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Title: A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11
       Arranged in Systematic Order: Forming a Complete History
              of the Origin and Progress of Navigation, Discovery, and
              Commerce, by Sea and Land, from the Earliest Ages to the
              Present Time

Author: Robert Kerr

Release Date: March 16, 2005 [EBook #15376]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Robert Connal, Alison Hadwin and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team. This file was produced from
images generously made available by the Canadian Institute
for Historical Microreproductions.


















[pg iii]







Voyage round the World, by Captain George Shelvocke, in 1719-1722, 1


V. Voyage from California to Canton in China, 1

VI. Residence in China, and Voyage thence to

England, 11

VII. Supplement to the foregoing Voyage, 17

VIII. Appendix to Shelvocke's Voyage round the

World. Containing Observations on the

Country and Inhabitants of Peru, by Captain

Betagh, 20

Introduction, 20

§ 1. Particulars of the Capture of the Mercury

by the Spaniards, 21

§ 2. Observations made by Betagh in the

North of Peru, 23

§ 3. Voyage from Payta to Lima, and Account

of the English Prisoners at that

Place, 27

§ 4. Description of Lima, and some Account

of the Government of Peru, 30

§ 5. Some Account of the Mines of Peru and

Chili, 37

§ 6. Observations on the Trade of Chili, 47

§ 7. Some Account of the French Interlopers

in Chili, 55

§ 8. Return of Betagh to England, 62

[pg iv]

XIII. Voyage round the World, by Commodore Roggewein, in 1721-1723 65

Introduction 65


I. Narrative of the Voyage from Holland to the Coast of Brazil, 71

II. Arrival in Brazil, with some Account of that Country, 75

III. Incidents during the Voyage from Brazil to Juan Fernandez, with a

Description of that Island, 82

IV. Continuation of the Voyage from Juan Fernandez till the Shipwreck of

the African Galley, 90

V. Continuation of the Voyage after the Loss of the African, to the

Arrival of Roggewein at New Britain, 98

VI. Description of New Britain, and farther Continuation of the Voyage

till the Arrival of Roggewein at Java, 107

VII. Occurrences from their Arrival at the Island of Java, to the

Confiscation of the Ships at Batavia, 118

VIII. Description of Batavia and the Island of Java, with some Account

of the Government of the Dutch East-India Company's Affairs, 123

IX. Description of Ceylon, 138

X. Some Account of the Governments of Amboina, Banda, Macasser, the

Moluccas, Mallacca, and the Cape of Good Hope, 143

XI. Account of the Directories of Coromandel, Surat, Bengal, and

Persia, 155

XII. Account of the Commanderies of Malabar, Gallo, Java, and

Bantam, 159

XIII. Some Account of the Residences of Cheribon, Siam, and Mockha, 170

XIV. Of the Trade of the Dutch in Borneo and China, 174

XV. Of the Dutch Trade with Japan, 177

XVI. Account of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope, 182

XVII. Voyage from the Cape of Good Hope to Holland, with some Account of

St Helena, the Island of Ascension, and the Açores, 192

[pg v]

XIV. Voyage round the World, by Captain George Anson, in the Years

1740-1744, 201

Preface, 201

Introduction, 212


I. Of the Equipment of the Squadron, and the Incidents relating to it,

from its first Appointment to its setting Sail from St Helens, 222

II. The Passage from St Helens to the Island of Madeira, with a short

Account of that Island, and of our Stay there, 232

III. History of the Spanish Squadron commanded by Don Joseph

Pizarro, 236

IV. Passage from Madeira to St Catharines, 247

V. Proceedings at St Catharines, and a Description of that Place, with

a short Account of Brazil, 253

VI. The Run from St Catharines to Port St Julian; with some Account of

the Port, and of the Country to the South of the Rio Plata, 266

VII. Departure from the Bay of St Julian, and Passage from thence to

the Straits of Le Maire, 276

VIII. Course from the Straits of Le Maire to Cape Noir, 281

IX. Observations and Directions for facilitating the Passage of future

Navigators round Cape Horn, 288

X. Course from Cape Noir to the Island of Juan Fernandez, 299

XI. Arrival of the Centurion at Juan Fernandez, with a Description of

that Island, 307

XII. Separate Arrivals of the Gloucester, and Anna Pink, at Juan

Fernandez, and Transactions at that Island during the

Interval, 321

XIII. Short Account of what befell the Anna Pink before she rejoined;

with an Account of the Loss of the Wager, and the putting back of

the Severn and Pearl, 330

XIV. Conclusion of Proceedings at Juan Fernandez, from the Arrival of

the Anna Pink, to our final Departure from thence, 345

XV. Our Cruise, from leaving Juan Fernandez, to the taking of

Payta, 356

[pg vi]

XVI. Capture of Payta, and Proceedings at that Place, 373

XVII. Occurrences from our Departure from Payta to our Arrival

at Quibo, 386

XVIII. Our Proceedings at Quibo, with an Account of the Place, 393

XIX. From Quibo to the Coast of Mexico, 398

XX. An Account of the Commerce carried on between the City of Manilla on

the Island of Luconia, and the Port of Acapulco on the Coast of

Mexico, 405

XXI. Our Cruise off the Port of Acapulco for the Manilla Ship, 412

XXII. A short Account of Chequetan, and of the adjacent Coast and

Country, 418

XXIII. Account of Proceedings at Chequetan and on the adjacent Coast,

till our setting sail for Asia, 425

XXIV. The Run from the Coast of Mexico to the Ladrones or Marian

Islands, 433

XXV. Our Arrival at Tinian, and an Account of the Island, and of our

Proceedings there, till the Centurion drove out to Sea, 442

XXVI. Transactions at Tinian after the Departure of the Centurion, 449

XXVII. Account of the Proceedings on board the Centurion when driven out

to Sea, 457

XXVIII. Of our Employment at Tinian, till the final Departure of the

Centurion, and of the Voyage to Macao, 460

XXIX. Proceeding at Macao, 471

XXX. From Macao to Cape Espiritu Santo: The taking of the Manilla

Galleon, and returning back again, 489

XXXI. Transactions in the River of Canton, 501

XXXII. Proceedings at the City of Canton, and the Return of the

Centurion to England, 514

[Transcriber's note: Some of the footnotes have been renumbered to maintain consistency throughout the book.] [pg 1]












IN 1719-1722.


Voyage from California to Canton in China.

We fell in with the coast of California on the 11th of August, and as soon as we were discovered by the natives, they made fires on the shore as we sailed past. Towards evening, two of them came off on a bark log, and were with difficulty induced to come on board. Seeing our negroes standing promiscuously among the whites, they angrily separated them from us, and would hardly suffer them to look at us. They then made signs for us to sit down, after which one of them put himself into strange postures, talking to us with great vehemence, and seeming to be in a transport of extacy, running from one to the other of us with great vehemence, continually singing, speaking, and [pg 2] running, till quite out of breath. Night coming on, they were for departing, when we gave them a knife and an old coat each, with which they were much pleased, and invited us by signs to go on shore along with them. On the 13th, we were near Porto Leguro, whence some of the natives came out to meet us on bark-logs, while others made fires, as if to welcome us, on the tops of hills and rocks near the sea, all seemingly rejoiced to see us; those on shore running up and down to each other, and those on the bark-logs paddling with all their strength to meet us.

No sooner was our anchor down than they came off to us in crowds, some off bark-logs, but most of them swimming, all the while talking and calling to each other confusedly. In an instant our ship was full of these swarthy gentry, all quite naked. Among the rest was their king or chief; who was no way distinguishable from the rest by any particular ornament, or even by any deference paid to him by his people, his only ensign of sovereignty being a round black stick of hard wood, about two feet and a half long. This being observed by some of our people, they brought him to me, and concluding that I was the chief of the ship, he delivered his black sceptre to me in a handsome manner, which I immediately returned. Notwithstanding his savage appearance, this man had a good countenance, and there was something dignified in his manner and behaviour. I soon found a way to regale them, by setting before them abundance of our choicest Peruvian conserves, with which they seemed much gratified. They were accommodated with spoons, mostly silver, all of which they very honestly returned.

Having thus commenced friendship with the natives, I sent an officer ashore to view the watering-place; and, to make him the more welcome, I sent with him some coarse blue baize and some sugar, to distribute among the women. On seeing our boat ready to put off, the king was for accompanying her in his bark-log, but I persuaded him to go in the boat, with which he seemed to be much gratified. The remainder of the day was spent with our wild visitors, who behaved in general very quietly. The officer returned with an account of having been very civilly received, and we prepared our casks for being sent ashore next morning. Although, at first view, the country and inhabitants might dissuade us from venturing freely among them, I had formerly read such accounts of these people, that I was under no apprehension [pg 3] of being molested in wooding and watering. The Californians, however, appeared very terrible to our negroes, insomuch, that one of them, who accompanied the officer on shore, was afraid to stir from the boat, and held an axe constantly in his hand, to defend himself in case of being attacked. On the approach of night, all the Indians swam ashore, leaving us a clear ship, after the fatigues of the day.

Next morning, at day-break, our boat went ashore with the people appointed to cut wood and fill our water-casks; and before the sun was up, our ship was again filled with our former guests, who seemed never satisfied with gazing at us and every thing about the ship. That nothing might be wanting to keep up our amity, I sent a large boiler on shore, with a good store of flour and sugar, and a negro cook, who continually boiled hasty-pudding, to serve the numerous guests on the beach. At first the natives remained idle spectators of our labours; but at length, taking compassion to see our few men labouring hard in rolling great casks of water over the heavy sand in the sultry heat of the day, they put forth their hands to help them, encouraged by the particular readiness of their chief to serve us; for, after seeing Mr Randal take up a log of wood to carry to the boat, he took up another, and was immediately followed by two or three hundred of the natives, so that they eased our men mightily. They also rolled our casks down to the beach, but always expected a white man to assist them, though quite satisfied if he only touched the cask with his finger. This eased our men of a great deal of fatigue, and shortened the time of our stay at this place. We even found means to make those who used to stay all day on board, of some use to us; for, when we came to heel the ship, we crowded them, all over on one side, which, with other shifts, gave her a deep heel, while we cleaned and paid her bottom with pitch and tallow.

The natives seemed every day more and more attached to us. When our boat went ashore in the morning, there was constantly a large retinue in waiting on the beach for our people, and particularly for those whom they guessed to be above the common rank, by their better dress. By this time, the news of our arrival had spread through all the neighbouring parts, and some natives of different tribes from that which dwelt about the bay, came daily to visit us. Those who came from any distance in the inland country could not [pg 4] swim, and were differently painted, besides some other visible distinctions; but all united amicably to assist us, and hardly any were idle except the women, who used to sit in circles on the scorching sand, waiting for their shares of what was going forwards, which they received without any quarrelling among themselves about the inequality of distribution. Having completed our business in five days, we prepared for our departure on the 18th August, and employed that morning in making a large distribution of sugar among the women, and gave a great many knives, old axes, and old iron among the men, being the most valuable presents we could make them; and, in return, they gave us bows and arrows, deer-skin bags, live foxes and squirrels, and the like. That we might impress them with awe of our superior power, we saluted them with five guns on loosing our top-sails, which greatly frightened them, and there seemed an universal damp on their spirits on seeing our sails loosed, as sorry for our approaching departure. The women were all in tears when my people were coming off to the ship; and many of the men remained till we were under sail, and then leapt into the sea with sorrowful countenances.

Having made some stay in California, some account of that country and its inhabitants may be expected; though I believe a complete discovery of its extent and boundaries would produce few real advantages, except satisfying the curious. That part of California which I saw, being the southern extremity of its western coast, appears mountainous, barren, and sandy, much like some parts of Peru: yet the soil about Porto Leguro, and most likely in the other vallies, is a rich black mould, and when turned up fresh to the sun, appears as if intermingled with gold-dust. We endeavoured to wash and purify some of this, and the more this was done, the more it appeared like gold. In order to be farther satisfied, I brought away some of this earth, but it was afterwards lost in our confusions in China. However this may be, California probably abounds in metals of all sorts, though the natives had no ornaments or utensils of any metal, which is not to be wondered at, as they are perfectly ignorant of all arts.

The country has plenty of wood, but the trees are very small, hardly better than bushes. But woods, which are an ornament to most other countries, serve only to make this appear the more desolate; for locusts swarm here in such [pg 5] numbers, that they do not leave a green leaf on the trees. In the day, these destructive insects are continually on the wing in clouds, and are extremely troublesome by flying in, one's face. In shape and size they greatly resemble our green grasshoppers, but are of a yellow colour. Immediately after we cast anchor, they came off in such numbers, that the sea around the ship was covered with their dead bodies. By their incessant ravages, the whole country round Porto Leguro was stripped totally naked, notwithstanding the warmth of the climate and the richness of the soil. Believing that the natives are only visited with this plague at this season of the year, I gave them a large quantity of calavances, and shewed them how they were sown. The harbour of Porto Leguro is about two leagues to the N.E. of Cape St Lucas, being a good and safe port, and very convenient for privateers when cruizing for the Manilla ship. The watering-place is on the north side of the bay or harbour, being a small river which there flows into the sea, and may easily be known by the appearance of a great quantity of green canes growing in it, which always retain their verdure, not being touched by the locusts, as these canes probably contain, something noxious to that voracious insect.

The men of this country are tall, straight, and well set, having large limbs, with coarse black hair, hardly reaching to their shoulders. The women are of much smaller size, having much longer hair than the men, with which some of them almost cover their faces. Some of both sexes have good countenances; but all are much darker-complexioned than any of the other Indians I saw in the South Seas, being a very deep copper-colour. The men go quite naked, wearing only a few trifles by way of ornament, such as a band or wreath of red and white silk-grass round their heads, adorned on each side with a tuft of hawk's feathers. Others have pieces of mother-of-pearl and small shells fastened among their hair, and tied round their necks; and some had large necklaces of six or seven strings, composed of small red and black berries. Some are scarified all over their bodies; others use paint, some smearing their faces and breasts with black, while others were painted black down to the navel, and from thence to the feet with red.

The women wear a thick fringe or petticoat of silk-grass, reaching from their middle to their heels, and have a deer-skin carelessly thrown over their shoulders. Some of the [pg 6] better sort have a cloak of the skin of some large bird, instead of the bear-skins. Though the appearance of the Californians is exceedingly savage, yet, from what I could observe of their behaviour to each other, and their deportment towards us, they seem to possess all imaginable humanity. All the time we were there, and constantly among many hundreds of them, there was nothing to be seen but the most agreeable harmony, and most affectionate behaviour to each other. When any of us gave any thing eatable to one person, he always divided it among all who were around him, reserving the smallest share to himself. They seldom walked singly, but mostly in pairs, hand in hand. They seemed of meek and gentle dispositions, having no appearance of cruelty in their countenances or behaviour, yet seemed haughty towards their women. They lead a careless life, having every thing in common, and seemed to desire nothing beyond the necessaries of life. They never once offered to pilfer or steal any of our tools or other utensils; and such was their honesty, that my men having forgotten their axes one day on shore, while cutting wood, which was noticed by one of the natives, he told it to the king, who sent into the wood for the axes, and restored them with much apparent satisfaction.

Their language is guttural and harsh, and they talk a great deal, but I could never understand a single word they spoke. Their dwellings were very mean, being scarcely sufficient to shelter them. Their diet is, I believe, mostly fish, which they frequently eat raw, but they sometimes bake it in the sand. They seldom want abundance of this food, as the men go out to sea on their bark-logs, and are very expert harponiers. Their harpoons are made of hard wood, and with these they strike the largest albicores, and bring them ashore on their bark-logs, which they row with double paddles. This seemed strange to us, who had often experienced the strength of these fish; for frequently when we had hold of one of these with very large hooks, made fast to eight-strand twine, we had to bring the ship to, to bring them in, and it was then as much as eight or ten men could do; so that one would expect, when an Indian had struck one of these fish, from his light float, it would easily run away with the man and the bark-log; but they have some sleight in their way of management, by which the strength [pg 7] and struggling of these fish are all in vain. There are hardly any birds to be seen in this country except a few pelicans.

When the Californians want to drink, they wade into the river, up to their middles, where they take up the water in their hands, or stoop down and suck it with their mouths. Their time is occupied between hunting, fishing, eating, and sleeping; and having abundant exercise, and rather a spare diet, their lives are ordinarily prolonged to considerable age, many of both sexes appearing to be very old, by their faces being much wrinkled, and their hair very grey. Their bows are about six feet long, with strings made of deer's sinews, but their arrows seemed too long for their bows; and considering that they have no adequate tools, these articles must require much time in making. The shafts of their arrows consist of a hollow cane, for two-thirds of their length, the other third, or head, being of a heavy kind of wood, edged with flint, or sometimes agate, and the edges notched like a saw, with a very sharp point. They made no display of their arms to us, and we seldom saw any in their hands, though they have need of some arms to defend themselves from wild beasts, as I saw some men who had been severely hurt in that way, particularly one old man, who had his thigh almost torn in pieces by a tiger or lion, and though, healed, it was frightfully scarred. The women commonly go into the woods with bows and arrows in search of game, while the men are chiefly occupied in fishing. I can say nothing respecting their government, except that it did not seem any way strict or rigorous. When the king appeared in public, he was usually attended by many couples, or men walking hand in hand, two and two together. On the first morning of our arrival, he was seen in this manner coming out of a wood, and noticing one of my officers cutting down a tree, whom he judged to be better than ordinary, by having silver lace on his waistcoat, be shewed both his authority and civility at the same time, by ordering one of his attendants to take the axe and work in his stead.

One day while we were there, a prodigious flat fish was seen basking in the sun on the surface of the water near the shore, on which twelve Indians swam off and surrounded him. Finding himself disturbed, the fish dived, and they after him, but he escaped from them at this time. He appeared again in about an hour, when sixteen or seventeen Indians swam off and encompassed him; and, by continually [pg 8] tormenting him, drove, him insensibly ashore. On grounding, the force with which he struck the ground with his fins is not to be expressed, neither can I describe the agility with which the Indians strove to dispatch him, lest the surf should set him again afloat, which they at length accomplished with the help of a dagger lent them by Mr Randal. They then cut him into pieces, which were distributed among all who stood by. This fish, though of the flat kind, was very thick, and had a large hideous mouth, being fourteen or fifteen feet broad, but not quite so much in length.

On the 18th August, 1721, we set sail from Porto Leguro, bound for Canton in China, as a likely place for meeting with some English ships, in which we might procure a passage home. Considering the length of the voyage before us, our ship was in a very bad condition, as her sails and rigging were so old and rotten, that if any accident had befallen our masts or sails, we had been reduced to extreme distress and danger, having no change either of sails or ropes; but ours being a case of necessity, we had to run all hazards, and to endeavour, by the utmost attention, to guard against deficiencies which could not be supplied. Having already overcome many difficulties, seemingly insurmountable in prospect, we were full of hope to get over these also, and the pleasing expectation of revisiting our native shores gave us spirits to encounter this tedious navigation in so weak and comfortless a condition. We were now so weakly manned, that we could scarcely have been able to navigate our vessel without the assistance of the negroes, not amounting now to thirty whites, so much had our crew been reduced by untoward accidents.

We discovered an island on the 21st, 110 leagues W.S.W. from Cape St Lucas,1 but as the wind blew fresh, I could not get nearer than two leagues, and did not think proper to lose time in laying-to in the night. It seemed seven or eight leagues in circumference, having a large bay on its S.W. side, in the middle of which was a high rock. My people named this Shelvocke's island. From hence we shelved, down to the latitude of 13° N. but were stopped two or three days by westerly winds, which we did not expect in this sea, especially as being now five or six hundred leagues from the land. The trade-wind again returning, we kept [pg 9] in the parallel of 13° N. except when we judged that we were near the shoals of St Bartholomew, and then haled a degree more to the north, and so continued for sixty or seventy leagues. A fortnight after leaving California, my people, who had hitherto enjoyed uninterrupted health, began to be afflicted with sickness, particularly affecting their stomachs, owing doubtless to the great quantities of sweetmeats they were continually devouring, and also to oar common food, chiefly composed of puddings made of coarse flour and sweetmeats, mixed up with sea-water, together with jerked beef, most of which was destroyed by ants, cockroaches, and other vermin. We could not afford to boil the kettle once in the whole passage with fresh water, so that the crew became reduced to a very melancholy state by scurvy and other distempers. The sickness increased upon us every day, so that we once buried two in one day, the armourer and carpenter's, mate, besides whom the carpenter, gunner, and several others died, together with some of our best negroes.

The greatest part of my remaining people were disabled, and our ship very leaky; and to add to our misfortunes, one of our pumps split and became useless. Under these unhappy circumstances, we pushed forwards with favourable gales till within 80 leagues of Guam, one of the Ladrones, when we encountered dismal weather and tempestuous winds, veering round the compass. This was the more frightful, as we were unable to help ourselves, not above six or seven, being able for duty, though necessity obliged even those who were extremely low and weak to lend what help they could. In the boisterous sea raised by these gales, our ship so laboured that the knee of her head, and her whole beak-head, became loose, so that the boltsprit fetched away and played with every motion of the ship, and so continued all the rest of the time we were at sea. For some time our main-mast stood without larboard shrouds, till we could unlay our best cable to make more, having knotted and spliced the old shrouds till our labour was in vain. In the midst of these difficulties, I was taken very ill, and had little expectations of living much longer, till the gout gave me some painful hopes of recovery.

In the beginning of October, we made the island of Guam, 100 leagues short of the account given by Rogers, who makes 105° of longitude between Cape St Lucas and Guam, while [pg 10] we made not quite 100°.2 We passed through between Guam and Serpana, and saw several flying proas, but none came near us that day. We had heavy and squally weather, which obliged me to keep the deck in the rain, by which I caught a cold, which threw me into a worse condition than before, in which I continued all the time I was in China. Guam seemed very green and of moderate height, and the sight of land was so pleasant after our long run, that we would gladly have stopped to procure some refreshments, but durst not venture in, though on the point of perishing, lest the inhabitants should take advantage of our weakness. From Guam I shaped our course for the island of Formosa, to which we had a long and melancholy voyage, as our sickness daily increased; so that, on the 3d November, when we got sight of that island, both ship and company were almost entirely worn out. Next day we doubled the south Cape of Formosa, passing within a league of the rocks of Vele-Rete, where we were sensible of a very strong current. As we passed in sight, the inhabitants of Formosa made continual fires on the coast, as inviting us to land; but we were so weak that we did not deem it prudent to venture into any of their harbours.

We directed our course from Formosa for the neighbouring coast of China, and found ourselves on the 6th at the mouth of the river Loma,3 in twelve fathoms water, but the weather was so hazy that we could not ascertain where we were. Seeing abundance of fishing boats, we tried every method we could think of to induce some of the fishermen to come on board to pilot us to Macao, but found this impracticable, as we could not understand each other. We were therefore obliged to keep the land close on board, and to anchor every evening. This was a prodigious fatigue to our men, who were so universally ill that we could hardly find any one able to steer the ship. We were bewildered in a mist during four days, and much surprised by seeing a great many islands, omitted in our charts, on some of which we saw large fortifications. This made us believe that the current had carried us beyond our port, and occasioned much dejection of spirits; for, though the sea was covered [pg 11] with fishing boats, we could get no one to set us right, or to give us any directions we could understand.

Towards evening of the 10th, as we were passing through a very narrow channel between two islands, a fisherman who was near, and observed by our manner of working that we were afraid to venture through, waved with his cap for us to bring to till he came to us. When he came, he seemed to understand that we enquired for Macao, and made signs that he would carry us there, if we gave him as many pieces of silver as he counted little fish from his basket, which amounted to forty. We accordingly counted out forty dollars into a hat, and gave them to him, on which he came into our ship, and took her in charge, carrying us through the narrow channel, and brought us to anchor at sun-set. We weighed next morning, and kept the coast of China close on board. By noon we were abreast of Pulo Lantoon, whence we could see two English ships under sail, passing the island of Macao on their way from the river of Canton. They kept on their way, taking no notice of us, which struck a damp into our spirits, fearing we should miss a passage for England this season. In the afternoon of next day, we anchored in the road of Macao, near the entrance of Canton river, which we never should have found out by any of our charts.

I was much amazed at the incorrectness with which these coasts are laid down, to the eastwards of Pulo Lantoon; as there runs a cluster of islands for upwards of twenty leagues in that direction, which are not in the least noticed by any of our hydrographers, nor have I ever met with any navigator who knew any thing about them. The coast of China, within these islands, is rocky, mountainous, and barren; but, owing to my heavy sickness, I was unable to make any useful observations.

Footnote 1: (return)

Probably La Nablada, in lat. 18° 55' N. long. 180° 48' E.

Footnote 2: (return)

Rogers is however nearer the truth, the difference of longitude being 106° 42' between these two places.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

This name is so corrupted as to be unintelligible.E


Residence in China, and Voyage thence to England.

As Macao is the place where ships always stop for a pilot to carry them up the river of Canton, I sent an officer with my compliments to the governor, and with orders to bring off a pilot; but hearing nothing of him till next morning, [pg 12] I was under very great apprehensions. Next morning, a great number of the people belonging to the Success came off to our ship, and acquainted me that Clipperton had left me designedly. About noon this day, the 12th November, 1721, a pilot came off to us, when we immediately weighed anchor, and immediately entered Canton river, being assured that there still were some European ships at Wampoo, about ten miles short of Canton. We were four days in plying up to the road between the tower bars, where we anchored; and, finding the Bonetta and Hastings, two English ships, I sent an officer to request their instructions how to conduct ourselves in this port, and to acquaint us with its customs. They answered, that the Cadogan and Francis, two English European ships, were lying at Wampoo, and advised me to send up to the English factors at Canton, to acquaint them with our arrival, and the reasons which obliged us to come here. This I accordingly did next day, borrowing one of their flags to hoist as our boat, without which we had met with much trouble from the Hoppo-men, or custom-house officers. I sent letters to the captains of the English ships, signifying the necessity which forced me to this country, and requesting their succour and protection; assuring them that I acted under his majesty's commission, which also I sent, for their perusal. Next morning, being the 17th, I weighed and worked up to Wampoo, where, besides the two English ships, I found three belonging to France, one Ostender, and a small ship from Manilla.

I was here in hopes of all my troubles being at an end, and that I should have full leisure for rest and refreshment after my many and great fatigues; but I soon found these expectations ill grounded, and after all my perils, that I was fallen into others least to be endured, as proceeding from false brethren. A most unlucky accident happened the very evening that we anchored at Wampoo, which gave birth to all the troubles I encountered in India; though, in respect to me, both unforeseen and unavoidable, and purely the effects of that eagerness in the ship's company to get out of this part of the world at any rate. Had there been any government among the English settled here, to have supported my authority, this unlucky business had never happened; and, as it was, could only be imputed to nothing but the want of such an establishment. One of my men, named David Griffith, being in a hurry to remove his effects [pg 13] into the Bonetta's boat, in which he was chased by a Hoppo or custom-house boat; and being a little in liquor, and fearing to lose his silver, fired a musket and killed the Hoppo-man or custom-house officer. Early next morning, the dead body was laid at the door of the English factory, where Chinese officers lay in wait to seize the first Englishman that should come out. A supercargo belonging to the Bonetta happened to be the first; he was immediately seized and carried off, and afterwards led in chains about the suburbs of Canton. All that could be said or done by the most considerable Chinese merchants who were in correspondence with the English, was of no avail. In the mean time, my man, who had slain the Chinese officer, and another, were put in irons aboard the Francis, which was chopped, or seized, till the guilty man was delivered up. He was then carried to Canton in chains, and the supercargo was released.

I had not been here many days, when I was deserted by all my officers and men, who were continually employed in removing their effects from my ship to some of the European ships, without my knowledge, I being then confined to bed. My officers were using all their efforts to engage the gentlemen belonging to the company in their interest, and had only left my son and a few negroes to look after the ship, and to defend my effects, which were on the brink of falling into the bottomless pit of Chinese avarice; besides, they and the ship's company had so many ways of disposing of every thing they could lay their hands on, that I found it impossible to oblige them to do what I thought justice to our owners: They all soon recovered from their illness, and they all became their own masters. There were no magistrates for me to appeal to on shore, who would aid me so far as to compel them to remain in my ship; and the officers commanding the English ships could not afford me the help they might have been inclined to give, lest the supercargoes might represent their conduct to the East India Company. And these last, who superintend the English trade at this port, seemed even inclined to have refused me a passage in one of their ships, and even treated me as one enemy would treat another in a neutral port; looking on me in that light for presuming to come within the limits of the Company, without considering the necessity by which I had been compelled to take that step.

[pg 14]

When Captains Hill and Newsham came to visit me, they were astonished at the ruinous condition of my ship, and could scarcely think it possible for her to have made so long a passage. The rottenness of her cordage, and the raggedness of her sails, filled them with surprise and pity for my condition. When I had given them a short history of the voyage, and requested they would receive my officers and company, with their effects, they at once said, That they saw plainly my ship was in no condition to be carried any farther, and they were willing to receive us all as soon as we pleased, on payment of our passage. But the supercargoes were displeased that I had not applied to them, as they are the chief men here, though only passengers when aboard; so that I was quite neglected, and the English captains were ordered to fall down with their ships five or six miles below where I lay. I was thus left destitute in the company of five foreign ships; yet their officers, seeing me deserted by my countrymen, kindly offered me their services, and assisted me as much as they could, and without them I know not what might have been my fate, as I was under perpetual apprehensions that the Chinese would have seized my ship.

After the murder of the custom-house officer seemed to have been quite forgotten, a magistrate, called a Little Mandarin, committed the following outrageous action:At the beginning of the troubles, occasioned by that murder, he had received orders to apprehend all the English he could find, which he neglected till all was over. He then one day, while passing the European factories, ordered his attendants to seize on all the English he could see in the adjoining shops, and took hold of nine or ten, French as well as English, whom he carried, with halters about their necks, to the palace of the Chantock, or viceroy. Application was then made to the Hoppo, or chief customer, who represented matters to the viceroy in favour of the injured Europeans; on which the mandarin was sent for, and being unable to vindicate himself was degraded from his post, subjected to the bamboo, a severe punishment, and rendered incapable of acting again as a magistrate; the Europeans being immediately liberated. It appears to me, however, that the English are tyrannized over by the Chinese, and exposed to the caprices of every magistrate, wherefore I was the more urgent to be on board one of the European ships. I had now discovered my error in addressing the captains, and now sent a letter to the supercargoes, [pg 15] demanding a passage for myself, my officers, and ship's company, which I was sensible they could not refuse: but their compliance was clogged with a charge to the captains not to receive any thing belonging to us, unless consigned to the company in England.

The hoppo now made a demand upon me for anchorage in the river, amounting to no less than 6000 tahel, and, to quicken the payment, annexed a penalty to this extortion of 500 tahel for every day the payment was delayed. There were no means to avoid this gross imposition; and though a day necessarily elapsed before I could send up the money, I had to add the penalty of that day, so that he received 6500 tahel, or L. 2166:13:4 sterling;1 being about six times as much as was paid for the Cadogan, the largest English ship there at the time, and which measured a third larger than mine. I soon after sold my ship for 2000 tahel, or L. 666, 13s. 4d. sterling, which money was consigned to the India Company, along with all the rest of my effects, and I prevailed on most of my officers and men to take their passage in the English homeward-bound ships.

Considering my short stay in China, and my bad health, I cannot be expected to give any tolerable account of this place from my own observation, and to copy others would be inconsistent with the purpose of this narrative, so that I shall only observe, that the English, at this time, had no settled factory at Canton, being only permitted to hire large houses, called hongs, with convenient warehouses adjoining, for receiving their goods previous to their shipment. For these they pay rent to the proprietors, and either hire the same or others, as they think proper, next time they have occasion for the accommodation.

Notwithstanding my utmost diligence, the business I was engaged in kept me in a continual hurry till the ships were ready to depart, which was in December, 1721: At which time, heartily tired of the country, and the ill usage I had met with, I sailed in the Cadogan, Captain John Hall, in company with the Francis, Captain Newsham; and as the latter ship sailed much better than the Cadogan, she left us immediately after getting out to sea. Finding his ship very tender, or crank, Captain Hill put in at Batavia, to get her into better trim. We continued here about ten days; but [pg 16] I can say little about that place, being all the time unable to stand on my legs, and was only twice out in a coach to take the air, two or three miles out of the city, in which little excursion I saw a great variety of beautiful prospects of fine country seats and gardens, and, indeed, every thing around shewed the greatest industry. The buildings in the city are generally very handsome, and laid out in very regular streets, having canals running through most of them, with trees planted on each side, so that Batavia may justly be called a fine city: But the sight is the only sense that is gratified here, for the canals smell very offensively when the tide is low, and breed vast swarms of muskitoes, which are more troublesome here than in any place I was ever in.

A great part of the inhabitants of Batavia are Chinese, who are remarkable for wearing there their ancient dress, having their hair rolled up in such a manner that there is little difference in that respect between the men and women. Ever since the revolution in China, which brought that country under the Tartar yoke, the Tartarian dress has been imposed upon the whole kingdom, which was not effected without great bloodshed: For many of the Chinese were so superstitiously attached to their ancient modes, that they unaccountably chose rather to lose their lives than their hair; as the Tartar fashion is to shave the head, except a long lock on the crown, which they plait in the same manner we do. The Dutch, taking advantage of this superstitious attachment of the Chinese to their hair, exact from all the men who live under their protection, a poll-tax of a dollar a month for the liberty of wearing their hair, which produces a very considerable revenue.

Hearing at Batavia that there were several pirates in these seas, Captain Hill joined the Dutch homeward-bound fleet in Bantam bay, and the Dutch commodore promised to assist Captain Hill in wooding and watering at Mew island, the water at Batavia being very bad. We fell in with the Francis in the Straits of Sunda, though we imagined that ship had been far a-head. The Dutch made this a pretence for leaving us before we got to Mew island, and Captain Newsham also deserted us, so that we were left alone. We continued six or seven days at Mew island, during which time several boats came to us from Prince's island, and brought us turtle, cocoa-nuts, pine-apples, and other fruits. From Mew island we had a very pleasant voyage to and [pg 17] about the Cape of Good Hope. By the good management of Captain Hill, although the Francis and the Dutch ships had the start of us seven days, by deserting us in the Straits of Sunda, we yet got to the cape seven days before the Francis, though she sailed considerably better than we. By comparing notes with the officers of the Francis, we found that she had suffered a good deal of bad weather off the south of Africa, while we, by keeping about ten leagues nearer shore, continually enjoyed pleasant weather and a fair wind, till we anchored in Table Bay, which we did towards the end of March, 1722.

We here found Governor Boon and others, bound for England in the London Indiaman. We had a pleasant voyage from the cape to St Helena, and thence to England, arriving off the Land's-end towards the close of July. On coming into the British channel we had brisk gales from the west, with thick foggy weather. In the evening of the 30th July we anchored under Dungeness, and that same night some of the supercargoes and passengers, among whom I was one, hired a small vessel to carry us to Dover, where we arrived the next morning early. The same day we proceeded for London, and arrived there on the 1st August, 1722. Thus ended a long, fatiguing, and unfortunate voyage, of three years, seven months, and eleven days, in which I had sailed considerably more than round the circumference of the globe, and had undergone a great variety of troubles and hardships by sea and land.

Footnote 1: (return)

At these proportions, the Chinese tahel is exactly 6s. 8d. sterling.E.


Supplement to the foregoing Voyage.

In the Collection of Harris, besides interweaving several controversial matters respecting this voyage, from an account of it by one Betagh, who was captain of marines in the Speedwell, a long series of remarks on the conduct of Shelvocke by that person, are appended. Neither of these appear to possess sufficient interest, at this distance of time, almost a century, to justify their insertion in our collection, where they would have very uselessly occupied a considerable space. Captain Betagh appears to have been actuated by violent animosity against Captain Shelvocke, whose actions he traduced and misrepresented with the utmost malignity, [pg 18] the innocent cause of his having suffered captivity among the Spaniards in South America, of which some account will be found in the subsequent section. Of all these charges, we have only deemed it expedient to insert the following statement of the circumstances connected with the capture of the Conception, as related by Betagh, which Harris, I. 230, characterizes as "a very extraordinary piece of recent history, and seemingly supported by evidence;" but at this distance of time we have no means of ascertaining to which side the truth belongs.Ed.

"This being the great crisis of the voyage, I shall be more particular in relating the affair of this last prize. This ship was named the Conception, Don Stephen de Recova commander,1 bound from Calao to Panama, having on board several persons of distinction, particularly the Conde de la Rosa, who had been some time governor of Pisco, and was now going to Spain, laden with flour, sugar, marmalade, et cetera. Now, be it known to all men, that the et cetera was 108,630 pieces of eight, or Spanish dollars: And Shelvocke little thought, when he took this prize, or compiled his book, that I, of all men, should have the exact state of this affair. He often said that he would give the gentlemen owners a fair account; and I have often promised to prove that he did say so. We have now both made our words good, and I have not only an authentic account, but I will also declare how I got it.

"When I was carried prisoner to Lima, I had sufficient leisure to reflect on my misfortunes, and how likely I was to be ruined and the owners cheated; wherefore, to prepare them to defend their just rights, I wrote to one of them the substance of what had occurred to me; how Shelvocke had mismanaged; how arbitrarily he had acted in defiance of their articles, and what were his private intentions in the latter part of the voyage. As soon as I came to London, which was in October, 1721, I confirmed the report of my letter with several new circumstances; for all which performance of my duty, it is, as I suppose, that my name has met with so much reproach in Captain Shelvocke's book. But, besides my advices, the gentlemen owners had many proofs from prisoners and other people. Eleven months after me, [pg 19] being August, 1722, Shelvocke himself arrived, and immediately waited on the gentlemen in the lump for all his transactions; not owning any thing of this prize, which he had unlawfully shared, with every thing else, among twenty-three of his men. Instead of compromising the matter, the gentlemen read him a letter, secured him, and had him the same day confined in Wood-street Compter. A few days after, his pupil, Stewart, arrived at Dover, and was seized by the honest warden of the castle, according to directions, securing also his book of accounts, and brought it along with the prisoner to the owners, from whom I had the book, and copied from it the following statement of the dividends:

Names. Quality Number Dollars Eng.
of Money.
George Shelvocke Captain 6 14,325 2642 10 0
Samuel Rundal Lieutenant 2-1/2
John Rainer Cap. Marines 2-1/2
Blowfield Coldsea Master 2-1/2 4718 1100 17 4
Nicholas Adams Surgeon 2-1/2 each
Mathew Stewart First mate 2
Monsieur La Porte Second mate 2
George Henshall Boatswain 2 3775 880 16 8
Robert Davenport Carpenter 2 each
William Clark Gunner 2
James Daniel Midshipman 1-1/2
David Griffith Ditto 1-1/2
Christopher Hawkins Ditto 1-1/2
Oliver Lefevre Sail-maker 1-1/2
John Doydge Surgeon's mate 1-1/2
William Morgan Ditto 1-1/2 2850 660 0 0
John Popplestone Armourer 1-1/2 each
James Moyett Cooper 1-1/2
John Pearson Carpenter's mate 1-1/2
Geo. Shelvocke, jun. 1-1/2
William Clement Able seaman 1
John Norris Ditto 1
James Moulville Ditto 1
George Gill Ditto 1
Peter Fero Ditto 1 1887-1/4 440 7 2
John Smith Ditto 1 each
Edward Alcocke Ditto 1
John Theobald Barber 1
William Burrows Old seaman 3/4
Daniel M'Donald Ditto 3/4
Richard Croft Ditto 3/4
John Robbins Grommet, or boy 1/2 943-1/4 220 4 2
Benedict Harry Cook 1/2 each
33 persons in all 52-1/4 98,604-2/3 23,007 15 6
[pg 20]

"The reader will perceive that the sum total of this dividend falls short of what I said the capture amounted to; but, in order to set that matter right, there is a secret article of 627 quadruples of gold, which Shelvocke graciously shared among private friends, each quadruple, or double doubloon; being worth sixteen dollars each, or L. 3:14:8 sterling, at 4s. 8d. the dollar. The value of these is 10,032 dollars, which, added to the sum of the foregoing account, make 108,636-3/4 dollars, or L. 25,348:11:6 sterling in all. Which large sum of money Shelvocke had the prodigious modesty to conceal, under the mysterious et cetera. Stewart's book mentions the double doubloons, but says not a word as to how they were distributed, so that we may imagine they were sunk between the two Shelvockes and Stewart: For, as Stewart was agent, cashier, and paymaster, it was an easy matter to hide a bag of gold from the public, and to divide it afterwards in a committee of two or three."Betagh.

Footnote 1: (return)

Shelvocke who certainly ought to have known best, names the ship the Conception de Recova, and her commander Don Joseph Desorio.E.


Appendix to Shelvocke's Voyage round the World. Containing Observations on the Country and Inhabitants of Peru, by Captain Betagh.1


This article may rather seem misplaced, as here inserted among the circumnavigations; but, both as having arisen out of the voyage of Shelvocke, and because arranged in this manner by Harris, it has been deemed proper and necessary to preserve it in this place, where it may be in a great measure considered as a supplement to the preceding voyage. In the opinion of Harris, "The time that Betagh lived among the Spaniards in Peru, and the manner in which he was treated by them, gave him an opportunity of acquainting himself with their manners and customs, and with the nature and maxims of their government, such as no Englishman had possessed; and the lively manner in which he tells his story, gives it much beauty and spirit." We have already seen, in the narrative of Shelvocke, the [pg 21] occasion of Betagh separating from his commander, along with Hately and a complement of men in the Mercury, on which occasion Shelvocke alleged that they purposely separated from him, in consequence of taking a prize containing 150,000 dollars. In the following narrative, Betagh tells his own story very differently, and we do not presume to determine between them. The separation of Shelvocke originally from his own superior officer, Clipperton, is not without suspicion; and Hately and Betagh may have learnt from their commander, to endeavour to promote their own individual interests, at the expense of their duty, already weakened by bad example.Ed.

§ 1. Particulars of the Capture of the Mercury by the Spaniards.

It was in the beginning of the year 1720, about the middle of March, when Captain Shelvocke sent Hately and the rest of us to seek our fortunes in the lighter called the Mercury. He then went in the Speedwell to plunder the village of Payta, where we might easily have joined him, had he been pleased to have imparted his design to us. We had not cruized long off Cape Blanco, when we took a small bark, having a good quantity of flour and chocolate. There were also on board an elderly lady, and a thin old friar, whom we detained two or three days; and, after taking out what could be of use to us, we discharged the bark and them. Soon after this we took the Pink, which Shelvocke calls the rich prize. Her people had no suspicion of our being an enemy, and held on their way till they saw the Mercury standing towards them, and then began to suspect us; on which, about noon, they clapt their helm hard a-weather, and crowded all sail before the wind; and, being in ballast, this was her best sailing, yet proved also the greatest advantage they could have given us; for, had she held her wind, our flat-bottomed vessel could never have got up with theirs. About ten o'clock at night, with the assistance of hard rowing, we got up within shot of the chase, and made her bring to, when pretty near the shore. On boarding the prize, in which were about seventy persons, thirty of whom were negroes, Hately left me and Pressick in the Mercury, with other four, where we continued two or three days, till [pg 22] a heavy rain spoiled all our bread and other dry provisions. We then went on board the prize, sending three men to take charge of the Mercury.

After this, we stood off and on in the height of Cape Blanco for seven or eight days, expecting to meet with the Speedwell; and at that place we sent ashore the Spanish Captain, a padre or priest, and some gentlemen passengers. At last we espied a sail plying to windward; and, having no doubt that she was either the Speedwell or the Success, we stood towards her, while she also edged down towards us. About ten in the morning we were near enough to make her out to be a ship of war, but neither of these we wished for. The master of our prize had before informed us, that he had fallen in with the Brilliante, which was cruizing for our privateers, and we had till now entirely disregarded his information. Upon this, Hately advised with me what we ought to do in this emergency, when we agreed to endeavour to take advantage of the information given us by the Spaniards; considering, as the Brilliante had spoken so very lately with the Pink, that there might not be many questions asked now. Accordingly, Hately and I dressed ourselves like Spaniards, and hoisted Spanish colours, confined all our prisoners in the great cabin, and allowed none but Indians and negroes to appear on the deck, that the Pink might have the same appearance as before. We had probably succeeded in this contrivance, but for the obstinacy of John Sprake, one of our men, whom we could not persuade to keep off the deck. As the Brilliante came up, she fired a gun to leeward, on which we lowered our topsail, going under easy sail till we got alongside. The first question asked was, If we had seen the English privateer? We answered, No. The next question was, How we had got no farther on our way to Lima? To which we answered, By reason of the currents. To two or three other questions, we answered satisfactorily in Spanish, and they were getting their tacks aboard in order to leave us, when Sprake and two or three more of our men appeared on the main deck. A Frenchman aboard the Brilliante, who was on the mast-head, seeing their long trowsers, called out, Par Dieu, Monsieur, ils sont Anglois, By Heaven, Sir, they are English: Upon which they immediately fired a broad-side into us with round and partridge shot, by one of which Hately was slightly wounded in the leg.

[pg 23]

As soon as we struck our flag, the enemy sent for all the English on board their ships, and ordered two of their own officers into our prize. The Brilliante then bore down on the Mercury, into which she fired at least twenty-five shot, which bored her sides through and through: Yet such was the construction of that extraordinary vessel, that, though quite full of water, there was not weight enough to sink her, and our three men who were in her remained unhurt. Don Pedro Midrando, the Spanish commander, ordered these three men into his own ship, in which he intended to sail for Payta. As for me, he gave directions that I should be sent forty miles up the country, to a place called Piura, and was so kind as to leave Mr Pressick the surgeon, and my serjeant Cobbs, to bear me company. Mr Hately and the rest of our men were ordered to Lima by land, a journey of four hundred miles.2 Hately had the misfortune to be doubly under the displeasure of the Spaniards: First, for returning into these seas after having been long their prisoner, and being well used among them: And, second, for having stripped the Portuguese captain at Cape Frio of a good quantity of moidores, which were now found upon him. Don Pedro proposed to have this business searched to the bottom, and the guilty severely punished, without exposing the innocent to any danger.

Footnote 1: (return)

Harris, I. 240.

Footnote 2: (return)

Lima is above six hundred miles from Cape Blanco, and Piura is about seventy-five miles from the same place. Betagh gives no account of the place where he landed; but forty miles northwards from Piura would only carry him to the north side of the bay of Payta; and, as he makes no mention of passing any river, he was probably landed on the south side of the river Amatape or Chira.E.

§ 2. Observations made by Betagh in the North of Peru.

Leaving Mr Hately for the present, I proceed to the observations I made on the road, as the admiral was so good as send me up into the country, till his return from Payta. As the weather in this part of the world is much too hot to admit of any labour in the middle of the day, the custom is to travel only from six in the evening till eight next morning. My Indian guide set me on the best mule he had, which did not think proper to follow the rest, so that I led my fellow-travellers while day lasted. The whole country [pg 24] through which we travelled was an open plain, having Indian plantations laid out with tolerable regularity, on both sides of us. This champaign country is from thirty to an hundred miles broad, and extends three hundred miles along shore; and I was travelling to the southward, having the Cordelieras, or mountains of the Andes, on my left hand, and the great Pacific Ocean to the right. As the soil is good and fertile, this land would be as fine a country as any in the world, if well watered; but travellers are here obliged to carry water for their mules as well as themselves. At the approach of night, I was much puzzled to find the way, my mule still persisting to go foremost, being often stopped by great sand hills, and my mule as often endeavoured to pull the reins out of my hand. This being very troublesome, the Indians advised me to lay the reins on the mule's neck, and on doing that the creature easily hit the way. These sand hills often shift from place to place, which I suppose is occasioned by strong eddy winds, reverberated from the mountains.

We rested at night in an old empty house, about half way, which the guide told me was built by the inhabitants of Piura, for the accommodation of the prince of San Bueno, viceroy of Peru, when they met and regaled him at his entrance on his government. After a short rest, we continued our journey, and arrived at Piura, a handsome regularly built town, on the banks of the river Callan or Piura. The Indian conducted us to the house of an honest Spanish gentleman and his wife, to whose charge he committed us, and then returned to Payta. In less than a quarter of an hour, the inhabitants of the town flocked to see us, as a raree-show, and entertained us with respect and civility, instead of using us as prisoners of war. The gentleman to whose charge we were committed was named Don Jeronimo Baldivieso, who had five daughters, who received us in so benevolent a manner, that we hoped our time would slide easily away, and our captivity prove no way disagreeable; and I now became sensible of the favour shewn me by Don Pedro in sending me to this place; for he had such interest in all Peru, that for his sake we found very good treatment.

After refreshing ourselves, according to the custom of the country, with chocolate, biscuit, and water, we were serenaded by the sound of a harp from some inner apartment, [pg 25] of which instrument the artist seemed to have a good command, as I heard parts of several famous compositions, both Italian and English. Upon enquiry, I found that all Don Jeronimo's daughters had learnt music, and sung or played upon some instrument. Though this seemed unaccountable at first, I afterwards found that music was much cultivated in Peru. During the prevalence of the Italian party at the court of Madrid, the last viceroy of Peru, the prince of San Bueno, who was an Italian, brought a great many musicians to that country along with him, by whom the taste for music had spread every where, and had become as good in Peru as in old Spain. I the rather notice this, because, by our being lovers of music, and behaving peaceably and civilly to the inhabitants, we passed our time quietly and chearfully. We were only exposed to one inconvenience, which lasted all the time we remained here: which was, the daily assembling of the people to stare at us. I and my sergeant Cobbs, being used to exercise in public, bore this pretty well; but Mr Pressick, being a grave man, at first hung down his head, and was very melancholy. But he grew better acquainted with the people by degrees, and came to like them so well, that we had much ado to get him away, when it became necessary for us to remove our quarters.

Almost all the commodities of Europe are distributed through Spanish America by a sort of pedlars, or merchants who travel on foot. These men come from Panama to Payta by sea; and in their road from Payta to Lima, make Piura their first stage, disposing of their goods, and lessening their burdens, as they go along. From Piura, some take the inland road by Caxamarca, and others the road along the coast through Truxillo. From Lima they take their passage back to Panama by sea, perhaps carrying with them a small adventure of brandy. At Panama they again stock themselves with European goods, and return by sea to Payta. Here they hire mules to carry their goods, taking Indians along with them to guide the mules and carry them back: And in this way these traders keep a continual round, till they have gained a sufficiency to live on. Their travelling expenses are next to nothing; as the Indians are under such entire subjection to the Spaniards, that they always find them in lodgings free, and provide them with provender for their mules. All this every white man may command, being an homage the Indians have long been accustomed [pg 26] to, and some think themselves honoured into the bargain. Yet out of generosity, they sometimes meet with a small recompense. Among the British and French, a pedlar is despised, and his employment is considered as a very, mean shift for getting a living: But it is quite otherwise here, where the quick return of money is a sufficient excuse for the manner in which it is gained; and there are many gentlemen in old Spain, in declining circumstances, who send their sons to what they call the Indies, to retrieve their fortunes in this way.

Our lodging while at Piura was in an out-house, which had been built on purpose for accommodating such travelling merchants. Every day, according to the Spanish custom, our dinner was served up under covers, and we eat at the same table with Don Jeronimo; while the good lady of the house and her daughters sat in another room. Any strong liquors are only used during dinner: And I think the only circumstance in our conduct that any way disobliged our good host, was once seeing me drink a dram with the doctor, at a small eating-house; and, as nothing is more offensive to the Spaniards than drunkenness, I had much ado to apologise for this step. Yet they admit of gallantry in the utmost excess, thus only exchanging one enormity for another.

After remaining about six weeks at Piura, our Indian guide came to conduct us to Payta, to which place the Brilliante had returned. When about to take leave, Mr Pressick our surgeon was not to be found, which detained us a day. They had concealed him in the town, meaning to have kept him there, being a very useful man; and if he could have had a small chest of medicines, he might soon have made a handsome fortune. Next day, however, we mounted our mules, and parted reluctantly with our kind host and his family. We went on board the Brilliante at Payta, which had done nothing at sea since we left her, and now made a sort of cruizing voyage to Calao, the port of Lima. I have already mentioned the civility I received from Don Pedro Midranda, who was admiral or general of the South Seas; and I shall here add one circumstance to the honour of Monsieur de Grange, a captain under the general. When taken by the Brilliante, the soldiers stripped us, considering our clothes as the usual perquisite of conquerors; on which that gentleman generously gave me [pg 27] a handsome suit of clothes, two pair of silk stockings, shirts, a hat and wig, and every thing accordant, so that I was rather a gainer by this accident.

§ 3. Voyage from Payta to Lima, and Account of the English Prisoners at that place.

Our voyage to Lima occupied about five weeks; and, immediately on our arrival, we were committed to the same prison in which the rest of the ship's company were confined, except Mr Hately, who, for reasons formerly assigned, was confined by himself, and very roughly treated. A short time after our arrival, commissioners were appointed to hear our cause, and to determine whether we were to be treated as criminals, or as prisoners of war. We were charged with piracy, not solely for what we had done in the South Seas in plundering the Spaniards, but for having used the like violence against other nations, before our arrival in that sea, from which they proposed to infer that we had evinced a piratical disposition in the whole of our conduct. Of this they thought they had sufficient proof in the moidores found upon Hately, as they appeared to have been taken from the subjects of a prince in amity with our sovereign. Happily for us, Don Diego Morsilio, the viceroy, who was an archbishop in the decline of life, was pleased to investigate this matter; and finding only one of us guilty, would not sign an order for taking away the lives of the innocent. Some were for sending Hatley to the mines for life, and others for hanging him: But the several accounts of the vile proceedings of Captain Shelvocke contributed to his deliverance, of the truth of which circumstance, there were enough of our people at Lima to witness; for, besides Lieutenant Sergeantson and his men, who were brought thither, there came also the men whom Shelvocke sent along with Hopkins to shift for themselves in an empty bark, who were forced to surrender themselves to the Indians for want of sustenance; so that the court were satisfied that Shelvocke was the principal in that piratical act, rather than Hately. Considering that we had all been sufficiently punished before our arrival at Lima, they thought fit to let us all go by degrees. Hately was kept in irons about a twelvemonth, and was then allowed to return to England. I was more fortunate, as my imprisonment [pg 28] lasted only a fortnight, owing to the interposition of one Captain Fitzgerald, a gentleman born in France, who had great interest with the viceroy, and became security for me, on which I was allowed my liberty in the city, provided I were forthcoming when called for.

Among my first enquiries was into the condition of other English prisoners at this place. I learnt from Lieutenant Sergeantson and his men, who were here before us, that most of them had adopted the religion of the country, had been christened, and were dispersed among the convents of the city. The first of these I met had his catechism in one hand, and a large string of beads dangling in the other. I smiled, and asked him how he liked it? He said, very well; for having a religion to chuse, he thought theirs better than none, especially as it brought him good meat and drink, and a quiet life. Many of Shelvocke's men followed this example, and I may venture to say, that most of them had the same substantial reason for their conversion. It is here reckoned very meritorious to make a convert, and many arguments were used for that purpose, but no rigorous measures were used to bring any one over to their way of thinking. Those who consented to be baptized, generally had some of the merchants of Lima for their patrons and god-fathers, who never failed to give them a good suit of clothes, and some money to drink their healths.

About this time four or five of Clipperton's men had leave from the convents where they resided, to meet together at a public-house kept by one John Bell, an Englishman, who had a negro wife, who had been made free for some service or other. The purpose of this meeting was merely to confirm their new baptism over a bowl of punch; but they all got drunk and quarrelled, and, forgetting they were true catholics, they demolished the image of some honest saint that stood in a corner, mistaking him for one of their companions. Missing them for a few days, I enquired at Bell what was become of them, when he told me they were all in the Inquisition; for the thing having taken air, he was obliged to go himself to complain of their behaviour, but he got them released a few days after, when they had time to repent and get sober in the dungeons of the holy office. Bell said, if these men had remained heretics, their drunken exploit had not come within the verge of the ecclesiastical power; but as they were novices, they were the easier pardoned, [pg 29] their outrages on the saint being attributed to the liquor, and not to any designed affront to the catholic faith, or a relapse into heresy.

Some time afterwards, about a dozen of our men from the Success and Speedwell were sent to Calao, to assist in careening and fitting out the Flying-fish, designed for Europe. They here entered into a plot to run away with the Margarita, a good sailing ship which lay in the harbour, meaning to have gone for themselves, in which of course they would have acted as pirates. Not knowing what to do for ammunition and a compass, they applied to Mr Sergeantson, pretending they meant to steal away to Panama, where there was an English factory, and whence they had hopes of getting home. They said they had got half a dozen firelocks, with which they might be able to kill wild hogs or other game, as they went along, and begged him to help them to some powder and shot, and a compass to steer their way through the woods. By begging and making catholic signs to the people in Lima, they had collected some dollars, which they desired Sergeantson to lay out for them; and he, not mistrusting their plot, bought them what they wanted. Thus furnished, one of them came to me at Lima, and told me their intention, and that Sprake was to have the command, as being the only one among them who knew any thing of navigation. I answered, that it was a bold design; but as Captain Fitzgerald had engaged for my honour, I could not engage in it. Their plot was discovered a few days after, their lodgings searched, their arms taken away, and they were committed to prison. The government was much incensed against them, and had nearly determined upon their execution; but they were soon all released except Sprake, who was the ringleader, and was kept in irons for two or three months, and then set at liberty.

The dominions belonging to the Spaniards in America are so large and valuable, that, if well governed, they might render that monarchy exceedingly formidable. In my long stay in Peru, I had the means of examining at leisure, and with attention, their manner of living, the form of their government, and many other circumstances little known in our part of the world, and had many opportunities of enquiring into things minutely, which did not fall under my immediate observation; and of which I propose to give as clear and accurate an account as I can, constantly distinguishing between [pg 30] what fell under my own immediate knowledge, and what I received from the information of others.

§ 4. Description of Lima, and some Account of the Government of Peru.

The great and rich city of Lima is the metropolis of Peru, and the seat of an archbishop. It is all regularly built, the streets being all straight and spacious, dividing the whole into small squares. It stands in an open vale, through which runs a gentle stream, dividing the city in two, as the Thames does London from Southwark. Calao is the port of Lima, from whence it is about seven miles distant. Because of the frequent earthquakes, the houses are only of one story, and generally twelve or fourteen feet high. It contains eight parish churches, three colleges for students, twenty-eight monasteries of friars, and thirteen nunneries, so that the religions occupy a fourth part of the city; yet, by the quick and plentiful flow of money, and the vast sums bequeathed through the effects of celibacy, they are well endowed. Besides these, there are two hospitals for sick, poor, and disabled; and in which several of our men were kindly looked after. The length of the city from north to south is two miles, and its breadth one and a half; its whole circumference, including the wall and the river, being six miles. The other, or smaller part of the city, is to the east of the river, over which there is a handsome stone bridge of seven arches. Including all sorts and colours, I computed that the whole population of Lima amounted to between sixty and seventy thousand persons; and I should not wonder at any multiplication in this city, as it is the centre of so much affluence and pleasure. Besides the natural increase of the inhabitants, all ships that trade this way, whether public or private, generally leave some deserters, who remain behind in consequence of the encouragement given to all white faces.

The people here are perhaps the most expensive in their habits of any in the world. The men dress nearly as in England, their coats being either of silk, fine English cloth, or camblets, embroidered or laced with gold or silver, and their waistcoats usually of the richest brocades. The women wear no stays or hoops, having only a stitched holland jacket next their shifts, and they generally wear a square [pg 31] piece of swansdown flannel thrown over their shoulders, entirely covered with Flanders lace, and have their petticoats adorned with gold or silver lace. When they walk out, the Creole women are mostly veiled, but not the mulattoes; and, till thirty or forty years of age, they wear no head-clothes, their hair being tied behind with fine ribbons. The pride of the ladies chiefly appears in fine Mechlin or Brussels lace, with which they trim their linen in a most extravagant manner, not omitting even their sheets and pillows. Their linen jackets are double bordered with it, both at top and bottom, with four or five ruffles or furbelows hanging down to their knees. They are very extravagant also in pearls and precious stones, in rings, bracelets, and necklaces, though the value of these is hardly equal to the shew.

The viceroy has a splendid palace in the royal square, or great quadrangle of the city, which seemed as large as Lincoln's-Inn-Fields. His salary is ten thousand pounds a-year, but his perquisites amount to double that sum. And though his government expires at the end of three, four, or five years, he generally makes a handsome fortune, as all places are in his gift, both in the government and the army throughout all Peru, except such as are sent out or nominated by the king. The great court of justice consists of twelve judges, besides a number of inferior officers, councillors, and solicitors. Before this court all causes are decided, but they are too often determined in favour of the party who gives most money. And, though these vast dominions abound in riches, there is not much work for the lawyers, as the laws are few and plain, which certainly is much better than a multiplicity of laws, explaining one another till they become so intricate that the issue of a cause depends more on the craft of the solicitor and advocate, than on its justice. Every magistrate in this country knows that his reign is short, and that he will be laughed at if he does not make a fortune, so that they wink at each other; and, so great is the distance between Spain and Peru, that the royal orders are seldom, regarded, being two years in going backward and forward: Hence arise many clandestine doings. According to law, the king ought to have a twentieth part of all the gold, and a fifth of all the silver procured from the mines; but vast quantities are carried away privately, without paying any duty, both north by Panama, and south through the Straits of Magellan. There are also vast sums allowed for the militia, [pg 32] the garrisons, and the repairs of fortifications, one half of which are never applied to these objects. Hence it may easily be imagined what immense riches would flow into the treasury of Madrid, if his catholic majesty were faithfully served.

The country of Peru is naturally subject to earthquakes. About fifty years before I was there, or about the year 1670, there were two great ones at Lima, which overturned many houses, churches, and convents. And in the reign of Charles II. the late king of Spain, there was an earthquake near the equator, which lifted up whole fields, carrying them to the distance of several miles. Small shocks are often felt which do no harm, and I have been often called out of bed on such occasions, and heard nothing more about the matter; but on these occasions the bells always toll to prayers. Yet, although this country has suffered much from earthquakes, especially near the coast, their churches are lofty and neatly built. Such parts of their buildings as require strength are made of burnt bricks; but their dwelling-houses are all constructed of bamboos, canes, and bricks only dried in the sun, which are sufficiently durable, as it never rains in Peru. Instead of roofs, they are merely covered over with mats, on which ashes are strewed, to keep out the dews. The small river of Lima, or Runac, consists mostly of snow-water from the neighbouring mountains, which are covered all the year with snow, that partly dissolves in the summer-season, from September to March.

One would expect the weather to be much hotter here; but there is no proportion between the heat of this part of America and the same latitudes in Africa. This is owing to two causes; that the neighbourhood of the snowy mountains diffuses a cool temperature of the air all around; and the constant humid vapours, which are so frequent that I often expected it to rain when I first went to Lima. These vapours are not so dense, low, and gloomy, like our fogs, nor yet are they separated above like our summer clouds; but an exhalation between both, spread all around, as when we say the day is overcast, so that sometimes a fine dew is felt on the upper garments, and may even be discerned on the knap of the cloth. This is a prodigious convenience to the inhabitants of Lima, who are thus screened half the day from the sun; and though it often shines out in the afternoon, yet is the heat very tolerable, being tempered by the sea-breezes, [pg 33] and not near so hot as at Lisbon and some parts of Spain, more than thirty degrees farther from the equator.

The entire want of rain in this country induced the Indians, even before the conquest, to construct canals and drains for leading water from among the distant mountains, which they have done with great skill and labour, so as to irrigate and refresh the vallies, by which they produce grass and corn, and a variety of fruits, to which also the dews contribute. A Spanish writer observes that this perpetual want of rain is occasioned by the south-west wind blowing on the coast of Peru the whole year round, which always bears away the vapours from the plains before they are of sufficient body to descend in showers: But, when carried higher and farther inland, they become more compact, and at length fall down in rain on the interior hills. The inhabitants of Peru have plenty of cattle, fowls, fish, and all kinds of provisions common among us, except butter, instead of which they always use lard. They have oil, wine, and brandy in abundance, but not so good as in Europe. Instead of tea from China, which is prohibited, they make great use of camini, called herb of Paraguay, or Jesuits tea, which, is brought from Paraguay by land. They make a decoction of this, which they usually suck through a pipe, calling it Mattea, being the name of the bowl out of which it is drank. Chocolate is their usual breakfast, and their grace cup after dinner; and sometimes they take a glass of brandy, to promote digestion, but scarcely drink any wine. In Chili, they make some butter, such as it is, the cream being put into a skin bag kept for that purpose, which is laid on a table between two women, who shake it till the butter comes.

The Spaniards are no friends to the bottle, yet gallantry and intrigue are here brought to perfection, insomuch that it is quite unmannerly here not to have a mistress, and scandalous not to keep her well. The women have many accomplishments, both natural and acquired, having graceful motions, winning looks, and engaging, free, and sprightly conversation. They are all delicately shaped, not injured by stiff-bodied stays, but left entirely to the beauty of nature, and hardly is there a crooked body to be seen, among them. Their eyes and teeth are singularly beautiful, and their hair is universally of a dark polished hue, nicely combed and plaited, and tied behind with ribbons, but never disguised by powder; and the brightness of their skins round the temples, [pg 34] clearly appears through their dark hair. Though amours are universal at Lima, the men are very careful to bide them, and no indecent word or action is ever permitted in public. They usually meet for these purposes, either in the afternoon at the Siesta, or in the evening in calashes on the other side of the river, or in the great square of the city, where calashes meet in great numbers in the dusk. These are slung like our coaches, but smaller, many of them being made only to hold two persons sitting opposite. They are all drawn by one mule, with the negro driver sitting on his back; and it is quite usual to see some of these calashes, with the blinds close, standing still for half an hour at a time. In these amusements they have several customs peculiar to themselves. After evening prayers, the gentleman changes his dress from a cloak to a montero, or jockey-coat, with a laced linen cap on his head, and a handkerchief round his neck, instead of a wig; or if he wear his own hair, it must be tucked under a cap and concealed, as it is the universal fashion to be thus disguised. Even those who have no mistress, are ashamed to appear virtuous, and must be somehow masked or disguised, in order to countenance the way of the world. As, all this is night-work, they have an established rule to avoid quarrels, by never speaking to or noticing each other, when going in quest of or to visit their ladies.

In short, the fore-part of every night in the year is a kind of masquerade. Among people of any rank who do not keep calashes, one couple never walks close behind another, but each at the distance of at least twelve paces, to prevent the overhearing of any secret whispers. Should a lady drop a fan or any thing else by accident, a gentleman may take it up, but he must not give it to the lady, but to the gentleman who accompanies her, lest she may happen to be the wife or sister of him who takes it up; and as all the ladies are veiled, these wise rules are devised to prevent any impertinent discoveries. Any freedom in contravention of these laws of gallantry would be looked upon as the highest affront, and would be thought to merit a drawn sword through the midriff. Should any one see his most intimate friend any where with a woman, he must never take notice of it, or mention it afterwards. Every thing of this nature is conducted with all imaginary gravity and decorum, by which the practice of gallantry becomes decent and easy; yet there are some jealousies in this regular commerce of love, which sometimes end [pg 35] fatally. A story of this kind happened shortly before I went to Lima. A young lady, who thought herself sole sovereign in the heart of her lover, saw him by chance in the company of another, and, waiting no farther proof of his infidelity, she instantly plunged a dagger in his bosom. She was soon after brought to trial, and every one expected that she should pay the forfeit with her life; but the judges, considering her rashness as proceeding from excess of love, not malice, acquitted her. However agreeable these gallantries may be to the Creole Spaniards, they have an inconvenient effect on society; as the men are so engrossed by these matters, as to spoil all public conversation. Their time is entirely taken up in attendance on their mistresses, so that there are no coffee-houses or taverns, and they can only be met with at their offices, or in church.

Perhaps it may be chiefly owing to this effeminate propensity, that all manly exercises, all useful knowledge, and that noble emulation which inspires virtue, and keeps alive respect for the public good, are here unknown. Those amusements which serve in other countries to relax the labours of the industrious, and to keep alive the vigour of the body and mind, are unknown in Peru; and whoever should attempt to introduce any such, would be considered as an innovator, which, among them, is a hateful character: For they will never be convinced, that martial exercises or literary conferences are preferable to intrigues. They have, however, a sort of a play-house, where the young gentlemen and students divert themselves after their fashion; but their dramatic performances are so mean as hardly to be worth mentioning, being scripture stories, interwoven with romance, a mixture still worse than gallantry. At this theatre, two Englishmen belonging to the squadron of Mons. Martinat, fought a prize-battle a short time before I came to Lima. Having first obtained leave of the viceroy to display their skill at the usual weapons, and the day being fixed, they went through many previous ceremonies, to draw, as the phrase is, a good house. Preceded by beat of drum, and dressed in holland shirts and ribbons, they went about the streets saluting the spectators at the windows with flourishes of their swords, so that the whole city came to see the trial of skill, some giving gold for admittance, and hardly any one less than a dollar. The company, male and female, being assembled, the masters mounted the stage, and, after [pg 36] the usual manner of the English, having shaken hands, they took their distance, and stood on their guard in good order. Several bouts were played without much wrath or damage, the design being more to get money than cuts or credit, till at length one of the masters received a small hurt on the breast, which blooded his shirt, and began to make the combat look terrible. Upon this, fearing from this dreadful beginning that the zeal of the combatants might grow too warm, the company cried out, Basta! basta! or enough! enough! And the viceroy would never permit another exhibition of the same kind, lest one of the combatants might receive a mortal wound, and so die without absolution.

So deficient are the Spaniards in energy of spirit, that many extensive countries and islands remain unexplored, in the immediate neighbourhood of their vast American dominions, though some of these are reported to be richer and more valuable than those which are already conquered and settled. The first Spanish governors of Mexico and Peru were not of this indolent disposition, but bestowed great pains in endeavouring to acquire the most perfect knowledge bordering upon their respective governments: But now that general thirst of fame is entirely extinguished, and they content themselves with plundering their fellow-subjects in the countries already known. The regions to the north of Mexico are known to abound in silver, precious stones, and other rich commodities, yet the Spaniards decline all conquest on that side, and discourage as much as possible the reports which have spread of the riches of these countries. On the same principles, they give no encouragement to attempt penetrating into the heart of South America, whence most of the riches of Peru are known to come, the mountains at the back of the country being extremely rich in gold; and the regions, on the other side, towards the Atlantic, being inhabited by nations that have abundance of that metal, though, for fear of being oppressed by the Europeans, they conceal it as much as possible.

Of all the discoveries that have been talked of among the Spaniards, that which has made the most noise is the island or islands of Solomon, supposed to be the same with those discovered by the famous Ferdinand Quiros. He reported them to be extremely rich and very populous, and repeatedly memorialed the court of Spain to be authorised to complete his discovery. All his solicitations, however, were neglected, [pg 37] and it became a question in a few years whether any such islands had ever existed. At length, towards the close of the seventeenth century, such discoveries were made as to the reality of these islands, that Don Alvaro de Miranda was sent out to discover them in 1695. He failed in the attempt, but in the search met with four islands, between the latitude of 7° and 10° S. which were wonderfully rich and pleasant, the inhabitants being a better looking race, and far more civilized than any of the Indians on the continent of America. This discovery occasioned a good deal of discourse at the time; but the subsequent disturbances relative to the succession to the crown of Spain, so occupied the attention of every person, that all views of endeavouring to find the islands of Solomon were laid aside.2

[Transcriber's note: No footnote 1 is present in this section in the original]
Footnote 2: (return)

These islands of Miranda appear to have been the Marquebes, between the latitudes of 8° 45' and 10° 25' N. and long. 139° W. The Solomon islands, or New Georgia, are between 5° and 10° N. and long. 200° to 205° W. 63-1/2 degrees of longitude farther to the westwards.E.

§ 5. Some Account of the Mines of Peru and Chili.

As the riches of Peru consist chiefly in mines of silver, I shall endeavour to give some account of them, from the best information I could procure. There are two sorts of silver-mines, in one of which the silver is found scattered about in small quantities, or detached masses, while, in the other kind of mine, it runs in a vein between two rocks, one of which is excessively hard, and the other much softer. These certainly best deserve the name of silver-mines, and are accordingly so denominated. This precious metal, which in other countries is the standard or measure of riches, is the actual riches of Peru, or its chief natural commodity; as, throughout the whole of that vast country, silver-mines are almost every where to be met with, of more or less value, according as the ore produces more or less silver, or can be wrought at a greater or less expence. Some of these mines are to the north of Lima, but not a great many, but to the south they are very numerous. On the back, or eastern side of the Andes, there is a nation of Indians called Los Platerors, or the Plate, or Silver men, from their possessing vast quantities of silver,1 but with them the Spaniards have very little communication. [pg 38] The best of the mine countries are to the south of Cusco, from thence to Potosi and the frontiers of Chili, where, for the space of 800 miles, there is a continued succession of mines, some being discovered and others abandoned almost every day.

It is common, both here and elsewhere, for people to complain of the times, commending the past, as if there had been infinitely greater quantities of silver dug from the mines formerly than at present. This certainly may be the case with particular mines; but, on the whole, the quantities of silver now annually obtained from the mines in Spanish America, abundantly exceeds what used formerly to be procured. Those mines which are at present [1720] most remarkable in Peru are, Loxa, Camora, Cuenca, Puerto-veio, and St Juan del Oro. Those of Oruro and Titiri are neglected; and those of Porco and Plata are filled up. At Potosi there are a vast number of mines; and those of Tomina, Chocaia, Atacuna, Xuxui, Calchaques, Guasco, Iquique, &c. are all wrought with more or less profit, according to the skill of the proprietors or managers. It is generally believed that the Creoles have a very perfect acquaintance with the minerals, from experience, and with the art of treating them, so as to obtain the largest profit; but, when their utter ignorance in all other arts is considered, their constant going on in the old beaten track, and their enormous waste of quicksilver, one is tempted to believe that our European miners might conduct their works to still greater advantage.

The most perfect silver that is brought from Peru is in the forms called pinnas by the Spaniards, being extremely porous lumps of silver, as they are the remainder of a paste composed of silver dust and mercury, whence the latter being exhaled or evaporated, leaves the silver in a spongy mass, full of holes, and very light. This is the kind of silver which is put into various forms by the merchants, in order to cheat the king of his duty; wherefore all silver in this state, found any where on the road, or on board any ship, is looked upon as contraband, and liable to seizure.

In regard to the art of refining, I propose to shew the progress of the ore, from the mine till it comes to this spongy [pg 39] mass or cake. After breaking the stone or ore taken out of the veins, it is grinded in mills between grindstones, or pounded in the ingenious reales, or royal engines, by means of hammers or beetles, like the mills for Paris plaster. These generally have a wheel of twenty-five or thirty feet diameter, with a long axle or lying shaft, set round with smooth triangular projections, which, as the axle turns, lay hold of the iron hammers, of about two hundred-weight each, lifting them to a certain height, whence they drop down with such violence that they crush and reduce the hardest stones to powder. The pounded ore is afterwards sifted through iron or copper sieves, which allow the finest powder to go through, the coarse being returned to the mill. When the one happens to be mixed with copper or other metals which prevent its reduction to powder, it is roasted or calcined in an oven or reverberatory furnace, and pounded over again.

At the smaller mines, where they only use grindstones, they, for the most part, grind the ore along with water, forming it into a liquid paste, which runs out into receivers. When grinded dry, it has to be afterwards mixed with water, and well moulded up with the feet for a long time. For this purpose, they make a court or floor, on which that mud, or paste of pounded ore and water, is disposed in square parcels of about a foot thick, each parcel containing half a caxon, or chest, which is twenty-five quintals or hundred-weights of ore, and these parcels are called cuerpos, or bodies. On each of these they throw about two hundred-weights of sea-salt, more or less, according to the nature of the ore, which they mould or incorporate with the moistened ore for two or three days. They then add a certain quantity of quicksilver, squeezing it from a skin bag, to make it fall in drops equally on the mass or cuerpo, allowing to each mass ten, fifteen, or twenty pounds of quicksilver, according to the nature or quality of the ore, as the richer it is, it requires the more mercury to draw it to the silver contained in the mass, so that they know the quantity by long experience. An Indian is employed to mould or trample one of these square cuerpos eight times a-day, that the mercury may thoroughly incorporate with the silver. To expedite this incorporation, they often mix lime with the mass, when the ore happens to be what they call greasy, and in this great caution is required, as they say the mass sometimes grows so hot that they neither find mercury nor silver in it, which [pg 40] seems quite incredible. Sometimes also they strew in some lead or tin ore, to facilitate the operation of the mercury, which is slower in very cold weather; wherefore, at Potosi and Lipes, they are often obliged to mould or work up their cuerpos during a month or six weeks; but, in more temperate climates, the amalgama is completed in eight or ten days. To facilitate the action of the mercury, they, in some places, as at Puno and elsewhere, construct their buiterons or floors on arches, under which they keep fires for twenty-four hours, to heat the masses or cuerpos, which are in that case placed as a pavement of bricks.

When it is thought that the mercury has attracted all the silver, the assayer takes a small quantity of ore from each cuerpo, which he washes separately in a small earthen plate or wooden bowl; and, by the colour and appearance of the amalgama found at the bottom, when the earthy matters are washed away, he knows whether the mercury has produced its proper effect. When blackish, the ore is said to have been too much heated, and they add more salt, or some other temper. In this case they say that mercury is dispara, that is, shoots or flees away. If the mercury remains white, they put a drop under the thumb, and pressing it hastily, the silver in the amalgam sticks to the thumb, and the mercury slips away in little drops. When they conceive that all the silver has incorporated with the mercury, the mixed mass, or cuerpo, is carried to a basin or pond, into which a small stream of water is introduced to wash it, much in the same way as I shall afterwards describe the manner in which they wash gold, only that as the silver-ore is reduced to a fine mud without stones, it is stirred by an Indian with his feet, to dissolve it thoroughly, and loosen the silver. From the first basin it falls into a second, and thence into a third, where the stirring and washing is repeated, that any amalgam which has not subsided in the first and second may not escape the third.

The whole being thoroughly washed in these basins, which are lined with leather, till the water runs clear off, the amalgam of mercury and silver is found at the bottom, and is termed la pella. This is put into a woollen bag and hung up, from whence some of the mercury runs out. The bag is then beaten and pressed as much as they can, laying upon it a flat piece of wood loaded with a heavy weight, to get out as much of the mercury as they can. The paste is then [pg 41] put into a mould of wooden planks bound together, generally in the form of an octagon pyramid cut short, its bottoms being a plate of copper, full of small holes, into which the paste is stirred and pressed down, in order to fasten it. When they design to make many pinnas, or spongy lumps of various weights, these are divided from each other by thin beds or layers of earth, which hinder them from uniting. For this purpose, the pella, or mass of amalgam, must be weighed out in separate portions, deducting two-thirds for the contained mercury, by which they know to a small matter the quantity of silver contained in each. They then take off the mould, and place the pella or mass with its copper base on a trivet, or such like instrument, standing over a great earthen vessel full of water, and cover it with an earthen cap, which again is covered by lighted coals. This fire is fed and kept up for some hours, by which the mass of pella below becomes violently heated, the contained mercury being thereby raised into vapour: But, having no means of escape through the cap or cover, it is forced down to the water underneath, where it condenses into quicksilver and sinks to the bottom. By this contrivance, little of the mercury is lost, and the same serves over again. But the quantity must be increased, because it grows weak.2 At Potosi, as Acosta relates, they formerly consumed six or seven thousand quintals of mercury every year, by which Some idea may be formed of the silver there procured.

On the evaporation of the mercury, nothing remains but a spongy lump of contiguous grains of silver, very light and almost mouldering, called la pinna by the Spaniards. These masses must be carried to the king's receipt or mint, to pay the royal fifth; and are there cast into ingots, on which are stamped the arms of the crown, the place where cast, and their weight and fineness. All these ingots, having paid the fifth, are sure to be without fraud or deceit; but it is not so with the pinnas, as these have often iron, sand, or some other matter contained within them, to increase their weight; Hence, prudence requires that these should be opened, and made red hot in a fire; for, if falsified, the fire will turn them black or yellow, or melt them more easily. This trial by fire is also necessary to extract moisture, which they [pg 42] contract in places where they are purposely laid to render them heavier, as also for separating the mercury with which the bottom of the mass is always more or less impregnated. The weight of these pinnas may be increased nearly a third, by dipping them while red hot into water. It also sometimes happens that the same mass of pinna may be of different fineness in different parts.

The ore, or stones taken from the mines, or the mineray, as it is called in Peru, from which the silver is extracted, is not always of the same nature, consistence, and colour. Some are white and grey, mixed with red or bluish spots, called plata blanca or white silver; of which sort the one in the Lipes mines mostly consists. For the most part, some little grains of silver are to be discerned, and very often small branches are seen, ramifying along the layers of the stone. Some ores are as black as the dross of iron, and in which no silver is to be seen, which is called negrillo or blackish ore. Sometimes the ore is rendered black by admixture of lead, and is called plombo ronco, or coarse lead, in which the silver appears as if scratched by something harsh. This ore is generally the richest in silver, and from it also the silver is got at the smallest charge; as instead of having to be moulded or kneaded with quicksilver, it has only to be melted in furnaces, where the lead evaporates by the force of fire, and the silver remains pure behind. From this sort. of mines, the Indians drew their silver before the coming of the Spaniards, having no knowledge of the use of mercury, and they accordingly only wrought those mines of which the ore would melt; and, having but little wood, they heated their furnaces with ylo, the dung of the Llamas or Peruvian sheep, placing their furnaces on the sides of mountains, that the wind might render their fires fierce.

There is another sort of black ore, in which the silver does not at all appear; and which, when wetted and rubbed against iron, becomes red. This ore is called rosicler, signifying that ruddiness which appears at the dawn of day. This is very rich, and affords the finest silver. Another kind, called zoroche, glitters like talc, and is generally very poor, yielding little silver: Its outer coat is very soft and of a yellowish red, but seldom rich; and the mines of this sort are wrought on account of the easiness of extracting the ore, being very easily dug. Another kind, not much harder than the last, is of a green colour, called cobrissa or [pg 43] copperish, and is very rare. Although the silver usually appears in this kind, and it is almost mouldering, it is the most difficult of all to manage, as it parts very difficultly with the silver. Sometimes, after being stamped or reduced to powder, it has to be burnt in the fire, and several other expedients must be used to separate the silver, doubtless because mixed with copper. There is another very rare sort of ore, which has only been found in the mine of Cotamiso at Potosi, being threads of pure silver entangled, or wound up together, like burnt lace, and so fine that it is called arana, or spider ore, from its resemblance to a cobweb.

The veins of mineray, of whatever sort they may be, are generally richer in the middle than towards the edges; and where two veins happen to cross each other, the place where they meet is always very rich. It is also observed that those which lie north and south are richer than those which lie in any other direction. Those also which are near to places where mills can be erected, and can consequently be more commodiously wrought, are often preferable to others that are richer, but require more expense in working. For this reason, at Lipes and Potosi, a chest of ore must yield ten marks or eighty ounces of silver, to pay the charges of working; while those in the province of Tarama only require five merks or forty ounces to defray the expences. When even very rich, and they happen to sink down so as to be liable to be flooded, the adventurers must have recourse to pumps and machines in order to drain them; or to cocabones or levels dug through the sides of the mountain, which often ruin the owners by the enormous expence they are insensibly drawn into. At some of the mines, where the methods of separation already described fail, they use other means of extracting the silver from the ore, and from other metals which may be combined with it; as by fire, or strong separating waters; and there the silver is cast into a sort of ingots, called bollos. But the most general and useful method is that already described.

It may naturally be supposed that mines, as well as other things, are subject to variation in their productiveness. The mines which, till very lately, yielded most silver, were those of Oroura, a small town about eight leagues from Arica. In the year 1712, one was discovered at Ollachea near Cusco, so rich that it yielded 2500 marks of silver of eight ounces each, or 20,000 ounces, out of each caxon or chest, being [pg 44] almost a fifth part of the ore; but it has since declined much, and is now [1720] only reckoned among the ordinary sort. Those of Lipes have had a similar fate. Those at Potosi now yield but little, and are worked at a very heavy expence, owing to their excessive depth. Although the mines here are far diminished in their productiveness, yet the quantity of ore which has been formerly wrought, and has lain many years on the surface, is now thought capable of yielding a second crop; and when I was at Lima, they were actually turning it up, and milling it over again with great success. This is a proof that these minerals generate in the earth like all other inanimate things;3 and it likewise appears, from all the accounts of the Spaniards, that gold, silver, and other metals are continually growing and forming in the earth. This opinion is verified by experience in the mountain of Potosi, where several mines had fallen in, burying the workmen and their tools; and these being again opened up after some years, many boxes and pieces of wood were discovered, having veins of silver actually running through them.4

All these mines become the property of their first discoverer, who immediately presents a petition to the magistrates, desiring to have such a piece of ground for his own. This is accordingly granted, and a spot of ground eighty Spanish yards in length by forty in breadth5 is measured out and appropriated to the discoverer, who chuses what spot he pleases within these bounds, and does with it as he thinks fit. The exact same quantity is then measured off as belonging to the king, and is sold to the best bidder, there being always many who are willing to purchase, what may turn out an inestimable treasure. After this, if any person may incline to work a part of this mine on his own account, he bargains with the proprietor for a particular vein. All that is dug out by any one is his own, subject however to [pg 45] payment of the royal duties; being one-twentieth part for gold, and a fifth for silver; and some proprietors find a good account in letting out their grounds and mills to others.

There are gold-mines just beyond the town of Copaipo, and in all the country around, which have attracted many purchasers and workmen to that district, to the great injury and oppression of the Indians; as the Spanish magistrates not only take away their lands for the purposes of mining, but their horses also, which they sell to the new adventurers, under pretence of serving the king and improving the settlements. There is also abundance of magnet and lapiz lazuli, of which the Indians know not the value; and some leagues within the country, there is plenty of salt and salt-petre, which often lies an inch thick on the ground. On the Cordelieras, about an hundred miles to the east, there is a vein of sulphur about two feet wide, so fine and pure that it needs no cleaning. This part of the country is full of all sorts of mines, but so excessively barren, that the inhabitants have to fetch all their subsistence from the country about Coquimbo, over a desert of more than 300 miles extent, in which the earth abounds so much in salt and sulphur that the mules often perish by the way, for want of grass and fresh water. In that long road there is only one river in the course of two hundred miles, which is named Ancalulae or the Hyporite, because it runs only from sun-rise to sun-set. This is occasioned by the great quantities of snow melted on the Cordelieras in the day, which freezes again by the excessive cold of the night. Hence Chili is said to derive its name, as chile signifies cold in the Indian language; and we are told by the Spanish historians, that some of their countrymen and others, who first traded to this country, were frozen to death on their mules; for which reason they now always travel by a lower road, towards the coast.

The mine countries are all so cold and barren, that the inhabitants have to procure most of their provisions from the coast; this is caused by the exhalations of salts and sulphur from the earth, which destroy the growth of all vegetables. These are so stifling to the Spaniards who dwell about the mines, that they are obliged often to drink the mattea, or tea made of the herb camini, to moisten their mouths. The mules also, that trip it nimbly over the mountains, are forced to walk slowly in the country about the [pg 46] mines, and have often to stop to take breath. If these vapours are so strong without and in the open air, what must they be within the bowels of the earth in the mines, into which, if a fresh man go, he is suddenly benumbed with pain. This is the case with many, but seldom lasts above a day, and they are not liable to be affected a second time: Yet vapours often burst forth suddenly, by which the workmen are killed on the spot; and one way or another, great multitudes of Indians die in working the mines. One is apt to wonder that, through all this part of the world, those districts which are most barren and unwholesome are the best inhabited; while other places, that seem to vie with our nations of the terrestrial paradise, in beauty and fertility, are but thinly peopled. Yet, when one considers, that it is the thirst of wealth, not the love of ease, which attracts people thither, the wonder ceases, and we see how much the hope of living rich gets the better even of the hope of living; as if the sole end for which man was created was to acquire wealth, at the expence of health and happiness.

In reference to these deserts, the following observation occurs to my memory, as having happened when we were on the road to Piura. When we lay down to sleep at night, our mules went eagerly in search of a certain root, not unlike a parsnip, but much bigger, which contains a great deal of juice, and, besides serving as food, often answers as a substitute for water in the deserts. When the mules find these, and are unable to rake them out of the ground with their feet, they stand over them and bray with all their might, till the Indians come to their assistance.

It is generally understood that silver is the peculiar wealth of Peru, and the Spaniards usually talk of gold-mines as confined to Chili: Yet there are one or two lavaderas, or washing-places for gold in the south of Peru, near the frontiers of Chili. In 1709, two surprizingly large pepitos, or lumps of virgin gold, were found in one of these places, one of which weighed complete thirty-two pounds, and was purchased by the Conde de Monclod, then viceroy of Peru, and presented by him to the king of Spain. The other, shaped somewhat like an ox's heart, weighed twenty-two pounds and a half; and was purchased by the corregidor of Arica. In searching for these lavadores or washing places, they dig in the corners of some little brook, where they judge, from certain tokens, that the grains of gold are lodged. [pg 47] To assist in carrying away the earth or mud, they let in a stream or current of water into the excavation, and keep stirring up the soil, that the water may carry it away. On reaching the golden sand, they turn the stream another way, and dig out this sand, which is carried on mules to certain ponds or basons, which are joined by small canals. Into these they introduce a smart stream of water, to loosen the earth and carry away the grosser part. The Indians stand in the basons or ponds, stirring up the earth to assist the operation of the water, and throwing out the stones. The gold remains at the bottom, still mixed with a black sand, and is hardly to be seen till farther cleaned and separated, which is easily done. These washing places differ much from each other. In some the grains of gold are as big as small shot; and in one belonging to the priests, near Valparaiso, some are found from the weight of two or three ounces to a pound and a half. This way of getting gold is much better than from the mines, as it does not require expensive digging, neither are mills necessary for grinding the ore, nor quicksilver for extracting the metal; so that both the trouble and expence are much less. The Creoles are by no means so nice in washing their gold as are the people in Europe; but great plenty makes them careless, both in this and other matters.

Footnote 1: (return)

This tribe still holds its place in modern geography, in the vast plain to the E. of the Maranors or Amazons, where there cannot be any silver-mines, at least that they can explore. They are so named because of wearing silver ear-rings, which they must, almost certainly, procure in barter from the tribes in the mountains, far to the west.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

This is utterly absurd, as the mercury must be the same in quality as before, the quantity only being weakened.

Footnote 3: (return)

It is merely a proof that the ore had been formerly very imperfectly managed, and still contained enough of silver to pay for extraction with profit, by more expert methods.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

This proves only change of place, by solution, infiltration, and deposition not growth, increase, or new production.E.

Footnote 5: (return)

In Harris this is said to be about 1200 feet in length, and 100 in breadth, which is obviously absurd; as the one measure gives the Spanish yard at 15 English feet, and the latter at 2-1/2 feet. Both measures are probably erroneous; but there are no data for their correction.E.

§ 6. Observations on the Trade of Chili.

It is not intended in this place to give a description of the large kingdom of Chili, but only some account of the nature of its trade, and the manner in which that is connected with the general commerce of Peru, by which the wealth of Chili is transmitted to Europe. Chili extends in length about 1200 miles from north to south, but its breadth is uncertain. The air is very temperate and wholesome, unless when rendered otherwise by pestilential exhalations, that are most common after earthquakes, to which this country is peculiarly liable. The winter rains are very heavy, during the months of May, June, July, and August; after which, for eight months together, they have fine weather, generally speaking. The soil, where it admits of cultivation, is prodigiously fertile, and fruit-trees carried thither from Europe come to the greatest perfection, so that fruit is coming forward [pg 48] in its different stages at all times of the year; insomuch that it is common to see apple-trees, in the situation so much admired in orange trees, having blossoms, fruit just set, green fruit, and ripe apples, all on one tree at the same time. The valleys, wherever they have any moisture, wear a perpetual verdure; and the hills are covered with odoriferous herbs, many of which are very useful in medicine. The country also produces trees of all sorts. Thus Chili, independent of its gold-mines, may well be accounted one of the richest and finest countries in the world. For instance, the town of Coquimbo, in lat. 30° S. [30° 20'] a short mile from the sea, in a most delightful place. It is situated on a green rising ground, about ten yards high, formed by nature like a regular terrace, stretching north and south in a direct line of more than half a mile, turning a little at each end to the eastwards; and its principal street forms a delightful walk, having a fine prospect of the country and the bay. All this is placed in an evergreen valley, and watered by a beautiful river, which rises in the mountains, and flows in a winding stream to the sea, through beautiful meadows and fertile vales.

Notwithstanding its many advantages, this vast country is very thinly inhabited; so that through its whole extent there are scarcely five towns deserving that appellation, and only one city, named St Jago. Through all the rest of the country there are only farms, called estancias, which are so remote from each other, that the whole country cannot muster 20,000 whites capable of bearing arms, of which St Jago contains 2000. All the rest of the population consists of mesticoes, mulattoes, and Indians, the number of whom may amount to three times as many.1 This is exclusive of the friendly Indians to the south of the river Biobio, who are reckoned to amount to 15,000 fighting men, but whose fidelity is not much to be depended upon.

The trade of this country is chiefly carried on by sea, and at present, 1720, is rather in a declining situation. The port of Baldivia was formerly very famous, on account of the very rich gold-mines which were wrought in its neighbourhood, which are now in a great measure disused. [pg 49] Hence it is now only kept as a garrison, serving to Peru as the fortresses on the coast of Barbary do to Spain, as a place to which malefactors are sent, to serve against the Indians. The trade of this place consists in sending ten or twelve ships every year to Peru, laden with hides, tanned leather, salt meat, corn, and other provisions, which are to be had here in great plenty.

The port of Conception is more considerable, by reason of its trade with the Indians who are not under subjection to the crown of Spain. These Indians are copper-coloured, having large limbs, broad faces, and coarse lank hair. The nation of the Puelches differs somewhat from the rest, as among them there are some who are tolerably white, and have some little colour in their cheeks; which is supposed to be owing to their having some Europeans blood in their veins, ever since the natives of this country revolted from the Spaniards, and cut off most of their garrisons; on which occasion they preserved the women, and especially the nuns, by whom they had many children; who still retain a sort of affection for the country of their mothers, and, though too proud to submit to the Spaniards, yet are unwilling to hurt them.

These Puelches inhabit the ridge of mountains called La Cordeliera by the Spaniards, and as the manner of trading with them is very singular, it may be proper to give some account of it. When the Spanish pedlar or travelling merchant goes into this country, he goes directly to a caçique or chief, and presents himself before him without speaking a word. The caçique breaks silence first, saying to the merchant, Are you come? To which the merchant answers I am come. What have you brought me? replies the caçique. To which the merchant rejoins, Wine, and such other things as he may have to dispose of, wine being a necessary article. Upon which the caçique never fails to say, You are welcome. The caçique then appoints a lodging for the merchant near his own hut, where his wives and children, bidding him welcome, each demand a present, however small, which he accordingly gives. The caçique then gives notice to his scattered subjects, by means of his horn or trumpet, that a merchant is arrived with whom they may trade. They come accordingly and see the commodities, which are knives, axes, combs, needles, thread, small mirrors, ribbons, and the like. The best of all would be wine, were it not dangerous to [pg 50] supply them with that article; as, when drunk, they are very quarrelsome and apt to kill one another, and it would not then be safe to be among them. When they have agreed on the price, or barter rather, they carry away all the articles without then making payment; so that the merchant delivers all his commodities without knowing to whom, or even seeing any of his debtors. When his business is concluded, and he proposes to go away, the caçique commands payment by again sounding his horn, and then every man honestly brings to the merchant the cattle he owes for the goods received; and, as these consist of mules, goats, oxen, and cows, the caçique commands a sufficient number of men to conduct them to the Spanish frontiers.

The far greater number of bullocks and cows that are slaughtered and consumed every year in Chili, comes from the plains of Paraguay,2 which are in a manner covered by them. The Puelches bring them through the plain of Tapa-papa, inhabited by the Pteheingues,3 or unconquered Indians, this being the best pass for crossing the mountains, as being divided into two hills of less difficult access than the others, which are almost impassable for mules. There is another pass, about eighty leagues from Conception, at the volcano of Silla Velluda, which now and then casts out fire, and sometimes with so great a noise as to be heard even at that city. In that way the journey is much shortened, and they can go to Buenos Ayres in six weeks. By these communications they generally bring all the beeves and goats,4 which are slaughtered in Chili by thousands for their tallow and lard. This last consists of the marrow of the bones, which serves throughout all South America instead of butter and oil, for making sauces. The flesh is either dried in the sun, or by means of smoke, to preserve it for use, instead of salt as used in Europe. These slaughters also afford great quantities of hides, especially goat-skins, which they dress like Morocco leather, by them called cordovanes, and is sent into Peru for making shoes, or other uses.

[pg 51]

Besides the trade of hides, tallow, and dried meat, the inhabitants of Conception send every year eight or ten ships of forty or fifty tons to Calao laden with corn; besides supplying meal and biscuit to the French ships, which take in provisions there in order to proceed to Peru, and for their voyage back to France. All this were quite inconsiderable for so fine a country, were it better peopled; since the land is so extraordinarily fertile, were it well cultivated, that they only scratch it for the most part, by means of a plough made of a crooked stick, and drawn by two oxen; and, though the seed be scarcely covered, it produces seldom less than an hundred fold. Neither are they at any more pains in procuring their vines, in order to make good wine. Besides which, as they have not the art to glaze their jars in which the wine is secured, to make them hold in, they are under the necessity of pitching them. And this, together with the goat-skin bags in which it is carried from the estancias, gives it a bitter taste like treacle, and a flavour to which it is hard for strangers to accustom themselves. The grasses also are allowed to grow without any attention or industry being employed in grafting. Apples and pears grow naturally in the woods, and in such abundance as it is hard to comprehend how they could have so multiplied since the conquest, as they affirm there were none in the country before.

The mines of Quilogoya and Quilacura are within four leagues of this port, and afford vast quantities of gold. At the Estancia del Re, or king's farm, which is at no great distance, there is by far the most plentiful lavaders, or washing-place for gold in all Chili, where sometimes they find lumps of pure gold of prodigious size. The mountains of the Cordelieras are reported to contain a continued chain of mines for many hundred miles, which certainly is highly probable, as hardly any of these mountains have hitherto been opened without vast quantities of metal being found in them, especially fine copper, of which all the artillery in the Spanish West Indies is constructed, at least all that are used in the countries on the South Seas.

The most considerable port in Chili is Valparaiso, which is esteemed one of the best harbours on the whole coast of the South Sea. It lies on a river fifteen leagues below St Jago, the capital of Chili.5 To this port all the riches of [pg 52] the mines on every side are brought, particularly from those of Tiltil, which are immensely rich, and are situated between St Jago and Valparaiso. The gold here is found in a very hard stone, some of which sparkles and betrays the inclosed treasure to the eye; but most of it does not shew the smallest sign of gold, appearing merely a hard harsh stone of various colours, some white, some red, some black. This ore, after being broken in pieces, is grinded or stamped in a mill by the help of water, into a gross powder, with which quicksilver is afterwards mixed. To this mixture a brisk stream of water is let in, which reduces the earthy matters to a kind of mud, which is carried off by the current, the amalgam of gold and quicksilver remaining at the bottom, in consequence of its weight. This amalgam is then put into a linen bag, and pressed very hard, by which the greatest part of the mercury is strained off, and the remainder is evaporated off by the force of fire, leaving the gold in a little wedge or mass, shaped like a pine-apple, whence it is called a pinna. This is afterwards melted and cast in a mould, to know its exact weight, and to ascertain the proportion of silver that is mixed with the gold, no farther process of refining being done here. The weightiness of the gold, and the facility with which it forms an amalgam with the mercury, occasions it easily to part from the dross or earthy matters of the stone or matrix. This is a great advantage to the gold-miners, as they every day know what they get; but the silver-miners often do not know how much they get till two months after, owing to the tediousness of their operation, as formerly described.

According to the nature of these gold-mines, and the comparative richness of the veins, every caxon, or chest of fifty quintals, yields four, five, or six ounces of gold. When it only yields two ounces, the miner does not cover his charges, which often happens; but he sometimes receives ample amends, when he meets with good veins; and the gold-mines are those which produce metals the most unequally. In following a vein, it frequently widens, then becomes narrower, and then seems to disappear, all within a small space of ground; and this sport of nature makes the miners live in continual hopes of finding what they call a purse, being the [pg 53] expanded end of a vein, which is sometimes so rich as to make a man's fortune at once; yet this same inequality sometimes ruins them, which is the reason that it is more rare to see a gold-miner rich than a silver-miner, or even one in any other metal, although there be less expence in extracting gold from the mineral than any other metal. For this reason also the gold-miners have the particular privilege that they cannot be sued to execution in civil actions. Gold only pays a twentieth part to the king, which duty is called Covo, from the name of a private individual at whose instance the duty was thus reduced, gold having formerly paid a fifth, as silver still does.

On the descent of this mountain of Tiltil, there runs, during the rainy season, a brisk stream of water, which passes through among the gold-ore, and washes away abundance of that rich metal, as it ripens6 and breaks from its bed. On this account, this stream is accounted one of the richest lavaderos in all Chili for four months of every year; and well it may, as there are sometimes found in it pellets of gold of an ounce weight. At Palma, about four leagues from Valparaiso, there is another rich lavadero; and every where throughout the country, the fall of a brook or rivulet is accompanied by more or less of these golden showers, the richest of which fall into the laps of the jesuits, who farm or purchase abundance of mines and lavaderos, which are wrought for their benefit by their servants. The soil in the neighbourhood of Valparaiso is exceedingly rich and fertile, so that forty ships go from thence yearly to Calao, laden with corn; yet that commodity still remains so cheap at this place, where money is so abundant, that an English bushel of wheat may be bought for less than three shillings. It would be still cheaper, could all the country be cultivated; but as it has constant dry weather for eight months endurance, cultivation is only possible where they have brooks or little rills in the vales coming from the mountains, which can be applied for irrigating or watering the cultivated land.

There is a great trade carried on to all parts of Chili from the Atlantic ocean, by way of Buenos Ayres, whence the Chilese receive some European goods, together with large [pg 54] sums in silver, in return for their commodities. This is perhaps the largest route of Indian commerce in the world, as the road from Buenos Ayres to Potosi is 1500 miles; and though the distance from Valparaiso be not above 160 miles more,7 yet it is attended with much greater difficulty, as the vast chain of mountains called the Cordelieras of the Andes has to be passed, which can only be done during the three first months of the year, the passes being impracticable at all other times. At that season the merchants come from Mendoza, an inland town about 300 leagues from Buenos Ayres, and travel through the mountains to St Jago. The passage of the mountains usually takes up six or seven days, though only about sixty leagues, and the travellers have not only to carry their own provisions with them, but also the provender of their mules, as the whole of that part of the road is a continued series of rocks and precipices, and all the country round so barren and so exposed to snows in winter, that it is utterly uninhabitable. The remainder of the journey, from St Jago to the mines, and from thence to Valparaiso, is both safe and pleasant; and in this the merchants have nothing to fear, except staying too long, and losing their passage home through the mountains for that season, in which case they would have to remain in Chili at least nine months longer than they intended.

On the whole, though a very great part of the enormous extent of the Spanish dominions in South America be absolutely desert, and the people in some of the inhabited parts do not acquire large fortunes, yet the Spanish settlers in Chili certainly procure immense riches yearly, as the country is but thinly inhabited, and all the gold drawn from the mines and lavadores must be divided among them. It is evident, however, that the greater part of the inhabitants do not abound in wealth. Those among them who deal in cattle, corn, and the other productions of the country, only acquire moderate fortunes; and those who are concerned in the mines are frequently ruined by launching out into unsuccessful speculations, and by expensive living. Those who are easy in their circumstances, and retire to the city of St Jago, [pg 55] Jago, live in such a manner as sufficiently demonstrates the riches of Chili; as all their utensils, even those of the most ordinary sort, are of pure gold, and it is believed that the wealth of that city cannot fall short of twenty millions.8 Add to this, the gold-mines are continually increasing, and it is only for want of hands that they are not wrought to infinitely more advantage; for those already discovered and now neglected, would be sufficient to employ 40,000 men. It may also be observed, that the frauds practised against the royal revenue are increasing daily, and, as the riches of the Spanish West Indies are measured by the amount of the royal revenue, this must make them appear poorer than they are in reality. We have one instance of this in the mines of Potosi, which are said to produce less silver than they did formerly; yet, on a computation for fifty years, the annual revenue to the king has amounted, on the average, to 220,000 pesos, of thirteen rials and a quarter yearly, which shews that the annual produce of these mines, so far as it has paid the royal duty, amounts nearly to two million pieces of eight, or dollars, and it may be confidently asserted that the royal treasury does not receive above half of what is due: wherefore, from this example, the rest may be judged of.

Footnote 1: (return)

Allowing eight persons of all ages and both sexes to one fit to bear arms, this would give to Chili, in 1720, a population of 160,000 whites, and 480,000 of colour, or 640,000 in all.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

Paraguay is here used in far too extensive a sense, as comprising the whole level country to the east of the Andes: The plains of Cuyo are those alluded to in the text.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

The Pehneuches are probably here meant, who dwell on the west side of the Andes, between the latitudes of 33° and 36° S. The Puelches on the same side of the Andes, from 36° to 40°.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

Perhaps, instead of the goats in the text, vicunnas ought to be understood.E.

Footnote 5: (return)

This is a material error. Valparaiso is on no river, and lies forty English miles north from the river Maypo, on one of the upper branches of which, the Mapocho, St Jago is situated.E.

Footnote 6: (return)

That is, as the matrix or rock in which it is contained, moulders and decays by the influences of the weather and of this stream; for the notion of ores ripening is a mere dream or fancy.E.

Footnote 7: (return)

In these estimates, Betagh has been very unfortunate, as the direct distance from Buenos Ayres to Potosi does not exceed 1100 miles, and the distance from Valparaiso, also in a straight line, is hardly 800 miles.E.

Footnote 8: (return)

The coin or denomination is not specified: If dollars, at 4s. 6d., this would amount to four millions and a half sterling.E.

§ 7. Some Account of the French Interlopers in Chili.

As the policy of Spain chiefly consists in endeavouring, by all possible means, to prevent the riches of these extensive dominions from passing into other hands, so the knowledge possessed by other nations of the great wealth of these countries, and of the great demand for European manufactures among their inhabitants, has excited almost every nation in Europe to devise every possible contrivance for coming in for a share in these riches, and this with such effect, that it is even questionable whether any considerable portion of the riches of the new world centres among the inhabitants of Old Spain. This may be judged of from the following considerations: Even the trade carried on from Spain to the new world is of much greater importance to foreigners than to the Spaniards themselves. For as Spain has few commodities [pg 56] of its own, and carries on scarcely any manufactures, the Spanish merchants at Cadiz have to make up their cargoes by means of purchases from other countries; or rather the Cadiz merchants are mere factors for the merchants of England, France, and Holland, whose goods they send to America, and pay them by the returns made in the Plate fleets. Spain also is a country very ill provided with some of the necessaries of life, and most of the conveniences; so that prodigious sums of the money brought from America have to be yearly exported for the purchase of these.

Besides such drawbacks as the above, to which the Spaniards willingly submit, there are many others which they are forced to endure: For instance, all the negroes they employ in their plantations, in which every kind of labour is performed by them, are purchased from foreigners, particularly the English and Dutch, at a very large annual expence; and, under pretence of furnishing them with negroes, a clandestine trade is carried on every year, along the whole coasts of their possessions on the Atlantic. In the South Sea, however, they were tolerably free from every thing except the depredations of pirates, till the general war on account of the succession to the crown of Spain, which created a new kind of contraband trade, unknown in former times, of which I now propose to give some account.

The French interlopers carried vast quantities of goods directly from Europe into the South Seas, which till then had hardly ever been attempted by any European nation. This was always viewed with an evil eye by the court of Spain, as repugnant to the interests of Spain, and diametrically opposite to the maxims of her government; but there were many circumstances at that time which rendered this a kind of necessary evil, and obliged therefore the people of Old Spain to submit to it. As for the Creoles, they had European goods and at a cheaper rate, and it did not give them much concern who it was that received their money. The town of St Malo has always been noted for privateers, and greatly annoyed the trade of the English and Dutch during the whole reign of King William, and part of that of Queen Anne; and though some allege that money procured by privateering never prospers, yet I may safely affirm that the people of St Malo are as rich and flourishing as any in all France. Privateering has thriven so well among them, that all their South Sea trade has arisen from thence; and, during the last war, [pg 57] they were so rich and generous, that they made several free gifts to Louis XIV.; and so dexterous were they, that though our Admiralty always kept a stout squadron in the Atlantic, we were never able to capture one of their South-Sea traders. The reason of this was, that they always kept their ships extremely clean, having ports to careen at of which we knew not. In 1709, when I belonged to her majesty's ship the Loo, being one of the convoy that year to Newfoundland, we saw and chased upon that coast a ship of fifty guns, which we soon perceived to be French-built; but she crowded sail and soon left us. She had just careened at Placentia, and we wondered much to find such a ship in that part of the world. We afterwards learnt, from some French prisoners, that she was a French ship bound to St Malo, having two or three millions of dollars on board, and was then so trim that she trusted to her heels, and valued nobody. They went thus far to the north and west on purpose to have the advantage of a westerly wind, which seldom failed of sending them into soundings at one spirt, if not quite home. Since Placentia has been yielded to Great Britain, they now use St Catherine and Islagrande, on the coast of Brasil, and Martinico in the West Indies.

This trade succeeded so well, that all the merchants of St Malo engaged in it, sending every year to the number of twenty sail of ships. In 1721, I saw eleven sail of these together at one time on the coast of Chili, among which were several of fifty guns, and one called the Fleur-de-luce, which could mount seventy, formerly a man-of-war. As this trade was contrary to the Assiento treaty between Great Britain and Spain, memorials were frequently presented against it at Madrid by the court of London; and the king of Spain, willing to fulfil his engagements to the king of England, resolved to destroy this contraband French trade. As there was no other way to accomplish this but by sending a squadron of men-of-war into the South Sea, and as few of the Spaniards were acquainted with the navigation of Cape Horn, or could bear the extreme rigour of the climate, the court of Spain was obliged to use foreigners on this expedition, and the four ships sent oat were both manned and commanded by Frenchmen. The squadron consisted of the Gloucester, of 50 guns, and 400 men, the Ruby, of 50 guns, and 330 men, both of these formerly English ships of war, the Leon Franco, of 60 guns, and 450 men, and a frigate of [pg 58] 40 guns, and 200 men. Monsieur Martinet, a French officer, was commodore of this squadron, and commanded the Pembroke,1 and Monsieur La Jonquiere the Ruby. The French conducted the navigation round the cape very well, though in the middle of winter; but the last ship of the four, which was manned with Spaniards, could not weather Cape Horn, and was forced back to the Rio Plata, where she was cast away. As the Spaniards have little or no trade into any of the cold climates, and are unused to hard work, it is not to be wondered that they failed on this occasion, especially considering the improper season of the year. The Biscaneers, indeed, are robust enough fellows; and had the Leon Franco been manned with them, she had certainly doubled the cape along with the other three ships; but the Spaniards in general, since acquiring their possessions in America, have become so delicate and indolent, that it would be difficult to find an entire ship's company capable to perform that navigation.

The vast advantage of the trade of Chili by way of Cape Horn, is so obvious, that his catholic majesty is obliged by treaty to shut out all the European nations from it, as well as the English, although his own subjects make nothing of it, as it very rarely happens that a Spanish ship ventures to go round Cape Horn. Owing to this, all European goods sell enormously dear in Chili and Peru; insomuch, that I have been told at Lima, that they are often at 400 per cent. profit, and it may be fairly asserted, that the goods carried from France by Cape Horn are in themselves 50 per cent. better than those sent in the Cadiz flota to Carthagena and Vera Cruz, because the former are delivered in six months, fresh and undamaged, while the latter are generally eighteen months before they reach Chili. In the course of this trade, the French sold their goods, furnished themselves with provisions, and got home again, all within twelve or fourteen months.

When Martinet arrived on the coast of Chili in 1717, furnished with a commission from the king of Spain to take or destroy all the ships of his countrymen found trading in the South Sea, he soon had sufficient employment for his squadron and of fourteen ships belonging to St Malo, then on [pg 59] the coast, only one escaped him, which lay hid in a landlocked creek unseen till he had gone to leeward. Although in this he executed the orders of his catholic majesty, and did a material benefit to the British South Sea company, yet he almost ruined the trading part of the Creole Spaniards, as hindering the circulation of money and spoiling business, so that they could not bear the sight of the French men-of-war, though they liked the French merchant ships very much. On the other hand, imagining that they had done essential service to the Spaniards, the French expected to have received at least civil treatment in return, during their stay in these seas. As soon, however, as Martinet brought his prizes into Calao, and the Frenchmen had received their shares of the prize-money, forgetting the ancient antipathy of the Spaniards for the French, they gave themselves extravagant airs on shore, by dancing and drinking, which still more incensed the creolians against them, who called them cavachos and renegados, for falling foul of their own countrymen. From one thing to another, their mutual quarrels grew so high, that the Frenchmen were obliged to go about Lima and Calao in strong armed parties, the better to avoid outrages and affronts. At last, a young gentleman, who was ensign of the Ruby, and nephew to Captain La Jonquiere, was shot from a window, and the murderer took refuge in the great church of Calao. Martinet and La Jonquiere petitioned the viceroy to have the murderer delivered up to justice: But the viceroy, who was at the same time archbishop, would on no account consent to violate the privileges of the church. On this refusal, they called all their men on board by beat of drum, and laid the broadsides of their three ships to bear on the town of Calao, threatening to demolish the town and fortifications, unless the assassin were delivered up or executed. All this blustering, however, could not prevail upon the viceroy to give them any satisfaction, though they had several other men killed, besides that gentleman.

At length, unwilling to proceed to extremities, and no longer able to endure the place where his nephew had been murdered, La Jonquiere obtained leave of his commodore to make the best of his way home. About this time, many padros and many rich passengers were assembled at Conception in Chili, intending to take their passage to Europe in the French squadron, knowing that all ships bound for Cape [pg 60] Horn must touch at Conception, or some places thereabout, for provisions. La Jonquiere, having thus the start of his commodore, had all the advantage to himself of so many good passengers in his ship; for, as the king of Spain had no officer at Conception to register the money shipped at that place, these passengers and missionaries put astonishing sums of money on board the Ruby. They were thereby spared the trouble of a voyage to Panama or Acapulco, and travelling thence for Portobello or Vera Cruz, where they must have had their coffers visited, to see if the indulto of his majesty were fairly accounted for. They therefore saved every shilling of that indulto, as the Ruby touched first in France, where no cognizance whatever was taken of this affair. They also got clear of the other moiety payable in Spain, as they landed all their money in France.

Besides these rich passengers and their money, the Ruby had also on board a considerable sum arising to his catholic majesty from the confiscation of the thirteen captured interlopers, all of which, as I was informed, amounted to four millions of dollars in that ship. What a fine booty we missed therefore by the obstinacy of Shelvocke! For, when this ship, the Ruby, found us at the island of St Catharine, her company was so sickly that she had not above sixty sound men out of four hundred; so that La Jonquiere was actually afraid of us, and would not send his boat to the watering-place, where we kept guard, and our coopers and sail-makers were at work, till he had first obtained leave of our captain; neither is this strange, for he knew we had a consort, and was in Spain all the time he staid there, lest the Success should have joined us.

After Commodore Martinet had cleared the coast of Chili and Peru of his countrymen, he sent his brother-in-law, Monsieur de Grange, express with the news to Madrid, who went by way of Panama, Portobello, Jamaica, and London. On delivering his message, the king of Spain asked what he could do for him, when he humbly requested his majesty would give him the command of a ship, and send him again round Cape Horn into the South Sea. He accordingly got the Zelerin, of fifty guns. He came first to Calais,2 where [pg 61] the ship was getting ready, and was surprised to meet with a cold reception from the French merchants and other gentlemen of his acquaintance residing there; for, as there were merchants of various nations interested in the ships taken and confiscated in the South Sea, they universally considered him and all the French in that squadron as false brethren, for serving the crown of Spain to the prejudice of their own countrymen. Thus, while he expected to have had a valuable cargo consigned to his care, no man would ship the value of a dollar with him. Captain Fitzgerald, who was then at Cales, made him a considerable offer for the privilege of going out as his second officer, with liberty to take out what goods he might be able to procure, in his own name. As de Grange was not a little embarrassed, he accepted this offer, and procured a commission for Fitzgerald as second captain. They accordingly manned the Zelerin chiefly with French seamen, and some English, and got very well round Cape Horn. At this time our two privateers, the Success and Speedwell, were known to be in the South Seas, and the Zelerin was one of the ships commissioned by the viceroy of Peru to cruize for us. Fitzgerald sold all his goods to great advantage at Lima, where he continued to reside; while de Grange served as captain under Admiral Don Pedro Miranda, who took Hately and me prisoners.

Though great sufferers by so many confiscations, the merchants of St Malo were not entirely discouraged; for, in the year 1720, we found the Solomon of St Malo, of 40 guns, and 150 men, at Ylo, on the coast of Chili, with several Spanish barks at her stern. In the course of six weeks, she sold all her cargo, got in a supply of provisions, and left the coast without interruption, as by this time Martinet's squadron had left the coast. Encouraged by the success of the Solomon, the merchants of St Malo fitted out fourteen sail together, all of which arrived in the South Sea in the beginning of the year 1721. Three of the commanders of these ships, being well acquainted with the creolians, quickly sold their cargoes and returned home. About this time, the people of Lima judged that our privateers were gone off the coast, or at least would not commit any more hostilities, because of the truce between the two crowns. Wherefore, the three Spanish men-of-war that had been fitted out to cruize against us, were ordered against these fresh interlopers. I was on board the Flying-fish, an advice-boat that accompanied the [pg 62] men-of-war, when they came up with eleven sail of the St Malo ships, which were then altogether on the coast of Chili, and, instead of firing on them, the Spaniards joined them as friends. At first, expecting to have been attacked, the French ships drew up in a line, as if daring the ships of war. This seemed to me somewhat strange, that three such ships, purposely fitted out for this cruize, should decline doing their duty on their own coasts; for, had they proved too weak, they had ports of their own to retire to, under their lee. But the ships of war contented themselves with watching the motions of the interlopers, keeping them always in sight; and when any of the French ships drew near the shore, the Spaniards always sent a pinnace or long-boat along with her, carrying the Spanish flag, the sight of which effectually deterred the creolians from trading with the French. In this manner they contrived to prevent all these ships from disposing of their goods, except when they were met with at sea by chance, and sold some of their commodities clandestinely. At length, completely tired out by this close superintendence, the French got leave to take in provisions, and went home, at least half of their goods remaining unsold. Notwithstanding these losses and disappointments, and severe edicts issued against this trade in France, the merchants of St Malo still persist to carry it on, though privately, nor is it probable they will ever leave off so lucrative a commerce, unless prevented by the strong arm of power, or supplanted by some other nation.

Footnote 1: (return)

No such name occurs, in enumerating the squadron immediately beforeE.

Footnote 2: (return)

This, certainly, is a mistake for Cadiz, often named Cales by English seamen; and, in fact, only a few lines lower down, the place is actually named Cales.E.

§ 8. Return of Betagh to England.

I now return to my own affairs, and the manner of my return to England from Peru. I have already acknowledged the kind reception I met with from the admiral of the South Seas, Don Pedro Miranda, and the reasons of his treating us so civilly. I think it barely justice to mention the several favours I received, during the eleven months that I continued at Lima, particularly from Don Juan Baptista Palacio, a native of Biscay, a knight of the order of St Jago, who came weekly to the prison while we were there, and distributed money to us all, in proportion to our several ranks. Captain Nicholas Fitzgerald procured my enlargement, by becoming security for me; and he afterwards [pg 63] supplied me with money and necessaries, from that time till my departure; and procured for me and twenty more, a passage to Cadiz, in a Spanish advice-boat called the Flying-fish, of which our surgeon's mate, Mr Pressick, acted as surgeon, receiving wages, as did the rest of our men, being released from prison expressly to assist in navigating that vessel home to Spain. For my own part, being well treated, I did not think proper to eat the bread of idleness, but kept my watches as well as the other officers. And pray, what is the harm of all this? Though Shelvocke had the stupidity to call it treason; it must surely appear a very malicious, as well as an ignorant charge, after a man has been driven among the enemy, to call him a traitor because he has been kindly used, and for accepting his passage back again; and, because I was not murdered in Peru, I ought to be executed at home. This is Shelvocke's great Christian charity and good conscience!1

On my arrival at Cadiz, captain John Evers of the Britannia kindly gave me my passage to London, and entertained me at his own table. On my return to London, and representing the hardships I had undergone, nine honourable persons made me a present of ten guineas each; which afforded me the satisfaction of seeing, that such as were the best judges, had a proper idea of the miseries I had suffered, and approved the manner in which I had behaved, the only consolation I could receive in the circumstances in which I was left by that unfortunate voyage. The fair account I have given of facts, and the detail of my proceedings in the Spanish West Indies, together with the account of what I observed worthy of notice during my stay in these parts, will acquit me, I hope, in the opinion of every candid and impartial person, from the aspersions thrown upon me by Shelvocke, in the account he has published of his voyage.

Footnote 1: (return)

After all, had the Flying-fish been captured by a British cruizer, Betagh would have run great risk of being found guilty of treason for keeping his watches.E.


"Betagh has fully shewn, that the navigation round Cape Horn is no such dangerous or wonderful voyage. If twenty ships from St Malo could perform it in one year, and not a single vessel either shipwrecked or forced to put back, what [pg 64] shall hinder an English ship or an English fleet from doing the same? We see from the foregoing account, with how much ease the French carried on a prodigious trade to the South Seas, at a time when the appearance of an English ship there was esteemed a prodigy. We certainly can send our frigates there, as well as the French can their ships from St Malo; and it might be well worth the while of our merchants to send out ships to the coasts of Chili and Peru, laden with proper goods for that country."Harris.

In the present day, this trade to the coasts of Chili and Peru has been resumed by the citizens of the United States; but the subjects of Britain are debarred from even attempting to take a share, because within the exclusive limits of the East India Company; although their ships never come nearer to the western coast of America than Canton in China, at the enormous distance of 174 degrees of longitude, and 59 degrees of latitude, counting from Canton in China to Conception in Peru, or upwards of twelve thousand English miles. It is certainly at least extremely desirable, that a trade of such promise should not remain any longer prohibited, merely to satisfy a punctilio, without the most distant shadow of benefit to the India Company, or to the nonentity denominated the South-sea Company.Ed.

[pg 65]





There was, perhaps, no country in the world where commerce was more profitable, or held more honourable, than in Holland, or where more respect and attention was shewn to it by the government. As the republic chiefly subsisted by trade, every thing relating to it was considered as an affair of a public nature, in which the welfare of the state was concerned, and highly deserving therefore of the strictest and readiest attention. The great companies in Holland, as in other countries, were considered as injurious to trade in some lights, yet necessary to its welfare in others. The West India Company of that country, originally erected in 1621, held, by an exclusive charter, the commerce of the coast of Africa, from the tropic of Cancer to the Cape of Good Hope, and that of America, from the southern point of Newfoundland in the N.E. all along the eastern coast to the Straits of Magellan or Le Maire, and thence northwards again along the western coast, to the supposed Straits of Anian, thus including the entire coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The directors of this company consisted of seventy-two persons, divided into five chambers, of whom eighteen were chosen to administer the affairs of the Company, together with a nineteenth person, nominated by the States-General.

The affairs of this Company were once in so very flourishing a condition, that it was considered as even superior to their East India Company. This prosperity was chiefly owing, [pg 66] to the happy success of their affairs at sea; as their admiral, Peter Haines, in the 1629, captured the Spanish plate fleet, laden with immense riches. They at one time made themselves masters of the greatest part of Brazil; and were so considerable that the great Count Maurice of Nassau did not think it beneath him to accept a commission from this Company as Governor-General of Brazil; which country, however, after it had cost them immense sums to defend, they at length lost. The term of their charter, originally limited to twenty-four years, expired in 1647, and was then renewed for other twenty-five years. During this second period, their affairs became so perplexed, so that the Company was dissolved towards the close of that term, with its own consent.

In 1674, a new company was erected, by letters patent from the States-General, with nearly the same powers and privileges, which has subsisted ever since with great reputation.2 The capital of this new company consisted of six millions of florins, which are equal to 545,454l. 10s. 10d. 10-11ths sterling. And the limits of their authority are the western coast of Africa and both coasts of America, all the establishments of the Dutch in these countries being under their authority, so that any one who proposes a new scheme of commerce in those parts, must necessarily apply himself to that company. Under these circumstances, a Mr Roggewein, a person of parts and enterprize, formed a project for the discovery of the vast continent and numerous islands, supposed to be in the southern part of the globe, under the name of Terra Australis Incognita, of which the world had hitherto only very imperfect notices from others; which project, with a plan for carrying the discovery into execution, they presented to the Dutch East India Company3 in 1696, by which it was favourably received, and he was assured of receiving all the assistance and support he could desire or expect, as soon as the affairs of the Company would permit. But the disturbances which soon afterwards followed put a stop to the good intentions of the Company; and Mr Roggewein died before any thing could be done. Mr Roggewein was a gentleman [pg 67] of the province of Zealand, who had addicted himself from his youth to mathematical studies, and we have reason to suppose recommended his projected discovery on his death-bed to his son.

After the death of his father, the younger Roggewein applied to his studies with much vigour, and qualified himself for the office of counsellor in the court of justice at Batavia, where he resided for many years. After his return from Java, where he had acquired a handsome fortune, he resolved upon carrying his father's projected discovery into execution; and, in the year 1721, presented a memorial to the West India Company, narrating the proposal of his father for discovering the southern continent and islands, which they had formerly been pleased to approve of, and which he was now ready to attempt. The Company received this memorial with readiness; and, as its affairs were now in better order, acquainted Mr Roggewein, that it would give immediate orders for equipping such a squadron as might be necessary for carrying his design into effect. The squadron accordingly fitted out on this occasion consisted of three ships: The Eagle of 36 guns and 111 men, commanded by Captain Job Coster, and in which Mr Roggewein embarked as Commodore; the Tienhoven of 28 guns and 100 men, commanded by Captain James Bowman; and the African, a galley armed with 14 guns, and carrying 60 men, commanded by Captain Henry Bosenthal.

It may be proper to acquaint the reader, that the subsequent account of this voyage is derived from an original journal, which never appeared before in our language, for which I was indebted to the gentleman who commanded the land-forces on board the Commodore, and whose name I am not at liberty to mention; neither that of another gentleman who was engaged in the voyage, and from whom I received considerable assistance. The nature of the expedition is sufficient in itself to recommend it to the notice of the curious; and the many remarkable particulars it contains, especially respecting the state of the Dutch Company in the Indies, renders it both a very entertaining and a most instructive performance.

Before proceeding to the narrative of this voyage, I hope to be indulged in making a few remarks, which may contribute both to amusement and information, and may clear up some points that might otherwise appear obscure in the following [pg 68] voyage. It is worth observing, that the Dutch West India Company had been long in a declining condition; which, instead of dispiriting the Directors, engaged them to turn their thoughts to every method that could be devised for recovering their affairs. There is so wide a difference between our English great chartered companies and those [formerly] in Holland, that it may not be amiss to give a concise account of the flourishing state of that Company, as it may shew what great things may be managed by a board of merchants, for such the Directors generally were.

It appears, from the books of the Company, that, in the space of thirteen years, from 1623 to 1636, the Company had fitted out 800 ships, either for war or trade, and that the expence of building, equipping, and seamen's wages had cost forty-five millions of florins, or upwards of four millions sterling: And, in the same space of time, the Company had taken from the enemy 545 vessels, valued at sixty millions of florins, or nearly five and a half millions sterling; besides to the value of thirty millions at the least, or nearly two millions and a quarter sterling, in spoils of various denominations. The greatest of their exploits was the capture of the Spanish flota at the Havannah, by their admiral Peter Heyne; by which they gained seven millions of dollars in money, or L. 2,625,000 sterling; besides ships, brass cannon, and other military stores, to the value of above ten millions.4 Such were the flourishing times of the Company.

The causes of their decay seem to have been principally the following. First, their emulation of the East India Company, which induced them to make the conquest of Brazil from Portugal, the crown of which country had been usurped by their arch enemy the king of Spain. This was achieved at a vast expence, and Count Maurice of Nassau was appointed governor-general, who conducted their affairs with great skill and prudence. Secondly, owing to the desire of the Company to conduct all things, and repining at the expence incurred by that prince in the government of Brazil, was another cause of their misfortunes: For the merchants, who had conducted their affairs with great wisdom [pg 69] and capacity, while they confined themselves to commerce and maritime war, shewed themselves only indifferent statesmen, and soon lost all that Prince Maurice had gained, and loaded the Company with so heavy a debt, as compelled them in the end to consent to its dissolution.

The new West India Company, warned by the example of its predecessors, has kept more within bounds, and has certainly managed its affairs with great prudence and economy. Having formed a project in 1714, for uniting the East and West India Companies into one,5 and the proposition, being rejected, the directors of the West India Company very wisely turned their thoughts another way; and it is not improbable, that the rejection of their proposal on this occasion may have induced them to give encouragement to the proposition of Roggewein: For, being disappointed in their aim of coming in for a share in the commodities of the East Indies, they were desirous of acquiring the same articles of trade by some other means, expecting to have found these in the continent or islands proposed to be discovered by Roggewein. This also accounts for the extraordinary heat and violence of the Dutch East India Company, against those who were engaged on the present expedition, and is the true secret of the dispute so warmly carried on by the two Companies, and so wisely decided by the States-General. When the Dutch East India Company persecuted and destroyed Le Maire for his voyage of discovery, under pretence of interfering within their exclusive boundaries, the government did not interfere, because at that time the power of the East India Company was of the highest importance to the state: But, as the government of Holland became better established, and especially since a share in the public administration has been acquired by such as are conversant in trade, the concerns of the East India Company have been viewed in a new light. The first who explained this matter clearly was that consummate statesman and true patriot, John de Witte, whose words are most worthy the attention of the reader.

"When the East India Company had attained to a certain extent of power and grandeur, its interests came not only [pg 70] to clash with, but grew absolutely opposite to those of the country. For, whereas the advantage of the nation consists in the increase of manufactures, commerce, and freight of ships; the interests of the Company are to promote the sale of foreign manufactures, and that with the smallest extent of traffic and navigation that can be contrived. Hence, if the East India Company can gain more by importing Japan cloths, India quilts, carpets, and chintzes, than by raw silk; or, if the Company, by creating an artificial scarcity of nutmegs, mace, cloves, cinnamon, and other spices, can raise their price so as to gain as much profit by the sale of 100 tons, as it would otherwise gain by the sale of 1000 tons, we are not to expect that it will import raw silks, or be at the expence of transporting 1000 tons of spice; though the former would assist and encourage our manufactures at home, and the latter would increase our navigation.

This chain of reasoning is so plain, and so evidently agrees with the interests of all nations, as well as with those of Holland, that it is impossible for any unprejudiced person not to discern that all exclusive companies destroy, instead of promoting, the commerce of the countries in which they are established. The same great statesman already quoted observes, "That the more any country extends its foreign conquests, the more of its stock must necessarily be spent, for the preservation and defence of these conquests: And consequently, by how much the greater are its dominions, so much the less is that company able to prosecute the trade, for the promotion of which it was erected."6Harris.

Footnote 1: (return)

Harris, I. 256. Callender, III. 644.

Footnote 2: (return)

This refers to the year 1743, when Harris wrote: It is hardly necessary to say, that Holland and its great commercial companies are now merely matters of history.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

From what goes both before and after, this seems a mistake for the West India Company.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

Harris does not say whether dollars or florins: If the former, equal to L. 2,250,000 sterling at 4s. 6d. the dollar; if the latter, a little above L. 900,000 sterling at 11 florins to the pound sterling; both of these the old par of exchange.E.

Footnote 5: (return)

A long, indistinct, and uninteresting account of this project is here omitted, which Harris alleges might have transferred the whole commerce of Europe to the Dutch, but for which opinion he advances no substantial reasons, or rather none at all.E.

Footnote 6: (return)

The remarks of Harris on this voyage are extended to a far greater length than have been here adopted, and are many of them loose and uninteresting; but some of those here inserted have a strong reference to a most important subject now under consideration of the legislature; and the notices respecting the Dutch West India Companies are curious in themselves, as well as upon a subject very little known in this country.

The subject of this voyage round the world is principally exhausted in the seven first sections; all those subsequent being chiefly a detail of the Indian settlements of the Dutch East India Company, as it was in the year 1722, almost a century ago. These certainly might have been omitted on the present occasion, without injury to the present article, as a circumnavigation: But, as conveying a considerable mass of information, respecting the Dutch possessions in India, now all belonging to Britain, and respecting which hardly any thing has been published in the English language, it has been deemed indispensable to preserve them.E.

[pg 71]


Narrative of the Voyage from Holland to the Coast of Brazil.1

The small squadron of three ships, already enumerated, sailed from Amsterdam on the 16th July, 1721, and arrived at the Texel in thirty-six hours, where they were provided with every thing requisite for so long a voyage. All things being in readiness, they sailed with a fair wind on the 21st August; but, as the wind changed next day, they were three days in beating to windward through the British channel, after which they continued their course to the S.W. for the coast of Barbary, but were opposed by a heavy storm which did them considerable damage. To this a dead calm succeeded, during which the water ran mountains high, owing to agitation they had been thrown into by the storm. By the rolling of the ships during the calm, several injuries were sustained, one of the vessels losing its main-top-mast and mizen-mast; and the main-yard of the Commodore came down with such force as to wound several of the people on deck. After two days the wind freshened again, and they continued their course S.W. towards the Canaries, amusing themselves with observing the manner in which the flying-fish endeavours to escape from its enemies, the albicores and bonitoes. The flying-fish are not larger than a herring, and raise themselves into the air by means of two long fins, one on each side, not much unlike the wings of a bat in strength and texture. They are considered as good eating, and the sailors are always well pleased when they are met with in plenty. The bonito is about two feet long, of a greyish colour, finely streaked from head to tail; but the flesh is hard, dry, and disagreeably tasted. The albicore is generally five or six feet long, and sometimes weighs 150 pounds. They saw likewise several water-fowls, particularly teal, which the seamen account a sign of land being near.

While in lat. 28° N. and soon expecting to see the Canaries, a sail was descried from the mast-head carrying English colours. On drawing near she struck her colours and [pg 72] bore away, but re-appeared in about an hour, having four sail more in her company, sometimes carrying white, sometimes red, and sometimes black colours, which gave reason to suspect that they were pirates. The Commodore immediately made the signal for the line of battle, and all hands went to work in clearing the ship for action, filling grenades, and preparing every thing for the ensuing engagement, in which they fortunately had the advantage of the weather-gage. Observing this, the pirates put themselves into a fighting posture, struck their red flag, and hoisted a black one, on which was a death's head in the centre, surmounted by a powder horn, and two cross bones underneath. They likewise formed the line, and commenced a smart action. The pirates fought very briskly for some time, as believing the Dutch ships to be merchantmen; but after two hours cannonade, perceiving the Commodore preparing to board the vessel to which he was opposed, the pirates spread all their canvass, and crowded away as fast as they could sail. Commodore Roggewein, on seeing them bear away, called out, Let the rascals go: In which he strictly obeyed his instructions; as all the ships belonging to the Dutch East and West India Companies have strict orders to pursue their course, and never to give chase. In this action, four men were killed, and nine wounded in the Commodore, the other two ships having seven slain and twenty-six wounded. The carpenters also had full employment in stopping leaks, and repairing the other damages sustained.

Continuing their voyage, they had sight of Madeira on the 15th November, and in the neighbourhood saw a desert island which is much frequented by the pirates, for wood and water and other refreshments. They afterwards had sight of the Peak of Teneriffe, which is generally esteemed the highest single mountain in the world, on which account the geographers of Holland adopt it as the first meridian in their maps and charts; while the French and English of late incline to fix their first meridians at their respective capitals of Paris and London. These differences are apt to create much confusion in the longitudes of places, when not explained by the writers who use these several modes of reckoning; on which account Lewis XIII. of France, by edict in 1634, endeavoured to obviate this inconvenience, by directing the first meridian to be placed in the island of Ferro, the most westerly of the [pg 73] Canaries.2 From these islands they directed their course for the islands of Cape Verde, so named from Cabo Verde, or the Green Cape, a point or mountain on the coast of Africa, called Arlinarium by Ptolemy.

This cape is bounded by two rivers, the Senegal and Gambia, called by the ancients the Garatius and Stachiris. It has an island to the west, which is frequented by an infinite number of birds, the eggs of which are frequently gathered by mariners going this way. This cape is dangerous to land upon, because of a great many sunken rocks about it. The continent is here inhabited by negroes, who trade with all nations, and speak many languages, especially French and Portuguese. Most of them go naked, except a piece of cloth about their middle, but their princes and great men wear long garments of calico striped with blue, and made like shifts; they hang also little square bags of leather on their arms and legs, but we could not learn of them what these bags contain.3 They wear necklaces made of sea-horses teeth, alternating with glass beads; and have caps of blue and white striped calico on their heads. They are a prudent and wise people, cultivating their soil, which bears good rice and other articles sufficient for their maintenance; and the richer people keep cattle, which are very dear, as being scarce. They have many good blacksmiths, and iron is much, valued among them, being forged into fish-spears, implements for cultivating the ground, and various weapons, as the heads of arrows, darts, and javelins. Their religion seems to border on Mahometism, as they are all circumcised; but they have little knowledge of the true God, except among a few who converse with Christians. They are very lascivious, and may have as many wives as they please; but the women are seldom contented with one husband, and are passionately fond of strangers. The whole country is under subjection to the governors or head-men of the various towns and villages, who row on board such ships as arrive, making them pay customs. Several Portuguese reside here, who trade freely with all nations, but have no power or authority, except over their own slaves and servants.

[pg 74]

Having the advantage of a strong N.E. wind, they took their departure from Cape de Verde, and continued their course for six weeks, without coming to anchor or handing a sail. In this long passage, they had some days in which the heat was almost insupportable, and the crew began to murmur excessively on account of being at short allowance of water. On this occasion one of the swabbers got into the hold, and, being extremely thirsty, pierced a cask of brandy, of which he pulled, so heartily that he was soon intoxicated to a degree of madness. In this condition he staggered into the cook-room, where he threw down a pan of grease, and being sharply reproved by the cook, drew his knife and rushed upon him. Some of the crew gathered about him and wrenched the knife out of his hand, but not till he had drawn it two or three times across the cook's face. For this they drubbed him soundly, which he resented so deeply that he seized a knife as soon as he got loose, and gave himself several stabs in the belly. The utmost care was taken of his recovery, in order to make him a public example, to prevent such actions in future among the crew; and after his recovery he was punished in the following manner. Being declared infamous at the fore-mast, he was thrice keel-hauled, and had 300 strokes on the buttocks, after which his right hand was fastened to the mast with his own knife. When he had stood some time in this condition, he was put in chains on the fore-castle, being allowed nothing but bread and water for some days; and was continued in irons to be set on shore at the first barren island they came to.

Continuing their voyage till near the line, they were much incommoded by the shifting of the wind; and by scarcity of water, many of the crew falling ill of the scurvy. When it sometimes fell entirely calm, the heat of the sun became more than ordinarily oppressive, owing to which some of the men became quite distracted, others fell into high fevers, and some had fits like the epilepsy. Their water, as it grew low, stunk abominably, and became full of worms. The salt provisions were in a manner quite spoiled, and served only to turn their stomachs and increase their thirst. Hunger is said to be the greatest of torments, but they had reason to consider thirst as the greatest misery incident to human nature. At this time they often observed towards evening that the sea appeared all on fire; and taking up some buckets of water in this condition, they observed that it was full of an infinite [pg 75] number of little globules, of the size, form, and colour of pearls. These retained their lustre for some time when held in the hand, but on pressure seemed nothing more than an earthy fat substance like mud.

They at length crossed the line, with the loss only of one man, who died of a high fever; and on getting into the latitude of 3° S. they fell into the true trade-wind, before which they scudded along at a great rate. In lat. 5° S. they had the sun directly vertical, so that they were some days without any observation. In 6° S. they caught many dorados and dolphins, both, in the opinion of the author of this voyage, being the same fish, of which the dolphin is the male and the dorado the female. Some of these are six feet long, but not of proportional bulk. In the water they appear excessively beautiful, their skins shining as if streaked with burnished gold; but lose their splendid appearance on being taken out of the water. Their flesh is very sweet and well flavoured, so that the seamen always feast when they can procure plenty of this fish. They saw also abundance of sharks, many of which are ten feet long. Their flesh is hard, stringy, and very disagreeably tasted; yet the seamen frequently hang them up in the air for a day or two, and then eat them: Which compliment the surviving sharks never fail to return when a seaman falls in their way, either dead or alive, and seem to attend ships for that purpose.

Footnote 1: (return)

In the various steps of this voyage, the merely uninteresting journal or log-book incidents have been materially abbreviated.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

The Royal Observatory at Greenwich is now the first meridian in British maps and globes, from which St Paul's in London is 0° 5' 37" W. the observatory of Paris 2° 20' E. Teneriffe peak 16° 40' W. and Ferrotown 17° 45' 50" W.

Footnote 3: (return)

These are called obi, containing a variety of ridiculous trash, and are held in superstitious esteem as amulets.E.


Arrival in Brazil, with some Account of that Country.

Coming near the coast of Brazil, their design was to have anchored at the island Grande, but finding they had passed that island, they continued their course till off Porto, in lat. 24° S. where they came to anchor. Some of the ship's company of the commodore then got into the boat in order to go shore, both for the purpose of procuring wood and water and other refreshments, and in order to bury one of their seamen who had died. Before they could get on shore, they descried a body of Portuguese well armed moving along the coast, who seemed to prevent them from landing, and beckoned the Dutch to keep off, threatening to fire if they attempted to land: But, on shewing them the dead body, they [pg 76] allowed them to land, and even shewed them a place in which to inter their dead companion. Being desirous of procuring some intelligence, the Dutch asked many questions about the country, but could only get for answer, that Porto was an advanced port to St Sebastian, not marked in the charts, and that they were inhabitants of Rio Janeiro, which lay at the distance of eight miles.1 The Dutch endeavoured to persuade them to go on board the commodore, but they refused, fearing they might be pirates, which frequently used to come upon the coast, and, under pretence of getting fresh water, would land and pillage any of the little towns near the sea.

About six months before the arrival of Roggewein at this place, a pirate had been there, and, while the crew were preparing to make a descent, a French ship of force arrived, which sent her to the bottom with one broadside. She sank in thirteen fathoms, and as she was supposed to have seven millions on board,2 they had sent for divers from Portugal, in order to attempt recovering a part of her treasure. However, by dint of entreaties and the strongest possible assurance of safety, two of them were prevailed upon to go on board the commodore, where they were very kindly treated, and had clothes given them, by which they were induced to carry the squadron into a safe port, which was most serviceable to men in their condition, almost worn out with fatigues, and in a manner destroyed for want of water.

The harbour of Porto affords good anchorage in from six to eight fathoms. In entering it on the S.W. the main land is on the right, and a large island on the left, all the coast appearing very high land, consisting of mountains and intermediate vallies, overgrown with trees and shrubs. Porto is in a pleasant situation, but at this time had no inhabitants. They caught here both fish and tortoises of exquisite flavour, and so very nourishing, that about forty of the people who were ill of the scurvy, recovered very fast. Having remained there two days, in which time they supplied themselves with [pg 77] wood and water, they weighed anchor, and in six leagues sailing to the S.W. came into the road of St Sebastian. Just when entering the mouth of the river a violent storm arose, on which they had to drop their anchors, lest they had been driven on the rocks, and to wait the return of the tide in that situation. They entered the port next day, and came to anchor just before the town, which they saluted, but without being answered, either because the Portuguese guns were not in order, of because the inhabitants were not pleased, with their arrival, suspecting them of being pirates, though under the Dutch flag. In order to remove these apprehensions, Roggewein wrote to the governor, informing him what they were, and desiring to be furnished with cattle, vegetables, fruits, and other refreshments for payment, also requesting the use of a few huts on shore for the recovery of the sick men. The governor made answer, that these things were not in his power, as he was subordinate to the governor of Rio de Janeiro, to whom he should dispatch an express that evening, and hoped the commodore would give him time to receive the orders of his superior officer. But Roggewein was by no means satisfied with this answer, giving the governor to know, if he refused to deal with him by fair means and for ready money as offered, be should be obliged to have recourse to force, though much against his inclinations. Having learnt that there was a Franciscan monastery in the town, Roggewein sent also to inform the fathers of his arrival, accompanying his message by a present.

It happened fortunately for the Dutch, that a native of Utrecht, one Father Thomas, belonged to this monastery, who came immediately on board, accompanied by several other monks. He was so much delighted at the sight of his countrymen, that he declared he should now die in peace, having earnestly wished for twenty-two years to enjoy the satisfaction he was now gratified with. The commodore gave him a kind welcome, and presented him with whatever was deemed useful for the monastery. The prior, who was of the party on this occasion, begged the commodore to have patience till the return of the express from Rio de Janeiro, and promised to use his interest with the governor, to induce him to furnish the demanded refreshments, so that they parted well satisfied with each other. In the mean time, the Portuguese came down to the coast in large bodies well armed, posting themselves in such places as they judged the [pg 78] Dutch might attempt to put their men on shore; and at the approach of a Dutch pinnace, thought proper to fire at her, by which one of the Dutchmen was dangerously wounded in the shoulder. The boat's crew returned the fire by a general discharge of their fire-arms, by which two of the Portuguese were brought down, and the rest made a precipitate retreat. The Dutch then landed immediately, filling what water they had occasion for, and returned on board.

On the report of what had happened, which he deemed an act of hostility, Roggewein made immediate dispositions for attacking the town, ordering his smallest ship to go as near the place as possible, while the Teinhoven was ordered to watch the coast, and the commodore laid his own ship opposite the monastery, as if he had intended to batter it down. All this was merely to frighten the Portuguese into better behaviour, and it had the desired effect, as the deputy-governor came soon after on board, and entered into a treaty, granting every thing desired. He at the same time expressed considerable doubts of being paid for what they might furnish, as a French ship had been lately supplied with necessaries, and at its departure the French captain threatened to burn the town about their ears, if they insisted on payment according to agreement and his promises on first coming in. The sick were now landed on the island, and the whole of the ships companies were daily furnished by the Portuguese with beef, mutton, fowls, vegetables, fruits, and every thing else they wanted. The ships companies also had leave to go on shore, and soon contracted acquaintance among the Portuguese, from whom they obtained sugar, tobacco, brandy, and every thing else they wished for, in exchange for European goods, although the governor had strictly prohibited all commerce, under the strictest penalties. Thus, in a very short time the Portuguese became so well satisfied of the honesty and good intentions of the Dutch, that they brought back all their rich effects, formerly carried out of town when the ships first arrived. The Portuguese, however, complained loudly of the bad usage they met with from the French, who came frequently to this place with their ships, taking whatever they pleased by force, and plundering the houses in which they were permitted to lodge the sick; owing to which the Portuguese believed that all other Europeans would treat them in the same manner.

[pg 79]

The town of St Sebastians is situated in lat. 24° S. and long. 60° W.3 being a place of moderate extent, only indifferently fortified by an inclosure of palisades, with a few cannon for its defence. The church however is a beautiful building, and the palace of the governor is very magnificent; but the houses of the inhabitants are only such as are commonly met with among the Spanish and Portuguese colonists in America. The Franciscan monastery stands on the S. side of the town, and accommodates about thirty monks very conveniently. The prior shewed to the commodore and his officers a curious idol, which he said had been worshipped by the ancient natives of the place. It was the image of a creature half tiger half lion, about four feet high and a foot and a half round. Its feet resembled the paws of a lion, and the head was adorned with a double crown, in which were stuck twelve Indian darts, one of which on each side was broken. On each shoulder there was a large wing like that of a stork. In the inside was seen the statue of a man, completely armed in the manner of the country, having a quiver of arrows at his back, a bow in his left hand, and an arrow in his right. The tail of this strange idol was very long, and twisted three or four times round the body of the man. It had been called Nasil Lichma, by its worshippers, and the prior said that it was made of gold; but the author of this voyage suspected it was only gilded. The monks had also a numerous collection of European and American curiosities, which they exhibited at the same time.

The port, or river rather, of St Sebastian, is three or four leagues in length, and about one league broad, having a very fine island on the N.E. of about four miles round, and there are smaller islands on all the other sides of this haven. The country of Brazil is very large and rich, insomuch that the king of Portugal is said to draw as great a revenue from hence, as the king of Spain from all his vast possessions in America. Its capital is Bahia, or St Salvador, besides which [pg 80] there are many other towns, as Siara, Olinda, Rio de Janeiro, St Vincent, and others. The country was discovered in 1590; but even at this day the Portuguese have not penetrated above eighty leagues into the interior. The soil is good, and the country would doubtless produce abundance of corn and wine for the use of its inhabitants; but, from a principle of policy, the colonists are not permitted to cultivate these productions, and are consequently supplied with them from Portugal. It is the common opinion that the ancient inhabitants were anthropophagi, or cannibals, and it is even said that human flesh was sold in their markets, as commonly as beef and mutton, but of this there is no authentic proof.4

Such of the natives as were seen were large dark-complexioned men, having thick lips, flat noses, and very white teeth. The Portuguese are numerous in Brazil, both Creoles, and such as come from time to time from Portugal, to repair their broken fortunes. A little time before the arrival of Roggewein, the Portuguese had discovered a diamond mine not far from St Sebastian, of which at that time they were not in full possession, but were meditating an expedition against the Indians, in order to become sole masters of so valuable a prize; and with this view they invited the Dutch to join them, promising them a share in the riches in the event of success. By these means, nine of our soldiers were tempted to desert. I know not the success of this expedition; but it is probable that it succeeded, as great quantities of diamonds have since been imported from Brazil into Europe. They are said to be found on the tops of mountains among a peculiar red earth containing a great deal of gold; and, being washed down by the great rains and torrents into the vallies, are there gathered in lavaderas by negroes employed for the purpose.

Brazil abounds with numerous sorts of beasts, birds, and fish, both wild and tame. They have tigers that do a great deal of mischief, also elephants in great abundance, the teeth [pg 81] of which are of great value.5 There is no country on earth where serpents, and other venomous reptiles, are more frequent, or of larger size. So far as the Portuguese power and colonization extends, the popish religion is established; but vast numbers of the indigenous natives of the country remain unsubdued, and continue their original idolatry, being of such cruel and vindictive dispositions, that when a Christian falls into their hands, the best thing that can happen to him is to have his throat cut, as they are, for the most part, put to death by means of cruel tortures. The air of the country, though excessively hot at certain times of the year, is extremely wholesome, as we experienced by our speedy recovery from the scurvy and other distempers. About St Sebastian there are vast quantities of venomous musquetoes, which sting to such a degree that we were all covered over with blisters. Our pilot, having drank too freely of the country rum, and afterwards fallen asleep in the open air, had his head, face, arms, and legs so severely stung, that his life was in imminent danger, and he recovered after a long time, not without much care.

While here, the commodore kept up a very strict discipline over his people; and some of his sailors being complained against as having maltreated some Indian women, he caused them to be severely punished, and would never afterwards allow them to go on shore. The Dutch and Portuguese agreed extremely well, but the governor was far from being pleased with his visitors, more especially because he had learnt from some of the deserters that the object of the expedition was to make discoveries in the south. For this reason he practised every art he could devise to hinder and distress them, and furnished them with provisions only from day to day, that they might not increase their sea-stores. He also frequently talked of there being five or six Portuguese men-of-war in Rio de Janeiro, in order to put the Dutch in fear of being attacked, and actually sent for the only ship that was there at the time, to come to St Sebastian. Roggewein perfectly understood the meaning of all this, of which he took no notice, and complied exactly with the terms of [pg 82] the agreement entered into with the deputy governor, saving part of the fresh provisions daily and salting them, cleaned and repaired his ship in succession, and took on board tobacco, sugar, and every thing else he wanted, till in a condition to continue the voyage. He then fully satisfied the governor for every thing procured at this place, making payment in fire-arms, hats, silk stockings, linen, stock-fish, and other European articles, and made him a considerable present besides. In return, the governor sent him some black cattle, and gave him a certificate of his honourable behaviour.

Footnote 1: (return)

There must be a considerable mistake here in regard to the latitude of Porto, said to be in 21° S. as Rio Janeiro is in lat. 22° 54' S. and must therefore have been eighty leagues distant. Perhaps the eight miles in the text, as the distance to Rio Janeiro, ought to have been eighty leagues or Dutch miles.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

This is a most inconclusive mode of expression, perhaps meaning Dutch florins, and if so, about £636,363 sterling.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

It is impossible to reconcile this longitude with any of the first meridians mentioned in a former note, or indeed with any known geographical principles. It is 45° 30' W. from Greenwich. If reckoned from the meridian of Teneriffe, said to be that used by the Dutch, this would place it 21° 10' too far west, as Teneriffe is 16° 40' W. from Greenwich. This place, in an island of the same name, has to be carefully distinguished from the city of St Sebastian, now more commonly known by the name of Rio de Janeiro.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

There is no doubt that at least some of the tribes roasted and eat their prisoners, like the Caribs of the West Indies. But certainly they had not arrived to that state of civilization as to have markets; and beef and mutton were unknown in America, till carried there from Europe.E.

Footnote 5: (return)

There are animals of the tyger kind in Brazil and other parts of America, and the Jaguar, Owza, or Brazilian tyger, is probably the one here meant. No elephants exist in America, and their teeth, mentioned in the text, must have come from some of the Portuguese African possessions.E.


Incidents during the Voyage from Brazil to Juan Fernandez, with a Description of that Island.

Every thing being settled at St Sebastian, Roggewein set sail towards the S.W. and falling in with a desert island about three leagues from the coast, he set on shore the swabber who had attempted to murder the cook, pursuant to his sentence, as formerly related. Leaving the coast of Brazil, the commodore proposed to have visited an island called Aukes Magdeland, after the name of its supposed discoverer, who is said to have seen a light on that island about an hundred years before, but did not go on shore. This island was said to be situated in the latitude of 30° S. and as being in the route of the navigation towards the South Sea, and in a good climate, he proposed to have settled a colony there for the service of such ships as might afterwards be bound for the Southern Indies, the object he was now in search of, where they might be supplied with wood, water, and other refreshments. But after much pains, he could neither discover that nor any other island in or near the latitude of 30° S. He therefore altered his coarse, steering for those called the New Islands by the Dutch, and the Islands of St Lewis, by a French privateer who first discovered them. Keeping always within forty or fifty leagues of the American coast, the squadron prosecuted its course very happily, having always the advantage of the land and sea-breezes; whereas, if it had kept farther from land, it would infallibly have fallen in with the western trade-wind.

On the 21st December, being in lat. 40°. S. they were [pg 83] assailed by a hurricane, attended with thunder and lightning, during which storm the Tienhoven parted company, and did not rejoin till three months afterwards. The extreme violence of this hurricane only lasted about four hours, during which they every moment expected to have been swallowed up by the waves, which ran mountain-high. These hurricanes are extremely dangerous, and are far more frequent in the American seas than in the East Indies. They usually happen at that season of the year when the west monsoon reigns, which is from the 20th July to the 15th October, for which reason ships usually remain then in port till they think the danger is over. Yet as storms of this kind are not exactly periodical, ships that trust to such calculations are often caught, as there are some years in which there are no hurricanes, and others in which they are more frequent and violent, and at unusual periods. The ordinary, or at least the surest sign of an approaching hurricane, is very fair weather, and so dead a calm that not even a wrinkle is to be seen on the surface of the sea. A very dark cloud is then seen to rise in the air, not larger than a man's hand, and in a very little time the whole sky becomes overcast. The wind then begins to blow from the west, and in a short space of time, whirls round the compass, swelling the sea to a dreadful height; and as the wind blows now on one side and then on the other, the contrary waves beat so forcibly on the ships that they seldom escape foundering or shipwreck. On first perceiving the before-mentioned small cloud, the best thing a ship can do is to stand out to sea. It is remarkable that the hurricanes are less frequent as we approach the higher latitudes in either hemisphere, so that they are not to be feared beyond the lat. of 55° either S. or N. It is also remarked, that hurricanes rarely happen in the middle of the wide ocean, but chiefly on the coasts of such countries as abound with minerals, and off the mouths of large rivers. Another surprising phenomenon at sea is what is called a whirlwind water-spout, or syphon, which often carries up high into the air whatever comes within the circle of its force, as fish, grasshoppers, and other things, where they appear like a thick vapour or cloud. The English fire at a water-spout or whirlwind, and often succeed in stopping its progress; the circular motion ceasing, and all that it had taken up falling immediately down, when the sea becomes presently calm.

On the cessation of the hurricane, the commodore and his [pg 84] remaining consort, the African galley, continued their course to the S.S.W. till in the height of the Straits of Magellan. They here fell in with an island of near 200 leagues in circumference, and about 14 leagues from the mainland of America, and seeing no smoke, nor any boat, or other kind of embarkation, they concluded that it was uninhabited. The west coast of this island was discovered by a French privateer, and named the Island of St Lewis; but being seen afterwards by the Dutch, who fancied its many capes to be distinct islands, they called it New Islands. Considering that, if ever it should be inhabited, its inhabitants would be the antipodes of the Dutch, Roggewein gave it the name of Belgia Australis. It is in the lat. of 52° S. and long. of 95° W.1

The land appeared extremely beautiful and very fertile, being chequered with mountains and vallies, all of which were cloathed with fine straight trees. The verdure of the meadows, and freshness of the woods, afforded a delightful prospect, insomuch that all the people believed they should have found abundance of excellent fruits. But the commodore would not delay by permitting them to land, being anxious to get round Cape Horn, and chose therefore to defer a thorough examination of this new country till his return from discovering the southern continent and islands: This, however reasonable, proved vain in the sequel, as he was forced to return with his squadron by the East Indies; and this fine island, therefore, is likely to continue in a great measure unknown.

Quitting this island, they made for the Straits of Magellan, in order to wait a wind favourable for their navigation, which took place in a few days: for, if it had continued to blow from the west, they could not possibly have got into the South Seas. They now resolved to attempt the Straits of Le Maire, as infinitely more commodious than the Strait of Magellan, in which latter the sea has but small depth, and the meeting of the north and south currents occasion continual rough seas. The bottom also of the Straits of Magellan is rocky, affording no good anchorage; and the flows of [pg 85] winds from the mountains on both sides are apt to endanger all ships that endeavour to pass through these perilous straits. Having now a fair wind, they continued their course to the south for the Straits of Le Maire, seeing on their way abundance of whales and other large fish of that kind. Among the rest, they were followed for a whole month by that kind of fish which is called the Sea Devil by the Dutch sailors, which they took the utmost pains to catch, but to no purpose. It has a large head, a thick short body, and a very long tail, like that which painters bestow on the dragon.

Arriving in the lat. of 55° S. they soon after saw State Island, or Staten-land, which forms one side of the Straits of Luttaire. The fury of the waves, and the clashing of contending currents, gave such terrible shocks to their vessels, that they expected every moment their yards should have been broken, and their masts to come by the board. They would gladly have come to anchor, especially on finding the bottom to be good, but the weather and the sea were so rough that they durst not. They passed through the straits, which are about ten leagues long, by six over, with a swiftness not to be expressed, owing to the force and rapidity of the current. After getting through, this current, together with the westerly winds, carried them a great way from the coast of America; and, that they might be sure to sail free of Cape Horn, they sailed as high as the lat. of 62° 30' S. For three weeks together, they sustained the most dreadful gusts of a furious west wind, accompanied with hail and snow, and the most piercing frost. While enveloped in thick mists, they were apprehensive of being driven by the extreme violence of the winds upon mountains of ice, where they must inevitably have perished.

Whenever the weather was in any degree clear or serene, they had scarcely any night; for, being in the middle of January, 1722, the summer was then in its height, and the days at their utmost length.

These mountains of ice, of which they were so much afraid, are certain proofs that the southern countries extend quite to the pole, as well as those under the north; for, without question, these vast hills of ice cannot be produced in the sea, nor formed by the common force of cold. It must therefore he concluded, that they are occasioned by the sharp piercing winds blowing out of the mouths of large rivers.2 [pg 86] It is no less certain, that the currents discerned in this ocean must all proceed from the mouths of large rivers, which, rolling down from a high continent, fall with such impetuosity into the sea, as to preserve a great part of their force long after they have entered it.3 The great quantity of birds seen here was an additional proof that land was not far off. It may be asked, whether this land be inhabited or not? For my part I believe it is. It may be again asked, How men should live in such a climate, in the lat. of 70° S. where the winter is so very long, the summer so short, and where they must be involved for so great a portion of the year in perpetual night? To this I answer, That such as dwell there come only in the fine season in order to fish, and retire on the approach of winter, as is done by many of the inhabitants of Russia and of Davis Straits, who, when they have provided themselves with fish on the coasts of a frozen climate, retire farther inland, and eat in their cabins during the winter the fish they have caught in the summer. If the people who inhabit Greenland and Davis Straits are to be believed, the country is inhabited even as high as 70° N. both winter and summer; and what is practicable in one country, cannot justly be reputed impracticable when supposed in another.4

Being driven 500 leagues from the continent by the contrary winds, the commodore now believed that he was beyond Cape Horn to the westwards, and steered therefore N.E. by N. in order to fall in with the coast of Chili. On [pg 87] the 10th March, being in lat. 37° 30' S. they discovered the coast of Chili to their great joy, and anchored soon after on the coast of the island of Mocha, which is three leagues from the continent.5 They were in hopes of finding on this island at least a part of the refreshments of which they were in want, especially fresh meat and vegetables, but were disappointed, by finding the island entirely abandoned, all its inhabitants having removed to the main land. They saw, however, in the island a multitude of horses and birds, and found some dogs in two cabins near the shore. They also discovered the wreck of a Spanish ship, from which they supposed the dogs had got on shore. The horses were supposed to have been left here to graze, and that the owners came at certain times from the main to take them, as wanted. They here killed abundance of geese and ducks; and finding the coast extremely rocky, and having no safe place of anchorage, they resolved to put to sea. In a council of the officers, it was determined to continue for some time longer on the coast of Chili, in hopes of meeting with some port in which they could safely anchor, in order to get some refreshments; but perceiving the Spaniards to be every where on their guard, they steered W.N.W. for the island of Juan Fernandez, which they reckoned to be at the distance of ninety leagues in that direction. Although the coast of Chili appears to be enormously high when seen from a distance, they discovered, by sailing along shore, that it was not higher than the coast of England, and that they had been deceived by the enormous height of the inland mountains, the tops of which are hid in the clouds, and cloathed in perpetual snow.

Having a favourable wind, they made way at a great rate, and got sight of the island of Juan Fernandez, on the fourth day after leaving the coast of Chili, but could not get to anchor that day in the road, owing to its falling calm. Next day, when ready to go in, they were astonished by seeing a ship riding at anchor, which they conjectured to be either a Spanish ship of force or a French interloper, but at last concluded to be a pirate. While consulting what to do, they saw the boat belonging to the ship coming towards them, carrying a Spanish flag, on which they began to prepare for [pg 88] an engagement, but were astonished beyond measure, on its nearer approach, to find that it belonged to their consort the Tienhoven, which they concluded had foundered. Captain Bowman was himself on board the boat, and shewed how well he had followed his instructions, as, by the commodore's orders in case of separation, this was to be the first place of rendezvous; whence, after cruizing six weeks, they were to repair to lat. 28° S. and cruize there a similar time: But, in case of not meeting the commodore in either of these places, they were then to open their sealed instructions, and follow them exactly. As soon as Captain Bowman was on board the commodore, he made a signal agreed on to his own ship, to acquaint them that the two ships were their consorts, After this, the Eagle and African entered the harbour.

When leisure permitted, Captain Bowman gave an account of the dangers he had encountered in passing the Straits of Magellan: That he had met with many storms on the coast of America, and that his ship was in a very bad condition, having only arrived at Juan Fernandez the evening before his consorts, both of which he believed had been lost in the hurricane at the time of their separation. The three captains afterwards dined together very cheerfully in the Tienhoven, where they recounted and reciprocally commiserated their past misfortunes, and rejoiced at their present happy meeting. As it still continued a dead calm, they were unable to come to anchor at the place intended, but they next day got close beside the Tienhoven, anchoring in forty fathoms, within musket-shot of the shore. The sick were now landed, and proper persons sent ashore along with them to construct cabins or huts for their accommodation; and to search for provisions and refreshments.

According to the author of this voyage, the island of Juan Fernandez is one of the finest and best situated in the world, having a pleasant, wholesome, and temperate climate, fit to restore health to the sick, and to give a constant flow of spirits to those who are in health, which this author personally experienced, having here recovered from a complication of disorders to perfect health. The hills are covered with tall trees of various kinds, fit for all kinds of uses; and the vallies are fertile, and able to produce all the necessaries of life with very little cultivation. It abounds with small streams and brooks, the banks of which are covered with wholesome giants; and the waters which run down from the mountains, [pg 89] though not in the least disagreeable to the taste, or injurious to health, are so impregnated with some mineral particles, that they never corrupt. On the east side of the bay in which the Dutch ships anchored, there are three mountains, the middlemost of which resembles the Table Mountains at the Cape of Good Hope. Behind these there are many other mountains which rise to a prodigious height, and are generally covered by very thick mist, especially in the mornings and evenings, whence I am apt to suspect that these mountains may contain rich mines. To give a just idea of the island in few words, it resembles in all respects the country at the Cape of Good Hope.

This author also mentions the sea-lions and seals of other writers, and adds, that there are sea-cows also of enormous size, some weighing near half a ton. He also mentions the abundance and excellence of the fish, of which the Dutch cured many thousands during their short stay, which proved extraordinarily good, and were of great service during the rest of the voyage. He mentions goats also on the island in abundance, but says the Dutch were unable to catch them, and at a loss how to get at their bodies when shot; but they were frightened from this sport by an unlucky accident which happened to the steward of one of the ships, soon after their arrival, who, rambling one evening in the mountains, fell suddenly from the top of a rock and was dashed to pieces. They found here the remains of a wreck, supposed by them to have been of a Spanish ship; but it was more probably the vestiges of the Speedwell, lost a year before, and from which, by diving, some of the sailors recovered several pieces of silver plate.

Having attentively considered the advantageous situation and many conveniences of this island, Roggewein conceived the design of settling on it, as the most proper place that could be thought of for ships bound, as he was, for the Terra Australis, or southern islands, and was the more encouraged in this design by considering the fertility of the island, which could not fail to afford sufficient subsistence for six hundred families at least. He postponed this, however, as also the settlement of Belgia Australis, or Falkland islands, till his proposed return, owing to which they never were settled. A settlement at the latter might have afforded a proper place for ships to careen and refit at, and to procure wood and water, after the long voyage from Europe, before entering the [pg 90] Straits of Magellan, and Juan Fernandez would have afforded every convenience for repairing any injuries that might have been sustained in passing through these straits, or going round Cape Horn. Whatever nation may revive and prosecute this plan, will certainly acquire in a few years as rich and profitable a commerce as is now possessed by the Spaniards with Mexico and Peru, or the Portuguese with Brazil.6

Footnote 1: (return)

There is not the smallest doubt that the text refers to the Falkland islands or Malouines, which consist of two principal islands, called West and East Islands, besides a number of islets, about 360 English miles from the continent of South America. The centre of the west, or principal island, is in lat. 51° 25' S. and long. 60° W. from Greenwich.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

This is quite erroneous, as it is now well known that the sea water freezes, when reduced to a sufficient degree of cold, considerably lower than what is requisite for freezing fresh water. On this occasion, the salt precipitates from the freezing water, and the ice of sea water is sufficiently fresh for use when melted, if the first running be thrown away, which often contains salt, either adhering to the surface, or contained in cells.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

This is poor reasoning to support a preconceived theory of a southern continent, and might easily have been answered by themselves, as the prodigious current which set them through the Straits of Le Maire with such rapidity, could not have originated from any such cause. Currents are well known to be occasioned by the tides, the diurnal revolution of the earth, and by prevailing winds, influenced and directed by the bendings of coasts, the interposition of islands, and the position of straits. No such currents could possibly come from rivers in an austral land, locked up in ever-during frost, should any such land exist.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

It might be asked, whence are these fishers to come? Not surely from among the miserable inhabitants of Terra del Fuego. A miserable hypothesis is thus often obstinately defended by wretched arguments.E.

Footnote 5: (return)

Mocha is in lat. 36° 20' S. and about 20 miles from the coast of Chili.E.

Footnote 6: (return)

Britain once tried a settlement at Falkland islands, and had nearly gone to war with Spain on the occasion; and there can be no doubt that Spain could never have submitted to the settlement of Juan Fernandez by any other power. There is now a fort and small garrison kept in that island.E


Continuation of the Voyage from Juan Fernandez till the Shipwreck of the African Galley.

On leaving Juan Fernandez, Roggewein proposed to visit that part of the southern lands which was reported to have been discovered by Davis in 1680.1 As the Dutch author of this voyage is rather dark on this subject, I shall here insert Mr Wafer's account of this discovery, as it is very short. Wafer was a man of sense and knowledge, who sailed along with Davis when this discovery was made.

"We steered from the Gallapagos island S. by E. 1/2 E. until we came into the lat. of 27° 20' S. when we fell in with a low sandy island, and heard a great roaring noise right a-head of the ship, like that of the sea beating on the shore. It being some hours before day, and fearing to fall foul of the shore, the ship put about, and plied off and on till next morning, and then stood in for the land, which proved to be a small flat island, not surrounded by any rocks. To the westwards, about twelve leagues by estimation, we saw a range of high land which we took to be islands, as there were several partitions in the prospect, and this land seemed to extend fourteen or sixteen leagues. There came great flocks of fowls from that direction; and I and more of the men would have made this land and gone on shore there, [pg 91] but the captain would not consent. The small island bears 500 leagues from Copaipo almost due W. and from the Gallapagos 600 leagues."2

In prosecuting his voyage to the westwards, the first land seen by Roggewein was the lesser island of Juan Fernandez, otherwise called Massa-fuero, about ninety-five English miles direct west. This appeared lower and less fertile from a distance, but they had not an opportunity of landing. Having the benefit of a S.E. trade-wind, they soon arrived in lat. 28° S. and the longitude of 251° E. where they expected to have fallen in with the land seen by Davis, but no such land was to be found. Continuing their voyage to the westwards, and attended by a vast quantity of birds, they arrived on the coast of a small island about sixteen leagues in extent, which they fell in with on the 14th April, 1722, being Easter-day, and called it therefore Pascha, or Easter Island.

The African galley being the smallest ship, was sent in first to examine this new discovery, and reported that it seemed to be very fertile and well peopled, as abundance of smoke was to be seen in all parts of the island. Next day, while looking out for a port, and when about two miles from the shore, an Indian came off to the ships in a canoe, who came readily on board and was well received. Being naked, he was first presented with a piece of cloth to cover him, and they gave him afterwards pieces of coral, beads, and other toys, all of which he hung about his neck, together with a dried fish. His body was painted all over with a variety of figures, through which the natural colour of his skin appeared to be dark brown. His ears were excessively large and long, hanging down to his shoulders, occasioned doubtless by wearing large heavy ear-rings; a thing also practised by the natives of Malabar. He was tall, well-made, robust and of a pleasing countenance, and brisk and active in his manners, appearing to be very merry by his gestures and way of speaking. They gave him victuals, of which he eat heartily, but could not be prevailed on to use a knife and [pg 92] fork; and when offered a glass of wine threw it away to their great surprise, afraid of being poisoned, or offended by the smell of strong liquor, to which he was unaccustomed. He was then dressed from head to foot, and had a hat put on his head, with which he did not seem at all pleased, but cut a very awkward figure, and seemed uneasy. The music was then ordered to play, with which he seemed much pleased, and when taken by the hand would leap and dance. Finding it impossible to bring the ships to anchor that day, they sent off the Indian, allowing him to keep all he had got in order to encourage the rest to come on board. But, what was really surprising, he had no mind to go away, and looked at the Dutch with regret, held up his hands towards his native island, and cried in a loud voice several times Odorega! making appear by signs that he would much rather have staid, and they had much ado to get him into his canoe. They afterwards imagined he called upon his gods, as they saw abundance of idols erected on the coast when they landed.3

Next morning at day-break, the ships entered a cove or bay on the S.E. side of the island, when many thousands4 of the inhabitants came down to meet them, bringing with them vast quantities of fowls and roots; and many of them brought these provisions on board, while the rest ran backwards and forwards on the shore, like so many wild beasts. As the ships drew near, the islanders crowded down to the shore to get a better view of them, and at the same time lighted fires, and made offerings to their idols, probably to implore their protection against the strangers. All that day the Dutch spent in getting into the bay and mooring their ships. Next morning very early, the islanders were observed prostrating themselves before their idols towards the rising sun, and making burnt offerings. While preparations were making for landing, the friendly native who had been before on board came a second time, accompanied by many others, who had their canoes loaded with living fowls and roots cooked after their manner, as if to make themselves welcome. [pg 93] Among this troop of islanders there was one man perfectly white, having round pendents in his ears as big as a man's fist. He had a grave decent air, and was supposed to be a priest. By some accident, one of the islanders was shot dead in his canoe by a musket, which threw the whole into prodigious confusion, most of them leaping into the sea in order to get the sooner ashore; while the rest who remained in their canoes paddled away with all their might.

The Dutch presently followed, and made a descent with 150 soldiers and seamen, at the head of whom was Commodore Roggewein, accompanied by the author of the voyage, who commanded the soldiers. The islanders crowded so close upon them while landing, that they thought it necessary to make their way by force, especially as some of the natives were so bold as to lay hold of their arms; and the Dutch accordingly fired, when a great number of the islanders were slain, among whom was the friendly native who had been twice aboard ship. This frightened and dispersed them; yet in a few minutes they rallied again, but did not come quite so near the strangers as before, keeping at the distance of about ten yards, as if they supposed that were sufficient to ensure their safety from the muskets. Their consternation was however very great, and they howled and lamented dismally. After all, as if to employ every possible means to mollify their invaders, the men, women, and children presented themselves in the most humble postures, carrying branches of palm in token of peace and submission, bringing plenty of provisions of all kinds, and even pointing to their women, giving the Dutch to understand by signs that these were entirely at their disposal, and that they might carry as many of them on board ship as they thought proper. Softened by these tokens of submission, the Dutch did them no farther harm, but made them presents of coral beads and small looking-glasses, and distributed among them sixty yards of painted cloth.

The natives now brought at once to the Dutch about 500 live fowls, every way the same with the ordinary poultry of Europe, together with a great quantity of red and white roots and potatoes, which these islanders use instead of bread. They brought also several hundred sugar-canes, and a great quantity of pisans, which are a sort of figs as large as gourds covered by a green rind, the pulp of which is as sweet as honey. The leaves of the tree on which these [pg 94] figs grow are six or eight feet long and three broad, and there are sometimes an hundred of these pisans on one bough. The Dutch saw no quadrupeds of any kind, yet supposed there might be cattle and other beasts in the interior, as on shewing some hogs to the islanders, they expressed by signs that they had seen such animals before. They used pots to dress their meat in; and it appeared that every family or tribe among them dwelt in a separate village. The huts or cabins composing these villages were from forty to sixty feet long, by six or eight feet broad, made of upright poles, having the interstices filled up with loam or fat earth, and covered at top with palm leaves. They drew most of their subsistence from the earth by cultivation, the land being portioned out into small plantations very neatly divided and staked out. While the Dutch were there, almost all the fruits and roots were in full maturity, and the island seemed to abound in good things. In their houses there were not many moveables, and those they had were of no value, except some red and white quilts or cloths, which served them in the day for mantles, and at night for coverlets. The stuff of which these were composed felt as soft as silk, and was probably of their own manufacture.

The natives of this island were in general a brisk, slender, active, well-made people, very swift of foot, and seemed of sweet tempers, and modest dispositions, but timorous and faint-hearted; for whenever they brought fowls or other provisions to the Dutch, they threw themselves on their knees, and immediately on delivering their presents retired in all haste. They were mostly as brown-complexioned as Spaniards, some among them being almost black, while others were white, and others again had their skins entirely red, as if sun-burnt. Their ears hung down to their shoulders, and some had large white bales hanging to them, which they seemed to consider as a great ornament. Their bodies were painted all over with the figures of birds and other animals, on some much better executed than on others.5 All their women had artificial bloom on their cheeks, but of [pg 95] a much deeper crimson than is known in Europe, and the Dutch could not discover what this colour was composed of. They wore little hats on their heads made of straw or reeds, and had no other covering than the quilts or mantles formerly mentioned.6 The women were by no means extremely modest, for they invited the Dutchmen into their houses by signs, and when they sat by them would throw off their mantles, as inviting familiarity. It is very singular of these islanders, that the Dutch saw no appearance whatever of arms among them; but, when attacked, they fled for refuge to their idols, numbers of which were erected all along the coast. These idols were all of stone, representing the figures of men with great ears, their heads covered by the representations of crowns; and all so nicely proportioned, and so highly finished, that the Dutch were much amazed. Many of the inhabitants seemed to be more frequent and more zealous worshippers of these images than the rest, which induced the Dutch to believe that these were priests; and that the more especially, as their heads were close shaven, on which they wore caps of black and white feathers,7 and they had large white balls hanging at their ears.

No appearance of government or subordination was observed among these islanders, and consequently no prince or chief having dominion over the rest. The old people wore bonnets made of feathers resembling the down of ostriches, and had sticks in their hands. In some of the houses, the father of the family was observed to have rule over all its inhabitants, and was obeyed with the greatest readiness. In the opinion of the Dutch author of this voyage, this island might be settled to great advantage, as the air is very wholesome and the soil rich; being proper for producing corn in the low lands, and its higher grounds might be converted into vineyards. On the evening, after returning on board, Roggewein proposed to land again next morning with a force sufficient to make a strict survey of the whole island: But during the night there arose so strong a west wind as drove them from their anchors, and they were forced to put [pg 96] to sea, to avoid being shipwrecked. After this misfortune, they cruized for some time in the same latitude, seeking in vain for the land discovered by Davis, on which Roggewein determined to bear away for the Bad Sea of Schouten, keeping always a west course, in hopes of discovering some new land. In this coarse, they soon found themselves in the height of the island discovered by Schonten in 1615, to which he gave the name of Bad-water, because all its waters were brackish; but, by changing their course, they ran 300 leagues out of their way, and at least 150 leagues farther than Schonten.

In this wide sea, Roggewein sailed upwards of 800 leagues without seeing land, though he frequently varied his course. At length, when in lat. 15° 30' S. they discovered a very low island, the coast of which was covered with a deep yellow-coloured sand, having in the middle of the island a kind of pond, lake, or lagoon. All the principal officers were of opinion that this was the island to which Schonten gave the name of Dog island, and did not therefore think it necessary to go on shore for more particular examination.8 The author of this voyage was of a different opinion, conceiving it a new discovery, and calling it Carlshoff,9 which he says is in lat. 15° 45' S. and long. 280°. He describes it as a low flat island of about three leagues in extent, having a lake in the middle.

Leaving this island, the wind came about to the S.W. a sign that they were near some coast, which had changed the current of the air; and by this alteration of wind they were driven among some small islands, where they found themselves considerably embarrassed. In this situation the African galley led the way for the rest, as sailing best and drawing least water; but she soon found herself in such danger, that they fired repeated guns of distress, on which the other two ships hastened to her assistance, when they found her stuck so fast between two rocks that it was impossible to get her of? and were only able to save her people. Roused by the noise of the signal guns, the natives of the surrounding [pg 97] islands kindled many fires on their hills, and flocked in crowds to the coasts; and the Dutch; not knowing what might be their designs in the darkness of the night and in the midst of their own confusion, fired upon them without ceremony, that they might have as few dangers as possible to deal with at one time. In the morning as soon as it was light, they had a clear view of the danger all the ships had been in during the darkness of the past night, finding themselves environed on all sides by four islands, with a continued chain of steep rocks, and so close together that they could hardly discern the channel by which they had got in, so that they had much reason to be thankful for having been so wonderfully preserved in the midst of so much danger. On this occasion only one seaman was lost, who belonged to the Tienhoven, and who, in his eagerness to go to succour his friends, dropt overboard and was drowned.

The danger was by no means over as soon as discovered, as it cost the Dutch no less than five days to extricate themselves from their perilous situation, during which time the commodore was separated from the Tienhoven, and remained ignorant of the fate of the African. At length, the boat of the Tienhoven, having sailed all round the group of islands, brought information that the crew of the African had got safe on shore; and that the natives, after being once fired on, had retired into the interior in all haste. Roggewein now sent his boat to bring off all those who had got on shore; and on mustering the crew of the African on board the Eagle, it appeared that a quarter-master and four seamen were missing. On enquiry, it was found that these men had chosen to remain on the island, as they had mutinied against their officers on getting ashore, because they had interposed to prevent them from killing each other with their knives, and Captain Rosenthall had threatened to have them all put to death when he got them aboard the commodore, wherefore they had fled to avoid punishment. Being unwilling to lose them, the commodore sent the author of this narrative with a detachment of soldiers to bring them away, but he was unable to succeed.

These islands are situated between the latitudes of 15° and 16° S. about twelve leagues west from Carlshoff,10 each of [pg 98] them appearing to be four or five leagues in compass. That on which the African was shipwrecked was named Mischievous Island, the two next it the Brothers, and the fourth the Sister All four islands were beautifully verdant, and abounded in fine tall trees, especially cocoas; and the crews found material benefit while here by refreshing themselves on the vegetable productions of these islands, by which many of them were surprisingly recovered from the scurvy. The Dutch found here vast quantities of muscles, cockles, mother-of-pearls, and pearl-oysters, which gave reason to expect that a valuable pearl fishery might have been established here. These islands are extremely low, so that some parts of them must be frequently overflowed; but the inhabitants have plenty of stout canoes, as also stout barks provided with sails and cables; and the Dutch found several pieces of rope on the shore, that seemed made of hemp. The natives were of extraordinary size, all their bodies being painted [or tatooed] with many colours, and had mostly long black hair, though some had brown hair even inclined towards red. They were armed with pikes or lances eighteen or twenty feet long, and kept in bodies of fifty or an hundred together, endeavouring to entice the Dutch to follow them into the interior, as if to draw them into an ambuscade, on purpose to be revenged for the loss they had sustained by the firing on the night of the shipwreck.

Footnote 1: (return)

We have omitted a long, inconclusive, and uninteresting discussion about the climate and productions of the proposed discovery, the Terra Australis, which still remains incognito, or rather has been clearly shewn to have no existence.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

There can be no doubt that the small low flat island was Easter island, in lat. 27° 20' S. long. 110° 10' W. Its distance from Copaipo, almost due W. is almost exactly 40° or 800 marine leagues. The range of high land seen to the westwards, could be nothing but a fog bank, so that Roggewein set out from Juan Fernandez in search of a nonentity.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

It will be afterwards seen in the modern circumnavigations, that there are several gigantic statues, having a distant resemblance to the human figure, on this island, which are perhaps alluded to in the text.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

This surely is a prodigious exaggeration, as the island is utterly incapable to have supported any considerable number of inhabitants, and there is not any other within 1500 miles.E.

Footnote 5: (return)

Tatooed in all probability, a practice so common through the inhabitants of Polynesia, which will be minutely described in an after division of this collection. It may suffice to say at present, that this decoration is formed by pricking the skin with sharp instruments till it just bleeds, and afterwards rubbing some coloured powders into the punctures, which leave indelible stains.E.

Footnote 6: (return)

It is left ambiguous whether these straw hats and mantles were worn by both sexes, or confined exclusively to the women.E.

Footnote 7: (return)

A dissertation is here omitted on a fancied migration of storks annually from Europe to this island and others in the South-sea, as high as lat. 40° and 50° S. merely because the Dutch thought the feathers in these caps resembled those of storks.E.

Footnote 8: (return)

In modern geography Dog island is placed in lat. 15° 10' S. long. 137° 45' W. from Greenwich.E.

Footnote 9: (return)

Carlshoff is laid down by Arrowsmith in lat. 15° 45' S. as in the text, and long. 145° 28' W. The first meridian used for the longitude in the text is quite inexplicable, and was probably assumed on very erroneous computation. It is 190 marine leagues due west from Dog island.E.

Footnote 10: (return)

Pernicious islands, almost certainly the Mischievous islands of the text, are placed in lat. 16° 5' S. and long. 148° 50' W. about 20 leagues W. by S. from Carlshoff by Arrowsmith.E.


Continuation of the Voyage after the Loss of the African, to the Arrival of Roggewein at New Britain.

The next morning after leaving Mischievous island, they saw a new island eight leagues to the west, to which they gave the name of Aurora island, because observed first at break of day. At this time the Tienhoven was so near, that if the sun had risen half an hour later, she must have shared the same fate with the African, as she was within cannon-shot of the shore when the danger was perceived, and she then tacked and escaped with considerable difficulty. The fright which this occasioned produced a mutiny, in which all the seamen insisted with the commodore either to return immediately, or to give them security for payment of [pg 99] their wages, in case they should be so unfortunate as to suffer shipwreck. This request seemed just and reasonable, being daily exposed to excessive fatigue in these stormy and unknown seas, and at the same time ran the hazard of losing all the reward of their labours, as it is the custom in Holland that the seamen lose their wages if the ship is lost in which they sail. The commodore listened to their complaints with much humanity, and immediately gave them assurance upon oath, that they should have their wages to the uttermost farthing, and kept his promise with the utmost exactness; for, though the African was lost before, and both the other ships were condemned at Batavia, yet every one of their respective crews received their full wages on their arrival at Amsterdam.

The island of Aurora was about four leagues in extent, the whole being covered with delightful verdure, and adorned with lofty trees interspersed with smaller wood. But, as the coast was found to be all foul and rocky, they left this island also without landing. Towards evening of the same day, they had sight of another island, to which therefore they gave the name of Vesper.1 This was about twelve leagues in circuit, all low land, yet verdant and containing abundance of trees of various sorts. Continuing their course to the west in about the latitude of 15° S. they next morning discovered another country; and, as it was covered with smoke, they concluded it was inhabited, and made there all sail to come to it, in hopes of procuring refreshments. On approaching nearer, some of the inhabitants were seen diverting themselves off the coast in their canoes. They also perceived by degrees, that what they had at first supposed to be one country or large island, was in reality abundance of islands standing close together, among which they had now entered so far, that they found it difficult to get out again. In this situation, a man was sent to the mast-head to look out for a passage, and as the weather was quite serene, they had the good fortune to get out once more into the open sea without injury; although in passing by several steep ranges of rocks, they had reason to consider this as a great deliverance. There were six of these islands, exceedingly [pg 100] beautiful and pleasant in appearance, which altogether could not be less than thirty leagues in circumference. They were about twenty-five leagues west from Mischievous island, and the Dutch called them the Labyrinth,2 having difficultly got clear of them by numerous tacks.

As it was very dangerous to anchor on the coast, and as none of the inhabitants came off in their canoes, the Dutch did not think fit to make any stay, but continued still a western course, and in a few days discovered another island, which at a distance appeared very high and beautiful; but, on a nearer approach they found no ground for anchorage, and the coast appeared so rocky that they were afraid to venture near. Each ship therefore embarked twenty-five men in their boats, in order to make a descent. The natives no sooner perceived their design than they came down in crowds to the coast to oppose their landing, being armed with long spears, which they soon shewed they knew how to use to the best advantage. When the boats drew near, the shore was found to be so steep and rocky, that the boats could not come to land, on which most of the sailors went into the water with their arms in their hands, having some baubles fit for presents to the natives tied upon their heads; while those who remained in the boats kept up a continual fire to clear the shore. This expedient succeeded, and the seamen got ashore without much resistance from the natives; who were frightened by the fire of the musquetry, and retired up the mountains, but came down again as soon as the Dutch ceased firing.

On the return of the islanders, the Dutch who had landed shewed them small mirrors, beads, and other baubles, and the people came up to them without fear, took their presents, and suffered them to search where they pleased for herbs and sallading for the sick. They found abundance of these, and soon filled twelve sacks, six for the Eagle and six for the Tienhoven, the inhabitants even assisting them and shewing them the best sorts. They carried their cargo of greens immediately on board, which were more acceptable to the sick than if they had brought them as much gold and silver. Next morning a larger body of men were ordered on shore, [pg 101] both on purpose to gather herbs and to examine the island. The first thing they did was to make a present to the king or chief of a considerable assortment of trinkets, which he received with an air of indifference and disdain, which did not promise much good in their future intercourse, yet sent the Dutch a considerable quantity of cocoa nuts in return, which were very agreeable to them in their present circumstances. The chief was distinguished from the ordinary inhabitants by wearing various ornaments of pearls, as they judged to the value of 600 florins, or L. 55 sterling. The women of the island seemed to admire the white men much, and almost stifled them with caresses: But this was all employed to lull the Dutch into security, that the plot contrived by the men for their destruction might the more readily succeed.

When the Dutch had filled twenty sacks with greens, they advanced farther into the country, till they came to the top of some steep rocks, which hung over a large and deep valley, the natives going both before and behind them, quite unsuspected of any evil intention. At length, thinking they had the Dutch at an advantage, the natives suddenly quitted them, and soon after prodigious numbers came pouring out from caves and holes in the rocks, and surrounded the Dutch on all sides, while they immediately formed in close order for defence. The chief or king then made a signal for the Dutch to keep off, but as they continued to advance, the chief made a signal of battle, which was instantly followed by a prodigious shower of stones. The Dutch in return made a general discharge of their fire arms, which did great execution, and the chief was among the first who fell. Yet the islanders continued to throw stones with great fury, so that most of the Dutch were soon wounded and almost disabled, on which they retired under shelter of a rock, whence they fired with such success that great numbers of the islanders were slain. They still obstinately maintained their ground, and the Dutch were at last forced to retreat, having some of their number killed, and a great many wounded, most of whom died not long after, in consequence of their scorbutical habit of body, in spite of every care. As soon as they could disengage themselves from the enemy, the Dutch retired on board ship, carrying with them the sacks of greens which they had gathered. This rencounter had so great an effect on the [pg 102] Dutch, that when it was proposed to land again, not a man could be prevailed upon to make the dangerous attempt.

They had given to this island, before this unfortunate affair, the name of the Island of Recreation,3 which is in lat. 16° S. and long. 285°. It is about twelve leagues in compass, with a fertile soil, producing a great number of trees, especially cocoa nuts, palms, and iron-wood. The Dutch conceived that there might be rich mines in the heart of the country, and other valuable things, but were not allowed to search. The natives were of middle size, but robust and active, having long black shining hair, which they anoint with cocoa-nut oil, a practice very common among the Indians. They were painted all over, like the inhabitants of Easter island; the men wearing a kind of net-work round their middles, which they stick up between their legs. The women were entirely covered by a kind of mantles of their own manufacture, the stuff of which to the sight and touch resembled silk;4 and they wear long strings of pearls about their necks and wrists.

Roggewein thought proper to sail from this island without farther loss of time, and before his departure held a council of his officers, in which he stated his instructions, which were,If no discovery of importance could be made in the latitude and longitude in which they then were, that he should return home. Some of the council were much astonished at this, and remonstrated, That having already gone so far, and met with such encouragement to hope for discoveries of great importance, they thought it would betray a great want of spirit not to proceed. To this Roggewein answered, That they had now been out ten months, having still a long voyage to make to the East Indies; that provisions began to grow scarce, and, above all, that the crews were already so much diminished in number, and the survivors in so weak a condition, that if twenty more were to die or fall sick, there would not be a sufficient number remaining to navigate both ships. The true reason, however, in the opinion of the author of this voyage, was the anxiety [pg 103] to get to the East Indies before the change of the monsoon, in which case they must have remained six months longer in these seas. Some of the officers opposed this motion to the last, earnestly entreating the commodore that he would rather winter at the land mentioned by Ferdinand de Quiros, from which they could not now be more than 150 leagues distant. They insisted that it was wrong to think of going to the East Indies, that being directly contrary to the design of their instructions: And that by continuing in the same western course, they could not fail to fall in with some island, where they might land and procure refreshments, remaining on shore till all their sick men were recovered, and erecting a fort to defend themselves against the natives. If this were complied with, they said they might afterwards return home by an eastern coarse; and, by taking time, might effectually complete the discoveries on which they were sent.

These reasons were listened to with patience and civility, but had not the weight they deserved; and a resolution was formed to continue their coarse for New Britain and New Guinea, and thence to the East Indies, by way of the Moluccas, being in hopes to procure there a supply of provisions and necessaries, together with a reinforcement of seamen, in case they should then be too weak for navigating their ships home to Europe. In consequence of this resolution, an end was put to all hope of visiting the land of Quiros, which the best seamen on board thought might have been easily discovered, called by him and Torres the Islands of Solomon, and reported to be beautiful and fertile, and abounding in gold, silver, precious stones, and spices.5

Leaving the island of Recreation, Roggewein steered a coarse towards the N.W. pursuant to the resolution of the council, in order to get into the latitude of New Britain. On the third day, in lat. 12° S. and long. 29° they discovered several islands which appeared very beautiful at a distance, and, on a nearer approach, were seen to be well planted with all sorts of trees, and produced herbs, corn, and roots in great plenty, to which they gave the name of Bowman's Islands, after the captain of the Tienhoven, by whom they were first seen.6 As soon as they were seen by the natives, [pg 104] they came off in their canoes to the ships, bringing fish, cocoa-nuts, Indian figs, and other refreshments, in return for which the Dutch gave them small mirrors, strings of beads, and other trifles. These islands were very fully peopled, as many thousands of men and women came down to the shore to view the ships, most of the men being armed with bows and arrows. Among the rest, they saw a majestic personage, who, from the peculiar dress he wore, and the honours that were paid him, evidently appeared to be chief or king of these islanders. This person soon afterwards went into a canoe, accompanied by a fair young woman, who sat close by his side, and his canoe was immediately surrounded by a vast number of others, which seemed intended for his guard.

All the inhabitants of these islands were white, differing only from Europeans in being sun-burnt, and they seemed a very harmless good sort of people, of brisk and lively dispositions, behaving to each other with much civility, and shewing no appearance of wildness or savageness in their behaviour. Their bodies were not painted like those of the islanders they had seen hitherto, but very handsomely cloathed from the waist downwards, with a sort of silk fringes very neatly arranged. On their heads they wore hats of a very neat-looking stuff, very large and wide spreading, in order to keep off the sun, and their necks were adorned with collars or garlands of beautiful odoriferous flowers. The islands appeared quite charming, being agreeably diversified with beautiful hills and intermediate vallies. Each family or tribe appeared to have its separate district, and to compose a separate government or community, all the land being regularly laid out into regular and fair plantations, as had formerly been observed at Pasch, or Easter island. In all respects, the natives were the most civilized and best disposed people they had seen in the South Seas. Instead of shewing any terror or apprehension at the arrival of the Dutch, the natives expressed the utmost joy and satisfaction, treating them with the utmost kindness and respect, and manifested the most sincere and deep concern at their departure. Many of the Dutch also felt a similar regret, and would have been well pleased to have made a longer stay in this delightful and plenteous country, among so kind a [pg 105] people, as, by the help of the excellent provisions in great abundance with which these good islands furnished them, all their sick people would have been perfectly recovered in a month. These islands had also one convenience greatly superior to those they had met with before, as there was good anchorage almost every where along their coasts, where they rode in the utmost safety, in from fifteen to twenty fathoms.

So many advantageous circumstances ought to have induced Roggewein and his officers to have remained here longer; but their heads were so full of proceeding for the East Indies, that they were fearful of missing the favourable monsoon, while they afterwards discovered, to their cost, that they were two months too early, instead of two months too late. By this indiscreet step, they sacrificed the health and strength of their crew to such a degree, that they were at length hardly able to navigate their ships, and at one time were on the point of burning one of their ships, that they might be better able to manage the other: All of which inconveniences might have been avoided, had they embraced this opportunity afforded them by Divine Providence, and been contented to remain in a place of safety, plenty, and pleasure, till their sick were recovered, instead of wilfully seeking new dangers which they were so little able to encounter.

Leaving Bowman's islands, and continuing their course towards the N.W. they came next morning in sight of two islands, which they took to be Coccos and Traitor's islands,7 so called by Schouten, who discovered them. The island of Coccos, at a distance, for Roggewein would not stop to examine it, seemed very high land, and about eight leagues in circuit. The other seemed much lower, composed of a red soil, and destitute of trees. They soon after saw two other islands of large extent, one of which they named Tienhoven,8 and the other Groninguen; which last many of their officers [pg 106] were of opinion was no island, but the great southern continent they were sent out to discover. The island of Tienhoven appeared a rich and beautiful country, moderately high, its meadows or low lands, by the sea, exceedingly green, and the interior well provided with trees. They coasted along this island for a whole day without reaching its extremity, yet noticed that it extended semi-circularly towards the island of Groninguen, so that those which they took for islands might be contiguous lands, and both of them parts of the Terra Australis incognita.

A great part of the company were for anchoring on this coast, and making a descent, but the officers were so intent on proceeding for India, that they alleged it might be very dangerous to attempt landing, lest any of the men might be cut off, and they should not have enough left to carry on the ships. They continued in their course, therefore, not doubting that they should soon see the coasts of New Britain or New Guinea: But, after sailing many days without seeing any land at all, they began to see the vanity of these calculations, and could not forbear murmuring at their effects, as the scurvy began to cut off three, four, or five of their best hands daily. At this time nothing was to be seen but sick people, struggling with inexpressible pains, or dead carcasses just relieved from their intolerable distress. From these there arose so abominable a stench, that even those who were yet sound often fainted away, unable to endure it. Cries and groans were incessantly heard in all parts of the ships, and the sight of the poor diseased wretches who were still able to crawl about, excited horror and compassion. Some were reduced to such mere skeletons that their skins seemed to cleave to their bones, and these had this consolation, that they gradually consumed away without pain. Others were swelled out to monstrous sizes, and were so tormented with excruciating pain, as to drive them to furious madness. Some were worn away by the dysentery, and others were racked with excruciating rheumatism, while others again dragged their dead limbs after them, having lost feeling through the palsy. To these numerous and complicated diseases of the body, many had superadded distemperature of the mind. An anabaptist of twenty-five years old called out continually to be baptized, and when told with a sneer that there was no parson on board, he became quiet, and died with great resignation. Two papists [pg 107] on board gave what little money they had to their friends, beseeching them, if they ever got back to Holland, to lay it out in masses to St Anthony of Padua for the repose of their souls. Others again would listen to nothing that had the smallest savour of religion, for some time before they died. Some refused meat and drink for twenty-four hours before death, while others were suddenly carried off in the midst of conversation.

All these various appearances of disease are attributed by the author of this voyage principally to the bad quality of their provisions; their salt meat being corrupted, their bread full of maggots, and their water intolerably putrid. Under these circumstances medicines were of no avail, being utterly unable to work a cure, and could at best only defer death for a little, and protract the sufferings of the sick. Though as well as any one in either ship, the author of this journal had the scurvy to such a degree that his teeth were all loose, his gums inflamed and ulcerated, and his body all over covered with livid spots. Even such as were reputed in best health, were low, weak, and much afflicted with the scurvy. Nothing could effectually relieve or even alleviate their sufferings, except fresh meat, vegetables, and sweet water. At length it pleased God to put a period to their miseries, by giving them sight of the coast of New Britain, the joy of which filled the sick with new spirits, and encouraged those who were still able to move, with the enlivening hope of once more revisiting their native land. Our author was fully of opinion, that if they had been many days longer at sea, they must all have perished by the continuance and necessary increase of the miseries which they endured, which no description can possibly express in any thing like adequate terms.

Footnote 1: (return)

Aurora and Vesper are called in modern geography Roggewein's or Palliser's Islands, in lat. 15° 32' S, about 10 leagues N. by W. of Pernicious Islands.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

Perhaps Prince of Wales' islands are here alluded to, in lat. 15° 50' S. and long. 148° 5' W. about 40 marine leagues W.N.W. from Pernicious islands.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

By Arrowsmith, this island is placed in lat. 16° 32' S. and long. 148° 50' W. The longitude in the text is inexplicable on any supposition.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

The cloth of the South-sea islands is a substance in a great measure resembling paper, composed of the inner bark of the paper mulberry, the preparation of which will be afterwards detailed in the narratives of the modern circumnavigatorsE.

Footnote 5: (return)

We have here omitted a long, uninteresting, and inconclusive disquisition on the supposed Terra Australis, as altogether founded on supposition and error.E.

Footnote 6: (return)

These appear to have been the most northerly of the Society islands, about 70 marine leagues, or 3-1/2 degrees W. by N. from Recreation island, in lat. 15° 20' S. long. 152° W.

Footnote 7: (return)

There must be here an enormous error in the text; Coccos and Traitor's islands are almost directly west from Recreation island, and the northermost of the Society islands, supposed to be the Bowman's islands of the text, and not less than 23°10' farther west than these last, or 463 marine leagues, which could not well be run in less than a week or ten days.E.

Footnote 8: (return)

These were probably the Fee-jee, or Bligh's islands, in lat. 17° 20' S. long. 181° 30' W. but the narrative is too incomplete to ascertain this and many other points with any tolerable certainty.E.


Description of New Britain, and farther Continuation of the Voyage till the Arrival of Roggewein at Java.

The country of New Britain, and all the islands in its neighbourhood, is composed of very high land, many of the mountains hiding their heads in the clouds. The sea coasts are however both pleasant and fertile, the low lands being [pg 108] cloathed in perpetual verdure, and the hills covered with a variety of trees, mostly bearing fruit. It is in lat. between 4°and 7° S.1 and both in regard to situation and appearance, no country can promise better than this. After some consultation, it was resolved to go on shore here at all events, though now so much reduced by the long-continued sickness, that they could hardly muster a sufficient number of men from both ships to man a boat, and leave men enough, in case they were cut off, to navigate one ship home, supposing them even to sacrifice one of the ships. Yet such was the ardent desire of all to get on shore, and so urgent was the necessity for that measure, that it appeared indispensable to venture on landing, let the consequences be what they might. Accordingly, our author was ordered into the boat, with as many men as could be spared, with orders to get on shore at any rate, by fair means if possible, and with the consent of the inhabitants, for whom he carried a great number of baubles to distribute among them as presents. If, however, these had no effect, he was then to use force, as the circumstances to which they were reduced made it as eligible to die by the hands of barbarians as to perish gradually by disease and famine.

The nearer they drew towards the coast, the more they were delighted with its appearance, as giving them a nearer prospect of the wished-for refreshments. The inhabitants came down in multitudes to the coast, but in such guise as did not by any means increase their satisfaction, as they were all armed with bows and arrows and slings, and demonstrated sufficiently by their gestures that the Dutch were by no means welcome visitors, and that they were not to expect being permitted to land peaceably. As the boat approached the shore, the natives seemed to become frantic with despair, made frightful faces, tore their hair, and howled in a horrible manner; and at length, as borrowing courage from the increase of danger, they hurried into their canoes and put off [pg 109] from the shore, as if to meet that danger the sooner which was evidently unavoidable. As the Dutch continued their way towards the land, the natives discharged a flight of arrows at the boat, which they followed by throwing their spears or javelins, after which they threw in a shower of stones discharged from slings. Convinced now that there was nothing to be trusted to but force, the Dutch opened their fire, and kept it up with such effect, that many of the natives were slain, and the rest so terrified, that great numbers of them leapt into the water to swim ashore, and at last all the survivors followed the example, by turning their canoes towards the land. But such was their confusion and dismay, that they were now unable to distinguish the proper channels by which to get back to the coast, but ran them on the rocks and shoals. This circumstance almost deprived the Dutch of all hopes of being able to attain the coast.

While thus embarrassed, there arose a violent storm, of that kind which the Dutch call traffat, and which in the east is named a tuffoon, which usually arises suddenly in the midst of a calm, and when the air is perfectly clear and serene, and which, by its extreme violence, often brings the masts by the board, and whirls the sails into the air, if they are not furled in an instant. By this sudden tempest, the two ships were forced out to sea, and the poor people in the boat were left without relief, and almost devoid of hope. The boat was forced on a sand-bank, where she was for some time so beaten by the winds and waves, that there seemed no chance of escaping almost instant destruction. But despair often lends strength and spirits to men beyond their usual powers; and, by dint of great exertions, they dragged their boat clear of the bank, and got to land, where all got safe on shore without hurt, but almost exhausted by fatigue. The first thing they did was to look out for some place of retreat, where they might be safe from any sudden assault of the natives; but night came on before any such could be found, so that they were forced to rest contented with making a fire on the shore, in order to dry and warm themselves, which in some measure revived their spirits. The light of the fire enabled them to discover several huts or cabins of the natives in the neighbourhood of where they were, on which they felt inclined to examine them, but found neither inhabitants nor household goods of any kind, all that they met with worth taking away being a few nets of curious [pg 110] workmanship. They also saw abundance of cocoa-nut trees, but, having no hatchets, were unable to come at any of the fruit, and had to pass a most comfortless night, during which they were perpetually disturbed and alarmed by the frightful noise of the natives in the adjoining wood, whence they naturally concluded they were every moment about to attack them. About midnight they heard a signal from the ships, which had been able to come back to that part of the coast, on which they immediately hastened on board, and immediately continued their voyage along the coast of New Britain, making their way with considerable difficulty through among numerous islands. They named that part of the coast on which they landed, Stormland, which was probably the same called Slinger's bay by Dampier, on account of the dexterity of the natives in the management of that instrument.

This country of New Britain seems to be extremely fertile, and to abound in fruits of many sorts. The inhabitants are a tall well-made people, perfect mulattoes in their complexions, with long black hair hanging down to their waists, being extremely nimble and vigorous, and so dexterous in the management of their weapons, that in all probability they live in a state of continual warfare with their neighbours. The sea along the coast is studded with numerous islands, so that they had great difficulty in getting a passage through them.

Notwithstanding the dangers they had already experienced, they resolved to make another descent upon the coast on the first opportunity, though they had not now ten men in both vessels in perfect health, but their necessities admitted of no other remedy. The stock-fish, on which they had lived for some time past, was now so full of worms, and stunk so abominably, that, instead of eating it, they were unable to come near it. The officers were unable now to pacify the men with stories of relief in the East Indies, for they unanimously declared that immediate death on shore would be more welcome than living longer at sea in this dreadful condition. In this forlorn condition they arrived in the lat. of 2° S. where they fortunately fell in with the islands of Moa and Arimoa, 2 formerly discovered by Schouten, and immediately [pg 111] determined upon endeavouring to procure relief from Arimoa, the larger of these islands. The natives, on perceiving the approach of the two ships, came immediately off to meet them in their canoes, of which they had prodigious numbers. All of these people were armed with bows and arrows, even their women and children; but they brought with them various refreshments, as cocoa-nuts, pisans, or Indian figs, with various other fruits, and different kinds of roots, rowing directly to the ships without any signs of fear or distrust. The Dutch gave them such kind of trifles as they had by way of presents, and in return for these refreshments; but on shewing more of these, and giving the islanders to understand, by signs, that such was the merchandize they had to give in barter for refreshments, they looked at them coolly, as if they had no desire to trade for such commodities. Next day, however, they returned with great quantities of similar articles of provision; and the Dutch having endeavoured to express by signs that they wished them to bring some hogs, the natives mistook their meaning, and brought two or three dogs the day following, to the great disappointment of the Dutch.

These refreshments were very seasonable, and greatly amended the health of many of the sick people in the two ships; and our author is convinced that most of them would have perfectly recovered in a few days, if they could have ventured to live on shore. The islanders never failed to invite them ashore every time they came off; but being greatly weakened, as for some days they had thrown four or five of their people overboard, they did not think it prudent to run so great a hazard; more especially as, even in the midst of their civility, the air, look, and language of these people seemed to savour of perfidy, and besides the island was extremely populous. The Dutch noticed that these islanders, always on coming on board their ships, carried a piece of stick to which some white stuff was fixed, as if in the nature of a flag of truce, whence they supposed they were often at war with some neighbouring nation or tribe, and especially [pg 112] with the inhabitants of Moa, particularly as none of their canoes ever went ashore on that island, but always, on the contrary, passed it with evident precipitation. These remarks furnished the Dutch with a new project by which to acquire a considerable stock of provisions speedily, by a sudden descent on Moa, which appeared to be but thinly peopled, though as pleasant and fertile as the other, hoping to carry off at once enough of provisions to enable them to prosecute their voyage, without the risk of falling again into the distress they had so lately endured.

This bold scheme required much prudence, and it was thought expedient to land in different places at once, one party being directed to advance into the country, while the others should be at hand to support them, and to secure their retreat. This was accordingly very happily effected; for, although the natives formed an ambush behind the trees and bushes, and discharged their arrows at the principal party as soon as they began to cut down the cocoa-trees, the Dutch fortunately remained uninjured, and laid many of the natives dead by discharges of their fire-arms. This so frightened the rest that they took refuge in their canoes, whence they endeavoured by cries and shouts to alarm the rest of their countrymen to come to their assistance: But the Dutch were so judiciously posted as to constrain them to remain in the mountains, by which means the main party were enabled to carry off about 800 cocoa-nuts to their boats, with which booty they rejoined their ships.

The cocoa-tree is a species of palm, found in most parts of the East and West Indies. The trunk is large, straight, and lofty, tapering insensibly to the top, whence the fruit hangs in bunches united by a tendril, not unlike the twig of a vine, but stronger. The flowers are yellow, resembling those of the chesnut. As it produces new bunches every month, there are always some quite ripe, some green, some just beginning to button, and others in full flower. The fruit is three-lobed and of a greenish hue, of different sizes, from the size of an ordinary tennis-ball, to that of a man's head, and is composed of two rinds. The outer is composed of long tough fibres, between red and yellow colour, the second being a hard shell. Within this is a thick firm white substance or kernel, lining the shell, tasting like a sweet almond; and in a central hollow of this kernel there is a considerable quantity of a clear, bright, cool liquor, tasting like sugared water. The [pg 113] natives of the countries in which these trees grow, eat the kernel with their victuals instead of bread; and likewise extract from it, by pressure, a liquor resembling milk of almonds in taste and consistence. When this milk is exposed to the action of fire, it changes to a kind of oil, which they use as we do butter in dressing their victuals, and also burn in their lamps; and they likewise employ it for smearing their bodies. They also draw from the tree a liquor called sura by the Indians, and which the Europeans name toddy, or palm-wine. For this purpose, having cut one of the largest twigs about a foot from the body of the tree, they hang to this stump a bottle or calabash, into which the sap distils. This sura is of a very agreeable taste, little inferior to the Spanish white wine; but being strong and heady, is generally diluted with fresh clear water got from the nut It does not however keep, as it becomes sour in about two days; when, by exposure to the sun, it is converted into excellent vinegar. When boiled in its recent state, it is converted into another liquor, called orraqua by the Indians; from which they distil a spirituous liquor called arrack, which many people prefer to the other liquor of the same name distilled from rice in India, which is so well known and so much esteemed in Europe.

Besides cocoa-nuts, the Dutch found in Moa great plenty of pomegranates of exquisite taste, and abundance of pisans or Indian figs. These refreshments were of infinite service to them, as without them the whole of both ships companies must have inevitably perished; and immediately on returning to their ships, they began to prepare for resuming their voyage. While engaged in these preparations, the inhabitants of Moa came off to the ships in about 200 canoes, which they exchanged with the Dutch for various articles, apparently doing this to prevent the Dutch from making a second descent on their island: But on this occasion, though the Dutch received them kindly, and treated them with fairness in purchasing their provisions, they would only admit a few of them into the ships at once; and when the islanders attempted to rush on board in crowds, they fired upon them. On these occasions, the natives all ducked their heads, and when they raised them again broke out into loud laughter. This exchange was no sooner over than they weighed anchor and proceeded on their voyage. The author of this narrative remarks, that such of the sick as had any [pg 114] strength remaining recovered surprisingly at these islands, through the excellent refreshments they procured there, while those who were already quite exhausted soon died.

Leaving these islands of Moa and Arimoa, they continued their voyage through a part of the sea so very full of islands, that finding it difficult or impossible to count them, they gave them the name of Thousand Isles.3 Their inhabitants were negroes, of a short squat make, and their heads covered with thick curled wool, being a bold, mischievous, and intractable race of savages. They were all naked, men, women, and children, having no other ornaments except a belt about two fingers broad, stuck fall of teeth, and bracelets of the same; and some of them wore light straw hats, adorned with the feathers of the Bird-of-Paradise. These birds are said to be found no where else but in these islands. Such of these islands as are situated near the west point of New Guinea are still called the Islands of the Popoes or Papuas, the continent itself being called the Land of Papua, till Schouten imposed upon it the name of New Guinea, chiefly because of its being in the same latitude with Old Guinea.4

When the inhabitants of these islands go to Ternate, Banda, Amboina, or any of the Moluccas, in order to sell their salt pork, amber,5 gold-dust, and other merchandise, they always carry some of these Birds-of-Paradise, which they constantly sell dead, affirming that they find them so, and that they know not whence they come or where they breed. This bird is always seen very high in the air. It is extremely light, as its bulk consists mostly of feathers, which are extremely beautiful, rendering it one of the greatest curiosities in the world. The plumage of the head is as bright as burnished gold; that of the neck resembles the neck of a drake; and those of the wings and tail are like those of a peacock. In beak and form, this bird comes nearest to a swallow, though considerably larger. Such as deal in them endeavour to persuade strangers that they have no feet, and that they hang themselves, when they sleep, to the boughs of trees by means of their feathers. But, in reality, these traders cut off their feet, to render them the more wonderful. They [pg 115] also pretend that the male has a cavity on his back, where the female lodges her young till they are able to fly. They always cut off the feet of these birds so close to the body, that the flesh dries in such a manner that the skin and feathers perfectly unite, making it impossible to perceive the smallest scar. They also assert, that these birds are perpetually on the wing, subsisting on birds and insects, which they catch in the air. The feathers of the male are much brighter than those of the female. In the east, this bird is usually called Mancodiata, or the Bird-of-God. Great numbers of them are sent to Batavia, where they generally sell for three crowns each. The Moors, Arabians, and Persians are anxious to procure these birds, with which they adorn their saddles and housings, often mixing with them pearls and diamonds. They wear them also in their turbans, especially on going to war, having a superstitious notion that they act as a charm or talisman, capable of preserving them from wounds. Formerly, the Shah and Mogul used to present their favourites with one of these birds, as a mark of esteem or favour.

Besides their girdle and bracelets, formerly mentioned, the Popoes, or inhabitants of the Thousand Isles, wear a bit of stick, the size of a tobacco-pipe and the length of a finger, thrust through the gristle of the nose, which they think renders them terrible to their enemies, as some Europeans consider mustachios. They are the worst and most savage people in all the South Seas. The continent of New Guinea appeared a high country, extremely full of trees and plants of a vast variety of kinds, so that, in sailing 400 leagues along its coast, they did not observe one barren spot. Our author thinks that it probably contains many precious commodities, as rich metals and valuable spices, especially as most of the countries hitherto discovered under the same parallel are not deficient in such riches. He was afterwards assured, that some of the free burgesses in the Moluccas go annually to New Guinea, where they exchange small pieces of iron for nutmegs. Schouten and other navigators conceived high ideas of this country, and represented it as one of the finest and richest in the world; but they were unable to penetrate any way into the interior, which could not be done with a small force, as it is extremely populous, and the natives are mostly well armed, and of a martial disposition.

Roggewein and his officers were at this time in considerable [pg 116] doubts, whether to prosecute the route formerly followed by Dampier, or to go by Ternate, Tidore, and Bacian, as the less dangerous passage. To gain time, however, they chose the former, as they most otherwise have coasted round the last-mentioned islands, in their way to the Moluccas. In this view, they steered along shore, or rather through an innumerable chain of small islands, extending from the western point of New Guinea to the island of Gilolo, making their passage with much difficulty and danger, and were greatly delighted and astonished on getting sight of the island of Bouro, in lat. 2° S. [3° 30' S. and long. 127° E.] the most eastern country in which the Dutch East-India Company, maintain a factory. This island is mostly pretty high land, and abounds every where with trees and shrubs of various kinds. On their arrival upon its coast, they were spoken with by a small vessel, in which were two white men and several blacks. The white men examined them very strictly to whom they belonged, whence they came, and whither they were bound. To which they answered, that they came from New Guinea, and were going to Batavia, but wisely concealed belonging to the West-India Company, knowing that the East-India Company permitted no vessels, except their own, to navigate these seas, and had given strict orders to capture all strange vessels that might appear there. Yet, in spite of these precautions, the English sometimes find their way among these islands, to the no small displeasure of the Dutch company, although they keep ships cruizing here during both monsoons, to preserve their monopoly of spices.

The island of Bouro is about forty or fifty leagues in circumference, and is indifferently fertile, formerly producing abundance of clove-trees; but a detachment of Dutch soldiers is sent yearly to grub them up, as they do also in the other Molucca islands, because Amboina is thought to produce enough of that commodity to maintain their commerce. Formerly also the Dutch had a strong fort here, which the natives took and demolished after a long siege, putting all the garrison to the sword. At present, [in 1721,] the company only sends a detachment of soldiers to root out the clove-trees, for which the inhabitants receive some present. The two whites who were on board this Dutch bark were the first Christians seen by Roggewein for the space of ten months, or since leaving the coast of Brazil. Continuing their course for the island of Bootan, in hopes of meeting [pg 117] with refreshments, of which they were now in extreme want, they arrived there in lat 4° S.6 and sailed along its coast for a whole day, in hopes of finding the strait for which they sought, and at length found they were eight leagues to leeward of it, and the monsoon now blew too strong to be able to bear up for the intended port. They had now no hopes of being able to find any port for refreshments till they should arrive at the island of Java; as, wherever they might attempt to land, they well knew that their ships would be confiscated, in consequence of the invariable maxims of the East-India Company. All men therefore, but especially the sick and feeble, cast an anxious look on the fertile island now left behind them, presaging the melancholy effects which must necessarily attend so pernicious a measure.

The situation of the island of Bootan is remarkably advantageous, being in from 4° to 6° of S. latitude, and nearly equal in size to the island of Bouro. It is extremely fertile, especially in rice, and has abundance of cattle and fish. It would also produce plenty both of clove and nutmeg trees, if they were permitted to grow. The king of the island has a very strong fort, on which the Dutch standard is displayed, though there is no Dutch garrison; the company contenting itself with sending deputies yearly to see the spice trees destroyed, in consideration of which the king receives a considerable sum yearly from the company. This nation is the most faithful of all the inhabitants of the Indian islands to the India company, having not only assisted them in expelling the Portuguese, but also against the inhabitants of the Moluccas, whenever they have attempted to revolt; by which means the company has acquired the whole trade of this part of the world. In consideration of this, the inhabitants of Bootan enjoy many privileges that are denied to all other Indians: As, for instance, they are allowed to come into any of the Dutch forts armed, which is never allowed even to the natives of the countries in which the forts are situated. Some time before this voyage, the king of Bootan sent his eldest son ambassador to the governor-general of Batavia, where he was received with every mark of honour and distinction. It would not have been easy to have known this prince for an Indian, had he not worn a triple-rowed turban, richly adorned with gold and precious stones, as the rest of his [pg 118] dress was entirely European, and he wore a sword instead of a cutlass, which no Indian had done before. His train was numerous and splendid, all dressed in the Indian manner: Twelve of them were armed with cuirasses and bucklers, carrying each a naked sword resting on his shoulder. At this time there was a prodigious mortality in Batavia, which carried off 500 of the attendants of this prince, and destroyed no less than 150,000 persons in one year, besides vast numbers of beasts. This mortality was occasioned by a malignant pestilential fever, which attacked indiscriminately all the inhabitants of Batavia, Europeans, natives, Chinese, and blacks. It spread also through Bengal and all the dominions of the Great Mogul, where it made incredible ravages, and extended even to Japan in the most extreme violence, where numbers fell down dead in the streets, who had left their houses in perfect health. This dreadful malady was supposed to have arisen from excessive drought, as no rain had fallen during the space of two years, whence it was conceived that the air was surcharged with mineral vapours.

Leaving the island of Bootan, and passing through the channel of the Moluccas, or between the S.W. leg of Celebes and Salayr islands, during which course the crews of the two vessels suffered inexpressible miseries, by which the greatest part of them were carried off, Roggewein arrived on the coast of Java towards the close of September 1722.

Footnote 1: (return)

No account is given of this voyage from Bowman's islands, perhaps the Fee-jees, as already mentioned, to New Britain, neither indeed is it any way expressed on what part of New Britain they had now arrived. They probably steered a course N.W. or N.W. by W. from the Fee-jees, and fell in with the N.E. part of New Britain, now known to be a separate island, and called New Ireland; and by the lower latitude mentioned, in the text, they appear to come first to the eastern part of New Ireland; but it is impossible to say whether they went to the N. or S. of Solomon's island.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

It is utterly impossible to ascertain what islands are here meant, as the indications of the voyage are so entirely vague. In the indicated latitude, off the mouth of the Great bay, in New Guinea, there are two considerable islands, named Mysory, or Schouten's island, and Jobie, or Long-island, which may possibly be Arimoa and Moa. Perhaps Jobie of our modern maps includes both, as in some more recent maps it is laid down as two contiguous islands, and it is more exactly in the indicated latitude, while Mysory is rather less than one degree from the line.

Footnote 3: (return)

These appear, by the sequel, to have been the islands at the N.W. extremity of Papua or New Guinea, and from thence to CelebesE.

Footnote 4: (return)

More probably because of its inhabitants being negroes.E.

Footnote 5: (return)

Perhaps ambergris ought to be here understood.E.

Footnote 6: (return)

The northern end of Bootan is in lat. 4° 40' S.


Occurrences from their Arrival at the Island of Java, to the Confiscation of the Ships at Batavia.

Roggewein came to anchor immediately in the road of Japara, and saluted the city and fort, after which the boats were hoisted out to go on shore, where they were astonished to find that it was Saturday, whereas on quitting their ships they conceived it to be Friday morning. This was occasioned by having come round from the east along with the sun, by which they had lost a day in their reckoning. Roggewein immediately waited upon Ensign Kuster, a very civil and well-behaved gentleman, who commanded there on the part of the East-India Company, to whom he gave an account of his motives for coming to this place. Kuster immediately [pg 119] assembled a council, to consider what measures were to be taken on this occasion, and all were much moved at the recital of the miseries which Roggewein and his people had endured. In truth, never were men more worthy of compassion. Only ten persons remained in any tolerable health, and twenty-six were down in various sicknesses, by which, exclusive of those who had been slain in their different engagements with the Indians, they had lost seventy men during the voyage. Their next care was to get the sick men on shore, which was done with all care and diligence, slinging them in their hammocks into the boats. Four of these poor people were in so low a condition that it was thought impossible they could bear removal, and they were therefore left on board, the very thoughts of which, after their companions went ashore, soon killed them. Those who were carried on shore were lodged under tents in an island, where they had every necessary afforded them that the country produced, yet many of them died.

Mr Kuster sent an immediate account of their arrival to the commandant of the coasts of Java, who instantly forwarded it to Mr Swaardekroon, at that time governor-general of the East Indies. He sent a favourable answer, promising every assistance in his power, and adding, that they had nothing to do but to get to Batavia as soon as possible. While waiting the answer of the governor-general and the recovery of their sick, they passed their time agreeably enough at Japara, as their countrymen used them with all imaginable kindness. In a few days, the seamen became as frolicsome and gay as if they had made a pleasant and fortunate voyage; insomuch, that those who, only a few days before, were weeping, sighing, praying, and making warm protestations of leading new lives, if God in his mercy were pleased to save them, now ran headlong into the greatest extravagances; spending their whole time in debauched houses, and in swearing and drinking. This our author attributed to the bad example of those among whom they lived, all the lower people at Japara being as lewd and profligate as could be imagined; insomuch, that the first question they put to strangers from Europe is, if they have brought over any new oaths.

The town of Japara is seated at the bottom of a mountain of moderate height, is of a middling size, and is inhabited by Javans, Chinese, and Dutch; and was of more considerable [pg 120] extent than now, when in the hands of the Portuguese. Before getting possession of Jacatra, now Batavia, the Dutch East-India Company had their principal magazines for trade at this place, which was their chief factory, and on which all the other factories in Java were dependent; but it has fallen much in importance since the factory was transferred to Samarang. The port of Japara is both safe and commodious, and is defended by a fort, built mostly of wood, on the top of the mountain at the foot of which the town is seated. This fort is called the Invincible Mountain, because the Javanese were constantly defeated in all their attempts to get it into their hands, when in possession of the Portuguese; and its guns command the whole road.

The king of Japara mostly resides at a place called Kattasura, about twenty-nine leagues up the country, where the Dutch have a strong fort with a good garrison, serving at the same time to secure their conquest, and to guard the king. This prince is a Mahomedan, and is served entirely by women, of whom he takes as many as he pleases, either as wives or concubines. Some of his priests are obliged to go every year on pilgrimage to Mecca, in order to make vows for the safety and prosperity of the king and royal family. His subjects are extremely faithful, and devoted to his service; the principal persons of his court having to approach him on their knees, every time they have an audience; but in time of war, this slavish custom is dispensed with. Such as commit the slightest fault, are poniarded on the spot by a kriss or dagger; this being almost the only punishment in use among them, as the smallest faults and the greatest crimes are all equally capital. The natives of this country are mostly of a very brown complexion, tolerably well shaped, and having long black hair, which however many of them cut short. Their noses are all flat and broad, and their teeth very black, owing to the incessant chewing of betel and faufel.

The faufel or areka is a kind of nut, not much unlike a nutmeg, but smaller, and in a great measure tasteless, but yielding a red juice when chewed, which juice also is used by the Indians in painting chintzes, so much admired in Europe. The tree which bears this nut is very straight, and has leaves like those of the cocoa-nut tree. The betel is a plant producing long rank leaves, shaped like those of the citron, and having an agreeable bitter taste. The fruit of this plant resembles a lizard's tail, and is about an inch and half long, [pg 121] having a pleasant aromatic flavour. The Indians continually carry the leaves of this plant, which also are presented at all ceremonious visits. They are almost continually chewing these leaves, and they mostly qualify their extreme bitterness by the addition of the faufel or areka-nut, and the powder of calcined oyster-shells, which give them a very agreeable taste; though some mix their betel leaves with shell lime, ambergris, and cardamom seeds, while others use Chinese tobacco. After all the juice is chewed out, they throw away the remaining dry mass. Many Europeans have got into the habit of chewing betel, so that they cannot leave it off, though it has proved fatal to some of them; for the natives are very skilful in preparing betel so as to do a man's business as effectually as a pistol or a dagger.

The prevailing diversion among these people is called tandakes, which are a kind of comedies, acted by women very richly dressed, and consists chiefly in singing and dancing, accompanied by music, not very pleasant to European ears, the only instruments being small drums, on which they beat with much dexterity. Their dancing is mostly of a grotesque kind, in which they are very dexterous, throwing their bodies into all sorts of postures with astonishing agility, and expressing by them the passions of the mind so comically, that it is impossible to refrain from laughing. The men also practise a kind of war dance, in which the king and grandees bear a part. They also practise cock-fighting, like the English, and bet such considerable sums on this sport as often beggars them.

The country abounds in all the necessaries of life, having abundance of beeves and hogs, and amazing quantities of fowls. The only thing scarce is mutton, chiefly owing to the richness of the pasture, which is very apt to burst the sheep. As to wild animals, they have buffaloes, stags, tygers, and rhinoceroses; which last animal is hunted by the Indians chiefly for the sake of its horns, of which they make drinking cups that are greatly valued, owing to a notion that they will not contain poison, but break immediately on that being poured into them. The high price of these tends to shew that the Javanese are addicted to the infamous practice of poisoning. The land is every where extremely fertile, producing vast abundance of pepper, ginger, cinnamon, rice, cardamoms, and other valuable articles. Of late they have planted coffee, and with such success as to have a reasonable [pg 122] hope of rendering it a principal commodity of the country. Cocoa-nuts, figs, and a variety of other excellent fruits grow every where in the greatest profusion; and as the trees on which they grow are verdant during the whole year, and are planted in rows along the rivers, they form the most agreeable walks that can be conceived. Sugar-canes also abound in Java. They have also plenty of vines, which produce ripe grapes seven times every year, but they are only fit for making raisins, and not wine, being too hastily ripened by the climate. The sea, and all the rivers, furnish an infinite variety of the finest fish. Thus, taking it altogether, it may be safely affirmed that Java is one of the most plentiful and pleasantest islands in the world.

Having refreshed at Japara for about a month, Roggewein began to think of proceeding to Batavia, encouraged by the fine promises of the governor-general. Every thing being ready, the voyagers spent two days in taking leave of their kind friends, who supplied them with all sorts of provisions, much more than sufficient for so short a voyage, and they at length departed, feeling a sensible regret at parting with those who had treated them with so much kindness, relieving all their wants with so much generosity, and had enabled them to spend several weeks in peace and plenty, after a long period of sickness and misery. Steering from thence about seventy leagues to the westwards, with a fair wind, they entered the road of Batavia, where they saluted the fort, and anchored close to the ships that were loading for the voyage home, believing that all their distresses were now over, and that they should speedily accompany these other ships homewards. As soon as the ships were safely anchored, Roggewein went along with the other captains into his boat, meaning to have gone ashore to Batavia, but had not proceeded far from the ship when he met a boat having the commandant of Batavia on board, together with the fiscal, and some other members of the council, by whom he was desired to go back to his ship, which he did immediately; and, when the two boats came within hearing of the ships, the fiscal proclaimed, with a loud voice, that both ships were confiscated by order of the governor-general. At this time both ships were so environed by other large vessels belonging to the East India Company, that it was impossible to have escaped, if they had so inclined; and soon afterwards several hundred soldiers came on board, taking [pg 123] possession of both ships, and placing their crews under safe custody. Taught by so many and such unlooked-for misfortunes, Roggewein now thoroughly repented having proposed to return home by way of the East Indies, but was now wise behind hand. He had neglected prosecuting the discovery on which he had been sent, for which he now suffered a just punishment from the East India Company, however unjust in itself the sentence might be considered. By the sentence, both ships were declared legal prizes, and all the goods they contained were confiscated; and to prevent all trouble and delay from representations, reclamations, or memorials, every thing was immediately exposed to public auction, and sold to the highest bidders. The crews of both ships were divided, and put on board several of the homeward-bound ships.


Description of Batavia and the Island of Java, with some Account of the Government of the Dutch East India Company's Affairs.

The city of Batavia lies in the lat. of 6° 20' S. and long. 107° E. from Greenwich, being the capital of all the vast dominions belonging to the Dutch East India Company, serving also as the emporium of its prodigious trade, where all the merchandise and riches of that princely and wealthy company are laid up. It fell into the hands of the Dutch company in 1618, till which time it was known by the name of Jacatra, and soon afterwards they built a fort in the neighbourhood of that native city, to which they gave the name of Batavia. By the time this was hardly well finished, the natives of the island attacked it, animated and assisted by the English, and repeated their attempts several times, but always unsuccessfully, and to their great loss. The last time, they kept it blockaded for a considerable time, till succoured by a powerful squadron from Europe under Admiral Koen, when the siege was immediately raised, and the natives obliged to retire with the utmost precipitation. The Dutch had now leisure to consider the excellent situation of the fort, and the many advantages it possessed for becoming the centre of their East Indian trade and dominion, on which [pg 124] they resolved to build a town in the neighbourhood of the fort. With this view they demolished Jacatra, and erected on its ruins this famous commercial city, which they named Batavia.

This city arrived at perfection in a short time, by the extraordinary diligence bestowed upon its construction, in spite of the many obstacles it met with from the two kings of Matarana and Bantam; the former of whom laid siege to it in 1629, and the latter in 1649. It is surrounded by an earthen rampart of twenty-one feet thick, faced on the outside with stone, and strengthened by twenty-two bastions, the whole environed by a ditch forty-five yards wide, and quite full of water, especially in spring-tides. All the approaches to the town are defended by several detached forts, all of which are well furnished with excellent brass cannon. Six of these are so considerable as to deserve being particularly mentioned, which are, Ansiol, Anke, Jacatra, Ryswyk, Noordywyk, and Vythock. The fort of Ansiol is seated on a river of the same name, to the eastwards, and about 1200 yards from the city, being built entirely of squared stone, and always provided with a strong garrison. Anke is on a river of the same name, to the westwards, about 500 yards from the city, and is built like the former. Jacatra lies also on a river of the same name, and is exactly like the two former, being 500 paces from the city. The road to this fort lies between two regular rows of fine trees, having very fine country houses and gardens on each side. The other three forts are all built of similar materials on the inland side of the city, and at small distances; the two first-named serving to secure the city on the side of the sea, and the other four to defend the approaches towards it from the land, and at the same time to protect the country houses, plantations, and gardens of the inhabitants. By these, all enemies are prevented from coming upon the city by surprise, as on every side they would be sure to meet a formidable resistance; and besides, no person is allowed to pass the forts, even outwards, unless with a passport.

The river of Jacatra passes through the middle of the city, and supplies water to fifteen canals, all faced with freestone, and adorned on each side with ever-green trees, affording a charming prospect. Over these canals, which are all within the city, there are fifty-six bridges, besides others without the town. The streets are all perfectly straight, and are in [pg 125] general thirty feet broad on each side, besides the breadth of the canals. The houses are built of stone, mostly of several stories high, like those in the cities of Holland. The city of Batavia is about a league and a half in circuit, but is surrounded by a vast number of houses without the walls, which may be considered as forming suburbs, and in which there is ten times the population that is within the city. It has five gates, including that leading to the port, near to which there is a boom, or barrier, which is shut every night at nine o'clock, and at which there is a strong guard of soldiers night and day. There were formerly six gates, but one of these has since been walled up. There is a very fine stadt-house, or town-hall, and four churches for the Calvinists. The first of these, named Kruist-kirk, or Cross-church, was built in 1640, and the second in 1672, and in both of these the worship is in the Dutch language. The third church belongs to the protestant Portuguese, and the fourth is for the Malays who have been converted to the reformed Christian religion. Besides these, there are abundance of other places of worship for various sorts of religions.

They have likewise in this city a Spin-hays, or house of correction for the confinement of disorderly women; an orphan-house, and arsenal of marine stores, and many magazines for spiceries: Also many wharfs, docks, rope-walks, and other public buildings. The garrison usually consists of from two to three thousand men. Besides the forts formerly mentioned, the famous citadel or castle of Batavia is a fine regular fortification, having four bastions, situated at the mouth of the river opposite to the city; two of its bastions fronting towards the sea and commanding the anchorage, while the other two face towards the city. There are two main gates to the citadel, one called the Company's gate, which was built in 1636, to which leads a stone bridge of fourteen arches, each of which is twenty-six feet span, and ten feet wide. The other is called the Water-gate. Besides which, there are two posterns, one in the east curtain, and the other in the west, neither of which are ever opened except for the purposes of the garrison. In this citadel the governor-general resides, having a brick palace two stories high, with a noble front of Italian architecture. Opposite to this palace is that of the director-general, who is next in rank to the governor. The counsellors and other principal officers of the company have also their apartments within the [pg 126] citadel, together with the chief physician, chief surgeon, and chief apothecary. There in also a remarkably neat and light small church, and there are many magazines and store-houses well furnished with ammunition and military stores; and in it are the offices in which all the affairs of the company are transacted, and archives for containing all the records.

Besides many Dutch, all of whom are either in the service of the company or free burgesses, the city is inhabited by a vast number of people of many different Indian nations, besides many Portuguese, French, and other Europeans, established here on account of trade. The Portuguese are mostly descendants of those who lived formerly here or at Goa, and who, finding their account in living under the government of the Dutch, did not think proper to remove after the Dutch had reduced the country; but far the greater number of these are now of the reformed religion. The Indian inhabitants consist of Javanese, or natives of the island, Chinese, Malays, negroes, Amboinese, Armenians, natives of the island of Bali, Mardykers, Macassars, Bougis, and others. It is a very curious thing to see so great a multitude of different nations all living in the same great city, and each nation according to their own manners. Every moment one sees new customs, strange manners, varieties of dresses, and faces of different colours, as black, white, brown, yellow, and olive-coloured; every one living as he pleases, and all speaking their different languages. Yet, amidst all this variety of people and customs so opposite to each other, there is a surprising unity among the citizens, occasioned by the advantages of commerce, the common object of all, so that they live harmoniously and happily under the gentle and prudent laws established by the company. All enjoy perfect liberty of conscience, whatever may be their religion or sect, only that none are permitted the public exercise of their religion except the Calvinists, any more than in Holland, so that priests and monks must not walk the streets in the habits of their respective orders. All are however allowed to live here in peace, and may exercise the rites of their religion within doors. Jesuits are, however, excluded, for fear of their intrigues; and the Chinese religion, because of its abominable idolatry, is obliged to have its pagoda, or idol temple, about a league from the city, where also they bury their dead.

Every Indian nation settled at Batavia has its chief or head, who watches over the interests of his nation, but is not [pg 127] allowed to decide upon any thing of importance, his chief functions being those of religion, and to decide slight controversies among his countrymen. The Japanese chiefly addict themselves to agriculture, ship-building, and fishing. These people, for the most part, only wear a kind of short petticoat, reaching to their knees, all the rest of their bodies being naked, having also a sort of scarf or sash across their shoulders, from which hangs a short sword. On their heads they wear small bonnets. Their huts or cabins are remarkably neater than those of the other Indians, built of split bamboos, with large spreading roofs, under which they sit in the open air.

The Chinese are very numerous, as it is reckoned there are at least five thousand of them in the city and its suburbs. These people seem naturally born for trade, and are great enemies to idleness, thinking nothing too hard or laborious that is attended with a prospect of gain. They can live on very little, are bold, enterprising, possessed of much address, and indefatigably industrious. Their sagacity, penetration, and subtilty, are so extraordinary as to make good their own saying, "That the Dutch have only one eye, while they have two;" but they are deceitful beyond measure, taking a pride in imposing on those who deal with them, and even boast of that cunning of which they ought to be ashamed. In husbandry and navigation they surpass all the other nations of India. Most of the sugar-mills around Batavia belong to them, and the distillery of arrack is entirely in their hands. They are the carriers of eastern Asia, and even the Dutch often make use of their vessels. They keep all the shops and most of the inns of Batavia, and farm all the duties of excise and customs. Generally speaking, they are well-made men, of an olive complexion, their heads being peculiarly round, with small eyes, and short flat noses. They do not cut their hair, as all in China are obliged to do since the Tartars conquered the country; and whenever any one comes to Batavia from China, he immediately suffers his hair to grow, as a token of freedom, dressing it with the utmost care; their priests only excepted, whose heads are all close shaven.

The Chinese go always bare headed, carrying an umbrella in their hands to keep off the sun; and they suffer their nails to grow immoderately long, which gives them prodigious dexterity in slight of hand, an art of considerable importance as they use it. Their dress here differs materially [pg 128] from what they wear in their own country, their cotton robes being very ample, and their sleeves very wide. Below this they have a kind of breeches reaching to their ancles, having a kind of little slippers on their feet instead of shoes, and never wear stockings. Their women, who are very brisk, lively, impudent, and debauched, wear very long cotton robes. In general, the Chinese have no distinction of meats, but eat without ceremony of any animal that comes to hand, be it even dog, cat, or rat, or what it may. They are amazingly fond of shows and entertainments. Their feast of the new year, which they celebrate in the beginning of March, commonly lasts a whole month; during which they do nothing but divert themselves, chiefly in dancing, which they do in a strange manner, running round about to the sound of gongs, flutes, and trumpets, which do not form a very agreeable concert. They use the same music at their comedies, or theatrical diversions, of which they are extremely fond: These comedies consist of a strange mixture of drama, opera, and pantomime, as they sometimes sing, sometimes speak, and at other times the whole business of the scene consists in gesture. They have none but women players,1 who are brought up to this employment from their infancy; but many of them act male parts, using proper disguises for the purpose. Whenever they act a comedy, the city receives fifty crowns for a licence. They erect the theatre in the street, in front of the house of him who is at the expence of the play, the subject of which always turns on the exploits of their ancient heroes, or the austerities of their old saints.

The funerals of the Chinese are very singular, as well as very rich and pompous, forming grand and solemn processions, in which sometimes at least 500 persons of both sexes assist, the women being all cloathed in white. At these funerals they employ music to heighten the shew, together with coloured umbrellas and canopies, carrying their principal idol, which they call Joostie de Batavia, under one of their canopies. Their tombs are some of them very magnificent. They follow the idolatrous religion of their native country, and have a pagoda, or idol temple, about the distance of a league from the city, where they assemble for worship. They [pg 129] are perhaps the grossest idolaters, and the most ridiculous in their opinions, of all the pagans of the east, as they openly profess to worship and adore the devil. This does not proceed from their ignorance or unbelief in a God, but rather from mistaken notions in their belief concerning him. They say that God is infinitely good and merciful, giving to man every thing he possesses, and never doing any hurt; and therefore that there is no need to worship him. But with the devil, the author of all ill, they are desirous to live upon good terms, and to omit nothing that can entitle them to his good graces. It is the devil therefore whom they represent by the idol above mentioned, and in whose honour they have frequently great feasts and rejoicings.

Like the Javans, the Chinese are extravagantly addicted to gaming and laying wagers; and this humour, especially at cock-fights and the new-year's feasts, drives them sometimes into downright madness. They will not only stake and lose their money, goods, and houses, but sometimes their wives and children; and when these are all lost, will stake their beards, nails, and winds; that is, they bind themselves not to shave their beards, pare their nails, or go on board ship to trade, till they have paid their game debts. When reduced to this condition, they are forced to hire themselves as the bond slaves of some other Chinese. Under such misfortunes their only resource is, that some relative, either at Batavia or China, pays their debts out of compassion, and by that means reinstates them in their property and freedom.

The Malays who live at Batavia usually employ themselves in fishing, having very neat and shewy vessels, the sails of which are most ingeniously constructed of straw. These are a most wicked and profligate people, who often commit atrocious murders for very trifling gain. They profess the Mahomedan religion, but are so absolutely devoid of moral principle, that they even make a boast and merit of cheating Christians. Their last chief was publicly whipped and branded for his frauds and villainies, his goods confiscated, and he himself banished to Ceylon; since when they have been ashamed to elect another chief. Their habits are of silk or cotton, the men wearing a piece of cotton round their heads, and their black hair tied into a knot behind.

The blacks or negroes at Batavia are mostly Mahomedans, who come chiefly from Bengal, dressing like the Malays, [pg 130] and living in the same quarter of the city. Some of them work at different mechanic trades, and others are a kind of pedlars; but the most considerable of them trade in stones for buildings, which they bring from the neighbouring islands.

The Amboinese are chiefly employed in building houses of bamboos, the windows of which are made of split canes, very nicely wrought in various figures. They are a bold boisterous race, and so turbulent that they are not permitted to reside in the city, but have their quarter near the Chinese burying ground. The chief of their own nation, to whom they pay the utmost submission, has a magnificent house in their quarter, well furnished after their manner. Their arms are chiefly large sabres and long bucklers. The men wear a piece of cotton cloth wrapped round their heads, the ends of which hang down behind, and adorn this species of turban with a variety of flowers. Their women wear a close habit, and a cotton mantle over their shoulders, having their arms bare. Their houses are built of boards, thatched with leaves, usually two or three stories high, the ground floor especially being divided into several apartments.

The Mardykers or Topasses are idolaters from various Indian nations, and follow various trades and professions; and their merchants, under licences or passports from the company, carry on considerable commerce among the neighbouring islands. Some of these people are gardeners, others rear cattle, and others breed fowls. The men of this mixed tribe generally dress after the Dutch fashion, but the women wear the habits of other Indians. These people dwell both in the city and country, their houses being better than those of the other Indians, built of stone or brick, several stories high, and very neat. There are also some Macassers at Batavia, so famous for their little poisoned arrows, which they blow from tubes. This poison is made of the juice of a certain tree, which grows in Macasser and the Bougis islands, into which they dip the points of the arrows and allow them to dry. The wound inflicted by these arrows is absolutely mortal. The Bougis are natives of three or four islands near Macasser, and since the conquest of that island have settled at Batavia. They are very bold and hardy fellows, for which reason they are employed as soldiers by the company. Their arms are bows and arrows, with sabres and bucklers. Besides these enumerated nations, which contribute to form the population of Batavia, there are several Armenians and [pg 131] some other Asiatics who reside there occasionally for the sake of trade, and stay no longer than their affairs require, All the inhabitants around Batavia, and for a track of about forty leagues along the mountains of the country of Bantam, are immediately subject to the governor-general, who sends drossards or commissaries among them, to administer justice, and to collect the public revenues; and the chief men of the several districts resort at certain times to Batavia, to give an account of the behaviour of these commissaries.

The city of Batavia, and all the dominions possessed by the company in the East Indies, are governed by two supreme councils, one of which is named the Council of the Indies, and the other the Council of Justice, both of which are fixed at Batavia, the capital of the dominions belonging to the company. To the first of these belong all matters of government, and the entire direction of public affairs, and to the other the administration of justice in all its branches. The governor-general always presided in the former of these councils, which is ordinarily composed of eighteen or twenty persons, called counsellors of the Indies; but it seldom happens that these are all at Batavia at one time, as they are usually promoted to the seven governments which are at the disposal of the company. This council assembles regularly twice a-week, besides as often extraordinarily as the governor pleases. They deliberate on all affairs concerning the interest of the company, and superintend the government of the island of Java and its dependencies: But in affairs of very great importance, the approbation and consent of the directors of the company in Europe must be had. From this Council of the Indies, orders and instructions are sent to all the other governments, which must be implicitly obeyed. In this council, all letters addressed to the governor or director-general are read and debated, and answers agreed upon by a plurality of voices.

The Council of Justice consists of a president, who is generally a counsellor of the Indies, together with eight counsellors of justice, a fiscal or attorney-general for affairs of government, another fiscal for maritime affairs, and a secretary. The first fiscal has a vote along with the counsellors, and receives a third part of all fines below an hundred florins, and a sixth part of all above that sum. The duty of his office is to observe that the laws are obeyed, and to prefer informations against those who break them. The fiscal of [pg 132] the sea has jurisdiction over all frauds committed in commerce, in cases of piracy, or in whatever tends to disturb the settled rules of maritime affairs. Besides these sovereign tribunals, there is a council of the city of Batavia, consisting of nine burgomasters or aldermen, including a president, who is always a member of the Council of the Indies, and a vice-president. The bailiff of the city, and the commissary of the adjacent territory, have also seats in this council, to which likewise there is a secretary.

The governor-general is head of the empire belonging to the company in India, being as it were stadtholder, captain-general, and admiral of the Indies. By his office he is president of the supreme council, in which he has two voices. He has the keys of all the magazines, and directs every thing belonging to them, without being accountable to any one. He commands by his own proper authority, and every person is bound to obey him, so that his authority equals, and even surpasses, that of several European sovereigns. But he is accountable to, and removeable by the directors at home. In cases, however, of being guilty of treason, or any other enormous crime, the Council of Justice have a right to seize his person and call him to account. In case the governor-general dies or resigns his office, the Council of the Indies meets and elects a successor, when they immediately write to the directors at home, desiring them to confirm and approve their choice. They also write to the same purpose to the states-general of the United Provinces, who have reserved to themselves the power of confirming or excluding a governor-general. It is usual, however, for the directors and the state to confirm the choice of the council, and to send him letters patent, conformable to the desire of the council; yet there have been some instances of the directors rejecting the governor-general thus elected, and sending out another.

The salary allowed by the company to the governor-general is 800 rix-dollars, with other 500 dollars for his table, and also pay the salaries of the officers of his household. But these appointments form a very small portion of his revenue; as the legal emoluments of his office are so great that he is able to amass an immense fortune in two or three years, without oppressing the people or burdening his conscience. Being the head and apparent sovereign of all the countries belonging to or dependent upon the company, he is allowed a court and most of the honours usually paid to crowned [pg 133] heads, in compliance with the customs of the east. When he goes from his palace to his country seat, he is preceded by the master of his household, at the head of six gentlemen on horseback. A trumpeter and two halberdeers on horseback go immediately before the coach. The master of the horse and six mounted halberdeers ride on the right; and he is followed by other coaches carrying his friends and retinue. The whole cavalcade is closed by a troop of forty-eight dragoons, commanded by a captain and three quarter-masters, and preceded by a trumpeter richly clothed. If this office be considerable for its honour, power, and emolument, it is also very fatiguing, as the governor-general is employed from morning to night in giving audiences, in reading letters, and in giving orders in the service of the company; so that he seldom can allow above half an hour for dinner, and even dispatches pressing affairs while at table. He has also to receive all Indian princes and ambassadors who come to Batavia, and of these many arrive every year.

The director-general is the next in authority after the governor-general, and is the second person in the council of the Indies. This employment requires great care and attention, as he has the charge of buying and selling all the commodities that enter into or go out from the Company's warehouses. He gives orders for the kinds and quantities of all goods sent to Holland or elsewhere, keeps the keys of all the magazines, and every officer in the service of the Company makes a report to him daily of every thing committed to their charge. He has the supreme direction of every thing relative to the trade and commerce of the Company, both at Batavia and all other places; and the members of all the factories belonging to the Company are accountable to him for their conduct.

The third person in the government is the Major-general, who has the command of all the forces under the governor-general. The number of regular troops in the service of the Company throughout the Indies may be about 12,000 men, exclusive of the militia, which amount to about 100,000 more, and are well disciplined, and always called out in time of danger. The entire military and naval strength of the Company by land and sea is about 25,000 men, including officers, soldiers, and sailors. For the support of its commerce, the Company keeps in constant employment about 180 ships, of from 30 to 60 pieces of cannon, and in cases [pg 134] of emergency are able at any time to fit out forty of the largest size.

The ecclesiastical government at Batavia, or consistory, consists of eleven persons; viz. the five ministers of the two Dutch churches in the city, and that in the citadel, besides the minister who resides in the island of Ourust, together with the three ministers of the Portuguese churches, and the two belonging to the Malay church. These last five are all Dutchmen-born, though they preach in the Portuguese and Malay languages. As it is deemed necessary that the state should be informed of all that passes among their clergy, the eleventh person is nominated by the government, whose especial business is to see that they do nothing contrary to the laws or to the regulations of the Company. Besides these, the consistory also consists of eight elders and twenty deacons. One principal branch of business confided to the consistory, is to provide ministers for the subordinate governments; where they are relieved after a certain term of years, and either return to Batavia or to Holland, to enjoy the fruits of their labours. Our author relates that one of these ministers went home in the same ship with him, who had made such good use of his time, that he bought a noble fief on his return, and became a man of quality. In the smaller places belonging to the Company, where there are no established ministers, an itinerant is sent once in three or four years, to marry, baptize, and dispense the communion; which is necessary, since the synods do not permit the propagation of any other except the reformed religion in the territories of the Company.

For a long time the Lutherans have solicited for permission to have a church in Batavia, but have constantly been refused, though certainly a just and reasonable demand, especially in a place where Mahomedans and Pagans are freely tolerated in the exercise of their religion, and where the Chinese are even permitted to worship the devil. This ecclesiastical consistory has also dependent upon it all the schoolmasters, consolators of the sick, and catechists. Of these last there are many in the service of the Company in their ships; their duty being to say prayers every day, and to instruct such as embrace the Christian religion; and as they are mostly natives, and speak several languages, they are the better able to give instructions, and to teach the confession of faith to so many different nations. Such as are [pg 135] converted are baptized and receive the communion; and, for the better preservation of uniformity in doctrine, an annual visitation of all the new converts is made by the ministers. In consequence of these regulations, the reformed religion has made amazing progress, especially among the blacks, of whom our author says he has seen 150 at a time present themselves to receive baptism. This however is not rashly granted, as all who receive it must be well instructed, and be able to make their confession of faith. The Chinese are well known to be so obstinately addicted to their great Confucius, as not to be easily induced to embrace any other religion; yet some even of them from time to time have abjured their idolatry, and embraced the protestant faith. Yet our author seems to doubt their sincerity, alleging that the Chinese are seldom sincere in any thing; and he tells us, that a Chinese, on renouncing idolatry; said he was about to embrace the religion of the Company.

The country around Batavia is extremely beautiful, and it may be said that nature and art seem to strive which shall have the greatest share in adorning it. The air is sweet and mild, the land extremely fertile, and the face of the country finely diversified with hills and vallies, all laid out in regular plantations, beautiful canals, and whatever can contribute to render the country pleasant and agreeable. The island of Java is about 300 leagues in circumference, divided into several kingdoms and principalities, all dependent upon the emperor who resides at Kattasura, except the kings of Bantam and Japara,2 who do not acknowledge his authority. The country produces in abundance all the necessaries of life, as also great quantities of those valuable productions which form its commerce. It is interspersed by many mountains, rivers, and woods, to all of which nature has bestowed her treasures with a bountiful hand. There are gold-mines in some parts of the country, and for some years the government caused the mountains of Parang to be wrought, in hopes of reaping profit; but, after expending a million, the [pg 136] marcasites were found not to be fully ripened.3 Those who directed this enterprise were much censured, and the works have been long discontinued. Some are thoroughly satisfied that the natives find considerable quantities of gold in several places, which they carefully conceal from the knowledge of the Dutch. During the last war in Java, which continued from 1716 to 1721, the inhabitants of some parts of the country were so often plundered that they were reduced to absolute beggary; yet, after a year's peace, they were observed to have grown excessively rich, having plenty of gold, both in dust and ingots.

The mountains of Java are very high, so that many of them can be seen at the distance of thirty or forty leagues. That which is called the Blue Mountain is by far the highest, being seen from the greatest distance at sea. Java is subject to frequent and terrible earthquakes, which the inhabitants believe are caused by the mountain of Parang, which is full of sulphur, salt-petre, and bitumen, which take fire by their intestine commotions, causing a prodigious struggle within the bowels of the earth, whence proceeds the earthquake; and they assert that it is common, after an earthquake, to see a vast cloud of smoke hanging over the top of that mountain. About thirty years before Roggewein was in Batavia, Mynheer Ribeck, then governor-general, went with many attendants to the top of this mountain, where he perceived a large cavity, into which he caused a man to be let down, to examine the inside. On his return, this man reported that the mountain was all hollow within, that he heard a most frightful noise of torrents of water on every side, that he here and there saw flames bursting out, so that he was afraid of going far, from apprehension of either being stifled by the noxious vapours, or falling into one of the chasms. The waters in the neighbourhood of this mountain are unwholesome, and even those in the neighbourhood of Batavia are impregnated with sulphur, those who drink much of them being liable to several disorders, particularly the dysentery. But when boiled, their water is entirely freed from the sulphur, and does no manner of harm, though drank copiously.

The fruits and plants of Java are excellent and numberless. [pg 137] Among these the cocoa-nut tree is by far the most valuable, as besides its fruit already described, the bark makes a kind of hemp which is manufactured into good ropes and cables; the timber serves to build houses and ships, and the leaves serve to cover the former. It is said that the father of a family in this country causes a cocoa-nut tree to be planted at the birth of each of his children, by which each may always know his own age, as this tree has a circle rising yearly on its stem, so that its age may be known by counting these circles: and when any one asks a father the ages of his children, he sends them to look at his cocoa trees.

There are numerous woods or forests in different parts of the island, in which are abundance of wild beasts, as buffaloes, tigers, rhinoceroses, and wild horses. These also abound in serpents, some of which are of prodigious size. Crocodiles are numerous and large in this island, being mostly found about the mouths of the rivers; and, being amphibious animals, delight much in marshes and savannahs. Like the tortoise, this creature deposits its eggs in the hot sands, taking no farther care of them, and the sun hatches them in the proper season, when they immediately betake themselves to the water. A short time before the arrival of Roggewein at Batavia, a crocodile was taken in the mouth of the river to the east of the city, upwards of thirty-three feet long, and proportionally large. They have fowls of all kinds, and exquisitely good; particularly peacocks, partridges, pheasants, and wood-pigeons. The Indian bat is a great curiosity, differing little in form from ours, but its extended wings measure a full yard, and its body is as large as a rat.

There are great numbers of excellent fish of different sorts to be had in the adjoining sea, and so plentiful and cheap that as much may be bought for three-pence as will dine six or seven men. Tortoises or sea-turtle also are abundant, their flesh resembling veal, and there are many persons who think it much better. The flat country round Batavia abounds in all kinds of provisions; and to prevent all danger of scarcity, vessels belonging to the Company are continually employed in bringing provisions, spiceries, and all other necessaries, from the most distant parts of the island, together with indigo, rice, pepper, cardamoms, coffee, and the like. In the magazines and store-houses, there are always vast quantities of rich and valuable commodities, not of Java only, but of all parts of India, ready to be transported [pg 138] to other parts of the Company's dominions, in the ships which return annually to Holland.

The homeward-bound ships sail five times every year from Batavia. The first fleet sails in July, generally consisting of four or five sail, which touch on their way at the island of Ceylon. The second, of six or seven vessels, sails in September. The third usually consists of from sixteen to twenty ships, and leaves Batavia in October. The fourth, of four or five vessels, sails in January. And the fifth, being only a single ship, generally sails in March, but not till the arrival of the fleet from China which brings the tea, of which the principal part of the cargo of this ship consists, wherefore it is usually called the tea-ship: The common people call it also the book-ship as it carries home the current account of the whole year, by which the Company is enabled to judge of the state of its trade in India. It is to be observed that these ships, laden with the rich commodities of many countries, all sail from this single port of Batavia; the ships from Mokha which carry coffee, being the only vessels in the service of the Dutch East India Company that are allowed to proceed directly home without going to Batavia.

Footnote 1: (return)

This may possibly have been the case at this time in Batavia; but we are assured by recent travellers in China, that they have there none but men players, the female parts being acted by youths.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

There is some strange error here, which we do not presume to correct or explain. In the former section, the king of Japara is said to reside chiefly at Kattasura, which in the present instance is said to be the residence of the emperor. In an after division of this collection, more ample and distinct accounts will be found of this rich island, now subject to Britain.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

In plain English, the mineral, or ore, was so poor as not to defray the expence of extracting the metal.E.


Description of Ceylon.

The next best government belonging to the Dutch East India Company, after Batavia, is that of the island of Ceylon. The governor of this island is generally a member of the council of the Indies, and has a council appointed to assist him, framed after the model of that in Batavia, only that the members are not quite such great men. Though the governor of Ceylon be dependent upon the Council of the Indies at Batavia, he is at liberty to write directly to the directors of the Company in Holland, without asking permission from the governor-general, or being obliged to give any account of his conduct in so doing. This singular privilege has had bad effects, having even tempted some governors of Ceylon to endeavour to withdraw themselves from their obedience to the Company, in order to become absolute sovereigns of the island. There have been many examples of this kind, but it may be sufficient to mention the [pg 139] two last, owing to the tyranny of two successive governors, Vuist and Versluys, which made a considerable noise in Europe.

When Mr Rumpf left the government of Ceylon, his immediate successor, Mr Vuist, began to act the tyrant towards all who were not so fortunate as to be in his good graces, persecuting both Europeans and natives. Having from the beginning formed the project of rendering himself an independent sovereign, he pursued his plan steadily, by such methods as seemed best calculated to insure success. He thought it necessary in the first place to rid himself of the richest persons in the island, and of all having the reputation of wisdom, experience, and penetration. In order to save appearances, and to play the villain with an air of justice, he thought it necessary to trump up a pretended plot, and caused informations to be preferred against such persons as he intended to ruin, charging them with having entered into a conspiracy to betray the principal fortresses of the island into the hands of some foreign power. This scheme secured him in two ways, as it seemed to manifest his great zeal for the interest of the Company, and enabled him to convict those he hated of high treason, and to deprive them at once of life and fortune. To manage this the more easily, he contrived to change the members of his council, into which he brought creatures of his own, on whose acquiescence in his iniquities he could depend upon. The confiscations of the estates and effects of a number of innocent persons whom he had murdered by these false judicial proceedings, gave him the means of obliging many, and gained him numerous dependants.

Vuist was born in India of Dutch parents, and had a strong natural capacity which had been improved by assiduous application to his studies. His dark brow, and morose air, shewed the cruelty of his disposition: Yet he loved and protected the Indians, either from a natural disposition, or because he deemed them fit instruments to forward his designs. In order to gain the natives in his interest, he preferred them to many vacant offices under his government, in direct opposition to repeated instructions from the Company, to bestow the principal offices on Dutchmen or other Europeans. After carrying on his designs with much dexterity, and having acquired by gifts a vast number of dependants, ready to support his purposes, some of the faithful servants [pg 140] of the Company sent such clear and distinct information of his proceedings to Holland, as sufficiently evinced his real intentions, in spite of all his arts to conceal them. At length the Company sent out Mr Versluys to supersede him in the government of Ceylon, with orders to send him prisoner to Batavia. As soon as he arrived there, abundance of informations were preferred against him, for a variety of crimes both of a private and public nature, into all of which the council of justice made strict inquisition, and were furnished with abundant proofs of his guilt. In the end, he freely confessed that he had caused nineteen innocent persons to be put to death, having put them all to the torture, extorting from all of them confessions of crimes which they had never even dreamt of committing. He was accordingly sentenced to be broken alive on the wheel, his body to be quartered, and his quarters burnt to ashes and thrown into the sea.

Such was the deserved end of the traitor and tyrant Vuist; yet Versluys, who was sent expressly to amend what the other had done amiss, and to make the people forget the excesses of his predecessor by a mild and gentle administration, acted perhaps even worse than Vuist. Versluys was by no means of a cruel disposition, wherefore, strictly speaking, he shed no blood, yet acted as despotically and tyrannically as the other, though with more subtilty and under a fairer appearance. His great point was not the absolute possession of the country, but to possess himself of all that it contained of value. For this purpose, immediately on getting possession of the government, he raised the price of rice, the bread of the country, to so extravagant a height that the people in a short time were unable to purchase it, and were soon reduced to beggary and a starving condition. Their humble representations of the great and general misery which reigned among all ranks of people throughout the island made no impression on his avaricious disposition; but all things went on from bad to worse, till an account of his nefarious conduct was transmitted to Holland. When informed of the distressed situation of the inhabitants of Ceylon, the States-general sent out Mr Doembourgh as governor, with orders to repair all past errors, and to treat the natives with all possible tenderness and indulgence. On his arrival, Versluys, after beggaring the whole nation, took it into his head that they would defend him against his masters, and absolutely refused to resign the government; and [pg 141] had even the insolency to fire upon the Company's ships as they lay at anchor in the road of Columbo. Doembourgh, however, immediately landed, and his authority was readily recognised by all the Company's servants, and submitted to by the people. He caused Versluys to be immediately arrested and sent to Batavia, where a long criminal process was instituted against him, but which was not concluded when our author left India.

Of all the Asiatic islands, Ceylon is perhaps the fairest and most fertile. It lies to the S.E. of the peninsula of India on this side of the Ganges, between the latitudes of 5° 30' and 9° N. and between the longitudes of 79° 45' and 82° 12' E. so that it extends 70 marine leagues from N. to S. and 49 leagues from E. to W. It is so fertile and delicious, that many have believed it to have been the seat of the terrestrial paradise; and the natives certainly believe this, for they pretend to shew the tomb of Adam, and the print of his foot on the mountain named the Peak of Adam,1 one of the highest mountains in the world. On another mountain there is a salt-lake, which the inhabitants affirm was filled by the tears shed by Eve, while she wept incessantly an hundred years for the death of Abel.

The principal places in Ceylon are Jafnapatam, Trinkamaly, Baracola, Punta de Galla, Columbo, Negombo, Sitavaca, and Candy. The Dutch East India Company are possessed of all the coasts of the island, and ten or twelve leagues within the land, and most of the before-mentioned towns, except the two last. While the Portuguese had possession, they built abundance of forts for their security, so that the Dutch found it a difficult matter to dislodge them; but having contracted a secret treaty with the king of Candy, the Portuguese were attacked on all sides, by sea and land, and were driven by degrees out of all their possessions. Since then, the Dutch have taken much pains to cultivate a good understanding with that native sovereign, from whom they have obtained almost every thing they demanded. They send every year an ambassador to him with various presents; in return for which his Candian majesty sends to the company a casket of jewels, of such value that the ship which carries it home is reckoned to be worth half the fleet.

[pg 142]

Punta de Galle and Columbo are the two principal places in the island, the latter being the residence of the governor, and the other, properly speaking, is only the port of that city. Though extremely hot, the air of Ceylon is reckoned healthy, and the country abounds with excellent fruits of many kinds. The sea and the rivers afford plenty of various kinds of fish. There are also on the land great abundance of fowls, both wild and tame, and many wild animals, particularly elephants that are larger than any other country in Asia, also tygers, bears, civet cats, monkeys, and others. Cinnamon is the production for which this island is peculiarly famous, as that which is procured here is estimated far superior to any other. The Dutch East India Company have the entire monopoly not only of this, but of all the other spices, with which they supply all parts of the world. Cinnamon is the inner bark of a tree resembling the orange, the flowers of which very much resemble those of the laurel both in size and figure. There are three sorts of cinnamon. The finest is taken from young trees; a coarser sort from the old ones; and the third is the wild cinnamon, or cassia, which grows not only in Ceylon, but in Malabar and China, and of late years in Brazil. The company also derives great profit from an essential oil drawn from cinnamon, which sells at a high price; and it also makes considerable gain by the precious stones found in this island, being rubies, white and blue sapphires, topazes, and others.

Off the coast of this island, at Manaar and Tutecorin, there is a fine pearl fishery, which brings in a large revenue, being let twice a-year in farm to certain black merchants. The oysters are at the bottom of the sea, and the fishery is only carried on in fine weather, when the sea is perfectly calm. The diver has one end of a rope fastened round his body below the arm-pits, the other end being tied to the boat, having a large stone tied to his feet, that he may descend the quicker, and a bag tied round his waist to receive the oysters. As soon as he gets to the bottom of the sea, he takes up as many oysters as are within his reach, putting them as fast as possible into the bag; and in order to ascend, pulls strongly at a cord, different from that which is round his body, as a signal for those in the boat to haul him up as fast as they can, while he endeavours so shake loose the stone at his feet. When the boats are filled with oysters, the black merchants carry them to different places on [pg 143] the coast, selling them at so much the hundred; which trade is hazardous for the purchasers, who sometimes find pearls of great value, and sometimes none at all, or those only of small value.

The inhabitants of Ceylon are called Cingolesians, or Cingalese, who are mostly very tall, of a very dark complexion, with very large ears, owing to the numerous large and heavy ornaments they wear in them. They are men of great courage, and live in a hardy manner, and are therefore excellent soldiers. They are, for the most part, Mahomedans,2 though there are many idolaters among them who worship cows and calves. The inhabitants of the interior do not greatly respect the Dutch, whom they term their coast-keepers, in derision; but the Dutch care little about this, endeavouring to keep in good correspondence with the king of Candy, whose dominions are separated from theirs by a large rapid river, and by impenetrable forests. The Ceylonese are remarkable for their great skill in taming elephants, which they employ as beasts of burden in time of peace, and render serviceable against their enemies in war.

Footnote 1: (return)

This gross absurdity is not worth contesting; but the fact is, that the real natives, the idolaters of the interior, refer both the tomb and the footmark to their false god, or lawgiver, Bodh.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

The author has probably confounded the original natives of Ceylon, who are idolaters, with the Malays, who are Mahomedans, and of whom a considerable number are settled on the coast country.E.


Some Account of the Governments of Amboina, Banda, Macasser, the Moluccas, Mallacca, and the Cape of Good Hope.

The third government under the East India Company is that of Amboina, one of the Molucca islands, which was formerly the seat of the governor-general till the building of Batavia, when it was transferred there on account of its advantageous situation, in the centre of the company's trade and settlements, while Amboina lay too far to the east. The island of Java also is vastly more fertile than Amboina, producing all the necessaries of life in abundance, so that it has no dependence for provisions on any other country, while they had provisions to search for in all other places, at the time when the government was established at Amboina. This island is one of the largest of the Moluccas, being situated in the Archipelago of St Lazarus, in lat. 3 40' S. and [pg 144] long. 128° 30' E. 21° 30' or 430 marine leagues east from Batavia. It was conquered in 1519 by the Portuguese, who built a fort there to keep the inhabitants under subjection, and to facilitate the conquest of all the adjacent islands. This fort was taken by the Dutch in 1605, but they did not entirely reduce the whole island of Amboina and the neighbouring islands till 1627, by which conquest they acquired entire possession of the clove trade, whence these islands are termed the gold-mine of the company, owing to the vast profit they draw from them, and it is so far superior to other gold-mines, that there is no fear of these islands being ever exhausted of that commodity. A pound weight of cloves or nutmegs, for the company has the entire monopoly of both, does not in fact cost the company much more than a half-penny, and every one knows at what rate the spices are sold in Europe. Amboina is the centre of all this rich commerce; and to keep it more effectually in the hands of the company, all the clove-trees in the other islands are grubbed up and destroyed; and sometimes, when the harvest is very large at Amboina, a part even of its superfluous produce is burnt.

This valuable spice grows only in Amboina and the other five Molucca islands, and in the islands of Meao, Cinomo, Cabel, and Marigoran. The Indians call cloves calafoor, while the inhabitants of the Moluccas call them chinke. The clove-tree is much like the laurel, but its leaves are narrower, resembling those of the almond and willow. Even the wood and leaves taste almost as strong as the cloves themselves. These trees bear a great quantity of branches and flowers, and each flower produces a single clove. The flowers are at first white, then green, and at last grow red and pretty hard, and are properly the cloves. While green, their smell is sweet and comfortable, beyond all other flowers. When ripe, the cloves are of a yellow colour, but after being gathered and dried, they assume a smoky and black hue. In gathering, they tie a rope round each bough, and strip off the whole of its produce by force, which violence injures the tree for the next year, but it bears more than ever in the following season. Others beat the trees with long poles, as we do walnut-trees, when the cloves fall down on cloths spread on the ground to receive them. The trees bear more fruit than leaves, the fruit hanging from the trees like cherries. Such cloves as are sold in the Indies are delivered just as procured from the trees, mixed with their stalks, and with dust and [pg 145] dirt; but such as are to be transported to Holland are carefully cleaned and freed from the stalks. If left ungathered on the tree, they grow large and thick, and are then termed mother-cloves, which the Javanese value more than the others, but the Dutch prefer the ordinary cloves.

No care is ever taken in propagating or planting clove-trees, as the cloves which fall to the ground produce them in abundance, and the rains make them grow so fast that they give fruit in eight years, continuing to bear for more than an hundred years after. Some are of opinion that the clove-tree does not thrive close to the sea, nor when too far removed; but seamen who have been on the island assert that they are found everywhere, on the mountains, in the vallies, and quite near the sea. They ripen from the latter end of August to the beginning of January. Nothing whatever grows below or near these trees, neither grass, herb, or weed, as their heat draws all the moisture and nourishment of the soil to themselves. Such is the hot nature of cloves, that when a sackful of them is laid over a vessel of water, some of the water is very soon wasted, but the cloves are no way injured. When a pitcher of water is left in a room in which cloves are cleaned, all the water is consumed in two days, although even the cloves have been removed. Cloves are preserved in sugar, forming an extraordinary good confection. They are also pickled. Many Indian women chew cloves to give them a sweet breath. A very sweet-smelling water is distilled from green cloves, which is excellent for strengthening the eyes, by putting a drop or two into the eyes. Powder of cloves laid upon the head cures the headache; and used inwardly, increases urine, helps digestion, and is good against a diarrhoea, and drank in milk, procures sleep.

A few days after the cloves are gathered, they are collected together and dried before the fire in bundles, by which operation they lose their natural beautiful red colour, changing into a deep purple or black. This is perhaps partly owing to their being sprinkled with water, which is said to be necessary for preventing worms from getting into them. Those persons who are sent for this commodity in the company's ships, practise a fraud of this nature, in order to conceal their thefts: For, having abstracted a certain quantity or proportion from the cloves received on board, they place two or three hogsheads of sea-water among those remaining, [pg 146] which is all sucked up in a few days by the cloves, which that recover their former weight. By this contrivance, the captain and merchant or supercargo agreeing together, find a way to cheat the company out of part of this valuable commodity. Yet this fraud, though easy and expeditious, is extremely dangerous as when detected it is invariably punished with death, and the company never want spies. Owing to this, cloves are commonly enough called galgen kruid, or gallows-spice, as frequently bringing men to an ill end.

The king of Amboina has a pension from the company, and a guard of European soldiers, maintained at its expence. The inhabitants of the island are of middle stature, and of black complexions, being all extremely lazy and given to thieving; yet some of them are very ingenious, and have a singular art of working up the cloves while green into a variety of curious toys, as small ships or houses, crowns, and such like, which are annually sent to Europe as presents, and are much esteemed. Those of the Amboinese who acknowledge the authority of the king are Mahomedans, but there are many idolaters who live in the mountains, and maintain their independence, considering themselves as free men, but the king and the Hollanders reckon them savages; and as they are guilty of frequent robberies and murders, they are always reduced to slavery when caught, and are treated with the utmost rigour, and employed in the hardest labour. On this account a most excessive hatred subsists between them and the other inhabitants of the island, with whom they are perpetually at war, and to whom they hardly ever give quarter. Their arms are bucklers; swords, and javelins or pikes.

The garrison kept in the fort of Amboina is numerous, and constantly maintained in excellent order, being composed of the best troops in the company's service. The fort is so strong, both by nature and art, as to be reckoned impregnable, and so effectually commands the harbour, that no vessel can possibly go in or out without being sunk by its cannon. Although the rich commerce in cloves might make a sufficient return to the company for the charges of this island, yet of late years coffee has been ordered to be cultivated here, and is likely to turn out to advantage. While this island was under the government of Mr Barnard, it was discovered that considerable quantities of gold-dust were washed down by the torrents in some parts of the mountains, and by tracing up the auriferous streams to their sources, the mine has [pg 147] at last been found. Amboina also produces a red kind of wood, which is both beautiful and durable, and is naturally embellished in its grain with abundance of curious figures. Of this wood they make tables, cabinets, writing-desks, and other beautiful pieces of furniture, which are sent as presents to the principal persons in the government, the rest being sold at extravagant prices all over India.

The fourth government under the company is Banda, an island about fifty leagues from Amboina towards the east, and to the southward of the Moluccas. The governor, who is generally an eminent merchant, resides at Nera, the capital of the country, and has several other neighbouring islands under his jurisdiction, in the government of all which he is assisted by a council, as at Amboina. In some representations sent home, and published by the company, this island is set forth as being very expensive to the company, and so thinly inhabited as to take off very little goods, while it is so barren as to require large supplies of provisions. All this is pure artifice; for, though Banda is a very small island in comparison with Amboina, being only about twelve leagues in circumference, it certainly affords as great profits, which arise from the important commerce in nutmegs, which grow here in such prodigious quantities as to enable the Dutch company to supply all the markets in Europe.

This admirable and much-valued fruit grows in no other part of the world except Banda and a few other small islands in its neighbourhood, named Orattan, Guimanasa, Wayer, Pulo-wai, and Pulo-rion. The nutmeg-tree is much like a peach-tree, but the leaves are shorter and rounder. The fruit is at first covered by two skins or shells, the outer one being tough and as thick as one's finger, which falls off when the fruit ripens. This outer rind when candied has a fine taste and flavour. When this falls off, the next is a fine smooth skin or peel, which is the mace, or flower of the nutmeg; and below this is a harder and blackish shell, much like that of a walnut; and on opening this shell, the nutmeg is found within, being the kernel. The mace is at first of a fine scarlet colour; but, when ripe, it falls off the shell, and is then of an orange colour, as it comes to Europe. They preserve whole nutmegs in sugar, which make the best sweetmeat in India. The Bandanese call nutmegs palla, and mace buaa-palla. There are two sorts of nutmegs; the one being of a long shape, called males, and the other round and reddish, [pg 148] called females, which latter have better taste and flavour than the other. When gathered and the mace carefully preserved, the shells are removed and the nutmegs dried, being first thrown among quicklime, as otherwise worms would breed in and destroy them.

There are several islands in the neighbourhood of Banda in which the nutmeg-trees grow, but these are carefully destroyed every year, which at first sight may seem extraordinary, as, if once destroyed, one would imagine they would never grow again. But they are annually carried by birds to these islands. Some persons allege that the birds disgorge them undigested, while others assert that they pass through in the ordinary manner, still retaining their vegetative power. This bird resembles a cuckoo, and is called the nutmeg-gardener by the Dutch, who prohibit their subjects from killing any of them on pain of death. The nutmeg is a sovereign remedy for strengthening the brain and memory, for warming the stomach, sweetening the breath, and promoting urine; it is also good against flatulence, diarrhoea, head-ach, pain of the stomach, heat of the liver, and amenorrhoea. Oil of nutmegs is a powerful cordial. Mace is an effectual remedy for weakness of the stomach, helps digestion, expels bad humours, and cures flatulence. A plaister of mace and nutmegs in powder, and diluted with rose-water, greatly strengthens the stomach. Being peculiar to Banda, merchants from Java, Malucca, China, and all parts of the Indies, come to Nera and the other towns of Banda to purchase mace and nutmegs; and immediately on their arrival, they all purchase wives to keep house for them and dress their victuals during their stay, which is usually two or three months, and when they go away again, they give liberty to these temporary wives to go where they please.

The island of Banda is very hilly, yet fertile, the government among the natives being a kind of commonwealth, administered by the Mahomedan priests, who are very strict and severe. The population of the whole island may be about 12,000 persons of all ages, of whom about 4000 are fighting men. It is so well fortified as to be deemed impregnable, yet there is always a numerous squadron of small vessels on the coast for farther security. The garrison is numerous, but in a worse condition than those of any other garrison, belonging to the company, owing to the scarcity of victuals, [pg 149] as the island is of a barren sandy soil,1 wherefore the soldiers eat dogs, cats, and any other animal they can find. For six months of the year they have tolerable abundance of turtle or sea-tortoises, and after this they are glad to get a little sorry fish, now and then. Their bread is made from the juice of a tree, which resembles the grounds of beer when first drawn, but grows as hard as a stone when dried: Yet, when put into water, it swells and ferments, and so becomes fit to eat, at least in this country, where nothing else is to be had.2 Butter, rice, dried fish, and other provisions, are all imported from Batavia, and are much too dear to be purchased by the soldiers, at least in any great plenty. Thus the inhabitants are none of the happiest; but, to do them justice, they live fully as well as they deserve, as there is not an honest man on the island.

According to the Dutch, the original natives of this island were so cruel, perfidious and intractable, that they were forced to root them out in a great measure for their own security, and to send a Dutch colony to occupy the island: But such a colony as has not much mended the matter, being entirely composed of a rascally good-for-nothing people, who were either content to come, or were sentenced to be sent here, almost to starve, not being able to live elsewhere. Their misery at this place does not continue long, as they are usually soon carried off by the dry gripes or twisting of the guts, which is the endemic, or peculiar disease of the country. Hence, and because wild young fellows are sometimes sent here by their relations, the Dutch at Batavia usually call this Verbeetering Island, or the Island of Correction.

Macasser, or the island of Celebes, is considered as the fourth best government after Batavia. This island lies between Borneo and the Moluccas, 260 leagues or 13° E. from Batavia. It is a singularly irregular island, consisting in a manner of four long peninsular processes, two projecting eastwards, and two towards the south, reaching from lat. 1° 30' N. to 5° 45' S. and from long. 119° to 125° 20', both E. It is called, and with great reason, the key of [pg 150] the spice islands, and the form of its government is much the same as in the other islands, consisting of a governor and council. Since the Dutch conquered these islands from the Portuguese, they have carefully fortified the sea-coast, and have always a very numerous garrison in the fort of Macasser, where the governor resides; which is particularly necessary, as the island is very populous, and the natives are beyond comparison the bravest and best soldiers in India. This nation long gave inexpressible trouble to the Dutch, but was at length, subdued, and stands now in as much awe of the company as any other nation: But, till very lately, the expences of the troops at this place were so large, that the company derived very little gain from the conquest, although the slave-trade here is very profitable.

Before the last Macasser war, which ended in the entire subjugation of the prince of this country, he was able to procure great quantities of mace, nutmegs, and cloves, which he sold to the English and other nations, at much more reasonable rates than they could procure them from the Dutch. For which reason the Dutch were at great pains and expence to reduce this island to entire subjection, that it might become the bulwark of the Moluccas, and secure their monopoly of the spice-trade: But, for similar reasons, the other European powers ought to have supported the king of Macasser in his independence. The island of Celebes is very fertile, and produces abundance of rice, and articles of great value in the Indies. The inhabitants are of middle stature, and have yellow complexions, with good features, and are of brisk and active dispositions: But are naturally thieves, traitors, and murderers to such a degree, that it is not safe for an European to venture beyond the walls of the fort after dark, or to travel at any time far into the country, lest he be robbed and murdered. Yet many of the natives live under the protection of the Dutch forts, being free burgesses, who carry on considerable trade. There are also a considerable number of Chinese residents, who sail from hence in vessels of their own to all parts of the company's dominions, and who acquire immense wealth by means of extensive commerce.

The inland country is under the dominion of three different princes, who, fortunately for the Dutch, are in continual opposition to each other; for, if united, they might easily drive the Dutch from the island. One of these princes is [pg 151] styled the Company's King, as he lives in good correspondence with the Dutch, and promotes their interest as far as he can. On this account the Dutch make him presents of considerable value from time to time, such as gold chains, golden coronets set with precious stones, and the like, in order to keep him steady in his allegiance, and to prevent him from uniting with the other two princes of the island. Some little time before the arrival of Roggewein at Batavia, a rich gold-mine was discovered in Celebes, to which a director and a great number of workmen were sent from Batavia; but how far this has been attended with success, our author was unable to say.

Ternate is the fifth government at the disposal of the company, and the farthest east of all belonging to the Dutch dominions in India, so that it is a kind of frontier. The governor is always a merchant, and has a council, like all the others already mentioned. This is one of the largest of the Molucca islands, and the king of Ternate is the most valuable of all the allies of the company; as, although his island would abound in cloves, he causes them to be rooted out annually, for which the company allows him a pension of eighteen or twenty thousand rix dollars yearly. He has likewise a numerous life-guard, with a very strong fort well garrisoned, all at the expence of the company. The kings of Tidore and Bachian are his tributaries. Ternate is very fertile, and abounds in all sorts of provisions, and in every thing that can contribute to the ease and happiness of life, yet its commerce is of no great importance, hardly amounting to as much as is necessary to defray the charges of the government. It was at this time, however, expected to turn out to better account, as a rich gold-mine had been recently discovered. The natives are a middle-sized people, strong and active, more faithful than their neighbours, and better affected towards the Europeans. In religion they are mostly Mahometans or Pagans; but of late many of them had become Christians, chiefly occasioned by their king having declared himself of that religion, a point of great consequence towards the conversion of the people. The inhabitants of Ternate make a species of palm wine, called Seggeweer, which is excessively strong. There are here many most beautiful birds, having feathers of all sorts of colours, charmingly diversified, which are sent to Batavia, where they are sold at high prices on account of their beauty and docility, as they [pg 152] may be taught to sing finely, and to imitate the human voice. Many Birds-of-Paradise are also brought from this island. There are several sorts of these birds. The most common kind is yellow, having small bodies, about eight inches long exclusive of the tail, which is half a yard long, and sometimes more. The second kind is red, the third blue, and the fourth black. These last are the most beautiful and most in request, being called the King of the Birds-of-Paradise. This kind has a crown or tuft of feathers on the top of its head, which lies flat or is raised up at pleasure. In this they resemble the cadocus or cockatoo, a bird entirely white, with a yellow crown on its head.

The sixth government is Malacca, which city is the capital of a small kingdom of the same name, inhabited by Malayans or Malays. The governor here is a merchant, and is assisted by a council like all the others. This kingdom of Malacca is the south part of the peninsula of India beyond the Ganges, being divided from the island of Sumatra by a strait, named the strait of Malacca. This city is of considerable size, and carries on an extensive commerce, for which it is admirably situated, and is the storehouse or emporium of all that part of India. It is also the rendezvous of all the homeward-bound ships from Japan, which make at this place a distribution of their merchandise into various assortments, which are sent from hence to all the settlements of the company in India. It is however subject to the great inconvenience of scarcity of provisions, having nothing of that kind except various sorts of fish. The princes of the adjacent countries and their subjects are all notorious pirates, and give much disturbance to the trade of India; but are particularly inimical to the Dutch company, and omit no opportunity of doing all the evil in their power to its subjects. These people suffered formerly some severe reverses from the Portuguese, who were formerly established here, and since from their successors the Dutch, which has gradually reduced their power, so that they are now much less able to carry on their depredations. The natives of Malacca are of a very dark complexion, but brisk and active, and greatly addicted to thieving. Some are idolaters but they are mostly Mahometans.

When the Portuguese were masters of Malacca, they had no less than three churches and a chapel within the fortress, and one on the outside. That which is now used for worship [pg 153] by the Dutch stands conspicuously on the top of a hill, and may be seen for a great distance up or down the straits. It has a flag-staff on the top of its steeple, where a flag is always displayed on seeing a ship. The fort is large and strong. A third part of its walls is washed by the sea: A deep, narrow, and rapid river covers its western side; and all the rest is secured by a broad, deep ditch. The governor's house is both beautiful and convenient, and there are several other good houses, both in the fort and the town. But, owing to the shallowness of the sea at this place, ships are obliged to ride above a league off, which is a great inconvenience, as the fort is of no use to defend the roads. The straits here are not above four leagues broad, and though the opposite coast of Sumatra is very low, it may easily be seen in a clear day: Hence the sea here is always quite smooth, except in squalls of wind, which are generally accompanied with thunder, lightning, and rain. These squalls, though violent, seldom last more than an hour.

The country of Malacca produces nothing for exportation, except a little tin and elephants teeth; but has several excellent fruits and roots for the use of its inhabitants, and the refreshment of strangers who navigate this way. The pine-apples of Malacca are esteemed the best in the world, as they never offend the stomach; while those of other places, if eaten in the smallest excess, are apt to occasion surfeits. The mangostein is a delicious fruit, almost in the shape of an apple. Its skin is thick and red, and when dried is an excellent astringent. The kernels, if they may be so called, are like cloves of garlic, of a most agreeable taste, but very cold. The rambostan is a fruit about the size of a walnut, with a tough skin beset with capillaments,3 and the pulp within is very savoury.

There is a high mountain to the N.E. of Malacca, whence several rivers descend, that of Malacca being one of them, and all these have small quantities of gold in their channels. The inland inhabitants, called Monacaboes, are a barbarous and savage people, whose chief delight is in doing injury to their neighbours. On this account, the peasantry about Malacca sow no grain, except in inclosures defended by thickset [pg 154] prickly hedges or deep ditches: For, when the grain is ripe in the open plains, the Monacaboes never fail to set it on fire. These inland natives are much whiter than the Malays of the lower country; and the king of Johor, whose subjects they are or ought to be, has never been able to civilize them.

When the Dutch finally attempted to conquer Malacca from the Portuguese, in alliance with the king of Johor, and besieged it both by sea and land, they found it too strong to be reduced by force, and thought it would be tedious to reduce it by famine. Hearing that the Portuguese governor was a sordid, avaricious wretch, much hated by the garrison, they tampered with him by letters, offering him mountains of gold to betray his trust, and at length struck a bargain with him for 80,000 dollars, and to convey him to Batavia. Having in consequence of his treachery got into the fort, where they gave no quarter to any one found in arms, they dispatched the governor himself, to save payment of the promised bribe.

The seventh government bestowed by the company is that of the Cape of Good Hope. The governor here is always one of the counsellors of the Indies, and has a council to assist him. This colony was taken from the Portuguese by the Dutch in 1653, and is justly esteemed one of the most important places in the hands of the company, though the profits derived from it are not comparable to what they derive from some of the islands in the East Indies. Formerly things were still worse, as the revenues of this settlement fell short of its expences. Yet the company could hardly carry on the trade to India, were it not in possession of this place, as here only the ships can meet with water and other refreshments on the outward and homeward-bound voyages; and these are indispensably necessary, especially for such ships as are distressed with the scurvy. This place so abounds in all sorts of provisions, that there never is any scarcity, notwithstanding the vast yearly demand, and all ships putting in here are supplied at moderate rates. These refreshments consist of beef, mutton, fowls, fruit, vegetables, wine, and every thing, in short, that is necessary, either for recovering the sick on shore, or recruiting the sea-stores for the continuance of the voyage out or home. In the space of a year, at least forty outward-bound ships touch here from Holland alone, and in these there cannot be less than eight or nine thousand people. The homeward-bound Dutch ships are not [pg 155] less than thirty-six yearly, in which there are about three thousand persons; not to mention foreign vessels, which likewise put in here, and have all kinds of refreshments furnished to them at reasonable rates. There are almost always some ships in this road, except in the months of May, June, and July, when the wind usually blows with great violence at N.W. and then the road is very dangerous.

Footnote 1: (return)

This is contradictory, having been before described as hilly, yet fertile.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

This account of the matter is not easily understood, and seems to want confirmation. Perhaps it is an ignorant or perverted report of sago: Yet there may possibly be some tree or plant affording a considerable quantity of fecula or starch by expression.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

This uncommon word is explained by Johnson, as "small threads or hairs growing in the middle of flowers, adorned with little knobs."Here it may be supposed to mean that the fruit is hairy.E.


Account of the Directories of Coromandel, Surat, Bengal, and Persia.

Having now given a short view of the governments in the disposal of the Dutch East-India Company, which are a kind of principalities, as each governor, with the advice and assistance of his council, is a kind of sovereign, and acts without controul through the whole extent of his jurisdiction, we are now to consider the other establishments of the company in India, for carrying on this extensive trade. In all the countries where their affairs require it, they have factories, in each of which there is a chief, with some title or other, having also a council to assist him in regard to matters of policy or trade. Among these, the directories of Coromandel, Surat, Bengal, and Persia are all of great importance, and the direction of them is attended with great profit. The directors have the same power with the governors, within their respective jurisdictions; only that they cannot execute any criminal sentences within the countries in which they reside, so that all criminals are executed on board ship, under the flag of the company.

The directory of Coromandel is the first of the four, and has all the forts and factories belonging to the Dutch on that coast under his jurisdiction. Besides Negapatnam, on the southernmost point of Coromandel, and the fort of Gueldria, in which the director resides, they have factories at Guenepatnam, Sadraspatnam, Masulipatnam, Pelicol, Datskorom, Benlispatnam, Nagernauty, and Golconda. The Dutch director is a principal merchant, and if he discharges his office with reputation, he is commonly in a few years promoted to be one of the counsellors of the Indies. It is not uncommon for a governor or director in the Indies, in the space of a [pg 156] few years, to amass a fortune equal to the original capital of the company, or six millions and a half of guilders, or nearly £600,000 sterling.

Formerly, the country of Coromandel was divided into a great number of principalities, and the little princes and chiefs imposed such heavy duties, and gave such interruptions to trade in other respects, as rendered the company very uneasy. But after the war of Golconda, which cost the company a great deal of money, yet ended to their advantage, these princes grow more tractable. At present, the kings of Bisnagar and Hassinga,1 who are the most powerful in Coromandel, live in tolerably good terms with the Dutch and other European nations; the English and Danes having also a share in Coromandel, with several good fortresses for the protection of their trade.

The great trade carried on here is in cotton goods, as muslins, chintzes, and the like; in exchange for which the Dutch bring them spices, Japan copper, steel, gold-dust, sandal and siampan woods. In this country, the inhabitants are some Pagans, some Mahomedans, and not a few Christians. The country is very fertile in rice, fruits, and herbs, and in every thing necessary to the support of man; but the weather is exceedingly hot during the eastern monsoon. All the manufactures of this country, purchased by the Dutch, are transported first to Batavia, whence they are sent home to Holland, and are thence distributed through all Germany and the north of Europe.

The second and third directories are established at Hoogly on the Ganges, and at Surat on the western coast of India, both in the territories of the Great Mogul, and the two most important places of trade in all Asia. The Dutch, English, French, and other European natives trade to both, and have erected forts and magazines for their security and convenience. The best part of the trade is carried on by black merchants, who deal in all sorts of rich goods; such as opium, diamonds, rich stuffs, and all kinds of cotton cloths. The empire of the Great Mogul is of prodigious extent, and the countries under his dominion are esteemed the richest in the world. The air is tolerably pure, yet malignant fevers are common, generally attacking strangers as a kind of seasoning [pg 157] sickness, in which, if the patient escape the third day, he generally recovers.

Most of the inhabitants of this country are tall black robust men, of gay and lively dispositions. In point of religion, many of them are idolaters, more of them Mahometans,2 and some of them Christians. The idolaters are split into numerous sects, some of whom believe firmly in the metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls; for which reason they will not take away the life of any living creature, not even daring to kill a fly or a flea. They have even hospitals for worn-out oxen and old cows, where they are fed and attended till they die of age or disease. These people are in general very industrious, but covetous, false, and perfidious. They employ themselves, such as reside in towns, in the manufactures of silk and cotton; and those who live in the country are very diligent cultivators, so that they annually expect from hence vast quantities of grain to Batavia.

The Great Mogul is one of the richest and most powerful princes in the world, having a most magnificent court, and a numerous army always on foot. The directors at Bengal and Surat know perfectly well how to deal with him, and, by making shewy presents, procure valuable diamonds and other precious stones in return. Surat is a town of no great antiquity, yet very large and immensely rich. It is in compass about five miles within the walls, and is computed to contain about 200,000 inhabitants. The Moorish and even the Indian merchants here are many of them prodigiously rich. The former chiefly addict themselves to the diamond trade, which is very precarious; for sometimes a small stock produces an immense fortune, while at other times, a man wastes immense sums without finding stones of any great value: For, at the diamond-mines, the adventurers purchase so many yards square at a certain price, employing slaves to dig and lift the earth, taking whatever stones are found in that spot; which sometimes are of great value, and sometimes so few and small as not to pay costs. Other Moorish merchants deal largely in foreign trade, and as the Mogul is a very easy master, some of them acquire prodigious wealth, and carry on commerce to such an extent as can scarce be credited in Europe. About twenty years ago, [pg 158] [that is, about the year 1700,] there died a Moorish merchant at Surat, who used yearly to fit out twenty sail of ships, from three to eight hundred tons, the cargoes of each of which were in value from ten to twenty thousand pounds, and who always retained goods in his warehouses equal in value to what he sent away. The customs of Surat amount every year to upwards of L. 160,000 sterling, and, as the merchants pay three per cent. at a medium, the value of the goods must exceed five millions yearly.

The fourth and last factory under a director, is that of Gambroon or Bendar-abassi on the coast of Persia. The director here is always a principal merchant, having a council and a fiscal to assist him. As this city stands on the Persian gulf or sea of Basora, being the only port of Persia on the Indian sea, and lies at a great distance from Batavia, this direction is not so much sought after as others; and besides, the heat at this place is greater than in any part of the world, and the air is excessively unwholesome. To balance these inconveniences, the director at Gambroon has an opportunity of making a vast fortune in a short time, so that in general, in four or five years, he has no farther occasion to concern himself in commerce. There are several other European nations settled here besides the Dutch, but they have by far the best factory, and have fortified it so effectually, that the inhabitants of the neighbouring mountains, who are a crew of bold and barbarous robbers, have never been able to gain possession of it, though they have made frequent attempts. The king of Persia, who reigned about 1722, came sometimes to Gambroon, and distinguished the Dutch above the other European nations by many marks of his favour, and by the grant of many privileges. Some time before that period, he sent a gold saddle very richly wrought, and adorned with precious stones, a present to the governor of Batavia, desiring in return an European habit for himself and another for his queen.

Gambroon is a disagreeable place to live in, as in August it is unbearably hot; and yet the winter is so cold that they wear English cloth lined with furs. They have here beeves, sheep, goats, poultry, and fish, all good of their kinds, and tolerably cheap. They have also grapes, melons, and mangoes in the utmost perfection, and excellent wine, which is esteemed superior to that of all other countries, insomuch that it still preserves its flavour after being diluted with four [pg 159] times its quantity of water. At the time when our author was in India, intestine wars raged to such a degree in Persia, that a ship had to be constantly stationed at Gambroon to bring off the factory, in case of danger. Another inconvenience to the trade on this coast proceeded from the multitude of pirates on those seas, mostly Europeans, who, having run away with the ships of their owners, subsisted by robbing all nations. Among these at this time was a stout ship named the Hare, which had been sent from Batavia to Persia: But the crew mutinied, and forced their officers to turn pirates. After committing many depredations on this coast, they sailed to the Red-Sea, where they attacked and plundered many Arabian pirates. At length, being short of provisions, and not daring to put into any port, they resolved to return; and finding themselves also in want of water, they resolved to supply themselves at an island. With this view, most of them crowded into the pinnace and put off from the ship, which gave an opportunity to the officers to resume their authority; wherefore they cut the cable, and brought the ship into the harbour of Gambroon, by which means the ship and cargo were restored to the Company.

In 1701, the Ballorches, who rebelled against the Shah, attempted to make themselves masters of the English and Dutch factories at Gambroon, with a body of four thousand men, but were beat off at both places; but a warehouse belonging to the Dutch, at some distance from the factory, fell into their hands, in which were goods to the value of twenty thousand pounds. A short time afterwards, the famous rebel Meriweys made himself master of Ispahan, where he plundered both the English and Dutch factories, taking from the former goods to the value of half a million, and from the latter to the value of two hundred thousand pounds.

Footnote 1: (return)

This seems to be a misprint for Narsinga, otherwise the Carnatic.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

This is an obvious mistake, as by far the greater part of the population is idolatrous.E.


Account of the Commanderies of Malabar, Gallo, Java, and Bantam.

In such subordinate places as were not thought of sufficient consequence to require a governor or director, the Dutch East India Company has established another principal officer, with the title of chief or commander. If the [pg 160] person entrusted with this authority be a merchant, he is accountable for his conduct to the civil government, but if a captain, to the military establishment. A chief or commander, in conjunction with his council, has nearly the same authority with a governor, except that he cannot execute any capital judgment on criminals, till the case has been reviewed and confirmed by the council at Batavia.

At the time when our author was in India, the commander at the fort of Cochin on the Malabar coast, was Captain Julius de Golints, a native of Mecklenburg, from whom he received great civilities. Malabar was the first country discovered by the Portuguese in India, and in which they established themselves, not without great effusion of blood, nor were they many years in possession till they were driven out by the Dutch. These conquerors, in their turn, found it very difficult to support themselves against the natives, who attacked them with great spirit and success, and had infallibly driven them out of the country, but for the courage and conduct of Major John Bergman, who preserved their establishments with much difficulty.

Though very warm, the climate of Malabar is very healthy, and the soil is fertile in rice, fruit, and all sorts of herbs. It is divided into many principalities, among which the following are reckoned kingdoms; Cananore, Calicut, Cranganore, Cochin, Calicoulan, Porcaloulang, and Travancore. As the capital of the Dutch possessions in Malabar was the city of Cochin, it may be proper to describe this little kingdom as at that period. It reaches from Chitway in the north, and extends twenty-four leagues to the southwards along the coast, being divided into a multitude of small islands by the streams which descend from the mountains of Gatti, [the Gauts.] These rivers have two great or principal mouths, one at Cranganore in the north, and the other at Cochin, in the south, distant thirty marine leagues from each other. The Portuguese were the first European nation who settled here, where they built a fine city on the river about three leagues from the sea; but the sea has since so gained on the land, that it is now not above an hundred paces from the city. This place is so pleasantly situated, that the Portuguese had a common saying, "That China was a good place to get money in, and Cochin a pleasant place to spend it at." The great number of islands formed by the rivers and canals, make fishing and fowling very [pg 161] amusing; and the mountains, which are at no great distance, are well stored with wild game. On the island of Baypin [Vaypen], there stands an old fort called Pallapore, for the purpose of inspecting all boats that pass between Cranganore and Cochin: And five leagues up the rivulets, there is a Romish church called Varapoli [Virapell], served by French and Italian priests, and at which the bishop takes up his residence when he visits this part of the country. The padre, or superior priest at Virapell can raise four thousand men on occasion, all Christians of the church of Rome; but there are many more Christians of the church of St Thomas, who do not communicate with the Romanists.1 About two leagues farther up than Virapell, towards the mountains, there is a place called Firdalgo,2 on the side of a small but deep river, where the inhabitants of Cochin annually resort in the hot months of April and May to refresh themselves. The banks and bottom of the river here are clean sand, and the water is so clear that a small pebble stone may be seen at the bottom, in three fathoms water.

All the water along this low flat coast, to the south of Cranganore, has the very bad quality of occasioning swelled legs to those who drink it. This disease sometimes only affects one leg, but sometimes both, and the swelling is often so great as to measure a yard round at the ancles. It occasions no pain, but great itching, neither does the swelled leg feel any heavier than that which occasionally remains unaffected. To avoid this disease, the Dutch who reside at Cochin, send boats daily to Virapell, from which they bring water in small casks of about ten or twelve gallons, to serve the city. This water is given free to the servants of the Company, but private persons have to pay six-pence for each cask-full, which is brought to their houses at that price. Still, however, both Dutch men and women are sometimes afflicted with this disease, and no means have hitherto been found out for prevention or cure. The old legend imputes this disease to the curse laid by St Thomas upon his murderers and their posterity, as an odious mark to distinguish [pg 162] them: But St Thomas was slain by the Tilnigue3 priests at Miliapoor in Coromandel, above four hundred miles from this coast; and the natives there have no touch of this malady.

Cochin is washed by the greatest outlet on this coast, and being near the sea, its situation is strong by nature, but art has not been wanting to strengthen it. As built by the Portugueze, it was a mile and a half long by a mile in breadth. The Dutch took it in 1662, when Heitloff van Chowz was commander of the forces by sea and land. The insolence of the Portuguese had made several of the neighbouring princes their enemies, who joined with the Dutch to drive them out of that country, and the king of Cochin in particular assisted them with twenty thousand men. Not long after the Dutch had invested the town, Van Chowz received notice of a peace having been concluded between Portugal and Holland, but kept the secret to himself and pushed on the siege. Having made a breach in the weakest part of the fortifications, he proceeded to a furious assault, which was kept up for eight days and nights incessantly, relieving the assailants every three hours, while the Portuguese were kept on continual duty the whole time, and were quite worn out with fatigue. Finding the city in danger of being taken by storm, the Portuguese at length capitulated and gave up the place. There were at this time four hundred topasses in the garrison, who had done good service to the Portuguese, but were not comprehended in the capitulation. On discovering this omission, and knowing the cruel and licentious character of the Dutch soldiery in India, they drew up close to the gate at which the Portuguese were to march out, and the Dutch to enter, declaring, unless they had equally favourable terms granted them with the Portugueze, they would massacre them all, and set fire to the town. The Dutch general not only granted them all they asked, but even offered to take those who had a mind into the Dutch pay, to which many of them assented. The very day after the surrender, a frigate came from Goa, with the articles of peace, and the Portuguese loudly complained of having been unfairly dealt with by Van Chowz; but he answered, that the Portuguese had acted in the same manner with the Dutch, only a few years before, in the capture of Pernambuco [pg 163] in Brazil. The English had at that time a factory in Cochin, but the Dutch ordered them immediately to remove with all their effects, which they accordingly did to their factory at Paniany.

On gaining possession of Cochin, the Dutch thought it too extensive, and therefore contracted it to the size it is now, being hardly a tenth part of what it was before. It measures about 600 paces long, by 200 in breadth, and is fortified with seven large bastions and intermediate curtains, all the ramparts being so thick that they are planted with double rows of trees, to give shade in the hot season. Some of the streets built by the Portuguese still remain, together with a church, which is now used for the Dutch worship, the cathedral being converted into a warehouse. The house of the commandant is the only one built in the Dutch fashion, which is so near the river that the water washes some part of its walls. The flag-staff is placed on the steeple of the old cathedral, on a mast seventy-five feet high, above which is the staff, other sixty feet in length, so that the flag may be seen above seven leagues off at sea. The garrison of Cochin usually consists of three hundred men; and from Cape Comoras upwards, in all their forts and factories, they have five hundred soldiers, and an hundred seamen, all Europeans, besides some topasses and the militia. They procure their store of rice from Barcelore, because the Malabar rice will not keep above three months out of the husk, though it will keep twelve with the husk on. This part of the country produces great quantities of pepper, but it is lighter than that which grows more to the northwards. The forests in the interior affords good teak-wood for ship-building, and two woods, called angelique and prospect, which make beautiful chests and cabinets, which are sent all over the coasts of western India. They have also iron and steel in plenty, and bees-wax for exportation. The sea and the rivers afford abundance of excellent fish of various kinds, which are sold very cheap.

Cranganore, a little to the north of Cochin, stands upon a river about a league from the sea, and at this place the Dutch have a fort. This place is remarkable for having formerly been the seat of a Jewish government, and that nation was once so numerous here as to consist of 40,000 families, though now reduced to 4000. They have a synagogue about two miles from the city of Cochin, not far from the palace of the rajah, and in it they carefully preserve their records, engraven [pg 164] upon plates of copper in the Hebrew language; and when any of the characters decay, they are cut anew, so that they still possess their history down from the reign of Nebuchadnezzar to the present day. About the year 1695, Mynheer van Reede had an abstract of this history translated from Hebrew into the Dutch language. They assert themselves to be of the tribe of Manasseh, a part of which was sent by Nebuchadnezzar to the most easterly province of his large empire, which is alleged to have reached Cape Comorin. Twenty thousand of them travelled from Babylon to this place in three years, and were civilly and hospitably treated by the inhabitants of Malabar, who allowed them liberty of conscience in religion, and the free exercise of their reason and industry in the management of their secular affairs. Having increased in numbers and riches, they at length, by policy or wealth, became masters of the small kingdom of Cranganore: And a particular family among them being much esteemed for wisdom and riches, two of that family were chosen by their elders and senators to govern the commonwealth, and to reign jointly over them. At length one of the brothers invited his colleague to a feast, at which he basely killed him, thinking to reign alone; but a son of the deceased slew the fratricide, after which the state fell into a democracy, which still continues among the Jews here. Their lands have, however, reverted for many years into the hands of the Malabars, and poverty and oppression have occasioned many of them to apostatise.

Between Cranganore and Cochin there is an island called Baypin, [Vaypen] four leagues long, but in no part above two miles broad. The Dutch do not allow any vessels or boats to enter or go out at Cranganore, obliging all to use the river of Cochin, which is a quarter of a mile broad, and very deep, but has a bar on which there is no more than fourteen feet water at spring-tides. The inhabitants of this country are mostly idolaters, over whom the bramins or priests exercise great authority, which they much abuse, of which the following abominable custom is a strong instance. When any man marries, he is prohibited from bedding with his wife the first night, which function is performed in his stead by one of the bramins, or, if none of these be at hand, by some other man. Foreigners used formerly to be often employed on these occasions, as the Malabars made choice of them instead of their own countrymen, often making large [pg 165] presents to the substitutes, sometimes to the value of forty or fifty pounds. But of late the bramins have become so very religious, that they never fail to execute this duty themselves. Besides this, the bramins frequent the company of the women so much, that no one of their religion can pretend to know his own father with any certainty. For which reason, by the laws of this country, sons or daughters never inherit from the husbands of their mothers, but the heritage always goes, to nephews and nieces, by sisters of the deceased born of the same mother, as certainly of his blood. This rule is observed also in the order of succession in their royal families, and is a glaring proof of the strange effects of boundless superstition.4

The next commandery is Gallo, or Point de Galle, on the island of Ceylon, at the distance of about twenty leagues from Columbo, the Dutch capital of that island. Gallo was the first place in Ceylon taken from the Portuguese by the Dutch, and still is a place of considerable trade. The commander at this place is entirely dependent upon the governor of Ceylon, and can do nothing without his approbation. About the year 1672, Lewis XIV. sent out a squadron of eight frigates, with orders to make themselves master of this place, this project having been proposed to the court of France by one Mynheer Jan Martin, who had served the Dutch East India Company for many years, and had quitted their service on some disgust. When the royal orders came to be opened at sea, Martin found that the government was to be vested in another person, in case the place were taken, on which he took such measures as frustrated the object of the expedition. Mynheer van Cosse, who then commanded the Dutch fleet, soon arrived on the coast, and the French retired without venturing an engagement. They went to Trankamala, or Trinconomalee, and anchored in the bay of that name, meaning to force the garrison of that small fort to surrender: But Van Cosse soon followed them, and brought them to action while disadvantageously situated in the bay, and either sank or burnt half of the French fleet. The rest fled to St Thomas, on the coast of Coromandel, intending [pg 166] to have formed a settlement there; but Van Cosse again followed them to that place and seized all their ships, many of their guns having been carried ashore, as were at this time a great number of their officers and men. The French who were on shore capitulated with the Dutch to quit India, on being allowed shipping to carry them home, which Van Cosse agreed to, giving them his flag-ship, the Groote Britanye, and two others, for that purpose. Martin was detained and carried to Batavia, where he was confined for life on an allowance of a rix-dollar a-day.

The next commandery is that of Samarang, on the island of Java, and he who commands here has the direction of all the factories in that island, except those which depend immediately on the government of Batavia. Kuttasura, which is the residence of the emperor of Java, is within his jurisdiction. In the year 1704, a war broke out in Java between the brother and son of the deceased emperor, as competitors for the succession, which lasted twenty years. The Dutch sided with the former, but the affections of the natives were with the latter, who drew over to his party a great number of the native soldiers who had served under the Dutch, and who, being well disciplined, behaved gallantly on all occasions, and gave the Dutch much trouble.

At Bantam, on the same island, the Dutch have a strong fort with a numerous garrison, to keep the people in awe, who are very mutinous, and far from being well affected to the Dutch government. The king, or rajah of Bantam, has also a fort only a few hundred paces from that belonging to the Dutch, in which be keeps a numerous garrison for the security of his person. The only commodity of this part of the country is pepper, of which they are able to export 10,000 tons yearly. The king is obliged to supply the company with a certain quantity of pepper yearly; but in all other respects they treat him kindly enough. His dominions are extensive and well peopled, and his subjects are hardy and enterprising, but perfidious and revengeful, and mortally hate all Christians. The bay of Bantam is safe and pleasant, having many islands, which still retain the names given them by the English, who had a fine factory here, from which they were expelled in 1683. The territory of Bantam is very fertile, abounding in rice, pepper, fruits, and cattle. In the interior of the country the natives sometimes find precious stones of great value, of which however the Dutch rarely [pg 167] get possession, as the people fear they might be induced to extend their conquests, by which they are already greatly oppressed. The head of the factory at this place has the title of chief.

Another Dutch chief resides at Padang, on that part of the coast of Sumatra which is called the gold-coast. This chief has a council and fiscal like all the rest, and his post is considered as both honourable and profitable. Sumatra is a very large fine island, separated from the continent of Asia by the Straits of Malacca, and from the island of Java by the Straits of Sunda, and is justly esteemed one of the richest and noblest islands in all India. The Dutch have a factory at Palambaugan, about eight leagues from the sea, on the banks of a very large river, which empties itself into the sea by four different channels. The great trade of this part of the country is in pepper, which the Dutch company wish to monopolize, as they have done cloves, nutmegs, mace, and cinnamon; and are at great expence in keeping several armed barks cruising at the mouths of this river, to prevent what they are pleased to call smuggling. It must be allowed, however, that they have a contract with the king of this country to take all the pepper in his dominions, at the rate of ten dollars the bahar of 400 pounds weight, which is a fair price.5 They have, however, a clause in the contract, by which half the price is to be paid in cloth, at such rates as greatly reduce the cost.

The interior of the island is very mountainous, but most of the mountains abound in mines of gold, silver, lead, and other metals. The company possesses some mines of gold, said to be very rich, and great care is taken to secure and conceal the profits. Gold-dust is found in great quantities in all the rivers and rivulets of the country, especially when the western monsoon reigns, when the torrents roll down from the mountains with great rapidity. Abundance of copper is also found here, of which they make very good cannon. There are likewise found several sorts of precious stones. There is a burning mountain on the island, which continually throws forth flame and smoke, like Etna in Sicily; and there is said to be a fountain of balsam, or petroleum. This island abounds also in spice and silk; but the air is not very wholesome, especially to strangers, owing to the great numbers [pg 168] of rivers, standing waters, and thick forests, which every where abound. It produces no wheat, nor any other of the grains which grow in Europe; but has plenty of rice, millet, and fruits, which afford good and sufficient nourishment for the inhabitants. It produces also, in great abundance, honey, bees-wax, ginger, camphor, cassia, pepper, and many Other valuable articles. It is of great extent, being 310 leagues long from N.W. to S.E. and about 50 leagues across at an average. The greatest sovereign in the island is the king of Acheen, Atcheen, or Achem, who resides in a city of that name at the N.W. end of the island. It was formerly always governed by a woman, and it is not above forty years ago since the government fell into the hands of a man, since which several attempts have been made to restore the old constitution. Acheen is a free port, to which the English, Dutch, Portuguese, and Chinese resort, and in short all the trading nations of Europe and Asia. The goods brought there are rich brocades, silks of all kinds, muslins of all sorts, raw silk, fish, butter, oil, and ammunition, for which the payments are mostly made in gold, the great commodity of the country, and remarkably fine.

During the western monsoon, the rains fall here with prodigious violence, attended with terrible storms of thunder and lightning, and frequent earthquakes; but the people, being used to them, are not much alarmed. The nations are, generally speaking, Mahometans, and are very expert in making all sorts of plate and ornaments in gold, with very few tools, yet with such inimitable dexterity, that their workmanship sells at a high rate all over India. The company sends a great number of slaves to this island every year to work in their gold-mines; but the kings in that part of the country are seldom on good terms with the Dutch, with whom they often quarrel. The principal places where gold is found are Trion and Manicabo, and the way in which they procure the gold is as follows:They dig trenches at the bottoms of the hills, so as to intercept the torrents which roll rapidly down their sides in the winter months: and having drained off the water from the ditches in summer, they find considerable quantities of gold-dust in the mud which remains. It is generally believed that this island furnishes annually 5000 pounds weight of gold-dust,6 yet very little of [pg 169] this quantity is ever brought to Europe, being mostly employed by the servants of the East India Company in making purchases of commodities in places where gold bears a high price.

The Dutch East India Company has long entertained a project of building ships at this island, as its timber is so good that ships built here are expected to last forty or fifty years, whereas those of Europe seldom last more than twelve or thirteen years. The Dutch have a strong fort and great factory at Jambee, and another at Siack, both in this island. This last place is excessively unwholesome, owing to the following circumstance, which certainly might be obviated. It stands on the great river Andragheira, into which, at one season of the year, there come vast shoals of large shads, a third part of their bulk being composed of their roes, which are accounted a great delicacy. Wherefore, after taking these out, the rest of the fish is thrown away, and as these lie in great heaps to corrupt, they exhale pestilential vapours and infect the air. The persons, therefore, who are sent to reside at Siack, are much of the same description with those formerly mentioned as sent to Banda, being of abandoned characters and desperate fortunes. There is another very considerable factory on the river Bencalis, which produces a large profit from the sale of cloth and opium, for which gold-dust is received in payment. This trade was discovered about forty years ago, that is, about the year 1680, by a factor, who carried it on privately for his own emolument for ten years, during which he acquired upwards of a ton of gold yearly, a Dutch phrase implying L. 10,000 sterling. He then resolved to secure what he had got by making a disclosure of this valuable branch of traffic to the company. There are also several Dutch establishments on what is called the West-coast of Sumatra.

A very powerful and warlike people subsists in this island, known to Europeans by the name of the Free-nation, who are equally averse from submitting either to the Sumatran sovereigns or Europeans, and have always defended themselves valiantly against both. All the natives of Sumatra are much more inclined to the English than the Dutch, perhaps because they are not under subjection to the former. But the latter use every precaution they can to prevent the natives from dealing with any except themselves. For a considerable time past, the chiefs at Padang have been so unlucky [pg 170] as to have their honesty much suspected, chiefly owing to their management of the mines, which do not turn out greatly to the profit of the company, while all their officers gain immense sums out of them, which the councils at Batavia are much dissatisfied with, yet cannot prevent. For this reason they change the chief very frequently, yet to little purpose.

Footnote 1: (return)

A very interesting account of the remnant of an ancient Christian church in the Travancore country, a little to the southward of Cochin, has been lately published by Dr Buchanan, in a work named Christian Researches in India, which will be noticed more particularly in an after division of our Collection.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

Perhaps Bardello, about the distance mentioned in the text.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

This word ought assuredly to have been Telinga.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

This strange custom has been differently related formerly, and we believe more accurately, as prevalent only in the Nayra tribe, in which the women are allowed several husbands at the same time, and may change them at pleasure.E.

Footnote 5: (return)

Exactly five farthings and two-fifths of a farthing the pound.E.

Footnote 6: (return)

Supposing these troy pounds, the value may be estimated at L. 240,000 sterling.E.


Some Account of the Residences of Cheribon, Siam, and Mockha.

The chiefs of those factories belonging to the Dutch in India are termed Residents, and correspond directly with the governor-general at Batavia, and are not dependent on any subordinate governor or director. The first of these independent residents is fixed at Cheribon, on the coast of Java, at the distance of about forty leagues from Batavia, where a very advantageous commerce is carried on by the company in coffee, cardamoms, indigo, and cotton. The land at this place is as fertile in rice and other provisions as perhaps any country in the world. This district is of considerable extent, and was formerly under the dominion of four great lords, who used to be styled pangerans, but have now the titles of sultans, though their authority is not much extended by these more splendid titles. One of these is called the company's sultan, because always attached to the interests of the company, though in truth they might all get the same appellation, as they are all under the protection of the company, and freed from apprehensions of the king of Bantam, who used formerly to be continually at war with them, and must have reduced them under subjection, but for the assistance of the Dutch. Since then, both from gratitude for past favours, and in expectation of future protection, they have granted great privileges to the company in their dominions. The company maintains a fort at Cheribon, with a garrison of sixty men, and has an excellent factory.

About half a league from the fort of Cheribon, the tombs of the princes of Cheribon stand in a vast temple, splendidly built of various fine kinds of stone, and are said to contain vast riches, yet are left unguarded, from an idea that they [pg 171] are protected by some supernatural power; and they tell strange stories of persons having dropt down dead, on approaching the places where these riches are hidden, with an intention to steal. Many people believe that the Javanese priests, who are Mahometans, have the power of causing sudden death by means of incantations; and that they are able to enchant crocodiles and serpents, causing the former to go into and out of the water at command, and the latter to remain in any posture they please. A great number of priests are maintained about this great temple, many of whom have made the pilgrimage to Mecca, and are therefore held in much veneration. These priests are all governed by a sovereign pontiff or mufti, who is even more respected than the sultans. There was formerly a considerable English factory at Cheribon, having a small town belonging to it: But the persons of the factory so provoked the people, by intriguing with their wives, that they rose one night and massacred them all. Perhaps this might have been set on foot by their Dutch neighbours.

Another resident has the direction of the company's affairs in the kingdom of Siam, where the company carries on a considerable trade in tin, lead, elephants-teeth, gum-lac, wool,1 and other commodities. The king of Siam is a prince of considerable power, and his dominions extend nearly 300 leagues. Being favourable to commerce, all nations are allowed to trade freely in his country; but ships of no great burden are forced to anchor at the distance of sixty leagues from his capital; because the river Menan, on which it is situated, is so rapid that they find great difficulty in getting higher up. This river, like the Nile and many others, overflows its banks at a certain season, so that most of the country is under water for half the year, for which reason all the houses are built on posts. The capital is a large city, consisting at least of 50,000 houses, with a prodigious number of temples.2 The natives are all pagans, and hold this singular maxim, "That all religions are good, provided they tend to the honour of God." They think, however, that their own is the best; though they sometimes own that the God of the Christians is most powerful, because the head of their principal idol has been twice beaten to pieces by thunder. [pg 172] This is perhaps the largest idol in the world, and is called by the Dutch in derision, The great blockhead of Lust. He is represented sitting cross-legged like a tailor; in which posture he measures seventy feet high, and every one of his fingers is as large as the body of a man. About three leagues from the capital there is a temple of vast size, having an idol not quite so large as the other, which the priests say is his wife; and that once in seven years, one of these goes to visit the other. The priests also pretend that both of these idols are of solid gold; but the thunder-clap, which destroyed the head of the larger idol detected that part of the cheat, shewing it to be only brick and lime, very artificially gilded all over. One may justly wonder that this accident did not put an end to the adoration of so wretched a deity; but where superstition once prevails the plainest proofs very seldom produce any effect.

The country of Siam is very rich and fertile, and there is a considerable trade carried on here by the Chinese. The Dutch have here considerable privileges, and are the favoured nation, especially since the great revolution, when they got into great favour with the new king, because the English had been entrusted by his predecessor, whom he murdered, with the best places in the government, both civil and military. The Dutch have a factory on the side of the river, about a mile below the city, where they collect great numbers of deer-skins; which are sent annually to Japan. The Siamese are themselves much addicted to trade, and the Chinese who reside here still more; so that they send ships every year to Japan, which, considering the difficulty of the navigation, is not a little extraordinary. The Siamese boast of having used the compass above a thousand years before it was known in Europe: But the Jesuits very justly observe, that the Siamese and Chinese compasses are very imperfect.

The third resident is fixed at Mokha, being always a merchant, having two factors under him. This country is under the government of an Arab prince, styled Imaum, who resides in the inland country, about 200 miles east from Mokha. The sea-port of his dominions was formerly Aden; but as that was found very inconvenient, he removed the trade to Mokha, then only a fishing village. Mokha is situated close to the sea, in a large dry sandy plain, which affords neither fruits nor water, except what is brackish and unwholesome, and those who are forced to drink it have long worms bred [pg 173] in their legs and feet, which are very troublesome and dangerous. The town is supplied with very good and wholesome water from Musa, a town at the distance of twenty miles; but it is so dear, being brought by land carriage; that it costs as much as small beer does in England. Mokha is large, and makes a fine appearance from the sea, the buildings being lofty, but they look much better without than within. The markets are well supplied with provisions, such as beef, mutton, goats, kid, lamb, and camels flesh, antelopes, poultry, guinea-fowls, partridges, and pigeons. The sea affords a variety of fish, but not well tasted, owing probably to the nature of their food. It is also furnished all the year with excellent fruits, as grapes, peaches, apricots, and quinces, of which they make great quantities of marmalade, both for their own use and exportation. Yet there is neither tree nor shrub to be seen near the town, except a few date-trees, and they seldom have above two or three showers of rain in a year, sometimes no rain for two or three years. Among the mountains, however, about twenty miles inland, seldom a morning passes without a moderate shower, which makes the vallies very fertile in such corn and fruits as suit the soil and climate. They have plenty of wheat and barley, but no rice.

Since Mokha has been made a free port, it has become a place of great trade. Besides the Dutch factory, it has one belonging to the English East-India Company. Trade is also carried on here by English free merchants, by Portuguese, Banians, and Moors; also by vessels from Basora, Persia, and Muskat. The country itself produces few commodities, except coffee and some drugs, as myrrh, olibanum or frankincense from Cossin, Soccotrine aloes from Soccotora, liquid storax, white and yellow arsenic, some gum-arabic, mummy, and balm of gilead, these two last being brought down the Red Sea. The coffee trade brings a continual supply of gold and silver from Europe, particularly Spanish money, German crowns, and other European silver coins, with chequins and German and Hungarian gold ducats, and ebramies and magrabees of Turkey. It is a settled point here, though other goods may be bought and sold on credit for a certain time, coffee must always be paid for in ready money. The European shipping that comes here annually rather exceeds 20,000 tons, and that belonging to other nations may amount to nearly the same tonnage. The whole province of Betlefackee is planted with coffee-trees, which are [pg 174] never allowed to grow above four or five yards high. The berries cling to the branches like so many insects, and are shaken off when ripe. They are at first green, then red, and lastly of a dark-brown colour.

The Dutch have here a great advantage over all other nations, in consequence of their monopoly of the spice-trade, as these are consumed here in great quantities, which consequently enables them to procure coffee at much easier rates than other nations. Yet this trade of Mokha is continually falling off, owing to the vast quantities of coffee produced in their own plantations, especially at Batavia, Amboina, and the Cape of Good Hope: Even the Dutch, however, acknowledge that there is no comparison between the coffee raised on their own plantations and that brought from Mokha.

The Happy Arabia is divided into many small territories, under independent princes, styled Emirs, who all pay a kind of homage, but no obedience, to the Grand Signor or Emperor of the Turks. The Red Sea gets this name from several parts of it being of a red colour, owing to its bottom in these parts.

Footnote 1: (return)

Perhaps cotton, often termed cotton-wool, ought to have been here substituted.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

In Harris the temples are stated at 30,000.E.


Of the Trade of the Dutch in Borneo and China.

Borneo is the largest island in the East Indies, perhaps the largest in the world, being 220 marine leagues from N. to S. and 170 leagues from E. to W. It is divided into many small principalities, of which the most powerful is the king of Banjaar Masseen, and after him the kings of Borneo and Sambas. The air is reckoned very unwholesome in some places, on account of being low and marshy; and it is only thinly peopled, though abounding in very rich commodities. On the first establishment of the Dutch in India, they were very solicitous to have factories in this island, and accordingly fixed three, at the cities of Borneo, Sambas, and Succadanea; but they soon found it was impossible to have any dealings with the natives, who certainly are the basest, crudest, and most perfidious people in the world; wherefore they quitted the island, and though several times invited back, have absolutely refused to return. The commerce of [pg 175] Borneo is as rich as any in India. At Sambas and Banjaar Masseen they deal in diamonds, of which there is a mine in the interior country. These stones generally run from four to twenty-four carats each, though some are found as high as thirty and even forty carats; but the whole trade does not exceed 600 carats yearly. They always sell these stones for gold, though that is a commodity of the island, and there is a considerable trade in gold-dust at Pahang, Saya, Calantan, Seribas, Catra, and Melanouba. Bezoar is another principal article of their trade. Japan wood, fine wax, incense, mastic, and several other rich gums, are here met with; but the staple commodity is pepper, which this island produces in as great abundance as any place in India. A drug is met with in this island, called piedro de porco, or pork-stone, so highly esteemed as to be worth 300 crowns each; as the Indian physicians pretend that they can infallibly discover whether their patients are to live or die, by exhibiting to them the water in which this stone has been steeped.

Before the Portuguese discovered the way by sea to India, the Chinese possessed the whole trade of this island, and since the Europeans have declined settling here, it has reverted to them again. The places where they are settled are Banjaar Masseen, Mampua, Teya, Lando, and Sambas, where they parry on a great trade, furnishing the inhabitants with silks, chintz, calico, and all the manufactures of China and Japan. It has been suggested, that a more valuable trade might be established in Borneo than in any other part of India, as there come here every year large fleets of Chinese junks, laden with all the commodities of that empire, which might be purchased here as cheap, or cheaper even than in China itself. There come also yearly some small vessels from the island of Celebes to Borneo, in spite of the utmost vigilance of the Dutch, which bring considerable quantities of cloves, nutmegs, and mace, so that the Dutch are unable to sell much of these spices to the inhabitants: Yet they send ships here frequently to load with pepper, endeavouring to keep up a good correspondence with the kings of Borneo and Sambas, for the king of Banjaar Masseen refuses to have any dealings with them.

Considering the vast sway of the Dutch in India, it is strange that they should not have any factory in China. They have indeed formerly sent ambassadors to that country, [pg 176] under pretence of demanding a free trade, but in reality on purpose to gain a more accurate knowledge of the nature of trade in China, and in consequence of their discoveries in that manner, have been induced to decline entering upon any direct trade to that country. While they were possessed of the island of Formosa, they carried on a direct trade to China with great profit: But, since their expulsion from that island in 1661, they have not been able to make that trade turn out profitable. After the establishment of the Ostend East-India Company, they tried to send ships to China, direct from Holland; but even this came to no great account, the profit having seldom exceeded twenty-five per cent. which, considering the hazard of so long a voyage, was not considered a very encouraging return. It has been doubted whether the Dutch were able to deal with the Chinese, where both nations are upon an equal footing, as the latter are certainly the cunningest of men: Besides, the Chinese are less inclined to deal with the Dutch than with any other Europeans; and, when they do, always hold them to harder terms. The port charges also in China, and the presents they are obliged to make, cut deep into their gains.

Besides the foregoing circumstances, as China is at a great distance from Batavia, and as the officers of the Dutch ships can so easily consign their effects into the hands of the Portuguese, English, and other foreign merchants, they have been found to mind their own affairs much more than those of the Company. But the principal reason of avoiding the trade to China is, that the Chinese carry on a prodigious trade with Batavia; and though the voyage exceeds 550 leagues, the Chinese junks make the run in six weeks, sailing from Canton in the beginning of December, and arriving at Batavia in the middle of January. The company has in the first place a duty of four per cent. on all the goods brought by the Chinese, which are gold, silks of all sorts, tea, anniseed, musk, rhubarb, copper, quicksilver, vermilion, china ware, &c. For which they receive in exchange lead, tin, pepper, incense, camphor, cloves, nutmegs, amber, and many other articles, on all which the Dutch fix their own prices, and consequently buy much cheaper than other nations can do in China. They have also found by experience, that a direct trade greatly lessens this more profitable mode at Batavia. They have also opportunities of dealing with the Chinese in many other parts of India, where, [pg 177] after the Chinese merchants have completed their sales to the natives, they are glad to part with the remainder of their commodities to the Dutch, at a cheap rate. Thus, the Dutch East-India Company are able to send home vast quantities of the commodities of China, and purchased on very advantageous terms, without trading directly to China, either from Holland or from Batavia.


Of the Dutch Trade with Japan.

A Dutch chief resides at Japan, who is always a principal merchant, and is assisted by some writers in the Company's service. The profit formerly made of this establishment by the Dutch East-India Company, frequently amounted to 80 and even 100 per cent. but has fallen off to such a degree, that they rarely make now, 1721, above eight or ten. This has been chiefly occasioned by the Chinese, who for some time past have purchased every kind of goods at Canton that are in demand in Japan, and it is even said that they have contracted with the Japanese to furnish them with all kinds of merchandize at as low prices as the Dutch. Another cause of the low profits is, that the Japanese fix the prices of all the goods they buy, and if their offer is not accepted, they desire the merchants to take them home again. This may possibly have been suggested to them by the Chinese, who used formerly to be treated in the same manner at Batavia. There is no place in all India where the Dutch have so little authority, or where their establishments are of so little consequence, as in Japan. They are allowed a small island to themselves, where they have warehouses for their goods, and a few ordinary houses for the members of the factory; but this island is a prison, in which they are completely shut up as long as they remain in Japan, not being permitted to pass the bridge that joins this island to the city of Naugasaque. The only shadow of liberty that is allowed them is, that their chief, with two or three attendants, goes once a-year as ambassador to the emperor. One great reason of this is said to have been occasioned by their using too great familiarities with the Japanese women; but the true reason is, that the Dutch have more than once given strong [pg 178] indications of an inclination to establish themselves in the country by force.

A French gentleman, Monsieur Carron, who was for some time at the head of their factory in Japan, and who, in several journeys to the court, had ingratiated himself into the favour of the emperor, by entertaining him with accounts of the state of Europe, got his permission to build a house for the factory on the little island allotted to them. He accordly laid the fortifications of great extent, and continued the work till he had completed a handsome fortification, in form of a regular tetragon; and as the Japanese were quite ignorant in the art of fortification, they suffered it to be finished, without any suspicion of deceit. Carron now desired the council at Batavia to send him some cannon, packed in casks filled with oakum or cotton, along with some other casks of the same form filled with spices. This was done accordingly, but in rolling the casks after landing, one of them that contained a brass gun burst open, by which accident the cheat was discovered. This put an entire stop to all trade till the pleasure of the emperor was known. The emperor, without prohibiting trade, gave orders that no Dutchman should presume to stir out of the island on pain of death, and ordered Carron up to Jeddo, to answer for his fault. The emperor reproached him for abusing his favour; after which he ordered his beard to be pulled out by the roots, and that he should be led, dressed in a fool's coat and cap, through all the streets of the city. He was thus sent back to the factory, with orders to leave Japan in the first ship that sailed for Batavia.

The island of Desima, where the Dutch reside, is divided from the city of Naugasaki by a small creek of salt water of about forty feet broad, over which there is a convenient bridge, having a draw-bridge at one end, of which the Japanese keep possession, and no Dutchman can pass this without leave from the governor of the city; neither dare any Japanese converse with the Dutch, except the merchants and factors, who have a licence for that purpose. For the security of the factory, the island of Desima is pallisaded all round. It contains four streets, with large warehouses, and a spacious market-place over against the bridge, where at stated times the town's people have leave to trade with the Dutch. So great is the jealousy entertained of the Dutch, that they are not even allowed to have the command of their own ships while in Japan: For, as soon as one of them enters [pg 179] the harbour, the Japanese take entire possession of her, taking out all the arms and ammunition, which they lay up on shore, and return again in good order, when the ship is ready to sail. They also exact a complete account of all the men on board, whom they muster by one of their own commissaries.

Japan is well peopled, and produces every thing necessary for human sustenance in great plenty; yet the Dutch pay high for every thing they need, and have even to purchase wood for fuel by weight. The mountains are rich in gold, silver, and copper, which last is the best in the world. Their porcelain is finer than that of China, as also much thicker and heavier, with finer colours, and sells much dearer both in India and Europe. The tea of Japan, however, is not near so good as that of China. Their lackered ware, usually called Japan, is the best in the world, and some of it will even hold boiling water without being injured. They have abundance of silks, both raw and manufactured, much stronger than what is produced in China. Their houses are mostly built of wood, but the palace of the emperor is of marble, covered with copper, so remarkably well gilded that it withstands the weather many years. Jeddo is the metropolis, and its magnitude may be guessed from this circumstance, that in a great fire which raged in this city for eight days, about the year 1660, it consumed 120,000 houses, and 500 temples.

The Japanese are strict observers of moral rules, especially in commercial matters; insomuch that merchants of reputation put up sums of gold cupangs, always in decimal numbers, in silken bags, sealed with their seals; and these bags always pass current for the several sums indicated by the seals, without any one ever examining the contents of the bags for several generations. These cupangs are broad oblong pieces of gold, of about twenty shillings value in Japan; but gold is there so plentiful and cheap, in relation to silver, that a cupang passes current in Batavia for thirty-two shillings; and, after being stampt with the lion of the Company, it passes for forty shillings sterling. The Japanese also are exact observers of justice, and punish crimes with extreme rigour. To a man of distinction, when found guilty of a capital crime, the emperor writes a letter, commanding him to become his own executioner, on an appointed [pg 180] day and hour, on penalty of being subjected to the most exquisite tortures, if he survive the appointed time. On receiving this mandate, the delinquent invites all his friends and near relations to a sumptuous feast on the set day. When the feast is over, he shows them the letter from the emperor, and, while they are reading it, he stabs himself with a dagger below the navel, and cuts open his belly to the breast bone. The capital punishments inflicted on the inferior people are hanging, beheading, or being flung over a precipice; and for smaller faults, whipping and branding are usual.

The government of Japan would be well pleased to encourage trade with all nations, but for two considerations. The first is, lest their religion should be insulted, which was frequently the case from misguided zeal, while there were any Christians among the Japanese. The other proceeds from their aversion to strange customs, or to any innovation in the manners of the people, from which they dread the worst consequences. When the Dutch were first established in this empire, the then prime minister explained their opinions on this subject in the following manner: "We are well acquainted with the advantages resulting from the system of government established among us, and will on no account run the hazard of any change. We know that great revolutions are often brought about by imperceptible degrees, and are therefore resolved to cure the itch of novelty by the rod of chastisement." Upon this maxim a law is established in Japan, by which all the subjects of the empire are prohibited from leaving the country; or, if any do, they must never return. They are so wedded to their own customs and opinions, and so jealous of the introduction of any new or foreign customs, that they never send any embassies to other countries, neither do they allow their merchants to carry on commerce beyond their own country. A few small junks are sent in summer to the land of Yedso, a country about fifty leagues from the northern extremity of Japan; and it is said that they bring much gold from thence.

There is but one good harbour in Japan, all the rest of the coast being so guarded by steep rocks or shoals, that they have no reason to fear being invaded. In point of military discipline and bravery, the Japanese far exceed the [pg 181] Chinese, and are by no means of so base and effeminate dispositions as most of the inhabitants of that great empire. The government also of Japan is perfectly uniform and well settled, so that there cannot be any diversity of interests; for, though several of its provinces are denominated kingdoms, yet all these petty kings are under the strictest subjection to the emperor, and the laws of the country extend over all. These laws pay the strictest regard to private property, the father transmitting to his children not only the patrimonial estate, but all the acquisitions of his own industry; and this is certainly a powerful prevention of any desire of change. Though the emperor resides at Jeddo, thirty days journey from Naugasaki, yet he receives intelligence in the space of three days, of the number and force of every ship that arrives, conveyed by a chain of signal-posts, by means of flags and fire beacons.

The forms observed in business are wonderfully exact, and the edicts and orders of the emperor are signified in most expressive and dignified terms, containing very little of the bombast and swelling style so common among oriental courts. Yet, amid all their good sense and quick parts, the religion of the Japanese is the idlest and most ridiculous paganism that can well be imagined, of which the following is a sufficient proof. Every family has a tutelary deity or idol, which is placed at the top of the house, and instructed to keep off all sickness, misfortunes, or accidents: And when any such happen, the idol is taken down and whipt, for not doing its duty. Amida is the name of their favourite god, his residence in heaven is at a prodigious distance, insomuch that it requires three years journey of a departed soul to reach paradise, which is only the outskirts or suburbs of heaven; but when once there, the soul is sure of getting to heaven, and enjoys a quiet residence in that place, as none of the fiends dare come there to give annoyance. They have several other gods, to all of whom they are particularly attached devotees; and each god has his own particular paradise, none nearer this world than three years journey. On purpose to gain an easy passage to these paradises, some of the zealots cut their own throats, and others hang themselves. Their idols are often carried in procession on horseback, attended by bands of music; and many feasts and sacrifices are made in their honour, the idols being fed on [pg 182] the smoke and flavour, while the votaries regale on the substantial meats.1

Footnote 1: (return)

Harris here subjoins a long enquiry into the nature of the Dutch commerce in Japan, in the form of answers to a number of queries on the subject: But as we shall have an opportunity, in a subsequent division of this work, to give much more ample and satisfactory accounts of these matters, by actual travellers in Japan, this has been omitted, as tedious and unsatisfactory.E.


Account of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope.

Nothing remarkable occurred to the author of this voyage, while on the way from Batavia to the Cape of Good Hope, except seeing the wreck of the Schonenberg, a ship belonging to the Company, which had been lost a little before.1 On coming in sight of the Cape, they discovered many French, English, and Dutch ships at anchor in the roads, some outward-bound and some homewards. A little way from the entrance of the bay is a small island, on which there is always a guard composed of a serjeant and a small number of men. As soon as the serjeant sees what number of ships a fleet consists of, he hoists a flag, and fires so many pieces of cannon as there are ships in sight, to give notice to the commandant at the Cape. They are here employed in making train-oil, and in raking oyster-shells to burn into lime. Into this island, malefactors are generally banished from the Cape, and from most parts of India. Here, besides the punishment of being separated from all their friends, they are kept to the hardest labour.

Table Bay is very fine and large, of a semi-oval form, entering several leagues into the land, and may be about nine leagues in circuit; but the anchorage is not every where equally good, and there is some danger near the shore. The middle of the bay is commanded by a very strong fort, being a regular pentagon, and each of its fine bastions mounts twenty pieces of heavy cannon. This fort and the town are situated on the edge of a plain about three leagues [pg 183] in extent, lying at the bottom of three very high mountains. The first of these is Lion Mountain, having some resemblance to a lion couchant. The second is Table Mountain, which is much higher, and has a broad flat top like a table, being so high that it may be seen twenty leagues out at sea in clear weather. The third is called the Devil's Mountain, and is not so remarkable as either of the other two. The houses of Cape Town are very neat and commodious, but are only built two stories high, on account of the furious winds at S.E. which sometimes blow here.

About the year 1650, the Dutch East-India Company bought a certain district of this country from the Hottentots, its aboriginal inhabitants, and took care to have it immediately planted and well peopled, for the convenience of their ships, both outward and homeward bound. All the inhabitants of this colony are Europeans, or descended from Europeans. Some of the planters are settled at the distance of three hundred leagues from the Cape; yet all are obliged to appear once a-year at a place called Stellenbosch, where the Drossart or magistrate of the country resides. They have here to pass in review, as all the peasants, as well as the towns-men, are formed into companies under proper officers. After the review is over, they go back to their respective plantations, generally carrying home with them what tools or other European articles they stand in need of. These people cultivate the ground, raising rye, barley, beans, and other grains. They also plant vines, which produce excellent grapes, of which they make very good wine. Some of these peasants are in very easy circumstances, having, besides large and well-cultivated plantations, great flocks of sheep and cattle.

Among other colonists, there is one about eight leagues from Cape Town, at a place called Drakenstein, entirely composed of French refugees, who have a large tract of well cultivated ground, and are allowed churches and ministers of their own. Part of the inhabitants of Cape Town are in the service of the Company, and the rest are free burgesses. They have regular magistrates, who decide causes of small importance, and regulate any little disputes that happen among them; but affairs of moment are carried before the governor and council, who determine finally and without appeal. In the interior country, the drossart determines in things of small consequence; but all matters of importance [pg 184] must come before the governor and council, whose sentences, both in civil and criminal cases, are executed without delay. The officer who commands here in chief, has the rank and pay of major, yet does the duty in all respects of a major-general. The officers under him are captains, lieutenants, and ensigns, who take care to keep their companies always complete and well disciplined; and in case of attack, they can draw together five thousand men at least, all well armed and as good as regular troops: Each peasant knows where he has to repair to, in order to range himself under his proper standard.

It is not easy to describe the expertness with which these peasants manage their fire-arms, an exercise in which they are constantly employed, even from their infancy; and it is almost incredible how boldly they attack even the fiercest animals. Many among them disdain to shoot a sleeping lion, because, as they say, it shows neither skill nor courage: When, therefore, they discover a lion asleep, they throw stones to waken him, and do not fire till he is on his feet. A little before the arrival of our author at the Cape, two peasants went out together to hunt. One of them, seeing a lion, fired at and missed him, when the lion rushed upon the man, who threw away his gun, to have more liberty to defend himself. The other peasant, on hearing the report, hastened to the place, and found his companion and the lion closely engaged; on which he snatched up the gun, and slew the lion by a few blows on the head, but broke the gun in pieces. The first peasant, whose property the gun was, complained loudly of its demolition, blamed his companion for coming up uncalled for, and even talked of making him pay for the gun, insisting that he could have slain the lion himself without aid. It was formerly considered a wonderful deed for a man to kill a lion; but now it is so common an occurrence, that they make no more of killing a lion, than we do of shooting a hare.

The country about Cape Town is full of vineyards and gardens. Two of these belong to the company, which are perhaps the finest in the world. One is at the distance of two hundred paces from the fort, between the town and Table Mountain, being about 1400 paces in length, by 235 paces broad, and having a fine rivulet from the mountain running through the middle of it. It is divided into quarters, in which they cultivate, with the utmost success, the fruits and flowers [pg 185] of the four quarters of the globe. The other garden is about two leagues distant from the town, in what is called the New Country, and is likewise kept in excellent order by slaves belonging to the company, of whom there are seldom less than five hundred. The country hereabout is mountainous and stony; but the vallies are very agreeable, and extremely fertile. The climate is perhaps the best in the world, neither cold nor heat being ever felt here to any intolerable degree. The people accordingly live to great ages, and have hardly any diseases except such as proceed from intemperance of some kind. The mountains, which contribute to the wholesomeness of the country, are supposed to be rich in gold and other valuable metals. Some trials have been made; but as yet no mines have been discovered, or at least none in such situations as would permit their being worked to advantage.

Mynheer van Steel, who was lately governor of this colony, travelled over the country, and examined it with much attention. He caused gardens to be laid out, and pleasure-houses to be built, in several places; but the peasants who were employed in building these houses and cultivating these gardens, sent over a representation and complaint to the company, alleging that these works were prejudicial to their private affairs, and prevented them from being able to maintain their families; upon which that governor was immediately recalled. His discoveries, however, were of great consequence, having made the interior country known to the Dutch, together with the nations or tribes by whom it is inhabited. These, so far as yet discovered, consist of seven different tribes, all comprehended under the general denomination of Hottentots. The first of these, and least considerable, who live in the neighbourhood of the Cape, have no chief, and are mostly either in the service of the company, or are employed as servants by the townsmen, or by the peasants and farmers in cultivating the lands, or tending their flocks and herds. The second tribe inhabit the mountains, or, more properly speaking, dwell in the caverns of the mountains, being thieves and robbers by profession, and subsist entirely by plundering the other Hottentots, with whom they are perpetually at war; yet never rob or molest the Christians. The other tribes are called the Great and Little Maqua, and the Great and Little Kriqua2, and the Caffres. The words [pg 186] Maqua and Kriqua signify king or chief, and these four tribes are continually engaged in war against each other; but when any one nation is in danger of being totally ruined, other tribes immediately take up its cause; and these rude tribes seem to have a notion of maintaining a kind of balance of power.

Such of the Hottentots as have submitted to the Hollanders are called the Company's Hottentots. The Dutch send every year fifty or sixty persons to trade among the Hottentots, who purchase their cattle, giving them in exchange arrack, tobacco, hemp, and such other things as they have occasion for; by which means a good understanding is kept up. These Hottentots of the Company are often attacked by the other tribes, and, when no longer able to defend themselves, their king or chief comes down to the Cape, attended by a small escort of his subjects, to demand assistance. He goes immediately to the governor, having in his hand the staff of command given him by the Company, decorated with their arms, and holding it in his hand, demands assistance. If the governor does not think proper to grant his request, but endeavours to shift him off with fair words, he throws down his staff saying, in bad Dutch, Voor my, niet meer Compagnies Hottentot; that is, "For me, I will no more be the Company's Hottentot." The governor generally sends him home with an escort of troops, as it is the interest of the company to be on good terms with these chiefs, who are always ready to do any service required of them.

The Hottentots are a very stupid and brutal people. They rub their bodies all over with rancid grease, which gives them a very bad smell, so that you may nose them at a considerable distance. Their children are all born perfectly white; but being constantly rubbed with grease, and exposed to the sun, they grow by degrees quite brown, and almost black. When a woman brings forth twins, one of them is immediately condemned to death, and is tied to a tree, where it is left to expire. Some of them have a custom of extirpating one testicle in their male children, as soon as they are able to bear the operation, in hope of preventing them afterwards from begetting twins. They seem to have little or no religion; yet they frequently look with admiration at the heavenly bodies, saying, "He who governs these is certainly a being of infinite power and wisdom." In many respects [pg 187] they are more like beasts than men, being abominably nasty in their persons, and, taking them altogether, they are certainly one of the meanest nations on the face of the earth. They are short and thick-set, with flat noses like a Dutch pug dog, very thick lips, and large mouths, having very white teeth, but very long and ill set, some of them sticking out of their mouths like boar's tusks. Their hair is black, and curled like wool. They are very nimble, and run with incredible speed. They are generally covered with a sheep's skin, each man having a quiver full of arrows on his back, and a bow in his hand. Immediately on coming in sight of an enemy, they set up a dreadful cry, leaping, dancing, and skipping about, and throwing themselves into the most frightful postures.

The seventh nation is named the Caffres, who are certainly the Anthropophagi who have made so much noise in the world3. The Hottentots are much afraid of them, and take care to keep out of their way as much as possible, for fear of being roasted or boiled if taken prisoners. This abominable nation has never entered into any kind of commerce with the Christians; but, on the contrary, takes all the pains they can to entrap and murder them, in order, as is generally believed, to eat them. It is reported that they have grown somewhat more tractable of late years, and will enter into some sort of trade with such as venture among them. They are a potent and warlike nation, strong and well-made; and though black, and having curled hair like other negroes, they have better faces, and a much more manly appearance.

At the distance of about eighteen leagues from the Cape, there is another port called Saldanha Bay, which is, in all respects, an infinitely better harbour than Table Bay, except in wanting fresh water, which prevents it from being frequented. The animals of this country are many. The lion is common here, and in hard winters often comes very near the habitations of the colonists. He is reputed the king of beasts, because he never eats a man till he has beaten out his breath with his paws. Before attacking a man he roars terribly, and shakes his mane; and if he does not give these signals of rage, there is no danger in passing him. Tigers [pg 188] and leopards are also very common, and do a vast deal of mischief; and it is probable these animals would be much more numerous, were it not for a race of wild dogs, which hunt in packs, and are so bold that they often weary out and worry a lion. They often destroy tigers, leopards, and wolves, and it is said that they will allow a man to take their prey from them when they have killed it. Travellers are never afraid when they fall in with these wild dogs, but rather rejoice, because they are sure that no ferocious animal is in the neighbourhood. There are many elephants in this country, and of as great size, as any in the world, being often from twelve to fifteen feet high or better, their teeth weighing from sixty to an hundred and twenty pounds. The rhinoceros is also often met with. This animal is rather less than the elephant, but stronger. His skin is prodigiously thick, and so hard that scarcely any weapon can pierce it. His snout is like that of a hog, on which grows a solid horn, ten or twelve inches long, which is much valued, because esteemed an excellent medicine in convulsions.

There are two animals peculiar to this country, which therefore deserve notice. One is a species of wild ass, which resembles the common ass in nothing but the length of its ears. It is as large as an ordinary horse, and is the most beautiful animal in the world. His hair is very soft, and from the ridge of the back descends in coloured streaks to the belly, forming so many circles. It is a brisk and lively creature, which runs more swiftly than any horse. It is very difficult to take alive, and when taken cannot be tamed; yet sells at a prodigious price, and is thought a fit present for a sovereign prince, from its rarity and exquisite beauty4. The other creature, found in no other country, is called by the Dutch the Stinkbungsen, or Stinking-Badger. This is of the size of an ordinary dog, but is shaped like a ferret. When pursued by man or beast, it retreats but slowly, and when its enemy draws near, discharges backwards a so intolerably fetid wind, that dogs tear up the ground and hide their noses in it, to avoid the smell. When killed, it stinks so abominably that there is no approaching the carcass, which is therefore left to consume where it falls.

[pg 189]

It is impossible to describe all the creatures that are seen in the vast forests of Africa, as the inhabitants see new animals every year that are utterly unknown to them. They allege that, in the middle of summer, when the wild animals are almost raging mad with thirst, they resort in vast multitudes to the rivers named Salt, Elephants, and St John's rivers, where the males and females of different species intermixing, produce strange beasts that seem to be new species. The Hottentots in the service of the Company frequently carry the skins of these monsters to the governor; and our author assures us that he saw one of the following description, that had been killed not long before. It was about the size of a calf of six months old, and seemed to have had four eyes. The head resembled that of a lion, but the hair was quite smooth, and of a dark grey colour. It had tusks like a boar. The fore-feet resembled those of that creature; but the hind-feet were like those of a tiger.

The birds of this country are in a manner infinite in numbers and sorts; and though they have not been observed often to intermingle species, yet hybrids are sometimes remarked among them. The largest and strongest birds are to be found in Africa, among which is the ostrich, the largest of all, being commonly seven feet high. The beak is short and pointed, but the neck is very long. The feathers of the male are white and black only, while those of the female are mixed white, black, and grey. Those of the former are most esteemed, as their large feathers are better spread, and their down much softer. This bird is prodigiously swift of foot, and is hunted down by hounds. Their wings do not serve them to fly, but assist them in running, especially when they have the wind with them. The common opinion of their being able to digest iron is totally false. They swallow pieces of iron indeed, but then it is only to bruise the food in their gizzards, just as other birds swallow stones for the same purpose. They are also said to leave their eggs uncovered on the sand, and to take no care of their young. But those of the Cape country hide their eggs in the sand, and are so tender of their young, that, though naturally timorous, if one of them is missing, they become quite furious, so that it is not safe to go near them. There are abundance of eagles of all sorts at the Cape, which are very bold, and frequently do a great deal of mischief. They are not very large, yet are incredibly strong, so that they often kill and devour cattle when [pg 190] returning home from work, when they come in great flocks. of fifty or an hundred at once, single out a beast as it feeds among the flock, and falling upon it all at once, kill and devour it.

Some years before our author was at the Cape, there was seen on Table Mountain a bird as large in the body as a horse, having grey and black plumage. His beak and talons were like those of an eagle, but of a most dreadful size. He sat and hovered about that mountain for a long time, and the people were persuaded it was a griffin. It frequently carried off sheep and calves, and at length began to destroy the cows, on which orders were given to destroy it, and it was accordingly shot, its skin stuffed, and sent home as a curiosity to the Company. No such bird, has been seen since, and the oldest people of the colony do not remember to have heard of any such before.5

Africa has been long famous for serpents, and there are such vast numbers of them in the neighbourhood of the Cape, that many of them have no names. Most of them are extremely venomous, and the colonists would suffer much more than they do from them, were it not that they have a specific remedy for their bites, not known in Europe. This remedy is the serpent-stone, allowed to be factitious, and is brought from India, where they are made by the bramins who have the secret of composing them, which they so carefully conceal, that no Europeans have hitherto been able to discover how they are made. The serpent-stone is about the size of a bean, white in the middle, but of a fine sky-blue on the outside. When a person is bitten by a serpent, this stone is applied to the wound, to which it soon sticks fast of itself, without the aid of any bandage or plaister. The part bitten begins immediately to swell and becomes inflamed. The stone also swells till it becomes full of the venom, and then drops off. It is then put into warm milk, where it soon purges itself from the venom, and resumes its natural colour, after which it is again applied to the wound, where it sticks as before, till a second time full, and so on till all the venom is extracted and the cure perfected.

All the mountains of this vast country are full of minerals and crystal, with many things of great value, if they could be [pg 191] got at; but the natives are so fearful of being made slaves in the mines, that they take all imaginable pains to conceal them. There is particularly a mountain, about 500 leagues from the Cape, called Copper-mountain, which is supposed to contain great quantities of metals. Large quantities of copper have been found here, which is said to contain a mixture of gold. Some Europeans endeavoured to follow the natives, who were suspected of going to that mountain to gather gold, but were all massacred. The Company is so tender of the colonists, and so unwilling to risk a revolt, that they have even neglected a gold-mine much nearer the Cape, the marcasites of which gave great hopes of its containing abundance of gold. Perhaps the Company may have another reason for acting in this manner, lest, if a gold-mine was discovered at the Cape, it might tempt the French or English to undertake something to their prejudice. Under its present management, the Dutch colony at the Cape is a general advantage to other nations, as well as to the Dutch. A few years ago a cavern was discovered in a mountain very near Cape-Town, in which the Hottentots find the venom in which they dip their poisoned arrows. There have likewise been found about twenty leagues from the Cape, some hot springs impregnated with steel, which have been found to cure many diseases, by using as a bath.

Considerable improvements may certainly be made on this colony, for the advantage both of the inhabitants and the company, which latter make no great gains by this establishment besides the convenience it affords in giving refreshments to their ships going to and returning from India. The Company would be glad of any means that might increase the value of the settlement, consistent with their maxims of government, and with that indulgence they find it necessary to shew the Hottentots, who are perhaps more tenacious of their liberty than any people on earth, and the most desperate in resenting any attempts to its prejudice.

[pg 192]
Footnote 1: (return)

This is said to have been on the coast of Africa at the height of Angola, whither they were driven by a storm. But this could not possibly have been the case before reaching the Cape of Good Hope.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

These tribes are known in geography by the names of Namaquas and Briquas, the latter being also called Booshuanas. The second tribe in this account are named Bosjemans by the Dutch.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

A very different account is now given of the Caffres, or Koussis rather, who are described as a half-civilized race, who cultivate the ground, and live under regular government.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

This is a very imperfect account of the Zebra, which exactly resembles the ass, except in colour, and is by no means larger. One died lately in Edinburgh, after being exhibited as a show, which was as quiet and gentle as any lady's donkey.E.

Footnote 5: (return)

This was probably a stray Condor, and its size an ordinary exaggeration, in the passage of the story, like that of the three black crows.E.


Voyage from the Cape of Good Hope to Holland, with some Account of St Helena, the Island of Ascension, and the Acores.

Towards the end of March, 1723, the ship being revictualled, they sailed from Table-bay with a brisk wind at S.E. the fleet homewards bound consisting of twenty-three sail, mostly belonging to the Dutch East India Company. In about three weeks they reached the island of St Helena, which is in the latitude of 16° 15' S. [lat. 16° S. long. 5° 30' W.] This island is about seven leagues in circumference, and is entirely composed of rocky hills, which may be seen in a clear day from the distance of forty leagues. It is surprising to see so small an island in the midst of the ocean, at so great a distance from any other land, being 550 leagues from the Cape, 500 leagues from Brazil, and 350 from Augusta, which is the nearest land1; yet the sea is all around so very deep, that there is hardly an anchorage to be found. This island was first discovered by the Portuguese, on which occasion one of their large Indian carracks was wrecked, from the remains of which they built a chapel, long since decayed, but which still gives name to the finest valley in the island. They planted lemons, oranges, and pomegranates all over the island, and left here hogs and goats, together with partridges, pigeons, and peacocks, for the convenience of ships touching here. At one time a hermit chose to live here, killing the goats for the sake of their skins, which he sold to ships that stopped here; but the Portuguese removed him, as they did afterwards some negro slaves who had settled in the mountains. It is now possessed by the English, who have so good a fort that it is not likely any other nation should be able to drive them out. The vallies are exceedingly beautiful and fertile, and in these the weather is sometimes exceedingly hot; but as it is always cool on the mountains, the inhabitants can never be in want of a place of refreshment. It is admirably watered, having many rivulets running [pg 193] from the tops of the hills into the sea, the water of these being as clear as crystal. The island produces abundance of mustard, parsley, sorrel, cresses, and other herbs, excellent against the scurvy. It has also abundance of trees fit for fuel, but none that can serve as timber. All sorts of refreshments are to be had in plenty.

They sailed from hence for the island of Ascension, which lies in lat 8° N. and long. 14° 20' W. about 200 leagues N. W. from St Helena. This is much of the same size, but the shore is excessively rocky, and the whole island absolutely barren, having neither trees nor grass, and the entire surface seems as it were rent asunder, whence some have conceived, and not without great show of reason, that it had been formerly a volcano, or burning mountain. In the middle of the island there is a high hill, on one side of which water has been found. At one season of the year, the whole surface of the island is covered with sea-fowl. What chiefly induces ships to put into the only harbour of the island, is the great plenty of excellent turtle to be found here. When these animals come on shore in the night to lay their eggs, the sailors turn them over on their backs till they have leisure to carry them on board. These creatures will live above a month without any kind of sustenance, having only a little salt water sprinkled over them three or four times a-day. The sailors never weary of eating them, believing that they make a perfect change of their juices, freeing them entirely from the scurvy and other diseases of the blood.

As this island is a very miserable place to live in, it is common to leave malefactors here when they do not incline to put them to death. This was done not long before our author passed this way, to a Dutch book-keeper, who was convicted of sodomy; though perhaps this may be considered as a worse punishment even than death, considering the miseries that must be endured in the hottest climate of the world, on a place that does not afford even the slightest shelter. After leaving this island, they began to approach the line, which they crossed without feeling any excessive heat, as the sun was then towards the north, and they had the benefit of pretty fresh gales, which moderated the heat extremely. They now also began to see the north-star at night, which they had not done for a year and a half and it is impossible to express how much the seamen were rejoiced at this circumstance.

[pg 194]

Coming into the latitude of 18° N. we found that part of the sea which is generally so covered with grass that it looks at a distance like a meadow. This grass has a yellowish cast, being hollow within, and on being pressed it yields a clammy viscous juice. In some years none of this grass appears, while in other years it is found in prodigious quantities. Some imagine that it comes from the bottom of the sea, as divers report that the bottom is in many places covered with grass and flowers. Others conceive that it comes from the coast of Africa: But our author disapproves both of these opinions, because, if it came from the bottom, there is no reason why the same appearance should not be found elsewhere; whereas, if it came from the coast of Africa, it ought to be found in other situations, especially near that coast. His opinion, therefore, is, that it comes from the coast of America, and particularly from the Gulf of Bahama, or Mexico, where it is known to grow in great abundance, and where, when it comes to maturity, it breaks off; and is carried away by the currents.2

Nothing is more difficult than to account for the motion and course of currents in the ocean, which, in some places, run for six months in one direction, and six in another, while in other places they run always one way. There are instances also where they run one way for a day or two after full moon, and then run strongly in the opposite direction till next full moon. Seamen also observe, that in places where the trade-winds blow, the currents are generally influenced by them, moving the same way with the winds, but not with equal force in all places; neither are they so discernible in the wide ocean, but chiefly about islands, where their effects are more or less felt according as they are influenced by being more or less in the way of the trade-winds. It would be of great service to navigation if sensible men would take notice of these currents, and enquire into the reason of their appearances. In old books of voyages we find many more wonders than in those of later date, not because the course of nature is at all changed, but because nature was not then so well understood. A thousand things were prodigious a century ago, which are not now at all strange. Thus the storms [pg 195] at the Cape of Good Hope, which make so great a figure in the histories of the Portuguese discoveries, are now known to have been merely the effect of endeavouring to double that Cape at a wrong season of the year.

In the East and West Indies, the natives are able to foretell hurricanes and tornadoes, not from any superior skill, but by observing certain signs which usually precede them. There is often so little apparent connection between the sign and the event, that men who value themselves on their wisdom are apt to slight such warnings as impertinent and absurd. But they had better enquire diligently into facts, and neither receive nor reject them too hastily. In the present case, it is a clear matter of fact that the sea, in the latitude of 18° N. between Africa and America, is frequently covered with weeds to a great extent, and there is good reason for enquiry as to whence these weeds come. In the first voyage made by the famous Columbus for the discovery of the new world, he met with this grass or sea-weed floating on the sea, without which he could not have prevailed on his sailors to continue the voyage; and it is very remarkable, that, by pursuing his course through these weeds, he arrived in the Gulf of Bahama, the place whence our present author supposes this sea-grass to come.3

Continuing their course to the north, they encountered hard gales of wind, by which they were driven into lat. 37° N. where they fell in with two islands, which proved to be Flores and Corres;4 and as their fresh provisions were now nearly spent, they stopped three days at the larger island to procure refreshments. There are two of the islands named Açores by the Spaniards, which signifies the islands of hawks. The Dutch call them Vlanneische eslanders, or Flemish islands, because Fayal was first peopled by Flemings, and their descendants remain in the island to this day, and are easily distinguished from the other inhabitants by their shape and air. They dwell upon a little river running down a mountain, called Ribera dos Flamenas by the Portuguese, or river of the Flemings.

The nine islands of the Açores, or Wester Islands, are Tercera, San Michael, Santa Maria, St George, Gratiosa, [pg 196] Pico, Fayal, Corvo, and Flores. Tercera is the chief island, being fifteen or sixteen leagues in circumference, and so high and steep in many places that it is almost impregnable, and they have built forts in such places as are accessible. The only port is before the capital, named Angra, and as it is in the form of a half-moon, it is called the Half-Moon of Angra. At each horn of this half-moon there is a mountain, which are called the Brazils, which project out into the sea, appearing from a distance as if two islands; and these mountains are so high that one may see at any time ten or twelve leagues off, and fifteen in clear weather. Angra has a fine cathedral, and is the residence of a bishop, and of a governor and council, whose authority extends over all the nine islands. There is another town three leagues from Angra, called Praya, or the town of the shore, situated on a shore which cannot be approached by ships, so that it has no trade, and the town seems a kind of desert, though well built and walled round.

The inhabitants raise sufficient provisions on the island for all their wants, being pleasant and fertile, and all covered with corn-fields; and so abounds with flesh, fish, and all sorts of victuals, that even in times of the greatest scarcity, there is enough for all the inhabitants. It produces wine also, but very small, and does not keep well, wherefore the richer people provide themselves from Madeira and the Canaries. They want oil, salt, lime, and potters ware, which they have to import from other countries. They have abundance of peaches, apples, pears, oranges, and lemons, with all sorts of vegetables and garden stuffs, and among these a plant called batatas, which grows like a vine stock, but the leaves are different. These produce roots, weighing a pound more or less, and are so plentiful that they are despised by the rich, though of a sweet pleasant taste and very nourishing. There is another root in this country as large as a man's two fists, covered over with filaments of a golden yellow colour, and as smooth as silk. The inhabitants stuff beds with this, instead of feathers, but skilful workmen could certainly manufacture it into fine stuffs.

There are but few birds, except canaries, quails, ordinary poultry, and turkies, which are numerous. Several parts of this island are very hilly, and full of thick and almost impervious woods; and travelling is rendered very difficult, as you often find rocks a league in length, so rugged and sharp that [pg 197] they cut the shoes at every step; yet these rocks are so full of vines that they are not to be seen in summer, being covered over by the vine leaves. These vines spread their roots among the crannies and crevices of the rocks, which are so small and devoid of soil, that it is wonderful how they should find any nourishment; yet if planted in the good soil of the country, the vines will not grow. The corn and fruits of this island will not keep above a year; and unless the corn is buried under ground, it spoils in four months. On this account, every inhabitant has a pit without the town, the mouth of which is round, just large enough to admit a man, which is covered by a flat stone and secured by a lock. Some of these pits are so large as to contain two or three lasts of corn, the last containing 108 bushels Amsterdam measure, and each bushel weighing forty pounds or more. They put their corn into these pits in July, and cover the stone with earth to exclude the air, and take it out at Christmas, or considerably later, finding it then as good as when put in. The oxen in Tercera are the largest and finest that can be, equal to any in Europe, and have prodigiously wide horns. Every one has his name, like our dogs, and they are so familiar, that when the master calls one of them by his name, though among a thousand others, he will presently come to him.

One would think the ground of this island were hollow, as the rocks sound like vaults when walked on; and indeed the thing is not at all improbable, as the island is much subject to earthquakes. In many places of the island of San Michael there are holes and cracks, out of which there comes a great smoke, and the ground seems as if burnt all around. This is not uncommon also in all the islands, as they all have sulphur mountains. There are also fountains of water so hot as to boil eggs. Three leagues from Angra there is a petrifying spring, which changes wood into stone; and there was formerly a tree having some of its roots in that water, which were stony and as hard as flint. This island produces excellent timber, especially cedar, which is so common that their carts and waggons are made of it, and it is even used as fuel. The island of Pico, twelve leagues from Tercera, has a sort of wood called teixo, as hard as iron, and of a shining red colour when wrought. It becomes always better and finer as it grows older; for which reason no person is allowed to cut any of these trees, unless for the king's use, [pg 198] and by virtue of a special order from the royal officers. The chief trade of Tercera consists in woad, of which they have great quantities. The fleets of Spain and Portugal, bound for the East Indies, Brazil, Cape Verd, Guinea, and other countries, usually come here for refreshments, to the great profit of this and the other islands, the inhabitants selling to them their various articles at good prices.

The island of San Michael is seven or eight leagues S.E. of Tercera, and is about twenty leagues in length, having several towns and villages. The capital of this island is Ponta del Guda, which drives a considerable trade in woad, sent to Tercera, producing about 200,000 quintals5 every year. This island also produces such abundance of corn, that it is transported to the other islands; but it has no harbours or rivers to give shelter to ships.

Santa Maria, twelve leagues S. of San Michael, is ten or twelve leagues in circumference, its only trade being in earthen ware, with which the inhabitants supply the other islands. It also produces plenty of all manner of provisions for its own inhabitants. The island of Gratiosa, seven or eight leagues N.N.W. of Tercera, is only about five or six leagues in circumference, but abounds in provisions of all sorts. St George, eight or nine leagues N.W. of Tercera, is twelve leagues in length by two or three in breadth. This is a wild mountainous country, producing very little woad. The inhabitants subsist by cultivating the ground and keeping cattle, and export considerable quantities of cedar to Tercera. Fayal, seven German leagues S.S.W. of St George, is seventeen or eighteen leagues in circumference, and is the best of the Açores, after Tercera and San Michael. This island has plenty of woad, with abundance of fish, cattle, and other commodities, which are exported to Tercera and the other islands. Its chief town is called Villa Dorta. Most of the inhabitants of this island are descended from Flemings, but now speak the Portuguese language; yet they continue to love the Flemings, and use all strangers kindly.

Three leagues S.E. of Fayal is the island of Pico, so called from a peaked mountain, which some believe to be higher than the Peak of Teneriffe. The inhabitants cultivate the soil, and have plenty of cattle and other provisions, growing [pg 199] also better wine than in any other island of the Açores. This island is about fifteen leagues in circumference. Seventy leagues W.N.W. from Tercera is the island of Flores, and to the N. of it lies Corvo, the former about seven, and the latter not above two or three leagues in circumference. They both produce woad, especially Flores, which also abounds in provisions. The winds at all these islands are so strong, and the air so piercing, especially at Tercera, that they in a short time spoil and consume the stones of the houses, and even iron.6 They have a kind of stone, however, that is found within high-water mark, which resists the air better than the other sorts, and of which the fronts of their houses are generally built.

Leaving the Açores, and getting into Spanish sea, or mouth of the bay of Biscay, the weather proved so bad that the Advice-ship lost her rudder, which obliged her to go through the Channel in order to purchase a new one on the coast of England. The French, Danish, and other ships, generally go that way; but the Dutch ships generally go round Ireland and north about, from an idea, if they should happen to meet with stormy weather in the channel, so as to be obliged to go into an English port, that this might occasion several inconveniences. Such ships, however, as have sustained any damage at sea, are permitted to take their way through the channel. The rest of the Dutch fleet followed the north-about course; and after three weeks, during which they were involved in perpetual mists and fogs, they had sight at length of the Orkney islands, where some Dutch ships were still engaged in the herring fishery. In the latitude of 60° N. they met some ships of war that waited for them, and convoyed them to the coast of Holland, where all the ships got into their destined ports in safety. Those on board of which were our author, and the other prisoners, came into the Texel on the 11th of July, 1723; and arrived five days afterwards at Amsterdam, the very same day two years after sailing on their voyage.

[pg 200]

The West-Company immediately commenced a law-suit against the East-India Company, in behalf of themselves and all the persons engaged in their service in the foregoing voyage, to obtain satisfaction for the injury and injustice done them at Batavia. After a long litigation, the States-General decreed, that the East-India Company should furnish the West-India Company with two new ships, completely fitted for sea in every respect, better than those which had been confiscated by their officers in India, and should pay the full value of their cargoes. Also, that the East-India Company should pay the wages of the crews of both ships, up to the day of their landing in Holland: Together with the entire costs of suit; besides a considerable sum by way of fine, as a punishment for having abused their authority so egregiously.7

Footnote 1: (return)

Caleo Negro, in lat. 16° 20' S. on the coast of Africa, is the nearest part of the continent, and is probably what is referred to in the text under the name of Augusta.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

In the old Portuguese maps and voyages, this part of the Atlantic is called Mar de Sargasso, or the Sea of Cresses; Sargasso signifying water-cresses, which these weeds which spread over the sea nearly resemble.Harris.

Footnote 3: (return)

In his first voyage, Columbus kept the parallel of about 37° N. but was considerably farther south in his subsequent voyage.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

Flores is in lat. 39° 10', Corvo in 39° 35', both N.

Footnote 5: (return)

This is perhaps an error for 2000, as the larger quantity would amount to 10,000 tons.E.

Footnote 6: (return)

This effect on the iron is obviously occasioned by the muriatic acid in the sea spray; and were it not that the author expressly says they have no lime, one would be apt to believe that the stones so affected were limestone. There are, however, some cilicious sand-stones, in which the grit, or particles of sand, are cemented together by a calcareous infiltration, which may be the case in these islands.E.

Footnote 7: (return)

Harris has given a report of this law-suit at some length, but it did not seem necessary to give any more than the result, as quite uninteresting at the present day.E.

[pg 201]



THE YEARS 1740-1744.1


Though of considerable length, the importance of this narrative forbids all attempts to alter it in any respect; except that it has been necessary to leave out the explanations of several engraved views of coasts and harbours, inserted in the original, but which were greatly too large for admission, and would have been rendered totally useless by being reduced to any convenient use for the octavo form of this collection. Indeed, to have introduced all the engravings of plans and views, necessary for the illustration of this and many other voyages and travels, would have been utterly incompatible with the nature and circumstances of this work; as nothing less than a complete Atlas and entire Neptune of the whole globe could have sufficed, attended by an enormous expence, and at the same time inadmissible into octavo volumes. It has therefore been indispensably requisite, on all occasions, to confine our illustrations of that kind to a few reduced charts, merely sufficient to convey general notions of geographical circumstances, and occasionally sketch plans of harbours, straits, islands, and capes, explanatory of particular and important places. Such of our readers, therefore, as require more complete illustrations of geography, topography, and hydrography, must have recourse to Atlasses, Neptunes, and coasting pilots.

This narrative was originally published under the name of Richard Walter, chaplain to H.M.S. Centurion in the expedition, dedicated by him to John Duke of Bedford, and said to have been compiled by that gentleman from papers and materials furnished for the purpose by Commodore Anson.

As the object of this expedition was of an extensive political [pg 202] nature, intended to humble the power of Spain, in her most valuable yet most vulnerable possessions, by injuring and intercepting the great source of her public treasure, it has been thought proper, on the present occasion, to give a transcript of the reflections made upon the policy and expedience of this important voyage, very soon after its completion, by Dr John Harris, by way of Introduction to his abridged account of this circumnavigation, in his Collection of Voyages and Travels, vol. i. p. 337.

"It is a thing that has been generally taken for granted, ever since Spain has been possessed of her American dominions, and has made use of the riches derived from these to disturb the peace and invade the liberties of her neighbours, that the best way to reduce her strength, and to prevent the bad effects of her evil intentions, would be to attack her in the South Seas. This was pursued with great diligence, and in some measure with success, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, [as has been already shewn in the circumnavigatory voyages of Drake and Candish, almost solely devoted to that object.] In that of her successor, when a new quarrel broke out with that crown, in the year 1624, the first thing thought of by our patriots, who were equally willing to humble the king's enemies and to save the money of the nation, was an expedition to the South Seas, to be carried on at the expence of, and for the benefit of the people; which scheme was entitled The West-India Association.

"It may be thought I look a great way back when I offer to the view of the reader the reasons which were then suggested in parliament in support of that scheme. But whoever considers that it is not only the most effectual, but the safest method, to instruct the present age from the sentiments of the last, will readily enter into the reasons which induce me, upon this occasion, to produce the speech of an eminent patriot, in which the nature and scope of that Association, as well as the motives on which it is grounded, are very fully and pathetically set forth; and this in such terms, as, if the reader were not told that this was a speech to Sir Dudley Diggs, then chairman of a committee of the whole house, by Sir Benjamin Rudyard, he might mistake it for a speech made only a few years since, so agreeable is it, in language and sentiments, even to our present occasions.

"Sir,I do profess that as my affections, my reason, and [pg 203] my judgement go strongly with the scope and drift of this proposition, so shall good part of my fortune when it comes to execution. For, to my understanding, there was never propounded in parliament a design more proper for this kingdom, nor more pregnant with advantages to it, whether we consider the nature of our situation or the quality of our enemy's forces. As we are an island, it concerns our very being to have store of ships to defend us, and also our well-being by their trade to enrich us. This Association for the West Indies, when it shall be regulated and established by act of parliament, and thereby secured from the violence and injury of any intruding hand, will certainly give many men encouragement and confidence voluntarily to bring in large and liberal contributions towards so noble and so profitable an enterprize; so that, in short, we shall see many new ships built, many brave men employed, and enabled to act for the service of their country. None of this money shall be carried out of the kingdom, but laid out in shipping, which is the defence of it, and bestowed upon our own men, who must be fed and maintained though they stay at home. For this, we shall reap the fruit of whatsoever benefit plantation, traffic, or purchase can procure us, besides honour and security.

"Now, let us a little consider the enemy we have to encounter, the king of Spain. They are not his great territories which make him so powerful and so troublesome to all Christendom. For it is very well known that Spain itself is but weak in men, and barren of natural commodities, and as for his other territories, they lie divided and asunder, which is a weakness in itself. Besides, they are held by force, and maintained at an extraordinary charge; insomuch, as although he be a great king, yet he is like that giant who was said to have an hundred hands, but had fifty bellies to feed, so that, rateably, he had no more hands than another man. No, sir, they are his mines in the West Indies which minister fuel to feed his ambitious desire of universal monarchy. It is the money he hath from thence which makes him able to levy and pay soldiers in all places, and to keep an army on foot ready to invade and endanger his neighbours, so that we have no other way but to endeavour to cut him off at the root, and seek to impeach or to supplant him in the West Indies; by part of which course that famous queen, of glorious memory, had heretofore almost brought him to his knees. And this our undertaking, if it pleases God to bless [pg 204] it, most needs affect it sooner and quicker, the whole body of the kingdom being united, and concurring in a perpetual supply to this action, so that he shall have no free time given him to rest.

"Moreover, this will be a means not only to save, but to fill his majesty's coffers, enabling the people to give him liberally and often. The king's ships will have little to do but to guard the coasts; for the sea-war will be chiefly made at the charge of the subjects. This I doubt not but that, in a short time, both king and people shall be safe at home, and feared abroad. To conclude, I shall be very glad to hear any man make objection against this design, so that he do so with an intention to refine and perfect the work; but if any shall speak against it with a mind to hinder and destroy it, I must entreat him to pardon me, if I do scarce think him to be a good Englishman.

"That project of the West India Association had the same fate with most other bold and honest projects in that reign, which was, after being talked of a little, it sunk into oblivion. Our next difference with Spain was under the protectorate of Cromwell, who encouraged Father Gage to publish his account of the Spanish West Indies, which formed the foundation of his attempt upon Hispaniola, and conquest of Jamaica; but I do not know of any design formed by him to attack the Spaniards in the South Seas. After the Restoration we were upon good terms with Spain, as certainly was our interest. Yet Charles II. did not absolutely neglect this navigation, but sent Sir John Marborough, one of the best seamen this nation ever bred, in the Sweepstakes, in the latter end of the year 1669, by way of the Straits of Magellan, into the South Seas. To say the truth, our privateers, under the command of Captains Sharpe, Davis, Swan, &c. were continually in these seas, during all that reign and the next; so that, in those days, our seamen were no strangers to any of the passages into the South Seas; and, as the reader may have already observed, from the voyage of Captain Cowley, it was then no unusual thing for the traders of London to fit out ships for these parts, but whether with a view to traffic or privateering, is a point not easy to determine at this distance of time. But whatever the purpose they were sent upon, thither they went, and no complaints were ever heard of with respect to extraordinary hardships in the voyage, which is sufficient to shew how much depends upon keeping all branches of navigation open, [pg 205] in order to be constantly in a condition to secure and extend our trade, and to preserve our reputation as a maritime power.

"After the Revolution, several proposals were made in relation to the establishment of a commerce in the South Sea, which were received with approbation; and it is certain that king William gave instructions to Admiral Benbow, when he went out last to the West Indies, to enquire how far any of these projects were feasible. After the breaking out of the last general war, all the world expected that the first thing the maritime powers would have done, would have been sending a squadron to these seas, either for the service of the prince whom they owned as king of Spain, or for their own advantage. The people of this nation, in particular, were so desirous of seeing the war carried on this way, and on this side, that, to give them hopes, and to shew, at the same time, that the legislature approved their sentiments, a bill was brought in and passed, in the House of Lords, for the better carrying on the war in the West Indies, which was lost, however, by a kind of ministerial craft, in the House of Commons; and soon after, for reasons which have never yet been explained to the public, all designs of this nature were laid aside. The only expedition of this nature, during the whole war, was that of the Duke and Duchess, under the command of Captain Woods Rogers, already related, which was fitted out at the expence of some private merchants of Bristol. On the change of ministry, a prodigious clamour was raised on this head, and all of a sudden a resolution was taken to secure all the advantages that could be wished for to this nation from the trade of the South Seas, which ended, however, only in erecting a company under that title. The nation very soon became sensible that this would not do, and therefore, as soon as our disputes with the king of Spain came to a height, in the reign of the late king, George I. a design was immediately set on foot for sending privateers once more into that part of the world, which ended in the expedition of Captain Shelvocke and Captain Clipperton, already related at large.

"By this short deduction of facts, I think it is demonstrably proved, that, in the judgement of this nation, the most probable way of humbling Spain, in case of a war, is to send a squadron into the South Seas, and I will venture to say, that there is one reason why this is now become more [pg 206] expedient than ever, which is, that we are now no longer at liberty to send ships thither in time of peace, as we were before the South Sea Company was erected. It is not therefore at all strange, that as soon as the present war broke out with Spain, the general voice of the nation dictated such an expedition, or that, when they saw it resolved on, and a squadron actually equipped for that service, they very loudly testified their approbation of the scheme. I believe also, my readers will readily give credit to the assertion, when I affirm, that, during the time this squadron lay at Portsmouth, there was a more general expectation of its performing things of the highest consequence for the service of Great Britain, and reducing the enemy to reason.

"It was in the midst of summer, in the year 1740, that this squadron was formed at Portsmouth, at the same time that a great embarkation was preparing for the West Indies, by which the siege of Carthagena was afterwards undertaken, which turned the eyes of the whole world upon that sea-port. At London, every person spoke of the intended expedition to the South Seas as a design that must necessarily be attended with highly advantageous consequences, if properly conducted; and of this there was not made the least doubt, when it was known that Captain Anson was named to the command, because he had shewn himself upon all occasions equally vigilant in his duty, and moderate in the exercise of power, more ready to correct by his own example than by any other sort of reproof, and who, in the course of his services, had acquired the respect of the officers, and the love of the sailors; qualities that rarely meet in one person, and qualities which, without the least contradiction, were ascribed to him.2

"Though this expedition was not attended by so great success in the South Seas as was expected, yet the nation in general was far from believing that its comparative failure ought to deter us from the thoughts of such expeditions for the future, since it plainly appeared, that, if the whole squadron had got round along with the commodore into the South [pg 207] Seas, he would have been able to have performed much greater things than any of our commanders had hitherto done in these parts. Neither is it at all clear that the Spaniards are there in a better condition, their coasts better fortified, their garrisons more numerous, or the country in any respect better provided, than when our privateers had formerly so great success in those parts. The sacking of Payta in this expedition proves the contrary, since it was then actually in a worse condition, and less capable of making any resistance, than when formerly taken by Captain Shelvocke. If this expedition had never taken place, we might have been told that it was impracticable, that the Spaniards were grown wiser, that all their ports were well fortified, and any attempt of this kind would be only to sacrifice the lives of such as might be employed in the expedition. But we now know the contrary, and that the Spaniards remained as unguarded, and as little apprehensive as ever; perhaps even the fate of this expedition may have made them less so, insomuch, that were a new project of the same kind to be put in execution, either at public or private expence, there seems next to a moral certainty that it would succeed. Another expedition might, and probably would be attended by fewer difficulties; at least, it certainly might be undertaken at much less expence; and, besides all the advantages resulting to such private persons as became proprietors, this inestimable advantage would accrue to the public, that we should once more have a number of able marines, well acquainted with the navigation of the South Seas, which we never can have by any other means.

"I would not be understood at all to lessen the miseries and distresses of these who were employed in this voyage; and all I would endeavour to aim at is to convince the reader that the difficulties and discouragements met with in this voyage are not sufficient to ground a decisive opinion by the few in opposition to the sentiments of the many, that all attempts on this side ought to be abandoned. And I really think that the setting the difficulties and discouragements encountered by the Centurion in the strongest light, will serve my purpose much better than lessening or extenuating them. For, if after being ruined in a manner by storms, diseases, and hardships, they landed rather skeletons than men, on the island of Juan Fernandez; if, after their long cruize in the South Seas, their distresses came to be as great when they took shelter in the island of Tinian; if the lying [pg 208] at Macao was attended with many inconveniences; if the taking of the Spanish galleon be a thing almost incredible, considering the small number of men, and the condition they were in, who attacked her in the Centurion; if the difficulties they afterwards met with in the river of Canton, and the hazards run by the commodore in visiting the viceroy, and thereby putting himself into the hands of such a people as the Chinese, who could not but be displeased with his proceedings, are circumstances which aggravate the matter: If so perilous a navigation as that from Canton, through the Straits of Sunda, and thence to the Cape of Good Hope, with little or no refreshment, with a crew that wanted it so much, is still more amazing; and if the bringing the ship home from thence, with a crew composed of so many different nations, in the midst of a French war, and without the least assistance from home, swell the whole into a kind of miracle, what does all this prove? Since all this, under God, was entirely owing to the prudence, moderation, and wise conduct of the commanding officer, it certainly proves, if a right choice be made of commanders, that there are no difficulties which may not be overcome, and therefore that the adverse circumstances attending this voyage ought not at all to discourage us.

"For, with the help of the example afforded by Commodore Anson, I presume that there are many officers who would undertake and execute such an expedition, to the honour of their country, and to the advantage of their employers, supposing them to be employed by private persons. This is the right use that might be made of this expedition: an expedition difficult, dangerous, and in a manner impracticable, considered in one light, but equally glorious and successful when considered in another point of view; An expedition that has demonstrated to the whole world that a train of unforeseen and most disastrous accidents may be remedied, and even turned to advantage, by an honest, skilful, brave, experienced, and well-meaning officer; An expedition which shews that there are no hazards, no difficulties, no distresses capable of depressing the courage of English seamen under a proper commander; an expedition which makes it evident that discontent, sedition, and mutiny, do not arise from the restless tempers, intractable dispositions, and unruly behaviour of the English sailors, but purely from the want of prudence, and right management, and, in short, from the want of experience and capacity of such as are entrusted with [pg 209] the command of them; an expedition, in a word, that puts it beyond all doubt that the British nation is, at this day, as capable of undertaking as great things, and of performing them as successfully, as ever were done by their ancestors; and, consequently, an expedition that must convince not only us, but all Europe, that if our maritime force be not employed in undertakings of the most important nature, it is not owing to the degeneracy or our seamen, nor to be imputed to our want of able or daring commanders, which is not my business, and which indeed surpasses my abilities, to discover.

"We are now to close this general subject of circumnavigations, which relates to the whole world. It is true, that all the circumnavigators did not propose, and that several of them did not make, any discoveries; yet all their voyages are of great, though not of equal importance, down to this last. For, by comparing that by Magellan, which was the first, with this by Mr Anson, we shall find them to differ in many respects, especially in the conclusion; that by Mr Anson being by far the longer of the two. Some of them, also, took quite a different route from others. As, for instance, Le Maire and Roggewein, who never ran at all into the northern latitudes, but sailed directly through the South Seas to the coast of New Guinea, and thence to the island of Java; which is a much shorter course than by way of California to the Philippines. From hence it very clearly appears, that the passage to the East Indies by the South Seas is shorter than that by the Cape of Good Hope;3 of which the reader will be convinced by considering the following particulars. Captain Woods Rogers, in the Duke, sailed From the coast of Ireland and doubled Cape Horn in four months; and Le Maire sailed from Juan Fernandez to New Guinea and the Moluccas in three months; so that this voyage takes up but seven months in the whole; whereas the Dutch, when the chief emporium of their eastern commerce [pg 210] was fixed at Amboina, thought it a good passage thither from Holland, if performed in ten or eleven months.4 It is from these stupendous voyages, that not only the greatest discoveries have been made in general geography, but from which all future discoveries must be expected; and therefore this ought to be considered as one of the strongest arguments for encouraging such voyages.5Harris.

George Anson, the commodore on this expedition, was born in 1697, being the third son of William Anson, Esq. of Shuckborough, in the county of Stafford. Taking an early inclination for the naval service, and after passing through the usual inferior steps, he was appointed second lieutenant of the Hampshire in 1716. He was raised to the rank of master and commander in 1722, and obtained the rank of post captain in 1724, with the command of the Scarborough man-of-war. Between that time and the year 1733, he made three voyages to North Carolina; and having acquired considerable wealth, he appears to have purchased an estate in that colony, where he erected a small town of his own name, which gave the name of Anson County to the surrounding district. In the years 1738 and 1739, he made another voyage to America and the coast of Africa; and, without proceeding to hostilities, removed certain obstructions under which the English trade on the coast of Guinea had suffered from the French.

In the War of the Merchants, as it was called by Sir Robert Walpole, which broke out in 1739 between Britain and Spain, Captain Anson was appointed to the command of the expedition, the narrative of which forms the subject of the present chapter. Immediately after his return to England from this circumnavigation, Captain Anson was made rear-admiral of the blue, and shortly afterwards, one of the commissaries of the Admiralty. In 1746 he was farther promoted to the rank of Vice-admiral; and in the winter of 1746-7, [pg 211] was entrusted with the command of the channel fleet. In May 1747, off Cape Finisterre, he captured six French ships of the line under the command of Admiral Jonquiere, which had been dispatched for the protection of the merchant ships destined for the East and West Indies. On this occasion, when Mons. St George, one of the French captains, surrendered his sword to Admiral Anson, he addressed him in the following terms: Vous avez vaincu L'Invincible, et La Gloire vous suit."You have defeated the Invincible, and Glory follows you:" alluding to two of the French ships, the Invincible and the Gloire, which had surrendered to him.

For this important service to his king and country, he was created a peer of the realm, by the title of LORD ANSON; and, in 1749, on the death of Admiral Norris, he was appointed Vice-admiral of England. In 1751, he succeeded to Lord Sandwich, as first Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty; but, incurring censure for the loss of Minorca, he resigned this situation in 1756. But, having been acquitted of all blame relative to that disgraceful affair, after a parliamentary enquiry, he was reinstated in that high office, which he continued to fill, with honour to himself and advantage to his country, during the remainder of his life. While attending upon the Duke of Mecklenburgh Strelitz, brother to our present queen, to shew him the naval arsenal at Portsmouth, and the fleet which was then about to sail on the expedition against the Havannah, he caught a violent cold, of which he died, at Moor-Park in Hertfordshire, on the 6th of June 1762, in the sixty-fifth year of his age. Having no issue by his lady, the daughter of Lord Hardwicke, whom he married in 1748, he left the whole of his property to his brother.

Lord Anson appears to have been remarkable for the coolness and equanimity of his temper. Amid all the dangers and successes of his circumnavigation of the globe, he never expressed any strong emotion, either of sorrow or joy, except when the Centurion hove in sight of Tinian. He was a man of few words, and was even reckoned particularly silent among English seamen, who have never been distinguished for their loquacity. He introduced a rigid discipline into the English navy, somewhat resembling that of the Prussian army; and revived that bold and close method of [pg 212] fighting, within pistol-shot, which had formerly been so successfully employed by Blake and Shovel, and which has fostered that daring courage and irresistible intrepidity in our British seamen, which anticipate and secure success to the most daring and hazardous enterprizes.

In some reflexions, towards the conclusion of Betagh's circumnavigation, Harris,6 a former editor of a collection of voyages and travels, breaks forth in the following laudatory strain:

"Happy, happy, for us, that we have still a SEAMAN left, who has shewn that the race of heroes is not yet extinct among us, in ADMIRAL ANSON, that great and fortunate commander; who enjoys the singular felicity, in an age of sloth, luxury, and corruption, that his ease is the result of his labour, his title the reward of his merit, and that his wealth does honour to his country."

How much more happy is it for us in the present day, somewhat more than half a century later, and while every energy is required to the utmost stretch, that we still have a race of transcendent heroes, who have annihilated the navy and trade and colonies or our arch enemy, have vindicated and preserved our glory and freedom and prosperity, and bid fair to restore the honour and independence of the civilized world, threatened with subversion by the modern AtillaEd.

Footnote 1: (return)

Voyage, &c. by George Anson, Esq. afterwards Lord Anson; compiled from his papers and materials by Richard Walter, M.A. chaplain of H.M.S. Centurion in that expeditionfifteenth edition, 4to, Lond. 1776.

Footnote 2: (return)

The sequel of these observations, by Harris, are extracted from his supplementary reflections at the close of the expedition, vol. 1, p. 364, et sequ. In these, however, we have used much retrenchment, as the observations that may have been exceedingly applicable in 1745, when Spain was in a great manner identified with France, have now lost much of their force, in consequence of the passing events, well known to all, but which do not admit of being discussed in a note.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

It is not easy to conceive how Harris should have fallen into this enormous error. To say nothing of the greater length and difficulty of passing round Cape Horn, rather than the Cape of Good Hope, the difference in longitudes is sufficient to establish the absolute contrary of the position in the text. The longitude, for instance, of the island of Ceylon, by the eastern passage, is only 80° E. whereas by the western passage it is 280 W. an excess of 200 degrees. Even Canton in China, is only in 113° E. but in 247° W. an excess of 134 degrees.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

To say nothing of the absurdity of the partial instances adduced, it may be mentioned that, only a few years ago, an English East Indiaman performed the voyage from England to Madras, delivered his outward-bound cargo, took on board a new cargo, and returned to England, all within nine months.E.

Footnote 5: (return)

The remaining observations of Harris, supplementary to his abbreviated account of this expedition, have no manner of connection with the subject in hand, and are therefore omitted.

Footnote 6: (return)

Harris, Voy. and Trav. I. 253.


Notwithstanding the great improvement of navigation within the last two centuries, a voyage round the world is still considered as an enterprize of so very singular a nature, that the public have never failed to be extremely inquisitive about the various accidents and turns of fortune with which this uncommon attempt is generally attended. And, though the amusement expected in these narratives is doubtless one great source of that curiosity with the bulk of readers, yet the more intelligent part of mankind have always agreed, that, from accounts of this nature, if faithfully executed, the more important purposes of navigation, commerce, and national interest, may be greatly promoted. For every authentic description of foreign coasts and countries will contribute [pg 213] to one or more of these great ends, in proportion to the wealth, wants, or commodities of these countries, and our ignorance of these coasts; and therefore, a voyage round the world promises a species of information, of all others, the most desirable and interesting; since great part of it is performed in seas with which we are, as yet, but very imperfectly acquainted, and in the neighbourhood of a country renowned for the abundance of its wealth; though it is, at the same time, stigmatized for its poverty in the necessaries and conveniences of a civilized life.

These considerations have occasioned the compiling the ensuing work; which, in gratifying the inquisitive disposition of mankind, and contributing to the safety and success of future navigators, and to the extension of our commerce, may doubtless vie with any narration of this kind hitherto made public; since, as to the first of these heads, it may well be supposed that the general curiosity hath been strongly excited, by the circumstances of this undertaking already known to the world; for, whether we consider the force of the squadron sent on this service, or the diversified distresses that each single ship was separately involved in, or the uncommon instances of varying fortune which attended the whole enterprize; each of these articles must, I conceive, from its well-known rude outlines, appear worthy of a completer and more finished delineation: And, if this be allowed with respect to the narrative part of the work, there can be no doubt about the more useful and instructive parts, which are almost every where interwoven with it; for I can venture to affirm, without fear of being contradicted, on a comparison, that no voyage, hitherto published, furnishes such a number of views of land, soundings, draughts of ports, charts, and other materials, for the improvement of geography and navigation, as are contained in the ensuing volume; which are the more valuable too, as the greatest part of them relate to such islands or coasts as have been hitherto not at all, or erroneously described; and where the want of sufficient and authentic information might occasion future enterprizes to prove abortive, perhaps with the destruction of the ships and men employed therein.

Besides the number and choice of these marine drawings and descriptions, there is another very essential circumstance belonging to them, which much enhances their worth; and that is the great accuracy with which they were executed. I [pg 214] shall express my opinion of them, in this particular, very imperfectly, when I say that they are not exceeded, and perhaps not equalled, by any thing of this nature that hath, as yet, been communicated to the world: For they were not copied from the works of others, or composed at home from imperfect accounts given by incurious and unskilful observers, a practice too frequent in these matters; but the greatest part of them were delineated on the spot, with the utmost exactness, by the direction and under the eye of Mr Anson himself; and where, as is the case in three or four of them, they have been done by less skilful hands, or were found in possession of the enemy, and consequently their justness could be less relied on, I have always taken care to apprize the reader of it, and to put him on his guard against giving entire credit to them; although I doubt not but these less authentic draughts, thus cautiously inserted, are to the full as correct as those which are usually published upon these occasions. For, as actual surveys of roads and harbours, and nice and critical delineations of views of land, take up much time and attention, and require a good degree of skill, both in planning and drawing, those who are defective in industry and ability supply these wants by bold conjectures and fictitious descriptions; and, as they can be no otherwise confuted than by going on the spot, and running the risk of suffering by their misinformation, they have no apprehension of being detected; and therefore, when they intrude their supposititious productions on the public, they make no conscience of boasting, at the same time, with how much skill and care they have been executed. But let not those who are unacquainted with naval affairs imagine, that the impositions of this kind are of an innocent nature; for, as exact views of land are the surest guides to a seaman, on a coast where he has never been before, all fictions, in so interesting a matter, must be attended with numerous dangers, and sometimes with the destruction of those who are thus unhappily deceived.1

Besides these draughts of such places as Mr Anson, or [pg 215] the ships which he commanded, have touched at in the course of this expedition, and the descriptions and directions relating thereto, there is inserted, in the ensuing work, an ample account, with a chart annexed to it, of a particular navigation, of which hitherto little more than the name has been known, except to those immediately employed in it: I mean the tract described by the Manilla ship, in her passage to Acapulco, through the northern part of the Pacific-ocean. This material article is collected from the draughts and journals met with on board the Manilla galleon, founded on the experience of more than an hundred and fifty years practice, and corroborated in its principal circumstances by the concurrent evidence of all the Spanish prisoners taken in that vessel. And as many of their journals; which I have examined, appear to have been not ill kept, I presume the chart of that northern ocean, and the particulars of their routes through it, may be very safely relied on by future navigators. The advantages which may be drawn from an exact knowledge of this navigation, and the beneficial projects which may be formed thereon, both in war and peace, are by no means proper to be discussed in this place; but they will easily offer themselves to the skilful in maritime affairs. However, as the Manilla ships are the only ones which have ever traversed this vast ocean, except a French straggler or two, which have been afterwards seized on the coast of Mexico; and as, during near two ages, in which this trade has been carried on, the Spaniards have secreted with the utmost care all accounts of their voyages from the rest of the world; these reasons would alone authorize the insertion of those papers, and would recommend them to the inquisitive, as a very great improvement in geography, and worthy of attention, from the singularity of many circumstances therein recited.

I must add what, in my opinion, is far from being the least recommendation of these materials, that the observations of the variations of the compass, which are laid down in the chart from these Spanish journals, tend greatly to complete the general system of the magnetic variation, of infinite importance to the commercial and sea-faring part of mankind. These observations were, though in vain, often publicly called for by our learned countryman, the late Dr Halley, and to his immortal reputation they confirm, as far as they extend, the wonderful hypothesis he had entertained [pg 216] on this head, and very nearly correspond, in their quantity, to the predictions he published about fifty years since, long before he was acquainted with any one observation made in those seas. The ascertaining the variation in that part of the world is just now of more than ordinary consequence, as the editors of a new variation chart, lately published, for want of proper information, have been misled by an erroneous analogy, and have even mistaken the very species of variation in that of the northern ocean; for they make it westerly where it is easterly, and have laid it down 12° or 13° different from its real quantity.

This much it has been thought necessary to premise, with regard to the hydrographical and geographical part of the ensuing work; which, it is hoped, the reader will find, on perusal, much ampler and more important than this slight sketch can well explain. But, as there are hereafter interspersed, occasionally, some accounts of Spanish transactions, and many observations relative to the dispositions of the American Spaniards, and to the condition of the countries bordering on the South Seas; and as herein I may appear to differ greatly from the opinions generally established; I think it behoves me particularly to recite the authorities I have been guided by in these matters, that I may not be censured as having given way, either to a thoughtless credulity on the one hand, or, what would be a much more criminal imputation, to a wilful and deliberate misrepresentation on the other.

Mr Anson, before he set sail upon this expedition, besides the printed journals to these parts, took care to furnish himself with the best manuscript accounts he could procure of all the Spanish settlements upon the coasts of Chili, Peru, and Mexico. These he carefully compared with the examinations of his prisoners, and the informations of several intelligent persons who fell into his hands in the South Seas. He had likewise the good fortune, in some of his captures, to possess himself of a great number of letters and papers of a public nature, many of them written by the viceroy of Peru to the viceroy of Santa Fee, to the presidents of Panama and Chili, to Don Blass de Lezo, admiral of the galleons, and to divers other persons in considerable employments; and in these letters there was usually inserted a recital of those they were intended to answer, so that they contained no small part of the correspondence between these officers, for some [pg 217] time previous to our arrival on the coast. We took, besides, many letters, sent from persons entrusted by the Spanish government, to their friends and correspondents, which were frequently filled with narrations of public business, and sometimes contained undisguised animadversions on the views and conduct of their superiors. From these materials those accounts of the Spanish affairs ore drawn, which may appear, at first sight, the most exceptionable. In particular, the history of the various casualties which befel Pizarro's squadron is, for the most part, composed from intercepted letters; though, indeed, the relation of the insurrection of Orellana and his followers is founded on rather a less disputable authority; for it was taken from the mouths of an English gentleman then on board Pizarro, who often conversed with Pizarro; and it was, upon enquiry, confirmed in its principal circumstances by others who were in the ship at the same time: so that the fact, however extraordinary, is, I conceive, not to be contested.

And, on this occasion, I cannot but mention, that, though I have endeavoured with my utmost care to adhere strictly to truth, in every article of the ensuing narration, yet I am apprehensive that, in so complicated a work, some oversights must have been committed, by the inattention to which, at all times, all mankind are liable. However, I am conscious, as yet, of none but literal and insignificant mistakes; and if there are others more considerable, which have escaped me, I flatter myself they are not of moment enough to affect any material transaction; and therefore I hope they may justly claim the reader's indulgence.

After this general account of the ensuing work, it might be expected perhaps, that I should proceed to the work itself; but I cannot finish this introduction without adding a few reflections on a matter very nearly connected with the present subject, and, as I conceive, neither destitute of utility nor unworthy the attention of the public: I mean the animating my countrymen, both in their public and private stations, to the encouragement of all kinds of geographical and nautical observations, and of every species of mechanical and commercial information. It is by a settled attachment to these seemingly minute particulars, that our ambitious neighbours have established some part of that power with which we are now struggling: and as we have the means in our hands of pursuing these subjects more effectually than [pg 218] they can, it would be a dishonour to us longer to neglect so easy and beneficial a practice. For, as we have a navy much more numerous than theirs, great part of which is always employed in very distant stations, either in the protection of our colonies and commerce, or in assisting our allies against the common enemy, this gives us frequent opportunities of furnishing ourselves with such kind of materials as are here recommended, and such as might turn greatly to our advantage either in war or peace; since, not to mention what might be expected from the officers of the navy, if their application to these subjects was properly encouraged, it would create no new expence to the government to establish a particular regulation for this purpose; as all that would be requisite would be constantly to embark, in some of our men of war which are sent on those distant cruizes, a person who, with the character of an engineer, and the skill and talents necessary to that profession, should be employed in drawing such coasts, and planning such harbours, as the ship should touch at, and in making such other observations, of all kinds, as might either prove of advantage to future navigators, or might any ways tend to promote the public service. Persons habituated to these operations, which could not fail at the same time of improving them in their proper business, would be extremely useful in many other lights besides those already mentioned, and might tend to secure our fleets from those disgraces with which their attempts against places on shore have been often attended. And, in a nation like ours, where all sciences are more eagerly and universally pursued, and better understood, than in any other part of the world, proper subjects for these employments cannot long be wanting, if due encouragement were given to them.

This method, here recommended, is known to have been frequently practised by the French, particularly in the instance of Mons. Frezier, an engineer, who has published a celebrated voyage to the South Seas: for this person was purposely sent by the French king, in the year 1711, into that country, on board a merchant ship, that he might examine and describe the coast, and take plans of all the fortified places; the better to enable the French to prosecute their illicit trade, or, on a rupture between them and the court of Spain, to form their enterprizes in those seas with more readiness and certainty. Should we pursue this method, we might hope that the emulation amongst those who were commissioned [pg 219] for these undertakings, and the experience which, even in the most peaceable intervals, they would thereby acquire, might at length procure us a proper number of able engineers, and might efface the national scandal which our deficiency in that species of men has sometimes exposed us to: and surely every step to encourage and improve them is of greater moment to the public, as no persons, when they are properly instructed, make better returns in war for the distinctions and emoluments bestowed on them in times of peace: of which, the advantages the French have reaped from their dexterity, too numerous and recent to be soon forgot, are an ample confirmation.

Having mentioned engineers, or such as are skilled in drawing and the other usual practices of that profession, as the properest persons to be employed in these foreign enquiries, I cannot but lament, as it offers itself so very naturally to the subject in hand, how very imperfect many of our accounts of distant countries are rendered by the relators being unskilled in drawing, and in the general principles of surveying, even where other abilities have not been wanting. Had more of our travellers been initiated in these acquirements, and had there been added thereto some little skill in the common astronomical observations, all which a person of ordinary talents might attain with a very moderate share of application, we should, by this time, have seen the geography of the globe much correcter than we now find it; the dangers of navigation would have been considerably lessened, and the manners, arts, and produce of foreign countries would have been better known to us than they are. Indeed, when I consider the strong incitements that all travellers have to pursue some part at least of these qualifications, especially drawing; when I consider how much it would facilitate their observations, assist and strengthen their memories, and of how tedious, and often unintelligible, a load of description it would rid them; I cannot but wonder that any person who intends to visit distant countries, with a view of informing either himself or others, should be wanting in so necessary a piece of skill. And, to enforce this argument still farther, I must add, that, besides the uses of drawing already mentioned, there is one which, though not so obvious, is yet perhaps of more consequence than all that has been hitherto urged; I mean the strength and distinguishing power it adds to some of our faculties. This appears from [pg 220] hence, that those who are used to draw objects observe them with more accuracy than others who are not habituated to that practice. For we may easily find, by a little experience, that when we view any object, however simple, our attention or memory is scarcely at any time so strong as to enable us, when we have turned our eyes away from it, to recollect exactly every part it consisted of, and to recall all the circular stances of its appearance; since, on examination, it will be discovered, that in some we were mistaken, and others we had totally overlooked. But he who is accustomed to draw what he sees, is, at the same time, accustomed to rectify this inattention; for, by confronting his ideas, copied on the paper, with the object he intends to represent, he finds out what circumstance has deceived him in its appearance; and hence he at length acquires the habit of observing much more at one view than he could ever have done without his practice and proficiency in drawing.

If what has been said merits the attention of travellers of all sorts, it is, I think, more particularly applicable to the gentlemen of the navy, since, without drawing and planning, neither charts nor views of land can be taken; and without these it is sufficiently evident that navigation is at a full stand. It is doubtless from a persuasion of the utility of these qualifications, that his majesty has established a drawing-master at Portsmouth, for the instruction of those who are presumed to be hereafter entrusted with the command of his royal navy; and though some have been so far misled as to suppose that the perfection of sea officers consisted in a turn of mind and temper resembling the boisterous element they have to deal with, and have condemned all literature and science, as effeminate and derogatory to that ferocity, which, they would falsely persuade us, was the most unerring characteristic of courage, yet it is to be hoped that such absurdities have not at any time been authorized by the public opinion, and that the belief daily diminishes. If those who adhere to these mischievous positions were capable of being influenced by reason, or swayed by example, I should think it sufficient for their conviction to observe, that the most valuable drawings inserted in the following work, though done with such skill that even professed artists can with difficulty imitate them, were taken by Mr Piercy Bret, one of Mr Anson's lieutenants, and since captain of the Lion man-of-war, who, in his memorable engagement with the Elizabeth, [for the importance [pg 221] of the service, or the resolution with which it was conducted, inferior to none this age has seen,] has given ample proof that a proficiency in the arts I have been recommending, is extremely consistent with the most exemplary bravery, and the most distinguished skill in every function belonging to a sea officer.

Indeed, when the many branches of science are considered, of which even the common practice of navigation is composed, and the many improvements which men of skill have added to this practice within these few years, it would induce one to believe that the advantages of reflection and speculative knowledge were in no profession more eminent than in that of a naval officer; for, not to mention some expertness in geography, geometry, and astronomy, which it would be dishonourable for him to be without, as his journal and his estimate of the daily position of the ship are founded on particular branches of these sciences, it may well be supposed, that the management and working of a ship, the discovery of her most eligible position in the water, usually called her trim, and the disposition of her sails in the most advantageous manner, are articles in which the knowledge of mechanics cannot but be greatly assistant. And, perhaps, the application of this kind of knowledge to naval subjects may produce as great improvements in sailing and working a ship, as it has already done in many other matters conducive to the ease and convenience of human life; since, when the fabric of a ship and the variety of her sails are considered, together with the artificial contrivances for adapting them to her different motions, as it cannot be doubted but these things have been brought about by more than ordinary sagacity and invention; so neither can it be doubted but that, in some conjunctures, a speculative and scientific turn of mind may find out the means of directing and disposing this complicated mechanism much more advantageously than can be done by mere habit, or by a servile copying of what others may have, perhaps erroneously, practised in similar emergencies. But it is time to finish this digression, and to leave the reader to the perusal of the ensuing work, which, with how little art soever it may be executed, will yet, from the importance of the subject, and the utility and excellence of the materials, merit some share of the public attention.

[pg 222]
Footnote 1: (return)

It must be quite obvious to all who are in the least degree acquainted with the nature of these draughts and views of land, in the nature of a coasting pilot, that it is utterly impossible to reduce them within the compass of an octavo size, and at the same time to render them of the smallest degree of usefulness; while large plates must have been necessary, and speedily destroyed by opening and refolding.E.


Of the Equipment of the Squadron, and the Incidents relating to it, from its first Appointment to its setting Sail from St Helens.

The squadron under the command of Mr Anson, of which I here propose to recite the most material proceedings, having undergone many changes in its destination, its force, and its equipment, during the ten months between its original appointment and its final sailing from St Helens, I conceive the history of these alterations is a detail necessary to be made public, both for the honour of those who first planned and promoted this enterprize, and for the justification of those who have been entrusted with its execution; since it will from hence appear, that the accidents the expedition was afterwards exposed to, and which prevented it from producing all the national advantages the strength of the squadron and the expectation of the public seemed to presage, were principally owing to a series of interruptions, which delayed the commander in the course of his preparations, and which it exceeded his utmost industry either to avoid or get removed.

When, in the latter end of the summer 1739, it was foreseen that a war with Spain was inevitable, it was the opinion of some considerable persons, then trusted with the administration of affairs, that the most prudent step the nation could take, on the breaking out of the war, was attacking that crown in her distant settlements; for by this means, as at that time there was the greatest probability of success, it was supposed that we should cut off the principal resources of the enemy, and should reduce them to the necessity of sincerely desiring a peace, as they would be deprived of the returns of that treasure by which alone they could be enabled to carry on a war.

In pursuance of these sentiments, several projects were examined, and several resolutions were taken by the council. And, in all these deliberations, it was from the first determined, that George Anson, Esq. then captain of the Centurion, should be employed as commander-in-chief of an expedition of this kind: and, he at that time being absent on a [pg 223] cruize, a vessel was dispatched to his station so early as the beginning of September, to order him to return with his ship to Portsmouth. And soon after he came there, that is, on the 10th November following, he received a letter from Sir Charles Wager, directing him to repair to London, and to attend the board of Admiralty; where, when he arrived, he was informed by Sir Charles, that two squadrons would be immediately fitted out for two secret expeditions, which, however, would have some connection with each other; and that he, Mr Anson, was intended to command one of them; and that Mr Cornwall, who hath since lost his life gloriously in defence of his country's honour, was to command the other; that the squadron under Mr Anson was to take on board three independent companies of an hundred men each, and Bland's regiment of foot; that Colonel Bland was likewise to embark with his regiment, and to command the land-forces; and that, as soon as this squadron could be fitted for sea, they were to sail, with express orders to touch at no place till they came to Java-Head in the East-Indies; that they were there only to stop to take in water, and thence to proceed directly to the city of Manilla in Luçonia, one of the Philippine islands; that the other squadron, of equal force with this commanded by Mr Anson, was intended to pass round Cape Horn into the South Seas, to range along that coast; and, after cruizing upon the enemy in those parts, and attempting their settlements, this squadron, in its return, was to rendezvous at Manilla, there to join the squadron under Mr Anson, where they were to refresh their men, and to refit their ships, and perhaps receive orders for other considerable enterprizes.

This scheme was doubtless extremely well projected, and could not but have greatly advanced the public service, and the reputation and fortune of those concerned in its execution; for, had Mr Anson proceeded to Manilla at the time and in the manner proposed by Sir Charles Wager, he would in all probability have arrived there before they had received any advice of the war between us and Spain, and consequently before they had been in the least prepared for the reception of an enemy, or had any apprehensions of their danger. The city of Manilla might well be supposed to have been at that time in the same defenceless condition with all the other Spanish settlements, just at the breaking out of the war; that is, their fortifications neglected, and in many places decayed; [pg 224] their cannon dismounted, or rendered useless by the mouldering of their carriages; their magazines both of military stores and provisions, all empty; their garrisons unpaid, and consequently thin, ill affected, and dispirited; and the royal chests of Peru, whence alone all these disorders could receive redress, drained to the very bottom. This, from the intercepted letters of their viceroys and governors, is well known to have been the defenceless state of Panama, and the other places on the coast of the South Sea, for near a twelvemonth after our declaration of war. And it cannot be supposed that the city of Manilla, removed still farther by almost half the circumference of the globe, should have experienced from the Spanish government a greater share of attention for its security than Panama, and the other important ports in Peru and Chili, on which their possession of that immense empire depends. Indeed, it is now well known that Manilla was at that time incapable of making any considerable defence, and, in all probability, would have surrendered only on the appearance of our squadron before it. The consequence of this city, and the island it stands on, may, in some measure, be estimated from the known healthiness of its air, the excellence of its port and bay, the number and wealth of its inhabitants, and the very extensive and beneficial commerce it carries on to the principal ports in the East-Indies and China, and its exclusive trade to Acapulco; the returns for which alone, being made in silver, are, upon the lowest calculation, not less than three millions of dollars yearly.

On this scheme Sir Charles Wager was so intent, that, on the 18th December, a few days only before this first conference, Mr Anson received an order to take under his command the Argyle, Severn, Pearl, Wager, and Tryal sloop; and other orders were issued to him, in the same month and in December, relating to the victualling of this squadron. But, on attending the Admiralty in the beginning of January, 1740, Mr Anson was informed by Sir Charles Wager, that, for reasons with which he was not acquainted, the expedition to Manilla was laid aside. It may well be conceived that Mr Anson was extremely chagrined at losing the command of so infallible, so honourable, and in every respect so desirable an enterprize; especially as he had already, at a very great expence, made the necessary provision for his own accommodation in this voyage, which he had reason to expect would prove very long. However, to render this [pg 225] appointment more tolerable, Sir Charles Wager informed him that the expedition to the South Sea was still intended; and that he, Mr Anson, and his squadron, as their first destination was now countermanded, should be employed in that service. And, on the 10th January, 1740, he received his commission, appointing him Commander-in-chief of the before-mentioned squadron, the Argyle being in the course of preparation exchanged for the Gloucester, with which he sailed above eight months afterwards from St Helens. On this change of destination, the equipment of the squadron was still prosecuted with as much vigour as ever; and the victualling, and whatever depended on the commodore, was soon so far advanced, that he conceived the ships might be capable of putting to sea the instant he should receive his final orders, of which he was in daily expectation.

At length, on the 28th June, 1740, the Duke of Newcastle, principal secretary of state, delivered to him his majesty's instructions, dated on the 31st of January preceding, with an additional instruction from the lords justices, dated 19th June. On the receipt of these, Mr Anson immediately repaired to Spithead, with a resolution to sail with the first fair wind, flattering himself that all his difficulties were now at an end: for though he knew by the muster that his squadron wanted three hundred men of their complement, a deficiency he had not, with all his assiduity, been able to get supplied, yet as Sir Charles Wager had informed him that an order from the board of Admiralty was sent to Sir John Norris to spare him the numbers which he wanted; he doubted not of its being complied with. But, on his arrival at Portsmouth, he found himself greatly mistaken and disappointed in this persuasion: for, on application, Sir John Norris told him he could spare him none, as he wanted men for his own fleet. This occasioned an inevitable and very considerable delay, and it was the end of July before this deficiency was by any means supplied, and all that was then done was extremely short of his necessities and expectation; for Admiral Balchen, who succeeded to the command at Spithead, after Sir John Norris had sailed to the westward, instead of three hundred sailors which Mr Anson wanted of his complement, ordered on board the squadron an hundred and seventy men only, of which thirty-two were from the hospital and sick-quarters, thirty-seven men from the Salisbury, with three officers and ninety-eight marines of Colonel Lowther's regiment; [pg 226] and these were all that were ever granted to make up the forementioned deficiency.

But the commodore's mortification did not end here. It has been already observed, that it was at first intended that Colonel Bland's regiment, and three independent companies of an hundred men each, should embark as land-forces on board the squadron. But this disposition was now changed; and all the land-forces that were to be allowed were five hundred invalids, to be collected from the out-pensioners of Chelsea College. As these consisted of soldiers, who, from their age, wounds, and other circumstances, were incapable of serving in marching regiments, Mr Anson was much chagrined at having such a decrepid detachment allotted to him; for he was fully persuaded that the greatest part of them would perish long before they could arrive at the scene of action, since the delays he had already experienced necessarily confined his passage round Cape Horn to the most rigorous season of the year. Sir Charles Wager joined in opinion with the commodore, that invalids were by no means proper for this service, and strenuously solicited to have them, exchanged. But he was told, that persons who were considered better judges of soldiers than he or Mr Anson, thought them the properest men that could be employed on this occasion; and, upon this determination, they were ordered on board the squadron on the 5th of August. But, instead of five hundred, there came no more on board than two hundred and fifty-nine; for all those who had limbs and strength to walk out of Portsmouth deserted, leaving only those behind who were literally invalids, most of them being sixty years of age, and some upwards of seventy. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive a more moving scene than the embarkation of these unhappy veterans: they were themselves extremely averse from the service in which they were engaged, and fully apprized of all the disasters they were afterwards exposed to, the apprehensions of which were strongly marked by the concern which appeared in their countenances, which was mixed with no small degree of indignation to be thus hurried from their repose into a fatiguing employ, to which neither the strength of their bodies, nor the vigour of their minds, were any way proportioned; and in which, without seeing the face of an enemy, or in the least promoting the success of the enterprize, they would in all probability uselessly perish by lingering and painful diseases; and this, [pg 227] too, after they had spent the activity and strength of their youth in the service of their country.

I cannot but observe, on this melancholy incident, how extremely unfortunate it was, both to this aged and diseased detachment, and to the expedition in which they were engaged, that, amongst all the out-pensioners of Chelsea College, which were supposed to amount to two thousand men, the most crazy and infirm only should be called out for so laborious and perilous an undertaking; for it was well known, however unfit invalids in general might be for this service, yet, by a prudent choice, there might have been found amongst them five hundred men who had some remains of vigour; and Mr Anson fully expected that the best of them would have been allotted to him; whereas the whole detachment sent seemed to be made up of the most decrepid and miserable objects that could be collected out of the whole body; and by the desertion already mentioned, even these were cleared of the little strength and health which were to be found among them, and he had to take up with such as were much fitter for an infirmary than for any military duty.

It is here also necessary to mention another material particular in the equipment of this squadron. After it was determined that Mr Anson should be sent to the South Sea, it was proposed to Mr Anson to take with him two persons under the denomination of agent-victuallers. Those mentioned for this employment had been formerly in the Spanish American colonies, in the service of the South-Sea Company, and it was supposed, that, by their knowledge and intelligence on that coast, they might often procure provisions for the squadron by compact with the inhabitants, when they were not to be got by force of arms. These agent-victuallers were, for this purpose, to be allowed to carry to the value of fifteen thousand pounds in merchandize on board the squadron, as they represented that it would be much easier to procure provisions in exchange for goods, than for the value of the same goods in money. Whatever colours were given to this scheme, it was difficult to persuade the generality of mankind that it was not principally intended for the enrichment of the agents, by the beneficial commerce they proposed to carry on upon that coast. From the beginning, Mr Anson objected both to the appointment of agent-victuallers and to allowing them to carry a cargo on board the squadron; for he conceived that in those few amicable ports where the squadron [pg 228] might touch, he needed not their assistance to contract for any provisions these places afforded; and, when on the enemy's coast, he did not imagine they could ever procure him the necessaries he should want, unless the military operations of his squadron were to be regulated by the ridiculous views of their trading projects, with which he was resolved not to comply. All that he thought the government ought to have done, of this kind, was to put on board, to the value of two or three thousand pounds, of such goods only as were suitable for the Indians, or the Spanish planters on the less cultivated parts of the coast, as it was in such places only that he considered it might be worth while to truck with the enemy for provisions, and it was sufficiently evident that a very small cargo would suffice for such places.

Although the commodore objected both to the appointment of these officers and to their project, of the ill success of which he had no question, yet, as they had insinuated that their scheme, besides victualling the squadron, might contribute to the settling a trade on that coast which might afterwards be carried on without difficulty, and might become of very considerable national advantage, they were much listened to by several considerable persons; and, of the fifteen thousand pounds, which was to be the amount of their cargo, the government agreed to advance them ten thousand pounds upon imprest, and the remaining five thousand they raised on bottomry bonds, and the goods purchased with this latter sum were all that were put on board the squadron, how much soever their amount might be afterwards magnified by common report. This cargo was shipped at first in the Wager store-ship, and one of the victuallers, no part of it being admitted on board the men-of-war; but, when the commodore was at St Catharine's, he considered, in case the squadron might be separated, that it might be pretended that some of the ships were disappointed of provisions for want of a cargo to truck with, wherefore he distributed some of the least bulky commodities on board the men-of-war, leaving the remainder principally on board the Wager, in which it was lost, and more of the goods perishing, by various accidents to be recited afterwards, and as no part of them being disposed of on the coast, the few that came home to England, when sold, did not produce above a fourth part of the original cost. So true was the commodore's judgment of the event of this project, [pg 229] which had been considered by many as infallibly productive of immense gain.

We return to the transactions at Portsmouth. To supply the place of the two hundred and forty invalids who had deserted, there were ordered on board two hundred and ten marines, drafted from different regiments. These were raw and undisciplined men, just raised, and had scarcely any thing more of the soldier than their regimentals, none of them having been so far trained as to be permitted to fire. The last of these detachments came on board on the 8th August, and on the 10th the squadron dropped down from Spithead to St Helen's, there to wait for a wind to proceed on the expedition. The delays we had already suffered had not yet spent all their influence; for we were now advanced to that season of the year when the westerly winds are usually very prevalent and violent; and it was thought proper that we should put to sea in company with the fleet commanded by Admiral Balchen, and the expedition under Lord Cathcart. As we now made up in all twenty-one sail of men-of-war, and one hundred and twenty-four sail of merchant ships and transports, we had no hopes of getting out of the channel with so large a fleet, without the continuance of a fair wind for a considerable time, and this was what we had every day less and less reason to expect, as the time of the equinox drew near; wherefore our golden dreams and ideal possession of the Peruvian treasures grew every day more faint, and the difficulties and dangers of the passage round Cape Horn, in the winter season, filled our imaginations in their room. It was forty days from our arrival at St Helens to our final departure from that place; and even then, having orders to proceed without Lord Cathcart, we tided down the channel with a contrary wind. But this interval of forty days was not free from the displeasing fatigue of often setting sail, and being as often obliged to return, nor exempt from dangers greater than have been sometimes undergone in surrounding the globe. For the wind coming fair for the first time on the 23d August, we got under sail, and Admiral Balchen shewed himself truly solicitous to have proceeded to sea; but the wind soon returned to its old quarter, and obliged us to put back to St Helens, not without considerable hazard, and some damage received by two of the transports, which ran foul of each other when tacking. We made two or three other attempts to sail, but without [pg 230] any better success; and, on the 6th September, being returned to anchor at St Helens, after one of those fruitless attempts, the wind blew so fresh that the whole fleet had to strike yards and topmasts to prevent drifting: Yet, notwithstanding this precaution, the Centurion drove next evening, and brought both cables a-head, when we were in no small danger of getting foul of the Prince Frederick, a seventy-gun ship, which was moored only a small distance under our stern, but we happily escaped, in consequence of her drifting at the same time, by which she preserved her distance, yet we did not think ourselves safe till we at last let go our sheet anchor, which fortunately brought us up.

We were in some measure relieved from this lingering and vexatious situation on the 9th September, by an order then received by Commodore Anson, from the lords justices, to put to sea on the first opportunity, with his own squadron only, if Lord Cathcart should not be ready. Being thus freed from the troublesome company of so large a fleet, our commodore resolved to weigh and tide it down channel, as soon as the weather should become sufficiently moderate, and this might easily have been done by our squadron full two months sooner, had the orders of the Admiralty for supplying us with seamen been punctually complied with, and had we met with none of those other delays mentioned in this narration. Even now, our hopes of a speedy departure were somewhat damped, by a subsequent order which Mr Anson received on the 12th September, by which he was required to take under his convoy the St Albans and the Turkey fleet, and to join the Dragon and the Winchester, with the Straits and American trade, at Torbay or Plymouth, and to proceed with them to sea as far as their way and ours lay together. This encumbrance of convoy gave us some uneasiness, fearing it might lengthen our passage to Madeira: However, having now the command to himself, Mr Anson resolved to tide down channel with the first moderate weather; and, that the junction of the convoy might occasion as little loss of time as possible, he immediately sent directions to Torbay that the fleet he was there to take charge of should be in readiness to join him instantly on his approach. And at last, on the 18th September, he weighed from St Helens, and, though the wind was at first contrary, had the good fortune to get clear of the channel in four days, as will be more particularly related in the ensuing section.

[pg 231]

Having thus gone through the respective steps taken in the equipment of this squadron, it must be sufficiently obvious how different an aspect the expedition bore at its first appointment in the beginning of January, from what it did in the latter end of September, when it left the channel, and how much its numbers, its strength, and the probability of its success were diminished by the various incidents which took place in that interval. For, instead of having all our old and ordinary seamen exchanged for such as were young and able, which the commodore was at first promised, and having our complement complete to its full number, we were obliged to retain our first crews, which were very indifferent; and a deficiency of three hundred men in our numbers was no otherwise made up than by sending on board an hundred and seventy men, the greatest part of whom were discharged from hospitals, or new-raised marines who had never been at sea before. In the land-forces allotted to us, the change was still more disadvantageous; as, instead of Bland's regiment of foot, which was an old one, and three independent companies of an hundred men each, we had only four hundred and seventy invalids and marines, one part of whom were incapable of action, by their age and infirmities, and the other part useless, by ignorance of their duty. But the diminution of the strength of the squadron was not the greatest inconveniency which attended these alterations; for the contests, representations, and difficulties which they continually produced, as we have seen above that the authority of the Admiralty in these cases was not always submitted to, occasioned a delay and waste of time, which, in its consequences, was the source of all the disasters to which the enterprize was afterwards exposed. For, owing to these circumstances, we were forced to make our passage round Cape Horn at the most tempestuous season of the year, whence proceeded the separation of our squadron, the loss of numbers of our men, and the imminent hazard of oar total destruction. By this delay also, the enemy had been so well informed of our designs, that a person who had been employed in the service of the South-Sea Company, and arrived from Panama three or four days before we left Portsmouth, was able to relate to Mr Anson most of the particulars of the destination and strength of our squadron, from what he had learnt from the Spaniards before he left them. This was afterwards confirmed by a more extraordinary circumstance; [pg 232] for we shall find, that when the Spaniards, fully satisfied of our expedition being intended for the South Seas, had fitted out a squadron before us, which had so far got the start as to arrive before us at the island of Madeira, the commander of this squadron was so well instructed in the form and make of Mr Anson's broad pendant, and had imitated it so exactly, that he thereby decoyed the Pearl, one of our squadron, within gun-shot of him, before the captain of the Pearl was able to discover the deception.


The Passage from St Helens to the Island of Madeira, with a short Account of that Island, and of our Stay there.

As observed in the preceding section, the squadron weighed from St Helens with a contrary wind on the 18th of September, 1740, our commodore proposing to tide down the channel, as he less dreaded the inconveniences we might have thereby to struggle with, than the risk he should run of ruining the enterprize by an uncertain, and, in all probability, a tedious attendance for a fair wind. The squadron allotted for this expedition consisted of five men-of-war, a sloop of war, and two victuallers. These were, the Centurion of 60 guns, and 400 men, George Anson, Esq. commander; the Gloucester, of 50 guns, and 300 men, Richard Norris, commander; the Severn, of 50 guns, and 300 men, the Honourable Edward Legg, commander; the Pearl, of 40 guns, and 250 men, Matthew Mitchell, commander; the Wager, of 28 guns, and 160 men, Dandy Kidd, commander; the Tryal sloop, of 8 guns, and 100 men, the Honourable John Murray, commander. The two victuallers were pinks, the largest of about four hundred tons burden; and these were to attend us till the provisions we had on board were so far consumed as to make room for the additional quantity they carried, which was then to be taken into our ships, and they were to be discharged. Besides the before-mentioned complements of men borne by the ships as their crews, there were embarked in our squadron about 470 invalids and marines, as particularly mentioned in last section, under the denomination of land-forces, which were commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Cracherode.

[pg 233]

With this squadron, together with the St Albans and Lark, and the Turkey trade under their convoy, we tided down channel for the first forty-eight hours. In the morning of the 20th, we discovered the Dragon, Winchester, South-Sea Castle, and Rye, with a number of merchantmen under their convoy, waiting for us off the Ram-head. We joined there the same day about noon, the commodore having orders to see them, together with the convoy of the St Albans and Lark, as far as their course and ours lay together. When we came in sight of this last-mentioned ship, Mr Anson first hoisted his broad pendant, and was saluted by all the men-of-war in company. After joining this last convoy, we made up eleven men-of-war, and about 150 sail of merchant ships, consisting of the Turkey, the Straits, and the American trades. The same day Mr Anson made a signal for all captains of men-of-war to come on board, when he delivered them their fighting and sailing instructions, and then we all stood to the S.W. with a fair wind; so that next day at noon, being the 21st, we had run forty leagues beyond the Ram-head. Being now clear of the land, our commodore, to render our view more extensive, ordered Captain Mitchell, in the Pearl, to make sail two leagues a-head of the fleet every morning, and to repair to his station every evening. Thus we proceeded till the 25th, when the Winchester, with the American convoy, made the concerted signal for leave to separate, and this being answered by the commodore, they left us, which, was done by the St Albans and the Dragon on the 24th, with the Turkey and Straits convoys.

There now remained only our own squadron and the two victuallers, with which we stood on our course for the island of Madeira. But the winds were so contrary, that we had the mortification to be forty days on our passage to that island from St Helens, though it is often known to be done in ten or twelve. This delay was most unpleasant, and was productive of much discontent and ill humour among our people, of which these only can have an adequate idea who have experienced a similar situation: For, besides the peevishness and despondency, which foul and contrary winds, and a lingering voyage, never fail to produce on all occasions, we in particular had substantial reasons for being greatly alarmed at this unexpected impediment; since, as we departed from England much later than we ought to [pg 234] have done, we had placed almost all our hope of success on the chance of retrieving in some measure at sea, the time we had so unhappily wasted at Spithead and St Helens. At last, on Monday the 25th October, at five in the morning, we made the land to our great joy, and came to anchor in the afternoon in Madeira road, in forty fathoms, the Brazen Head bearing from us E. by S. the Loo N.N.W. and the Great Church N.N.E. We had hardly let go our anchor when an English privateer sloop ran under our stern, and saluted the commodore with nine guns, which we returned with five. Next day the English consul visited the commodore, and was saluted with nine guns on coming on board.

The island of Madeira, where we now arrived, is famous through all our American settlements for its excellent wines, which seem designed by Providence for the refreshment of the inhabitants of the torrid zone. It is situated in a fine climate, in lat. 32° 27' N. and long. from London 18° 30' to 19° 30' W. by our different reckonings, though laid down in the charts in 47°.1 The whole island is composed of one continued hill of considerable height, extending from east to west; the declivity of which, on the south side, is cultivated and interspersed with vineyards. In the middle of this slope the merchants have their country seats, which contribute to form a very agreeable prospect. There is but one considerable town, named Fonchiale, on the south part of the island, situated at the bottom of a large bay. Towards the sea it is defended by a high wall with a battery of cannon, besides a castle on the Loo, which is a rock standing in the water at a small distance from the shore. Tonchiale is the only place of trade, and indeed the only place where it is possible for a boat to land; and even there the beach is so covered with great stones, and so violent a surf beats continually upon it, that the commodore did not care to venture the long-boats of our ships in fetching off water, and therefore ordered the captains to employ Portuguese boats on that service.

We continued about a week at this island, watering our ships, and providing the squadron with wine and other refreshments. While here, on the 3d November, Captain [pg 235] Richard Norris signified to the commodore, by letter, his desire to quit the command of the Gloucester, in order to return to England for the recovery of his health. The commodore complied with this request, and was pleased to appoint Captain Matthew Mitchell to command the Gloucester in his room, to remove Captain Kidd from the Wager to the Pearl, and Captain Murray from the Tryal sloop to the Wager, giving the command of the Tryal to Lieutenant Cheap. These promotions being settled, with other changes in the lieutenancies, the commodore, on the 4th November, gave to the captains their orders, appointing St Jago, one of the Cape Verd islands, to be the first place of rendezvous in case of separation; and, if they did not meet the Centurion there, directing them to make the best of their way to the island of St Catharine on the coast of Brazil. The water for the squadron being that day completed, and each ship supplied with as much wine and other refreshments as they could take in, we weighed anchor in the afternoon, and took leave of Madeira. But, before continuing the narrative of our transactions, I think it necessary to give some account of the proceedings of the enemy, and of the measures they had taken to render all our designs abortive.

On visiting the governor of Madeira, Mr Anson was informed by him, that for three or four days in the latter end of October, there had appeared to the westward of the island seven or eight ships of the line and a patache, which last was sent close in with the land every day. The governor assured our commodore, upon his honour, that no person on the island had either given them intelligence, or had any sort of communication with them. He believed them to be either French or Spanish, but was rather inclined to suppose the latter. On this intelligence, Mr Anson sent an officer in a clean sloop eight leagues to the westwards, to reconnoitre them, and, if possible, to discover what they were: But the officer returned without having seen them, so that we still remained in uncertainty; yet we could not but conjecture that this fleet was intended to put a stop, if possible, to our expedition; and, had they cruized to the eastward of the island, instead of the westward, they could not have failed in doing so: for, as in that case they must infallibly have fallen in with us, we should have been under the necessity of throwing overboard vast quantities of provisions, to clear our ships for action; and this alone, independent [pg 236] of the event of the action, would have effectually prevented our progress. This was so obvious a measure, that we could not help imagining reasons which might have prevented them from pursuing it. We supposed, therefore, that this French or Spanish squadron, having advice that we were to sail in company with Admiral Balchen and Lord Cathcart's expedition, might not think it adviseable to meet with us till we had parted company, from apprehension of being over-matched, and supposed we might not separate before our arrival at this island. These were our speculations at the time, from which we had reason to suppose we might still fall in with them, in our way to the Cape de Verd islands. We were afterwards persuaded, in the course of our expedition, that this was the Spanish squadron commanded by Don Joseph Pizarro, sent out purposely to traverse the views and enterprizes of our squadron, to which they were greatly superior in strength. As this Spanish armament was so nearly connected with our expedition, and as the catastrophe, if underwent, though not effected by our force, was yet a considerable advantage to this nation produced in consequence of our equipment; I have, in the following section, given a summary account of their proceedings, from their first setting out from Spain in 1740, till the Asia, the only ship of the whole squadron that returned to Europe, got back to Corunna in the beginning of the year 1746.

Footnote 1: (return)

The charts are however the most accurate, as that is the long. of the centre of Madeira, in our best modern maps.E.


History of the Spanish Squadron commanded by Don Joseph Pizarro.

The squadron fitted out by the court of Spain, to attend our motions, and traverse our projects, we supposed to have been the ships seen off Madeira. As this force was sent out particularly against our expedition, I cannot but imagine that the following history of its casualties, so far as has come to my knowledge, by intercepted letters and other information, is an essential part of the present work. For it will from hence appear, that we were the occasion of a considerable part of the Spanish naval power being diverted from prosecuting the ambitious views of that court in Europe; [pg 237] and whatever men and ships were lost by the enemy in this undertaking, were lost in consequence of the precautions they took to secure themselves against our expedition.

This squadron, besides two ships bound for the West Indies, which did not part company till after they left Madeira, was composed of the following men-of-war, commanded by Don Joseph Pizarro. The Asia of 66 guns and 700 men, the admiral's ship; the Guipuscoa of 74 guns and 700 men; the Hermiona of 54 guns and 500 men; the Esperanza of 50 guns and 450 men; the St Estevan of 40 guns and 350 men; and a patache of 20 guns.

Over and above their complements of sailors and marines, these ships had on board an old Spanish regiment of foot, intended to reinforce the garrisons on the coast of the South-Sea. Having cruised some days to leeward of Madeira, as formerly mentioned, they left that station in the beginning of November, and steered for the Rio de la Plata, where they arrived on the 5th of January O.S. and coming to anchor in the bay of Maldonado, at the mouth of that river, their admiral sent immediately to Buenos Ayres for a supply of provisions, having left Spain with only four months provisions on board. While waiting this supply, they received intelligence, by the treachery of the Portuguese governor of St Catharines, of Mr Anson having arrived at that island on the 21st December preceding, and that he was preparing to put to sea again with the utmost expedition. Notwithstanding his superior force, Pizarro had his reasons, and some say his orders, for avoiding our squadron any where short of the South-Sea. He was, besides, extremely desirous of getting round Cape Horn before us, imagining that alone would effectually baffle all our designs; wherefore, hearing that we were in his neighbourhood, and that we should be soon ready to proceed for Cape Horn, he weighed anchor with his five large ships, the Patache being disabled and condemned, and the men taken out of her; and, after a stay of seventeen days only, got under sail without his provisions, which arrived at Maldonado within a day or two after his departure. Notwithstanding this precipitation, we put to sea from St Catharines four days before he did from Maldonado; and at one part of our passage to Cape Horn the two squadrons were so near, that the Pearl, one of our ships, being separated from the rest, fell in with the Spanish fleet, and, mistaking the Asia for the Centurion, [pg 238] got within gun-shot of the Asia before the mistake was discovered, and narrowly escaped being taken.

As it was the 22d January when the Spaniards weighed from Maldonado, they could not expect to get into the latitude of Cape Horn before the equinox; and, as they had reason to apprehend very tempestuous weather in doubling it at that season, while the Spanish sailors, for the most part accustomed to a fair-weather country, might be supposed averse from so dangerous and fatiguing a navigation, the better to encourage them, some part of their pay was advanced to them in European goods, which they were to have leave to dispose of in the South-Seas, that so the hopes of the great profits they were to make of their ventures, might animate them in their duty, and render them less disposed to repine at the labours, hardships, and perils they might in all probability meet with, before their arrival on the coast of Peru.

Towards the latter end of February, Pizarro and his squadron got into the latitude of Cape Horn, and then stood to the westwards in order to double that southern promontory. But, in the night of the last of February O.S. while turning to windward with this view, the Guipuscoa, Hermiona, and Espranza were separated from the admiral. On the 6th March following, the Guipuscoa was separated from the other two; and next day, being that after we passed the Straits of Le Maire, there came on a most furious storm at N.W. which, in spite of all their efforts, drove the whole squadron to the eastward, and, after several fruitless attempts, obliged them to bear away for the river of Plate. Pizarro arrived there in the Asia about the middle of May, and was followed a few days after by the Esperanza and Estevan. The Hermiona was supposed to have foundered, as she was never more heard of; and the Guipuscoa was run on shore and destroyed on the coast of Brazil. The calamities of all kinds which this squadron underwent in their unsuccessful attempt to double Cape Horn, can only be paralleled by what we ourselves experienced in the same climate, when buffeted by the same storms. There was indeed some diversity in our distresses, rendering it difficult to decide whose situation was most worthy of commiseration; for, to all the miseries and misfortunes we experienced in common, as shattered rigging, leaky ships, and the fatigues and despondency necessarily attendant on these disasters, there [pg 239] was superadded on board our squadron the ravages of a most destructive and incurable disease; and in the Spanish squadron the devastation of famine.

It has been already observed, that this squadron left Spain with only four months provisions on board, and even that, it is said, at short allowance, either owing to the hurry of their outfit, or presuming upon a supply at Buenos Ayres; so that, when their continuance at sea was prolonged, by the storms they met with off Cape Horn, a month or more beyond their expectation, they were reduced to such infinite distress, that rats, when they could be caught, sold for four dollars a-piece; and a sailor who died in one of the ships, had his death concealed by his brother for some days, who lay all that time in the hammock with the corpse, that he might receive the dead man's allowance of provisions. In this dreadful situation, if their horrors were capable of augmentation, they were alarmed by discovering a conspiracy among the marines on board the Asia, who proposed massacring the officers and whole crew, their sole motive for this bloody resolution appearing to be the desire of relieving their hunger, by appropriating the whole provisions in the ship to themselves. This design was prevented, when just on the point of execution, by means of one of their confessors, and three of the ringleaders were immediately put to death. By the complicated distresses of fatigue, sickness, and famine, the three ships that escaped lost the greatest part of their men. The admiral's ship, the Asia, arrived at Monte Video in the Rio Plata with only half her crew. The Estevan, when she anchored in the bay of Barragan had also lost half her men. The Esperanza was still more unfortunate, for of 450 hands she brought with her from Spain, only 58 remained alive. The whole regiment of foot perished except sixty men. To give a more distinct idea of what they underwent upon this occasion, I shall present a short account of the fate of the Guipuscoa, extracted from a letter written by Don Joseph Mindinuetta, her captain, to a person of distinction at Lima, a copy of which fell into our hands when in the South-Sea.

Having separated on the 6th March in a fog from the Hermiona and Esperanza, being then, as I suppose, to the S.E. of States Land, and plying to the westward, it blew a furious storm at N.W. the succeeding night, which, at half past ten, split his main-sail, and obliged him to bear away [pg 240] with his foresail. The ship now went ten knots an hour with a prodigious sea, and often ran her gangway under water. He likewise sprung his main-mast, and the ship made so much water that she could not be freed by four pumps assisted by bailing. On the 9th the wind became calm, but the sea continued so high that the ship, in rolling, opened all her upper works and seams, and started the butt ends of her planks, and the greatest part of her top-timbers, the bolts being drawn by the violence of the roll. In this condition, with additional disasters to the hull and rigging, they continued beating westward to the 12th, when they were in lat. 60° S. and in great want of provisions, numbers perishing daily by the fatigue of pumping, and the survivors quite dispirited by labour, hunger, and the severity of the weather, their decks being covered with snow above a foot in depth. Finding the wind fixed in the west and blowing strong, and their passage that way impossible, they resolved to bear away for the Rio Plata. On the 22d they had to throw overboard all their upper-deck guns and an anchor, and were obliged to take six turns of the cable round the ship to prevent her from opening and falling to pieces. On the 4th of April, in calm weather, but with a very heavy sea, the ship rolled so much that her main-mast came by the board, and was soon after followed by the fore and mizen masts, after which they had to cut away the boltsprit, to diminish, if possible, the leakage forwards. By this time two hundred and fifty of the men had perished by hunger and fatigue. Those who were capable of working at the pumps, at which every officer took his turn without exception, were only allowed an ounce and a half of biscuit daily; while those who were weak and sickly, so that they could not assist in this necessary labour, had no more than one ounce of wheat. It was common for the men to fall down dead at the pumps, and all they could muster for duty, including the officers, was from eighty to an hundred men.

The S.W. wind blew so fresh for some days after they lost their masts, that they could not set up jury-masts; so that they were obliged to drive like a wreck, between the latitude of 32° and 38° S. till the 24th of April, when they made the coast of Brazil at Rio de Patas, ten leagues to the southward of the island of St Catharines. They came here to an anchor, the captain being very desirous of proceeding to St Catharines, in order to save the hull of the ship, [pg 241] with her guns and stores: But the crew instantly left off pumping, and all in one voice cried out, On shore! on shore! enraged at the hardships they had suffered and the numbers they had lost, there being at this time thirty dead bodies lying on the deck. Thus the captain was obliged to run the ship directly to the land, where she parted and sunk five days after, with all her stores and furniture; but the remainder of the crew, whom hunger and fatigue had spared, to the number of four hundred, got safe on shore.

From this account of the adventures and catastrophe of the Guiapuscoa, we may form some conjecture of the manner in which the Hermiona was lost, and of the distresses endured by the three remaining ships of the squadron which got into the Rio Plata. These last being in great want of masts, yards, rigging, and all kinds of naval stores, and having no supply at Buenos Ayres or any of the neighbouring settlements, Pizarro dispatched an advice-boat with a letter of credit to Rio de Janeiro, to purchase what was wanting from the Portuguese. He sent at the same time an express across the continent to St Jago de Chili, to be thence forwarded to the viceroy of Peru, informing him of the disasters that had befallen his squadron, and desiring a remittance of two hundred thousand dollars from the royal chest at Lima, to enable him to refit and victual his remaining ships, that he might be again in condition to attempt the passage to the South-Sea as soon as the season of the year should be more favourable. It is mentioned by the Spaniards, as a most extraordinary circumstance, that, though then the depth of winter, when the Cordilleras are esteemed impassable on account of the snow, the Indian who was charged with this express was only thirteen days on his journey from Buenos Ayres to St Jago in Chili, though the distance is three hundred Spanish leagues, near forty of which are among the snows and precipices of the Cordilleras.

The return to this dispatch of Pizarro from the viceroy was by no means favourable. Instead of two hundred thousand dollars, the sum demanded, the viceroy remitted him only one hundred thousand, telling him that it was with great difficulty he was able to procure even that sum. But the inhabitants of Lima, who considered the presence of Pizarro as absolutely necessary to their security, were much discontented at this procedure, and did not scruple to assert, that it was not the want of money, but the interested views [pg 242] of some of the viceroy's confidants, that prevented Pizarro from getting the whole sum.

The advice-boat sent to Rio Janeiro also executed her commission but imperfectly; for, though she brought back a considerable quantity of pitch, tar, and cordage, she could not procure either masts or yards; and, as an additional misfortune, Pizarro was disappointed of some masts he expected from Paraguay, as a carpenter whom he entrusted with a large sum of money, and sent there to cut masts, instead of prosecuting the business he was sent upon, married in the country, and refused to return. However, by removing the masts of the Esperanza into the Asia, and using what spare masts and yards they had on board, they made a shift to refit the Asia and Estevan: And, in the October following, Pizarro was prepared to put to sea with these two ships, in order to attempt the passage round Cape Horn a second time; but, in coming down the Rio Plata, the Estevan ran upon a shoal and beat off her rudder, and Pizarro proceeded to sea in the Asia without her. Having now the antarctic summer before him, and the winds favourable, no doubt was made of his having a fortunate and speedy passage: But, when off Cape Horn and going right before the wind, it being moderate weather, though in a swelling sea, the ship rolled away her masts, by some misconduct of the officer having the watch, and was a second time obliged to put back in great distress to the Rio Plata.

As the Asia had suffered considerably in this second unfortunate expedition, the Esperanza was now ordered to be refitted, the command of her being given to Mindinuetta, who was formerly captain of the Guipuscoa. In November 1742, he sailed from the Rio Plata for the south, and arrived safe on the coast of Chili, where he was met by his commodore, Pizarro, who passed over-land from Buenos Ayres. Great animosities and contests took place between these two officers, owing to the claim of Pizarro to command the Esperanza, which Mindinuetta had brought round, and now refused to resign; insisting, as he had come round the South Sea alone and under no superior, it was not now in the power of Pizarro to resume the authority he had once parted with. But, after a long and obstinate struggle, as the president of Chili interposed and declared for Pizarro, Mindinuetta was obliged to submit.

[pg 243]

Pizarro had not yet completed the series of his misfortunes. When he and Mindinuetta returned over-land, in 1745, from Chili to Buenos Ayres, they found the Asia still at Monte Video, and resolved, if possible, to carry her to Europe. With this view they refitted her in the best manner they could, but had great difficulty in procuring a sufficient number of hands to navigate her, as all the remaining sailors of the squadron, then to be met with in the neighbourhood of Buenos Ayres, did not amount to an hundred men. They endeavoured to supply this defect, by pressing many of the inhabitants of Buenos Ayres, and putting on board all the English prisoners then in their custody, together with a number of Portuguese smugglers they had taken at different times, and some of the Indians of the country. Among these last there was a chief and ten of his followers, who had been surprised by a party of Spanish soldiers about three months before. The name of this chief was Orellana, and he belonged to a very powerful tribe, which had committed great ravages in the neighbourhood of Buenos Ayres. With this motley crew, all of them except the European sailors averse from the voyage, Pizarro set sail from Monte Video about the beginning of November 1745: and the native Spaniards, being no strangers to the dissatisfaction of their forced men, treated them, the English prisoners and the Indians, with great insolence and barbarity, particularly the Indians; for it was common in the meanest officers in the ship to beat them cruelly on the slightest pretence, and often merely to shew their superiority.

Orellana and his followers, though in appearance sufficiently patient and submissive, meditated a severe revenge for all these inhumanities. As these Indians have great intercourse with Buenos Ayres in time of peace, Orellana understood Spanish, and affected to converse with such of the English prisoners as could speak that language, seeming very desirous of being informed how many Englishmen there were on board, and of having them pointed out to him. As he knew the English were as much enemies to the Spaniards as he was, he had doubtless an intention of disclosing his purposes to them, and making them partners in the scheme he had projected for revenging his wrongs and recovering his liberty; but, having sounded them at a distance, and not finding them so precipitate and vindictive as he expected, he proceeded no farther with them, but resolved to trust alone [pg 244] to the resolution of his ten faithful followers, who readily engaged to observe his directions and to execute his commands. Having agreed on the measures to be pursued, they contrived to provide themselves with Dutch knives, sharp at the point, which, being the common knives used in the ship, they procured without difficulty. They also employed their leisure in secretly cutting thongs from raw hides, of which there were great numbers on board, and in fixing to each end of these thongs the double-headed shot of the small quarter-deck guns; by which they formed most mischievous weapons, in the use of which, by swinging round the head, the Indians about Buenos Ayres are extremely expert, being trained to it from their infancy. When these things were in good forwardness, the execution of their scheme was perhaps precipitated by a particular outrage committed upon Orellana, who was ordered aloft by one of the officers, and being incapable of doing so, the officer, who was a brutal fellow, beat him with such violence, under pretence of disobedience, that he left him bleeding on the deck, and quite stupified with wounds and bruises. This certainly increased his thirst of revenge, so that within a day or two he and his followers began to execute their desperate resolves in the following manner.

About nine in the evening, when many of the principal officers were on the quarter-deck indulging in the freshness of the night air, the forecastle being manned with its customary watch, Orellana and his companions, having prepared their weapons, and thrown off their trowsers and other cumbrous parts of their dress, came all together on the quarter-deck, and drew towards the door of the great cabin. The boatswain reprimanded them for their presumption, and ordered them to be gone; on which Orellana spoke to his followers in their native language, when four of them drew off, two towards each gangway, and the chief and six remaining Indians seemed to be slowly quitting the quarter-deck. When the detached Indians had taken possession of the gangways, Orellana placed his hands hollow to his mouth, and bellowed out the war-cry of the savages, said to be the harshest and most terrifying of sounds. This hideous yell was the signal for beginning the massacre; upon which all the Indians drew their knives and brandished their prepared double-headed shot. The chief, and the six who remained with him on the quarter-deck, fell immediately on [pg 245] the Spaniards with whom they were intermingled, and in a very short space laid forty of them at their feet, above twenty of whom were killed on the spot, and the rest disabled.

In the beginning of the tumult, many of the officers rushed into the great cabin, where they put out the lights and barricadoed the door; while of the others, who had escaped the first fury of the Indians, some endeavoured to escape along the gangways to the forecastle, where the Indians, placed there on purpose, stabbed the greater part of them as they attempted to pass, or forced them off the gangways into the waste of the ship, which was filled with live cattle. Some threw themselves voluntarily over the barricades into the waste, and thought themselves fortunate to lie concealed among the cattle; but the greatest part escaped up the main-shrouds, and took shelter in the tops and rigging of the ship. Although the Indians only attacked the quarter-deck, yet the watch in the forecastle, finding their communication cut off, and terrified by a few of the wounded who had been able to force their passage, and not knowing either who were their enemies, or what were their numbers, they also gave all over for lost, and in great confusion ran up into the rigging of the foremast and boltsprit.

Thus these eleven Indians, with a resolution perhaps without example, possessed themselves almost in an instant of the quarter-deck of a ship mounting sixty-six guns, and manned by near five hundred hands, and even continued in peaceable possession of this part for some time. During a considerable space, the officers in the great cabin, among whom were Pizarro and Mindinuetta, the crew between decks, and those who had escaped into the tops and rigging, were merely anxious for their own safety, and were incapable of forming any project for suppressing the insurrection and recovering the possession of the ship. The yells of the Indians, the groans of the wounded, and the confused clamours of the crew, all heightened by the darkness of the night, had at first greatly magnified the danger, and filled them with imaginary terrors. The Spaniards were sensible of the dissatisfaction of their impressed hands, and were conscious of their barbarity to their prisoners, wherefore they concluded that the conspiracy was general, and considered their own destruction as infallible; insomuch, that some are said to have designed to leap into the sea, but were prevented by their companions.

[pg 246]

When the Indians had entirely cleared the quarter-deck, the tumult in a great measure subsided; for those who had escaped were kept silent by their fears, and the Indians were incapable of pursuing them. Orellana, when master of the quarter-deck, broke open the arm-chest, which had been ordered there a few days before, on a slight suspicion of mutiny. He there expected to find cutlasses wherewith to arm himself and his followers, who were all well skilled in the use of that weapon, and with these it is imagined they proposed to have forced the great cabin: But on opening the chest, there appeared nothing but fire-arms, which to them were of no use. There were indeed abundance of cutlasses in the chest, but they were hidden by the fire-arms being laid uppermost. This was a sensible disappointment to Orellana and his Indians. By this time Pizarro and his companions in the great cabin had been able to communicate with those below in the gun-room and between decks, by conversing aloud through the cabin windows; by which means they learnt that the English prisoners, whom they chiefly suspected, were all safe below, and had not participated in the mutiny; and by other circumstances they were at last made sensible that Orellana and his people only were concerned in it. Upon this information, Pizarro and the officers resolved to attack them on the quarter-deck, before any of the discontented on board had so far recovered from their surprise as to reflect on the facility of seizing the ship by joining with the Indians. With this view, Pizarro collected what arms were in the cabin and distributed them to those who were with him. There were no fire-arms except pistols, and for these they had neither powder nor ball; but having now a correspondence with the gun-room, they lowered a bucket from the cabin window, into which the gunner put a quantity of pistol cartridges out of one of the gun-room ports. Having thus procured ammunition, and loaded their pistols, they partly opened the cabin door, and fired several shots among the Indians on the quarter-deck, though at first without effect. At last Mindinuetta had the good fortune to shoot Orellana dead; on which his faithful companions, abandoning all thoughts of farther resistance, instantly leaped into the sea, where they all perished. Thus was this insurrection quelled, and possession of the quarter-deck regained, after it had been fully two hours in the power of this [pg 247] great and daring chief, and his small band of gallant unhappy countrymen.

Having thus escaped from imminent peril, Pizarro continued his voyage for Europe, and arrived safely on the coast of Gallicia in the beginning of the year 1746, after an absence of between four and five years, and having, by attendance on our expedition, diminished the royal power of Spain by above three thousand of their prime sailors, and by four considerable ships of war and a patache. For we have seen that the Hermione foundered at sea, the Guipuscoa was stranded and destroyed on the coast of Brazil, the St Estevan was condemned and broken up in the Rio Plata, and the Esperanza, being left in the South Sea, is doubtless by this time incapable of returning to Spain: So that the Asia alone, with less than an hundred hands, may be considered as all that remains of the squadron with which Pizarro put forth to sea; and whoever considers the very large proportion which this squadron bore to the whole navy of Spain, will no doubt confess that, even if our undertaking had been attended with no other advantages, than that of ruining so great a part of the naval force of so dangerous an enemy, this alone would be a sufficient equivalent for our equipment, and an incontestable proof of the service which the nation has thence received. Having thus given a summary of Pizarro's adventures, I return to the narrative of our own transactions.


Passage from Madeira to St Catharines.

I have already mentioned that we weighed from Madeira on the 3d November, after orders being given to rendezvous at St Jago, one of the Cape Verd islands, in case of a separation. But next day, when we were got to sea, the commodore, considering that the season was far advanced, and that touching at St Jago would create additional delay, thought proper for this reason to alter the rendezvous, and appointed the island of St Catharines, on the coast of Brazil, to be the first place to which the ships of the squadron were to repair, in case of separation.

In our passage to the island of St Catharines, we found the direction of the trade winds to differ considerably from what [pg 248] we had reason to expect, both from the general histories given of these winds, and the experience of former navigators. For the learned Dr Halley, in his account of the trade-winds which prevail in the Ethiopic and Atlantic Oceans, tells us that, from the lat. of 28° N. to 10° N. there is generally a fresh gale of N.E. wind, which, towards the African coasts, rarely comes to the eastward of E.N.E. or passes to the northward of N.N.E. but on the American side the wind is somewhat more easterly; though even there it is commonly a point or two to the northward of east; that from 10° N. to 4° N. the calms and tornadoes take place; and from 4° N. to 30° S. the winds are generally and perpetually between the south and east. We expected to find this account of the matter confirmed by our experience; but we found considerable variations from it, both in regard to the steadiness of the winds, and the quarters from whence they blew. For though we met with a N.E. wind about lat. 28° N. yet, from lat. 25° N. to 18° N the wind was never once to the northward of E. but almost constantly to the southward of it. From thence, however, to 6° 20' N. we had it usually to the northward of E. though not always, as it changed for a short time to E.S.E. From 6° 20' N. to about 4° 46' N. the weather was very unsettled, the wind being sometimes N.E. then changing to S.E. and sometimes we had a dead calm, with small rain and lightning. After this, to the lat. of 7° 30' S. the wind continued almost invariably between S. and E. and then again as invariably between N. and E. till we came to 15° 30' S. then E. and S.E. to 21° 37' S. After this, even to 27° 44' S. the wind was never once between S. and E. though we had it in all the other quarters of the compass; though this last circumstance may be in some measure accounted for from our approach to the coast of Brazil.

I do not mention these particulars with a view of cavilling at the received accounts of these trade-winds, which, I doubt not, are sufficiently accurate; but I thought it worthy of public notice, that such deviations from the established rules do sometimes take place. This observation may not only be of service to navigators, by putting them on their guard against these hitherto unexplained and unnoticed irregularities, but it is also a circumstance that requires to be attended to in the solution of the great question about the causes of trade-winds and monsoons; a question which, in my opinion, has not been hitherto discussed with that clearness and accuracy [pg 249] which its importance demands, whether it be considered in a naval or a philosophical point of view.

On the 16th November, one of our victuallers made a signal to speak with the commodore, and we shortened sail for her to come up with us. The master came on board, and represented to Mr Anson, that, having complied with the terms of his charter-party, he now desired to be unloaded and discharged. On consulting the captain of the squadron, it was found all the ships had still such quantities of provisions between their decks, and were also so deep, that they could only take in their proportions of brandy from the Industry pink, one of the victuallers; and consequently the commodore had to continue the other, the Ann pink, in the service of attending the squadron. Accordingly, a signal was made next day for the ships to bring to, and the long-boats were employed that and the three following days, till the 19th in the evening, to take their proportions of the brandy in the Industry to the several ships of the squadron. Being then unloaded, she parted company, intending for Barbadoes; and there to take in a freight for England. Most of the officers in the squadron took the opportunity of this ship, to write to their friends at home; but I have been informed she was taken by the Spaniards.

On the 20th November, the captains of the squadron represented to the commodore, that their ships companies were very sickly; and that, both in their own opinions and of their surgeons, it would tend to the health of the men to let in more air between decks; but that the ships were so deep in the water, that the lower-deck ports could not possibly be opened. On this representation, the commodore ordered six air-scuttles to be cut in each ship, in such places as had least tendency to weaken them. On this occasion, I cannot but observe how much it is the duty of all who have any influence in the direction of our naval affairs, to attend to the preservation of the lives and health of our seamen. If it could be supposed that motives of humanity were insufficient for this purpose, yet policy, a regard to the success of our arms, and the honour and interest of each individual commander, all should lead to a careful and impartial examination of every probable method proposed for preserving the health and vigour of seamen. But hath this been always done? Have the late invented, plain, and obvious methods for keeping our ships sweet and clean, by a constant supply [pg 250] of fresh air, been considered with that candour and temper which the great benefits they promise to produce ought naturally to have inspired? On the contrary, have not these salutary schemes been often treated with neglect and contempt? And have not some, who have been entrusted with experimenting their effects, been guilty of the most indefensible partiality in the accounts they have given of these trials? It must, however, be confessed, that many distinguished persons, both in the direction and command of our fleets, have exerted themselves on these occasions with a judicious and dispassionate examination, becoming the interesting nature of the enquiry: But the wonder is, that any one should have been found so irrational as to act a contrary part, in despite of the strongest dictates of prudence and humanity. I cannot, however, believe this conduct to have arisen from such savage motives as the first reflection seems naturally to suggest; but am apt rather to impute it to an obstinate, and, as it were, superstitious attachment to long-established practices, and to a settled contempt and hatred to all innovations, especially such as are projected by landsmen, or persons residing on shore.

We crossed the equinoctial, with a fine fresh gale at N.E. on Friday, the 28th November, at four in the morning, being thus, by estimation, in long. 27° 59' W. from London. In the morning of the 2d December, we saw a sail in the N.W. and made the Gloucester's and Tryal's signals to chase; and half an hour after, let out our reefs, and chased with the rest of the squadron. About noon a signal was made for the Wager to take our remaining victualler, the Ann pink, in tow; but, at seven in the evening, finding we did not near the chase, and that the Wager was very far astern, we shortened sail, and recalled the chasing ships. Next day but one we again discovered a sail, which, on a nearer approach, we judged to be the same vessel. We chased her the whole day, and though we rather gained upon her, night came on before we could overtake her, which obliged us to give over the chase, to collect the scattered squadron. We were much chagrined at the escape of this vessel, supposing her to have been an advice-boat from Old Spain to Buenos Ayres, sent to give notice of our expedition: But we have since learnt that it was our East-India Company's packet, bound to St Helena.

On the 10th December, being by our reckoning in lat. [pg 251] 20° S. and long. 36° 30' W. from London, the Tryal fired a gun to denote soundings. We immediately tried, and found sixty fathoms, the bottom coarse ground with broken shells. The Tryal, which was a-head of us, had at one time thirty-seven fathoms, which afterwards increased to ninety, after which she had no bottom; which happened to us also at our second trial, though we sounded with a line of 150 fathoms. This is the shoal laid down in most charts by the name of the Abrollos,1 and it appeared we were upon its verge; perhaps farther in it may be extremely dangerous. We were then, by our different accounts, from sixty to ninety leagues east of the coast of Brazil. Next day but one we spoke a Portuguese brigantine from Rio Janeiro bound to Bahia de todos los Santos, by which we learnt that we were thirty-four leagues from Cape St Thomas, and forty from Cape Frio; which latter bore from us W.S.W. By our own accounts we were nearly eight leagues from Cape Frio; and though, on the information of this brig, we altered our course, standing more southerly, yet, by our coming in with the land afterwards, we were fully convinced that our own reckoning was more correct than that of the Portuguese. After passing lat. 16° S. we found a considerable current setting to the southward. The same took place all along the coast of Brazil, and even to the southward of the Rio Plata, amounting sometimes to thirty miles in twenty-four hours, and once to above forty miles. If, as is most probable, this current be occasioned by the running off of the water which is accumulated on the coast of Brazil by the constant sweeping of the eastern trade-wind over the Ethiopic Ocean, it were then most natural to suppose that its general course must be determined by the bearings of the adjacent shores. Perhaps in every instance of currents the same may hold true, as I believe there are no examples of any considerable currents at any great distance from land. If this could be ascertained as a general principle, it might be easy by their assistance and the observed latitude, to correct the reckoning. But it were much to be wished, for the general interests of navigation, that the actual settings of the different currents in various parts of the world were examined more frequently and more accurately than appears to have been done hitherto.

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We began now to grow impatient for a sight of land, both for the recovery of our sick, and for the refreshment and security of those who still continued in health. When we left. St Helens, we were in so good a condition that we only lost two men in the Centurion in our long run to Madeira. But in this run, from Madeira to St Catharines, we were remarkably sickly, so that many died, and great numbers were confined to their hammocks, both in our ship and the others, and several of these past all hopes of recovery. The disorders they in general laboured under were those common to hot climates, and which most ships bound to the south experience in a greater or less degree. These were the fevers usually called calentures, a disease not only terrible in its first instance, but of which the remains often proved fatal to those who considered themselves as recovered; for it always left them in a very weak and helpless condition, and usually afflicted with fluxes or tenesmus. By our continuance at sea all these complaints were every day increasing; so that it was with great joy we discovered the coast of Brazil on the 18th December, at seven in the morning.

The coast of Brazil appeared high and mountainous, extending from W. to W.S.W. and when we first saw it, the distance was about seventeen leagues. At noon we could perceive a low double land, bearing W.S.W. about ten leagues distant, which we took to be the island of St Catharines. That afternoon and the next morning, the wind being N.N.W. we gained very little to windward, and were apprehensive of being driven to leeward of the island: But next day, a little before noon, the wind came about to the southward, and enabled us to steer in between the N. point of St Catharines and the neighbouring island of Alvoredo. As we stood in for the land we had regular soundings, gradually decreasing from thirty-six to twelve fathoms, all muddy ground. In this last depth of water we let go our anchor at five in the evening of the 18th,2 the N.W. part of St Catharines bearing S.S.W. three miles off; and the island of Alvoredo N.N.E. distant two leagues. Here we found the tide to set S.S.E. and N.N.W. at the rate of two knots, the tide of flood coming from the southward.

We could perceive from our ships two fortifications at a [pg 253] considerable distance from us, which seemed intended to prevent the passage of an enemy between the island of St Catharines and the main. We could also soon see that our squadron had alarmed the coast, as the two forts hoisted their colours and fired several guns, signals, as we supposed, for assembling the inhabitants. To prevent any confusion, the commodore immediately sent an officer to compliment the governor, and to request a pilot to conduct our ships into the road. The governor returned a very civil answer, and ordered us a pilot. On the morning of the 20th we weighed and stood in, and the pilot came aboard of us about noon, and the same afternoon brought us to anchor in five and a half fathoms, in a commodious bay on the continent, called by the French Bon-port. From our last anchorage to this, we found every where an oozy bottom, the water first regularly decreasing to five fathoms, and then increasing to seven, after which we had five and six fathoms alternately. The squadron weighed again next morning, in order to run above the two fortifications formerly mentioned, which are called the castles of Santa Cruiz and St Joam. Our soundings between the island and the main were four, five, and six fathoms, with muddy ground. We saluted the castle of Santa Cruiz in passing with eleven guns, and were answered with an equal number. At one in the afternoon of the 21st December, the squadron came to anchor in five fathoms and a half, Governor's Isle bearing N.N.W. St Joam's castle N.E. 1/2 E. and the island of St Antonio S. At this time the squadron was sickly, and in great want of refreshments, both of which we hoped to have speedily remedied at this settlement, celebrated by former navigators for its healthiness and abundance of provisions, and for the freedom, indulgence, and friendly assistance given here to all the ships of nations in amity with the crown of Portugal.

Footnote 1: (return)

In the map of the world by Arrowsmith, the Abrolhos are made a cluster of islands off the coast of Brazil, in lat. 18° 10' S. long. 39° W. from Greenwich.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

There is an error in date here, as it has been already said they first got sight of the coast of Brazil on the 18th, obviously two days before. Hence, if the former date be right, this ought to be the 20th.E.


Proceedings at St Catharines, and a Description of that Place, with a short Account of Brazil.

Our first care after mooring the ships was to get our sick men on shore; preparatory for which each ship was ordered by the commodore to erect two tents, one for the reception [pg 254] of the sick, and the other for the surgeon and his assistants. We sent eighty sick on shore from the Centurion, and I believe the other ships sent as many in proportion to the number of their hands. As soon as this necessary duty was performed, we scraped our decks, and gave our ship a thorough cleansing, then smoaked it between decks, and lastly washed every part with vinegar. These operations were extremely necessary for correcting the noisome stench on board, and destroying the vermin; for, from the number of our men and the heat of the climate, both these nuisances had increased upon us to a very loathsome degree, and, besides being most intolerably offensive, were doubtless in some sort productive of the sickness we had laboured under for a considerable time before our arrival at this island.1

Our next employment was wooding and watering the squadron, caulking the sides and decks of the ships, overhawling the rigging, and securing our masts against the tempestuous weather we were, in all probability, to meet with in going round Cape Horn at so advanced and inconvenient a season. Before proceeding in the narrative of our voyage, it may be proper to give some account of the present state of the island of St Catharines and the neighbouring country; both because the circumstances of the place have materially changed from what they were in the time of former writers, and as these changes laid us under many more difficulties and perplexities than we had reason to expect, or than other British ships, bound hereafter to the South Sea, may perhaps think it prudent to struggle with.

This island is nine leagues from N. to S. and two from E. to W. It extends from lat. 27° 35' to 28° both S. and is in long. 49° 45' W. from London.2 Although of considerable height, it is scarcely discernible at the distance of ten leagues, being obscured under the continent of Brazil, the mountains of which are exceedingly high; but on a nearer approach is easily distinguished, and may be readily known by having a [pg 255] number of small islands at each end.3 Frezier has given a draught of the island of St Catharines and the neighbouring coast, with the smaller adjacent isles; but has, by mistake, called the island of Alvoredo St Gal; whereas the true island of St Gal is seven or eight miles northward of Alvoredo, and much smaller. He has also called an island to the southward of St Catharines Alvoredo, and has omitted the island of Masaquara. In other respects his plan is sufficiently exact. The best entrance to the harbour is between the N.E. point of the island of St Catharines and the island of Alvoredo, where ships may pass under the guidance of the lead, without the least apprehensions of danger. The north entrance is about five miles broad, the distance from thence to the island of St Antonio is eight miles, and the coarse to that island is S.S.W. 1/2 W. About the middle of the island the harbour is contracted to a narrow channel by two points of land, not more than a quarter of a mile separate, and at this time a battery was erecting on the point on the island side to defend this passage. This seemed, however, a very useless work, as this channel had only two fathoms water, and is consequently only navigable for barks and boats, wherefore an enemy could have no inducement to attempt this passage, more especially as the northern one is so broad and safe that no squadron can be prevented from coming in by any fortifications whatever, when the sea-breeze makes. The brigadier Don Jose Sylva de Paz, who is governor of this settlement, has a different opinion; for, besides the above-mentioned battery, there were three other forts carrying on for the defence of the harbour, none of which were completed when we were there. The first of these, called St Joam, was building on a point of the island of St Catharines, near Parrot Island. The second, in form of a half-moon, was on the island of St Antonio; and the third, which seemed the chief, and had some appearance of a regular fortification, is on an island near the continent, where the governor resides. Don Jose Sylva de Paz was esteemed an expert engineer; and he doubtless understood one branch of his business very well, which is the advantages which new works bring to those who have charge of their erection.

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The soil of this island is truly luxuriant, producing many kinds of fruits spontaneously, and is covered over with one continued forest of trees, in perpetual verdure, and which, from the exuberant fertility of the soil, are so entangled with thorns, briars, and underwood, as to form an absolutely impenetrable thicket, except by some narrow paths which the inhabitants have opened for their own convenience; and these, with a few spots cleared for plantations, along that side of the island which faces the continent, are the only uncovered parts of the island. The woods are extremely fragrant, from the many aromatic trees and shrubs with which they abound, and here the fruits and vegetables of all climates thrive, almost without culture, and are to be had in great plenty, so that there is no want of pine-apples, peaches, grapes, oranges, lemons, citrons, melons, apricots, and plantains; there is also abundance of onions and potatoes, two productions of no small consideration for sea-stores. The flesh provisions are, however, much inferior to the vegetables. There are, indeed, small wild cattle to be purchased, something like buffaloes, but these are very indifferent food, their flesh being of a loose texture, and generally of a disagreeable flavour, probably owing to their feeding on wild calabash. There are also abundance of pheasants, but they are not to be compared in taste to those we have in England. The other provisions of the place are monkeys, parrots, and, above all, fish of various sorts: These abound in the harbour, and are both exceedingly good and easily caught, as there are numerous sandy bays, very convenient for haling the seyne.

The water, both on the island and the opposite continent, is excellent, and preserves at sea as well as that of the Thames. After it has been a day or two in the cask, it begins to purge itself, stinks most abominably, and is soon covered over with a green scum, which subsides in a few days to the bottom, leaving the water perfectly sweet, and as clear as crystal. The French first brought this place into repute during their South-Sea trade in the reign of Queen Anne, and usually wooded and watered in Bon-port, on the continental side of the harbour, where they anchored in great safety in six fathoms, and this is doubtless the most commodious station for ships that are meant only for a short stay. We watered on the St Catharine's side, at a plantation opposite to the island of St Antonio.

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Such are the advantages of this island; but it has its inconveniences also, partly proceeding from its climate, but more particularly from its new regulations and the form of its government, as lately established. In regard to the climate, it must be remembered that the woods and hills which surround the harbour prevent a free circulation of air, and the continual vigorous vegetation furnishes such a prodigious quantity of vapour, that a thick fog covers the whole country all night, and a great part of the morning, continuing till either the sun gathers strength to dissipate it, or it is dispersed by a brisk sea-breeze. This renders the place close and humid, and probably occasioned the many fevers and fluxes we were there afflicted with. I must not omit to add, that we were pestered all day by vast numbers of mosquetoes, which are not much unlike the gnats in England, but much more venomous in their stings. At sunset, when the musquetoes retired, they were succeeded by an infinity of sand-flies, which made a mighty buzzing, though scarcely discernable by the naked eye; wherever these bite, they raise a small lump attended by painful itching, like that arising from the bite of an English harvest bug. The only light in which this place deserves our consideration is its favourable situation for supplying and refreshing our cruizers bound for the South Sea, and in this view its greatest inconveniences remain to be related, to do which more distinctly, it may not be amiss to consider the changes which it has lately undergone, both in its inhabitants, its police, and its governor.

In the time of Frazier and Shelvocke, this place served only as a retreat to vagabonds and outlaws, who fled hither from all parts of Brazil. It is true, that they acknowledged their subjection to the crown of Portugal, and had a person among them whom they called their captain, and who was considered as a kind of governor; but both their allegiance to their king, and their obedience to the captain, were merely verbal; for, as they had plenty of provisions and no money, they were in a condition to support themselves without aid from any neighbouring settlements, and had nothing among them to tempt any neighbouring governor to interpose his authority among them. In this situation they were extremely hospitable and friendly to such foreign ships as came among them; for, as these ships wanted only provisions, of which the natives had great store, while the natives wanted clothes, for they often despised money, and refused to [pg 258] take it, the ships furnished them with apparel in exchange for their provisions, both sides finding their account in this traffic, and their captain had neither interest nor power to tax or restrain it.

Of late, for reasons which will afterwards appear, these honest vagabonds have been obliged to receive a new colony among them, and to submit to new laws and a new form of government. Instead of their former ragged and bare-legged captain, whom they took care, however, to keep innocent, they have now the honour of being governed by Don Jose Sylva de Paz, a brigadier of the armies of Portugal, who is accompanied by a garrison of soldiers, and has consequently a more extensive and better supported power than any of his predecessors: And as he wears better cloaths, lives more splendidly, and has a much better knowledge of the importance of money than any of them could ever pretend to, so he puts in practice certain methods for procuring it with which they were utterly unacquainted; yet it may be much doubted if the inhabitants consider these methods as tending to promote either their interests, or that of their sovereign, the king of Portugal. This much is certain, that his behaviour cannot but be extremely embarrassing to such British ships as touch here in their way to the South Seas.

One of his practices was, that he placed centinels at all the avenues, to prevent the people from selling us any refreshments, except at such exorbitant rates as we could not afford to give. His pretence for this extraordinary stretch of power was, that he was obliged to preserve their provisions for upwards of an hundred families, which were daily expected as a reinforcement to the colony. Thus he seems no novice in his profession, by his readiness at inventing a plausible pretence for his interested management. This circumstance, however, though sufficiently provoking, was far from being the most exceptionable part of his conduct; for, as by the neighbourhood of the Rio Plata, a considerable smuggling trade is carried on between the Portuguese and Spaniards, especially in exchanging gold for silver, by which both princes are defrauded of their fifths; and as Don Jose was deeply engaged in this prohibited commerce, in order to ingratiate himself with his Spanish correspondents, he treacherously dispatched an express to Buenos Ayres, where Pizarro then lay, with an account of our arrival, our strength, the number, of our ships, guns, men, and every circumstance [pg 259] he could suppose our enemy desirous of being acquainted with.

This much, and what we shall have to relate in the course of our own proceedings, may suffice as to the present state of St Catharines and the character of its governor. But as the reader may wish to know the reasons for the late new modelling of this settlement, it will require, to explain this circumstance, to give a short account of the adjacent continent of Brazil, and of the wonderful discoveries which have been made within the last forty years, which, from a country of but mean estimation, has rendered it now perhaps the most considerable colony on the face of the earth.

This country was first discovered by Americus Vesputio, a Florentine, who had the good fortune to be honoured by giving his name to the immense continent found out some time before by Columbus. As Vesputio was in the service of Portugal, this discovery was settled and planned by that nation, and afterwards devolved to the crown of Spain along with the rest of the Portuguese dominions. During the long war between Spain and the states of Holland, the Dutch possessed themselves of the northermost parts of Brazil, and kept it for some years; but, when the Portuguese revolted from the Spanish government, this country took part in the revolt, and the Dutch were soon driven out of their acquisitions; since which time it has continued without interruption under the crown of Portugal. Till the beginning of the present century, it was only productive of sugar and tobacco, and a few other commodities of very little importance; but has been lately discovered to abound in the two mineral productions, gold and diamonds, which mankind hold in the highest estimation, and which they exercise their utmost art and industry in acquiring.

Gold was first found in the mountains adjacent to the city of Rio Janeiro. The occasion of its discovery is variously related, but the most common account is, that the Indians dwelling on the back of the Portuguese settlements were observed, by the soldiers employed in an expedition against them, to use this metal for fish-hooks; and, on enquiry into their manner of procuring this precious metal, it appeared that great quantities of it were annually washed from the hills, and left among the sand and gravel which remained in the vallies after the running off or evaporation of the water. It is now [in 1740] little more than forty years since any quantities [pg 260] of gold, worth notice, have been imported from Brazil to Europe; but, since that time, the annual imports have been continually augmented by the discovery of places in other provinces, where it is to be met with as plentifully as at first about Rio Janeiro. It is alleged that a slender vein4 of gold spread through all the country, at about twenty-four feet below the surface, but that this vein is too thin and poor to answer the expence of digging.5 However, where the rivers or rains have had any course for a considerable time, there gold is always to be collected, the water having separated the metal from the earth, and deposited it in the sands, thereby saving the expence of digging; hence it is esteemed an infallible gain to be able to divert a stream from its channel, and ransack its bed. From this account of the manner of gathering gold, it should follow that there are no mines of this metal in Brazil, and this the governor of Rio Grande, who happened to be at St Catharines, and frequently visited Mr Anson, did most confidently affirm, assuring us that all the gold was collected from rivers, or from the beds of torrents after floods. It is indeed asserted that large rocks are found in the mountains abounding in gold, and I have seen a fragment of one of these rocks having a considerable lump of gold entangled in it; but, even in this case, the workmen only break off the rocks, and do not properly mine into them; and the great expence of subsisting among these mountains, and in afterwards separating the metal from the stone, occasions this method of procuring gold to be but rarely put in practice.

The examining the bottom of rivers and beds of torrents, and the washing the gold there found, from the sand and dirt with which it is always mixed, are performed by slaves, who are principally negroes, kept in great numbers by the Portuguese for this purpose. The regulation of the duty of these slaves is singular, as they are each of them obliged to furnish their master with the eighth part of an ounce of gold daily.6 [pg 261] If they are either so fortunate or industrious as to collect a greater quantity, the surplus becomes their own property, and they may dispose of it as they think fit; so that some negroes, who have accidentally fallen upon rich washing-places, are said to have themselves purchased slaves, and to have lived afterwards in great splendour, their original master having no other demand upon them than the daily supply of the before-mentioned eighths; which, as the Portuguese ounce is somewhat lighter than our troy ounce, may amount to about nine shillings sterling.

The quantity of gold thus collected in the Brazils and returned annually to Lisbon, may be estimated, in some degree, from the amount of the royal fifth. This has been of late computed, one year with another, at one hundred and fifty aroues, of thirty-two Portuguese pounds each, which, valued at L. 4 sterling the troy ounce, make very nearly three hundred thousand pounds sterling; and consequently the capital, of which this is the fifth, is about a million and a half sterling. It is obvious that the annual return of gold to Lisbon cannot be less than this, though it may be difficult to guess how much more it may be. Perhaps we may not be much mistaken in conjecturing that the gold exchanged with the Spaniards at Buenos Ayres for silver, and what is privately brought to Europe without paying the duty, may amount to near half a million more, which will make the entire yearly produce of Brazilian gold nearly two millions sterling; a prodigious sum to be found in a country which only a few years since was not known to furnish a single grain.

Besides gold, this country also affords diamonds, as already mentioned. The discovery of these valuable stones is much more recent even than that of gold, as it is scarcely twenty years since the first were brought to Europe.7 They are found in the same manner as gold, in the gullies of torrents and beds of rivers, but only in particular places, and by no means so universally spread throughout the country. They were often found while washing for gold, before they were known to be diamonds, and were consequently thrown away along with the sand and gravel; and it is well remembered that numbers of very large stones, which would have made [pg 262] the fortunes of the possessors, have passed unregarded through the hands of those who now impatiently support the mortifying reflection. However, about twenty years since, [that is, in 1720,] a person acquainted with the appearance of rough diamonds, conceived that these pebbles, as they were then called, were of the same kind; yet it is said there was a considerable interval between the first stating of this opinion and its confirmation, by proper examination, as it was difficult to persuade the inhabitants that what they had been long accustomed to despise, could be of such amazing importance; and in this interval, as I was told, a governor of one of these places procured a good number of these stones, which he pretended to make use of as markers at cards. The truth of the discovery was at last confirmed by skilful jewellers in Europe, who were consulted on the occasion, and who declared that these Brazilian pebbles were true diamonds, many of which were not inferior in lustre, or other qualities, to those of the East Indies. On this being made known, the Portuguese in the neighbourhood of the places where these had been first discovered, set themselves to search for diamonds with great assiduity, and were hopeful of discovering them in considerable quantities, as they found large rocks of crystal in many of the mountains whence the streams proceeded that washed down the diamonds.

Soon after this discovery, it was represented to the king of Portugal, that if diamonds should be met with in such abundance as their sanguine expectations seemed to indicate, their value and estimation would be so debased as to ruin all the Europeans who had any quantity of East India diamonds in their possession, and would even render the discovery itself of no importance, and prevent his majesty from deriving any advantages from it. On these considerations, his majesty thought proper to restrain the general search for diamonds, and erected a diamond company, with an exclusive charter for this purpose; in which company, in consideration of a sum of money paid to the king, the property of all diamonds found in Brazil is vested: But, to hinder them from collecting too large quantities, and thereby reducing their value in the market, they are prohibited from employing above eight hundred slaves in this search. To prevent any of his other subjects from continuing the search, and to secure the company against interlopers, a large town, and considerable surrounding district, has been depopulated; and [pg 263] all the inhabitants, said to have amounted to six thousand, have been obliged to remove to another part of the country: For as this town and district were in the neighbourhood of the diamonds, it was thought impossible to prevent such a number of people from frequently smuggling, if allowed to reside on the spot.

In consequence of these important discoveries in Brazil, new laws, new governments, and new regulations, have been established in many parts of the country. Not long ago there was a considerable track of country possessed by a set of inhabitants called Paulists, from the name of their principal settlement, who were almost independent of the crown of Portugal, to which it scarcely ever acknowledged a nominal allegiance. These Paulists are said to be descendants from the Portuguese who retired from the northern part of Brazil when it was invaded and possessed by the Dutch. Being long neglected by their superiors, owing to the confusions of the times, and obliged to provide for their own security and defence, the necessity of their affairs produced a kind of government among themselves, which sufficed for their mode of life. Thus habituated to their own regulations, they became fond of independence, so that, rejecting the mandates of the court of Lisbon, they were often engaged in a state of downright rebellion; and, owing to the mountains surrounding their country, and the difficulty of clearing the few passes leading towards it, they were generally able to make their own terms before they submitted. But as gold was found in this country of the Paulists, the present king of Portugal, in whose reign almost all these great discoveries have been made, thought it necessary to reduce this province, now become of great importance, under the same dependence and obedience with the rest of the country, which was at length effected, though, as I was informed, with great difficulty.

The same motives which induced his majesty to reduce the Paulists, have also occasioned the changes which I have mentioned as having taken place at the island of St Catharines: For, as we were assured by the governor of Rio Grande, there are considerable rivers in this neighbourhood that are found to be extremely rich in gold, for which reason a military governor with a garrison have been placed here, along with a new colony; and, as the harbour at this island is by much the largest and most secure of any on the coast, it is not improbable, if the riches of the neighbourhood [pg 264] answer their present expectation, that it may become in time the principal settlement in Brazil, and the most considerable port in all South America.

This much I thought necessary to insert, in relation to the present state of Brazil and of the island of St Catharines; for, as this last place has been generally recommended as the most eligible place for our cruizers to refresh at when bound to the South Sea, I believed it to be my duty to instruct my countrymen in the hitherto unsuspected inconveniences which attend that place. And, as the Brazilian gold and diamonds are subjects of novelty, of which very few particulars have hitherto been published, I considered that the account I have been able to collect respecting them might not be regarded either a trifling or useless digression.

When we first arrived at St Catharines, we were employed in refreshing our sick on shore, in wooding and watering the squadron, in cleaning our ships, and in examining and securing our masts and rigging, as formerly mentioned. At the same time Mr Anson gave orders that the ships companies should be supplied with fresh meat, and have a full allowance of all kinds of provisions. In consequence of these orders we had fresh meat sent on board continually for our daily expenditure; and every thing else that was wanting to make up our allowances, was received from the Anna Pink, our victualler, in order to preserve the provisions on board the ships of the squadron as entire as possible for future service. As the season of the year grew every day less favourable for our passage round Cape Horn, Mr Anson was very anxious to leave St Catharines as soon as possible, and we were at first in hopes that all our business would be concluded, and we should be in readiness to sail, in about a fortnight from our arrival; but, on examining the masts of the Tryal, we found, to our no small vexation, inevitable employment for twice that time; for, on a survey, her main-mast was sprung at the upper woulding, though that was thought capable of being secured by means of two fishes; but the fore-mast was reported entirely unfit for service, on which the carpenters were sent into the woods in search of a stick proper for a new foremast. After a search of four days, nothing could be found fit for the purpose; wherefore, on a new consultation, it was agreed to endeavour to secure the mast by three fishes, in which work the carpenters were employed till within a [pg 265] day or two of our departure. In the meantime, thinking it necessary to have a clean vessel, on our arrival in the South Sea, the commodore ordered the Tryal to be hove down, which occasioned no loss of time, as it might be completed while the carpenters were refitting her masts on shore.

A sail being discovered in the offing on the 27th December, and not knowing but she might be Spanish, the eighteen-oared boat was manned and armed, and sent under the command of our second lieutenant, to examine her before she got within the protection of the forts. She proved to be a Portuguese brigantine from Rio Grande; and, though our officer behaved with the utmost civility to the master, and even refused to accept a calf which the master pressed him to accept, the governor took great offence at the sending our boat, talking of it in a high strain, as a violation of the peace subsisting between the crowns of Great Britain and Portugal. We thus attributed this blustering to no deeper cause than the natural insolence of Don Jose; but when he charged our officer with behaving rudely, and attempting to take by violence the calf which he had refused as a present, we had reason to suspect that he purposely sought this quarrel, and had more important objects in view than the mere captiousness of his temper. What these motives might be we had then no means of determining, or even guessing at; but we afterwards found, by letters which fell into our hands when in the South-Seas, that he had dispatched an express to Pizarro, who then lay in the Rio Plata, with an account of our arrival at St Catharines, together with a most ample and circumstantial account of our force and condition. We then conceived, that Don Jose had raised this groundless clamour on purpose to prevent us from visiting the brigantine when she should go away again, lest we might have found proofs of his perfidy, and perhaps have discovered the secret of his smuggling correspondence with his neighbouring governors, and with the Spaniards at Buenos Ayres.

It was near a month before the Tryal was refitted; for not only were her lower-masts defective, but her main-topmast and fore-yard were likewise found rotten. While this work was going on, the other ships of the squadron set up new standing-rigging, together with a sufficient number of preventer shrowds to each mast, to secure them in the most effectual manner. Also, in order to render the ships stiffer, [pg 266] to enable them to carry more sail abroad, and to prevent them from straining their upper works in hard gales of wind, the several captains were ordered to put some of their great guns into their holds. These precautions being complied with, and all the ships having taken in as much wood and water as there was room for, the Tryal was at last completed, and the whole squadron was ready for sea: On which the tents on shore were struck, and all the sick removed on board. We had here a melancholy proof how much the healthiness of this place was over-rated by former writers; for, though the Centurion had alone buried no less than twenty-eight of her men since our arrival, yet, in the same interval, the number of her sick had increased from eighty to ninety-six.

All being embarked, and every thing prepared for our departure, the commodore made the signal for all captains, and delivered them their orders, containing the successive places of rendezvous from hence to the coast of Chili. Next day, being the 18th of January, 1741, the signal was made for weighing, and the squadron put to sea; leaving this island of St Catharines without regret, as we had been extremely disappointed in our accommodations and expectatations of refreshment, and in the humane and friendly offices we had been taught to look for, in a place so much celebrated for its hospitality, freedom, and convenience.

Footnote 1: (return)

This matter is now infinitely better regulated in the British navy, and with most admirable and infinitely important advantages. By the most minute, sedulous, and perpetual attention to cleanliness, all noisome stench and all vermin are prevented, by which doubtless diseases are in a great measure lessened.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

This account of the matter is very erroneous. The latitudes are between 28° 5' and 28° 30' both S. and the longitude is 49° 10' W. from Greenwich.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

The more elaborate nautical description of this island is necessarily omitted, as referring to two extensive views, without which the description would be unintelligible.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

The author ought here to have said, a thin layer, or stratum, to express the obvious meaning intended in the text.E.

Footnote 5: (return)

The editor was informed, many years ago, by an intelligent native of Rio Janeiro, that the search for gold is confined by law to certain districts, on purpose to secure the royal fifth; and that all over the country round Rio Janeiro, where the search is prohibited, gold, emeralds, and aqua-marines are found in small quantities, on every occasion of digging to any depth into the earth, as for the purpose of a pit-well.E.

Footnote 6: (return)

On the data of the text, and allowing sixty-five days in the year for Sundays and high festivals, the yearly profit of one slave to his master would be L. 135 sterling.E.

Footnote 7: (return)

The author writes as of the year 1740.E.


The Run from St Catharines to Port St Julian; with some Account of that Port, and of the Country to the South of the Rio Plata.

In quitting St Catharines, we left the last amicable port we proposed to touch at, and were now proceeding to a hostile, or at best a desert and inhospitable coast. As we were to expect a more boisterous climate to the southward than any we had yet experienced, not only our danger of separation would by this means be much augmented, but other accidents of a more mischievous nature were also to be apprehended, and as much as possible provided against. Mr Anson, therefore, in appointing the various stations at which the ships of the squadron were to rendezvous, had [pg 267] considered that his own ship might be disabled from getting round Cape Horn, or might be lost, and gave therefore proper directions, that, even in that case, the expedition might not be abandoned. The orders delivered to the captains, the day before sailing from St Catharines, were, in case of separation, which they were to endeavour to avoid with the utmost care, that the first place of rendezvous was to be Port St Julian, describing the place from Sir John Narborough's account of it. They were there to provide as much salt as they could take on board, both for their own use and that of the other ships of the squadron; and, if not joined by the commodore after a stay of ten days, they were then to pass through the straits of Le Maire and round Cape Horn into the South-Seas, where the next place of rendezvous was to be the island of Nostra Senora del Socoro, in lat. 45° S. long. 71° 12' W. from the Lizard.1 They were to bring this island to bear E.N.E. and to cruize from five to twelve leagues distance from it, as long as their store of wood and water would permit, both of which they were directed to expend with the utmost frugality. When under the necessity of procuring a fresh supply, they were to stand in, and endeavour to find an anchorage; and in case they could not, and the weather made it dangerous to supply the ships by standing off and on, they were then to make the best of their way to the island of Juan Fernandez in lat. 33° 37' S. at which island, after recruiting their wood and water, they were to cruize off the anchorage for fifty-six days; and, if not joined by the commodore in that time, they were to conclude that some accident had befallen him, and were forthwith to put themselves under the command of the senior officer, who was to use his utmost endeavour to annoy the enemy both by sea and land. In this view, the new commander was urged to continue in these seas as long as provisions lasted, or as they could be supplied by what could be taken from the enemy, reserving only a sufficiency to carry the ships to Macao, at the entrance of the river of Canton on the coast of China; whence, being supplied with a new stock of provisions, they were to make the best of their way to England. As it was found still impossible [pg 268] to unload the Anna Pink, our victualler, the commodore gave her master instructions for the same rendezvouses, and similar orders to put himself under the command of the remaining senior officer.

Under these orders, the squadron sailed from St Catharines on Sunday the 18th of January, 1741. Next day we had very squally weather, attended with rain, lightning, and thunder; but it soon cleared up again, with light breezes, and continued so to the evening of the 21st, when it again blew fresh, and, increasing all night, it became a most violent storm by next morning, accompanied by so thick a fog that it was impossible for us to see to the distance of two ships lengths, and we consequently lost sight of all the squadron. On this a signal was made, by firing guns, to bring to with the larboard tacks, the wind being due east. We in the Centurion handed the top-sails, bunted the main-sail, and lay to under a reefed-mizen till noon, when the fog dispersed, and we soon discovered all the ships of the squadron, except the Pearl, which did not join till near a month afterwards. The Tryal was a great way to leeward, having lost her main-mast in the squall, and having been obliged to cut away the wreck, for fear of bilging. We therefore bore down with the squadron to her relief, and the Gloucester was ordered to take her in tow, as the weather did not entirely abate till next day, and even then a great swell continued from the eastward, in consequence of the preceding storm. After this accident we continued to the southward with little interruption, finding the same setting of the current we had observed before our arrival at St Catharines; that is, we generally found ourselves about twenty miles to the southward of our reckoning by the log every day. This, with some inequality, lasted till we had passed the latitude of the Rio Plata, and even then the same current, however difficult to be accounted for, undoubtedly continued; for we were not satisfied in attributing this appearance to any error in our reckoning, but tried it more than once, when a calm rendered it practicable.

Immediately on getting to the south of the latitude of the Rio Plata we had soundings, which continued all along the coast of Patagonia. These soundings, when well ascertained, being of great use in determining the position of a ship on this coast, and as we tried them more frequently, in [pg 269] greater depths, and with more attention, than I believe had ever been done before, I shall recite our observations on this subject as succinctly as I can. In lat. 36° 52' S. we had 60 fathoms on a bottom of fine black and grey sand: From thence to 39° 55' S. we varied our depths from 50 to 80 fathoms, but always with the same bottom: Between the last-mentioned latitude and 43° 16' S. we had only fine grey sand with the same variation of depths, except that we once or twice lessened the water to 40 fathoms. After this we continued in 40 fathoms for about half a degree, having a bottom of coarse sand and broken shells, at which time we were in sight of land at not above seven leagues distance. As we edged from the land we had a variety of soundings; first black sand, then muddy, and soon after rough ground with stones: But when we had increased our depth to forty-eight fathoms, we had a muddy bottom to the lat. of 46° 10' S. Hence drawing near the shore, we had at first thirty-six fathoms, and still kept shoaling till we came into twelve fathoms, having constantly small stones and pebbles at the bottom.

Part of this time we had a view of Cape Blanco, in about lat. 47° 10' S. and long. 69° W. from London.2 Steering from hence S. by E. nearly, we deepened our water to fifty fathoms in a run of about thirty leagues, without once altering the bottom; and then drawing towards the shore, with a S.W. course, varying rather westward, we had constantly a sandy bottom till we came to thirty fathoms, when we had again a sight of land in about lat. 48° 31' S. We made this land on the 17th February, and came to anchor at five that afternoon in lat. 48° 58' S. with the same soundings as before; the southermost land then in view bearing S.S.W. the northermost N.E. a small island N.W. and the westermost hummock W.S.W. At this anchorage we found the tide to set S. by W.

We weighed anchor at five next morning, and an hour afterwards descried a sail, which was soon found to be the Pearl, which had separated from us a few days after leaving St Catharines. Yet she increased her sail and stood away from the Gloucester; and when she came up, the people of [pg 270] the Pearl had their hammocks in their netting, and every thing ready for an engagement. The Pearl joined us about two in the afternoon, and running up under our stern, Lieutenant Salt informed the commodore that Captain Kidd had died on the 31st of January. He likewise said that he had seen five large ships on the 10th of this month, which he for some time imagined had been our squadron, insomuch that he suffered the commanding ship, which wore a red broad pendant exactly resembling that of our commodore at the main top-mast head, to come within gun-shot of the Pearl before he discovered the mistake; but then, finding it was not the Centurion, he haled close upon a wind and crowded from theirs with all sail; and standing across a rippling, where they hesitated to follow, he happily escaped. He had made them out to be five Spanish ships of war, one of which was so exceedingly like the Gloucester that he was under great apprehension when chased now by the Gloucester. He thought they consisted of two seventy-gun ships, two of fifty, and one of forty; the whole of which squadron chased him all that day, but at night, finding they could not get near, they gave over the chase and stood away to the southward.

Had we not been under the necessity of refitting the Tryal, this intelligence would have prevented our making any stay at St Julians; but as it was impossible for that sloop to proceed round Cape Horn in her present condition, some stay there became inevitable; and therefore we came to an anchor again the same evening in twenty-five fathoms, the bottom a mixture of mud and sand, a high hummock bearing from us S.W. by W. Weighing at nine next morning, we sent the cutters of the Centurion and Severn in shore to discover the harbour of St Julian, while the ships kept standing along the coast about a league from the land. At six in the evening we anchored in the bay of St Julian, in nineteen fathoms, the bottom muddy ground with sand, the northermost land in sight bearing N. by E. the S. 1/2 E. and the high hummock, called Wood's Mount by Sir John Narborough, W.S.W. The cutters returned soon after, having discovered the harbour, which did not appear to us where we lay, the northermost point shutting in upon the southermost, and closing the entrance in appearance.

Our principal object in coming to anchor in this bay was to refit the Tryal, in which business the carpenters were immediately employed. Her main-mast had been carried away [pg 271] about twelve feet below the cap, but they contrived to make the remainder of the mast serve. The Wager was directed to supply her with a spare main-top-mast, which the carpenters converted into a new fore-mast. And I cannot help observing, that this accident to the Tryal's masts, which gave us so much uneasiness at the time on account of the delay it occasioned, was the means, in all probability, of preserving this sloop and all her crew. For her masts before this were much too lofty for the high southern latitudes we were proceeding into, so that, if they had weathered the preceding storm, it would have been impossible for them to have stood against the seas and tempests we afterwards encountered in passing round Cape Horn; and the loss of masts, in that boisterous climate, would scarcely have been attended with less than the loss of the vessel and all on board, as it would have been impracticable for the other ships to have given them any assistance whatever, during the continuance of these impetuous storms.

While at this place, the commodore appointed the honourable Captain Murray to succeed to the Pearl, and Captain Cheap to the Wager. He promoted Mr Charles Saunders, first lieutenant of the Centurion, to the command of the Tryal sloop; but, as Mr Saunders lay dangerously ill of a fever in the Centurion, and the surgeons considered his removal to his own ship might hazard his life, Mr Saumarez had orders to act as commander of the Tryal during the illness of Captain Saunders.

At this place, the commodore held a consultation with his captains about unloading and discharging the Anna pink; but they represented that, so far from being in a condition for taking her loading on board, their ships still had great quantities of provisions in the way of their guns between decks, and that their ships were so deep and so lumbered that they would not be fit for action without being cleared. It was therefore necessary to retain the pink in the service; and, as it was apprehended that we should meet with the Spanish squadron in passing the cape, Mr Anson ordered all the provisions that were in the way of the guns to be put on board the Anna pink, and that all the guns which had been formerly lowered into the holds, for the ease of the ships, should be remounted.

As this bay and harbour of St Julian is a convenient rendezvous, in case of separation, for all cruizers bound to the southwards, or to any part of the coast of Patagonia, from [pg 272] the Rio Plata to the Straits of Magellan, as it lies nearly parallel to their usual route, a short account of the singularity of this country, with a particular description of Port St. Julian, may perhaps be neither unacceptable to the curious, nor unworthy the attention of future navigators, as some of them, by unforeseen accidents, may be obliged to run in with the land and to make some stay on this coast; in which case a knowledge of the country, and of its productions and inhabitants, cannot fail to be of the utmost consequence to them.

The tract of country usually called Patagonia, or that southern portion of South America, not possessed by the Spaniards, extends from their settlements to the Straits of Magellan. This country on its eastern side, along the Atlantic ocean, from the Rio Plata southwards, is remarkable for having no trees of any kind, except a few peach trees planted by the Spaniards in the neighbourhood of Buenos Ayres; so that the whole eastern coast of Patagonia, extending near four hundred leagues from north to south, and as far back into the interior as any discoveries have yet been made, contains nothing that can be called by the name of wood, and only a few insignificant shrubs in some places. Sir John Narborough, who was sent out expressly by Charles II to examine this country, wintered upon this coast in Port St Julian and Port Desire, in the year 1670, and declares that he did not see a stick in the whole country large enough to make the handle of a hatchet. But, although this country be destitute of wood, it abounds in pasture, as the whole land seems made up of downs of a light dry and gravelly soil, producing great quantities of long grass, which grows in tufts, interspersed with large spots of barren gravel. In many places this grass feeds immense herds of cattle, all derived from a few European cattle brought over by the Spaniards at their first settling, which have thriven and multiplied prodigiously, owing to the abundance of herbage which they every where met with, and are now so increased and extended so far into different parts of Patagonia, that they are not considered as private property; thousands of them being slaughtered every year by the hunters, only for their hides and tallow.

The manner of killing these cattle, being peculiar to that part of the world, merits a circumstantial description. Both Spaniards and Indians in that country are usually most excellent horsemen; and accordingly the hunters employed on this occasion are all mounted on horseback, armed with a kind of spear, which, instead of the usual point or blade in [pg 273] the same line with the shaft, has its blade fixed across. Armed with this instrument, they ride at a beast and surround him, when the hunter that is behind hamstrings him, so that he soon falls, and is unable to rise from the ground, where they leave him and proceed against others, whom they serve in the same manner. Sometimes there is a second party attending the hunters, on purpose to skin the cattle as they fall; but it is said that the hunters sometimes prefer to leave them to languish in torment till next day, from an opinion that the lengthened anguish bursts the lymphatics, and thereby facilitates the separation of the skin from the carcass. Their priests have loudly condemned this most barbarous practice, and have even gone so far, if my memory do not deceive me, as to excommunicate such as persist to follow it, yet all their efforts to put an entire stop to it have hitherto proved ineffectual.

Besides great numbers of cattle which are slaughtered every year in this manner, for their hides and tallow, it is often necessary, for the uses of agriculture, and for other purposes, to catch them alive, and without wounding them. This is performed with a most wonderful and most incredible dexterity, chiefly by means of an implement or contrivance which the English who have resided at Buenos Ayres usually denominate a lash. This consists of a very strong thong of raw hide, several fathoms in length, with a running noose at one end. This the hunter, who is on horseback, takes in his right hand, being properly coiled up, and the other end fastened to the saddle: Thus prepared, the hunters ride at a herd of cattle, and when arrived within a certain distance of a beast, they throw their thong at him with such exactness, that they never fail to fix the noose about his horns. Finding himself thus entangled, the beast usually endeavours to run away, but the hunter attends his motions, and the horse being swifter, the thong is prevented from being so much straitened as to break, till another hunter throws another noose about one of his hind-legs. When this is done, the horses being trained to the sport, instantly turn in opposite directions, straining the two thongs contrary ways, by which the beast is overthrown. The horses then stop, keeping both thongs on the stretch, so that the beast remains on the ground incapable of resistance; and the two hunters alight from their horses and secure the beast in such a manner that they afterwards easily convey him to wherever they please.

[pg 274]

They catch horses by means of similar nooses, and are even said to catch tigers in the same manner, which, however strange it may appear, is asserted by persons of credit. It must be owned, indeed, that the address both of Spaniards and Indians in this part of the world, in the use of this lash or noose, and the certainty with which they throw and fix it on any intended part of a beast, even at a considerable distance, is so wonderful as only to be credited and repeated on the concurrent testimony of all who have frequented this country. The cattle killed in the before-mentioned manner are slaughtered only for their hides and tallow, and sometimes their tongues also are taken out; but the rest of the flesh is left to putrify, or to be devoured by birds of prey and wild beasts. The greatest part of it falls to the share of the wild-dogs, of which there are immense numbers to be found in the country. These are all supposed to be descended of Spanish dogs from Buenos Ayres, which had left their masters, allured by the great quantity of carrion, and had run wild where they had such facility of subsisting, for they are plainly of the European breed of dogs. Although these dogs are said to prowl in vast packs, even some thousands together, they do not diminish the number, nor prevent the increase of the cattle, as they dare not attack the herds, by reason of the vast numbers that feed together, but content themselves with the carrion left by the hunters, and perhaps now and then meet with a few stragglers, separated accidentally from the herds to which they belong.

This country, to the southward of Buenos Ayres, is also stocked with great numbers of wild-horses, brought also originally from Spain, and prodigiously increased, and extending to a much greater distance than the cattle. Though many of these are excellent, their numbers make them of very little value, the best of them being sold in the neighbouring settlements, where money is plenty and commodities very dear, for not more than a dollar a piece. It is not certain how far to the southwards these herds of wild cattle and horses extend; but there is reason to believe that stragglers of both are to be met with very near the Straits of Magellan, and they will doubtless in time fill all the southern part of the continent with their breeds, which cannot fail to be of vast advantage to such ships as may touch on the coast. The horses are said to be very good eating, and are even preferred by some of the Indians before the cattle. But however [pg 275] plentiful Patagonia may hereafter become in regard to flesh, this eastern coast of that extensive country seems very defective in regard to fresh water; for as the land is generally of a nitrous and saline nature, the ponds and streams are frequently brackish. However, as good water has been found, though in small quantities, it is not improbable but this inconvenience may be removed, on a farther search.

There are also in all parts of this country a good number of Vicunnas, or Peruvian sheep, but these, by reason of their swiftness, are very difficultly killed. On the eastern coast, also, there are immense quantities of seals, and a vast variety of sea-fowl, among which the most remarkable are the penguins. These are, in size and shape, like a goose, but have short stumps like fins instead of wings, which are of no use to them except when in the water. Their bills are narrow, like that of the albatross, and they stand and walk quite erect, from which circumstance, and their white bellies, Sir John Narborough has whimsically likened them to little children standing up in white aprons.

The inhabitants of this eastern coast, to which hitherto I confine my observations, appear to be but few, and rarely have more than two or three of them been seen at a time by any ships that have touched here. During our stay at Port St Julian we did not see any. Towards Buenos Ayres, however, they are sufficiently numerous, and are very troublesome to the Spaniards: But there the greater breadth and variety of the country, and a milder climate, yield them greater conveniences. In that part the continent is between three and four hundred leagues in breadth, while at Port St Julian it is little more than one hundred. I conceive, therefore, that the same Indians who frequent the western coast of Patagonia, and the northern shore of the Straits of Magellan, often ramble to this eastern side. As the Indians near Buenos Ayres are more numerous than those farther south, they also greatly excel them in spirit and activity, and seem nearly allied in their manners to the gallant Chilese Indians, [Araucanians] who have long set the whole Spanish power at defiance, have often ravaged their country, and remain to this hour independent. The Indians about Buenos Ayres have learned to be excellent horsemen, and are extremely expert in the management of all cutting weapons, though ignorant of fire-arms, which the Spaniards are exceedingly solicitous to keep from them. Of the vigour and [pg 276] resolution of these Indians, the behaviour of Orellana and his followers, formerly mentioned, is a memorable instance.

This much may suffice respecting the eastern coast of Patagonia. The western coast is of less extent; and, by reason of the Andes which skirt it, and stretch quite down to the sea side, the shore is very rocky and dangerous. As I shall hereafter have occasion to take farther notice of that coast, I shall not enlarge any farther respecting it in this place, but shall conclude this account with a short description of the harbour of St Julian, the general form of which may be conceived from the annexed sketch. It must however be noticed, that the bar there marked at the entrance has many holes in it, and is often shifting. The tide flows here N. and S. and at full and change rises four fathoms. On our first arrival, an officer was sent on shore to the salt pond marked D. in the sketch, in order to procure a quantity of salt for the use of the squadron; for Sir John Narborough had observed, when he was here, that the salt was very white and good, and that in February there was enough to have loaded a thousand ships. But our officer returned with a sample which was very bad, and said that even of this very little was to be had: I suppose the weather had been more rainy this year than ordinary, and had destroyed the salt, or prevented its fermentation.

Footnote 1: (return)

The centre of the island of Socoro, or Guayteca, on the western coast of Patagonia, is in lat. 43° 10' S. and long. 73° 40' W. from Greenwich.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

Cape Blanco is in lat 47° 20' S. long. 64° 30' W. from Greenwich. At this place, instead of a description of Cape Blanco, the original gives two views of the coast in different directions, as seen from sea; here omitted for reasons already assigned.E.


Departure from the Bay of St Julian, and Passage from thence to the Straits of Le Maire.

The Tryal being nearly refitted, which was our principal occupation at this bay, and sole occasion of our stay, the commodore thought it necessary to fix the plan of his first operations, as we were now directly bound for the South Seas and the enemy's coasts; and therefore, on the 24th February, a signal was made for all captains, and a council of war was held on board the Centurion. There were present on this occasion the Honourable Edward Legg, Captain Matthew Mitchell, the Honourable George Murray, Captain David Cheap, and Colonel Mordaunt Cracherode, commander of the land-forces. At this council, it was proposed by Commodore Anson, that their first attempt, after arriving [pg 277] in the South Seas, should be against the town and harbour of Baldivia, the principal frontier place in the south of Chili, informing them, as an inducement for this enterprize, that it formed part of his majesty's instructions to endeavour to secure some port in the South Seas where the ships of the squadron might be careened and refitted. The council readily and unanimously agreed to this proposal; and, in consequence of this resolution, new instructions were issued to the captains, by which, though still directed, in case of separation, to make the best of their way to the island of Socoro, they were only to cruize off that island for ten days; from whence, if not then joined by the commodore, they were to proceed off Baldivia, making the land between the latitudes of 40° and 40° 30' S. and taking care to keep to the southward of the port. If not there joined in fourteen days by the rest of the squadron, they were then to direct their course for the island of Juan Fernandez; after which they were to regulate their farther proceedings by the former orders given out at St Catharines. The same orders were also given to the master of the Anna pink, who was enjoined to answer and obey the signals made by any ship of the squadron, in absence of the commodore; and, if he should be so unfortunate as to fell into the hands of the enemy, he was directed to destroy his orders and papers with the utmost care. Likewise, as the separation of the squadron might prove highly prejudicial to the service, each captain was ordered to give it in charge to the respective officers of the watch, on all occasions, never to keep their respective ships at a greater distance from the Centurion than two miles, as they should answer at their peril; and if any captain should find his ship beyond the specified distance, he was to acquaint the commodore with the name of the officer who thus neglected his duty.

These necessary regulations established, and the repairs of the Tryal sloop completed, the squadron weighed from Port St Julians on Friday the 27th February, 1741, at seven in the morning, and stood to sea. The Gloucester found such difficulty in endeavouring to purchase her anchor, that she was left a great way astern, so that we fired several guns in the night as signals for her to make more sail: But she did not rejoin us till next morning, when we learnt that she had been obliged to cut her cable, leaving her best bower anchor behind. At ten in the morning of the 28th, Wood's Mount, [pg 278] the high land over Port St Julian, bore from us N. by W. distant ten leagues, and we had fifty-two fathoms water. Standing now to the southward, we had great expectations of falling in with the Spanish squadron under Pizarro; as, during our stay at Port St Julian, there had generally been hard gales between W.N.W. and S.W. so that we had reason to conclude that squadron, had gained no ground upon us in that interval. Indeed, it was the prospect of meeting them that had occasioned our commodore to be so very solicitous to prevent the separation of our ships; for, had he been solely intent on getting round Cape Horn in the shortest time, the most proper method for this purpose would have been, to order each ship to make the best of her way to the rendezvous, without waiting for the rest.

From the time of leaving Port St Julian to the 4th March, we had little wind with thick hazy weather and some rain, and our soundings were generally from forty to fifty fathoms, with a bottom of black and gray sand, sometimes mixed with pebble stones. On the 4th March we were in sight of Cape Virgin Mary, and not more than six or seven leagues distant, the northern boundary of the eastern entrance of the Straits of Magellan, in lat 52° 21' S. long. 71° 44' W. from London.1 It seemed a low flat land, ending in a point.2 Off this cape the depth of water was from thirty-five to forty-eight fathoms. The afternoon of this day was bright and clear, with small breezes of wind, inclining to a calm; and most of the captains took the opportunity of this fine weather to visit the commodore. While all were on board the Centurion, they were greatly alarmed by a sudden flame bursting out in the Gloucester, followed by a cloud of smoke; but were soon relieved of their apprehensions, by receiving information that the blast had been occasioned by a spark of fire from the forge lighting on some gun-powder, and other combustibles, which an officer was preparing for use, in case of falling in with the Spanish squadron, and which had exploded without any damage to the ship.

We here found, what was constantly the case in these high [pg 279] southern latitudes, that fair weather was always of exceedingly short continuance, and that when remarkably fine it was a certain presage of a succeeding storm: For the calm and sunshine of this afternoon ended in a most turbulent night; the wind freshening from the S.W. as the night came on; and increasing continually in violence till nine next morning. It then blew so hard that we were forced to bring to with the squadron, and to continue under a reefed mizen till eleven at night, having in that time from forty-three to fifty-seven fathoms water on black sand and gravel; and, by an observation we had at noon, we concluded that a current had set us twelve miles to the southward of our reckoning. Toward midnight the wind abated, and we again made sail, steering S. In the morning we discovered the southern land beyond the Straits of Magellan, called Terra del Fuego, stretching from S. by W.S.E. 1/2 E. This country afforded a very uncomfortable prospect, appearing of stupendous height, every where covered with snow, and shewing at its southern extremity the entrance into the Straits of Le Maire at Cape St Diego.3 We steered along this uncouth and rugged coast all day, having soundings from forty to fifty fathoms, on stones and gravel.

Intending to pass through the straits of Le Maire next day, we lay to at night that we might not overshoot them, and took this opportunity to prepare ourselves for the tempestuous climate in which we were soon to be engaged, with which view we were employed good part of the night in bending an entire new suit of sails to the yards. At four next morning, being the 7th of March, we made sail, and at eight saw land, and soon after began to open the straits, at which time Cape St Diego bore E.S.E. Cape St Vincent S.E. 1/2 E. the middlemost of the Three Brothers, hills so called on Terra del Fuego S. by W. Montegorda, a high land up the country appearing over the Three Brothers; S. and Cape St Bartholomew, the southernmost point of Staten Land, E.S.E. I must observe here that, though Frezier has given a very correct view of that part of Terra del Fuego which borders on these straits to the westwards, he has omitted the draught of Staten Land, which forms the opposite shore of these straits, [pg 280] whence we found it difficult to determine exactly where the straits lay until they began to open upon our view; and hence, had we not coasted a considerable way along the shore of Terra del Fuego, we might have missed the straits, and have gone to the eastward of Staten Land before discovering it. This has happened to many ships; particularly, as mentioned by Frezier, to the Incarnation and Concord, which, intending to pass through the Straits of Le Maire, were deceived by three hills on Staten Land, and some creeks, resembling the Three Brothers and coves of Terra del Fuego, so that they overshot the straits.

Though Terra del Fuego presented an aspect exceedingly barren and desolate, yet this island of Staten Land far surpasses it in the wildness and horror of its appearance, seeming to be entirely composed of inaccessible rocks, without the smallest apparent admixture of earth or mould, upon or between them. These rocks terminate in a vast number of rugged points, which spire up to a prodigious height, and are all covered with everlasting snow; their pointed summits or pinnacles being every way surrounded by frightful precipices, and often overhanging in a most astonishing manner. The hills which are crowned by the rugged rocks, are generally separated from each other by narrow clifts, appearing as if the country had been frequently rent by earthquakes; for these chasms are nearly perpendicular, and extend through the substance of the main rocks almost to their bases; so that nothing can be imagined more savage and gloomy than the whole aspect of this coast.

Having opened the Straits of Le Maire on the morning of the 7th March, as before mentioned, the Pearl and Tryal, about ten o'clock, were ordered to keep a-head of the squadron and lead the way. We accordingly entered the straits with fair weather and a brisk gale, and were hurried through by the rapidity of the tide in about two hours, though they are between seven and eight leagues in length. As these straits are often esteemed the boundary between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and as we presumed that we had nothing now before us but an open sea, till we should arrive on the opulent coasts where all our hopes and wishes centered, we could not help flattering ourselves that the greatest difficulty of our voyage was now at an end, and that our most sanguine dreams were on the point of being realized. We indulged ourselves, therefore, in the romantic imaginations which the [pg 281] fancied possession of the gold of Chili and silver of Peru might readily be conceived to inspire. These joyous ideas were considerably heightened, by the brightness of the sky and serenity of the weather, which indeed were both most remarkably delightful: For, though the antarctic winter was now advancing with hasty strides, the morning of this day, in mildness and even brilliancy, gave place to none that we had seen since our departure from England. Thus, animated by these flattering delusions, we passed those memorable straits, ignorant of the dreadful calamities then impending, and ready to burst upon us; ignorant that the moment was fast approaching when our squadron was to be separated, never again to unite; and that this day of our passage was the last cheerful day that the greatest part of us was ever to enjoy in this world.

Footnote 1: (return)

The longitude of Cape Virgin Mary, is only 67° 42' W. from Greenwich.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

By the draught in the original, omitted here for substantial reasons already repeatedly stated, the coast at this southern extremity of Patagonia is represented as a high bluff flat on the top, and ending abruptly at this cape.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

The western side of the entrance into the Straits of Le Maire is formed by the Capes of St Vincent and St Diego; the former in lat. 54° 30', the latter in 54° 40', both S. and long. 65° 40' W.


Course from the Straits of Le Maire to Cape Noir.

We had scarcely reached the southern extremity of the Straits of Le Maire, when our flattering hopes were almost instantly changed to the apprehension of immediate destruction. Even before the sternmost ships of the squadron were clear of the straits, the serenity of the sky was suddenly obscured, and we observed all the presages of an impending storm. The wind presently shifted to the southward, and blew in such violent squalls that we had to hand our top-sails and reef our main-sail; while the tide, which had hitherto favoured us, turned furiously adverse, and drove us to the eastward with prodigious rapidity, so that we were in great anxiety for the Wager and Anna pink, the two sternmost vessels, fearing they might be dashed to pieces upon the shore of Staten Land; nor were our apprehensions without foundation, as they weathered that coast with the utmost difficulty. Instead of pursuing our intended course to the S.W. the whole squadron was now drifted to the eastward, by the united force of the storm and current; so that next morning we found ourselves nearly seven leagues eastward of the straits, which then bore from us N.W.

The violence of the current, which had set us with so much precipitation to the eastward, together with the fierceness [pg 282] and constancy of the westerly winds, soon taught us to consider the doubling of Cape Horn as an enterprize that might prove too mighty for all our efforts; though some among us had so lately treated the difficulties which former voyagers were said to have encountered in this undertaking as little better than chimerical, and had supposed them to have arisen from timidity and unskilfulness, rather than from the real embarrassments of the winds and seas. But we were now convinced, from severe experience, that these censures were rash and ill founded; for the distresses with which we struggled during the three succeeding months, will not be easily paralleled in the relation of any former naval expedition; which, I doubt not, will be readily allowed by those who shall carefully peruse the ensuing narration.

From this storm, which came on before we were well clear of the straits of Le Maire, we had a continual succession of such tempestuous weather as surprised the oldest and most experienced mariners on board, and obliged them to confess, that what they had hitherto called storms were inconsiderable gales, when compared with those winds we now encountered; which raised such short, and at times such mountainous waves, as greatly surpassed in danger all seas known in other parts of the globe, and, not without reason, this unusual appearance filled us with continual terror; for, had any one of these waves broken fairly over us, it must almost inevitably have sent us instantly to the bottom. Neither did we escape with terror only: for the ship, rolling incessantly gunwale-to, gave us such quick and violent jerking motions, that the men were in perpetual danger of being dashed to pieces against the decks and sides of the ship; and, though we were extremely careful to secure ourselves against these shocks, by grasping some fixed body, yet many of our people were forced from their holds, some of whom were actually killed, and others greatly injured. In particular, one of our best seamen was canted overboard and drowned; another dislocated his neck; a third was thrown down the main hatchway into the hold and broke his thigh; one of our boatswain's mates broke his collar-bone twice; not to mention many other similar accidents.

These tempests, so dreadful in themselves, though unattended by any other unfavourable circumstances, were yet rendered more mischievous to us by their inequality, and by the deceitful intervals that at times occurred; for, although [pg 283] we had often to lie-to for days together under a reefed mizen, and were frequently reduced to drive at the mercy of the winds and waves under bare poles, yet now and then we ventured to make sail under double-reefed courses; and occasionally, the weather proving more moderate, were perhaps encouraged to set our top-sails; after which, without any previous notice, the wind would return with redoubled force, and would in an instant tear our sails from the yards. And, that no circumstance might be wanting which could aggravate our distress, these blasts generally brought with them a great quantity of snow and sleet, which cased our rigging in ice, and froze our sails, rendering them and our cordage so brittle as to tear and snap with the least strain; adding thereby great difficulty and labour to the working of the ship, benumbing the hands and limbs of our people, and rendering them incapable of exerting themselves with their accustomed activity, and even disabling many of them, by inducing mortification of their toes and fingers. It were, indeed, endless to enumerate the various disasters of different kinds which befel us, and I shall only mention the most material, which will sufficiently evince; the calamitous condition of the whole squadron, during this part of our navigation.

As already observed, it was on the 7th of March that we passed the Straits of Le Maire, and were immediately afterwards driven to the eastwards, by a violent storm, and by the force of the current setting in that direction. During the four or five succeeding days, we had hard gales of wind from the same western quarter, attended by a most prodigious swell; insomuch that, although we stood all that time towards the S.W. we had no reason to imagine we had made any way to the westwards. In this interval we had frequent squalls of rain and snow, and shipped great quantities of water. After this, for three or four days, though the sea ran mountains high, yet the weather was rather more moderate; but, on the 18th; we had again strong gales of wind with excessive cold, and at midnight the main top-sail split, and one of the straps of the main dead-eyes broke. From the 18th to the 23d the weather was more moderate, though, often intermixed with rain and sleet and some hard gales; but, as the waves did not subside, the ship, by labouring sore in this lofty sea, became so loose in her upper-works that she let in water at every seam, so that every part of her within [pg 284] board was constantly exposed to the sea-water, and scarcely any even of the officers ever lay dry in their beds. Indeed, hardly did two nights pass without many of them being driven from their beds by deluges of water.

On the 23d we had a most violent storm of wind, hail, and rain, with a prodigious sea; and, though we handed the main-sail before the height of the squall, yet we found the yard spring; and soon after, in consequence of the foot-rope of the main-sail breaking, the main-sail itself split instantly into rags, and much the greater part of it was blown away, in spite of every endeavour to save it. On this the commodore made the signal for the squadron to bring to; and as the storm lulled into a calm, we had an opportunity to lower the main-yard, and set the carpenters to work upon it, while we also repaired our rigging; after which, having bent a new main-sail, we got again under way with a moderate breeze. But, in less than twenty-four hours, we had another storm, still more furious than the former, which blew a perfect hurricane, and obliged us to lie-to under bare poles. As our ship kept the wind better than any of the rest, we were obliged in the afternoon to wear, in order to join the squadron to leeward, as otherwise we had been in danger of parting from them in the night. On this occasion, as we dared not venture to show any sail to the gale, we had to use an expedient, which answered the purpose: This was putting the helm a-weather and manning the fore-shrouds: But, though this answered the end in view, yet in its execution one of our ablest seamen was canted overboard. Notwithstanding the prodigious agitation of the waves, we could perceive that he swam very vigorously, yet we found ourselves, to our excessive concern, incapable of giving him the smallest assistance; and were the more grieved at his unhappy fate, as we lost sight of him struggling with the waves, and conceived that he might continue long sensible of the horror of his irretrievable situation.

Before this storm was quite abated, we found that two of our main-shrouds and one of our mizen-shrouds were broken, all of which we knotted and replaced immediately. After this we had an interval of three or four days less tempestuous than usual, but accompanied by so thick a fog, that we had to fire guns almost every half hour to keep our squadron together. On the 31st we were alarmed by a gun from the Gloucester, and a signal to speak the commodore. We immediately [pg 285] bore down to her, prepared to learn some terrible disaster, of which we were apprised before we came down, by seeing that her main-yard was broken in the slings. This was a grievous misfortune to us all, at this juncture, as it was evident that it must prove a hinderance to our sailing, and would detain us the longer in these inhospitable latitudes. Our future safety and success was not to be promoted by repining, but by resolution and activity; and therefore, that this unhappy incident might delay us as short as possible, the commodore ordered several carpenters to be put on board the Gloucester from the other ships of the squadron, in order to repair her damage with the utmost expedition. At this time also, the captain of the Tryal represented that his pumps were so bad, and his ship made so much water, that he was scarcely able to keep her free; wherefore the commodore ordered him a pump, ready fitted, from the Centurion. It was very fortunate, both for the Gloucester and Tryal, that the weather proved more favourable that day, than for many days both before and after; since by this means they were enabled to receive the assistance which seemed so essential for their preservation, and which they could scarcely have procured at any other time, as it would have been extremely hazardous to have ventured a boat on board.

Next day, being the 1st of April, the weather returned to its customary bias; the sky looking dark and gloomy, and the wind beginning to freshen and to blow in squalls; yet it was not so boisterous as to prevent us carrying our top-sails close reefed, but its appearance evidently prognosticated that a still more severe tempest was at hand. Accordingly, on the 3d of April, there came on a storm, which, both in its violence and duration, for it lasted three days, exceeded all we had hitherto experienced. In its first onset, we received a furious shock from a sea, which broke upon our larboard quarter, where it stove in the quarter gallery, and rushed into the ship like a deluge. Our rigging suffered also extremely from the blow; among the rest, one of the straps of the main dead-eyes was broken, as were likewise a main shroud and a puttock shroud; so that, to ease the stress upon the masts and shrouds, we had to lower both our main and fore yards, and to furl all our sails. We lay in this posture for three days, when, the storm somewhat abating, we ventured to make sail under our courses only. Even this would not avail us long; for next day, being the 7th, we had another [pg 286] hard gale, accompanied with lightning and rain, which obliged as to lie-to all night.

It was really wonderful, notwithstanding the severe weather we endured, that no extraordinary accident had happened to any of the squadron since the Gloucester broke her main-yard. But this good fortune now no longer attended us, for, at three next morning, several guns were fired to leeward as signals of distress, on which the commodore made the signal for the squadron to bring to. At day-break we saw the Wager a considerable way to leeward of any of the other ships, and soon perceived that she had lost her mizen-mast, and main topsail-yard. We immediately bore down towards her, and found that this disaster had arisen from the badness of her iron-work, as all the chain plates to windward had given way, in consequence of her having fetched a deep roll. This accident proved the more unfortunate for the Wager, as her captain had been on board the Gloucester ever since the 31st March, and the weather was now too severe to permit of his return. Nor was the Wager the only ship in the squadron that suffered in this tempest; for next day, a signal of distress was made by the Anna pink, and on speaking her, we found she had broken her fore-stay and the gammon of her boltsprit, and was in no small danger of all her masts coming by the board; so that the whole squadron had to bear away to leeward till she made all fast, after which we again hauled upon a wind.

After all our solicitude, and the numerous ills of every kind, to which we had been incessantly exposed for near forty days, we now had great consolation in the hope that our fatigues were drawing to a close, and that we should soon arrive in a more hospitable climate, where we should be amply rewarded for all our past toils and sufferings; for, towards the latter end of March, by our reckoning, we had advanced near ten degrees to the west of the westermost point of Terra del Fuego; and, as this allowance was double what former navigators had thought necessary to compensate the drift of the western current, we esteemed ourselves to be well advanced within the limits of the Southern Pacific, and had been, ever since then, standing to the northward, with as much expedition as the turbulence of the weather and our frequent disasters would permit. On the 13th of April, in addition to our before-mentioned westing, we were only one degree of latitude to the southward of the western [pg 287] entrance into the Straits of Magellan, so that we fully expected in a very few days to experience the celebrated tranquillity of the Pacific Ocean. But these were only delusions, which served to render our disappointment more terrible. On the morning of the 14th, between two and three o'clock, the weather, which till then had been hazy, fortunately cleared up, and the pink made a signal for seeing the land right a-head; and, as it was only two miles distant, we were all under the most dreadful apprehensions of running on shore; which, had either the wind blown from its usual quarter, with its wonted violence, or had not the moon suddenly shone out, not a ship of the whole squadron could possibly have avoided. But the wind, which some hours before blew in squalls from the S.W. had fortunately shifted to W.N.W. by which we were enabled to stand to the southward, and to clear ourselves of this sudden and unexpected danger, and were fortunate enough by noon to have gained an offing of near twenty leagues.

By the latitude of this land we fell in with, it was agreed to be that part of Terra del Fuego, near the south-western outlet of the Straits of Magellan, described in Frezier's chart, and was supposed to be that point which he calls Cape Noir.1 It was indeed wonderful that the current should have driven us to the eastward with so much strength, for the whole squadron computed that we were ten degrees to the westward of this land; so that in turning, by our reckoning, about nineteen degrees of longitude, we had not in reality advanced half that distance: And now, instead of having our labours and anxieties relieved by approaching a warmer climate, and more tranquil seas, we were forced again to steer southwards, and had again to combat those western blasts which had already so often terrified us; and this too, when we were greatly enfeebled by our men falling sick and dying apace, and when our spirits, dejected by long continuance at sea and by this severe disappointment, were now much less capable of supporting us through the various difficulties and dangers, which we could not but look for in this new and arduous undertaking. Added to all this, we were sore discouraged by the diminution in the strength of the squadron; for, three days before this, we had lost sight of the [pg 288] Severn and Pearl in the morning, and, though we spread our ships, and beat about for them for some time, we never saw them more; whence we apprehended that they also had fallen in with this land in the night, and being less favoured by the wind and the moon, might have perished by running on shore. Full of these desponding thoughts and gloomy presages, we stood away to the S.W. prepared, by our late disappointment, how large an allowance soever we made in our westing for the drift of the current from the westward, that we might still find it insufficient upon a second trial.

Footnote 1: (return)

Cape Noir, is a small island off the western coast of Terra del Fuego, is in lat. 54° 28' S. long, 78° 40' W.E.


Observations and Directions for facilitating the Passage of future Navigators round Cape Horn.

The improper season of the year in which we attempted to double Cape Horn, and to which is to be imputed the before-recited disappointment, in falling in with Terra del Fuego, when we reckoned ourselves above an hundred leagues to the westward of that coast, and consequently well advanced into the Pacific Ocean, to which we were necessitated by our too late departure from England, was the fatal source of all the misfortunes we afterwards experienced. For, from hence proceeded the separation of our ships, the destruction of so many of our people, the ruin of our project against Baldivia, and of all our other views on the Spanish settlements, and the reduction of our squadron, from the formidable condition in which it passed the Straits of Le Maire, to a couple of shattered half-manned cruizers and a sloop, so exceedingly disabled that, in many climates, they scarcely durst have put to sea. To prevent, therefore, as much as in me lies, the recurrence of similar calamities to all ships bound hereafter to the South Seas, I think it my duty to insert in this place such observations and directions, as either my own experience and reflection, or the conversation of the most skilful navigators on board the squadron, could furnish me with, as to the most eligible manner of doubling Cape Horn, whether in regard to the season of the year, the course proper to be steered, or the places of refreshment both on the eastern and western sides of South America.

[pg 289]

To begin with the proper place for refreshment on the eastern side of South America. For this purpose the island of St Catharines has been usually recommended by former writers, and on their authority we put in there; but the treatment we experienced, and the small store of refreshments we could procure their are sufficient reasons to render all ships very cautious in future how they trust to the government of Don Jose Sylva de Paz; for they may assuredly depend on having their strength, condition, and designs betrayed to the Spaniards, as far as the knowledge the governor can procure of these particulars may enable him. As this treacherous conduct was inspired by the views of private gain, in the illicit commerce carried on to the river Plate, rather than by any natural affection between the Portuguese and Spaniards, the same perfidy may perhaps be expected from most of the governors on the coast of Brazil, since these smuggling engagements are doubtless very general and extensive; and, though the governors themselves should detest so faithless a procedure, yet, as ships are perpetually passing from one or other of the Brazilian ports to the Rio Plata, the Spaniards could scarcely fail of receiving intelligence, by this means, of any British ships being on the coast; and, however imperfect such intelligence might be, it might prove injurious to the views and interests of cruizers thus discovered.

As the Spanish trade in the South Seas is all in one direction, from north to south, or the direct reverse, with very little deviation to the eastward or westward, it is in the power, of two or three cruisers, properly stationed on different parts of this track, to possess themselves of every ship that puts to sea. This, however, can only be the case so long as they continue concealed from the neighbouring coast; for, the moment that an enemy is known to be in these seas, all navigation is prohibited, and all chance of capture is consequently at an end; as the Spaniards, well aware of these advantages to an enemy, send expresses all along the coast, and lay a general embargo on all trade; which measure they know will not only prevent their vessels from being taken, but must soon oblige all cruisers, that have not sufficient strength to attempt their settlements on shore, to quit these seas for want of provisions. Hence the great importance of carefully concealing all expeditions of this kind is quite evident; and hence too it is obvious how extremely prejudicial [pg 290] such intelligence must prove as that communicated by the Portuguese to the Spaniards in our case, in consequence of touching at the ports of Brazil. Yet it will often happen that ships, bound beyond Cape Horn, may be obliged to call there for wood, water, and other refreshments; in which case, St Catharines is the very last place I would recommend; both because the proper animals for a live stock at sea, as hogs, sheep, and fowls, are not to be procured there, for want of which we found ourselves greatly distressed, being reduced to live almost entirely on salt provisions; and because, from that port being nearer the Rio Plata than many others of the Portuguese settlements, the inducements and conveniences for betraying us to the Spaniards were so much the stronger. The place I would recommend is Rio Janeiro, where two of our squadron put in, after separating from us in passing Cape Horn. At this place, as I was informed by a gentleman on board one of these ships, any quantity of hogs and poultry can be procured; and as it is more distant from the Rio Plata, the difficulty of sending intelligence to the Spaniards is somewhat increased, and consequently the chance of continuing there undiscovered is so much the greater. Other measures, which may effectually obviate all these embarrassments, will be considered more at large hereafter.

I proceed, in the next place, to consider of the proper measures to be pursued for doubling Cape Horn: And here, I think I am sufficiently authorized, by our own fatal experience, and by a careful comparison and examination of the journals of former navigators, to give the following advice, which ought never, in prudence, to be departed from: Which is, That all ships bound to the South Seas, instead of passing through the Straits of Le Maire, should constantly pass by the eastward of Staten-Land, and should be invariably bent on running as far as the latitude of 61° or 62° S. before they endeavour to stand to the westwards; and ought then to make sure of a sufficient westing in or about that latitude, before commencing a northern course. But, since directions diametrically opposite to these have been formerly given by other writers, it is incumbent on me to produce my reasons for each part of this maxim.

First then, as to the propriety of passing to the eastward of Staten-Land. Those who have attended to the risk we ran in passing the Straits of Le Maire, the danger we were in of [pg 291] being driven upon Staten-Land by the current, when, though we happily escaped being driven on shore, we were yet carried to the eastward of that island: those, I say, who reflect on this and the like accidents which have happened to other ships, will surely not esteem it prudent to pass through these straits and run the risk of shipwreck, and find themselves, after all, no farther to the westward, the only reason hitherto given for this practice, than they might have been, in the same time, by a more secure navigation in an open sea. And next, as to the directions I have given for running into the latitude of 61° or 62° S. before any endeavour is made to stand to the westward. The reasons for this precept are, that, in all probability, the violence of the current setting from the westward will be thereby avoided, and the weather will prove less tempestuous and uncertain. This last circumstance we experienced most remarkably; for after we had unexpectedly fallen in with the land at Cape Noir, we stood away southward to get clear of it; and were no sooner advanced into the lat. of 60° S. or upwards, than we met with much better weather and smoother water than in any other part of this whole passage. The air indeed was very sharp and cold, and we had strong gales, but they were steady and uniform, and we had at the same time sunshine and a clear sky: whereas in the lower latitudes, the wind every now and then intermitted, as it were, to recover new strength, and then returned suddenly in the most violent gusts, threatening at every blast to blow away our masts, which must have proved our inevitable destruction.

Also, that the currents in this high latitude would be of much less efficacy than nearer the land, seems to be evinced by these considerations: That all currents run with greater violence near the shore than out at sea, and that at great distances from the land they are scarcely perceptible. The reason of this seems sufficiently obvious, if we consider that constant currents, in all probability, are produced by constant winds; the wind, though with a slow and imperceptible motion, driving a large body of water continually before it, which, being accumulated on any coast that it meets with in its course, must escape along the shore by the endeavours of the surface to reduce itself to the level of the rest of the ocean. It is likewise reasonable to suppose, that those violent gusts of wind which we experienced near the shore, so very different from what we found in the lat. of 60° S. and upwards, may be owing to a similar cause; for a westerly [pg 292] wind almost perpetually prevails in the southern part of the Pacific Ocean, and this current of air being interrupted by the enormously high range of the Andes, and by the mountains on Terra del Fuego, which together bar up the whole country as far south as Cape Horn, a part only of the wind can force its way over the top of these prodigious precipices, while the rest must naturally follow the direction of the coast, and must range down the land to the southward, and sweep with an impetuous and irregular blast round Cape Horn, and the southermost part of Terra del Fuego. Without placing too much reliance on these speculations, we may assume, I believe, as incontestable facts, that both the rapidity of the currents, and the violence of the western gales, are less sensible in lat. 61° or 62° S. than nearer the coasts of Terra del Fuego.

Though satisfied, both from our own experience and the relations of other navigators, of the importance of the precept here insisted on, of proceeding to lat. 61° or 62° S. before any endeavours are made to stand to the westwards, yet I would also advise all ships hereafter not to trust so far to this management as to neglect another most essential maxim: Which is, to make this passage in the height of the antarctic summer, or, in other words, in the months of December and January, which correspond exactly to the months of June and July in our northern or arctic hemisphere: and the more distant the time of passing may be from this season, so much the more disastrous the passage may reasonably be expected to prove. Indeed, if the mere violence of the western winds be considered, the time of our passage, which was about the antarctic autumnal equinox, was perhaps the most favourable period of the whole year. But then it must be considered that there are, independent of the winds, many other inconveniences to be apprehended in the depth of winter, which are almost insuperable. For, at that season, the severity of the cold, and the shortness of the days, would render it impracticable to run so far to the southward as is here recommended. The same reasons would also greatly augment the danger and alarm of sailing, at that season, in the neighbourhood of an unknown shore, dreadful in its appearance, even in the midst of summer, and would render a winter navigation on this coast, beyond all others, most dismaying and terrible. As I would, therefore, advise all ships to make their passage, if possible, in December and [pg 293] January, so I would warn them never to attempt doubling Cape Horn, from the eastward, after the month of March, which is equivalent to our August. As to the remaining consideration, in regard to the most proper place for cruizers to refit at, on their first arrival in the South Seas, there is scarcely any choice, the island of Juan Fernandez being the only place that can be prudently recommended for that purpose. For, although there are many ports on the western side of Patagonia, between the Straits of Magellan, one of which I shall particularly notice in the sequel, in which ships may ride in great safety, and may also recruit their wood and water, and procure some few refreshments, yet that coast is in itself so extremely dangerous, owing to its numerous rocks and breakers, and to the violence of the western winds, which blow upon it continually, that it is by no means advisable to fall in with that coast, at least till the roads, channels, and anchorages in each part of it have been accurately surveyed, and both the perils and shelters with which it abounds are more distinctly known.

Having thus given the best directions in my power, for the success of our cruizers that may be hereafter bound to the South Seas, it might be expected that I should now resume the narrative of our voyage. Yet as, both in the preceding and subsequent parts of this work, I have thought it my duty not only to recite all such facts, and to inculcate such maxims, as had even the least appearance of proving beneficial to future navigators, and also to recommend such measures to the public as seemed adapted to promote the same laudable purpose, I cannot desist from the present subject without beseeching those persons to whom the conduct of our naval affairs is confided, to endeavour to remove the many perplexities and embarrassments with which the navigation to the South Sea is at present encumbered. An effort of this kind could not fail of proving highly honourable to themselves, and extremely beneficial to their country; for it is sufficiently evident, that whatever improvements navigation shall receive, either by the invention of methods by which its practice may be rendered less hazardous, or by the more accurate delineation of the coasts, roads, and harbours already known, or by the discovery of new countries and nations, or of new species and sources of commerce, the advantages thence arising must ultimately redound to the emolument [pg 294] of Great Britain. Since, as our fleets are at present superior to those of the whole world united, it must be a matchless degree of supineness or meanness of spirit, if we permit any of the advantages deriveable from new discoveries, or from a more extended navigation, to be ravished from us.

Since it appears, from what has been already said, that all our future expeditions to the South Seas must run a considerable risk of proving abortive, while we remain under the necessity of touching at Brazil in our passage thither, the discovery of some place more to the southward, where ships might refresh, and supply themselves with the necessary sea stock for their passage round Cape Horn, would relieve us from this embarrassment, and would surely be a matter worthy of the attention of the public. Neither does this seem difficult to be effected, as we already have an imperfect knowledge of two places, which might perhaps prove, on examination, extremely convenient for this purpose. One of these is Pepy's Island, in the latitude of 47° S. and laid down by Dr Bailey about eighty leagues to the eastward of Cape Blanco, on the coast of Patagonia.1 The other is Falkland's Islands, in lat. 51° 30' S.2 nearly south of Pepy's Island.

The first of these was discovered by Captain Cowley in 1683, during his voyage round the world, and is represented by that navigator as a commodious place for ships to wood and water at, being provided with a good and capacious harbour, where a thousand sail of ships might ride at anchor in great safety, being also the resort of vast numbers of fowls; and as its shores consist of either rocks or sands, it seems to promise great plenty of fish. Falkland's Islands have been seen by many navigators, both French and English. It is laid down by Frezier, in his chart of the extremity of South America, under the name of the New Islands. Woods Rogers, who ran along the N.E. coasts of these islands in 1708, [pg 295] says they extend about two degrees in length,3 and appeared with gentle descents from hill to hill, seeming to be good ground, interspersed with woods, and not destitute of harbours.

Either of these places, being islands at a considerable distance from the continent, may be supposed, from their latitude, to be situated in a sufficiently temperate climate. They are both, it is true, too little known at present to be recommended as the most eligible places of refreshment for ships bound to the South Seas: But, if the admiralty should think proper to order them to be surveyed, which might be done at a very small expence, by a vessel fitted out on purpose; and if, on examination, either one or both should appear proper for serving the end in view, it is scarcely possible to conceive how exceedingly important so convenient a station might prove, so far to the southward, and so near Cape Horn. The Duke and Duchess of Bristol, under Woods Rogers, were only thirty-five days from losing sight of Falkland's Islands to their arrival at Juan Fernandez, in the South Sea; and, as the return back is much facilitated by the western winds, a voyage might doubtless be made from Falkland's Islands to Juan Fernandez and back again in little more than two months. Even in time of peace, this station might be of great consequence to the nation; and in time of war, would render us masters of those seas.

As all discoveries of this kind, though extremely honourable to those who direct and promote them, may yet be carried on at an inconsiderable expence, since small vessels are much the most proper to be employed in this service, it were greatly to be wished that the whole coasts of Patagonia, Terra del Fuego, and Staten-Land, were carefully surveyed, and the numerous channels, roads, harbours, and islands, in which they abound, accurately examined, described, and represented. This might open to us vast facilities for passing into the South Seas, such as hitherto we have no knowledge of, and would render the whole of that southern navigation greatly more secure than it is at present: Particularly as exact draughts of the western coast of Patagonia, from the Straits of Magellan to the Spanish settlements, might furnish [pg 296] us with better and more convenient ports for refreshment, and better situated, both for the purposes of war and commerce, than Juan Fernandez, as being above a fornight's sail nearer to Falkland's Islands.

The discovery of this coast was formerly thought of so much importance, by reason of its neighbourhood to the Araucos and other Indians of Chili, who are generally at war, or at least on ill terms, with the Spaniards, that, in the reign of Charles II. Sir John Narborough was purposely fitted out to survey the Straits of Magellan, the neighbouring coast of Patagonia, and the Spanish ports on that frontier, with directions, if possible, to procure some intercourse with the Chilese Indians, and to establish a commerce and lasting correspondence with them. His majesty's views, on this occasion, were not solely directed to the advantage he might hope to receive from an alliance with these savages, in restraining and intimidating the king of Spain, but he even conceived, independent of these considerations, that an immediate traffic with these Indians might prove highly advantageous to the nation; for it is well known that Chili, at its first discovery by the Spaniards, abounded in vast quantities of gold, much beyond what it has ever produced since it came into their possession. Hence it has been generally believed, that the richest mines are carefully concealed by the Indians, as well knowing that their discovery would excite in the Spaniards a greater thirst for conquest and tyranny, and would render their own independence more precarious. But, in regard to their commerce with the English, could that be established, these reasons would no longer influence them; since it would be in our power to supply them with arms and ammunition of all kinds, together with many other conveniences, which their intercourse with the Spaniards has taught them to relish. They would then, in all probability, open their mines, and gladly embrace a traffic of such mutual advantage to both nations: For their gold, instead of proving an incitement to enslave them, would then procure them weapons with which to assert their liberty, to chastise their tyranny, and to secure themselves for ever from falling under the Spanish yoke; while, with our assistance, and under our protection, they might become a considerable people, and might secure to us that wealth, which was formerly most mischievously lavished by the house of Austria, and [pg 297] lately by the house of Bourbon, in pursuit of universal monarchy.

It is true, that Sir John Narborough did not succeed in opening this commerce, which promised, in appearance, so many advantages to the nation: But his disappointment was merely accidental; and his transactions on that coast, besides the many advantages he furnished to geography and navigation, are rather an encouragement for future trials of this kind, than any objection against them. His principal misfortune was in losing a small bark that accompanied him, and having some of his people trepanned at Baldivia. It even appeared, by the fears and precautions of the Spaniards, that they were fully convinced of the practicability of the scheme he was sent to execute, and were extremely alarmed with apprehensions for its consequences. It is said that Charles II. was so far prepossessed with the belief of the advantages that might redound to the public from this expedition, and was so eager to be informed of the event, on receiving intelligence of Sir John Narborough passing through the Downs on his return, that he had not patience to wait till his arrival at court, but went himself in his barge to meet him at Gravesend.

The two most famous charts hitherto published, [i.e. in 1745,] of the southern parts of South America, are those of Dr Halley, in his General Chart of the Magnetic Variation, and of Frezier, in his Voyage to the South Seas. Besides these, there is a chart of the Straits of Magellan and some parts of the adjacent coast, by Sir John Narborough, which is doubtless infinitely more exact in that part than Frezier's, and even in some parts superior to Halley's, particularly in regard to the longitudes of different places in these straits. We were in some measure capable of correcting, by our own observations, the coast from Cape Blanco to Terra del Fuego, and thence to the Straits of Le Maire, as we ranged along that coast, generally in sight of land. The position of the land to the northward of the Straits of Magellan, on the western side of Patagonia, is doubtless laid down very imperfectly in our charts; and yet I believe it to be much nearer the truth than any hitherto published; as it was drawn from the information of some of the crew of the Wager, which was shipwrecked on that coast; and as it pretty nearly agrees with what I have seen in some Spanish manuscripts. The channel, called Whale Sound, dividing Terra [pg 298] del Fuego, towards the western extremity of the Straits of Magellan, was represented by Frezier; but Sir Francis Drake, who first discovered Cape Horn, and the south-west parts of Terra del Fuego, observed that the whole coast was indented by a great number of inlets, all of which he conceived to communicate with the Straits of Magellan: And I do not doubt, when this country shall be thoroughly examined, that this conjecture will be verified, and that Terra del Fuego will be found to consist of several islands.

I must not omit warning all future navigators against relying on the longitude of the Straits of Le Maire, or of any part of that coast, as laid down by Frezier; the whole being from eight to ten degrees too far to the eastward, if any faith can be given to the concurrent evidences of a great number of journals, verified, in some particulars, by astronomical observations. For instance, Sir John Narborough places Cape Virgin Mary in long. 65° 42' W. from the Lizard, or about 71° 20' from London. The ships of our squadron, taking their departure from St Catharines, where the longitude was rectified by an observation of an eclipse of the moon, found Cape Virgin Mary to be from 70° 15' to 72° 30' W. from London, according to their different reckonings; and, as there were no circumstances in our run that could Tender it considerably erroneous, it cannot be estimated in less than 71° W. from London;4 whereas Frezier makes it only 66° W. from Paris, which is little more than 63° from London. Again, our squadron found the difference of longitude between Cape Virgin Mary and the Straits of Le Maire to be not more than 2° 30', while Frezier makes the difference nearly 4°,5 by which he enlarged the coast, from the Straits of Magellan to the Straits of Le Maire, to near double its real extent.6

Footnote 1: (return)

Isla Grande, supposed to be the Pepy's Island discovered by Cowley, is in lat. 46° 34' S. and is placed by Mr Dalrymple in long. 46° 40' W. while the illustrious navigator Cook makes its long. 35° 40' W. a difference of longitude of no less than eleven degrees.

Footnote 2: (return)

The centre of Falkland's Islands is in 51° 45' S. Janson's Islands, the most north-westerly of the group, or the Sebaldines, is in 51°; and Beauchene's Isle, the most southerly, in 53° S.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

The west extremity of this group is in long. 62° W. and the east extremity in 56° 43' W. so that their extent is 5° 12' in difference of longitude.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

Only 67° 40' W. from Greenwich.E.

Footnote 5: (return)

The Straits of Le Maire are in long. 65° 30' W. so that the difference is 2° 10'.

Footnote 6: (return)

Some farther critical observations on the geographical positions, as laid down by Frezier, Sir John Narborough, and Dr Halley, are here omitted, as tending to no use or information; these things having been since ascertained with much more accuracy.E.

[pg 299]


Course from Cape Noir to the Island of Juan Fernandez.

After the mortifying disappointment of falling in with the coast of Terra del Fuego, at Cape Noir, when we reckoned ourselves ten degrees to the westward of it, as formerly mentioned to have happened on the 14th of April, we stood away to the S.W. till the 22d of that month, when we were in upwards of 60° S. and, by our reckoning, 6° westwards of Cape Noir. In this run, we had a series of as favourable weather as could well be expected in that part of the world, even in a better season of the year; so that this interval, setting aside our disquietudes on various accounts, was by far the most eligible of any we had enjoyed since passing the Straits of Le Maire. This moderate weather continued, with little variation, till the evening of the 24th, when the wind began to blow fresh, and soon increased to a prodigious storm. About midnight, the weather being very thick, we lost sight of the other ships of the squadron, which had hitherto kept us company, notwithstanding the violence of the preceding storms. Neither was this our sole misfortune, for next morning, while endeavouring to hand the top-sails, the clew-lines and bunt-lines broke, and the sheets being half flown, every seam in the top-sails was soon split from top to bottom. The main top-sail shook so violently in the wind, that it carried away the top lanthorn, and even endangered the head of the mast. At length, however, some of the boldest of our men ventured upon the yard, and cut the sail away close to the reefs, with the utmost hazard of their lives. At the same time, the fore top-sail beat about the yard with so much fury, that it was soon blown to pieces. The main-sail also blew loose, which obliged us to lower down the yard to secure the sail; and the fore-yard also being lowered, we lay-to under a mizen. In this storm, besides the loss of our top-sails, we had much of our rigging broken, and lost a main studding-sail boom out of the chains.

The weather became more moderate on the 25th at noon, which enabled us to sway up our yards, and to repair our shattered rigging in the best manner we could; but still we had no sight of the rest of our squadron, neither did any of [pg 300] them rejoin us till after our arrival at Juan Fernandez; nor, as we afterwards learnt, did any two of them continue in company together. This total, and almost instantaneous separation was the more wonderful, as we had hitherto kept together for seven weeks, through all the reiterated tempests of this turbulent climate. It must be owned, indeed, that we had hence room to expect we might make our passage in a shorter time than if we had continued together, because we could now make the best of our way, without being retarded by the misfortunes of the other ships; but then we had the melancholy reflection, that we were thereby deprived of the assistance of others, and our safety depended solely on our single ship; so that, if a plank started, or any other important accident occurred, we must all irrecoverably perish. Or, should we happen to be driven on shore, we had the uncomfortable prospect of ending our days on some desolate coast, without any reasonable hope of ever getting off again; whereas, with another ship in company, all these calamities are much less formidable, as in every kind of danger there would always be some probability that one ship at least might escape, and be capable of preserving or relieving the crew of the other.

During the remainder of April, we had generally hard gales, though every day, since the 22d, edging to the northward. On the last day of the month, however, we flattered ourselves with the expectation of soon terminating our sufferings, as we then found ourselves in lat. 52° 13' S. which, being to the northward of the Straits of Magellan, we were now assured that we had completed our passage, and were arrived on the confines of the South Sea: And, as this ocean is denominated the Pacific, from the equability of the seasons said to prevail there, and the facility and security with which navigation is there carried on, we doubted not that we should be speedily cheered with the moderate gales, the smooth water, and the temperate air, for which that portion of the globe is so renowned. Under the influence of these pleasing circumstances, we hoped to experience some compensation for the complicated sufferings, which had so constantly beset us for the last eight weeks. Yet here we were again miserably disappointed; for, in the succeeding month of May, our sufferings rose even to a much higher pitch than they had ever yet done, whether we consider the violence of the storms, the shattering of our sails and rigging, [pg 301] or the diminution and weakening of our crew by deaths and sickness, and the even threatening prospect of our utter destruction. All this will be sufficiently evident, from the following circumstantial recital of our diversified misfortunes.

Soon after we had passed the Straits of Le Maire, the scurvy began to make its appearance among us, and our long continuance at sea, the fatigue we underwent, and the various disappointments we met with, had occasioned its spreading to such a degree, that there were but few on board, by the latter end of April, that were not afflicted with it in some degree; and in that month no less than forty-three died of it in the Centurion. Although we thought the distemper had then risen to an extraordinary height, and were willing to hope that its malignity might abate as we advanced to the northward, we yet found, on the contrary, that we lost near double that number in the month of May; and, as we did not get to land till the middle of June, the mortality went on increasing, and so prodigiously did the disease extend, that, after the loss of above 200 men, we could not muster at the last above six foremast-men in a watch that were capable of duty.

This disease, so frequent in long voyages, and so particularly destructive to us, is surely the most singular and unaccountable of any that affects the human body. Its symptoms are innumerable and inconstant, and its progress and effects singularly irregular, for scarcely have any two persons complaints exactly resembling each other; and where there have been, some conformity in the symptoms, the order of their appearance has been totally different. Though it frequently puts on the form of many other diseases, and is not therefore to be described by any exclusive and infallible criterions, yet there are some symptoms which are more general than the rest, and of more frequent and constant occurrence, and which therefore deserve a more particular enumeration. These common appearances are large discoloured spots dispersed over the whole surface of the body, swelled legs, putrid gums, and, above all, an extraordinary lassitude of the whole body, especially after any exercise, however inconsiderable and this lassitude at last degenerates into a proneness to swoon, and even to die, on the least exertion of strength, or even on the least motion. This disease is usually attended, also, by a strange dejection of spirits, with shiverings, [pg 302] tremblings, and a disposition to be seized with the most dreadful terrors on the slightest accident. Indeed it was most remarkable, in all our reiterated experience of this malady, that whatever discouraged our people, or at any time damped their hopes, never failed to add new vigour to the distemper, for such usually killed those who were in the last stages of the disease, and confined those to their hammocks who were before capable of some kind of duty, so that it seemed as if alacrity of mind and sanguine hopes were no small preservatives from its fatal malignity.

But it is not easy to complete the long roll of the various concomitants of this disease; for it often produced putrid fevers, pleurisies, jaundice, and violent rheumatic pains, and sometimes occasioned obstinate costiveness, which was generally attended with a difficulty of breathing, and this was esteemed the most deadly of all the scorbutic symptoms. At other times the whole body, but more especially the legs, were subject to ulcers of the worst kind, attended by rotten bones, and such a luxuriance of fungous flesh as yielded to no remedy. The most extraordinary circumstance, and which would scarcely be credible upon any single evidence, was, that the scars of wounds that had been healed for many years, were forced open again by this virulent distemper. There was a remarkable instance of this in the case of one of the invalid soldiers on board the Centurion, who had been wounded above fifty years before, at the battle of the Boyne; and though he was cured soon after, and had continued well for a great many years, yet, on being attacked by the scurvy, his wounds broke out afresh in the progress of the disease, and appeared as if they had never been healed. What is even still more extraordinary, the callus of a broken bone, which had been completely formed for a long time, was dissolved in the course of this disease, and the fracture seemed as if it had never been consolidated. The effects, indeed, of this disease, were in almost every instance wonderful, for many of our people, though confined to their hammocks, appeared to have no inconsiderable share of health, as they eat and drank heartily, were even cheerful, talking with much seeming vigour with a loud strong voice; and yet, on being in the least moved, though only from one part of the ship to another, and that too in their hammocks, they would instantly expire. Others, who have confided in their seeming strength, and have resolved to get out of their hammocks, [pg 303] have died before they could well reach the decks; neither was it uncommon for such as were able to walk the deck, and even to perform some kind of duty, to drop down dead in an instant, on any attempt to act with their utmost effort; many of our people having perished in this manner in the course of our voyage.

We struggled under this terrible disease during the greatest part of the time of our beating round Cape Horn; and though it did not then rage with its utmost violence, yet we buried no less than forty-three men in the month of April, as formerly observed. We were still, however, in hopes of seeing a period to this cruel malady, and to all the other evils which had so constantly pursued us, when we should have secured our passage round the Cape: but we found, to our heavy misfortune, that the (so-called) Pacific Ocean was to us less hospitable even than the turbulent neighbourhood of Terra del Fuego and Cape Horn. On the 8th of May, being arrived of the island of Socoro, on the western coast of Patagonia, [in lat. 44° 50' S. long. 73° 45' W.] the first rendezvous appointed for the squadron, and where we hoped to have met with some of our consorts, we cruized for them in that station several days. We were here not only disappointed in our expectations of meeting our friends, which induced the gloomy apprehensions of their having all perished, but were also perpetually alarmed with the fear of being driven on this coast, which appeared too craggy and irregular to give us the least prospect, in such a case, that any of us could possibly escape immediate destruction. The land, indeed, had a most tremendous aspect. The most distant part, far within the country, being the mountains of the Andes, or Cordelieras, was extremely high, and covered with snow; while the coast seemed quite rocky and barren, and the edge of the water skirted with precipices. In some places, indeed, we observed several deep bays running; into the land; but their entrances were generally blocked up by numbers of small islands; and though it was not improbable but there might be convenient shelter in some of the bays, and proper channels leading to them, yet, as we were utterly ignorant of the coast, had we been driven ashore by the westerly winds, which blew almost incessantly we could not well have avoided the loss both of the ship and of our lives.

This continued peril which lasted above a fortnight, was greatly aggraved by the difficulties we found in working the [pg 304] ship; as the scurvy, by this time, had destroyed so great a number of our hands, and had in some degree infected almost the whole crew. Neither did we, as we hoped, find the winds less violent as we advanced to the northward; for we had often prodigious squalls of wind, which split our sails, greatly damaged our rigging, and endangered our masts. Indeed, during much the greatest part of the time we were upon this coast, the wind blew so hard that, in any other situation where we had sufficient sea-room, we should certainly have lain-to; but, in the present exigency, we were necessitated to carry both our courses and top-sails, in order to keep clear of this lee-shore. In one of these squalls, which was attended by several violent claps of thunder, a sudden flash of fire darted along our decks, which dividing, exploded with a report like that of several pistols, and wounded many of our men and officers, marking them in different parts of their bodies. This flame was attended by a strong, sulphurous stench, and was doubtless of the same nature with the larger and more violent flashes of lightning which then filled the air.

It were endless to recite minutely the various disasters, fatigues, and terrors, which we encountered on this coast, all of which went on increasing till the 22d of May; at which time the fury of all the storms we had hitherto encountered seemed to have combined for our destruction. In this hurricane almost all our sails were split, and a great part of our standing rigging broken. About eight in the evening, an overgrown mountainous wave took us upon our star-board quarter, and gave us so prodigious a shock that several of our shrouds broke with the jerk, to the great danger of our masts giving way, and our ballast and stores were so strangely shifted, that the ship heeled afterwards two streaks to port. This was a most tremendous blow, and we were thrown into the utmost consternation, having the dismal apprehension of instantly foundering. Though the wind abated in a few hours, yet, having no sails left in a condition to bend to the yards, the ship laboured exceedingly in a hollow sea, rolling gunwale too, for want of sail to keep her steady, so that we every moment expected that our masts, now very slenderly supported, would have come by the board. We exerted ourselves, however, the best we could, to stirrup our shrouds, to reeve new lanyards, and to mend our sails: But, while these necessary operations were going on, we ran great risk of being [pg 305] driven ashore on the island of Chiloe, which was not far from us. In the midst of our peril, the wind happily shifted to the southward, and we steered off the land with the main-sail only; at which time the master and I undertook the management of the helm, while every one else, capable of acting, were busied in securing the masts, and bending the sails as fast as they could be repaired. This was the last effort of that stormy climate; for, in a day or two after, we got clear of the land, and found the weather more moderate than we had yet experienced since passing the Straits of Le Maire.

Having now cruized in vain, for the other ships of the squadron, during more than a fortnight, it was resolved to take advantage of the present favourable weather, and the offing we had made from this terrible coast, and to make the best of our way for the island of Juan Fernandez. It is true that our next rendezvous was appointed off Baldivia; yet, as we had seen none of our companions at this first rendezvous, it was not to be supposed that any of them would be found at the second, and indeed we had the greatest reason to suspect that all but ourselves had perished. Besides, we were now reduced to so low a condition, that, instead of pretending to attack the settlements of the enemy, our utmost hopes could only suggest the possibility of saving the ship, and some part of the remaining crew, by a speedy arrival at Juan Fernandez; as that was the only place, in this part of the world, where there was any probability of recovering our sick or refitting our ship, and consequently our getting thither was the only chance we had left to avoid perishing at sea.

Our deplorable situation allowing no room for deliberation, we stood for the island of Juan Fernandez; and, to save time, which was now extremely precious, as our men were dying by four, five, and six of a day, and likewise to avoid being again engaged on a lee shore, we resolved to endeavour to hit that island upon a meridian. On the 28th of May, being nearly in the parallel on which it is laid down, we had great expectations of seeing that island; but, not finding it in the position laid down in our charts, we began to fear that we had got too far to the westward; and therefore, though the commodore was strongly persuaded that he saw it in the morning of the 28th, yet his officers believing it to have been only a cloud, to which opinion the haziness of the weather gave some countenance, it was resolved, on consultation, to stand to the eastward in the parallel of the island; as, by [pg 306] this course, we should certainly fall in with the island, if we were already to the westward of it, or should at least make the main land of Chili, whence we could take a new departure, so as not to miss it a second time in running to the westward.

Accordingly, on the 30th May, we had sight of the continent of Chili, distant about twelve or thirteen leagues, the land appearing very low and uneven, and quite white; what we saw being doubtless a part of the Cordilleras, which are always covered with snow. Though by this view of the land we ascertained our position, yet it gave us great uneasiness to find that we had so needlessly altered our course, when we had been, in all probability, just upon the point of making the island: For the mortality among us was now increased to a most frightful degree, and those who remained were utterly dispirited by this new disappointment, and the prospect of their longer continuance at sea. Our water, too, began to grow scarce, and a general dejection prevailed among us, which added much to the virulence of the disease, and destroyed numbers of our best men. To all these calamities, there was added this vexatious circumstance, after getting sight of the main land, that we were so much delayed by calms and contrary winds, while tacking westwards in quest of the island, that it took us nine days to regain the westing, which we ran down in two when standing to the eastward.

In this desponding condition, and under these disheartening circumstances, we stood to the westward, with a crazy ship, a great scarcity of fresh water, and a crew so universally diseased, that there were not above ten foremast men in a watch capable of doing duty, and even some of these lame and unable to go aloft. At last, at day-break on the 9th of June, we discovered the long-wished-for island of Juan Fernandez. Owing to our suspecting ourselves to be to the westward of this island on the 28th of May, and in consequence of the delay occasioned by our standing in for the main and returning, we lost between seventy and eighty of our men, whom we had doubtless saved, if we had made the island on that day, which we could not have failed to do, if we had kept on our course only for a few hours longer.

[pg 307]


Arrival of the Centurion at Juan Fernandez, with a Description of that Island.

As mentioned in the preceding section, we descried the island of Juan Fernandez at day-break on the 9th June, bearing N. by E. 1/2 E. distant eleven or twelve leagues. Though on this first view it appeared very mountainous, ragged, and irregular, yet it was land, and the land we sought for, and was therefore a most agreeable sight: because here only we could hope to put a period to those terrible calamities with which we had so long struggled, which had already swept away above half of our crew, and which, had we continued only a few days longer at sea, must inevitably have completed our destruction. For we were now reduced to so helpless a condition, that, out of two hundred and odd men who remained alive, taking all our watches together, we could not muster hands now to work the ship on any emergency, even including the officers, the servants, and the boys.

The wind being northerly when we first made the island, we kept plying to windward all that day, and the ensuing night, in order to get in with the land; and, while wearing ship in the middle watch, we had a melancholy instance of the almost incredible debility of our people; for the lieutenant could muster no more than two quarter-masters and six foremast men capable of working; so that, without the assistance of the officers, servants, and boys, it might have been impossible for us to have reached the island after we got sight of it; and even with their assistance, we were two hours in trimming the sails; to so wretched a condition were we reduced, in a sixty-gun ship, which had passed the Straits of Le Maire only three months before with between four and five hundred men, most of them then in health and vigour.

In the afternoon of the 10th, we got under the lee of the island, and kept ranging along its coast at the distance of about two miles, in order to look out for the proper anchorage, which was described to be in a bay on its north side. Being now so near the shore, we could perceive that the broken craggy precipices, which had appeared so very unpromising from a distance, were far from barren, being in [pg 308] most places covered by woods; and that there were every where the finest vallies interspersed between them, cloathed with a most beautiful verdure, and watered by numerous streams and cascades, every valley of any extent being provided with its own rill; and we afterwards found that the water was constantly clear, and not inferior to any we had ever met with. The aspect of a country thus beautifully diversified would at any time have been extremely delightful; but, in our distressed situation, languishing as we were for the land and its vegetable productions, an indication constantly attending every stage of the sea-scurvy, it is scarcely credible with what eagerness and transport we viewed the shore, and with how much impatience we longed for the greens and other refreshments which were in sight. We were particularly anxious for the water, as we had been confined to a very sparing allowance for a considerable time, and had then only five tons remaining on board. Those only who have endured a long series of thirst, and who can readily recall the desire and agitation which even the ideas alone of springs and brooks have at that time raised in their minds, can judge of the emotion with which we viewed a large cascade of the purest water, which poured into the sea at a short distance from the ship, from a rock near a hundred feet high. Even those of the sick who were not in the very last stage of the distemper, though they had been long confined to their hammocks, exerted their small remains of strength, and crawled up to the deck, to feast their eyes with this reviving prospect.

We thus coasted along the island, fully occupied in contemplating this enchanting landscape, which still improved as we proceeded. But at last the night closed upon us, before we could determine upon the proper bay in which to anchor. It was resolved, therefore, to keep in soundings all night, having then from sixty-four to seventy fathoms, and to send our boat next morning to discover the road. The current shifted, however, in the night, and set us so near the land that we were obliged to let go our best bower in fifty-six fathoms, not half a mile from shore. At four next morning, the cutter was dispatched, under our third-lieutenant, to find out the bay of which we were in search. The boat returned at noon, full of seals and grass; for though the island abounded with better vegetables, the boat's crew, during their short stay, had not met any other, and thought even [pg 309] this would be acceptable as a dainty, and indeed it was all speedily and eagerly devoured. The seals, too, were considered as fresh provision, but were not much admired, though they afterwards came into more repute; but we had taken a prodigious quantity of excellent fish during the absence of the boat, which rendered the seals less valuable at this time.

The cutter had discovered the bay in which we intended to anchor, which was to the westward of our present station; and next morning, the weather proving favourable, we endeavoured to weigh, in order to proceed thither, mustering all the strength we could, obliging even the sick, who could hardly stand on their legs, to assist; yet the capstan was so weakly manned, that it was near four hours before we could heave the cable right up and down: after which, with our utmost efforts, though with many surges and some additional purchases to increase our strength, we found it utterly impossible to start the anchor out of the ground. At noon, however, as a fresh gale blew towards the bay, we were induced to set the sails, which fortunately tripped the anchor. We then steered along shore, till we came abreast of the point forming the eastern part of the bay: But on opening the bay, the wind, which had hitherto favoured us, chanced to shift, and blew from the bay in squalls; yet, by means of the head-way we had got, we luffed close in, till the anchor, which still hung at our bow, brought us up in fifty-six fathoms.

Soon after we had thus got to anchor in the mouth of the bay, we discovered a sail making toward us, which we had no doubt was one of our squadron, and which, on a nearer approach, we found to be the Tryal sloop; whereupon, we immediately dispatched some of our hands to her assistance, by whose means she was brought to anchor between us and the land. We soon learnt that she had by no means been exempted from the same calamities by which we had been so severely afflicted; for Captain Saunders, her commander, waiting on the commodore, informed him, that he had buried thirty-four men out of his small complement, and those that remained alive were so universally afflicted with the scurvy, that only himself, his lieutenant, and three of the men were able to stand by the sails.

It was on the 12th about noon that the Tryal came to anchor within us, when we carried our hawsers on board her, in order to warp our ship nearer the shore; but the wind [pg 310] coming off the land in violent gusts, prevented our mooring in the intended birth. Indeed our principal attention was now devoted to a business of rather more importance, as we were now anxiously employed in sending on shore materials to erect tents for the reception of the sick, who died rapidly on board. Doubtless the distemper was considerably augmented by the stench and filthiness in which they lay; for the number of the sick was so great, and so few of them could be spared from the necessary duty of the sails to look after them, that it was impossible to avoid a great relaxation in regard to cleanliness, so that the ship was extremely loathsome between decks. Notwithstanding our desire to free the sick from their present hateful situation, and their own extreme eagerness to get on shore, we had not hands enough to prepare the tents for their reception sooner than the 16th; but on that and the two following days we got them all on shore, to the number of an hundred and sixty-seven persons, besides twelve or fourteen who died in the boats on being exposed to the fresh air. The greatest part of our sick were so infirm, that we had to carry them out of the ship in their hammocks, and to convey them afterwards in the same manner from the water-side to the tents, over a stony beach. This was a work of considerable fatigue to the few who remained healthy; and therefore our commodore, according to his accustomed humanity, not only assisted in this himself, but obliged all his officers to give their helping-hand.

The extreme weakness of our sick may be collected, in some measure, from the numbers that died after they got on shore. It has generally been found that the land, and the refreshments it affords, very soon produce recovery in most stages of the scurvy, and we flattered ourselves that those who had not perished on their first exposure to the open air, but had lived to be placed in the tents, would have been speedily restored to health and vigour. Yet to our great mortification, it was nearly twenty days after they landed, before the mortality entirely ceased, and for the first ten or twelve days we rarely buried less than six each day, and many of those who survived recovered by very slow and insensible degrees. Those, indeed, who had sufficient strength, at their first getting on shore, to creep out of the tents, and to crawl about, were soon relieved, and speedily recovered their health and strength: But, in the [pg 311] rest, the disease seemed to have attained a degree of inveteracy altogether without example.

Before proceeding to any farther detail of our proceeding, I think it necessary to give a distinct account of this island of Juan Fernandez, including its situation, productions, and conveniences. We were well enabled to be minutely instructed in these particulars, during our three months stay at this island; and its advantages will merit a circumstantial description, as it is the only commodious place in these seas, where British cruizers can refresh and recover their men, after passing round Caps Horn, and where they may remain for some time without alarming the Spanish coast. Commodore Anson, indeed, was particularly industrious, in directing the roads and coasts of this island to be surveyed, and other observations of all kinds to be made; knowing, from his own experience, of how great benefit these materials might prove hereafter, to any British cruizers in these seas. For the uncertainty we were in of its position, and our standing in for the main on the 28th May, as formerly related, cost us the lives of between seventy and eighty of our men; from which fatal loss we might have been saved, had we possessed such an account of its situation as we could have fully depended upon.

The island of Juan Fernandez is in lat. 33° 40'S. [long. 77° 30' W.] one hundred marine leagues or five degrees of longitude from the continent of Chili. It is said to have received its name from a Spaniard who formerly procured a grant of it, and resided there for some time with the view of forming a settlement, but abandoned it afterwards.1 On approaching its northern side from the east, it appears a large congeries of lofty peaked mountains, the shore in most places being composed of high precipitous rocks, presenting three several bays, East bay, Cumberland bay, and West bay, the second only being of any extent, and is by far the best, in which we moored. The island itself is of an irregular triangular figure; one side of which, facing the N.E. contains these three bays. Its greatest extent is between four and five leagues, and its greatest breadth something less than two. The only safe anchorage is on the N.E. [pg 312] side, where, as already mentioned, are the three bays; the middlemost of which, named Cumberland bay, is the widest and deepest, and in all respects by much the best; for the other two, named East and West bays, are scarcely more than good landing places, where boats may conveniently put casks on shore for water. Cumberland bay is well secured to the southward, and is only exposed from the N. by W. to the E. by S. and as the northerly winds seldom blow in that climate, and never with any violence, the danger from that quarter is not worth attending to. This last-mentioned bay is by far the most commodious road in the island, and it is advisable for all ships to anchor on its western side, within little more than two cables length of the beach, where they may ride in forty fathoms, and be sheltered, in a great measure, from a large heavy sea which comes rolling in, whenever the wind blows from eastern or western quarters. It is expedient, however, to cackle or arm the cables with an iron chain, or with good rounding, for five or six fathoms from the anchor, to secure them from being rubbed by the foulness of the ground.2

I have already observed that a northerly wind, to which alone this bay is directly exposed, very seldom blew while we were there; and, as it was then winter, such may be supposed less frequent in other seasons. In those few instances when the wind was in that quarter, it did not blow with any great force, which might be owing to the high lands, south of the bay, giving a check to its force; for we had reason to believe that it blew with considerable force a few leagues out at sea, since it sometimes drove a prodigious sea before it into the bay, during which we rode forecastle in. Though the northerly winds are never to be apprehended in this bay, yet the southerly winds, which generally prevail here, frequently blow off the land in violent gusts and squalls, which seldom lasted, however, longer than two or three minutes. This seems to be owing to the high hills, in the neighbourhood of the bay, obstructing the southern gale; as the wind, collected by this means, at last forces its passage through the narrow [pg 313] vallies; which, like so many funnels, both facilitate its escape, and increase its violence. These frequent and sudden guests make it difficult for a ship to work in with the wind offshore, or to keep a clear hawse, when anchored.

The northern part of this island is composed of high craggy hills, many of them inaccessible, though generally covered with trees. The soil of this part is loose and shallow, so that very large trees in the hills frequently perish for want of root, and are then easily overturned. This circumstance occasioned the death of one of our men, who, being on the hills in search of goats, caught hold of a tree upon a declivity to assist him in his ascent, and this giving way, he rolled down the hill; and though, in his fall, he fastened on another tree of considerable bulk, this also gave way, and he fell among the rocks, where he was dashed to pieces. Mr Brett, also, having rested his back against a tree, near as large about as himself, which grew on a slope, it gave way with him, and he fell to a considerable distance, though without receiving any injury. Our prisoners, whom, as will appear in the sequel, we afterwards brought to this island, remarked that the appearance of the hills in some parts resembled that of the mountains in Chili where gold is found; so that it is not impossible that mines might be discovered here. In some places we observed several hills of a peculiar red earth, exceeding vermillion in colour, which perhaps, on examination, might prove useful for many purposes. The southern, or rather S.W. part of the island, is widely different from the rest; being destitute of trees, dry, stony, and very flat and low, compared, with the hills on the northern part. This part of the island is never frequented by ships, being surrounded by a steep shore, and having little or no fresh water; besides which, it is exposed to the southerly winds, which generally blow here the whole year round, and with great violence in the antarctic winter.

The trees, of which the woods in the northern part of the island are composed, are mostly aromatic, and of many different sorts. There are none of them of a size to yield any considerable timber, except those we called myrtle-trees, which are the largest on the island, and supplied us with all the timber we used; yet even these would not work to a greater length than forty feet. The top of the myrtle is circular, and as uniform and regular as if clipped round by art. It bears an excrescence like moss on its bark, having [pg 314] the taste and smell of garlic, and was used instead of it by our people. We found here the pimento, and the cabbage-tree, but in no great quantity. Besides these, there were a great number of plants of various kinds, which we were not botanists enough to describe or attend to. We found here, however, almost all the vegetables that are usually esteemed peculiarly adapted to the cure of those scorbutic disorders which are contracted by salt diet and long voyages, as we had great quantities of water-cresses and purslain, with excellent wild sorrel, and a vast profusion of turnips and Sicilian radishes, which two last, having a strong resemblance to each other, were confounded by our people under the general name of turnips. We usually preferred the tops of the turnips to the roots, which we generally found stringy, though some of them were free from that exception, and remarkably good. These vegetables, with the fish and flesh we got here, to be more particularly described hereafter, were not only exceedingly grateful to our palates after the long course of salt diet to which we had been confined, but were likewise of the most salutary consequence in recovering and envigorating our sick, and of no mean service to us who were well, by destroying the lurking seeds of the scurvy, from which none of us, perhaps, were totally exempted, and in refreshing and restoring us to our wonted strength and activity. To the vegetables already mentioned, of which we made perpetual use, I must add that we found many acres of ground covered with oats and clover. There were some few cabbage-trees, as before observed, but these grew generally on precipices and in dangerous situations, and as it was necessary to cut down a large tree to procure a single cabbage, we were rarely able to indulge in this dainty.

The excellence of the climate, and the looseness of the soil, renders this island extremely proper for all kinds of cultivation: for, if the ground be any where accidentally turned up, it becomes immediately overgrown with turnips and Sicilian radishes. Our commodore, therefore, having with him garden-seeds of all kinds, and stones of different kinds of fruits, sowed here lettuces, carrots, and other garden-plants, and set in the woods great numbers of plumb, apricot, and peach-stones, for the better accommodation of our countrymen who might hereafter touch at this island. These last have since thriven most remarkably, as has been since learnt by Mr Anson. For some Spanish gentlemen having been [pg 315] taken on their passage from Lima to Spain, and brought to England, having procured leave to wait upon him, to thank him for his generosity and humanity to his prisoners, some of whom were their relations, and foiling into discourse about his transactions in the South Seas, asked if he had not planted a great number of fruit-stones on the island of Juan Fernandez, as their late navigators had discovered there a great many peach and apricot trees, which, being fruits not observed there before, they supposed to have been produced from kernels set by him.

This may suffice in general as to the soil and vegetable productions of Juan Fernandez; but the face of the country, at least of its northern part, is so extremely singular as to require a particular consideration. I have already noticed the wild and inhospitable appearance of it to us at first sight, and the gradual improvement of its uncouth landscape as we drew nearer, till we were at last captivated by the numerous beauties we discovered on landing. During our residence, we found the interior to fall no ways short of the sanguine prepossessions we at first entertained. For the woods, which covered most of even the steepest hills, were free from all bushes and underwood, affording an easy passage through every part of them; and the irregularities of the hills and precipices, in the northern part of the island, traced out, by their various combinations, a great number of romantic vallies, most of which were pervaded by streams of the purest water, which tumbled in beautiful cascades from rock to rock, as the bottoms of the vallies happened to be broken into sudden descents by the course of the neighbouring hills. Some particular spots occurred in these vallies where the shade and fragrance of the contiguous woods, the loftiness of the overhanging rocks, and the transparency and frequent cascades of the streams, presented scenes of such elegance and dignity, as would with difficulty be rivalled in any other part of the globe. Here, perhaps, the simple productions of unassisted nature may be said to excel all the fictitious descriptions of the most fertile imagination.

The piece of ground which the commodore chose in which to pitch his tent, was a small lawn on a gentle ascent, about half a mile from the sea. In front of the tent was a large avenue, opening through the woods to the shore, and sloping with a gentle descent to the water, having a prospect of the bay and the ships at anchor. This lawn was screened behind [pg 316] by a wood of tall myrtle trees, sweeping round in a crescent form, like a theatre, the slope on which the wood grew rising more rapidly than the open lawn, yet not so much but that the hills and precipices of the interior towered considerably above the tops of the trees, and added greatly to the beauty and grandeur of the view. There were also two streams of water, pure as the finest crystal, which ran to the right and left of the tent within the distance of an hundred yards, and which, shaded by trees skirting either side of the lawn, completed the symmetry of the whole.

It only now remains that we should mention the animals and provisions which we met with at this island. Former writers have related that this island abounded with vast numbers of goats, and their accounts are not to be questioned, as this place was the usual resort of the buccaneers and privateers who used formerly to frequent these seas. There are two instances, one of a musquito Indian, and the other of Alexander Selkirk, a Scotsman, who were left here by their respective ships, and lived alone upon the island for some years, and were consequently no strangers to its productions. Selkirk, who was here the last, after a stay of between four and five years, was taken off by the Duke and Duchess privateers, of Bristol, as may be seen at large in the journal of their voyage. His manner of life, during his solitude, was very remarkable in most particulars; but he relates one circumstance, which was so strongly verified by our own experience, that it seems worthy of being mentioned. He tells us, as he often caught more goats than he had occasion for, that he sometimes marked their ears, and let them go. This was about thirty-two years before our arrival, yet it happened that the first goat killed by our people after they landed, had its ears slit; whence we concluded that it had doubtless been formerly caught by Selkirk. This was indeed an animal of a most venerable aspect, dignified with a most majestic beard, and bearing many other marks of great age. During our residence, we met with others marked in the same manner, all the males being distinguished by exuberant beards, with every other characteristic of extreme age.

The great number of goats, which former writers describe as having been found on this island, were very much diminished before our arrival. For the Spaniards, aware of the advantages derived by the buccaneers and pirates from the goats-flesh they here procured, have endeavoured to extirpate [pg 317] the breed, on purpose to deprive their enemies of this resource. For this purpose, they put on shore great numbers of large dogs, which have greatly increased, and have destroyed all the goats in the accessible pans of the country; so that there were only, when we were there, a few among the crags and precipices, where the dogs cannot follow them. These remaining goats are divided into separate flocks, of twenty or thirty each, which inhabit distinct fastnesses, and never mingle with each other, so that we found it exceedingly difficult to kill them; yet we were so desirous of their flesh, which we all agreed resembled venison, that we came, I believe, to the knowledge of all their haunts and flocks; and, by comparing their numbers, it was conceived that they scarcely exceeded two hundred on the whole island. I once witnessed a remarkable contest between a flock of goats and a number of dogs. Going in our boat into the East bay, we perceived some dogs running very eagerly upon the foot, and willing to see what game they were in pursuit of, we rested some time on our oars to observe them, when at last they took to a hill, on the ridge of which we saw a flock of goats drawn up for their reception. There was a very narrow path leading to the ridge, skirted on each side by precipices; and here the master he-goat of the flock posted himself fronting the enemy, the rest of the goats being all behind him, on more open ground. As the ridge was inaccessible by any other path, except where this champion stood, though the dogs ran up the hill with great alacrity, yet, when they came within twenty yards, not daring to encounter him, as he would infallibly have driven them down the precipice, they gave over the chase, and lay down at that distance, panting at a great rate.

These dogs, which are masters of all the accessible parts of the island, are of various kinds, some of them very large, and have multiplied to a prodigious degree. They sometimes came down to our habitations under night, and stole our provisions; and once or twice they set upon single persons, but, assistance being at hand, they were driven away, without doing any mischief. As it is now rare for any goats to fall in their way, we conceived that they lived principally on young seals; and some of our people, having the curiosity to kill dogs sometimes, and dress them, seemed to agree that they had a fishy taste.

[pg 318]

Goats-flesh being scarce, as we were rarely able to kill above one in a day, and our people growing tired of fish, which abounded at this place, they at last condescended to eat seals, which they came by degrees to relish, calling it lamb. As the seal, of which numbers haunt this island, has been often mentioned by former writers, it seems unnecessary to say any thing particular respecting that animal in this place. There is, however, another amphibious animal to be met with here, called the sea-lion, having some resemblance to a seal, but much larger, which I conceive may merit a particular description. This too we eat, under the denomination of beef. When arrived at full size, the sea-lion is between twelve and twenty feet in length, and from eight to fifteen feet in circumference. They are extremely fat, so that, below the skin, which is an inch thick, there is at least a foot deep of fat, before coming to the lean or bones, and we experienced more than once, that the fat of some of the largest afforded us a butt of oil. They are also very full of blood; for, if deeply wounded in a dozen places, there will instantly gush out as many fountains of blood, spouting to a considerable distance. To try what quantity of blood one of them might contain, we shot one first, and then cut its throat, measuring the blood which flowed, and found that we got at least two hogsheads, besides a considerable quantity remaining in the vessels of the animal.

Their skins are covered with short hair of a light dun colour; but their tails and fins, which serve them for feet on shore, are almost black. These fore-feet, or fins, are divided at the ends like fingers, the web which joins them not reaching to the extremities, and each of these fingers is furnished with a nail. They have a distant resemblance to an overgrown seal; though in some particulars there are manifest differences between these two animals, besides the vast disproportion in size. The males especially are remarkably dissimilar, having a large snout, or trunk, hanging down five or six inches beyond the extremity of the upper jaw, which renders the countenances of the male and female easily distinguishable from each other. One of the largest of these males, who was master of a large flock of females, and drove off all the other males, got from our sailors the name of the bashaw, from that circumstance. These animals divide their time between the sea and the land, continuing at sea all summer, and coming on shore at the setting in of winter, during [pg 319] all which season they reside on the land. In this interval they engender and bring forth their young, having generally two at a birth, which are suckled by the dams, the young at first being as large as a full-grown seal.

During the time they continue on shore, they feed on the grass and other plants which grow near the banks of fresh-water streams; and, when not employed in feeding, sleep in herds in the most miry places they can find. As they seem of a very lethargic disposition, and are not easily awakened, each herd was observed to place some of their males at a distance, in the nature of centinels, who never failed to alarm them when any one attempted to molest, or even to approach them. The noise they make is very loud, and of different kinds; sometimes grunting like hogs, and at other times snorting like horses in full vigour. Especially the males have often furious battles, principally about their females; and we were one day extremely surprised at seeing two animals, which at first appeared quite different from any we had before observed; but on a nearer approach, they proved to be two sea-lions, which had been goring each other with their teeth, and were all covered over with blood. The bashaw, formerly mentioned, who generally lay surrounded by a seraglio of females, to which no other male dared approach, had not acquired that envied pre-eminence without many bloody contests, of which the marks remained in numerous scars in every part of his body.

We killed many of these animals for food, particularly for their hearts and tongues, which we esteemed exceeding good eating, and preferable even to those of bullocks. In general there was no difficulty in killing them, as they are incapable either of flight or resistance, their motion being the most unwieldy that can be imagined, and all the time they are in motion, their blubber is agitated in large waves under the skin. One day, a sailor being carelessly employed in skinning a young sea-lion, the female from whom he had taken it, came upon him unperceived, and getting his head into her mouth, scored his skull in notches with her teeth in many places, and wounded him so desperately that he died in a few days, though all possible care was taken of him.3

[pg 320]

These are the principal animals which we found upon the island of Juan Fernandez. We saw very few birds, and these were chiefly hawks, blackbirds, owls, and hummingbirds. We saw not the paradela,4 which burrows in the ground, and which former writers mention to be found here; but as we often met with their holes, we supposed that the wild dogs had destroyed them, as they have almost done the cats; for these were very numerous when Selkirk was here, though we did not see above two or three during our whole stay. The rats, however, still keep their ground, and continue here in great numbers, and were very troublesome to us, by infesting our tents in the night.

That which furnished us with the most delicious of our repasts, while at this island, still remains to be described. This was the fish, with which the whole bay was most abundantly stored, and in the greatest variety. We found here cod of prodigious size; and by the report of some of our crew, who had been formerly employed in the Newfoundland fishery, not less plentiful than on the banks of that island. We had also cavallies, gropers, large breams, maids, silver-fish, congers of a particular kind; and above all, a black fish which we esteemed most, called by some the chimney-sweeper, in shape somewhat resembling a carp. The beach, indeed, was every where so full of rocks and loose stones, that there was no possibility of hauling the seyne; but with hooks and lines we caught what numbers we pleased, so that a boat with only two or three lines, would return loaded with fish in two or three hours. The only interruption we ever met with arose from great quantities of dog-fish and large sharks, which sometimes attended our boats, and prevented our sport.

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Besides these fish, we found one other delicacy in greater perfection, both as to size, quantity, and flavour, than is to be met with perhaps in any other part of the world. This was sea craw-fish, usually weighing eight or nine pounds each, of a most excellent taste, and in such vast numbers near the edge of the water, that our boat-hooks often struck into them in putting the boats to and from the shore.

These are the most material articles relating to the accommodations, soil, vegetables, animals, and other productions of the island of Juan Fernandez, by which it will distinctly appear how admirably this place was adapted for recovering us from the deplorable situation to which we had been reduced by our tedious and unfortunate navigation round Cape Horn. Having thus given the reader some idea of the situation and circumstances of this island, in which we resided for six months, I shall now proceed to relate all that occurred to us in that period, resuming the narrative from the 18th of June, on which day the Tryal sloop, having been driven out by a squall three days before, came again to her moorings, on which day also we finished sending our sick on shore, being about eight days after our first anchoring at this island.

Footnote 1: (return)

In the original, the description given of this island refers to large engraved views, which could not be inserted in our octavo form, so as to be of the smallest utility.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

Cumberland bay is called La Baya by the Spaniards, who seem now to have established a fort here. East bay is by them called Puerta de Juan Fernandez. There is yet a fourth bay, or small indentation of the coast, with a landing place and stream of water, named Puerta Ingles, or Sugar-loaf bay, between West bay and the north point of the island.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

There are two species of the seal tribe which have received the name of sea-lion; the phoca leonina, or bottle-nosed seal, which is that of the text; and the phoca jubata, or maned seal, which is the sea-lion of some other writers. These two species are remarkably distinguishable from each other, especially the moles: The bottle-nosed seal having a trunk, snout, or long projection, on the upper jaw; while the male of the maned seal has his neck covered with a long flowing mane. The latter is also much larger, the males sometimes reaching twenty-five feet in length, and weighing fifteen or sixteen hundred weight. Their colour is reddish, and their voice resembles the bellowing of bulls. The former are chiefly found in the Southern Pacific; while the latter frequent the northern parts of the same ocean.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

This name is inexplicable; but, from the context, appears to refer to some animal of the cavia genus, resembling the rabbit: Besides, a small islet, a short way S.W. of Juan Fernandez, is named Isla de Conejos, or Rabbit Island.E.


Separate Arrivals of the Gloucester, and Anna Pink, at Juan Fernandez, and Transactions at that Island during the Interval.

The arrival of the Tryal sloop at this island, so soon after we came there ourselves in the Centurion, gave us great hopes of being speedily joined by the rest of the squadron; and we were accordingly for some days continually looking out, in expectation of their coming in sight. After near a fortnight had elapsed without any of them appearing, we began to despair of ever meeting them again, knowing, if our ship had continued so much longer at sea, that we should every man of us have perished, and the vessel, occupied only by dead bodies, must have been left to the caprice of the winds and waves; and this we had great reason to fear was the fate of our consorts, as every hour added to the probability of these desponding suggestions. But, on the 21st of June, some of our people, from an eminence on shore, discerned [pg 322] a ship to leeward, with her courses even with the horizon. They could, at the same time, observe that she had no sails aboard, except her courses and main-topsail. This circumstance made them conclude that it must be one of our squadron, which had probably suffered as severely in her sails and rigging as we had done. They were prevented, however, from forming more definite conjectures concerning her; for, after viewing her a short time, the weather grew thick and hazy, and she was no longer to be seen.

On this report, and no ship appearing for some days, we were all under the greatest concern, suspecting that her people must be under the utmost distress for want of water, and so weakened and diminished in numbers by sickness, as to be unable to ply up to windward, so that we dreaded, after having been in sight of the island, that her whole crew might yet perish at sea. On the 21st, at noon, we again discerned a ship at sea in the N.E. quarter, which we conceived to be the same that had been seen before, and our conjecture proved true. About one o'clock she had come so near that we could plainly distinguish her to be the Gloucester; and as we had no doubt of her being in great distress, the commodore immediately ordered out his boat to our assistance, laden with fresh water, fish, and vegetables, which was a most comfortable relief to them; for our apprehensions of their calamitous situation were only too well founded, as there never was, perhaps, a crew in greater distress. They had already thrown two-thirds of their complement overboard; and of those who remained alive, scarcely any were capable of doing duty, except the officers and their servants. They had been a considerable time at the small allowance of a pint of water to each man in twenty-four hours, and yet had so very little left, that they must soon have died of thirst, had it not been for the supply sent them by our commodore.

The Gloucester plied up within three miles of the bay, but could not reach the road, both wind and currents being contrary. She continued, however, in the offing next day; and as she had no chance of being able to come to anchor, the commodore repeated his assistance, sending off the Tryal's boat, manned with the people of the Centurion, with a farther supply of water, and other refreshments. Captain Mitchell of the Gloucester was under the necessity of detaining both this boat and that sent the preceding day, as he had no longer strength to navigate his ship without the aid [pg 323] of both their crews. The Gloucester continued near a fortnight in this tantalizing situation, without being able to fetch the road, though frequently making the attempt, and even at times bidding fair to effect the object in view. On the 9th July, we observed her stretching away to the eastward, at a considerable distance, which we supposed was with a design to get to the southward of the island; but, as she did not again appear for near a week, we were prodigiously alarmed for her safety, knowing that she must be again in extreme distress for want of water. After great impatience about her, we again discovered her on the 16th, endeavouring to come round the eastern point of the island, but the wind still blowing directly from the bay, prevented her from getting nearer than within four miles of the land.

Captain Mitchell now made signals of distress, and our long-boat, was sent off with a good supply of water, and plenty of fish and other refreshments: And, as the long-boat could not be wanted, the cockswain had positive orders from the commodore to return immediately. But next day proving stormy, and the boat not appearing, we much feared she was lost, which would have been an irretrievable misfortune to us all. We were relieved, however, from this anxiety on the third day after, by the joyful appearance of her sails on the water, on which the cutter was sent to her assistance, and towed her alongside in a few hours, when we found that the long-boat had taken in six of the Gloucester's sick men, to bring them on shore, two of whom had died in the boat. We now learnt that the Gloucester was in a most dreadful condition, having scarcely a man in health on board, except the few she had received from us. Numbers of their sick were dying daily, and it appeared, had it not been for the last supply sent by our long-boat, that both the healthy and diseased must all have perished for want of water. This calamitous situation was the more terrifying, as it appeared to be without remedy; for the Gloucester had already spent a month in fruitless endeavours to fetch the bay, and was now no farther advanced than when she first made the island. The hopes of her people of ever succeeding were now worn out, by the experience of its difficulty; and, indeed, her situation became that same day more desperate than ever, as we again lost sight of her, after receiving our last supply of refreshments, so that we universally despaired of her ever coming to anchor.

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Thus was this unhappy vessel bandied about, within a few leagues of her intended harbour, while the near neighbourhood of that place, and of these circumstances which could alone put an end to the calamities under which her people laboured, served only to aggravate their distress, by torturing them with a view of the relief they were unable to reach. She was at length delivered from this dreadful situation at a time when we least expected it: For, after having lost sight of her for several days, we were joyfully surprised, in the morning of the 23d July, to see her open the N.W. point of the bay with a flowing sail, when we immediately dispatched what boats we had to her assistance, and within an hour from our first perceiving her, she anchored safe within us in the bay.

We were now more particularly convinced of the importance of the assistance and refreshments we had repeatedly sent her, and how impossible it must have been for a single man of her crew to have survived, had we given less attention to their wants. For, notwithstanding the water, vegetables, and fresh provisions with which we had supplied them, and the hands we had sent to assist in navigating the ship, by which the fatigue of her own people had been greatly diminished, their sick relieved, and the mortality abated; notwithstanding this provident care of our commodore, they yet buried above three-fourths of their crew, and a very small proportion of the survivors remained capable of assisting in the duty of the ship. On getting to anchor, our first care was to assist them in mooring, and the next to get their sick on shore. These were now reduced, by numerous deaths, to less than fourscore, of which we expected the greatest part to have died; but whether it was that those farthest advanced in the cruel distemper had already perished, or that the vegetables and fresh provisions we had sent had prepared those who remained alive for a more speedy recovery, it so happened, contrary to our fears, that their sick, in general, were relieved and restored to health in a much shorter time than our own had been when we first came to the island, and very few of them died on shore.

Having thus given an account of the principal events relating to the arrival of the Gloucester, in one continued narration, I shall only add, that we were never joined by any other of our ships, except our victualler, the Anna pink, which came in about the middle of August, and whose history I [pg 325] shall defer for the present, as it is now high time, to return to our own transactions, both on board and ashore, during the anxious interval of the Gloucester making frequent and ineffectual attempts to reach the island.

Our next employment, after sending our sick on shore from the Centurion, was cleansing our ship, and filling our water casks. The former of these measures was indispensably necessary to our future health, as the number of our sick, and the unavoidable negligence arising from our deplorable situation at sea, had rendered the decks most intolerably loathsome. The filling our water was also a caution that appeared essential to our security, as we had reason to apprehend that accidents might intervene which would oblige us to quit the island at a very short warning, as some appearances we had discovered on shore, at our first landing, gave us grounds to believe that there were Spanish cruizers in these seas, which had left the island only a short time before our arrival, and might possibly return again, either for a supply of water, or in search of us. For we could not doubt that the sole purpose they had at sea was to intercept us, and we knew that this island was the likeliest place, in their opinion, to meet with us. The circumstances which gave rise to these reflections, in part of which we were not mistaken, as will appear more at large hereafter, were our finding on shore several pieces of earthen jars, made use of in these seas for holding water and other liquids, which appeared fresh broken. We saw also many heaps of casks, near which were fish bones and pieces of fish, besides whole fish scattered here and there, which plainly appeared to have been only a short time out of the water, as they were but just beginning to decay.

These were infallible indications that there had been a ship or ships at this place only a short time before our arrival; and, as all Spanish merchant ships are instructed to avoid this island, on account of its being the common rendezvous of their enemies, we concluded that those which had touched here must have been ships of force; and, as we knew not that Pizarro had returned to the Rio Plata, and were ignorant what strength might have been fitted out at Calao, we were under considerable apprehensions for our safety, being in so wretched and enfeebled a condition, as, notwithstanding the rank of our ship, and the sixty guns with which she was armed, there was hardly a privateer sent to sea that was not an [pg 326] overmatch for us. Our fears on this head, however, fortunately proved imaginary, and we were not exposed to the disgrace which must unavoidably have befallen us, had we been reduced to the necessity, by the appearance of an enemy, of fighting our sixty-gun ship with no more than thirty hands.

While employed in cleaning our ship, and filling our water casks, we set up a large copper oven on shore, near the sick tents, in which fresh bread was baked every day for the ship's company, as, being extremely desirous of recovering our sick as soon as possible, we believed that new bread, added to their green vegetables and fresh fish, might prove powerfully conducive to their relief. Indeed, we had all imaginable inducements to endeavour at augmenting our present strength, as every little accident, which to a full crew would have been insignificant, was extremely alarming in our present helpless condition. Of this we had a troublesome instance, on the 30th of June, at five in the morning, when we were alarmed by a violent gust of wind directly off shore, which instantly parted our small bower cable, about ten fathoms from the ring of the anchor. The ship at once swung off to the best bower, which happily stood the violence of the jerk, and brought us up, with two cables on end, in eighty fathoms.

At this time we had not above a dozen seamen in the ship, and were apprehensive, if the squall continued, that we might be driven out to sea in this helpless condition. We sent, therefore, the boat on shore, to bring off all who were capable of acting; and the wind soon abating of its fury, gave us an opportunity of receiving the boat back with a reinforcement. With this additional strength, we went immediately to work, to have in what remained of the broken cable, which we suspected to have received some injury from the ground before it parted, and accordingly we found that seven fathoms and a half had been chaffed and rendered unserviceable. In the afternoon, we bent this cable to the spare anchor, and got it over the bows. Next morning, the 1st of July, being favoured by the wind in gentle breezes, we warped the ship in again, and let go the anchor in forty-one fathoms; the eastern point of the bay now bearing from us E. 1/2 S. the western point N.W. by W. and the bottom of the bay S.S.W. as before. We were, however, much concerned for the loss of our anchor, and swept frequently to [pg 327] endeavour its recovery; but the buoy having sunk at the instant when the cable parted, we could never find it again.

As the month of July advanced, and some of our sick men were tolerably recovered, the strongest of them were set to cut down trees, and to split them into billets, while others, too weak for this work, undertook to carry the billets, by one at a time, to the water side. This they performed, some by the help of crutches, and others supported by a single stick. We next set up the forge on shore, and employed our smith, who was just capable of working, to repair our chain-plates, and other broken and decayed iron-work. We began also the repair of our rigging; but as we had not enough of junk to make spun-yarn, we deferred the general overhaul in the daily hope of the Gloucester arriving, which was known to have a great quantity of junk on board. That we might dispatch our refitting as fast as possible, we set up a large tent on the beach for the sail-makers, who were employed diligently in repairing our old sails and making new ones. These occupations, with cleansing and watering our ship, now pretty well completed, together with attending our sick, and the frequent relief sent to the Gloucester, were the principal transactions of our infirm crew, till the arrival of the Gloucester at anchor in the bay.

Captain Mitchell immediately waited on the commodore, whom he informed, that, in his last absence, he had been forced as far as the small island of Masefuero, nearly in the same latitude with the larger island of Juan Fernandez, and thirty leagues farther W. That he had endeavoured to send his boat on shore there for water, of which he observed several streams; but the wind blew so strong upon the shore, and caused so great a surf, that it was impossible to get to land. The attempt, however, was not entirely useless, as the boat came back loaded with fish. This island had been represented, by former navigators, as a mere barren rock, but Captain Mitchell assured the commodore, that it was almost every where covered with trees and verdure, and was nearly four miles in length. He believed also, that some small bay might possibly be found in it which might afford sufficient shelter to any ship desirous of procuring refreshments.

As four ships of our squadron were still missing, this description of Masefuero gave rise to a conjecture, that some of them might possibly have fallen in with that island, mistaking it for the true place of rendezvous. This suspicion [pg 328] was the more reasonable, that we had no draught of either island that could be relied upon; wherefore the commodore resolved to send the Tryal sloop thither, as soon as she could be made ready for sea, in order to examine all its creeks and bays, that it might be ascertained whether any of our missing ships were there or not. For this purpose, some of our best hands were sent on board the Tryal next morning, to overhaul and fix her rigging, and our long-boat was employed to complete her water; what stores and necessaries she wanted, being immediately supplied from the Centurion and Gloucester. It was the 4th of August before the Tryal was in readiness to sail. When, having weighed, it soon after fell calm, and the tide set her very near the eastern shore of the bay. Captain Saunders immediately hung out lights, and fired several guns, to apprise us of his danger; upon which all the boats were sent to his aid, which towed the sloop into the bay, where she anchored till next morning, and then proceeded with a fair breeze.

We were now busily employed in examining and repairing our rigging, and that of the Gloucester; but, in stripping our fore-mast, we were alarmed by discovering that it was sprung just above the partners of the upper deck. This spring was two inches in depth and twelve in circumference; but the carpenters, on inspection, gave it as their opinion, that fishing it with two leaves of an anchor-stock would render it as secure as ever. Besides this defect in our mast, we had other difficulties in refitting, from the want of cordage and canvass; for, although we had taken to sea much greater quantities of both than had ever been done before, yet the continued bad weather we had met with, after passing the straits of Le Maire, had occasioned so great a consumption of these stores, that we were reduced to great straits; as, after working up all our junk and old shrouds, to make twice laid cordage, we were at last reduced to the necessity to unlay a cable, to work up into running rigging; and, with all the canvass and remnants of old sails, that could be mustered, we could only make up one complete suit.

Towards the middle of August, our men being indifferently recovered, they were permitted to quit the sick tents, and to build separate huts for themselves; as it was imagined, by living apart, that they might be much cleanlier, and consequently likely to recover their strength the sooner: But strict orders were given, at the same time, that they [pg 329] were instantly to repair to the water-side, on the firing of a gun from the ship. Their employment now on shore, was either the procurement of refreshments, the cutting of wood, or the procurement of oil from the blubber of sea-lions. This oil served for several purposes; as burning in lamps, mixing with pitch to pay the sides of our ships, or, when worked up with wood-ashes, to supply the place of tallow, of which we had none left, to give the ship boat-hose tops. Some of the men were also occupied in salting cod; for, having two Newfoundland fishermen in the Centurion, the commodore set them to work in providing a considerable quantity of salted cod for sea-store; though very little of it was used, as it was afterwards thought to be equally productive of scurvy with any other kind of salted provisions.

It has been before mentioned, that we set up a copper oven on shore, to bake bread for the sick: But it happened that the greatest part of the flour, for the use of the squadron, was on board the Anna pink. It should also have been mentioned, that the Tryal sloop informed us, on her arrival, that she had fallen in with our victualler, on the 9th of May, not far from the coast of Chili, and had kept company with her for four days, when they were parted in a gale of wind. This gave us some room to hope that she was safe, and might rejoin us: But, all June and July having passed without any news of her, we gave her over for lost; and the commodore, at the end of July, ordered all the ships on a short allowance of bread. Neither was it in bread alone that we feared a deficiency: For, since our arrival at Juan Fernandez, it was discovered that our former purser had neglected to take on board large quantities of several kinds of provisions, which the commodore had expressly ordered him to receive; so that the supposed loss of our victualler was, on all accounts, a most mortifying circumstance.

About noon on Thursday the 16th of August, after we had given over all hopes of the Anna pink, a sail was espied in the northern quarter, on which a gun was immediately fired from the Centurion, to call off the people from the shore, who readily obeyed the summons, by repairing to the beach, where the boats waited to fetch them on board. Being now prepared for the reception of the ship in view, whether friend or enemy, we had various speculations respecting her, many supposing at first, that it was the Tryal [pg 330] sloop returning from the examination of Masefuero. As she drew nearer, this opinion was confuted, by observing that she had three masts, when other conjectures were eagerly canvassed; some judging the vessel in sight to be the Severn and others the Pearl, while several affirmed that she did not belong to our squadron. But, about three in the afternoon, all speculations were ended by the unanimous persuasion that it was our victualler, the Anna pink. And, though, this ship had fallen in with the island to the northward like the Gloucester, she yet had the good fortune to come to anchor in the bay at five in the afternoon. Her arrival gave us all the utmost satisfaction, as the ship's companies were immediately restored to their full allowance of bread, and we were now relieved from the apprehensions of our provisions falling short before we could reach some friendly port,a calamity, in these seas, of all others the most irretrievable. This was the last ship that joined us; and, as the dangers she encountered, and the good fortune she afterwards experienced, are worthy of a separate narration, I shall refer them, together with a short account of the other missing ships, to the ensuing section.


Short Account of what befell the Anna Pink before she rejoined; with an Account of the Loss of the Wager, and the putting back of the Severn and Pearl.

On the first recognition of the Anna pink, it seemed quite wonderful to us how the crew of a vessel, which had thus come to the rendezvous two months after us, should be capable of working their ship in the manner they did, and with so little appearance of debility and distress. This difficulty, however, was soon solved after she came to anchor; for we then found that she had been in harbour since the middle of May, near a month before our arrival at Juan Fernandez, so that their sufferings, excepting the risk they had run of being shipwrecked, were greatly short of what had been undergone by the rest of the squadron.

They fell in with the land on the 16th of May, in lat. 45° 15' S. being then about four leagues from shore. On the first sight of it, they wore ship and stood to the southward; [pg 331] but their fore-sail splitting, and the wind being strong at W.S.W. they drove towards the shore. The captain, either unable to clear the land, or, as others say, resolved to keep the sea no longer, steered now for the coast, in order to look out for some shelter among the many islands which appeared in sight, and had the good fortune to bring the ship to anchor to the eastward of the island of Inchin1. But, as they did not run sufficiently near the east shore of that island, and had not hands enough to veer away the cable briskly, they were soon driven to the eastwards, deepening their water from twenty-five to thirty-five fathoms. Still continuing to drive, they next day, being the 17th May, let go their sheet anchor, which brought them up for a short time: but on the 18th they drove again, till they came into sixty-five fathoms; and, being now within a mile of the land, they expected every moment to be forced on shore in a place where the coast was so very high and steep, that there was not the smallest prospect of saving the ship and cargo. As their boats were very leaky, and there was no appearance of a landing place, the whole crew, consisting of sixteen men and boys, gave themselves up for lost, believing, if even any of them happened to get on shore by some extraordinary chance, that they would be almost certainly massacred by the savages; as these people, knowing no other Europeans except Spaniards, might be expected to treat all strangers with the same cruelty which they have so often, and so signally, exercised against their Spanish neighbours.

Under these terrifying circumstances, the Anna continued to drive towards the rocks which formed the shore; and at last, when expecting every instant to strike, they perceived a small opening in the land, which raised their hopes of safety. Wherefore, immediately cutting away their two anchors, they steered for this opening, which they found to be a narrow opening between an island and the main, which led them into a most excellent harbour; which, for its security against all winds and swells, and the consequent smoothness of its water, may perhaps vie with any in the known world: And this place being scarcely two miles from the spot where they deemed their destruction inevitable, the horrors of shipwreck [pg 332] and immediate death, with which they had been so long and strongly possessed, vanished almost in an instant, giving place to the most joyous ideas of security, refreshment, and repose.

In this harbour, discovered almost by miracle, the Anna came to anchor in twenty-five fathoms, with only a hawser and small anchor of about three hundred weight. Here she continued for near two months, and her people, who were many of them ill of the scurvy, were soon restored to perfect health by the fresh provisions, which they procured in abundance, and the excellent water which they found in plenty on the adjacent shore. As this place may prove of the greatest importance to future navigators forced upon this coast by the western winds, which are almost perpetual in that part of the world, it may be proper to give the best account that could be collected of this port, as to its situation, conveniences, and productions, before continuing the adventures of the Anna pink. To facilitate, also, the knowledge of this place, to such as may be desirous hereafter of using it, there is annexed a plan both of the harbour and the large bay before it, through which the Anna drifted. This plan, perhaps, may not be in all respects as accurate as could be wished, being composed from the memorandums and rude sketches of the master and surgeon, who were not the most able draughtsmen; but, as the principal parts were laid down by their estimates of their distances from each other, in which kind of computation seamen are commonly very dextrous, the errors are probably not very considerable.

The latitude, which certainly is a very material point, was not very accurately ascertained, as the Anna had no observation either on the day she got there, or within a day of leaving the bay; but is supposed to be not very distant from 45° 30' S.2 But the large extent of the bay, at the bottom of which the harbour is situated, renders this uncertainty of the less importance. The island lying before this bay, called Inchin by the Indians, is supposed to be one of the islands named Chonos by the Spanish accounts, and said to spread along all this coast,3 being inhabited by a barbarous people, [pg 333] famous for their hatred to the Spaniards, and their cruelty to such of that nation as have fallen into their hands. It is even possible that the land in which this harbour is situated may be one of these islands, while the continent may be considerably to the eastward. This harbour, besides its depth of water and complete shelter, has two coves, where ships may very conveniently be hove down, as the water is constantly smooth. There are also several fine runs of excellent fresh water, which fall into the harbour, some so conveniently situated that the casks may be filled in the long-boat by means of a hose. The most remarkable of these is a stream in the N.E. part of the harbour, being a fresh-water river, where the crew of the Anna caught a few mullets of excellent flavour, and they were persuaded that it would be found to have plenty of fish in the proper season, it being winter when they were there.

The principal refreshments of green vegetables met with at this port were wild cellery, nettle-tops, and the like, which, after so long a continuance at sea, were highly acceptable. We got abundance of shell-fish, as cockles and muscles of great size and delicious flavour, with plenty of geese, shags, and penguins. Though in the depth of winter the climate was by no means extremely rigorous, neither were the trees or the face of the country destitute of verdure; whence it may be concluded, that many other kinds of fresh provisions would doubtless be found there in summer. Notwithstanding the relations of the Spaniards respecting the violence and barbarity of the inhabitants, it does not appear that their numbers are sufficient to excite any apprehensions in the crew of a ship of any size, or that their dispositions are by any means so mischievous or merciless as has been represented. With all these advantages, this place is so far from the frontiers of the Spanish settlements, and so little known to the Spaniards themselves, that, with proper precautions, there is reason to believe a ship might remain here a long time undiscovered. It is also capable of being made a very defensible port; as, by possessing the island that closes tip the port or inner harbour, which island is only accessible in a very few places, a small force might easily secure this port against all the force which the Spaniards could muster in that part of the world. For this island is so steep towards the harbour, having six fathoms close to the shore, that the Anna anchored within forty yards of its coast; whence it is [pg 334] obvious how difficult it would prove, either to board or cut out any vessel protected by a force posted on shore within pistol-shot, and where those thus posted could not be themselves attacked. All these circumstances seem to render this port worthy of a more accurate examination; and it is to be hoped that this rude attempt to suggest, may hereafter recommend it to the consideration of the public, and the attention of those who are more immediately entrusted with the conduct of our naval affairs.

After this account of the place where the Anna lay for two months, it may be expected that I should relate the discoveries made by her crew upon the adjacent coast, and the principal incidents that occurred during their stay here. But, as they were only a few in number, they durst not venture to detach any of their people on distant searches, being under continual apprehensions of being attacked either by the Spaniards or Indians, so that their excursions were generally confined to the tract of land surrounding the port, where they were never out of view of the ship: Even if they had known from the first how little grounds there were for these fears, yet the neighbouring country was so overgrown with wood, and so traversed by mountains, that it appeared impracticable to penetrate to any distance, so that no account of the interior could be expected. They were, however, in a condition to disprove the relations given by Spanish writers, who have represented this coast as inhabited by a fierce and powerful people, as no such inhabitants were to be found, at least in the winter season; for, during the whole time of their continuance here, they never saw any more than one small Indian family, which came into the harbour in a periagua, or canoe, about a month after the arrival of the Anna, and consisted only of one Indian man, near forty years of age, his wife, and two children, one about three years of age, and the other still on the breast. They seemed to have with them all their property, consisting of a dog and cat, a fishing net, a hatchet, a knife, a cradle, some bark of trees, intended for covering a hut, a reel with some worsted, a flint and steel, and a few roots of a yellow hue, and very disagreeable taste, which served them for bread.

As soon as these were perceived, the master of the Anna sent his yawl and brought them on board; and, lest they might discover him to the Spaniards if permitted to go away, he took proper precautions, as he conceived, for securing [pg 335] them, but without violence or ill usage, as they were permitted to go about the ship where they pleased in the day time, but were locked up in the forecastle at night. As they were fed in the same manner with the crew, and were often indulged with brandy, which they seemed greatly to relish, it did not appear at first that they were much dissatisfied with their situation. The master took the Indian on shore when he went to shoot, and he seemed always much delighted on seeing the game killed. The crew also treated them with great humanity; but it was soon apparent, though the woman continued easy and cheerful, that the man grew pensive and discontented at his confinement. He seemed to have good natural parts, and though utterly unable to converse with our people otherwise than by signs, was yet very curious and inquisitive, and showed great dexterity in his manner of making himself understood. Seeing so few people on board so large a ship, he seemed to express his opinion that they had once been more numerous, and, by way of representing what he imagined had become of their companions, he laid himself on the deck, closing his eyes, and stretching himself out motionless, as if to imitate the appearance of a dead body.

The strongest proof of his sagacity was the manner of his getting away. After having been on board the Anna for eight days, the scuttle of the forecastle, where he and his family were locked up every night, happened to be left unnailed, and on the following night, which was extremely dark and stormy, he contrived to convey his wife and children through the scuttle, and then over the ship's side into the yawl, and immediately rowed on shore, using the precaution to cut away the long-boat and his own periagua, which were towing astern, to prevent being pursued. He conducted all this with so much silence and secrecy, that, though there was a watch on the quarter-deck with loaded arms, he was not discovered by them till the noise of his oars in the water gave notice of his escape, after he had put off from the ship, when it was too late either to prevent or pursue him. Besides, as their boats were all adrift, it was some time before they could contrive the means of getting on shore to search for their boats. By this effort, besides regaining his liberty, the Indian was in some measure revenged on those who had confined him, both by the perplexity they were in for the loss of their boats, and by the terror occasioned by his departure; [pg 336] for, on the first alarm of the watch, who cried, "The Indians," the whole crew were in the utmost confusion, believing that the ship had been boarded by a whole fleet of armed canoes.

Had the resolution and sagacity with which this Indian behaved on this occasion, been exerted on a more extensive object, it might have immortalized the exploit, and given him a rank among the illustrious names of antiquity. The people of the Anna, indeed, allowed that it was a most gallant enterprise, and were grieved at having thus been under the necessity, from attention to their own safety, to abridge the liberty of one who had now given so distinguished a proof of courage and prudence. As he was supposed still to continue in the woods near the port, where he might suffer for want of provisions, they easily prevailed on the master to leave a quantity of such food as they thought would be most agreeable to him in a place where he was likely to find it, and there was reason to believe this was not altogether without its use, for, on visiting the place afterwards, the provisions were gone, and in a manner that made them conclude they had fallen into his hands.

Although many of the crew of the Anna believed that this Indian still continued in the neighbourhood, there were some who strongly suspected he might have gone off to the island of Chiloe, where they feared he would alarm the Spaniards, and would soon return with a force sufficient to surprise or overpower the Anna. The master was therefore prevailed upon to discontinue firing the evening gun, and there is a particular reason for attending to this circumstance, to be explained hereafter; for he had hitherto, from an ostentatious imitation of the men-of-war, fired a gun every evening at setting the night watch. This, as he pretended, was to awe the enemy, if there were any within hearing, and to convince them that his ship was always on her guard. The crew being now well refreshed, and their wood and water sufficiently replenished, he put to sea a few days after the escape of the Indian, and had a fortunate passage to the rendezvous at Juan Fernandez, where he arrived on the 16th of August, as already mentioned.

The remaining ships of the squadron, none of which rejoined the commodore, were the Severn, Pearl, and Wager, of the fate of which it may be proper to make mention. The Severn and Pearl parted company from the commodore off [pg 337] Cape Voir; and, as we afterwards learnt, put back to Brazil. The Wager had on board a few field-pieces, and some coehorn-mortars, mounted for land service, with several kinds of artillery stores and pioneers tools, intended for operations on shore. And, as an enterprise had been planned against Baldivia, for the first operation of the squadron, Captain Cheap was extremely solicitous that these articles might be forthcoming, and determined to use his endeavours for that purpose, that no delay or disappointment might be imputed to him, not knowing the state the squadron was reduced to. While making the best of his way, with these views, to the first appointed rendezvous, off Socoro, whence he proposed to proceed for Baldivia, the Wager made the land on the 14th of May, about the latitude of 47° S. and while Captain Cheap was exerting himself in order to get clear of the land, he had the misfortune to fall down the after-ladder, by which he dislocated his shoulder, and was rendered incapable of acting. This accident, together with the crazy condition of the ship, which was little better than a wreck, prevented her from getting off to sea, and entangled her more and more with the land; insomuch, that at day-break next morning, the 15th May, she struck on a sunken rock, and soon afterwards bilged, and grounded between two small islands, about musket-shot from the shore.

In this situation the ship continued entire a long time, so that all the crew might have got safe on shore. But a general confusion ensued; many of them, instead of consulting their safety, or reflecting on their calamitous condition, fell to pillaging the ship, arming themselves with the first weapons that came to hand, and threatening to murder all who should oppose their proceedings. This frenzy was greatly heightened by the liquors they found on board, with which they made themselves so excessively intoxicated, that some fell down into the hold, where they were drowned, as the water flowed into the wreck. Having done his utmost, ineffectually, to get the whole crew on shore, the captain was at last obliged to leave the mutineers behind, and to follow his officers on shore, with such few men as he could prevail upon to accompany him; but did not fail to send back the boats, with a message to those who remained, entreating them to have some regard to their own preservation. All his efforts, however, were for some time in vain; but next day, the weather proving stormy, and there being great danger of the [pg 338] ship going to pieces, the refractory part of the crew began to be afraid of perishing, and were desirous of getting to land; and, in their madness, as the boat did not come to fetch them off so soon as they wished, they pointed a four-pounder from the quarter-deck, against the hut in which the captain resided on shore, and fired two shots, which passed just over its roof.

From this specimen of the behaviour of part of the crew, some idea may be formed of the disorder and anarchy which prevailed when they at length got all on shore. For the men conceived that the authority of their officers was at an end, in consequence of the loss of the ship; and, as they were now upon an inhospitable coast, where scarcely any other provisions could be got beyond what could be saved from the wreck, this was another insurmountable source of discord: for the working upon the wreck, and securing the provisions on shore, so that they might be preserved as much as possible for future exigencies, and that they might be sparingly and equally distributed for present subsistence, were matters, however important, that could not be brought about unless by means of discipline and subordination. At the same time, the mutinous disposition of the people, stimulated by the immediate impulses of hunger, rendered every regulation attempted for these indispensable purposes, quite unavailing; so that there were continual frauds, concealments, and thefts, which animated every one against his neighbour, and produced infinite contentions and perpetual quarrels. Hence a perverse and malevolent disposition was constantly kept up among them, which rendered them utterly ungovernable.

Besides these heart-burnings, occasioned by petulance and hunger, there was another important point which set the greatest part of the people at variance with the captain. This was their difference in opinion from him, on the measures proper to be pursued on the present emergency; for the captain was determined, if possible, to fit out the boats in the best manner he could, and to proceed with them to the northward, as, having above two hundred men in health, and having saved some fire-arms and ammunition from the wreck, he had no doubt of being able to master any Spanish, vessel they might fall in with in these seas, and he thought that he could not fail of meeting with one in the neighbourhood of Chiloe or Baldivia, in which, when taken, he proposed to proceed to the rendezvous at Juan Fernandez. He [pg 339] also insisted, should they even meet with no prize by the way, that the boats alone could easily carry them to Juan Fernandez. But this scheme, however prudent and practicable, was by no means relished by the generality of the people; for, quite jaded and disgusted with the fatigues, dangers, and distresses they had already encountered, they could not be persuaded to prosecute an enterprize which had hitherto proved so disastrous. The common resolution, therefore, was to lengthen the long-boat, and, with her and the other boats, to steer to the southwards, to pass through the Straits of Magellan, and to range along the eastern coast of South America, till they came to Brazil, where they had no doubt of being well received, and procuring a passage to Britain.

This project was evidently a vast deal more tedious, and infinitely more hazardous, than that proposed by the captain; but, as it had the air of returning home, and flattered them with the hope of getting once more to their native country, that circumstance rendered them blind to all its inconveniences, and made them adhere to it with insurmountable obstinacy. The captain was therefore obliged to give way to the torrent, though he never changed his opinion, and had, in appearance, to acquiesce in this resolution, though he gave it all the obstruction he could, particularly in regard to lengthening the long-boat, which he contrived should be of such a size, as, though it might carry them to Juan Fernandez, he yet hoped might appear incapable of so long a navigation as that to the coast of Brazil. But the captain, by his steady opposition at first to this favourite project, had much embittered the people against him, to which, also, the following unhappy accident greatly contributed.

A midshipman, named Cozens, had appeared the foremost in all the refractory proceedings of the crew, had involved himself in brawls with most of the officers who had adhered to the authority of the captain, and had even treated the captain himself with much insolence and abuse. As his turbulence and brutality grew every day more and more intolerable, it was not in the least doubted that some violent measures were in agitation, in which Cozens was engaged as the ringleader; for which reason the captain, and those about him, constantly kept themselves on their guard. One day the purser having stopped, by order of the captain, the allowance of a fellow who would not work, Cozens, though the man had not complained to him, intermeddled in the affair [pg 340] with great bitterness, and grossly insulted the purser, who was then delivering out the provisions close by the captain's tent, and was himself sufficiently violent. Enraged by his scurrility, and perhaps piqued by former quarrels, the purser cried out, A mutiny; adding, the dog has pistols, and then immediately fired himself a pistol at Cozens, but missed him. On hearing this outcry, and the report of the pistol, the captain rushed out from his tent, and not doubting that it had been fired by Cozens as the commencement of a mutiny, immediately shot him in the head without farther enquiry. Though he did not die on the spot, the wound proved mortal in about a fortnight.

Though this accident was sufficiently displeasing to the people, it yet awed them for a considerable time to their duty, and rendered them more submissive to the authority of the captain. But at last, towards the middle of October, when, the long-boat was finished, and they were preparing to put to sea, the additional provocation given them, by covertly traversing their project of proceeding through the Straits of Magellan, and their fears that he might at length engage a sufficient party to overturn this favourite measure, made them resolve to take advantage of the death of Cozens as a reason for depriving him of his command, under pretence of carrying him a prisoner to England to be tried for murder, and he was accordingly confined under a guard. Yet they never meant to carry him with them, as they too well knew what they might expect on their return to England, if their commander should be present to confront them; and therefore, when just ready to depart, they set him at liberty, leaving him, and the few who chose to take their fortunes along with him, no other embarkation but the yawl, to which the barge was afterwards added, by the people on board her being prevailed upon to turn back.

When the ship was wrecked, there were about one hundred and thirty persons alive on board; above thirty of whom died on the place where they landed, and nearly eight went off in the long-boat and cutter to the southward; after whose departure, there remained no more than nineteen persons along with the captain, which were as many, however, as the barge and yawl could well carry, these being the only embarkations left them. It was on the 13th of October, five months after the shipwreck, that the long-boat, converted into a schooner, weighed and sailed to the southwards, giving [pg 341] three cheers at their departure to the captain and Lieutenant Hamilton of the land-forces, and the surgeon, who were then standing on the beach. On the 29th of January, 1742, they arrived at Rio Grande, on the coast of Brazil; but having, by various accidents, left about twenty of their people on shore at the different places where they touched, and a still greater number having perished of famine in the course of their navigation, there were not more than thirty of them remaining, when they arrived at that port. This undertaking was certainly most extraordinary in itself; for, not to mention the great length of the voyage, the vessel was scarcely able to contain the number that first put to sea in her; and their stock of provisions, being only what they saved from the ship, diminished by five months expenditure on shore, was extremely slender. They had also this additional misfortune, that the cutter, the only boat they had along with them, broke loose from their stern, and was staved to pieces, so that, when their provisions and water failed, they had frequently no means of getting on shore in search of a supply.

The captain and those who remained with him, now proposed to proceed to the northward in the barge and yawl; but the weather was so bad, and the difficulty of subsisting so great, that it was two months after the departure of the long boat, before they were able to put to sea. It seems that the place where the Wager was lost, was not a part of the continent, but an island at some distance from the main, affording no other sort of provisions besides shell-fish, and a few herbs; and, as the greatest part of what they had saved out of the wreck had been carried off in the long-boat, the captain and his people were often in extreme want of food, especially as they chose to preserve what little remained to them of the ship's provisions, to serve them as sea-store, when they should proceed to the northward. During their residence at this place, which was called Wager Island by the seamen, they were now and then visited by a straggling canoe or two of Indians, who came and bartered their fish and other provisions with our people. This was some little relief to their necessities, and might perhaps have been greater at another season; for there were several Indian huts on the shore, whence it was supposed that, in some years, many of these savages might resort thither in the height of summer, to catch fish. Indeed, from what has [pg 342] been related in the account of the Anna pink, it would seem to be the general practice of these Indians, to frequent this coast in the summer season, for the purpose of fishing, and to retire more to the northwards in winter, into a better climate.

It is worthy of remark, how much it is to be lamented that the people of the Wager had no knowledge of the Anna pink being so near them on the coast;4 for, as she was not above thirty leagues from them at the most, and came into that neighbourhood about the same time that the Wager was lost, and was a fine roomy ship, she could easily have taken them all on board, and have carried them to Juan Fernandez. Indeed, I suspect that she was still nearer them than is here estimated; for, at different times, several of the people belonging to the Wager heard the report of a cannon, which could be no other than the evening gun fired by the Anna, as formerly mentioned, more especially as the gun heard at Wager Island was at that time of the day.

Captain Cheap and his people embarked in the barge and yawl, on the 14th of December, in order to proceed to the northward, taking on board along with them all the provisions they could gather from the wreck of the ship; but they had scarcely been an hour at sea, when the wind began to blow hard, and the sea to run so high, that they were obliged to throw the greatest part of their provisions overboard, to avoid immediate destruction. This was a terrible misfortune, in a part of the world where food was so difficult to be got; yet they persisted in their design, going on shore as often as they could, in search of subsistence. About a fortnight after their departure from Wager island, another dreadful accident befel them, as the yawl sunk at an anchor, and one of her hands was drowned; and, as the barge was incapable of carrying the whole company, they were reduced to the hard necessity of leaving four marines behind them, on that desolate coast. They still, however, kept their course to the northward; though greatly delayed by cross winds, and by the frequent interruptions occasioned by the necessity [pg 343] of searching for food on shore, and constantly struggling with a series of the most sinister events. At length, about the end of January, 1742, having made three unsuccessful attempts to double a head-land, which they supposed to be that called Cape Tres Montes by the Spaniards, and finding the difficulty insurmountable, they unanimously resolved to return to Wager Island, which they effected about the middle of February, quite disheartened and desponding, through their reiterated disappointments, and almost perishing with hunger and fatigue.

On their return, they had the good fortune to fall in with several pieces of beef, swimming in the sea, which had been washed out of the wreck, which afforded them a most seasonable relief, after the hardships they had endured. To complete their good fortune, there came shortly afterwards to the place two canoes with Indians, among whom there happened to be a native of Chiloe, who spoke a little Spanish. The surgeon who accompanied Captain Cheap understood that language, and made a bargain with the Chiloe Indian, that, if he would carry the captain and his people in the barge to Chiloe, he should have her and all her furniture for his reward. Accordingly, on the 6th of March, the eleven persons, to which the company was now reduced, embarked again in the barge on this new expedition. After having proceeded a few days, the captain and four of his principal officers being on shore, the six, who remained in the barge along with an Indian, shoved her off and put to sea, and never returned again.

Captain Cheap, together with Mr Hamilton, lieutenant of marines, the honourable Mr Byron and Mr Campbell, midshipmen, and Mr Elliot, the surgeon, were thus left on shore in the most deplorable situation imaginable. It might be thought that their distresses, long before this time, were hardly capable of being increased: Yet they found their present situation much more dismaying than any thing they had hitherto experienced; being left on a desert coast, far from the haunts of men, without provisions, or the means of procuring any, and with no visible prospect of relief; for their arms and ammunition, and every convenience that had hitherto remained to them, except the few tattered garments they had on, were all carried away in the barge. While revolving the various circumstances of this new and unlooked-for calamity, and sadly persuaded that they had no possible [pg 344] relief to hope for, they perceived a canoe at a distance, which proved to be that belonging to the Indian of Chiloe, who had undertaken to convey them to that island. He it seems had left Captain Cheap and his people, only a little before, to go a fishing in his canoe, accompanied by his family, leaving the barge in the mean time under the care of the other Indian, whom the sailors had carried with them to sea. When he came on shore, and found the barge and his companion gone, he was much concerned, and was with difficulty persuaded that his companion had not been murdered; yet, being at last satisfied with the account that was given him by Mr Elliot, he still undertook to carry them to the Spanish settlements, and, being well skilled in fishing and fowling, he undertook also to provide them in provisions by the way.

About the middle of March, Captain Cheap and his four remaining companions set out for Chiloe; their Indian conductor having provided several canoes, and gathered many of his countrymen together for that purpose. Mr Elliot, the surgeon, soon afterwards died, so that there now only remained four of the whole company. At last, after a very complicated passage, partly by sea and partly by land, Captain Cheap, Mr Byron, and Mr Campbell, arrived at the island of Chiloe, where they were received by the Spaniards with great humanity; but, on account of some quarrel among the Indians, Mr Hamilton did not get there till two months later. It was thus above a twelvemonth, from the loss of the Wager, before this fatiguing peregrination terminated. The four who now remained were brought so extremely low, by their fatigues and privations, that in all probability none of them would have survived, had their distresses continued only a few days longer. The captain was with difficulty recovered; and the rest were so reduced by labour, the severity of the weather, scantiness of food, and want of all kinds of necessaries, that it was wonderful how they had supported themselves so long.

After some stay at Chiloe, the captain and the other three who were with him, were sent to Valparaiso, and thence to St Jago, the capital of Chili, where they continued above a year, and where they were joined by Mr Hamilton. News arriving that a cartel had been settled between Great Britain and Spain, Captain Cheap, Mr Byron, and Mr Hamilton, were permitted to return to Europe in a French ship. Mr Campbell, the other midshipman, having changed his religion [pg 345] while at St Jago, chose to go from thence to Buenos Ayres along with Pizarro and his officers, overland, and went with them afterwards to Spain in the Asia: But failing in his endeavours to procure a commission from the court of Spain, he returned to England, and attempted in vain to get reinstated in the British navy. He has since published a narration of his adventures in which he complains of the injustice that has been done him and strongly disavows having ever been in the Spanish service: but, as the change of his religion and his offering himself to the court of Spain, though he was not accepted, are matters which he must be conscious can be incontestably proved, he has been entirely silent on these two heads.5

Footnote 1: (return)

The island of Inchin and the bay in which the Anna pink took shelter is in lat. 46° 30' S. long. 74° 30' in what is called the Peninsula de tres Montes, to the N. of the Golfo de Penas.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

This has already, on the authority of Arrowsmith, been stated at 46° 30' S.

Footnote 3: (return)

The gulf and archipelago of Chonos, or Guaytecas, one of the islands of which is Socora, or Guayteca, is considerably to the N. of Inchin, between the peninsula de tres Montes and the island of Chiloe, the centre of that archipelago being in lat. 45° S.E.

Footnote 4: (return)

Inchin island, where the Anna pink lay, has been formerly stated to be in lat. 46° 30' S. the supposed latitude in which the Wager was lost, stated in the text at 47° S. is only ten marine leagues to the southward, instead of thirty, and must therefore have been on some one of the islands toward the southern coast of the peninsula de Tres Montes, on the north of the Golfo de Penas.E.

Footnote 5: (return)

The circumstances connected with the loss of the Wager, and of the separation of the Severn and the Pearl, will be given more at large, by way of supplement to the circumnavigation. The incidents which occur to bold and unfortunate navigators are certainly curious and interesting; but the author of Anson's Voyage seems to have forgotten, that the circumstances respecting the countries they visited, especially such of these which are so little known, are of infinitely greater utility.E.


Conclusion of Proceedings at Juan Fernandez, from the Arrival of the Anna Pink, to our final Departure from thence.

About a week after the arrival of the Anna pink, the Tryal sloop, which had been sent to examine the island of Masefuero, returned to an anchor at Juan Fernandez, having gone entirely round that island, without seeing any one of our squadron. As, on this occasion, the island of Masefuero was more particularly examined, I have no doubt, than it had ever been before, or perhaps ever may be again, and as the knowledge of it may be of great consequence hereafter, under peculiar circumstances, I think it incumbent to insert the accounts given of it by the officers of the Tryal.

The Spaniards have generally mentioned two islands, under the same of Juan Fernandez, naming them the greater and the less;1 the greater being that island, where we [pg 346] anchored, and the less that we are now about to describe; which, because it is more distant from the continent, they call Masefuero. The Tryal found that it bore from the greater Juan Fernandez, W. by S. about twenty-two leagues distant. It is much larger and better than has been usually represented, being reported by former writers as a small barren rock, destitute of wood and water, and altogether inaccessible. Whereas our people found that it was covered with trees, and that there were several fine falls of water pouring down its sides into the sea. They found, also, that there is a place on its north side, where a ship might come to an anchor, though indeed the anchorage be inconvenient; for the bank is steep, and extends only a little way, and has very deep water, so that she must anchor very near the shore, and be there exposed to all winds, except those from the southward. Besides the inconvenience of the anchorage, there is also a reef of rocks, about two miles in length, running off the eastern point of the island, though these are little to be feared, because always to be seen, by the sea breaking over them. This island has at present one advantage beyond Juan Fernandez, as it abounds in goats; and as these are not accustomed to be disturbed, they were no way shy till they had been frequently fired at. These animals reside here in great tranquillity, as the Spaniards, not thinking this island sufficiently considerable to be frequented by their enemies, have not been solicitous to destroy the provisions it contains, so that no dogs have hitherto been put on shore there. Besides goats, the people of the Tryal found there vast numbers of seals and sea lions; and upon the whole, though they did not consider it as the most eligible place for ships to refresh at, yet, in case of necessity, it might afford some sort of shelter, and prove of considerable use, especially to a single ship, apprehensive of meeting an enemy at Juan Fernandez.

The latter end of the month of December was spent in unloading the provisions from the Anna pink; when we had the mortification to find, that great quantities of our provisions, as bread, rice, groats, &c. were decayed and unfit for use. This had been occasioned by the Anna taking in water, by her working and straining in bad weather; owing to [pg 347] which several of her casks had rotted, and many of her bags were soaked through. Having now no farther occasion for her services, the commodore, pursuant to his orders from the admiralty, sent notice to her master, Mr Gerard, that he now discharged the Anna pink from attending the squadron, and gave him a certificate at the same time, specifying how long she had been employed. In consequence of this dismission, her master was left at liberty, either to return directly to England, or to make the best of his way to any port where he thought he could take in such a cargo as might serve the interest of his owners. But, sensible of the bad condition of his ship, and her unfitness for any such voyage, the master wrote next day to the commodore, stating, that he had reason to apprehend the bottom of the Anna to be very much decayed, from the great quantity of water she had let in on her passage round Cape Horn, and ever since, in the tempestuous weather she had experienced on the coast of Patagonia; that her upper decks were rotten abaft; that she was extremely leaky; that her fore-beam was broken; and, in short, that, in his opinion, it was impossible to proceed with her to sea, unless she were thoroughly repaired. He therefore requested of the commodore, that the carpenters of the squadron might be directed to survey her, so that their judgment of her condition might be known. In compliance with this request, the carpenters were ordered to make a careful and accurate survey of the Anna, and to give in a faithful report to the commodore of her condition; directing them to proceed with such circumspection, that they might be able, if hereafter called upon, to confirm the veracity of their report upon oath. Pursuant to these orders, the carpenters immediately set about the examination, and made their report next day. This was in substance, That the Anna had no less than fourteen knees and twelve beams broken, and decayed; one breast-hook broken, and another decayed; her water-ways open and decayed; two standards and several clamps broken, besides others much rotten; all her iron-work greatly decayed; her spirkiting and timbers very rotten; that, having ripped off part of her sheathing, her wales and outside planks were extremely defective; and her bows and decks were very leaky. From all these defects and decays, they certified that, in their opinion, the vessel could not depart from Juan Fernandez, without great hazard, unless previously thoroughly repaired.

[pg 348]

In our present situation, this thorough repair was impracticable, all the plank and iron in the squadron being insufficient for that purpose. Wherefore, the opinion of the master being confirmed by this report, he presented a petition to the commodore, in behalf of his owners, praying, as his vessel was incapable of leaving the island, that her hull, materials, and furniture, might be purchased for the use of the squadron. The commodore, therefore, ordered an inventory to be taken of every thing belonging to the pink, with its just value; and as many of her stores might become useful in repairing the other ship, these articles having become very scarce, in consequence of the great quantities already expended, he agreed with Mr Gerard to purchase the whole for £300. The pink was now broken up, Mr Gerard and her hands being sent on board the Gloucester, as that ship had buried the greatest number of men in proportion to her complement. Two or three of them were afterwards received into the Centurion on their petition, as they were averse from sailing in the same ship with their old master, on account of some ill usage they alledged to have suffered from him.

This transaction brought us down to the beginning of September, by which time our people were so far recovered from the scurvy, that there was little danger of burying any more for the present. I shall therefore now sum up the whole of our loss since our departure from England, the better to convey some idea of our past sufferings and our then remaining strength. In the Centurion, since leaving St Helens, we had buried 292 men, and had 214 remaining. This will doubtless appear a most extraordinary mortality, yet that in the Gloucester had been much greater; as, out of a much smaller crew than ours, she had lost the same number, and had only 82 remaining alive. It might have been expected that the mortality would have been the most terrible in the Tryal, as her decks were almost constantly knee deep in water: But it happened otherwise, for she escaped more favourably than the other two, having only buried 42, and had 39 remaining alive. The havoc of this cruel disease had fallen still more severely on the invalids and marines, than on the sailors. For, in the Centurion, out of 50 invalids and 79 marines, there only remained four invalids, including officers, and 11 marines. In the Gloucester every invalid perished; and of 48 marines, only two escaped. It appears [pg 349] from this account, that the three ships departed from England with 961 men on board, of whom 626 were dead, and 335 men and boys only remained alive; a number greatly insufficient for manning the Centurion alone, and barely capable of navigating all the three with the utmost exertion of their strength and vigour.

This prodigious reduction of our men was the more alarming, as we were hitherto unacquainted with the fate of the squadron under Pizarro, and had reason to suppose that some part of it, at least, had got round into the South Seas. We were, indeed, much of opinion, from our own sad experience, that they must have suffered greatly in the passage: but then every port in the South Sea was open to them, and the whole power of Peru and Chili would be exerted for their refreshment and repair, and for recruiting their loss of men. We had, also, some obscure information of a force to be fitted out against us from Paluo; and, however contemptible the ships and sailors of this part of the world may have been generally esteemed, it was hardly possible for any thing bearing the name of a ship of war, to be feebler or less considerable than ourselves. Even if there had been nothing to apprehend from the naval power of the Spaniards in these seas, yet our enfeebled situation necessarily gave us great uneasiness, as we were incapable of making an attempt against any of their considerable places; for, in our state of weakness, the risking even of twenty men, would have put the safety of the whole in hazard. We conceived, therefore, that we should be forced to content ourselves with what prizes we might be able to fall in with at sea, before we were discovered, and then to depart precipitately, and esteem ourselves fortunate to regain our native country; leaving our enemies to triumph on the inconsiderable mischief they had suffered from a squadron which had filled them with such dreadful apprehensions. We had reason to imagine the Spanish ostentation would remarkably exert itself on this subject, though our disappointment and their security neither originated in their valour nor our misconduct. Such were the desponding reflections which at this time arose, on the review and comparison of our remaining weakness with our original strength: And, indeed, our fears were far from being groundless, or disproportionate to our feeble and almost desperate condition: For, though the final event proved more honourable than we foreboded, yet the intermediate calamities did likewise [pg 350] surpass our most gloomy apprehensions; and, could these have been predicted to us while at Juan Fernandez, they would doubtless have appeared insurmountable.

In the beginning of September, as already mentioned, our men being tolerably well recovered, and the season of navigation in these seas drawing nigh, we exerted ourselves in getting our ships ready for sea. We converted the foremast of the Anna into a new main-mast for the Tryal; and, still flattering ourselves with the possible hope of some other ships of our squadron arriving, we intended to leave the main-mast of the Anna, to make a new mizen-mast for the Wager. All hands being thus employed in preparing for our departure, we espied a sail to the N.E. about eleven a.m. of the 18th September, which continued to approach us till her courses appeared even with the horizon. While advancing, we had great hopes that this might prove one of our squadron; but she at length steered away to the eastward, without hauling in for the island, on which we concluded that she must be Spanish. Great differences of opinion now took place, as to the possibility of her people having discovered our tents on shore; some of us strongly insisting, that she certainly had been near enough to have seen something that had given them a jealousy to an enemy, which had occasioned her standing away to the eastwards. Leaving these contests to be settled afterwards, it was resolved to pursue her; and, as the Centurion was in the greatest forwardness, all her hands were got immediately on board, her rigging set up, and her sails bent with all possible expedition, and we got under sail by five in the evening.

At this time we had so very little wind, that all the boats were employed to tow us out of the bay, and what wind there was lasted only long enough to give us an offing of two or three leagues, when it fell dead calm. As night came on we lost sight of the chase, and were extremely impatient for the return of light, in hopes to find that she had been becalmed, as well as we; yet her great distance from the land was 3 reasonable ground for suspecting the contrary, as we actually found in the morning, to our great mortification; for, though the weather was then quite clear, we had no sight of the chase from the mast-head. But, being now quite satisfied that she was an enemy, and the first we had seen in these seas, we resolved not to give over the chase lightly; and, on a small breeze springing up from the W.N.W. we got up our top-gallant [pg 351] masts and yards, set all the sails, and steered S.E. in hopes of retrieving the chase, which we imagined might be bound for Valparaiso. We continued on this course all that day and the next; and then, seeing nothing of the chase, gave over the pursuit, believing that she had, in all probability, reached her port.

Resolving to return to Juan Fernandez, we hauled up to the S.W. having very little wind till the 12th, at three a.m. when a gale sprung up at W.S.W. which obliged us to tack and stand to the N.W. At day-break, we were agreeably surprised by the appearance of a sail on our weather-bow, between four and five leagues distant, on which we crowded all sail and stood towards her, soon perceiving she was a different vessel from that we had chased before. She at first bore down towards us, shewing Spanish colours, and making a signal as to a consort; but, seeing we did not answer her signal, she instantly loofed close to the wind and stood to the southward. Our people were now all in high spirits, and put about ship with great briskness; and, as the chase appeared a large ship, and had mistaken us for her consort, we imagined that she must be a man of war, and probably belonged to the squadron of Pizarro. This induced the commodore to order all the officers cabins to be knocked down and thrown overboard, along with several casks of water and provisions, that stood between the guns; so that we had a clear ship, ready for action. About nine a.m. it came on thick hazy weather, with a shower of rain, during which we lost sight of the chase, and were apprehensive, if this weather should continue, she might escape us, by going on the other tack, or some other device. The weather cleared up, however, in less than an hour, when we found that we had both weathered and fore-reached upon her considerably, and were then near enough to perceive that she was only a merchant ship, without a single tire of guns. About half an hour after twelve noon, being within reasonable distance, we fired four shot among her rigging; on which they lowered their top-sails and bore down to us, but in very great confusion, their top-gallant-sails and stay-sails all fluttering in the wind. This was owing to their having let run their sheets and halyards, just as we fired at them; after which not a man among them would venture aloft to take them in, as our shot had passed there just before.

As soon as the vessel came within hail of us, the commodore [pg 352] ordered her to bring to under his lee quarter; and having the boat hoisted out, sent our first lieutenant, Mr Saumarez, to take possession of the prize, with orders to send all the prisoners on board the Centurion, the officers and passengers first. When Mr Saumarez boarded the prize, he was received by her people at the side with the most abject tokens of submission; as they were all, especially the passengers, who were twenty-five in number, extremely terrified, and under the greatest apprehensions of meeting with very severe and cruel usage. But the lieutenant endeavoured, with great courtesy, to dissipate their terror, assuring them that their fears were altogether groundless, and that they would find a generous enemy in the commodore, who was no less remarkable for his lenity and humanity, than for courage and resolution. The prisoners who were first sent on board the Centurion, informed us, that the prize was called Neustra Lenora del Monte Carmelo, and her commander Don Manuel Zamorra. Her cargo consisted chiefly of sugar, and a great quantity of blue cloth, made in the province of Quito, somewhat resembling our coarse English broad cloth, but inferior. They had also several bales of a coarser cloth, of different colours, somewhat like Colchester baize, called by them Panniada Tierra; with a few bales of cotton, and some tolerably well-flavoured tobacco, though strong. These were her principal goods; but we found besides, what was much more valuable than the rest of her cargo, some trunks full of wrought silver plate, and twenty-three serons of dollars, each weighing upwards of two hundred pounds.2 This ship was of about 450 tons burden, having on board 53 sailors, including whites and blacks. She came from Calao, bound for Valparaiso, and had been twenty-seven days at sea. Her return cargo from Chili was to have been corn and Chili wine, with some gold, dried beef, and small cordage, which is afterwards converted at Calao into larger rope. This vessel had been built thirty years before; yet, as they lie in harbour all winter, and the climate is remarkably favourable, she was not considered as very old. Her rigging and sails were very indifferent, the latter being of cotton. She had only three [pg 353] four-pounders, which were quite unserviceable, as their carriages could scarcely support them; and they had no small arms on board, except a few pistols belonging to the passengers. They had sailed from Callao in company with two other ships, which they had parted from a few days before, and had at first taken our ship for one of their consorts; and, by the description we gave of the ship we had chased from Juan Fernandez, they assured us that she was one of their number; although the coming in sight of that island is directly contrary to the merchant's instructions, as knowing, if any English ships should be in these seas, that this island is most likely to be their place of rendezvous.

We met with very important intelligence in this prize, partly from the prisoners, and partly from letters and papers that fell into our hands. By these we first learnt with certainty the force and destination of that squadron which cruised off Madeira at our arrival there, and had afterwards chased the Pearl in our passage to Port St Julian. This squadron we now knew to be composed of five large Spanish ships, commanded by Admiral Pizarro, and purposely fitted out to traverse our designs, as has been already more amply related in our third section. We had now the satisfaction to find, that Pizarro, after his utmost endeavours to get round into these seas, had been forced back to the Rio Plata, after losing two of his largest ships; which, considering our great weakness, was no unacceptable intelligence. We also learnt, that, though an embargo had been laid on all shipping in the ports of South America, by the viceroy of Peru, in the preceding month of May, on the supposition that we might then arrive on the coast, yet it now no longer subsisted: For, on receiving the account overland of the distresses of Pizarro, part of which they knew we must also have suffered; and, on hearing nothing of us for eight months after we were known to have left St Catharines, they were fully satisfied we must either have been shipwrecked, have perished at sea, or have been obliged to put back again; as they conceived it impossible for any ships to have continued at sea for so long an interval, and therefore, on the application of the merchants, and the persuasion that we had miscarried, the embargo had been lately taken off.

This intelligence made us flatter ourselves, as the enemy was still ignorant of our having got round Cape Horn, and as navigation was restored, that we might meet with some valuable [pg 354] captures, and might indemnify ourselves in that way, of our incapacity to attempt any of their considerable settlements on shore. This much at least we were certain of, from the information of our prisoners, that, whatever might be our success in regard to prizes, we had nothing to fear, weak even as we were, from the Spanish force in that part of the world, though we discovered that we had been in most imminent peril, when we least apprehended any, when our other distresses were at the greatest height. As we found, by letters in the prize, that Pizarro, in the dispatch he sent by express to the viceroy of Peru overland, after his own return to the Rio Plata, had intimated the possibility of some part of our squadron getting round; and as, from his own experience, he was certain any of our ships that might arrive in the South Seas must be in a very weak and defenceless condition, he advised the viceroy to send what ships of war he had to the southwards, in order to be secure at all events, where, in all probability, they would intercept us singly, before we had an opportunity of touching any where for refreshment; in which case he had no doubt of our proving an easy conquest. The viceroy approved this advice, and as he had already fitted out four ships of force at Callao, one of 50 guns, two of 40 each, and one of 24, which were intended to have joined Pizarro, three of these were stationed off the port of Conception, and one at the island of Juan Fernandez, where they continued cruising for us till the 6th of June; and then, conceiving it impossible that we could have kept the sea so long, they quitted this station and returned to Callao, fully persuaded we must either have perished, or been driven back.

Now, as the time when they left Juan Fernandez was only a few days before our arrival at that island, it is evident, if we had made it on our first search, without hauling in for the main to secure our easting, a circumstance we then considered as very unfortunate, on account of the many men we lost by our long continuance at sea; had we made the island 28th of May, when we first expected to see it, and were in reality very near to have so done, we had inevitably fallen in with some part of the squadron from Callao; and in our then distressed condition, the encounter of a healthy and well-provided enemy might have proved fatal, not only to us in the Centurion, but also to the Tryal, Gloucester, and Anna pink, which separately joined us, and were each less capable to have resisted than we. I may also add, that these Spanish [pg 355] ships, sent out to intercept us, had been greatly shattered by a storm during their cruise, and had been laid up after their return to Callao; and we were assured by our prisoners, that, when intelligence might be received at Lima of our being in the South Seas, it would require two months at least, before this armament could be refitted for going to sea. The whole of this intelligence was as favourable as we, in our reduced circumstances, could wish for; and we were now at no loss to account for the broken jars, ashes, and fish bones, which we had observed at Juan Fernandez on our first landing; these things having been doubtless the relics of the cruisers stationed at that island. Having thus satisfied ourselves in the most material articles of our enquiry, got all the silver on board the Centurion, and most of the prisoners, we made sail to the northward at eight that same evening, in company with our prize. We got sight of Juan Fernandez at six next morning, and the day following both we and our prize got safe there to anchor. When the prize and her crew came into the bay, in which the rest of our squadron lay, the Spaniards, who had been sufficiently informed of the distresses we had gone through, and were astonished we had been able to surmount them, were still more surprised when they saw the Tryal sloop, that, after all our fatigues, we should have had the industry to complete such a vessel in so short a time, besides refitting our other ships, as they concluded we had certainly built her there; nor was it without great difficulty they could be brought to believe that she came from England with the rest of the squadron; for they long insisted, that it was impossible for such a bauble as she was to have passed round Cape Horn, when the best ships of Spain were forced to put back.

By the time of our arrival at Juan Fernandez, the letters found on board our prize were more minutely examined, and it appeared from them, and from the examination of our prisoners, that several other merchant-ships were bound from Callao to Valparaiso. Whereupon, the commodore dispatched the Tryal sloop, the very next morning, to cruise off the port of Valparaiso, reinforcing her crew with ten men from the Centurion. The commodore resolved also, on the above intelligence, to employ the ships under his command in separate cruises, as by this means he might increase the chance of taking prizes, and should run less risk of being discovered, and alarming the coast. The spirits of our people [pg 356] were now greatly raised, and their despondency dissipated, by this earnest of success, so that they forgot all their past distresses, resumed their wonted alacrity, and laboured incessantly in completing our water, receiving our lumber, and preparing to leave the island.

These necessary occupations took us up four or five days, with all our industry and exertions; and in this interval, the commodore directed the guns of the Anna pink, being four six-pounders and four four-pounders, with two swivels, to be mounted in the Carmelo, our prize. He sent also on board the Gloucester, six Spanish passengers and twenty-three captured seamen, to assist in navigating that ship, and directed Captain Mitchell to leave the island as soon as possible, the service demanding the utmost despatch, giving him orders to proceed to the latitude of 5° S. and there to cruise off the high-land of Payta, at such distance from shore as should prevent his being discovered. He was to continue on this station till joined by the Centurion; which was to be whenever it should be known that the viceroy had fitted out the ships of war at Callao, or on the commodore receiving any other intelligence that should make it necessary to divide our strength. These orders being delivered to Captain Mitchell of the Gloucester, and all our business completed, we weighed anchor in the Centurion, on Saturday the 19th of September, in company with our prize the Carmelo, and got out of the bay, taking our last leave of Juan Fernandez, and steering to the eastward, with the intention of joining the Tryal sloop, on her station off Valparaiso, leaving the Gloucester still at anchor.

Footnote 1: (return)

They also distinguish the greater by the name of Isla de Tierra, as being nearer the main land of Chili. There is yet a third and smallest island, a little way from the S.W. extremity of the largest, called J. de Cabras or Conejos, Goat or Rabbit island.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

A seron is a species of package made and used in Spanish America, consisting of a piece of raw bullock's hide with the hair on, formed while wet into the shape of a small trunk, and sewed together. The quantity of dollars taken on this occasion may have been between seventy and eighty thousand.E.


Our Cruise, from leaving Juan Fernandez, to the taking of Payta.

Although we left the bay on the 19th of September, yet, by the irregularity and fluctuation of the wind in the offing, it was the 22d of that month, in the evening, before we lost sight of Juan Fernandez; after which we continued our course to the eastward, in order to join the Tryal off Valparaiso. Next night the weather proved squally, and we [pg 357] split our main top-sail, which we then handed; but got it repaired and set again by next morning. In the evening, a little before sunset, we saw two sail to the eastward, on which our prize stood directly from us, to avoid any suspicion of our being cruisers, while we made ready for an engagement, and steered with all our canvass towards the two ships we had descried. We soon perceived, that one of them, which seemed a very stout ship, stood directly for us, while the other kept at a great distance. By seven o'clock we were within pistol-shot of the nearest, and had a broadside ready to pour into her, the gunners having their lighted matches in their hands, only waiting orders to fire. But, as the commodore knew that she could not now escape, he ordered the master to hail the ship in Spanish; on which her commanding officer, who happened to be Mr Hughes, lieutenant of the Tryal, answered us in English, that she was a prize, taken by the Tryal a few days before, and that the other vessel at a distance was the Tryal, disabled in her masts.

We were soon after joined by the Tryal, when her commander, Captain Saunders, came on board the Centurion. He acquainted the commodore, that he had taken this ship on the 18th, being a prime sailor, which had cost him thirty-six hours chase before he could get up with her, and that for some time he gained so little upon her, that he almost despaired of ever making up with the chase. The Spaniards were at first alarmed, by seeing nothing but a cloud of sail in pursuit of them, as the hull of the Tryal lay so low in the water, that no part of it appeared; yet knowing the goodness of their ship, and finding how little the Tryal neared them, they at last laid aside their fears, and, recommending themselves to the protection of the blessed Virgin, they began to think themselves quite secure. Indeed, their success was near doing honour to their Ave Marias; for, altering their course in the night, and shutting close their cabin windows to prevent any of their lights from being seen, they had some chance of escaping: But a small crevice in one of their shutters rendered all their invocations of no avail; as the people of the Tryal perceived a light through this crevice, which they chased till they got within gun-shot; and then Captain Saunders alarmed them with a broadside, when they flattered themselves they were beyond his reach. For some time, however, the chase still kept the same sail abroad, and it was not observed that this first salute had made any impression; [pg 358] but, just as the Tryal was about to repeat her broadsides the Spaniards crept from their holes, lowered their sails, and submitted without opposition. She was named the Arranzazu, being one of the largest merchantmen employed in these seas, of about 600 tons burden, bound from Calao to Valparaiso, having much the same cargo with the Carmelo, our former prize, except that her silver amounted only to about 5000l. sterling.

To balance this success, we found that the Tryal had sprung her main-mast, and that her main-top-mast had come by the board; and next morning, as we were all standing to the eastward in a fresh gale at S. she had the additional misfortune to spring her fore-mast, so that now she had not a mast left on which she could carry sail. These unhappy circumstances were still further aggravated, by the impossibility of our being then able to assist her, for the wind blew so hard, and raised such a hollow sea, that we could not venture to hoist out a boat, and consequently could not have any communication with her; so that we were obliged to lie-to for the greatest part of forty-eight hours to attend upon her, as we could not possibly leave her in such a condition of distress. It was no small addition to our misfortunes, on this occasion, that we were all the while driving to leeward of our intended station, and at the very time, when, by our intelligence, we had reason to expect several of the enemy's ships would appear on the coast, and would now get into the port of Valparaiso unobstructed; and, I am convinced, the embarrassment we suffered by the dismasting of the Tryal and our consequent absence from our intended station, deprived, us of some very considerable captures.

The weather proved somewhat more moderate on the 27th, when we sent our boat for Captain Saunders, who came on board the Centurion, where he produced an instrument, signed by himself and all his officers, representing that the Tryal, besides being dismasted, was so very leaky in her hull, that it was necessary to ply the pumps continually, even in moderate weather, and that they were then scarcely able to keep her free; insomuch that, in the late gale, though all the officers even had been engaged in turns at the pumps, yet the water had increased upon them; and that, on the whole, they apprehended her present condition to be so defective, that they must all inevitably perish if they met with much bad weather: For all which reasons, he petitioned the commodore [pg 359] to take measures for their safety. The refittal of the Tryal, and the repair of her defects, were utterly beyond our power on the present conjuncture, for we had no masts to spare, no stores to complete her rigging, and no port in which she could be hove down, to examine and repair her bottom. Even had we possessed a port, and proper requisites for the purpose it would yet have been extremely imprudent, in so critical a conjuncture to have loitered away so much time as would have been necessary for these operations. The commodore, therefore, had no choice left, but was under the necessity of taking out her people and destroying her. Yet, as he conceived it expedient to keep up the appearance of our force, he appointed the Tryal's prize, which had often been employed by the viceroy of Peru as a man-of-war, to be a frigate in his majesty's service, manning her with the crew of the Tryal, and giving commissions to the captain and all the inferior officers accordingly. This new frigate, when in the Spanish service, had mounted thirty-two guns; but she was now to have only twenty, which were the twelve that belonged to the Tryal and eight that had been on board the Anna pink.

This affair being resolved on, the commodore gave orders to Captain Saunders to carry it into execution, directing him to take all the arms, stores, ammunition, and every thing else that could be of use from the sloop, and then to scuttle and sink her. After all this was done, Captain Saunders was to proceed with his new frigate, now called the Tryal's prize, to cruise off the high-land of Valparaiso, keeping it from him N.N.W. at the distance of twelve or fourteen leagues: for, as all ships from Valparaiso bound to the northward, steer that course, the commodore proposed, by this means, to stop any intelligence that might be dispatched to Callao, of two of their ships being amissing, which might give them apprehensions of the English squadron being in their neighbourhood. The Tryal's prize was to continue on this station for twenty-four days, and, if not joined by the commodore before the expiration of that time, was then to proceed along the coast to Pisco, or Nasca, where she would be certain to find the Centurion. The commodore also ordered Lieutenant Saumarez, who commanded the Centurion's prize, to keep company with Captain Saunders, both to assist in unloading the Tryal, and that, by spreading in their cruise off Valparaiso, there might be less danger of any ships of the enemy slipping past unobserved. These orders being dispatched, the Centurion [pg 360] parted from the other vessels at eleven at night of the 27th September, directing her course towards Valparaiso, with the view of cruising for some days to windward of that port. By this distribution of our ships, we flattered ourselves that we had taken all the advantages we possibly could of the enemy with our small force, as our disposition was certainly the most prudent that could be devised: For, as we might suppose the Gloucester to be now drawing nigh the high-land of Payta, we were thus enabled, by our separate stations, to intercept all vessels employed either between Peru and Chili to the southward, or between Panama and Peru to the northward, since the principal trade from Peru to Chili being carried on with the port of Valparaiso, the Centurion, cruising to windward of that port, would probably meet with them, as it is the constant practice of these ships to fall in with land to windward of that place. The Gloucester, also, would be in the way of all ships bound from Panama, or any other place to the northward, to any port in Peru, since the highland, off which she was ordered to cruise, is constantly made by every ship on that voyage. While the Centurion and Gloucester were thus conveniently situated for intercepting the trade of the enemy, the Tryal's prize, and Centurion's prize, were as conveniently stationed for preventing the communication of intelligence, by intercepting all vessels bound from Valparaiso to the northward; as by such vessels it was to be feared that some account of us might be transmitted to Peru.

But the most judicious dispositions only produce a probability of success, and cannot command certainty; since those chances, which may reasonably enough be overlooked in deliberation, are sometimes of most powerful influence in execution. Thus, in the present instance, the distress of the Tryal, and our necessary quitting our station to assist her, which were events that no degree of prudence could either foresee or obviate, gave an opportunity to all the ships bound for Valparaiso to reach that port without molestation during this unlucky interval: so that, after leaving Captain Saunders, we used every expedition in regaining our station, which we reached on the 29th at noon; yet, in plying on and off till the 6th of October, we had not the good fortune to fall in with a sail of any sort. Having lost all hope of meeting with any better fortune by longer stay, we then made sail to leeward of the port, in order to rejoin our prizes; but when we arrived off the high-land, where they were directed [pg 361] to cruise, we did not find them, though we continued there three or four days. It was supposed, therefore, that some chase had occasioned them to quit their station, wherefore we proceeded to the northward to the high-land of Nasca, in lat. 15° 20' S. being the second rendezvous appointed for Captain Saunders to join us. We got there on the 21st of October, and were in great expectation of falling in with some of the enemy's vessels, as both the accounts of former voyagers, and the information of our prisoners, assured us, that all ships bound to Callao consequently make this land to prevent the danger of falling to leeward of the port.

Notwithstanding the advantages of this station, we saw no sail whatever till the 2d November, when two ships appeared together, to which we immediately gave chase, and soon perceived that they were the Tryal's and Centurion's prizes. As they were to windward, we brought to and waited their coming up; when Captain Saunders came on board the Centurion, and acquainted the commodore that he had cleared and scuttled the Tryal according to his orders, and remained by her till she sunk. It was, however, the 4th of October before this could be effected; for there ran so large and hollow a sea that the sloop, having neither masts nor sails to steady her, rolled and pitched so violently, that, for the greatest part of the time, it was impossible for a boat to lie alongside of her; and, during this attendance on the sloop, they were all driven so far to the N.W. that they were afterwards obliged to stretch a long way to the westward, in order to regain the ground they had lost, which was the reason we had not met them on their station. They had met with no better fortune on their cruise than ourselves, never having seen a single vessel since we left them.

This want of success, and our certainty if any ships had been stirring in these seas for some time past, that we must have fallen in with them, made us believe that the enemy at Valparaiso, on missing the two ships we had taken, had suspected us to be in these seas, and had consequently laid an embargo on all trade in the southern parts. We likewise apprehended they might, by this time, be fitting out the ships of war at Callao; as we knew that it was not uncommon for an express to reach Lima from Valparaiso in twenty-nine or thirty days, and it was now more than fifty since we had taken the first prize. These apprehensions of an embargo on the coast, and of the equipment of the Spanish squadron at [pg 362] Callao, determined the commodore to hasten down to the leeward of Callao, to join the Gloucester as soon as possible off Payta, that, our strength being united, we might be prepared to give the ships from Callao a warm reception, if they dared to put to sea. With this view we bore away that same afternoon, taking particular care to keep at such a distance from the shore that there might be no danger of our being discovered from thence; for we knew that all the ships of that country were commanded, under the severest penalties, not to sail past the harbour of Callao without stopping: as this order is always complied with, we should undoubtedly be known for enemies if we were seen to act contrary to that regulation. In this new navigation, being uncertain if we might not meet the Spanish squadron on the way, the commodore took back a part of the crew of the Centurion which had been for some time on board the Carmelo.

While standing to the northward, we had sight of the small island of St Gallan1 before night, bearing from us N. N.E. 1/2 E. about seven leagues distant. This island lies in about the latitude of 14° S. and about five miles to the northward of a high-land called Morro Viejo, or the Old-man's Head, which island and high-land near it are here more particularly mentioned, because between them is perhaps the most eligible station on all this coast for cruising against the enemy, as hereabouts all ships bound for Callao, whether from the northward or southward, run well in with the land. By the 5th November, at 3 p.m. we were within sight of the high-land of Barranca, in lat. 10° 36' S. bearing from us N.E. by E. eight or nine leagues distant; and an hour and a half afterwards we had the satisfaction, so long wished for, of seeing a sail. She appeared to leeward, and we all immediately gave chase; but the Centurion so much outsailed the two prizes that we soon ran them both out of sight, and gained considerably upon the chase. Night, however, came on before we could make up with her, and about seven o'clock the darkness concealed her from our view, and we were in some perplexity what course to steer; but our commodore resolved, being then before the wind, to keep all his sails set and not to change his course: For, although there was no doubt the chase would alter her course in the night, as it was [pg 363] quite uncertain what tack she might go upon, he thought it more prudent to continue the same course, rather than change it on conjecture, as, should we mistake, she would certainly get away. Continuing the chase about an hour and a half after dark, one or other of our people constantly believing they saw her sails right a-head of us, our second lieutenant, Mr Brett, at length actually discovered her about four points on the larboard bow, steering off to seawards, on which we immediately clapped the helm a-weather, standing right towards her, and came up with her in less than an hour, and, having fired fourteen shots at her, she struck. Mr Dennis, our third lieutenant, was sent in the boat with sixteen men to take possession of the prize, and to shift the prisoners to our ship.

This vessel was named the Santa Teresa de Jesus, built at Guayaquil, of about 300 tons burden, commanded by Bartolome Urrunaga, a Biscayan. She was bound from Guayaquil to Callao, her loading consisting of timber, cocoa, cocoa-nuts, tobacco, hides, Pito thread, (which is made of a kind of grass and is very strong,) Quito cloth, wax, and various other articles; but the specie on board was very inconsiderable, being principally small silver coin, not exceeding 170l. sterling in value. Her cargo, indeed, was of great value, if we could have sold it; but the Spaniards have strict orders never to ransom their ships, so that all the goods we captured in the South Seas, except what little we had occasion for ourselves, were of no advantage to us; yet it was some satisfaction to consider, that it was so much real loss to the enemy, and that despoiling them was no contemptible part of the service in which we were employed, and was so far beneficial to our country. Besides her crew of forty-five hands, she had on board ten passengers, consisting of four men and three women, who were natives of the country, but born of Spanish parents, together with three negro slaves who attended them. The women were a mother and two daughters, the elder about twenty-one, and the younger about fourteen. It is not to be wondered that women of these years should be excessively alarmed at falling into the hands of an enemy whom they had been taught to consider as the most lawless and brutal of all mankind, owing to the former excesses of the buccaneers, and by the artful insinuations of their priests. In the present instance these apprehensions were much augmented by the singular beauty of the youngest of the women, [pg 364] and the riotous disposition they might naturally enough expect to find in a set of sailors who had not seen a woman for near a twelvemonth.

Full of these terrors, the women all hid themselves on the lieutenant coming on board, and, when found out, it was with difficulty he could persuade them to come to the light. But he soon satisfied them, by the humanity of his conduct, and by his assurances of their future safety and honourable treatment, that they had nothing to fear. The commodore, also, being informed of their fears, sent directions that they should continue in their own ship, with the use of the same apartments and all other conveniences they had before enjoyed, giving strict orders that they should experience no inquietude or molestation; and, that they might be the more certain of having these orders complied with, or having the means of complaining if they were not, the commodore appointed the pilot, who is generally the second person in Spanish ships, to remain with them as their guardian and protector. He was particularly chosen on this occasion, as he seemed extremely interested in all that concerned these women, and had at first declared that he was married to the youngest; though it afterwards appeared that he had asserted this merely with the view of securing them from the insults they dreaded on falling into our hands. By this compassionate and indulgent behaviour of the commodore, the consternation of our female prisoners entirety subsided, and they continued easy and cheerful during the time they were with us.

I have before mentioned that the Centurion ran her two consorts out of sight at the commencement of this chase, on which account we lay to for them all the night after we had taken the prize, firing guns and shewing false fires every half hour, to prevent them from passing us unobserved. But they were so far astern, that they neither heard nor saw any of our signals, and were not able to come up with us till broad day. When they had joined, we proceeded together to the northward, being now four sail in company. We here found the sea for many miles of a beautiful red colour, owing, as we found upon examination, to an immense quantity of spawn floating on its surface: For, taking some of the water in a glass, it soon changed from a dirty aspect to be perfectly clear, with some red globules of a slimy nature floating on the top. Having now a supply of timber in our new prize, the commodore ordered all our boats to be repaired, and a swivel-stock to be fitted in the bow of the barge and pinnace, [pg 365] in order to increase their force, in case we should have occasion to use them in boarding ships, or making any attempt on shore.

Continuing our course to the northward, nothing remarkable occurred for two or three days, though we spread our ships in such a manner that it was not probable any vessel of the enemy should escape us. During our voyage along this coast, we generally observed that a current set us to the northward, at the rate of ten or twelve miles every day. When in about the latitude of 8° S. we began to be attended by vast numbers of flying fish and bonitos, which were the first we had seen after leaving the coast of Brazil. It is remarkable that these fish extend to a much higher latitude on the east side of America than on the west, as we did not lose them on the coast of Brazil till near the southern tropic. The reason, doubtless, of this diversity, is owing to the different degrees of heat obtaining on different sides of the continent in the same latitude; and, on this occasion, I use the freedom to make a short digression on the heat and cold of different climates, and on the variations which occur in the same places at different times of the year, and in different places in the same degree of latitude.

The ancients conceived that of the five zones into which they divided the surface of the globe, two only were habitable; supposing that the heat between the tropics, and the cold within the polar circles, were too intense to be supported by mankind. The falsehood of this idea has been long established; but the particular comparison of the heat and cold of these various climates have as yet been very imperfectly considered. Enough is known, however, safely to determine this position, that all the places within the tropics are far from being the hottest on the globe, as many within the polar circle are far from enduring that extreme degree of cold to which their situation seems to subject them; that is to say, that the temperature of a place depends much more upon other circumstances, than upon its distance from the pole, or its proximity to the equinoctial line.

This proposition relates to the general temperature of places taking the whole year round, and, in this sense, it cannot be denied that the city of London, for instance, enjoys much warmer seasons than the bottom of Hudson's Bay, which is nearly in the same latitude, but where the severity of the winter is so great as scarcely to permit the hardiest of [pg 366] our garden plants to live. If the comparison be made between the coast of Brazil and the western shore of South America, as, for example, between Bahia and Lima, the difference will be found still more considerable; for, though the coast of Brazil is extremely sultry, yet the coast of the South Sea, in the same latitude, is perhaps as temperate and tolerable as any part of the globe; since we, in ranging it along, did not once meet with such warm weather as is frequently felt in a summer day in England, which was still the more remarkable, as there never fell any rain to refresh and cool the air.

The causes of this lower temperature in the South Sea are not difficult to be assigned, and shall be mentioned hereafter. I am now only solicitous to establish the truth of this assertion, that the latitude of a place alone is no rule by which to judge of the degree of heat and cold which obtains there. Perhaps this position might be more briefly confirmed by observing that on the tops of the Andes, though under the equator, the snow never melts the whole year round; a criterion of cold stronger than is known to take place in many parts far within the polar circle.

Hitherto I have considered the temperature of the air all the year through, and the gross estimations of heat and cold which every one makes from his own sensations. But if this matter be examined by means of thermometers, which are doubtless the most unerring evidences in respect to the absolute degrees of heat and cold, the result will be indeed most wonderful; since it will appear that the heat in very high latitudes, as at Petersburgh for instance, is, at particular times, much greater than any that has been hitherto observed between the tropics. Even at London in the year 1746, there was a part of one day considerably hotter than was at any time felt in one of the ships of our squadron in the whole voyage out and home, though four times passing under the equator; for, in the summer of that year, the thermometer in London, graduated according to the scale of Fahrenheit, stood at 78°, and the greatest observed heat, by a thermometer of the same kind in the same ship, was 76°, which was at St Catharines in the latter end of December, when the sun was within about 3° of the vertex. At St Petersburgh, I find by the acts of the Academy, in the year 1734, on the 20th and 25th of July, that the thermometer rose to 98° in the shade, or 22° higher than it was found to be at St Catharines; [pg 367] which extraordinary degree of heat, were it not authenticated by the regularity and circumspection with which the observations appear to have been conducted, would appear altogether incredible.

If it should be asked, how it comes then to pass, that the heat, in many places between the tropics, is esteemed so violent and insufferable, when it appears, by these instances, that it is sometimes rivalled, and even exceeded, in very high latitudes, not far from the polar circle? I shall answer, That the estimation of heat, in any particular place, ought not to be founded upon that particular degree of it which may now and then obtain there; but is rather to be deduced from the medium observed during a whole season, or perhaps in a whole year; and in this light, it will easily appear how much more intense the same degree of heat may prove, by being long continued without remarkable variation. For instance, in comparing together St Catharines and St Petersburg, we shall suppose the summer heat at St Catharines to be 76°, and the winter heat to be only 56°. I do not make this last supposition upon sufficient authority, but am apt to suspect the allowance is full large. Upon this supposition, therefore, the medium heat all the year round will be 66°; and this perhaps by night as well as by day, with no great variation. Now, those who have attended to thermometrical observation will readily allow, that a continuance of this degree of heat for a length of time, would be found violent and suffocating by the generality of mankind. But at Petersburg, though the heat, as measured by the thermometer, may happen to be a few times in the year considerably higher than at St Catharines, yet, at other times, the cold is intensely sharper, and the medium for a year, or even for one season only, would be far short of 60°. For I find, that the variation of the thermometer at Petersburgh, is at least five times greater, from its highest to its lowest point, than I have supposed it to be at St Catherines.2

Besides this estimation of the heat of a place, by taking the medium for a considerable time together, there is another [pg 368] circumstance which will still farther augment the apparent heat of the warmer climates, and diminish that of the colder, though I do not remember to have seen it remarked by any author. To explain myself more distinctly upon this head, I must observe, that the measure of absolute heat, marked by the thermometer, is not the certain criterion of the sensation of heat with which human bodies are affected; for, as the presence and perpetual succession of fresh air is necessary to our respiration, so there is a species of tainted or stagnated air often produced by the continuance of great heats, which, being less proper for respiration, never fails to excite in us an idea of sultriness and suffocating warmth, much beyond what the heat of the air alone would occasion, supposing it pure and agitated. Hence it follows, that the mere inspection of the thermometer will never determine the heat which the human body feels from this cause; and hence also, the heat, in most places between the tropics, must be much more troublesome and uneasy, than the same degree of absolute heat in a high latitude. For the equability and duration of the tropical heat contribute to impregnate the air with a multitude of steams and vapours from the soil and water; and many of these being of an impure and noxious kind, and being not easily removed, by reason of the regularity of the winds in those parts, which only shift the exhalations from place to place, without dispersing them, the atmosphere is by this means rendered less capable of supporting the animal functions, and mankind are consequently affected by what they call a most intense and stifling heat. Whereas, in the higher latitudes, these vapours are probably raised in smaller quantities, and are frequently dispersed by the irregularity and violence of the winds; so that the air, being in general more pure and less stagnant, the same degree of absolute heat is not attended by that uneasy and suffocating sensation.

This may suffice, in general, with respect to the present speculation; but I cannot help wishing, as it is a subject in which mankind are very much interested, especially travellers of all sorts, that it were more thoroughly and accurately examined, and that all ships bound to the warmer climates were furnished with thermometers of a known fabric, and would observe them daily, and register their observations. For, considering the turn to philosophical enquiries [pg 369] which has obtained in Europe since the beginning of the eighteenth century, it is incredible how very rarely any thing of this kind has been attended to. For my own part, I do not remember to have ever seen any observations of the heat and cold, either in the East or West Indies, which were made by marines or officers of vessels, excepting those made by order of Commodore Anson on board the Centurion, and those by Captain Legg on board the Severn, another ship of our squadron.

I have been in some measure drawn into this digression, by the consideration of the fine weather we experienced on the coast of Peru, even under the equinoctial, but I have not yet described the particularities of this weather. I shall now therefore observe, that every circumstance concurred, in this climate, that could render the open air and the day-light desirable: For, in other countries, the scorching heat of the sun in summer renders the greater part of the day unapt either for labour or amusement, and the frequent rains are not less troublesome in the more temperate parts of the year: But, in this happy climate, the sun rarely appears. Not that the heavens have at any time a dark or gloomy aspect; for there is constantly a cheerful gray sky, just sufficient to screen the sun, and to mitigate the violence of its perpendicular rays, without obscuring the air, or tinging the light of day with an unpleasant or melancholy hue. By this means, all parts of the day are proper for labour or exercise in the open air; nor is there wanting that refreshing and pleasing refrigeration of the air which is sometimes produced by rains in other climates; for here the same effect is brought about by the fresh breezes from the cooler regions to the southward. It is reasonable to suppose, that this fortunate complexion of the heavens is principally owing to the neighbourhood of those vast mountains called the Andes, which, running nearly parallel to the shore, and at a small distance from it, and extending immensely higher than any other mountains upon the globe, form upon their sides and declivities a prodigious tract of country, where, according to the different approaches to the summit, all kinds of climates may be found at all seasons of the year.

These mountains, by intercepting great part of the eastern winds, which generally blow over the continent of South America, and by cooling that part of the air which forces [pg 370] its way over their tops, and by keeping besides a large portion of the atmosphere perpetually cool, from its contiguity to the snows by which they are always covered, and thus spreading the influence of their frozen crests to the neighbouring coasts and seas of Peru, are doubtless the cause of the temperature and equability which constantly prevail there. For, when we had advanced beyond the equinoctial to the north, where these mountains left us, and had nothing to screen us to the eastward but the high lands on the Isthmus of Darien, which are mere mole-hills compared to the Andes, we then found that we had totally changed our climate in a short run; passing, in two or three days, from the temperate air of Peru, to the sultry and burning atmosphere of the West Indies.

To return to our narration. On the 10th of November we were three leagues south of the southern island, of Lobos, in lat. 6° 27' S. This is called Lobos de la Mar; and another, which is to the northward of it, and resembles it so much in shape and appearance as to be often mistaken for it, is called Lobos de Tierra.3 We were now drawing near the station that had been appointed for the Gloucester, and fearing to miss her, we went under easy sail all night. At day-break next morning, we saw a ship in shore and to windward, which had passed us unseen in the night, and soon perceiving that she was not the Gloucester, we got our tacks on board and gave her chase. But as there was very little wind, so that neither we nor the chase had made much way, the commodore ordered his barge and pinnace, with the pinnace of the Tryal's prize, to be manned and armed, and to pursue and board the chase. Lieutenant Brett, who commanded our barge, came up with her first about nine o'clock, a.m. and, running alongside, fired a volley of small shot between her masts, just over the heads of her people, and then instantly boarded with the greatest part of his men. But the enemy made no resistance, being sufficiently intimidated by the dazzling of the cutlasses, and the volley they had just received. Lieutenant Brett now made the sails of the prize be trimmed, and bore down towards the [pg 371] commodore, taking up the other two boats in his way. When within about four miles of us, he put off in the barge, bringing with him a number of the prisoners, who had given him some material intelligence, which he was desirous of communicating to the commodore as soon as possible. On his arrival, we learnt that the prize was called Nuestra Senora del Carmin, of about 270 tons burden, commanded by Marcos Moreno, a native of Venice, having on board forty-three mariners. She was deeply laden with steel, iron, wax, pepper, cedar plank, snuff, rosarios, European bale-goods, powder-blue, cinnamon, papal indulgences, and other kinds of merchandize; and, though this cargo was of little value to us, in our present circumstances, it was the most considerable capture we had made, in respect to the Spaniards, as it amounted to upwards of 400,000 dollars, prime cost at Panama. This ship was bound from Panama to Callao, and had stopped at Payta on her way, to take on board a recruit of water and provisions, and had not left that place above twenty-four hours when she fell into our hands.

The important intelligence received by Mr Brett, which he was so anxious to communicate to the commodore, he had learnt from one John Williams, an Irishman, whom he found in the prize, and which was confirmed by examination of the other prisoners. Williams was a papist, who had worked his passage from Cadiz, and had travelled over the whole of the kingdom of Mexico as a pedlar. He pretended that, by this business, he had at one time cleared four or five thousand dollars, but at length got entangled by the priests, who knew he had money, and was stripped of every thing. At present he was all in rags, having just got out of Payto gaol, where he had been confined for some misdemeanour. He expressed great joy in thus meeting his countrymen, and immediately informed them, that a vessel had come into Payta, only a few days before, the master of which had informed the governor, that he had been chased in the offing by a very large ship, which he was persuaded, from her size and the colour of her sails, must be one of the English squadron. This we conjectured to have been the Gloucester, as we found afterwards was the case. On examining the master, and being fully satisfied of his account, the governor sent off an express with all expedition to the viceroy at Lima; and the royal officer residing [pg 372] at Payta, apprehensive of a visit from the English, had been busily employed, from his first hearing of this news, in removing the king's treasure and his own to Piura, a town in the interior, about fourteen leagues distant.4 We learnt farther, from our prisoners, that there was at this time a considerable sum of money in the custom-house of Payta, belonging to some merchants of Lima, which was intended to be shipped on board a vessel, then in the harbour of Payta, and was preparing to sail for the bay of Sansonnate, on the coast of Mexico, in order to purchase a part of the cargo of the Manilla ship.

As the vessel in which this money was to be shipped was reckoned a prime sailer, and had just received a new coat of tallow on her bottom, and might, in the opinion of the prisoners, be able to sail the succeeding morning, we had little reason to expect that our ship, which had been nearly two years in the water, could have any chance to get up with her, if she were once allowed to escape from the port. Wherefore, and as we were now discovered, and the whole coast would soon be alarmed, and as our continuing to cruise any longer in these parts would now answer no purpose, the commodore determined to endeavour to take Payta by surprise, having in the first place informed himself minutely of its strength and condition, by examining the prisoners, and being fully satisfied that there was little danger of losing many of our men in the attempt.

This attack on Payta, besides the treasure it promised, and its being the only enterprise in our power to undertake, had also several other probable advantages. We might, in all probability, supply ourselves with great quantities of live provisions, of which we were in great want; and we should also have an opportunity of setting our prisoners on shore, who were now very numerous, and made a greater consumption of our food than our remaining stock was capable of furnishing much longer. In all these lights, the attempt was most eligible, and to which our situation, our necessities, and every prudential consideration, strongly prompted. How it succeeded, and how far it answered our expectations, shall be the subject, of the succeeding section.

[pg 373]
Footnote 1: (return)

This island of San Gallan is in lat. 14° S. long. 76° W. about twelve miles S.W. of Pisco.E.

Footnote 2: (return)

On his own principles, the lowest heat of Petersburg ought to be -2°, and the medium temperature of the year 48°; but the data are loosely expressed and quite unsatisfactory, as indeed is the whole reasoning on the subject.E.

Footnote 3: (return)

The Southern Lobos, or Lobos de la Mar, is in fact two contiguous islands, N. and S. from each other, in lat. 6° 57' S. and long. 80° 43' W. Lobos de Tierra, called also Inner Lobos, from being nearer the land, lying in the same longitude, is in lat. 6° 28' S. There is still a third, or Northern Lobos, in lat. 5° 10' S. long. 81° W.

Footnote 4: (return)

San Migual de Piura is about 50 English miles E. by S. from Payta, and nearly the same distance from the mouth of the Piura river.E.


Capture of Payta, and Proceedings at that Place.

The town of Payta is in lat 50° 12' S. [long. 81° 15' W.] being situated in a most barren soil, composed only of sand and slate. It is of small extent, being about 275 yards in length along the shore of the bay, and 130 yards in breadth, containing less than two hundred families. The houses are only ground floors, their walls composed of split canes and mud, and the roofs thatched with leaves. Though thus extremely slight, these edifices are abundantly sufficient for a climate where rain is considered as a prodigy, and is not seen in many years: Insomuch that, a small quantity of rain falling in the year 1728, is said to have ruined a great number of buildings, which mouldered away, and melted as it were before it. The inhabitants are chiefly Indians and black slaves, or of mixed breed, the whites being very few. The port of Payta, though little more than a bay, is reckoned the best on this coast, and is indeed a very secure and commodious anchorage, and is frequented by all vessels coming from the north, as here only the ships from Acapulco, Sonsonnate, Realejo, and Panama, can touch and refresh in their passage to Callao; and the length of these voyages, the wind for the greatest part of the year being full against them, renders it indispensably necessary for them to call in here for a recruit of fresh water. Payta itself, however, is situated in so parched a spot, that it does not furnish a drop of fresh water, neither any kind of vegetables or other provisions, except fish and a few goats. But, from an Indian town named Colan, two or three leagues to the northward, water, maize, vegetables, fowls, and other provisions, are con