James Samuel Barbour.

A history of William Paterson and the Darien company online

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Paterson by the Act in his favour of £18,241, 10s. lOfd.

The transaction was closed by a formal discharge by
William Bowles, as attorney for William Paterson, dated
23rd December 1717, by which he acknowledges to have
received from the Commissioners " debenture notes issued
furth in the name of the above William Paterson for the
sum of £1500 money, which, with the sum of £12,000
formerly issued furth in the name of the said William
Paterson, and the sum of £4741, 10s. lOfd. issued furth in
debentiires in the name of Mr James Campbell, of London,
merchant, conform to and by the directions of the said
William Paterson, corapleats and is in full of the sum of
£18,241, 10s. lOfd.," specified and contained in the Act,
of which the Commissioners are discharged.

The debentures so issued, of which, as we have seen,
£13,500 were in name of Paterson, were declared to be
transferable by endorsement. When, to whom, and for
what consideration Paterson's debentures were transferred
does not appear; but they were readily negotiable in
London, and must have been disposed of shortly after they
were issued, for Paterson died in 1718. In that year an
Act was passed (5th George I., cap. 20) providing for the


incorporation of the proprietors of the Equivalent debt,
including the sum payable under Mr Paterson's Act, and
making a total capital stock of £248,550, Os. 9|d. Letters
patent were issued incorporating " The Equivalent Com-
pany" on 21st November 1725. Books were directed to
be opened at London and Edinburgh for the purpose of
recording the Equivalent debenture subscribed into the new
company, and the whole of the debentures issued under
Paterson's Act were subscribed at London by various parties
resident in London, who thereby became proprietors of stock
of the Equivalent Company. This corporation existed till
1850, when its capital stock of £248,550, Os. 9|d. was paid
up by the Government, and the company was dissolved by
Act of Parliament.

I would only add that the original documents from which
I have quoted are now before me, and they will, I think, be
regarded as conclusive of the settlement, tardy as it was, of
Mr Paterson's claims. — I am, &c., J. S. Fleming.






or. The

Scots Colony



In the West Indies.

With an Account of the

Manners of the Inhabitants

and Riches of the Countrey.

By a Gentleman lately Arriv'd.

Printed and Sold by JOHN NUTT, near
Stationers-Hall. MDCXCIX.

[In the 'Darien Papers,' Dr Hill Burton states that
this curious and scarce work, purporting to have been
written by a gentleman lately arrived from the Scots
Settlement in Caledonia, affords a detailed and distinct
account of the adventure, as far as it had been con-
ducted up to that time. The work, however, bears
internal marks of being a made-up book, compiled
partly from the Council's dispatches from the Colony
to the Directors in Scotland ; while the descriptions
of the Darien Indians and of the nature of the country
are borrowed largely (in some places word for word)
from Lionel Wafer's ' New Voyage to America,' which
was published earlier in the same year (1699).]

History of Caledonia, &c.


Of the Erecting of the Company of Scotland Trading to
Africa and the Indies.

The Scots having observed the great Benefits arising to all
Nations by Trade, which was not well understood, and put
into Method, till about the latter end of the last Century, in
this part of the World, and that, above all others, that of
Africa and the Indies was the most Beneficial, have long ago
projected to share in it with their Neighbours. But by the
Policy of those who had already felt the Sweets of it, and
who feared a Diminution of their Gain, they found, till of
late Years, unsurmountable Difiiculties.

But in the year 1688, they having, for the most part. Early
appeared in the Revolution, and served his Present Majesty
with great Zeal, they thought they might Justly Promise to
themselves a suitable Return to so great Merits, And having
managed their Business with great Dexterity, they found
themselves not frustrated of their Expectation.

About Three years ago, under the Administration of the
Earl of Tioidale, who was mightily influenced in this Affair
by Secretary Johnson, Son of tlie late Laird Warn i^ton, an
Act was touched by the Scepter for erecting a Company to


be called the Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the
Indies, with great Immunities, — vizt. of being Custom-free for
above Twenty Years ; and that all Ships which should be
taken or damaged by any other Nation, to be made Good at
His Majesties charge. These Two Provisos in the Act, were
a mighty Encouragement ; For by the first they were enabl'd
to undersel their Neighbours, and by the second they were
always sure of His Majesties Protection, being obliged by the
strongest Ties of Interest.


Of the Opposition against if.

No sooner was the News of this Act of Parliament spread
abroad, but it was opposed in England by all concerned in
the East India Trade, who made a mighty noise against it.
Some indeed contemned it, and making severe Reflections
upon the poverty of Scotland, look'd upon it as a Chymerical
Project ; but the wiser sort here thought it might be of
dangerous Consequence ; making serious Reflections upon
the great Priviledges granted the New Company, thought
many, both here, in Holland and other Nations, might easily
be induced to joyn with them ; and accordingly, many began,
even here, to talk of Subscriptions, and remitting great Sums
of Money; and more particularly the Hamhurgers, had a
Project of Subscribing an Hundred Thousand Pound. But
the Parliament sitting here about the time when the Dis-
course of this Great Affair was at the hottest, the Companies
most concerned, made their application to them, and j^revailed
so much, that they quite dashed all Subscriptions here ; and
that they might, if possibly, quite Ruin the Scottish Project,
they addressed His Majesty, That he would take all care, and


use all possible Methods to suppress it ; they obtained a
Promise, That some Methods should be taken, and His
Majesty making some Reflections upon what had passed, was
pleased to express himself, He had not been well served in
Scotland. But the Act being passed, and the whole Kingdom
being engaged in it, it was looked upon as next to an
impossibility, to have it Repealed. All that could be done,
was to quite discourage all from Subscribing here, and to
remonstrate to the Hamhiirgers the Injury their Joyning
with the Scots would be to the English Trade. Accord-
ingly, Sir Paul Rycaut, His Majesty's Minister to that
Republick, had orders to press it home : Upon which
the Hamhurgers put out a Declaration in Justification
of themselves, and seemed resolv'd to pursue their Project.
But upon Cooler Thoughts, &c., considering the mighty
benefit they received from the English Trade, they having
made it their Staple for Cloth, for the North Parts of
Eicrojie, to the mighty enriching of that Republick ; and that
it was not impossible, that they might remove the said Staple
from thence to some other place, as formerly they had done
from Antwerp^ to the mighty prejudice of that City ; and
being warmly pressed by his Majesty's Minister, they at last
resolved to desist, preferring certain Riches before uncertain


Of the Progress of the Company.

The Scots seeing that no Subscriptions from England were
to be expected, the Frowns of the Parliament having quite
discouraged all here ; and that the Hamburgers were for pre-
ferring a present and certain Gain before Great Expectations,
being resolved to Keep all measures with England, they re-


solved to stand upon their own bottom, and to shew to the
World that they were not so Chynierical as some gave out,
they set themselves more warmly to carry the Project on, and
accordingly subscribed £400,000, most of the Nobility and
Gentry, and all the Cities and Royal Boroughs, unanimously
concurring, giving the World a sufficient Proof that Scotland
was neither so Poor, nor so Disjointed, as some people would
have it believed. This great foundation being laid, the
Superstructure went on apace : First, they bought them a
Noble House in Miln-Squai-e in Edenhoro^igh, to serve both
for the Offices of the Company and a Warehouse. Then they
began to build and buy Ships, both for Burthen and War,
the chief of which are the St Andrew, the Unicorn, the
Caledonia, the Dolphin, and the Endeavour. And here it's
not improper to remark, that before this late Revolution they
had no Men of War in Scotland, but now being partly neces-
sitated by the Long War, and to carry on the designs of the
Company, they have a pretty good Squadron, some of 60
Guns apiece and upwards.

After they had procured Ships sufficient for the present
Designs of the Company, there was a great Debate among the
Company, to what part of the Indies the Ships should be sent :
and this part of the World was amused with, various Rumours
of the Scots designs. But the first Project laid by Mr Pater-
son, about Ten Years ago, for settling a Colony in the Isthmus
of Darien prevailed. Accordingly Three Stout Ships and
Two Tenders were Equipped in the Port of Leith in the
Frith, and all manner of Provision and Warlike Stores put on
Board, with about 1200 Seamen and Soldiers, the Comple-
ment of the last being the most select Foot of Scotland;
they sayl'd from the Frith witb a prosperous Gale, and went
round by the Oread es, and having a prosperous voyage, about
the middle of November, the last year, 1698, arrived safe in
the Bay of Darien, having lost few or none of their men.

As soon as they were arrived safe in the Bay, after their
hearty Thanks to Almighty God for their safe arrival, they


fell to sounding the Coasts, and found within a great Chain
of Islands (among which is the Golden Island, by the
Spaniards called 8t Katherine) a most large and capacious
Port, where Ships of the greatest burthen may safely ride
secure from wind and weather.

The Entrance of the Port, to which they have given the
Name of tlie Port of Nev) St Andrevj, is not above Cannon-
shot over ; so that it's very capable of being defended against
the Attacks of any Enemies, they having already raised Plat-
forms for that End. Upon the Low Neck of a Promontary
within the Bay, which contains not above Thirty Acres of
Land, they have begun to build them such Houses as so short
a time can give them leave ; which they have covered over
with the Leaves of the Tree called Plantain, whose leaves are
about a Foot and a half long : For the better Security of the
New Fort, they have cut the Ist/mms or Neck of Land on
which it stands, for about 130 paces and let in the Sea. So
that it has no Communication with the Land but by a Bridge ;
in this Fort they have already Mounted 50 Guns, and placed
in it a Garrison of near 600 IMen.

As soon as they had fortified themselves against all suddain
surprises, they sent Deputies to treat with the Indians, of
which you shall have a particular account after the General
Description in the following Chapter.


A short Description of the Country of Darien ;
Now called Caledonia.

The Country of Darien, is one of the most Famous Isthmuses
in the "World. It's about a hundred and twenty iAlilcs long,
and three score broad. If it were possible to cut a Channel


from Sea to Sea, capable of Shipping, it would facilitate the
Navigation of the World two parts in three ; but it's next
to an impossibility, for it's almost a continued Chain of
Mountains, of which some are as high as any of the Alps,
especially those towards the North Part, which is only de-
scribed in these Papers, none of the Colony being able to give
so exact an Account of the South as yet.

The Valleys are watered with Rivers and Perpetual clear
Springs, which are most pleasant to drink, being as soft
as Milk and very Nourishing.

The Rivers that fall into the North Sea, because of their
short course, are not Navigable ; for they have their rise from
the high Chain of Hills above, which reaches all along the
Isthmus, within twenty Miles, and sometimes less to the Sea.
From the top of the Hills, is one of the most pleasant
Prospects imaginable ; for you have there a clear view of the
North Sea, and the Various making of the Shore, together
with the Adjacent Islands, which are called Samhallas,
between which, and the Continent runs a Channel about a
League over, which makes all along the Coast numberless
safe Harbours, and supplys the defects of the Rivers which
are small, and commonly (because of the Violent Land Floods
in the rainy Season, that carries down infinite Earth and Mud)
are barred with flat Oozy Sholes.

These Hills are Clothed with tall Trees without any under-
wood, so that one may gallop conveniently among them, many
Miles free from Sun and Rain, unless of a great continuance.
The Air makes on the tops of the Trees a pleasant Melancholy
Musick, so that one of the Colony considering the Coolness,
Pleasant Murmuring of the Air, and the infinite beauty of a
continued Natural Arbor, called them the Shades of Love.

Between these Hills and the Sea, are gentle declivities and
a rich fat soyl full of all manner of Vegetables, among which
are many not known to us in Europe. It's capable of any
improvement, but towards the shore in many places, especially
near the Mouths of Rivers are Morasses, in which grows a


Tree which rises from several Roots, to which was given the
Name of the Stilt Tree, because the Roots like Stilts are
entangled one among another. It's a Tree of about a foot
Diameter. It has red bark and may be good for dyeing and
dressing of Leather. This Tree is very troublesome to
Travellers, because it makes a continued thicket.

The whole Country is comprehended between the eight
and tenth degree of Northern Latitxcde, and has its name
from the River called Darien ; whereby its Northern Coast
is bounded to the East. It's more subject to Rain than
any other Country in the same Latitude, because of its
Mountainous Scituation between the Atlantick or Northern
Ocean, and the Pacifick or mare del Zur. The Rains begin
in May, and last four or five months, but are very gentle
at first like A^tril showers, but after are more Violent,
insomuch, that sometimes they make a kind of a deluge,
covering the ground in some places seven or eight Foot all
on a suddain, and carrying down Trees with great Impetu-
osity, but those that are acquainted with the Country know
how to avoid the danger. But those Rains, even in the
wettest Months, are not so continued, but there are many
fair Days, and sometimes a week together with small Thunder-
showers, and refreshing breezes of Air. The pleasant dry
months are December, January, February, March, and April.
The Sky is then very serene, and not so much as a cloud to
be seen, and notwithstanding the warm scituation of the
Climate, it's extreamly Pleasant, everything having a fresh
verdure and odour, the Air gently fanning the Inhabitants,
so that the heat is so far from being troublesome that it's

But the Country tho' it be Rich and Fruitful on the
surface, is yet far Richer in its Bowels, there being great
Mines of Gold ; for the Deputies were certainly informed
that not above 12 Leagues from Nerv Edenhorough, was a
great Mine of this precious Metal, on which were employed
near 1,000 Blacks, and that in the River Scania Mena, which


is not above Thirteen Leagues from this Colony, and which
falls into the South Sea, the Spaniards every year get Gold
dust to the value of a Million.

And here it may not be unpleasant to the Reader, to give
him an Account of the manner of getting the Gold dust,
which is as follows : They have little Wooden Dishes which
they dip into the Water and take it up half-full of sand, and
at every dipping they find some Gold mixed with the sand ;
they shake the sand and the Gold goes to the bottom, and
the sand rises and goes over the brim of the Dish with the
Water ; then with a Loadstone they extract the Iron dust
from it, and so it's clear of any other ore or filth. This can
only be done in the fair Season, for the Rivers are too deep
in the wet, and then is the Gold brought down by the
impetuous deluge from the Mountains. It's easy to guess
from this what vast Mines may in time be discovered, when
Art and Industry are joyned together, and of what importance
it will be to Great Britain to take all possible measures to
preserve this Colony.


Of the Reception of the Deputies of the Councel by the
Daeiens, and of their Manners and Customs.

The Reader in the third Chapter, had mention of a League
made between the Dariens and the Company. It will not be
improper here, to give an Account of the reception of the
Deputies and the manners of the Indians.

After the Colony had refreshed themselves ashore, and
taken all possible precautions against any suddain surprise,
by such fortifications as could be made in so short a time ;
It was agreed on by all, that it would add much to the


Security of the enterprise, if they could enter into a League
and strict bond of friendship with the Indians, whom they
knew to be great Enemies of the Spaniards, who had
endeavoured to extirpate them, but could never prevail, by
reason of the invisible paths of the Country. Accordingly
some Deputies were sent out, among whom was Mr Paterson,
the chief Projector of the whole design. They found the
Indians were, as it's before related, very tractable, and had
certain intelligence that one of their great Kings (as they
call their Chief Captains in their Language) was not far off
upon the great ridge of the Mountains, and would be very
glad to understand their design, and enter into any League
against the Spaniards whom they mortally hated. They set
out with a small train to give no occasion of Jealousie, and
had several slight merchandises, as Beads, Linnen and
Woolen Cloaths and other things, which they knew would
be acceptable Presents to the wild Indians.

They found the Country, thro' which they pass'd, of an
exceeding Ptich soyl, but much covered with Wood, as above
related, only here and there they met with some places which
the hidians called in their Language Savannahs, where they
plant their Mari, a kind of Corn something like wheat, upon
little hillocks, at a little distance one from another. These
Savannahs are not level, but consist of small Hills and
Valleys, with pleasant spots of Wood intermixt, which serve
both for pleasure and profit, of which more hereafter.

The Indians were so secure, that they saw several of them
sleeping in Hammocks tied to two Trees, and had no other
Covering or Canopy, but large Plantain Leaves, for they
were told by their Priests, or rather Magicians (who went a
Conjuring, which they call Panawing, as soon as our Fleet
arrived), that the People newly arrived would be a great
assistance against the Spaniards their Enemies, and would
never molest them in any matters of Religion, but live in
good Correspondence with them, if they failed not on their


The Panawing is performed, as the Deputies were informed,
with hideous yeilings and shrieks, in which they imitate some-
times the hissing of Serpents ; sometimes the croaking of
Toads ; sometimes the yelping of Foxes and barking of Dogs ;
to which they joyn the noise of several stones struck together,
and of a sort of Drums made of Bamboes. They labour so
hard and strain themselves so much, that they are all in a
great sweat, and often fall into strange extasies and trances
for a considerable time, and then renew their shrieks again,
till the Oracle be given. The great Enemy of Mankind and
Lover of Discord invited by such jarring Music, at last visibly
appears, and audibly gives his Answer, which for the most
part proves exactly true that he may the better delude these
poor Creatures, who stand in great awe of him.

But to return where we left off, after they had made two
easy days Journey, they arrived at the place where the
King was, which was on the top of a very high Hill, which
had a Noble Prospect towards the North Sea, as far as
the Eye could reach, and was Crowned with a most Noble
Grove of Stately Trees ; some of which were eleven Foot
Diameter, which bears a Cod about the bigness of a Nutmeg,
full of short Wool, which when ripe is blown about by
the wind, and is of small use, tho' it's something like

As soon as the King had intelligence that the Deputies
were near at hand, he sent a few Persons of the best Quality
to Conduct them to his presence ; these were attended with
a sort of Musicians who play'd upon a kind of Pipes made
of small hollow Bamboes and Reeds full of notches, with
which they made a kind of whining noise, but nothing
Musical to European Ears, and all the Company, to keep
Consort, made a humming at the same time to themselves.

As they approached nearer, they were diverted with a
Dance of 40 Men in a Ring, who stretched out their hands
and laid them on one another's shoulders, moving gently
sideways round in a Circle, wrigling themselves into a thou-


sand ridiculous postures, something like the Highland Dances
in Scotland. After they had Danced a pretty while, one of
the Company jumped out of the Ring and Play'd several
Antic k Tricks, throwing and catching a Lance, bending back
towards the ground and springing forward again with great
Activity, to the no small admiration of the Deputies.

Most of them were six foot high, strait and clean limb'd,
big-bon'd and full breasted ; their faces were round, with short
bottle noses ; Eyes large and sparkling, white even Teeth.

Their hair was strait, long and black, which they wore
down to the middle of their back or lower ; hanging loose at
its full length. They often scratched their heads, and when
they found any lice, they would immediately put them in
their Mouth and eat them ; it's supposed they have not the
use of Combs.

They had no beards, neither does any of the Nation wear
any, but has it, as well as the hair in other parts, pulled up
by the Roots by their Women, except the Eye-Brows and
Eye-Lids ; for which purpose, because they have not the use of
small Pincers, they most dextrously make use of two sticks,
between which they pinch the hair and pluck it up.

Their Colour, as is the rest of the Nation, was Orange
Tawney ; (for this description may serve for the whole Nation,
and, therefore, the digression is the longer). They had newly
anointed themselves with Oyl, which they make use of, to
make their Bodies shine and to make the Skin smooth and
supple, and hinder it from Parching ; they had drawn upon
their Skins many Figures of Birds, Fishes, and Trees, in many
parts of their Bodies, but especially of their Faces; the
Colours were red, yellow and blue. They are laid on with
Pencils made of jagged and beaten sticks.

They were quite Naked, and had not so much as a Rag
about them, only a piece of Flantam Leaf, which was rolled
up into the Figure of an extinguisher, and but half covered
their privities.

They had all a piece of an Oval thin Plate of Gold, which


covered their Mouth from corner to corner, and hung dangling
over their Lips, being fixed to the inner part of the Nose.

They had several Chains of Teeth, Shells, Beads, hanging
from the Neck down upon the Breast and to the Pit of the
Stomach ; which was looked upon by them as the greatest
piece of finery, and the more weighty and more numerous the
Chains are, the more they value themselves upon their

But to put an end to this long, yet necessary Digression :
When they were come to the top of the Hill, and almost in
sight of the King, to shew how welcome they were to both
Sexes, they were entertained by a Dance of Women, who
behaved themselves with great modesty and activity, dancing
in a Ring, as the Men did.

They had every one of them a piece of Cotton Cloath about
their middle, tied behind Avith a Thread, hanging down to their
Ankles ; they were very plump and fat, well-shaped, and had
lively brisk eyes, but something short, and a little too thick.

Their features were very regular, their Hair long and black,
which was tied together with a string just behind the Head.

These women danced still before the Deputies, till they

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Online LibraryJames Samuel BarbourA history of William Paterson and the Darien company → online text (page 15 of 22)