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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 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 chicftest places of all the coast, and yet not mean-
ing 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 deter-
mined 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 taking 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 dis-
mayed, 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 [number-
ing 26, see p. 134] 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

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 perceiv-
ing, 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 him-
self 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 the first marvelled at; yet
presently it was put in execution and performed that night.

Our Captain had his desire, and men enough for his

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 [Magdalend], 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 Marf] 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 pin-
naces, 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 build-
ing. Our archers made themselves butts to shoot at, be-
cause 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, &c. For our Captain
allowed one half of the company to pass their time thus,


every other day interchangeable; the other half being en-
joined to the necessary works, about our ship and pin-
naces, and the providing of fresh victuals, fish, fowl, hogs,
deer, conies, &c, 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 nec-
essaries, 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, accord-
ing 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 [Mag-
dalena~\, where we entered about three of the clock in the
afternoon. There are two entries into this river, of which
we entered the wester [n] 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 bite 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 Sept.), 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, least 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 king-
dom yields abundantly) were not yet returned from Carta-
gena, since the first alarm they took of our being there.

As we were going aboard our pinnaces from these Store-
houses (ioth Sept.), 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 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 [nth
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

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
in thither continually all manner store of good victuals,
which we took, going that way by sea, for the victualling
of Cartagena and Nonibre 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
flesh fish, very easily to be taken every day; insomuch that
we were forced to build four several magazines or store-
houses, 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 Cabezas | 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 trouble-
some, 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 by Negroes, but Spaniards also, whereof he was always
very careful: as also conferring it with his brother's in-
formations 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 plen-
tiful 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 lie 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 enter-
tainment, 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 pin-
naces, 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 pin-
naces, 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 Cati-
vaas, 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 [on Rio Diego, see pp. 157 and 158]
(22nd September), 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 fet[ched] 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

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 accus-
tomed | 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 tim-
ber, 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 ap-
pointed him to fetch boards and planks, as many as his pin-
naces 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 com-
modiously, 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

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 (i4th-i5th
October) to wash our pinnaces and to take of the fish.

Thence we went towards Tolou, and that day (16th Octo-
ber) 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 [grappling irons'] 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

Online LibraryHerodotusVoyages and travels; ancient and modern → online text (page 14 of 35)