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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 the passengers, had
forsaken her, and were gone ashore in the Gundeloe [ship's
boat] : 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 Cap-
tain "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
soever 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 great [er] frigate's gundeloe,
and dismissed them.

The next morning (21st October) when they came down
to the wester [n] 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 ord-


nance; 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 a
land: 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 Cap-
tain was aboard, we hauled off upon our grapner and rid

They presently came forth upon the sand[s], 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 pin-
naces, 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 re-
cover the frigates from us.

But our Captain prevented both their drifts. For com-
manding John Ox.vam to stay with the one pinnace, to
entertain these two Men-of-war; himself in the other made
such 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 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 Jonx Oxxam ; 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 from the sea, so that, we being betwixt
the shore and them, were in 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 grap-
ner 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 them-
selves 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 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 dis-
tance, 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 west-
erly, 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, &c. ; 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 pin-
naces 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 wester [n] 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 unre-
vengedly, 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 a land, 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 Coriqao [Curagao], 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 there 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 them-


selves 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 there-
fore he doubted not but they would take such part as he
did, and willingly depend upon GOD's Almighty providence,
which never failcth them that trust in Him."

With that he hoisted his foresail, and set his course for
Coriqao ; 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 at-
tempt to board her, and therefore we made fit small sail to
attend upon her, and keep her company to her small con-
tent, 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. c, 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 ob-
tained of flhe 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 satisfac-
tion 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.

The sickness which had begun to kindle among us, two or
three days before, did this day shew itself, in Charles Glub,
one of our Quarter-Masters, a very tall man, and a right
good mariner; taken away, to the great grief both of Cap-
tain and company. What the cause of this malady was, we
knew not of certainty, we imputed it to the cold which our men
had taken, lying without succour in the pinnaces. But how-
soever it was, thus it pleased GOD to visit us, and yet in favour
to restore unto health all the rest of our company, that were
touched with this disease ; which were not a few.

The next morning (15th November) being fair weather,
though the wind continued contrary, our Captain commanded
the Minion, his lesser pinnace, to hasten away before him
towards his ships at Fort Diego within the Cabeqas [Head-
lands] to carry news of his coming, and to put all things in a
readiness for our land journey, if they heard anything of the
Fleet's arrival by the Cimaroons ; giving the Minion charge
if they wanted wine, to take St. Bernards in their way, and
there take in some such portion as they thought good, of
the wines which we had there hidden in the sand.

We plied to windwards, as near as we could, so that
within seven-night after the Minion departed from us, we
came (22nd November) to St. Bernards, finding but twelve
botijos of wine of all the store we left, which had escaped
the curious search of the enemy, who had been there ; for
they were deep in the ground.


Within four or five days after, we came (27th Xovember)
to our ship, where we found all other things in good order;
but received very heavy news of the death of John Drake,
our Captain's brother, and another young man called
Richard Allen, which were both slain at one time (9th
October), as they attempted the boarding of a frigate, within
two days after our departing from them.

The manner of it, as we learned by examination of the
company, was this. When they saw this frigate at sea,
as they were going towards their fort with planks to make
the platforms, the company were very importunate on him,
to give chase and set upon this frigate, which they deemed
had been a fit booty for them. But he told them, that they
" wanted weapons to assail ; they knew not how the frigate
was provided, they had their boats loaded with planks, to
finish that his brother had commanded." But when this
would not satisfy them, but that still they urged him with
words and supposals: "If you will needs," said he, "ad-
venture ! it shall never be said that I will be hindmost,
neither shall you report to my brother, that you lost your
voyage by any cowardice you found in me ! "

Thereupon every man shifted as they might for the time:
and heaving their planks overboard, took them such poor
weapons as they had: viz., a broken pointed rapier, one old
visgee, and a rusty caliver: John Drake took the rapier, and
made a gauntlet of his pillow, Richard Allen the visgee,
both standing at the head of the pinnace, called Eiott.
Robert took the caliver and so boarded. But they found the
frigate armed round about with a close fight of hides, full
of pikes and calivers, which were discharged in their faces,
and deadly wounded those that were in the fore-ship, John
Drake in the belly, and Richard Allen in the head. But
notwithstanding their wounds, they with oars shifted off the
pinnace, got clear of the frigate, and with all haste recovered
their ship: where within an hour after, this young man of
great hope, ended his days, greatly lamented of all the

Thus having moored our ships fast, our Captain resolved
to keep himself close without being descried, until he might


hear of the coming of the Spanish Fleet; and therefore set
no more to sea; but supplied his wants, both for his own
company and the Cimaroons, out of his foresaid magazine,
beside daily out of the woods, with wild hogs, pheasants, and
guanas: continuing in health (GOD be praised) all the
meantime, which was a month at least; till at length about
the beginning of January, half a score of our company fell
down sick together (3rd Jan. 1573), and the most of them
died within two or three days. So long that we had thirty
at a time sick of this calenture, which attacked our men,
either by reason of the sudden change from cold to heat,
or by reason of brackish water which had been taken in
by our pinnace, through the sloth of their men in the mouth
of the river, not rowing further in where the water was

Among the rest, Joseph Drake, another of his brethren,
died in our Captain's arms, of the same disease: of which,
that the cause might be the better discerned, and con-
sequently remedied, to the relief of others, by our Captain's
appointment he was ripped open by the surgeon, who found
his liver swollen, his heart as it were sodden, and his guts
all fair. This was the first and last experiment that our
Captain made of anatomy in this voyage.

The Surgeon that cut him open, over-lived him not past
four days, although he was not touched with that sickness,
of which he had been recovered about a month before: but
only of an over-bold practice which he would needs make
upon himself, by receiving an over-strong purgation of his
own device, after which taken, he never spake ; nor his Boy
recovered the health which he lost by tasting it, till he saw

The Cimaroons, who, as is before said, had been enter-
tained by our Captain in September last, and usually repaired
to our ship, during all the time of our absence, ranged the
country up and down, between Nombre de Dios and us,
to learn what they might for us; whereof they gave our
Captain advertisement, from time to time ; as now partic-
ularly, certain of them let him understand, that the Fleet
had certainly arrived in Nombre de Dios.

Therefore he sent (30th January) the Lion, to the sea-


most islands of the Cativaas, to descry the truth of the re-
port: by reason it must needs be, that if the Fleet were in
Nombre de Dios, all frigates of the country would repair
thitherward with victuals.

The Lion, within a few days descried that she was sent
for, espying a frigate, which she presently boarded and
took, laden with maize, hens, and pompions from Tolou ;
who assured us of the whole truth of the arrival of the
Fleet : in this frigate were taken one woman and twelve
men, of whom one was the Scrivano of Tolou. These we
used very courteously, keeping them diligently guarded
from the deadly hatred of the Cimaroons; who sought daily
by all means they could, to get them of our Captain, that
they might cut their throats, to revenge their wrongs and
injuries which the Spanish nation had done them: but our
Captain persuaded them not to touch them, or give them
ill countenance, while they were in his charge; and took
order for their safety, not only in his presence, but also in
his absence. For when he had prepared to take his journey
for Panama, by land; he gave Ellis Hixom charge of his
own ship and company, and especially of those Spaniards
whom he had put into the great prize, which was hauled
ashore to the island, which we termed Slaughter Island (be-
cause so many of our men died there), and used as a store-
house for ourselves, and a prison for our enemies.

All things thus ordered, our Captain conferring with his
company, and the chiefest of the Cimaroons, what provi-
sions were to be prepared for this great and long journey,
what kind of weapons, what store of victuals, and what man-
ner of apparel: was especially advised, to carry as
great store of shoes as possible he might, by reason of so
many rivers with stone and gravel as they were to pass.
Which, accordingly providing, prepared his company for
that journey, entering it upon Shrove-Tuesday (3rd Feb-
ruary). At what time, there had died twenty-eight of our
men, and a few whole men were left aboard with Ellis

Online LibraryHerodotusVoyages and travels; ancient and modern → online text (page 15 of 35)