Barnard Shipp.

The history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 online

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Online LibraryBarnard ShippThe history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 → online text (page 55 of 75)
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put it into the heads of mine that if they had such barlcs as mine
they might gain very much in the Antilles, and malte an exceed-
ingly profitable voyage. Thereupon they devised that when I
should send them to the village of Saravahi, distant about a league
and a half from our fort, and situated vpon an arm of the riuer ;
whither I sent them daily to seek clay to malie brick and mortar
for our houses, they would return no more, but would furnish
themselves with victuals, and then embark all in one vessel, wiiicii
they did. And that which was worse, two Flemish carpenters,
whom Captain Bourdet had left me, stole away the other bark,'
and before their departure, cut the cables of a bark and of the
ship's boat, that they might go away with the tide, that I might not
pursue them, so that I remained without either bark or boat, which
fell out very unluckily for us, for I was ready to embark myself
with all speed, to discover as far up the river as I could by any

Now these mariners, as I afterwards learned, took, near the Isle
of Cuba, a bark that was a, patache of the Spaniards, wherein they
found a certain quantity of gold and silver. And having tliis
booty they la^' awhile at sea, until their victuals began to fail them,
which was the cause that they came into Havana, the principal
town of the Isle of Cuba; whereupon proceeded that m.ischief
which hereafter I will disclose more at large.* When I saw mj'

* Laudonniere alludes to the capture of his fort and the hanging of his men
by Pedro de Menendez de Aviles, who, for the piratical acts of these mutineers,
treated all the French colonists in Florida as pirates, though France at that
time was at peace with Spain ; but besides, they were Lutherans, which in the
faith of Menendez was deserving of outlawry.


barks returned not at their wonted hour, and suspecting that which
fell out, I commanded my carpenters, witii all diligence, to make a
little boat with a flat bottom, to search those rivers for some news
of these mariners. The boat finished, I sent men to, seek them, but
all in vain. Therefore I determined to cause two great barks to be
built, each of which might be thirty-five or thirty-six feet long in
the keel. And now when the work was very well forward, ambition
and avarice took root in the hearts of four or five soldiers, who
thenceforward began to tamper witli the best of my troops, show-
ing them that they had the best occasion in the world offered them
to make themselves all rich, which was to arm the two barks which
were in building, and to furnish them with good men, and then to
sail to Peru and the isles of the Antilles, where every soldier might
easily enrich himself.

This word riches sounded so well in the ears of my soldiers that
finally, after they had ofttimes consulted of their affairs, they grew
to the number of sixty-six. They caused a request to be presented
to me, containing in sum a declaration of the small store of pro-
visions that was left to sustain us until, the time that ships might
return from France ; for remedy thereof they thought it necessary
to send to New Spain, Peru, and all the adjoining isles, which they
besought me to grant. But I made answer, that when the barks
were finished, we would get victuals of the inhabitants of the coun-
try', seeing also that we had enough to serve us for four months to
come ; for I feared greatly that under pretence of searching for
victuals, they would undertake something against the subjects of the
king of Spain which in the future might justly be laid to my charge,
considering that at our departure out of France the queen had
charged me very expressl3' to do no kind of wrong to the king of
Spain's subjects, nor anything whSreof he might conceive any
jealousy. They made as though they were content with tliis an-
swer; but eight days after, as I continued working upon our fort
and on my barks, I fell sick. Then my seditious companions openly
avowed that they would seize the fort, and force me also unto their
wicked desire. My lieutenant came and told me that he suspected
some evil practice, and the next morning I was saluted at my gate
by men in complete harness. The five chief authors of the sedition
pressed into my room, saying that they would go to New Spain to
seek their adventure. I warned them, but they replied that I must
grant their request; that I should deliver them the armor which
I had in my custody. I would not yield it, but they took all by
force, and carried it out of my house ; they laid hands on me, and
cariied me, sick as I was, prisoner into a ship which rode at anchor


in the midst of the river, wherein I was the space of fifteen clays, at-
tended upon, by one man only, without permission of any of my
servants to visit rae, from every one of whom, as also from the rest
that took my part, tliey took away their armor ; and tliey sent me
a passport to sign, telling me plainly, after I had denied them, that
if I made any difficulty they would all come and cut my throat on
the ship. Thus I was compelled to sign the passport, and to grant
them certain mariners, with Trenchant, an honest and skilful pilot.
When the bark,s were finished, the^' armed them with as much as
they needed. They compelled Captain Vasseui- to deliver to them
the flag of his ship. They sailed on the 8th of December ; but be-
cause the greater part of them by this time repented them of their
enterprise, and that they began to mutiny among themselves, when
they came forth from the river the two barks separated ; the one
kept along the coast unto Cuba, to double the cape more easily, and
the other went right fortli to pass athwart the Lacaya Isles ; where-
fore they met not until five weeks after their departure. The bark
which went along the coast, whereof Trenchant was pilot, near a
place called Archaha took a brigantine laden with cassava and
some little wine, which was not effected without some loss of their
men ; for in one assault that the inhabitants of Archaha made upon
them two of their men were taken and two were slain. Yet they
took the brigantine, wherein they put all their stuff that was in
their own bark, because it was of greater burden and a better sailer
than their own. Afterward they sailed right unto Cape Santa
Maria, near to Leau'guane, where they went on land to calk and
pitch their ship, which hSid a great leak. Then they resolved to
sail to Baraoou, which is a village in the island of Jamaica, where,
at their arrival, they found a caravel of fifty or sixty tons, which
they took, without any body in it ; and after they had made good
cheer in the village during five or six days, they embarked in it,
leaviug their, second ship. Then they returned to Cape Tiburon,
where they met with a patache [a tender], which they took after a
long conflict. In this patache the governor of Jamaica was taken,
with great store of riciies, as well of gold and silver as of merchan-
dise and wine, and many other tilings, wherein our seditious com-
panions, not _contented, determined to seek more in their caravel.
After they were come to Jamaica they missed another caravel, which
saved itself in the .harbor. The governor, seeing himself brought
unto the place which he desired, obtained so much by fair words
that they let him put two little boys, who were taken with him, into a
cockboat, and send them into the village to his wife, to inform her that
she should make provision of victuals to send to him. But instead


of writing to his wife, he told the boys secretly that with all speed
she should send the vessels that were in the havens near that place
to rescue him ; which she did so cunningly, that on a morning about
daybreak, as our mutineers were at the haven's mouth, which reached
more than two leagues into the land, there came out of the haven
a malgualire, which makes sail both forward and backward, and
then two great ships, which might be of eighty or a hundred tons
apiece, well armed and well manned ; at whose coming the mutineers
were surprised, not being al)le to see them when they came, as well
because of the darkness of the weather, as also of the length of the
haven, considering also they mistrusted nothing. True it is, twenty-
five or twenty-six that were in th,e brigantine discovered these
ships when they were near them, who, seeing themselves pressed for
leisure to weigh anchor, cut their cable, and the trumpeter, who
was in it, warned the rest ; whereupon the Spaniards, seeing them-
selves descried, discharged a volley of cannon-shot against the
Frenchmen, whom they followed the distance of three leagues, and
recovered their own ships. The brigantine, which escaped, passed
in sight of Cape des Aigrettes and Cape St. Anthonj', in the island
of Cuba, and thence passed within sight of Havana. But Trenchant,
their pilot, and the trumpeter, and certain other mariners of this
brigantine, who were led away by force in this voyage, desired
nothing more tlian to return to me ; wherefore these men agreed
that if the wind served them well the^' would cross the channel of
Bahama while the others were asleep, which they accomplished with
such success that about the 25th of March, 1565, toward the break
of daj', they arrived upon the coast of Florida. Their sail was no
sooner descried upon our coast, than the king of the place called
Patica, dwelling eight leagues distance from our fort, sent an In-
dian to inform me that he had descried a ship upon the coast. The
brigantine, oppressed with famine, came to an anchor at the mouth
of the river May. At first we thought they were ships come from
France, which occasioned us great joy; but after I had caused her
to be better viewed, I was informed that they were the mutineers
that had returned. Therefore I sent them word by Captain Vas-
seur and my sergeant that they should bring up their brigantine
before the fortress, which they promised to do. Now they were not
more than two leagues distance from the mouth of the rioer, where
they cast anchor, to the fortress. The next day I sent the same
captain and sergeant with thirty soldiers, because I saw they de-
layed much their coming. Then they brought them. I waited for
them at the river's mouth, where I caused my barks to be built,
and commanded the sergeant to bring the four chief authors of the


mutiny on shore, whom I had immediately put in fetters. My
council, expressly assembled for this purpose, had concluded that
only these four should die, to serve as an example to the rest. I
commanded that they should be hanged. The soldiers besought
me not to hang them, but rather to let them be shot, and then
afterward, if I thought proper, their bodies might be hanged upon
certain gil)bets along the haven's ipouth, which I caused presently
to be put in execution. So here was the end of my mutinous sol-
diers. I will now return to the matters from which I digressed, to
declare that which fell out after their departure.

My lieutenant, Ottigni, and the sergeant of my band, came to
seek me in the ship, where I was prisoner, and carried me thence in
a bark as soon as our rebels were departed. After I had come into
the fort, I caused all my company that remained to be assembled ;
aud declared unto them the faults, which they who had forsaken us,
had committed. Forthwith I ordei-ed new captains to command the
troops. They all promised with one accord to obey me, so that,
after the departure of my mutinous companions, I was as well
obeyed as ever was captain in the place where he commanded.

The next day after ray return to the fort, I assembled my men
together again, to declare unto them that our fort was not yet finished,
and that it was needful that all of us should put thereunto our help-
ing hands, to secure ourselves against the Indians ; whereupon
having willingly agreed with me, they raised it all with turf from
the gate unto the river, which is on the west side. This done, I set
my carpenters to work to make another boat of. the same size that
the others were, which was finished in eighteen days. Afterwards
I made another less than the first ; the better to discover up the
river. Two Indians came unto me one day to salute me in behalf of
their king, whose name was llarracou, dwelling from our fort about
some forty leagues towards the south, and told me that there was one
in the house of king Onathaqua, who was called Barbu, or the bearded
man; and in the house of king Mathiaea another man whose name
they knew not, who^was not of their nation ; whereupon I conceived
these might be some Christians. Wherefore I sent to all the kings,
my neighbors, to pray them, if there wei-e any Christian dwelling in
their countries, that he might be brought unto me, and that 1 would
make them double recompense. They took so much pains that the
two men whereof we have spoken were brought unto me to the fort.
They were naked, wearing their hair long unto their hams, and were
born Spaniards. After I liad questioned them, I had them apparelled,
and their hair cut, which they lapped up in a linen cloth, saying they
would carry it to their country to show the miseries they had endured


in the Indies. In the hair of one of them was found a little gold
hidden to the value of twenty-flve crowns, which he gave unto me.

They told me that fifteen years past, three ships, in one of which
they were, were cast away over against a place named Calos, upon
the flats [shoals] which are called The Martyrs, and that the king
of Calos* recovered the greater part of the riches which were in
said ships ; that the greatest part of the people were saved, and many
women, among which number there were three or four married
women, remaining there yet, and their children also, with this king

One of these two declared to me that he had served him a long
time as a messenger, and that ofttimes by his command he had
visited a king named Onathaqua, distant from Calos four or five
days' journey, who always remained his faithful friend ; that mid-
way there was an island in a great lake of fresh water, named Sar-
rope, about five leagues in bigness, abounding with many sorts of
fruits, whereof they made a wonderful traflQc, yet not so great as of
a kind of root, whereof they made a kind of meal, so good to make
bread of that none can be ?jetler; and that for fifteen leagues about
all the country is fed therewith.

The Spaniard that made this relation told me that he had been
with Onathaqua full eight years, even until the time that he was sent
to me. The place of Calos is situated upon a river which is beyond
the Cape of Florida, forty or fifty leagues towards the southwest;
and the dwelling of Onathaqua is on this side of the cape toward
the north, in a place which we call in the chart Canaveral, which is
in the twentj^-eiglith degree.

As soon as our two barks were finished, I sent Capt. Vasseur to
discover along the coast lying toward the north, and commanded
him to sail unto a river, the king whereof was called Audusta,
where thOse of the year 1562 inhabited. And the better to win him,
I sent in the bark a soldier called Aimon, who was one of those who
returned home in the first voyage, hoping that Audusta might re-
member him. But before they were embarked, I commanded them
to make inquiry what was become of another called Roufii, who re-
mained alone in those parts when Nicholas Mason arid those of the
first voyage embarked to return to France.

They learned, at their arrival there, that a bark passing that way
had carried away the same soldier ; and afterwards I knew for a

* The Bay of Carlos, corrupted by the English to Charlotte Harbor. The Calos
or Callos are anthropophagi and very cruel ; they dwell in a bay which bears
alike their name and that of Ponce de Leon. — From a note by B. F. French,
quoting Brinton and Charlevoix.


certainty that they were Spaniards who had carried him to Havana.
King Audusta sent my bark back full of corn, with a certain quan-
tity of beans, two stags, some skins dressed, and certain pearls of
small value, because they were burnt.

After Capt. Vasseur had returned, I caused the two barks to be
furnished again with soldiers and marines, and sent them to carry
a present to the widow of Hiocaia, whose dwelling was distavt from
our fort about twelve leagues northward. She courteously received
our men, and sent me back my bark full of corn and acorns, with
certain baskets full of the leaves of cassine wherewith they make
their drink.

Now while I thought I was furnished with victuals until the time
that our ships might come out of France, for fear of keeping my
people idle, I sent my two barks to discover along the river and up
toward the head thereof, which went so far up that they were tliirty
leagues good beyond a place named Mathiaqua, and tliere they dis-
covered the entrance of a lake, npon the one side whereof no land
could be seen. According to the report of the Indians, who had
ofttiraes climbed on the highest tree in tlie country to see land, and
notwithstanding could not, which was the cause that my men went
no further, but returned back, and in coming home went to see the
island of Edelano, situated in the midst of the river, as fair a place
as any that may. be seen through the world, for, in the space of
some three leagues (that it may contain in length and breadth), a
man may see an exceedingly rich country, and marvellously peopled.
At the coming out of the village of Edelano to go unto the river-
side, a man may pass- through an alley about three hundred paces
long and fifty paces broad, on both sides whereof great trees are
planted, the boughs whereof are tied together like an arch, and meet
together so artificially, that a man would think it were an arbor
made on purpose, as fair I say, as any in all Christendom, although
it be all natural.

Our men, departing from this place, rowed to Eneguape, then to
Chilily, from thence to Patica, and lastly they came unto Coya,
where, leaving their boats in a little creek of the river with men to
guard them, they went to visit XJtina, who received them very cour-
teously, and when they departed from his house he entreated them
so earnestly, that six of my men remained with him, of which num-
ber was a gentlemen named Groutald, who, after he had abode there
about two months and taken great pains to discover the country
with another whom I had left a great while there for that purpose,
came to me at the fort, and told me that he never saw a fairer coun-
try. Among other things he reported to me that he had seen a


place named Hostaqua, and that the king thereof knew the passages
to the mountains of Apalatci, where the enemy of Hostaqua abode.
The king sent me a plate of metal that came out of this mountain, out
of the foot whereof there runneth a stream of gold or copper (as the
savages think), out of which they dig up the sand with a hollow and
dry cane until the cane is full. Then they shake it, and find there
are many small grains of copper and silver among this sand, which
gives them to understand that some rich mine must needs be in the
mountain, and because the mountain was not more tiian five or six
days' journey from our fort, lying toward the northwest, I determined
as soon as our supply should come from Prance, to remove our
habitation unto some river more toward the north, that 1 might be
nearer thereunto.*

Utina sent, certain days afterward, to pray me to lend him a
dozen or fifteen of my arquebusiers to invade his enemy Potapou.
I doubted 'lest the small number which he demanded might incur
some danger, wherefore I sent him thirty under the charge of Lieu-
tenant Ottigni, who staid not more than two days witli Utina while
he prepared victuals for his voyage, which ordinarily and according
to the custom of the country are carried by women and young boys
and by hermaphrodites. Utina, setting forward with three hun-
dred warriors, caused the thirty arquebusiers to be placed in front,
and made them march all day until, the night approaching and hav-
ing got not more tlian half way, they were forced to lie all night in
the woods near a great lake. As soon as day came, they marched
within three leagues of the village of Potanou. Tliere Utina asked
tiie lieutenant for four or five of liis men to go and discover the
country, who departed, and had not gone far when they perceived,
upon a lake distant about three leagues from the village of Potanou,
three Indians who fished in a canoe. Now the custom is that wlien
the3' fish in this lake, they have always a company of watchmen
armed with bows and arrows to guard the fishers. Our men, being
informed thereof, durst not pass any further for fear of falling into
some ambush, wherefore they returned to Utina, who 'suddenly sent
them back with a great company^ to surprise the fishers before they
could give notice to their king of the coming of his enemies, which
they could not execute so promptly but that two of them escaped.
Utina, fearing lest Potanou, warned by the fishers which were es-
caped, sliould put himself in arms to oppose him, asked counsel of
his lawa (magician) whether it were best to go any furtlier. Then

* These gold mines were probably the same as those of which Soto was in-
formed. Both this account and that of Soto indicate this gold region to be in
the north of Georgia, where now are the gold fields of Georgia.


this magician made certain signs hideous and fearful to behold, and
used certain words, which being ended, he said unto his king that it
was not best to pass any farther, and that Potanou accompanied by
four thousand Indians staid in such a place for him, to bide him

This relation caused TJtina to be unwilling to pass any further,
whereupon my lieutenant said unto him, that he would never think
well of him, nor of his people, if he would not hazard himself; and
that if he would not do it, at least that he would give him a guide
to conduct him and his small company to the place where the enemy
were. Thereupon TJtina was ashamed, and determined to go for-
ward, and he failed not to find his enemy in the very place which
the magician had named, where the skirmish began, which lasted
three long hours, wherein without doubt TJtina had been defeated,
unless our arquebusiers had borne the brunt of the battle and slain
a great number of the soldiers of Potanou, upon which occasion they
were put to flight, 'whereupon TJtina caused his people to return
home. After he was come home to his house he sent messengers to
eighteen or twenty villages of other kings, his vassals, and summoned
them to be present at the feast and dances which he proposed to
celebrate because of his victorj'. In the mean time M. de Ottigni
refreshed himself for two days, and then, leaving TJtina twelve of his
men, set out to come unto me, imto our fort, where he told me how
everything had passed.

The Indians are wont to leave their houses and to retire into the
woods the space of three months, to wit: January, February, and
March, during which time by no means can a man see an Indian;
for when they go a hunting they make little cottages in the woods,
whereunto they retire, living upon that which thej"^ take in hunting.
Tills was the cause that during this time we could get no victuals
by their rneans. The month of May approaching and no succor
coming fl-om France, we fell •into extreme want of victuals; con-
strained to eat roots and certain sorrel, with nothing but certain
fish, without which assuredly' we had perished with famine. This
famine held us from the beginning of May to the middle of June,
during which time the men became as feeble as might be, and, not
being able to work, did nothing but go one after another unto the
cliff of a hill, situated very near unto the fort, to see if they might
discover any French ship. In fine, frustrated of their hope, they
assembled and came to beseech me to take some measures that they
might return to France. Thereupon it was consulted and resolved
by all the company that the bark Breton should be fitted up. But
because it was not large enough to receive us all, some thought


good to build the brigantine, which our mutineers had brought
back, two decks higher, and that twentj'-five men should hazard

Online LibraryBarnard ShippThe history of Hernando de Soto and Florida; or, Record of the events of fifty-six years, from 1512 to 1568 → online text (page 55 of 75)