HotFreeBooks.com
Great Pirate Stories
Author: Various
1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

GREAT PIRATE STORIES

EDITED BY

JOSEPH LEWIS FRENCH Editor of "Great Sea Stories," "Masterpieces of Mystery," "Great Ghost Stories," etc.

TWO VOLUMES IN ONE

TUDOR PUBLISHING CO. NEW YORK



First Printing, November, 1922 Second Printing, January, 1923 Third Printing, November, 1923 Fourth Printing, November, 1929

Printed in the United States of America

Copyright, 1922, by Brentano's



Transcriber's Note:

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. Archaic, dialect and quoted spellings (including inconsistent proper nouns), in addition to irregular hyphenation, remain as printed. The oe ligature is shown as [oe], whilst ă and ĭ indicate a breve over the relevant vowel.



Go tell your King, he is King of the Land; But I am the King of the Sea!

BARBAROSSA TO CHARLES V.



FOREWORD

Piracy embodies the romance of the sea at its highest expression. It is a sad but inevitable commentary on our civilization, that, so far as the sea is concerned, it has developed from its infancy down to a century or so ago, under one phase or another of piracy. If men were savages on land they were doubly so at sea, and all the years of maritime adventure—years that added to the map of the world till there was little left to discover—could not wholly eradicate the piratical germ. It went out gradually with the settlement and ordering of the far-flung British colonies. Great Britain, foremost of sea powers, must be credited with doing more both directly and indirectly for the abolition of crime and disorder on the high seas than any other force. But the conquest was not complete till the advent of steam which chased the sea-rover into the farthest corners of his domain. It is said that he survives even today in certain spots in the Chinese waters,—but he is certainly an innocuous relic. A pirate of any sort would be as great a curiosity today if he could be caught and exhibited as a fabulous monster.

The fact remains and will always persist that in the lore of the sea he is far and away the most picturesque figure,—and the more genuine and gross his career, the higher degree of interest does he inspire.

There may be a certain human perversity in this, for the pirate was unquestionably a bad man—at his best, or worst—considering his surroundings and conditions,—undoubtedly the worst man that ever lived. There is little to soften the dark yet glowing picture of his exploits. But again, it must be remembered, that not only does the note of distance subdue, and even lend a certain enchantment to the scene, but the effect of contrast between our peaceful times and his own contributes much to deepen our interest in him. Perhaps it is this latter, added to that deathless spark in the human breast that glows at the tale of adventure, which makes him the kind of hero of romance that he is today.

He is undeniably a redoubtable historical figure. It is a curious fact that the commerce of the seas was cradled in the lap of buccaneering. The constant danger of the deeps in this form only made hardier mariners out of the merchant-adventurers, actually stimulating and strengthening maritime enterprise.

Buccaneering—which is only a politer term for piracy—thus became the high romance of the seas during the great centuries of maritime adventure. It went hand in hand with discovery,—they were in fact almost inseparable. Most of the mighty mariners from the days of Leif the Discoverer, through those of the redoubtable Sir Francis Drake down to our own Paul Jones, answer to the roll-call.

It was a bold hardy world—this of ours—up to the advent of our giant-servant, Steam,—every foot of which was won by fierce conquest of one sort or another. Out of this past the pirate emerges as a romantic, even at times heroic, figure. This final niche, despite his crimes, cannot altogether be denied him. A hero he is and will remain so long as tales of the sea are told. So, have at him, in these pages!

JOSEPH LEWIS FRENCH.



CONTENTS

PAGE

The Piccaroon 1 From Tom Cringle's Log. By MICHAEL SCOTT.

The Capture of Panama, 1671 23 From The Buccaneers of America. By JOHN ESQUEMELING.

The Malay Proas 52 From Afloat and Ashore. By JAMES FENIMORE COOPER.

The Wonderful Fight of the Exchange of Bristol with the Pirates of Algiers 61 From Purchas, His Pilgrims. By SAMUEL PURCHAS.

The Daughter of the Great Mogul 89 From The King of the Pirates. By DANIEL DEFOE.

Barbarossa—King of the Corsairs 97 From Sea Wolves of the Mediterranean. By E. HAMILTON CURREY, R.N.

Morgan at Puerto Bello 115 From The Buccaneers of America. By JOHN ESQUEMELING.

The Ways of the Buccaneers 126 From Buccaneer Customs on the Spanish Main. By JOHN MASEFIELD after JOHN ESQUEMELING.

A True Account of Three Notorious Pirates 132 From The Buccaneers of America. By HOWARD PYLE, ED.

Narrative of the Capture of the Ship Derby, 1735 196 By CAPTAIN ANSELM.

Francis Lolonois, the Slave Who Became a Pirate King 209 From The Buccaneers of America. By JOHN ESQUEMELING.

The Fight between the Dorrill and the Moca 232 From The Indian Antiquary, Vol. 49.

Jaddi the Malay Pirate 240 From The Indian Antiquary, Vol. 49.

The Terrible Ladrones 247 From The Ladrone Pirates. By RICHARD GLASSPOOLE.

The Female Captive 276 From an Old Pamphlet, published in 1825. By LUCRETIA PARKER.

The Passing of Mogul Mackenzie, the Last of the North Atlantic Pirates 298 From Blackwood's Magazine. By ARTHUR HUNT CHUTE.

The Last of the Sea-Rovers: The Riff Coast Pirates 312 From the Nautical Magazine. By W. B. LORD.



GREAT PIRATE STORIES



THE PICCAROON[1]

MICHAEL SCOTT

"Ours the wild life in tumult still to range."—The Corsair.

We returned to Carthagena, to be at hand should any opportunity occur for Jamaica, and were lounging about one forenoon on the fortifications, looking with sickening hearts out to seaward, when a voice struck up the following negro ditty close to us:—

"Fader was a Corramantee, Moder was a Mingo, Black picaniny buccra wantee, So dem sell a me, Peter, by jingo. Jiggery, jiggery, jiggery."

"Well sung, Massa Bungo!" exclaimed Mr. Splinter; "where do you hail from, my hearty?"

"Hillo! Bungo, indeed! free and easy dat, anyhow. Who you yousef, eh?"

"Why, Peter," continued the lieutenant, "don't you know me?"

"Cannot say dat I do," rejoined the negro, very gravely, without lifting his head, as he sat mending his jacket in one of the embrasures near the water-gate of the arsenal—"Hab not de honour of your acquaintance, sir."

He then resumed his scream, for song it could not be called:—

"Mammy Sally's daughter Lose him shoe in an old canoe Dat lay half full of water, And den she knew not what to do. Jiggery, jig——"

"Confound your jiggery, jiggery, sir! But I know you well enough, my man; and you can scarcely have forgotten Lieutenant Splinter of the Torch, one would think?"

However, it was clear that the poor fellow really had not known us; for the name so startled him, that, in his hurry to unlace his legs from under him, as he sat tailor-fashion, he fairly capsized out of his perch, and toppled down on his nose—a feature, fortunately, so flattened by the hand of nature, that I question if it could have been rendered more obtuse had he fallen out of the maintop on a timber-head, or a marine officer's.

"Eh!—no—yes, him sure enough; and who is de picaniny hofficer—Oh! I see, Massa Tom Cringle? Garamighty, gentlemen, where have you drop from? Where is de old Torch? Many a time hab I, Peter Mangrove, pilot to Him Britannic Majesty squadron, taken de old brig in and through amongst de keys at Port Royal!"

"Ay, and how often did you scour her copper against the coral reefs, Peter?"

His Majesty's pilot gave a knowing look, and laid his hand on his breast—"No more of dat if you love me, massa."

"Well, well, it don't signify now, my boy; she will never give you that trouble again—foundered—all hands lost, Peter, but the two you see before you."

"Werry sorry, Massa Plinter, werry sorry—What! de black cook's-mate and all?—But misfortune can't be help. Stop till I put up my needle, and I will take a turn wid you." Here he drew himself up with a great deal of absurd gravity. "Proper dat British hofficer in distress should assist one anoder—we shall consult togeder.—How can I serve you?"

"Why, Peter, if you could help us to a passage to Port Royal, it would be serving us most essentially. When we used to be lying there a week seldom passed without one of the squadron arriving from this; but here have we been for more than a month without a single pennant belonging to the station having looked in: our money is running short, and if we are to hold on in Carthagena for another six weeks, we shall not have a shot left in the locker—not a copper to tinkle on a tombstone."

The negro looked steadfastly at us, then carefully around. There was no one near.

"You see, Massa Plinter, I am desirable to serve you, for one little reason of my own; but, beside dat, it is good for me at present to make some friend wid de hofficer of de squadron, being as how dat I am absent widout leave."

"Oh, I perceive—a large R against your name in the master-attendant's books, eh?"

"You have hit it, sir, werry close; besides, I long mosh to return to my poor wife, Nancy Cator, dat I leave, wagabone dat I is, just about to be confine."

I could not resist putting in my oar.

"I saw Nancy just before we sailed, Peter—fine child that; not quite so black as you, though."

"Oh, massa," said Snowball, grinning, and showing his white teeth, "you know I am soch a terrible black fellow—But you are a leetle out at present, massa—I meant, about to be confine in de work-house for stealing de admiral's Muscovy ducks;" and he laughed loud and long.—"However, if you will promise dat you will stand my friends, I will put you in de way of getting a shove across to de east end of Jamaica; and I will go wid you too, for company."

"Thank you," rejoined Mr. Splinter; "but how do you mean to manage this? There is no Kingston trader here at present, and you don't mean to make a start of it in an open boat, do you?"

"No, sir, I don't; but in de first place—as you are a gentleman, will you try and get me off when we get to Jamaica? Secondly, will you promise dat you will not seek to know more of de vessel you may go in, nor of her crew, than dey are willing to tell you, provided you are landed safe?"

"Why, Peter, I scarcely think you would deceive us, for you know I saved your bacon in that awkward affair, when through drunkenness you plumped the Torch ashore, so——"

"Forget dat, sir—forget dat! Never shall poor black pilot forget how you saved him from being seized up, when de gratings, boatswain's mates, and all, were ready at de gangway—never shall poor black rascal forget dat."

"Indeed, I do not think you would wittingly betray us into trouble, Peter; and as I guess you mean one of the forced traders, we will venture in her, rather than kick about here any longer, and pay a moderate sum for our passage."

"Den wait here five minute"—and so saying, he slipped down through the embrasure into a canoe that lay beneath, and in a trice we saw him jump on board of a long low nondescript kind of craft that lay moored within pistol-shot of the walls.

She was a large shallow vessel, coppered to the bends, of great breadth of beam, with bright sides, like an American, so painted as to give her a clumsy mercantile sheen externally, but there were many things that belied this to a nautical eye: her copper, for instance, was bright as burnished gold on her very sharp bows and beautiful run; and we could see, from the bastion where we stood, that her decks were flush and level. She had no cannon mounted that were visible; but we distinguished grooves on her well-scrubbed decks, as from the recent traversing of carronade slides, while the bolts and rings in her high and solid bulwarks shone clear and bright in the ardent noontide. There was a tarpaulin stretched over a quantity of rubbish, old sails, old junk, and hencoops, rather ostentatiously piled up forward, which we conjectured might conceal a long gun.

She was a very taught-rigged hermaphrodite, or brig forward and schooner aft. Her foremast and bowsprit were immensely strong and heavy, and her mainmast was so long and tapering, that the wonder was how the few shrouds and stays about it could support it; it was the handsomest stick we had ever seen. Her upper spars were on the same scale, tapering away through topmast, topgallant-mast, royal and skysail-masts, until they fined away into slender wands. The sails, that were loose to dry, were old, and patched, and evidently displayed to cloak the character of the vessel by an ostentatious show of their unserviceable condition; but her rigging was beautifully fitted, every rope lying in the chafe of another being carefully served with hide. There were several large bushy-whiskered fellows lounging about the deck, with their hair gathered into dirty net-bags, like the fishermen of Barcelona; many had red silk sashes round their waists, through which were stuck their long knives, in shark-skin sheaths. Their numbers were not so great as to excite suspicion: but a certain daring, reckless manner, would at once have distinguished them, independently of anything else, from the quiet, hard-worked, red-shirted, merchant seaman.

"That chap is not much to be trusted," said the lieutenant; "his bunting would make a few jackets for Joseph, I take it." But we had little time to be critical, before our friend Peter came paddling back with another blackamoor in the stern, of as ungainly an exterior as could well be imagined. He was a very large man, whose weight every now and then, as they breasted the short sea, cocked up the snout of the canoe with Peter Mangrove in it, as if he had been a cork, leaving him to flourish his paddle in the air, like the weather-wheel of a steam-boat in a sea-way. The new-comer was strong and broad-shouldered, with long muscular arms, and a chest like Hercules; but his legs and thighs were, for his bulk, remarkably puny and misshapen. A thick fell of black wool, in close tufts, as if his face had been stuck full of cloves, covered his chin and upper-lip; and his hair, if hair it could be called, was twisted into a hundred short plaits, that bristled out, and gave his head, when he took his hat off, the appearance of a porcupine. There was a large saber-cut across his nose and down his cheek, and he wore two immense gold earrings. His dress consisted of short cotton drawers, that did not reach within two inches of his knee, leaving his thin cucumber shanks (on which the small bullet-like calf appeared to have been stuck before, through mistake, in place of abaft) naked to the shoe; a check shirt, and an enormously large Panama hat, made of a sort of cane, split small, and worn shovel-fashion. Notwithstanding, he made his bow by no means ungracefully, and offered his services in choice Spanish, but spoke English as soon as he heard who we were.

"Pray, sir, are you the master of that vessel?" said the lieutenant.

"No, sir, I am the mate, and I learn you are desirous of a passage to Jamaica." This was spoken with a broad Scotch accent.

"Yes, we are," said I, in very great astonishment, "but we will not sail with the devil; and who ever saw a negro Scotchman before, the spirit of Nicol Jarvie conjured into a blackamoor's skin!"

The fellow laughed. "I am black, as you see; so were my father and mother before me." And he looked at me, as much as to say, I have read the book you quote from. "But I was born in the good town of Port-Glasgow notwithstanding, and many a voyage I have made as cabin-boy and cook in the good ship the Peggy Bogle, with worthy old Jock Hunter; but that matters not. I was told you wanted to go to Jamaica; I dare-say our captain will take you for a moderate passage-money. But here he comes to speak for himself.—Captain Vanderbosh, here are two shipwrecked British officers, who wish to be put on shore on the east end of Jamaica; will you take them, and what will you charge for their passage?"

The man he spoke to was nearly as tall as himself; he was a sunburnt, angular, raw-boned, iron-visaged veteran, with a nose in shape and color like the bowl of his own pipe, but not at all, according to the received idea, like a Dutchman. His dress was quizzical enough—white-trousers, a long-flapped embroidered waistcoat that might have belonged to a Spanish grandee, with an old-fashioned French-cut coat, showing the frayed marks where the lace had been stripped off, voluminous in the skirts, but very tight in the sleeves, which were so short as to leave his large bony paws, and six inches of his arm above the wrist, exposed; altogether, it fitted him like a purser's shirt on a hand-spike.

"Vy, for von hondred thaler I will land dem safe in Mancheoneal Bay; but how shall ve manage, Villiamson? De cabin vas point yesterday."

The Scotch negro nodded. "Never mind; I dare-say the smell of the paint won't signify to the gentlemen."

The bargain was ratified; we agreed to pay the stipulated sum, and that same evening, having dropped down with the last of the sea-breeze, we set sail from Bocca Chica, and began working up under the lee of the headland of Punto Canoa. When off the San Domingo Gate, we burned a blue-light, which was immediately answered by another in-shore of us. In the glare we could perceive two boats, full of men. Any one who has ever played at snapdragon, can imagine the unearthly appearance of objects when seen by this species of firework. In the present instance it was held aloft on a boat-hook, and cast a strong spectral light on the band of lawless ruffians, who were so crowded together that they entirely filled the boats, no part of which could be seen. It seemed as if two clusters of fiends, suddenly vomited forth from hell, were floating on the surface of the midnight sea, in the midst of brimstone flames. In a few moments our crew was strengthened by about forty as ugly Christians as I ever set eyes on. They were of all ages, countries, complexions, and tongues, and looked as if they had been kidnapped by a pressgang as they had knocked off from the Tower of Babel. From the moment they came on board, Captain Vanderbosh was shorn of all his glory, and sank into the petty officer while, to our amazement, the Scottish negro took the command, evincing great coolness, energy, and skill. He ordered the schooner to be wore as soon as we had shipped the men, and laid her head off the land, then set all hands to shift the old suit of sails, and to bend new ones.

"Why did you not shift your canvas before we started?" said I to the Dutch captain, or mate, or whatever he might be.

"Vy vont you be content to take a quiet passage and hax no question?" was the uncivil rejoinder, which I felt inclined to resent, until I remembered that we were in the hands of the Philistines, where a quarrel would have been worse than useless. I was gulping down the insult as well as I could, when the black captain came aft, and, with the air of an equal, invited us into the cabin to take a glass of grog. We had scarcely sat down before we heard a noise like the swaying up of guns, or some other heavy articles, from the hold.

I caught Mr. Splinter's eye—he nodded, but said nothing. In half an hour afterwards, when we went on deck, we saw by the light of the moon twelve eighteen-pound carronades mounted, six of a side, with their accompaniments of rammers and sponges, water-buckets, boxes of round, grape, and canister, and tubs of wadding, while the coamings of the hatchways were thickly studded with round-shot. The tarpaulin and lumber forward had disappeared, and there lay long Tom, ready levelled, grinning on his pivot.

The ropes were all coiled away, and laid down in regular man-of-war fashion; while an ugly gruff beast of a Spanish mulatto, apparently the officer of the watch, walked the weatherside of the quarterdeck in the true pendulum style. Look-outs were placed aft, and at the gangways and bows, who every now and then passed the word to keep a bright look-out, while the rest of the watch were stretched silent, but evidently broad awake, under the lee of the boat. We noticed that each man had his cutlass buckled round his waist—that the boarding-pikes had been cut loose from the main boom, round which they had been stopped, and that about thirty muskets were ranged along a fixed rack that ran athwart ships near the main hatchway.

By the time we had reconnoitred thus far the night became overcast, and a thick bank of clouds began to rise to windward; some heavy drops of rain fell, and the thunder grumbled at a distance. The black veil crept gradually on, until it shrouded the whole firmament, and left us in as dark a night as ever poor devils were out in. By-and-by a narrow streak of bright moonlight appeared under the lower-edge of the bank, defining the dark outlines of the tumbling multitudinous billows on the horizon as distinctly as if they had been pasteboard waves in a theater.

"Is that a sail to windward in the clear, think you?" said Mr. Splinter to me in a whisper. At this moment it lightened vividly. "I am sure it is," continued he—"I could see her white canvas glance just now."

I looked steadily, and at last caught the small dark speck against the bright background, rising and falling on the swell of the sea like a feather.

As we stood on, she was seen more distinctly, but, to all appearance, nobody was aware of her proximity. We were mistaken in this, however, for the captain suddenly jumped on a gun, and gave his orders with a fiery energy that startled us.

"Leroux!" A small French boy was at his side in a moment. "Forward, and call all hands to shorten sail; but, doucement, you land-crab!—Man the fore clew-garnets.—Hands by the top-gallant clew-lines—jib down-haul—rise tacks and sheets—peak and throat haulyards—let go—clew up—settle away the main-gaff there!"

In almost as short a space as I have taken to write it, every inch of canvas was close furled—every light, except the one in the binnacle, and that was cautiously masked, carefully extinguished—a hundred and twenty men at quarters, and the ship under bare poles. The head-yards were then squared, and we bore up before the wind. The stratagem proved successful; the strange sail could be seen through the night-glasses cracking on close to the wind, evidently under the impression that we had tacked.

"Dere she goes, chasing de Gobel," said the Dutchman.

She now burned a blue-light, by which we saw she was a heavy cutter—without doubt our old fellow-cruiser the Spark. The Dutchman had come to the same conclusion.

"My eye, captain, no use to dodge from her; it is only dat footy little King's cutter on de Jamaica station."

"It is her, true enough," answered Williamson; "and she is from Santa Martha with a freight of specie, I know. I will try a brush with her, by——"

Splinter struck in before he could finish his irreverent exclamation. "If your conjecture be true, I know the craft—a heavy vessel of her class, and you may depend on hard knocks, and small profit if you do take her; while if she takes you——"

"I'll be hanged if she does"—and he grinned at the conceit—then setting his teeth hard, "or rather, I will blow the schooner up with my own hand before I strike; better that than have one's bones bleached in chains on a key at Port Royal. But you see you cannot control us, gentlemen; so get down into the cable-tier, and take Peter Mangrove with you. I would not willingly see those come to harm who have trusted me."

However, there was no shot flying as yet, we therefore stayed on deck. All sail was once more made; the carronades were cast loose on both sides, and double-shotted, the long-gun slewed round, the tack of the fore-and-aft foresail hauled up, and we kept by the wind, and stood after the cutter, whose white canvas we could still see through the gloom like a snow-wreath.

As soon as she saw us, she tacked and stood towards us, and came bowling along gallantly, with the water roaring and flashing at her bows. As the vessels neared each other they both shortened sail, and finding that we could not weather her, we steered close under her lee.

As we crossed on opposite tacks, her commander hailed, "Ho, the brigantine, ahoy!"

"Hillo!" sung out Blackie, as he backed his main-top-sail.

"What schooner is that?"

"The Spanish schooner Caridad."

"Whence, and whither bound?"

"Carthagena to Porto Rico."

"Heave-to, and send your boat on board."

"We have none that will swim, sir."

"Very well, bring-to, and I will send mine."

"Call away the boarders," said our captain, in a low stern tone; "let them crouch out of sight behind the boat."

The cutter wore, and hove-to under our lee quarter, within pistol-shot; we heard the rattle of the ropes running through the davit-blocks, and the splash of the jolly-boat touching the water, then the measured stroke of the oars, as they glanced like silver in the sparkling sea, and a voice calling out, "Give way, my lads."

The character of the vessel we were on board of was now evident; and the bitter reflection that we were chained to the stake on board of a pirate, on the eve of a fierce contest with one of our own cruisers, was aggravated by the consideration, that the cutter had fallen into a snare by which a whole boat's crew would be sacrificed before a shot was fired.

I watched my opportunity as she pulled up alongside, and called out, leaning well over the nettings, "Get back to your ship!—treachery! get back to your ship!"

The little French serpent was at my side with the speed of thought, his long clear knife glancing in one hand, while the fingers of the other were laid on his lips. He could not have said more plainly, "Hold your tongue, or I'll cut your throat;" but Sneezer now startled him by rushing between us, and giving a short angry growl.

The officer in the boat had heard me imperfectly; he rose up—"I won't go back, my good man, until I see what you are made of;" and as he spoke he sprang on board, but the instant he got over the bulwarks, he was caught by two strong hands, gagged, and thrown bodily down the main-hatchway.

"Heave," cried a voice, "and with a will!" and four cold 32-pound shot were hove at once into the boat alongside, which, crashing through her bottom, swamped her in a moment, precipitating the miserable crew into the boiling sea. Their shrieks still ring in my ears as they clung to the oars and some loose planks of the boat.

"Bring up the officer, and take out the gag," said Williamson.

Poor Walcolm, who had been an old messmate of mine, was now dragged to the gangway half-naked, his face bleeding, and heavily ironed, when the blackamoor, clapping a pistol to his head, bid him, as he feared instant death, hail "that the boat had swamped under the counter, and to send another." The poor fellow, who appeared stunned and confused, did so, but without seeming to know what he said.

"Good God," said Mr. Splinter, "don't you mean to pick up the boat's crew?"

The blood curdled to my heart, as the black savage answered in a voice of thunder, "Let them drown and be d——d! Fill, and stand on!"

But the clouds by this time broke away, and the mild moon shone clear and bright once more upon this scene of most atrocious villainy. By her light the cutter's people could see that there was no one struggling in the water now, and that the people must either have been saved, or were past all earthly aid; but the infamous deception was not entirely at an end.

The captain of the cutter, seeing we were making sail, did the same, and after having shot ahead of us, hailed once more.

"Mr. Walcolm, why don't you run to leeward, and heave-to, sir?"

"Answer him instantly, and hail again for another boat," said the sable fiend, and cocked his pistol.

The click went to my heart. The young midship-man turned his pale mild countenance, laced with his blood, upwards towards the moon and stars, as one who had looked his last look on earth; the large tears were flowing down his cheeks, and mingling with the crimson streaks, and a flood of silver light fell on the fine features of the poor boy, as he said firmly, "Never." The miscreant fired, and he fell dead.

"Up with the helm, and wear across her stern." The order was obeyed. "Fire!" The whole broadside was poured in, and we could hear the shot rattle and tear along the cutter's deck, and the shrieks and groans of the wounded, while the white splinters glanced away in all directions.

We now ranged alongside, and close action commenced, and never do I expect to see such an infernal scene again. Up to this moment there had been neither confusion nor noise on board the pirate—all had been coolness and order; but when the yards locked the crew broke loose from all control—they ceased to be men—they were demons, for they threw their own dead and wounded, as they were mown down like grass by the cutter's grape, indiscriminately down the hatchways to get clear of them. They had stripped themselves almost naked; and although they fought with the most desperate courage, yelling and cursing, each in his own tongue, most hideously, yet their very numbers, pent up in a small vessel, were against them. At length, amidst the fire and smoke and hellish uproar, we could see that the deck had become a very shambles; and unless they soon carried the cutter by boarding, it was clear that the coolness and discipline of my own glorious service must prevail, even against such fearful odds; the superior size of the vessel, greater number of guns, and heavier metal. The pirates seemed aware of this themselves, for they now made a desperate attempt forward to carry their antagonist by boarding, led on by the black captain. Just at this moment the cutter's main-boom fell across the schooner's deck, close to where we were sheltering ourselves from the shot the best way we could; and while the rush forward was being made, by a sudden impulse Splinter and I, followed by Peter and the dog (who with wonderful sagacity, seeing the uselessness of resistance, had cowered quietly by my side during the whole row), scrambled along it as the cutter's people were repelling the attack on her bow, and all four of us, in our haste, jumped down on the poor Irishman at the wheel.

"Murder, fire, rape, and robbery!—it is capsized, stove in, sunk, burned, and destroyed I am! Captain, captain, we are carried aft here—Och, hubbaboo for Patrick Donnally!"

There was no time to be lost; if any of the crew came aft we were dead men, so we tumbled down through the cabin skylight, men and beast, the hatch having been knocked off by a shot, and stowed ourselves away in the side berths. The noise on deck soon ceased—the cannon were again plied—gradually the fire slackened, and we could hear that the pirate had scraped clear and escaped. Some time after this the lieutenant commanding the cutter came down. Poor Mr. Douglas! both Mr. Splinter and I knew him well. He sat down and covered his face with his hands, while the blood oozed down between his fingers. He had received a cutlass wound on the head in the attack. His right arm was bound up with his neckcloth, and he was very pale.

"Steward, bring me a light.—Ask the doctor how many are killed and wounded; and—do you hear?—tell him to come to me when he is done forward, but not a moment sooner. To have been so mauled and duped by a buccaneer; and my poor boat's crew——"

Splinter groaned. He started—but at this moment the man returned again.

"Thirteen killed, your honor, and fifteen wounded; scarcely one of us untouched." The poor fellow's own skull was bound round with a bloody cloth.

"God help me! Gold help me! but they have died the death of men. Who knows what death the poor fellows in the boat have died!"—Here he was cut short by a tremendous scuffle on the ladder, down which an old quartermaster was trundled neck and crop into the cabin. "How now, Jones?"

"Please your honor," said the man, as soon as he had gathered himself up, and had time to turn his quid and smooth down his hair; but again the uproar was renewed, and Donnally was lugged in, scrambling and struggling between two seamen—"this here Irish chap, your honor, has lost his wits, if so be he ever had any, your honor. He has gone mad through fright."

"Fright be d——d!" roared Donnally; "no man ever frightened me; but as his honor was skewering them bloody thieves forward, I was boarded and carried aft by the devil, your honor—pooped by Beelzebub, by ——," and he rapped his fist on the table until everything on it danced again. "There were four of them, yeer honor—a black one and two blue ones—and a pie-bald one, with four legs and a bushy tail—each with two horns on his head, for all the world like those on Father M'Cleary's red cow—no, she was humbled—it is Father Clannachan's, I mane—no, not his neither, for his was the parish bull; fait, I don't know what I mane, except that they had all horns on their heads, and vomited fire, and had each of them a tail at his stern, twisting and twining like a conger eel, with a blue light at the end on't."

"And dat's a lie, if ever dere was one," exclaimed Peter Mangrove, jumping from the berth. "Look at me, you Irish tief, and tell me if I have a blue light or a conger eel at my stern!"

This was too much for poor Donnally. He yelled out, "You'll believe your own eyes now, yeer honor, when you see one o' dem bodily before you! Let me go—let me go!" and, rushing up the ladder, he would, in all probability, have ended his earthly career in the salt sea, had his bullet-head not encountered the broadest part of the purser, who was in the act of descending, with such violence, that he shot him out of the companion several feet above the deck, as if he had been discharged from a culverin; but the recoil sent poor Donnally, stunned and senseless, to the bottom of the ladder. There was no standing all this; we laughed outright, and made ourselves known to Mr. Douglas, who received us cordially, and in a week we were landed at Port Royal.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] From Tom Cringle's Log.



THE CAPTURE OF PANAMA, 1671[2]

JOHN ESQUEMELING

Captain Morgan set forth from the castle of Chagre, towards Panama, August 18, 1670. He had with him twelve hundred men, five boats laden with artillery, and thirty-two canoes. The first day they sailed only six leagues, and came to a place called De los Bracos. Here a party of his men went ashore, only to sleep and stretch their limbs, being almost crippled with lying too much crowded in the boats. Having rested awhile, they went abroad to seek victuals in the neighboring plantations; but they could find none, the Spaniards being fled, and carrying with them all they had. This day, being the first of their journey, they had such scarcity of victuals, as the greatest part were forced to pass with only a pipe of tobacco, without any other refreshment.

Next day, about evening, they came to a place called Cruz de Juan Gallego. Here they were compelled to leave their boats and canoes, the river being very dry for want of rain, and many trees having fallen into it.

The guides told them, that, about two leagues farther, the country would be very good to continue the journey by land. Hereupon they left one hundred and sixty men on board the boats, to defend them, that they might serve for a refuge in necessity.

Next morning, being the third day, they all went ashore, except those who were to keep the boats. To these Captain Morgan gave order, under great penalties, that no man, on any pretext whatever, should dare to leave the boats, and go ashore; fearing lest they should be surprised by an ambuscade of Spaniards in the neighboring woods, which appeared so thick as to seem almost impenetrable. This morning beginning their march, the ways proved so bad, that Captain Morgan thought it more convenient to transport some of the men in canoes (though with great labor) to a place farther up the river, called Cedro Bueno. Thus they reembarked, and the canoes returned for the rest; so that about night they got altogether at the said place. The pirates much desired to meet some Spaniards or Indians, hoping to fill their bellies with their provisions, being reduced to extremity and hunger.

The fourth day the greatest part of the pirates marched by land, being led by one of the guides; the rest went by water farther up, being conducted by another guide, who always went before them, to discover, on both sides of the river, the ambuscades. These had also spies, who were very dextrous to give notice of all accidents, or of the arrival of the pirates, six hours, at least, before they came. This day, about noon, they came near a post called Torna Cavallos: here the guide of the canoes cried out, that he perceived an ambuscade. His voice caused infinite joy to all the pirates, hoping to find some provisions to satiate their extreme hunger. Being come to the place, they found nobody in it, the Spaniards being fled, and leaving nothing behind but a few leathern bags, all empty, and a few crumbs of bread scattered on the ground where they had eaten. Being angry at this, they pulled down a few little huts which the Spaniards had made, and fell to eating the leathern bags, to allay the ferment of their stomachs, which was now so sharp as to gnaw their very bowels. Thus they made a huge banquet upon these bags of leather, divers quarrels arising concerning the greatest shares. By the bigness of the place, they conjectured about five hundred Spaniards had been there, whom, finding no victuals, they were now infinitely desirous to meet, intending to devour some of them rather than perish.

Having feasted themselves with those pieces of leather, they marched on, till they came about night to another post, called Torna Munni. Here they found another ambuscade, but as barren as the former. They searched the neighboring woods, but could not find anything to eat, the Spaniards having been so provident, as not to leave anywhere the least crumb of sustenance, whereby the pirates were now brought to this extremity. Here again he was happy that he had reserved since noon any bit of leather to make his supper of, drinking after it a good draught of water for his comfort. Some, who never were out of their mothers' kitchens, may ask, how these pirates could eat and digest those pieces of leather, so hard and dry? Whom I answer, that, could they once experiment what hunger, or rather famine, is, they would find the way as the pirates did. For these first sliced it in pieces, then they beat it between two stones, and rubbed it, often dipping it in water, to make it supple and tender. Lastly, they scraped off the hair, and broiled it. Being thus cooked, they cut it into small morsels, and ate it, helping it down with frequent gulps of water, which, by good fortune, they had at hand.

The fifth day, about noon, they came to a place called Barbacoa. Here they found traces of another ambuscade, but the place totally as unprovided as the former. At a small distance were several plantations, which they searched very narrowly, but could not find any person, animal, or other thing, to relieve their extreme hunger. Finally, having ranged about, and searched a long time, they found a grot, which seemed to be but lately hewn out of a rock, where were two sacks of meal, wheat, and like things, with two great jars of wine, and certain fruits called platanoes. Captain Morgan, knowing some of his men were now almost dead with hunger, and fearing the same of the rest, caused what was found to be distributed among them who were in greatest necessity. Having refreshed themselves with these victuals, they marched anew with greater courage then ever. Such as were weak were put into the canoes, and those commanded to land that were in them before. Thus they prosecuted their journey till late at night; when coming to a plantation, they took up their rest, but without eating anything; for the Spaniards, as before, had swept away all manner of provisions.

The sixth day they continued their march, part by land and part by water. Howbeit, they were constrained to rest very frequently, both for the ruggedness of the way, and their extreme weakness, which they endeavored to relieve by eating leaves of trees and green herbs, or grass; such was their miserable condition. This day at noon they arrived at a plantation, where was a barn full of maize. Immediately they beat down the doors and ate it dry, as much as they could devour; then they distributed a great quantity, giving every man a good allowance. Thus provided, and prosecuting their journey for about an hour, they came to another ambuscade. This they no sooner discovered, but they threw away their maize, with the sudden hopes of finding all things in abundance. But they were much deceived, meeting neither Indians nor victuals, nor anything else: but they saw, on the other side of the river, about a hundred Indians, who, all fleeing, escaped. Some few pirates leaped into the river to cross it, and try to take any of the Indians, but in vain: for, being much more nimble than the pirates, they not only baffled them, but killed two or three with their arrows; hooting at them, and crying, "Ha, perros! a la savana, a la savana."—"Ha, ye dogs! go to the plain, go to the plain."

This day they could advance no farther, being necessitated to pass the river, to continue their march on the other side. Hereupon they reposed for that night, though their sleep was not profound; for great murmurings were made at Captain Morgan, and his conduct; some being desirous to return home, while others would rather die there than go back a step from their undertaking: others, who had greater courage, laughed and joked at their discourses. Meanwhile, they had a guide who much comforted them, saying, "It would not now be long before they met with people from whom they should reap some considerable advantage."

The seventh day, in the morning, they made clean their arms, and every one discharged his pistol, or musket, without bullet, to try their firelocks. This done, they crossed the river, leaving the post where they had rested, called Santa Cruz, and at noon they arrived at a village called Cruz. Being yet far from the place, they perceived much smoke from the chimneys: the sight hereof gave them great joy, and hopes of finding people and plenty of good cheer. Thus they went on as fast as they could, encouraging one another, saying, "There is smoke comes out of every house: they are making good fires, to roast and boil what we are to eat;" and the like.

At length they arrived there, all sweating and panting, but found no person in the town, nor anything eatable to refresh themselves, except good fires, which they wanted not; for the Spaniards, before their departure, had every one set fire to his own house, except the king's storehouses and stables.

They had not left behind them any beast, alive or dead, which much troubled their pursuers, not finding anything but a few cats and dogs, which they immediately killed and devoured. At last, in the king's stables, they found, by good fortune, fifteen or sixteen jars of Peru wine, and a leathern sack full of bread. No sooner had they drank of this wine, when they fell sick, almost every man: this made them think the wine was poisoned, which caused a new consternation in the whole camp, judging themselves now to be irrecoverably lost. But the true reason was, their want of sustenance, and the manifold sorts of trash they had eaten. Their sickness was so great, as caused them to remain there till the next morning, without being able to prosecute their journey in the afternoon. This village is seated in 9 deg. 2 min. north latitude, distant from the river Chagre twenty-six Spanish leagues, and eight from Panama. This is the last place to which boats or canoes can come; for which reason they built here storehouses for all sorts of merchandise, which to and from Panama are transported on the backs of mules.

Here Captain Morgan was forced to leave his canoes, and land all his men, though never so weak; but lest the canoes should be surprised, or take up too many men for their defense, he sent them all back to the place where the boats were, except one, which he hid, that it might serve to carry intelligence. Many of the Spaniards and Indians of this village having fled to the near plantations, Captain Morgan ordered that none should go out of the village, except companies of one hundred together, fearing lest the enemy should take an advantage upon his men. Notwithstanding, one party contravened these orders, being tempted with the desire of victuals: but they were soon glad to fly into the town again, being assaulted with great fury by some Spaniards and Indians, who carried one of them away prisoner. Thus the vigilancy and care of Captain Morgan was not sufficient to prevent every accident.

The eighth day in the morning Captain Morgan sent two hundred men before the body of his army, to discover the way to Panama, and any ambuscades therein: the path being so narrow, that only ten or twelve persons could march abreast, and often not so many. After ten hours' march they came to a place called Quebrada Obscura: here, all on a sudden, three or four thousand arrows were shot at them, they not perceiving whence they came, or who shot them: though they presumed it was from a high rocky mountain, from one side to the other, whereon was a grot, capable of but one horse or other beast laded. This multitude of arrows much alarmed the pirates, especially because they could not discover whence they were discharged. At last, seeing no more arrows, they marched a little farther, and entered a wood: here they perceived some Indians to fly as fast as they could, to take the advantage of another post, thence to observe their march; yet there remained one troop of Indians on the place, resolved to fight and defend themselves, which they did with great courage till their captain fell down wounded; who, though he despaired of life, yet his valor being greater than his strength, would ask no quarter, but, endeavoring to raise himself, with undaunted mind laid hold of his azagayo, or javelin, and struck at one of the pirates; but before he could second the blow, he was shot to death. This was also the fate of many of his companions, who, like good soldiers, lost their lives with their captain, for the defense of their country.

The pirates endeavored to take some of the Indians prisoners, but they being swifter than the pirates, every one escaped, leaving eight pirates dead, and ten wounded: yea, had the Indians been more dextrous in military affairs, they might have defended the passage, and not let one man pass. A little while after they came to a large champaign, open, and full of fine meadows; hence they could perceive at a distance before them some Indians, on the top of a mountain, near the way by which they were to pass: they sent fifty men, the nimblest they had, to try to catch any of them, and force them to discover their companions: but all in vain; for they escaped by their nimbleness, and presently showed themselves in another place, hallooing to the English and crying, "A la savana, a la savana, perros Ingleses!" that is, "To the plain, to the plain, ye English dogs!" Meanwhile the ten pirates that were wounded were dressed, and plastered up.

Here was a wood, and on each side a mountain. The Indians possessed themselves of one, and the pirates of the other. Captain Morgan was persuaded the Spaniards had placed an ambuscade there, it lying so conveniently; hereupon, he sent two hundred men to search it. The Spaniards and Indians perceiving the pirates descended the mountain, did so too, as if they designed to attack them; but being got into the wood, out of sight of the pirates, they were seen no more, leaving the passage open.

About night fell a great rain, which caused the pirates to march the faster, and seek for houses to preserve their arms from being wet; but the Indians had set fire to every one, and driven away all their cattle, that the pirates, finding neither houses nor victuals, might be constrained to return: but, after diligent search, they found a few shepherds' huts, but in them nothing to eat. These not holding many men, they placed in them, out of every company, a small number, who kept the arms of the rest: those who remained in the open field endured much hardship that night, the rain not ceasing till morning.

Next morning, about the break of day, being the ninth of that tedious journey, Captain Morgan marched on while the fresh air of the morning lasted; for the clouds hanging yet over their heads, were much more favorable than the scorching rays of the sun, the way being now more difficult than before. After two hours' march, they discovered about twenty Spaniards, who observed their motions: they endeavored to catch some of them, but could not, they suddenly disappearing, and absconding themselves in caves among the rocks unknown to the pirates. At last, ascending a high mountain, they discovered the South Sea. This happy sight, as if it were the end of their labors, caused infinite joy among them: hence they could descry also one ship, and six boats, which were set forth from Panama, and sailed towards the islands of Tavoga and Tavogilla: then they came to a vale where they found much cattle, whereof they killed good store: here, while some killed and flayed cows, horses, bulls, and chiefly asses, of which there were most; others kindled fires, and got wood to roast them: then cutting the flesh into convenient pieces, or gobbets, they threw them into the fire, and, half carbonadoed or roasted, they devoured them, with incredible haste and appetite. Such was their hunger, that they more resembled cannibals than Europeans; the blood many times running down from their beards to their waists.

Having satisfied their hunger, Captain Morgan ordered them to continue the march. Here, again, he sent before the main body fifty men to take some prisoners, if they could; for he was much concerned, that in nine days he could not meet one person to inform him of the condition and forces of the Spaniards. About evening they discovered about two hundred Spaniards, who hallooed to the pirates, but they understood not what they said. A little while after they came in sight of the highest steeple of Panama: this they no sooner discovered but they showed signs of extreme joy, casting up their hats into the air, leaping and shouting, just as if they had already obtained the victory, and accomplished their designs. All their trumpets sounded, and drums beat, in token of this alacrity of their minds. Thus they pitched their camp for that night, with general content of the whole army, waiting with impatience for the morning, when they intended to attack the city. This evening appeared fifty horses, who came out of the city, on the noise of the drums and trumpets, to observe, as it was thought, their motions: they came almost within musket-shot of the army, with a trumpet that sounded marvelously well. Those on horseback hallooed aloud to the pirates, and threatened them, saying, "Perros! nos veremos," that is, "Ye dogs! we shall meet ye." Having made this menace, they returned to the city, except only seven or eight horsemen, who hovered thereabouts to watch their motions. Immediately after the city fired, and ceased not to play their biggest guns all night long against the camp, but with little or no harm to the pirates, whom they could not easily reach. Now also the two hundred Spaniards, whom the pirates had seen in the afternoon, appeared again, making a show of blocking up the passages, that no pirates might escape their hands: but the pirates, though in a manner besieged, instead of fearing their blockades, as soon as they had placed sentinels about their camp, opened their satchels, and, without any napkins or plates, fell to eating, very heartily, the pieces of bulls' and horses' flesh which they had reserved since noon. This done, they laid themselves down to sleep on the grass, with great repose and satisfaction, expecting only, with impatience, the dawning of the next day.

The tenth day, betimes in the morning, they put all their men in order, and, with drums and trumpets sounding, marched directly towards the city; but one of the guides desired Captain Morgan not to take the common highway, lest they should find in it many ambuscades. He took his advice, and chose another way through the wood, though very irksome and difficult. The Spaniards perceiving the pirates had taken another way they scarce had thought on, were compelled to leave their stops and batteries, and come out to meet them. The governor of Panama put his forces in order, consisting of two squadrons, four regiments of foot, and a huge number of wild bulls, which were driven by a great number of Indians, with some negroes, and others, to help them.

The pirates, now upon their march, came to the top of a little hill, whence they had a large prospect of the city and champaign country underneath. Here they discovered the forces of the people of Panama, in battle array, to be so numerous, that they were surprised with fear, much doubting the fortune of the day: yea, few or none there were but wished themselves at home, or at least free from obligation of that engagement, it so nearly concerning their lives. Having been some time wavering in their minds, they at last reflected on the straits they had brought themselves into, and that now they must either fight resolutely, or die; for no quarter could be expected from an enemy on whom they had committed so many cruelties. Hereupon they encouraged one another, resolving to conquer, or spend the last drop of blood. Then they divided themselves into three battalions, sending before two hundred buccaneers, who were very dextrous at their guns. Then descending the hill, they marched directly towards the Spaniards, who in a spacious field waited for their coming. As soon as they drew nigh, the Spaniards began to shout and cry, "Viva el rey!" "God save the king!" and immediately their horse moved against the pirates: but the fields being full of quags, and soft under-foot, they could not wheel about as they desired. The two hundred buccaneers, who went before, each putting one knee to the ground, began to battle briskly, with a full volley of shot: the Spaniards defended themselves courageously, doing all they could to disorder the pirates. Their foot endeavored to second the horse, but were forced by the fire of the pirates to retreat. Finding themselves baffled, they attempted to drive the bulls against them behind, to put them into disorder; but the wild cattle ran away, frighted with the noise of the battle. Only some few broke through the English companies, and only tore the colors in pieces, while the buccaneers shot every one of them dead.

The battle having continued two hours, the greatest part of the Spanish horse was ruined, and almost all killed: the rest fled, which the foot seeing, and that they could not possibly prevail, they discharged the shot they had in their muskets, and throwing them down, fled away, every one as he could. The pirates could not follow them, being too much harassed and wearied with their long journey. Many, not being able to fly whither they desired, hid themselves, for that present, among the shrubs of the sea-side, but very unfortunately; for most of them being found by the pirates, were instantly killed, without any quarter. Some religious men were brought prisoners before Captain Morgan; but he, being deaf to their cries, commanded them all to be pistoled, which was done. Soon after they brought a captain to him, whom he examined very strictly; particularly, wherein consisted the forces of those of Panama? He answered, their whole strength consisted in four hundred horse, twenty-four companies of foot, each one hundred men complete; sixty Indians, and some negroes, who were to drive two thousand wild bulls upon the English, and thus, by breaking their files, put them into a total disorder: beside, that in the city they had made trenches, and raised batteries in several places, in all which they had placed many guns; and that at the entry of the highway, leading to the city, they had built a fort mounted with eight great brass guns, defended by fifty men.

Captain Morgan having heard this, gave orders instantly to march another way; but first he made a review of his men, whereof he found both killed and wounded a considerable number, and much greater than had been believed. Of the Spaniards were found six hundred dead on the place, besides the wounded and prisoners. The pirates, nothing discouraged, seeing their number so diminished, but rather filled with greater pride, perceiving what huge advantage they had obtained against their enemies, having rested some time, prepared to march courageously towards the city, plighting their oaths to one another, that they would fight till not a man was left alive. With this courage they recommenced their march, either to conquer or be conquered; carrying with them all the prisoners.

They found much difficulty in their approach to the city, for within the town the Spaniards had placed many great guns, at several quarters, some charged with small pieces of iron, and others with musket bullets. With all these they saluted the pirates at their approaching, and gave them full and frequent broadsides, firing at them incessantly; so that unavoidably they lost at every step great numbers of men. But not these manifest dangers of their lives, nor the sight of so many as dropped continually at their sides, could deter them from advancing, and gaining ground every moment on the enemy; and though the Spaniards never ceased to fire, and act the best they could for their defense, yet they were forced to yield, after three hours' combat. And the pirates having possessed themselves at last of the city, killed all that attempted in the least to oppose them. The inhabitants had transported the best of their goods to more remote and secret places; howbeit, they found in the city several warehouses well stocked with merchandise, as well silks and cloths, as linen and other things of value. As soon as the first fury of their entrance was over, Captain Morgan assembled his men, and commanded them, under great penalties, not to drink or taste any wine; and the reason he gave for it was, because he had intelligence that it was all poisoned by the Spaniards. Howbeit, it was thought he gave these prudent orders to prevent the debauchery of his people, which he foresaw would be very great at the first, after so much hunger sustained by the way; fearing, withal, lest the Spaniards, seeing them in wine, should rally, and, falling on the city, use them as inhumanly as they had used the inhabitants before.

Captain Morgan, as soon as he had placed necessary guards at several quarters within and without the city, commanded twenty-five men to seize a great boat, which had stuck in the mud of the port, for want of water, at a low tide. The same day about noon, he caused fire privately to be set to several great edifices of the city, nobody knowing who were the authors thereof, much less on what motives Captain Morgan did it, which are unknown to this day: the fire increased so, that before night the greatest part of the city was in a flame. Captain Morgan pretended the Spaniards had done it, perceiving that his own people reflected on him for that action. Many of the Spaniards, and some of the pirates, did what they could, either to quench the flames or by blowing up houses with gunpowder, and pulling down others to stop it, but in vain: for in less than half an hour it consumed a whole street. All the houses of the city were built with cedar, very curious and magnificent, and richly adorned, especially with hangings and paintings, whereof part were before removed, but another great part were consumed by fire.

There were in this city (which is the see of a bishop) eight monasteries, seven for men, and one for women; two stately churches, and one hospital. The churches and monasteries were all richly adorned with altar-pieces and paintings, much gold and silver, and other precious things, all which the ecclesiastics had hidden. Besides which, here were two thousand houses of magnificent building, the greatest part inhabited by merchants vastly rich. For the rest of less quality, and tradesmen, this city contained five thousand more. Here were also many stables for the horses and mules that carry the plate of the king of Spain, as well as private men, towards the North Sea. The neighboring fields were full of fertile plantations and pleasant gardens, affording delicious prospects to the inhabitants all the year.

The Genoese had in this city a stately house for their trade of negroes. This likewise was by Captain Morgan burnt to the very ground. Besides which building, there were consumed two hundred warehouses, and many slaves, who had hid themselves therein, with innumerable sacks of meal; the fire of which continued four weeks after it had begun. The greatest part of the pirates still encamped without the city, fearing and expecting the Spaniards would come and fight them anew, it being known they much outnumbered the pirates. This made them keep the field, to preserve their forces united, now much diminished by their losses. Their wounded, which were many, they put into one church, which remained standing, the rest being consumed by the fire. Besides these decreases of his men, Captain Morgan had sent a convoy of one hundred and fifty men to the castle of Chagre, to carry the news of his victory at Panama.

They saw often whole troops of Spaniards run to and fro in the fields, which made them suspect their rallying, which they never had the courage to do. In the afternoon Captain Morgan reentered the city with his troops, that every one might take up their lodgings, which now they could hardly find, few houses having escaped the fire. Then they sought very carefully among the ruins and ashes, for utensils of plate or gold, that were not quite wasted by the flames: and of such they found no small number, especially in wells and cisterns, where the Spaniards had hid them.

Next day Captain Morgan dispatched away two troops, of one hundred and fifty men each, stout and well armed, to seek for the inhabitants who were escaped. These having made several excursions up and down the fields, woods, and mountains adjacent, returned after two days, bringing above two hundred prisoners, men, women, and slaves. The same day returned also the boat which Captain Morgan had sent to the South Sea, bringing three other boats which they had taken. But all these prizes they could willingly have given, and greater labor into the bargain, for one galleon, which miraculously escaped, richly laden with all the king's plate, jewels, and other precious goods of the best and richest merchants of Panama: on board which were also the religious women of the nunnery, who had embarked with them all the ornaments of their church, consisting in much gold, plate, and other things of great value.

The strength of this galleon was inconsiderable, having only seven guns, and ten or twelve muskets, and very ill provided with victuals, necessaries, and fresh water, having no more sails than the uppermost of the mainmast. This account the pirates received from some one who had spoken with seven mariners belonging to the galleon, who came ashore in the cockboat for fresh water. Hence they concluded they might easily have taken it, had they given her chase, as they should have done; but they were impeded from following this vastly rich prize, by their gluttony and drunkenness, having plentifully debauched themselves with several rich wines they found ready, choosing rather to satiate their appetites than to lay hold on such huge advantage; since this one prize would have been of far greater value than all they got at Panama, and the places thereabout. Next day, repenting of their negligence, being weary of their vices and debaucheries, they set forth another boat, well armed, to pursue with all speed the said galleon; but in vain, the Spaniards who were on board having had intelligence of their own danger one or two days before, while the pirates were cruising so near them; whereupon they fled to places more remote and unknown.

The pirates found, in the ports of the island of Tavoga and Tavogilla, several boats laden with very good merchandise; all which they took, and brought to Panama, where they made an exact relation of all that had passed to Captain Morgan. The prisoners confirmed what the pirates said, adding, that they undoubtedly knew where the galleon might then be, but that it was very probable they had been relieved before now from other places. This stirred up Captain Morgan anew, to send forth all the boats in the port of Panama to seek the said galleon till they could find her. These boats, being in all four, after eight days' cruising to and fro, and searching several ports and creeks, lost all hopes of finding her, whereupon they returned to Tavoga and Tavogilla. Here they found a reasonable good ship newly come from Payta, laden with cloth, soap, sugar, and biscuit, with 20,000 pieces-of-eight. This they instantly seized, without the least resistance; as also a boat which was not far off, on which they laded great part of the merchandises from the ship, with some slaves. With this spoil they returned to Panama, somewhat better satisfied; yet, withal, much discontented that they could not meet with the galleon.

The convoy which Captain Morgan had sent to the castle of Chagre returned much about the same time, bringing with them very good news; for while Captain Morgan was on his journey to Panama, those he had left in the castle of Chagre had sent for two boats to cruise. These met with a Spanish ship, which they chased within sight of the castle. This being perceived by the pirates in the castle, they put forth Spanish colors, to deceive the ship that fled before the boats; and the poor Spaniards, thinking to take refuge under the castle, were caught in a snare, and made prisoners. The cargo on board the said vessel consisted in victuals and provisions, than which nothing could be more opportune for the castle, where they began already to want things of this kind.

This good luck of those of Chagre caused Captain Morgan to stay longer at Panama, ordering several new excursions into the country round about; and while the pirates at Panama were upon these expeditions, those at Chagre were busy in piracies on the North Sea. Captain Morgan sent forth, daily, parties of two hundred men, to make inroads into all the country round about; and when one party came back, another went forth, who soon gathered much riches, and many prisoners. These being brought into the city, were put to the most exquisite tortures, to make them confess both other people's goods and their own. Here it happened that one poor wretch was found in the house of a person of quality, who had put on, amidst the confusion, a pair of taffety breeches of his master's, with a little silver key hanging out; perceiving which, they asked him for the cabinet of the said key. His answer was, he knew not what was become of it, but that finding those breeches in his master's house, he had made bold to wear them. Not being able to get any other answer, they put him on the rack, and inhumanly disjointed his arms; then they twisted a cord about his forehead, which they wrung so hard that his eyes appeared as big as eggs, and were ready to fall out. But with these torments not obtaining any positive answer, they hung him up by the wrists, giving him many blows and stripes under that intolerable pain and posture of body. Afterwards they cut off his nose and ears, and singed his face with burning straw, till he could not speak, nor lament his misery any longer: then, losing all hopes of any confession, they bade a negro to run him through, which put an end to his life, and to their inhuman tortures. Thus did many others of those miserable prisoners finish their days, the common sport and recreation of these pirates being such tragedies.

Captain Morgan having now been at Panama full three weeks, commanded all things to be prepared for his departure. He ordered every company of men to seek so many beasts of carriage as might convey the spoil to the river where his canoes lay. About this time there was a great rumor, that a considerable number of pirates intended to leave Captain Morgan; and that, taking a ship then in port, they determined to go and rob on the South Sea, till they had got as much as they thought fit, and then return homewards, by way of the East Indies. For which purpose they had gathered much provisions, which they had hid in private places, with sufficient powder, bullets, and all other ammunition: likewise some great guns belonging to the town, muskets, and other things, wherewith they designed not only to equip their vessel, but to fortify themselves in some island which might serve them for a place of refuge.

This design had certainly taken effect, had not Captain Morgan had timely advice of it from one of their comrades; hereupon he commanded the mainmast of the said ship to be cut down and burnt, with all the other boats in the port: hereby the intentions of all or most of his companions were totally frustrated. Then Captain Morgan sent many of the Spaniards into the adjoining fields and country to seek for money, to ransom not only themselves, but the rest of the prisoners, as likewise the ecclesiastics. Moreover, he commanded all the artillery of the town to be nailed and stopped up. At the same time he sent out a strong company of men to seek for the governor of Panama, of whom intelligence was brought, that he had laid several ambuscades in the way by which he ought to return: but they returned soon after, saying they had not found any sign of any such ambuscades. For confirmation whereof, they brought some prisoners, who declared that the said governor had had an intention of making some opposition by the way, but that the men designed to effect it were unwilling to undertake it: so that for want of means he could not put his design in execution.

February 24, 1671, Captain Morgan departed from Panama, or rather from the place where the city of Panama stood; of the spoils whereof he carried with him one hundred and seventy-five beasts of carriage, laden with silver, gold, and other precious things, beside about six hundred prisoners, men, women, children and slaves. That day they came to a river that passes through a delicious plain, a league from Panama: here Captain Morgan put all his forces into good order, so as that the prisoners were in the middle, surrounded on all sides with pirates, where nothing else was to be heard but lamentations, cries, shrieks, and doleful sighs of so many women and children, who feared Captain Morgan designed to transport them all into his own country for slaves. Besides, all those miserable prisoners endured extreme hunger and thirst at that time, which misery Captain Morgan designedly caused them to sustain, to excite them to seek for money to ransom themselves, according to the tax he had set upon every one. Many of the women begged Captain Morgan, on their knees, with infinite sighs and tears, to let them return to Panama, there to live with their dear husbands and children in little huts of straw, which they would erect, seeing they had no houses till the rebuilding of the city. But his answer was, "He came not thither to hear lamentations and cries, but to seek money: therefore they ought first to seek out that, wherever it was to be had, and bring it to him; otherwise he would assuredly transport them all to such places whither they cared not to go."

Next day, when the march began, those lamentable cries and shrieks were renewed, so as it would have caused compassion in the hardest heart: but Captain Morgan, as a man little given to mercy, was not moved in the least. They marched in the same order as before, one party of the pirates in the van, the prisoners in the middle, and the rest of the pirates in the rear; by whom the miserable Spaniards were at every step punched and thrust in their backs and sides, with the blunt ends of their arms, to make them march faster.

A beautiful lady, wife to one of the richest merchants of Tavoga, was led prisoner by herself, between two pirates. Her lamentations pierced the skies, seeing herself carried away into captivity often crying to the pirates, and telling them, "That she had given orders to two religious persons, in whom she had relied, to go to a certain place, and fetch so much money as her ransom did amount to; that they had promised faithfully to do it, but having obtained the money, instead of bringing it to her, they had employed it another way, to ransom some of their own, and particular friends." This ill action of theirs was discovered by a slave, who brought a letter to the said lady. Her complaints, and the cause thereof, being brought to Captain Morgan, he thought fit to inquire thereinto. Having found it to be true—especially hearing it confirmed by the confession of the said religious men, though under some frivolous excuses of having diverted the money but for a day or two, in which time they expected more sums to repay it—he gave liberty to the said lady, whom otherwise he designed to transport to Jamaica. But he detained the said religious men as prisoners in her place, using them according to their desserts.

Captain Morgan arriving at the town called Cruz, on the banks of the river Chagre, he published an order among the prisoners, that within three days every one should bring in their ransom, under the penalty of being transported to Jamaica. Meanwhile he gave orders for so much rice and maize to be collected thereabouts, as was necessary for victualing his ships. Here some of the prisoners were ransomed, but many others could not bring in their money. Hereupon he continued his voyage, leaving the village on the 5th of March following, carrying with him all the spoil he could. Hence he likewise led away some new prisoners, inhabitants there, with those in Panama, who had not paid their ransoms. But the two religious men, who had diverted the lady's money, were ransomed three days after by other persons, who had more compassion for them than they had showed for her.

About the middle of the way to Chagre, Captain Morgan commanded them to be mustered, and caused every one to be sworn, that they had concealed nothing, even not to the value of sixpence. This done, Captain Morgan knowing those lewd fellows would not stick to swear falsely for interest, he commanded every one to be searched very strictly, both in their clothes and satchels, and elsewhere. Yea, that this order might not be ill taken by his companions, he permitted himself to be searched, even to his very shoes. To this effect, by common consent, one was assigned out of every company to be searchers of the rest. The French pirates that assisted on this expedition disliked this new practice of searching; but, being outnumbered by the English, they were forced to submit as well as the rest. The search being over, they reembarked, and arrived at the castle of Chagre on the 9th of March.

FOOTNOTES:

[2] From The Buccaneers of America.



THE MALAY PROAS[3]

JAMES FENIMORE COOPER

We had cleared the Straits of Sunda early in the morning, and had made a pretty fair run in the course of the day, though most of the time in thick weather. Just as the sun set, however, the horizon became clear, and we got a sight of two small sail, seemingly heading in toward the coast of Sumatra, proas by their rig and dimensions. They were so distant, and were so evidently steering for the land, that no one gave them much thought, or bestowed on them any particular attention. Proas in that quarter were usually distrusted by ships, it is true; but the sea is full of them, and far more are innocent than are guilty of any acts of violence. Then it became dark soon after these craft were seen, and night shut them in. An hour after the sun had set, the wind fell to a light air, that just kept steerage-way on the ship. Fortunately, the John was not only fast, but she minded her helm, as a light-footed girl turns in a lively dance. I never was in a better-steering ship, most especially in moderate weather.

Mr. Marble had the middle watch that night, and, of course, I was on deck from midnight until four in the morning. It proved misty most of the watch, and for quite an hour we had a light drizzling rain. The ship the whole time was close-hauled, carrying royals. As everybody seemed to have made up his mind to a quiet night, one without any reefing or furling, most of the watch were sleeping about the decks, or wherever they could get good quarters, and be least in the way. I do not know what kept me awake, for lads of my age are apt to get all the sleep they can; but I believe I was thinking of Clawbonny, and Grace, and Lucy; for the latter, excellent girl as she was, often crossed my mind in those days of youth and comparative innocence. Awake I was, and walking in the weather-gangway, in a sailor's trot. Mr. Marble, he I do believe was fairly snoozing on the hen-coops, being, like the sails, as one might say, barely "asleep." At that moment I heard a noise, one familiar to seamen; that of an oar falling in a boat. So completely was my mind bent on other and distant scenes, that at first I felt no surprise, as if we were in a harbor surrounded by craft of various sizes, coming and going at all hours. But a second thought destroyed this illusion, and I looked eagerly about me. Directly on our weather-bow, distant, perhaps, a cable's length, I saw a small sail, and I could distinguish it sufficiently well to perceive it was a proa. I sang out "Sail ho! and close aboard!"

Mr. Marble was on his feet in an instant. He afterward told me that when he opened his eyes, for he admitted this much to me in confidence, they fell directly on the stranger. He was too much of a seaman to require a second look in order to ascertain what was to be done. "Keep the ship away—keep her broad off!" he called out to the man at the wheel. "Lay the yards square—call all hands, one of you. Captain Robbins, Mr. Kite, bear a hand up; the bloody proas are aboard us!" The last part of this call was uttered in a loud voice, with the speaker's head down the companion-way. It was heard plainly enough below, but scarcely at all on deck.

In the meantime everybody was in motion. It is amazing how soon sailors are wide awake when there is really anything to do! It appeared to me that all our people mustered on deck in less than a minute, most of them with nothing on but their shirts and trousers. The ship was nearly before the wind by the time I heard the captain's voice; and then Mr. Kite came bustling in among us forward, ordering most of the men to lay aft to the braces, remaining himself on the forecastle, and keeping me with him to let go the sheets. On the forecastle, the strange sail was no longer visible, being now abaft the beam; but I could hear Mr. Marble swearing there were two of them, and that they must be the very chaps we had seen to leeward, and standing in for the land at sunset. I also heard the captain calling out to the steward to bring him a powder-horn. Immediately after, orders were given to let fly all our sheets forward, and then I perceived that they were wearing ship. Nothing saved us but the prompt order of Mr. Marble to keep the ship away, by which means, instead of moving toward the proas, we instantly began to move from them. Although they went three feet to our two, this gave us a moment of breathing time.

As our sheets were all flying forward, and remained so for a few minutes, it gave me leisure to look about. I soon saw both proas, and glad enough was I to perceive that they had not approached materially nearer. Mr. Kite observed this also, and remarked that our movements had been so prompt as to "take the rascals aback." He meant they did not exactly know what we were at, and had not kept away with us.

At this instant, the captain and five or six of the oldest seamen began to cast loose all our starboard, or weather guns, four in all, and sixes. We had loaded these guns in the Straits of Banca, with grape and canister, in readiness for just such pirates as were now coming down upon us; and nothing was wanting but the priming and a hot loggerhead. It seems two of the last had been ordered in the fire, when we saw the proas at sunset; and they were now in excellent condition for service, live coals being kept around them all night by command. I saw a cluster of men busy with the second gun from forward, and could distinguish the captain pointing to it.

"There cannot well be any mistake, Mr. Marble?" the captain observed, hesitating whether to fire or not.

"Mistake, sir? Lord, Captain Robbins, you might cannonade any of the islands astern for a week, and never hurt an honest man. Let 'em have it, sir; I'll answer for it, you do good."

This settled the matter. The loggerhead was applied, and one of our sixes spoke out in a smart report. A breathless stillness succeeded. The proas did not alter their course, but neared us fast. The captain levelled his night-glass, and I heard him tell Kite, in a low voice, that they were full of men. The word was now passed to clear away all the guns, and to open the arm-chest, to come at the muskets and pistols. I heard the rattling of the boarding-pikes, too, as they were cut adrift from the spanker-boom, and fell upon the decks. All this sounded very ominous, and I began to think we should have a desperate engagement first, and then have all our throats cut afterward.

I expected now to hear the guns discharged in quick succession, but they were got ready only, not fired. Kite went aft, and returned with three or four muskets, and as many pikes. He gave the latter to those of the people who had nothing to do with the guns. By this time the ship was on a wind, steering a good full, while the two proas were just abeam, and closing fast. The stillness that reigned on both sides was like that of death. The proas, however, fell a little more astern; the result of their own man[oe]uvering, out of all doubt, as they moved through the water much faster than the ship, seeming desirous of dropping into our wake, with a design of closing under our stern, and avoiding our broadside. As this would never do, and the wind freshened so as to give us four or five knot way, a most fortunate circumstance for us, the captain determined to tack while he had room. The John behaved beautifully, and came round like a top. The proas saw there was no time to lose, and attempted to close before we could fill again; and this they would have done with ninety-nine ships in a hundred. The captain knew his vessel, however, and did not let her lose her way, making everything draw again as it might be by instinct. The proas tacked, too, and, laying up much nearer to the wind than we did, appeared as if about to close on our lee-bow. The question was, now, whether we could pass them or not before they got near enough to grapple. If the pirates got on board us, we were hopelessly gone; and everything depended on coolness and judgment. The captain behaved perfectly well in this critical instant, commanding a dead silence, and the closest attention to his orders.

I was too much interested at this moment to feel the concern that I might otherwise have experienced. On the forecastle, it appeared to us all that we should be boarded in a minute, for one of the proas was actually within a hundred feet, though losing her advantage a little by getting under the lee of our sails. Kite had ordered us to muster forward of the rigging, to meet the expected leap with a discharge of muskets, and then to present our pikes, when I felt an arm thrown around my body, and was turned inboard, while another person assumed my place. This was Neb, who had thus coolly thrust himself before me, in order to meet the danger first. I felt vexed, even while touched with the fellow's attachment and self-devotion, but had no time to betray either feeling before the crews of the proas gave a yell, and discharged some fifty or sixty matchlocks at us. The air was full of bullets, but they all went over our heads. Not a soul on board the John was hurt. On our side, we gave the gentlemen the four sixes, two at the nearest and two at the stern-most proa, which was still near a cable's length distant. As often happens, the one seemingly farthest from danger, fared the worst. Our grape and canister had room to scatter, and I can at this distant day still hear the shrieks that arose from that craft! They were like the yells of fiends in anguish. The effect on that proa was instantaneous; instead of keeping on after her consort, she wore short round on her heel, and stood away in our wake, on the other tack, apparently to get out of the range of our fire.

I doubt if we touched a man in the nearest proa. At any rate, no noise proceeded from her, and she came up under our bows fast. As every gun was discharged, and there was not time to load them, all now depended on repelling the boarders. Part of our people mustered in the waist, where it was expected the proa would fall alongside, and part on the forecastle. Just as this distribution was made, the pirates cast their grapnel. It was admirably thrown, but caught only by a ratlin. I saw this, and was about to jump into the rigging to try what I could do to clear it, when Neb again went ahead of me, and cut the ratlin with his knife. This was just as the pirates had abandoned sails and oars, and had risen to haul up alongside. So sudden was the release, that twenty of them fell over by their own efforts. In this state the ship passed ahead, all her canvas being full, leaving the proa motionless in her wake. In passing, however, the two vessels were so near, that those aft in the John distinctly saw the swarthy faces of their enemies.

We were no sooner clear of the proas than the order was given, "Ready about!" The helm was put down, and the ship came into the wind in a minute. As we came square with the two proas, all our larboard guns were given to them, and this ended the affair. I think the nearest of the rascals got it this time, for away she went, after her consort, both running off toward the islands. We made a little show of chasing, but it was only a feint; for we were too glad to get away from them, to be in earnest. In ten minutes after we tacked the last time, we ceased firing, having thrown some eight or ten round-shot after the proas, and were close-hauled again, heading to the southwest.

FOOTNOTES:

[3] From Afloat and Ashore.



THE WONDERFUL FIGHT OF THE EXCHANGE OF BRISTOL WITH THE PIRATES OF ALGIERS[4]

SAMUEL PURCHAS

In the yeere 1621, the first of November, there was one Iohn Rawlins, borne in Rochester, and dwelling three and twenty yeere in Plimmoth, imployed to the Strait of Gibraltar, by Master Richard, and Steven Treviles, Merchants of Plimmoth, and fraighted in a Barke, called the Nicholas of Plimmoth, of the burden of forty Tun, which had also in her company another ship of Plimmoth, called the George Benaventure of seventy Tun burthen, or thereabouts; which by reason of her greatnesse beyond the other, I will name the Admirall; and Iohn Rawlins Barke shall, if you please, be the Vice-admirall. These two according to the time of the yeere, had a faire passage, and by the eighteenth of the same moneth came to a place at the entring of the straits, named Trafflegar: but the next morning, being in the sight of Gibraltar, at the very mouth of the straits, the watch descried five saile of ships, who as it seemed, used all the means they could to come neere us, and we as we had cause, used the same means to go as farre from them: yet did their Admirall take in both his top sailes, that either we might not suspect them, or that his owne company might come up the closer together. At last perceiving us Christians, they fell from devices to apparent discovery of hostility, and making out against us: we againe suspecting them Pirats, tooke our course to escape from them, and made all the sailes we possibly could for Tirriff, or Gibraltar: but all we could doe, could not prevent their approach. For suddenly one of them came right over against us to wind-ward, and so fell upon our quarter: another came upon our luffe, and so threatened us there, and at last all five chased us, making great speed to surprise us.

Their Admirall was called Callfater, having upon her maine top-saile, two top-gallant sailes, one above another. But whereas we thought them all five to be Turkish ships of war, we afterwards understood, that two of them were their prizes, the one a smal ship of London, the other of the West-countrey, that came out of the Quactath laden with figges, and other Merchandise, but now subiect to the fortune of the Sea, and the captivity of Pirats. But to our businesse. Three of these ships got much upon us, and so much that ere halfe the day was spent, the Admirall who was the best sailer, fetcht up the George Bonaventure, and made booty of it. The Vice-Admirall againe being neerest unto the lesser Barke, whereof Iohn Rawlins was Master, shewed him the force of a stronger arme, and by his Turkish name, called Villa-Rise, commanded him in like sort to strike his sailes, and submit to his mercy, which not to be gaine-saied nor prevented, was quickly done: and so Rawlins with his Barke was quickly taken, although the Reare-Admirall being the worst sayler of the three, called Reggiprise, came not in, till all was done.

The same day before night, the Admirall either loth to pester himselfe with too much company, or ignorant of the commodity that was to be made by the sale of English prisoners, or daring not to trust them in his company, for feare of mutinies, and exciting others to rebellion; set twelve persons who were in the George Bonaventure on the land, and divers other English, whom he had taken before, to trie their fortunes in an unknowne Countrey. But Villa-Rise, the Vice-Admirall that had taken Iohn Rawlins, would not so dispence with his men, but commanded him and five more of his company to be brought aboord his ship, leaving in his Barke three men and his boy, with thirteene Turkes and Moores, who were questionlesse sufficient to over-master the other, and direct the Barke to Harbour. Thus they sailed directly for Algier; but the night following, followed them with great tempest and foule weather, which ended not without some effect of a storme: for they lost the sight of Rawlins Barke, called the Nicholas, and in a manner lost themselves, though they seemed safe a shipboord, by fearefull coniecturing what should become of us: at last, by the two and twentieth of the same moneth, they, or we (chuse you whether) arrived at Algier, and came in safety within the Mould, but found not our other Barke there; nay, though we earnestly inquired after the same, yet heard we nothing to our satisfaction; but much matter was ministred to our discomfort and amazement. For although the Captaine and our over-seers, were loth we should have any conference with our Country-men; yet did we adventure to informe ourselves of the present affaires, both of the Towne, and the shipping: so that finding many English at worke in other ships, they spared not to tell us the danger we were in, and the mischiefes we must needs incurre, as being sure if we were not used like slaves, to be sold as slaves; for there had beene five hundred brought into the market for the same purpose, and above a hundred hansome youths compelled to turne Turkes, or made subiect to more viler prostitution, and all English: yet like good Christians, they bade us be of good cheere, and comfort ourselves in this, that Gods trials were gentle purgations, and these crosses were but to cleanse the drosse from the gold, and bring us out of the fire againe more cleare and lovely. Yet I must needs confesse, that they afforded us reason for this cruelty, as if they determined to be revenged of our last attempt to fire their ships in the Mould, and therefore protested to spare none whom they could surprise and take alive; but either to sell them for money, or torment them to serve their owne turnes. Now their customes and usages in both these was in this manner.

1  2  3  4  5  6     Next Part
Home - Random Browse