SIR FRANCIS DRAKE REVIVED
By Philip Nichols
Editor: Philip Nichols
This text was originally prepared from a 1910 edition, published by P F Collier & Son Company, New York. It included this note:
Faithfully taken out of the report of Master Christopher Ceely, Ellis Hixom, and others, who were in the same Voyage with him By Philip Nichols, Preacher Reviewed by Sir Francis Drake himself Set forth by Sir Francis Drake, Baronet (his nephew)
SIR FRANCIS DRAKE REVIVED
Sir Francis Drake, the greatest of the naval adventurers of England of the time of Elizabeth, was born in Devonshire about 1540. He went to sea early, was sailing to the Spanish Main by 1565, and commanded a ship under Hawkins in an expedition that was overwhelmed by the Spaniards in 1567. In order to recompense himself for the loss suffered in this disaster, he equipped the expedition against the Spanish treasure-house at Nombre de Dios in 1572, the fortunes of which are described in the first of the two following narratives. It was on this voyage that he was led by native guides to "that goodly and great high tree" on the isthmus of Darien, from which, first of Englishmen, he looked on the Pacific, and "besought Almighty God of His goodness to give him life and leave to sail once in an English ship in that sea."
The fulfilment of this prayer is described in the second of the voyages here printed, in which it is told how, in 1578, Drake passed through the Straits of Magellan into waters never before sailed by his countrymen, and with a single ship rifled the Spanish settlements on the west coast of South America and plundered the Spanish treasure-ships; how, considering it unsafe to go back the way he came lest the enemy should seek revenge, he went as far north as the Golden Gate, then passed across the Pacific and round by the Cape of Good Hope, and so home, the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe. Only Magellan's ship had preceded him in the feat, and Magellan had died on the voyage. The Queen visited the ship, "The Golden Hind," as she lay at Deptford and knighted the commander on board.
Drake's further adventures were of almost equal interest. Returning from a raid on the Spaniards in 1586, he brought home the despairing Virginian colony, and is said at the same time to have introduced from America tobacco and potatoes. Two years later he led the English fleet in the decisive engagement with the Great Armada. In 1595 he set out on another voyage to the Spanish Main; and in the January of the following year died off Porto Bello and was buried in the waters where he had made his name as the greatest seaman of his day and nation.
TO THE HIGH AND MIGHTY CHARLES THE FIRST, OF GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, and IRELAND, KING, all the blessings of this, and a better life.
MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN,
That this brief Treatise is yours, both by right and by succession, will appear by the Author's and Actor's ensuing Dedication. To praise either the Mistress or the Servant, might justly incur the censure of Quis eos unquam sanus vituperavit; either's worth having sufficiently blazed their fame.
This Present loseth nothing, by glancing on former actions; and the observation of passed adventures may probably advantage future employments. Caesar wrote his own Commentaries; and this Doer was partly the Indictor.
Neither is there wanting living testimony to confirm its truth. For his sake, then, cherish what is good! and I shall willingly entertain check for what is amiss. Your favourable acceptance may encourage my collecting of more neglected notes! However, though Virtue, as Lands, be not inheritable; yet hath he left of his Name, one that resolves, and therein joys to approve himself.
Your most humble and loyal subject,
FRANCIS DRAKE [BART.]
The Dedicatory Epistle, Intended To QUEEN ELIZABETH Written By SIR FRANCIS DRAKE, Deceased.
To The Queen's Most Excellent Majesty, my most dread Sovereign.
Seeing divers have diversely reported and written of these Voyages and Actions which I have attempted and made, every one endeavouring to bring to light whatsoever inklings or conjectures they have had; whereby many untruths have been published, and the certain truth concealed: as [so] I have thought it necessary myself, as in a Card [chart] to prick the principal points of the counsels taken, attempts made, and success had, during the whole course of my employment in these services against the Spaniard. Not as setting sail for maintaining my reputation in men's judgment, but only as sitting at helm, if occasion shall be, for conducting the like actions hereafter. So I have accounted it my duty, to present this Discourse to Your Majesty, as of right; either for itself being the first fruits of your Servant's pen, or for the matter, being service done to Your Majesty by your poor vassal, against your great Enemy: at times, in such places, and after such sort as may seem strange to those that are not acquainted with the whole carriage thereof; but will be a pleasing remembrance to Your Highness, who take the apparent height of the Almighty's favour towards you, by these events, as truest instruments.
Humbly submitting myself to Your gracious censure, both in writing and presenting; that Posterity be not deprived of such help as may happily be gained hereby, and our present Age, at least, may be satisfied, in the rightfulness of these actions, which hitherto have been silenced: and Your Servant's labour not seem altogether lost, not only in travels by sea and land, but also in writing the Report thereof (a work to him no less troublesome) yet made pleasant and sweet, in that it hath been, is, and shall be for Your Majesty's content; to whom I have devoted myself [and] live or die.
FRANCIS DRAKE [Knight].
January 1, 1592 [i.e., 1593].
TO THE COURTEOUS READER
Without apology, I desire thee, in this ensuing Discourse, to observe, with me, the power and justice of the LORD of Hosts, Who could enable so mean a person to right himself upon so mighty a Prince; together with the goodness and providence of GOD very observable in that it pleased Him to raise this man, not only from a low condition, but even from the state of persecution. His father suffered in it, being forced to fly from his house, near South Tavistock in Devon, into Kent: and there to inhabit in the hull of a ship, wherein many of his younger sons were born. He had twelve in all: and as it pleased GOD to give most of them a being upon the water, so the greatest part of them died at sea. The youngest, who though he was [went] as far as any, yet died at home; whose posterity inherits that, which by himself and this noble Gentleman the eldest brother, was hardly, yet worthily gotten.
I could more largely acquaint thee, that this voyage was his Third he made into the West Indies; after that [of] his excellent service, both by sea and land, in Ireland, under WALTER, Earl of ESSEX; his next, about the World; another, wherein he took St. Jago, Cartagena, St. Domingo, St. Augustino; his doings at Cadiz; besides the first Carrack taught by him to sail into England; his stirrings in Eighty-seven; his remarkable actions in Eighty-eight; his endeavours in the Portugal employment; his last enterprise, determined by death; and his filling Plymouth with a plentiful stream of fresh water: but I pass by all these. I had rather thou shouldest inquire of others! then to seem myself a vainglorious man.
I intend not his praise! I strive only to set out the praise of his and our good GOD! that guided him in his truth! and protected him in his courses! My ends are to stir thee up to the worship of GOD, and service of our King and Country, by his example! If anything be worth thy consideration; conclude with me, that the LORD only, can do great things!
FRANCIS DRAKE [Bart.]
SIR FRANCIS DRAKE REVIVED
Calling upon this dull or effeminate Age, to follow his noble steps for gold and silver.
As there is a general Vengeance which secretly pursueth the doers of wrong, and suffereth them not to prosper, albeit no man of purpose empeach them: so is there a particular Indignation, engrafted in the bosom of all that are wronged, which ceaseth not seeking, by all means possible, to redress or remedy the wrong received. Insomuch as those great and mighty men, in whom their prosperous estate hath bred such an overweening of themselves, but they do not only wrong their inferiors, but despise them being injured, seem to take a very unfit course for their own safety, and far unfitter for their rest. For as ESOP teacheth, even the fly hath her spleen, and the emmet [ant] is not without her choler; and both together many times find means whereby, though the eagle lays her eggs in JUPITER'S lap, yet by one way or other, she escapeth not requital of her wrong done [to] the emmet.
Among the manifold examples hereof, which former Ages have committed to memory, or our Time yielded to sight: I suppose, there hath not been any more notable then this in hand; either in respect of the greatness of the person in whom the first injury was offered, or the meanness of him who righted himself. The one being, in his own conceit, the mightiest Monarch of all the world! The other, an English Captain, a mean subject of her Majesty's! Who (besides the wrongs received at Rio de [la] Hacha with Captain JOHN LOVELL in the years 1565 and 1566) having been grievously endamaged at San Juan de Ulua in the Bay of Mexico, with captain JOHN HAWKINS, in the years 1567 and 1568, not only in the loss of his goods of some value, but also of his kinsmen and friends, and that by the falsehood of DON MARTIN HENRIQUEZ then the Viceroy of Mexico; and finding that no recompense could be recovered out of Spain, by any of his own means, or by Her Majesty's letters; he used such helps as he might, by two several voyages into the West Indies (the first with two ships, the one called the Dragon, the other the Swan, in the year 1570: the other in the Swan alone in the year 1571, to gain such intelligences as might further him, to get some amends for his loss.
On Whitsunday Eve, being the 24th of May, in the year 1572, Captain DRAKE in the Pascha of Plymouth of 70 tons, his admiral [flag-ship]; with the Swan of the same port, of 25 tons, his vice-admiral, in which his brother JOHN DRAKE was Captain (having in both of them, of men and boys seventy-three, all voluntarily assembled; of which the eldest was fifty, all the rest under thirty: so divided that there were forty-seven in the one ship, and twenty-six in the other. Both richly furnished with victuals and apparel for a whole year; and no less heedfully provided of all manner of munition, artillery, artificers, stuff and tools, that were requisite for such a Man-of-war in such an attempt: but especially having three dainty pinnaces made in Plymouth, taken asunder in all pieces, and stowed aboard, to be set up as occasion served), set sail, from out of the Sound of Plymouth, with intent to land at Nombre de Dios.
The wind continued prosperous and favourable at northeast, and gave us a very good passage, without any alteration or change: so that albeit we had sight (3rd June) of Porto Santo, one of the Madeiras, and of the Canaries also within twelve days of our setting forth: yet we never struck sail nor came to anchor, nor made any stay for any cause, neither there nor elsewhere, until twenty-five days after; when (28th June) we had sight of the island Guadaloupe, one of the islands of the West Indies, goodly high land.
The next morning (29th June), we entered between Dominica and Guadaloupe, where we descried two canoes coming from a rocky island, three leagues off Dominica; which usually repair thither to fish, by reason of the great plenty thereof, which is there continually to be found.
We landed on the south side of it, remaining there three days to refresh our men; and to water our ships out of one of those goodly rivers, which fall down off the mountain. There we saw certain poor cottages; built with Palmito boughs and branches; but no inhabitants, at that time, civil or savage: the cottages it may be (for we could know no certain cause of the solitariness we found there) serving, not for continual inhabitation, but only for their uses, that came to that place at certain seasons to fish.
The third day after (1st July), about three in the afternoon, we set sail from thence, toward the continent of Terra firma.
And the fifth day after (6th July), we had sight of the high land of Santa Marta; but came not near the shore by ten leagues.
But thence directed our course, for a place called by us, Port Pheasant; for that our Captain had so named it in his former voyage, by reason of the great store of those goodly fowls, which he and his company did then daily kill and feed on, in that place. In this course notwithstanding we had two days calm, yet within six days after we arrived (12th July) at Port Pheasant, which is a fine round bay, of very safe harbour for all winds, lying between two high points, not past half a cable's length over at the mouth, but within, eight or ten cables' length every way, having ten or twelve fathoms of water more or less, full of good fish; the soil also very fruitful, which may appear by this, that our Captain having been in this place, within a year and few days before [i. e., in July, 1571] and having rid the place with many alleys and paths made; yet now all was so overgrown again, as that we doubted, at first, whether this was the same place or not.
At our entrance into this bay, our Captain having given order to his brother what to do, if any occasion should happen in his absence, was on his way, with intent to have gone aland with some few only in his company, because he knew there dwelt no Spaniards within thirty-five leagues of that place. [Santiago de] Tolou being the nearest to the eastwards, and Nombre de Dios to the westwards, where any of that nation dwelt.
But as we were rowing ashore, we saw a smoke in the woods, even near the place where our Captain had aforetime frequented; therefore thinking it fit to take more strength with us, he caused his other boat also to be manned, with certain muskets and other weapons, suspecting some enemy had been ashore.
When we landed, we found by evident marks, that there had been lately there, a certain Englishman of Plymouth, called JOHN GARRET, who had been conducted thither by certain English mariners which had been there with our Captain, in some of his former voyages. He had now left a plate of lead, nailed fast to a mighty great tree (greater than any four men joining hands could fathom about) on which were engraven these words, directed to our Captain.
If you fortune to come to this Port, make haste away! For the Spaniards which you had with you here, the last year, have bewrayed this place, and taken away all that you left here.
I depart from hence, this present 7th of July, 1572.
Your very loving friend, John Garret.
The smoke which we saw, was occasioned by a fire, which the said Garret and his company had made, before their departure, in a very great tree, not far from this which had the lead nailed on it, which had continued burning at least five days before our arrival.
This advertisement notwithstanding, our Captain meant not to depart before he had built his pinnaces; which were yet aboard in pieces: for which purpose he knew this port to be a most convenient place.
And therefore as soon as we had moored our ships, our Captain commanded his pinnaces to be brought ashore for the carpenters to set up; himself employing all his other company in fortifying a place (which he had chosen out, as a most fit plot) of three-quarters of an acre of ground, to make some strength or safety for the present, as sufficiently as the means he had would afford. Which was performed by felling of great trees; bowsing and hauling them together, with great pulleys and hawsers, until they were enclosed to the water; and then letting others fall upon them, until they had raised with trees and boughs thirty feet in height round about, leaving only one gate to issue at, near the water side; which every night, that we might sleep in more safety and security, was shut up, with a great tree drawn athwart it.
The whole plot was built in pentagonal form, to wit, of five equal sides and angles, of which angles two were toward the sea, and that side between them was left open, for the easy launching of our pinnaces: the other four equal sides were wholly, excepting the gate before mentioned, firmly closed up.
Without, instead of a trench, the ground was rid [laid bare] for fifty feet space, round about. The rest was very thick with trees, of which many were of those kinds which are never without green leaves, till they are dead at the root: excepting only one kind of tree amongst them, much like to our Ash, which when the sun cometh right over them, causing great rains, suddenly casteth all its leaves, viz., within three days, and yet within six days after becomes all green again. The leaves of the other trees do also in part fall away, but so as the trees continue still green notwithstanding: being of a marvellous height, and supported as it were with five or six natural buttresses growing out of their bodies so far, that three men may so be hidden in each of them, that they which shall stand in the very next buttress shall not be able to see them. One of them specially was marked to have had seven of those stays or buttresses, for the supporting of his greatness and height, which being measured with a line close by the bark and near to the ground, as it was indented or extant, was found to be above thirty-nine yards about. The wood of those trees is as heavy or heavier than Brazil or Lignum vitae; and is in colour white.
The next day after we had arrived (13th July), there came also into that bay, an English bark of the Isle of Wight, of Sir EDWARD HORSEY'S; wherein JAMES RANSE was Captain and JOHN OVERY, Master, with thirty men: of which, some had been with our Captain in the same place, the year before. They brought in with them a Spanish caravel of Seville, which he had taken the day before, athwart of that place; being a Caravel of Adviso [Despatch boat] bound for Nombre de Dios; and also one shallop with oars, which he had taken at Cape Blanc. This Captain RANSE understanding our Captain's purpose, was desirous to join in consort with him; and was received upon conditions agreed on between them.
Within seven days after his coming, having set up our pinnaces, and despatched all our business, in providing all things necessary, out of our ships into our pinnaces: we departed (20th July) from that harbour, setting sail in the morning towards Nombre de Dios, continuing our course till we came to the Isles of Pinos: where, being within three days arrived, we found (22nd July) two frigates of Nombre de Dios lading plank and timber from thence.
The Negroes which were in those frigates, gave us some particular understanding of the present state of the town; and besides, told us that they had heard a report, that certain soldiers should come thither shortly, and were daily looked for, from the Governor of Panama, and the country thereabout, to defend the town against the Cimaroons (a black people, which about eighty years past [i.e., 1512] fled from the Spaniards their masters, by reason of their cruelty, and are since grown to a Nation, under two Kings of their own: the one inhabiteth to the West, and the other to the East of the Way from Nombre de Dios to Panama) which had nearly surprised it [i.e., Nombre de Dios], about six weeks before [i.e., about 10th June, 1572].
Our Captain willing to use those Negroes well (not hurting himself) set them ashore upon the Main, that they might perhaps join themselves to their countrymen the Cimaroons, and gain their liberty, if they would; or if they would not, yet by reason of the length and troublesomeness of the way by land to Nombre de Dios, he might prevent any notice of his coming, which they should be able to give. For he was loath to put the town to too much charge (which he knew they would willingly bestow) in providing beforehand for his entertainment; and therefore he hastened his going thither, with as much speed and secrecy as possibly he could.
To this end, disposing of all his companies, according as they inclined most; he left the three ships and the caravel with Captain RANSE; and chose into his four pinnaces (Captain RANSE'S shallop made the fourth) beside fifty-three of our men, twenty more of Captain RANSE'S company; with which he seemed competently furnished, to achieve what he intended; especially having proportioned, according to his own purpose, and our men's disposition, their several arms, viz., six targets, six firepikes, twelve pikes, twenty-four muskets and calivers, sixteen bows, and six partisans, two drums, and two trumpets.
Thus having parted (23rd July) from our company: we arrived at the island of Cativaas, being twenty-five leagues distant, about five days afterward (28th July). There we landed all in the morning betimes: and our Captain trained his men, delivering them their several weapons and arms which hitherto he had kept very fair and safe in good caske [casks]: and exhorting them after his manner, he declared "the greatness of the hope of good things that was there! the weakness of the town, being unwalled! and the hope he had of prevailing to recompense his wrongs! especially now that he should come with such a crew, who were like-minded with himself; and at such a time, as he should be utterly undiscovered."
Therefore, even that afternoon, he causeth us to set sail for Nombre de Dios, so that before sunset we were as far as Rio Francisco. Thence, he led us hard aboard the shore, that we might not be descried of the Watch House, until that being come within two leagues of the point of the bay, he caused us to strike a hull, and cast our grappers [grappling irons], riding so until it was dark night.
Then we weighed again, and set sail, rowing hard aboard the shore, with as much silence as we could, till we recovered the point of the harbour under the high land. There, we stayed, all silent; purposing to attempt the town in the dawning of the day: after that we had reposed ourselves, for a while.
But our captain with some other of his best men, finding that our people were talking of the greatness of the town, and what their strength might be; especially by the report of the Negroes that we took at the Isle of Pinos: thought it best to put these conceits out of their heads, and therefore to take the opportunity of the rising of the moon that night, persuading them that "it was the day dawning." By this occasion we were at the town a large hour sooner than first was purposed. For we arrived there by three of the clock after midnight. At that time it fortuned that a ship of Spain, of 60 tons, laden with Canary wines and other commodities, which had but lately come into the bay; and had not yet furled her spirit-sail (espying our four pinnaces, being an extraordinary number, and those rowing with many oars) sent away her gundeloe [? gondola] towards the town, to give warning. But our Captain perceiving it, cut betwixt her and the town, forcing her to go to the other side of the bay: whereby we landed without impeachment, although we found one gunner upon the Platform [battery] in the very place where we landed; being a sandy place and no key [quay] at all, not past twenty yards from the houses.
There we found six great pieces of brass ordinance, mounted upon their carriages, some Demy, some Whole-Culvering.
We presently dismounted them. The gunner fled. The town took alarm (being very ready thereto, by reason of their often disquieting by their near neighbours the Cimaroons); as we perceived, not only by the noise and cries of the people, but by the bell ringing out, and drums running up and down the town.
Our captain, according to the directions which he had given over night, to such as he had made choice of for the purpose, left twelve to keep the pinnaces; that we might be sure of a safe retreat, if the worst befell. And having made sure work of the Platform before he would enter the town, he thought best, first to view the Mount on the east side of the town: where he was informed, by sundry intelligences the year before, they had an intent to plant ordnance, which might scour round about the town.
Therefore, leaving one half of his company to make a stand at the foot of the Mount, he marched up presently unto the top of it, with all speed to try the truth of the report, for the more safety. There we found no piece of ordnance, but only a very fit place prepared for such use, and therefore we left it without any of our men, and with all celerity returned now down the Mount.
Then our Captain appointed his brother, with JOHN OXNAM [or OXENHAM] and sixteen other of his men, to go about, behind the King's Treasure House, and enter near the eastern end of the Market Place: himself with the rest, would pass up the broad street into the Market Place, with sound of drum and trumpet. The Firepikes, divided half to the one, and half to the other company, served no less for fright to the enemy than light of our men, who by this means might discern every place very well, as if it were near day: whereas the inhabitants stood amazed at so strange a sight, marvelling what the matter might be, and imagining, by reason of our drums and trumpets sounding in so sundry places, that we had been a far greater number then we were.
Yet, by means of the soldiers of which were in the town, and by reason of the time which we spent in marching up and down the Mount, the soldiers and inhabitants had put themselves in arms, and brought their companies in some order, at the south-east end of the Market Place, near the Governor's House, and not far from the gate of the town, which is the only one, leading towards Panama: having (as it seems) gathered themselves thither, either that in the Governor's sight they might shew their valour, if it might prevail; or else, that by the gate they might best take their Vale, and escape readiest.
And to make a shew of far greater numbers of shot, or else of a custom they had, by the like device to terrify the Cimaroons; they had hung lines with matches lighted, overthwart the western end of the Market Place, between the Church and the Cross; as though there had been in a readiness some company of shot, whereas indeed there were not past two or three that taught these lines to dance, till they themselves ran away, as soon as they perceived they were discovered.
But the soldiers and such as were joined with them, presented us with a jolly hot volley of shot, beating full upon the full egress of that street, in which we marched; and levelling very low, so as their bullets ofttimes grazed on the sand.
We stood not to answer them in like terms; but having discharged our first volley of shot, and feathered them with our arrows (which our Captain had caused to be made of purpose in England; not great sheaf arrows, but fine roving shafts, very carefully reserved for the service) we came to the push of pike, so that our firepikes being well armed and made of purpose, did us very great service.
For our men with their pikes and short weapons, in short time took such order among these gallants (some using the butt-end of their pieces instead of other weapons), that partly by reason of our arrows which did us there notable service, partly by occasion of this strange and sudden closing with them in this manner unlooked for, and the rather for that at the very instant, our Captain's brother, with the other company, with their firepikes, entered the Market Place by the eastern street: they casting down their weapons, fled all out of the town by the gate aforesaid, which had been built for a bar to keep out of the town the Cimaroons, who had often assailed it; but now served for a gap for the Spaniards to fly at.
In following, and returning; divers of our men were hurt with the weapons which the enemy had let fall as he fled; somewhat, for that we marched with such speed, but more for that they lay so thick and cross one on the other.
Being returned, we made our stand near the midst of the Market Place, where a tree groweth hard by the Cross; whence our Captain sent some of our men to stay the ringing of the alarm bell, which had continued all this while: but the church being very strongly built and fast shut, they could not without firing (which our Captain forbade) get into the steeple where the bell rung.
In the meantime, our Captain having taken two or three Spaniards in their flight, commanded them to shew him the Governor's House, where he understood was the ordinary place of unlading the moiles [mules] of all the treasure which came from Panama by the King's appointment. Although the silver only was kept there; the gold, pearl, and jewels (being there once entered by the King's officer) was carried from thence to the King's Treasure House not far off, being a house very strongly built of lime and alone, for the safe keeping thereof.
At our coming to the Governor's House we found the great door where the mules do usually unlade, even then opened, a candle lighted upon the top of the stairs; and a fair gennet ready saddled, either for the Governor himself, or some other of his household to carry it after him. By means of this light we saw a huge heap of silver in that nether [lower] room; being a pile of bars of silver of, as near as we could guess, seventy feet in length, of ten feet in breadth, and twelve feet in height, piled up against the wall, each bar was between thirty-five and forty pounds in weight.
At sight hereof, our Captain commanded straightly that none of us should touch a bar of silver; but stand upon our weapons, because the town was full of people, and there was in the King's Treasure House near the water side, more gold and jewels than all our four pinnaces could carry: which we should presently set some in hand to break open, notwithstanding the Spaniards report the strength of it.
We were no sooner returned to our strength, but there was a report brought by some of our men that our pinnaces were in danger to be taken; and that if we ourselves got not aboard before day, we should be oppressed with multitude both of soldiers and towns-people. This report had his ground from one DIEGO a Negro, who, in the time of the first conflict, came and called to our pinnaces, to know "whether they were Captain DRAKE'S?" And upon answer received, continued entreating to be taken aboard, though he had first three or four shot made at him, until at length they fetched him; and learned by him, that, not past eight days before our arrival, the King had sent thither some 150 soldiers to guard the town against the Cimaroons, and the town at this time was full of people beside: which all the rather believed, because it agreed with the report of the Negroes, which we took before at the Isle of Pinos. And therefore our Captain sent his brother and JOHN OXNAM to understand the truth thereof.
They found our men which we left in our pinnaces much frightened, by reason that they saw great troops and companies running up and down, with matches lighted, some with other weapons, crying Que gente? Que gente? which not having been at the first conflict, but coming from the utter ends of the town (being at least as big as Plymouth), came many times near us; and understanding that we were English, discharged their pieces and ran away.
Presently after this, a mighty shower of rain, with a terrible storm of thunder and lightning, fell, which poured down so vehemently (as it usually doth in those countries) that before we could recover the shelter of a certain shade or penthouse at the western end of the King's Treasure House, (which seemeth to have been built there of purpose to avoid sun and rain) some of our bow-strings were wet, and some of our match and powder hurt! Which while we were careful of, to refurnish and supply; divers of our men harping on the reports lately brought us, were muttering of the forces of the town, which our Captain perceiving, told them, that "He had brought them to the mouth of the Treasure of the World, if they would want it, they might henceforth blame nobody but themselves!"
And therefore as soon as the storm began to assuage of his fury (which was a long half hour) willing to give his men no longer leisure to demur of those doubts, nor yet allow the enemy farther respite to gather themselves together, he stept forward commanding his brother, with JOHN OXNAM and the company appointed them, to break the King's Treasure House: the rest to follow him to keep the strength of the Market Place, till they had despatched the business for which they came.
But as he stepped forward, his strength and sight and speech failed him, and he began to faint for want of blood, which, as then we perceived, had, in great quantity, issued upon the sand, out of a wound received in his leg in the first encounter, whereby though he felt some pain, yet (for that he perceived divers of the company, having already gotten many good things, to be very ready to take all occasions, of winding themselves out of that conceited danger) would he not have it known to any, till this his fainting, against his will, bewrayed it: the blood having first filled the very prints which our footsteps made, to the great dismay of all our company, who thought it not credible that one man should be able to spare so much blood and live.
And therefore even they, which were willing to have ventured the most for so fair a booty, would in no case hazard their Captain's life; but (having given him somewhat to drink wherewith he recovered himself, and having bound his scarf about his leg, for the stopping of the blood) entreated him to be content to go with them aboard, there to have his wound searched and dressed, and then to return on shore again if he thought good.
This when they could not persuade him unto (as who knew it to be utterly impossible, at least very unlikely, that ever they should, for that time, return again, to recover the state in which they now were: and was of opinion, that it were more honourable for himself, to jeopard his life for so great a benefit, than to leave off so high an enterprise unperformed), they joined altogether and with force mingled with fair entreaty, they bare him aboard his pinnace, and so abandoned a most rich spoil for the present, only to preserve their Captain's life: and being resolved of him, that while they enjoyed his presence, and had him to command them, they might recover wealth sufficient; but if once they lost him, they should hardly be able to recover home. No, not with that which they had gotten already.
Thus we embarked by break of day (29th July), having besides our Captain, many of our men wounded, though none slain but one Trumpeter: whereupon though our surgeons were busily employed, in providing remedies and salves for their wounds: yet the main care of our Captain was respected by all the rest; so that before we departed out of the harbour for the more comfort of our company, we took the aforesaid ship of wines without great resistance.
But before we had her free of the haven, they of the town had made means to bring one of their culverins, which we had dismounted, so as they made a shot at us, but hindered us not from carrying forth the prize to the Isle of Bastimentos, or the Isle of Victuals: which is an island that lieth without the bay to the westward, about a league off the town, where we stayed the two next days, to cure our wounded men, and refresh ourselves, in the goodly gardens which we there found abounding with great store of all dainty roots and fruits; besides great plenty of poultry and other fowls, no less strange then delicate.
Shortly upon our first arrival in this island, the Governor and the rest of his Assistants in the town, as we afterwards understood, sent unto our Captain, a proper gentleman, of mean stature, good complexion, and a fair spoken, a principal soldier of the late sent garrison, to view in what state we were. At his coming he protested "He came to us, of mere good will, for that we had attempted so great and incredible a matter with so few men: and that, at the first, they feared that we had been French, at whose hands they knew they should find no mercy: but after they perceived by our arrows, that we were Englishmen, their fears were the less, for that they knew, that though we took the treasure of the place, yet we would not use cruelty toward their persons. But albeit this his affection gave him cause enough, to come aboard such, whose virtue he so honoured: yet the Governor also had not only consented to his coming, but directly sent him, upon occasion that divers of the town affirmed, said he, 'that they knew our Captain, who the last two years had been often on our coast, and had always used their persons very well.' And therefore desired to know, first, Whether our Captain was the same Captain DRAKE or not? and next, Because many of their men were wounded with our arrows, whether they were poisoned or not? and how their wounds might best be cured? lastly, What victuals we wanted, or other necessaries? of which the Governor promised by him to supply and furnish us, as largely as he durst."
Our Captain, although he thought this soldier but a spy: yet used him very courteously, and answered him to his Governor's demands: that "He was the same DRAKE whom they meant! It was never his manner to poison his arrows! They might cure their wounded by ordinary surgery! As for wants, he knew the Island of Bastimentos has sufficient, and could furnish him if he listed! But he wanted nothing but some of that special commodity which that country yielded, to content himself and his company." And therefore he advised the Governor "to hold open his eyes! for before he departed, if GOD lent him life and leave, he meant to reap some of their harvest, which they get out of the earth, and sent into Spain to trouble all the earth!"
To this answer unlooked for, this gentleman replied, "If he might, without offence, move such a question, what should then be the cause of our departing from that town at this time, where was above 360 tons of silver ready for the Fleet, and much more gold in value, resting in iron chests in the King's Treasure House?"
But when our Captain had shewed him the true cause of his unwilling retreat aboard, he acknowledged that "we had no less reason in departing, than courage in attempting:" and no doubt did easily see, that it was not for the town to seek revenge of us, by manning forth such frigates or other vessels as they had; but better to content themselves and provide for their own defence.
Thus, with great favour and courteous entertainment, besides such gifts from our Captain as most contented him, after dinner, he was in such sort dismissed, to make report of what he had seen, that he protested, "he was never so much honoured of any in his life."
After his departure, the Negro formentioned, being examined more fully, confirmed this report of the gold and the silver; with many other intelligences of importance: especially how we might have gold and silver enough, if we would by means of the Cimaroons, whom though he had betrayed divers times (being used thereto by his Masters) so that he knew they would kill him, if they got him: yet if our Captain would undertake his protection, he durst adventure his life, because he knew our Captain's name was most precious and highly honoured by them.
This report ministered occasion to further consultation: for which, because this place seemed not the safest; as being neither the healthiest nor quietest; the next day, in the morning, we all set our course for the Isle of Pinos or Port Plenty, where we had left our ships, continuing all that day, and the next till towards night, before we recovered it.
We were the longer in this course, for that our Captain sent away his brother and ELLIS HIXOM to the westward, in search of the River of Chagres, where himself had been the year before, and yet was careful to gain more notice of; it being a river which trendeth to the southward, within six leagues of Panama, where is a little town called Venta Cruz [Venta de Cruzes], whence all the treasure, that was usually brought thither from Panama by mules, was embarked in frigates [sailing] down that river into the North sea, and so to Nombre de Dios.
It ebbeth and floweth not far into the land, and therefore it asketh three days' rowing with a fine pinnace to pass [up] from the mouth to Venta Cruz; but one day and a night serveth to return down the river.
At our return to our ships (1st August), in our consultation, Captain RANSE (forecasting divers doubts of our safe continuance upon that coast, being now discovered) was willing to depart; and our Captain no less willing to dismiss him: and therefore as soon as our pinnaces returned from Chagres (7th August) with such advertisement as they were sent for, about eight days before; Captain RANSE took his leave, leaving us at the isle aforesaid, where we had remained five or six days.
In which meantime, having put all things in a readiness, our captain resolved, with his two ships and three pinnaces to go to Cartagena; whither in sailing, we spent some six days by reason of the calms which came often upon us: but all this time we attempted nothing that we might have done by the way, neither at [Santiago de] Tolou nor otherwhere, because we would not be discovered.
We came to anchor with our two ships in the evening [13th August], in seven fathom water, between the island of Charesha and St. Bernards [San Bernardo].
Our Captain led the three pinnaces about the island, into the harbour of Cartagena; where at the very entry, he found a frigate at anchor, aboard which was only one old man; who being demanded, "Where the rest of his company was?" answered, "That they were gone ashore in their gundeloe [? gondola or ship's boat], that evening, to fight about a mistress:" and voluntarily related to our Captain that, "two hours before night, there past by them a pinnace, with sail and oars, as fast as ever they could row, calling to him 'Whether there had not been any English or Frenchmen there lately?' and upon answer that, 'There had been none!' they bid them 'look to themselves!' That, within an hour that this pinnace was come to the utterside [outside] of Cartagena, there were many great pieces shot off, whereupon one going to top, to descry what might be the cause? espied, over the land, divers frigates and small shipping bringing themselves within the Castle."
This report our Captain credited, the rather for that himself had heard the report of the ordnance at sea; and perceived sufficiently, that he was now descried. Notwithstanding in farther examination of this old mariner, having understood, that there was, within the next point, a great ship of Seville, which had here discharged her loading, and rid now with her yards across, being bound the next morning for Santo Domingo: our Captain took this old man into his pinnace to verify that which he had informed, and rowed towards this ship, which as we came near it, hailed us, asking, "Whence our shallops were?"
We answered, "From Nombre de Dios!"
Straightway they railed and reviled! We gave no heed to their words, but every pinnace, according to our Captain's order, one on the starboard bow, the other on the starboard quarter, and the Captain in the midship on the larboard side, forthwith boarded her; though we had some difficulty to enter by reason of her height, being of 240 tons. But as soon as we entered upon the decks, we threw down the grates and spardecks, to prevent the Spaniards form annoying us with their close fights: who then perceiving that we were possessed of their ship, stowed themselves all in hold with their weapons, except two or three yonkers, which were found afore the beetes: when having light out of our pinnaces, we found no danger of the enemy remaining, we cut their cables at halse, and with our three pinnaces, towed her without the island into the sound right afore the down, without [beyond the] danger of their great shot.
Meanwhile, the town, having intelligence hereof, or by their watch, took the alarm, rang out their bells, shot off about thirty pieces of great ordnance, put all their men in a readiness, horse and foot, came down to the very point of the wood, and discharged their calivers, to impeach us if they might, in going forth.
The next morning (14th August) our ships took two frigates, in which there were two, who called themselves King's Scrivanos, the one of Cartagena, the other of Veragua, with seven mariners and two Negroes; who had been at Nombre de Dios and were now bound for Cartagena with double [? duplicate] letters of advice, to certify them that Captain DRAKE had been at Nombre de Dios, had taken it; and had it not been that he was hurt with some blessed shot, by all likelihood he had sacked it. He was yet still upon the coast; they should therefore carefully prepare for him!
After that our Captain had brought out all his fleet together, at the Scrivanos' entreaties, he was content to do them all favour, in setting them and all their companies on shore; and so bare thence with the islands of St. Bernards, about three leagues of the town: where we found great store of fish for our refreshing.
Here, our Captain considering that he was now discovered upon the chieftest places of all the coast, and yet not meaning to leave it till he had found the Cimaroons, and "made" his voyage, as he had conceived; which would require some length of time, and sure manning of his pinnaces: he determined with himself, to burn one of the ships, and make the other a Storehouse; that his pinnaces (which could not otherwise) might be thoroughly manned, and so he might be able to abide any time.
But knowing the affection of his company, how loath they were to leave either of their ships, being both so good sailers and so well furnished; he purposed in himself by some policy, to make them most willing to effect that he intended. And therefore sent for one THOMAS MOONE, who was Carpenter in the Swan, and asking him into his cabin, chargeth him to conceal for a time, a piece of service, which he must in any case consent to do aboard his own ship: that was, in the middle of the second watch, to go down secretly into the well of the ship, and with a spike-gimlet, to bore three holes, as near the keel as he could, and lay something against it, that the force of the water entering, might make no great noise, nor be discovered by a boiling up.
THOMAS MOONE at the hearing hereof, being utterly dismayed, desired to know "What cause there might be, to move him to sink so good a bark of his own, new and strong; and that, by his means, who had been in two so rich and gainful voyages in her with himself heretofore: If his brother, the Master, and the rest of the company [numbering 26] should know of such his fact, he thought verily they would kill him."
But when our Captain had imparted to him his cause, and had persuaded him with promise that it should not be known, till all of them should be glad of it: he understood it, and did it accordingly.
The next morning [15th August] our Captain took his pinnace very early, purposing to go a fishing, for that there is very great store on the coast; and falling aboard the Swan, calleth for his brother to go with him, who rising suddenly, answereth that "He would follow presently, or if it would please him to stay a very little, he would attend him."
Our Captain perceiving the feat wrought, would not hasten him; but in rowing away, demanded of them, "Why their bark was so deep?" as making no great account of it. But, by occasion of this demand, his brother sent one down to the Steward, to know "Whether there were any water in the ship? Or what other cause might be?"
The Steward, hastily stepping down at his usual scuttle, was wet up to his waist, and shifting with more haste to come up again as if the water had followed him, cried out that "The ship was full of water!" There was no need to hasten the company, some to the pump, others to search for the leak, which the Captain of the bark seeing they did, on all hands, very willingly; he followed his brother, and certified him of "the strange chance befallen them that night; that whereas they had not pumped twice in six weeks before, now they had six feet of water in hold: and therefore he desireth leave from attending him in fishing, to intend the search and remedy of the leak." And when our Captain with his company preferred [offered] to go to help them; he answered, "They had men enough aboard, and prayed him to continue his fishing, that they might have some part of it for their dinner." Thus returning, he found his company had taken great pain, but had freed the water very little: yet such was their love to the bark, as our Captain well knew, that they ceased not, but to the utmost of their strength, laboured all that they might till three in the afternoon; by which time, the company perceiving, that (though they had been relieved by our Captain himself and many of his company) yet they were not able to free above a foot and a half of water, and could have no likelihood of finding the leak, had now a less liking of her than before, and greater content to hear of some means for remedy.
Whereupon our Captain (consulting them what they thought best to be done) found that they had more desire to have all as he thought fit, than judgement to conceive any means of remedy. And therefore he propounded, that himself would go in the pinnace, till he could provide him some handsome frigate; and that his brother should be Captain in the admiral [flag-ship] and the Master should also be there placed with him, instead of this: which seeing they could not save, he would have fired that the enemy might never recover her: but first all the pinnaces should be brought aboard her, that every one might take out of her whatever they lacked or liked.
This, though the company at first marvelled at; yet presently it was put in execution and performed that night.
Our Captain had his desire, and men enough for his pinnaces.
The next morning (16th August) we resolved to seek out some fit place, in the Sound of Darien, where we might safely leave our ship at anchor, not discoverable by the enemy, who thereby might imagine us quite departed from the coast, and we the meantime better follow our purposes with our pinnaces; of which our Captain would himself take two to Rio Grande [Magdalena], and the third leave with his brother to seek the Cimaroons.
Upon this resolution, we set sail presently for the said Sound; which within five days [21st August], we recovered: abstaining of purpose from all such occasion, as might hinder our determination, or bewray [betray] our being upon the coast.
As soon as we arrived where our Captain intended, and had chosen a fit and convenient road out of all trade [to or from any Mart] for our purpose; we reposed ourselves there, for some fifteen days, keeping ourselves close, that the bruit of our being upon the coast might cease.
But in the meantime, we were not idle: for beside such ordinary works, as our Captain, every month did usually inure us to, about the trimming and setting of his pinnaces, for their better sailing and rowing: he caused us to rid a large plot of ground, both of trees and brakes, and to build us houses sufficient for all our lodging, and one especially for all our public meetings; wherein the Negro which fled to us before, did us great service, as being well acquainted with the country, and their means of building. Our archers made themselves butts to shoot at, because we had many that delighted in that exercise, and wanted not a fletcher to keep our bows and arrows in order. The rest of the company, every one as he liked best, made his disport at bowls, quoits, keiles, etc. For our Captain allowed one half of the company to pass their time thus, every other day interchangeable; the other half being enjoined to the necessary works, about our ship and pinnaces, and the providing of fresh victuals, fish, fowl, hogs, deer, conies, etc., whereof there is great plenty. Here our smiths set up their forge, as they used, being furnished out of England, with anvil, iron, coals, and all manner of necessaries, which stood us in great stead.
At the end of these fifteen days (5th September), our Captain leaving his ship in his brother's charge, to keep all things in order; himself took with him, according to his former determination, two pinnaces for Rio Grande, and passing by Cartagena but out of sight, when we were within two leagues of the river, we landed (8th September), to the westward on the Main, where we saw great store of cattle. There we found some Indians, who asking us in friendly sort, in broken Spanish, "What we would have?" and understanding that we desired fresh victuals in traffic; they took such cattle for us as we needed, with ease and so readily, as if they had a special commandment over them, whereas they would not abide us to come near them. And this also they did willingly, because our Captain, according to his custom, contented them for their pains, with such things as they account greatly of; in such sort that they promised, we should have there, of them at any time what we would.
The same day, we departed thence to Rio Grande [Magdalena], where we entered about three of the clock in the afternoon. There are two entries into this river, of which we entered the western most called Boca Chica. The freshet [current] is so great, that we being half a league from the mouth of it, filled fresh water for our beverage.
From three o'clock till dark at night, we rowed up the stream; but the current was so strong downwards, that we got but two leagues, all that time. We moored our pinnaces to a tree that night: for that presently, with the closing of the evening, there fell a monstrous shower of rain, with such strange and terrible claps of thunder, and flashes of lightning, as made us not a little to marvel at, although our Captain had been acquainted with such like in that country, and told us that they continue seldom longer than three-quarters of an hour.
This storm was no sooner ceast, but it became very calm, and therewith there came such an innumerable multitude of a kind of flies of that country, called mosquitoes, like our gnats, which bit so spitefully, that we could not rest all that night, nor find means to defend ourselves from them, by reason of the heat of the country. The best remedy we then found against them, was the juice of lemons.
At the break of day (9th September), we departed, rowing in the eddy, and hauling up by the trees where the eddy failed, with great labour, by spells, without ceasing, each company their half-hour glass: without meeting any, till about three o'clock in the afternoon, by which time we could get but five leagues ahead.
Then we espied a canoe, with two Indians fishing in the river; but we spake not to them, lest so we might be descried: nor they to us, as taking us to be Spaniards. But within an hour after, we espied certain houses, on the other side of the river, whose channel is twenty-five fathom deep, and its breadth so great, that a man can scantly be discerned from side to side. Yet a Spaniard which kept those houses, had espied our pinnaces; and thinking we had been his countrymen, made a smoke, for a signal to turn that way, as being desirous to speak with us. After that, we espying this smoke, had made with it, and were half the river over, he wheaved [waved] to us, with his hat and his long hanging sleeves, to come ashore.
But as we drew nearer to him, and he discerned that we were not those he looked for: he took his heels, and fled from his houses, which we found to be, five in number, all full of white rusk, dried bacon, that country cheese (like Holland cheese in fashion, but far more delicate in taste, of which they send into Spain as special presents) many sorts of sweetmeats, and conserves; with great store of sugar: being provided to serve the Fleet returning to Spain.
With this store of victuals, we loaded our pinnaces; by the shutting in of the day, we were ready to depart; for that we hastened the rather, by reason of an intelligence given us by certain Indian women which we found in those houses: that the frigates (these are ordinarily thirty, or upwards, which usually transport the merchandise, sent out of Spain to Cartagena from thence to these houses, and so in great canoes up hence into Nuevo Reyno, for which the river running many hundred of leagues within the land serveth very fitly: and return in exchange, the gold and treasure, silver, victuals, and commodities, which that kingdom yields abundantly) were not yet returned from Cartagena, since the first alarm they took of our being there.
As we were going aboard our pinnaces from these Storehouses (10th September), the Indians of a great town called Villa del Rey, some two miles distant from the water's side where we landed, were brought down by the Spaniards into the bushes, and shot arrows; but we rowed down the stream with the current (for that the wind was against us) only one league; and because it was night, anchored till the morning, when we rowed down to the mouth of the river, where we unloaded all our provisions, and cleansed our pinnaces, according to our Captain's custom, and took it in again, and the same day went to the Westward.
In this return, we descried a ship, a barque, and a frigate, of which the ship and frigate went for Cartagena, but for the Barque was bound to the Northwards, with the wind easterly, so that we imagined she had some gold or treasure going for Spain: therefore we gave her chase, but taking her, and finding nothing of importance in her, understanding that she was bound for sugar and hides, we let her go; and having a good gale of wind, continued our former course to our ship and company.
In the way between Cartagena and Tolou, we took [11th September] five or six frigates, which were laden from Tolou, with live hogs, hens, and maize which we call Guinea wheat. Of these, having gotten what intelligence they could give, of their preparations for us, and divers opinions of us, we dismissed all the men; only staying two frigates with us, because they were so well stored with good victuals.
Within three days after, we arrived at the place which our Captain chose, at first, to leave his ship in, which was called by our Captain, Port Plenty; by reason we brought to thither continually all manner store of good victuals, which we took, going that way by sea, for the victualling of Cartagena and Nombre de Dios as also the Fleets going and coming out of Spain. So that if we had been two thousand, yea three thousand persons, we might with our pinnaces easily have provided them sufficient victuals of wine, meal, rusk; cassavi (a kind of bread made of a root called Yucca, whose juice is poison, but the substance good and wholesome), dried beef, dried fish, live sheep, live hogs, abundance of hens, besides the infinite store of dainty fresh fish, very easily to be taken every day: insomuch that we were forced to build four several magazines or storehouses, some ten, some twenty leagues asunder; some in islands, some in the Main, providing ourselves in divers places, that though the enemy should, with force, surprise any one, yet we might be sufficiently furnished, till we had "made" our voyage as we did hope. In building of these, our Negro's help was very much, as having a special skill, in the speedy erection of such houses.
This our store was much, as thereby we relieved not only ourselves and the Cimaroons while they were with us; but also two French ships in extreme want.
For in our absence, Captain JOHN DRAKE, having one of our pinnaces, as was appointed, went in with the Main, and as he rowed aloof the shore, where he was directed by DIEGO the Negro aforesaid, which willingly came unto us at Nombre de Dios, he espied certain of the Cimaroons; with whom he dealt so effectually, that in conclusion he left two of our men with their leader, and brought aboard two of theirs: agreeing that they should meet him again the next day, at a river midway between the Cabecas [Cabeza is Spanish for Headland] and our ships; which they named Rio Diego.
These two being very sensible men, chosen out by their commander [chief], did, with all reverence and respect, declare unto our Captain, that their nation conceited great joy of his arrival, because they knew him to be an enemy to the Spaniards, not only by his late being in Nombre de Dios, but also by his former voyages; and therefore were ready to assist and favour his enterprises against his and their enemies to the uttermost: and to that end their captain and company did stay at this present near the mouth of Rio Diego, to attend what answer and order should be given them; that they would have marched by land, even to this place, but that the way is very long, and more troublesome, by reason of many steep mountains, deep rivers, and thick brakes: desiring therefore, that it might please our Captain to take some order, as he thought best, with all convenient speed in this behalf.
Our Captain considering the speech of these persons, and weighing it with his former intelligences had not only Negroes, but Spaniards also, whereof he was always very careful: as also conferring it with his brother's informations of the great kindness that they shewed him, being lately with them: after he had heard the opinions of those of best service with him, "what were fittest to be done presently?" resolved himself with his brother, and the two Cimaroons, in his two pinnaces, to go toward this river. As he did the same evening, giving order, that the ship and the rest of his fleet should the next morning follow him, because there was a place of as great safety and sufficiency, which his brother had found out near the river. The safety of it consisted, not only in that which is common all along that coast from Tolou to Nombre de Dios, being above sixty leagues, that it is a most goodly and plentiful country, and yet inhabited not with one Spaniard, or any for the Spaniards: but especially in that it lieth among a great many of goodly islands full of trees. Where, though there be channels, yet there are such rocks and shoals, that no man can enter by night without great danger; nor by day without discovery, whereas our ships might be hidden within the trees.
The next day (14th September) we arrived at this river appointed, where we found the Cimaroons according to promise: the rest of their number were a mile up, in a wood by the river's side. There after we had given them entertainment, and received good testimonies of their joy and good will towards us, we took two more of them into our pinnace, leaving our two men with the rest of theirs, to march by land, to another river called Rio Guana, with intent there to meet with another company of Cimaroons which were now in the mountains.
So we departed that day from Rio Diego, with our pinnaces, towards our ship, as marvelling that she followed us not as was appointed.
But two days after (16th September), we found her in the place where we left her; but in far other state, being much spoiled and in great danger, by reason of a tempest she had in our absence.
As soon as we could trim our ship, being some two days, our Captain sent away (18th September) one of his pinnaces, towards the bottom of the bay, amongst the shoals and sandy islands, to sound out the channel, for the bringing in of our ship nearer the Main.
The next day (19th September) we followed, and were with wary pilotage, directed safely into the best channel, with much ado to recover the road, among so many flats and shoals. It was near about five leagues from the Cativaas, betwixt an island and the Main, where we moored our ship. The island was not above four cables in length from the Main, being in quantity some three acres of ground, flat and very full of trees and bushes.
We were forced to spend the best part of three days, after our departure from our Port Plenty, before we were quiet in this new found road, which we had but newly entered, when our two men and the former troop of Cimaroons, with twelve others whom they had met in the mountains, came (23rd September) in sight over against our ship, on the Main. Whence we fetched them all aboard, to their great comfort and our content: they rejoicing that they should have some fit opportunity to wreak their wrongs on the Spaniards; we hoping that now our voyage should be bettered.
At our first meeting, when our Captain had moved them, to shew him the means which they had to furnish him with gold and silver; they answered plainly, that "had they known gold had been his desire; they would have satisfied him with store, which, for the present, they could not do: because the rivers, in which they sunk great store (which they had taken from the Spaniards, rather to despite them than for love of gold) were now so high, that they could not get it out of such depths for him; and because the Spaniards, in these rainy months, do not use [are not accustomed] to carry their treasure by land."
This answer although it were somewhat unlooked for, yet nothing discontented us, but rather persuaded us farther of their honest and faithful meaning toward us. Therefore our Captain to entertain these five months, commanded all our ordnance and artillery ashore, with all our other provisions: sending his pinnaces to the Main, to bring over great trees, to make a fort upon the same island, for the planting of all our ordnance therein, and for our safeguard, if the enemy, in all this time, should chance to come.
Our Cimaroons (24th September) cut down Palmito boughs and branches, and with wonderful speed raised up two large houses for all our company. Our fort was then made, by reason of the place, triangle-wise, with main timber, and earth of which the trench yielded us good store, so that we made it thirteen feet in height. [Fort Diego.]
But after we had continued upon this island fourteen days, our Captain having determined, with three pinnaces, to go for Cartagena left (7th October), his brother, JOHN DRAKE, to govern these who remained behind with the Cimaroons to finish the fort which he had begun: for which he appointed him to fetch boards and planks, as many as his pinnaces would carry, from the prize we took at Rio Grande, and left at the Cativaas, where she drove ashore and wrecked in our absence: but now she might serve commodiously, to supply our use, in making platforms for our ordnance. Thus our Captain and his brother took their leave; the one to the Eastward, and the other to the Cativaas.
That night, we came to an isle, which he called Spur-kite land, because we found there great store of such a kind of bird in shape, but very delicate, of which we killed and roasted many; staying there till the next day midnoon (8th October), when we departed thence. And about four o'clock recovered a big island in our way, where we stayed all night, by reason that there was great store of fish, and especially of a great kind of shell-fish of a foot long. We called them whelks.
The next morning (9th October), we were clear of these islands and shoals, and hauled off into the sea. About four days after (13th October), near the island of St. Bernards, we chased two frigates ashore; and recovering one of these islands, made our abode there some two days (14th-15th October) to wash our pinnaces and to take of the fish.
Thence we went towards Tolou, and that day (16th October) landed near the town in a garden, where we found certain Indians, who delivered us their bows and arrows, and gathered for us such fruit as the garden did yield, being many sorts of dainty fruits and roots, [we] still contenting them for what we received. Our Captain's principal intent in taking this and other places by the way, not being for any other cause, but only to learn true intelligence of the state of the country and of the Fleets.
Hence we departed presently, and rowed towards Charesha, the island of Cartagena; and entered in at Bocha Chica, and having the wind large, we sailed in towards the city, and let fall our grappers betwixt the island and the Main, right over against the goodly Garden Island. In which, our Captain would not suffer us to land, notwithstanding our importunate desire, because he knew, it might be dangerous: for that they are wont to send soldiers thither, when they know of any Men-of-war on the coast; which we found accordingly. For within three hours after, passing by the point of the island, we had a volley of a hundred shot from them, and yet there was but one of our men hurt.
This evening (16th October) we departed to sea; and the day following (17th October), being some two leagues off the harbour, we took a bark, and found that the Captain and his wife with the better sort of passengers, had forsaken her, and were gone ashore in the Gundeloe: by occasion whereof we boarded without resistance, though they were well provided with swords and targets and some small shot, besides four iron bases. She was 50 tons, having ten mariners, five or six Negroes, great store of soap and sweet meat, bound from St. Domingo to Cartagena. This Captain left behind him a silk ancient [flag] with his arms; as might be thought, in hasty departing.
The next day (18th October), we sent all the company ashore to seek their masters, saving a young Negro two or three years old, which we brought away; but kept the bark, and in her, bore into the mouth of Cartagena harbour, where we anchored.
That afternoon, certain horsemen came down to the point by the wood side, and with the Scrivano fore-mentioned, came towards our bark with a flag of truce, desiring of our Captain's safe conduct for his coming and going; the which being granted, he came aboard us, giving our Captain "great thanks for his manifold favours, etc., promising that night before daybreak, to bring as much victuals as they would desire, what shift so ever he made, or what danger so ever incurred of law and punishment." But this fell out to be nothing but a device of the Governor forced upon the Scrivano, to delay time, till they might provide themselves of sufficient strength to entrap us: for which this fellow, by his smooth speech, was thought a fit means. So by sun rising, (19th October), when we perceived his words but words, we put to sea to the westward of the island, some three leagues off, where we lay at hull the rest of all that day and night.
The next day (20th October), in the afternoon, there came out of Cartagena, two frigates bound for St. Domingo, the one of 58, the other of 12 tons, having nothing in them but ballast. We took them within a league of the town, and came to anchor with them within sacre shot of the east Bulwark. There were in those frigates some twelve or thirteen common mariners, which entreated to be set ashore. To them our Captain gave the greater frigate's gundeloe, and dismissed them.
The next morning (21st October) when they came down to the western point with a flag of truce, our Captain manned one of his pinnaces and rowed ashore. When we were within a cable's length of the shore, the Spaniards fled, hiding themselves in the woods, as being afraid of our ordnance; but indeed to draw us on to land confidently, and to presume of our strength. Our Captain commanding the grapnell to be cast out of the stern, veered the pinnace ashore, and as soon as she touched the sand, he alone leapt ashore in their sight, to declare that he durst set his foot aland: but stayed not among them, to let them know, that though he had not sufficient forces to conquer them, yet he had sufficient judgment to take heed of them.
And therefore perceiving their intent, as soon as our Captain was aboard, we hauled off upon our grapner and rid awhile.
They presently came forth upon the sand, and sent a youth, as with a message from the Governor, to know, "What our intent was, to stay upon the coast?"
Our Captain answered: "He meant to traffic with them; for he had tin, pewter, cloth, and other merchandise that they needed."
The youth swam back again with this answer, and was presently returned, with another message: that, "The King had forbidden to traffic with any foreign nation for any commodities, except powder and shot; of which, if he had any store, they would be his merchants."
He answered, that "He was come from his country, to exchange his commodities for gold and silver, and is not purposed to return without his errand. They are like, in his opinion, to have little rest, if that, by fair means, they would not traffic with him."
He gave this messenger a fair shirt for a reward, and so returned him: who rolled his shirt about his head and swam very speedily.
We heard no answer all that day; and therefore toward night we went aboard our frigates and reposed ourselves, setting and keeping very orderly all that night our watch, with great and small shot.
The next morning (22nd October) the wind, which had been westerly in the evening, altered to the Eastward.
About the dawning of the day, we espied two sails turning towards us, whereupon our Captain weighed with his pinnaces, leaving the two frigates unmanned. But when we were come somewhat nigh them, the wind calmed, and we were fain to row towards them, till that approaching very nigh, we saw many heads peering over board. For, as we perceived, these two frigates were manned and set forth out of Cartagena, to fight with us, and, at least, to impeach or busy us; whilst by some means or other they might recover the frigates from us.
But our Captain prevented both their drifts. For commanding JOHN OXNAM to stay with the one pinnace, to entertain these two Men-of-war; himself in the other made much speed, that he got to his frigates which he had left at anchor; and caused the Spaniards, (who in the meantime had gotten aboard in a small canoe, thinking to have towed them within the danger of their shot) to make the greater haste thence, than they did thither.
For he found that in shifting thence, some of them were fain to swim aland (the canoe not being able to receive them) and had left their apparel, some their rapiers and targets, some their flasks and calivers behind them; although they were towing away of one of them.
Therefore considering that we could not man them, we sunk the one, and burnt the other, giving them to understand by this, that we perceived their secret practices.
This being done, he returned to JOHN OXNAM; who all this while lay by the Men-of-war without proffering to fight. And as soon as our Captain was come up to these frigates, the wind blew much for the sea, so that, we being betwixt the shore and them, were to a manner forced to bear room into the harbour before them, to the great joy of the Spaniards; who beheld it; in supposing, that we would still have fled before them. But as soon as we were in the harbour, and felt smooth water, our pinnaces, as we were assured of, getting the wind, we sought, with them upon the advantage, so that after a few shot exchanged, and a storm rising, they were contented to press no nearer. Therefore as they let fall their anchors, we presently let drop our grapner in the wind of them; which the Spanish soldiers seeing, considering the disadvantage of the wind, the likelihood of the storm to continue, and small hope of doing any good, they were glad to retire themselves to the town.
But by reason of the foul and tempestuous weather, we rode therein four days, feeling great cold, by reason we had such sore rains with westerly wind, and so little succour in our pinnaces.
The fifth day (27th October) there came in a frigate from the sea, which seeing us make towards her, ran herself ashore, unhanging her rudder and taking away her sails, that she might not easily be carried away. But when we were come up to her, we perceived about a hundred horse and foot, with their furniture, come down to the point of the Main, where we interchanged some shot with them. One of our great shot passed so near a brave cavalier of theirs, that thereby they were occasioned to advise themselves, and retreat into the woods: where they might sufficiently defend and rescue the frigate from us, and annoy us also, if we stayed long about her.
Therefore we concluded to go to sea again, putting forth through Boca Chica, with intent to take down our masts, upon hope of fair weather, and to ride under the rocks called Las Serenas, which are two leagues off at sea, as we had usually done aforetime, so that they could not discern us from the rocks. But, there, the sea was mightily grown, that we were forced to take the harbour again; where we remained six days, notwithstanding the Spaniards grieved greatly at our abode there so long.
They put (2nd November) another device in practice to endanger us.
For they sent forth a great shallop, a fine gundeloe, and a great canoe, with certain Spaniards with shot, and many Indians with poisoned arrows, as it seemed, with intent to begin some fight, and then to fly. For as soon as we rowed toward them and interchanged shot, they presently retired and went ashore into the woods, where an ambush of some sixty shot were laid for us: besides two pinnaces and a frigate warping towards us, which were manned as the rest. They attempted us very boldly, being assisted by those others, which from out of the wood, had gotten aboard the gundeloe and canoe, and seeing us bearing from them (which we did in respect of the ambuscado), they encouraged themselves and assured their fellows of the day.
But our Captain weighing this their attempt, and being out of danger of their shot from the land, commanding his other pinnace to be brought ahead of him, and to let fall their grapners each ahead of the other, environed both the pinnaces with bonnets, as for a close fight, and then wheaved [waved] them aboard him.
They kept themselves upon their oars at caliver-shot distance, spending powder apace; as we did some two or three hours. We had only one of our men wounded in that fight. What they had is unknown to us, but we saw their pinnaces shot through in divers places, and the powder of one of them took fire; whereupon we weighed, intending to bear room to overrun them: which they perceiving, and thinking that we would have boarded them, rowed away amain to the defence they had in the wood, the rather because they were disappointed of their help that they expected from the frigate; which was warping towards us, but by reason of the much wind that blew, could not come to offend us or succour them.
Thus seeing that we were still molested, and no hope remained of any purchase to be had in this place any longer; because we were now so notably made known in those parts, and because our victuals grew scant: as soon as the weather waxed somewhat better (the wind continuing always westerly, so that we could not return to our ships) our Captain thought best to go (3rd November) to the Eastward, towards Rio Grande [Magdalena] long the coast, where we had been before, and found great store of victuals.
But when after two days' sailing, we were arrived (5th November) at the villages of store, where before we had furnished ourselves with abundance of hens, sheep, calves, hogs, etc.; now we found bare nothing, not so much as any people left: for that they, by the Spaniards' commandments, had fled to the mountains, and had driven away all their cattle, that we might not be relieved by them. Herewith being very sorry, because much of our victuals in our pinnaces was spoilt by the foul weather at sea and rains in harbour. A frigate being descried at sea revived us, and put us in some hope for the time, that in her we should find sufficient; and thereupon it may easily be guessed, how much we laboured to recover her: but when we had boarded her, and understood that she had neither meat nor money, but that she was bound for Rio Grande to take in provision upon bills, our great hope converted into grief.
We endured with our allowance seven or eight days more, proceeding to the Eastward, and bearing room for Santa Marta, upon hope to find some shipping in the road, or limpets on the rocks, or succour against the storm in that good harbour. Being arrived; and seeing no shipping; we anchored under the western point, where is high land, and, as we thought, free in safety from the town, which is in the bottom of the bay: not intending to land there, because we knew that it was fortified, and that they had intelligence of us.
But the Spaniards (knowing us to be Men-of-war, and misliking that we should shroud under their rocks without their leave) had conveyed some thirty or forty shot among the cliffs, which annoyed us so spitefully and so unrevengedly, for that they lay hidden behind the rocks, but we lay open to them, that we were soon weary of our harbour, and enforced (for all the storm without and want within) to put to sea. Which though these enemies of ours were well contented withal, yet for a farewell, as we came open of the town, they sent us a culverin shot; which made a near escape, for it fell between our pinnaces, as we were upon conference of what was best to be done.
The company advised that if it pleased him, they might put themselves aland, some place to the Eastward to get victuals, and rather hope for courtesy from the country-people, than continue at sea, in so long cold, and great a storm in so leaky a pinnace. But our Captain would in no wise like of that advice; he thought it better to bear up towards Rio de [la] Hacha, or Coricao [Curacao], with hope to have plenty without great resistance: because he knew, either of the islands were not very populous, or else it would be very likely that these would be found ships of victual in a readiness.
The company of the other pinnace answered, that "They would willingly follow him through the world; but in this they could not see how either their pinnaces should live in that sea, without being eaten up in that storm, or they themselves able to endure so long time, with so slender provision as they had, viz., only one gammon of bacon and thirty pounds of biscuit for eighteen men."
Our Captain replied, that "They were better provided than himself was, who had but one gammon of bacon, and forty pounds of biscuit for his twenty-four men; and therefore he doubted not but they would take such part as he did, and willingly depend upon God's Almighty providence, which never faileth them that trust in Him."
With that he hoisted his foresail, and set his course for Coricao; which the rest perceiving with sorrowful hearts in respect of the weak pinnace, yet desirous to follow their Captain, consented to take the same course.
We had not sailed past three leagues, but we had espied a sail plying to the Westward, with her two courses, to our great joy: who vowed together, that we would have her, or else it should cost us dear.
Bearing with her, we found her to be a Spanish ship of above 90 tons, which being wheaved [waved] amain by us, despised our summons, and shot off her ordnance at us.
The sea went very high, so that it was not for us to attempt to board her, and therefore we made fit small sail to attend upon her, and keep her company to her small content, till fairer weather might lay the sea. We spent not past two hours in our attendance, till it pleased God, after a great shower, to send us a reasonable calm, so that we might use our pieces [i. e., bases] and approach her at pleasure, in such sort that in short time we had taken her; finding her laden with victuals well powdered [salted] and dried: which at that present we received as sent us of God's great mercy.
After all things were set in order, and that the wind increased towards night, we plied off and on, till day (13th November), at what time our Captain sent in ELLIS HIXOM, who had then charge of his pinnace, to search out some harbour along the coast; who having found out a little one, some ten or twelve leagues to the east of Santa Marta, where in sounding he had good ground and sufficient water, presently returned, and our Captain brought in his new prize. Then by promising liberty, and all the apparel to the Spaniards which we had taken if they would bring us to water and fresh victuals; the rather by their means, we obtained of the inhabitants (Indians) what they had, which was plentiful. These Indians were clothed and governed by a Spaniard, which dwelt in the next town, not past a league off. We stayed there all day, watering and wooding, and providing things necessary, by giving content and satisfaction of the Indians. But towards night our Captain called all of us aboard (only leaving the Spaniards lately taken in the prize ashore, according to our promise made them, to their great content; who acknowledged that our Captain did them a far greater favour in setting them freely at liberty, than he had done them displeasure in taking their ship), and so set sail.