A. O. (Alexandre Olivier) Exquemelin.

The buccaneers of America; a true account of the most remarkable assaults committed of late years upon the coasts of the West Indies by the buccaneers of Jamaica and Tortuga (both English and French) Wherein are contained more especially the unparalleled exploits of Sir Henry Morgan .. online

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Online LibraryA. O. (Alexandre Olivier) ExquemelinThe buccaneers of America; a true account of the most remarkable assaults committed of late years upon the coasts of the West Indies by the buccaneers of Jamaica and Tortuga (both English and French) Wherein are contained more especially the unparalleled exploits of Sir Henry Morgan .. → online text (page 21 of 39)
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very strictly about several things ; particularly, wherein
consisted the forces of those of Panama. To which he
answered : Their whole strength did consist in four
hundred horse, twenty-four companies of foot, each being
of one hundred men complete, sixty Indians and some
neeroes, who were to drive two thousand wild bulls and
cause them to run over the English camp, and thus by
breaking their files put them into a total disorder and con-
fusion. He discovered more, thaf 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 which led to the city they had
built a fort, which was mounted with eight great guns of
brass, and defended by fifty men.

Captain Morgan, having heard this information, gave
orders instandy they should march another way. But
before setting forth, he made a review of all 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 upon the
place, besides the wounded and prisoners. The Pirates
were nothing discouraged, seeing their number so much
diminished, but rather filled with greater pride than be-
fore, perceiving what huge advantage they had obtained
against their enemies. Thus having rested themselves
some while, they prepared to march courageously towards


the city, plighting their oaths to one another in general
they would fight till never a man was left alive. With
this courage they recommenced their march, either to
conquer or be conquered, carrying with them all the

They found much difficulty in their approach to the
city. For within the town the Spaniards had placed
many great guns, at several quarters thereof, some of
which were charged with small pieces of iron, and others
with musket-bullets. With all these they saluted the
Pirates, at their drawing nigh to the place, and gave them
full and frequent broadsides, firing at them incessantly.
Whence it came to pass that unavoidably they lost, at
every step they advanced, great numbers of men. But
neither these manifest dangers of their lives, nor the
sight of so many of their own as dropped down con-
tinually at their sides, could deter them from advancing
farther, and gaining ground every moment upon the
enemy. Thus, although the Spaniards never ceased to
fire and act the best they could for their defence, yet
notwithstanding they were forced to deliver the city
after the space of three hours' combat. And the Pirates,
having now possessed themselves thereof, both killed and
destroyed as many as attempted to make the least op-
position against them. The inhabitants had caused the
best of their goods to be transported to more remote and
occult places. Howbeit they found within the city as
yet several warehouses, very well stocked with all sorts
of merchandize, as well silks and cloths as linen, and
other thinofs of considerable value. As soon as the first
fury of their entrance into the city was over. Captain
Morgan assembled all his men at a certain place which
he assigned, and there commanded them under very
great penalties that none of them should dare to drink or
taste any wine. The reason he gave for this injunction
was, because he had received private intelligence that it
had been all poisoned by the Spaniards. Howbeit it was


the Opinion of many that he gave these prudent orders
to prevent the debauchery of his people, which he foresaw
would be very great at the beginning, after so much
hunger sustained by the way вАФ fearing withal lest the
Spaniards, seeing them in wine, should rally their forces
and fall upon the city, and use them as inhumanly as
they had used the inhabitants before.


Captain Morgan sends several canoes a7id boats to the South Sea.
He sets fire to the City of Panama. Robberies and cruelties
committed there by the Pirates till their return to the Castle of

Captain Morgan, as soon as he had placed guards at
several quarters where he thought necessary, both within
and without the city of Panama, immediately comman-
ded 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, so that she could not put out to sea. The
same day, about noon, he caused certain men privately
to set fire to several great edifices of the city, nobody
knowing whence the fire proceeded nor who were
the authors thereof, much less what motives persuaded
Captain Morgan thereto, which are as yet unknown
to this day. The fire increased so fast that before
night the greatest part of the city was in a flame. Cap-
tain Morgan endeavoured to make the public believe the
Spaniards had been the cause thereof, which suspicions
he surmised among his own people, perceiving they
reflected upon him for that action. Many of the
Spaniards, as also some of the Pirates, used all the means
possible either to extinguish the flame, or by blowing
up houses with gunpowder, and pulling down others, to
stop its progress. But all was in vain ; for in less than
half an hour it consumed a whole street. All the houses
of this city were built with cedar, being of very curious
and magnificent structure, and richly adorned within,
especially with hangings and paintings, whereof part was


already transported out of the Pirates way, and another
great part was consumed by the voracity of the fire.

There belonged to this city (which is also the head of
a bishopric) eight monasteries, whereof seven were 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, huge quantity of gold and
silver, with other precious things ; all which the ecclesias-
tics had hidden and concealed. Besides which ornaments,
here were to be seen two thousand houses of magnificent
and prodigious building, being all or the greatest part
inhabited by merchants of that country, who are vastly
rich. For the rest of the inhabitants of lesser quality
and tradesmen, this city contained five thousand houses
more. Here were also great number of stables, which
served for the horses and mules, that carry all the plate,
belonging as well to the King of Spain as to private men,
towards the coast of the North Sea. The neighbouring
fields belonging to this city are all cultivated with fertile
plantations and pleasant gardens, which afford delicious
prospects to the inhabitants the whole year long.

The Genoese had in this city of Panama a stately
and magnificent house, belonging to their trade and
commerce of negroes. This building likewise was com-
manded by Captain Morgan to be set on fire ; whereby it
was burnt to the very ground. Besides which pile of build-
ing, there were consumed to the number of two hundred
warehouses, and great number of slaves, who had hid
themselves therein, together with an infinite multitude of
sacks of meal. The fire of all which houses and build-
ings was seen to continue four weeks after the day it be-
gan. The Pirates in the meanwhile, at least the greatest
parts of them, camped some time without the city, fearing
and expecting that the Spaniards would come and fight
them anew. For it was known that they had an incom-
parable number of men more than the Pirates were.
This occasioned them to keep the field, thereby to pre-


serve their forces united, which now were very much
diminished by the losses of the preceding batdes ; as also
because they had a great many wounded, all which they
had put into one of the churches which alone remained
standing, the rest being consumed by the fire. Moreover,
beside these decreases of their men. Captain Morgan had
sent a convoy one hundred and fifty men to the Castle
of Chagre, to carry the news of his victory obtained
against Panama.

They saw many times whole troops of Spaniards cruize
to and fro in the campaign fields, which gave them occa-
sion to suspect their rallying anew. Yet they never had
the courage to attempt anything against the Pirates.
In the afternoon of this fatal day Captain Morgan re-
entered again the city with his troops, to the intent that
every one might take up his lodgings, which now they
could hardly find, very few houses having escaped the
desolation of the fire. Soon after they fell to seeking
very carefully among the ruins and ashes for utensils of
plate or gold, which peradventure were not quite wasted
by the flames. And of such things they found no small
number in several places, especially in wells and
cisterns, where the Spaniards had hid them from the
covetous search of the Pirates.

The next day Captain Morgan dispatched away two
troops of Pirates, of one hundred and fifty men each,
being all very stout soldiers and well armed, with or-
ders to seek for the inhabitants of Panama who were
escaped from the hands of their enemies. These men,
having made several excursions up and down the
campaign fields, woods and mountains, adjoining to
Panama, returned after two days' time, bringing with
them above two hundred prisoners, between men,
women and slaves. The same day returned also the
boat above mentioned, which Captain Morgan had
sent into the South Sea, bringing with her three other
boats, which they had taken in a little while. But all


these prizes they could willingly have given, yea, although
they had employed greater labour into the bargain, for
one certain galleon, which miraculously escaped their
industry, being very richly laden with all the King's plate
and great quantity of riches of gold, pearl, jewels and
other most precious goods, of all the best and richest
merchants of Panama. On board of this galleon were
also the religious women, belonging to the nunnery of
the said city, who had embarked with them all the orna-
ments of their church, consisting in great quantity of gold,
plate and other things of great value.

The strength of this galleon was nothing considerable,
as having only seven guns, and ten or twelve muskets
for its whole defence, being on the other side very ill
provided of victuals and other necessaries, with great
want of fresh water, and having^ no more sails than the
uppermost sails of the main mast. This description of
the said ship, the Pirates received from certain persons,
who had spoken with seven mariners belonging to the
galleon, at such time as they came ashore in the cock-boat,
to take in fresh water. Hence they concluded for certain
they might easily have taken the said vessel, had they
given her chase, and pursued her, as they ought to have
done, especially considering the said galleon could not
long subsist abroad at sea. But they were impeded from
following this vastly rich prize, by gluttony and drunken-
ness, having plentifully debauched themselves with
several sorts of rich wines they found there ready to their
hands. So that they chose rather to satiate their appetite
with the things abovementioned, than to lay hold on the
occasion of such a huge advantage, although this only
prize would certainly have been of far greater value and
consequence to them than all they secured at Panama,
and other places thereabouts. The next day, repenting
of their negligence, and being totally wearied of the vices
and debaucheries aforesaid, they sent forth to sea another
boat well armed, to pursue with all speed imaginable the


said galleon. But their present care and diligence was in
vain, the Spaniards who were on board the said ship
having received intelligence of the danger they were in
one or two days before, while the Pirates were cruizing
so near them, whereupon they fled to places more remote
and unknown to their enemies.

Notwithstanding, the Pirates found in the ports of the
islands of Tavoga and Tavogilla several boats that were
laden with many sorts of very good merchandize : all
which they took and brought to Panama ; where, being
arrived, they made an exact relation of all that had passed
while they were abroad to Captain Morgan. The
prisoners confirmed what the Pirates had said, adding
thereto, that they undoubtedly knew whereabouts the
said galleon might be at that present, but that it was very
probable they had been relieved before now from other
places. These relations stirred up Captain Morgan anew
to send forth all the boats that were in the port of
Panama, with design to seek and pursue the said galleon
till they could find her. The boats aforesaid, being in
all four, set sail from Panama, and having spent eight
days in cruizing to and fro, and searching several ports
and creeks, they lost all their hopes of finding what they
so earnestly sought for. Hereupon they resolved to
return to the isles of Tavoga and Tavogilla. Here they
found a reasonable good ship, that was newly come from
Payta, being laden with cloth, soap, sugar and biscuit, with
twenty thoustwid pieces of eight in ready money. This
vessel they instantly seized, not finding the least resist-
ance from any person within her. Near to the said ship
was also a boat, whereof in like manner they possessed
themselves. Upon the boat they laded great part of the
merchandizes they had found in the ship, together with
some slaves they had taken in the said islands. With
this purchase they returned to Panama, something better
satisfied of their voyage, yet withal much discontented
they could not meet with the galleon.


The convoy which Captain Morgan had sent to the
castle of Chao-re returned much about the same time,


bringing with them very good news. For while Captain
Morgan was upon his journey to Panama, those he had
left in the castle of Chagre had sent forth to sea two
boats to exercise piracy. These happened to meet with
a Spanish ship, which they began to chase within sight of
the castle. This being perceived by the Pirates that
were in the castle, they put forth Spanish colours, thereby
to allure and deceive the ship that fled before the boats.
Thus the poor Spaniards, thinking to refuge themselves
under the casde and the guns thereof, by flying into the
port, were caught in a snare and made prisoners, where
they thought to find defence. The cargo which was
found on board the said vessel, consisted in victuals and
provisions, that were all eatable things. Nothing could
be more opportune than this prize for the castle, where
they had begun already to experience great scarcity of
things of this kind.

This good fortune of the garrison of Chagre gave
occasion to Captain Morgan to remain longer time than
he had determined at Panama. And hereupon he ordered
several new excursions to be made into the whole coun-
try round about the city. So that while the Pirates at
Panama were employed in these expeditions, those at
Chagre were busied in exercising piracy upon the North
Sea. Captain Morgan used to send forth daily parties
of two hundred men, to make inroads into all the fields
and country thereabouts, and when one party came back,
another consisting of two hundred more was ready to go
forth. By this means they gathered in a short time a
huge quantity of riches, and no lesser number of prison-
ers. These, being brought into the city, were presently
put to the most exquisite tortures imaginable, to make
them confess both other people's goods and their own.
Here it happened, that one poor and miserable wretch
was found in the house of a gentleman of great quality,


who had put on, amidst that confusion of things, a pair
of taffety breeches belonging to his master with a httle
silver key hanging at the strings thereof. This, being
perceived by the Pirates they immediately asked him
where was the cabinet of the said key ? His answer was :
he knew not what was become of it, but only that finding
those breeches in his master's house, he had made bold to
wear them. Not being able to extort any other con-
fession out of him, they first put him upon the rack,
wherewith they inhumanly disjointed his arms. After
this, 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 of his skull. But neither with
these torments could they obtain any positive answer to
their demands. Whereupon they soon after hung him
up, giving him infinite blows and stripes, wdiile he was
under that intolerable pain and posture of body. After-
wards they cut off his nose and ears, and singed his
face with burning straw, till he could speak nor lament
his misery no longer. Then losing all hopes of hear-
ing any confession from his mouth, they commanded
a negro to run him through with a lance, which put an
end to his life and a period to their cruel and inhuman
tortures. After this execrable manner did many others
of those miserable prisoners finish their days, the common
sport and recreation of these Pirates being these and
other tragedies not inferior.

They spared, in these their cruelties, no sex nor con-
dition whatsoever. For as to religious persons and
priests, they granted them less quarter than to others,
unless they could produce a considerable sum of money,
capable of being a sufficient ransom. Women themselves
were no better used, and Captain Morgan, their leader
and commander, gave them no good example in this
point. For as soon as any beautiful woman was brought
as a prisoner to his presence, he used all the means he
could, both of rigour and mildness, to bend her to his


pleasure : for a confirmation of which assertion, I shall
here give my reader a short history of a lady, whose
virtue and constancy ought to be transmitted to posterity,
as a memorable example of her sex.

Among the prisoners that were brought by the Pirates
from the islands of Tavoga and Tavogilla, there was
found a gentlewoman of good quality, as also no less
virtue and chastity, who was wife to one of the richest
merchants of all those countries. Her years were but
few, and her beauty so great as peradventure I may
doubt whether in all Europe any could be found to sur-
pass her perfections either of comeliness or honesty.
Her husband, at that present, was absent from home,
being gone as far as the kingdom of Peru, about great
concerns of commerce and trade, wherein his employ-
ments did lie. This virtuous lady, likewise, hearing that
Pirates were coming to assault the city of Panama, had
absented herself thence in the company of other friends
and relations, thereby to preserve her life, amidst the
dangers which the cruelties and tyrannies of those hard-
hearted enemies did seem to menace to every citizen.
But no sooner had she appeared in the presence of Cap-
tain Morgan than he commanded they should lodge her
in a certain apartment by herself, giving her a negress,
or black woman, to wait upon her, and that she should
be treated with all the respect and regale due to her
quality. The poor afflicted lady did beg, with multitude
of sobs and tears, she might be suffered to lodge among
the other prisoners, her relations, fearing lest that
unexpected kindness of the commander might prove to
be a design upon her chastity. But Captain Morgan
would by no means hearken to her petition, and all he
commanded, in answer thereto, was, she should be
treated with more particular care than before, and have
her victuals carried from his own table.

This lady had formerly heard very strange reports
concerning the Pirates, before their arrival at Panama,


intimating to her, as if they were not men, but, as they
said, heretics, who did neither invoke the Blessed
Trinity, nor believe in Jesus Christ. But now she began
to have better thoughts of them than ever before, having
experienced the manifold civilities of Captain Morgan,
especially hearing him many times to swear by the name
of God, and of Jesus Christ, in whom, she was persuaded,
they did not believe. Neither did she now think them
to be so bad, or to have the shapes of beasts, as from the
relations of several people she had oftentimes heard.
For as to the name of robbers or thieves, which was
commonly given them by others, she wondered not much
at it, seeing, as she said, that among all nations of the
universe, there were to be found some wicked men, who
naturally coveted to possess the goods of others. Con-
formable to the persuasion of this lady was the opinion of
another woman, of weak understanding, at Panama, who
used to say, before the Pirates came thither, she desired
very much and had a great curiosity to see one of those
men called Pirates ; for as much as her husband had often
told her, that they were not men, like others, but rather
irrational beasts. This silly woman, at last happened to
see the first of them, cried out aloud, saying : Jesus bless
me ! these thieves are like its Spaniards.

This false civility of Captain Morgan, wherewith he
used this lady, was soon after changed into barbarous
cruelty. Por, three or four days being past, he came to
see her, and the virtuous lady constantly repulsed him.
with all the civility imaginable and many humble and
modest expressions of her mind. But Captain Morgan
still persisted in his disorderly request, presenting her
withal with much pearl, gold and all that he had got that
was precious and valuable in that voyage. But the lady
being in no manner willing to consent thereto, nor accept
his presents, and showing herself in all respects like
Susannah for constancy, he presently changed note, and
began to speak to her in another tone, threatening her


with a thousand cruelties and hard usages at his hands.
To all these things she gave this resolute and positive
answer, than which no other could be extorted from her :
SiJ', my life is in your hands ; bnt as to viy body, in re-
lation to that which you would persuade me to, my soul
shall sooner be separated from it, throttgh the violence of your
arms, then I shall condescend to your request. No sooner
had Captain Morgan understood this heroic resolution of
her mind than he commanded her to be stripped of the
best of her apparel, and imprisoned in a darksome and
stinking cellar. Here she had allowed her an extremely
small quantity of meat and drink, wherewith she had
much ado to sustain her life for a few days.

Under this hardship the constant and virtuous lady
ceased not to pray daily to God Almighty, for constancy
and patience against the cruelties of Captain Morgan.
But he being now throughly convinced of her chaste
resolutions, as also desirous to conceal the cause of her
confinement and hard usage, since many of the Pirates, his
companions, did compassionate her condition, laid many
false accusations to her charge, giving to understand she
held intelligence with the Spaniards, and corresponded
with them by letters, abusing thereby his former lenity
and kindness, I myself was an eye witness to these
things here related, and could never have judged such
constancy of mind and virtuous chastity to be found in
the world, if my own eyes and ears had not informed
me thereof But of this incomparable lady I shall say
something more hereafter in its proper place ; where-
upon I shall leave her at present, to continue my

Captain Morgan, having now been at Panama the full
space of three weeks, commanded all things to be put in
order for his departure. To this effect, he gave orders
to every company of his men, to seek out for so many
beasts of carriage as might suffice to convey the whole
spoil of the city to the river where his canoes lay. About


this time a great rumour was spread in the city, of a
considerable number of Pirates who intended to leave
Captain Morgan ; and that, by taking a ship which was
in the port, they determined to go and rob upon the
South Sea till they had got as much as they thought fit,
and then return homewards by the way of the East
Indies into Europe. For which purpose, they had already
gathered great quantity of provisions, which they had
hidden in private places, with sufficient store of powder,
bullets and all other sorts of ammunition : likewise some
great guns, belonging to the town, muskets and other
things, wherewith they designed not only to equip the
said vessel but also to fortify themselves and raise bat-
teries in some island or other, which might serve them
for a place of refuge.

Online LibraryA. O. (Alexandre Olivier) ExquemelinThe buccaneers of America; a true account of the most remarkable assaults committed of late years upon the coasts of the West Indies by the buccaneers of Jamaica and Tortuga (both English and French) Wherein are contained more especially the unparalleled exploits of Sir Henry Morgan .. → online text (page 21 of 39)