannas. The new city had been walled in since 
the visit which Dampier had made it with Sawkins, 


Coxon, and Sharp, and the walls were now mounted 
with guns pointing seaward. 

As Davis lay nearly opposite the city, its supplies 
from the islands were completely cut off, while his 
people every day fished, hunted, or pillaged among 
them. At this time Davis negotiated for an exchange 
of prisoners, giving up forty, of whom he was very 
glad to be rid, in return for one of Harris's band and a 
man who had been surprised by the Spaniards while 
hunting in the islands. Attention to the safety of the 
meanest individual of their company was at all times 
one of the fundamental principles of the buccaneers; 
and it is stated on good authority that, when they first 
hunted in the wilds of Hispaniola, if at nightfall one 
comrade was missing, all business was suspended till 
he was either found or his disappearance satisfactorily 
accounted for. 

The Lima fleet proved tardy in making its appear- 
ance, and the buccaneers again moved, and came to 
anchor near Taboga, an island of the bay abounding in 
cocoa and mammee, and having fine brooks of pure 
water gliding through groves of fruit-trees. About this 
time they were nearly ensnared by a stratagem of the 
Spaniards, who, under pretence of clandestine traffic, sent 
a fire-ship among them at midnight ; but the treachery 
was suspected in time, and avoided. This fire-ship had 
been fitted up by the same Captain Bond of whom they 
had heard at the Cape de Verd Islands. He was an 
English pirate who had deserted to the Spaniards. 


The squadron, which had been scattered through the 
night from alarm of the fire-ship, had scarcely returned 
to its station, and looked about for the cut anchors, 
when the freebooters were thrown into fresh consterna- 
tion by seeing many canoes, full of armed men, passing 
through an island channel and steering direct for them. 
They also bore up ; but the strangers proved to be a 
party of two hundred and eighty buccaneers, French 
and English, in twenty-eight canoes, who had just 
crossed the Isthmus on an expedition to the South Sea. 
The English seamen, eighty in number, entered with 
Swan and Davis ; and the flour prize was given to the 
French flibustiers, who entered it under the command 
of Captain Groignet, their countryman. These strangers 
announced another party of one hundred and eighty, 
under Captain Townley, all English, who were at this 
time constructing canoes to bring them down the rivers 
into the South Sea ; and on the 30th of March these 
joined the fleet, not, however, in canoes, but in two 
ships which they had taken as soon as they entered 
the bay, laden with flour, wine, brandy, and sugar. 
The squadron was further increased by the arrival of a 
vessel, under the command of Mr. William Knight; 
and the Indians of Santa Martha brought intelligence 
that yet another strong party, French and English, 
were on the way. These also arrived, to the number 
of two hundred and sixty-four men, with three com- 
manders ; one of whom, Le Picard, was a veteran who 
had served under Lolonnois and Morgan at Porto Bello. 


The buccaneer force now amounted to about one 
thousand men, and the greatest want was coppers to 
cook provisions for so many. The few kettles which 
they had were kept at work day and night, and a 
foraging party was sent out to bring in coppers. 

From intercepted letters it was ascertained that the 
Lima fleet was now at sea ; and the design upon the 
city was suspended till the plate -ships were first 
secured, though, as it chanced, in counting on their 
easy capture, the buccaneers reckoned without their 

It was now the latter end of May, and for six 
months the buccaneers had concentrated their attention 
on this single enterprise. Their fleet now consisted of 
ten sail ; but, save the Bachelors Delight, which carried 
thirty-six guns, and the Cygnet, which was armed, 
none were of force, though all were fully manned. 
The Spanish fleet, it was afterwards learned, mustered 
fourteen sail two of forty guns, one of thirty-six, 
another of eighteen, and one of eight guns, with large 
companies to each ship. Two fire-ships attended the 
Spanish fleet. 

Before the buccaneers had finished consultation on 
their plan of operations the Spanish fleet advanced upon 
them, and battle was resolved on. And, " lying to 
windward of the enemy," says Dampier, " we had it not 
in our choice whether to fight or not. It was three 
o'clock in the afternoon when we weighed, and being 
all under sail, we bore down right afore the wind on 


our enemies, who kept close on a wind to come to us ; 
but night came on without anything besides the ex- 
changing of a few shot on each side. When it grew 
dark the Spanish admiral put out a light as a signal 
for his fleet to come to an anchor. We saw this light 
at the admiral's top for about half an hour, and then it 
was taken down. In a short time after we saw the 
light again, and being to windward we kept under sail, 
supposing the light had been in the admiral's top ; but, 
as it proved, this was only a stratagem of theirs, for 
this light was put out the second time at one of the 
barks' topmast-head, and then she was sent to leeward, 
which deceived us, for we thought still the light was in 
the admiral's top, and by that means ourselves to wind- 
ward of them." At daybreak the buccaneers found 
that by this stratagem the Spaniards had got the 
weather-gage of them, and were bearing down full sail, 
which compelled them to run for it; and a running 
fight was maintained all day, till, having made a turn 
almost round the bay, they anchored at night whence 
they had set out in the morning. Thus terminated 
their hopes of the treasure-ships, though it was after- 
wards learned that the plate had been previously 
landed. The French captain, Groignet, had kept out 
of the action, for which he and his crew were after- 
wards cashiered by their English associates. The com- 
mon accusation which the English buccaneers brought 
against their allies was reluctance to fight ; while the 
latter blamed their indecent contempt of the Catholic 


religion, displayed as often as they entered the Spanish 
churches, by hacking and mutilating everything with 
their cutlasses, and firing their pistols at the images of 
the saints. Next morning the Spanish fleet was seen 
at anchor three leagues to the leeward, and as the 
breeze sprung up it stood away for Panama, contented 
with safety and the small advantage obtained on the 
former day. The buccaneers were equally well satis- 
fied to escape a renewed engagement, and after con- 
sultation they bore away for the Keys of Quibo to 
seek Harris, who had been separated from them in the 
battle or flight. At this appointed rendezvous they met 
their consort, and a fresh consultation made them re- 
solve to march inland and assault Leon, first securing 
the port of Ria Lexa. 

The assault and conquest of these places offers 
nothing of interest or novelty ; they were carried by 
the united buccaneer force, amounting to six hundred 
and forty men, with eight vessels, three of them being 
tenders, and one a fire-ship. In this assault Dampier 
was left with sixty men to guard the canoes in which 
the party had been landed. At Leon they lost a 
veteran buccaneer of the original breed, whom Dampier 
thus eulogizes: " He was a stout, old, gray-headed 
man, aged about eighty-four, who had served under 
Oliver (Cromwell) in the Irish rebellion ; after which 
he was at Jamaica, and had followed privateering 
ever since. He would not accept the offer our men 
made him to tarry ashore, but said he would venture 


as far as the best of them ; and when surrounded by 
the Spaniards, he refused to take quarter, but dis- 
charged his gun amongst them, keeping a pistol still 
charged ; so they shot him dead at a distance. His 
name was Swan. He was a very merry, hearty old 
man, and always used to declare he would never take 

A Mr. Smith, a merchant or supercargo, who had 
sailed with Captain Swan from London to trade in the 
South Sea, was made prisoner on the march to Leon. 
This city, situated near the Lake of Nicaragua, Dam- 
pier describes as one of the most healthy and pleasant 
in all South America. No sooner were the buccaneers 
masters of it than they demanded a ransom of three 
hundred thousand dollars, which was promised but 
never paid ; and becoming suspicious that the Spaniards 
were dallying with them merely to gain time and draw 
their force to a head, the town was set on fire, and they 
returned to the coast, first supplying themselves with 
beef, flour, pitch, tar, cordage, and whatever Leon and 
Ria Lexa afforded. One Spanish gentleman, who had 
been released on engaging to send in one hundred and 
fifty head of cattle, redeemed his parole with scrupu- 
lous honour. Mr. Smith was exchanged for a female 
prisoner, and Ria Lexa was left burning. 

The buccaneer squadron now separated, and the 
fraternity broke into several small detachments Dam- 
pier choosing to follow Captain Swan, who intended 
first to cruise along the shores of Mexico, the country 


of the mines, and then, sailing as high as the south- 
west point of California, cross the Pacific, and return to 
England by India. This plan presented many tempta- 
tions to Dampier, whose curiosity and thirst of know- 
ledge were insatiable ; and he might also have shared 
in the hopes of his comrades, who promised themselves 
a rich booty in the towns in .the neighbourhood of the 
mines before they turned their faces westward. Cap- 
tain Townley had kept by Swan when they separated 
from Eaton, and each ship had now a tender belonging 
to it. They put to sea on the 3rd September, and 
encountered frequent and fierce tornadoes till near the 
end of the month. Early in October they were off the 
excellent harbour of Guatalco, the mouth of which may 
be known by a great hollow rock, from a hole in 
which every surge makes the water spout up to a 
considerable height, like the blowing of a whale. 

From the sea the neighbouring country looked 
beautiful. Here they found some provisions, and 
landed their sick for a few days. 

The Cygnet and her consort advanced slowly along 
the coast, landed near Acapulco, plundered a carrier 
who conducted sixty laden mules, and killed eighteen 
beeves. They next passed on to Colima, their object 
being that tempting prize which for generations had 
quickened the avarice of maritime adventurers the 
Manilla ship for which they kept watch at Cape Cor- 
rientes. After quitting Ria Lexa many of the men 
had been seized with a malignant fever ; and as the 


same kind of disease broke out in Davis's squadron, it 
was with some feasibility imputed to infection caught 
at the place mentioned, where many of the inhabitants 
had been carried off by a disorder of the same kind 
some months before the buccaneers visited the town. 

To victual the ship for the long voyage in view was 
one main object of the continued cruise <of Captain 
Swan on this coast; but the attempts made for this 
purpose were often baffled with loss, and so much time 
had now elapsed that it was concluded the Manilla ship 
had eluded their vigilance. About the beginning of 
January, Townley left them in the Bay of Vanderas, 
and returned towards Panama, carrying home a few 
Indians of the Darien who had accompanied Swan thus 
far. The Mosquito-men remained in the Cygnet. 

To obtain provisions, Swan captured the town of St. 
Pecaque, on the coast of New Galicia, where large 
stores were kept for supplying the slaves who worked 
in the neighbouring mines. He brought off on the first 
day a considerable quantity of provisions on horseback, 
and on the shoulders of his men. These visits were 
repeated, a party of buccaneers keeping the town, till 
the Spaniards had collected a force. Of this Captain 
Swan gave his men due warning, exhorting them, on 
their way to the canoes with the burdens of maize and 
other provisions which they carried, to keep together 
in a compact body ; but they chose to follow their own 
course, every man straggling singly while leading his 
horse or carrying a load on his shoulders. They 


accordingly fell into the ambush the Spaniards had laid 
for them, and, to the amount of fifty, were surprised 
and mercilessly butchered. The Spaniards, seizing 
their arms and loaded horses, fled with them, before 
Swan, who heard the distant firing, could come to the 
assistance of his men. Fifty-four Englishmen and 
nine blacks fell in this affair, which was the most 
severe the buccaneers had encountered in the South 
Sea. It is in consonance with the spirit of that age to 
find Dampier relating that Captain Swan had been 
warned of this disaster by his astrologer.* Many of 
the men had also, he states in his manuscript journal, 
foreboded this misfortune, and in the previous night, 
while lying in the church of St. Pecaque, " had been 
disturbed by grievous groanings, which kept them from 

This disheartening affair determined Swan and his 
diminished company to quit this coast, and they ac- 
cordingly steered for Cape St. Lucas, the south point of 
California, to careen and to refresh themselves before cross- 
ing the Pacific ; but by adverse winds they were com- 
pelled to put into a bay at the east end of the middle 
island of the Tres Marias, where they found iguanas, 
racoons, rabbits, pigeons, and deer, fish of various kinds, 
turtle, and seals. There they careened the ship, divided 
and stowed the provisions between it and the tender, 
and went over to the mainland for water, having previ- 
ously landed the prisoners and pilots, who were now of 

* It was then customary, before undertaking a voyage, to consult an astrologer. 


no use save to consume provisions. That they were 
abandoned on an uninhabited island is said to have 
been in revenge of the fatal affair of St. Pecaque. 

While they lay here, Darapier, who had escaped the 
contagious fever, languished under a dropsical com- 
plaint, of which several of the men had died. The 
method of cure was singular, but the patient believed 
it successful. " I was," he says, " laid and covered all 
but my head in the hot sand. I endured it near half 
an hour, and was then taken out and laid to sweat in a 
tent. I did sweat exceedingly while I was in the sand, 
and I do believe it did me much good, for I grew well 
soon after." 

While careening the ship, Swan had more fully laid 
before his company his plan of going to the East Indies, 
holding out to them hopes of plunder in a cruise among 
the Philippines. Dampier describes many of them as 
so ignorant that they imagined it impossible to reach 
India from California ; others entertained more reason- 
able fears of their provisions failing before they could 
reach the Ladrones. Maize, and the fish which the 
Mosquito-men caught, some of which were salted for 
store, now constituted the whole provision of above 
one hundred and fifty men, and of this but a short 
allowance could be afforded daily, calculating on a run 
of at least sixty days. 

On the 31st March, having all agreed to attempt the 
voyage, and consented to the straitened allowance, 
the Cygnet and the tender commanded by Captain 


Teat sailed from the American coast, steering south- 
west till she arrived at 13 N., in which parallel she 
held due west for the Ladrones. The men received 
but one meal a day ; and there was no occasion, Dam- 
pier says, to call them to their victuals, which were 
served out by the quartermaster with the exactness of 
gold. Two dogs and two cats which were on board 
soon learned to attend daily for their respective shares. 
The Cygnet enjoyed a fair fresh-blowing trade- wind, 
and went on briskly, which was some consolation for 
scanty fare. At the end of twenty days they had 
made so much progress that the men began to murmur 
at being still kept upon such short allowance ; and by 
the time they reached Guahan they were almost in 
open mutiny, and had, it was said, resolved to kill and 
eat Swan in the first place, and afterwards, in regular 
order, all who had promoted this voyage. In the long 
run of five thousand miles, they had seen no living 
thing, whether bird, fish, or insect, save in longitude 18 3 
a flock of boobies, presumed to be the denizens of some 
cliffs or islands, though none were seen. On the 21st 
of May, near midnight, they had the happiness of 
coming to anchor on the west side of Guahan, about a 
mile from the shore, after a run which Dampier cal- 
culated at seven thousand three hundred and two miles. 
At this island the Spaniards had a small fort and a 
garrison of thirty men. Presuming that the Cygnet 
was a Spanish vessel from Acapulco, a priest came off, 
and was detained as a hostage till terms of obtaining 


provisions were arranged ; and as these were dictated 
by fair principles of exchange, no difficulty was ex- 
perienced, both the Spaniards and the few natives on 
the island gladly bringing their goods to a safe and 
profitable market. 

The natives and the Spaniards here lived in a state 
of constant hatred, if not in open hostility ; and Cap- 
tain Eaton, who had touched at Guahan on his voyage 
to India, after parting with Davis on the coast of Peru, 
had been instigated by the governor to plunder and 
practise every cruelty upon the islanders. This advice 
neither himself nor his men were slow to follow. " He 
gave us leave," says Cowley's manuscript narrative of 
the voyage, " to kill and take whatever we could find in 
one half of the island where the rebels lived. We then 
made wars," as Cowley chooses to term wanton, un- 
provoked aggression, " with these infidels, and went on 
shore every day, fetching provisions, and firing among 
them wherever we saw them ; so that the greater part 
of them left the island. The Indians sent two of their 
captains to treat with us, but we would not treat with 
them. The whole land is a garden." 

Dampier reckons that at this time there were not 
above one hundred Indians on the whole island, as 
most of those who had escaped slaughter destroyed 
their plantations, and went to other islands remote 
from the tender mercies of the Spaniards and their new 
allies the buccaneers. While a friendly and brisk trade 
was going on between the shore and the Cygnet, the 


Acapulco vessel came in sight of the island, but was 
warned off in time by the governor, without, luckily 
for herself, having been descried by the buccaneers. 
In the eagerness of flight she ran upon a shoal, where 
her rudder was struck off, nor did she get clear for 
three days. As soon as the natives informed the buc- 
caneers of this prize they " were in a great heat to be 
after her; " but Swan, who disliked his present vocation, 
and still hoped to open an honest traffic at Manilla, 
though he found it prudent, under present circum- 
stances, to keep this design secret, persuaded, or as 
probably frightened his wild crew out of this humour 
by representing the dangers of the chase. 

Suitable presents were exchanged between the gov- 
ernor and the priest and the English captain, and pre- 
parations were made to depart. Here Dampier first 
saw the bread-fruit the staff of life of so many of the 
insulated tribes of Polynesia. Of the flying-proas, or 
sailing-canoes of these islands, so often described, he 
expresses the highest admiration. " I believe," he says, 
" they sail the best of any boats in the world." One 
that he tried would, he believed, "run twenty-four 
miles an hour ; " and one had been known to go from 
Guahan to Manilla, a distance of four hundred and 
eighty leagues, in four days. 

It took the Cygnet nineteen days to reach the coast 
of Mindanao, for which she sailed on the 2nd June ; 
and after beating about through several channels and 
islands, she came to anchor on the 18th July opposite 

(829) 24 


the river's mouth, and before the city of Mindanao. 
They hoisted English colours, and fired a salute of 
seven or eight guns, which was returned from the 
shore by three. The island of Mindanao was divided 
into small states, governed by hostile sultans the gov- 
ernor of this territory and city being the most powerful 
of their number. The city stood on the banks of the 
river, about two miles from the sea. It was about a 
mile in length, but narrow, and winded with the curve 
of the stream. The houses were built on posts, from 
fourteen to twenty feet high ; and as this was the 
rainy season they looked as if standing in a lake, the 
inhabitants plying about from house to house in canoes. 
They were of one story, which was divided into several 
rooms, and were entered by a ladder or stair placed 
outside. The roofs were covered with palm or palmetto 
leaves. There was a piazza, generally lying in a state 
of great filth, under each house, some of them serving 
for poultry -yards and cellars. " But at the time of the 
land-floods all is washed very clean." The floors were 
of wicker-work of bamboo. 

Captain Swan had many reasons for desiring to 
cultivate the friendship of the ruling powers at Min- 
danao. Immediately after the Cygnet came to anchor, 
Rajah Laut, the brother and prime minister of the 
sultan, and the second man in the state, came off in 
a canoe, rowed with ten oars, to demand whence they 
were. One of the sultan's sons, who spoke the Spanish 
language, accompanied his uncle. When informed that 


the strangers were English, they were welcomed, though 
Rajah Laut appeared disappointed that they were not 
come to establish a factory, for which proposals had 
already been made to him by the East India Company. 
The conversation -was carried on by Mr. Smith, the late 
prisoner at Ria Lexa, and the sultan's son, who, with 
his uncle, remained all the while in the canoe. They 
promised to assist the English in procuring provisions, 
and were rowed off without more passing at this time. 

Dampier regrets that the offer of a settlement here 
was not accepted, " by which," he says, " we might 
better have consulted our own profit and satisfaction 
than by the other roving loose way of life. So it 
might probably have proved of public benefit to our 
nation, and been a means of introducing an English 
settlement and trade, not only here but through several 
of the Spice Islands which lie in its neighbourhood." 
They had not lain long here when they received an- 
other invitation to settle in a different island, the sultan 
of which sent his nephew to Mindanao to negotiate 
secretly with Captain Swan. 

The Cygnet's company had not been aware of the 
dignity of their first visitors till they were gone, when 
the government officer informed them ; who, according 
to the custom of the ports of China and other parts in 
the East, came on board to measure the ship a prac- 
tice of which Dampier could not conceive the reason, 
unless the natives wished to improve their knowledge 
of ship-building. 


In the same afternoon Captain Swan sent Mr. More, 
one of the supercargoes, to the city with a present for 
the sultan, consisting of three yards of scarlet cloth, 
three yards of broad gold lace, a Turkish scimitar, and 
a pair of pistols ; and to the Rajah Laut, the dignitary 
they had already seen, three yards of the same cloth 
with silver lace. After some preliminary ceremonies, 
the English envoy was at night admitted to an audience, 
to which he was conducted by armed men, accompanied 
by servants bearing torches. The sultan, with ten 
privy councillors all seated on carpets, awaited his 
arrival. The present was graciously accepted, a con- 
ference took place in Spanish, after which Mr. More 
and his attendants, being first treated with supper, 
returned on board. Next day Captain Swan was in- 
vited on shore, whither he went, preceded by two 
trumpeters. He was conducted to an audience, and 
entertained with betel and tobacco. Two letters were 
shown him, sent by East India merchants to the sultan, 
demanding liberty to build a factory and fort, and 
specifying the terms of traffic, rates of exchange, and 
of weights and measures. One letter was beautifully 
written, and between each line there was drawn a line 
of gold. Another letter, left by a Captain Goodlud, 
who had lately visited Mindanao, and directed generally 
to any of the English who might touch there, concluded, 
" Trust none of them, for they are all thieves ; but tace 
is Latin for a candle." 

After the interview with the sultan, Captain Swan 


visited Rajah Laut, who, being rather in disgrace with 
his brother at this time, had not been present at the 
audience. He entertained the English captain with 
boiled fowls and rice, and strongly urged him to bring 
the ship into the river, as stormy weather was at this 
season to be expected. He also advised him to warn 
his men against offending the natives by infringing 
their customs, and altogether appeared very familiar and 
friendly. To impress Swan with an idea of his justice, 
he ordered a man who had formerly robbed Captain 
Goodlud to be now punished ; and the miserable wretch 
was accordingly publicly exposed bound to a post, and 
stripped naked, with his face opposite the scorching 
sun, while he was shifted round and kept in torture, 
following its course all day, stung by the gnats and 
mosquitoes. This was a usual mode of punishment. 
His life was at nightfall left at the mercy of the En- 
glish captain, who informed Rajah Laut that he had 
no right to take cognizance of any crime which had 
not been committed by his own men and in his own 

The letters from the Company's agents, by convincing 
Swan that there was a serious intention of establishing 
a factory at this place, gave him confidence to enter 
the river, trusting also to the friendly professions of 
Rajah Laut. The Cygnet was accordingly lightened 
of part of her cargo, and with the help of sixty native 
fishermen, Rajah Laut directing their operations in 
person, she crossed the bar with the first spring-tide, 


and was moored within the mouth of the river. The 
buccaneers remained here so long upon a footing of 
daily intimate intercourse with the townspeople, that 
Dampier has been enabled to give a very full and 
minute account of the Mindanaians. A singular custom 
of the country facilitated easy intercourse with the 
natives, though seamen, having their pockets stored 
with gold and their ships with desirable commodities, 
who are neither suspected of any sinister intention by 
the people nor viewed with jealousy by the govern- 
ment, have rarely found the half -civilized tribes of the 
Indian islands difficult of access. 

The custom common in the South Sea Islands of 
exchanging names and forming a comradeship with a 
native, whose house is thenceforward considered the 
home of the stranger, extended in Mindanao to the 
other sex, and "an innocent platonic female friend, 
named a pagally" was offered to each of the English- 
men, besides his male comrade. These friendships were, 
however, not so perfectly disinterested as not to require 
the cement of presents on the one side and flatteries on 
the other. In Mindanao, as in more refined parts of 
the world, those who were best dressed and furnished 
with gold most readily obtained companions and pa- 
gallies. Under the sanction of this singular national 
custom the wives of the greatest men might choose 
friends among the strangers, or be selected as pagallies, 
and allowed to converse in public with the persons who 
distinguished them by their choice. 


On their first arrival for they soon declined in 
favour, owing probably to their own reckless and 
dissolute manners the seamen could not pass along 
the streets without being compelled to enter the houses, 
where they were presented with betel and tobacco, the 
cordial hospitality of the givers atoning for the scanti- 
ness of this Oriental entertainment. To express the 
vivacity and degree of their affection, the natives would 
place the forefingers of both hands close together, saying 
the English and themselves were like this ; the Dutch 
were signified by holding the same fingers six inches 
apart, and the Spaniards at double that distance. 
Captain Swan, who still had a large quantity of iron 
and lead, as well as other goods belonging to his owners, 
meanwhile traded with Rajah Laut, at whose house he 
dined every day till he established himself at a dwelling 
which he hired in the town. Those of the buccaneers 
who had money also took houses on shore, lived a jovial 
life among their comrades and pagallies, and hired 
female servants from their masters as temporary house- 

The most important division of this island, the largest 
save Luconia of the Philippine group, was, as has been 
mentioned, under the sway of the Sultan of Mindanao, 
who was often at war with the tribes that occupied 
the interior and the opposite coasts, and were less 
civilized and wealthy than his subjects. The soil of 
the island was deep and black, producing great varieties 
of timber ; and among others the tree named by the 


natives the libby, from the pith of which sago is manu- 
factured. Rice was raised in some places, and on the 
hilly land potatoes, yams, and pumpkins. The fruits 
were the plantain, which Dampier names the " king of 
fruits," guavas, bananas, musk, and water-melons, betel- 
nuts, cocoa-nuts, jacas, durions, cloves, nutmegs, oranges, 
etc. From the fibres of the plantain the common people 
of Mindanao manufactured the only cloth which they 
wore, making webs of seven or eight yards long. The 
betel-nut, so much esteemed in most places of India, 
grew here on a tree like the cabbage-tree, but smaller. 
At the top of these trees the nuts grow on a tough 
stem, as thick as a man's finger, in clusters of forty or 
fifty. The fruit resembles the nutmeg, but is rather 
larger and rounder. When to be chewed, the nut was 
cut into four bits, one of which was wrapped up in an 
areca-leaf spread with a soft paste made of lime. 
Every native carried his lime-box by his side, into 
which he dipped his finger, spread his areca-leaf, 
wrapped up his nut, and proceeded to chew. Where 
there are no betel-vines the leaves are imported for 
this purpose. The nut is most admired when young, 
and while it is green and juicy. It tastes rough in 
the mouth, dyes the lips red and the teeth black, but 
at the same time preserves them. Those who are not 
accustomed to its use become giddy at first, especially 
if the nuts are old. 

The religion of the Mindanaianswas the Mohammedan; 
and the children were taught to read and write, though 


business was generally transacted by Chinese, the na- 
tives being indifferent accountants. Besides what was 
supposed their native language, they spoke a dialect of 
the Malay, which was among them the language of 
commerce. Many of them also understood Spanish, as 
the Spaniards had only been expelled during the reign 
of the present sultan's father. Rajah Laut both 
spoke and wrote Spanish ; and had, from reading and 
conversation, acquired a considerable knowledge of 
European countries. The natives were of middle size, 
with small limbs, particularly the females. They had 
straight bodies, with small heads. Their faces were 
oval, but those of the women were round. Their fore- 
heads were low, with small black eyes, short low noses, 
their lips thin and red, their skins tawny, but inclining 
to a brighter yellow than some of the other Indians, 
especially among the women. Young females of rank 
were often much fairer than the other women, and 
their noses rose to a more aristocratic prominence than 
those of meaner females. In female children the nose, 
or rise between the eyes, was sometimes scarcely per- 
ceptible. The natives all walked with a stately air, 
and the women, though barefooted, had very small 
feet. The nail of the left thumb was allowed to grow 
very long. The men wore a small turban, the laced 
ends hanging down, with trowsers and a frock, but 
neither stockings nor shoes. The women tied up their 
hair in a knot, which hung down on the crown of the 
head. They wore a petticoat, and a frock that reached 


below the waist, with very long sleeves, which, pushed 
up, sat in puckered folds, and were a source of great 
pride to the wearers. They were also adorned with 
ear-rings and bracelets, which the pagally would some- 
times beg from her English friend. The clothing of 
the higher class was made of long cloth, but the lower 
universally wore the saggan or plantain-cloth. They 
used no chairs, but sat cross-legged on the floor or on 
mats. The common food of the people was sago or 
rice, with occasionally a fish or two; but the better 
classes had often fowls and buffaloes' flesh. In some 
things their habits were very filthy, and in others very 
cleanly. Like all Oriental tribes they washed them- 
selves frequently in the rivers, and took great delight 
in swimming, to which exercise both sexes are accus- 
tomed from infancy. The trades practised here were 
those of goldsmiths, blacksmiths, and carpenters, every 
man being more or less of a carpenter, and handling 
with dexterity their scanty tools, which consisted of the 
axe and the adze alone, saws and planes being altogether 
unknown. Yet the ships and barks they built were 
stout and serviceable, and in them the natives made 
war, or traded to Manilla, and sometimes to Borneo 
and other distant places, exchanging the gold and bees'- 
wax found in the interior of the island for calicoes, 
silks, and muslins. They had also a traffic with the 
Dutch in tobacco, which in Mindanao was of excellent 
quality, and sold so low as twelve pounds for a rial. 
The Mindanaians were resolute in fight, though they 


avoided the open field, erecting forts and small works, 
on which they mounted guns. These forts they would 
defend and besiege for months together, sometimes 
making a sally. Their weapons were lances, swords, 
and what Dampier calls hand-cressets, resembling a 
bayonet, which they wore at all times, whether in war, 
at work, or pastime. When likely to be overcome, 
they sell their lives dearly, and seldom either give or 
take quarter, the conqueror hewing down his antagonist 
without mercy. 

The people here were liable to a leprous disease, the 
skin becoming blotched and scurfy, and rising in white 
scales from the continual rubbing induced by intolerable 
itchiness. Some had the skin white, in spots over their 
body, though smooth ; and these Dampier conjectured 
were patients who had been cured. Polygamy was 
common. The sultan had one queen and twenty-nine 
inferior wives, of whom one was called the war-queen, 
as she always attended her lord to battle. The daughter 
of the sultan by his queen was kept in strict seclusion ; 
but his other children in patriarchal numbers roamed 
about the streets, often begging things which they 
fancied from the buccaneer seamen. It was said that 
the young princess had never seen any man save her 
father the sultan, and Rajah Laut ; though all the other 
women were occasionally allowed to appear abroad in 
pageants, or upon public festivals. 

The sultan was an absolute prince, who, in Oriental 
fashion, encouraged the industry and commercial enter- 


prise of his subjects by borrowing sums, however small, 
which he discovered they had accumulated by trade. 
By way of varying this system of arbitrary exaction, 
he would at other times first compel them to purchase 
goods belonging to himself, which had probably been 
confiscated, and afterwards find some occasion of state 
to reclaim those goods for the public service. He was 
a little man, now between fifty and sixty, and altogether 
inferior to his brother and grand vizier, the Rajah Laut, 
who, though only equal in trickery, was superior to all 
his compeers in capacity and intelligence. It was he 
who led the military forces of the sultan, managed the 
foreign policy, and regulated the internal affairs of 
Mindanao. Without the license of Rajah Laut no one 
could either buy or sell, nor could the common fisher- 
men enter or leave the port without his permission. 
The Rajah Laut was altogether the hero of Mindanao, 
the women in the public dances and festivals singing 
his praises and celebrating his exploits. 

Besides being the wet season, it was Ramadan time 
when the Cygnet came to anchor in the river, and 
amusement and pleasure were nearly suspended in 
Mindanao ; but as soon as this solemn period was past, 
the Rajah Laut entertained his friend Captain Swan 
every night with dances, those bands of regularly- 
trained dancing-women being seen here which are com- 
mon over all India. But all the females of Mindanao 
were fond of dancing, which they practised in a ring of 
forty or fifty, who joined hand -in -hand, singing in 


chorus, and keeping time, and, though they never 
moved from the same spot, making various gestures, 
throwing forward one leg, and clapping their hands at 
the close of the verse. The Rajah Laut was in return 
entertained by Captain Swan's men, who performed 
English dances to the music of violins, in a ball-room 
fitted up with gold and silver lace, and illuminated by 
a profusion of wax-candles. Dampier relates the very 
natural mistake into which the rajah fell regarding one 
of these quarter-deck performers. John Thacker, a 
common buccaneer, though he could neither read nor 
write, had acquired the accomplishment of dancing about 
some "of the music -houses of Wapping," and coming 
into the South Sea with Captain Harris, had been so 
fortunate in acquiring booty that he now wore fine 
clothes, and by his superior dress and dancing was sup- 
posed by the natives to be a person of noble extraction. 
When the rajah, to satisfy his curiosity on this im- 
portant point, put the question to one of the company, 
the seaman replied humorously, that the conjecture as 
to Jack's quality was quite correct ; and that most of 
the ship's company were of like extraction, at least all 
who wore good clothes and had money, those meanly 
clad being but common seamen. The rajah from this 
time portioned out his civilities according to the garb 
of his new friends. 

Captain Swan was by this time deeply chagrined at 
the result of his voyage. Most of his crew were 
turbulent and lawless those who had money revelling 


on shore, and continually involving themselves in 
quarrels with the natives, while those who were poor 
were growling on board at the privations they suffered 
and the time wasted in inaction. In the number of the 
penniless was Dampier, who had no means of recreation 
and no source of enjoyment save the faculty of a power- 
ful and quick observation, and the delight of entering 
his remarks in his journal. The single and undivided 
object of the rest of the crew of the Cygnet was gold, 
the plunder of the Manilla ship ; nor durst the com- 
mander reveal his dislike to their project. About the 
same time that his crew grew violently discontented, 
he became himself suspicious of the good faith of his 
friend Rajah Laut, who for the iron and lead which he 
had procured continued to pay with fair promises. 

Beef was one of the articles which the rajah had 
promised to the English, and a party went a-hunting 
with him, but found no prey. Dampier, a practised 
hunter, was always of these parties, and used the op- 
portunities they afforded to extend his knowledge of 
the country. In these distant hunting-excursions the 
rajah carried his wives, children, and servants along 
with him in the proas of the country, which were fitted 
up with rooms. They settled at some village in the 
neighbourhood of the hunting-ground, the chief and his 
family occupying one end of the house and the English- 
men the other. While he and his men, who always 
hunted from dawn till late in the afternoon, were abroad, 
the Englishmen were frequently left at home with the 


women and children. Though these ladies never quitted 
their own apartment while the chief remained at home, 
he was no sooner gone than they usually flocked to the 
strangers' room, asking a thousand questions about the 
condition of the women and the fashions and customs 
of England. These were the subject of long and earnest 
argument among themselves, some condemning and 
others applauding the custom, which all allowed to be 
singular, of even the king and chiefs having but one 
wife. Among the proselytes to monogamy was the 
war-queen or wife, the lady who enjoyed the privilege 
of attending the rajah to battle ; and her reasons, if 
they did not convince, at least silenced her opponents. 

During this excursion, Dampier, from the conversa- 
tion of the women, considerably increased his acquaint- 
ance with the character and customs of the people. 
They bathed daily, and washed after every meal ; and 
if they became unclean from touching accidentally any 
forbidden thing, they underwent scrupulous purification. 
Though associating so intimately with the English, they 
did not like to drink with nor after them. Wild-hogs 
abounded, but swine's flesh, and every part of that filthy 
animal, was held in the utmost abhorrence by the Min- 
danaians ; and though they invited the seamen to de- 
stroy the animals that came to the city during the night 
to feed on garbage under the houses, they were ordered 
to take the swine on board, and those who had touched 
these abominable creatures were ever afterwards loathed 
and avoided by the natives, and forbidden their houses. 


This superstitious dislike was carried to so great a 
length, that the Rajah Laut returned in a rage a pair 
of shoes made in the English fashion, of leather he had 
furnished, and in which he had taken great pride, till 
he learned that the thread with which they were sewed 
had been pointed with hog's bristles. The shoemaker 
got more leather, and made a quite unexceptionable 
pair, with which the rajah was satisfied. 

At this hunting-village, in the evenings, the women 
danced before the rajah ; and before the party broke 
up to return to Mindanao, he entertained the English- 
men with a jar of " rice-drink," a fermented liquor, on 
which he and his attendants got very merry. He drank 
first himself, and then his men ; " and they all," says 
Dampier, " were as drunk as swine before they suffered 
us to drink." 

That balance in human affairs which pervades all 
conditions was now turning the scale in favour of the 
less fortunate portion of the Cygnet's crew. The Min- 
danaians, though hospitable and kind, were, when 
offended, vindictive and deadly in their resentments. 
The conduct of these dissolute and openly profligate 
seamen had given them deep offence, and sixteen of 
the buccaneers were in a short time taken off by poison, 
to which more afterwards fell victims. The islanders 
were skilled in subtle poisons, which had not their full 
operation till a long while after they were administered. 
Some of the men, after they were conscious of having 
been poisoned, lingered on for months. When they 


died, their livers were found black, dry, and shrivelled 
" like cork." 

The ship had not lain long in the river when it had 
been discovered that her bottom was eaten with worms, 
which bred in such great numbers in this place that 
shortly before a Dutch vessel had been destroyed by 
them in two months, while the Rajah Laut became heir 
to her great guns. It began to be suspected that he 
entertained the hope of being equally fortunate in a 
legacy from the Cygnet, as he had given no intimation 
of a danger which the Mindanaians always avoided by 
placing their barks and boats in a dry-dock the moment 
they came into port, even when only returned from 
fishing. He shook his head and seemed displeased 
when he saw that the sheathing of the vessel had pre- 
vented serious damage, and gravely remarked, " that he 
never did see a ship with the cunning device of two 
bottoms before." Dampier had seen the same kind of 
worms in myriads in the Bay of Campeachy and in the 
Bay of Panama, and in smaller numbers in Virginia. 
They are never seen far out at sea. 

This alarming damage was repaired in time, though, 
taken with other circumstances, it strengthened the 
suspicions of Captain Swan, and excited the discontent 
of the men by increasing their alarm. Rajah Laut also, 
if he did not absolutely refuse, still delayed to furnish 
the beef and rice necessary to their subsistence, and 
which were to be the price of the commodities with 
which Captain Swan had so largely furnished him. 

(829) 25 


His English friend had also lent the rajah twenty ounces 
of gold, to defray the expenses of a solemn ceremonial 
observed shortly before, when his son had been circum- 
cised. This splendid ceremony, at which the English 
assisted, had been celebrated with music, dances, the 
singular war-dance of the country, banquets, pageants, 
and processions by torchlight. The rajah, in a manner 
not uncommon in Eastern countries, not only refused to 
repay the gold, but when urged, insisted that it had 
been a present, and finally demanded payment for all 
the victuals Swan and his men had consumed at his 
hospitable board. 

While the rajah thus refused to discharge his debts, 
the buccaneer crew clamoured to be gone, and becoming 
openly mutinous, a party of them resolved to carry off 
the ship. Neither Dampier, who happened to be on 
board, nor the surgeon's mate, approved of this treach- 
erous design, but they were reluctantly compelled to go 
with the rest, leaving Captain Swan and thirty -six 
men at Mindanao, from whence the Cygnet sailed on 
the 14th January 1687, intending to cruise off Manilla. 
A buccaneer of Jamaica, named Read, was chosen com- 
mander. The first intimation Swan had of his abandon- 
ment was the gun which was fired as the ship got under 
way. To his own irresolution, bad temper, and want 
of firmness, Dampier imputes this misfortune. If, when 
apprised of the design of the mutineers, he had come 
on board and behaved with prudence and courage, he 
might have brought back the greater part of the men 


to their duty, and taken his own measures with the 
ringleaders, to some of whom he had certainly given 
just cause of discontent. 

After leaving Mindanao, the Cygnet, with a crew now 
reduced by various causes to eighty men, coasted to the 
westward. They fell in with a great many " keys," or 
small low islets, between which and Mindanao there 
was a good channel. On the east of these keys they 
anchored and obtained green-turtle. At different places 
they cut ratans, such as were used in England for walk- 
ing-canes. They saw here large bats, " seven or eight 
feet from tip to tip" of the extended wings, which 
regularly at dusk took their flight from the smaller 
islands to the main island in swarms like bees, and re- 
turned like a cloud before sunrise. On the 23rd they 
reached Luconia, having captured a Spanish vessel, 
laden with rice and cotton cloth, bound for Manilla. 
The master had been boatswain of the Acapulco ship 
which had escaped them at Guahan, and which now 
lay safe in port. Nothing, therefore, of consequence 
could be hoped for this season, and to beguile the time, 
and wait a more favourable opportunity, they resolved 
to sail for the Pulo Condore or " Islands of Calabashes," 
a group of small islands off the coast of Cambodia. 
They anchored at Condore on the 14th March. Two 
of the cluster are pretty large and high. They were 
tolerably well wooded, and on the largest of them was 
found a tree from which the inhabitants extracted a 
pith or viscid juice which they boiled up into good tar, 


and which, if kept boiling long enough, became pitch. 
The mangoes of which the Indian pickle is made were 
found here. They were now ripe, and were betrayed 
to the seamen by their delicious fragrance. The grape- 
tree was also seen, with the wild or spurious nutmeg, 
and many sorts of beautiful birds, as parrots, paroquets, 
pigeons, and doves. The inhabitants of Pulo Condore 
resembled the Mindanaians, but were darker in com- 
plexion. Their chief business was to make tar of the 
pith of the trees mentioned above, which they exported 
to Cochin - China, from which these islanders were 
originally a colony. The oil of the turtle was another 
article of their commerce with their mother -country. 
The islanders were idolaters. In a temple Dampier 
saw the image of an elephant and of a horse, which they 
were supposed to worship. 

At this place the buccaneers remained for a month ; 
after which they cruised in the Gulf of Siam and in 
several parts of the China Seas, taking all barks that 
fell in their way, whether Spanish, Portuguese, or native 
vessels. From the crew of a junk belonging to the 
island of Sumatra they learned that the English had 
established a factory on that island. The surgeon and 
Dampier, who had accompanied "this mad crew" against 
their inclination, " and were sufficiently weary of them," 
would have escaped here, and taken their chance of 
getting to this or some other English factory, but they 
were constrained to remain in the Cygnet. 

The next destination of the buccaneers was the 


Ponghou Islands, which in no respect answered their 
purpose of quiet and security. At the place where 
they anchored there were a large town and a Tartar 

In the charts which they possessed there were laid 
down, marked by the figure 5, a group of islands 
situated between Luconia (the cynosure of their hopes) 
and Formosa ; and these, which offered a tolerably con- 
venient station, they hoped might be either uninhabited 
or only peopled by tribes from whom they might with 
impunity plunder provisions, without danger of the 
outrage being heard of in the Philippines. They steered 
for them, and on the 6th August reached the interest- 
ing group now known as the Bashee Islands. They 
approached by the westernmost and largest of the 
group, on which they had the felicity to see goats 
browsing; but safe anchorage was not obtained till 
next day in a bay at the east side of the easternmost 
island. The sails were not furled when a hundred small 
boats swarmed round the Cygnet, each carrying from 
three to six men, with whom the deck was soon crowded. 
The pirates, alarmed by the numbers of the islanders, 
got their fire-arms in readiness; but iron, the most 
precious of metals with the savage, for which he freely 
and gladly gives gold in exchange, wondering at the 
folly or simplicity that induces the European to the 
unequal barter, and leaving the philosopher to decide 
which gains most by the bargain, iron was the only 
thing that captivated the Basheeans, who quickly 


picked up all the little pieces they could find, but were 
otherwise perfectly quiet and orderly. Waxing bolder 
by indulgence, one of them tried to wrench out an iron 
pin from the carriage of a gun. He was laid hold of, 
and his cries made all his countrymen scamper off in a 
fright. The man was, however, kindly treated, and, 
being first made sensible of his error in attempting to 
steal, was presented with a piece of iron, with which he 
swam to his comrades. Thus reassured, the islanders 
returned, and a brisk trade was opened, which was re- 
newed daily. Ever after this slight check they con- 
tinued honest, and they had always been civil. A hog 
was now got for two or three pounds of iron, a fat goose 
for an old iron hoop, and the liquor of the islands, the 
Baskee-dririk, from the name of which the pirates gave 
the whole group their general appellation, for old nails, 
spikes, and bullets. 

These five islands were more particularly named : 
1. Orange Island, so called by the Dutchmen among 
the crew in honour of their native prince. It is the 
largest and most westerly of the group, and was unin- 
habited. 2. Grafton Island was so named by Dampier 
in compliment to the noble family in whose household 
he had, as has been mentioned, left his wife. 3. Mon- 
mouth Island was named by the seamen after the un- 
fortunate Duke of Monmouth, the son of Charles II. 
The other two were called the Goat and the Bashee 
Island, from the number of goats seen on the one, and 
the abundance of the beverage which gained the appro- 


bation of the seamen that was made on the other. The 
two latter are small islands, lying to the south, in the 
channel which divides Orange Island from Grafton and 
Monmouth Islands. Monmouth Island is high, and so 
fenced with steep rocks and precipitous cliffs that the 
buccaneers did not land upon it as they did upon all 
the other islands. Grafton and Monmouth Islands were 
thickly inhabited, and on Bashee there was one village. 
The natives were " short squat people, generally round- 
visaged, with low foreheads and thick eyebrows ; their 
eyes small and hazel-coloured, yet bigger than those of 
the Chinese; short low noses; their lips and mouths 
middle - proportioned ; their teeth white; their hair 
black, thick, and lank, which they wore cut short it 
will just cover their ears, and so is cut round very 
even," says Dampier, and to this fashion they seemed 
to attach great importance. Their skins are a dark 
copper colour. They wear neither hat, cap, turban, nor 
anything to keep off the heat of the sun. The men 
had a cloth about their middle, and some wore jackets 
of plantain-leaves, "as rough and bristly as a bear's 
skin." The women were clothed with a short cotton 
petticoat which fell below the knees, of " a thick stub- 
born " cloth that they manufactured themselves. Both 
men and women wore large ear-rings of a yellow glister- 
ing metal, found in the mines in their own mountains, 
resembling gold, but paler in colour. These rings, and 
this metal, completely baffled the science of the pirates, 
who had rather an instinctive love of gold than much 


knowledge of its natural properties. When first pol- 
ished the rings made of this yellow metal looked 
peculiarly brilliant; but they soon faded and became 
quite dim, when it was necessary to throw them into 
the fire, first casing them in a soft paste made of a red 
earth. After being heated red hot they were cooled in 
water, and the paste rubbed off, when the glistering 
lustre was found renewed. Our navigator was, unfor- 
tunately, too poor to be able to purchase any of this 
metal ; or rather too honest to reckon any part of the 
iron belonging to Captain Swan's owners, of which 
there was still a good quantity on board, his property, 
though his companions were much less scrupulous. The 
language of the people of the Bashee Isles was quite 
strange to the pirates, though they were now tolerably 
well acquainted with the Malay tongue, the dialect of 
Mindanao, and the Chinese language. 

No foreign commodities of any kind were seen among 
the Basheeans, nor anything that could have been in- 
troduced by sea, save a few bits of iron and pieces of 
buffalo-hides. In all points they appeared an unmixed 
race, in their dispositions singularly mild, amiable, and 
peaceful. Their islands produced plantains, bananas, 
pumpkins, and plenty of yams, which made the prin- 
cipal part of their food. They had no grain of any 
kind, and consequently but few fowls, which Dampier 
never saw in plenty where there was not either maize, 
rice, or grain of some sort. Some cotton-plants were 
seen, and sugar-canes, from the boiled juices of which 


the natives made the liquor so agreeable to their visitors. 
The boiled juice, with which a small black berry was 
mixed, was allowed to ferment for three or four days, 
and when it had settled, was poured off clear from the 
lees, and was fit to drink. It was much like English 
beer, both in taste and colour, and, as Dampier verily 
believed, a perfectly wholesome beverage, many of the 
men who drank it copiously every day, and were often 
drunk with it, being never once sick in consequence of 
their liberal potations. The natives sold it cheaply, 
and when the seamen visited at their houses freely 
gave them Bashee-drink, and sometimes bought a jar 
from a neighbour to entertain their guests. These 
purchases were made with small crumbs of the glister- 
ing metal above described, which, wrapped in plantain- 
leaves, served as a substitute for coin. Though cleanly 
in their persons and habitations, the inhabitants of the 
Bashee Isles were in some respects very filthy in their 
eating. They were not seen at this time to kill any 
animals for their own use ; but of the goats purchased 
by the buccaneers they begged the skin and garbage, 
and when the surly seamen threw them into the sea, 
they would take them out. With the hogs they never 
meddled. The goat's skin they broiled and gnawed, 
and of the paunch made what to them appeared a 
delicious dish. The whole crude contents of the stomach 
were emptied into a pot, and stewed with any small 
fish they had caught, which they took what Dampier 
thought very superfluous trouble in cleaning and mine- 


ing, considering the nature of the substances with which 
the fish were mixed. This mess was eaten as the people 
of the Philippines did their rice, he being reckoned the 
best -bred among the Mindanaians who, wetting his 
hands to prevent the boiled rice from sticking to them, 
could most dexterously roll up and swallow the largest 
ball. The people of these islands had another singular 
dish made of locusts, which at this season attacked the 
potato-leaves in multitudes, and in their ravages spared 
no green thing. They were about an inch and a half 
in length, and as thick as the tip of a man's little finger, 
with large thin wings and long small legs. The 
Basheeans caught them in small nets, a quart at one 
sweep. When enough were obtained for a dish, they 
were parched in an earthen pot over the fire, till the 
legs and wings dropped off, when from brown they be- 
came red. Their bodies were succulent, though the 
heads crackled under the teeth of the eater. 

The dwellings of the islanders, and the places upon 
which they had perched them, were among the most 
singular features of their social condition. In describ- 
ing them we adopt the words of Dampier: "These 
people made but low, small houses. The sides, which 
were made of small posts wattled with boughs, are 
not above four feet and a half high ; the ridge-pole is 
about seven or eight feet high. They have a fireplace 
at one end of their houses, and boards placed on the 
ground to lie on. They inhabit together in small vil- 
lages built on the sides and tops of rocky hills, three 


or four rows of houses one above another, under such 
steep precipices that they go up to the first row with a 
wooden ladder, and so with a ladder still from every 
story up to that above it, there being no other way 
to ascend. The plain on the first precipice may be so 
wide as to have room both for a row of houses, which 
stand all along the edge or brink of it, and a very 
narrow street running along before their doors between 
the row of houses and the foot of the next precipice, 
the plain of which is in a manner level with the roofs 
of the houses below, and so for the rest. The common 
ladder to each row, or street, comes up at a narrow 
passage, left purposely about the middle of it, and the 
street being bounded with a precipice also at each 
end, it is but drawing up the ladder if they be as- 
saulted, and then there is no coming at them from 
below but by climbing a perpendicular wall. And that 
they may not be assaulted from above, they take care 
to build on the side of such a hill whose back hangs 
over the sea, or is some high, steep, perpendicular 
precipice, altogether inaccessible." These precipices 
and regular terraces appeared quite natural. Graf ton 
and Monmouth Islands abounded in these rocky for- 
tresses, in which the natives felt themselves secure 
from pirates, and from enemies whether foreign or 

The boats of the islanders were ingeniously con- 
structed, somewhat like Deal yawls, and some of them 
so large that they could carry forty or fifty men. 


They were impelled by twelve or fourteen oars on 
each side. Though scantily provided with iron, the 
Basheeans could work this metal, employing the same 
sort of bellows, remarkable for rude ingenuity, which 
Dampier had seen at Mindanao. This primitive bel- 
lows was formed of two hollow cylinders, made of the 
trunks of trees, like our wooden water-pipes. They 
were about three feet long, and were placed upright in 
the ground, near the blacksmith's fire, which was made 
on the floor. Near the bottom of each cylinder, on 
the side next the forge, a hole was bored, into which 
a tube was exactly fitted. These tubes met in a com- 
mon centre or mouth opposite the fire. The bellows 
being thus prepared, a man stood between the hollowed 
trunks with a brush of feathers in each hand, which 
he worked alternately in the cylinders, like the piston 
of a pump, thus impelling the air through the small 
pipes below, which by this means kept up a blast that 
played continually upon the fire. 

The men of the Bashee Islands, while the Cygnet 
lay there, were generally employed in fishing, leaving 
the plantations to the care of the women. Their 
weapons were wooden lances, of which only a few 
were headed with iron ; their armour a buffalo's hide, 
as thick as a board, which covered them to the knees, 
having holes for the head and arms. No form of 
worship was observed among this tribe, nor did any 
one seem to have more authority than another. Every 
man had one wife, and ruled his own household, the 


single wife appearing affectionate and happy, and the 
children respecting and honouring their parents. The 
boys went out to fish with their fathers, while the 
girls attended to domestic duties with their mothers. 
Their plantations were in . the valleys, where each 
family had one ; and thither the young girls, as soon 
as they were able for the task, descended every day 
from their rocky abodes to dig yams and potatoes, 
which they carried home on their heads for the use of 
the family. 

In no part of the world had Dampier seen people so 
perfectly quiet and civil as these islanders. " They 
dealt justly and with great sincerity," he says, " and 
made us very welcome to their houses with Bashee- 

Meanwhile the cruise off Manilla was not forgotten. 
Eighty hogs were salted, and yams and potatoes laid 
up for sea-store. The crew had taken in water, and 
now only waited the settling of the eastern monsoon 
to take their departure. On the 24th September the 
wind shifted to the east, and by midnight blew so 
fiercely that they were driven to sea, leaving six of 
their men on the island. It was the 1st October 
before they were able to recover their anchoring- 
ground. The natives immediately rowed their com- 
rades on board. As soon as the ship was out of sight, 
the islanders increased in hospitality and kindness to 
the strangers left among them. They only stipulated 
that the buccaneers should cut their hair in the Bashee 


fashion ; and on this condition offered each of them a 
wife, and, as a dowry, a plantation and implements of 

The late storm, their long and profitless cruise, now 
extending with some of them to years, and the penal- 
ties to which their criminal acts made them all alike 
liable in every civilized country, combined to depress 
the spirits of the crew of the Cygnet ; and once more 
every man heartily wished himself at home, " as they 
had done a hundred times before." They were, how- 
ever, persuaded by the captain and master to try one 
more chance, and agreed to steer for Cape Comorin, for 
ever renouncing the long-indulged dream of capturing 
the Manilla ship. Dampier believed that the ultimate 
object of the pirate commanders was to cruise in the 
Red Sea, and by one more desperate effort to make or 
for ever mar their fortunes. Of all the company none 
was more heartily tired than our navigator, who had 
been betrayed into this voyage, and whose thoughts, 
since leaving Mindanao, had run continually on mak- 
ing his escape to some English settlement. To avoid 
the danger of meeting English or Dutch ships, with 
which, in taking the best and most direct course, they 
were in danger of falling in, they agreed, instead of 
steering for the Strait of Malacca, to go round the 
east side of the Philippines, and, keeping south to the 
Spice Islands, pass these, and enter the Indian Ocean 
about Timor. To Dampier all routes were alike. " I 
was well enough satisfied," he says, " knowing that 


the further we went the more knowledge and experi- 
ence I should get, which was the main thing I re- 
garded, and should also have the more variety of places 
to attempt an escape from them." 

On the 3rd October they sailed from the Bashee 
Isles, leaving for the first time a somewhat favourable 
impression of their characters, and bearing away grate- 
ful and affectionate remembrances of this gentle and 
amiable tribe. They steered south-south-west, with 
the wind at west and fair weather ; and passed certain 
islands which lie by the north end of Luconia. Leav- 
ing the coast of this island, and with it " all their 
golden prospects," they steered southward, keeping to 
the east of the Philippines, and on the 15th anchored 
between the two small islands named Candigar and 
Sarangan, near the south-east end of Mindanao; and 
next day, at the north-west end of the most easterly 
of the islands, found a fit place to careen and refit the 
ship. While they lay here the nephew of the sultan, 
who, in name of his uncle, had formerly been treating 
with Captain Swan to visit and garrison his island and 
take in a cargo of spice, came on board and requested 
a passage home, as they were understood to be going 
southward. From him they obtained intelligence of 
Captain Swan and their deserted comrades, who had 
been fighting under Rajah Laut with a hostile tribe in 
the interior. The Englishmen had conducted them- 
selves so bravely in fight that they were now in high 
favour at Mindanao, though it was feared they had 


been found too powerful and useful as allies to be per- 
mitted easily to leave their new service. Swan had 
for some time been attempting, unsuccessfully, to hire 
a vessel to convey him to Fort St. George. 

At this time Dampier took an opportunity of per- 
suading the men to return to their duty, to carry the 
ship back to the river of Mindanao, and give her up to 
the true commander ; but before this could be effected, 
one man, who seemed the most zealously to embrace 
the proposal, gave information, and Captain Read 
deemed it prudent to weigh anchor with all expedi- 
tion, and without waiting the arrival of the prince, to 
whom a passage had been promised. Read held a 
course south-west, and once more disappointed the 
hopes of Dampier, who believed that, by carrying 
home the young chief, they might, at his uncle's isl- 
and, establish a factoiy and a lawful traffic. 

The ultimate fate of Captain Swan, of whom we are 
now to lose sight, was not a little painful. Two super- 
cargoes or merchants of the ship, Harthop and Smith, 
died at Mindanao ; and when the commander, after a 
series of vexations and disappointments, was going out 
to a Dutch vessel which lay in the river, hoping to get 
away at last, the boat was run down by the emissaries 
of Rajah Laut, and Swan and the surgeon were either 
drowned or killed in the water. The property of the 
English captain was immediately seized by the per- 
fidious chief, who justified his conduct by imputing as 
crimes to the unfortunate Englishman the idle, impo- 


tent threats wrung from him by hope deferred, irrita- 
tion, and grief. 

The Cygnet continued her bootless voyage among 
the islands and channels of the Philippines on to the 
Spice Isles, and anchored off Celebes, where the sea- 
men obtained a supply of turtle, and found among 
other shell-fish cockles of so monstrous a size that the 
meat of one of them made a meal for seven or eight 
persons. It was palatable and wholesome. Here they 
also found a vine, of which the leaves, pounded and 
boiled with lard, made an infallible sea-salve. One of 
the company had formerly learned its uses from the 
Indians of the Darien; and most of the seamen now 
laid up a store, such as had ulcers finding great benefit 
from its healing properties. On the 29th November 
they left this place ; and after encountering the dangers 
of the shoals which surround Celebes, and experiencing 
fierce tornadoes, on the 1st December they saw, and on 
the 5th approached, the north-west end of the island 
of Bouton. On the evening of the 30th they had seen 
at a distance two or three water-spouts, but escaped 
them all. 

An Indian, who spoke the Malay tongue, came on 
board at this time with some of the turtle-strikers, 
and informed them of a good harbour on the east side 
of Bouton, for which they sailed. They came to anchor 
within a league of Callasusung, a clean and handsome 
town, situated upon a hill in the middle of a fertile 
plain, surrounded with cocoa-trees. The people re- 

(829) 26 


sembled the inhabitants of Mindanao, and their houses 
were built in the same style ; but they appeared in all 
respects more "neat and tight." They were Moham- 
medans, and spoke the Malay language. The same de- 
scription seems to fit every sultan whom the voyagers 
saw, " a little man about forty or fifty, with a great 
many wives and children." Unaware of the exact 
character of his visitors, the Sultan of Bouton was 
pleased to hear that they were English, and made them 
a visit in a handsomely-ornamented proa, with a white 
silk Hag displayed at the mast-head, edged with red, 
and having in the centre, neatly painted, the device of 
the prince, a green griffin trampling upon a dragon 
or winged serpent. 

They had no object in remaining here, and as a for- 
lorn hope, or from curiosity, resolved to steer for New 
Holland, " to see what that country could afford them." 
In leaving Bouton they got among shoals, and it was 
about three weeks before they passed Timor and got 
clear of all the dangers of this chain. They stood off 
south, and on the 4th January fell in with the north- 
west coast of New Holland in 16 50". They ran close 
in, but found no safe anchoring ground, as the coast 
lay open to the north-east. They steered for about 
twelve leagues north-east by east, keeping close in by 
the shore, and reached a point three leagues to the 
eastward of which they found a deep bay with many 
islets, and finally anchored at about a mile from the 
land. Seeing people walking on the shore, a canoe 


was sent off, but the natives ran away and hid them- 
selves ; and though traces of fires were seen, no habi- 
tation could be discovered. Toys and trinkets were 
left on the shore at such places as the people were 
likely to find them. 

The coast here was low and level, with sandbanks. 
No water could be found, though at several places old 
wells were seen dry in the sandy bays. Having failed 
of their object on the mainland, neither provisions nor 
water being found, nor a hope of them, some of the 
boats visited the islands in the bay, and surprised a 
party of the natives. The men at first threatened the 
intruders, and showed their lances and swords; but 
the noise of a single gun frightened them, and the 
women seemed in very great alarm. Screaming, they 
ran away with their children, while the men stood to 
parley. Those who, from sickness or feebleness, were 
unable to follow, lay still by their fires uttering doleful 
lamentations ; but when it was seen that no harm was 
intended them, they became tranquil, and many of the 
fugitives returned. 

The buccaneers had entertained no design against 
these wretched people more flagitious than to make 
them labour in carrying the water-casks to the boats. 
To this they tried to bribe them with ragged shirts 
and old breeches, finery which could have charmed 
some of the insular families of the Pacific, though they 
were totally disregarded by the inert natives of New 
Holland, whose first associations with European finery 


were connected with hard and compulsory labour. 
" We put them on them," says Dampier, speaking of 
the tattered rags of the buccaneers, " thinking this 
finery would make them work heartily for us ; and 
our water being filled in barrels of about six gallons, 
we brought these new servants to the wells, and put 
a barrel on each of their shoulders to carry to the 
canoe. But all the signs we could make were to no 
purpose; for they stood like statues without motion, 
but grinned like so many monkeys, staring upon one 
another." It was found that they had not even 
strength sufficient for the task of being carriers of 

O O 

water; and Dampier believed that an English ship- 
boy of ten years old would have been able to bear 
heavier burdens than these feeble savages. " So we 
were forced," he says, " to carry our water ourselves ; 
and they very fairly put the clothes off" again, and 
laid them down, as if clothes were only to work in. 
I did not perceive," he adds, " that they had any great 
liking to them at first; neither did they seem to 
admire anything we had." In the estimation of Dam- 
pier, the natives of New Holland were lower in the 
scale of humanity than any tribe of which he had 
ever heard, the Hottentots not excepted. " Setting 
aside their human shape," he says, "they differ but 
little from brutes. They are tall, straight-bodied, and 
thin, with long, small limbs. They have great heads, 
round foreheads, and great brows. Their eyelids are 
always half closed to keep the flies out of their eyes, 


so that they never open their eyes like other people; 
and therefore they cannot see far, unless they hold up 
their heads as if they were looking at something over 
them. They have great bottle-noses, pretty full lips, 
and wide mouths. The two fore teeth of their upper 
jaw are wanting in all of them, men and women, old 
and young. Whether they draw them out I know 
not; neither have they any beards. They are long- 
visaged, and of a very unpleasant aspect, having no 
one graceful feature in their faces. Their hair is 
black, short, and curled, like that of negroes ; and the 
colour of their skins coal-black, like that of the negroes 
in Guinea. They have no sort of clothes, but a piece 
of the rind of a tree tied as a girdle about their waists, 
into which is thrust a handful of long grass or small 
green leafy boughs. They have no houses, lying in the 
open air without covering, the earth their bed, the 
heaven their canopy." They lived in groups or fami- 
lies of from twenty to thirty, men, women, and chil- 
dren ; their only food being a small kind of fish which 
they caught at flood-tide in a sort of weirs. Few shell- 
fish were seen among them. Yet even these miserable 
people were redeemed to humanity by the possession 
of some good qualities. Whatever they caught was 
fairly divided. Were it little or much every one had 
a share of the bounty that Providence had sent, " the 
old and feeble who were unable to go abroad, as well 
as the young and lusty." This disinterestedness, with 
their bold defence of the women and children on the 


first appearance of the Europeans and the startling 
report of fire-arms, is, however, all that can be said in 
praise of apparently the most abject and wretched 
tribe of the great human family. When they had con- 
sumed what was caught, they lay down till next low 
water, and then all who were able to crawl, be it night 
or day, went to examine the weirs. No iron was seen 
among these people ; but they had wooden swords, and 
a kind of lance like a long pole, sharpened at the upper 
end, and hardened by heat. 

No sort of quadruped was seen here ; but there were 
a few land and sea birds, and plenty of manatee and 
turtle, though the natives had never learned to strike 
them. They had neither boats, canoes, nor rafts, but 
could swim between the islands of the bay. No form 
of worship was discerned among them ; and though 
they greedily devoured rice, manatee, or whatever was 
given them, their minds never once appeared awakened 
to any feeling of interest or curiosity. Four men who 
were caught swimming, and brought on board the ship, 
were sensible to nothing but the food which they 
devoured and the delight of getting away. The 
wonders around them, the British ship and her 
strange company, which would have charmed many 
of the tribes of Polynesia to an ecstasy of surprise, 
were unnoticed by the savages of this part of New 

The Mosquito-men were busily employed during the 
time that the ship was cleaned and the sails repaired : 


nor did Dampier miss the opportunity of once again 
persuading his messmates to go to some English fac- 
tory and surrender the vessel and themselves. The 
threat of being left on this barren and melancholy 
coast, among the most wretched of the human race, 
compelled him to consult his prudence rather than his 
duty, and to wait a fairer chance of escape. 

The destination of the Cygnet was still Cape Como- 
rin; and on the 4th of May they made the Nicobar 
Islands, the chief commodities of which were ambergris 
and fruits, which the inhabitants disposed of to any 
European vessels that chance^ to visit them. Dampier 
now openly expressed his intention of leaving the ship ; 
and Captain Read, believing that he could not more effec- 
tually punish his refractory shipmate than by grant- 
ing his wish, and leaving him at one of these islands, 
at once gave him leave to go on shore. Lest Read 
might change his mind, Dampier immediately lowered 
his bedding and chest, and got some one to row him 
to the land. He had not been long on shore when a 
party were sent from the ship to bring him back, and 
he complied, aware that if he persisted in going away 
against their will, the buccaneers would not hesitate 
to make a descent on the coast and kill some of the 
natives, who would in turn revenge themselves on him. 
On returning to the ship, he found that his spirited 
example had moved some of the other persons who 
had long entertained a similar design of effecting their 
escape, and three of them now joined his party, of 


whom the surgeon was one. The captain and crew 
refused on any terms to let the surgeon depart; but 
after some altercation Dampier and his two compan- 
ions, on a fine clear moonlight night, were landed and 
left in a sandy bay of this unknown island. One of 
the seamen who rowed them ashore stole an axe and 
gave it to them, as the means of propitiating the 
natives or of buying provisions. They were speedily 
joined by four Acheenese previously found in a cap- 
tured proa, whom Captain Read refeased before setting 
sail ; and now they fancied themselves strong enough 
to row to Sumatra. A Portuguese, taken prisoner by 
the buccaneers long before, was also landed, and the 
party of eight considered itself able for defence if 
attacked by the natives, though no one offered to dis- 
turb them. 

From the owner of an empty hut in which they 
slept they bought a canoe with the stolen axe, and, 
placing their goods in it, embarked for Acheen. It 
upset as soon as under way, and though no life was 
lost, their clothes were wetted, and what to Dampier 
was of far greater importance, the journals of many 
years and his drafts were damaged. Three days were 
spent in drying their things, and altering the canoe 
into a sailing-boat, which was expertly done by the 
Acheenese, who fitted her with a mast, outriggers, and 
a suit of mat-sails. With the natives, who watched all 
their movements, though more from curiosity than sus- 
picion, they bartered rags and strips of cloth for inel- 


lory, a fruit the size of the bread-fruit, shaped like 
a pear, with a tough, smooth, light-green rind, which 
Dampier asserts is confined to these islands. They also 
obtained cocoa-nuts, which the Acheenese gathered, 
and might have had hogs, but that they did not 
choose to disgust their Malayan friends, who were 
Mohammedans. Once more they embarked in their 
frail vessel, their only guides a pocket-compass, with 
which Dampier had provided himself, and a sketch of 
the Indian Seas, which, contemplating escape, he had 
previously, from a chart in the ship, copied into his 

They had been out three days when the weather 
became threatening, and soon rose to a tempest. We 
shall employ the striking language of Dampier himself 
to describe what followed, nor, while it reveals so 
much of his true character and feelings, could a better 
specimen of his more elevated and earnest style be 
easily selected : " The wind continued increasing all 
the afternoon, and the sea still swelled higher and 
often broke, but did us no damage; for the ends of 
the vessel being very narrow, he that steered received 
and broke the sea on his back, and so kept it from 
coming in, which we were forced to keep heaving out 
continually. The evening of this day was very dismal. 
The sky looked very black, being covered with dark 
clouds. The wind blew hard, and the seas ran high. 
The sea was already roaring in a white foam about 
us; a dark night coming on, no land to shelter us, 


and our little bark in danger to be swallowed by every 
wave ; and, what was worst of all, none of us thought 
ourselves prepared for another world. I had been in 
many imminent dangers before now, but the worst of 
them all was but play-game in comparison with this. 
I had long before this repented me of that roving 
course of life, but never with such concern as now. I 
did also call to mind the many miraculous acts of God's 
providence towards me in the whole course of my life, 
of which kind I believe few men have met the like. 
And for all these I returned thanks in a peculiar 
manner, and once more desired God's assistance, and 
composed my mind as well as I could in the hopes of 
it ; and, as the event showed, I was not disappointed of 
my hopes. Submitting ourselves therefore to God's 
good providence, and taking all the care we could to 
preserve our lives, Mr. Hall and I took turns to steer, 
and the rest to heave out the water; and thus we 
provided to spend the most doleful night I ever was 

The pious trust of Dampier and his companions did 
not fail them. After enduring great hardship, they 
reached a small fishing-village in a river's mouth of 
the island of Sumatra, at which their companions, the 
Malays of Acheen, were previously acquainted. They 
were so much exhausted when they arrived here as to 
be unable to row their canoe to the village, another 
example of the sudden prostration of strength to which 
persons who have been in imminent jeopardy are liable 


as soon as the danger appears to be past. The people 
of the place assisted them in, and a chief who came to 
see them, being given to understand that they were 
prisoners escaped like the Acheenese from pirates, 
treated them with great kindness. A house was pro- 
vided for their reception, and far more provisions were 
sent to it than they could use, as they were all sick from 
excessive fatigue, and the cold and heat to which they 
had alternately been exposed, now scorching unshel- 
tered in the noontide sun, and again bleaching in the 
chill rains of midnight. After resting for ten days, 
though not yet restored to health, they entreated to be 
allowed to proceed to Acheen to their countrymen ; and 
they were provided with a large proa, and permitted to 
depart. On their arrival at Acheen they were strictly 
examined by the native magistrate, and then given up 
to the care of an Irish gentleman connected with the 
factory. The Portuguese died, and Ambrose, one of 
the Englishmen who left the Cygnet, did not long sur- 
vive him. Dampier, originally robust, and whose con- 
stitution was now by his hardy mode of life almost 
invincible, recovered, though slowly ; the remedies of a 
Malay doctor, to whose care he was committed, having 
proved worse than the original disease. 

When his health was somewhat re - established, 
Dampier made a voyage to Nicobar with Captain 
Bowry, an English captain who traded to different 
parts of India. His next voyage was to Tonquin with 
Captain Weldon, with whom he afterwards went to 


Malacca, and thence to Fort St. George, where he 
remained for five months, and then returned to Ben- 
coolen, to a factory lately established by the English 
on what was at that time called the Westcoast. Here 
he also officiated for five months as gunner of the 

While at Acheen, after returning from Malacca, 
Dampier met with Mr. Morgan, a former shipmate in 
the Cygnet, from whom he learned the fortunes of the 
buccaneers. After he had left them at Nicobar, they 
steered for Ceylon, but by streas of weather were com- 
pelled to seek refreshments upon the coast of Coro- 
mandel. Half the crew at this time left the ship, part 
of whom afterwards found their way to Agra, and 
entered the service of the Mogul as guards ; but upon 
the offer of a pardon from the English governor at 
Fort St. George, they repaired to that garrison. The 
Cygnet reached Madagascar, where the pirates entered 
the service of some petty prince then at war with a 
neighbouring chief. 

We may here take a farewell glance of the buc- 
caneers, and especially of those left by Dampier in the 
South Sea. In pursuing their old vocation they be- 
came more successful after the Cygnet crossed the 
Pacific. They captured many vessels, and revelled in 
the plunder of several towns; sometimes cruising to- 
gether, but as often in detached bands. Townley was 
so far fortunate as to obtain with ease at Lavelia the 
treasure and merchandise landed from the Lima ship 


in the former year, for which Swan had watched so 
long in vain, and for which the whole buccaneer force 
had battled in the Bay of Panama. Townley after- 
wards died of wounds received in another attack. The 
French party stormed Granada; and Groignet, dying 
of his wounds, was succeeded by Le Picard. Harris 
followed Swan across the Pacific ; and Knight, satiated 
with plunder, returned by Cape Horn to the West 
Indies, those of his party who had in gambling lost 
their share of the pillage remaining in the Bachelors 
Delight. The narrative of the traverses of this vessel 
on the coasts of Peru and New Spain, written by 
Lionel Wafer, who remained with Davis while Dampier 
followed Swan, possesses considerable interest. Davis 
generally kept apart from the French freebooters, but 
joined them in an attack on Guayaquil, where the 
buccaneers amicably divided a rich booty. The 
French party, among whom, however, there- were 
many Englishmen, afterwards made their way over- 
land, and with great difficulty, from the Bay of Ama- 
palla to the head of a river which falls into the Carib- 
bean Sea, each man with his silver and gold on his 
back, the fortunate and cunning hiring as porters the 
comrades they had previously stripped at the gaming- 

Davis, who during his long cruise had frequently 
remained for weeks at Cocos Island and the Galapagos 
group, now sailed from Guayaquil to these islands, to 
careen and victual his ship previous to leaving the 


South Sea by Cape Horn. The Galapagos* were be- 
come to the buccaneers in the South Sea what Tortuga 
had been to their predecessors in the West Indies. In 
his run south from the Galapagos, Davis discovered 
Easter Island, though the merit of the discovery was 
afterwards claimed by the Dutch Admiral Roggewein, 
and is still a matter of dispute. Davis at this time 
left five of his men with five negro slaves on Juan 
Fernandez. They had lost every farthing which they 
possessed at the gaming-table, and were unwilling to 
leave the South Sea as poor as they entered it. The 
Baclielor'a Delight successfully doubled Cape Horn, 
and Davis, who among the buccaneers stood high in 
point of character both for capacity and worth, reached 
the West Indies just in time to avail himself of the 
pardon offered by royal proclamation. Dampier after- 
wards in England met with his old commander, whom 
he highly esteemed. 

Though the French flibustiers, countenanced by 
their government, continued to flourish during the war 
which followed the accession of William III. to the 
throne of England, and did brave service to their 
country in the West Indies, buccaneering, already 
severely checked, ceased among the English from this 
time, or shifted into the legitimate channel of privateer 
adventure; yet for more than twenty years a few 

* The captain of an English ship, which made a voyage in the Pacific in 1794, 
one hundred and ten years after the retreat of the buccaneers from the South Sea, 
relates that he found the remains of their seats, made of turf and stones, empty 
jars like those in which the Peruvian wine is kept, and nails, daggers, and other 
articles left by them. 


desperate characters, English or English Creoles, out- 
laws or deserters, pretending to be the true successors 
of the old rovers, who had strictly limited their depre- 
dations to the Spanish West Indies, continued to infest 
the commerce of every nation, and haunted every sea 
from Cape Wrath to the islands of the Indian Ocean, 
wherever robbery could be practised with impunity 
whether on land or water. The better to forward or 
conceal their designs, these lawless ruffians often allied 
themselves with native princes, as the new commander 
of the Cygnet had done at Madagascar. Of these 
degenerate descendants of the buccaneers of America, 
the numerous crew of a pirate-ship named the Revenge, 
which was captured among the Orkney Isles, suffered 
by the sentence of the Court of Admiralty so late as 

While Dampier was at Fort St. George an English 
vessel arrived from Mindanao laden with clove-bark, 
having on board an Indian prince he had formerly 
seen a slave at that place, and whom Mr. Moody, the 
supercargo of the ship, had purchased from his owner. 
This prince was from the islands named Meangis, which 
he said abounded in gold and cloves ; and it had been 
a favourite speculation with Dampier to establish a 
factory and open a trade there, which might have been 
managed from Mindanao. This scheme was, however, 
blown to air ; and Prince Jeoly, whom Dampier while 

* We need scarcely remind the reader of Sir Walter Scott's romance "The 


at that island had proposed to purchase from his master 
to be his guide and introducer, was now on the way to 
England to be exhibited as a show. Mr. Moody, who 
had purchased Jeoly, was meanwhile appointed to the 
factory of Indrapoor, then just established on the west 
coast of Sumatra, and to induce Dampier to accompany 
him to this station, and take charge of the guns, 
promised that a vessel should be purchased in which 
he might realize his old scheme of going to Meangis 
with the native prince, and establishing a commerce in 
cloves and gold. Being afterwards unable to fulfil this 
promise, Moody not only released his friend from the 
engagement to serve at Indrapoor, but presented him 
with a half-share of the " painted prince," leaving him 
meanwhile under his charge. As Prince Jeoly was the 
first tattooed man ever seen in Europe, the account 
given of him by Dampier is still curious. The islands 
from which he came lay about twenty leagues from 
Mindanao, bearing south-east. They were three in 
number, small but fertile, and abounding, according to 
the report of the prince, in gold. The abundance of 
cloves and spice Jeoly, using a common Oriental figure, 
described by showing the hairs of his head. His father 
was rajah of the island on which they lived. On it 
were about thirty men and a hundred women, of whom 
five were Jeoly's wives. By one of his wives he had 
been "painted." He was tattooed down the breast, 
between the shoulders, and on the thighs ; and also 
round the arms and legs in the form of broad rings 


and bracelets. The figures Dampier could not compare 
to either the outline of animals or plants } but they 
were full of ingenious flourishes, and showed a variety 
of lines and checkered work in intricate figures. Upon 
the shoulder-blades the lines and pattern were pecu- 
liarly elegant. Most of the men and women of Jeoly's 
island were thus " painted." They wore gold bracelets 
and anklets, had canoes, and lived upon potatoes, yams, 
fruits, and fish. They had also plenty of fowls. His 
native language was quite different from the Malayan, 
which he had acquired during his slavery. In passing 
with some of his relations from one island to another, 
their canoe had been driven by a violent tempest to- 
wards the coast of Mindanao, and they were all made 
prisoners by the Mindanaian fishermen, who stripped 
them of their golden ornaments, and sold them for 

With his situation at the fort of Bencoolen Dampier 
found much reason to be dissatisfied, though the 
character of the governor was his principal grievance. 
But besides his disgust with this official, from whose 
treatment of others Dampier drew no favourable 
augury for himself, he began strongly to experience 
the stirrings of that longing after his native country 
to which every wanderer is at last subjected ; and 
though his pecuniary affairs were in greater disorder 
than on the day he embarked with the buccaneers, and 
he had been glad to earn two dollars, his sole treasure, 
by teaching plain sailing to the lads of Weldon's ship, 

(829) 27 


he sanguinely promised himself a fortune from Prince 
Jeoly, and hoped that in England he might be able to 
obtain a ship to carry back the chief to his native isl- 
and, where, thus introduced, he could not fail to estab- 
lish a lucrative trade in gold and spices. Mr. Moody 
had meanwhile disposed of the share which he retained 
of the unfortunate captive to the mate of an India 
ship bound for England, and with this vessel Dampier 
wished to return home himself, though the capricious 
and tyrannical governor, who had at first consented 
to his departure, at the time of the ship's sailing re- 
voked the permission, nor yielded to any entreaties, 
though the captain and others importuned him to let 
the long-absent wanderer return to his country. The 
day before the ship sailed Dampier crept at midnight 
through a port-hole of the fort, abandoning all his 
property, save his journal and manuscripts, for the 
chance of freedom and of reaching home. The mate of 
the ship, his new partner in Jeoly, by previous agree- 
ment waited for him with a boat, and kept him con- 
cealed on board till the vessel sailed, which it did on 
the 25th January 1691. 

The voyage, from the illness of the crew, proved 
tedious and troublesome, but it was completed at last ; 
though the same bad fortune which had attended 
Dampier at so many turns of life deprived him of all 
advantage from bringing home Jeoly. He arrived in 
the Thames in utter poverty, and was compelled by 
necessity to sell his share of "the painted prince;" 


thus for ever renouncing the romantic project of cany- 
ing him back to Meangis, which poor Jeoly was des- 
tined never again to revisit. After being seen by many 
" eminent persons," he caught the smallpox at Oxford, 
and died. 

Of Dampier at this time we hear no more. The 
narrative of his eight years' ramble round the globe 
breaks off abruptly by saying, " We luffed in for the 
Downs, where we anchored September 16th, 1691." 

All that can now be learned all, perhaps, that is 
desirable or important is, that in the following year 
Dampier published his " New Voyage round the 
World," and afterwards a Supplement, which he en- 
titled "Voyages and Descriptions." The work was 
dedicated to Charles Montague, Esquire, President of 
the Royal Society, and a Commissioner of the Treasury, 
with whom it appears he had no previous acquaintance. 
Its intrinsic merits, the charm of the narrative, and the 
style, soon brought the author into notice, and the 
work ran rapidly through several editions, and was 
translated into French and Dutch. Among other dis- 
tinctions, Captain Lemuel Gulliver, at that period a 
navigator of very great celebrity, hailed Dampier, from 
whom he borrowed many hints, as " Cousin." 



IN 1699, the country being in profound peace, an 
expedition of discovery, highly honourable to the royal 
projector, was ordered by William III., the conduct of 
which the Earl of Pembroke, who was then at the head 
of the Admiralty, committed to Dampier, who was re- 
commended solely by his qualifications as a seaman, 
his large experience, and evident capacity. The coun- 
tries which he was particularly recommended to 
examine in this voyage were New Holland and New 

The vessel in which Dampier undertook the voyage 
to New Holland was a king's ship named the Roebuck, 
old and crazy before she left the port. She carried 
twelve guns, and a crew of fifty men and boys, with 
provisions for twenty months, and the equipments 
necessary to the accomplishment of a voyage under- 
taken for the future promotion of traffic, but of which 
the immediate object was discovery. Dampier, who 
had always been fond of natural history, at this time 
carried a draftsman with him. The Roebuck left the 


Downs on the 14th January 1699, and proceeded pros- 
perously to the Cape de Verd Islands, and afterwards 
to the coast of Brazil, where Dampier thought it neces- 
sary to put into some port, as he intended at the next 
stretch at once to reach New Holland. On the 25th 
March they anchored at Bahia de todos los Santos, 
where thirty large European vessels then lay, besides 
other ships and a multitude of craft. The governor 
was named Don John de Lancaster, and, claiming to be 
of high English extraction, was exceedingly courteous 
to the countrymen of his ancestors. 

They sailed on the 23rd April, and on the following 
days caught small sharks, which they cooked in the 
buccaneer fashion, and called good fish. On their way 
to the Cape of Good Hope they saw nothing more 
remarkable than the carcass of a whale, about which 
hovered " millions " of sea-fowl, darkening the air far 
around. They also saw the stormy petrel, a bird 
resembling a swallow, but smaller, and which skims 
like a swallow. Seamen, naturalists say most unjustly, 
call them foul-weather birds, and at all times dislike 
their appearance. " In a storm they will hover under 
the ship's stern, in the wake or smoothness which the 
ship's passing has made on the sea ; and there, as they 
fly gently, they pat the water alternately with their 
feet, as if they walked upon it, though still on the 
wing. Hence the seamen gave them their name, from 
Peter walking on the Lake of Gennesareth." 

The voyage proceeded favourably. On 4th July 


they frequently made soundings, and ninety leagues 
from New Holland often saw whales, and at thirty 
leagues bones of the scuttle-fish floating, and also sea- 
weed. They were now close upon the western coast 
of New Holland, and constantly sounded. On the 
morning of the 1st August they descried land at the 
distance of six leagues, but were unable to find a safe 
harbour, and from foul weather were compelled to 
stand off till the 5th, when they again approached the 
same coast. Next morning they ran into an opening, 
keeping a boat sounding before the ship, and anchored 
at two miles from the shore, in the harbour named 
Dirk Hartog's Reede, from the first discoverer, who in 
1616 had anchored here. To this bay Dampier gave 
the name of Sharks' Bay. He lays it down as in 25 
S. at the mouth. 

The land here is rather high, and from sea appears 
level, but is found to be gently undulating. On the 
open coast the shore is bluff ; but in the bay the land 
is low, and the soil sandy, producing a species of 
samphire. " Farther in " (we now adopt Dampier 's 
description) " it is a reddish mould, a sort of sand pro- 
ducing grass, plants, and shrubs. Of trees and shrubs 
are various sorts, but none above ten feet high. Some 
of the trees were sweet-scented, and reddish within the 
bark like sassafras, but redder. The blossoms of the dif- 
ferent sorts of trees were of several colours, but mostly 
blue, and smelt very sweet and fragrant. There were 
also beautiful and fragrant flowers growing on the 


ground, unlike any I had ever seen elsewhere." There 
were eagles, but no other large birds; and of small 
singing-birds great variety, with fine shrill notes. Be- 
sides the ordinary sea-birds there were many strange 
kinds, quite new to the voyager. The kangaroo he 
describes as a sort of racoon, differing from those of 
the West Indies chiefly in the legs ; what he calls the 
racoons of New Holland having very short fore-legs, 
with which they go jumping about. Of the iguanas 
of this country Dampier gives a striking description. 
They were inferior as food to those with which he had 
been familiar in the West Indies and the South Sea, 
and when killed and opened were very offensive in 
smell. Nothing can be more loathsome and disgusting 
than the picture Tie gives of this large species of lizard 
(Scincus tropicurus). In Sharks' Bay, besides an 
abundance of sharks, large green-turtle were found, 
both of which furnished welcome refreshment to the 
seamen. The fish were skate, rays, and other flat 
kinds, with mussels, oysters, and small shell -fish. 
" The shore was lined with strange and beautiful 

They had anchored at three different places to search 
for water; and on the llth, for this purpose, and also 
to prosecute discovery, they stood further into the bay, 
but, after several abortive attempts, again bore out to 
sea, having previously scrubbed the ship. Sea-snakes 
were seen of different kinds, one sort yellow with 
brown spots, about four feet in length and of the 


thickness of a man's wrist, with a flat tail; another 
kind smaller, shorter, and round, spotted black and 

It was the 14th August when they sailed out of this 
bay or bight, and plied off and on northward, keeping 
about six or seven leagues from the shore, and fre- 
quently sounding. On the 15th they were in latitude 
24 41' S. ; on the 16th in 23 22', "jogging on north- 
ward," seeing in their progress many small dolphins 
and whales, and abundance of scuttle-n'sh shells and 
water-serpents. On the afternoon of the 18th, off a 
shoal in 22 22", of which Dampier kept clear, numer- 
ous whales were seen on all sides of the ship " blowing 
and making a very dismal noise." When the Roebuck 
got into deeper water these alarming fellow-voyagers 
left her. 

On the 20th they were carried out of sight of land, 
which was recovered on the 21st, visible only from the 
mast, bearing south-east by east, and appearing at the 
distance of nine leagues like a bluff headland. Around 
this place was an archipelago of islands, of good height, 
which Dampier believed to be a range stretching from 
east-north-east to west-south-west for about twenty 
leagues, or probably to Sharks' Bay, and of considerable 
depth, which he presumed might possibly afford a passage 
to the great South Sea eastward. Next day he ran in 
among these islands, the boat sounding before. The 
water was of very unequal depth, and the arid appear- 
ance of the shores and yellow rusty colour of the rocks 


made them despair of finding water, though Dampier, 
hoping that they might either discover a new channel 
leading through to the mainland of New Holland or 
find some sort of rich mineral or ambergris, for which 
this was a favourable latitude, was unwilling to turn 
back. The island near which he rode he named Rose- 
mary Island, as a plant that seemed of that kind grew 
here in abundance, but was destitute of smell. Two 
kinds of beans were found ; the one growing on bushes, 
the other on a creeping plant that ran along the ground. 
Cormorants and gulls were seen, and a kind of white 
parrot, which flew in large flocks. 

They left this place on the 23rd, and for some time 
coasted on with the land-breeze, having had, since 
leaving Sharks' Bay, fine clear weather, which still 
continued. Water-snakes, whales, noddies, and boobies 
were seen. On the 27th and 28th they were out of 
sight of land, which was recovered on the 30th in lati- 
tude 18 21' S., great smokes being seen on the shore. 
This night there was an eclipse of the moon. 

Early next day an armed party of ten men landed 
to search for water, carrying with them pickaxes and 
shovels. Three tall black naked men were seen on the 
beach, but they went away. The boat, lying at anchor 
a little way out in the water to prevent seizure, was left 
in the care of two sailors, while the rest of the party fol- 
lowed the natives, who were soon joined by eight or nine 
men. They stood posted on an eminence, from which, 
however, they fled on the approach of the Englishmen. 


From this height the party descried a savanna 
studded with what they at first fancied to be huts, but 
discovered to be only rocks and no water near them. 
They returned to the place at which they had landed, 
and began to dig, but were menaced by another party 
of natives collected on an adjoining height, who vocif- 
erated with angry gestures, as if they ordered the 
strangers to be gone. One of them at length ventured 
to approach, and the rest followed at a cautious dis- 
tance. Dampier went forward to meet them, making 
signs of peace and friendship ; but the leader fled, and 
the others kept aloof. The want of water made it 
absolutely necessary to establish a communication with 
the natives, whether by fair or violent means ; and an 
attempt was made to catch some of them, a nimble 
young man who was with Dampier trying to run them 
down. As soon as he overtook them they faced about 
and fought him ; and Dampier, who was himself as- 
sailed, was compelled to fire off his musket in defence 
of his man, who, though armed with a cutlass, was un- 
able to beat back so many wooden lances. The first 
shot, intended to scare but not to injure, was treated, 
after a momentary alarm, with indifference or contempt. 
They tossed up their arms, exclaiming, " Pooh, pooh, 
pooh !" and pressed closer upon the seaman ; and Dam- 
pier durst no longer withhold his fire. One native fell ; 
his friends paused in alarm, and the young seaman 
escaped. " I returned back," says Dampier, " with my 
man, designing to attempt the natives no further, being 


very sorry for what had happened." The young 
Englishman was wounded in the cheek by a lance. 
Among the attacking party there was one young man 
who, from his appearance and dignity of demeanour, 
was imagined a chief or leader. Yet this impression 
was given by something distinct from either height of 
stature or personal beauty ; for the New Hollander was 
neither so tall nor well-made as some of the others, but 
" a brisk young man," active and courageous. He was 
the only one of the group that was painted. A circle 
drawn with some sort of white pigment surrounded 
each of his eyes, and a white streak reached from the 
forehead to the tip of the nose. His breast and part 
of his arms were also stained, " not for beauty or orna- 
ment," it was very rationally concluded, " but that he 
seemed thereby to design the looking more terrible, 
this his painting adding very much to his natural de- 
formity." Dampier imagined these New Hollanders 
to be of the same nation with those he had seen when 
the Cygnet had touched on this coast. " They were the 
same blinking creatures," he says, " with the most un- 
pleasant looks and worst features of any people I had 
ever seen." He did not get near enough to discover if 
this tribe also wanted the two fore-teeth, as that tribe 
did. By the old fire-places quantities of shells were 
found of the kinds of shell-fish on which the other 
island-tribe lived; and their lances were similar in 
shape. The general features of the country at the 
places visited on this coast were the same as those 


already described low, with chains of sand-hills, the 
land round the shore dry and sandy, bearing many 
shrubs with beautiful blossoms of various colours and 
of delicate fragrance. Farther on, the land was mixed 
woodland and savanna. The plains were studded 
with detached rocks resembling haycocks at a distance, 
some red and others white. By subsequent voyagers 
these have been taken for large ant-hillocks. Some 
animals were seen resembling hungry wolves, lean as 

Brackish water was at last obtained, which was 
employed to boil the oatmeal, in order to save what 
remained in the casks. Our navigator on the 5th Sep- 
tember left this arid and sterile coast ; on the 7th, in 
latitude 16 9' S., and out of sight of land, stood out to 
sea; and on the 8th, in 15 37', shaped his course for 
the island of Timor. On the 22nd he came to anchor 
in Coepang Bay, near the Dutch fort Concordia, but 
afterwards went to Laphao, a Portuguese settlement 
on the opposite side of the island. 

After resting and refitting at this fine island, the 
voyage was prosecuted to New Guinea. The Roebuck 
sailed on the 20th December ; and on the 1st January 
1700, they descried the western coast of this country 
high level land covered with thriving trees. Near the 
land they were assailed by tornadoes, and black clouds 
hovered over it, while at sea the weather was clear and 
settled. On the 7th they landed, caught at one haul 
above three hundred mackerel, and next day anchored 


in the mouth of a river, where they took in water. 
Fruits of unknown kinds were brought on board by 
the pinnace ; and one of the men shot a stately land- 
fowl about the size of the dunghill cock, sky-coloured, 
but with a white blotch and reddish spots about the 
wings, and a long bunch of feathers on the crown. 
From Freshwater Bay, which they named this place, 
they sailed out by White Island, which was in 3 4' S., 
and is distinguished by white cliffs. The Roebuck beat 
up to the northward against currents and adverse winds, 
and passed many islets and dangerous shoals, occasion- 
ally anchoring to obtain wood and water. At an island 
named by the natives Sabuda, in 2 43' S., Dampier 
found a tawny race closely resembling his old friends 
at Mindanao. Negroes were also seen here, of the 
curly-haired blacks which had originally obtained for 
this country the name of New Guinea. Some of these 
Oceanic negroes appeared to be slaves of the yellow or 
Malay race. The weapons were the same as in Min- 
danao, the lances pointed with bone. These inlanders 
had a very ingenious way of making the fish rise. A 
block of wood carved like a dolphin was let down into 
the water by a line, to which a weight was attached in 
order to sink it. When they had waited the effect of 
their stratagem, the decoy was rapidly raised by the 
line, the fish followed it, and the strikers stood ready 

Still plying northward, on the 4th February they 
reached the north-west cape of New Guinea, called by 


the Dutch Cape Mabo. A small wooded island lies off 
the cape, and to the north and north-east islets are 
numerous. The land is generally high, and covered 
with tall healthy timber. Near one of these islands, 
which, from the enormous size of the cockles found at 
it, he named Cockle Island, Dampier had almost run 
upon a shoal, but got off; and coming to anchor, de- 
spatched the boats to the island, from whence pigeons 
were brought, and cockles of the moderate weight of ten 
pounds. The shell alone of one formerly found weighed 
fifty-eight pounds. Bats of the large kind were seen 

The Roebuck stood onward four or five leagues, 
shaping her course to the east, and at a small wooded 
island found ordinary-sized cockles in prodigious abun- 
dance, and numerous pigeons. On the 7th they anchored 
at an island finely wooded with tall "straight trees 
fit for any use," which Dampier loyally named King 
William's Island. From the time of passing Cape 
Mabo till the 12th, the Roebuck, owing to easterly 
winds, had not advanced above thirty leagues to the 
eastward. When they got to 2 S. the easterly winds 
increased, and, as they approached the Equinoctial, 
hung still more easterly. On the afternoon of the 12th 
the wind shifted to a more favourable point, with heavy 
rain, which continued for some days. They descried, 
at the distance of six leagues from the shore, two head- 
lands about twenty miles apart, one to the east, the 
other to the west. The last they named the Cape of 


Good Hope. On the morning of the 15th they were 
in danger of running upon an island not laid down in 
their charts, which Dampier, in commemoration of the 
escape, named Providence Island. Large trees and logs 
were this day seen floating, which Dampier concluded 
had come out of some of the rivers of New Guinea. 
On the 16th they crossed the Line. The Roebuck was 
steered for an island seen on the 25th at the distance 
of fifteen leagues, supposed to be that called Vischer's 
Island by the Dutch ; but as it was to him unknown 
land, Dampier named it Matthias Island. It was about 
ten leagues long, hilly and wooded, but intersected by 
savannas and open places. Another island low, level 
land, seven or eight leagues to the eastward of this 
was named Squally Island, as they here encountered 
tornadoes so violent and frequent that they durst not 
venture to stand in. 

Dampier afterwards stood for the mainland, encoun- 
tering frequent and violent squalls, and steered for a 
part of the coast where he saw many smokes arising. 
The islands he had at first passed were those now 
known as the Admiralty Islands. His course had lain 
to the northward of them. 

The land he approached was mountainous and well- 
wooded, with large plantations and cleared patches 
lying on the hill-sides. The discoverer wished to have 
some intercourse with the natives here, and was glad 
to see boats and proas come off in great numbers. 
They approached near enough to make signs and to be 


heard, but their language was totally unknown to the 
voyagers. They could not be induced to approach the 
ship any closer not even by the allurement of beads, 
knives, or glasses, though some beads floated to them 
in a bottle were readily picked up, and they seemed 
pleased with the gift. They often struck their left 
breast with the right hand, and held a black truncheon 
over their heads, as if in token of friendship. It was 
impossible, from the state of the current, to get the ship 
into the bay to which the natives pointed ; and when 
she wore off, they appeared angry, though they still 
followed in their proas, which were now increased to a 
formidable fleet. The bays were also lined with men. 
The crew got ready their small-arms; and when the 
ship fairly stood out, the natives became so ill-pleased 
that they launched showers of stones after her from 
slings. One gun was tired off, and some of the slingers 
were conjectured to be killed or wounded. Dampier 
named this place Slingers' Bay. 

Next day the Roebuck passed an island where smokes 
were seen and men in the bays, who followed in three 
canoes, but could not overtake the ship. This island is 
the Gerrit Denys or Gerard Dynas of the Dutch. It is 
high, mountainous, and wooded. The hill-sides were 
covered with plantations, and in the sheltered bays 
there were cocoa-nut trees. It seemed very populous ; 
the natives were black, with crisp hair, which they 
shaved in different figures, and dyed of various hues. 
They were strong and well-limbed, with broad round 


faces and large flat noses ; yet the expression of their 
countenance, when not disfigured by their singular 
taste in ornament, was not unpleasant. Besides being 
painted, they wore some kind of ornament through 
their noses, about four inches long, and as thick as a 
man's thumb. Their ears were perforated with large 
holes rilled with similar decorations. The weapons 
seen were swords, lances, slings, bows and arrows. The 
proas were ingeniously built, and ornamented with 
carved figures, though they had neither sail nor anchor, 
and the natives were expert and fearless in managing 
them. Their language was clear and distinct. The 
black truncheon, used as at Slingers' Bay, or a fresh - 
gathered leafy bough, was their symbol of friendship. 
These they placed upon their heads, to which they 
often lifted their hands. 

Dampier next day reached Anthony Kaan's Island, 
which in its external features and social condition 
closely resembled the neighbouring group. It lies in 
3 25" S. As the Roebuck held along the coast, other 
natives approached; and three ventured on board, to 
whom the captain gave a knife, a looking-glass, and 
beads, showing them pumpkins and cocoa-nut shells, 
and by signs requesting them to bring similar things 
to the ship. They understood this language, and out 
of one of the canoes took three cocoa-nuts, which they 
presented to him. When nutmegs and gold-dust were 
shown them, they appeared to intimate that such 
things were to be obtained on their island. The na- 

(829) 28 


tives here, like those already seen, were black, tall, 
strong, and well made, with crisp hair, and their nose 
and ears were ornamented in the same fashion as those 
seen the former day. 

Dampier's next stage was St. John's, an island about 
ten leagues long, abounding in plantations and cocoa- 
nut trees, with groves of palms by the shores and in the 
bays. All these islands appeared so populous that the 
navigator feared to send a party on shore for wood or 
water, unless he could have found anchoring ground 
where the ship might have been brought up to protect 
them, and he now again stood for the mainland of New 
Guinea to supply his wants. On the 8th he approached 
the coast so near that smokes were seen, with the land 
high and wooded, and thinly interspersed with savan- 
nas. Canoes came off to the ship, in which were 
natives exactly resembling those they had last seen. 
A headland lay to the south, in latitude 5 5' S., from 
which point Dampier concluded that the shore trended 
to the westward, as no land was seen beyond it. This 
headland he named Cape St. George, the meridian dis- 
tance of which from Cape Mabo is twelve hundred and 
ninety miles. An island off this cape he named St. 
George's Island, and the bay between it and the west 
point St. George's Bay. Great quantities of smoke 
arose in sight, and next day a volcano was discovered 
burning. The south-west cape of the bay Dampier 
named Cape Orford, in compliment to his noble patron. 
It is a bluff point, of medium height, and flat at the 


top. In advancing on the 14th, a cluster of islands 
were seen in a bay in which Darapier hoped to find 
anchorage. He ran in, and saw smokes, and, having 
got up with the point of the bay, houses, plantations, 
and cocoa-nut trees. He approached within a few 
miles of the shore, and several proas, with about forty 
men, came out to view the ship, but would not venture 
on board. The ship now lay becalmed, and as other 
proas full of men approached from different points, one 
of them of very large size, the commander became un- 
easy. He made the first party signs to return to the 
shore ; but they either could not understand or would 
not obey, and he "whistled a shot over their heads," 
which made them pull away. Two boats, which had 
started from different points, intended, it was appre- 
hended, to effect a junction and attack the ship. Of 
these, one was a large boat, with a high head and stern, 
painted, and full of men. At this formidable bark 
Dampier fired another shot, which made it sheer off, 
though it afterwards pulled but the more vigorously 
to join the other advancing boat. To prevent this 
junction, and overawe the natives in their suspected 
design, the gunner was directed to fire a shot between 
these boats as they approached each other; which he 
did with so true an aim, using round and partridge 
shot, that they instantly separated and made for the 
shore with all speed. The Roebuck, which had been 
for a short time becalmed, bore after them into the bay 
with a gentle favouring breeze ; and when it reached 


the point, a great many men were seen lurking about 
the rocks and peeping out. Another shot was fired 
against the point, as a necessary measure of intimida- 
tion. The shot grazed between the ship and the point, 
flew over it, and grazed a second time very near the 
ambushed party. A number of the natives were still 
seen sitting under the cocoa trees, whom Dampier, who 
knew the people here to be inhospitable, distrustful, 
and treacherous (a character which the Oceanic negroes 
had obtained from all previous navigators), deemed it 
necessary to scare and disperse ; and a third gun was 
fired among the wood, but over their heads, before the 
boat was sent out to sound. The Roebuck followed the 
boat, and found good anchorage at a quarter of a mile 
from the shore, and opposite the mouth of a small 
river, where they hoped to find water, the true and 
only object of all this seeming harshness. A group 
stationed on a small point at the river's mouth was 
scattered by the former means, though this shot and 
all that were fired were aimed aside and harmless. 
The seamen then rowed for the shore, and before they 
landed, the Indians rushed into the water, and placed 
cocoa-nuts in their boat as a present or a propitiatory 

Water was obtained one boat's crew keeping watch 
while the other filled the casks and an attempt was 
made to commence a trade by exchanging axes and 
hatchets for yams, potatoes, and other articles. The 
natives were not insensible to the value of the goods 


offered in exchange, but they would part with nothing 
save cocoa-nuts, which they climbed the trees to gather, 
and gave to the seamen, at the same time making signs 
to them to be gone. 

Having obtained a tolerable quantity of both wood 
and water, Dampier held a consultation with his officers 
on the propriety of putting to sea, or of remaining here 
some time longer, to fish, and endeavour to obtain hogs, 
goats, yams, and whatever refreshments the place 
afforded. It was agreed to remain. While the men 
were employed in cutting wood, a party of about forty 
natives, men and women, passed near them. They at 
first appeared frightened, but were somewhat reassured 
by the signs of friendship made by the sailors, and 
passed quietly on. The men were finely bedecked with 
feathers of gay colours stuck in their hair, and carried 
lances ; while the women trudged behind totally naked, 
save for a few green boughs stuck into the string tied 
round their waists. On their heads they carried large 
baskets full of yams. "And this," says Dampier, "I 
have observed of all savages I have known that they 
make their women carry the burdens, while the men 
walk before without any other load than their arms 
and ornaments." 

When the boats went next ashore, some of the sea- 
men entered the dwellings of the natives, who, instead 
of becoming more familiar on further acquaintance, got 
more and more shy and distrustful. They had now 
gathered all the cocoas, and driven away their hogs to 


a place in the bottom of the bay. Dampier himself 
landed, carrying with him articles proper for presents 
and trade; but he was unable to inspire the natives 
with any degree of confidence. Few of them ap- 
proached him, and those with reluctance ; and a promise 
which an Indian made of bringing cocoa-nuts was prob- 
ably never intended to be kept. He visited three dif- 
ferent villages, and uniformly found the huts abandoned 
and the furniture and live-stock carried off. When 
Captain Dampier returned to the ship, he found all the 
officers and men most importunate to obtain his per- 
mission to visit the place whither the hogs had been 
driven. They extorted a reluctant consent, and de- 
parted, furnished with commodities for traffic, strictly 
enjoined to deal fairly with the natives, and for their 
own security to act with caution. The bay was two 
miles distant, and Dampier, who had great misgivings 
of the consequences of the enterprise, prepared, in case 
of the worst, to assist them with the ship's guns, as the 
natives were now seen assembling on the shore in large 
groups, prepared to resist the landing, shaking their 
lances and using threatening gestures. The English 
displayed their tempting wares, and made signs which 
were disregarded by the natives, some of whom plunged 
into the sea with their lances and targets to commence 
the attack. But the seamen were resolved in every 
event to obtain provisions ; and since fair means were 
repulsed, they made no scruple at using violence and 
severity. The first fire of the muskets made the greater 


part of the warriors run off, though a few stood with 
great resolution, still in the attitude of repelling the 
landing. The boldest at last dropped his target it 
was conjectured that he was hit in the arm and the 
whole took to flight. Dampier acknowledges that 
"some felt the smart of our bullets, but none were 
killed; our design being rather to fright than to kill 
them." The seamen shot nine hogs, besides wounding 
many that escaped, and in the evening made a second 
trip and brought off eight more. As a sort of compen- 
sation for the injury done, Dampier sent a captured 
canoe back to the shore, and deposited in it two axes, 
two hatchets, six knives, six looking-glasses, four bottles, 
and a quantity of beads. 

This bay, in 6 10' S., and one hundred and fifty-one 
miles west of Cape St. George, Dampier named Port 
Montague, in honour of the President of the Eoyal 
Society. Of the appearance and nature of the coun- 
try here he makes a very favourable report. "It is 
mountainous and wooded, with rich valleys and pleasant 
fresh-water brooks." The rivers abounded in fish; 
cocoa-nut trees sprung and throve on every island, and 
many fruits of unknown kinds were seen. Ginger was 
among the spontaneous productions. 

The Roebuck was now well supplied with wood and 
water, and the hogs had been salted as soon as brought 
on board. On the 22nd March they left Port Mon- 
tague, and on the 24th, in the evening, saw high land 
bearing north-west, "half -west, and no land visible 


more to the west." They steered west -north -west, 
coasting along under easy sail, and at two o'clock saw 
a pillar of fire. At daylight this was discovered to be 
a burning island, for which they bore, seeing many 
other islands, two of them pretty high. They passed 
through a channel about five leagues broad, lying be- 
tween the Burning Island and the mainland. All the 
night of the 25th, being still in this strait, they saw 
the volcano, "which," Dainpier relates, "vomited fire 
and smoke very amazingly." 

On the night of the 26th the Roebuck had shot to 
the westward of the Burning Island, whence the fire 
could no longer be seen, the crater lying on its south 
side. This volcano lies at meridian distance three hun- 
dred and thirty-two miles west from Cape St. George. 
And now Dampier had attained an important stage in 
his voyage of discovery. " The easternmost part," he 
says, " of New Guinea lies forty miles to the westward 
of this tract of land, and by hydrographers they are 
made joining together." This he found to be a mis- 
take, and discovered that it was a channel he had 
passed through here, in which were many islands. Be- 
fore entering this strait, he named the promontory on 
the north-east of this coast part of what was then all 
named New Guinea King William's Cape. It is high 
and mountainous. Smokes were seen upon it. Leav- 
ing it upon the larboard side, the Roebuck bore away 
close upon the east land, which ends with two remark- 
able capes, distant from each other about six leagues, 


with two fine and very high mountains rising from the 
sea within these headlands. The country appeared 
finely mingled with woodland and savanna, as smooth 
and verdant as an English meadow. Smokes were 
again seen; but Dampier, who wished to repair his 
pinnace, which was so crazy as to be unserviceable, 
chose rather to anchor near an uninhabited than a 
peopled island, as he wished to avoid the natives. He 
stood over to the islands, and kept a look-out for land 
to the north, but saw none. The navigator was now 
assured that he had passed through a strait, and that 
this eastern land did not join the mainland of New 
Guinea. He named this island, which he had now 
nearly circumnavigated, Nova Britannia, the north- 
west point of the strait Cape Gloucester, and the south- 
west Cape Anne. The mountain most to the north- 
west of the two which rose between those headlands, 
being very remarkable in appearance, the discoverer 
chose to give it also a name, and called it Mount 

The passage thus discovered is now known in geo- 
graphy as Dampier's Strait. The island of Nova Bri- 
tannia, in productions and inhabitants, resembled New 
Guinea. The people were negroes, strong-limbed, bold, 
and daring. They had been closely observed at Port 
Montague, and the remarks made on them there applied 
with equal propriety to the few that were afterwards 

Advancing in his course, Dampier fell in with several 


islands. One eleven leagues in length he named Sir 
George Rooke's Island. On the 31st he shot in between 
two islands, the southernmost long, with a hill at 
each end. This he named Long Island. The one to 
the north was named Crown Island, from its eminences. 
Both were pleasant, and seemed fertile, savanna and 
woodland interspersed, the trees green and flourishing, 
and many of them covered with white blossoms. Cocoa- 
nut trees were frequent in the bays of that island 
which from its conformation Dampier named Crown 
Island. It was believed to be inhabited, but thinly. 
A boat was seen, which just peeped forth from the 
shore of this island, and drew back ; but neither planta- 
tions nor smokes were discovered. In the afternoon of 
the 31st another island was seen bearing north-west by 
west ; and next morning, the ship having steered away 
north-west to get to the northward of it, lay about mid- 
way between it and Crown and Long Islands. The 
mainland of New Guinea, lying to the southward, was 
seen rising very high. From this new island, which 
the navigator named Sir R. Rich's Island, four canoes 
came off, which from a distance reconnoitred the ship. 
One advanced within call, but when invited the men 
would not approach closer. The Roebuck bore onward 
and discovered four more islands, and land to the south- 
ward, which might either be another island or part of 
the mainland of New Guinea. These islands were 
generally high, full of trees, mixed with clear spots; 
all, even the Burning Island, were fertile. On the 2nd 


April they passed by its north side, and saw that the 
land near the sea was rich, and good for two-thirds of 
the height of the mountains. Among this group of 
islands three small vessels with sails were seen, though 
the inhabitants of Nova Britannia appeared quite un- 
acquainted with the use of sails. Another island was 
descried that sent forth smoke, which, however, soon 
dispersed. This is presumed to have been the Bran- 
dende Berg of Schouten. Different observations made 
at this time showed a variation in the ship's reckoning, 
for which the navigator was at a loss to account. On 
the 14th April they passed Schouten's Island, and on 
the 17th observed a volcano on the mainland, which had 
either not been smoking or had been passed unnoticed 
when they sailed round King William's Island. This 
island, discovered in passing round about two months 
before, was seen in the same afternoon, and they 
crowded sail to reach it before dark. But the wind 
fell, and they were becalmed within two miles of the 
shore. The night was one of bright moonlight, and a 
delightful fragrance was wafted from the island to the 
ship. Next morning they were becalmed two leagues 
to the westward of the island, and met such whirling 
tides that the ship refused to obey the helm, and fre- 
quently turned round in the whirlpools. A gale for- 
tunately sprung up and carried her off. 

The voyage was prosecuted to the island of Ceram, 
which they reached on the 26th April. Here they 
obtained a supply of rice from a Dutch vessel, and 


next went to Timor, from whence Dampier intended 
once more to attempt New Holland in about 20. 
Here he found soundings at forty fathoms, but did not 
see the land, and steered westward to search for the 
Trial Rocks,* which were supposed to lie in this paral- 
lel, and about eighty leagues westward of the coast. 
But Captain Dampier was sick and unable to maintain 
perpetual watch himself, and the officers were inefficient 
and careless, so that this important point was not ascer- 
tained ; nor could more be attempted at this time for 
purposes of discovery, many of the crew being affected 
with scurvy, and the ship hardly seaworthy. The 
Roebuck accordingly sailed for Java, and on the 3rd 
July anchored in the road of Batavia, where Dampier 
supported the dignity of his mission by making the 
only English vessel found in the harbour strike her 
pendant. On the 17th October they sailed for Europe, 
and without any remarkable adventure, having touched 
at the Cape of Good Hope and St. Helena, approached 
the island of Ascension on the 21st February, and 
stood in for it, now reckoning themselves almost at 
home. On the evening of the 22nd the ship, old and 
damaged before the voyage had commenced, sprung a 
leak, and it was with difficulty that the pumps kept 
her afloat till daylight, when they made for the bay 
and came to anchor. Every exertion was made to stop 
the leak and save the ship, while the pumps were kept 

* So named from an English ship called the Trial baring been wrecked upon 
them many years before Dampier's voyage. 


hard at work. The carpenters showed great want of 
judgment, if not want of skill in their business, and in 
spite of all the ingenious contrivances resorted to by 
Dampier, their improvidence and the damaged condi- 
tion of the ship rendered every effort abortive. Dam- 
pier remained on board till the very last. He had to 
regret the loss of many of his books and papers, and a 
collection of shells gathered at New Holland. The 
plants he contrived to save. The condition of the 
party was more fortunate than that which generally 
falls to the lot of shipwrecked seamen. They were 
most happy to discover a spring of good water, though 
eight miles distant from their tents and across a very 
high mountain, and Dampier thankfully relates that 
" they were now by God's providence in a condition to 
subsist for some time, having plenty of good turtle by 
their tents, and water for the fetching." Here Dam- 
pier and his company remained for about five weeks. 
During that time they had seen several ships and fleets 
pass ; but none touched till the 2nd April, when an 
Indiaman and three English ships of war came into the 
bay. Dampier went on board one of them with thirty- 
five of his men, and the rest of the crew were accom- 
modated in the other vessels. 

Though the purpose of his voyage had been accom- 
plished, and though many important additions were 
made by it to geography, the loss of the ship and of 
his papers depressed the spirits of the navigator, and 
but too probably lessened his merit with those fortu- 


nate persons in high places who rarely judge of any 
undertaking save by its apparent success. He was 
now to suffer for the ignorance or mistaken economy 
of those who, projecting a voyage of discovery distant 
and perilous, imagined that it might be accomplished 
by a useless crazy ship unfit for what was considered 
better service. The marvel was that it had not foun- 
dered long before. 

It is to be feared that neither rewards nor even 
soothing promises awaited the return of Dampier from 
his public enterprise. His original patron, or at least 
the person who officially gave him his appointment to 
the Roebuck, no longer presided at the Admiralty. To 
this nobleman, the Earl of Pembroke, he, however, in- 
scribed his relation of the VOYAGE TO NEW HOLLAND. 

About his own private affairs, and his personal feel- 
ings, Dampier is at all times modest and reserved, and 
we can only surmise his disappointment from an inci- 
dental remark into which he is betrayed in the dedica- 
tion of his history of that voyage, which ought to have 
been regarded from the first as useful to science and 
honourable to the navigator. "The world," he says, 
" is apt to judge of everything by success, in so much 
that whoever has ill-fortune will hardly be allowed a 
good name." " Such," he continues, " was my unhappi- 
ness in my late expedition in the Roebuck, which foun- 
dered through perfect age, though I comfort myself 
with the thoughts that no neglect can be charged 
against me." Justly, no neglect could be charged 


against him. On the contrary, he was entitled by his 
conduct of this voyage, independently of his other 
merits, to future employment ; but we hear no more of 
Captain Dampier in the public service. His voyage in 
the Roebuck is the last of his published writings, and 
the history of the remainder of his eventful life, which 
we gather from others, as it is painful, may be brief. 

Captain Dampier had not been long at home when 
the death of King William III. took place, and was 
followed by the war of the Succession. Among the 
private enterprises attending this war with France and 
Spain was extensive privateering ; and he obtained the 
command of the St. George and Cinque Ports, two ves- 
sels equipped by a company of English merchants, and 
intended to cruise against the Spaniards in the South 
Seas. The St. George left the Downs in April 1703, 
with Captain Dampier on board ; but it was September 
before both vessels left Kinsale. The basis of the expe- 
dition was the old buccaneer maxim, No prey, no pay, 
a principle ill adapted to the maintenance of disci- 
pline or order in a ship. In this voyage Dampier had 
in view three special objects, namely, the capture of 
the Spanish galleons that sailed from Buenos Ayres; 
and, failing that, to pass the Strait of Magellan, or 
double Cape Horn, and lie in wait for the ship that 
carried gold from Baldivia to Lima ; or, finally, the oft- 
attempted exploit of the seizure of the Manilla galleon. 
The St. George carried twenty-six guns, and a crew of 
one hundred and twenty. 


The character of Dampier has been subjected to 
many rash and unfounded imputations drawn from 
histories of this voyage published without his sanction. 
The principal one, written by Funnel, who, till he de- 
serted, sailed as Dampier's steward, is full of evident 
misstatements regarding the navigation, as well as the 
private transactions in the ship. So far as these mis- 
representations regarded geographical and nautical facts, 
Dampier afterwards corrected them, though he took 
little notice of the allegations against himself, further 
than in one or two instances to point out their glaring 
falsehood. Before the voyage was well begun quarrels 
broke out among these irresponsible officers, and some 
of them quitted the ship ; while the commander, with- 
out being invested with salutary power to restrain 
them, was left to bear the blame of the misconduct of 
the whole company. 

The ships doubled Cape Horn, and reached Juan 
Fernandez without any remarkable adventure. While 
lying here a strange sail was seen, to which both ships 
gave chase. She proved to be a French ship cruising 
in these seas, and so strongly did the old buccaneer 
associations influence Dampier, that he acknowledged 
it was with reluctance he attacked a European vessel 
of whatever nation. He, however, engaged, and after 
a fight of seven hours, in which both ships suffered 
considerably, they parted. 

Before the proper latitude was reached, the Baldivia 
treasure-ships had sailed. Though Dampier was the 


nominal commander, Stradling, in the Cinque Ports, 
acted independently ; and as they differed about their 
future operations, the ships parted company. A design 
to surprise Santa Maria in the Bay of Panama failed ; 
and though Dampier captured a few small vessels, he 
obtained no prize of any value. 

While lying in the Gulf of Nicoya, the commander 
and his chief mate, John Clipperton, quarrelled, and 
the latter, with twenty-one of the crew, seized the ten- 
der, in which were most of the ammunition and stores, 
and put out to sea. It is alleged that Clipperton at this 
time stole his commander's commission. No captain 
ever sailed with a worse disposed and more turbulent 
set of men and officers than those whom Dampier 
now commanded. They had all the bad qualities of 
buccaneers without their bravery, experience, and 

The St. George bore northward, and on the 6th De- 
cember, while only a short way beyond Port de Navidad, 
descried a sail, which proved to be the Manilla galleon. 
The Manilla ship had no suspicion of any enemy being 
on this coast, and she received several broadsides from 
the St. George before being cleared for action. Even 
taken thus at disadvantage, when her guns, which were 
of far heavier metal, were brought into play, they at 
once drove in the rotten planks of the St. George, and 
obliged Dampier to sheer off. The galleon also held on. 
It is presumed that the number of her men quadrupled 
those of the English ship, and her guns were eighteen 

(829) 29 


and twenty -four pounders, while those of the St. 
George were only five-pounders. 

This proved a bitter disappointment, and the men 
became more and more impatient to end so profitless 
and fatiguing a voyage. In hopes of better fortune, 
they were, however, induced to continue the cruise for 
a few weeks longer on the coast of New Spain; but 
this produced nothing, and it was agreed to part com- 
pany. One party, instigated by Funnel, the mendacious 
historian of the voyage, resolved to sail for India, and 
by this route return home. A brigantine of seventy 
tons which had been captured was given up to him 
and the thirty-four men who chose to follow his coun- 
sels ; and the stores, small-arms, and ammunition were 
divided, four of the St. Georges guns being also given 
to this party. Dampier's crew was thus left reduced 
to twenty-nine. After refitting his crazy, disabled ship, 
he returned to the coast of Peru. They plundered the 
town of Puna, and cruised along till their ship was no 
longer fit to keep the sea, when they abandoned her 
riding at anchor at Lobos de la Mar, and, embarking 
in a brigantine which they had captured from the 
Spaniards, crossed the Pacific. 

Of this voyage, and of the subsequent misfortunes of 
Dampier in India, there remain no certain or distinct 
accounts. It is, however, known that, not having a 
commission to show, he was thrown into prison by the 
Dutch. Before he obtained his freedom and got back 
to England, Funnel, his unworthy subaltern, had re- 


turned ; and a London bookseller, named Knapton, the 
publisher of Dampier's former voyages, had been in- 
duced by their popularity to print this person's narrative 
of the voyage of the St. George, under the false title of 
the fourth volume of the works of the celebrated navi- 
gator. Dampier, on coming home, published a few 
pages of explanation, entitled " Captain Dampier's Vin- 
dication of his Voyage in the Ship St. George, with some 
small Observations on Mr. Funnel's chimerical Rela- 
tion." Funnel's account, however, as no other was ever 
published, keeps its place as the history of this voyage, 
though its palpable misrepresentations, and the bad and 
malevolent spirit in which it is written, have drawn 
upon the writer the reprobation of every lover of justice 
and impartial inquirer after truth. 

The fortunes of Dampier must have been at a very- 
low ebb when he returned to England after this dis- 
astrous voyage, and it is with pain we find this veteran 
navigator, as much distinguished by superiority of 
understanding as by nautical skill and experience, 
obliged, in 1708, to act as a pilot under younger and 
very inferior commanders. This, which was Dampier's 
last voyage, again proved to be one round the world, 
and was undertaken in the Duke and Duchess, two 
privateers fitted out by several Bristol merchants. 

Copious narratives of this voyage are written by the 
commanders, Woodes Rogers and Cook ; but it is only 
incidentally that we learn anything from them of their 
distinguished pilot. 


At Juan Fernandez, Woodes Rogers, on this voyage, 
brought off the celebrated Alexander Selkirk, who had 
been left or rather abandoned here by Dampier's violent 
and tyrannical consort, Captain Stradling, four years 
previously. On the recommendation of Dampier, Sel- 
kirk was made second mate of the Duke. 

The cruise of the privateers was successful. At 
Guayaquil, where Dampier commanded the artillery, 
they obtained plunder to the value of 21,000, and 
27,000 dollars as ransom of the town. They afterwards, 
off Cape Lucas, captured a Manilla ship richly laden 
with merchandise, and 12,000 in gold and silver. They 
brought their prize into Puerto Segura, and prepared 
to look for the richer and larger Manilla galleon ; 
which they encountered, but, after a protracted and 
severe engagement, were beaten off. In this fight the 
Duchess alone lost twenty-five men. The natives of 
Puerto Segura were blacker than any other people seen 
in the South Sea by Woodes Rogers. They were of 
disagreeable aspect ; their language harsh and guttural. 
They carried bows six feet long, strung with the silk- 
grass. Their arrows were of cane, tipped with flint or bone. 

The privateers now turned their thoughts homeward, 
and, keeping the usual track of the galleons, reached 
Guahan on the 10th March, after a run of exactly two 
months, and anchored under Spanish colours. Apart 
from this venial deception, employed to facilitate the 
purchase of supplies, the conduct of the English priv- 
ateers was unexceptionable. They rested for ten days, 


and made the north of Gilolo in about a month after- 
wards. At Bouton they stopped to take in provisions 
and water, and next sailed for Batavia, where they ex- 
perienced those noxious effects of climate from which 
hardly any ship's company escapes at that most un- 
healthy station. 

They sailed from Batavia in the end of October, 
waited long at the Cape for a homeward-bound fleet, 
and coming round the north of Scotland, five and 
twenty sail, Dutch and English, anchored in the Texel 
in July of the following year, and in October 1711 
came to the Thames with booty in money and merchan- 
dise valued at 150,000. From this date we hear no 
more of Captain Dampier, whose name appears less 
frequently in the narrative of Rogers than, from the 
eminent nautical abilities of the man who bore it, it 
ought to have done. In difficulties he was, it appears, 
constantly applied to, and his former knowledge and 
experience were taken as guides. At Bouton, where he 
had been in the Cygnet, he was intrusted to carry the 
present to the sultan ; and, from respect to his judgment 
and integrity, he was also chosen umpire in the very 
delicate affair of deciding what was plunder for im- 
mediate division, and in allotting the respective shares. 

Dampier was of the number of those men distinguished 
above their fellows, " who are not without honour save 
in their own country;" or if at home his merits were 
appreciated, wanting the most worthless quality of 
success, the glare and show, they failed of their reward. 


By French and Dutch navigators and men of science 
he has been uniformly regarded with the warmest ad- 
miration, as a man to whose professional eminence his 
own country has scarce done justice. They delight to 
style him the " eminent," the " skilful," the " exact," the 
" incomparable Dampier." Humboldt has borne testi- 
mony to his merits, placing the buccaneer seaman above 
those men of science who afterwards went over the 
same ground; Malte-Brun terms him "the learned 
Dampier ;" and the author of the " Voyages to Australia" 
inquires, "Mais oil trouve-t-on des navigateurs corn- 
parables a Dampier?" The acuteness, accuracy, and 
clearness of his nautical observations, and of his descrip- 
tions and general remarks, have made his voyages be 
assumed by foreign navigators as unerring guides and 
authorities in all subsequent expeditions ; and his ra- 
pidity and power of observation are fully as remarkable 
as his accuracy. His hasty glance at the places of New 
Holland where he touched has left subsequent voyagers 
little to do save to verify his descriptions. Dampier's 
veracity has in no instance been questioned, even by 
those most disposed to cavil at facts which, being re- 
mote from their limited experience, appear extraor- 
dinary or impossible. Other writers, combining into 
one the relations of many different travellers, have 
amplified his descriptions; but there is no detached 
account of the countries he visited more full of vital 
interest and exact information than the voyages of this 
wandering seaman. 


The succession of brilliant discoveries which illus- 
trated the early part of the reign of George III. for a 
time threw the adventures of Dampier, and of every 
previous navigator, into the shade ; but they are again 
emerging into popularity. Compared with the voyages 
of recent navigators, his long solitary rambles are as 
the emprises of the single knightly combatant, bearing 
no proportion to the magnitude and splendour of a 
regular battle-field, but, from their individuality, often 
commanding a more intense and powerful, because a 
more concentrated, interest. 

The cloud which rested on the personal character of 
Dampier from the ignorance or misrepresentations of 
envious contemporaries, and the carelessness and haste 
with which writers for the press copy from each other 
and adopt current statements, is fast clearing away. 
By Pinkerton he is termed " the Cook of a former age;" 
and Burney has taken a generous pleasure in doing 
justice to his professional merits, and shown a more 
generous indignation in rebuking the thoughtless repeti- 
tion of unfounded calumnies. " It is," he says, " matter 
of regret, and not less of dissatisfaction, to see that 
some late writers have been so little conscious of the 
merits of Dampier as to allow themselves to speak of 
him with small respect, for no other cause than that it 
appears he had disagreements with some of his ship- 
mates, the particular circumstances of which are not 
known, further than that he had to deal with a quarrel- 
some and mutinous crew. Such petty considerations 


should never have been lifted up against the memory 
of such a man as Dampier." " It is not easy to name 
another voyager or traveller who has given more useful 
information to the world, or to whom the merchant and 
the mariner are more indebted." To these Burney 
might have added the philosopher and the naturalist, 
who have rarely been so much indebted to any advent- 
urer whose pursuits were so entirely remote from their 
subjects of speculation. This honourable testimony will 
remain to the credit of the writer, when the vague 
statements and unsifted calumnies, which other authors 
have allowed themselves to repeat to the disadvantage 
of Dampier, are for ever forgotten. 

Though the life of this navigator was spent in inces- 
sant action, his natural genius appears to have been 
rather speculative than enterprising. He liked to reason 
and to scheme, and lost sight of present small but cer- 
tain advantage in extensive and brilliant plans for the 
future, which his evil fortune forbade him to realize. 
If, indeed, there be such things as good and bad fortune 
in human affairs independent of skill and exertion, 
Dampier may be pointed out as an example of what 
the world calls an unlucky man, one to whom every 
event proves adverse, who seems singled out for mis- 
fortune. Except the capital error of the mode of life 
upon which he entered, none of his misadventures can 
be traced to himself; and this lawless life enriched 
many of his contemporaries, while it kept him in poverty 
and left him a beggar. In relating its incidents, he has 


never once attempted to justify or palliate his manner 
of existence for so many years. Amidst the vicissitudes 
and temptations to which it exposed him, his excellent 
understanding, and the principles he had imbibed in 
the virtuous household of a Somersetshire yeoman, pre- 
served him, if not entirely spotless from evil contagion, 
yet from that decay and deadness of moral feeling 
which are among the worst consequences of vicious com- 
panionship. He was humane, just in the most strict 
and also in the most liberal sense, candid and charitable 
in his judgments, and rare virtues in a buccaneer 
orderly and temperate, detesting the riotous excess of 
his associates. Get over the stumbling-block of his 
early life being squared by "the good old rule," and 
Dampier the buccaneer was a virtuous man. In the 
South Sea, and afterwards in the Cygnet, he might have 
obtained command, such was the respect his shipmates 
entertained for his abilities ; but the love of adventure 
was his strongest passion, and his sole ambition the 
acquisition of knowledge. 

He appears latterly to have deeply felt the disgrace 
and galling servitude of his lawless life; and serious 
reflection and remorseful feelings pressed upon his mind 
with great force long before he was able to get free of 
his wild associates in the Cygnet. 

By the time that Dampier returned to England with 
Woodes Rogers, he was far advanced in life ; and his 

O ' 

career for forty years had been one of unremitting 
hardihood and professional exertion. It is therefore 


probable that he never embarked in any subsequent 
voyage ; and as the remaining part of his life, whether 
long or short, is involved in complete obscurity, there 
is but too much reason to believe that it was passed in 
neglect, if not in poverty. Of this eminent seaman and 
traveller, though little more than a century can have 
elapsed since his death, no one is able now to tell how 
the evening of his life was spent, when he died, or 
where he was buried. Had he expired in some remote 
island of the Pacific, or perished in the element on 
which so great a portion of his life was passed, some 
imperfect record might have remained to satisfy our 
natural desire to know the last of the worn-out and 
veteran navigator ; but it was his fate to sink unheeded 
amidst the conflicting waves and tides of society, and 
no memorial or tradition remains of his death in whose 
remarkable life the adventures of Selkirk, Wafer, and 
the buccaneer commanders of the South Sea appear 
but as episodes. So much for human fame ! 


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