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A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume X by Robert Kerr

Part 10 out of 10

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best to stand out of the harbour.

On the 12th February, the moiety of the money taken at Arica was divided
among the company according to their shares. On the 22d we found
ourselves in the heights of _Calao,_ the port of Lima; on which I furled
all my sails, resolving to get away in the night; knowing, if we were
discovered from thence, that we should certainly be pursued by some
Spanish men of war, as there are always some in that port. On the 26th,
the officers in the Mercury desired to be relieved, and I spoke to
Captain Hately, whose turn it was to take the command of that bark. This
gentleman had been long a prisoner among the Spaniards in this country,
which he was well acquainted with, having travelled between Payta and
Lima by land, on which occasion he had observed several rich towns,
which made him conceive we might do something to purpose, by cruizing
along the coast, as far as the island of Lobos, in lat. 7 deg. S. I approved
of this, as it was probable we might meet some of the Panama ships,
which always keep well in with the land, in order to have the benefit of
the land-breezes. As the company of the Mercury seemed delighted with
this project, I augmented their complement, giving them a month's
provisions on board. I also lent Captain Hately my pinnace, mounted his
bark with two of our quarter-deck guns, and gave him a copy of my
commission, although it was very likely we should have frequent sight of
the Mercury, between our present intended separation, and our intended
rendezvous at the island of Lobos, not above sixty leagues from where we
then were.

When every thing was ready for their departure, Captain Betagh, whose
turn it was to relieve the marine officer in the Mercury, being
unwilling to go, went among our people with a terrified countenance,
saying, that he and those with him in the Mercury were going to be
sacrificed. Hearing this, I addressed my ship's company, telling them I
could not conceive what this pestilent fellow meant by making such an
uproar. I appealed to them all, if it had not been customary to relieve
the officers in this manner, ever since we had this vessel in company,
and asked them if ever they knew me select any man for going upon an
enterprise, and had not, on the contrary, left it always to their own
choice to go on any particular service out of the ship. I then desired
to know who among them were of Betagh's opinion? Upon this, they all
declared with one voice, that they had never entertained any such
opinion; but, on the contrary, that I should always find them obedient
to my commands. In the next place, I ordered the Mercury along side, and
acquainted her crew with the speech Betagh had made in the Speedwell,
and desired to know if any of them were apprehensive of being sold or
sacrificed. At this they all set up a loud huzza, and requested they
might go on the intended cruize in the Mercury. Accordingly Hately and
Betagh went on board that bark, and put off from us, giving us three
cheers, and stood right in for the land.

It may be proper to take some notice of the proceedings of the Mercury
after she left me, as I have been informed from some of themselves and
some prisoners. The very next day they took a small bark laden with
rice, chocolate, wheat, flour, and the like; and the day following,
another. On the 4th day, they took a ship of near 200 tons, in which
were 150,000 dollars. Flushed with this success, Betagh prevailed upon
Hately, and most of the people in the Mercury, not to rejoin me, saying,
they had now enough to appear like gentlemen as long as they lived, but
it would be a mere nothing when the owner's part was taken out, and the
rest divided into 500 shares. He therefore thought, since fortune had
been so kind to them, they ought to make the best of their way to India,
as they had sufficient provisions and all other requisites for the
voyage, and Captain. Hately was well able to conduct them to some port
in the East Indies. This plan was accordingly resolved on, and they fell
to leeward of the place of rendezvous. But, weighing with himself the
prodigious extent of the run, and its many hazards, and well knowing the
treatment he might expect in India, if his treachery were discovered,
Captain Hately became irresolute, and could not determine what was best
to be done, so that he kept hovering on the coast. In the mean time,
some of his crew went away in his boat to surrender themselves to the
enemy, rather than be concerned in such a piratical undertaking. Betagh
and his accomplices still kept Hately warm with liquor, and at length
brought him to the resolution of leaving the South Sea. But they had no
sooner clapped their helm a-weather for this purpose than they saw a
sail standing towards them, which proved to be a Spanish man of war,
which caught them, and spoilt their India voyage. The English prisoners
were very indifferently used; but Betagh, being a Roman Catholic, and of
a nation which the Spaniards are very fond of,[267] was treated with
much respect, and was even made an officer.

[Footnote 267: He seems to have been a Fleming, taken on board at
Ostend, when the voyage was originally intended to have proceeded under
an imperial commission.--E.]

In the morning of the 29th February, we saw a vessel at anchor in the
road of _Guanchaeo_, and anchored alongside of her at eleven a.m. She
was called the Carmasita, of about 100 tons, having only two Indian men
and a boy on board, and her only loading was a small quantity of timber
from Guayaquil. From these prisoners, I was informed of a rich ship
being in the cove of Payta, having put in there to repair some damage
she had sustained in a gale of wind. On this information I put
immediately to sea, but in purchasing our anchor, the cable parted, and
we lost our anchor. Our prize being new and likely to sail well, I took
her with us, naming her the St David, designing to have made her a
complete fire-ship as soon as we should be rejoined by the Mercury, in
which there were materials for that purpose. Next day we looked into
Cheripe, whence we chased a small vessel, which ran on shore to avoid
us. Next morning, being near Lobos, our appointed rendezvous with the
Mercury, I sent ashore my second lieutenant, Mr Randal, with two letters
in separate bottles, directing Captain Hately to follow me to Payta, to
which port I now made the best of my way, and arrived before it on the
18th of March, and sent Mr Randal to look into the cove, to bring me an
account of what ships were there, that I might know what to think of the
information we had received from our prisoners.

On the 21st, I steered directly in for the cove of Payta, which I
entered under French colours about four in the afternoon. We found only
a small ship there, of which Mr Brooks took possession in the launch.
About seven p.m. we came to anchor within three quarters of a mile of
the town. The town seemed to be moderately large and populous, and there
might probably be some land-forces for its defence, being the rendezvous
of the ships which trade between Panama and Caloa; yet, as the taking of
this place was treated in our instructions as a matter of importance, I
consulted with my officers as to the best manner of making the attempt.
Leaving the charge of the ship with the master, Mr Coldsea, and a few
hands, to look after the negroes we had on board, and with orders to
bring the ship nearer to the town, for the more expeditiously embarking
any plunder we might make; I landed with forty-six men, well armed,
about two in the morning of the 22d, and marched directly up to the
great church without the slightest opposition, for we found the town
entirely deserted by the inhabitants.

At day-light, we observed large bodies of men on the hills, on both
sides of the town, which we expected would have come down to attack us;
but, on marching up towards them, they retired before us. Hitherto we
had taken no prisoners, except an old Indian and a boy, who told us that
Captain Clipperton had been here some time before, and had set some
prisoners ashore, who assured them he meant not to do them any injury;
but that the inhabitants, not thinking fit to trust him, had removed all
their valuable effects into the mountains, among which were 400,000
dollars belonging to the king, which had been a fine prize for
Clipperton, who certainly would have found no greater difficulty in
taking this town than I did.

I was constrained suddenly to halt, in consequence of hearing a gun
fired from the ship, soon after which word was brought me that she was
ashore. I hurried off as fast as I could, carrying with us the
union-flag, which I had planted in the church-yard; and, as we were
re-embarking, the enemy came running down the hill, hallooing after us.
When I got on board, I found the ship entirely afloat, but within her
own breadth of the rocks; and, as the water was quite smooth, we soon
warped her off again. We then returned to the town, whence the Spaniards
retired as peaceably as before. The remainder of the day was employed in
shipping off what plunder we could find, which consisted of hogs, brown
and white _calavances_, beans, Indian corn, wheat, flour, sugar, and as
many _cocoa nuts_[268] as we were able to stow away, together with pans
and other conveniences for preparing it, so that we were now amply
provided with excellent breakfast meat for the rest of our voyage, and
were, besides, full of other provisions.

[Footnote 268: Cacao, chocolate-nuts, are almost certainly here

At eight in the morning of the 23d, a messenger came in to know what
ransom I would take for the town and the ship, for which I demanded
10,000 dollars in twenty-four hours. At eight next morning, I had a
letter from the governor, signifying, that as I wrote in French, neither
he nor any one about him could understand its contents; but if I would
write in Latin or Spanish, I might depend on a satisfactory answer. In
the afternoon, I sent for one of our quarter-deck guns on shore, which
was mounted at our guard, and was fired at sun-set, midnight, and break
of day. The messenger returned in the morning of the 24th, accompanied
by the master of the ship we had taken, and on hearing of their arrival,
I went on shore to know what they had to propose. I understood from them
that the governor was determined not to ransom the town, and did not
care what become of it, provided the churches were not burnt. Though I
never had any intention to destroy any place devoted to divine worship,
I answered that I should have no regard to the churches, or anything
else, when I set the town on fire; and I told the master of the vessel,
he might expect to see her in flames immediately, if not ransomed
without delay. This seemed to make a great impression, and he promised
to return in three hours with the money. I then caused every thing to
be taken out of the town that could be of any use to us, after which I
ordered the town to be set on fire in several places; and, as the houses
were old and dry, it instantly became a bonfire.

In the midst of this conflagration, the people in the Speedwell made
many signals for me to come on board, and kept continually firing
towards the mouths of the harbour. As I could only guess the meaning of
all this, I went on board as soon as possible in a canoe, having only
three men along with me. Before I could reach the ship, I could
distinctly see a large ship, with a Spanish flag at her
fore-topmast-head, and her fore-topsail a-back. At this sight, two of my
three men were ready to faint, and if it had not been for my boatswain,
I doubt if I should have got on board; and if the Spanish admiral had
acted with vigour, he might have taken the ship long enough before I got
to her. It is bare justice to Mr Coldsea to say, that he fired so
smartly on the Spaniard as to induce him to act with great precaution,
which had been quite unnecessary if he had known our weakness. His
caution, however, gave me the opportunity of getting on board: and, in
the mean time, my officers were so unwilling to leave our guard-gun
ashore, that they spent a great while in getting it into the boat, so
that I was afraid the enemy would attack us before our people could get
on board. The Spaniard was, however, in no hurry, thinking, no doubt,
that we could not well escape him, yet was within pistol-shot of us
before the last of our men got on board, being about fifty in all. We
now cut our cable, but our ship fell round the wrong way, so that I had
just room enough to fall clear of the enemy. Being now close together,
the formidable appearance of the enemy struck an universal damp on the
spirits of my people; some of whom, in coming off from the shore, were
for jumping into the water and swimming on shore, which a few actually

The enemy was a fine European-built ship, of 50 guns, and the
disproportion was so great between us, that there seemed no hopes of
escaping, as we were under his lee. I endeavoured to get into shoal
water, but he becalmed me with his sails, and confined us for the best
part of an hour, during which he handled us very roughly with his
cannon, making very little use of his small-arms, never allowing us a
moment's ease, but as soon as his broadside was ready, he gave his ship
the starboard helm, bringing as many of his guns to bear as possible,
and at the same time kept me from the wind. We returned his fire as
briskly as we could; but, in our precipitate retreat from the town, most
of our small arms were wetted, so that it was long before they were of
any use. During this action, there was a strange contusion on shore,
where the people had flocked down from the hills to extinguish the fire
in Payta, in which some of them were busily employed, while others stood
on the shore, spectators of our engagement. I was long in despair of
getting away from the Spaniard, expecting nothing less than to be torn
in pieces by his superior fire, unless we could have an opportunity of
trying our heels with him while our masts remained standing. I expected
every minute that he would board us, and hearing a hallooing among them,
and seeing their forecastle full of men, I concluded that they had come
to this resolution; but soon saw that it proceeded from our ensign being
shot down, on which I made another be displayed in the mizen-shrouds, on
sight of which they lay snug as before, keeping close upon our quarter.
Intending at length to do our business at once, they clapped their helm
hard a-starboard, in order to bring their whole broadside to bear, but
their fire had little effect, and it muzzled themselves, which gave us
an opportunity to get away from them.

This certainly was a lucky escape, after an engagement of three glasses
with an enemy so much our superior; for he had 56 guns and 450 men,
while we had only 20 guns mounted and only 73 men, of whom 11 were
negroes and two Indians. He had farther the vast advantage over us of
being in perfect readiness, while we were in the utmost confusion; and
in the middle of the engagement, a third of my people, instead of
fighting, were hard at work in preparing for an obstinate resistance;
particularly the carpenter and his crew, who were busy in making
port-holes for stern-chase guns, which, as it happened, we made no use
of. Yet were we not unhurt, as the loss of my boat and anchor were
irreparable, and may be said to have been the cause of that scene of
trouble which fell upon us soon after; as we had now only one anchor
remaining, that lost at Payta being the third, and we had not now a boat
of any kind. I have since learnt that some of our shots in the
engagement were well directed, and that we killed and wounded several of
the enemy.

Having thus got away from the _Peregrine_, I slipped off in the evening
with much ado from the Brilliant, her consort, on board of which Betagh
now was, and even desired to be the first to board me. I was now in a
very uncomfortable situation, not having the smallest hope of meeting
with the Success; and I had learned at Payta, that the Spaniards had
laid on an embargo for six months, so that we had nothing to expect in
the way of prizes; and, having seen our prize taken, we had reason to
expect that all our designs were discovered by the enemy. Having now
only one anchor and no boat, it is not to be wondered that I gave up all
idea of making an attempt on Guayaquil, which I at first proposed,
having intelligence that there were several ships of considerable value
in that river, in consequence of the embargo, which might have done me
some service, if I had been better provided. In this situation, it was
resolved, in a committee of my officers, to return to the southwards, or
to windward, as the Spaniards must necessarily continue their trade with
Chili, in spite of their embargo; after which we proposed to water at
Juan Fernandez, and then to cruize on the coast of Conception,
Valparaiso, and Coquimbo, for the coasting traders, among whom we might
supply ourselves with anchors, cables, and boats, and a vessel to fit
out as a fire-ship. I also proposed, before leaving the coast of Chili,
to make an attempt on La Serena or Coquimbo. After all this, I proposed
to proceed for the coast of Mexico, and thence to the _Tres Marias_ and
California, as the most likely means of meeting with the Success;
besides which, the former of these places might be commodious for
salting turtle, to serve as sea stores, and the latter for laying in a
stock of wood and water; after which we might lie in the track of the
Manilla ship. But if we could not succeed in that attempt, we might then
satisfy ourselves with cruizing for the Peruvian ships, which bring
silver to Acapulco for purchasing the Indian and Chinese commodities.

My plan being approved, we proceeded to windward, having secured our
masts and bent a new set of sails on the 26th, after which we stood to
the southward, expecting to make our passage in about five weeks. The
carpenters were now set to work to build a new boat that we might have
the means of watering our ship. On the 31st, while working the pumps,
the water not only came in in greater quantity than usual, but was as
black as ink, which made me suspect some water had got at our powder;
and on going into the powder-room, I found the water rushing in like a
little sluice, which had already spoiled the greatest part of our
powder, only six barrels remaining uninjured, which I immediately had
stowed away in the bread-room. It pleased God that we now had fair
weather, as otherwise we might have had much difficulty to keep our ship
afloat. We found the leak on the larboard side, under the lower cheek of
the head, where a shot had lodged and afterwards dropt out, leaving room
for a stream of water. We accordingly brought down our ship by the
stern, and secured the leak effectually. At this time we had an abundant
stock of provisions. Each man had a quart of chocolate and three ounces
of rusk for breakfast; and had fresh meat or fresh fish every day for
dinner, having plenty of the latter about the ship, so that we could
almost always make our choice between dolphin and albicore.

On the 6th May we made the westermost of the islands of Juan Fernandez,
otherwise called _Mas a Fuero_, distant twelve leagues N.E. by N. and
the day after, our carpenters had completed our new boat, which could
carry three hogsheads. On the 12th we saw the great island of Juan
Fernandez, bearing E. 1/2 S. being in latitude, by observation, 33 deg. 40'
S. a joyful sight at the time, though so unfortunate to us in the
sequel. We plied off and on till the 21st, but could not get as much
water on board daily in that time as supplied our daily expenditure,
owing to the smallness of our boat, which made it necessary for us to
anchor in the roads till that purpose was accomplished, in order for
which I prepared to raft twenty tons of casks on shore. We worked in and
anchored in forty fathoms, carrying a warp on shore, which we fastened
to the rocks, of three hawsers and a half in length, which both steadied
the ship, and enabled us to haul our cask-raft ashore and aboard. By
this means we were ready to go to sea again next morning, having filled
all our water casks; but had no opportunity of so doing for four days,
during which we continued to anchor in the same manner.

On the 25th May, a hard gale came upon us from seaward, bringing with it
a great tumbling swell, by which at length our cable parted. This was a
dismal accident, as we had no means whatever by which to avoid the
prospect of immediate destruction. But Providence interposed in our
behalf: For had we struck only a cable's length to the east or west of
where we did, we must all have inevitably perished. When our ill-fated
ship touched the rock, we had all to hold fast by some part of the ship
or rigging, otherwise the violence of her shock in striking must have
tossed us all into the sea. Our three masts went all away together by
the board. In short, words are wanting to express the wretched condition
in which we now were, or our astonishment at our unexpected and
unfortunate shipwreck.


_Residence on the Island of Juan Fernandez._

Having all got on shore in the evening, my officers gathered around me
to bear me company, and to devise measures for procuring necessaries out
of the wreck; and having lighted a fire, wrapped themselves up in what
they could get, and slept very soundly, notwithstanding the coldness of
the weather, and our hopeless situation. I would have set the people to
work that very night, in endeavouring to save what we could from the
wreck, but they were so dispersed that we could not gather them
together, and all opportunity was lost of saving any thing, except some
of our fire-arms. But while the people were employed in building tents,
and making other preparations for their residence on the island, the
wreck was entirely destroyed, and every thing in her was lost, except
one cask of beef and one of _farina de pao_, which were washed on shore.
Thus all our provisions were gone, and every thing else that might have
been useful. I had saved 1100 dollars belonging to the owners, which
happened to be in my chest in the great cabin, all the rest of their
treasure being in the bottom of the bread-room for security, which
consequently could not be come at.

I now took some pains to find out a convenient place in which to set up
my tent, and at length found a commodious spot of ground not half a mile
from the sea, having a fine stream of water on each side, with trees
close at hand for firing, and building our huts. The people settled
around me as well as they could, and as the cold season was coming on,
some thatched their huts, while others covered theirs with the skins of
seals and sea-lions. Others again satisfied themselves with water-butts,
in which they slept under cover of trees. Having thus secured ourselves
from the weather, we used to pass our time in the evenings around a
great fire before my tent, where my officers usually assembled,
employing themselves in roasting cray-fish in the embers; sometimes
bewailing our unhappy fate, and sinking into despondency; and at other
times feeding ourselves with hopes that something might yet be done to
set us again afloat. On this subject I first consulted with the
carpenter, who answered, that he could not make bricks without straw,
and then walked from me in a surly humour. From him I went to the
armourer, and asked what he could do for us in his way that might
contribute to build a small vessel. To this he answered, that he hoped
he could do all the iron work, as he had fortunately saved his bellows
from the wreck, with four or five _spadoes_ or Spanish swords, which
would afford him steel, and there could be no want of iron along shore;
besides, that we should doubtless find many useful things when we came
to work in good earnest. He desired therefore, that I would get some
charcoal made for him, while he set up his forge.

Upon this encouragement, I called all hands together, and explained to
them the great probability there was of our being able to build a vessel
sufficient to transport us from this island; but that it would be a
laborious task, and must require their united best endeavours. To this
they all consented, and promised to work with great diligence, begging
me to give them directions how to proceed. I then ordered the men who
had axes on shore, before the wreck, to cut wood for making charcoal,
while the rest went down to the wreck to get the boltsprit ashore, of
which I proposed to make the keel of our intended vessel; and I
prevailed on the carpenter to go with me, to fix upon the properest
place for building. The people found a great many useful materials about
the wreck; and among the rest the topmast, which had been washed on
shore, and was of the greatest importance.

We laid the blocks for building upon on the 8th June, and had the
boltsprit ready at hand to lay down as the keel; when the carpenter
turned short round upon me, and swore an oath that he would not strike
another stroke on the work, for he would be slave to nobody, and thought
himself now on a footing with myself. I was at first angry, but came at
length to an agreement with him, to give him a four-pistole piece as
soon as the stern and stern-posts were up, and 100 dollars when the bark
was finished, and the money to be committed to the keeping of any one he
chose to name. This being settled, he went to work upon the keel, which
was to be thirty feet long; the breadth of our bark, by the beam,
sixteen feet, and her hold seven feet deep. In two months we made a
tolerable shew, owing in a great measure to the ingenuity of Poppleston,
our armourer, who never lost a minute in working with his hands, or
contriving in his head. He made us a small double-headed maul, hammers,
chisels, and a sort of gimblets or wimbles, which performed very well.
He even made a bullet-mould, and an instrument to bore cartouch-boxes,
which he made from the trucks of our gun-carriages, covering them with
seal-skins, and contrived to make them not only convenient, but neat. He
contrived to execute any iron-work wanted by the carpenter, and even
finished a large serviceable boat, of which we stood much in need.

In the beginning of this great work the people behaved themselves very
well, half of them working regularly one day, and the other half the
next, seeming every day to grow easier under our misfortunes. They
treated me with as much respect as I could wish, and even in a body
thanked me for the prospect of their deliverance; while I never failed
to encourage them by telling them stories of the great things that had
been accomplished by the united efforts of men in similar distresses. I
always pressed them to stick close to the work, that we might get our
bark ready in time; and told them that we fortunately had three of the
best ports in Chili within 120 leagues of us. This inspired them with
life and vigour, and they often declared that they would exert their
utmost endeavours to finish her with all expedition. At last, however,
we became a prey to faction, so that it was a miracle we ever got off
from this place. For, after completing the most laborious part of the
work, they entirely neglected it; and many of my officers, deserting my
society, herded with the meanest of the ship's company. I was now
convinced in a suspicion I had long entertained, that some black design
was in embryo; for when I met any of my officers, and asked what they
were about, and the reason of their acting so contrary to their duty, by
diverting the people from their work, some used even to tell me they
knew not whether they would leave the island or not, when my bundle of
sticks was ready; that they cared not how matters went, for they could
shift for themselves as well as the rest. When I spoke with the common
men, some were surly, and others said they would be slaves no longer,
but would do as the rest did. In the midst of these confusions, I
ordered my son to secure my commission in some dry place among the woods
or rocks, remembering how Captain Dampier had been served in these

At length, I one afternoon missed all the people, except Mr Adamson the
surgeon, Mr Hendric the agent, my son, and Mr Dodd, lieutenant of
marines, which last feigned lunacy, for some reason best known to
himself. I learnt at night that they had been all day assembled at the
great tree, in deep consultation, and had framed a new set of
regulations and articles, by which the owners in England were excluded
from any share in what we might take for the future, divested me of all
authority as captain, and regulated themselves according to the _Jamaica
discipline_.[269] Even the chief officers, among the rest, had concurred
in electing one Morphew to be their champion and speaker, who addressed
the assembly to the following purport: "That they were now their own
masters, and servants to none: and as Mr Shelvocke, their former
captain, took upon him still to command, he ought to be informed, that
whoever was now to be their commander, must be so through their own
courtesy. However, that Mr Shelvocke might have the first offer of the
command, if the majority thought fit, but not otherwise. That Mr
Shelvocke carried himself too lofty and arbitrarily for the command of a
privateer, and ought to have continued in men-of-war, where the people
were obliged to bear all hardships quietly, whether right or wrong."

[Footnote 269: This expression is not explained, but seems to have been,
according to the model of the Buccaneers, all prizes to be divided among
the captors.--E.]

Some persons present, who had a regard for me, represented, "That they
had never seen or known me treat any one unjustly or severely; and that
however strict I might be, they had no one else to depend upon, and that
they ought all to consider how many difficulties I had already brought
them through. That, although they were not now in the hands of our
enemies, no one could tell how soon others might come upon them: and, if
they ever looked to get back to England, there was no other way but by
going round the world, for which there was no one capable of undertaking
the charge except Captain Shelvocke. They ought also to consider his
commission, and the respect due to him on that account; besides the
protection that would afford them, should they happen to fall into the
hands of the Spaniards."

This remonstrance had some effect on the common men, but they were
diverted from the thoughts of returning to obedience by no less a
person than my first lieutenant, Mr Brooks, who had made Morphew his
confidant even on board ship: for having served before the mast before
he was made my lieutenant, he had contracted a liking for forecastle
conversation. They were also supported and encouraged by Mr Randal, my
second lieutenant, who was brother-in-law to Brooks, and by others. The
first remarkable outrage committed by this gang of levellers was to Mr
La Porte, my third lieutenant, whom Morphew knocked down on the beach,
while Brooks stood by and witnessed this brutality. This affair came
soon after to be fully explained; for the men framed a new set of
articles, putting themselves upon the Jamaica discipline, and declaring,
as I had been their captain, I might be so still; and that they were
willing to allow me six shares, as a mark of their regard, though I
ought only to have four, according to the Jamaica articles. Most of the
officers were reduced, according to the same plan: for instance, Mr La
Porte, Mr Dodu, and Mr Hendrie were declared midshipmen; and as the
superior officers consented to this scheme, it could not be prevented
from being carried into execution. Mr Coldsea the master was the only
person who preserved a kind of neutrality, neither promoting nor
opposing their designs. In this distressed emergency, I thought it
lawful, and even necessary, to submit to their demands, and therefore
signed their articles, in conjunction with the rest of my officers.

I now thought to have got them to work on our bark; but, instead of
listening to me, they demanded what little money I had saved belonging
to the owners, with which I was obliged to comply, being 750 dollars in
virgin silver, a silver dish weighing 75 ounces, and 250 dollars in
coin. Even after this I was treated worse than ever, having only the
refuse of the fish allowed me, after they had chosen the best, being
glad, after a hard day's work, to dine upon seal; while Morphew and his
associates feasted on the best fish the sea afforded. They next took the
arms out of my custody, of which hitherto I had taken great care;
because, having only one flint to each musket, and very little
ammunition, I foresaw that we would be undone if this were wasted. I
represented all this to them, yet they squandered away the small
remainder of powder and bullets in killing cats, or any thing else they
could get to fire at.--This is a concise history of our transactions in
the island of Juan Fernandez, from the 24th May to the 15th August,
during which no person could suffer more than I did, or have a more
uncomfortable prospect.

On the 15th of August we were put into great confusion by the sight of a
large ship, on which, before she crossed the bay, I ordered all the
fires to be put out, and the negroes and Indians to be confined, lest
the ship might be becalmed under the land, and any of them should
attempt to swim off to her, as I conceived she might possibly be a
man-of-war come to seek us, having received advice of our shipwreck; yet
I knew, if she discovered what we were about, we should soon have the
whole force of the kingdom of Chili upon us. Our apprehensions were soon
over, as the ship bore away large, and kept at too great a distance to
see any thing of us. On this occasion I got most of our people under
arms, and was glad to see them in some measure obedient to command;
telling them that I was pleased to see their arms in such good order, I
was impertinently answered, that this was for their own sakes. Before
they dispersed, I represented to them the necessity of using their best
endeavour to get our bark afloat, instead of caballing against their
captain, which, in the end, might be very prejudicial to them all; as,
if discovered by the Spaniards, we might expect to be all made slaves in
the mines. I told them we still had a great deal of work to do, and had
never above ten of the most considerate to labour, and seldom above six
or seven; while they knew I was always one of the number, to shew a good
example. But the more I tried to reclaim them, the more obstinately they
ran into confusion, interrupting every thing that tended to do them

Next day they divided among themselves on a new scheme, being no less
than to burn our bark, and to build two large shallops, or pinnaces, in
lieu of her. Morphew and his friend Brooks were the favourers of this
new design, aiming doubtless at a separation by this means: but as this
must be determined by a majority, they assembled to debate this matter
in front of my tent, carrying on their deliberations with much clamour
on both sides. In order to put them off this ruinous plan, I represented
to them the impracticability of building the boats, as our tools and
other materials were already worn out and expended. The workmen, and a
considerable majority of the rest, sided with me: but at night the
carpenter sent me word, if I did not pay him the money agreed upon at
first, I should never see his face again; wherefore, although his terms
had not been implemented, I was obliged to raise the money for him. The
most provoking part of this proposal about the boats was, that the
fellows who chiefly promoted it were those who had never done an hour's
work since we were cast away. Not gaining this point, they openly
declared I should not be their captain, and that none but Brooks should
command them, which was probably what that young man aspired to from the
commencement of the mutiny; and had undoubtedly succeeded, had it not
been for the people in the boatswain's tent, who still refused their
consent to my being left on the island, though fond of thinking
themselves their own masters, and of refusing to submit to regular

To complete our confusion, there arose a third party, who resolved to
have nothing to do with the rest, proposing to remain on the island.
There were twelve of these, who separated from the rest, and never made
their appearance except at night, when they used to come about the tents
to steal powder, lead, and axes, and any thing else they could lay their
hands, on. But in a little time I found means to manage them, and took
from them all their arms, ammunition, axes, and other plunder, and
threatened to have them treated as enemies, if they came within
musket-shot of our tents. These divisions so weakened the whole body,
that they began to listen to me, so that I got most of them into a
working humour. Even Brooks came to me with a feigned submission,
desiring to eat with me again, yet in the main did not lessen his esteem
for Morphew. His dissimulation, however, proved of infinite service in
contributing to the finishing of our bark, which required the united
efforts of all our heads and hands. For, when we came to plank the
bottom, we had very vexatious difficulties to encounter, as our only
plank consisted in pieces from the deck of our wreck, which was so dry
and stubborn that fire and water had hardly any effect in making it
pliable, as it rent, split, and flew in pieces like glass; so that I now
began to fear that all our labour was in vain, and we must quietly wait
to be taken off by some Spanish ship, and be led quietly to prison after
all our troubles.

By constant labour, and using a variety of contrivances, we at length
finished our bark, but in such a manner that I may safely assert, a
similar bottom never before swam on the sea. Our boat also was launched
on the 9th September; and our bark being now in a fair way of being
completed, it remained to consider what provisions we could get to
support us during our voyage, all our stock being one cask of beef, five
or six bushels of _farina de poa_, or cassada flour, and four or five
live hogs. I made several experiments to preserve both fish and seal,
but found that this could not be done without salt. At length we fell
upon a contrivance for curing conger eels, by splitting them, taking out
their backbones, dipping them in sea-water, and then drying them in a
great smoke; but as no other fish could be cured in a similar manner,
our fishers were directed to catch as many congers as they could. At
this time several of our people who had not hitherto done any work,
began to repent of their folly, as they grew weary of living on this
island, and now offered their services to go a-fishing, making some idle
excuses for being so long idle, asking my pardon, and promising not to
lose a moment in future. The new boat was sent to try her fortune, and
returned at night with a great parcel of various kinds of fish, among
which were about 200 congers, which was a good beginning, and which were
divided among the tents to be cured. Our boat was carefully hauled on
shore every night, and strictly guarded, to prevent any of our people
from stealing her, and making their escape. By her means also, Mr
Brooks, our only diver, tried what could be recovered from that part of
the wreck which had not been drifted on shore; but could only weigh one
small gun, and two pieces of a large church candlestick, belonging to
our owners.

Our boat was daily employed in fishing, for which purpose the armourer
supplied hooks; and our men made abundance of lines of twisted ribbons,
a great quantity of which had been driven on shore. Others of the men
were employed in making twine stuff for rigging, patching up old canvass
for sails, and a variety of other necessary contrivances to enable us to
put to sea; and our cooper put our casks in order; and at length we set
up our masts, which were tolerably well rigged, and our bark made a
decent figure. My spirits were however much damped, by the extreme
difficulty of caulking her tight, as her seams were bad, our tools
wretched, and our artists very indifferent. When this was done, so as we
could, our bark was put into the water to try her fitness, on which
there was an outcry of, A sieve! a sieve! Every one now seemed
melancholy and dispirited, insomuch that I was afraid they would use no
farther means; but in a little time, by incessant labour, we brought her
into a tolerable condition. Having repaired the ship's pumps, and fitted
them to the bark, the people exclaimed that this was only a poor
dependence; but I exhorted them to have patience, and continue their
assistance in doing every thing that could be thought of for her
security. The cooper also made a set of buckets, one for every man, to
serve to bale her, in case of necessity. Next spring-tide, which was on
the 5th October, 1720, we put her again into the water, naming her the
_Recovery_, when she answered tolerably well, when we resolved to run
the hazard of going to sea in her, and made all possible dispatch in
getting our things on board. Yet, after all, a dozen of our people chose
to remain on shore, together with as many negroes and Indians.

Our sea-stock, besides the small quantity of beef and cassada flour
formerly mentioned, consisted of 2300 eels cured in smoke, weighing one
with another about a pound each, together with about sixty gallons of
seal-oil, in which to fry them. On our first landing, as the weather was
then too coarse for fishing, we had to live on seals, the entrails of
which are tolerable food; but the constant and prodigious slaughter we
made among them, frightened them from our side of the island. Some of
the people eat cats, which I could not bring myself to, and declared
they were sweet nourishing food. When the weather allowed us to fish, we
were delivered from these hardships; but some of our mischievous crew
set the boat a-drift, so that she was lost: after which we contrived
wicker boats, covered with sea-lions skins, which did well enough near
shore, but we durst not venture in them out into the bay, and
consequently were worse provided with fish than we might otherwise have
been. We fried our fish in seal-oil, and eat it without bread or salt,
or any other relish, except some wild sorrel. Our habitations were very
wretched, being only covered by boughs of trees, with the skins of seals
and sea-lions, which were often torn off in the night, by sudden flaws
of wind from the mountains.

The island of Juan Fernandez is in lat 33 deg. 40' S. and long. 79 deg. W. being
at the distance of about 150 marine leagues, or 7 deg. 30' from the coast
of Chili. It is about fifteen English miles long from E. to W. and five
miles at the broadest, from N to S. entirely composed of mountains and
valleys, so that there is no walking a quarter of a mile on a flat. The
anchoring place is on the north side of the island, and is distinguished
by a little mountain, with a high peak on each side. It is not safe to
anchor in less than forty fathoms, and even there, ships are very much
exposed to sharp gales from the north, which blow frequently. There
cannot well be a more unpleasant place to anchor in, as the bay is
surrounded by high mountains, and is subject to alternate dead calms and
sudden stormy gusts of wind. This island enjoys a fine wholesome air,
insomuch that out of seventy of us, who remained here five months and
eleven days, not one among us had an hour's sickness, though we fed upon
such foul diet, without bread or salt; so that we had no complaints
among us, except an incessant craving appetite, and the want of our
former strength and vigour. As for myself, from being corpulent, and
almost crippled by the gout, I lost much of my flesh, but became one of
the strongest and most active men on the island, walking much about,
working hard, and never in the least afflicted with that distemper. The
soil is fertile, and abounds with many large and beautiful trees, most
of them aromatic. The names of such as we knew were the _Pimento_, which
bears a leaf like a myrtle, but somewhat larger, with a blue blossom,
the trunks being short and thick, and the heads bushy and round, as if
trained by art. There is another tree, much larger, which I think
resembles that which produces the jesuit bark. There are plains on the
tops of some of the mountains, on which are groves of the _Indian
laurel_, mentioned by Frezier in his description of Chili. These have a
straight slender body, from which sprout small irregular branches all
the way from the root to the top, bearing leaves like the laurel, but
smaller. _Palm-trees_ are found in most parts of the island, growing in
smooth joints, like canes, some thirty and some forty feet high. Their
heads resemble the cocoa-nut tree, except that their leaves are of a
paler green, and bear large bunches of red berries, bigger than sloes,
which taste like haws, and have stones as large as those of
heart-cherries. That which we call the _palm-cabbage_ is the very
substance of the head of the tree; which being cut off and divested of
its great spreading leaves, and all that is hard and tough, consists of
a white and tender young shoot or head, having its leaves and berries
perfectly formed, and ready to replace the old one. When in search of
these, we were forced to cut down a lofty tree for each individual

One good property of the woods which cover this island is, that they are
every where of easy access, as there is no undergrowth, except in some
of the deepest valleys, where the fern grows exceedingly high, and of
which there are very large trees, with trunks of considerable
solidity.[270] Some of the English who had been formerly here, had sowed
turnips, which have spread much, as have also two or three plantations
of small pompions; but my men never had patience to let any of these
come to maturity. We found also plenty of water-cresses and wild sorrel.
Some of the hills are remarkable for a fine red earth, which I take to
be the same with that of which the inhabitants of Chili make their
earthenware, which is almost as beautiful as the red porcelain of China.
The northern part of the island is well watered by a great many streams
which flow down the narrow valleys; and we found the water to keep well
at sea, and to be as good as any in the world. Down the western peak,
contiguous to the Table Mountain, there fall two cascades from a
perpendicular height of not less than 500 feet. These are close
together, and about 12 feet broad. What with the rapid descent of these
streams, and the numerous palm-trees growing close beside them, adorned
with vast clusters of red berries, the prospect is really beautiful. We
should have had no want of goats, could we have conveniently followed
them in the mountains. The Spaniards, before they settled in Chili, left
a breed of goats here, and have since endeavoured to destroy them, by
leaving a breed of dogs, but without effect. Cats are also very
numerous, exactly resembling our household cats in size and colour; and
those of our men who eat of them, assured me they found more substantial
relief from one meal of their flesh, than from four or five of seal or
fish; and, to their great satisfaction, we had a small bitch, which,
could catch almost any number they wanted in an hour. There are not many
sorts of birds; but the sea on the coast abounds with a greater variety
of fish than almost any place I was ever in.

[Footnote 270: These must have been some species of palm, having
palmatad leaves resembling ferns.--E.]

Seals and sea-lions also abound; called _lobos de la mar_ by the
Spaniards, from their resemblance to wolves. They have a fine iron-grey
fur, and when full grown are as big as a large mastiff. They are
naturally surly, and snarl at the approach of any one. Instead of tails,
they have two fins behind, with which they make shift to get on much
faster than the sea-lions, which are large unwieldy creatures, and
prodigiously full of oil.


_Farther Proceedings in the South Sea, after leaving Juan Fernandez._

We departed from Juan Fernandez on the evening of the 6th October,
having nothing to subsist upon except the smoked congers, one of which
was allowed to each man for twenty-four hours; together with one cask of
beef, four live hogs, which had fed all the time we were ashore on the
putrid carcases of seals, and three or four bushels of cassada meal. We
were upwards of forty men, crowded together, and lying on the bundles of
eels, with no means of keeping ourselves clean, so that all our senses
were offended as greatly as possible. The only way we had of procuring
water, was by sucking it from the cask with a gun-barrel, used
promiscuously by every one. The little unsavoury morsels we daily eat,
created incessant quarrels, every one contending for the frying-pan; and
our only convenience for a fire, was a tub half filled with earth, which
made cooking so tedious, that we had the continual noise of frying from
morning to night. I proposed that we should stand for the Bay of
Conception, as being the nearest to us; and we were hard put to it every
day, while the sea-breeze continued; for, not having above sixteen
inches free board, and our bark tumbling prodigiously, the water ran
over us perpetually; and having only a grating deck, and no tarpaulin to
cover it but the top-sail of our bark, our pomps were barely sufficient
to keep us free.

At four in the morning of the 10th, we fell in with a large ship, and I
could see by moon-light that she was Europe-built. Our case being
desperate, we stood towards her, and being rigged after the fashion of
the South Seas, they did not regard us till day-light. Not being then
quite up with her, they suspected us by the brownness of our canvas,
wore ship, hauled close upon the wind, fired a gun, and crowded sail
away from us, leaving us at a great rate. It fell calm two hours after,
when we had recourse to our oars, and neared her with tolerable speed.
In the mean time, we overhauled our arms, which we found in bad
condition, a third of them wanting flints, and we had only three
cutlasses, so that we were by no means prepared for boarding, which yet
was the only means we had of taking the ship. We had only one small
cannon, which we could not mount, and were therefore obliged to fire it
as it lay along the deck; and we had only two round shot, a few
chain-bolts, the clapper of the Speedwell's bell, and some bags of
stones. We came up with her in four hours; but I now saw that she had
guns and pattereroes, with a considerable number of men, whose arms
glittered in the sun. The enemy defied us to board them, and at the same
time gave us a volley of great and small shot, which killed our gunner,
and almost brought our foremast by the board. This unexpected reception
staggered many of my people, who before seemed most forward, so that
they lay on their oars for some time, though I urged them to keep their
way. Recovering again, we rowed quite up to them, and continued to
engage till all our small shot was expended, which obliged us to fall
astern to make some slugs, and in this manner we made three attacks
without success. All night we were busied in making slugs, and provided
a large quantity before morning, when we came to the determined
resolution either to carry her by boarding, or to submit to her. At
day-break, I accordingly ordered twenty men in our yawl to lay her
athwart hawse, while I proposed to board her from the bark; but, just as
we were on the point of making the attempt, a gale sprung up, and she
went away from us. We learnt afterwards that she was the _Margaretta_,
having formerly been a privateer from St Malo, mounting forty guns. In
the several skirmishes, we had none killed, except Gilbert Henderson our
gunner. Three were wounded, Mr Brooks being shot through the thigh, Mr
Coldsea in the groin, and one of the crew in the small of the back. Mr
Coldsea lingered in a miserable condition for nine or ten months, but at
length recovered.

We were now in a worse condition than ever, and the sea being too rough
for our uncomfortable vessel, I proposed to stand to the north to get
into fairer weather, but to take Coquimbo in our way, to try what might
be done there. This was agreed to; but the very morning in which we
expected to have got into Coquimbo, a hard gale of wind sprung up, which
lasted four days, during which we every hour expected to founder, being
obliged to scud under bare poles, with our yawl in tow, and having only
a very short rope for her. This storm so frightened many of our people,
that they resolved to go ashore at the first place they could find. At
length, calling to mind the account given by Frezier of the island of
_Iquique_, I mentioned the surprisal of that place, being but a small
lieutenancy, where we might probably get some wholesome provisions, and
a better vessel. This was approved, and the sun again shining, so that
we lay dry, we acquired fresh vigour, and directed our course for that
island. Next evening we saw the island, which seemed merely a high white
rock, at the foot of the high land of _Carapucho_. Our boat set off for
the island about sun-set, and had like to have been lost among the
breakers. At length they heard the barking of dogs, and saw the light of
some candles; but, aware of the danger of landing in the dark, they made
fast their boat to a float of weeds for want of a grapnel, and waited
till day-light. They then rowed in between the rocks, and were
ignorantly welcomed on shore by some Indians. Going to the house of the
lieutenant, they broke open the door, and rummaged it and the village,
finding a booty more valuable to us in our present situation than gold
or silver. This consisted of 60 bushels of wheat flour, 120 of
calavanses and corn, some jerked beef, mutton, and pork, a thousand
weight of well-cured fish, four or five days eating of soft bread, and
five or six jars of Peruvian wine and brandy, besides a good number of
fowls and some rusk. They had also the good fortune to find a boat to
bring off their plunder, which otherwise had been of little use to us,
as our own boat was fully laden with men.

In the mean time, we in the bark were carried away by the current to the
northward, out of sight of the island; and as they had not loaded their
boats till the height of the day, they had a laborious task to row off,
being very heavily laden. We were under melancholy apprehensions,
fearing that our people might have remained on shore and deserted us;
but towards evening we perceived two boats coming fast towards us, as
heavily laden as they could be with safety. Words cannot express our joy
when they came aboard. The scene was now changed from famine to plenty.
The loaves of soft bread were distributed, and the jars of wine
broached: But I took care they should drink of it moderately, allowing
each man no more than half a pint a-day. After living a day or two on
wholesome food, we wondered how our stomachs could receive and digest
the rank nauseous congers fried in train-oil, and could hardly believe
we had lived on nothing else for a month past. I was assured by my
second lieutenant, who commanded the boat on this occasion, that the
Indians seemed rather pleased at our plundering the Spaniards; so
natural is it for bad masters to find enemies in their servants.

The _island of Iquique_ is in the lat. of 19 deg. 50' S.[271] about a mile
from the main land, and only about a mile and a half in circuit, the
channel between it and the coast of Peru being full of rocks. It is of
moderate height, and the surface consists mostly of cormorant's dung,
which is so very white that places covered with it appear at a distance
like chalk cliffs. Its smell is very offensive, yet it produces
considerable gain, as several ships load here with it every year for
Arica, where it is used as manure for growing capsicums. The only
inhabitants of this island are negro slaves, who gather this dung into
large heaps near the shore, ready for boats to take it off. The village
where the lieutenant resides, and which our people plundered, is on the
main land close by the sea, and consists of about sixty scattered
ill-built houses, or huts rather, and a small church. There is not the
smallest verdure to be seen about it, neither does its neighbourhood
afford even the smallest necessary of life, not even water, which the
inhabitants have to bring in boats from the _Quebrada_, or breach of
_Pisagua_, ten leagues to the northward; wherefore, being so miserable a
place, the advantage derived from the _guana_ or cormorant's dung seems
the only inducement for its being inhabited. To be at some distance from
the excessively offensive stench of the dung, they have built their
wretched habitations on the main, in a most hideous situation, and still
even too near the guana, the vapours from which are even there very bad,
yet not quite so suffocating as on the island. The sea here affords
abundance of excellent fish, some kinds of which I had never before
seen; one of them resembling a large silver eel, but much thicker in
proportion. The inhabitants of this desolate and forbidding place cure
these fish in a very cleanly manner, and export large quantities of
them by the vessels which come for the guana.

[Footnote 271: There is no island on the coast of Peru in that latitude.
Iquique is a town on the main land, about thirty miles from the sea. The
islands called _los Patillos_, or the Claws, are near the coast, in lat.
20 deg. 45' S. and probably one of these may have got the name of _Iquique_,
as being under the jurisdiction of that town. The mountain Carapacha of
the text, is probably the hills of Tarapaca of our maps.--E.]

We were informed by two Indian prisoners, that the lieutenant of Iquique
had a boat at Pisagua for water, of which we began to be in need, for
which reason I sent Mr Randal in search of her. He failed in this
object, but brought off a few bladders full of water, and three or four
_balsas_, very artificially sewed and filled with wind, which are used
for landing on this dangerous coast. On these the rower sits across,
using a double paddle; and as the wind escapes from the skin bags, he
has a contrivance for supplying the deficiency. These are the chief
embarkations used by the fishermen, and are found very serviceable for
landing on this coast, which has hardly a smooth beach from one end of
it to the other. We intended to have looked into the port of Arica, but
heard there was a ship there of force, on which we continued our course
to the northwards to La Nasca. Off that port we met a large ship about
two hours before day, and though we rowed very hard, it was ten o'clock
before we got up with her. After a brisk dispute of six or seven hours,
we were obliged to leave her, in consequence of the sea-breeze coming in
very strong. She was called the Francisco Palacio, of 700 tons, 8 guns,
and 10 patereroes, with a great number of men, and well provided with
small arms; but was so deeply laden that, in rolling, the water ran over
her deck and out at her scuppers; indeed she had more the appearance of
an ill-contrived floating castle, than of a ship, according to the
present fashion of Europe. Thus we had the misfortune, on this forlorn
voyage, to meet with the two best equipped and armed private ships at
that time in the South Sea. In this action we had not above twenty
fire-arms that were of any use, owing to the improvidence of our people
at Juan Fernandez; yet were they so impatient of this disappointment,
that some of them were for immediately surrendering to the enemy. To
prevent this, I ordered four men whom I thought I could trust to take
the charge of our two boats; but two of these went away with the best
boat, and my first lieutenant and Morphew plotted to have gone away with
the other, but were hindered by blowing weather, and so weak was my
authority that I was forced to dissemble.

Next day we stood into the road of Pisco, where we saw a very fine ship,
and resolved immediately to board her; and to our great satisfaction,
the captain and his people met us with their hats off, beseeching us to
give them quarter. This was a good ship, of about 200 tons, called the
Jesu Maria, almost laden with pitch, tar, copper, and plank, but nothing
else. The captain offered 16,000 dollars for her ransom, but I could not
comply, as the Recovery was disabled in her masts in boarding, and also
we had now a vessel in which we could at least enjoy cleanliness, which
we had been entire strangers to ever since our departure from Juan
Fernandez; wherefore we made all dispatch in getting every thing out of
the bark. The Spanish captain of the Jesu Maria informed me, that the
Margaretta had arrived some time before at Calao, where she had given a
full account of her rencounter with us; her captain and three men having
been killed in the action, and a priest with several others wounded. She
was now ready to put to sea again to cruize for us, with the addition of
ten guns and fifty men. A frigate of twenty-eight guns, called the
Flying-fish, was already out with the same intention; and advice had
been sent respecting us along the coast, both to the north and south,
with orders to equip what strength there was to catch us. All night, the
people of Pisco were on the alert, continually firing guns, to give us
an earnest of what we were to expect if we attempted to land, but we had
no such intention.

Having cleared our bark next morning, we gave her to the Spanish captain
of the Jesu Maria; and as soon as the breeze sprung up, we weighed and
stood to sea. While going out, we met our own boat with the two men who
had deserted us, and who now edged down upon us, imagining we had been
Spaniards. The two fellows were almost dead, having neither eat nor
drank for three days, and had just been ashore on a small island near
the harbour of Pisco, to kill some seals that they might drink their
blood. Their only excuse for leaving us was, that they had fallen
asleep, during which the breeze had wafted our bark away from them. We
had only a transient view of Pisco, which seemed pleasantly situated
among orchards and vineyards. We proceeded along the coast very
cautiously, knowing that we were almost in the mouths of our enemies,
and that the least act of indiscretion might throw us into their hands.
We ventured, however, to look into the roads of Guanchaco, Malabriga,
and Cheripe, where we saw no shipping, after which we passed through
between the island of _Lobos de Tierra_ and the continent.

Being near the _Saddle_ of Payta on the 25th November, I thought of
surprising that place in the night, though our force was much diminished
since our last attack; but as it grew calm while we were endeavouring to
get into the harbour, we thought it better to delay till morning, as our
vessel being Spanish would deceive the inhabitants, and prevent them
from suspecting us. In the morning, being observed from the shore making
many short trips to gain ground to windward, the Spaniards sent off a
large boat full of men to assist in bringing in our ship, and to enquire
the news. Seeing them making towards us, I ordered none of our men to
appear but such as had dark complexions and wore Spanish dresses,
standing ready to answer such questions as they might ask in hailing,
and to give them a rope when they clapped us on board. Some of our men
also were concealed under our gunwales, with their muskets ready to
point into the boat, to command them to make her fast, and this
stratagem succeeded. I examined the prisoners as to the condition of the
town, which they assured me was then extremely poor, having neither
money nor provisions, and shewed me a small bark on shore, lately sent
in by Captain Clipperton with some of his prisoners, on the arrival of
which every thing of value had been removed into the country. Yet we
held on our way with Spanish colours flying, and came to the anchorage.

As soon as we were anchored, I sent Mr Brooks to attack the town with
twenty-four men, only those who rowed appearing, and the rest with their
arms lying in the bottom of the boats; so that when they landed, they
even found the children playing on the beach. These took the alarm
immediately, and ran away on seeing our armed men. In an instant the
whole place was in confusion, and happy were they who could escape, the
town being left destitute, and they were too nimble to be overtaken. Our
party ransacked Payta, but found it as poor as our prisoners reported;
so that they only found a few bales of coarse cloth, about five
hundred-weight of dried dog-fish, two or three pedlars packs, and an
inconsiderable quantity of bread and sweetmeats. We had better fortune
while at anchor, as we took a vessel in which were about fifty jars of
Peruvian wine and brandy; her master having come by stealth from Calao,
where orders had been given, that none but ships of force should venture
to sea. My people in the town were in no haste to re-embark, and when it
grew dark, some of the Spaniards began to assemble, and learning that
there were only eighteen English in the town, came down the hills with
great boldness. At first our people took refuge in the largest church,
meaning to have defended themselves there; but at length they marched
out, formed in a line, and kept beating their drum; and one of them
having fired a musket, the Spaniards hastily retreated, and our men
embarked without any more alarm.

From Payta we directed our course for the island of Gorgona, in the bay
of Panama, and in our passage to that place built a tank or wooden
cistern in our vessel, sufficient to contain ten tons of water. In our
way we made the island of Plata, Cape St Francisco, Gorgonella, or
Little Gorgona, and on the 2d of December arrived at the island of
Gorgona. We had here the advantage of being able to fill our watercasks
in the boat, the water running in small streams from the rocks into the
sea, and we cut our wood for fuel close to high-water mark; so that in
less than forty-eight hours we completed our business, and hurried away
for fear of those vessels which we understood had been sent in search of
us. Having got out of the track of the enemy's ships, we consulted as to
the properest manner of proceeding, when the majority were for going
directly for India. Upon this we changed the name of our vessel, from
the Jesu Maria to the Happy-Return, and used our best endeavours to get
off from the coast of America. The winds and currents were however
contrary, and some of our people who were adverse to this plan did some
secret damage to our tank, so that the greatest part of our water leaked
out. Owing to this, and our provisions being much exhausted by long
delays from contrary winds or dead calms, we were incapable of
attempting so long a run: Wherefore, on purpose to procure what we
wanted, I proposed making a descent on Realejo, on the coast of Mexico,
in 11 deg. 50' [12 deg. 28' N.] In our way thither, we fell in with Cape Burica,
in 8 deg. 20' [_exactly_ 8 deg. N.] and then, on second thoughts, I judged it
might be safer to make an attempt on the island of Quibo, in lat. 7 deg.
30' N. where, according to the account given by Captain Rogers. I
guessed there were inhabitants, who lived plentifully on the produce of
their island.

On the 31st January, 1721, we entered the channel between the islands of
_Quibo_ and _Quivetta_, in lat. 7 deg. 18' N. in twenty fathoms water, and
anchored opposite a sandy bay, which promised to afford convenience for
wooding and watering. Sending our boat to view the bay, my people
reported that there was a good close harbour a little to the south, but
no signs of inhabitants, except three or four huts by the shore, which
they supposed had formerly been used by pearl-fishers, as there were
great quantities of mother-of-pearl-shells scattered about these huts.
On attentive consideration, I resolved not to shut up our vessel in a
close harbour, for fear of bad consequences, and remained therefore at
anchor in the open channel. At day-break next morning, we saw two large
boats under Spanish colours, rowing in for Quivetta, which gave me some
apprehensions they had some intelligence of us, and intended an attack.
The mulattoes on the coast of Mexico are remarkable for their courage,
and have sometimes done very bold actions, even in such paltry vessels
as these we now saw: These, however, steered into a small cove on the
island of Quivetta, which satisfied us they had no intentions to attack
us. I now sent Mr Brooks in our yawl to attack them, when he found them
all ashore, and brought away their piraguas with two prisoners, a negro
and a mulatto, the rest taking refuge in the woods. We took all their
provisions, consisting of a small quantity of pork, with plantains, some
green, some ripe, and some dried. Of this last there was a considerable
quantity, which, on being pounded, made a pleasant-tasted flour,
indifferently white, and supplied us with bread for a month. The mulatto
mortified us greatly by telling us that a vessel laden with provisions
had passed near us in the night, but promised to bring us to a place
where we might supply ourselves without hazard, provided we were not
above two or three days about it, wherefore we made all possible
dispatch in getting in our wood and water.

We weighed from this place on the 16th January, steering for _Mariato_,
being the westernmost point of the gulf of St Martin. In going out from
the channel of Quibo, we were in imminent danger of being forced by the
current upon two rocks at a small distance from each other, off the
northern point of Quivetta; but having cleared them, we steered through
_Canal bueno_, or the good channel, so called from its safety, being
free from rocks or shoals. Over against the south entrance of these
straits, at the distance of a league from point Mariato, is the island
of Cebaco, in my opinion about ten leagues in circumference. I ran along
the south end of that island, and in the evening of the 19th got safe in
between it and point Mariato, and anchored in six fathoms, over against
a green field, being the only clear spot thereabout. Our pilot advised
us to land about three hours before day, when we should be in good time
for the plantations. Accordingly, I went at two in the morning in our
own boat, the two lieutenants being in the two piraguas, and left my son
with a few hands to take care of the ship. Our pilot carried us a little
way up the river of St Martin, and out of that through several branches
or narrow creeks, among groves of trees, so close that we had not room
to row. Not approving of this navigation, I kept a watchful eye on our
guide, suspecting he had no good design in his head. We landed just at
day-break, in a fine plain, or savannah; and, after a march of three
miles, came to two farm-houses, whence the inhabitants made their
escape, except the wife and children belonging to one of them. We had
the satisfaction of seeing that this place answered the description
given by our guide, being surrounded by numerous flocks of black cattle,
with plenty of hogs, and fowls of several sorts, together with some
dried beef; plantains, and maize; and, in the mean time, we had a
breakfast of hot cakes and milk.

When it was broad day, I saw our ship close by us, on which I asked our
guide, why he had brought us so far about? when he said there was a
river between us and the shore, and he was not sure if it were fordable.
I therefore sent some to try, who found it only knee deep, on which, to
avoid carrying our plunder so far by land, I ordered our boats to leave
the river of St Martin, and to row to the beach over against the ship.
We had not been long at the farmhouse till the master of the family came
to us, bringing several horses with him, and offering to serve us as far
as he could. This offer we kindly accepted, and we employed him to carry
every thing we thought fit to our boats. He then went among his black
cattle, and brought us as many as we thought we could cure, as we had
but little salt, and could not afford water to keep them alive at sea,
so that we killed them as soon as they came on board. We preserved them
by cutting their flesh into long slips, about the thickness of one's
finger, and then sprinkled them with a small quantity of salt, not using
more than four or five pounds to the hundred-weight. After lying two or
three hours in the salt, we hung it up to dry in the sun for two or
three days, which perfectly cured it, much better than could have been
done by any quantity of the best salt.

Having thus procured all we proposed at this place, we departed from
thence nest morning, having our decks full of fowls and hogs, among the
latter of which was one having its navel on its back.[272] The Spaniards
say that this animal, although but small even at its full growth, is a
terrible creature to meet wild in the woods. Returning through the
_Canal bueno_, we stopt at Quibo to complete our water; and on leaving
that island, gave the largest piragua to our two prisoners, to enable
those who were on the island of Quivetta to return home. The wine and
brandy we had lately taken had the effect of dividing my ship's company
into two parties, those who were formerly so firmly united being now
inveterate enemies; insomuch, that in one night the ringleaders of both
have solicited me to espouse their cause, assuring me that the other
party had a design on my life, and urging me to murder those who were of
the opposite faction. It is wonderful how this evil was diverted, as I
could use no other means than calm advice on both sides, and it was
utterly out of my power to hinder them from getting drunk as often as
they pleased; in which condition they often fell all to skirmishing with
each other, and I had more than once my clothes almost torn off my back
in endeavouring to part them. It was happy this trade of drinking did
not last long, as, while the liquor lasted, I found it was unsafe to lay
my head on my pillow, which almost wearied me out of my life. Their free
access to the liquor shortened the term of this miserable folly, by soon
expending the baneful cause. The necessities of hunger obliged them to
act jointly and vigorously at Mariato; but they soon relapsed again, and
were as distracted as ever so long as the liquor lasted. My land as well
as sea-officers were now obliged to learn to steer, and to take their
turns at the helm with the seamen, such being the pass to which they had
brought themselves by sinking my authority, that they had lost their
own, and were even in a worse condition than I; as the crew had, for
their own sakes, to have recourse to me on all emergencies, obeying me
punctually while these lasted, and abusing me plentifully when these
were over.

[Footnote 272: The Pecary, Tajacu, or Mexican hog, the Sus Tajapin of
naturalists, is here meant, which is an indigenous animal of the warmer
parts of America, and is found in one of the West India islands. It has
no tail, and is particularly distinguished by an open glandular orifice
on the hinder part of the back, which discharges a fetid unctuous
liquid; and which orifice has been vulgarly mistaken for the navel.--E.]

On the 25th January, we discovered a sail in the morning, about two
leagues to leeward, to which we gave chase for some time; but seeing she
was Europe-built, and fearing she might be a man of war belonging to the
enemy, I hauled on a wind, and in half an hour it fell dead calm. We
soon after saw a boat rowing towards us, which proved the pinnace of our
consort the Success, commanded by her first lieutenant, Mr Davison. This
was a most unexpected meeting to us both, Mr Davison being surprised to
find me in such a condition, and I no less so to find the Success in
these seas. I gave him an account of our misfortunes, and of all that
had befallen us during the long interval of our separation, and he
related all the remarkable incidents that had befallen them. A breeze of
wind springing up, I bore down upon the Success, and went aboard of her;
when I gave Captain Clipperton, and Mr Godfrey, our agent-general, the
whole history of my voyage, expecting to have been treated by them as
belonging to the same interest, but found them unwilling to have any
thing to do with me, now that my ship was lost. I trusted, however, that
Captain Clipperton would let me have such necessaries as he could spare,
on which he said, I should know more of his mind next day. Among other
discourses, he told me that he was just come from the island of _Cocos_,
his people very sickly, and on short allowance. I then offered my
service to pilot him to Mariato, which was not above thirty leagues
distant, where he might have refreshed his company, and supplied his
wants; but he was resolved to make the best of his way for the _Tres
Marias_, where he said there was plenty of turtle to be had, and so I
left him for the night.

Next morning, as I was going again on board the Success with some of my
officers, Captain Clipperton spread all his canvass, and crowded away
from us. On this I returned to my ship, fired several guns, and made
signals of distress, which were not regarded by him, till his officers
exclaimed against his barbarity, and at last he brought to. When I had
again got up with him, I sent Mr Brooks to know the reason of his
abrupt departure, and to request the supply of several necessaries,
which I was willing to pay for. On these terms, he spared me two of his
quarter-deck guns, sixty round shot, some musket-balls and flints, a
Spanish chart of the coast of Mexico, with part of China and India, a
half-hour glass and half-minute glass, a compass, and about three
hundred-weight of salt: But all my arguments could not prevail with him
to let me have any thing out of his medicine-chest for Mr Coldsea, who
was still very ill of his wound. For what we now had from the Success,
we returned some bales of coarse broad-cloth, as much pitch and tar as
he would have, and some pigs of copper: I gave him also a large
silver-ladle for a dozen _spadoen_, or Spanish swords. This being
concluded, I offered my services, assuring him I had a pretty good ship,
and that our cargo was of some value: To this he answered, if my cargo
were gold, he had no business with me, and I must take care of myself.
Mr Hendric, our agent, Mr Rainer, and Mr Dodd, our lieutenant of
marines, weary of the hard work imposed upon them, desired my leave to
go on board the Success, which I consented to, and Captain Clipperton
left us to shift for ourselves, being now near the island of Cano.

I was now for returning southwards, to try our fortunes in the bay of
Panama, but the majority opposed me through fear, insisting to go to the
Tres Marias, to salt turtle at these islands, and then to stretch over
for India. We accordingly directed our coarse that way, but as the wind
near the land continued in the west, and the coast of Mexico trended
nearly N.W. by W. we crept so slowly to windward, that we began to be
very short of provisions before we got the length of Realijo, on which
our design of landing there was renewed; but this intention was soon
frustrated, as we were blown past that place by a _tequante peque_, for
so the Spaniards on this coast call a violent gale at N.E. As we
continued our voyage along shore, we again fell in with the Success,
then in quest of _Sonsonate_, expecting there to receive the ransom of
the Marquis of _Villa Roche_ who had been some time a prisoner on board.
We ranged close under her stern, and asked how Captain Clipperton and
the rest of the gentlemen did, but received no answer, and the Success
steered one way, while we went another. After this, calms, contrary
winds, and unaccountable currents, so delayed our proceedings, that were
reduced to a very short allowance, which we were forced to diminish
daily, and had been reduced to very great distress, had we not from time
to time found turtle floating on the surface of the sea, for which we
kept a good look-out, being able to discover them even at great
distances, by the sea-birds perching on their backs. On sight of these,
we were forced often to forego taking advantage of the wind; and,
besides often losing some of our way in pursuit of them, they had still
a worse effect, as dressing them occasioned a great consumption of our

Being now threatened with almost certain perdition if means were not
fallen upon to avoid a state of absolute famine, I proposed that we
should attempt to plunder some small town as we coasted along shore. At
this time _Guotalco_ was the nearest port; but, as we were standing in
for it, we saw a sail a considerable way to leeward, which we considered
more proper for us to endeavour to capture than to venture on shore, for
which purpose we bore down upon her, which proved to be the Success.
When sufficiently near, I made the private signal formerly concerted
between us, but Captain Clipperton hauled his wind, and did not lie by a
moment for us to get up with him. We were now so for to leeward of
Guatalco, that it was in vain to beat up for that port, especially on an
uncertainty. We were now reduced to a small daily allowance of
calavances, which not being sufficient to keep us alive, we had recourse
to the remainder of our smoked congers which had been neglected for some
months, and had been soaking and rotting in the bilge-water, so that
they were now as disgusting food as could be. Under these calamitous
circumstances, we again met the Success near port _Angels_, in lat. 15 deg.
50' N. long. 96 deg. 25' W. Having exchanged signals, we stood so near each
other that a biscuit might have been chucked aboard, yet did not
exchange a word, as Clipperton had ordered his officers and ship's
company to take no notice of us: Yet was Captain Clipperton so sensible
of the difficulties and hazards we had to encounter in our design of
going for India, that he said the child just born would be grey-haired
before we should arrive there. We were now in a most miserable
situation, wandering upon an inhospitable coast in want of every thing,
and all the land we had seen was so wild and open to the sea, that it
would have been impossible for us to have landed any where, and nothing
could have urged us to make the attempt but the extreme want we were now

On the 12th March, being off the port of Acapulco towards evening, we
saw a ship between us and the shore, which turned out to be the Success,
when Clipperton not only answered my private signal, but also that for
speaking with me. After his late inhumane behaviour, I would hardly have
trusted him, had we not been so near Acapulco, where I thought he meant
to cruize for the Manilla ships, and now wished to have our assistance,
wherefore I bore down alongside. He now sent his second lieutenant,
Captain Cooke, with a very obliging letter to me, stating that he was
cruizing for the homeward-bound Manilla ships, and desired me to assist
him in the enterprise, with which view he desired me to come on board
next morning, to consult on the best plan of attacking her, and proposed
an union of the two companies. I was well pleased at this offer, and
returned an answer that I should be with him early. I then read his
letter to my people, who all expressed their readiness to join in the
enterprise; but, as Clipperton had used us so unhandsomely, they desired
me to have some security for their shares, signed by Clipperton, Godfrey
the agent, and the rest of the officers in the Success.

I went aboard the Success next morning, accompanied by Brooks and
Randal, my lieutenants, and was received with much apparent civility,
all animosities being forgotten, and we seemed now in the most perfect
harmony. I first told Captain Clipperton and Mr Godfrey of the paper
expected by my officers and men, entitling them to such shares as were
allowed by the original articles, to which they readily consented, and
drew up an instrument fully answerable to what my people desired. We
then proceeded to our consultation, when it was agreed that I should
send most of my people on board the Success as soon as the Manilla ship
appeared, leaving only a boat's crew with me to bring me away in case I
should have an opportunity to use my vessel as a fire-ship, or smoker,
in case she should prove too hard for the Success. We also determined to
board her at once, as otherwise we should have much the worst of the
contest, owing to her superior weight of metal, and her better ability
to bear a cannonade. Clipperton assured me he was certain of the time
this ship was to sail from Acapulco, being always within a day or two
after Passion-week, of which time a fortnight was yet to come. Before
returning to my own ship, I informed Captain Clipperton of our scarcity
of water, when he told me he had eighty tons, and would spare me as much
as I wanted, or any thing else his ship afforded. I had now the
pleasure of enjoying my command as fully as ever, and my whole remaining
crew, from the highest to the lowest, expressed their satisfaction at
our present prospects. Morphew, the ringleader of all our disorders,
fearing my resentment might fall heavily on him, contrived to insinuate
himself into the favour of the captain and officers of the Success, by a
submissive deportment, and presents, and, in the end, left me on the
14th March, being received on board that ship. On the 15th, Mr Rainer
came on board my ship, to visit his old ship-mates, and staid all night.
I constantly reminded Clipperton of our want of water, and he as often
promised to supply us with a large quantity at once.

We thus continued to cruize in good order, and with great hopes, till
the 27th March, when I had to suffer the most prodigious piece of
treachery that could be imagined. We used to cruize off and on, at a
convenient distance from the shore, so as not to be discovered from the
land, yet so that it was impossible for any ship to leave the port of
Acapulco without being seen by us. As my ship did not sail so well as
the Success, Clipperton used to shorten sail, particularly at night, and
shewed us lights on all necessary occasions. Towards evening of that
day, he stretched about two leagues a-head of us, and I could not see
that he lowered even a topgallant-sail for us to come up with him. I
kept standing after him however, till almost a-shore on the breakers,
when I had to tack and stand out to sea. Next morning no ship was to be
seen, which reduced us to the most terrible apprehensions, considering
our sad situation for want of water, and our vast distance from any
place where we could expect to procure any, as we had now no other
choice but either to beat up 220 leagues to the _Tres Marias_, or to
bear away for the gulf of Amapala, at a much greater distance. I was
afterwards informed, by some of Clipperton's officers, whom I met with
in China, that he had done this cruel action absolutely against the
repeated remonstrances of his officers, who abhorred such an act of
barbarity. I also learnt afterwards, by some Spaniards from Manilla,
that the Acapulco ship sailed about a week after we desisted from
cruizing for her. This ship was the _Santo Christo_, carrying upwards of
forty brass guns, and was exceedingly rich.

In the sad situation we were now reduced to, every thing was to be
hazarded, and any experiment tried that promised the smallest chance of
success. We continued our course therefore, under terrible
inconveniences, distressed for water and provisions, and weak in point
of number; yet so far from being united by our common danger, that our
people could not be restrained within the bounds of common civility. The
winds and weather being favourable, we found ourselves before the port
of _Sansonate_ [273] on the 30th March, about sun-set, when we
discovered a ship of good size at anchor in the harbour. Being a fine
moonlight evening, I sent my first lieutenant in the yawl, with some of
our best hands, to see what she was. Soon afterwards we heard some guns
fired, and on the return of the lieutenant, he reported that she was a
stout ship, having at least one tier of guns. Little regarding her
apparent strength, or our own weakness, as we thought our necessities
made us a match for her, we continued plying in all night, and prepared
to engage her. At sun-rise the land-breeze blew so fresh from the shore,
that we worked in but slowly; and in the mean time we received all their
fire on every board we made, but without returning a single shot. Their
boat also was employed in bringing off soldiers from the shore, to
reinforce their ship; and they hung up a jar of about ten gallons of
powder, with a match, at each main and fore-yard-arm, and at the
bowsprit end, to let fall on our deck, in case we boarded them, which
contrivance, if it had taken effect, would have made an end of both
ships, and all that were in them. Seeing them so desperate in their
preparations, I could not but expect a warm reception; but as our case
would not admit of delay, at ever so hazardous a rate, we were not to be
dismayed. About eleven in the forenoon the sea-breeze set in, and, to
make our small force as available as might be, I ordered all our three
guns to be placed on that side from which we were likely to engage. As
the sea-breeze freshened we ran fast towards them, during which our
small arms were effectually employed to break their powder-jars before
we should board them, which we did without delay, and they submitted
after exchanging a few shots.

[Footnote 273: The port of Aeazualte, at the mouth of the river
Samsonate, in the province of that name.--E.]

This ship was named the _Sacra Familia_, of 300 tons, six guns, and
seventy men, having a great many small arms, shot, and hand-granades.
She had arrived some time before from Calao, with wine and brandy; but
had now nothing on board except fifty jars of gunpowder, a small
quantity of rusk, and some jerked beef; so that she was hardly worth the
risk and trouble of capture. But as she had the character of sailing
better, and was much better fitted than our ship, I resolved to exchange
ships, and we all went aboard the prize, which had been fitted out in
warlike manner, and commissioned, for the express purpose of taking us,
if we chanced to fall in her way. To do justice to my people, our small
arms were handled with much dexterity on this occasion; but, having been
chiefly directed at the powder-jars, the only person killed on board the
prize was the boatswain, and one person slightly wounded; while on our
side no damage was sustained. A merchant, made prisoner at this time,
seemed inclined to purchase the _Jesu Maria_, which we had quitted; and
hearing her cargo consisted of pitch, tar, and copper, he consented to
my demands, and went ashore to raise the sum agreed upon. We had so few
provisions, that we could not afford to keep any prisoners, and
therefore dismissed all the whites, Indians, and others, except some
negroes, whom we detained to assist in working the ship: and, that we
might lose as little time as possible, we set immediately to work,
overhauling our sails and rigging, that we might get our new ship ready
for sea.

While thus employed, I received a letter from the governor of the place,
which none of us could understand; but learnt by the messenger, that it
intimated some account of a truce concluded between the crowns of
Britain and Spain, and that the governor requested me to stay five days,
that he might satisfy me by shewing me the articles of accommodation. I
thought this odd, telling the Spanish gentleman I had not met with a
friendly or peaceable reception; asking him why they had thus armed
themselves in so desperate a manner, and why the governor had not rather
sent me a flag of truce in the morning before we engaged, giving me this
intimation? Saying also, if this story were true, we ought to have found
the alleged intelligence on board the prize, as she came from Lima,
whence they pretended the news came. It was likewise extraordinary, that
none of the officers in the prize should know any thing of the matter:
yet I had so great a regard for even the name of peace, that I would
wait fifteen days, if the governor would supply us with provisions and
water, otherwise I would not consent to stay twenty-four hours. I sent
also a short answer to the governor, excusing our imperfect knowledge of
the Spanish language. In this letter I stated if peace were actually
concluded between our sovereigns, that I was ready to act as he desired,
on due proof; and hoped, as we were now friends, that he would allow us
to have refreshments from his port. On receipt of this, the governor
expressed great satisfaction, and seemed to make no difficulty in
complying with my request. Our boats went therefore ashore every
morning, under a flag of truce, and we received for the first four days
eight small jars of water daily. On the fifth day they reduced us to
five jars, and during the whole time only one small cow was sent us.

On this occasion a boat came off full of men, among whom were two
priests, who brought with them a paper in Spanish, which they called the
articles of peace; but so wretchedly written and blotted, that we should
have been puzzled to read it, had it even been in English. I therefore
desired the priests to translate it into Latin, which they promised to
do, and took the paper with them. They also told me, that the governor
meant to send for some Englishmen who lived at Guatimala, if I would
continue three days longer in the road; to which I answered, that he
might take his own time. Two days after, on our boat going ashore as
usual, the governor ordered her and her crew to be seized. I was all day
in suspence, not imagining the governor would make such a breach of the
law of nations; but in the evening two of the boat's crew came off in an
old leaky canoe, bringing a letter from the governor, and another from
Mr Brooks, my first lieutenant, who was one of the prisoners. The
governor required me to deliver up the _Sacra Familia_, and that we
should all surrender, otherwise he would declare us pirates; and Mr
Brooks told me he believed the governor meant to bully me. The governor
proposed two ways for conveying us from the Spanish dominions, one of
which was by Vera Cruz overland, and the other by sea to Lima. But I
liked neither of these, not chusing a journey of 1300 miles at least
through a country inhabited by a barbarous people, nor yet a voyage to
Lima under their guidance. My two men told me, that Frederick Mackenzie
had let the governor into the secret of our necessities, and of my
design of procuring water at the island of Tigers, in the gulf of
Amapala, which he said he would take care to prevent, and believed he
now had us safe enough, knowing our only boat remaining was a small
canoe. My two men who brought these letters offering their service, and
a third volunteering to accompany them, to bale out the water from their
wretched canoe, I sent a letter in French to the governor, offering, if
I could be assured of a safe conduct for ourselves and effects to
Panama, and thence by way of Portobello to one of the British colonies,
we would enter into a farther treaty, which he might signify, if he
meant to comply, by firing two guns, and by sending off my people with
the usual supply; otherwise necessity would compel us to sail that
night. Receiving no reply whatever, I weighed before day next morning,
and made sail, leaving the Jesu Maria behind, a much more valuable ship
than the one I took away.

On going to sea, we reduced ourselves to a pint of-water in the
twenty-four hours, and directed our course for the gulf of Amapala,
about thirty-five leagues S.S.E. [274] meaning to water there on the
island of Tigers. The loss of my officer and boat's crew sensibly
diminished the number of white faces among us, and so lessened our
strength, that we should never have been able to manage this great ship,
with her heavy cotton sails, but for our negro prisoners, who proved to
be very good sailors. The loss of our boat was a great inconvenience to
us; but as I meant only to provide water enough to serve us to Panama,
where we were determined to surrender ourselves, if it were really
peace, I thought we might contrive to get such a quantity of water as
might suffice, in two or three days, by means of our canoe. The winds
being favourable, we reached the gulf in ten days, but we could find no
water, after an anxious and hazardous search. Surrounded on all sides
with the most discouraging difficulties, we weighed anchor again on the
13th of April, when I brought our people to a resolution not to
surrender on any account, let the consequence be what it might. We had
not now forty gallons of water in the ship, and no other liquids, when
we came to an allowance of half a pint each for twenty-four hours, even
this being too large, considering we could get none nearer than the
island of Quibo, which was about 160 leagues from the gulf of Amapala,
and we were forty-three in number, including our negroes.

[Footnote 274: About forty-two marine leagues E.S.E.]

We accordingly steered for Quibo, having very uncertain winds and
variable weather, and were thirteen days on this short allowance. No one
who has not experienced it can conceive our sufferings in this sultry
climate, by the perpetual extremity of thirst, which would not permit us
to eat an ounce of victuals in a day. We even drank our urine, which
moistened our mouths indeed, but excited our thirst the more. Some even
drank large draughts of sea-water, which had like to have killed them.
[275] On the 25th April we came to the island of _Cano_, in lat. 8 deg. 47'
N. which, by the verdure, promised to yield us water, if our canoe could
get on shore. In this hope we came to anchor off the north-west side of
this island, when it was as much as we could do to hand our sails, stop
our cable, and execute the other necessary labours, so greatly were we
reduced. We imagined we could see a run of water, yet dreaded the
dangerous surf which broke all round those parts of the island we could
see. Mr Randal was sent with some jars, to try what could be done; and
as he did not appear again when very late at night, I became
apprehensive he was either lost, or, not finding water on the island,
had gone in search of it to the continent. At length he came back, with
his jars filled, and any one may guess our unspeakable joy on being thus
opportunely delivered from the jaws of death. He did not bring above
sixty or seventy gallons, and I was at great pains to restrain my men
from using it immoderately, allowing only a quart to be distributed
immediately to each man. What made me the more strict on this occasion
was, that Mr Randal assured me we should hardly get any more, the
breakers were so very dangerous. That very night we chanced to have a
shower of rain, on which we used every expedient for catching it, in
sheets, blankets, and sails. During our long thirst we had continually
wished for rainy weather, and had often good reason to expect it, by
seeing many louring black clouds, which seemed every minute ready to
discharge their burdens, yet never did before to any purpose. Next day I
sent our boatswain to make another essay; but after going round the
whole island, and wasting the entire day in search of a smooth beach, he
could not see a single spot where he might venture on shore. Thinking we
had a sufficient stock to carry us to Quibo, we weighed next day; and
while ranging near the island, we saw a smooth beach, on which I sent
our canoe again, which brought back nine jars full of water.

[Footnote 275: It may not be improper to state, that in such extremity
for want of water, great relief has been experienced by remaining
immersed for some time in the sea; the lymphatics of the skin absorbing
water to supply and relieve the system very materially.--E.]

We now pursued our course to the S.E. and arrived in a few days at
Quibo, anchoring at the same place where we had been formerly. We
pursued our business of wooding and watering at this island with
tolerable chearfulness, yet without any great hurry; chiefly because we
were now within eighty leagues of Panama, and it was requisite for us to
deliberate very seriously on our scheme of surrendering to the
Spaniards. We considered Panama as well calculated for treating on this
subject, not being any way strong towards the sea; and as we had a good
ship, we thought it no difficult matter to settle the terms of our
surrender, before giving ourselves into their hands. We also reckoned on
some assistance from the factors of the South Sea company, resident
there, who, in case a peace were actually concluded in Europe, might
intercede for us, and procure us a passage for Europe. Yet as there was
something extremely disagreeable in the idea of a surrender, especially
to such enemies as the Spaniards, we were in no great hurry,
particularly as we were here somewhat at our ease, enjoying many
conveniences to which we had long been strangers. The free use we made
of the excellent fruits growing on this island brought the flux among
us, which weakened us very much, and interrupted our work for some days,
yet in the main did us little hurt, or rather tended to preserve us from
the scurvy. We deliberated and consulted as to our future conduct; but
our views were so discordant, and our minds so distracted, that we could
come to no resolution, except that of continuing here, in hopes of
something happening to our advantage.

The island of _Quibo_ or _Coibo_ is almost in the same parallel with
Panama, [276] being about twenty-four English miles from N. to S. and
twelve from E. to W. It is of moderate height, covered all over with
inaccessible woods, always green; and, though never inhabited, abounds
with papaws and limes, and some other fruits I never saw before, which
are nearly as good, though wholly neglected, as those that are most
carefully attended to in other islands in similar latitudes, whence it
may be inferred that the soil is fertile; and, if ever inhabited and
cleared, it promises to be as productive as the best of our West-India
islands. The pearl-fishers, not being able to follow their occupation
during the _vandevals_, or black stormy months, from the beginning of
June to the end of November, have a few scattered huts in several parts
of this island and of _Quivetta_, used by the divers during their
season, in which they sleep and open their oysters, so that the sandy
beach is covered with fine mother-of-pearl shells. In wading only to the
middle, we could reach large pearl oysters with our hands, which at
first pleased us much; but we found them as tough as leather, and quite
unpalatable. Having no seyne, I can say little about other kinds of
fish. We occasionally observed a large kind of flat fish, which often
sprung a great way out of the water, which are said to be very
destructive to the divers; for, when these return to the surface, unless
they take great care, these fish wrap themselves round the divers, and
hold them fast till drowned. To guard against this, the divers always
carry a sharp-pointed knife, and on seeing any of these fish above them,
present the point over their heads, and stick it into the fish's belly.
They are also subject to great danger from alligators, which swarm in
this part of the sea; and some of us fancied we saw one swimming below
the surface near Mariato Point, only a few leagues from hence. This
island has a great variety of birds, also great numbers of black monkeys
and guanoes, which last mostly frequent the streams of fresh water. Some
of these guanoes are of extraordinary size, being of a grey colour with
black streaks, those about the head being brown. Quibo is a most
convenient place for procuring wood and water, as the wood grows in
abundance within twenty yards of the sea, and there are several streams
of fresh water crossing the beach.

[Footnote 276: This is a material error. Panama is in lat. 9 deg. N. long.
80 deg. 21' W. while the centre of Quibo is in lat. 7 deg. 28' N. and long. 82 deg.
17' W. from Greenwich.--E.]

Having got clear of this place, and nothing thought of but our speedy
return to Europe by surrendering at Panama, we met with strong adverse
currents, together with calms and contrary winds, by which we were
detained for several days under the mountains of _Guanachu_. [277] On
the 15th. May, a small bark bore down upon us, mistaking us for
Spaniards. She was called the Holy Sacrament, and came last from
Cheriqui, laden with dried beef, pork; and live hogs. Her master was
much surprised at first, but soon recovered on being told we were bound
for Panama, and readily offered to pilot us thither, as he was bound for
that port; and begged us to take his bark in tow, as he could not fetch
the land, and his hogs were almost dead for want of water, while his
vessel was ready to sink, being so leaky that his people were no longer
able to stand to the pumps. I took her in tow, sending some of my people
to assist in pumping the bark, and even spared some water and maize for
supplying the hogs. The master came on board of my ship, but had heard
no news of any peace or truce between Britain and Spain.

[Footnote 277: Perhaps the Sierra de Canataqua are here meant, which
pervade the country between Montijo Bay and the Bay of Panama, ending in
Point Mariato, of which they seem to have been detained.--E.]

It may seem strange that this opportunity of supplying ourselves with
provisions made no change in our plans; but every one of us was so worn
out by a continual want of all necessaries, and so disheartened by a
perpetual succession of misfortunes, that we were tired of the sea, and
willing to embrace any opportunity of getting ashore, almost at any
rate. I was rejoiced at this bark having fallen into our hands; because,
if we found the story of the governor of Sansonate false, we might be
thoroughly enabled to go to India, with this help. To ascertain this, I
meant to anchor a great way short of Panama, keeping possession of the
bark, in case the president might not agree to safe and honourable
terms, when we still had it in our power to redress ourselves, by
keeping out of his hands. All this while, however, we had not determined
who should be the bearer of the flag of truce; for my people, after so
much treachery among them, feared that the messenger might only make
terms for himself with the governor, and not return again: Wherefore, my
son was chosen as the fittest person for the purpose, as being sure of
his return, for my sake.

On the 17th another bark came down upon us, but after coming pretty
near, sheared off; on which I sent Mr Randal in our canoe, to inform
them of our design, but they hoisted Spanish colours on his approach,
and fired at him. Next morning we looked into the bay, where we found
this bark at anchor, but she renewed her fire on our approach. On this,
at his own request, I sent the master of the Holy Sacrament in a canoe,
with four negroes and a flag of truce, to inform the people in the other
bark of our intentions. A gale of wind interrupted this plan, and forced
the canoe on shore, I dare say without danger to their lives, as they
seemed to land of choice. On the 19th we saw a sail ahead of us
standing along shore, on which we let go the bark we had in tow, in
which were four of our own people and five Spaniards, spreading all the
sail we could, so that by night we were at a considerable distance from
the bark. I was for lying-to all night, for the bark to come up, but the
majority insisted we should crowd sail all night, so that by day-break
of the 20th we were within less than gun-shot of the chase. I
immediately hoisted our colours, fired a gun to leeward, and sent a man
to wave a white flag on our poop, in token of truce: But they
continually fired at us, having their decks full of men, who kept
hallooing and abusing us with the grossest epithets. Still I made no
return, till I came close on their quarter, and then sent one of their
countrymen to our boltsprit-end, to inform them we were bound for
Panama, and wished to treat with them peaceably: But the only reply they
made was by continuing their fire, calling us _borachos_ and _peros
Ingleses_, drunkards and English dogs; so that at length I thought it
full time to begin with them. I therefore met them with the helm, and
soon convinced them of their error, giving them so warm a reception that
they soon sheered-off. We just missed catching hold of them, and as it
fell calm, we continued to engage her for two or three hours at the
distance of musket-shot. A breeze at length sprung up, when we neared
them, and their courage subsided in proportion as we approached. Their
captain still encouraged them to fight, bravely exposing himself in an
open manner, till he was at length shot through the body, and dropt down
dead; on which they immediately called out for quarter, and thus ended
the dispute.

We now commanded them to hoist out their launch; but they answered, that
their tackle and rigging were so shattered that they could not possibly
comply; wherefore I sent Mr Randall and two or three more in our canoe,
who found all her people most submissively asking mercy. Mr Randall sent
the most considerable of the prisoners on board my ship, who informed me
their vessel was _La Conception de Receva_, belonging to Calao, but last
from Guanchaco, of 200 tons burden, laden with flour, loaves of sugar,
boxes of marmalade, and jars of preserved peaches, grapes, limes, and
such like. She mounted six guns, and carried above seventy men, being
one of the ships that had been fitted out and commissioned purposely to
take us; so that she was the second of these armed merchantmen we had
taken. In this engagement, the Spanish captain and one negro were
killed, and one or two slightly wounded; but their masts, sails, and
rigging were much shattered. On our part, the gunner only was slightly
wounded, and a small piece was carried out of the side of our main-mast.
We had now above eighty prisoners of all sorts, and not exceeding
twenty-six of ourselves. When the Spanish gentlemen came off board, they
would not give me time to ask the reason of not hearkening to our
peaceable offers; but immediately laid the whole blame on their dead
captain, Don Joseph Desorio, who vowed he would listen to no terms but
his own, and was resolved to take us by force. There were several
persons of note among our prisoners, particularly Don Baltazzar de
Abarca, Conde de la Rosa, an European nobleman, who had been governor of
Pisco on the coast of Peru, and was now on his return for Spain; also a
Captain Morell, who had been formerly taken by Captain Rogers; and
several others. We treated them all with the utmost civility, at which
they wondered; because, from prejudice against our cruizers, and
conviction of their own harsh behaviour towards their prisoners, they
expected to have been dealt with very roughly.

In the situation where we now lay, we were in the track of all the ships
bound for Panama, not above thirty miles from that place, our numbers
being very few, and even part of our crew sick. For these reasons we
were as expeditious as possible in examining the contents of our new
prize, and removing them into our own ship; and, though the far greater
part of the work was done by our prisoners, it took us full two days.
Owing to this, and to faint winds and calms, we did not rejoin our bark
till the 22d. As we bore down towards her, and came pretty near, we were
astonished to see her broach to and fall off again, though all her sails
were set; and, what amazed us still more, we could not see any person on
her deck. I sent the boat on board, and the officer immediately called
out to me, that there was not a man on board, but that all her decks and
quarters were covered with blood. By this melancholy appearance, it
seemed evident that the Spaniards had overpowered and murdered my four
men who were sent to assist them, doubtless taking the opportunity of my
men being asleep: Yet it is probable the murderers lost their own lives;
for, being four leagues from land, and having no boat, they probably
jumped into the sea on the re-appearance of our ship, thinking to swim
to land, and met the death they so justly merited.

This tragical affair spoiled the satisfaction we had enjoyed for two
days past, on account of our prize, and raised an universal melancholy
among us. On seeing this sudden change, our prisoners became much
alarmed, looking at each other, as if fearful we might revenge on them
the fate of our unhappy companions: And, on my side, I became alarmed
lest their dreadful apprehensions might stir them up to some desperate
attempt, they being eighty in number, while we were not at this time
above seventeen on board, and when altogether only twenty-five that
could stand on our legs. I was therefore compelled to appear somewhat
stern, in ordering all our prisoners into the stern gallery, except the
nobleman and a few of the chiefs, while we kept a strict guard in the
great cabin. The Spanish gentlemen lamented the murder of our men, and
their own hard fate, in having been in some measure witnesses, and let
fall some expressions, by which I perceived they were afraid I meant to
shew some severities to their people on this occasion. Having a good
interpreter between us, I assured them I was not of any such revengeful
disposition, and besides, that the laws of my country would restrain me,
if I were, as I acted by my king's commission, whose orders strictly
forbid all acts of inhumanity or oppression towards our prisoners; on
which assurance they might rest satisfied of their safety. In reply to
this, they begged me to think myself secure, as to themselves and
countrymen, now my prisoners, declaring on their honour that they would
make no attempt against us, and that they could never make a sufficient
return for the generous treatment I had given them. Notwithstanding this
declaration, I took measures to secure our numerous prisoners of the
meaner sort; for which purpose, after taking out of the Holy Sacrament
all her jerked beef that remained fit for use, I placed them in that
vessel, under the command of Espina, former commander of the Conception
after the death of Desorio.

Next day, being as willing to get rid of them, as they were to get back
their own ship, I took every thing out of the Conception that could be
of use to us, sufficient for twelve months provisions of bread, flour,
sugar, and sweetmeats,[278] both for ourselves and the Success, which we
expected to meet with at the Tres Marias. I took also away her launch
and negroes, the latter to assist us in working our ship, not having
sufficient strength to manage her in the long run before us of 175
degrees. I then delivered up the Conception to Espina and the rest,
after being three days in our possession: which was not only an act of
generosity to our prisoners, but an act of prudence with regard to
ourselves. The next great point to be managed, was to get our people to
consent to sail so far north as California, previous to our intended
voyage to the East Indies, for which we were not in so good a condition
as we could wish, though much better than before, and even than we had
any reason to have expected, every thing considered. We had a good ship,
with fifteen guns and sufficient ammunition, together with a reasonable
quantity of provisions; but we still wanted to complete our wood and
water for so long a voyage, the procuring of which was necessarily our
first care. The ship's company were for going to Quibo for this purpose,
as nearest us, but that place was attended by two important
inconveniences. The first was the danger of the road, as the stormy
season was coming on, and we were but indifferently provided with ground
tackle, which must expose us to many dangers. The second was, that Quibo
was but at a small distance from Panama, and we had reason to fear the
Spaniards might send a ship of war from thence in search of us; as we
had now no hopes that peace had taken place, and had consequently laid
aside all thoughts of surrendering. On these considerations, we plied up
to the island of Cano, where we soon did our business, having a good

[Footnote 278: Betagh charges Shelvocke on this occasion, with the
concealment of a considerable treasure, taken in the Conception, of
which some account will be given at the conclusion of the voyage.--E.]

On our passage to that island, the sweetmeats of all kinds were divided
among our messes; and one day a man complained that he had got a box of
marmalade into which his knife could not penetrate, and desired
therefore to have it changed. On opening it, I found it to contain a
cake of virgin silver, moulded on purpose to fill the box, weighing 200
dollars; and on examining the rest, we found five more of the same kind.
These cakes of silver, being very porous, were nearly of the some weight
with so much marmalade, and were evidently contrived for the purpose of
defrauding the king of Spain of his fifths, which he exacts from all
silver procured in the mines of Peru. We doubtless left many such cakes
behind in the Conception, so that this contrivance served them both to
wrong their king, and to deceive their enemies. A similarly vexatious
affair occurred in a prize taken by the Success, in which there was a
considerable quantity of _pinos_, or masses of virgin silver, in the
form of bricks, artfully plaistered over with clay, and dried in the
sun. As the Spaniards in Peru never burn their bricks, Clipperton and
his people took these for real bricks, and threw a great number of them
overboard as so much rubbish, and did not discover the deception until
four or five only remained. Every thing taken in the Conception, was
divided according to the articles settled at Juan Fernandez, which gave
me only six shares, instead of sixty; and the people refused to allow me
an hundred pounds, which I had laid out of my own money, for necessary
supplies at the island of St Catharines.

I now found myself under many difficulties as to the course we were to
pursue, because the company knew well enough that there was no necessity
of going farther than the lat. of 13 deg. N. for going to the East Indies. I
had therefore to represent the advantage of cleaning and repairing our
ship at Porto Segnro, in California, and I had much difficulty to
persuade them. I at last brought them to my purpose, when we sailed from
Cano northwards. Having inconstant gales and bad weather, we went
between seventy and eighty leagues out to sea, in hopes of meeting more
settled weather. When at sixty leagues from the land, the winds still
continued variable, but at between seventy and eighty, they settled at
E.N.E. and N.E. at which distance we continued till in lat. 20 deg. N. not
being sensible of any currents in all that distance, and being also
entirely out of the way of the frightful ripplings and overfalls of
water which we used frequently to meet with nearer the land. These used
often to alarm us when becalmed in deep water, hearing a noise as of the
fall of water in passing through a bridge, a considerable time before it
came up to us, and which afterwards passed us at a very great rate. All
the effect this had on the ship, was to make her answer the helm wildly,
if we had any wind; and when we happened to meet any of these moving
waters very near the shore, we could not perceive that we either gained
or lost ground, though we sometimes continued in them for a quarter of
an hour. I have seen these overfalls to come both from the eastward and
the westward. By getting well out to sea, we not only got clear of these
inconveniences, but also were out of the way of the _vandevals_, or
black season, which had already begun on the coast; for at Cano, and in
going there, we felt very hard gusts, with black rolling water, frequent
and violent thunder and lightning, and heavy showers of rain.

In this passage we were continually accompanied by vast shoals of fish,
as dolphins, bonitas, albicores, and angel-fish. These last are shaped
like salmon, and have scales like them, but have tails like dolphins,
and nearly resemble them when, in the water, appearing in all the
beautiful colours displayed by the dolphin. Besides, they are the best
for eating of any fish that swim near the surface. We were continually
pestered with flocks of the birds called boobies, and their intolerably
stinking dung proved an indescribable nuisance, in spite of all the
pains that could be taken to clean our decks, yards, and tops. We
reached the islands of _Tres Marias_ in the beginning of August, but
could see no signs of Captain Clipperton having been there. We were also
disappointed in our expectation of procuring water; as, after the
strictest search we could make in all the three islands, nothing like a
spring could be found, though former writers mention their having found
water in abundance. After spending three days in our ineffectual search
for water in these islands, I thought it best to stand over for the main
land of California, as well for procuring what was wanting to our ship,
as in hopes of meeting once more with the Success.


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