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W.H.G. Kingston and Henry Frith

"Notable Voyagers"


Chapter One.

Introduction—A.D. 1486.

Columbus before the conclave of Professors at Seville—His parentage and early history—Battle with Venetian galleys—Residence in Portugal—Marries widow of a navigator—Grounds on which he founded his theory—Offers his services to the King of Portugal—His offer declined—Sends his brother Bartholomew to Henry the Seventh of England—Don John sends out a squadron to forestall him—Sets off for Spain—Introduced by the Duke of Medina Celi to Queen Isabella—She encourages him—Plan for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre—His long detention at Court while Ferdinand and Isabella are engaged in the war against the Moors of Granada—A hearing at length afforded him—His demands refused—Leaves the Court in poverty and visits Palos on his way to France—Met by Juan Perez, Prior of the Rabida convent—The Prior listens to his plans—Introduces him to the Pinzons, and informs the Queen of his intended departure—Sent for back at Court—All his demands agreed to—Authority given him to fit out a squadron.

In the year 1486 a council of learned professors of geography, mathematics, and all branches of science, erudite friars, accomplished bishops, and other dignitaries of the Church, were seated in the vast arched hall of the old Dominican convent of Saint Stephen in Salamanca, then the great seat of learning in Spain. They had met to hear a simple mariner, then standing in their midst, propound and defend certain conclusions at which he had arrived regarding the form and geography of the earth, and the possibility, nay, the certainty, that by sailing west, the unknown shores of Eastern India could be reached. Some of his hearers declared it to be grossly presumptuous in an ordinary man to suppose, after so many profound philosophers and mathematicians had been studying the world, and so many able navigators had been sailing about it for years past, that there remained so vast a discovery for him to make. Some cited the books of the Old Testament to prove that he was wrong, others the explanations of various reverend commentators. Doctrinal points were mixed up with philosophical discussions, and a mathematical demonstration was allowed no weight if it appeared to clash with a text of Scripture or comment of one of the fathers.

Although Pliny and the wisest of the ancients had maintained the possibility of an antipodes in the southern hemisphere, these learned gentlemen made out that it was altogether a novel theory.

Others declared that to assert there were inhabited lands on the opposite side of the globe would be to maintain that there were nations not descended from Adam, as it would have been impossible for them to have passed the intervening ocean, and therefore discredit would be thrown on the Bible.

Again, some of the council more versed in science, though admitting the globular form of the earth, and the possibility of an opposite habitable hemisphere, maintained that it would be impossible to arrive there on account of the insupportable heat of the torrid zone; besides which, if the circumference of the earth was as great as they supposed, it would require three years to make the voyage.

Several, with still greater absurdity, advanced as an objection that should a ship succeed in reaching the extremity of India, she could never get back again, as the rotundity of the globe would present a kind of mountain up which it would be impossible for her to sail even with the most favourable wind.

The mariner replied in answer to the scriptural objection that the inspired writers were not speaking technically as cosmographers, but figuratively, in language addressed to all comprehensions, and that the commentaries of the fathers were not to be considered as philosophical propoundings, which it was necessary either to admit or refute.

In regard to the impossibility of passing the torrid zone, he himself stated that he had voyaged as far as Guinea under the equinoxial line, and had found that region not only traversable, but abounding in population, fruits, and pasturage.

Who was this simple mariner who could thus dare to differ from so many learned sages? His person was commanding; his demeanour elevated; his eye kindling; his manner that of one who had a right to be heard, while a rich flow of eloquence carried his hearers with him. His countenance was handsome; his hair already blanched by thought, toil, and privation.

He was no other than Columbus, who, after his proposals had been rejected by the Court of Portugal, had addressed himself to that of Spain, and had, year after year, waited patiently to obtain a hearing from Ferdinand and Isabella, then occupied in their wars against the Moors.

He had been a seaman from the age of fourteen. He was born in the city of Genoa about the year 1435, where his father, Dominico Colombo, carried on the business of a wool comber, which his ancestors had followed for several generations. He was the eldest of three brothers, the others being Bartholomew and Diego. He had at an early age evinced a desire for the sea, and accordingly his education had been mainly directed to fit him for maritime life.

His first voyages were made with a distant relative named Colombo, a hardy veteran of the seas, who had risen to some distinction by his bravery.

Under this relative young Christopher saw much service, both warlike and in trading voyages, until he gained command of a war ship of good size. When serving in the squadron of his cousin information was brought that four richly-laden Venetian galleys were on their return voyage from Flanders. The squadron lay in wait for them off the Portuguese coast, between Lisbon and Cape Saint Vincent. A desperate engagement ensued; the vessels grappled each other. That commanded by Columbus was engaged with a huge Venetian galley. Hand-grenades and other fiery missiles were thrown on board her, and the galley was wrapped in flames. So closely were the vessels fastened together, that both were involved in one conflagration. The crews threw themselves into the sea. Columbus seized an oar, and being an expert swimmer, reached the shore, though fully two leagues distant. On recovering he made his way to Lisbon. Possibly he may have resided there previously; certain it is that he there married a lady, the daughter of a distinguished navigator, from whose widow he obtained much information regarding the voyages and expeditions of her late husband, as well as from his papers, charts, journals, and memoranda.

Having become naturalised in Portugal, he sailed occasionally on voyages to the coast of Guinea, and when on shore supported his family by making maps and charts, which in those days required a degree of knowledge and experience sufficient to entitle the possessor to distinction.

He associated with various navigators, and he noted down all he heard. It was said by some that islands had been seen far away to the west when they had been driven in that direction. Whatever credit might have been given to these reports by Columbus, he had far stronger reasons for believing that, by sailing across the ocean to the west, he should reach land. He was of opinion that about one-third of the circumference of the earth was unknown and unexplored. A great portion of this might be filled up by the eastern regions of Asia, while the tract of water intervening between these countries might be less than at first supposed.

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, two great travellers, Marco Polo and Sir John Mandeville, journeyed eastward over a large portion of Asia, and had given vivid descriptions of the magnificence of its cities and scenery. Marco Polo especially had described two large islands, Ontilla and Cipango, the latter undoubtedly Japan, which it was expected would be the first reached by a navigator sailing westward.

A Portuguese pilot, Martin Vicenti, after sailing four hundred and fifty-two leagues to the west of Cape Saint Vincent, had found a piece of carved wood evidently laboured with an iron instrument, and as probably the wind had drifted it from the west, it might have come from some unknown land in that direction. A brother-in-law of Columbus had likewise found a similar piece of wood drifted from the same quarter. Reeds of enormous size, such as were described by Ptolemy to grow in India, had been picked up, and trunks of huge pine-trees had been driven on the shores of the Azores, such as did not grow on any of those islands. The bodies of two dead men, whose features differed from those of any known race of people, had been cast on the island of Flores. There were islands, it was rumoured, still farther west than those visited, and a mariner sailing from Port Saint Mary to Ireland asserted that he had seen land to the west, which the ship’s company took to be some extreme point of Tartary.

These facts being made known to Columbus, served to strengthen his opinion. The success indeed of his undertaking depended greatly on two happy errors: the imaginary extent of Asia to the east, and the supposed smallness of the earth. A deep religious sentiment mingled with his meditations. He looked upon himself as chosen by Heaven for the accomplishment of its purposes, that the ends of the earth might be brought together, and all nations and tongues united under the banner of the Redeemer.

The enthusiastic nature of his conceptions gave an elevation to his spirit, and dignity and eloquence to his whole demeanour. He never spoke in doubt or hesitation, but with as much certainty as if his eyes had beheld the promised land.

No trial or disappointment could divert him from the steady pursuit of his object. That object, it is supposed, he meditated as early as the year 1474, though as yet it lay crude and immatured in his mind. Shortly afterwards, in the year 1477, he made a voyage to the north of Europe, navigating one hundred leagues beyond Thule, when he reached an island as large as England, generally supposed to have been Iceland.

In vain he had applied to Don John the Second, who ascended the throne of Portugal in 1481. That king was so deeply engaged in sending out expeditions to explore the African coast that his counsellors advised him to confine his efforts in that direction. He would, however, have given his consent had not Columbus demanded such high and honourable rewards as were considered inadmissible.

To his eternal disgrace the Bishop of Ceuta advised that Columbus should be kept in suspense while a vessel was secretly dispatched in the direction he pointed out, to ascertain if there was any truth in his story. This was actually done, until the caravel meeting with stormy weather, and an interminable waste of wild tumbling waves, the pilots lost courage and returned.

Columbus, indignant at this attempt to defraud him, his wife having died some time previously, resolved to abandon the country which had acted so treacherously. He first sent his brother Bartholomew to make proposals to Henry the Seventh, King of England; but that sovereign rejected his offers, and having again made a proposal to Genoa, which, from the reverses she had lately received, she was unable to accept, he turned his eyes to Spain.

The great Spanish Dukes of Medina Sidonia and Medina Coeli, were at first inclined to support him, and the latter spoke of him to Queen Isabella, who giving a favourable reply, Columbus set off for the Spanish Court, then at Cordova.

The sovereigns of Castile and Arragon were, however, so actively engaged in carrying on the fierce war with the Moors of Grenada, that they were unable to give due attention to the scheme of the navigator, while their counsellors generally derided his proposals.

The beautiful and enlightened Isabella treated him from the first with respect, and other friends rose up who were ready to give him support.

Wearied and discouraged by long delays, however, he had again opened up negotiations with the King of Portugal, and had been requested by that monarch to return there. He had also received a letter from Henry the Seventh of England, inviting him to his Court, and holding out promises of encouragement, when he was again summoned to attend the Castilian Court, and a sum of money was sent him to defray his expenses, King Ferdinand probably fearing that he would carry his proposals to a rival monarch, and wishing to keep the matter in suspense until he had leisure to examine it.

He accordingly repaired to the Court of Seville. While he was there two monks arrived with a message from the Grand Soldan of Egypt, threatening to put to death all the Christians and to destroy the Holy Sepulchre if the Spanish sovereigns did not desist from war against Grenada.

The menace had no effect in altering their purpose, but it aroused the indignation of the Spanish cavaliers, and still more so that of Columbus, and made them burn with ardent zeal once more to revive the contest of faith on the sacred plains of Palestine. Columbus had indeed resolved, should his projected enterprise prove successful, to devote the profits from his anticipated discoveries to a crusade for the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre from the power of the infidels.

During the latter part of the year 1490 Ferdinand and Isabella were engaged in celebrating the marriage of their eldest daughter, the Princess Isabella, with Prince Don Alonzo, heir apparent of Portugal. Bearing these long and vexatious delays as he had before done, Columbus supported himself chiefly by making maps and charts, occasionally assisted from the purse of his friend Diego de Deza.

The year was passing on. Columbus was kept in a state of irritating anxiety at Cordova, when he heard that the sovereigns were about to commence that campaign which ended in the expulsion of the Moors from Spain. Aware that many months must pass before they would give their minds to the subject if he allowed the present moment to slip by, he pressed for a decisive reply to his proposals with an earnestness that would admit of no evasion.

The learned men of the council were directed to express their opinion of the enterprise. The report of each was unfavourable, although the worthy friar Diego de Deza, tutor to Prince John, and several others, urged the sovereigns not to lose the opportunity of extending their dominions and adding so greatly to their glory.

Again, however, Columbus was put off. Having no longer confidence in the vague promises which had hitherto been made, he turned his back on Seville, resolved to offer to the King of France the honour of carrying out his magnificent undertaking.

Leaving Seville, his means exhausted, he travelled on foot, leading his young son Diego by the hand, to the sea-port of Palos de Moguer in Andalusia. Weary and exhausted, he stopped to ask for bread and water at the gate of the ancient Franciscan convent of Santa Maria de Rabida.

The Prior, Juan Perez de Marchena, happening to come up, and remarking the appearance of the stranger, entered into conversation with him. The Prior, a man of superior information, was struck with the grandeur of his views, and when he found that the navigator was on the point of abandoning Spain to seek patronage in the Court of France, and that so important an enterprise was about to be lost for ever to the country, his patriotism took the alarm. He entertained Columbus as his guest, and invited a scientific friend—a physician—Garcia Fernandez, to converse with him.

Fernandez was soon captivated by his conversation. Frequent conferences took place, at which several of the veteran mariners of Palos were present. Among these was Martin Alonzo Pinzon, the head of a family of wealthy and experienced navigators. Facts were related by some of the mariners in support of the theory of Columbus, and so convinced was Pinzon of the feasibility of his project, that he offered to engage in it with purse and person. The Prior, who had once been confessor to the Queen, was confirmed in his faith by the opinions expressed, and he proposed writing to her immediately, and entreated Columbus to delay his journey until an answer could be received.

It was decided to send Sebastian Rodriguez, a shrewd and clever pilot, to Santa Fé, where the Queen then was. Isabella had always been favourable to Columbus, and the Prior received a reply desiring that he himself should repair to Court. He went, and, seconded by the Marchioness of Moya and other old friends, so impressed the Queen with the importance of the undertaking, that she desired Columbus might be sent for, and ordered that seventy-two dollars, equal to two hundred and sixteen of the present day, might be forwarded to him, to bear his travelling expenses.

With his hopes raised to the highest pitch, Columbus again repaired to Court; but so fully occupied was he with the grandeur of his enterprise, that he stipulated that he should be invested with the title and privilege of admiral, and viceroy over the countries he should discover, with one-tenth of all gains, either by trade or conquest. It must be remembered the pious and patriotic way—according to his notions—in which he intended to expend the wealth he hoped to acquire.

The courtiers were indignant, and sneeringly observed that his arrangement was a secure one, that he was sure of a command, and had nothing to lose.

On this he offered to furnish one-eighth of the cost, on condition of enjoying one-eighth of the profit. The King looked coldly on the affair, and once more the sovereigns of Spain declined the offer. Columbus was at length again about to set off on his journey to Palos, when the generous spirit of Isabella was kindled by the remarks of the Marchioness of Moya, supported by Louis de Saint Angel, Receiver of the Ecclesiastical Revenues in Arragon. She exclaimed, “I undertake the enterprise for my own crown of Castile, and will pledge my jewels to raise the necessary funds!”

This was the proudest moment in the life of Isabella, as it stamped her as the patroness of the great discovery.

Saint Angel assured her there was no necessity for pledging her jewels, and expressed his readiness to advance seventeen thousand florins. A messenger was dispatched to bring back the navigator, with the assurance that all he desired would be granted; and so, turning the reins of his mule, he hastened back with joyful alacrity to Santa Fé, confiding in the noble probity of the Queen.

Articles of agreement were drawn up by the royal secretary at once. Columbus was to have for himself during his life, and his heirs and successors for ever, the office of admiral of all lands and continents which he might discover.

Secondly: He was to be viceroy and governor-general over them.

Thirdly: He was to be entitled to receive for himself one-tenth of all pearls, precious stones, gold, silver, spices, and all other articles and merchandise obtained within this admiralty.

Fourthly: He or his lieutenant was to be the sole judge in all cases and disputes arising out of traffic between those countries and Spain.

Fifthly: He might then, and at all after times, contribute an eighth part of the expense in fitting out vessels to sail on this enterprise, and receive one-eighth part of the profit.

The latter engagement he fulfilled through the assistance of the Pinzons of Palos, and added a third vessel to the armament.

Thus, one-eighth of the expense attendant on this grand expedition, undertaken by a powerful nation, was actually borne by the individual who conceived it, and who likewise risked his life on its success.

The capitulations were afterwards signed by Ferdinand and Isabella on the 17th of April, 1492, when, in addition to the above articles, Columbus and his heirs were authorised to prefix the title of Don to their names.

It was arranged that the armament should be fitted out at the port of Palos, Columbus calculating on the co-operation of his friends Martin Alonzo Pinzon and the Prior of the convent.

Both Isabella and Columbus were influenced by a pious zeal for effecting the great work of salvation among the potentates and peoples of the lands to be discovered. He expected to arrive at the extremity of the ocean, and to open up direct communication with the vast and magnificent empire of the Grand Khan of Tartary. His deep and cherished design was the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre, which he meditated during the remainder of his life, and solemnly provided for in his will.

Let those who are disposed to faint under difficulties in the prosecution of any great and worthy undertaking, remember that eighteen years elapsed after the time that Columbus conceived his enterprise, before he was able to carry it into effect; that the greater part of that time was passed in almost hopeless solicitation, amidst poverty, neglect, and taunting ridicule; that the prime of his life had wasted away in the struggle; and that when his perseverance was finally crowned with success, he had reached his fifty-sixth year.


Chapter Two.

First voyage of Columbus—A.D. 1492.

Columbus returns to Palos—Assisted by the Prior of La Rabida—The Pinzons agree to join him—Difficulty of obtaining ships and men—At length three vessels fitted out—Sails in the Santa Maria, with the Pinta and Nina, on 3rd August, 1492—Terrors and mutinous disposition of the crews—Reaches the Canary Islands—Narrowly escapes from a Portuguese squadron seat to capture him—Alarm of the crews increases—The squadron sails smoothly on—Columbus keeps two logs to deceive the seamen—Signs of land—Seaweed—Flights of birds—Birds pitch on the ship—Frequent changes in the tempers of the crews—Westerly course long held—Course altered to south-west—Pinzon fancies he sees land—Disappointment—Columbus sees lights at night—Morning dawns—San Salvador discovered—Natives seen—Columbus lands—Wonder of the natives—Proceeds in search of Cipango—Other islands visited, and gold looked for in vain—Friendly reception by the natives—Supplies brought off—Search for Saometo—Cuba discovered 20th October, 1492—Calls it Juana—Believes it to be the mainland of India—Sends envoys into the interior—Their favourable report of the fertility of the country—A storm—Deserted by Martin Pinzon in the Pinta—First view of Hispaniola—A native girl captured—Set free—Returns with large numbers of her countrymen—Arcadian simplicity of the natives.

Columbus hastened to Palos, where he was received as the guest of Fray Juan Perez, the worthy Prior of the convent of Rabida. The whole squadron with which the two sovereigns proposed to carry out their grand undertaking was to consist only of three small vessels. Two of these, by a royal decree, were to be furnished by Palos, the other by Columbus himself or his friends.

The morning after his arrival, Columbus, accompanied by the Prior, proceeded to the church of Saint George in Palos, where the authorities and principal inhabitants had been ordered to attend. Here the royal order was read by a notary public, commanding them to have two caravels ready for sea in ten days, they and their crews to be placed at the disposal of Columbus. He himself was empowered to procure and fit out a third vessel.

Orders were likewise read, addressed to the public authorities, and the people of all ranks and conditions in the maritime borders of Andalusia, commanding them to furnish supplies and assistance of all kinds for fitting out the caravels.

When, however, the nature of the service was explained, the owners of vessels refused to furnish them, and the seamen shrank from sailing into the wilderness of the ocean.

Several weeks elapsed, and not a vessel had been procured. The sovereigns therefore issued further orders, directing the magistrates to press into the service any caravel they might select, and to compel the masters and crews to sail with Columbus in whatever direction he should be sent.

Notwithstanding this nothing was done, until at length Martin Alonzo Pinzon, with his brother, Vincente Yanez Pinzon—both navigators of great courage and ability, and owners of vessels—undertook to sail on the expedition, and furnish one of the caravels required. Two others were pressed by the magistrates under the arbitrary mandate of the sovereigns.

The owners of one of the vessels, the Pinta, threw all possible obstacles in the way of her being fitted out. The caulkers performed their work in an imperfect manner, and even some of the seamen who had at first volunteered repented of their hardihood, and others deserted.

The example of the Pinzons at length overcame all opposition, and the three vessels, two of them known as caravels, not superior to the coasting craft of more modern days, were got ready by the beginning of August.

Columbus hoisted his flag on board the largest, the Santa Maria; the second, the Pinta, was commanded by Martin Alonzo Pinzon, accompanied by his brother Francisco Martin as pilot; and the third, the Nina, was commanded by Vincente Yafiez Pinzon. The other three pilots were Sancho Raiz, Pedro Alonzo Nino, and Bartolomeo Roldan.

Roderigo Sanches was inspector-general of the armament, and Diego de Arana chief alguazil. Roderigo de Escobar went as royal notary. In all, one hundred and twenty persons.

Columbus and his followers, having solemnly taken the communion, went on board their ships. Believing that their friends were going to certain death, the inhabitants of Paios looked on with gloomy apprehensions, which greatly affected the minds of the crew.

The little squadron set sail from Palos half an hour before sunrise on the 3rd of August, 1492, and steered a course for the Canary Islands. Columbus had prepared a chart by which to sail. On this he drew the coasts of Europe and Africa, from the south of Ireland to the end of Guinea, and opposite to them, on the other side of the Atlantic, the extremity of Asia, or rather India, as it was then called. Between them he placed the island of Cipango or Japan, which, according to Marco Polo, lay one thousand five hundred miles from the Atlantic coast. This island Columbus placed where Florida really exists. Though he saw his hopes of commencing the expedition realised, he had good reason to fear that his crews might at any moment insist on returning.

On the third day after sailing, it was discovered that the rudder of the Pinta was broken and unslung, probably a trick of her owners. The wind was blowing so strongly at the time that he could not render assistance, but Martin Alonzo Pinzon, being an able seaman, succeeded in securing it temporarily with ropes.

As the Pinta also leaked, Columbus put into the Canaries on the morning of the 9th of August, and was detained there three weeks, trying to obtain a better vessel. None being found, the lateen sails of the Pinta were altered into square sails. While here the crews were frightened by seeing flames burst out of the lofty peak of Teneriffe. Shortly after a vessel arrived from Ferro, which reported that three Portuguese caravels were watching to capture the squadron of Columbus, who, suspecting that the King of Portugal had formed a hostile plan in revenge for his having embarked in the service of Spain, immediately put to sea and stood away from the coast. He was now striking off from the frontier islands of the Old World into the region of discovery. For three days the squadron was detained by a calm. On the 9th of September he saw Ferro, the most western of the Canary Islands, where the Portuguese were said to be waiting for him, about nine leagues distant. At length, a breeze filling the sails of his ships, he was able to stand on his course, as he hoped, free of all danger. Chaos, mystery, and peril were before them. The hearts of his crew sank as they lost sight of land, and many of the seamen broke into loud lamentations. The Admiral tried to soothe their distress, and to inspire them with his own glorious anticipations by describing to them the magnificence of the countries to which he was about to conduct them, and the wealth and glory which would be theirs.

He now issued orders to the commanders of the other vessels that, in the event of separation, they should continue directly westward; but that, after sailing seven hundred leagues, they should lay by from midnight to daylight, as about that distance he confidently expected to find land.

As he foresaw the farther they sailed the more their vague terrors would increase, to deceive them, he kept two logs; one correct, retained for his own government, and the other open to general inspection, from which a certain number of leagues were daily subtracted from the sailing of the ships.

The crews, though no faint-hearted fellows, had not as yet learned to place confidence in him. The slightest thing alarmed them. When about one hundred and fifty leagues west of Ferro, they picked up part of the mast of a large vessel, and the crews fancied that she must have been wrecked drifting ominously to the entrance of those unknown seas.

About nightfall, on the 13th of September, he for the first time noticed the variation of the needle, which, instead of pointing to the north star, varied about half a point. He remarked that this variation of the needle increased as he advanced. He quieted the alarm of his pilots, when they observed this, by assuring them that the variation was not caused by any fallacy in the compass, but by the movement of the north star itself, which, like the other heavenly bodies, described a circle round the pole.

The explanation appeared so highly plausible and ingenious that it was readily received. On the 14th of September they believed that they were near land, from seeing a heron and a tropical bird, neither of which were supposed to venture far out to sea.

The following night the mariners were awestruck by beholding a meteor of great brilliancy—a common phenomenon in those latitudes. With a favourable breeze, day after day, the squadron was wafted on, so that it was unnecessary to shift a single sail.

They now began to observe patches of weeds drifting from the west, which increased in size as they advanced. These, together with a white tropical bird which never sleeps on the water, made Columbus hope that he was approaching some island; for, as he had come but three hundred and sixty leagues since leaving the Canary Islands, he supposed the mainland still to be far off.

The breeze was soft and steady, the water smooth. The crews were in high spirits, and every seaman was on the look-out, for a pension of ten thousand maravedis had been promised to him who should first discover land.

Alonzo Pinzon in the Pinta took the lead. On the afternoon of the 13th of September he hailed the Admiral, saying that from the flight of numerous birds and the appearance of the northern horizon, he thought there was land in that direction; but Columbus replied that it was merely a deception of the clouds, and would not alter his course.

The following day there were drizzling showers, and two boobies flew on board the Santa Maria, birds which seldom wander more than twenty leagues from land. Sounding, however, no bottom was found. Unwilling to waste the present fair breeze, he resolved, whatever others thought, to keep one bold course until the coast of India was reached.

Notwithstanding, even the favourable breeze began to frighten the seamen, who imagined that the wind in those regions might always blow from the east, and if so, would prevent their return to Spain.

Not long after the wind shifted to the south-west, and restored their courage, proving to them that the wind did not always prevail from the east. Several small birds also visited the ships, singing as they perched on the rigging, thus showing that they were not exhausted by their flight. Again the squadron passed among numerous patches of seaweed, and the crews, ever ready to take alarm, having heard that ships were sometimes frozen in by ice, fancied that they might be fixed in the same manner, until they were caught by the nipping hand of winter.

Then they took it into their heads that the water was growing shoaler, and expressed their fears that they might run on some sand-banks and be lost. Then a whale was seen, which creature Columbus assured them never went far from land. Notwithstanding, they became uneasy at the calmness of the weather, declaring that as the prevailing winds were from the east, and had not power to disturb the torpid stillness of the ocean, there was the risk of perishing amidst stagnant and shoreless waters, and being prevented by contrary winds from ever returning to Spain.

Next a swell got up, which showed that their terrors caused by the calm were imaginary. Notwithstanding this, and the favourable signs which increased his confidence, he feared that after all, breaking into mutiny, they would compel him to return.

The sailors fancied that their ships were too weak for so long a voyage, and held secret consultations, exciting each other’s discontent. They had gone farther than any one before had done. Who could blame them, should they, consulting their safety, turn back?

Columbus, though aware of the mutinous disposition of his crew, maintained a serene and steady countenance, using gentle words with some, stimulating the pride and avarice of others, and threatening the refractory.

On the 25th of September the wind again became favourable, and the squadron resumed its westerly course. Pinzon now, on examining the chart, supposed that they must be approaching Cipango. Columbus desired to have it returned, and it was thrown on board at the end of a line.

While Columbus and his pilot were studying it, they heard a shout, and looking up saw Pinzon standing at the stern of the Pinta, crying, “Land! land! Señor, I claim my reward!”

There was indeed an appearance of land to the south-west. Columbus and the other officers threw themselves on their knees, and returned thanks to God. The seamen, mounting the rigging, strained their eyes in the direction pointed out, but the morning light put an end to their hopes.

Again with dejected hearts they proceeded, the sea, as before, tranquil, the breeze propitious, and the weather mild and delightful. In a day or two more weeds were seen floating from east to west, but no birds were visible. The people again expressed their fears that they had passed between two islands; but after the lapse of another day the ships were visited by numberless birds, and various indications of land became more numerous. Full of hope, the seamen ascended the rigging, and were continually crying out that they saw land.

Columbus put a stop to these false alarms, declaring that should any one assert that they saw land, and it was not discovered within three days, he should forfeit all claim to the reward.

Pinzon now proposed that they should steer south-west, but Columbus persisted in keeping a westerly course. On the 7th of October, at sunrise, several of the Admiral’s crew fancied that they saw land; the Nina pressing forward, a flag was run up at her masthead, and a gun was fired,—the preconcerted signal for land.

The captain and his crew were mistaken notwithstanding. The clouds which had deceived them melted away. The crews again became dejected. But once more flocks of field birds were seen flying through the air to the south-west, and Columbus, having already run the distance at the termination of which he had expected to find the island of Cipango, fancied he might have missed it. He therefore altered his course to the south-west.

As the ships advanced the signs of land increased: a heron, a pelican, and a duck were seen bound in the same direction. Branches of trees, and grass, fresh and green, were observed. The crews, however, believing these to be mere delusions for leading them on to destruction, insisted on abandoning the voyage.

Columbus sternly resisted their importunities, and the following day a branch of thorn, with berries on it, and a staff artificially carved, with other articles, were picked up, showing that land must be close at hand.

All gloom and mutiny now gave way to sanguine expectations, and Columbus promised a doublet of velvet, in addition to the pension to be given by the sovereign, to whosoever should first see the longed-for shore.

As he walked the high poop of his ship at night, his eye continually ranging along the horizon, he thought he saw a light glimmering at a great distance. Fearing that his hopes might deceive him, he successively called up two of his officers. They both saw it, apparently proceeding from a torch in the bark of a fisherman, or held in the hand of some person on shore, borne up as he walked.

So uncertain were these gleams that few attached any importance to them. The ships continued their course until two in the morning, when Rodrigo de Triana, a seaman on board the Pinta, descried land at two leagues ahead. A gun was fired from the Santa Maria, to give the joyful news. When all doubt on the subject was banished the ships lay to.

Who can picture the thoughts and feelings of Columbus, as he walked the deck, impatiently waiting for dawn, which was to show him clearly the long-sought-for land, with, as he hoped, its spicy groves, its glittering temples, its gilded cities, and all the splendour of Oriental civilisation!

As the dawn of the 12th of October, 1492, increased, Columbus first observed one of the outlying islands of the New World. It was several leagues in extent, level, and covered with trees, and populated, for the naked inhabitants were seen running from all parts to the shore, and gazing with astonishment at the ships. The anchors being dropped, the boats manned, he, richly attired in scarlet and holding the royal standard, accompanied by the Pinzons in their own boats, approached the shore.

On landing he threw himself on his knees, and kissing the earth, returned thanks to God, the rest following his example. He then, drawing his sword, took possession of the island, which he named San Salvador, in the names of the sovereigns of Castile. The crews now thronged round the Admiral, some embracing him, others kissing his hands, expressing their joy; the most mutinous becoming the most enthusiastic and devoted.

The natives, who had at first fled, supposing the ships monsters which had risen from the deep, recovering their fears, now timidly advanced, lost in admiration at the shining armour and splendid dresses of the Spaniards, and their complexions and beards, at once recognising the Admiral as the commander of the strangers.

Columbus, pleased with their gentleness, suffered them to scrutinise him, and won them by his benignity. The natives were equally objects of curiosity to the Spaniards. They were naked, painted all over with a variety of colours and designs. Their complexion was tawny, and they were destitute of beards; their hair not crisp, like that of negroes, but straight and coarse; their features were agreeable; their stature moderate and well shaped; their foreheads lofty, and their eyes remarkably fine.

As Columbus supposed that he had landed on an island at the extremity of India, he called the natives Indians, as the inhabitants of the New World have ever since been denominated. Their only arms were lances pointed with the teeth or bones of fishes. There was no iron seen, and so ignorant were the natives of its properties, that one of them took a drawn sword by the edge, not aware that it would cut.

Columbus, to win their confidence, distributed among them coloured caps, hawks’ bells, and glass beads, with which they were highly pleased, allowing the Spaniards unmolested to walk about the groves examining the beautiful trees, the shrubs, fruits, and flowers, all so strange to them.

The next morning canoes of all sizes, formed out of single trees, came off, some holding one man, some forty or fifty, who managed them with great dexterity.

They readily accepted toys and trinkets, which, supposing them to be brought from heaven, possessed a supernatural virtue in their eyes. The only things they had to give in return were parrots and balls of cotton-yarn, besides cassava cakes, formed from the flour of a root called yuca, which they cultivated in their fields. The Spaniards, who were eagerly looking out for gold, were delighted to obtain some small ornaments of that metal in exchange for beads and hawks’ bells. As it was a royal monopoly, Columbus forbade any traffic in it, as he did also in cotton, reserving to the crown all trade in it.

Misled by the accounts he had read in Marco Polo’s works, he was from the first persuaded that he had arrived at the islands lying opposite Cathay in the Chinese seas, and that the country to the south, which he understood from the natives abounded in gold, must be the famous island of Cipango.

San Salvador, where he first landed, still retains its name, though called by the English from its shape Cat Island. It is one of the great cluster of the Lucayos or Bahama Islands. Coasting round it in the boats, the Admiral visited various spots, and had friendly intercourse with the natives, to whom he gave glass beads and other trifles.

He landed at another place, where there were six Indian huts surrounded by groves and gardens as beautiful as those of Castile.

At last the sailors, wearied with their exertions, returned to the ships, carrying seven Indians, that they might, by acquiring the Spanish language, serve as interpreters. Taking in a supply of wood and water, the squadron sailed the same evening to the south, where the Admiral expected to discover Cipango. As the Indians told him there were upwards of a hundred islands in the neighbourhood, he was confirmed in his belief that they must be those described by Marco Polo, abounding with gold, silver, drugs, and spices.

Several other islands were visited, but the explorers looked in vain for bracelets and anklets of gold. One day, just as the ships were about to make sail, one of the San Salvador Indians on board the Nina, plunging overboard, swam to a large canoe which had come near. A boat was sent in chase, but the Indians in their light canoe escaped, and reaching the island fled to the woods. Shortly afterwards a canoe, having on board a single native, coming near, he was captured and brought to Columbus, who, treating him with kindness won his heart; his canoe was also restored to him, and that taken by the Nina was set at liberty.

Soon afterwards, while traversing the channel between two islands, when about midway another Indian in his canoe was overtaken, a string of glass beads round his neck, showing that he had come from San Salvador.

Columbus, admiring his hardihood, had him and his canoe taken on board, when he was treated with great kindness, bread and honey being given him to eat. It was too late to select a spot through the transparent sea for anchoring, and the ship lay to until the morning, while the Indian voyager, with all his effects and loaded with presents, was allowed to depart.

Next day the natives came off, bringing fruits, and roots, and pure water. They were treated in the same way as the former had been. Their huts, which were formed of tall poles and branches neatly interwoven with palm-leaves of a circular form, were visited. They were clean and neat, and generally sheltered under wide-spreading trees. For beds they had nets of cotton extended between two posts, which they called hammocks, a name since generally adopted by seamen.

Columbus, as he sailed round the island, found a magnificent harbour, sufficient to hold a hundred ships. He was delighted with the beauty of the scenery, the shady groves, the fruits, the herbs and flowers,—all differing so greatly from those of Spain. Everywhere the natives received their visitors as superior beings, and gladly conducted them to the coolest springs, and assisted them in rolling their casks to the boats. To the last island visited by Columbus he gave the name of Fernandina. Sailing thence on the 19th of October, he steered in quest of a large island called Saometo, where, misled by his guides, he expected to find the sovereign of the surrounding islands, habited in rich clothes and jewels and gold, possessed of great treasures, a large city, and a gold-mine. Neither were found; but the voyagers were delighted with the balmy air, the beautiful scenery, the graceful trees, the vast flocks of parrots and other birds of gorgeous plumage, and the fish, which rivalled them in the brilliancy of their colours. No animals were seen, with the exception of a dog which never barked, a species of rabbit, and numerous lizards and iguanas.

Columbus was as much misled by his own fervent imagination as by not comprehending the accounts given him by the natives. He proposed that his stay at those islands should depend upon the quantity of gold, spices, precious stones, and other objects of Oriental trade which he should find there. After this he intended to proceed to the mainland of India, which he calculated was within ten days’ sail, and there, after visiting some of its magnificent capitals described by Marco Polo, he would deliver the letters of the sovereigns to the Grand Khan, with whose reply he would return triumphantly to Spain.

Such was his idea when, leaving the Bahamas, he went in quest of the island of Cuba, of which he had been told.

Touching at various islands, having crossed the Bahama bank, he came in sight of Cuba on the morning of the 28th of October. He was struck as he approached by its lofty mountains, its far-stretching headlands, its plains and valleys, and noble rivers.

He anchored in a beautiful stream, the banks overhung with trees. Here landing, he took possession of the island, giving it the name of Juana, in honour of Prince Juan, and the river that of San Salvador. Going on shore in search of the inhabitants, he found only two abandoned huts, containing a few nets, hooks, and harpoons of bone, showing that the owners were mere savages.

Again he was delighted with the scenery, and the vast flights of birds of gorgeous plumage, parrots, woodpeckers, and humming-birds flitting among the trees, and sucking honey from the flowers. He fancied too, from the smell of the woods, that he perceived the fragrance of Oriental spices. He discovered also shells of the kind of oysters which produce pearls.

Having experienced since his arrival soft and genial weather, he concluded that a perpetual serenity reigned over those happy seas. Though the inhabitants had fled, he remarked that their dwellings were better built than those he had hitherto seen, being clean in the extreme; and as he discovered a few rude statues and wooden masks ingeniously carved, he supposed that these signs of civilisation would go on increasing as he advanced towards terra firma. He fancied that the inhabitants had fled, mistaking his armament for one of those scouring expeditions sent by the Grand Khan to make prisoners and slaves. He, however, with the assistance of his Indian friends, succeeded in calming the fears of the natives, who came off in sixteen canoes, bringing cotton-yarn and other simple articles of traffic. He forbade, however, all trading for anything but gold, that the natives might be tempted to produce the real riches of their country.

Again misled by his guides, he was induced to believe that a powerful chief lived in the interior of the country, and two of his officers were therefore dispatched, carrying presents and specimens of spices and drugs, to ascertain whether such productions were to be found there. They were directed also to obtain all the information they could respecting it.

While his envoys were absent he had his ships careened and repaired. During this time reports were brought him of the existence of cinnamon-trees, nutmegs, and rhubarb; and his native friends, when he showed them gold and pearls, declared that there were people in an island called Bohio who wore such things round their necks, arms, and ankles.

The return of the envoys was eagerly looked forward to, but their report when they appeared quickly disabused the Admiral’s mind. After travelling about twelve leagues they arrived at a village of about fifty houses, containing a thousand inhabitants, who had received them with every mark of respect, looking upon them as beings of a superior order. The villagers, however, were as little advanced in civilisation as those on the coast, nor was gold, cinnamon, nor pepper to be found among them, although they said such things existed far off to the south-west.

On their return with some of the inhabitants, the Spaniards were surprised to see them roll up the dried leaves of a plant which they called “tobacco,” and smoke it with a satisfaction which the voyagers could not comprehend, as it appeared to them an unsavoury nauseous indulgence, little dreaming what determined smokers their descendants would become. The envoys described the country as fertile in the extreme, the fields produced pepper, sweet potatoes, maize, pulse, and yuca, while the trees were laden with tempting fruits of delicious flavour. There was also a vast quantity of cotton,—some just growing, some in full growth,—while the houses were stored with it partly wrought into yarn and nets.

Columbus was, by the misapprehension of terms, led into many errors. Bohio, meaning simply “a house,” and therefore signifying a populous island, was frequently applied to Hispaniola. His great object, however, was to reach some civilised country of the East with which he might establish commercial relations, and carry home its Oriental merchandise as a rich trophy of his discovery. Besides Bohio, he had heard of another island called Babique, of which he now sailed in search, hoping that it might prove some civilised island on the coast of Asia. Shortly afterwards he altered his course east-south-east, following back the direction of the coast, and thus did not discover his mistake in supposing Cuba to be a part of terra firma, an error in which he continued to the day of his death.

Some time was spent in cruising about an archipelago of small and beautiful islands, which has since afforded a lurking-place for piratical craft.

In attempting to reach the supposed land of Babique, he met with a contrary gale, which compelled him to put about, when he made signals to the other vessels to do likewise.

The Pinta did not obey him, and when morning dawned was nowhere to be seen. This circumstance disturbed Columbus, who had reason to fear that Pinzon, jealous of his success, intended to prosecute the discovery by himself, or to return to Spain with an account of the success of the enterprise.

Finding that Pinzon did not rejoin him, he returned to Cuba, and continued for several days sailing along the coast. Again and again he was struck with the magnificence of the scenery and size of the trees, out of a single trunk of which canoes were formed, capable of holding one hundred and fifty people. On the 5th of December he reached the eastern end of Cuba, and then steering large, away from it, he discovered land to the south-east. On approaching, he saw high mountains towering above the horizon, and found that it was an island of great extent, being Hagi or Hispaniola.

Again his native friends exclaimed, “Bohio!”—by which they meant to say that it was thickly populated, though, as he understood the expression, that it abounded with gold. He was struck with the unrivalled beauty of its scenery. On the following day he entered a harbour at the western end, which he called Saint Nicholas. It was deep and spacious, surrounded by trees, many of them loaded with fruit.

Sailing again, he entered another harbour, called Port Concepcion, now known as the Bay of Moustique. Wishing to open an intercourse with the natives, he sent six well-armed men into the interior. The people fled, but the sailors captured a young female who was perfectly unclothed,—a bad omen as to the civilisation of the island,—but an ornament of gold in her nose gave hope that the precious metal might be found there.

The Admiral soothed her terror by presenting her with beads, brass rings,—hawks’ bells, and other trinkets, and sent her on shore clothed, accompanied by several of the crew and three Indian interpreters. She would, however, willingly have remained with the native women she found on board. The party were afraid of venturing to the village, and, having set her at liberty, returned to the ship.

The following morning nine well-armed men, with an interpreter from Cuba, again landed and approached a village containing a thousand houses, but the inhabitants had fled. The interpreter, however, overtook them, and telling them that the strangers had descended from the skies, and went about the world making beautiful presents, they turned back to the number of a thousand, approaching the Spaniards with slow and trembling steps, making signs of profound reverence.

While they were conversing another large party of Indians approached, headed by the husband of the female captive, whom they brought in triumph on their shoulders. The husband expressed his gratitude for the magnificent presents bestowed on his wife.

The Indians, now conducting the Spaniards to their houses, set before them a banquet of cassava bread, fish, roots, and fruits of various kinds. They presented also numbers of tame parrots, freely offering, indeed, whatever they possessed.

Delighted as they were with all they saw, the Spaniards still bitterly complained that they found no signs of riches among the natives. Nature abundantly supplying all they required, they were without even a knowledge of artificial wants, and so unbounded was their hospitality, that they were ready to bestow everything they possessed on their guests. The fertile earth producing all they required, they preferred to live in that Arcadian state of simplicity which poets have delighted to picture. Their fields and gardens were without hedges or divisions of any sort. They were kind to each other, and required no magistrates nor laws to keep them in order. Alas! how soon was this happy state of existence to be destroyed by the cruel, avaricious, and profligate Spaniards. Unlike their pious, high-minded, and sagacious chief, they resembled the bloodhounds they were wont to let loose in chase of their victims.

How different might have been the fate of the islands had such men as the pilgrim fathers or the enlightened Penn been the first to settle among them! The bright light of true Christianity might have beamed on their hearts, with all the advantages of civilisation, and far greater happiness than they had hitherto enjoyed might have been their lot. No blame can be attached to Columbus, no slur can be cast on his fair fame. He had achieved a glorious undertaking in discovering a new world, but on its inhabitants he had been thus the instrument of bringing the direst of curses, and, instead of promulgating the faith he professed, the blackest disgrace on the Christian name.


Chapter Three.

First voyage of Columbus continued—A.D. 1492.

The Tortugas—Returns to Hispaniola—Picks up an Indian in a canoe on the way—The Indian’s report induces a cacique to visit the ships—Friendly intercourse with other caciques—Farther along the coast, an envoy from the great cacique Guacanagari visits the ships—The notary sent to the cacique—His large, clean village—The Spaniards treated as superior beings—Cibao, mistaken for Cipango, heard of—The ship of Columbus wrecked—Guacanagari’s generous behaviour—Terror of the Indians at hearing a cannon discharged—Delighted with hawks’ bells—Stores from the wreck saved—A fort built with the assistance of the natives, and called La Natividad—The cacique’s friendship for Columbus—Abundance of gold obtained—A garrison of thirty men left in the fort, with strict rules for their government—Guacanagari sheds tears at parting with the Admiral—The Nina sails eastward—The Pinta rejoins him—Pinzon excuses himself—His treachery discovered—In consequence of it Columbus resolves to return to Spain—Pinzon’s ill treatment of the natives—Fierce natives met with—First native blood shed—The Indians notwithstanding visit the ship—Columbus steers for Spain—Contrary winds—A fearful storm—The device of Columbus for preserving the knowledge of his discoveries—The Azores reached—Castañeda, Governor of Saint Mary’s—Crew perform a pilgrimage to the Virgin’s shrine—Seized by the Governor—Caravel driven out to sea—Matters settled with Castañeda—Sails—Another tempest—Nearly lost—Enters the Tagus—Courteously received by the King of Portugal—Reaches Palos 15th of March, 1493—Enthusiastic reception at Palos—Pinzon in the Pinta arrives—Dies of shame and grief—Columbus received with due honour by Ferdinand and Isabella—Triumphal entrance into Barcelona—His discovery excites the enterprise of the English.

After a brief stay among the happy and simple-minded natives, the weather becoming favourable, Columbus again attempted to discover the island of Babique. On his way he fell in with an island, to which, on account of the number of turtles seen there, he gave the name of Tortugas. Meeting with contrary winds, he returned to Hispaniola, and on the way fell in with an Indian in a canoe. Having taken the man and his frail barque on board, he treated him kindly and set him on shore at Hispaniola, near a river known as Puerto de Paz.

The Indian gave so favourable a report of the treatment he had received, that a cacique in the neighbourhood, and some of his people, visited the ships. They were handsomer than any yet met with, and of a gentle and peaceable disposition. Several of them wore ornaments of gold, which they readily exchanged for trifles.

Another young cacique shortly afterwards appeared, carried on a litter borne by four men, and attended by two hundred of his subjects. He was received on board, and, Columbus being at dinner, he came down with two of his councillors, who seated themselves at his feet. He merely tasted whatever was given to him, and then sent it to his followers.

Dinner being over, he presented to the Admiral two pieces of gold, and a curiously-worked belt, evidently the wampum still employed by the North American Indians as a token of peace. Columbus, in return, gave him a piece of cloth, several amber beads, coloured shoes, and, showing him a Spanish coin with the heads of the King and Queen, endeavoured to explain to him the power and grandeur of his sovereigns, as well as the standard of the cross; but these apparently failed to have any effect on the mind of the savage chieftain. Columbus also had a large cross erected in the centre of the village, and, from the respect the Indians paid to it, he argued that it would be easy to convert them to Christianity.

Again sailing on the 20th of December, the expedition anchored in the Bay of Acul. Here the inhabitants received them with the greatest frankness. They appeared to have no idea of traffic, but freely gave everything they possessed, though Columbus ordered that articles should be given in exchange for all received.

Several caciques came off, inviting the Spaniards to their villages. Among them came an envoy from an important chief named Guacanagari, ruling over all that part of the island. Having presented a broad belt of wampum and a wooden mask, the eyes, nose, and tongue of which were of gold, he requested that the ships would come off the town where the cacique resided. As this was impossible, owing to a contrary wind, Columbus sent the notary of the squadron, with several attendants. The town was the largest and best built they had yet seen. The cacique received them in a large, clean square, and presented to each a robe of cotton, while the inhabitants brought fruits and provisions of various sorts. The seamen were also received into their houses, and presented with cotton garments and anything they seemed to admire; while the articles given in return were treasured up as sacred relics.

Several caciques had in the meantime visited the ships. They mentioned a region, evidently the interior, called Cibao, which Columbus thought must be a corruption of Cipango, and whose chief he understood had banners of wrought gold, and was probably the magnificent prince mentioned by Marco Polo.

As soon as the wind was fair, Columbus visited the chief, Guacanagari, the coast having been surveyed by boats the previous day. Feeling perfectly secure, although so near the coast, he retired to his cabin. The helmsman handed over his charge to one of the ship’s boys, and failed to notice that breakers were ahead. Suddenly the ship struck; the master and crew rushed on deck. Columbus, calm as usual, ordered the pilot to carry out an anchor astern. Instead of so doing, in his fright, he rowed off to the other caravel, about half a league to windward. Her commander instantly went to the assistance of his chief. The ship had meantime been drifting more and more on the reef, the shock having opened several of her seams. The weather continued fine, or she must at once have gone to pieces.

The Admiral, having gone on board the caravel, sent envoys to Guacanagari, informing him of his intended visit and his disastrous shipwreck. When the cacique, who lived a league and a half off, heard of the misfortune, he shed tears, and sent a fleet of canoes to render assistance. With their help the vessel was unloaded, the chief taking care that none of the effects should be pilfered. Not an article was taken; indeed, the people exhibited the greatest sympathy with their guests, who were treated with the utmost hospitality.

Two days afterwards Guacanagari came on board the Nina to visit the Admiral, and, with tears in his eyes, offered him all he possessed. While he was on board a canoe arrived with pieces of gold, and, on observing his countenance light up, the cacique told him there was a place not far off, among the mountains, where it could be procured in the greatest abundance. He called the place Cibao, which Columbus still confounded with that of Cipango.

Guacanagari, after dining on board, where he exhibited the utmost frankness, invited Columbus to his village. Here he had prepared an abundant banquet, consisting of coneys, fish, roots, and various fruits. He afterwards conducted the Admiral to some beautiful groves, where a thousand natives were collected to perform their national games and dances.

In return, the Admiral sent on board for a Castilian accustomed to the use of the Moorish bow and arrows. The cacique was greatly surprised at the skill with which the Castilian used his weapon, and told him that the Caribs, who made frequent descents on his territory, were also armed with bows and arrows.

Columbus promised his protection, and, to show his host the powerful means at his disposal, ordered a heavy cannon and an arquebus to be discharged. At the report the Indians fell to the ground, as if they had been struck by a thunderbolt. As they saw the shot shivering a tree, they were filled with dismay, until Columbus assured them that these weapons should be turned against their enemies.

The cacique now presented Columbus with a wooden mask, the eyes, ears, and other parts, of gold; and he also placed a golden crown on his head, and hung plates of gold round his neck. The natives, though willing to receive anything in exchange for gold, were chiefly delighted with the hawks’ bells, dancing and playing a dozen antics as they listened to the sound. An Indian gave even a handful of gold for one of the toys, and then bounded away, fearing that the stranger might repent having parted so cheaply with such an inestimable a treasure. The shipwrecked Spaniards, delighted with their idle life on shore, expressed their wish to remain on the island. This, with the friendly behaviour of the natives, induced Columbus to agree to their proposal. He considered that they might explore the island, learn the language and manners of the natives, and procure by traffic a large amount of gold. He resolved also to build a fortress for their defence, to be armed with the guns saved from the wreck. With his usual promptness he had the work commenced.

When Guacanagari heard that some of the Spaniards were to be left on the island for its defence from the Caribs, he was overjoyed, as were his subjects, who eagerly lent their assistance in building the fortress, little dreaming that they were assisting to place on their necks the galling yoke of slavery.

While the work of the fortress was rapidly going on, Guacanagari treated the Admiral with princely generosity. As Columbus, on one occasion, was landing, the cacique met him, accompanied by five tributary chiefs, each carrying a coronet of gold. On arriving at his house, Guacanagari took off his own crown and placed it on the head of the Admiral. Columbus presented, in return, a collar of fine coloured beads, his mantle of cloth, a pair of coloured boots, and placed on his finger a large ring of silver, which the Indians valued far more than gold. The cacique also exerted himself to procure a great quantity of gold.

Columbus, by misunderstanding names and descriptions, formed the most magnificent idea of the wealth of the interior of the island, and even in the red pepper which abounded he fancied that he traced Oriental spices. He was thus led to believe that the shipwreck was providential, as, had he sailed away, he should not have heard of its vast wealth. What in some spirits would have awakened a grasping and sordid cupidity to accumulate, immediately filled his vivid imagination with plans of magnificent expenditure.

To the fortress, which was of some size, and sufficiently strong to repulse a naked and unwarlike people, Columbus gave the name of La Navidad, in memory of having escaped shipwreck on Christmas Day. He considered it very likely to prove most useful in keeping the garrison themselves in order, and to prevent them wandering about and committing acts of licentiousness among the natives.

Of the numbers who volunteered he selected thirty-nine in all, among whom was a physician, a ship’s carpenter, a cooper, a tailor, and a gunner; the command being given to Diego de Arana, notary and alguazil of the armament, with Pedro Gutierrez and Rodrigo de Escobedo as his lieutenants, directing them to obtain all the information in their power. He charged the garrison to be especially circumspect in their intercourse with the natives,—to treat them with gentleness and justice,—to be highly discreet in their conduct towards the Indian females, and, moreover, not to scatter themselves, or on any account stray beyond the friendly territory of Guacanagari.

On the 2nd of January, 1493, Columbus bade farewell to the generous cacique and his chieftains, commending those he left behind to their care. To impress the Indians with an idea of the warlike prowess of the white man, after a banquet he had given at his house, he ordered them to engage in mock fights with swords, bucklers, crossbows, arquebuses, and cannon.

Guacanagari shed tears as he parted with Columbus, who, returning on board, two days afterwards set sail, the garrison on shore answering the cheers of their comrades who were about to return to their native land. The ship, being towed out of the harbour, they stood to the eastward, but were detained for two days by a contrary wind.

On the 6th, a seaman aloft cried out that he saw the Pinta. The certainty that he was right cheered the heart of the Admiral and his crew. In a short time she approached, and, as the wind was contrary, Columbus put back to a little bay west of Monte Cristo, where he was followed by the Pinta.

Pinzon endeavoured to excuse himself, but Columbus discovered that he had purposely separated, and had gone to Hispaniola, where he had remained trading with the natives; collecting a considerable quantity of gold, the greater part of which he retained, and the rest divided among the men to secure his secret.

Columbus, however, knowing the number of friends the Pinzons had on board, repressed his indignation; but so much was his confidence in his confederates impaired, that, instead of continuing his explorations, as he hoped to have done when he first saw the Pinta, he resolved at once to sail for Spain.

While obtaining wood and water for the voyage at a river flowing into the bay, so much gold was perceived in the sand at its mouth that the name of Rio del Oro, or the Golden River, was given to it. At present it is called the Santiago. Turtles of large size were found here, and, as a proof how so sagacious a man as Columbus might deceive himself, he states that he here saw three mermaids, who were very far from lovely, although they had traces of human countenances. They were undoubtedly manatees or sea-cows.

Putting into the river where Pinzon had been trading, some of the natives complained that he had violently carried off four men and two girls to be sold as slaves in Spain.

Discovering that such was the case, Columbus ordered that they should be restored immediately to their homes, and, giving them numerous presents and clothing, he sent them on shore.

Proceeding on, they anchored in a deep gulf a little way beyond Cape Cabron. The natives were found to be of a ferocious aspect, hideously painted. Their hair was long, tied behind, and decorated with coloured feathers; some were armed with war-clubs; others had bows as long as those used by English archers, with slender reed arrows pointed with bone or the teeth of a fish. Their swords were of palm wood, as hard and heavy as iron, not sharp, but broad, and capable, with one blow, of cleaving through a helmet.

Columbus fancied that they must be Caribs, but an Indian on board assured him that the Caribbean Islands were much farther off. They made no attempt, however, at first, to molest the Spaniards. One of them came on board the Admiral’s ship. Various presents having been given him, he was sent again on shore in one of the boats.

As she approached, upwards of fifty savages, armed with bows, arrows, war-clubs, and javelins, were seen lurking among the trees. The Indian, however, speaking to them, they laid by their arms, and parted with two of their bows to the Spaniards. Suddenly, however, mistrusting their visitors, they rushed back to where they had left their weapons, and returned with cords as if to bind the Spaniards. The latter on this immediately attacked them, wounded two, and put the rest to flight, and would have pursued them had they not been restrained by the commander of the boat.

This was the first time native blood, soon to flow so freely, was shed by the white man in the New World. It greatly grieved Columbus thus to see his efforts to maintain a friendly intercourse frustrated.

Next day, notwithstanding the above occurrence, when a large party went on shore, the cacique who ruled over the neighbourhood came down to meet them, and sent a wampum belt as a token of amity. The cacique, with only three attendants, without fear entered the boat, and was conveyed on board the caravel. Columbus highly appreciated this frank, confiding conduct, and, having placed biscuits and honey and other food before his guests, shown them round the ship, and made them several presents, he sent them back to the land highly gratified. No other interruption occurred to their friendly intercourse. Four young Indians who came on board gave such glowing accounts of the islands to the east, that Columbus prevailed on them to accompany him as guides. He also wished to visit two islands which he fancied to exist,—one inhabited by Amazons, and the other by men; but a favourable breeze springing up for Spain, and observing the gloom in the countenances of the seamen,—knowing as he did also their insubordinate spirit, and the leaky state of the ships, and that, should they founder, his glorious discovery would be lost to the civilised world,—he deemed it wise to steer directly homewards. The favourable breeze, however, soon died away, and for the remainder of the voyage light winds from the eastward prevailed.

The Pinta also sailed badly, her foremast being so defective that it could carry but little sail. In the early part of February, having run to about the thirty-eighth degree of north latitude, they got out of the track of the trade winds, and once more were able to steer a direct course. The pilots, by the changes of their courses, at length got perplexed; but Columbus kept so careful a reckoning that he felt sure of their position. The two principal pilots made out that they were one hundred and fifty leagues nearer Spain than he knew to be the case. He, however, allowed them to remain in their error, that he alone might possess a knowledge of the route to the newly-discovered countries. By his calculation they were not far off from the Azores. On the 12th of February a strong gale with a heavy sea got up, and the next day the wind and swell so increased that Columbus was aware that a heavy tempest was approaching. It soon burst upon them with frightful violence, increasing still more on the 14th, the waves threatening every moment to overwhelm their battered barks. After laying to for three hours they were compelled to scud before the wind. During the darkness of the night the Pinta was lost sight of. The Admiral steered as well as he could to the north-east to approach the coast of Spain, showing lights to the Pinta; but no answering signals were seen, and fears were entertained that she had foundered. The following day the tempest raged as furiously as before on the helpless bark. During the storm the ignorant and superstitious crew cast lots as to who should perform pilgrimages to their respective saints, in which the Admiral, no less superstitious than his men, joined. Two of the lots fell on him. Each man also made his private vow to perform some pilgrimage, or other penitential rite.

The heavens, however, were deaf to their vows. The storm increased, and the crew gave themselves up for lost. The Admiral took the wisest steps to preserve the ship, by ordering that the empty casks should be filled with water, to ballast her better. His mind all the time was a prey to the most painful anxiety. His fear was that the Pinta had already foundered, and that his vessel would also go to the bottom.

An expedient occurred to him at this time by which, though he and his ships should perish, the glory of his achievement might survive to his name, and its advantages be secured to his sovereigns. He wrote on a parchment a brief account of his voyage and discovery; then, having sealed and directed it to the King and Queen, he wrapped it in a waxed cloth, which he placed in the centre of a piece of wax, and, enclosing the whole in a large cask, threw it into the sea. He also enclosed a copy in a similar manner, placing the cask on the poop so that it might float off should the vessel sink.

These precautions somewhat mitigated his anxiety. Towards sunset a streak of clear sky appeared in the west, the sign of finer weather. It came, though the sea ran so high that little sail could be carried.

At daybreak on the morning of the 15th the cry of “Land!” was raised. The transports of the crew equalled those exhibited on first beholding the New World. Various conjectures were offered as to what land it was. Some thought it the rock of Cintra, others the island of Madeira, others a portion of Spain. Columbus, however, knew that it was one of the Azores, in possession of the Portuguese.

On the evening of the 17th of February the vessel dropped her anchor off the island of Saint Mary’s, the most southern of the Azores, and at length the great navigator was enabled to enjoy the first moments of sleep he had taken for many a day.

Next morning the inhabitants were astonished, on seeing the battered vessel, that she had been able to live through the gale, which had, with unexampled fury, raged for fifteen days. Three seamen who had landed were persuaded to remain and give an account of their adventures.

After some time the Governor, Juan de Castañeda, who claimed an acquaintance with Columbus, sent off fowls, bread, and various refreshments, apologising for not coming himself, on account of the lateness of the hour.

On the following morning Columbus reminded his people of their vows, to go in procession to the shrine of the Virgin at the first place where they should land. The messengers who had been kept on board were sent to make preparations, and a priest arrived at a small chapel dedicated to the Virgin some little distance off. One-half of the crew then landed and walked in procession, barefooted and in their shirts, to the chapel, while the Admiral waited their return to perform the same ceremony with the remainder.

Scarcely, however, had the first party begun their prayers than they were surrounded by a gang of horse and foot from the village, and made prisoners.

As the hermitage could not be seen from the caravel, not being aware of what had taken place, the Admiral feared that his boat had been wrecked, and accordingly, weighing anchor, he stood in a direction to command a view of the chapel.

He now caught sight of a number of armed horsemen, who, dismounting, entered the boat, and came towards the caravel. He accordingly got ready to give them a warm reception, but they approached in a pacific manner, and Castañeda himself, who was in the boat, asked leave to come on board.

Columbus reproached him for his perfidy, to which he replied that he was only acting in accordance with the orders of his sovereigns, so that Columbus began to fear that a war had broken out between the two countries during his absence. He had no time to ascertain the truth before another heavy gale coming on, he was driven from his anchorage, and compelled to stand out to sea.

For two days the vessel remained in the greatest peril, short-handed as she was, being unable to return to her anchorage at Saint Mary’s.

As soon as she dropped anchor, a notary and two priests came off demanding to see his papers on the part of Castañeda, who had sent them to assure him that if it should be found that he really sailed in the service of the Spanish sovereigns, he would render him every assistance in his power.

The notary and priest were satisfied with his letters of commission, and the following morning the boat and seamen were sent back. From the latter Columbus learnt the cause of Castañeda’s conduct. The inhabitants had told them that the King of Portugal, jealous lest his expedition should interfere with his discoveries in India, had directed his governors of islands and distant ports to seize and detain him wherever he should be met with.

Having been detained two days longer at Saint Mary’s in an endeavour to take in wood and ballast, but being prevented by the heavy surf which broke upon the shore, he set sail on the 24th of February. After a fine run of two days the weather again became tempestuous, and there appeared every probability of the ship foundering.

On the 3rd of March land was descried, and it was with the greatest difficulty that the ship could be kept off the shore. At daylight on the 4th the voyagers found themselves off the rock of Cintra, a few miles from Lisbon. Rather than risk another night at sea, Columbus determined to hazard the chance of falling into the hands of the Portuguese. The ship was accordingly steered in and brought up opposite Rastello, at the mouth of the river Tagus.

The oldest mariners who came off assured Columbus that they had never known so temptestuous a winter, and had been watching his vessel with the greatest anxiety since she had first been seen. He immediately dispatched a courier to the King and Queen of Spain with the tidings of his discovery, and requested permission of the King of Portugal to go up to Lisbon, fearing that the inhabitants of Rastello, when they heard of her rich freight, might be tempted to rob her.

The King of Portugal, who was some distance from the capital, at once invited Columbus to visit him. During the interview which ensued he endeavoured to conceal his vexation at having refused the proposals which had been made him by the navigator.

His Court tried to persuade him that Columbus had visited countries over which, according to the Pope’s bull, he had the right to rule. Some had the baseness to hint that Columbus should be assassinated, and suggested that he should be embroiled in a quarrel, during which the project might be accomplished.

The King, happily, had too much magnanimity to agree to so nefarious a measure. He treated Columbus with the greatest courtesy, and a large party of cavaliers escorted him back to his ship.

By the time Columbus reached her the weather had moderated, and, again setting sail, on the 15th of March, A.D. 1493, he entered the port of Palos, whence he had sailed on the 3rd of August of the preceding year, having taken not quite seven months and a half to accomplish this momentous maritime enterprise.

The enthusiastic reception he met with from the inhabitants of Palos can be imagined. They had given him and his companions up for lost. Bells were rung and the shops shut; all business was suspended; and the inhabitants came thronging to the ship to ascertain the fate of their friends. On landing, he went to the principal church, accompanied by a concourse of people, to return thanks to God for the accomplishment of his enterprise.

As the Court was at Barcelona, he felt inclined to go there in his caravel, but, considering her condition, he finally resolved to proceed by land. That very evening, while the bells were sending forth their peals of triumph, the Pinta, commanded by Martin Alonzo Pinzon, entered the river.

Pinzon had been driven by the gale into the Bay of Biscay, and had reached the port of Bayonne. Fancying that Columbus had perished, he had written to the sovereigns claiming credit to himself for the accomplishment of the undertaking. On hearing that Columbus had arrived before him, his heart sank within him. He made his way unobserved to his own house, and, on receiving a reproachful letter from Ferdinand and Isabella, he took to his bed, and in a short time died of deep chagrin on seeing Columbus receive all the honours he had himself hoped to obtain.

Columbus, having performed the journey to Barcelona in safety, was received with the greatest possible respect by Ferdinand and Isabella, whose nobles and courtiers vied with each other in endeavouring to do him honour. His entrance into the city was like a Roman triumph. The courtiers and hidalgos, and a vast concourse of people, came forth to meet him. Before him were paraded the Indians, decked out according to their savage fashion, and after these were borne various kinds of live parrots, stuffed birds and animals, and rare plants; while there was a conspicuous display of Indian coronets, bracelets, and other decorations of gold.

Columbus followed on horseback, accompanied by a brilliant cavalcade of Spanish chivalry. The windows and balconies were crowded with the fair; the very roofs were covered with spectators.

The King and the kind Queen awaited his arrival seated on a throne, in a vast and splendid saloon, under a rich canopy of brocade of gold. They raised him as he attempted to kneel, and had a seat placed for him near them,—a rare honour in so punctilious a Court. He here narrated his adventures, to which they listened with wrapt attention; and, when he retired from the royal presence, he was attended by the whole Court to his residence.

Ferdinand and Isabella setting the example for many days, all the nobles of the land exerted themselves to do him honour. He modestly received all the attentions paid to him. Though his mind was teeming with magnificent schemes for the future, he did not forget that for the deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre, and believing that ere long vast wealth would accrue to him, he made a vow to furnish, within seven years, an army of four thousand horse and fifty thousand foot, for the rescue of the Holy Sepulchre, and a similar force within the five following years.

Not only Spain, but all the civilised nations of the earth rejoiced at the important discovery achieved by Columbus. In England especially it excited that spirit of discovery which was ere long to add so greatly to her wealth and renown.

During his sojourn at Barcelona the sovereigns took every occasion to bestow on Columbus personal marks of their high consideration. Frequently the King appeared on horseback, with Prince Juan on one side and Columbus on the other.

To perpetuate in his family the glory of his achievement, a coat of arms was assigned him, in which the royal arms—the castle and lion—were quartered with his proper bearings, which were a group of islands surrounded by waves. To these arms were added the words—

“A Castella y a Leon Nuevo Mundo dio Colon.”

“To Castile and Leon Columbus gave a new world.”


Chapter Four.

Second Voyage of Columbus—A.D. 1403.

Preparations for another voyage rapidly made—Foneseca appointed to superintend the expedition—Indians brought home baptised—Fleet sails from Bay of Cadiz on the 25th of September, 1493—Steers for the Canaries—Ordered to rendezvous at Navidad—Fine passage across the Atlantic—On Sunday, 3rd of November, a lofty island seen, and therefore called Dominica—The Antilles—Lands near a Carib village—Pineapples first seen—Supposed cannibals—Diego Marques and eight men missing—Ojeda goes in search of them—The missing party returns—Land at Santa Cruz—Caribs in a canoe fiercely attack the Spaniards—Fleet comes off Porto Rico—A neat village visited—Fleet reaches Hispamola—Invitations from a cacique to remain—A supposed Indian convert escapes—Two dead bodies of white men discovered—Painful suspicions aroused—Fleet arrives off La Navidad at night—Canoe comes off, and Columbus hears of the destruction of the settlement—Sails from La Navidad and founds the town of Isabella—Expedition of Ojeda to the Golden Mountains—Ships sent home—Proposal to exchange Caribs for cattle—A mutiny suppressed—Diaz imprisoned—Columbus makes an expedition into the interior—Forts built—Columbus proceeds on a voyage of discovery—Surveys south coast of Cuba—Friendly meeting with natives—Enters the harbour of Jago de Cuba—First sight of Jamaica, called by Columbus Santiago—Hostility of the natives—Attacked by the Spaniards—Bloodhounds first used—Canoes formed of enormous trees.

We must briefly follow the adventures of Columbus to their termination. In spite of the efforts of Don John, King of Portugal, to reap advantage from the discovery of Columbus, Ferdinand and Isabella obtained from the Pope a bull, making over the newly-discovered lands and all such others as might be discovered to the crown of Castile. The utmost exertions were at once made to fit out a second expedition. The affairs of the New World were placed under the superintendence of Juan Rodrigues de Foneseca, Archdeacon of Seville, who was finally appointed Patriarch of the Indies. He was a worldly man, malignant and vindictive. He not only wronged the early discoverers, but frequently impeded the progress of their enterprises. Other men of similar character were associated with him.

A royal order was issued that all ships in the ports of Andalusia, with their captains, pilots, and crews, should be held in readiness to serve in the expedition. Columbus and Foneseca were authorised to freight or purchase any of those vessels they might think proper, and overcome them by force if refused.

To provide for the expenses of the expedition, a royal revenue arising from Church tithes was placed at the disposal of the treasurer Pincello, and further funds were derived from the jewels and other valuables, the sequestrated property of the unfortunate Jews, banished from the kingdom according to the bigoted edict of the preceding year. As the conversion of the heathen was professed to be the grand object of this expedition, twelve zealous and able ecclesiastics were directed to accompany it. At their head was Bernado Boyle, one of those subtle politicians of the cloister who in those days glided into all temporal concerns.

The Indians Columbus had brought to Barcelona were baptised, the King, Queen, and Prince Juan officiating as sponsors; and great hopes were entertained that on their return to their native country they would facilitate the introduction of Christianity among their countrymen. One of them, who remained in the household of Prince John, died not long afterwards, the first of his nation who entered heaven, according to the notion of a Spanish historian.

The Spanish monarchs were anxious for the speedy departure of the expedition, on account of the proceedings of King John of Portugal, who had prepared a large armament for the avowed object of an expedition to Africa, its real destination being to seize upon the newly-discovered countries. Before, however, the Portuguese vessels sailed, the King was compelled to sign a treaty by which the Papal line of partition was moved to three hundred and seventy leagues west of the Cape de Verde Islands. The Spaniards might appropriate all countries to the west of the line, the Portuguese to the east. But no one appears to have reflected that they must ultimately meet at the antipodes.

The Spanish fleet, consisting of three large ships of heavy burden, and fourteen caravels, large and small, was rapidly got ready. The number of persons permitted to embark had been limited to a thousand, but so many volunteers applied, that the number was increased to twelve hundred, among whom were numerous cavaliers of the best families, eager to acquire honour or obtain the gold supposed to abound in the Indies.

The best pilots of Spain, husbandmen, miners, carpenters, and other mechanics, were engaged for the projected colony; horses, mules, domestic animals of all kinds were shipped, as well as grain, seeds, vines, sugar-canes, and saplings, and vast quantities of merchandise, consisting of trinkets, beads, hawks’ bells, and looking-glasses.

At dawn on the 25th of September the fleet set sail from the Bay of Cadiz, and keeping wide of the coast of Portugal, stood south-west for the Canaries, where it arrived on the ist of October. After touching at the Grand Canary, Columbus anchored on the 5th at Gomera, where he obtained a supply of water, and also purchased calves, goats, sheep, eight hogs, and a number of domestic fowls, these latter the progenitors of those now found in abundance in the New World. By sealed instructions the commanders were ordered in case of separation to rendezvous in the harbour of La Navidad, the residence of the cacique Guacanagari.

After leaving Gomera Columbus steered considerably more to the southward than in his first voyage, hoping to fall in with the islands of the Caribs.

Being in the region of the trade winds, the breeze continued fair and steady, while the sea was perfectly smooth. As October drew on, they were visited by showers and a storm, lasting, however, only four hours. They were cheered during it by observing the lights of Saint Elmo, which the ignorant mariners believed to be the body of the saint himself holding lighted tapers as an assurance of safety.

How different was this voyage to the former! Then tears and wailing accompanied the unwilling seamen on board, and often and often, their hearts failing them, they desired to turn back. Now one and all pressed on, eager to witness the wonders of the New World. On the evening of Saturday, the 2nd of November, Columbus was convinced, by the colour of the sea and other signs, that he was drawing near the land, and accordingly ordered a vigilant watch to be kept during the night.

On Sunday, at dawn, a lofty island was seen to the west, and as the ships glided on, others rose to sight covered with forests, while flights of parrots and other tropical birds passed from one to the other. To the first island seen, on account of the day on which it was discovered, Columbus gave the name of Dominica, or Sunday Island. On the whole group the appellation of The Antilles was bestowed, because a group so-called was supposed to exist off the coast of Asia, and Columbus now fully believed that he had arrived at it, and that the mainland was to be found at no great distance farther west.

Six beautiful islands were seen during the day, to one of which he gave the name of Marigalante, the name of his ship. It was overspread with trees, some in full bloom, others laden with unknown fruits.

Sailing on to a larger island with a volcanic peak in the centre, they saw a cataract, of prodigious height, descending from the mountain-side. The Admiral called this island Guadaloupe, in fulfilment of a promise to the monks of the convent of Guadaloupe in Estremadura to call some newly-discovered place after it.

Landing here, the Spaniards visited a village, the inhabitants of which fled, some leaving their children behind. These were soothed by binding hawks’ bells and trinkets round their arms. The huts were formed with the trunks of trees, interwoven with twigs and branches, and thatched with palm-leaves. They were square, and each had its portico, one of which was decorated with images of serpents tolerably well carved in wood. Hammocks of cotton netting were hung up, and their utensils were formed of calabashes or earthenware. There were great quantities of cotton and many bows and arrows, as also domestic geese and large parrots of blue, green, white, and scarlet plumage.

Here the Spaniards first met with the anana, or pineapple, with the fragrance and flavour of which they were delighted. In another house was the sternpost of a vessel, probably part of a wreck driven across from the coast of Africa. The voyagers, however, were struck with horror at the sight of what they took to be human bones and skulls, convincing them that the island was inhabited by Caribs, supposed to be cannibals.

Leaving this spot, Columbus sailed some miles along the coast. The boat landing succeeded in taking and bringing off a boy and several women. From them he understood that this was one of the islands of the Caribs, and that it was their custom to make descents on the neighbouring islands, in order to carry off the youngest and best-looking women, and to murder and eat the men.

He had just gained this information when it was reported to him that Diego Marques, the captain of one of the caravels, and eight men were missing. They had landed in the morning, and strayed into the woods. The night passed away, and they did not appear. The next morning parties were sent in quest of them, each with a trumpeter to sound calls, and guns were fired from the ships.

The searching parties found, as they supposed, human limbs suspended from the beams of houses, and some declared that they saw the head of a young man recently killed, while parts of his body were roasting before a fire.

The natives were seen on shore, looking with wonder at the ships. When the boats approached, they fled to the woods. Several women, however, came off, and some were captured. Columbus ordered that they should be decorated with hawks’ bells and other baubles, and sent on shore to entice off the men. They soon, however, returned to the boats stripped of their ornaments, imploring to be taken on board again. The greater portion of the male inhabitants were, they informed the Spaniards, on a cruise in search of prisoners and booty.

Anxious to continue his course to Hispaniola, Columbus was much annoyed at the absence of the wanderers. At length Alonzo de Ojeda, a brave young cavalier, offered to go in search of them. Ojeda and his party had great difficulty in making their way through the tangled forest. In vain they sounded their trumpets and shot off their arquebuses. No reply was received, and they returned on board without tidings of the stragglers.

Several days passed, and the fleet was about to sail, when the missing ones appeared on the beach, their haggard looks showing how much they had suffered.

They had been lost in the trackless forest, too dense to allow them to see any distance ahead, until they had reached the sea-shore, keeping along which they had made their way to the ships.

Leaving Guadaloupe on the 10th, Columbus passed Mont Serrat and Antigua, and, the weather becoming boisterous, anchored off an island, to which he gave the name of Santa Cruz. Here a boat was sent on shore, and the crew visited a village, deserted by the men, but secured a few women and boys, most of them captives from other islands. On returning they saw a canoe, the people in which—two of whom were women—were so entranced at the sight of the ships that the boat got close up before they perceived it. The Indians now attempted to escape, but, finding their retreat cut off, they plied their bows and arrows so rapidly that two Spaniards were wounded, the women fighting as fiercely as the men. Though the canoe was upset, the savages still, while swimming, discharged their arrows at their foes. They were, however, captured and brought on board, some of them wounded.

One of them was evidently their Queen. She was accompanied by her son, a young man strongly made, with a frowning brow and a lion’s face. The hair of these savages was long and coarse, and their eyes were encircled with paint, so as to give them a hideous expression.

Though captives in chains, they still retained their defiant air. They were afterwards carried prisoners to Spain. One of the Spaniards died of a wound from a poisoned arrow shot by one of the women.

After this Columbus reached a group of upwards of fifty small islands, to which the name of Saint Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins was given. Continuing his course, he came off a beautiful island, covered with forests and indented with fine havens. It is now known by the name of Porto Rico. This was the island from which most of the captives who had fled to the ships had been taken by the Caribs.

After running for a whole day along this beautiful coast, the squadron anchored in a bay at the west end, abounding in fish.

On landing they found an Indian village constructed round a common square like a market-place, with one large and well-built house in it. A wide road led thence to the sea-shore, fenced on either side.

The whole place had an air of great neatness. Not a human being, however, was to be seen, the natives having concealed themselves.

After remaining here two days Columbus stood for Hispaniola. This ended his cruise among the Caribbean Islands, the inhabitants of which he described as cannibals, and the most warlike people hitherto met with.

On the 22nd of November the squadron came off the eastern end of Hispaniola, or Hayti, and the sailor who had died of his wound was here sent on shore to be buried.

Several natives came off with a message from the cacique of the neighbourhood inviting Columbus to land, and promising great quantities of gold, but, anxious to reach La Navidad, he continued his course. The next place he put into was Las Flechas, where he landed one of the young Indians, who it was supposed had been converted to Christianity, handsomely apparelled and loaded with trinkets. But the youth either forgot his promises or was murdered on account of his finery, as nothing more was heard of him.

Only one young Indian, who had been sent by Guacanagari, and who, having been to Spain, had been baptised and named after the Admiral’s brother, Diego Colon, remained on board, and he continued always devoted to the Spaniards.

On the 25th Columbus anchored in the harbour of Monte Cristo, wishing to form a settlement in the neighbourhood of the stream to which he had before given the name of the Golden River.

Near this, on the green banks of a rivulet, the bodies of a man and boy were found, the former with a cord of Spanish grass about his neck, his arms extended and tied by the wrists to a stake in the form of a cross.

It was impossible, from the state of decay in which they were found, to ascertain whether they were European or Indians. Painful doubts, however, were raised, and the following day two other bodies were discovered, one of which was evidently the corpse of a white man.

Gloomy forebodings were now raised as to the fate which might have befallen Arana and his garrison. The frank and fearless conduct, however, of the natives who came off to the ships somewhat allayed the suspicions of Columbus. He sailed on, hoping to find the greater part of the garrison alive, until he arrived off the harbour of La Navidad, late on the evening of the 27th. Two guns were fired, but no reply was received. While waiting in dismal suspense for the morning, about midnight a canoe approached the fleet; but the people in it would not come on board until they perceived the Admiral standing on the deck of his ship, when they came up the side without hesitation. One of them was a cousin of the cacique Guacanagari. He brought a present of two masks ornamented with gold.

To the inquiries of Columbus as to what had become of the garrison, the Indians replied that several had died of sickness, others had fallen in a quarrel among themselves, and others had removed to different parts of the island, where they had married native wives. He added that Guacanagari had been attacked by the fierce cacique of the Golden Mountains of Cibao, who had wounded him in battle and burnt his village, and that he still remained ill of his wound in a neighbouring hamlet. Columbus was greatly relieved on finding that the cacique and his people still remained faithful, and he hoped that some of the Spaniards scattered about the country, on hearing of his arrival, would quickly hasten on board.

In the morning, however, not a canoe was to be seen. The inhabitants, too, kept out of the way. A boat was therefore sent on shore. On landing, the crew hastened to the fortress. It was a ruin. The palisades were beaten down, and the whole presented the appearance of having been sacked, burnt, and destroyed.

Columbus, on visiting the ruins the next morning, discovered no dead bodies, but broken utensils and torn vestments were found scattered here and there among the grass.

In vain cannon and arquebuses were fired. Proceeding along the coast in a boat for about a league, Columbus came to a hamlet, the inhabitants of which had fled with their goods. In their houses, however, were found European articles, such as stockings, pieces of cloth, and a Moorish robe. While he was absent the bodies of eleven Europeans were discovered buried in different places, evidently some time dead, as grass had grown over their graves.

At length the Indians, recovering from their alarm, came up to the Spaniards, and from them the fate of the garrison was in some measure ascertained.

With the exception of Arana and two or three others, the people left behind had disobeyed all the orders given by Columbus. The simple natives soon discovered that the beings they had at first worshipped as gods were gross sensualists, who carried off their wives and daughters, and possessed themselves of their gold and property by fraud and violence.

In vain Arana interposed his authority. His lieutenants deserted him and set off on an expedition to the mines of Cibao, where they were captured by Caonabo and put to death. Others, abandoning the fortress, lived carelessly about the neighbourhood, and Caonabo burst upon the fortress while the residue of the garrison were asleep, and, setting it on fire, massacred some, while others fled to the sea and were drowned.

Guacanagari and his people had fought faithfully in defence of their guests, but were easily routed, and the cacique being wounded, his village was burnt to the ground.

Columbus afterwards visited the unfortunate Guacanagari, who received him in the same friendly spirit as before; but Father Boyle and others declared their belief that he was acting a treacherous part, and advised, when he afterwards returned the Admiral’s visit, that he should be detained. Columbus, however, rejected the counsel of his followers as contrary to sound policy and honourable faith. The cacique, seeing that he was mistrusted, took his departure, and for long kept out of the way of the Spaniards.

Finding that this was not a suitable place for a settlement, Columbus weighed anchor on the 7th of December, but in consequence of adverse weather he put into a harbour about ten leagues east of Monte Cristo. He was here struck by the advantages of its spacious harbour, there being also two rivers watering a green and beautiful plain, while the soil appeared to be fertile, and excellent fish were found. It was also at no great distance from the mountains of Cibao.

It being considered, therefore, that no situation more favourable for the projected colony could be found, the troops and labourers were landed with their provisions, articles for traffic, guns, ammunition, and live stock of all sorts, and an encampment was formed round a sheet of water.

Streets and squares were projected; a church, public storehouse, and a residence for the Admiral were commenced. These were built of stone. The other houses were constructed of wood, plaster, and reeds; and for a short time every one exerted himself with the utmost zeal.

To the first Christian city in the New World thus founded Columbus gave the name of Isabella, in honour of his royal patroness. Sickness, however, soon broke out among the colonists, several died, and even Columbus was confined for many weeks to his bed.

Notwithstanding his illness, he continued to give directions, superintending the building of the city and the management of the fleet. His mind, however, was oppressed with the thought that, in consequence of the destruction of the fortress, he should be compelled to send back the ships empty, instead of laden with gold and spices, to the great disappointment of the sovereigns. Before dispatching them, therefore, he sent Ojeda, at the head of an expedition, to the Golden Mountains, to try and obtain some of the precious metal. Another young cavalier was also sent away on a similar expedition, and both returned with favourable reports as to the inexhaustible wealth of the district. Thus, with more satisfaction than he had expected, Columbus was able to send back the ships to Spain. He recommended various persons to the notice of the sovereigns, to whom he sent a petition for provisions, wine, medicine, clothing, arms, horses, to be dispatched to the colony with all speed. He sent also the men, women, and children taken in the Caribbean Islands, recommending that they should be carefully instructed in the Spanish language and the Christian faith. In his ignorant zeal for promulgating that faith, he proposed to establish an exchange of the cannibal pagans as slaves, against live stock to be furnished to the colony, fancying that these slaves would be thus converted to the Catholic faith.

The sovereigns, however, did not agree with his ideas, but ordered that the Caribs should be converted like the rest of the islanders.

The city of Isabella having made considerable progress, the church being open for service, Columbus prepared to lead an expedition to the mountains of Cibao.

Jealousy of Columbus’ superior merits and the rewards he had received had been for some time rankling in the hearts of some of his officers. As he was about to set off on his expedition, a mutiny was designed, but discovered before it broke out, and the leader, Bernal Diaz, was confined on board one of the ships, to be sent to Spain for trial.

Columbus now commenced the proposed expedition, leaving his brother Don Diego in command of the city and the ships. He was well received by the natives wherever he went, and was fully satisfied that the region was prolific in gold. To secure it he built a fortress called Saint Thomas, to the command of which he appointed Pedro Margarite, and garrisoned it with fifty-six men.

Delighted with all he had seen, Columbus returned to Isabella on the 29th of March. Great progress had been made, and many of the seeds had already sprung up, bearing fruit. Unfortunately, however, bread had become scarce, and there was no means of grinding wheat. Disease also had attacked the settlers, and many persons of all ranks had died. He was, however, anxious to proceed on his voyage of discovery, and supposing that he could trust his subordinates, he left ample instructions for their conduct. He directed Margarite, with a strong force, to explore the province of Cibao, while Ojeda was to assume the command of Saint Thomas. One of the objects of the expedition was to secure the persons of any chiefs who had exhibited hostile feelings towards the Spaniards. Several were thus captured and sent in chains to Isabella. At length Columbus, satisfied that the colony would go on well, set sail, intending to visit the coast of Cuba at the point where he had abandoned it, and thence to explore it on the south side. He, it must be remembered, supposed it to be the extreme end of Asia, and that by following its shores he must at length arrive at Cathay, and those other rich countries described by Mandeville and Marco Polo.

Having visited La Navidad, where Guacanagari kept out of the way, he continued his course westward, until he reached the port of Saint Nicholas, whence he beheld the extreme point of Cuba. Having crossed the channel, he sailed along the southern coast of that island for a distance of twenty leagues, until he entered a harbour, which from its size he called Puerto Grande. Going on shore, he arrived at some cottages, where, although the inhabitants had fled, great quantities of fish, utias, and iguanas were found, some hung up, others roasting before the fires. The Spaniards, who had long been fasting, satisfied their appetites on the food, and then set out to explore the country. On their way they saw a party of Indians, collected on the top of a rock, looking down upon them with astonishment.

Though most of the natives ran off, one remained, whose apprehensions were quickly dispelled by the friendly way the young Lucayan interpreter spoke to him. Going after his companions, he soon brought them back. They assured Columbus that he was welcome to the food which had been consumed; but he, with his usual liberality, directed that ample compensation should be made to them.

The next harbour in which he brought up he called Saint Jago de Cuba. Here he was treated with the usual simple hospitality of the natives. Wherever he went he inquired for gold, and the natives invariably pointed to the south, intimating that the country abounded with gold in that direction.

He therefore, without delay, steered in search of this reported island. He had not sailed many leagues before the summits of lofty mountains were seen rising above the horizon. As he approached the island he was struck with the beauty of its scenery, the majesty of its forests, the fertility of its valleys, and the number of its villages.

In a short time seventy canoes filled with savages, gaily-painted, and decorated with feathers, paddled off a league from the shore, uttering loud yells, and brandishing lances of pointed wood. They were quickly soothed, however, by the interpreter, and a few gifts bestowed upon them, so that they did not molest the ship.

Coasting westward, Columbus, finding a sheltered harbour, made preparations for careening the ship, which leaked. As he was entering, the boats sounding ahead, two canoes came up, filled with Indians, who hurled their darts; but wishing to avoid any act of hostility, he ordered the boats to return and, standing on, came to an anchor.

Directly afterwards the whole beach was covered with savages, painted chiefly with black, and all wearing coronets of feathers. They showed their hostile intentions by hurling their javelins towards the ship, making the shores ring with their war-whoops.

As further forbearance might have been mistaken for cowardice, the Admiral sent a boat on shore full of well-armed men, who let fly a volley of arrows from their crossbows, wounding several Indians, and throwing the rest into confusion. They then sprang on shore and let loose a dog, who pursued them with sanguinary fury. This was the first time bloodhounds had been used against the natives, afterwards to be employed with such cruel effect by the Spaniards in their Indian wars.

Columbus then landed and took formal possession of the island, which he called Santiago, but it has retained its original Indian name of Jamaica.

Notwithstanding this unpleasant commencement, the natives soon entered into a friendly intercourse with their visitors. Columbus was struck with the appearance of their canoes, which were carved and painted, many of them being of large size, formed of the trunk of a single tree. He measured one, which was ninety-six feet long and eight broad, hollowed out of a species of mahogany-tree.

He now coasted along the northern shore of Jamaica, the natives everywhere coming off and trading without fear. At the last place where he touched in Jamaica a young Indian came off and begged the Spaniards to take him to their country. Notwithstanding the tears and supplications of his friends, he persisted in his request, and Columbus ordered that he should be received on board and treated with kindness.

As the wind at the western end of Jamaica was found to be contrary, Columbus resolved to return to Cuba, and not to leave it until he had explored its coast sufficiently to determine whether it was terra firma or an island.


Chapter Five.

Second voyage of Columbus continued—A.D. 1494.

Again off Cuba—The numerous keys—Inhabitants hide—Sees a canoe—Curious mode of fishing—Intercourse with the friendly cacique of Ornofay—Believes that he is approaching Asia—The natives welcome the strangers—Sailing west, the Spaniards land near some mountains—The archer’s report of white-robed natives—Columbus believes that he shall soon reach the Indian Ocean—Error as to the extent of Cuba—Returns eastward—Visited by a cacique and his venerable minister—Stands across to Jamaica—Coasts along it—A cacique with his family come off to the ships requesting to be taken to Spain—The squadron stands across to Hispaniola—Natives show signs of hostility, but become friendly—Columbus struck down with illness—Carried to Isabella—His brother Bartholomew meets him—Efforts to improve the colony—Traitorous designs formed against Columbus—Accusations sent home—Aguado sent out to investigate his conduct—Columbus resolves to return to Spain—A rich gold-mine discovered—Sets sail—Detained by contrary winds—Puts into Guadaloupe—Attacked by Amazons—Huts plundered—Some of the Amazons captured—Again sails— Prolonged passage—Spaniards propose to kill the prisoners—Prevented by Columbus—The vessels reach Cadiz—Finds a squadron about to sail for Isabella—Honourably received by the sovereigns.

Standing across to Cuba, Columbus reached Cabo de la Cruz, near which, landing, he was cordially received by the cacique and his subjects, who had long since heard of him. The Admiral endeavoured to ascertain from the cacique whether Cuba was an island or a continent. The reply was such as to induce him to believe that it was the latter.

Meeting with a storm, fortunately of short duration, he soon found himself among a labyrinth of keys and small islands, so numerous that it was impossible to count them. To these he gave the name of The Queen’s Gardens. At first he thought of leaving this archipelago to the right, and standing out to sea; but he recollected that Sir John Mandeville and Marco Polo had mentioned that the coast of Asia was fringed with islands to the number of several thousands, and persuading himself that he was among that cluster, he hoped soon to arrive at the dominion of the Grand Khan.

The weather became unfavourable, adding greatly to the difficulties of navigation. These islands were generally uninhabited, but on the 22nd of May he came to one to which he gave the name of Santa Marta. Here was a large village abandoned by its inhabitants.

Quantities of fish were found in their dwellings, as also domesticated parrots, scarlet cranes, and some dumb dogs, which they fattened as an article of food. One day a number of natives were seen in a canoe, occupied in fishing. They employed a small fish, tied by the tail, the flat head of which was furnished with numerous suckers, by which it attached itself so firmly to any object as to be torn to pieces rather than abandon its hold. In this way the Spaniards witnessed the taking of a tortoise of enormous size. The same mode of fishing is said to be employed on the eastern coast of Africa. The natives led the Admiral to suppose that the sea was full of islands south and west, and that Cuba ran to the west without any termination.

Having extricated himself from this archipelago, Columbus steered for a mountainous part of Cuba, and landing at a large village, he was received with the same kindness which invariably distinguished its inhabitants. He found them mild, hospitable, and pacific; even the animals were tamer as well as larger and better than those seen elsewhere. Here stock doves were brought to him, whose crops were found to contain several spices. The cacique told him that the name of his province was Ornofay, and that farther on to the west was the province of Mangon, whose inhabitants would give him more ample information. He was struck by the sound of the name. It resembled that of Mangi, the richest province of the Grand Khan bordering the ocean. He understood the Indians to say that it was inhabited by people who had tails, and wore garments to conceal them. He recollected that Sir John Mandeville had recorded a story to the same effect as current among certain naked tribes, who could not conceive that people would wear clothes unless to conceal some defect. He flattered himself, therefore, that he should soon come to the rich province of Mangi and the long-robed inhabitants of the empire of Tartary. He therefore sailed on, animated by one of the pleasing illusions of his imagination, along a coast where, for thirty-five leagues, the navigation is unembarrassed by banks or islands. The shores were thickly populated. As the vessels glided by, the natives came off in their canoes to offer fruits and other productions of the land. Often too the sound of their loud music could be heard, as they celebrated the arrival of the white men.

It is sad to think that this whole district was soon depopulated, the simple inhabitants destroyed by the ruthless hand of the cruel and bigoted Spaniard. Again the vessels were entangled among sand-banks, and the water appeared as white as milk. This appearance was produced by fine sand raised from the bottom by the agitation of the waves and currents, but the seamen, unable to account for it, entreated that they might return to the east. Columbus, however, would not consent to relinquish his voyage, believing, as he did, that he was on the eve of a brilliant discovery. The caravel was sent ahead to explore. Only by the greatest caution, toil, and peril did he succeed in making his way through the narrow channels.

At length, with a fair wind, he steered towards some mountains seen rising close to the coast, and came to an anchor near a beautiful grove of palm-trees. Here a party was sent on shore to obtain wood and water. While they were thus employed an archer, who had gone into the forest with his crossbow in search of game, came hurrying back, declaring that he had seen, through an open glade, a man in a long white dress, two others following in white tunics reaching to their knees, their complexions as fair as those of Europeans. Behind these appeared many more, to the number of thirty, armed with clubs and lances. They gave no signs, he confessed, of hostile intentions, the man in the long white dress alone advancing.

The watering party having no wish to encounter so many armed men, hastened back to the ship. Columbus, on hearing the story, was fully persuaded that they were the clothed inhabitants of Mangon.

The following day he sent a strong force to penetrate into the interior. They, however, found it impossible to get far on account of the matted grass and creeping vegetation, and at length returned, wearied and exhausted, to the ships. The next day another party was dispatched, but they came back, some declaring that they had seen the tracks of a lion, others of a griffon. Probably the marks were produced by alligators, while the supposed white-robed natives were no doubt tall white cranes, of which the bold archer had suddenly come in sight. The only inhabitants seen on the coast were perfectly naked. Columbus attributed this circumstance to their being mere fishermen, and supposed that the civilised regions lay in the interior.

For several days Columbus continued exploring the coast, until he perceived that it took a bend to the south-west. This accorded with the descriptions given by Marco Polo of the remote coasts of Asia. He was now sure that he was on that part of the Asiatic continent beyond the limits of the Old World laid down by Ptolemy, and that by continuing his course he should arrive at the point where this range of toast terminated in the Aurea Chersonesus of the ancients. Doubling this, he would emerge into the seas bordered by the luxurious nations of the East. Stretching across the Gulf of the Ganges, he might continue on to the Straits of Babel Mandel, and arrive on the shores of the Red Sea. Thence he might make his way by land to Jerusalem, taking ship at Joppa, and traverse the Mediterranean to Spain, or sail round the whole coast of Africa, and thus circumnavigate the globe.

These notions, though not his enthusiasm, were shared by many of the able navigators on board; but they considered the vessels, strained and leaky, with rigging worn out, totally inadequate to the undertaking. Of this Columbus himself became convinced, and after exploring the coast for four days longer, and finding it still trending to the south-west, all declared that it was impossible so extensive a continuity of land should belong to a mere island.

That no one might afterwards blame him for abandoning the enterprise, he made each pilot and master sign a document expressing his opinion on the subject, and as he had no other opportunity of verifying this idea, he died in the belief that Cuba was the extremity of the Asiatic coast.

From this point, escaping numerous perils, he now again steered eastward, until on the 7th of July he anchored in the mouth of a fine river, intending to give the crews rest and recreation after their confinement of two months on board. He was here visited by the cacique and his venerable minister of fourscore years, who brought a string of beads, to which he attached a mystic value, and a calabash of a delicate kind of fruit. These he presented in token of amity.

The people also brought utias, large pigeons, bread, and rich fruits; indeed, they and the chief cacique received him with mingled demonstrations of joy and reverence.

In all remarkable places Columbus visited he erected crosses in conspicuous situations. Here a large one of wood was elevated on the bank of a river. Mass was then performed, and after it was concluded, the old counsellor approached, and expressed his satisfaction that the strangers thus gave thanks to God.

“Be not vainglorious,” he added, “at all you have accomplished. Know that there are two places to which the souls of men go: the one dismal, foul, and dark, prepared for those who have been unjust and cruel; the other pleasant and full of delight for such as have promoted peace on earth. Beware, then, that you wrongfully hurt no man, and do no harm to those who have done no harm to thee.”

The Admiral, greatly moved, assured him that he rejoiced to hear his doctrine respecting the future state, and told him that he had been sent by his sovereigns to teach them the true religion, and to help them subdue their enemies the cannibals, and therefore that all peaceable men might look to him as their protector.

The old man then offered to embark with the Admiral, seized with a desire to visit the wonderful country from which he and his followers came, and only with great reluctance, moved by the lamentations of his wife and children, would he abandon his project.

After remaining several days here, Columbus put to sea; but unable to fetch Hispaniola, stood over to Jamaica, intending to finish its circumnavigation. The inhabitants came off, exhibiting the most friendly disposition whenever the vessels neared the shore, and Diego Colon, the interpreter, never failed to expatiate on the wonders he had seen in Spain, and the prowess of the Spaniards who had defeated the dreaded Caribs.

As the ships were one day standing along the coast under easy sail, with a light wind, three canoes came off. In the largest, handsomely carved and painted, sat a cacique, his wife, two daughters, two sons, and his five brothers. One of the daughters, eighteen years of age, was beautiful in form and countenance, and though destitute of clothing, was of modest demeanour. In the prow stood the standard-bearer, clad in a mantle of variegated feathers, with a tuft of gay plumes on his head, while he bore in his hand a fluttering white banner. Two Indians, with caps of feathers, their faces painted, beat upon drums, while two others, with caps of green feathers, blew their trumpets of black wood ingeniously carved. There were six others in caps of white feathers, who appeared to be guards to the cacique.

Having arrived alongside the Admiral’s ship, he came on board with all his train. He wore on his head a band of small green stones, joined in front by a large jewel of gold; two plates of gold were suspended to his ears; to a necklace of white beads hung a large metal plate, resembling gold, in the form of a fleur de lys, while a girdle of variegated stones completed his costume; though his wife and daughters, with the exception of girdles, to which were suspended tablets of coloured stones, were unadorned.

The chief, warmly greeting the Admiral, told him that his object in coming was to accompany him to Spain, to do homage to the King and Queen. Columbus, knowing the dangers that the simple savage and his people would be exposed to, was touched with compassion, and determined not to take them from their native land. He therefore told him that as he had many places to visit, he could not take him then, but would at some future time fulfil his desire. Reluctantly the cacique and his family re-embarked in his canoe and returned to the shore, while the ships continued their cruise.

Columbus now stood across to Hispaniola. On sending a boat on shore near a large village, the inhabitants issued forth with bows and arrows, while others came provided with cords to bind their expected prisoners. These were the natives of the eastern province. Their hostility, however, was only in appearance, for directly the crew landed they threw aside their arms, and readily brought provisions, asking for the Admiral, whose fame had spread over the whole island. Shortly after this he was weatherbound for several days in a harbour formed by an island close to the coast.

When once free, and in seas now well known, being relieved from all anxiety and the excitement which had so long existed, his mind and body sank exhausted by his almost superhuman exertions. He was struck by a sudden malady, which deprived him of his memory, sight, and all his faculties, and he fell into a deep lethargy, resembling death itself. In that state he was borne back to Isabella. Soon after arriving there he recovered consciousness, and his heart was cheered by seeing his much-loved brother Bartholomew, from whom he had been separated many years, standing over him.

Bartholomew had in the meantime made a voyage to Africa, and visited Henry the Seventh of England and Charles the Eighth of France, and on his arrival in Spain had been sent out in command of three ships, freighted with supplies for the colony.

He had arrived just after his brother had sailed, and since had been waiting for his return. On his recovery, aided by his two excellent brothers, Bartholomew and Diego, Columbus took the most energetic steps for the benefit of the colony. A turbulent spirit existed among the settlers, and many of the natives had been driven into hostility. By an inexcusable stratagem of Ojeda, one of the most powerful caciques, Caonabo was captured. Several others were afterwards taken prisoners. The Spaniards, however, quarrelled among themselves, and neglecting the excellent regulations of Columbus, set his authority at defiance, while some of those he had most trusted openly rebelled. Margarite, one of the principal officers, and the cunning friar Boyle, with other worthless men, sent home insidious reports regarding his administration of the government. He, aware of the accusations against him, forwarded counter reports, and, in the meantime, endeavoured to obtain all the gold to be procured to satisfy the cupidity of Ferdinand. He built several fortresses, both in the gold region and other parts of the country, and in a short time the whole of the inhabitants were reduced to a helpless state of slavery, for, though he intended that they should be treated with justice and kindly, the heartless and greedy Spaniards thought only how they could obtain the largest amount of profit from their labours.

In spite of all his representations, his enemies so contrived to poison the mind of Ferdinand, that a commissioner, Juan Aguado, armed with supreme authority, was sent out to investigate the behaviour of Columbus, and to administer the government.

The Admiral received him with calmness and courtesy, and gave him no opportunity of creating a quarrel. All the rebels and dissatisfied spirits, however, thronged round Aguado and brought their accusations against Columbus, who, finding that Aguado was about to return to Spain, resolved likewise to go there, in order to defend himself.

As Aguado was about to sail, a fearful hurricane burst over the island and destroyed his four ships. Columbus on this ordered that the Nina, which was in a shattered and leaky condition, should be prepared, and another vessel constructed out of the wrecks.

At this juncture a young Spaniard, who, in consequence of wounding a man, had fled from the settlement and concealed himself among the natives near the mountains, where he married, had, by the aid of his wife, discovered a rich gold region.

Knowing that he should be pardoned, he returned and reported the discovery to Columbus, who, highly elated, fully believed that the mines were those of the ancient Ophir.

The Santa Cruz, the new caravel, being finished and the Nina repaired, Columbus appointed his brother, Don Bartholomew, as Adelantado, to govern the island, and going on board, set sail on the 12th of March, 1496. Aguado went on board the other vessel, and between the two were two hundred and twenty-five passengers, all those who wished to return to the old country, as well as thirty Indians, with the cacique Caonabo, one of his brothers, and a nephew. Even captivity could not crush the spirit of the haughty chief till he fell ill, and died before the termination of the voyage.

After meeting with baffling winds for a long time, on the 6th of April Columbus found himself still in the neighbourhood of the Carib Islands, his crew sickly and his provisions diminishing. He bore away, therefore, in search of supplies, and after touching at Maregalante, made sail for Guadaloupe. Here a boat going ashore to obtain wood and water, a large number of females, decorated with tufts of feathers and armed with bows and arrows, as if to defend their shores, were seen issuing from the forest. The natives on board having explained to these Amazonian dames that the object of the Spaniards was barter, they referred them to their husbands, who, they said, were in a different part of the island.

As the boats pulled along the beach numbers of natives approached, shouting and yelling, and brandishing their weapons, and discharging flights of arrows.

A few shots from the firearms of the Spaniards drove them off. The boat when landing met with no further opposition, and, contrary to the injunctions of the Admiral, they plundered and destroyed the native huts. Honey and wax were found in the houses, and hatchets made of hard and heavy stone. One of the seamen declared that he found a human arm roasting, but this statement was probably made to excuse himself and his companions for the wanton mischief they had committed.

While some of the men were obtaining wood and water, Columbus dispatched a strongly-armed party of forty into the interior. Here they encountered a number of women of large and powerful form, their long hair flowing loose upon their shoulders, and their heads decorated with plumes of various colours. Ten women and three boys were brought back. Among the former was a woman of great strength and of proud spirit, who endeavoured to escape, but being pursued by a Spaniard, was overtaken while attempting to strangle him, and was captured.

After they were brought on board Columbus ordered them to be restored to the island, but the chieftainess, whose heart had been touched by the misfortunes of Caonabo, insisted on remaining to comfort him, and was thus carried captive to Spain.

Guadaloupe was left on the 20th of April, but a whole month was spent beating against contrary winds and currents, so that water and provisions began to fail, and the people were put upon short allowance. So reduced were they at last that some of the Spaniards proposed, as an expedient, that they should kill and eat their Indian prisoners. Others suggested that they should throw them into the sea.

Columbus had to exert all his authority to prevent this atrocious act. He urged them to wait with patience, and assured them that in a short time they would see Cape Saint Vincent.

Many scoffed, declaring that they were on a different part of the coast, but on the 10th he ordered that sail should be taken in at night, and on the next morning they were in sight of the very land he had predicted.

After a dreary voyage of three months, on the 11th of June the vessels anchored in the Bay of Cadiz. He found three caravels on the point of sailing, to carry provisions to the colony. Nearly a year had passed without relief of any kind having been sent out, as four vessels which had sailed in January had been lost. By this squadron he wrote to his brother, the Adelantado, urging him to bring the island into a peaceful and productive state, and to send to Spain all Indians who should injure any of the colonists.

Columbus was honourably treated by the sovereigns, although the mind of Ferdinand was evidently poisoned by the representations of his enemies. Notwithstanding the cruel opposition of his foes, the great navigator, refusing to take the repose his health so much required, bent on prosecuting his discoveries, employed all his energies to obtain forthwith the command of another expedition.


Chapter Six.

Third voyage of Columbus—A.D. 1498.

Columbus, after many delays, fits out another squadron, and sails on his third voyage, 30th May, 1498—Touches at Gomara—Retakes a prize to a French privateer—Off the Cape de Verdes—Sends three of his ships to Hispaniola, and steers south-west with the remainder—Long becalmed—Steers west and sights Trinidad—Sees mainland of South America—Natives come off—Alarmed by music—A bore threatens to destroy the ships—Enters the Serpent’s Mouth—Sails up the Gulf of Paria—Mistakes the promontory for an island—Anchors at the mouth of the river—Natives come off—Pearls seen among them—Large quantities procured—Passes through the Dragon’s Mouth—Natives seen fishing for pearls—Three pounds weight obtained—His eyesight failing, steers for Hispaniola—Makes the land fifty leagues more to the west than he had expected—Reaches Isabella—Disastrous state of the settlement—Bobadilla sent out to supersede Columbus—Summoned to Isabella—Columbus and his brothers sent in chains to Spain—Arrival—Reaction in his favour—Honourably received at Court—Ovando sent out to supersede Bobadilla—The belief of Columbus that a passage into the Indian Ocean was to be found—Obtains authority to fit out another fleet.

It was not without numerous wearying delays that Columbus at length succeeded in getting another squadron fitted out to prosecute his discoveries. He at length obtained six vessels, with which he set sail on the 30th of May, 1498. Having heard that a French squadron was cruising off Cape Saint Vincent, he first stood to the south-west, touching at the islands of Porto Santo and Madeira, and then continued his course to the Canary Islands. As he approached Gomara on the 19th of June, he saw at anchor a French privateer with two Spanish prizes. The former put to sea in all haste, followed by her prizes, one of which had only four men on board, besides six Spanish prisoners. Though he sent three of his vessels in pursuit, the privateer and one of the prizes escaped, but the six Spaniards on board the other, rising on their captors, she was retaken and brought back to the port.

Leaving Gomara, Columbus dispatched three of his ships to carry supplies to Hispaniola, and with the three remaining vessels prosecuted his voyage towards the Cape de Verde Islands. Though suffering from sickness, he continued to keep his reckoning and make his observations with his usual minuteness.

Touching at the Cape de Verdes, he was disappointed at not obtaining the goats, sheep, and cattle he had expected. The weather was sultry and depressing, and he and his crew suffered greatly. Steering south-west for about one hundred and twenty leagues, he reached the fifth degree of north latitude, the region known among seamen by the name of the “calm latitudes.” Suddenly the wind fell, a dead calm commenced, which lasted for eight days. The air was like a furnace, the tar melted, the seams of the ships yawned, the salt meat became putrid, the wheat was parched, the hoops round some of the casks of wine and water shrank, while others burst, letting out their contents.

To get out of this latitude he steered to the south-west, hoping to find a milder temperature farther on. In this he was not disappointed. At length a cool breeze filled the sails of the vessels, and they again made good progress.

Columbus intended to have stood first to the south and then westward, but the heat had made the vessels leak so excessively that it was necessary to find a harbour as soon as possible. The provisions were also spoiled, and the water nearly exhausted. On the 31st of July but one cask of water remained in each ship, when about midday a seaman at the masthead hailed that he saw the summits of three mountains rising above the horizon.

Columbus had before determined to give the name of the Trinity to the first land he should behold, and was struck by the appearance of these three mountains united in one. He therefore called the island La Trinidad. Steering to its eastern extremity, he saw a rock resembling a galley under sail off a headland, which, in consequence, he called Punta de la Galera. No safe anchorage appearing, he coasted westward in search of a harbour and water. Instead of a sterile land, he saw the country covered with groves of palm-trees, cultivated in many places, and enlivened by hamlets and scattered habitations, while streams came rushing down the hill-sides.

At length anchoring, abundance of water was obtained from a limpid brook, and traces of animals were seen, which must have been those of deer, though supposed to be those of goats.

When coasting the island, he now for the first time saw, stretching away to the south, that mighty continent of which he had so long been in search, it being the land near the many mouths of the Oronoco; supposing it, however, to be an island, he called it La Isla Santa. On the 2nd of August he cast anchor near the south-west portion of Trinidad. As the ships approached this place, a large canoe, with five and twenty Indians on board, put off from the shore.

He in vain tried to induce the savages to come on board, by offering them looking-glasses, glass, beads of polished metal, and glittering trinkets. They remained gazing in mute wonder at the ships, but kept their paddles ready to make off at the least attempt to approach them. They were young, well formed, and naked, excepting fillets of cotton bound round their heads, and coloured cloths about their loins. Besides their bows and arrows, they carried bucklers,—an article of armour now first seen among the inhabitants of the New World.

Believing that they might be affected by music, Columbus ordered the band to strike up; but the Indians, mistaking the sounds as a sign of hostility, seized their bows and let fly a shower of arrows. The discharge of a couple of crossbows, however, put them to flight. They afterwards approached the other ships, but had conceived an especial fear of that of the Admiral.

Columbus, supposing himself to be in the seventh degree of latitude, though actually in the tenth, expected to find the inhabitants similar to the natives of Africa, under the same parallel,—black, with crisp hair,—and was astonished at finding these natives even fairer than those met with farther north.

The ships brought up at Point Arenal, the nearest to the mainland, between which and the island Columbus observed, night and day, a current flowing at a tremendous speed, boiling and raging to such a degree that he thought it was crossed by a reef of rocks. From its dangerous appearance he gave to it the name of Boca del Sierpe—the Serpent’s Mouth. He feared that the current from the east would prevent his return, while his ships might be lost on the supposed rocks, should he attempt a passage.

That night, while kept awake by his illness, he heard a terrible roaring from the south, and beheld the sea heaped up and covered with foam, like a huge watery ridge the height of the ships, rolling towards them. As this furious surge approached, rendered more terrible in appearance by the obscurity of night, he trembled for the safety of his vessels. His own ship was lifted up to such a height that he feared she would be overturned, while another was torn from her anchorage. The crews expected to be swallowed up, but the surge passed on and gradually subsided.

Early in the morning he sent the boats to sound the water at the Serpent’s Mouth, and to his great joy several fathoms were found; the currents and tides setting both ways, either to enter or return. A favourable breeze springing up, he entered the tranquil expanse between Trinidad and the mainland of Paria, and, to his great surprise, he here found the water fresh.

He continued northward towards a mountain at the north-west point of the island, and here beheld two lofty capes, one projecting from the island of Trinidad, the other at the end of the long promontory of Paria, which, supposing it to be an island, he named Isla de Gracia. Between these capes was another channel beset with rocks, among which the current forced its way with roaring turbulence, to which he gave the name of Boca del Dragon.

Not wishing to encounter it, he steered along the inner side of the promontory, round which, fancying that it was an island, he expected to get, and then to be able to strike northward for Hispaniola.

The country appeared to be cultivated in some places, and in others covered with fruit-trees and plants, and abounding with monkeys. He was, however, greatly astonished at finding the water still fresh, and that it became more and more so the farther he proceeded. It was that season, however, when the rivers which empty themselves into the Gulf of Paria are swollen by rains. He was surprised also at the calmness of the sea, not being aware that the only two entrances were by the Serpent’s and Dragon’s Mouths into this large expanse of water.

For some time no inhabitants were met with. At length the ships brought up at the mouth of the river, and immediately a canoe with three Indians came off to the caravel anchored nearest the shore, when the captain, springing in, upset her, and the people, as they were swimming, were secured. Being brought to the Admiral, they were presented with beads, hawks’ bells, and sugar. The report they gave in consequence, on returning on shore, induced many other natives to come off. They were tall, finely formed, and graceful in their movements, being armed with bows and arrows and targets. The men wore cotton cloths of various colours about their heads and loins, but the women were destitute of clothing. They brought maize and other eatables, with beverages, some white, made from maize, others green, expressed from various fruits. They judged of everything by the sense of smell. As they came near they smelt the boat, then smelt the people, as they did all the articles offered them. Although setting little value on the beads, they were delighted with the hawks’ bells, and still more so with anything of brass. Taking some of the people as guides, he proceeded west for eight leagues, to a point which he called the Needle. So beautiful was the country, that he gave it the name of The Garden.

Here many natives came off, and invited the Admiral on shore in the name of their King. Many wore collars and burnished plates of that inferior kind of gold, called by the Indians guanin, and they pointed to a land in the west, from whence they said it came; but the cupidity of the Spaniards was excited by strings of pearls round the arms of some of them. These, they said, were procured at the sea-coast on the northern side of Paria, and they showed the mother-of-pearl shells from which they were taken.

To secure specimens to be sent to Spain, Columbus dispatched some boats to that part of the shore. Numbers of the natives came down, and treating the Spaniards as beings of a superior order, regaled them with bread and various fruits of excellent flavour. They had among them tame parrots, one of light green with a yellow neck, and the tips of the wings of a bright red, others of a vivid scarlet, except some azure feathers in the wing. These they gave to the Spaniards, who, however, cared for nothing but pearls, many necklaces and bracelets of which were given by the Indian women in exchange for hawks’ bells or articles of brass.

The Spaniards returned on board highly delighted at the way they had been treated, while the quantity of pearls seen among the natives raised the sanguine anticipations of Columbus, who was anxious to send the finest specimens to the sovereigns.

Still believing the peninsula of Paria to be an island, he sailed on westward until compelled, by finding the water more shallow as he advanced, to anchor, when he sent a caravel to explore. She returned the following day with a report that at the end of the gulf there was an opening of two leagues, which led into an inner gulf, into which flowed a quantity of fresh water by four openings. It was in reality the mouth of the large river now called the Paria. To the inner gulf Columbus gave the name of the Gulf of Pearls.

Finding no passage to the westward, the ships proceeded in an opposite direction for the Boca del Dragon. On the 13th of August they anchored in a fine harbour, to which Columbus gave the name of Puerto de Gatos. Here also were seen mangroves growing in the water with oysters clinging to the branches, their mouths open, as the Spaniards supposed, to receive the dew which was afterwards thought to be transformed into pearls. That they were thus formed was believed until comparatively late years.

The passage through which he was about to pass is extremely dangerous after the rainy season, and the water which rushes through it foams and roars as if breaking on rocks. Scarcely had the ships entered than the wind died away, and shipwreck appeared imminent, but they were at length carried through by the current of fresh water into the open sea.

Columbus now stood to the westward, running along the northern coast of Paria, still supposing it to be an island, intending to visit the Gulf of Pearls. To the north-east he saw the two islands of Tobago and Granada, and on the 15th those of Margarita and Cubagua, afterwards famed for their pearl fishing.

On approaching the latter, a number of Indians were seen fishing for pearls. A boat being sent to communicate with them, a seaman offered a broken piece of gaily-painted porcelain to a woman who had round her neck a string of pearls, which she readily gave in exchange.

On this the Admiral sent people on shore, who with beads and hawks’ bells soon procured three pounds weight of pearls, some of very large size.

The coast still trending to the westward, and rising into lofty ranges of mountains, Columbus began to suspect that he was off the mainland of India; but his eyesight failing, he was reluctantly compelled to steer for Hispaniola to seek for needed rest. On making land, after a sail of five days, he found that he was fifty leagues to the westward of his destination, having been driven across by the strong steady current which sets in from the east, and assists to give an impetus to the Gulf Stream.

Sending on shore for an Indian messenger to take a letter to his brother the Adelantado, a canoe came off with several Indians, one of whom carried a Spanish crossbow. As this was not an article of traffic, the Admiral feared that fresh troubles had arisen, and that the weapon had fallen into the Indian’s hands by the death of a Spaniard.

Sailing, he arrived near the mouth of the river on the 30th of August, when a caravel, appeared, on board of which came the Adelantado. The brothers met with mutual joy, but the latter grieved to see the great navigator so broken down in health, a mere wreck of himself, though with his spirit still rising superior to all bodily affliction.

Though considerable progress had been made in the building of Isabella, now called San Domingo, at the mouth of the Ozema, the Adelantado had sad accounts to give of the state of the island. Rebellion had been rife among the colonists in all directions. The Indians had been barbarously treated, and all authority had been set at defiance. Attempts had been made to murder the Adelantado, and the leaders had sent home the most serious accusations against him and Columbus and their brother Diego. They had succeeded too well in raising suspicions in the mind of Ferdinand as to the loyalty of Columbus, and an officer of the royal household, Don Francisco de Bobadilla, was sent out nominally to investigate the causes of the rebellion, but with power to arrest the persons and sequestrate the effects of those he might consider guilty; while he was to take upon himself the government of the island, and to demand the surrender of all fortresses, ships, and other royal property.

Columbus had gone into the interior to arrange matters, while the Adelantado and his brother had almost succeeded in overcoming the rebellion, when Bobadilla, accompanied by a guard of twenty-five men and six friars, who had charge of a number of Indians sent back to their country, appeared off Saint Domingo on the 23rd of August, 1500. Landing, without stopping to investigate the conduct of Columbus and his brothers, he instantly commenced the most arbitrary proceedings. He took up his residence in the house of Columbus, of whose whole property, gold, plate, jewels, horses, together with his public and even private letters and manuscripts, he at once possessed himself.

Don Diego was seized, thrown into irons, and confined on board a caravel. Columbus was summoned to San Domingo; he came, almost unattended, when, being at once seized, Bobadilla gave orders that he should be put in irons, and confined him in the fortress.

When the irons were brought, every one present shrank at the task of putting them on the limbs of the venerable and illustrious prisoners, either from a sentiment of compassion at so great a reverse of fortune, or out of habitual reverence for his person. A wretched cook named Espinosa was the only person found to rivet the fetters. The great navigator conducted himself with the magnanimity which might have been expected. The injustice and ingratitude of the sovereigns alone wounded his spirit, and he bore all his present misfortunes in silence.

Though the Adelantado was at the head of a strong force when summoned to San Domingo, he returned unattended, and was treated as his brother had been. Columbus had expected to have suffered on the scaffold, and was greatly relieved when he found himself conducted on board a caravel commanded by a worthy captain—Alonzo de Villejo—who told him that he had orders to carry him to Spain.

He and his brother embarked, amidst the scoffs and shouts of a miscreant rabble, who took a brutal joy in heaping insult on his venerable head.

Villejo, touched by the sufferings of Columbus, treated him with much respect, and would have relieved him of his shackles, but he answered, “No: their Majesties commanded me to submit to whatever Bobadilla might devise; by their authority he has put upon me these shackles. I will wear them until they direct them to be taken off, and I will preserve them as relics and memorials, as the reward of my services.”

The page of history presents no sadder picture than Columbus in chains crossing the ocean from those lands discovered by his genius, boldness, and perseverance.

The voyage was favourable and of moderate duration. In a short time the ship, with her illustrious prisoner on board, arrived at Cadiz. Columbus a prisoner and in chains produced almost as great a sensation as his triumphant return from his first voyage. A reaction took place, and a strong sympathy was expressed, against which it would have been odious for the Government to contend. The ignominious manner in which Columbus had been treated created murmurs of astonishment at the Court at Grenada, and a letter written by him on board reached the noble-minded Isabella before the document sent home by Bobadilla. She saw how grossly Columbus had been wronged and the royal authority abused, and her heart was filled with mingled sympathy and indignation.

The Queen and Ferdinand instantly sent off to Cadiz, directing that the prisoners should be set at liberty and treated with all distinction; and they wrote a letter to Columbus, expressing their grief at what he had suffered, and inviting him to Court. Conscious of his integrity, his heart was cheered, and he anticipated an immediate restitution of all his rights and dignities.

He appeared in Grenada, not as a disgraced man, but richly dressed, and attended by a noble retinue. He was received with unqualified favour and distinction, and as he beheld tears in the benign eyes of Isabella, he threw himself on his knees, and for some time could not utter a word for the violence of his tears and sobbing. Enabled to speak, he defended himself fully; indeed, the imputations of his enemies had been his best advocate.

Meantime the Pinzons and several other explorers had sailed forth, chiefly in search of pearls and gold.

While we feel indignant at the treatment received by Columbus, we must not forget the miseries of the helpless natives his discoveries had brought within the power of so-called civilised Europeans.

The excellent Las Casas gives a vivid and faithful picture of the tyranny exercised over the Indians by worthless Spaniards; wretches who in their own country had been the vilest of the vile, but had in the New World assumed the tone of grand cavaliers. Over much of their conduct it is necessary to draw the veil. Their very pleasures were attended with cruelty. At the least freak of ill humour they inflicted blows, and lashes, and even death itself, on their helpless slaves.

Such were some of the evils which had sprung up under the rule of Bobadilla. The wrongs of the natives reaching the benevolent heart of Isabella, she urged that a new governor, Don Nicolas de Ovando, should be sent out to supersede him, to inquire into the conduct of Columbus. Ovando shortly afterwards sailed in command of one of the largest fleets that had yet proceeded to the New World.

We should always bear in mind the lofty enthusiastic aspirations which influenced the mind of the great navigator. He had hoped by the wealth he should obtain to win the Holy Sepulchre from the infidels, but more practical schemes soon occupied him. The wealth brought from the East, owing to the discoveries of the Portuguese, aroused him to emulation. He had found a strong current setting westward, through the Caribbean Sea, between the coasts of Paria on the south and Cuba on the north, the latter, as he believed, being a part of the Asiatic continent stretching onwards in the same direction. He believed therefore that there must be a straight opening into the Indian Sea, and, could he discover it, he believed that he should be able to reach India by a far more easy route than any yet followed.

His plan was listened to with attention by the sovereigns, and he was authorised to fit out another armament.

He asked permission to touch at Hispaniola for supplies on the outward voyage, but the sovereigns, knowing that he had many enemies in the island, forbade him doing so. They, however, to soothe his feelings, wrote him a letter dated the 14th of March, 1502, solemnly assuring him that all his dignities should be enjoyed by him and his sons after him, and that they would bestow further honours and rewards upon him and them as well as upon his excellent brothers.


Chapter Seven.

Fourth and last voyage of Columbus—A.D. 1502.

Columbus sails from Cadiz the 9th of May, 1502, in command of four caravels—Reaches Martinico, and steers for San Domingo to change one of his vessels finds Bobadilla about to sail—Refused admission to the port—Warns the Governor of an impending hurricane—Keeps close in with the land—Escapes—Bobadilla’s ship founders—Only one with the treasure of Columbus reaches Spain—Touching at Jamaica, stands across to Bonacca off the coast of Honduras—Visited by a cacique in a large canoe laden with numerous articles—Search for the supposed strait—Goes on shore on the mainland—The natives bring presents—Sails along the coast—Stormy weather continues—Columbus suffers from illness—Fine weather—Off the Mosquito shore—Natives offended at their presents not being accepted—Hostages brought—Frightened at seeing the notary write—Natives carried off as guides—Ships anchor in the Bay of Caribaro—Large quantities of gold seen among the natives—Reaches the coast of Veragua—Hostility of natives—Frightened into friendship—Much gold obtained—Columbus quits the gold region in search of the straits—Hears of the gold region of Ciguere—Anchors in Puerto Bello—Passes Nombre de Dios—Anchors in Cabinet Harbour—The seamen insult the natives, who attack the ships—Put to flight by the guns—Columbus sails in search of the gold-mines of Veragua.

Columbus had reached the age of sixty-eight years when he embarked upon his fourth voyage. His squadron consisted of four caravels, the smallest of fifty tons burden, the largest not exceeding seventy; the crews amounted, in all, to one hundred and fifty men. He had with him his faithful and intrepid brother, Don Bartholomew, and his younger son, Fernando. The squadron sailed from Cadiz on the 9th of May, A.D. 1502, and after touching at Ercilla, on the coast of Morocco, stood away for the Canaries, where it arrived on the 25th of May, on the evening of which day he took his departure for the New World. Without shifting a sail it reached Martinico.

Though prohibited from touching at Hispaniola, one of his vessels was so bad a sea boat that he ventured to steer for San Domingo, in order to change her for another.

Arriving off the river on the 29th of June, he found a fleet with Bobadilla on board, as well as a large amount of treasure and several unhappy Indian captives.

The agent of Columbus had shipped four thousand pieces of gold, recently collected or recovered from Bobadilla, on board one of the caravels.

Columbus immediately sent to ask permission of Ovando, who had assumed the government, to enter the harbour, stating that the weather looked threatening, and that he believed a hurricane was brewing.

Ovando most ungraciously refused the boon asked for by Columbus, who then again sent on shore, entreating that, although shelter was denied to him, the fleet about to sail might be detained in harbour until the coming tempest had spent its fury.

This request was also refused, the Governor and his officers not believing the warning. Columbus, therefore, steered along the coast, keeping as close to the shore as possible, convinced that the storm would blow from the north. The crews at once began to complain, having lost their reliance on one who was subjected to such ill treatment.

Within two days his predictions were verified. A fearful hurricane burst upon them, during which the ship carrying Bobadilla and an unfortunate cacique foundered, together with an enormous mass of gold,—the principal part of the treasure gained by the miseries of the Indians. Many other ships were lost, some returning to San Domingo sorely battered, while only one, the weakest of the fleet, with the treasure of the Admiral on board, continued her voyage to Spain.

The squadron of Columbus, though having suffered much, safely reached the port of Hermoso, at the west end of San Domingo. Here he remained several days, and then, after touching at some small islands off Jamaica swept by the current, he reached a group near the coast of Honduras, one of which he called the Isla de Pinos, now known as Guanaja, or Bonacca.

The Adelantado, on landing on its beautiful and fertile shore, saw an immense canoe approaching, eight feet wide, and of great length, though formed of the trunk of a single tree. Under a canopy of palm-leaves sat a cacique, with his wives and children, rowed by twenty-five Indians.

The canoe was filled with all kinds of articles of manufacture and natural production. The Indians, without fear, came alongside the Admiral’s caravel. He was delighted to obtain, without trouble, specimens of so many important articles of this part of the New World. Among them were hatchets formed of copper, wooden swords with channels on each side of the blade, in which sharp flints were firmly fixed by cords formed of the intestines of fishes, such as were afterwards found among the Mexicans. There were bells and other articles of copper, and clay utensils; cotton shirts worked, and dyed with various colours; great quantities of cacao, a fruit as yet unknown to the Spaniards, and a beverage resembling beer, extracted from Indian corn. Their provisions consisted of maize bread, and roots of various kinds. Many of the articles they willingly exchanged for European trinkets. The women were wrapped in mantles like the female Moors of Grenada, and the men had cloths of cotton round their loins. From their being clothed, and from the superiority of their manufactures, the Admiral believed that he was approaching more civilised nations.

The natives stated that they had just arrived from a rich cultivated country, with the wealth and magnificence of which they endeavoured to impress him. His mind, however, being bent on the discovery of the strait, and believing that he could easily visit them at some future period, he determined to seek the mainland, and keep steadily on until he reached the opening between it and Paria.

Had he followed the advice of his visitors he might have discovered Mexico, and even the Southern Ocean might have been disclosed to him. He was encouraged to persist in the course he had designed by hearing from an old man, whom he had detained as pilot, that there were many places farther on abounding in gold.

Reaching the mainland on Sunday, the 14th of August, he and his officers, and many of the men, landed, and Mass was performed under the trees. On the 17th the Adelantado went ashore near the mouth of a river, and took possession of the country in the name of their Catholic Majesties. At this place upwards of a hundred Indians appeared, laden with bread, maize, fish, fowl, vegetables, and fruits.

These they laid down as presents, and then, without speaking a word, drew back. The Adelantado distributed among them various trinkets, which so pleased them that they came with still more abundant supplies. These natives had higher foreheads than those of the islands. Some were entirely naked and had their bodies tatooed, some wore coverings about the loins, and others short cotton jerkins without sleeves. The chieftains had coats of white or coloured cotton. The Indian guide asserted that some of them were cannibals.

Day after day, exposed to storms, drenching rains, and currents, Columbus made his way along the coast of Honduras, often gaining only a league or two in the day. Though suffering from gout, he still attended to his duty, having had a small cabin fitted on deck from which he could keep a look-out. Often he was so ill that he thought his end was approaching.

At length, after two months of continued gales, fine weather returned, and he doubled the Cape, to which he gave the name of Gracias a Dios, or Thanks to God. He next sailed along what is now called the Mosquito shore, seeing many rivers in which grew enormous reeds, abounding with fish, alligators, and turtles.

While the squadron was anchored near a river and the boats were on shore to obtain wood and water, a bore, or swell of the sea, occurred, by which one of them was swallowed up, and all on board perished. The name, therefore, of El Rio del Desastro was given to the river.

The next place at which the ships dropped anchor was between a beautiful island, which Columbus called La Huerta, or The Garden, and the mainland, where some way up was a native village named Cariari. The inhabitants, seeing the ships, quickly gathered on the shore, prepared to defend their country; but when the Spaniards made no attempt to land, their hostility ceased, and, waving their mantles, they invited the strangers on shore. Swimming off, they brought mantles of cotton and ornaments of guanin.

The Admiral, though he made them presents, would take nothing in exchange, and the savages, supposing that their proffered gifts were despised, retaliated, pretending indifference to the things offered them, and, on returning on shore, tied all the European articles up and left them on the beach.

The following day, while a boat cautiously approached the shore to procure water, a venerable-looking Indian appeared, bearing a white banner on the end of a staff, and leading a girl of fourteen, and another of about eight years of age. These he made signs were to be detained as hostages while the Spaniards were on shore. They were taken on board, and being kept under the care of the Admiral, were clothed and adorned with various ornaments, and on the following morning were restored to their friends, who appeared grateful for the kind way in which they had been treated, but returned all the presents they had received.

On the Adelantado approaching the beach, two of the principal natives, wading into the water, carried him ashore in their arms. Wishing to collect information, he ordered the notary of the squadron to write down their replies; but no sooner did they see the pen, ink, and paper than, supposing he was working some necromantic spell, they fled in terror. After some time they returned, scattering a fragrant powder in the air, intended, apparently, to counteract it. The Spaniards, equally ignorant, also fancied that the Indians were performing some magic rite; indeed, Columbus asserts that they believed all the hardships and foul winds they had experienced on the coast were owing to the witchcraft of the natives.

On leaving this place, Columbus carried off two of the natives, to serve as guides, promising that he would restore them, with ample remuneration, on his return.

The squadron then sailed along the coast now known as Costa Rica, and anchored in a large bay, full of islands, called Caribaro, the neighbourhood of which, the natives of Cariari had asserted, abounded with gold. The islands were covered with groves, which sent forth the fragrance of fruits and flowers; and so deep and narrow were the channels, that the spars of the vessels, as they passed on, brushed the overhanging branches. The natives were at first afraid, but, encouraged by the guides, advanced with confidence. They wore numerous ornaments of pure gold, and one of them exchanged a plate of gold, valued at ten ducats, for three hawks’ bells.

The country on the mainland was hilly, the villages perched on the heights. As the boats proceeded to the bottom of the bay, they met ten canoes, the Indians in which had their heads decorated with garlands of flowers, and coronets formed of the claws of beasts and the quills of birds, while most of them wore plates of gold about their necks. Although they refused to part with the gold, they told the Spaniards it was to be had in abundance within the distance of two days’ journey, mentioning, among other places, Veragua.

Columbus, eager to discover the strait, cared, at this time, very little for the gold, and sailing along the coast, now known as that of Veragua, came off the mouth of a large river. Here the natives rushed into the water, brandishing their weapons; but were quickly pacified, and bartered away seventeen plates of gold, worth one hundred and fifty ducats, for a few toys.

When the Spaniards next day went on shore, the natives exhibited a hostile disposition, but a bolt from a crossbow wounding one of them, and a cannon being fired, they fled with terror; and on being pursued, threw down their weapons, and, gentle as lambs, brought three plates of gold, meekly receiving the articles given in exchange. A similar scene was enacted at the next place, and nineteen plates of pure gold were obtained. Here, for the first time, Columbus met with signs of solid architecture, which he believed indicated his approach to civilised lands. As he ran along the coast, but was unable to land on account of the heavy sea, the guides pointed out numerous towns where gold abounded, one of them being Veragua, where they said the plates of gold were fabricated, and near which were the rich mines.

Soon after this he arrived opposite a village, where he was told the country of gold terminated, but still believing that he should discover a strait, he pushed on. He understood from the Indians that there was a magnificent country called Ciguare, situated at about ten days’ journey to the west, where the people wore crowns and bracelets and necklets of gold, and used it for all domestic purposes; that they were armed like the Spaniards, with swords, bucklers, and cuirasses. He also fancied they said that the sea continued round to Ciguare, and that ten days beyond it was the Ganges. Probably they were describing Mexico or Peru.

The country was everywhere beautiful and fertile in the extreme. On the 2nd of November the squadron anchored in a commodious harbour, to which Columbus gave the name of Puerto Bello, which it still retains. They were delayed here ten days by heavy rains and stormy weather, but the painted natives brought off provisions, though few had ornaments of gold.

Again sailing eastward, they passed the point now known as Nombre de Dios, but being driven back, anchored in a harbour, which, from the large fields of Indian corn, fruits, and vegetables, was called the Port of Provision. They here remained until the 23rd, endeavouring to repair their vessels, which were fearfully pierced by the teredo. Misled by the seamen, always eager to get on shore, who went to sound it, he entered a small harbour, which he called The Cabinet. It was infested with alligators, which filled the air with a musky odour.

The natives gathered in large numbers, and at first treated their visitors with hospitality; but the rough seamen soon committed excesses which aroused their hosts to vengeance. In a short time the natives were seen approaching to attack the vessels. Not until some shotted guns were fired among them did they take to flight.

The seamen now began to murmur at the continuance of the tempestuous weather, declaring that the looked-for straits would never be found. Columbus might have begun to suspect the same, and, to the great joy of his men, he expressed his intention of relinquishing his search for the present. Sailing on the 5th of December from the Cabinet, he steered in search of the gold-mines of Veragua.


Chapter Eight.

Last voyage of Columbus, concluded—A.D. 1503-6.

The squadron encounters fearful storms—Returns to Veragua—The Adelantado visits the cacique Quibian—Vessels nearly lost by a bore in the river—The Adelantado sets off for the gold-mines—During a second excursion collects much gold—Columbus resolves to form a colony—The vessels prevented from crossing the bar—Eighty men engaged in building a fort—Diego Mendez goes on a scouting expedition, and discovers the treacherous designs of Quibian—Visits the village of the cacique—The Adelantado undertakes to capture Quibian—He succeeds—The cacique escapes on his way down the river—Is supposed to be lost—Columbus prepares to sail—Indians attack the settlement—Driven off—Tristan goes up the river for water—He and his party destroyed by the Indians—Settlement again attacked—The Spaniards entrench themselves—No communication possible with the ships—Fearful tragedy on board—Gallant conduct of Ledesma—The settlement abandoned—The ships, pierced by the teredo, unseaworthy—One abandoned at Puerto Bello—Stands across to Cuba—A tempest—Narrow escape—In vain endeavouring to get westward, steers for Jamaica—The caravels run on shore and prepared for defence—Diego Mendez obtains provisions—Crosses in a canoe to Hispaniola—Mutiny of Porras and others—They put to sea in canoes—Driven back by a storm—Misconduct on shore—Instigate the Indians to withhold provisions—Columbus predicts an eclipse of the moon—A second mutiny—Arrival of Escobar—Refuses to take Columbus away—Adventures of Mendez—Porras persists in his rebellion—Porras captured by the Adelantado—Vessels arrive—Columbus reaches San Domingo—Reaction in his favour—Returns with his brother to Spain—His last illness and death.

The vessels put into Puerto Bello, then once more stood westward; but the wind, again heading them, began to blow with such terrible violence, that they were obliged once more to run back towards the port they had left; but before they could reach it, they were driven out to sea by a terrific gale. Here for days they were tossed about, while the rain poured down in a perfect deluge, and to add to the terror of the seamen a waterspout was seen approaching, from which they narrowly escaped. For a short time the tempest ceased, but again raged with greater fury than before. No serious damage, however, having occurred, the vessels at length, on the 3rd of February, 1503, came to an anchor off the river Yebra, which was within a league of another river known as the Veragua, running through the country said to abound in gold-mines.

Both rivers were sounded, and the Yebra, or Belen as Columbus called it, being somewhat the deepest, the caravels entered it at high tide. At first the natives assumed a menacing attitude, but assured by the guides of the pacific intentions of the Spaniards, they received them in a friendly way. Besides a quantity of fish and provisions, they brought also numerous golden ornaments,—objects delighting the greedy eyes of the Spaniards. The Adelantado lost no time in ascending the river in a well-armed boat to the residence of Quibian, the principal cacique of the country.

The chief, a tall powerful warrior, received him in a friendly manner, and presented him with various golden ornaments. The following day Quibian visited the Admiral, by whom he was hospitably entertained.

Suddenly, on the 24th of January, a vast mass of water came rushing down the river, forcing the ships from their anchors, and dashing them against each other with such violence that the foremast of the Admiral’s vessel was carried away, and the squadron placed in great danger; a furious storm and the heavy surf on the bar preventing them from running out to sea.

When the weather moderated, the Adelantado paid another visit up the river to Quibian, who came down to meet him with a large train of his subjects unarmed, making signs of peace. The chief was naked, and painted after the fashion of the country. Seated on a stone, he received the Adelantado with great courtesy, and acceding to his wishes to visit the interior of his dominions, supplied him with three guides to conduct him to the mines.

Leaving a party to guard the boats, the Adelantado set off on foot with the remainder, sleeping one night on the road. After travelling about six leagues, they entered a forest, where the guides informed them the mines were situated. The whole soil indeed seemed to be impregnated with gold, and in the space of two hours each Spaniard had collected a considerable quantity from among the roots of the trees.

Reaching the top of a hill, the guides pointed out to the Adelantado a wide forest region, which they assured him, for a distance of twenty leagues, abounded with gold. It appeared, however, that by the directions of Quibian they had deceived him, and taken him to the mines of a neighbouring cacique, with whom he was at war, and that the real mines of Veragua were nearer and far more wealthy.

After this the indefatigable Adelantado made another exploring expedition along the coast and through the interior, from which he returned well laden with gold. Columbus, satisfied that the mines of Veragua and those of the Aurea Chersonesus were identical, considered that this would be a suitable place to found a colony and establish a mart which should become the emporium of a vast tract of mines. The Adelantado agreed with him, and offered to remain with the greater part of the people while the Admiral should return to Spain for reinforcements and supplies.

Eighty men were selected to remain, and they immediately set about building dwellings and a store-house within bowshot of the river Belen. Columbus endeavoured to conciliate the good-will of the Indians, that they might bring provisions to the colony, and he made many presents to Quibian to reconcile him to this intrusion into his territories.

When an attempt was made, however, to carry the vessels over the bar, it was found there was not sufficient water for them. They had to wait for the periodical swelling of the river before this could be accomplished.

Columbus was satisfied with the good disposition of the natives, but the chief notary, Diego Mendez, his attached friend, had some doubts about the matter, and offered to sally forth and visit a large Indian camp which it was discovered had been formed in the neighbourhood.

Rowing up the river in a strongly-armed boat, he suddenly came upon a thousand or more Indians evidently on a warlike expedition. Landing alone, he offered to accompany them. This proposition was received in a suspicious manner, and he returned to his boat. Watching narrowly during the night, he perceived that they went back to Veragua.

Hastening to the Admiral, he expressed his opinion that the Indians intended to surprise the settlement. Further to ascertain the intentions of Quibian, he undertook to penetrate to his head-quarters. Accompanied by one Rodrigo Escobar, he made his way to the mouth of the Veragua, where he induced two Indians to convey him and his companion up the river.

On reaching the village of the chief, the two Spaniards observed a bustle of warlike preparation, and heard that Quibian was confined to his house by a wound. Mendez on this announced that he was a surgeon, and offered to cure the chief of his wound. Making his way towards the chief’s residence, he came upon an open space where he saw raised on posts the heads of three hundred enemies of the tribe slain in battle.

As he approached the house, a powerful Indian—son of the cacique—rushed out and struck him a blow; but Mendez producing a box of ointment, pacified him. Though unable to gain access to the cacique, he escaped without further injury to the boat, and he and his companion made their way down to the harbour.

It was evident that the natives intended hostilities, and from an Indian who had become attached to the Spaniards they learned that Quibian intended to surprise the Spaniards by night, to burn the vessels and houses, and make a general massacre. To prevent him carrying out his plan, the Adelantado offered to go up the river and capture him and his principal chiefs and family during the night, and to bring them in chains on board.

Taking Diego Mendez, with seventy men and an interpreter, he set off on the 30th of March. Reaching the neighbourhood of the village, he left the rest of his people, and, accompanied by Diego Mendez and four others, went forward. The remainder, two and two, climbed the hill. It was arranged that upon the discharge of an arquebus they were to surround the dwelling and suffer no one to escape.

As the Adelantado approached, Quibian came out to meet him, and seated himself in the porch; Don Bartholomew telling Mendez and his companions to remain at a little distance, and that when they should see him take the cacique by the arm, to rush immediately to his assistance.

He then advanced with his Indian interpreter, and after a short conversation, pretending to examine the cacique’s wound, he took him by the arm.

At the concerted signal four of the Spaniards rushed forward, the fifth discharged his arquebus. The cacique attempted to get loose, but was held firm in the iron grasp of the Adelantado. A violent struggle ensued, but Diego Mendez and the rest coming up, Quibian was bound hand and foot; and at the report of the arquebus the main body of the Spaniards surrounded the house and seized all who were within, the wives and children of Quibian included. When the savages saw their chief a captive, with loud cries they implored his liberty, offering a rich treasure as his ransom.

The Adelantado, deaf to their entreaties, carried off Quibian and the other prisoners to the boat, committing them to the charge of Juan Sanchez, the principal pilot, while he remained on shore with part of his men to secure the Indians who had escaped.

The night was dark, and as the boats proceeded down the river Quibian pretended that the cord which bound him to a bench hurt his limbs, and the pilot loosed it.

The wily Indian, watching his opportunity, plunged into the water, and in the darkness and confusion it was not known whether he sank or reached the bank. Sanchez, crestfallen, returned in the boats to the ships.

The next morning the Adelantado, seeing from the nature of the country that it would be impossible to overtake the fugitives, contented himself with carrying off all the coronets, necklaces, and plates of gold found in the cacique’s mansion, to the value of three hundred ducats, and got safely on board.

Columbus, believing that Quibian had perished and that the vigorous measures of the Adelantado had succeeded in quelling the natives, made preparations for sailing. The river having swollen, he got three of the caravels over the bar by landing their cargoes, but left the fourth for the use of the settlement. Taking leave of his brother, and making his final arrangements, he set sail. The wind, however, continued adverse, and on the 6th of April, wishing to communicate with his brother, he sent a boat on shore under the command of Diego Tristan, captain of one of the caravels.

As Tristan approached the shore he found his countrymen, some on board the caravel, some on the sea-shore looking at the ships, and others scattered about the houses, when suddenly a vast number of Indians rushed forward with yells and howls, launching their javelins through the windows and roofs, or thrusting them through the crevices of the woodwork, wounding some of those who were within.

At the first alarm the Adelantado, seizing a lance, sallied forth with seven or eight men, and being joined by Diego Mendez and others, they drove the enemy into the forest, killing and wounding many of them. In spite of their furious sallies the savages could not withstand the keen edge of the Spanish swords and the attacks of a fierce bloodhound, and fled howling through the forest, leaving a number dead on the field, having, however, killed one Spaniard and wounded eight, among the latter of whom was the Adelantado.

Tristan had been afraid to approach the land lest his countrymen should spring on board and sink the boat, and when the Indians had been put to flight he proceeded up the river in quest of fresh water, disregarding the warnings of his friends on shore. He had get up some way, and was passing through a narrow channel between high, rocky, and wooded banks, when he was suddenly assailed by showers of darts and arrows. As the crew, losing all presence of mind, made no attempt to row away, only covering themselves with their bucklers, in a short time he and the whole of them, with the exception of one man, were massacred. The survivor, springing overboard, gained the bank of the river unperceived, and made his way down to the settlement with the tidings of the death of his captain and comrades.

The Spaniards were dismayed. They were few in number in the midst of exasperated savages. The Admiral, ignorant of their misfortunes, they said, would sail away, and leave them to perish. In vain the Adelantado remonstrated. They insisted on embarking in the caravel and following Columbus. The water, however, had fallen, and she could not be got over the bar. They attempted to put off in the boat, but a heavy surf rolling on the shore made this impossible.

In the meantime the Indians, instigated by Quibian, who had escaped, again attacked the Spaniards, rushing out from their coverts in the woods, and hurling their javelins and darts. As the huts were so near the woods that they might at any moment be surprised, a spot was chosen on the shore, where a breastwork was thrown up formed of the boats, casks, and cases, in the embrasures of which were placed two small pieces of artillery. Here, when the Indians came on, they were received with so warm a fire from the arquebuses and guns that they quickly took to flight. The little garrison knew, however, that before long their ammunition would fail and their provisions be exhausted, and that they could anticipate nothing but destruction in the end.

Columbus all this time was not aware what was taking place on shore. He became anxious, however, at the non-appearance of Diego Tristan and his party, but as there was one boat only remaining, he was afraid of sending her off lest she should be overwhelmed by the surf breaking on the beach.

A fearful circumstance now occurred. The prisoners were confined at night in the forecastle of the caravel, the hatchway of which was generally secured by a strong chain and padlock. Several of the crew slept on this hatchway, and as it was so high as to be considered out of the reach of those beneath, they neglected to fasten the chain.

The Indians, discovering their negligence, made a heap of stones from the ballast directly under the hatchway. Several of their most powerful warriors then mounting on the top, and bending their backs, by a sudden effort forced up the hatch. In an instant the greater part of the Indians sprang forth, some plunging into the sea and swimming for the shore. Several were seized and forced back into the forecastle, when the hatchway was chained down and a guard was set for the remainder of the night.

In the morning the Spaniards, on lifting the hatch, found to their horror that their captives were all dead. Some had hanged themselves with the ends of ropes, their knees touching the floor, while others lay strangled, having drawn the ropes tight with their feet. Columbus, fearing that the prisoners who had escaped would stimulate their countrymen to some act of vengeance, was anxious to communicate with his brother. It still seemed impossible for the boat to reach the shore, when Pedro Ledesma, a pilot of Seville, volunteered to swim to the beach if the boat would carry him outside the breakers and wait his return.

Stripping himself, he plunged into the sea, and buffeting the surges, reached the shore. He here found the intended settlers verging on despair, and also heard the fate of Diego Tristan.

With a message from the Adelantado, the brave pilot made his way back to the boat. Columbus, on receiving the alarming intelligence brought by the pilot, was thrown into a state of the greatest anxiety. Rather than allow the settlement to be broken up, he would have joined the Adelantado with all his people; but how, then, could he send tidings of his important discovery to the sovereigns? After much trouble of mind he resolved to embark the people and abandon the settlement.

Bad weather and a heavy sea rendered this for a long time impossible. At length the wind going down, the sea became calm, and he was able to send the boat on shore. Every exertion was at once made to bring off the people. The zealous Diego Mendez had been actively employed in making sacks to hold the biscuit. He also constructed a raft, which greatly facilitated the conveyance of the stores, arms, and ammunition.

The caravel was also dismantled. Her provisions and stores were got off, so that nothing remained but her hull. The joy of the Spaniards when they found themselves safe on board was unbounded, and the Admiral, as a reward for his services, gave the command of the caravel, vacant by the death of the unfortunate Diego Tristan, to the zealous Diego Mendez.

By the end of April, with a favourable wind, Columbus left the disastrous shores of Veragua; but his ships, honeycombed by the teredo, could with difficulty be kept afloat. To the surprise of his pilots, instead of standing northwards towards Hispaniola, he steered due east, knowing that the the current, which has a strong set into the Caribbean Sea, would have swept him far away out of his intended course.

He continued on to Puerto Bello, where he found that one of his caravels was so pierced by the teredo that he was compelled to leave her behind, and to divide her crew between the two remaining vessels. He then proceeded on as far as what is now known as the Gulf of Darien.

Having struggled in vain against contrary winds and currents, he on the ist of May stood northward in quest of Hispaniola. As the wind was easterly, with a strong current setting to the west, he kept as near the wind as possible. So ignorant were the pilots that they fancied all this time that they were to the east of the Caribbean Islands, whereas the Admiral feared truly that he should fall to the westward of Hispaniola.

Sailing across the Caribbean Sea, he at length sighted two small islands to the north-west of Hispaniola, which he called the Tortugas, from the quantity of turtles seen about them, though now known as the Caymans. Passing west of these, he found himself among the islands to the south of Cuba which he had called the Queen’s Gardens. Here he cast anchor. His crews were almost worn out, and the only provisions left were a little biscuit, oil, and vinegar, while they were obliged to labour incessantly at the pumps.

Suddenly a tempest burst upon them. Three of their anchors were lost, and the vessels, driving together, nearly knocked each other to pieces. With the greatest difficulty they were separated, and the Admiral’s ship anchored with his sole remaining cable, which in the morning was found nearly worn asunder. At the end of six days, the weather moderating, he sailed eastwards for Hispaniola.

Contrary winds, however, compelled him at length to stand across for Jamaica, where, on the 23rd of June, the caravels put into Puerto Bueno, now called Dry Harbour. No natives being found, the following day they sailed eastward, and entered another harbour, called Porta Santa Gloria. Here, at length, Columbus was compelled to give up his arduous struggle against the elements; his ships, reduced to mere wrecks, could no longer be kept afloat, and he ordered them to be run aground within bowshot of the shore, and fastened side by side. Here they soon filled with water to the deck. Cabins were therefore erected at the bow and stern, for the accommodation of the crews, and the vessels were placed in the best possible state of defence against any sudden attack of the natives.

To prevent his men roving about the neighbourhood, he ordered that no one should go on shore without a special licence, and every other possible precaution was taken to prevent giving offence to the Indians. Scarcely had these arrangements been made, than the natives appeared in vast numbers, bringing provisions to barter. That no disputes might arise, two persons were appointed to superintend all such trading transactions. It was feared, however, that the food thus furnished would soon fall short, in which case the Spaniards would be reduced to famine. In this emergency, Diego Mendez, with his accustomed zeal, offered to set off with three men on a foraging expedition. He was everywhere treated with the utmost kindness by the natives, who supplied him and his companions with meat and drink; and he made arrangements with the cacique of a numerous tribe that his subjects should hunt and fish, and bring cassava bread every day to the harbour. They were to receive, in exchange, various articles which they most valued.

This arrangement being made, Mendez dispatched a message to apprise the Admiral, and then proceeded upon his journey, during which he visited three different caciques, who all agreed to his proposals.

Having now sent back his companions, Mendez made his way to the eastern end of the island, where he found a powerful cacique, named Ameyro. He won over this chief by his ingratiating manner, and, having purchased a canoe, induced him to send six Indians to navigate it. He made a successful trip, and when he rejoined the Admiral, he found that the canoes of the friendly chief had already arrived with abundance of provisions.

The great desire of Columbus was now to get from the island. But his ships were like sieves, and he had but one small boat. The idea occurred to him that he might send Diego Mendez, in the canoe lately obtained, to Hispaniola. He broached the subject to his worthy follower, who at once agreed to perform the hazardous voyage, provided no better man was to be found to undertake it.

All were perfectly ready to let Mendez go. He accordingly embarked, the Admiral’s despatches being ready, with one Spaniard and six Indians. The brave officer at first paddled to the east end of the island, where he remained waiting for calm weather. When here, he and his men were seized by a party of savages, who were about to kill them, when Mendez, making his escape, reached his canoe and got back to the harbour. Still undaunted, he resolved to make another attempt, and being joined by Bartholomew Fiesco, a Genoese devoted to the Admiral, in another canoe, he and his associates set off, escorted by the Adelantado, to the east end of the island, with an armed party to prevent the savages from molesting them. The weather being serene, they once more set off, hoping to reach Hispaniola in four or five days.

Soon after this sickness broke out among the crews of the two caravels, while many bitterly blamed the Admiral, considering that all their misfortunes were owing to him.

Week after week went by, and no ships appearing, Columbus, with too much reason, feared that his friends had perished.

It had been arranged that Mendez, as soon as he could send off a vessel, was to proceed on to Spain with the Admiral’s despatches giving an account of his new discoveries, and that Fiesco was to return in a vessel to take him and his companions off from Jamacia.

Meantime, two brothers, Porras by name, the eldest of whom was a captain of one of the caravels, had concocted a vile plot to seize Columbus, capture the largest Indian canoes to be found, and go on in them to Hispaniola.

The Admiral was in his cabin, confined to his bed by gout, when, on the 2nd of January, 1504, Francisco de Porras entered, and, uttering bitter complaints, accused him of having no intention of returning to Spain.

Columbus maintained his calmness, and suggested that the officers should meet together, and decide what measures should be pursued. Porras, however, replied that there was no time for further consultations, and told the Admiral that he must either embark, or remain by himself. He then shouted, “I am for Castile! Those who choose may follow me!”

“I will follow you, and I, and I!” answered the crew, brandishing their weapons.

Columbus leapt from his bed, but fell. A few of his faithful adherents gathered round him, while the Adelantado sallied forth, lance in hand, to take the whole brunt of the assault. Columbus entreated that no blood might be shed, and told the mutineers that they might depart peaceably.

Hearing this, they at once prepared for embarking in ten canoes, which had been purchased of the Indians. Many who had not taken part in the mutiny joined the deserters, and the whole set off along the coast. As they proceeded they landed and committed outrages upon the Indians, robbing them of their provisions and whatever else they coveted. As they did so they told the Indians that Columbus would pay them, and advised them to kill him if he did not.

Reaching the eastern end of the island they put off, intending to stand across the gulf; but a heavy sea arose, and fearing that their light canoes would be swamped, they threw the helpless Indians, whom they had taken to paddle them, overboard. When some of the natives attempted to seize the gunwales and save themselves, the barbarians cut off their hands and stabbed them with their swords.

The deserters, on reaching land, took up their abode in an Indian village, the inhabitants of which they treated in their usual tyrannical manner. They then wandered from village to village, a dissolute gang, supporting themselves by robbery, and passing like a pestilence through the island.

Columbus, meantime, supported by conscious rectitude, devoted himself to relieving the sufferings of his sick companions who remained with him. The good faith with which he had ever acted towards the natives now produced a beneficial effect, and supplies of provisions were brought from time to time, which were scrupulously paid for. As, however, the trinkets lost their value, the supplies fell off, and at length entirely ceased. Every day the difficulty of procuring food increased, and when any was brought, a ten times higher price than formerly was asked for it. The atrocities committed by Porras and his party had produced an injurious effect on the minds of the natives, even against the Admiral, and they hoped that, by withholding provisions, either to starve him and his people, or to drive them from the island.

At this juncture Columbus ascertained that there would be a total eclipse of the moon in the early part of the night, and he, in consequence, conceived a device, which, according to the erroneous notions of those days, he probably considered a pious and excusable fraud. To make the natives believe in his superior powers, he invited the principal cacique and his followers to a conference, when he told them that the white men worshipped a great divinity, who would be displeased if his votaries were allowed to starve; and, lest they should despise his warning, the moon would be ordered to change its colour and gradually lose its light that very night. Many of the Indians were alarmed, others treated the prediction with derision.

When, however, they saw a dark shadow steal over the moon, seized with terror, they hurried to the ships, and entreated Columbus to intercede for them. He promised to do so, and, retiring to his cabin, waited until he saw that the eclipse was about to diminish, when, coming forth, he assured them that they would be pardoned, provided they fulfilled their promise, in sign of which he would withdraw the darkness from the moon.

The Indians once more seeing the planet shining brightly? came with all reverence to Columbus to propitiate him with gifts, and from that time forward there was no lack of provisions.

Many months went by, and at length more of his followers became desperate, and another conspiracy was formed by an apothecary Bernado, who, with two confederates, designed seizing the remaining canoes, and making their way to Hispaniola.

The mutiny was on the point of breaking out, when, just eight months after the arrival of the two shattered barks in the harbour, a vessel was seen in the offing. She stood in and a boat approached, in which was Diego de Escobar, a wretch who had been condemned to death by Columbus and pardoned by Bobadilla.

Putting a letter on board for the Admiral from Ovando, he then withdrew to a distance, and shouted out that he had been sent by the Governor to express his concern for the sufferings of Columbus, and his regret that he had no vessel of sufficient size to bring him off, but would send one as soon as possible.

This was the first intimation that Columbus had received of the safe voyage of Mendez and Fiesco. In writing an answer to Ovando, he vividly depicted the dangers of his situation, and recommended Mendez and Fiesco to his favour, assuring him that they were only sent to apply for succour. Escobar receiving the letter, returned on board, and making all sail, was soon lost to sight.

Columbus well knew that jealousy was the cause of Ovando’s cruel conduct, and that he had sent Escobar as one who would have no sympathy with his sufferings. Diego Mendez and his companions had nearly perished on their voyage across the channel, but he had at length reached the western end of Hispaniola, from whence he set off to coast in his canoe one hundred and thirty leagues to San Domingo. After proceeding eighty leagues against adverse currents and in danger from hostile tribes, he was informed on landing that the Governor was at Xaragua, fifty leagues away.

Undaunted by difficulties, he proceeded on foot through forests and over mountains, until he arrived at Xaragua, having achieved one of the most perilous expeditions ever undertaken by a devoted follower for the safety of his commander.

Ovando received him kindly, but kept him seven months under various pretexts, until he at length had permission to go to San Domingo, where he hoped to purchase a vessel to go to the rescue of his beloved commander.

When left in doubt, after the appearance of Escobar, as to whether assistance would really be sent, Columbus endeavoured by kind measures to win back Porras and his rebel crew to their allegiance.

Porras, however, who had formed a plan to attack and plunder the stranded caravels and make the Admiral prisoner, persuaded his men to hold out. On this the sturdy Adelantado resolved to try the effect of force, and taking with him fifty followers, he set out for the camp of the traitor.

On approaching he sent two messengers, who had before accepted the offer of pardon, to treat with Porras; but he would not permit them to approach, and he and his men, brandishing their weapons, defied the Adelantado, six of them vowing that they would put him to death. Two of the strongest of their number, however, quickly fell beneath his flashing sword; and many others lay killed or wounded, when Porras, rushing forward, struck at the Adelantado’s shield, in which his sword remained fixed. Before he could withdraw it, several of the Adelantado’s party closing on him, made him prisoner. His followers, seeing this, fled, and Don Bartholomew returned in triumph with his prisoner to the Admiral.

Next day the fugitives sent a petition, couched in abject terms, for pardon, swearing that they would for ever afterwards remain faithful.

At length, after a year of alternate hope and despondency, the Spaniards saw two vessels approaching the harbour. One had been fitted out by Diego Mendez, and the other was sent by Ovando, placed under the command of Salcedo, the Admiral’s agent at San Domingo.

Joy filled the hearts of the exiles as they approached. Columbus nobly forgave the rebels, and all were received on board, Porras alone being still kept a prisoner, while the Indians wept when they beheld the departure of their guests, having experienced nothing but just and gentle treatment from Columbus.

The vessel set sail on the 28th of June for San Domingo. Adverse winds and currents still opposed his progress, and it was not until the 3rd of August that Columbus reached the little island of Beata, on the coast of Hispaniola, and not, in consequence of the same cause, until the 13th that he anchored in the harbour of San Domingo. Here a strong reaction in his favour took place, and many of those who had jeered as he was led away a prisoner in chains, now came forward to welcome him with every mark of respect. He was lodged in the house of Ovando, who, however, set at liberty the traitor Porras, and even talked of punishing the Admiral’s followers for having, in the fray at Jamaica, killed several of the mutineers.

Columbus had much cause for grief when he saw the desolation brought upon the island by the cruel treatment of the natives, and heard of the horrible massacres which had been perpetrated by Ovando and his agents. He was eager to depart, and as soon as the vessels which had brought him from Jamaica could be repaired, he put one under charge of the Adelantado, while he, with his son and domestics, embarked on board the other.

Most of his late crew remained at San Domingo, and even the most violent of the rebels were helped from his purse. Scarcely had he left the harbour than the mast of his vessel was carried away; so sending her back, he embarked on board that commanded by the Adelantado.

The caravel continued her voyage, sorely buffeted by storms, during which one of her masts was sprung, he all the time lying prostrated by sickness in his cabin. It was not until the end of several weeks that the tempest-tossed barks anchored, on the 7th of November, in the harbour of San Lucar.

Thus ended the last voyage undertaken by the great navigator. From San Lucar he was conveyed to Seville, where he hoped to obtain rest after all his toils; but on arriving there he found his affairs in confusion, as they had been ever since his property had been seized by Bobadilla. His great anxiety was to get to Court to defend himself from the malignant accusations of his enemies; but his patroness, the magnanimous Isabella, fell ill and died. Ferdinand, though he treated him with respect, made constant excuses for not attending to his requests.

At length King Philip with Juana arrived from Flanders to take possession of their throne of Castile, and the Admiral, trusting that in the daughter of Isabella he would once more find a patroness, being too ill to leave his bed, sent his brother the Adelantado to petition for the restoration of his honours and estates.

It was the last time he was to see his gallant brother. Before the return of Don Bartholomew, feeling his end approaching, leaving his eldest son Don Diego his heir, he made his dying bequests in the presence of his faithful followers, Mendez and Fiesco, and on the 20th of May, 1506, at the age of seventy years, he yielded up his dauntless spirit to his Maker.


Chapter Nine.

Voyage of Vasco da Gama, to find a way to India by sea, and to discover the Kingdom of Prester John—A.D. 1497.

Early voyages of Portuguese to coast of Africa—Prince Henry of Portugal—Cape Bojador discovered—Madeira visited by Gonzales—Dom Joao the Second—Bartholomew Diaz discovers Cape of Storms, called by the King Cape of Good Hope—Envoys sent to Prester John—King Manuel fits out a squadron—Appoints Vasco da Gama to command them—Paulo da Gama—Nicholas Coelho—Grand ceremony at leave-taking—Squadron sails—Meet at Cape de Verde Islands—Enter a bay on African coast—Intercourse with natives—Veloso nearly caught by them—Ships stand off the land—Terror of the crews—Wish to return—Da Gama refuses—The Cape of Good Hope doubled—Ships stand along south coast of Africa—No natives seen—A tremendous gale—Clamours to return—Mutiny suppressed by a device of Coelho’s—Da Gama puts his pilots in irons.

Nearly a century before Vasco da Gama sailed on his renowned voyage, a spirit of discovery had been aroused in the breasts of the rulers of Portugal. Prince Enrique, who had accompanied his father, King Joao, on an expedition against Cueta in Africa, had obtained from several Moors much information concerning the coasts of that dark continent, which had fired his ambition to ascertain more about it. Hitherto Europeans had not ventured beyond the Cape, to which was given the name of Cabo Nao, signifying in Portuguese, No, or in other words, This cape is not to be passed.

Prince Enrique, believing this idea to be a bugbear, fitted out two vessels in A.D. 1417, with orders to their commanders to push beyond the dreaded cape. This they succeeded in doing; but on finding the sea breaking furiously on another cape farther to the south, to which they gave the name of Bojador, they also turned back.

The next year the Prince sent a second expedition under Joao Gonzales. Being driven off the African coast by a gale, the ships put into the harbour of Porto Santo in a small island a little to the northward of Madeira, and then returned home. The Prince, on hearing of this, dispatched a ship carrying some colonists provided with agricultural instruments, plants, and seeds, as well as cattle and other animals. Among the latter were a couple of rabbits, which increased so prodigiously, that the corn and plants of all descriptions were destroyed by them, and as they could not be got rid of, it became necessary to remove the human inhabitants.

The next year, by order of the Prince, Gonzales, again sailing, re-discovered the island of Madeira, at which the Englishman, Lionel Machin, with the hapless Arabella Darcy, two centuries before, had landed and died. The Portuguese gave to it the name of Madeira, which means Wood, in consequence of finding it overgrown with trees. To clear a part for settlement they set the wood on fire, but being of a dry character, the trees burned until the whole were destroyed.

Several years passed, when Prince Enrique dispatched an experienced seaman, Captain Gilianez, charging him to pass the dreaded Cape of Bojador. Gilianez proceeded thirty leagues beyond it, but dreaded to go farther. He turned back, therefore, satisfied at having performed his commission. Next year he proceeded another twelve leagues to the south, to a part of the coast where a number of sea-wolves, or rather seals, were taken.

Thus, year by year, expeditions were sent out, each gaining, step by step, a knowledge of the African coast, until in the reign of Dom Joao the Second, in 1486, Bartholomew Diaz sailed with three ships, resolved to proceed farther than any of his predecessors. Touching at several places on the coast, he at length reached an until then unknown cape, to which he gave the name of Il Cabo Tormentoso, or the Cape of Storms, on account of the furious gales and heavy seas he there encountered.

The seamen, frightened by the weather, and believing that Nature had set a barrier against their further progress, insisted on returning, although Diaz was convinced that he had reached the southern end of the continent. On the arrival of Diaz at Lisbon, the King, delighted with his discovery, gave to the cape the name of Cabo de Boa Esperanza, or Cape of Good Hope. Dom Joao had in the meantime dispatched overland two envoys with directions to visit the kingdom of Prester John, and was preparing to send out an expedition by sea, when death put a stop to his projects.

His successor, Dom Manoel, resolved, however, to carry them out, but before doing so he set to work to obtain all the information in his power. On consulting a Jewish astronomer, Zacato, he learned the cause of the ill success many of the expeditions had met with. He could not understand why some of his captains had in certain latitudes encountered storms, while others had passed through them in fine weather. The Jew suggested that as the ocean is very large, in some parts it is summer and in others winter, and that his ships following the same course, some might arrive in a region where winter prevails and meet with storms, and when the other reaches the same latitude it may be summer, and perfectly fine weather be enjoyed. Thus, he continued, when navigators have obtained more experience, they will know when to sail so as to obtain summer during the whole of the voyage, and will then be able to come from and go to the Cape of Good Hope without difficulty.

Notwithstanding the valuable information the astronomer Zacato had given the King, he was compelled, with other Jews, to fly from Portugal, on account of the persecution to which they were subjected. The King, Dom Manoel, at once gave orders for the completion of the ships which Dom Joao had commenced, and directed that they should be as strong and serviceable as possible. The sailors who had gone on a previous expedition were collected, and the ships were supplied with double the usual amount of sails and tackling, as well as with artillery, munitions, and provisions, including all sorts of fruits, especially preserves, for the use of the sick, nor were priests for confession forgotten.

Rich merchandise, and gold and silver articles, goblets, swords and daggers, shields and spears, all highly ornamented, fit to present to the rulers of the countries to be visited, were also collected. All the slaves to be found, who could speak Eastern languages, were purchased, that they might act as interpreters. The King having made these preparations, had next to fix on a leader for the expedition. Among the cavaliers who attended his Court was one who had already seen much service at sea, Vasco da Gama, a man of noble lineage, son of Estevan da Gama, formerly Comptroller of the Household of King Dom Alfonso. The King, summoning Vasco into his presence, offered him the command of the squadron he proposed sending out to discover a way to the East Indies by sea.

The cavalier at once gladly accepted the honourable charge, saying at the same time that he had an elder brother, named Paulo da Gama, whom he requested the King to appoint as Captain-Major to carry the royal standard. The King, pleased with his modesty, and satisfied that he was a man especially fitted for the undertaking, granted him his request, but desired that he himself should carry out all the arrangements for the expedition.

Paulo, in consequence of a quarrel with the chief magistrate of Lisbon, had been compelled to quit the city. He was summoned back, and a free pardon granted him. The two brothers having selected a particular friend, Nicholas Coelho, to command one of the ships, the three, without loss of time, set to work to prepare them for the voyage. They were named respectively the Saint Miguel, the Saint Gabriel, and Saint Raphael. The crews were at once directed to learn the arts of carpenters, rope-makers, caulkers, blacksmiths, and plank-makers, receiving additional pay as an encouragement, while they were furnished with all the tools necessary for their crafts. Da Gama also selected the most experienced masters and pilots, who now, instead of being guided by their charts, would have to depend upon their own sagacity, their compasses, and lead-lines, for running down strange coasts and entering hitherto unknown harbours. To save the officers and trained seamen as much as possible from risking their lives, da Gama begged the King to order six men who had been condemned to death to be put on board each ship, that they might be sent ashore in dangerous regions, or left in certain places, to acquire a knowledge of the language and habits of the people. These cut-throat gentlemen were, as may be supposed, afterwards a source of no small trouble and anxiety to the commanders of the ships.

The preparations for the voyage being completed, the King and Queen, with their Court and many of the nobles of the land, assembled in the cathedral of Lisbon, to hear Mass, and bid farewell to the gallant explorers. The three captains, richly dressed, advanced to the curtain behind which the Royal Family had sat during the service, and dropping on their knees, kissed their sovereign’s hand, and expressed their readiness to expend their lives in the important undertaking with which he had entrusted them. They then, mounting their horses, and accompanied by numerous nobles and gentlemen, as well as by a procession of priests and monks, with tapers in their hands, chanting a litany, to which a great concourse of people uttered responses, rode down to the harbour. The King went with them in his barge as they joined their several ships, bestowing on them his blessing, and earnestly praying that they might enjoy a prosperous voyage and return home in safety. Vasco da Gama embarked in the Saint Raphael, Paulo in the Saint Gabriel, and Nicholas Coelho in the Saint Miguel. The ships were all of the same size, measuring about one hundred and twenty tons, and each carried about eighty persons, officers and men. They were accompanied by a store ship of two hundred tons, under the command of Gonzalo Nunez, which was to continue with them only a part of the way, and to supply them with provisions and stores. It was on Saturday, the 8th of July, 1497, the anchors being weighed and the sails loosed, that Vasco da Gama proceeded down the Tagus on his memorable voyage.

He first steered so as to reach the Cape de Verde Islands, where he had ordered the ships to rendezvous in case of separation.

Having sighted the African coast, they again stood out to the westward, meeting with a heavy gale, against which they had to beat for several days, until the crews were almost worn out, and the ships received no little damage. Being separated, as it was expected would be the case, they all steered for the Cape de Verde, where Paulo da Gama, Coelho, Diaz, and Nunez rejoined one another, but the Captain-Major had not arrived.

At length his ship made her appearance, when, to show their joy, they saluted him with salvoes from their artillery, for fears had been entertained that he was lost.

Having taken in water and repaired the damaged spars and rigging, they again sailed. Here Diaz parted from his friends to proceed on his separate voyage.

After battling with wind and waves for five months, they entered a bay to which the name of Saint Elena was given. Here they set up an astrolabe of wood three spans in diameter, which they mounted on as many poles in the manner of shears, to ascertain the sun’s altitude.

While Vasco da Gama was thus employed with his pilots, he observed behind a hill two negroes, apparently gathering herbs. He immediately ordered his people to surround them, which they did, one being caught.

As the poor captive was too frightened to understand the signs made, the Captain-Major sent for two negro boys from his ship, and made them sit by him and eat and drink, to banish his fears. At length the negro appeared to have overcome his alarm, on which da Gama induced him to point out by signs where his people were to be found. Having given him a cap and some beads and bells, the Captain-Major ordered him to be set at liberty, making signs to him to return to his companions and tell them that if they would come they would receive similar articles.

The negro, fully comprehending what was desired, set off, and returned with a dozen men, to whom various presents were made. They appeared, however, not to value articles of gold and silver and spices. The next day upwards of forty more came, and were so familiar, that a man-at-arms named Fernando Veloso begged permission to accompany them, and obtain more information about their country. While he was gone, Coelho remained on shore to look after the crews, who were collecting wood and catching lobsters, while da Gama, not to be idle, went in chase of some young whales. Having speared a whale, the rope being made fast to the bow of the boat, the animal in its struggles nearly upset her, but fortunately running into shallow water, offered no further resistance.

As it was getting late in the day, the boats were about to return to the ships, when, just as they were shoving off, Vasco da Gama saw Fernando Veloso, who was somewhat of a braggadocio, coming rapidly down the hill, looking every now and then behind him. On this the Captain-Major directed Coelho, whose boat was nearest, to pull in and take him off. The sailors, however, for the sake of frightening Fernando, rowed on slowly.

Before he reached the beach two negroes sprang out and seized him, when, as matters were becoming serious, some sailors leaping on shore struck right and left at Fernando’s assailants in a way which brought blood from their noses. Perceiving how their companions were being treated, a number of other negroes rushed out, very nearly catching the boaster, and began throwing stones and shooting arrows at Coelho’s boat. Fearing that matters might grow serious, Vasco da Gama rowed in to try and pacify the natives; but before he could do so he received an arrow through his leg, and the master of the Saint Gabriel and two seamen were also wounded.

Finding that nothing could induce the natives to be friendly, and Veloso, having been rescued, Vasco da Gama ordered the boats to return to the ship, and then sent back a party of crossbow-men to chastise the savages.

No information about the cape or the people had been gained, for Fernando could only describe the dangers he had encountered. Accordingly, the anchors were weighed and the squadron stood out to sea. The wind, however, blew hard from the southward, while tremendous waves rose up, threatening destruction to the vessels, and, as they could only sail on a bowline, they continued for many days standing off land. They then tacked and stood back, when once more they put about close hauled, so that they at length reached a far southern latitude. The heavy sea still running and the wind blowing harder than ever, the crews suffered greatly; still the Captain-Major insisted on continuing his course. Once more tacking and making the land, the masters and pilots became much alarmed from seeing it extending away to the west, and they declared that it went across the sea, and had no end to it.

Vasco da Gama, on hearing of their complaints, assured them that the cape was near, and that by making another tack on their return they would find that they had doubled it. He accordingly ordered the ships to be put about, doing his utmost to raise the sinking courage of his companions.

On the ships sailed, day after day, in spite of the heavy winds and seas. He himself took no repose, sharing the hardships his men were enduring, never failing to come on deck, as they did, at the sound of the boatswain’s pipe. The terrified and disheartened crews of the several ships clamoured loudly to return to Portugal, but their captains told them that they had resolved to follow the fortunes of their leader.

At length the pilots and masters entreated Vasco da Gama to tack back again, on the plea that the days were short, the nights long, and the vessels leaky, while the wind blew strongly, and cold rain and sleet came beating in their faces. He accordingly ordered the ships to be put about, declaring at the same time, should he find that they had not weathered the cape, he should again tack, as he would never turn back until he had accomplished his object.

The weather now happily began to moderate, and the crews believing that they were approaching the land, their spirits rose. Vasco da Gama’s wish was to keep close hauled; but at night, when he was asleep, the pilot kept away, hoping thus to ease the ship and more quickly to get sight of land. As the admiral carried a huge lantern at the poop, the others followed, each showing a light one to another.

Finding that they did not make the land, they were convinced that their great object was accomplished—the dreaded Cape of Storms, now joyfully called the Cape of Good Hope, doubled. So it was, and Vasco da Gama had established for himself a name imperishable on the page of history. With great joy, they praised God for delivering them from the dangers to which they had been exposed.

Sailing free, with all canvas spread, they one morning sighted a range of lofty mountains, their peaks touching the clouds, at which, falling on their knees, they returned thanks to Heaven. Though they ran on all day, they were yet unable to reach the land till the evening. At night they continued along the coast, which here trended from west to east. During the night they sailed on under single canvas to the eastward. They passed several large bays and rivers, from which fresh water came forth with powerful currents. They also found many fish, which they killed with spears.

A bright look-out was kept in the fore-top for shoals which might be ahead, while the pilots hove the lead, but found no bottom. At night they stood off shore under easy sail.

Thus for three days they ran on, until they discovered the mouth of a large river, when, shortening sail, they entered it, a boat going before and sounding. At length they came to an anchor. Here they found good fishing, but no beach was to be seen, rocks and crags forming the shore.

Vasco da Gama and Coelho then went on board Paulo’s ship, where the three captains dined together, and talked cheerfully over the dangers they had encountered and their prospects for the future. The Captain-Major next day sent Coelho up the river in a boat; but after proceeding twenty leagues, finding no inhabitants, he returned, when the ships got up their anchors, and, aided by the current, the boats towing, they sailed once more into the open ocean.

They now continued their course along the land, entering several other great rivers and bays, but meeting with no one on shore nor any boats at sea, and keeping all the time a good look-out so as not to run on the rocks or on shoals. As the country appeared to be unpeopled, the Captain-Major determined to enter no more rivers. All day long they ran on in sight of the shore in the hope of at length seeing some towns and villages, and at night they stood away to sea, shortening sail.

After being becalmed for some time, another heavy gale arose, and, fearful of being driven on shore, they again stood off land. When they had got, as they supposed, far enough out, they sent down the loftier spars, secured the lower masts and yards with additional stays, and, with all canvas furled except their foresails, prepared to weather the storm. On finding the fierce wind which began to blow, the pilot and master urged the Captain-Major, for fear the ships should founder, to run back along the coast and enter the river which they had before discovered; but he replied that he would not allow such words to be spoken, for, as he was going over the bar at Lisbon, he had sworn not to turn back a single foot of the way he had once gained, and whoever should dare to counsel such a proceeding should be hove overboard.

Notwithstanding that the tempest increased he remained firm. The gale now blew from one quarter, now from another. At times the wind fell, but the sea continued tossing about with such power that the ships, labouring severely, were in great danger, now lurching on one side, now on another; while the men had to secure themselves from being washed overboard or dashed along the decks. As yet things had not grown to their worst. It became difficult even to work the pumps, while the water came in both from above and below, and many of the crew sank and died. Again the pilots and masters of the other vessels urged their captains to put back; but they received the same answer as before, that as long as Vasco da Gama set the example they could not accede to their request, while he declared that even should he see a hundred die before his eyes, return he would not, for that by so doing they would lose all their labours. He reminded them that having already doubled the Cape of Storms, they were in that region in which India was to be discovered. “Trust in God, He will deliver us,” he added.

Notwithstanding the brave words of their leader, the seamen continued to clamour; but even though the sea began to go down and the wind to abate, and the ships were able to get nearer each other, the crews with loud cries insisted that they should seek for some harbour where they might be repaired.

On this Vasco da Gama again swore by the life of the King, that from that spot he would not turn back a span’s breadth until they had obtained the information they had come to seek. The sailors shouted that they were many, and that they feared death, though their captain took no account of it. Vasco da Gama replied that he took the same account of death as any of them, but that they had heard his resolution, and he intended to keep to it.

At this juncture a furious blast struck the ships, the sea again getting up in such a way that they were frequently hidden from the sight of each other, and could only be perceived as they rose to the top of a sea before again falling into the trough.

Lights were hung out so that they might keep together, for the Captain-Major had been warned before sailing of the danger of separating, and his friends and relatives on board the other ships were ever on the watch to prevent such a catastrophe.

Mutiny was nearly breaking out on board the ship of Nicholas Coelho; but he was warned by a young boy who had overheard the discussions of the malcontents, and he therefore took all the means in his power to defeat their objects. Passing near the Captain’s ship, the brave Coelho warned him in language which the mutineers could not understand of their intentions, and at the same time told him that it would be as well to put about, since they had determined on doing so.

Vasco da Gama immediately comprehended the meaning of Coelho’s words, and replied, so that those on board his own ship might hear, that he could not withstand the tears and lamentations of his people, nor did he wish to have to give an account to God of their lives, and that he had begged them to labour on for their own safety; observing that should the weather again become bad, he would put back, but that to exculpate himself with the King, he should draw up a document explaining his reasons for returning, and should require them to put their signatures to it.

On going to his cabin he desired his secretary to draw up the paper, and then ordered three of the seamen who were the most clamourous to come in and sign it. Immediately they did so they were seized and put in irons, and the master and pilots were treated in the same manner. He then returned on deck, and addressing his crew, told them that they had no longer a master or pilot, that he himself would take charge of the ship and direct her course aright.

Still further to convince his crew that he did not depend on the master or pilots, he ordered their nautical instruments to be brought to him, when, taking them in his hands, he threw them one by one into the sea, exclaiming as he did so, “I need no other pilot save God, and will from henceforth direct the course of our ships.”

On hearing this the crew were still more afraid, and entreated him not to put the prisoners to death.

To this Vasco da Gama consented, saying that he did so in consequence of their entreaties; and to prove that he did not require the services of those officers, he ordered them to remain in their cabins, still in irons, and forbade them to give any instructions for the navigation of the ship, except for the trimming of the sails. He then, running alongside the other ships, told their crews that he had put his master and pilots in irons, and promised that he would conduct them back in safety.

Nicholas Coelho, on hearing this, was rejoiced, but feigning sorrow, told his ship’s company that he regretted what had happened, and that he would entreat the Captain-Major, when the ships next met, to liberate the prisoners.

Paulo da Gama spoke in the same way, and with much urbanity, to his people, also promising to intercede for the prisoners. Thus, the crews being tranquillised, they promised to obey the orders of their superiors.


Chapter Ten.

Voyage of Vasco da Gama, continued—A.D. 1498.

The squadron sails along the coast on Christmas Day—That part is named Natal—Reaches the “River of Mercy”—Careen ships—The Saint Miguel broken up—Coelho ascends the river—Meets natives, who come on board—A column erected—A native vessel sighted—Chase another—Davané, a Moorish broker, captured—Offers to conduct them to Cambay—A zambuk taken—Davané engaged in the service of the Portuguese—Squadron enters harbour of Mozambique—The sheikh visits the Saint Raphael—Promises to send pilots—His intended treachery—Machado left on shore—Voyage along coast continued—The pilots plot to wreck the ships—Anchor off Mombas—Two convicts sent on shore—Narrow escape of the Saint Raphael—A zambuk taken, with her owner and his wife—Melonda reached—Friendly reception by the King of Nicholas—Coelho visits him—The captains pay him a visit in great state—The King comes on board the Saint Raphael—Pleasant intercourse with the people.

At length, the wind moderating and there being a great want of water, in consequence of the casks having broken or become leaky, Vasco da Gama stood close in for the land, to look for some harbour into which he might run to repair the ships, as well as to obtain a supply of that great necessary of life.

The end of the year 1497 was approaching, and at Christmas, called by the Portuguese Natal, the squadron passed that part of the coast, to which they in consequence gave the name it has since retained. At length, at early dawn, they came off the mouth of a large river, into which the Captain-Major led the ships, and dropping their anchors, the crews exclaimed “The mercy of the Lord!” for which reason the name of the “River of Mercy” was bestowed on it.

Paulo, coming on board his brother’s ship, entreated that the prisoners might be set at liberty. The Captain-Major consented on condition that if God should bring them back to Lisbon, they would agree again to be put in chains, and be thus presented to the King to receive his pardon.

The crews then proceeded to careen their ships, but on examining the Saint Miguel, commanded by Nicholas Coelho, she was found to be so severely damaged, many of her ribs and knees being broken, that she could not be repaired. It was therefore decided to break her up, and to make use of her masts, timbers, and planks in repairing the others.

They now set to work on the Captain-Major’s ship, first discharging all the lighter stores into that of Paulo, when everything heavy below decks was placed on one side, which caused her to heel over, and with the aid of a tackle fixed to the mainmast, they canted her so much that her keel was laid bare. Stages being formed, the crew got on them, some cleaning the planks from the growth of seaweed, some extracting the caulking which was rotten, when the caulkers put in fresh oakum, and pitched it over. The officers took upon themselves the task of supplying the men with food and drink while they were at work, and so much dispatch was used that in one day and night they had finished one side. They then turned her over, and performed the same work on the other.

The Saint Raphael being once more loaded, Paulo’s ship was next repaired and strengthened with additional knees and ribs and inner planking. The stores of the Saint Miguel being divided between the two ships, the Captain-Major received Coelho on board his own. They then, having taken all the planking and timber they required from the Saint Miguel, set her on fire, that the nails might be secured. This important work being accomplished, Nicholas Coelho was sent with twenty men up the river. After ascending it for two leagues he found the banks covered with woods, and discovered some canoes fishing. The men on board them were dark, but not very black, being almost naked, with the exception of a kilt of leaves round their middles. Without the slightest hesitation they entered the boat, and several canoes followed her as she returned to the ship, while some of the natives ran back to take the news to their villages.

The people came on board without showing the slightest fear, and on biscuits, with slices of bread and marmalade, being given them, they did not seem to understand that the food was to be eaten until they saw the Portuguese eat, when they devoured it eagerly. Meantime, a number of other canoes came alongside. The people were so numerous that the Captain-Major would not allow more than a dozen or so to come on board at a time. The first who had been entertained went down the side very unwillingly. They brought some birds resembling hens, and a yellow fruit, which had the appearance of walnuts. The latter the Portuguese would not touch until they saw the natives eat them, when, following their example, they were much pleased with the taste. Biscuits and wine were then offered to the savages, but they would not touch the latter until they saw the Portuguese drink.

The Captain-Major then gave them a looking-glass. When they saw it they were much amused, and as they gazed into the mirror, they laughed heartily and made jokes, telling their companions in the canoes. On being allowed to carry it away, they were highly delighted, and left six of the birds and much of the fruit.

In the afternoon they returned, bringing a quantity of the birds, which they willingly exchanged for pieces of shirts, which the seamen cut up to give them, or for any trifles.

The birds, when killed and dried in the sun, kept well. A mass of stone being found at the entrance of the river, a hole was made in it, into which a marble pillar was fixed, six of which having been brought out for the purpose of being thus erected. On the base of each pillar were two escutcheons, one the arms of Portugal, and on the opposite side a representation of the globe, together with an inscription, “Of the Lordship of Portugal, Kingdom of Christians.”

Vasco da Gama, pleased with the diligence shown by his officers and men, called them together, entreating them to be of good courage, and not to allow the thoughts of treason—so hateful to God—to enter their hearts; and, being aware that it was from faint-heartedness that they had given way before, he forgave them. He pictured to them the joy they would feel when, on their return to Portugal, he would present them to the King, and describe their dangers and labours.

With tears of joy they exclaimed, “May the Lord, in His great mercy, so will it!” Returning to their ships, the anchors were weighed, and, with a fair breeze, on the 24th of February, 1498, they sailed out of the river.

After running along the coast for some distance, they sighted a sail, which, on observing, they stood out to sea; but it was lost sight of during the night. Proceeding on, when close to land they arrived off a large creek, near the mouth of which they saw a zambuk at anchor. On this Vasco da Gama ordered the ships to heave to, and sent a boat in chase of a canoe which was seen leaving the zambuk, carrying her crew, who were trying to escape, on shore. She was soon overtaken, when the six blacks who were on board her threw themselves into the sea. One Moor alone remained on board, he being unable to swim. He wore on his head a round skull-cap, made of silk of various colours, sewn with gold thread, and small rings in his ears. His shirt was of white stuff, and a girdle of coloured cloth was fastened round his waist.

The Portuguese, taking him into their boat, went to the zambuk; but she was empty, the Moor having been about to freight her with a cargo for a certain merchant, for whom he acted as agent.

Returning with their captain to the ship, the Portuguese were delighted at finding a man from whom they could obtain information about the country. They then set sail, and continued their course. The Moor was well entertained, and seemed perfectly contented with his lot. Great difficulty was, however, found in carrying on a conversation with him, as the only interpreter on board was an African slave, who spoke Arabic, of which the Moor understood but a few words. He made his captors comprehend, however, by signs, that farther on there were people who understood that language. Vasco da Gama offered him cakes of sugar, olives, and wine. He freely ate of everything, but would not touch the wine. The Captain-Major then presented him with a long robe, with which he appeared highly pleased, and examined with curiosity everything he saw. On showing him spices, he gave the Portuguese to understand that he could fill their ships with such things. He was, as it turned out, a broker, and being an intelligent man, with a keen eye to business, he at once determined to become the broker of the Portuguese, hoping to make a good profit by loading their ships. He offered to conduct them to Cambay, of which he was a native, and showed much satisfaction when they agreed to go there with him.

Sailing on, the ships came off the banks and shoals of Sofala, when the Moor, by signs, warned them to keep a look-out for danger ahead. Standing out to sea, the shoals were passed during the night. Shortly afterwards they sighted another sail ahead, when the Saint Raphael, edging out to sea to prevent her escape, quickly got up with her. The boat being sent alongside, two blacks—cafres, as the Portuguese called them—were brought on board the Saint Raphael. Immediately a boat was dispatched to Paulo da Gama’s ship to bring a black, a native of Guinea, who sailed with him, that he might interpret. The blacks, though from opposite sides of the coast, perfectly understood each other, showing that at that period the language of Congo extended from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.

The zambuk was laden with pigeons’ dung, and was bound for Cambay, where it is used in dyeing stuffs. The Captain-Major gave the blacks biscuit, salt fish, and wine, which they ate and drank with evident satisfaction, not refusing the wine as the Moor had done.

The vessel called a zambuk was probably the style of craft similar to the dhow of the present day, with a high stern, the bow sharp and low, and either perfectly open or partially decked over with light planking.

The Moor, Davané—which he said was his name—now informed the Captain-Major that farther on they should come to a place of large size, thickly peopled and with much trade, and that from thence he would conduct them to Cambay, where he would load the ships with full cargoes of drugs and spices, as it was a rich country, and the greatest kingdom in the world.

The Captain-Major replied that he considered himself fortunate in having met him, and swore that he would reward him richly for the work he performed. Davané then advised him to follow the zambuk, the crew of which, being acquainted with the navigation, would pilot the ships clear of all dangers. Six Portuguese sailors were therefore sent on board her, that no treacherous trick might be played, and the same number of blacks brought to the Saint Raphael.

Although the zambuk’s sails were of matting, she made better way than either of the ships. After steering on for twenty days, they arrived towards the end of March, 1498, off Mozambique, and, piloted by the zambuk, entered the harbour, where they dropped anchor in a spot sheltered from the sea winds.

On the shore a large number of houses covered with thatch and many people were seen. The Portuguese sailors were now brought from the zambuk, and the blacks, rewarded with pieces of white stuff, were sent to their own vessel. The blacks having gone on shore and reported how well they had been treated, canoes came off from the beach with cocoa-nuts and hens. The Moor Davané, having received a present of a scarlet cap and a string of coral beads, was carried on shore by Nicolas Coelho, with directions to obtain fresh provisions and to learn where the ships could water.

Davané informed the Sheikh, who acted as governor for the King of the country, that the Portuguese were making a voyage to Cambay to obtain cargoes of pepper and drugs, and that they were, he understood, Christians. Not crediting the account, the Sheikh told the Moor that he intended to visit the ships himself. It was found that many Moors were settled in the country as merchants, carrying on an extensive commerce in silver, gold, ivory, and wax; indeed, that most of the kings and rulers of these countries were Moors and Mohammedans.

After some delay, the Sheikh came off to the Saint Raphael in a vessel composed of two canoes lashed together, upon which rested poles and blankets, forming a deck, which was canopied by mats affording shade.

The Sheikh was seated on a low round stool, covered with a silk cloth, with a cushion for his feet, while his attendant Moors were squatted round him. He was a well made, dark man, dressed in a jacket of velvet, and a blue cloth trimmed with braid and gold thread wrapped round him, his drawers being of white stuff, reaching down to the ankles. Round his waist he wore a silk sash, in which was stuck a silver-mounted dagger; and in his hand he carried a sword, also mounted with silver. He wore on his head a turban of many colours, with braid and fringes of gold thread wrapped round a dark-coloured skull-cap. His attendants were dressed in the same fashion. Some were fair, and others very dark, being the sons of black women and white Moorish merchants who had for a long time been established in the country. A couch covered with a carpet for the Moors to sit upon, and chairs being placed on the quarter-deck, the Captains in their richest costumes stood ready to receive the Sheikh as he arrived alongside. The trumpets then sounded, and the sailors assisted him to ascend on board.

The Sheikh, taking the right hand of Paulo de Gama, pressed it between both of his, and raised it to his breast. He then took his seat on one of the chairs in the middle, while his attendants occupied the bench. The Captains sat on either side of him. The Moor Davané, as interpreter, remained standing and ready to explain what was said.

The Sheikh looked round with astonishment at all he saw, and expressed his pleasure at the arrival of the strangers, inquiring of what country they were, and what they came for.

Vasco da Gama explained that they were from a far-off country, and servants of the greatest king of the Christians that existed in the world, who had sent out a vast fleet to seek for merchandise, but that they had been separated from their companions in a storm, and that they were unacquainted with the land to which they were going for cargoes.

The Sheikh inquired what they would do if they could not find the country. Vasco da Gama replied that they would sail about the sea until they died, because, should they return without bringing the merchandise they were in search of, their king would cut off their heads.

The Sheikh requested to be shown the sort of merchandise of which they were in search. The Captain-Major then exhibited some pepper, cinnamon, and ginger. The Sheikh, laughing to his own people, replied that he would send pilots who would conduct them to where they could fill their ships with as much as they required, and then asked what merchandise they had brought to purchase the articles they wanted. The Captain-Major replied that it was on board the other ships, but that they had gold and silver to pay for what they bought. The Sheikh observed that with gold and silver they could obtain all over the world whatever they required, and he then requested the Captain-Major to order the trumpets to sound, as he and his people much liked to hear them.

On taking his leave, he promised to send pilots who would faithfully serve his visitors. A handsome present was then offered to him, consisting of five ells of fine scarlet cloth, five of satin, two scarlet caps, four highly ornamented Flemish sheath-knives, and a mirror.

Davané was now sent on shore to bring off the pilots, who each received payment in advance, and he then went back to obtain provisions. The Sheikh took this opportunity of cross-questioning him, and learning the force and means of defence possessed by the two ships.

Believing that they were richly-laden, and that he could capture them, he forthwith laid a plan to effect his object.

Davané did not know the whole plan at the time, but suspecting that treachery of some sort was intended, on his return on board immediately warned Vasco da Gama, and advised him to be on his guard. The Sheikh soon after sent off requesting the Captain-Major and his officers to visit him, and offering to take charge of their sick. His plan was, as soon as the boats should go to the watering-place, to seize the crews, and then, having secured them and the chief officers, to sail out, with four Moorish vessels in the harbour, and attack the Portuguese ships.

When, therefore, a boat was sent on shore, by Davané’s advice, two guns were placed in her, and a screen fitted which could be raised to shelter the crew from arrows. Nicolas Coelho went in command of her, with ten seamen and twelve men-at-arms with crossbows.

One of the Moorish pilots, who was taken in the boat to conduct her to the watering-place, instead of steering for it, during the whole night led her through numerous creeks, intending to run her ashore, as the tide was falling, when, had he succeeded, she and all on board would have become an easy prey to his treacherous countrymen.

Coelho, on discovering the design of the pilot, was on the point of killing him, when, just as the boat got into the bay at early morning, the traitor threw himself into the sea, and coming up again at a distance from the boat, swam rapidly for the shore. The Portuguese rowed after him, but he kept ahead, and as the boat approached the beach, a concourse of people came down, discharging flights of arrows and stones from slings at her. This being seen from the ships, Vasco da Gama declared that he would go at once and burn the Moorish vessels; but he was overruled by his brother, who represented that their men might thus be exposed to danger, and that though it would be easy to send the vessels to the bottom with their artillery, should they do so in a new country, they would be looked upon as pirates, and the help they required denied them.

In consequence it was resolved to send on shore a complaint to the Sheikh of the outrage; but Davané declined going, on the plea that he should very likely, if he did so, be killed. It was deemed prudent, therefore, to leave the place.

Soon after the anchors were got up, and the ships were under sail, a boat came off with a white flag, bearing a message from the Sheikh, who complained of the attempt made to kill his pilot, and of his visitors going away without any sufficient cause for their departure. He promised, should anyone have done them injury, to inflict summary justice on the offender.

On this the Captain-Major ordered one Joao Machado, a convict, who understood a little Arabic, to go on shore in the canoe, and explain to the Sheikh that they had been deceived by the pilot, and that when the Portuguese tried to catch him, his people had come out with arms in their hands to fight, and that it was on account of the want of sincerity in the Sheikh and his countrymen that the Portuguese were going away. It was intended that Joao Machado should remain in the country in older that on their return he should be able, should he live, to give them full information about the people.

While the Saint Raphael was hove to, she struck upon a shoal, and was with difficulty got off, in consequence of which it was afterwards named the Banks of Saint Raphael.

Vasco da Gama, irritated at being unable to punish the chief, put the pilot in irons to prevent his escape. The wind being contrary, the ships brought up off an island about a league from Mozambique, where the Admiral awaited the return of his messenger. Machado, however, did not come back,—the Sheikh, being highly pleased at having it in his power to do so, kept him as a captive. He was also afraid that the people in the canoe would be seized and detained as hostages until the Portuguese prisoner had been returned.

It may be as well here to relate that Joao Machado, the first of his countrymen who ever resided in that part of the world, exchanged his condition much for the better. He quickly learned the language, and being honourably treated, ultimately was enabled to travel through many countries until he reached Cambay. From this place he went to others, the languages of which he acquired; and being a man of great intelligence and fine appearance, he gained the good-will of the Sheikh and his followers, and so raised himself that he was ultimately able greatly to benefit his fellow-countrymen.

There being no inhabitants on the islands, the crews landed, and Mass was performed by the two priests, the only survivors of six who had embarked. The crews also confessed and received the Sacrament, and a Mass was offered in praise of Vasco da Gama’s patron Saint George.

The Captain-Major, who was a hot-tempered man, angry that the Sheikh had not further communicated with him, then took it into his head to send Nicolas Coelho back to Mozambique in a boat with cannon and well-armed men, to ask him for a pilot; and should he refuse to supply one, to fire at the Moorish vessels, and send them to the bottom.

In this, however, he was overruled by his brother Paulo. The wind becoming favourable, they proceeded on their voyage along the coast. The remaining pilot told them that he would conduct the ships to a great city named Quiloa, abounding in wealth, where he stated that numerous Christian traders resided. This he said with a treacherous design, intending, in revenge for having been put in irons, to deliver them into the hands of the people, hoping that they would all be killed.

Again Davané, who by this time could express himself very clearly in Portuguese, warned the Captain-Major of the pilot’s treacherous plan.

The pilots and masters were therefore charged to be on the watch, Vasco da Gama threatening to put out the eyes of the pilot should the ship strike upon a shoal. Notwithstanding this, the pilot, even though he should die on the spot, had resolved to wreck the ships.

Sailing on, they came off Quiloa, where it was the intention of the pilot to carry out his design; but a contrary wind springing up, the ships were driven out to sea, and so, avoiding the danger, continued on along the coast until they reached Bombaza (Mombas), a large commercial city. Unable to enter the river, the ships came to an anchor outside the bar. The King of Mombas had already received a message from the Sheikh of Mozambique, saying that the Portuguese were Christians and robbers, and came as spies to the countries they visited. The King consequently, though resolved to destroy them, to throw them off their guard, treacherously sent a large boat laden with fowls, sheep, sugarcanes, citrons, and large sweet oranges, with an envoy inviting them to enter the harbour, and sending also two pilots to conduct them.

Excusing himself, Vasco da Gama sent two convicts, intelligent men, to see the city, and ascertain if there were any Christians residing there. The men were courteously received by the King, and conducted about the city by an old Moor, who took them to the house of two merchants, Abyssinian Christians, by whom they were courteously received. One of them was the next morning sent back by the King to give a favourable report of their treatment on shore, and to request the Captain-Major to enter without further delay.

On this, not believing any harm was intended, he ordered the anchor to be weighed; but on the sails being set, the ships missed stays and were being driven by a current towards a bank, when the anchors were let fall and the sails furled.

The holloaing and shouting raised by the Portuguese while performing these manoeuvres so frightened the pilots, that believing their treachery was discovered, they slipped overboard and swam to the shore.

One, however, was detained, and in order to make him confess, according to the cruel custom of the times, he was tortured by having boiling grease dropped on his body until he acknowledged that he and his companions had been commanded by the King to let the ships drift on the banks.

Returning thanks to Heaven for their miraculous preservation as it was considered, as soon as the tide turned, it being moonlight, the Captain-Major ordered the anchors to be weighed and the ships to stand out to sea. In weighing, however, one of the cables broke, and the anchor remained behind. One of the convicts afterwards reported that the King punished the pilots for running away.

Having left Mombas, they steered northward, along the coast as before, until they sighted two zambuks, one of which was captured. She had on board eighty men, and was laden with ivory. The captain had his wife on board, a very pretty woman, richly dressed, with four women to attend on her; he had besides a chest full of jewels and money.

The old Moorish captain, to whom the name of Dias was given, with his wife and her attendants, were brought on board the Saint Raphael, where they were treated so courteously by da Gama, that he completely won their hearts.

The crew of the zambuk were divided among the two ships, and ten Portuguese were put into her, with directions to touch nothing, and not to lose sight of the squadron.

In less than three days the squadron reached Melinda, situated on a plain close to the sea, and consisting of numerous fine buildings surrounded by walls. The ships dropped anchor among a number of vessels, all dressed out in flags, while flags were also exhibited on the walls, to show the pleasure the King of Melinda felt at their arrival.

Next morning a canoe came off, bringing a well-dressed personage, who said that the King desired to know what they wanted in his country, that he might send whatever they had need of from the city.

The Captain-Major replied that he required a good many things, but without the King’s leave he would not enter the port.

The old Moor, Captain Dias, who had been taken out of the zambuk, now requested that he might be sent on shore, promising to bring back a report of whatever the King had to say. This being approved of, he was put into a skiff which was passing and conveyed on shore.

Captain Dias, on his arrival at the palace, informed the King that the Portuguese had escaped the snares laid for them at other places, that they had injured no one, and that he was directed to say that if leave was not given them to enter the port, they would sail away at once.

The King, evidently pleased with this, immediately dispatched a boat laden with refreshments of all sorts to the Captain-Major, requesting him to enter, sending a pilot at the same time to conduct in the ships. Vasco da Gama, however, thought it prudent before weighing anchor to dispatch Davané to ascertain the real temper of the King.

Davané accordingly went on shore in the boat which had brought the provisions, dressed in a red robe, so as to look as dignified as possible, and presented himself at the palace. After some conversation with the King, satisfied that his intentions were honest, he thanked his Majesty for the refreshments he had sent, and said the Captain-Major, accepting his invitation, would enter when the pilots thought fit.

Several persons of distinction came on board, among them the principal priest of the mosque, who was honourably received: preserves in a silver vase, and water with a napkin, being presented to him. The pilots having taken in the ships and anchored them in a secure place, they were decked out with flags. The crews then fired a salute with all their artillery, so that the very city shook. Several of the larger guns being discharged to seaward, the shots went skimming and ricochetting over the water, causing great amusement to the people collected on the beach, while the trumpets sounded and the men cheered.

When the priest was about to be sent on shore he informed the Captain-Major that he had been directed to remain there as a hostage until all arrangements were completed. On this the Captain-Major assured him that he required no hostages, as he was convinced of the good intentions of the King.

Soon after this the old Moor Dias, who had been captured in the zambuk, presented himself to the King, and entreated that he would make interest to have himself, his wife, and crew restored to liberty, observing that none of his property had been touched, nor had any harm been done them. The King accordingly sent a message to Vasco da Gama, who immediately directed Davané to take a boat and tow the zambuk, with the old Moor and all his property, to the city, and present them to the King.

When Captain Dias and the others heard this, they exclaimed, raising their hands to heaven, “May God reward you and all your company, and restore you to your country in health and safety!”

By this and other judicious measures, Vasco da Gama secured the friendship of the King. Nicolas Coelho was also sent on shore, richly dressed, accompanied by Davané, to pay a visit of ceremony to the King, who was highly pleased at seeing him, and bade him sit on the same carpet on which he himself was seated, a stool inlaid with ivory and worked with gold being placed for him.

The sagacious Coelho did not fail to impress the King with the great power and dignity of the sovereign of Portugal, whom he represented as the chief Christian monarch of the world. After the interview, Coelho was carried on board the Saint Raphael in the King’s barge of state, richly adorned and gilt. The King also presented him with some fine coloured cloths, and with a ring having a blue stone set in it.

Everything the ships required was purchased on shore, and paid for with silver testoons, which went for double their worth. The honest Coelho’s visit having been so successful, it was arranged that the King should have an interview with the two chief Captains. The day being fixed, they dressed themselves in their most splendid costumes, all the men they took with them being likewise handsomely clothed.

Each Captain went in his boat, seated on a chair covered with crimson velvet, with a carpet underneath, the sides of the boats being covered with rugs, on which the men sat. The boat, adorned with several flags, had also two swivel guns, and two cannoneers ready to discharge them.

A salute being fired as they left the ships, they proceeded side by side to the shore, where the King was waiting for them with his attendants, the people crowding the walls, the houses, and beach.

The King then came on board Vasco da Gama’s boat, where a carpet had been spread and a chair placed for him to sit upon. The usual complimentary speeches having been exchanged, the Captains falling on their knees tried to kiss his hand, when the King made them rise, on which the crews of the boats shouted “Welcome, the Lord be praised!” The trumpets sounded and the great guns saluted as had been arranged. On hearing the trumpets the King seemed highly delighted.

The King having landed, the two brothers returned to their ships, and gave an account to Nicolas Coelho of what had passed.

The next day Vasco da Gama paid a visit to the King at his palace, where his Majesty made him sit down on a silk daïs, and the same sort of compliments passed as before.

The chief drawback to the satisfaction of the voyagers was that, although furnished with a variety of provisions, they were unable to obtain flour, which was not produced in the country.

The King, that they might not be cheated, sent a crier over the city, ordering that nobody was to sell anything to the Portuguese for more than it was worth, and that, should the law be infringed, he would burn down the culprit’s house.

The King now expressed his wish to visit the ships, and the Captain-Major having fixed a day, they were cleaned and ornamented with flags; the quarter-decks were covered with figured stuffs from Flanders, and carpets and rugs, lances with the points burnished, and naked swords and other weapons, with splendid breast-plates, on which were engraved the arms of the Captains, were hung up; while in the cabin was a sideboard covered with plate, all the attendants being splendidly dressed.

The Captain-Major, going on shore, received the King, who was accompanied to the ship by numberless boats, with flags flying, kettledrums and other musical instruments being played; but when the trumpets of the Portuguese sounded, all kept silence that they might be heard. The great guns of the ships fired salutes and the people shouted as the King, mounting the ladder, came on board, where the Captains, supporting him in their arms, with great courtesy placed him in a chair on the quarter-deck.

The King having sat some time, was conducted into the cabin, where a handsome table was spread with napkins, conserves, confectionery and preserved almonds which had been brought in glass bottles, oranges and cases of marmalade.

The King and his courtiers appeared to have been more pleased with the olives than anything else. They were presented with wine in gilt vessels, which they refused, but they drank water from silver cups and gilt glasses.

After the King had finished eating, Vasco da Gama took a richly gilt and chased hand-basin and ewer to match, and was about to pour water on the King’s hands; but to this, out of courtesy, his Majesty would not consent. He, however, allowed one of his people to pour out the water, when he washed his hands and mouth, and dried them on a napkin embroidered with gold.

The Captain-Major then ordered the water to be emptied, and put the basin and ewer in their cases, and requested the King to accept them, saying that, as they had been employed in his service, it would be improper to allow anybody else to make use of them.

At this the King was highly pleased, declaring that no sovereign in India possessed such things. On returning to the shore, the King would not allow the Captains to leave their boats as he took leave of them. Vasco da Gama also sent the chair in which the King had sat as a present, greatly to his delight.

Thus was a firm friendship secured between the explorers and the natives, so that the former could go on shore without the slightest fear of receiving ill treatment.


Chapter Eleven.

Voyage of Vasco Da Gama, continued—A.D. 1498.

Vessels fitted with tanks—Native pilots agree to guide them to India—Their advanced knowledge of navigation—Another column erected—A convict lad left with the King—Farewells—Ships sail—Mortality—Coast of India seen—Anchor off Capocate—Dark-skinned naked natives appear—Da Gama’s politic treatment of natives—A Nair comes from the King of Calecut—Da Gama fabricates a story to account for his visit—The Moorish traders plot to destroy the Portuguese—A Castilian comes on board—Warns da Gama of the Moors’ plot—Nicolas Coelho sent on shore with rich presents for the King—Tired by delays—Coelho received by the King—Arrangements made for trading—Merchandise landed—Damaged spices offered in return—Received by the Portuguese—The Castilian warns da Gama not to venture on shore without hostages—Hostages sent off—Vasco da Gama visits the King of Calecut—Magnificent presents sent by the King.

The time for continuing the voyage having arrived, being the 15th of July, 1498, the King assisted his new friends in making all preparations for their departure. He sent on board two experienced pilots, the Mozambique pilot also agreeing to go with them. They had constructed tanks at the bottom of the ships, sewn together with coir thread and covered with pitch in such a way that they were more watertight than casks. Each ship had four of these tanks placed at the foot of the mainmast, containing thirty pipes of water.

Their pilots possessed nautical instruments greatly differing from their own, but equally useful; indeed, they were not much inferior in skill to the Portuguese navigators. To each of the pilots, in the presence of the King, Vasco da Gama gave fifty cruzadados to leave with their wives, with which the King was greatly pleased, and still more so when the Captain-Major judiciously presented him, in a handkerchief, with ten golden Portugueses. The King assured Vasco da Gama that the broker Davané would act honestly, and that as he was now fairly acquainted with the Portuguese language, he would be of the greatest benefit. He warned his friends, however, to be on their guard against the people of Calecut, who were noted for their want of faith, advising them not to trust themselves on shore without safe hostages. Like a true friend, he gave them much more faithful counsel. He had also prepared a banquet, at which they were sumptuously entertained, and he sent boats laden with food to the ships sufficient for both crews.

The last duty Vasco da Gama had to perform was to set up one of the marble pillars which he had brought. The King, on hearing of his intention, requested that it might be placed within the palace, but Vasco da Gama explained that the object was to let it be visible to all who entered the port, and it was accordingly placed on the summit of a hill near the city. It was similar to that they had erected at the mouth of the River of Mercy. The King sent stonemasons to assist in erecting it. When it was placed the crews of the ships landed and offered up prayers, when the trumpets sounded and a salute was fired from the ships.

The Captain-Major now presented the King with a convict ship-boy, saying he was left in order, should any Portuguese ships come to the country, that he might be able to describe the benefits and gifts the King had bestowed on his countrymen. Vasco da Gama requested also, should the boy wish to go to any other place, that he might be permitted to do so, as no one without a willing heart could serve well. The same day the pilots went on board the ships, one accompanying Paulo da Gama, and the other, as also the Mozambique pilot, Vasco da Gama.

The men had cabins given them in which to live and stow their property. Lastly the King sent off boats laden with biscuits, rice, butter, cocoa-nuts, powdered sugar in sacks, sheep salted whole and others alive, and fowls and vegetables in great abundance. He also accompanied the boats alongside the ships, showing by unmistakable signs his regret at parting with them, and saying very affectionate things while he bade them farewell. As they hoisted in the boats the trumpets sounded, and the crews shouted “Lord God have mercy upon us! Farewell!”

With a fair wind the next morning, the trumpets sounding and the ships dressed in flags, the anchors were weighed, the sails hoisted, and the crews praising God for the favours shown them, they stood out to sea. The hardships they had endured and sickness had already carried off many of the seamen of both ships. Of the six priests four had died. Scurvy, although the name was unknown, had broken out during the lengthened period they had been at sea, without the power of obtaining fresh provisions, which could alone have cured the complaint.

After sailing on for twenty-two days, land was espied, as the pilots had told them it would be; and a lofty mountain, off which they came, was, they were informed, in the kingdom of Cananor. The name of the mountain was Delielly, or The Rat, so named on account of the number of rats frequenting the region, which prevented it being inhabited. On nearing the land, they sailed along it until they came in sight of a large city of thatched houses, in a bay called Cananor.

As a reward for the services they had rendered in carrying the ships safely across the Indian Ocean, each pilot received a robe of red cloth and ten testoons.

Standing along the coast, the ships passed close to the town of Cananor, which, being a mean place, greatly disappointed Vasco da Gama, as he supposed that it was Calecut; but the pilots set him right, and conducted him twelve leagues farther on, when the anchors were dropped off the town of Capocate, two leagues from the large city of Celecut, situated in a bay. As they gazed towards the shore, they could see a number of dark, nearly naked people, their only garments being cloths half-way down their thighs, who came flocking to the beach. A council was held on board Paulo da Gama’s ship, when Davané advised that no one should venture on shore without hostages. He stated that the King of Calecut was the most powerful sovereign on the coast of India, and that he was very vain and very rich on account of the trade of his city.

In a short time a number of fishing-boats came off, and, being called alongside by the Moorish pilot, the fishermen willingly sold their fish.

Vasco da Gama told the pilots to repeat to the fishermen the story he had invented: that he had separated from a large fleet of Portuguese ships of which he was in search, and that he had hoped to find them at this port. He would allow no one on board to trade except the pilots, who were ordered to give whatever the fishermen demanded.

Among other boats one loaded with wood came alongside, but as the ships had abundance it was not purchased. There were six men in the boat, and knowing that they would be disappointed at not finding a market for their wood, to their great surprise, as also to that of Davané, Vasco da Gama ordered that a vintin should be given to each of them; so that, when they returned on shore, they did not fail to praise the strangers.

The Captain-Major had resolved not to land until he had received permission from the King to do so, but three days passed and no messenger came off. Davané was therefore directed to go on shore, with a request to the ruler of the country that he would allow the Portuguese to visit him. Just as he was about to set off a large boat came to the ship, bringing an officer of the King, called a Nair. His only garment was a white cloth, covering his body from the middle to half-way down his legs. He carried a light round shield and a short sword with an iron hilt. Addressing the Captain-Major, who was pointed out to him, he stated that he came to ascertain who the new-comers were, and what they required in the port.

Vasco da Gama replied that he was the servant of the greatest Christian king in the world, who had sent a fleet of fifty ships out to these seas to obtain cargoes of pepper and drugs, in exchange for the rich merchandise of gold and silver which they had brought, and that the Portuguese were anxious to establish a lasting peace with the King and people of the country at which they had arrived. He then stated that he himself was the ambassador who had been empowered to arrange the terms of the treaty his sovereign desired to make with the Zamorin of Calecut. To impress the natives with an idea of the power of the King of Portugal, and to prevent them from venturing on any hostile proceedings, for fear of the consequences, he added that he had been separated from the rest of his fleet for a couple of years, during which he had had visited Melinda, with whose King he had formed a lasting treaty of peace and friendship. He now requested the Zamorin to conclude one of the same character between their two nations; and, this being done, he would ask permission to land and carry on a trade with his people.

Soon after the Nair had gone back to the shore, a boat laden with fowls, figs (fresh and dry), and cocoa-nuts, came off. They were accepted out of courtesy, but the Captain-Major sent word that he could neither buy nor sell anything until the treaty was concluded. He stated, moreover, that he could not go on shore until the King had sent hostages for his safety.

Now, as was afterwards ascertained, a large number of wealthy Moors resided in Calecut, who had got the entire trade of the country into their hands. They were Mohammedans, and by means of their wealth had won over a large number of the common people to their faith.

They, on hearing of the arrival of the Portuguese, at once became jealous lest the new-comers should take the trade from them, and therefore resolved by every artful means to defeat their object, by representing to the King that they were spies, come to gain information about the land and to possess themselves of it. For this purpose the Moors had won over the chief ministers of the King to favour their designs, though the liberality exhibited by the Portuguese had at the first gained his good-will.

Before going on shore himself, the Captain-Major sent Davané, accompanied by Joab da Nunez, one of the convicts,—a Christian and a man of talent, who could speak Arabic and Hebrew, and also understood the Moorish language, although he could not speak it,—that he might go to the city and ascertain the way of transacting business; he was ordered to buy only provisions, while he listened to what was said without speaking himself.

On reaching the shore the two were so mobbed that they had great difficulty in making their way, until an officer appeared, who took them under his charge, and compelled the people to move aside so that they could pass through the streets. The officer invited them to his house, and on their way they encountered a man clothed as a Moor, but who addressed them in Castilian, and requested them to come to his house, which they obtained permission from the officer to do. The seeming Moor gave them a brief outline of his history. He was, he said, a native of Seville, but that when a boy he was made a prisoner, and after having served many masters, had obtained his freedom. Although he had all the time, he averred, pretended to be a Moor, he was still at heart a Christian. On hearing the account he gave of himself, Joab Nunez invited him off to see the Captain-Major, and the next day he made his appearance on board. He then acknowledged that his object had at first been to betray the Portuguese, but on entering the cabin his heart had been changed, and his great desire was now to serve them. He warned them of the treachery intended them by the Moors, and offered to go on shore to obtain all the information he could, so as to give it to them.

At a council held soon after by the three Captains, Paulo and Nicolas Coelho entreated Vasco da Gama not to go on shore, as he would hazard his life; but he replied that he had resolved to do so in the service of the King; that his life he did not value, and that should he be killed, they must make the best of their way back to Portugal with the account of their important discovery.

He consented, however, before he went himself, to send Nicolas Coelho to obtain an audience of the King, and to ascertain his feelings towards the Portuguese. Accordingly he got ready the presents intended for his Majesty, and ordered twelve of the best-looking of his men, handsomely dressed, to accompany the brave captain.

The presents consisted of a piece of the finest scarlet cloth, one of crimson velvet, and another of yellow satin, a chair covered with brocade and studded with silver-gilt nails, a cushion of crimson satin with tassels of golden thread, a smaller one of red satin for the feet to rest on, a hand-basin and ewer chased and gilt, a splendid gilt mirror, fifty scarlet caps, and fifty sheathed knives with ivory handles gilt.

These things being arranged, were placed in napkins on the deck. The Nair, who soon afterwards came on board, greatly admired them, and intimated that the King was ready to receive the ambassador.

On this Nicolas Coelho, accompanied by the twelve men in rich costumes, at once went on shore, and, surrounded by the people, proceeded to the palace. He, however, was not received that evening, and was compelled to take up his abode in the house of one of the natives, where he was but meanly entertained.

During the night the Castilian came and warned him not to grow angry with these delays, as he was thus treated in order to make him lose his temper. Following this advice, he the next morning pretended to be quite at his ease.

At length, when the overseer appeared, Nicolas Coelho requested that a boat might be prepared to take him back to the ship. Seeing that he was not to be put out of temper, the overseer at last consented to introduce him to the King, whom he found seated in a summer-house on a low couch covered with white cloth, one of his priests attending near him.

Coelho kept silence until the King bade him speak. He then, Joab Nunez acting as interpreter, delivered the message he had brought from the Captain-Major.

After hearing it, the King bade him retire, saying that the overseer of the treasury would bring him an answer; but Nicolas replied that he could receive no answer but from the King himself. After he had waited for some time, the priest brought him out an agreement signed on the dry leaf of a palm-tree, granting all the requests of the Captain-Major, the priest swearing that it was the King’s signature.

When Nicolas Coelho returned on board and gave an account of his interview with the King, Vasco da Gama was highly pleased, and ordered flags to be hoisted, trumpets to be sounded, and salutes to be fired.

Having appointed Digò Diaz to act as factor, and Pedro da Braga as clerk, to be assisted by Joao Nunez, Davané, and one of the pilots from Melinda, he sent on shore for the purpose of trading, a chest of unwrought branch coral, the same quantity of vermilion, a barrel of quicksilver, fifty pigs of copper, twenty strings of large cut coral, and as many of amber, five Portugueses of gold, fifty cruzados, and a hundred testoons in silver; as also a table with a green cloth, and a pair of wooden scales. He directed his people to accept the prices offered, and to verify the weight of everything with the scales. The clerk was ordered likewise to write down in a book which he carried the particulars of all transactions.

On arriving on shore, the factor hired a large house in two compartments, one for trade and the other for living in.

The overseer of the treasury soon made his appearance, and sending for a money-changer, weighed all the money, and proved it with his touchstones, setting a value on each coin which the clerk wrote down. It was found to be higher than in Portugal. A price was then set upon each article of merchandise separately, on which a large profit was made.

The overseer of the treasury then inquired whether they wished to begin weighing at once, and on their replying “Yes,” he ordered a large number of sacks of pepper to be brought. These were weighed, and sent off to the ships.

As evening approached, the overseer requested the factor to say what goods were required for the next day, that he might have them ready. Accordingly Pedro da Braga was sent back to learn this from the Captain-Major, and to give a report of the transactions which had been concluded.

It should have been said that two armed boats were sent from the ships, which, as they could not on account of the surf reach the shore, were anchored outside, with guns in their bows to protect the factory, the people being carried ashore in the light native skiffs.

Vasco da Gama having received a hint that the natives were great rogues, resolved to outwit them by leading them to suppose the Portuguese to be so ignorant that they might easily be cheated, and thus greatly to desire their return to the country. He therefore directed the factor to receive any goods offered, and to pay whatever price might be asked, and always to appear perfectly satisfied.

The trading was carried on day after day. Pepper, being the heaviest, was the first article obtained. Ginger was next purchased; but it was, in order to preserve it, covered with clay. More than a due proportion had, however, been put on, of which the factor was aware; but according to the orders he had received, he did not complain, but desired that it should be surrounded by more clay, that it might keep the better, paying for it as though it was all ginger.

Cinnamon was next offered. The factor said he would rather wait, but the overseer of the treasury declared that as it was ready it must be received. When it came it was found to consist of old cinnamon of bad quality, done up in packages of sticks and mats. The factor again pretended not to notice the way he was cheated, but sent word to the Captain-Major, who directed him to take even worse goods.

These were afterwards offered, much of the pepper being mouldy and unfit for use, but it was received as if it had been in good order. Though the King was highly pleased at thus easily getting rid of the damaged goods in his stores, the Moorish merchants, more keen-sighted than he was, declared, with some show of reason, that the Portuguese could not be honest traders, but were in reality pirates, who had come to spy out the land.

According to the Oriental custom, to give the Portuguese a great idea of his importance, the King pretended to have forgotten all about the embassy, and day after day deferred sending a message to say that he was ready to receive it. The ministers at length, however, bribed by the Moorish merchants, who were anxious to get the Portuguese Admiral into their power, and hoped to do so should he venture on shore, advised the King no longer to delay inviting him to pay his promised visit.

On hearing this, the Castilian, disguising himself as a beggar, came to the factory, and begging alms in Castilian, was recognised by the factor, who took him inside.

The Castilian then strongly advised that the Captain-Major should not go on shore without proper hostages, and promised to give a sign as to which was a good one of those offered. After this he retired, begging as he had entered. The factor wrote to the Captain-Major, warning him of the treachery intended, and a message was conveyed to the King intimating that Vasco da Gama would not come until proper hostages were delivered up. Three nairs were accordingly sent to the factory, one of whom the Castilian pointed out as the King’s nephew, and advised that he especially should be strictly watched. On the arrival of the hostages on board, they were received with due honour and conducted into one of the cabins, where a watch was set over them.

As he was about to depart, Vasco da Gama received information that the King had gone into the country, where he would receive him. The hostages soon afterwards requested to be allowed to go on shore to eat; but this Vasco da Gama would not allow, observing that as he had received them from the King, he could only return them by the King’s command.

He had, in the meantime, sent word by a messenger, that he could not present himself as an ambassador before the King, except at his own royal palace. At length the messenger returned, saying that his Majesty had returned to the city, and was now ready to receive the embassy.

Upon this the Captain-Major embarked in his barge, accompanied by Davané as interpreter, taking with him several large Indian boats, loaded with packages.

Arriving at the factory, he dressed himself in a tawny-coloured cloak coming down to his feet, and underneath a short tunic of blue satin, with white buskins, and on his head he wore a blue velvet cap, having a white feather in it, fastened with a jewel; a richly enamelled collar on his shoulders, and a sash with a handsome dagger completed his costume. He had also a page habited in red satin. Before him went a file of men, handsomely dressed, then other men carrying the various gifts; in front of all the chair, carried upon Davané’s head, while at their head marched trumpeters sounding their instruments, the whole being conducted by the factor, with a cane in his hand and his cap off.

As they proceeded through a long street the crowd was so great, many among the people being Moors, with swords and shields, that it was with difficulty the Portuguese could make their way, until several nairs arrived and drove the rabble aside.

The factor, having entered the palace, presented each of the articles to the King, who expressed great satisfaction, especially with the chair, on which he took his seat.

When the Captain-Major arrived, he was conducted through many courts to a building opposite to that where the audience was to be held. From thence he proceeded to a hall adorned with silken stuffs of various colours, in which the King was seated on the chair just presented to him under a white canopy, handsomely worked and covering the whole room. He was a very dark man, half naked, covered only from the middle to the knees by a white robe, at the end of which was a long point, on which were threaded several gold rings set with remarkably handsome rubies.

On his left arm he wore a bracelet, above the elbow, consisting of three rings, the centre one studded with rich jewels, and from it hung a large glittering diamond of inestimable price. Round his neck was a string of pearls of the size of hazel-nuts. The string took two turns, and reached to his middle. Above it he wore a thin gold chain, to which was suspended a jewel in the form of a heart, surrounded by pearls and rubies. In the middle was an emerald of the size of a bean.

These jewels, according to the information received from the Castilian, belonged to the ancient treasury of the Kings of Calecut. The long dark hair of the King was tied in a knot on the top of his head, and round the knot he wore a string of pearls, at the end of which was a pear-shaped pearl of large size. To his ears were suspended golden fairings of round beads.

By the side of the King stood two pages, one holding a red shield with a border of gilt and jewels, and a drawn sword, having a hilt ornamented with gold and pendent pearls. The other page held a gold cup, into which the King spat. By the side of his chair was a priest, who from time to time gave him a green leaf containing lime and areca, which he chewed, making his teeth and gums red.

Vasco da Gama, in his character of ambassador, on arriving made a profound salutation, and the King, bowing his head and extending his right hand and arm, touched the right hand of the Captain-Major with the tips of his fingers, and bade him sit on the daïs by his side.

Vasco da Gama, through his interpreter, explained who he was, and repeated the account he had already given. He then presented a letter which had been written as if coming from the King of Portugal, and signed with his hand and seal. The King, receiving it, placed it on his breast with both hands, and then, opening it, gave it to the overseer to be translated, and assured Vasco da Gama that he might have whatever merchandise he wished to take on board and whatever he required for his ships, and that he might send his people on shore to amuse themselves and to buy what they liked. Having ordered his minister to announce this by the crier, he dismissed Vasco da Gama, saying that he would speak to him when more at leisure another day.

The Captain-Major, highly satisfied, retired, the trumpets blowing before him until he reached the factory, where he took up his abode for the night. Next day the overseer brought the Captain-Major twenty pieces of fine white stuff embroidered with gold, and twenty other pieces of stuff also white, and ten of coloured silk; also four large loaves of benzoin and fifty bags of musk, as well as six basins and six jars of porcelain. The overseer said that the King sent these things for Vasco da Gama’s own use, and that when he went away he would send more for his King. Other presents were returned, and everything appeared to go on smoothly.

Vasco da Gama was much struck by the barbaric splendour of this petty Oriental potentate, little aware that in the far-off interior there were other sovereigns possessed of infinitely greater wealth and power, with whom the Portuguese would have found it impossible to contend.


Chapter Twelve.

Voyage of Vasco da Gama concluded—A.D. 1498-9.

Treacherous trick to entrap Vasco da Gama—The Castilian warns him not to complain—Badly treated—Carried from place to place a prisoner—Sends on board for merchandise—Still kept a prisoner—Orders his brother to set sail for Spain—Nicolas Coelho refuses to desert him—He again sends, ordering the hostages to be set free—The King learns the treachery of the Moors and makes amends to Vasco da Gama—The Moors threatened with vengeance—The ships sail for Cananor—The King sends provisions and invites the captains to land—Nicolas Coelho sent with presents—The King has a pier and pavilion built, extending into the sea—The Captains visit him in great state—Davané leaves them—Sail and anchor in a harbour of the islands of Angediva—Native vessels—Friendly fishermen—Plot of a pilot to destroy the Portuguese—A Jew Admiral of the King of Goa sent to capture them—The Jew seized—Confesses—His fleet of fustas destroyed—The survivors made slaves—The Jew turns Christian—The ships sail across the Indian Ocean—Dreadful sickness—Mombas bombarded—A fleet of zambuks out of Pate attacks the Portuguese—Driven off—Second visit to Melinda—Pass close round the Cape of Good Hope—Many deaths—The Sargarço Sea—Reach the island of Tercejra—Death of Paulo da Gama—Enter the Tagus the 18th of September, 1499—Vasco da Gama cordially received by the King, who gives him the title of Dom—Nicolas Coelho exhibits the treasures to the Queen—Second voyage of Vasco da Gama—Anchade reaches China—Macao founded—Sequeiro sails up the Red Sea to the country of the Emperor of Ethiopia—The supposed Prester John—The Moluccas discovered by Abreu—Third voyage of Dom Vasco da Gama as Viceroy of India—His magnificent state in 1524—His death at Cochin, the same year—Buried at Vidigueira in Portugal, of which he was Count—Succeeded by his son Dom Estevan.

The trade at the factory continued. Drugs, cloves, and nutmegs were brought in; the cloves, however, were mostly bits of stick, and the nutmegs were half rotten, but the factor received them as if they were sound.

The chief minister now arrived in a richly ornamented litter, borne on men’s shoulders, with a similar one empty, having a silken canopy over it and soft cushions within, saying that he was sent to bring the ambassador to pay another visit to the King. Accordingly Vasco da Gama got into the one intended for him, while eight of his men got ready to accompany him on foot and unarmed. Just as they were setting out, the Castilian passed, and uttered the words,—“Sufrir y callar.”

“Endure and do not complain.”

The Captain-Major had expected to arrive at the country palace of the King, but instead he found himself, as night fell, at a poor house with common straw mats on which to sit. Boiled rice and boiled fish were brought for supper, but he was too indignant at the way he was being treated to eat.

The next day the journey was continued, but by some means the officer who had charge of Vasco da Gama got him separated from five of his men. The heat was excessive; the sun beat down on their heads with terrible force. At last they reached a river, when they embarked in a boat, in which the Captain-Major was conducted a considerable distance, accompanied by Joao Nunez and two others. Again they landed, when the Captain-Major was shut up in a house, by himself while his men were placed in another, though both were ignorant how near they were together. The following day they were led by narrow paths through a jungle, and at the end of it the Captain-Major was again shut up, separated from his men. He now became not only indignant, but very anxious. At last he was led out and conducted to where the Prime Minister had taken up his quarters. That official, who looked very much out of humour, did not even bid him sit down, but kept him standing until Joab Nunez, who had been sent for, arrived. He then said that a ship had come from Mombas, by which information had been received that the Portuguese were pirates, and that they had behaved as such at Mombas and Quiloa. He added that the King of Calecut was very angry, and had ordered the Portuguese ship to be captured, and the officers and crews to be kept in prison until they confessed the truth. He therefore advised the Captain-Major to confess the truth to him, that he might relate to the King what he said.

Vasco da Gama, on hearing this, almost laughed. He replied that, if taken to the King, he would tell him the truth, and that he might go and say so. The Prime Minister, on hearing this, was in a great rage, and cross-questioned Joab Nunez, who replied as he had been instructed. The minister then told Vasco da Gama that he must land all the merchandise from both ships, and have it put into the factory, and that after that the King would fill them up with what they required.

Vasco da Gama replied that he would obey the commands of the King, but that it would be necessary to send a message to the ships, or otherwise the merchandise would not be delivered up. To this, however, the minister appeared in no way inclined to agree.

In the meantime the men who had landed with the Captain-Major, and who had been kept separated from him, were in great alarm as to what had happened, as were also those on board the ships; for the factor could give them no information, and serious fears were entertained that he had been murdered. The hostages had also made an attempt to escape, as the minister had sent them word by the boy who brought their food to do so; but Paulo had kept too strict a watch to allow them to get out of the cabin in which they were confined.

At length one of the men who had accompanied the Captain-Major, Joab Setabal, came on board, in a native boat, saying that he had been sent by Vasco da Gama, to let his brother know how treacherously he had been entrapped, and directing him to send a boat laden with merchandise of all sorts, and also that, should he himself not appear, he was to take back the factor, and allow nobody else to go on shore.

Paulo da Gama, mild as he generally was, became furious on hearing this, but at once sent back the native boat laden with merchandise. When the boat arrived at the factory, the factor sent to the minister—who had let him know where he was, and that the Captain-Major was with him—to say that it had arrived, but that unless Vasco da Gama was allowed to return on board, no more would be sent.

On hearing this the Captain-Major was much annoyed, and told the minister that if he would dispatch ten large native boats, he would agree to go off and bring them back full of goods.

When, however, he was about to embark, the minister stopped him, saying that all the Portuguese might return to their ships with the exception of himself, the interpreter, and two others, who must remain on shore for the present; and that when the merchandise arrived, then he would send him on board.

The Captain-Major, clearly seeing the treachery intended by the minister, dissembling his anger, sent word to his brother that he was convinced, even should the boats full of goods be landed, he himself would not be given up; and he therefore charged him to send the hostages on shore, and then to make sail and return to Portugal. “If he himself should be killed,” he added, “nothing would be lost, but that if Paulo and the ships were destroyed, their country would fail to reap the benefit they had obtained for her.” He also entreated Paulo to lose no time in getting under weigh, as he was very sure that the Moors would send out their ships to attack them.

On receiving this message, Paulo da Garna and all the crews swore that without the Captain-Major they would not leave the port, nor would they send any more goods; while honest Nicolas Coelho was eager to go on shore, resolving that if the Captain-Major were not set free, he would remain with him.

The hostages were then brought out of the cabin, and Paulo da Gama asked them if they were sent by the King to remain in case any harm should be done to the ambassador. They acknowledged that such was the case, and that the Portuguese might cut off their heads if they pleased.

Paulo da Gama then replied that he had no intention of depriving them of life, but that they should be immediately sent on shore, without any stipulation, as he would trust to their honour to exert their influence in obtaining the liberty of his brother and his companions. He remarked also that should any harm be done their ambassador, the inhabitants of Calecut would for ever be considered by all nations as the most treacherous and barbarous people in the world. He then bestowing many handsome presents on the hostages, sent them on shore with all due honour in one of the ship’s boats.

Meantime the Moors had gone to the King, and declaring that the Portuguese were pirates, had offered to go out in their ships and attack them. The King, believing this falsehood, ordered the goods in the Portuguese factory to be brought to his palace, and commanded that the Captain-Major and his companions should at once be put to death.

His chief priest and overseer of the treasury, on hearing this order issued, and clearly foreseeing the consequences, hurried to the king, and entreated him not to commit so atrocious an act, observing that the Portuguese had done no harm, but had been kind and peaceable, and had presented the richest presents ever yet offered to a sovereign in India. At this juncture the hostages arrived, and by stating how liberally they had been treated, and how nobly they had been set free, turned the scale in favour of the Portuguese.

The King immediately sending for Vasco da Gama, humbly begged his pardon for the way he had been treated, declaring that much had been done without his knowledge, and that he also had been deceived by evil counsel. Vasco da Gama replied that the King must act according to the dictates of his sense of honour, and that had he murdered an ambassador, the world would have spoken very ill of his Majesty.

The King then gave Vasco da Gama several pieces of fine stuff, and a piece of silk, with several rubies and pearls, and again asking his pardon, and saying that those who had given him bad counsel should be punished, honourably dismissed him.

On his way to the boats Vasco da Gama met the factor, who informed him that the factory had been robbed, no doubt by the order of the King, but he would not allow the factor to complain, though he warned the overseer of the treasury that he would at some time come back and revenge on the heads of the Moors the wrongs he had received. He then embarked with all his men, and proceeded to the ships. The Castilian, as they were shoving off, leaped into the boat and begged leave to accompany them. Vasco da Gama was received with unbounded joy by his brother and the officers and crews of the ships.

He rewarded the Castilian for his services by giving him five Portugueses of gold and a piece of cloth and several red caps, and he signed a paper to the effect that he was a sincere friend to the Portuguese, a faithful Christian, and that all confidence might be placed in him. With this the Castilian returned on shore, when he told the Moors of the hatred they had produced in the breasts of the Portuguese, who swore that they would revenge themselves on their return to India. He also informed the overseer of the treasury that the Portuguese, when they came back, would be his sincere friends. These things were related to the King, who immediately dispatched the Castilian with one of his chief ministers again to express his regret at what had happened, saying that if the Portuguese would come again on shore they would see the punishment he would inflict on the persons who had injured them.

The Captain-Major replied that he should not return to the port, and that he would take upon himself at a future time the punishment of the Moors who had behaved ill to him and his followers.

As there was a fair wind the ships set sail and ran down the coast until they came off Cananor. The King of that country having heard all that had taken place, resolved to win the friendship of the Portuguese.

No sooner did the ships approach than he sent off a large boat, carrying a minister, to invite them to his country. Following the first boat came a number of others, laden with provisions of all sorts. The King stated that he would fill up their ships with cargoes of the goods they had come in search of, at more favourable prices and in better condition than those they had obtained in Calecut.

Vasco da Gama, highly pleased, as soon as the ships came to an anchor, sent off a boat with Nicolas Coelho, bearing valuable presents, similar to those before presented to the King of Calecut, but no one else was allowed to land.

Nicolas Coelho was well received, and was sent back in a native boat by the King, with a message expressing a hope that the Captain-Major would visit him. He also brought word that the King had ordered a wooden pier to be run out into the water, with a small pavilion at the end of it.

The next day his Majesty came with numerous attendants and took a seat in the pavilion, which was adorned with silken stuffs, and had also within it a daïs covered with silk. As soon as he came in sight the captains, in their most splendid costumes, accompanied by a number of their men handsomely dressed, the boats being highly decorated, and having streamers flying of white and red silk, and the trumpets sounding, while salutes were fired as they left the ships, rowed for the pier.

On approaching the pavilion in which the King was seated, the two Captains, taking off their hats, bowed profoundly, when he, stepping to the front, entreated them to come up and take seats by his side. He then asked which of them had been imprisoned in Calecut. Paulo da Gama, pointing to his brother, answered, “That is the person whom the King of Calecu: thus insulted.”

The King of Cananor then told them that he had received a letter from the King of Calecut exculpating himself, and saying that what had been done was without his sanction, and that he was determined to inflict a severe punishment on the guilty persons. Much further conversation took place of a satisfactory character, when the Captains returned to their ships.

They were three days taking on board the goods and provisions with which the King of Cananor supplied them. Vasco da Gama here dismissed Davané, and signed a document calling on all the captains coming from Portugal to treat him as a sincere friend, whom they were always to honour. He gave him also a hundred cruzados and a hundred testoons, besides the payment due to him, and goods and other presents, so that the honest broker departed highly pleased.

As the crews were lifting the anchors, two large boats came off with a further supply of fowls and other fresh provisions. The sails were then loosed, and the two ships commenced their homeward voyage on the 20th of November, in the year of grace 1498. After proceeding some distance, finding the winds contrary, the pilots recommended that they should put back; but as Vasco da Gama objected to this, they steered a course for the island of Angediva, which had a good port with plenty of wood and water, where they proposed to remain until the monsoon had commenced. The only inhabitant of the island was a hermit, who lived in a grotto, and subsisted on what was given him by passing ships.

The people enjoyed themselves much by being able to go on shore without fear of interruption. Several native vessels came in, not seeing them until they were round the point. They were of two descriptions, some having their planks sewn together with coir rope, which had keels, and others flat bottomed, the planking being secured by nails. Their anchors were of hard wood, with stones fastened to the shanks, so that they might sink to the bottom. The rudders were fastened by ropes passed outside. They had no tops, and only one large sail of matting. Instead of decks they had compartments, in which the different sorts of merchandise was stowed, the whole covered with matting of palm-leaves, which formed a sort of shelving roof so that the water could run off it, and was of strength sufficient to enable the crew to walk on the top. They had no pumps, but only buckets of leather. The yards were long and tapering, two-thirds abaft the mast and one-third before it, with only a single sheet. The tack of the sail was made fast to the end of a sprit almost as long as the mast, so that they could set their sails very flat, and steer close to the wind. When they had to tack they lowered the sail half down the mast, and then hauled upon the heel of the yard until they brought it to the foot of the mast, and passed it over to the other side.

The ships which came in attempted to escape, but the boats were sent after them with Moorish pilots, who persuaded them to return, assuring them that the Portuguese were peaceable, and wished to be their friends. The captains, therefore, brought figs, cocoa-nuts, and fowls, and persuaded the fishermen who had before kept away to come and sell their fish while the crews and passengers landed to wash their clothes, so that the Portuguese and the natives became great friends.

Here the ships were refitted, and water taken in. While thus employed, a floating object, which looked like a large raft, was seen approaching from the main coast, covered over with branches. Vasco da Gama’s suspicions being aroused, he inquired of the fishermen what it was. They informed him that it in reality consisted of a number of large low boats fastened together, and was the device of a famous pirate, Timoja by name, who hoped thus to get alongside, and then, with his men, while the Portuguese were unprepared, attack them.

On this the Captain-Major ordered his brother and Nicolas Coelho, who was on board the same ship, to get under weigh, and go out and meet the pirate. They did so, firing their guns as they approached with such effect, that the boats were seen to separate and make with all speed towards the shore.

Thus the Portuguese were saved from the threatened danger. Some time passed, when, their preparations being nearly completed, a small, fast, rowing vessel, called a fusta, carrying sails as well as oars, was seen approaching Vasco da Gama’s ship, and would have been received without suspicion had not the faithful fishermen again warned him that treachery was intended. They said that during the night they had observed a large number of fustas come in and conceal themselves in the islets and bays round the island, not more than half a league off, and that it was very evident from this that they intended mischief; that they were under the command of a Jew, who was admiral of the fleet of Sabayo, the ruler of Goa, a large city twelve leagues off; that the object of the Jew was to surprise the ships, hoping to find them unprepared, and carry them into Goa, so that Sabayo might obtain their cargoes. Soon after dawn a small fusta, with the Jew, came close up to the ships, as if about to pass by them to some other part. On getting near the stern he hailed the ships in Castilian, saying, “God preserve the Christian captains and their crews,” when the rowers giving a shout, the trumpets from the ships replied. The Jew, getting nearer, said, “Noble captain, give me a safe conduct, that I may come on board your ships to learn the news.” Vasco da Gama replied that he might come on board in peace, and that they would do him honour, as they were highly pleased to see a person who could speak their language. On this he came up the side, when he was placed in a chair, and the question as to who he was, and where he came from, was put to him.

The Captain-Major now ordered Nicolas Coelho, who was in the other ship, to come with a boat full of armed men, on the side where the fusta lay, and to board and capture her crew.

Several men were stationed ready to seize the Jew, and at the same moment he and all his men were then suddenly made prisoners. The Jew, on finding himself bound, complained bitterly of the way he had been treated, having trusted to the safe conduct which had been given him. The Captain-Major replied that he was aware of the treachery that he had intended, and that he should be flogged, and tortured by having hot fat poured on him, if he refused to confess his evil intentions. The Jew, finding there was no escape, acknowledged that he was worthy of death, but entreated that the noble Captain would have pity on his white beard.

On this the Captain-Major ordered him to be unbound, and becomingly dressed. The Jew then informed the Admiral that when a lad he was living at Grenada, that on the capture of that city by the Christians he had left Spain, and travelling through many lands, he had gone to Mecca. Thence he had made his way to India, where he had taken service with Sabayo, who had made him captain-major of his fleet; that to please his master he had undertaken to capture the Portuguese ships. He now repented of his design, and as a proof of his desire to obtain the friendship of the Portuguese, he offered to deliver up all the fustas into their hands.

It was therefore arranged that the Jew should go in his own fusta, manned by Portuguese, and that several boats should follow, with the crews well armed. As soon as it was dark they pushed off from the ships. As they approached where the fustas lay, the people on board hailed to know who was coming, when the Jew replied, “It is I. I bring some relations with me.”

On this the fusta and boats dashed on, the Captain-Major shouting his war-cry of Saint George, while the crews, who had kept their matches concealed, shouting and firing their guns, threw their powder-jars among the sleeping crews, who being thus alarmed, leaped into the sea, while the fighting men, who were few in number, made but a faint resistance. They were all immediately killed, while the fusta went about destroying the hapless wretches who were in the water. A number also who had taken refuge on the island were made prisoners, not one escaping. The boats and fusta, having thus finished the work, returned to the ships. The Portuguese then selected from among the captives twelve of the strongest-looking men, to work the pumps and do other service, while the rest were killed in the presence of the fishermen, who accordingly knew there would be none left to betray them.

The Captain-Major gave the fishermen permission to carry off the fustas; but this they declined doing, taking only the sails and tackling for their own boats.

The Jew, seeing the punishment inflicted on the other prisoners, became dreadfully alarmed, suspecting that he also would be put to death. The Captain-Major, however, ordered him to be taken below, and confined in a cabin.

The monsoon having just commenced, the pilots advised that the ships should proceed on their voyage. They accordingly made sail and steered westward, their great object accomplished, across the Indian Ocean. The wind was fair, and the sea, as before, calm; but sickness broke out among the men, and many more died. The first land made was near the city of Magadaxo. The Captain-Major having had ample experience of the Moorish rulers of these coasts, bombarded it as he sailed by. He then proceeded, without stopping, until he came off another city called Pate, from which eight large zambuks came out to attack him. A few broadsides drove them away, and he sailed on until he reached Melinda.

Owing to calms, the voyage lasted nearly four months during which, from the want of fresh provisions, scurvy, scarcely before known, attacked the crews. Ulcers broke out on their arms and legs, and their gums became swollen and rotten, so that thirty men died, and others could hardly move about. Some of the pilots also mutinied, and wanted to put back to Calecut; but Vasco da Gama had them placed in irons, and undertook the guidance of the ships himself.

On the shore near Melinda they found the King waiting to receive them, and standing in the water. The Captains leaping out of their boats, he embraced them and conducted them to his palace, where he treated them right courteously. He wrote a letter on gold leaf to the King of Portugal, calling him his brother and promising to befriend his people.

Vasco da Gama, pleased with the conduct of the native pilots, begged that two of them might be permitted to accompany him to Portugal, at which the King expressed his pleasure. To reward the pilots, the Captain-Major presented them with two hundred cruzados in gold, to be given to their wives.

Several more men here died, and were buried on shore, so that the crews of the two ships were reduced to a very small number. Before they took their departure, the King sent a magnificent present to the King and Queen of Portugal. Among other articles was a broad gold neck-chain, with precious stones and pearls, worth ten thousand cruzados; a chest richly inlaid with silver and ivory, full of white stuffs, silks and gold thread, and a piece of ambergris set with silver, half an ell long, and as thick as a man’s wrist.

Vasco da Gama, in order to sustain the honour of the King of Portugal, presented numerous valuable articles in return. After taking an affectionate farewell of the King of Melinda, the native pilots being received on board and Mass having been said, the Captain-Major ordered the anchors to be weighed, and on the feast of San Sebastian, 1499, the ships sailed from Melinda. They first stood out from the land, and then made a course along it to the southward. They sighted Mozambique, but did not put in there, and continued their course until off Sofala, where they encountered several severe squalls. They escaped danger by furling all the sails, warned in time by the native pilots. Sometimes they were exposed to heavy seas with little or no wind, which greatly tried the ships.

At length they came off the Cape of Good Hope, in sight of which they passed without accident. Pressing on all sail, they stood into the Atlantic, when, seeing the Cape astern and that they were steering towards Portugal, the seamen in their great joy embraced each other, and then, kneeling down, offered up their praises and thanksgivings to Heaven for having thus far preserved them.

In order to make the shortest possible course for Portugal they kept away from the land, but as they approached the equator they suffered much delay from calms. Paulo da Gama was also taken very ill, and kept to his bed, when Vasco went on board his ship that he might be with him leaving Coelho in charge of his own.

Seeing that they were approaching Portugal, the pilots who had mutinied became very uneasy, until Vasco da Gama told them that they were forgiven, but that he should take them bound into the presence of the King. Even the stoutest hearted, however, might have doubted whether they should ever reach the land, for the ships were so leaky that it was necessary to keep the pumps constantly at work. Frequent calms were also met with, and they passed through a vast mass of seaweed, to which the name of Sargarço was given, from its resembling the leaf of the grape so-called. That part of the ocean has ever since retained the name of the Sargarço Sea. It is that vast collection of seaweed thrown off by the Gulf Stream, and prevented from drifting farther south by the counter-current which sets westward towards Central America.

At length, to the great joy of the pilots, they caught sight of the north star, almost on the same altitude as it was seen at Portugal. They thus knew that they were approaching the termination of their voyage. Steering north, they came to an anchor in the port of Angra, in the island of Terceira, towards the end of August. So battered were the ships that it was with difficulty they could be kept afloat. Of the two crews not sixty men survived. Many of these also died on reaching the shore, and among them, to the great grief of his brother, was Paulo da Gama, who survived but one day, and was buried in the Monastery of Saint Francis.

The authorities wished to discharge the cargoes and place them on board other ships, but to this Vasco da Gama would not consent; and having them partially repaired, he again sailed, accompanied by several other vessels, and arrived safely in the Tagus on the 18th of September, 1499. Endeavouring to overcome the grief he felt for the loss of his brother, handsomely dressed, his beard, not cut since he sailed, streaming over his breast, he landed to present himself to the King, who had come down to the beach at Cascaes to welcome him. The next day the King received him at his palace, when he bestowed upon him the honourable title of “dom,” to be borne by him and his heirs. They afterwards repaired to the Queen’s apartments, where Nicolas Coelho, who had charge of the presents, was summoned, and where, having kissed the hands of the King and Queen, they exhibited the magnificent jewels and stuffs which they had brought.

Although the King promised to reward honest Coelho, it does not appear how this was done. The pilots, having been brought in chains before the King, as Vasco da Gama had sworn to do, they were pardoned. The old Jew, the Moorish pilots, and the prisoners taken in the fustas were landed, and either from the instructions they received from the priests on board or afterwards, all became Christians, the old Jew taking the name of Gaspar da Gama, the Captain-Major standing as his godfather. The King also had frequent conversations with him, and so pleased was his Majesty with what he heard that he made him many presents from his own wardrobe and horses from his stables, and gave him the slaves who had been brought from India. After this he was always known as Gaspar of the Indies.

The crews were handsomely paid, and each man received a portion of the cargoes to bestow in gifts on their families and friends, while the heirs of the deceased also received the wages which were their due. This memorable voyage lasted, from the day Dom Vasco left Lisbon to that of his return, exactly thirty-two months, and of the one hundred and fifty men who left Portugal only fifty-five came back.

This voyage may be considered one of the most notable on record. The dreaded Cape of Storms, henceforth to be known as the Cape of Good Hope, had been doubled, a large portion of the east coast of Africa hitherto unknown had been visited, the Indian Ocean, which no European keel had ever before ploughed, had been traversed, and India, the great object of the voyage, had been reached, all the difficulties and dangers to which the explorers were exposed being manfully overcome. More remarkable still had been the return voyage in battered ships, the scanty crews suffering from sickness, yet their brave leaders, with indomitable perseverance and hardihood, keeping on their course week after week and month after month over the ocean, guided by the stars and the imperfect instruments they possessed.

Twice after this Vasco da Gama sailed for India. His second voyage was commenced in 1502, when he visited many places he had before discovered, and returned the next year with twelve richly-laden ships. Meantime the Portuguese had sent out, year after year, numerous fleets with large bodies of men, who, by force or stratagem, took possession of many places along the eastern coast of Africa, and on the west of that of Hindostan. Among the most important were Goa and Cochym and others on the coast of Ceylon. While penetrating eastward their ships reached the Indian Archipelazo and the far-off shores of China.

In 1505 Dom Francisco de Almeyda was sent out to India under the title of Viceroy, in command of twenty-two ships, and in them fifteen hundred men, when he began the erection of those forts by means of which the Portuguese ultimately established themselves in the country.

The following year Alfonso da Alburquerque and Tristan da Conha sailed with thirteen ships and thirteen hundred men. On their passage the latter, parting company off the Cape of Good Hope, ran far away to the south, where he discovered the islands which still bear his name—Tristan da Conha. He afterwards, with part of his fleet, cruised along the Arabian shores, while Alburquerque was employed in trading, building forts, and establishing factories on the coasts already discovered.

Other commanders followed, and Fernando Perez da Andrade, sailing east, passed through the Straits of Malacca, until he reached Canton, then the most celebrated sea-port on the southern coast of China. Thence he sent an ambassador to the Emperor of China, to settle trade and commerce. At first things went well; but when the next Portuguese squadron arrived, the people on board behaved so outrageously to the Chinese that their envoy was murdered, and they were driven out of the country. Some years afterwards the Portuguese obtained leave to settle in a little island opposite to Canton. It was called Macao, and they have ever since held it, though subject to the Emperor of China.

In 1520 Jago Lopez da Sequeiro sailed for the Red Sea, with a fleet of twenty-four ships. Coming to the island of Mazua, he found it forsaken by the inhabitants, who had fled over to Arquico, a port belonging to the Emperor of Ethiopia, the far-famed Prester John, whose country was now first discovered by sea. At this time it was a vast monarchy, and extended along the shores of the Red Sea above one hundred and twenty leagues.

In following years the Portuguese made some progress into the country, five hundred of them being sent under the command of Don Christofero da Gama, to assist the Emperor against his rebellious subjects and his enemies the Turks.

The Moluccas, five in number, named Tirnate, Tidore, Mousel, Machien, and Bacham, were discovered by Antonio da Abreu.

In 1521 Antonio da Brito was sent from Malacca to take possession of them. The Portuguese were, however, ultimately driven out by the Dutch, who hold them to the present day. In the year 1524 Dom Vasco da Gama was again sent out as Viceroy of India, being the second person who had held that important post. He now possessed the title of Conde da Vidigueira and Admiral of the Indian Seas. He was accompanied by his two sons, Dom Estevan and Dom Paulo da Gama, on board the Saint Catarina, with numerous officials, and everything calculated to maintain his state, besides a guard of two hundred men with gilt pikes, clothed with his livery. He kept also a magnificent table, at which all his officers dined with him. He ruled the country with a stern and inflexible justice, which was much required, as abuses of all kinds had sprung up; and so, although he was much feared, he was greatly respected. Leaving Goa, he went to Cochin, a city of considerable size, where many Portuguese had established themselves. Here he was shortly afterwards seized with a mortal malady, of which he died a few minutes past midnight on the 24th of December, 1524, when he was succeeded in his vice-royalty by his son, Dom Estevan.

His remains were sent to Portugal in 1538, and buried in a tomb at Vidigueira, from which town he took his title. It would have been fortunate for the honour of Portugal had all her Viceroys of India possessed the same sense of duty as that which animated the renowned Vasco da Gama.


Chapter Thirteen.

Voyage of Fernando Magalhaens—The discoverer of the Straits of Magellan—Round the world A.D. 1519-20.

Rivalry between the crowns of Castile and Portugal—Magalhaens, a Portuguese, offers his services to the Emperor Charles the Fifth of Spain, to find a passage through America into the Pacific—Associated with Ruy Falero—Offer accepted—The squadron, consisting of the Trinidad and four other ships, leaves Seville the 10th of August, 1519—Long detained by calms—Enters harbour in the Brazils—Proceeds farther south—Winter season—Enters Port Saint Julien—Visited by a gigantic native dressed in skins—Terror at seeing himself in a mirror—Brings off a guanaco—Two natives captured—Attempt to take two more defeated—Natives called Patagons—Possession of the country taken for the crown of Spain—Mutiny discovered—Ringleaders executed—One of the squadron wrecked—Squadron sails south—Entrance to the straits discovered—Ships advance through them—The crews, alarmed, desire to return—Two ships missing—Smoke seen—Land to south called Tierra del Fuego—One of the ships deserts—Cape Deseado reached—The Pacific appears—Squadron steers north-west—Two small islands seen—Fearful sufferings from hunger—The crews attacked by scurvy—The Ladrones reached, so-called from thievish natives—Some natives killed—Island of Good Signs—Arrive at the Philippines—Natives friendly—Anchor off the Island of Mazaqua—The Rajah Colamba—The Admiral plants a banner with a cross, and invites the natives to worship it—Two officers dine with the Rajah, who gets tipsy—The ships sail—The Rajah accompanies them—Reach Zebut—Tribute demanded by the Rajah—Refused—How Magalhaens converted the Rajah and all his people to the Romish faith.

Jealous rivalry for some time existed between the crowns of Castile and Portugal, to obtain possession of the rich countries lately discovered by their subjects in the Eastern seas and Pacific. The Pope, who claimed to be the Lord Paramount of the whole world, had munificently bestowed all the lands in the east on the crown of Portugal, and those in the west on that of Spain. Yet these gifts rather increased than diminished the contention existing between the two countries. Each was ready to undertake any enterprise which might injure the other.

Fernando De Magalhaens.

Of this ill feeling several adventurers took advantage, and if their offers of service were not accepted at one Court, they went over to the other to seek employment. Among them was Fernando Magalhaens, a Portuguese gentleman of good family, who had considerable experience in nautical affairs, having performed a voyage to India and as far as the Straits of Malacca. He was also formed by nature for command, possessing a courage in danger which nothing could appal, at the same time a calm and amiable temper, which won the regard of all those with whom he was brought in contact. His personal appearance, notwithstanding, was rather mean, as he was short in stature, and was lame from a wound which he had received in battle with the Moors. He had, however, a quick and ready mind, and never wanting in self-possession, was very fertile in expedients. The pride of the Spanish officers, and the national jealousy they felt, made them, however, murmur sometimes against his authority. He had eloquence to support his views, and indomitable perseverance to carry them out.

After serving in India under the famous Albuquerque, he offered his services to Portugal to lead an expedition to the west; but on meeting with a rebuff, he went to Spain. Here he formed the acquaintance of a talented astronomer, Ruy Falero, and soon afterwards they together proceeded to Cardinal Ximenez, to propose leading an expedition westward from the Atlantic into the newly-discovered South Sea. Their proposals being favourably listened to by the Emperor Charles the Fifth, were accepted, and they were furnished by his orders with five ships, manned by two hundred and thirty-four men, having provisions for two years. To the adventurers was granted a twentieth part of the clear profit, and the governorship of any islands they might discover was to be vested in them and their heirs, who were to bear the title of Adelantado.

The squadron, which was fitted out at Seville, consisted of the Trinidad, the Admiral’s ship, of which Estevan Gomez, a Portuguese, went as pilot; the Saint Vitoria, commanded by Don Luis de Mendoza; the Saint Antonio, Don Juan de Carthagena; the Santiago, Don Juan Serrano; and the Conception, Don Caspar de Quixada.

The Admiral Magalhaens depended chiefly on the naval skill of thirty of his Portuguese countrymen whom he took with him, as he did likewise on that of Serrano, who had served for many years in India, and for some time at the Moluccas, which islands they hoped to reach from the eastward, instead of their being approached, as before, from the west.

The ships being ready, the squadron set sail on the 10th of August, 1519, and steering south, they arrived on the 3rd of October off the Cape de Verde Islands. Getting into the region of calms, they were detained for the long space of seventy days without making any progress; but at last a breeze springing up, they got to the south of the line, then steered a course which brought them about twenty degrees south in sight of the coast of Brazil. Putting into harbour, they obtained an abundant supply of fruits, sugar-canes, and animals of various kinds, differing greatly in appearance from those of Europe. Proceeding about two and a half leagues farther south, they again came to an anchor, at the mouth of a large fresh water river, probably that of the Rio de la Plata, as no other of the size mentioned exists in the south of the continent.

Here, soon after they arrived, a number of persons of wild and furious aspect and prodigious stature, making strange noises, rather resembling the bellowing of bulls than the voices of human beings, came down to the beach. Notwithstanding their enormous size, these people when they ran were so nimble, that none of the Spaniards or Portuguese could overtake them.

They had not, however, much intercourse with these savages; they here, however, obtained some pearls from oyster-shells which they fished up. Proceeding south, they in a short time came off two islands, so thickly covered with seals and penguins that they might easily, in the course of a few hours, have laden all their ships with them. The penguins were black, heavy-looking, unwieldy fowl, extremely fat, covered with a sort of down instead of feathers, having bills like those of ravens. Fish appeared to be their only food.

Continuing south until they reached latitude 49 degrees 30 minutes, the weather becoming very tempestuous, with a contrary wind, they put into harbour, hoping that the wind would soon change, when they might continue their course. In this, however, they were disappointed. Day after day went by, and the weather only grew worse and worse. It was evidently the winter of that region, though on the other side of the line it was summer. This caused no small astonishment to the crews. They went on shore, but finding no inhabitants, believed that they had arrived at some desert region of the world. The wind blew fearfully hard, with sleet and rain, and being ill provided to meet the inclemency of the season, they preferred living on board.

One day they had landed for the sake of exercise, when, to their surprise, they saw a human being approaching them. He was a big fellow, and strongly built, his body painted all over, with a stag’s horn on each cheek and large circles round his eyes. The natural colour of his skin, as far as could be perceived, was yellow, and his hair was of a light tint. His only garment was the skin of a beast roughly sewn together, covering his whole body and limbs from head to foot. In his hand he carried a stout bow, and his arrows, instead of having iron heads, were tipped with sharp stones. As he advanced he began singing and dancing, and as he got nearer he stood for some time throwing dust upon his head. The Spaniards imitating him, he came close up to them without any signs of fear. Being invited to go on board the ships, he willingly stepped into a boat. The Spanish chronicler declares that so big was he, that the tallest of their number only reached up to his waist; but as no persons of a stature so gigantic have been seen in the country since, this statement must be doubted. The Admiral welcomed him on board, and directed that meat and drink should be given him, of which he willingly partook, and seemed to enjoy himself. Various toys were shown him, and among them was a mirror, in which, happening to see himself, he was so frightened that, starting back, he capsized two of the crew, and did not easily recover his composure.

His dress, which was composed of several skins, was wrapped round his body from his head to his ankles. On his feet he wore shoes or boots of the same material as his robe, so roughly made as to be almost round, from which circumstance the Spaniards called him Patagon, or Big-footed, a name they applied to all the people of that country.

He was so well treated that on returning on shore he induced several of his countrymen to visit the ships, and one of them especially behaved with so much good humour, and was so completely at his ease, that he won the regard of the voyagers. To show his gratitude, he brought them off an animal, from the skin of which, he let them understand, the robe he wore was composed. The voyagers had never seen any creature like it before, and described it as a beast which was neither mule, horse, nor camel, but partaking of all three, having the ears of a mule, the tail of a horse, and the body shaped like a camel. He was probably a guanaco or llama, commonly known as the Peruvian sheep. The Admiral, wishing to make prisoners of some of these big fellows, gave orders to his crew to secure them. Accordingly, while the poor savages were being amused with toys put into their hands, which they grasped eagerly, the Spaniards put iron shackles on the legs of two of them, persuading the men that they were fine ornaments, like the rest of the things shown them. They appeared highly pleased with the jingling sound they produced when struck together, until they suddenly found themselves hampered and betrayed, on which they began bellowing like bulls, and shouting to their god—Setebos—for assistance. From this Shakespeare has undoubtedly taken the name of the demon Setebos, introduced in the play of the “Tempest.” This act of treachery was not calculated to raise the Spaniards in the opinion of the natives. One of the prisoners remained on board the Admiral’s ship, while his companion was carried to another for safe keeping.

In spite of this they did not object to the strangers coming among them, although they kept their women out of the way. They were all dressed like those who came on board, in the skins of beasts, and their hair was short or tied up by a string. They had apparently no fixed dwellings, but lived in huts covered with skins and supported by poles, so that they could easily be moved. They were not seen to cook their food, but ate meat raw, with a sweet root called capar, which name they applied to the ship’s biscuit offered them.

The only remedies they were seen to use when sick was bleeding and vomiting. The former was performed by giving a chop with an edge tool to the part afflicted, while the latter was produced by thrusting an arrow down the throat of the patient.

The voyagers, ignorant and superstitious themselves, declared that they saw among the savages on shore all sorts of strange creatures of horrible forms, such as horned demons, with long shaggy hair, throwing out fire before and behind, which especially made their appearance when the natives were dying.

The Captain had a great wish to secure some females as companions to the men, that a race of giants might be introduced into Europe; but though the ladies were far from attractive, their husbands exhibited great jealousy, and would not allow them to appear. It was resolved, therefore, to capture two of their principal men, that they might be exchanged for women.

After a time the natives, having overcome their fears, again mixed freely with their visitors. On one occasion a number of Spaniards had gone on shore, when two natives came among them, upon whom they threw themselves, nine Spaniards seizing one man, while a number of others brought his companion to the ground. Some of the Spaniards having ropes ready, had begun to bind the hands of one of their captives, but he struggled so violently, at the same time shouting out for assistance, that he managed to break loose from them, and, striking out right and left, sent them flying in all directions; then bursting away, he took to flight, the other soon afterwards following his example. One of the Spaniards pursuing was shot by an arrow. The rest fired at the fugitives, but could not hit them, for instead of running along in a straight line, they kept leaping from side to side at a rate equal to that of a horse at full gallop.

From the name of Patagons or Patagonians, which the natives have ever since borne, their country was called Patagonia, and that of Saint Julien was given to the port in which the squadron had sought refuge. The Admiral now took solemn possession of the country around for the crown of Spain, erecting on the shore a cross, the sign of sovereignty. He was sorely troubled, however, by discovering that a mutiny had been projected by many of the crew, headed by two of the principal officers, Don Luis Mendoza and Don Juan de Carthagena, with others of inferior rank. Should he put to sea, he had reason to believe that they would run off with some of the ships. He therefore waited in port, hoping to reduce them to obedience. Fortunately, the greater number of officers and men remained faithful. The Admiral, concealing the knowledge he had obtained of their treachery, was able at length to seize the ringleaders.

This done, having summoned a council of his principal officers, the mutineers were tried and condemned, Mendoza to death, and Carthagena, with others less guilty, to be left in the country among the savages. No time was lost in carrying this stern decree into execution. A stout gallows was erected on the shore, on which, notwithstanding his rank, Don Luis was hung, while Don Juan de Carthagena, a priest, and others, were landed and driven among the natives, to endure whatever fate was in store for them.

Having re-established his authority, the Admiral sent the Saint Iago on an exploring cruise, when she discovered a river, to which the name of Santa Cruz was given, it being the anniversary, in the Romish calendar, of the finding of the holy cross. The vessel having advanced about three leagues farther, a storm coming on, she was wrecked; but her crew escaped to the shore, and after enduring great hardships they got back to the harbour of Saint Julien, where they rejoined their companions, and were distributed among the other ships.

The bad weather and the quelling of the mutiny kept the squadron at the port of Saint Julien for five months. At the end of this time the Admiral set sail, and the unfortunate Patagonians who had been entrapped were carried off, the equally unfortunate Spaniards being left on shore. Sailing southward, the explorers at length reached the latitude of 51 degrees 40 minutes, where, finding a convenient port, and plenty of fuel, water, and fish, they remained two months longer. Magalhaens carefully examined every inlet and bay as he proceeded, hoping to find a passage through the continent into the South Sea, of the existence of which passage he was fully persuaded. He was not aware how close he had been to it in the last harbour where he had taken refuge.

On reaching latitude 52 degrees, an opening appearing in the rocky mountainous-looking coast, the squadron sailed into it, having on one side a cape, to which the Admiral gave the name of Cabo de los Virgines, because it was discovered on the feast of Saint Ursula and the Eleven Thousand Virgins. At first many supposed that it was merely a deep bay or gulf, but as the ships proceeded on, the hopes of the Admiral that he had at length discovered the long-sought-for channel increased. The wind being fair, onwards they sailed, though when night came down upon them they were compelled to anchor.

At this juncture the pilot Estevan Gomez proposed, as it was doubtful whether they could get through, and as their provisions were running short and their ships were unseaworthy, that they should return to Spain. The Admiral listened to all that was said in silence, and then declared that rather than fail in fulfilling his promise to the King of Spain, he would endure far greater hardships than they had yet suffered, and would eat the skins on the ship’s yards and rigging; and he forbade any one, on pain of death, to speak of turning back on account of want of provisions, or their longing for home.

Anxiously they waited for the return of day, when the light would enable them to see their way. The channel, as they proceeded from east to west, varied greatly in its breadth, sometimes being several leagues wide, and in others no more than half a league across. The land on both sides was high, rugged, and uneven, the mountains capped with snow, in some places barren, and in others covered with woods. Having sailed on upwards of fifty leagues, a broad channel was seen opening out before them. Two ships were sent to explore it, while the Admiral and others came to an anchor. During their absence a violent storm arose, and great fears were entertained that the ships were lost. For two days the Admiral waited for their re-appearance, and, at length, a cloud of smoke being seen rising to the southward, it was supposed that it was produced from fires kindled by those of the ship wrecked crews who had escaped.

Now, more than ever, the people believed that the voyage had ended, and were giving way to despair, when the two ships were seen approaching under full sail, with flags flying. As they drew near the crew shouted with joy and fired salutes from their guns. The captains of the exploring vessels reported that a passage had been seen ahead, but that they deemed it wise to return and announce their discovery. From the circumstance of the smoke rising in the south, to the country on which it was seen was given the name of “Tierra del Fuego,” or the Land of Fire.

On this the squadron again got under weigh and sailed forward; but another passage appearing, opening out to the south-east, the two ships which had been before sent away were again dispatched to ascertain in what direction it led. One of them returned, but the crew of the other, instigated by the traitor Estevan Gomez, finding themselves away from the Admiral, rose on their captain and officers, and, confining them below, insisted on returning homewards. In vain the Admiral looked out, expecting her to rejoin him. Day after day the rest of the squadron pressed on, their gallant commander anticipating the realisation of his long-cherished hopes. We may picture him, as he stood on the forecastle of the Trinidada, leading the way, eagerly looking out ahead. How anxious he must have felt when the channel narrowed, and it became possible that some rocky barrier might impede his progress! Then, as he saw it again stretching out into a broad, lake-like expanse, how he must have rejoiced, while seamen in the chains on either side kept heaving the lead and announcing the depth of water. On and on the explorers pushed their way under all sail. If they saw the natives in their tiny canoes, darting out from behind some rocky point, they were too eager to stop and communicate with them.

Above their heads rose the lofty snow-capped mountains, their outlines reflected in the calm waters, often producing scenes of much grandeur, though the barren and rugged rocks offered no temptation to the voyagers to land.

A hundred leagues had been passed over, and, unless the land should extend much farther west, according to the theory held by the Admiral, the termination of the channel must be reached. What must have been his joy, when about ten leagues more had been made good, on the 28th of November, 1520, as rounding a point to which he gave the name of Cape Deseado, he saw the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean spreading out to the westward. From the topmast-head not a speck of land could be seen, to denote that there was the slightest impediment to his further progress into the great South Sea.

He had now practically demonstrated that it was possible to sail to the east by way of the west. To the long-sought-for straits Magalhaens ultimately gave the appellation of the Straits of the Patagonians; but it has more properly ever since been called after his name, corrupted by the English into Magellan.

Having waited at the entrance of the straits for the missing ship till the time appointed for her rejoining had passed, the three remaining vessels proceeded on their voyage. The cold being severe, the Admiral considered it desirable to steer towards the Line, and accordingly shaped a north-westerly course.

On the 24th of January, 1521, a small island was discovered, to which the name of Saint Pablo was given, in memory of the hapless Patagonian, who, after being baptised, had shortly before died. A few days afterwards another small island was sighted, and called Tiburones, or Shark’s Island. In this manner he proceeded for three months and twenty days, having sighted only the two small islands already mentioned. The crew by this time had exhausted all their provisions, including even their bread. The fresh water had become so bad that it could be with difficulty swallowed, while they at length had nothing left to eat but pieces of skin and bits of feather. In order to enable them to chew these unsavoury morsels, they were first steeped in hot water for some days, and then cooked with any fat or grease which remained. Owing to the impure and scanty means of subsistence many died, and those who remained became sickly, weak, and low spirited. The gums of many of them grew over their teeth on both sides, so that they were unable to masticate the pieces of skin, and were thus miserably starved to death. The sea, however, continued smooth and the wind fair, and they were blown gently along at a good rate. In consequence of the calmness of the water, the Admiral gave the sea over which he was sailing the name of the Pacific Ocean, which it has ever since retained, although considered by many, from their different experience, very inappropriate, as at certain periods severe storms prevail there, as in other parts of the world.

In a short time nineteen men had died, and thirty were so weak that they were unable to do duty. After sailing on all this time, they were anxiously looking out for islands where they could obtain fresh provisions, but, except the two barren rocks they passed, none were seen.

The needles of their compasses varied so much, and moved so irregularly, that they were often compelled to quicken them with a touch of the loadstone.

After crossing the equator and steering west, they at length arrived, on the 6th of March, at a cluster of three fertile inhabited islands in thirteen or fourteen degrees north latitude, just three months and twenty days from the time of leaving the Straits.

Here they anchored. No sooner did the natives perceive them, than they came off in their canoes, bringing cocoa-nuts, yams, and rice. They were well-formed men, of an olive-brown colour, their teeth stained black and red. Some of them wore long beards, and the hair of their heads hung down to their waists. They were perfectly naked, their bodies anointed with cocoa-nut oil, some of them wearing head-dresses made from the leaves of the palm-tree. The women appeared to have some idea of modesty, and wore coverings of cloth made from the bark of a tree. Their hair was black and thick, reaching almost to the ground. They appeared to be very industrious, and were seen employed in making nets and mats from fibre. Their houses were built of timber, thatched with large leaves, and divided into several apartments, the beds in which were of palm mats piled one above another. Their only weapons were clubs and long poles tipped with horn. Their canoes were formed of planks sewn together with fibre, the stem and stern alike, and were painted either black, white, or red. The sails, which were balanced by outriggers, were made of broad leaves sewn together, and the rudder was formed of a broad board at the end of a pole.

When the Spaniards went on shore, the natives received them in a friendly way, but soon showed that they were of an especially thievish disposition, pilfering everything on which they could lay hands, either from those who landed, or when they themselves went on board the vessels.

From this circumstance Magalhaens bestowed on the islands the name of the Ladrones, or thieves. The voyagers, indeed, found it impossible to enjoy any quiet, either while they were ashore or on land, as the natives stood hovering about to pick up whatever they could find.

At length they stole one of the boats from the stern of the Admiral’s ship, on which, to punish them, he landed with a party of ninety men, and marching up the country, set fire to one of their villages, which being built of wood thatched with leaves, burnt rapidly. He also killed some of the natives, who, when they were wounded, drew out the arrows, and gazed at them with astonishment, as if they had never before seen such weapons. When the Spaniards retired, after their cruel exploit, the natives followed them in wellnigh a hundred canoes, as if disposed to renew the traffic; but instead of doing so, as they got near, uttering shouts and shrieks, they threw showers of stones on board the ships, and then took rapidly to flight.

Having refreshed themselves, and finding no advantage could be gained by a longer stay at the Ladrones, the Spaniards set sail. They touched at a beautiful uninhabited island, where they found springs of clear water and abundance of fruit-trees, and to this the Admiral gave the name of the Island of Good Signs.

While the ships lay at anchor, canoes from other islands, seen in the distance, came towards them, bringing presents of fish, cocoa-nuts, cocoa-nut wine, and other provisions. Though nearly naked, they were remarkably well behaved, and wore ornaments of gold, and cotton head-dresses. Their bodies were tatooed and perfumed with aromatic oils. They used harpoons and fishing—nets, and had swords, lances, clubs, and shields.

When the Spaniards went on shore they found that the island was cultivated, and that spices were grown, of which they saw considerable stores. The whole group was at first called the Archipelago of Saint Lazarus, but it is now known as a portion of the Philippines. The island where the squadron anchored was called Humuna. The wine, it was found, was the sap of a tree, which was drawn out by cutting off a branch, into which a large reed was fixed, and by its means the sap, of a light amber colour, with a tart taste, dropped out, when it was considered at once fit for drinking.

The fruit, with which many of the voyagers now first became acquainted, was described as big as a man’s head, with two rinds, the outermost being green, two fingers thick, and full of strings and shreds. Within this was a shell of considerable thickness and very hard, the kernel being white and of the thickness of a finger, with a pleasant taste like that of almonds. In the midst was a hollow full of pure limpid water, of a very cordial and refreshing nature. When the natives wish to make oil of it, they leave the root to steep in water until it putrifies. They then set it over a fire, and boil it until the oil rises to the surface.

Their visitors came from the island of Zulvan, where they produced cinnamon, spices, cloves, nutmegs, ginger, and mace, which they brought off in their canoes. They exhibited also numerous articles made of gold. They had earrings of gold, and had jewels fastened with pieces of gold to their arms, besides which they possessed daggers, knives, and lances ornamented with the same metal. They were broad-shouldered, well-made men, of olive colour, their naked bodies being well greased and anointed with oil.

On the 25th of March the squadron left Humuna, and steering between numerous islands, again brought up off the island of Mazagua. The Admiral having on board a slave, a native of Sumatra, took him to act as interpreter in his intercourse with the chief or Rajah of the island.

Everything was done to impress the Rajah with the power of the Europeans, and the dignity of the King their master. The Rajah was a fine-looking man, with long hair, of an olive complexion, and his body perfumed with sweet oil. He had gold rings in his ears, three on every finger, and on his head he wore a fine silk turban, while a piece of cotton, embroidered with silk and gold, covered his body to the knees. At his side he carried a long dagger, with a gold handle and a scabbard of fine carved wood. He and his Court were constantly chewing the areca-nut.

In order to impress the Rajah Colambu, as the prince was called, with the power and superiority of Europeans, the Admiral dressed up one of his sailors in complete armour, and directed three others to cut at him with swords, and endeavour to pierce him with their poniards. The Rajah, on seeing that he was unharmed, was much astonished, and remarked that one warrior so protected might contend with a hundred foes.

“Yes,” replied the Admiral, through his interpreter, “and each of my three vessels has two hundred armed in the same manner.”

The natives appeared to have no religious rites, but only lifted up their faces, their hands joined together, towards heaven when they called upon their god Abba.

Under the idea of inducing the natives to become Christians, the Admiral landed on Easter Day, with a banner, on which was portrayed a cross, a crown of thorns, and nails. He told all his men to reverence it, and informed the Rajah that it should be set up on some high mountain, not only as a memorial of the good treatment the Christians had received, but for his own security, since if they devoutly prayed to it, they would be protected from lightning and thunder. Some of the Spaniards then received the communion, and after discharging their muskets, to the great astonishment of the savages, returned to their ships.

The Rajah promised to do as the Admiral wished, knowing no better. After this a priest, the chronicler of the voyage, and a companion, went on shore to partake of a feast which the Rajah had prepared, and which was served in porcelain vessels. His manner of eating and drinking was to take alternately a mouthful of meat and a spoonful of wine, lifting up his hands to heaven before he helped himself, when he suddenly extended his left fist in a way which made the priest expect that he was going to receive a buffet in the face. Among the luxuries on the table were candles, composed of gums, rolled up in palm-leaves. The Rajah, who had on the previous day attended Mass and nominally professed himself a Christian, became so tipsy that he was unable to attend to any of the duties of the state.

On his recovery he requested that the Admiral would allow his crews to assist in gathering in his harvest, which friendly office they performed with much satisfaction. This done, the ships again sailed, accompanied by the Rajah in his big canoe; but she being unable to keep up with the squadron, he and his people were taken on board, and after passing by several other islands, the ships arrived on the 7th of April, about noon, at Zebut, the principal port of the Philippine Islands.

In order to impress the Rajah of this place and his people—two thousand of whom, armed with spears and shields, were collected at the water’s edge gazing at a sight so novel to them—with the greatness and power of the Spaniards, the ships were decked with banners and a salute fired from all the great guns, which caused no small amount of consternation among the spectators.

To allay their fears, an envoy, accompanied by the slave from Sumatra, called Enrique, to act as interpreter, was sent on shore, who informed the Rajah that it was the custom for Spaniards to discharge their cannon whenever they came into great ports, and that it was done in respect to him. The envoy also expressed the high consideration in which the King of Spain, the greatest monarch on the earth, and his Captain-General Magalhaens, held the Rajah of Zebut, adding that the ships had come, on their way to the Moluccas, to obtain provisions and articles of merchandise. The Rajah, in return, bade them welcome, but said that it was customary for all ships to pay him tribute, and that he expected the like acknowledgment from them.

This the envoy positively refused, informing him that the Captain-General was the servant of so great a king that he never had yet, nor ever would, make an acknowledgment of the sort to any prince in the world, and that if he would not receive them peaceably, he would soon have his hands full of war.

The Rajah, advised by a Moor who was at his Court, and by the Rajah Mazagua, the next day was ready rather to pay tribute himself than excite the hostility of his visitors. However, they did not require tribute, and only wanted liberty to trade, which was cheerfully granted.

The next day the two Rajahs of Mazagua and Zebut came on board, when, after some conferences had been held, the Admiral persuaded them to embrace the Christian faith. This they forthwith did, being baptised, together with several of the ladies of their families.

The Rajah of Zebut received the name of Carlos, after the Emperor, and his son that of Fernando. The Rajah of Mazagua was called Juan, and a Moorish Christian received the name of Christopher.

Besides the princes and their Court, five hundred persons of inferior rank were also baptised; so that Magalhaens congratulated himself on the wonderful success of his first attempt at converting the heathen. He then told them that, as they had become Christians, they must do away with their idols; and all to be found being forthwith broken to pieces, crosses were erected in their places. As he had previously done, the Admiral urged them to pray before the crosses devoutly, morning and evening.

The Queen, with forty of her ladies, and her daughter, the wife of the heir apparent, was also baptised. The latter was young and handsome, and wore a robe of white cloth, her head being adorned with a tiara of date-leaves.

After the ceremony Mass was performed, which the Queen attended. She was habited in a garment like that of her daughter, and over her head and shoulders she wore a silken veil striped with gold. Three young girls walked before her, each carrying one of the royal hats.

Having bowed to the altar, the Queen seated herself on a cushion of embroidered silk, when she and her attendants were sprinkled by the Admiral with rose-water,—a scent in which the women of the country greatly delighted.

The Admiral obtained still further credit, and gained over more proselytes, by a cure which he was said to have effected on the brother of the Rajah of Zebut. The Prince complaining of illness, the Admiral assured him that if he would be baptised and break all his idols, he would to a certainty be cured, pledging his word for the result. The rite was performed, the Admiral taking care to administer certain medicines for the space of five days, at the end of which time the prince acknowledged that he was perfectly well.

Thus, in less than fourteen days after the arrival of the squadron, the whole of the inhabitants of Zebut and the neighbouring regions had been converted to the new faith adopted by the Rajah and his nobles, with the exception of one village of idolaters, which still stoutly held out against it. To convert them more readily, the Admiral with a party of men attacked the village, which they burnt to ashes, and then erected the cross on its ruins.


Chapter Fourteen.

Voyage of Magalhaens, continued—A.D. 1521-2.

The Rajahs of Zebut and Mazagua pay tribute—Magalhaens attacks the Rajah of Matan—Sad death of the Admiral—Treachery of the Rajah of Zebut—Massacre of Spanish officers—Don Juan Serrano cowardly deserted—Ships sail away—Reach Bohol—The Conception burnt—Touch at Mindanao and Cagayan Sooloo—Hear of Borneo—Sufferings from hunger—Friendly reception at Puluan—Provisions obtained—Arrak first met with—Cross to Borneo, and anchor off a large city—The Rajah treats the Spaniards handsomely—Wealth of the Rajah—Customs of the people—Carvalho deposed, and Espinosa chosen Captain, with Sebastian del Cano under him—Reach Cimbuhon—Ships careened—Curious birds and insects—The Moluccas reached—Anchor at Tidor—Spices obtained—The Trinidad abandoned—The Vittoria alone leaves the Moluccas—Portuguese vessels robbed—The Cape of Good Hope rounded—Dreadful sufferings from hunger—Many die—Put into harbour of Santiago in the Cape de Verdes—Portuguese discover where they have been—Attempt to capture the ship—Del Cano, now Captain, escapes—The Vittoria arrives in the harbour of Saint Lucar, 6th of September, 1522—Del Cano rewarded with patent of nobility—The Vittoria afterwards lost—The name of Magalhaens or Magellan justly given to the Straits he discovered.

So submissive had the Rajahs of Mazagua and Zebut become, that they now willingly paid tribute to the Spaniards, supplying them abundantly with provisions, and treating them with the greatest hospitality whenever they came on shore. The satisfaction of the Admiral was still further increased by hearing that the Moluccas, of which he had come in search, were to be found at no great distance to the southward.

Not far from Zebut lies the island of Matan, the Rajah of which, though willing to pay every courtesy to the strangers, declined to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Emperor, or to pay him tribute.

This so incensed the Admiral, that he resolved forthwith to reduce the refractory Rajah to obedience, notwithstanding that he was warned of the power of his foe, who possessed an army of six or seven thousand men, and although naked like the rest of the inhabitants, were furnished with bows, arrows, darts, and javelins.

Juan Serrano and other officers implored him not to go, but he persisted in his design, laughing at the notion that naked savages could contend with Spaniards wearing coats of mail and helmets. The Admiral set out with fifty of his men thus caparisoned, accompanied by his ally, the Rajah of Zebut, whose services, however, he declined, bidding him wait in his boats to witness the fight and the certain defeat of their foes. On reaching the shore, the Admiral landed, on the 27th of April, 1521, and at once, with his muskets and crossbows, attacked the enemy, who were drawn up to receive him. The natives were brave fellows, and though some fell, others came on, soon learning to despise the slight effect produced by the bolts of the crossbows and the shots from the ill-constructed firearms of their invaders.

Perceiving that the Spaniards’ heads were cased in iron, but that the lower part of their bodies were exposed, they took aim at their legs, and many were thus severely wounded. The Admiral, seeing a village near at hand, and fancying that by destroying it the enemy would be overawed, sent a part of his men to burn it down. This they did, but being set upon by an overwhelming force, two were killed, while the rest were compelled to retreat.

In the meantime, another body of savages attacking the Admiral and his remaining followers—now reduced to seven or eight men—he himself was wounded in the leg by an arrow, and he was repeatedly struck on the head by stones. Twice his helmet was knocked off, and his temple was wounded by a lance thrust between the bars of his visor. At length his sword-arm was disabled, and he could no longer defend himself. He called on his men to retreat, and, fighting round him, they made their way to the shore, hoping to get on board the boats, which were still at some distance. In vain the boats rowed in to his rescue. He was already in deep water, when, wounded in the leg, he fell on his face. Recovering himself, he turned several times as if imploring the assistance of his companions; but, terror-stricken, they were endeavouring to reach the boats, and a crowd of savages rushing on, quickly dispatched him, and dragged off his dead body. The Rajah of Zebut coming up—for the fight had taken place some distance from the boats—rescued the survivors. Of the whole party who had landed, eight were killed with their leader, and twenty-two were wounded. The result of the battle had an effect very disastrous to the Spaniards on the minds of their converts, whom they at first were inclined to look upon as superior beings, but now learned to despise.

Thus ignominiously perished, on the very eve of success, the justly celebrated mariner, Fernando de Magalhaens, ever to be remembered as the discoverer of the passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and who, had he lived, would have been the first circumnavigator of the globe. He must not be judged by the present standard. His religion was bigotry and gross idolatry, and his last act, for which he paid the penalty of his life, was utterly unjustifiable.

Don Juan Serrano, having become leader of the expedition, in vain endeavoured to recover the body of the Admiral by making the most tempting offers to the Rajah of Matan, who was, however, too highly pleased with the trophy of victory he had obtained to restore it. It was no wonder, also, that the new religion at once fell into contempt among the recent converts, while the Rajah of Zebut was anxious to make friends with his rival of Matan.

Instigated by the interpreter Enrique, the Rajah of Zebut formed a plan for treacherously destroying the Spaniards, hoping thus to get possession of their ships and the rich cargoes they contained.

Concealing his designs under the guise of friendship, he invited all the officers, and as many of the people as could come, to a banquet which he had prepared for them.

Fancying that they should receive a valuable present of jewels, which he had expressed an intention of sending to the Emperor, they accepted the invitation. A party of thirty-four accordingly landed, but as they were proceeding to the Rajah’s palace, two of their number, Juan Carvalho and Sebastian del Cano, pilots, suspecting from certain signs that something was amiss, returned to the boats and pulled back to the ships.

Scarcely had they got on board when fearful shrieks and shouts and clashing of arms were heard, as if men were engaged in desperate fight, and they saw several of their companions come rushing down towards the shore.

They immediately brought the broadsides of the ships to bear on the town, and began firing their guns in the hopes of driving back the savages. The fugitives were quickly overtaken. Some were struck down; others were seized, among whom was Don Juan Serrano. He was dragged, bound hand and foot, to the water’s edge. He shouted to his countrymen to desist from firing and to rescue him. The natives told him that he should be delivered up if the Spaniards would supply them with artillery and ammunition. This they would have done, but the cunning savages first wished to get the guns into their hands, hoping afterwards to obtain possession of the ships.

Carvalho and the remainder of the crews suspecting this, weighed their anchors ready to put to sea. Serrano, on observing what they were about, threw himself on his knees, entreating them not to leave him in the hands of the treacherous savages. Finding, on mustering their forces, that only eighty men now remained, and fearing that should they continue longer they themselves would lose their lives, they refused to listen to his entreaties, and loosing the sails, they stood away from the shore, thus leaving to a cruel fate their talented captain, the best seaman among them, who, had he been saved, would undoubtedly have proved of the greatest advantage to the expedition. What ultimately became of him was never known. Many years afterwards, it was reported that eight Spaniards had been sold as slaves by the Rajah of Zebut to the Chinese. The two ships, now commanded by Carvalho, proceeded on their way to the Moluccas. On reaching the island of Bohol, as their numbers had been greatly reduced by sickness and the loss of men at Matan and Zebut, they shifted the guns and stores of the Conception into the two other ships, and then burned her.

Touching at the island of Mindanao, they met with a friendly reception from the Rajah. It was found to abound in rice, sugar, ginger, hogs, hens, and other animals. They next touched at Cagayan Sooloo, where from some of the natives they heard of the large island of Borneo existing to the west. The inhabitants appeared to possess much gold, and they used poisoned arrows, which they darted by the force of their breath through hollow reeds. At their sides they wore daggers ornamented with precious stones. Magnificent trees were seen on shore, but no provisions, so greatly required, could be obtained. In consequence of this, they were so nearly starved that many of the men proposed landing on one of the islands and establishing themselves there for life.

On reaching Puluan, however, and finding provisions abundant, they resolved to continue their voyage. Besides the articles they found at Mindanao, it produced large figs, sweet potatoes, cocoa-nuts, and sugar-canes.

The Rajah, as a token of peace, drew some blood out of his left arm, and marked his body, face, and the top of his tongue with it. The Spaniards, to win his regard, imitated his example. The people went perfectly naked, and occupied themselves chiefly in cock-fighting.

The voyagers here first met with arrak, which the natives distil from rice. Having obtained a pilot, the Spaniards crossed over to the large island of Borneo, and on the 8th of July they came to an anchor off a city which was said to contain twenty-five thousand houses. They were built within high water mark, and raised on posts. When the tide was full, the people communicated by boats going about from house to house.

Soon after they dropped anchor, the Rajah, who was a Moor, of considerable power, sent handsome presents on board, and invited the Captains to visit him.

On landing, the Spaniards found two elephants, covered with silk trappings, ready to conduct them to his palace. In front of it a feast had been prepared, consisting of meat, fowl, and fish, placed on the floor, round which they sat on mats. The natives, after each mouthful, sipped arrak from porcelain cups, and used golden spoons to eat their rice. The feast being over, it was announced to the Captains that the Rajah was ready for them. On their way they passed through a large saloon, in which were a number of courtiers, and from thence into an anteroom, where three hundred guards, armed with poniards, were drawn up. At the farther end of the apartment was a curtain of brocaded silk, and on this being pulled aside, the Rajah, a stout man of about forty, was seen seated at a table, with a little child by his side, and chewing betel, while behind him stood his female attendants, who were supposed to be the daughters of the chief men and to govern his household.

As the courtiers—who were naked, with the exception of a piece of ornamented cloth round their waists—approached, they raised their hands, clasped, three times over their heads; then, lifting up their feet one after the other, they kissed their hands before speaking. They wore numerous rings on their fingers, and daggers with gold hilts set with gems. The Rajah, as the gifts of the Spaniards were presented to him, bowed slightly, and returned others of brocade and cloth of gold and silver. While in his presence the explorers observed the way in which suitors made their petitions, none being allowed to address him personally.

The suitor, having arrived at an outer chamber, presented his petition to a courtier, who repeated it to one of higher rank, and he again passed it on to a person of still greater importance, who then whispered it through a hollow cane fixed in the wall, reaching the inner chamber, into the ear of the chief officer of state, by whom it was conveyed to the Rajah himself.

The Captain heard that the Rajah possessed two pearls the size of hens’ eggs, and that when placed on a polished table they kept continually moving.

The ceremony of introduction being over, and permission to trade being granted, the curtain was again drawn aside to allow of their exit, and the Captains retired. So great was the confidence established that they remained in the palace during the night. Their sleeping-apartment was lighted by two wax candles in silver candlesticks, and two large lamps, with four lights to each, were kept burning all night, being attended by two men to trim them.

The people were skilful in the manufacture of porcelain, of which they exported large quantities. Their vessels were also ingeniously formed; those belonging to the Rajah had their prows carved and richly gilt. The country produced camphor, cinnamon, sugar-cane, ginger, oranges, lemons, melons, and many other fruits, with abundance of beasts and birds.

Having regained their ships, notwithstanding the polite treatment they had received, under the pretence that they were about to be attacked by some junks, the Spaniards seized several in the harbour, which they knew were richly-laden, and kidnapped a number of wealthy persons on board them.

Leaving Borneo, the two ships proceeded to the island of Cimbuhon. On their way the crews insisted on deposing the pilot, Cavalho, who had never been liked, and in his stead they chose Espinosa as Captain-General, with Sebastian del Cano under him.

Finding a commodious port, with abundance of fresh water and fuel, they hove down their ships and caulked them. This occupied them forty days. To obtain suitable wood for repairs, they had to search for it in the forests, and drag it with infinite labour from among the prickly bushes, their feet suffering greatly, as their shoes had worn out.

It was here that the priest Pigafelta found what he fancied was an animated leaf. He was watching a tree resembling that of a mulberry, when several leaves fell off. The moment they were touched they sprang away. He kept, he says, one of these animated leaves in a dish for eight days. They were, in reality, not leaves, but insects, which, from their resembling leaves, are enabled to escape the attacks of other creatures; indeed, they were the well-known leaf-insect of the mantis species.

The island abounded with cassowaries, the East Indian ostrich, and wild hogs. They also captured a fish with a head resembling that of a hog, having two horns and something like a saddle on its back. After leaving this place, they encountered a tremendous storm, when, in their alarm, they vowed to set free a slave, in honour of their three saints, Saint Elmo, Saint Nicolas, and Saint Clare.

Anxiously they looked for the sign of the assistance they sought, when at length, to their joy, they observed the desired lights flickering at their mast-heads, which continued shining for two hours, when the storm abated. They were thus convinced that Saint Elmo, the friend to mariners, had come to their assistance, accompanied by the other two saints.

At the next island, Sarraugan, where they touched, they seized two natives, whom they compelled to go as their pilots to the long-sought-for Moluccas. The Portuguese had reported that the sea was too shallow to be navigated, but on sounding they found it upwards of fifty fathoms. They well knew, indeed, that their rivals had an object in describing it as dangerous.

At length, on the 8th of November, at sunrise, they entered the harbour of Tidore, one of the Moluccas. The Mohammedan ruler of the island, Almanzor, at once came on board to welcome them, assuring them of his affection for his brother the King of Spain, and inviting them to establish a factory on shore.

Here the spices they sought for were given in exchange for red cloth, drinking-glasses, knives, and axes. The houses, like those of Borneo, were built on piles, and fenced round with cane hedges. Provisions of all sorts were brought off to the ships, and water, which, though it rushed out of the mountains very hot, became perfectly cool when exposed to the air.

The Rajah of the neighbouring island of Bachian sent a present to the King of Spain,—a couple of birds about the size of turtle-doves, with small heads, long bills, and two long feathers at their sides, their bodies being of a tawny colour. The Moors told them that the birds never fly, but are blown by the wind from heaven. They were, indeed, the first specimens they had seen of the now well-known birds of Paradise, of which there are numerous species. The population generally were heathens, the Moors having gained an ascendancy in the islands only forty years before.

When about to sail, the Trinidad was found so leaky that she was left behind, and the Vittoria proceeded alone on her voyage, with a crew of forty-seven Europeans, thirteen Indians, and some pilots from the Moluccas.

In her progress her captain did not scruple to rob any Portuguese or native traders he met with, taking whatever he wanted. They touched at various islands, where they obtained sandal-wood, ginger, and different sorts of fruit.

Passing to the north of Java, they ran through the channel between that island and Sumatra, taking care to avoid the Straits of Malacca, on the north shore of which the Portuguese had a settlement. They now steered directly for the Cape of Good Hope. As they approached Madagascar, in consequence of the want of provisions, a mutiny broke out, some of the men wishing to put into Mozambique to repair the ship and obtain food; but as it was known that the Portuguese were there also, who would perhaps make them prisoners and take possession of their ship, the captain, supported by most of the officers, refused to listen to their complaints, and steered a course so as to round the Cape. By this time twenty-one men of those who had left Tidore had died. They passed the Cape of Good Hope on the 6th of May, 1522. They were now suffering greatly both from sickness and starvation, and, after two months, at length sighting the Cape de Verde Islands, when nature being unable longer to hold out, rather than risk death from famine, they put into the harbour of Santiago, and threw themselves on the mercy of their rivals. To their surprise, they found that although, according to their reckoning, it was Wednesday, the 9th of July, it was in reality Thursday, the 10th, showing that they had lost a day. This was in consequence of their having sailed west with the sun. Had they gone round in the opposite direction, they would, in the same way, have gained a day. The Spaniards had no difficulty in obtaining provisions, and a supply of food was got on board.

The men had been strictly enjoined not to say where they came from, but one of them, who with twelve more had gone ashore, offered some spices in exchange for food and drink, when it was suspected that they had visited the Moluccas. On this the Portuguese immediately seized them; but, by some means, Sebastian del Cano, who was now captain, observing the preparations for attacking his vessel, ordered the cable to be cut, and, all sail being made, he carried the Vittoria out of the harbour in safety.

He now, with his diminished crew, continued his progress to the northward. After a farther voyage of nearly two months, the successful commander, who was to reap the chief benefits of the voyage, brought the Vittoria safe into the harbour of Saint Lucar on the 6th of September, 1522; the whole circumnavigation having occupied nearly three years, during which fourteen thousand six hundred leagues of sea had been traversed. On the 8th he took the vessel up the river to Seville. The eighteen survivors of the crew of sixty who sailed from the Moluccas, landing, walked barefooted in their shirts, carrying tapers in their hands, to offer thanks for their safe return.

Sebastian del Cano, escaping the fate which befell so many Spanish navigators, was handsomely received and rewarded, letters patent of nobility being bestowed upon him, with a globe for a crest, having the motto, “Primus me circum dedisti”—“You first encompassed me.”

The vessel herself, after becoming the theme of poets and historians, who declared that she deserved a shrine of gold, was ignominiously lost on her passage from Saint Domingo.

Putting aside the conduct on many occasions of the explorers, we must give due praise to the leader of the expedition who conducted it so nearly to a successful termination. By it was demonstrated without doubt the spherical form of the earth. The passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific was discovered, with numerous hitherto unknown islands, and the way thus opened to the several voyagers who subsequently sailed forth to explore the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean.


Chapter Fifteen.

Voyage of Sir Francis Drake round the world—A.D. 1577.

Drake introduced to Queen Elizabeth—Describes his birth, education, early voyages, adventures with Hawkins, capture of treasure, and first sight of the South Sea—Exploit and death of Oxenham—Drake’s liberality—His plan unfolded—The Queen’s sanction—A squadron of five vessels equipped—Sails on 15th of November, 1577—Puts into Mogador—visited by Moorish chiefs—A seaman carried off by the Moors—Small prizes taken—Drake’s generosity—Touches at the Cape de Verdes—The inhabitants fly—Expedition on shore—No provisions to be obtained—A Portugal ship taken, and the pilot, Nuno da Silva, detained—The Portugals liberated, and a pinnace given them—Captain Doughty’s misconduct—The coast of Brazil sighted—Native alarm fires seen—A tempest—The Christopher separates—Squadron enters Rio de la Plata—The Christopher returns—Sails along the coast—Another storm—Caunter lost sight of—Approach of winter—The Admiral in danger—Rescued by Captain Thomas of the Marigold—Lands—Natives fly—Their huts visited—Mode of catching ostriches—The squadron collected—The Elizabeth broken up—Natives appear—Friendly intercourse—The Christopher run on shore—The Mary recovered—Squadron anchors in Port Saint Julien.

One morning, in the early part of the year 1577, Queen Elizabeth was seated in the private audience-chamber of her palace, attended by her ladies in waiting and two or three courtiers, who stood round in graceful attitudes, eager to catch her words, and equally ready to make suitable replies to the remarks of her Majesty, when a page entered and announced her Vice-Chamberlain, Sir Christopher Hatton, attended by a sea captain—Master Francis Drake—whom he craved permission to introduce.

“Admit them,” said the Queen. “I have long desired to hear from Captain Drake’s own lips an account of his adventures.”

In a brief space of time the Vice-Chamberlain entered, followed by a person who in appearance differed much from the gaily habited courtiers in attendance on her Majesty. He was a man apparently between thirty and forty years of age, with the air and carriage of a seaman. His figure, somewhat below the middle height, was exquisitely proportioned; his chest broad, and his head round and well formed. Though sunburnt, his complexion was naturally fair and sanguine, his countenance open and cheerful, his hair of a brown colour, and his beard full and carefully trimmed. His large and lively eyes beamed with intelligence, and his mouth was firm set, while his whole countenance showed a quick and resolute character.

Bowing low as he entered, he was introduced in due form. He replied in a free and unembarrassed manner to the questions the Queen put to him.

“I have been well informed, Captain Drake, of the good service you have rendered to the Earl of Essex with your three frigates in subduing the rebellion in Ireland; but I desire to know more of your earlier exploits in the West Indies, and I shall be pleased to be informed of your birth and parentage.”

Exhibiting due modesty in all he said, Captain Drake replied that he had been at sea from his boyhood. He was the eldest among twelve sons of Master Edward Drake, Vicar of Upnor, and was born in the year 1544 in a cottage near Tavistock, on the banks of the Tavey. From his earliest days, having constantly seen the royal ships anchored in the Medway, his desire had been to follow the sea; and to gratify his wishes, when he was of an age to leave home his father placed him with the master of a bark, in which he used to trade along the shore, and sometimes to carry merchandise into Zealand and France. His master dying, left him his bark as a mark of his good-will, and when but eighteen he became purser of a vessel frequenting the ports of Biscay. He shortly afterwards entered a ship commanded by Master John Hawkins, engaged in the slave trade. Having obtained a cargo partly by the sword and partly by other means at Sierra Leone, they were conveyed across the Atlantic to the island of Hispaniola.

Having made a voyage or two with Master Hawkins, he obtained the command of the Judith, a bark of fifty tons, one of a squadron under the same Admiral.

The ships having taken in their cargoes of slaves as usual, Master Hawkins sailed for the Canaries and the Spanish Main, that he might exchange his freight for silver, sugar, and other commodities most valued at home. On passing the town of Rio de la Hacha, Master Hawkins stormed it, because the Governor refused to trade with him.

“Such an act was not in accordance with our will,” observed the Queen. “But go on, Master Drake.”

“Reaching the Gulf of Mexico, the squadron was compelled to seek shelter in the port of San Juan del Ulloa. At first the Spaniards believed that we were part of a fleet they were expecting, and were in great consternation when, coming on board, they discovered their mistake. Our commander assured them that our sole desire was to seek shelter from stress of weather, and procure provisions and merchandise, for which he would pay, but he deemed it prudent to detain two persons of consequence as hostages. His proposals were accepted. Near us lay twelve merchant ships, laden with two hundred thousand pounds’ worth of goods; but, though we might easily have mastered them, the Admiral, knowing that it would displease your Majesty, refrained from doing so.

“While waiting for the answer from the Viceroy of Mexico, the expected Spanish fleet arrived with a cargo valued at one million eight hundred thousand pounds. We were sorely tempted, it must be confessed, to go out and attack them, and we knew that if they were admitted our safety would be jeopardised, as the haven is confined and the town populous.

“At length the Viceroy agreed to the terms proposed by Master Hawkins, and we in a friendly way exchanged visits with the officers of the newly arrived fleet. Thus lulled into security, we did not dream of the vile treachery the Spaniards were preparing, until we observed an unusual bustle on board their vessels, and soldiers in great numbers gathering on shore. Master Hawkins was at dinner in his cabin on board the Minion, when a Spaniard, Villa Nueva by name,—but an old villain he was by nature, your Majesty will allow,—attempted to plunge a dagger, which he had concealed in his sleeve, into the Admiral’s breast. But Master Hawkins was too quick for him, and, having him bound, sprang on deck, where he saw the Spaniards from their admiral’s ship, which lay close to the Minion, about to board her.

“On this, shouting ‘God and Saint George! Upon those traitorous villains, and rescue the Minion!’ he and his men drove back the Spaniards and set their ship on fire.

“He then made sail and stood for the mouth of the harbour, though surrounded by foes. I, on board my little bark, the Judith, followed his example, firing at the treacherous Spaniards, who in their ships and boats endeavoured to overwhelm us. They succeeded too well with the rest of the squadron, all of which were captured and their crews butchered. This foul deed was done, although we had in no way offended the Spaniards. Your Majesty will doubtless see that we have just cause to retaliate on those wretches for their unexampled treacherous cruelties towards your Majesty’s faithful subjects.

“On my arrival in England, feeling sure that I was acting justly, I fitted out two ships, the Dragon and Swan, with which I sailed to the Spanish Main; and in the following year I again went out in the Swan, more to obtain information of those seas than to make reprisals, although I captured not a few goodly barks laden with merchandise.

“In 1572 I again sailed in command of the Pacha, of seventy tons, and the Swan, of twenty-five tons, of which my brother John, who had taken to the sea, was captain. Reaching the coast of America, we were joined by another bark, belonging to the Isle of Wight; and now, having obtained the friendship of a tribe of natives, the Cimarrones, we considered ourselves sufficiently strong to attack the town of Nombre de Dios, where we expected to obtain a rich booty; but, disappointed in this, led by one of our dark-skinned allies, we resolved to intercept the mules bringing treasure from Panama to the aforesaid place. We therefore left our squadron in the Sound of Darien, and marched overland. Though again at first disappointed, we at length fell in with a train of fifty mules laden with gold and silver, of which we took possession. It was on this journey that the chief of the Cimarrones, taking me by the hand, led me to the top of a high tree in which steps had been cut, and where twelve men might sit with ease. Thence I could see, at the same time, the Atlantic, from whence we came, and that Southern Ocean so greatly desired, on the other hand; for on both sides, the trees having been cut down, nothing impeded our view. On this, calling up my men, and among them my trusty follower John Oxenham, I prayed Almighty God of His goodness to give me life and leave to sail once in an English ship on that sea. On this, John Oxenham swore that, unless I should beat him from my company, he would, by God’s grace, follow me. As I was narrating to your Majesty, we secured the gold and part of the silver; but, as we could not carry the remainder across the mountains, it was concealed until an opportunity might occur for our removing it. By a sad mishap, one of our seamen fell into the hands of the Spaniards, and when I sent a party to recover the treasure, it had been carried off; the poor fellow, as we found, having been put to the torture to reveal its hiding-place. On our march back we surprised and burnt Venta Cruz, and obtained more booty, returning to our ships just in time to escape a large body of Spaniards, who had been assembled to attack us.

“We safely reached Plymouth on Sunday the 9th of August, 1573, when the people in the church, hearing of our arrival, rushed out to welcome us, leaving few to hear the preacher finish his discourse.

“Though not relating to myself, I must tell your Majesty how my faithful friend John Oxenham sailed away forthwith, accompanied by carpenters and other artificers, determined to do that which never man had before enterprised. Crossing the Isthmus of Darien, he built a pinnace, in which he embarked on the South Sea. Having taken two prizes, he was returning with his booty across the isthmus to his ship, when he was assailed by overwhelming numbers of the Spaniards and made prisoner. Of his sad fate I have gained tidings. He was carried to Lima, and there, according to the vile custom of those foes of the human race, cruelly tortured and put to death. It makes the heart of a man burn within him to avenge such treatment of your Majesty’s subjects.”

The Queen did not reply, but she had no desire to check the ardour of the brave captain.

“Master Drake has not mentioned to your Majesty a circumstance of which I have been told,” observed Sir Christopher Hatton. “Before coming away, he presented his cutlass to the chief of the Cimarrones, who had shown a great longing for it; and when in exchange the cacique gave him four large wedges of gold, Master Drake, declining to appropriate them, threw them into the common stock, observing he thought it just that such as bore the charge of so uncertain a voyage on his credit, should share the utmost advantage that the voyage produced; and good fortune deservedly attended him to the end of his enterprise.”

“On what matter have you desired this interview, Captain Drake?” asked the Queen.

“It is one which, for obvious reasons, Master Drake desires should not be made public,” observed Sir Christopher Hatton.

On this her Majesty signed to her courtiers to retire out of earshot, and then ordered Drake to speak. He accordingly, craving her Majesty’s sanction, and pointing out its importance, and the gold and advantage which her kingdom might derive from its prosperous issue, unfolded his design. His ambition was, he said, to conduct a fleet of stout ships, well armed, through the straits which the Portuguese Magalhaens had discovered more than half a century before, into that Pacific Ocean which he had navigated from east to west, and on which John Oxenham’s bark had floated, and he himself had besought Almighty God that he too might sail in an English ship. He spoke not at the time of attacking the Spaniards wherever he should meet them, and depriving them of the wealth they had procured by the death of the thousands of helpless Indians they had enslaved, knowing that her Majesty, since she was at peace with Spain, could not openly approve of such a proceeding.

What more was said need not be repeated; but as he took his parting farewell of the Queen, her Majesty presented him with a sword, saying, “We do account that he which striketh at thee, Drake, striketh at us.”

With this verbal warrant, the brave Captain lost no time in making energetic preparations for his projected voyage. He found no lack of followers eager to share his fortunes; but, according to the best of his judgment, he chose men of experience and tried bravery, on whom he could depend. He gave out that the squadron was intended for a trading voyage to Alexandria, though neither his officers nor the ever-watchful Spaniards were deceived by those pretexts.

Five ships were procured, and, being rapidly fitted out, were supplied with all necessary stores and munitions. Drake himself superintended everything, down to the minutest point, so that nothing required might be wanting. It was to this, as well as to the interest he took in his men, and to his superior seamanship and enterprise, that much of his success was owing.

His squadron consisted of five vessels,—the Pelican, of a hundred tons burden, in which he himself sailed; the second being the Elizabeth, vice-admiral, burden eighty tons, Captain John Winter; the third the Marigold, a bark of thirty tons, Captain John Thomas; the fourth the Swan, a fly-boat of fifty tons, Captain John Chester; the fifth the Christopher, a pinnace of fifteen tons, Captain Thomas Moon. These ships were manned with a hundred and sixty-four able seamen, officers, and others, and among other things carried were several pinnaces, ready framed in pieces, to be set up in smooth water as might be required. He had a band of musicians, his cabins were richly furnished, and the services for the table, and many utensils even belonging to the cook room, were of silver. All things being ready, the Admiral and his officers went on board, and set sail from Plymouth Sound at five o’clock in the afternoon of the 15th of November, 1577.

When off the Lizard, meeting with a heavy south-westerly gale, they were driven back, the Pelican and Marigold having to cut away their mainmasts, to Falmouth, where they remained until the 13th of the next month, when, all their damages being repaired, they once more put to sea.

All on board were eager to know their destination. When out of sight of land, the Admiral, should the ships be separated, appointed Mogador as a rendezvous, and it was thus guessed that they were not bound up the Straits of Gibraltar.

Sighting the Barbary coast on the 25th of December, the squadron entered the harbour of Mogador, in the dominions of the King of Fez, on the 27th. While some of the people were employed in setting up a pinnace, several natives appeared, among whom were two Moorish chiefs, requesting to be taken on board to the Admiral. A boat was accordingly dispatched, and the two Moors were brought off, an Englishman being left as a hostage. The Moors were courteously entertained. When wine was presented to them, they declined drinking it in public, but had no objection to swallow a good quantity when they could do so unobserved.

On their return the hostage was restored. The next day some men and camels came down to the beach, apparently wishing to trade, as they exhibited various commodities. On this a boat from one of the ships, unknown to the Admiral, was sent to meet them, when one of the men in her, John Fry by name, wishing to become a hostage, that he might hear them speak and observe their manners, leapt hurriedly on shore, and ran on some way from the boat. Before he was aware of his danger, he was seized by the Moors, who, lifting him up on one of the camels, set off with him at a rapid rate. As the rest of the crew were about to land, a large number of the natives sprang out from behind the rocks, and compelled the English seamen to retreat. It was afterwards found that the man had been carried off by the orders of the King of Fez, who wished to gain information regarding an expected invasion of his territory by the Portuguese.

Drake, on hearing what had occurred, landed a party of men and marched some distance into the interior, but the Moors kept out of his way, so that he was compelled to return without gaining information; and, supposing that Fry was lost, he ordered the squadron to put to sea. Fry meanwhile was kindly treated by the King of Fez, who, finding that no information could be got from him, sent him back to the coast, where, to his grief, he found that the fleet had sailed. He, however, before long got home in an English merchant vessel.

Running down the African coast, they took three Spanish fishing-boats called caunters, and shortly afterwards two caravels, when at length they caught sight of the Southern Cross. Passing Cape Barbas, they sighted a Spanish ship at anchor. She was captured with only two people on board, the rest having fled on shore. In a harbour, three leagues within the cape, the ships brought up, and there remained several days, obtaining fresh water and provisions, as well as all sorts of fish in abundance.

The people here appeared to be suffering from famine, and a wretched woman, with a babe in her arms, was brought down to the beach to be sold as a slave; but Drake indignantly refused to purchase her, saying that he did not trade in human beings. Other people brought leather bags to buy water. Drake gave them water, but declined receiving payment in return. Having refitted the ships and discharged all the Spanish prizes, except one caunter, in exchange for which the Christopher was given to the owner, and one caravel, the squadron proceeded to the Cape de Verde Islands, and put into the harbour of Saint Mary’s. Here, when the inhabitants, who were subjects of the King of Portugal, saw them coming on shore, they fled to the mountains, and no provisions or fresh water could be purchased.

A party, under Captain Winter and Mr Thomas Doughty, was sent on shore to try and obtain what was required. They saw large herds of goats; wild hens, and salt which had been gathered in great quantities from the rocks. The country was fertile, covered with trees and vines, bearing delicious grapes, with which the seamen refreshed themselves. There were many other fruit-trees, some bearing plantains, a pleasant and wholesome fruit, others figs, with ripe fruit on them. Sailing from Saint Mary’s on the 30th of January, they the next day passed the island of Saint Jago, beyond which lies the burning island called by the Portuguese Fogo. To the south-west of this island they took a Portugal ship laden with wine, linen and woollen cloths, and other necessaries, bound for the Brazils, and having many gentlemen and merchants on board her. The command of this prize was given to Thomas Doughty, who was an old friend of Drake’s, and much trusted by him.

The ships passed by several towns, the people in which fired off their great guns to signify that they were prepared for an assault. The pilot of the Portuguese ship, Nuna da Silva, being found to be an expert mariner, well acquainted with the coast of Brazil, was taken on board the admiral.

Passing Fogo, the squadron brought to off the fertile island of Brava. Here the only inhabitant to be found was a monk, who had built himself a rude dwelling; but on seeing the English landing, he fled, leaving behind him the relics of his false worship—a cross with a crucifix, an altar with its superior altar, and idols of wood of rude workmanship.

Here the Portugals taken near Saint Jago were dismissed; the Christopher, pinnace, being given them in exchange for their own ship, and wine, bread, and fish for their provision, excepting Nuna da Silva, who, when he heard that the fleet was bound for the South Sea, willingly remained with Drake.

Only a small supply of water being taken on board, the fleet sailed from Brava on the 2nd of February, steering a course for the Straits of Magellan. Passing the equator on the 17th, they sailed for sixty-three days out of sight of land.

Drake was not without his troubles: it having been found that Captain Doughty had appropriated to his own use certain presents made by the prisoners, he was superseded by Thomas Drake, the Admiral’s brother. This disgrace appears to have rankled in Mr Doughty’s heart, and caused him to feel a bitter animosity against his former friend and commander. During this long passage the squadron sometimes met with adverse winds and violent storms, when lightnings flashed and terrific claps of thunder rattled above their heads; at others they were long becalmed, suffering from the effects of the sweltering heat of the torrid zone. They were depressed, and would have suffered greatly from the want of water, had they not been able to supply themselves, both before and after crossing the Line, by means of the heavy showers which every day fell, the water being collected in sails and sheets.

When in the tropics they saw, for the first time, shoals of flying-fish of the size of pilchards, chased by bonitos and dolphins, or “dorados,” as the Spaniards called them. Also, as they watched the flying-fish trying to escape from their foes in the water, they observed huge birds pounce down and seize the helpless fugitives. Cuttle-fish likewise—strange, black creatures—leapt on board the ships in considerable numbers. These and other novel sights did not fail to interest them. On the 5th of April they sighted the coast of Brazil, where the land was low, and, sounding, they found only twelve fathoms three leagues off the shore. Huge fires were observed, kindled by the inhabitants. The Portuguese had before this landed on the coast, and reduced the natives to a miserable stage of bondage, compelling them by their cruelty to fly from the fertile parts of the country into the more unfruitful districts.

Drake wished to go on shore, but, finding no harbour, the squadron coasted along until the 7th of April, when a terrible storm of wind from the southward rose, during which the Christopher was separated from the rest of the fleet. She was the caunter taken at Blanco, on which the name of Christopher was bestowed when the vessel originally so-called was given to the prisoners. After the squall, which lasted only three hours, the squadron continued beating to the southward, until they got off the Rio de la Plata, up which they ran until they came to an anchor under Cape Joy. Drake so-called it from the satisfaction he felt at seeing the Christopher come in two days after they had anchored, he having thoughtfully appointed it as a rendezvous, should any of the vessels be separated.

Among the principal of his subordinate objects was to keep the fleet together, to obtain good drinking-water and fresh provisions as often as possible. They found the climate delicious, and saw a number of large deer. Considerably higher up the river they anchored near some rocks, where they killed a large number of seals, or sea-wolves, as the Spaniards called them. They found their flesh wholesome and pleasant, and salted a number for their further use.

Having spent a fortnight in the River Plate, they again put to sea, when shortly afterwards the fly-boat Swan was lost sight of. In order to save the inconvenience of so many vessels to look after, Drake determined to lessen their number, that the crews of those remaining might be strengthened and have less duty to perform. Winter was coming on, and, in order to prepare for it, a convenient harbour was searched for. While examining the coast, on May 8th, during another storm, the caunter was again separated from the fleet. The ships being much tossed about, they stood in with the intention of coming to an anchor near a headland, off which many rocks were observed. Drake, who never trusted to other men when he could perform the work himself, despising danger and toil, had a boat lowered, and rowed in himself to examine the bay.

Approaching the shore, a native was seen singing and dancing, and shaking a rattle, expecting him to land. Suddenly the wind still further increased, while a thick fog coming on, the Admiral lost sight of his ships. He immediately pulled off to try and regain them, but would very probably have been lost in the heavy sea running, had not Captain Thomas of the Marigold, at great risk, stood in, and having taken him on board, bravely rode out the gale.

Next morning the weather cleared, but the rest of the ships were nowhere visible; the Admiral, therefore, landing, lighted up large signal-fires in the hopes of their being seen by the ships. The natives had fled up the country for fear of the strangers. The seamen found, however, in their huts near the shore the flesh of upwards of fifty ostriches cured, as well of that of other birds, the size of the former being equal to legs of mutton. They discovered also the device by which the ostriches were captured. This consisted of the head, neck, and plumage of the bird fixed to the end of a pole, with large feathers sticking out behind sufficient to conceal a man’s body. With these the ostriches were stalked and driven either into some neck of land, or against large and strong nets, with the assistance of dogs.

The dispersed ships, seeing the fires, shortly came to an anchor, excepting the Swan and the Mary, the Portugal prize, which had parted company. This not being a convenient place, the squadron sailed on the 15th of May, and on the 17th anchored in a sheltered bay, where they remained fifteen days. Having made various necessary arrangements, the Admiral sailed northwards to look out for the Swan, and dispatched Captain Winter in the Elizabeth for the same object. She was fortunately soon discovered, and being brought back, was unladen and run on shore, when she was broken up, her ironwork and planking being distributed among the ships, the latter to be used as fuel and other purposes.

While the crews were thus employed, the natives made their appearance on the top of a hill, leaping, dancing, and holding up their hands, and crying out in a curious fashion. With the exception of a skin of fur cast about their shoulders, they were naked. Their bodies were painted, and the chiefs wore feathers in their hair, which looked at a distance like horns.

The Admiral on this sent a boat on shore with knives, bells, beads, and other things, which he thought would please them. Seeing the strangers, two of the natives came rushing down at a great rate, but stopped short when still at some distance. On the English retiring, they, however, advanced and took the articles which had been placed on sticks so that they could be seen, leaving instead plumes of feathers, and bones shaped like large toothpicks.

Their confidence was soon gained, and numbers coming down, mixed freely among their visitors. They appeared to be a mild, well-disposed people, and learned to place implicit confidence in the Admiral, who won the affection of the chief by bestowing upon him the cap he usually wore. The savage, as a curious mark of his affection, wounded himself with an arrow in the leg, letting the blood stream on the ground.

These natives were well-made, good-looking, and remarkably active and swift of foot. They obtained from the birds and seals frequenting the shore an abundance of food, which, it appeared, they ate raw. They were all armed with short bows, and arrows of reed headed with flints. The English here killed large numbers of birds, which were so tame that they perched on the men’s heads and shoulders, and in a bay near at hand they took upwards of two hundred seals in the space of an hour.

Having repaired and provisioned the ships, on the 3rd of June they set sail, steering southward, but anchored again in two days in a bay, where the caunter Christopher was run on shore and her cargo removed.

Again they proceeded, after anchoring a short time, until they brought up once more in another bay in 15 degrees 20 minutes, short only one degree off the mouth of the straits.

Here the Admiral, anxious to find the long-missing Mary, which had on board their chief store of wine, determined to sail back again until they reached the latitude where she had been lost. A bright look-out was kept for her, and happily, on the evening of the 19th of June, when the squadron was within a few leagues of Port Saint Julien, the missing ship was sighted. They were greatly rejoiced at this; but she was found to be so much out of order, and her crew had suffered so many privations, that the Admiral thought it well to put into that harbour, which was to prove a place fatal to several of their number.


Chapter Sixteen.

Voyage of Sir Francis Drake, continued—A.D. 1578.

Squadron at Port Saint Julien—Attacked by the natives—Captain Winter, and Oliver the gunner, killed—Doughty’s conspiracy—Trial—Execution—Squadron sails—Enters the Straits of Magellan—Name of the Dolphin changed to the Golden Hind—Passage through the Straits—Elizabeth Island—Meets natives—Enters the Southern Ocean—Ships driven before a northerly gale—The Marigold lost sight of—After a month’s buffeting, the two ships gain a harbour—The Hind again driven to sea—The Elizabeth deserts her—A pinnace lately set up remains, but is finally lost—The Hind alone regains a harbour—Sails north—Calls off Mucho Island—Boat treacherously attacked by natives—Drake wounded—Refuses to retaliate—Reaches the mainland—Search for provisions—Meets an Indian—Treats him kindly—His friends bring off provisions—He pilots the Hind to Valparaiso—Capture of a richly-laden vessel, and sack of the town—Sail northward—Put into a bay—Boat’s crew attacked by Spaniards—Minjoy killed—The pinnace set up—Drake sails in her—Driven back by foul winds—Booty obtained from an Indian asleep and from a train of llamas—Indians come off on balsas—Two Spaniards, through fear, bring off provisions—Llamas described—Vessels at Arica and Arequipa plundered—A vessel laden with linen captured—Callao reached—Drake hears of the Cacafuego—Plunders several vessels—Sails in pursuit of the Cacafuego—Pursued.

The squadron came to an anchor in Port Saint Julien on the 20th of June, and, having arranged various matters, the next day but one the Admiral, accompanied by his brother, John Thomas, Robert Winter, Oliver the master gunner, John Brewer, and Thomas Hood, rowed up along the shore in search of a good place for watering.

Not far off on the shore was seen the remains of a gibbet, supposed to be that set up by Magalhaens for the execution of one of his rebellious captains. On landing, two huge natives, called by that navigator Patagons, came down and appeared to be friendly, being ready to receive whatever was offered to them. They took especial pleasure at seeing Mr Oliver, the master gunner, shoot with his bow, till they were joined by an ill-tempered-looking savage, who tried to draw them away. At this juncture a number more of big fellows, armed with bows, who had hitherto been concealed, crept up towards the English. While Mr Winter was also shooting with his bow, thinking to amuse them as Mr Oliver had done, the string broke. Not liking their gestures, the Admiral ordered his party to retreat, covering themselves with their targets, and remembering, probably, how Magalhaens had been slain, ordering them to break all the arrows aimed at them.

While Mr Winter was trying to repair his string, an arrow shot by one of the savages pierced his lungs, but he did not fall. On this the master gunner levelled his caliver—a sort of blunderbuss—but it missed fire, and before he could shoot it off two savages, taking sure aim at him, killed him on the spot.

Many other natives had by this time made their appearance, and were coming on with threatening gestures, when the Admiral, taking the gunner’s piece, fired it at the native who had killed him, and as it had been loaded with bullets and small shot, it tore open his belly. The tremendous roars he uttered, equalling that of ten bulls together, so appalled his companions that they took to flight.

Drake, unwilling further to injure them, allowed them to escape, and had Captain Winter, to whom he was greatly attached, conveyed down to the boat, leaving the body of the gunner behind. Mr Winter, however, was too severely injured to recover, and died the following day on board his ship. That night a boat was again sent on shore with a number of men well armed. Here they discovered the body of the gunner lying where he had fallen, with his coat wrapped up to form a pillow, and an English arrow stuck in his right eye, showing, as it was conjectured, that the natives had no wish to be on hostile terms with their visitors. He and Mr Winter were buried together, close to the spot where the Spanish captain was supposed to have died.

Drake was greatly grieved at the loss of his friend Winter and his gunner, but he had a still greater anxiety on his mind from the reports he received of the conduct of one whom he had considered his friend, Mr Thomas Doughty. His conduct in appropriating the gifts made to him by the Portuguese prisoners was reprehensible, but it was now found that he was plotting a mutiny to kill the Admiral or to supersede him in the command, intending to carry off some of the squadron, and to sail on a different venture.

So strong was the evidence brought of the nefarious designs of Doughty, that the Admiral was compelled to summon together forty of the principal officers. By these, he sitting as president, Doughty was found guilty, and was condemned either to suffer death, to be left on shore among the savages, or to be sent home as a prisoner in one of the vessels, with a full statement of his trial, to be dealt with as her Majesty the Queen might think proper: the choice of which punishment he would suffer was offered him.

Rather than undergo the shame of being sent home, or to endure the wretched fate which would have been his lot among the savages—some days being allowed him to decide—he resolved, after fully acknowledging his guilt, notwithstanding the persuasions of his friends to the contrary, to select the first alternative offered, desiring only that he might take the communion with the Admiral, as a token that he died at peace with him and all men.

Strange as it may seem, the sacred ordinance having been celebrated by Mr Francis Fletcher, the preacher and pastor of the fleet, he dined at the same table as the Admiral, both appearing cheerful and drinking to each other as if only some journey had been in contemplation.

After dinner he was led forth, and entreating those around to pray for him, he kneeled down and bade the executioner perform his office.

The stern justice meted out on a gentlemen and an officer who had hitherto been highly esteemed, had no doubt a great effect in deterring others who might have contemplated any mutinous proceedings. He was taken on shore and buried where Don Luis de Mendoza was supposed to lie—in a grave close to those of Mr Winter and the gunner.

This painful duty performed, and other matters arranged, the Mary, the Portuguese prize, being in a leaky state, she was run on shore near the island on which, for the two months of their stay, their tents had been pitched.

Here her planks were stripped off, and divided amongst the other three ships, which now constituted the whole squadron, besides the pinnaces which were still on board.

Having wooded, watered, and thoroughly repaired their vessels, the explorers sailed from this “Port Accursed,” as some of the seamen called it, on the 17th of August, and again steered southward.

On the 20th they came off the Cabo de las Virgines, as the Spaniards called the entrance to the Magellan Straits. About four leagues off it had the appearance of black rocks full of grey stars, against which the sea beat like the spouting of whales. At this cape the Admiral ordered the ships to lower their topsails on the bunt, in homage to the Queen’s Majesty; and he here changed the name of his ship, the Pelican, to that of the Golden Hind, in compliment to his patron Sir Christopher Hatton, whose coat of arms bore a golden hind. A sermon being preached by the chaplain, Master Fletcher, and prayer being offered up, the squadron entered the straits, passing along which, with land in sight on both sides, they in a short time made their way through a narrow channel, with a strong wind blowing astern. They then passed through a broad expanse. The following night they saw a lofty island to the southward, which appeared to burn like that of the island of Fogo. The tides as they passed on rose and fell regularly, the difference between high and low water being upwards of five fathoms.

On the 24th of August they came off a large and fruitful island, on which, the weather being fine, the Admiral and some of his officers landed, taking possession of it in the name of her Majesty, and calling it Elizabeth Island. Some other islands close to it abounded with strange—looking birds, somewhat in size less than a goose, and although they could not fly, ran at a great rate. They were in reality penguins, which abounded in those regions. In one day they killed no less than three thousand. On another island they found the body of a man who had been long dead. From these islands onwards the passage was so crooked and narrow that they very frequently had to come to an anchor. They found numerous harbours and abundance of fresh water. The mountains here rose to a great height, their tops apparently lost in the sky, and covered with ice and snow. On the low grounds many fine trees were seen, with green grass and herbs, the temperature being very similar to that of England.

The inhabitants made fires as they passed along, but did not come off to them. As they drew near the western entrance of the straits, the passage appeared so narrow, with so many broad channels opening to the southward, that the Admiral doubted which to select. He, therefore, ordering the squadron to anchor, put off himself in a boat, and rowed forwards to survey the passage. Having found one of sufficient width, he turned back to rejoin the fleet. On his way he fell in with a canoe made of bark, and full of people. It was of a peculiarly elegant form, turning up both at the stem and stern in a semicircle, the workmanship being also excellent in the extreme. The people in it were of low stature, but of compact form, and had their faces painted. They were on their way to the island off which the ships lay at anchor. A visit was afterwards paid to them on shore. Their dwellings were of framework, covered with the skins of beasts. Their food appeared to be mussels and other shell-fish. All their houses were of bark neatly sewn together. Their knives were formed of mussel-shells of great size, and were so sharp that they could cut the hardest wood with them, as well as bone, out of which they made the fizgigs they used for killing fish.

On the 6th of September, to the joy of all on board, the three ships sailed proudly into the South Sea, having accomplished the whole passage in about a fortnight, which had occupied their predecessors—Magalhaens, Loyasa, and Juan de Ladrilleros, who had come from the Pacific side—several months.

The land to the south had been found to consist, not of a mainland, or even of one large island, but of numerous islands, with broad passages between them. In consequence of the cold weather which now came on, the Admiral intended to sail northward, to get as soon as possible into a warmer latitude; but, a furious north wind arising, the ships could in no way make head against it, and were driven farther and farther south and east.

Instead of finding it the Pacific Ocean, they, from their experience, considered that it should be called the Stormy Sea. Day after day the tempest blew with extraordinary violence. During that period, on the 15th of September, an eclipse of the moon occurred, which lasted for a considerable time, adding to the horrors of the storm. For many days they ran on under bare poles, being unable to face it. On the 30th of the same month, the Marigold, commanded by Captain John Thomas, who had rendered such service to the Admiral, and having many other of his friends on board, was separated from her consorts. It was hoped, however, that she might be able to rejoin them at their place of rendezvous, about the thirtieth degree of south latitude, on the coast of Peru.

For a whole month the two remaining ships, sorely battered by the tempest, were out of sight of land, which at length regaining, on the night of the 7th of October, they ran into a harbour to the southward. They had not, however, long dropped their anchors before both ships were again driven out to sea, and that of the Admiral left an anchor behind her, but a sloop which had been put up at the entrance of the straits soon regained the harbour. The Elizabeth was lost sight of, while the Golden Hind was driven far away to the southward, where she lay helplessly tossed about by the fury of the waves. Again, the storm abating, she made sail, and sighted the utmost cape or headland of those islands, about the fifty-sixth degree of south latitude, and since known as Cape Horn.

On the 28th of October the Golden Hind anchored within a creek of the same island. Though people were seen on shore, no communication was held with them. On the 30th of October, with a fair wind, Drake steered to the north-west, and then north, in order not to lose sight of the continent. The following day the explorers came off an island covered so thickly with birds that they were able to obtain a plentiful supply; indeed, the whole fleet might have been equally well furnished.

Coasting along in sight of land, they observed a lofty range of mountains, but the country appeared barren, without water or wood, except here and there, where Spanish settlements had been formed. There being no possibility of obtaining information of the missing ships, they again ran off towards an island called Mucho, on account of its large size. Here they came to an anchor on the 25th, and found it a fertile place, with an abundance of sheep, cattle, Indian corn, and potatoes. The inhabitants were Indians, who had been driven off by the cruelty of the Spaniards, and had here fortified themselves. On ascertaining that the visitors were English, they came with great courtesy, bringing with them various fruits and two fat sheep, which they presented to the Admiral. He, in return, gave them a variety of useful articles, at which they seemed greatly pleased, and signified that they would return with further provisions.

Next day, therefore, at an early hour, the Admiral, with a number of men, repaired to the beach, carrying articles for barter. He first put two men ashore, with casks to obtain water at a place which had been pointed out, but scarcely had they landed when they were treacherously set upon and killed. Shortly afterwards, five hundred savages, armed with bows and darts, springing up from behind the rocks where they had been concealed, let fly a shower of arrows. The boat being driven in by the force of the sea towards the beach, the crew had great difficulty in pulling off. The Admiral received two wounds, one under his right eye, and one on his head, nearly penetrating to the bone; the rest of the party being also severely injured in different parts of their bodies. Had they not succeeded in getting the boat off, the whole might have been massacred. The arrows were long reeds, with heads of stone, and their darts were of great length, with iron or bone tips.

Serious as were the wounds, none proved mortal, and although the chief surgeon was dead, and the other had gone off in the Elizabeth, so that they had only a lad, whose anxiety to do right was far greater than his skill, they all in a short time recovered. Drake, though he might have revenged himself on the ignorant savages for their unwarrantable attack, convinced that they were influenced from their hatred of the Spaniards, who had so cruelly ill-treated them, refrained from retaliating.

In the afternoon the Golden Hind again set sail, Drake being anxious to fall in with the missing ships as soon as possible, and to find some convenient harbour where fresh provisions and needed repose for the wounded men could be obtained.

On the 30th of November the Admiral put into a bay at about the thirty-second degree of south latitude, and forthwith sent a boat to discover what likelihood there was that the place would afford the things they stood in need of. After a long search, neither fresh provisions nor water could be found; but they saw on shore huge herds of buffalo, though no signs of inhabitants. On their return they fell in with an Indian canoe, which, with the person in it, they brought alongside. He was a fine-looking man, dressed in a white shirt reaching to his knees. His hair was long, but he had no beard; he appeared to be of a mild and amiable disposition, and very grateful for the things the Admiral gave him. He was a fair specimen of the gentle and harmless people whom the Spaniards were treating so barbarously.

The native’s confidence having been thoroughly won, he was sent away in the Hind’s boat, accompanied by his own canoe, that he might be landed wherever he chose. Being put on shore, he met several of his friends, to whom he described the kind treatment he had received, and they, accompanied by their chief or head man, in a short time came off to the ship, bringing hens, eggs, a fat hog, and other provisions. The Indian gave them to understand that they could not obtain a sufficient supply of necessaries at that place, but offered to pilot them to a harbour a short way to the southward, where they might procure all they required.

Instead, therefore, of landing and going in chase of the buffaloes, as they had proposed doing, they set sail under their new pilot, and in a short time came to an anchor in the harbour of Valparaiso, not far from the town of Santiago.

None of the missing ships were here to be seen, nor could tidings be obtained of them. They found, however, a large ship, which, as they sailed in, welcomed them by beat of drum, supposing that they were Spaniards. At once, therefore, pulling on board, they rudely undeceived the crew by clapping them all down below, with the exception of one man. He, managing to jump overboard, swam to shore and alarmed the inhabitants, who speedily took refuge inland, carrying all they had time to snatch up.

On examining their prize, the Grand Captain, they found that she was laden with eighteen hundred jars of wine, upwards of twenty five thousand pesos of gold, and a crucifix of gold set with emeralds. Going on shore, they found a further quantity of wine, and supplied themselves with bread and all other necessaries in great abundance of which they stood in need. They also plundered a church of its ornaments and relics, among which were two cruets, a silver chalice, and an altar-cloth. All these, according to the curious notions which governed the rovers, were bestowed, as his share of the booty, on Master Fletcher the chaplain, who did not consider that he was in any way bound to decline them.

Having carried off the pilot of the Grand Captain, who, being a Greek, was called Juan Greigo, as well as the ship herself, they set sail, and, piloted by the friendly native, steered northward, until they reached the place where they had taken him on board. He was here, being loaded with presents, set on shore, seeming very grateful for the way he had been treated.

As the Golden Hind sailed towards the Line, a sharp look-out was kept for the missing vessels, while at the same time a search was made for a convenient harbour into which they could run and refit the ship, as likewise set up one of the pinnaces. The Admiral was anxious to do this, as the boat was too small to carry sufficient men should they encounter any Spaniards, and the ship was too large to put into small harbours.

As soon as the pinnace was completed, he intended to sail to the southward and examine every creek and small bay on the way, so that should either of the missing vessels have run in for shelter, she might be discovered.

With this object, on the 19th of December the Golden Hind entered a bay not far from the southward of Coquimbo, then called Cyppo, and inhabited by Spaniards. Fourteen of the seamen having landed, they were observed by the people of the town, who speedily, to the number of three hundred—of whom a hundred were mounted Spaniards, the others naked Indians, running like dogs at their heels, showing the miserable condition to which they were reduced—came out to attack them.

They were descried in time by the English seamen, who, scrambling round the rocks, gained their boats. One man, however, Richard Minjoy, vowing that he would not be put to flight by a hundred despicable Spaniards, remained on the rocks, daring them to come on; but he had not long thus stood when an arrow pierced him, and the Indians being sent to drag him up to the beach, he was there cruelly beheaded by the Spaniards, who cut off his right hand and plucked out his heart, then setting up the body, made the Indians shoot at it. All this was done in the sight of the crew.

After this exhibition of their cruel vengeance the Spaniards retired, leaving the body to be devoured by the beasts of the field and fowls of the air; but the seamen, in spite of the risk they ran, went on shore and buried it.

This not being the sort of place the English were in search of, nor the treatment they desired, they speedily got under weigh, and came on the following day to a convenient harbour some distance to the northward of Cyppo. Here some time was spent in refitting the ship, and bringing her into better sailing trim, as also in building the pinnace.

As soon as the latter was finished, the Admiral, with a party of picked men, set sail to proceed to the southward; but a contrary wind springing up, he was compelled to return. In this bay vast quantities of fish resembling the gurnard were found, so that in two or three hours, with only four or five hooks and lines, sometimes four hundred were taken.

Sailing on the 19th, two days afterwards they reached an island off a high cape, where they found four Indians fishing from their canoes. These men undertook to pilot them to a place where fresh water was to be found.

The natives fulfilled their promise, but the amount of water was very insufficient for the requirements of the ship. While constantly looking out for fresh water, they discovered a Spaniard lying asleep, probably drunk, with a bag containing four thousand Spanish ducats. Without disturbing the poor man’s slumbers, they relieved him of his charge, which they carried off.

Again landing, they met another Spaniard with an Indian boy, driving eight llamas, each laden with two leathern bags, and in each bag was found fifty pounds weight of refined silver. Unable to endure the thoughts of a Spanish gentleman turning carrier, they relieved him of his charge, themselves becoming drivers, but directing the animals towards their boats. The entire weight of the booty thus acquired was eight hundred pounds.

Proceeding northwards, they saw several Indian towns, the people from which came off in a curious kind of boat, bringing various sorts of fish, wishing to exchange them for knives, beads, and looking-glasses. Even the old men were as willing to accept such trifles as the young. They, like the rest of their countrymen, appeared to be of a mild and agreeable disposition.

The boats, if they could be so-called, were perfect novelties to the voyagers. They consisted of two large inflated skins fixed side by side, with a board on the top of them, on which the paddler sat, carrying his merchandise. They are known as balsas.

The Hind next came off the town of Normarena, governed by two Spaniards. Drake, wishing to obtain further refreshments, sent on shore to invite them to traffic. Rather from fear than love they consented, and among other things sent off several llamas, which were in height and length about the size of a small cow; but they must have been of great strength, for three full-grown men and a boy were seen seated on the back of one of them, their feet not reaching the ground. The sheep, as they were called, had necks like camels, but their heads much resembled those of ordinary sheep. Their wool was exceedingly fine. The Spaniards employed them to carry loads of silver from the mines. The voyagers heard that, throughout the province of Cuzco, so rich was the soil that every hundred pounds of earth yielded twenty-five pounds of pure silver. This, of course, was an absurdity; but so inflamed were their minds with ideas respecting the wealth of the country, that they were ready to believe anything told them.

From this place no harbour in which the missing vessels could have taken refuge was found, until the Golden Hind arrived off the town of Arica, on the 7th of February. The country around it appeared rich and fertile; the port was frequented by vessels from Lima and other parts of Peru, and was inhabited by Spaniards.

Here two vessels were found at anchor, the crews of which were on shore, and the voyagers visiting them discovered upwards of forty bars of silver, each weighing about twenty pounds. These they carried off, and, without communicating with the people on shore, proceeded on to Ylo. From thence, on their way to Lima, they met another bark at Arequipa, which had begun to load with gold and silver; but, hearing of their proceedings, the crew had re-landed her cargo.

Shortly afterwards they met another vessel laden with linen, and, thinking that it might be useful, they took her with them. As the Admiral was now preparing for more active proceedings, collecting the prizes, he hoisted their canvas, lashed their helms, and, the wind being off shore, sent them sailing away across the Pacific. Great must have been the astonishment of the natives of some distant islands, when these tenantless barks arrived off their shores. So rapid had been the progress of the Golden Hind, that on the 15th of February she entered Callao, the port of Lima, before news of her being on the coast had reached those who resided there.

They here found a fleet of thirty ships, among which the Golden Hind brought up, no one suspecting her character. Had they not been anxious about their missing vessels, they would have been tempted to take possession of the unarmed merchantmen.

Before their character was discovered, they visited several of the vessels in search of information, but they could hear nothing of their friends. They were told, however, that on the 3rd of February a large ship, called the Cacafuego, laden with a rich cargo of gold and silver, had sailed for Panama, from which point all goods were carried across the isthmus to the Atlantic shore, to be transmitted to Spain.

Having obtained all the information he required, Drake pulled round in a boat to the different ships, on board one of which, belonging to a certain Michael Angelo, one thousand five hundred bars of plate, besides a chest of silver royals, and silk, linen, and other things, were found. Of these the owners were quickly relieved. Several other ships were visited, and whatever articles of value were found on hoard them taken, though the whole did not amount to much. The crews being mostly on shore, no resistance was offered.

While thus employed they saw a stranger entering the port, but she got timely notice of how the English were engaged, and, nutting about, made her escape to sea. Not knowing, however, the direction they intended to sail, she stood northward, and only deferred for a time falling into the hands of her enemies, for she was soon afterwards captured.

The two largest ships were carried out of the harbour, where their mainmasts were cut away, while the cables of the smaller vessels were chopped through, so that they might drift wherever the tide might carry them.

These precautions were not unnecessary. Drake at once made chase after the rich prize he had heard of, but there was still the risk of his being overtaken. While yet in sight of the port, the Golden Hind lay becalmed, and from her deck two large vessels were seen standing off the land to attack her. The boats were lowered, and the crews pulled with might and main to keep ahead.

Nearer and nearer their enemies approached. The odds were fearfully against them. The English well knew that the Spanish ships would be crowded with men, who would, in overwhelming numbers, should they get alongside, endeavour to crush them. But their hearts did not fail. Cheering each other they rowed on, resolved if overtaken to fight to the last. Drake, however, had no idea of risking an action, for even though he might gain the victory, his ship and many of his people would be injured, and he would probably be compelled to abandon his undertaking.

As the voyagers watched the approaching foe, to their great joy they saw cats’-paws playing over the ocean; then their sails were filled by a breeze, which increased to a fresh gale, and away they flew on their desired course.

Still the Spanish ships followed, and the next morning appeared to be gaining on the Golden Hind. By noon, however, they were seen to haul their wind and turn back, the reason being that the Spaniards, in their hurry to get on board, had forgotten to bring with them any provisions, and, like other men, had no desire to fight on empty stomachs.


Chapter Seventeen.

Voyage of Sir Francis Drake, continued—A.D. 1579.

The Golden Hind chases the Cacafuego—Pursued by the Spaniards—Captures several vessels—The Line crossed—When off Cape Francisco a sail seen ahead—The Cacafuego heaves to—Is captured and plundered—Dismissed with a letter from Drake—The Hind puts into Cano—Other prizes taken—Sails for Guatuico—A council interrupted, and judge and prisoners carried off—Booty obtained—The pilot Da Silva and all prisoners set at liberty—The Hind sails northward—Bitter cold—Driven to the southward—Puts into the bay of San Francisco—A fort built—Natives appear—Friendly behaviour—Strange ceremonies—Visit from the King, who makes his country over to her Majesty—Drake horrified at the attempt of the natives to worship him—They at length take their departure—Drake’s excursion into the country—Sees deer—Coneys—Native huts—Preparations for departure—Grief of the natives—The Golden Hind sails away—The country named Albion.

Onward pressed the Golden Hind, her crew eager to overtake the richly-laden Cacafuego, or the Spitfire, as we will translate her name. Drake considered that she was likely to touch at other ports to take in more cargo, and, trusting to that circumstance and to her being occasionally becalmed, he confidently hoped to overtake her before she could reach Panama and land her cargo.

The sharpest of look-outs was kept ahead, and the seamen were constantly in the fore-top straining their eyes in expectation of catching sight of her white canvas. Every port was narrowly scanned on the chance of her having put in there. When the wind fell, the crew eagerly leapt into the boats to pull ahead. When there was a breeze every inch of canvas the ship could carry was spread to urge her along. The chase would prove a rich prize, for her cargo was worth many times more than that of all the vessels they had hitherto captured.

Drake was not aware all this time that he had enemies following astern, resolved to sink the Golden Hind, and hang the bold rover captain and every one of his pirate crew, for such they considered them, or, should they escape, purposing to lie in wait for them as they should attempt to pass again to the eastward through the Straits of Magellan.

A favouring breeze filling her sails, the Golden Hind pressed on. The ports of Paita, Saint Helena, and Guayaquil were successively passed; but, on the principle that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, they hove to some time after leaving Callao to capture a ship they sighted on their way, the one which had before escaped.

Another they took in the port of Paita, partly laden with wine, and a third, laden with ships’ stores, besides eighty pounds weight in gold. They made quick work of it, however, for they had just heard that a vastly superior force was on the look-out for them.

When near the Line they captured another vessel, belonging to Gabriel Alvarez. From him, as well as from the prisoners taken in the other ships, the information they had before received was confirmed, that the Cacafuego was but a short distance ahead of them. Their hopes, therefore, rose higher than ever. Drake, who was not less eager than his men to capture the rich argosy, to sharpen their eyesight promised to the first that should discover her the gold chain he wore round his neck.

It was the ist of March. The Line was passed. Far off, on the starboard bow, the lofty headland of Cape Francisco was seen, though dim and indistinct. All day long the seamen, with eager eyes, had been looking out ahead and on either side, hoping to espy the tiny speck of white just above the horizon. The day was clear, the sun shone brightly down from an unclouded sky, and the Golden Hind in hot haste sped on, her canvas spread wide on either side to catch the breeze. Midday was passed. In spite of the heat every one was on deck, the eyes of most of the ship’s company, whether there or aloft, looking in the direction they were going.

Presently a shout rose from the summit of the highest mast, to which John Drake, a seaman, had climbed—

“A sail, a sail! right ahead!”

“Should the stranger prove to be the Cacafuego, the chain of gold shall be yours, John,” replied the Admiral.

If human muscles could have urged on the Golden Hind at a greater speed than she was going, the men would have exerted their strength until they had dropped. They could do nothing, however, but stand on deck or cling to the masts and shrouds, looking at the distant sail with still more eagerness than before.

Gradually the topsails of the stranger rose above the horizon, then her courses or lower sails, then the hull itself came into view. As they examined her from the trucks to the water’s edge, they were more and more convinced that she was the argosy of which they had been so long in chase. What was their astonishment, at length, to see her clew up her sails and heave to!

“Is she so strongly armed that she can venture to stop and fight us?” was the question.

No one had anticipated that she earned guns. Such had not been the practice of the Spaniards in those seas, for they had been fully convinced that no enemies could venture through the straits to wrest their ill-gotten treasures from their hands. Hitherto they had enjoyed the monopoly of tyrannising over the Indians, and of all the profitable commerce carried on along the coast. Drake had aroused them from their sleep of security.

The Golden Hind got nearer and nearer to the stranger. John Drake felt convinced that he had won the Admiral’s chain. Presently the ship ahead was seen to put her helm up and make all sail, endeavouring to escape; but it was too late,—already she was within range of the guns of the Golden Hind, which forthwith began pouring forth their shot, aimed not at her hull—that was too precious to be injured—but at her masts and spars. The English were rejoiced to see the efforts made by the Spanish captain to escape, for this convinced them that his cargo was a valuable one, or he would not have run the risk of losing his life or the lives of his men from the iron shot which came rattling on board. Another shout, triumphant and jubilant, rose from the deck of the Golden Hind. The mast of the chase was shot away, and the adventurers, soon getting up to her, made fast alongside.

She was indeed the Cacafuego. The captors eagerly pressed on board, the Spanish captain and his crew having no heart to oppose them. He confessed that, when he hove to, he had taken the Golden Hind for a Spanish ship, sent by the Viceroy with some special message for him to convey to Panama, and great had been his astonishment when he discovered her real character. The Admiral, setting all sail, carried his prize away from the land, out of the track of passing vessels or of the Spanish squadron sent in chase of him, that he might at his leisure transfer her cargo to the hold of the Golden Hind.

Unbounded was the delight of the seamen when they found that the riches she contained were fully equal to the amount they had been led to expect. At first, to be sure, they found chiefly fruit, conserves, meal, and sugar; but before long they ferreted out cases of jewels and precious stones, thirteen chests of silver royals, eighty pounds weight of gold twenty-six tons of uncoined silver, not to speak of two very beautiful silver-gilt drinking-bowls and like trifles; the whole valued at 360,000 pesos, or somewhere like 75,000 pounds,—in these days equal to a million of money, not taking into account the precious stones and other booty. The bowls, with which Drake was mightily pleased, belonged to the pilot, and when the Admiral told him he must have one of them for a punch-bowl, to show his contempt and hatred of the English, he presented the other to the Admiral’s steward. Nearly six days were spent in unloading the ship of her precious cargo, when she was allowed to proceed on her way to Panama; Drake having presented to the captain, Juan de Anton, some linen and other articles, and a letter addressed to Captain Winter and other officers of the squadron, requesting them, should they fall in with him, to give him double the value of anything they might receive, and treat him well.

The Golden Hind then stood off the coast, to avoid any Spanish vessels that might be on the look-out for her. Though still searching for the missing ships, the explorers had now very little hope of finding them.

Both officers and crew, indeed, began to pine for home, with a great desire also to carry the enormous wealth they had obtained with them. Drake’s great object was now—having repaired and stored the ship—to go in search of a passage round the northern end of America into the Atlantic Ocean. That one existed he had ever believed, though he little thought of the icy barrier which blocked it up. His hope was that he should find it, and that then he and his companions should speedily with joy return to their longed-for homes.

He now shaped a course for the island of Cano, off the coast of Nicaragua. On his way he fell in with one more Spanish ship, laden with linens, silk, and china dishes, and a falcon of finely-wrought gold, on the breast of which was set a large emerald. Having taken only the more valuable portions of the cargo, the vessel was dismissed, an Indian and a pilot only being detained.

On the 16th of March they reached Cano, when they entered a fresh water river suitable for their object. While the Hind and the pinnace lay at anchor, about a mile from the shore, suddenly they found the vessels quiver and shake as if they had struck a rock. A terrible earthquake was taking place, the effects of which were felt even at that distance from the land.

They here obtained fresh water, wood, and an abundance of fish, besides monkeys and several animals killed on shore. While the ship was here, the pinnace, being dispatched on active duty, brought in a prize, laden with honey, butter, and other commodities, besides which were letters from the King of Spain to the Governor of the Philippines, and charts, or sea cards, as they were called. The latter afterwards proved of considerable value to the voyagers.

The Admiral, considering it prudent, with a long voyage in prospect, to thoroughly provision the ship, determined to put into some place where he might, either by fair means or by force, obtain a sufficient quantity of the articles he considered necessary. He therefore compelled the pilot who had last been taken to steer the ship to Guatulco. He reached that place in safety. As soon as they had dropped anchor, the boats were lowered and a well-armed party hastened on shore.

Marching up to the largest building, they found a council of the principal inhabitants, who altogether consisted only of seventeen Europeans, trying a number of Indians accused of forming a plot to burn the place. To the astonishment of the Spaniards, and to the no small joy probably of the accused Indians, all were hurried on board, when the judge was compelled, upon the threat of being carried off, to write to his fellow-townsmen, advising them to offer no resistance.

While he was thus kept as a hostage, the place was ransacked; but the only valuable booty collected was a bushel of silver reals. One of the party, however, Thomas Moon, observing a Spanish gentleman running off in great fright, pursued and took from him a chain of gold and some jewels.

The rovers obtained also numerous articles of provision, clothing, stores, and suchlike, which they much needed. They here landed the Portuguese pilot Nuna da Silva, whom they had brought from the Cape de Verdes, and likewise set at liberty all the other prisoners they had taken.

Having thus arranged their business on shore, on the 16th of April they set sail, standing out into the ocean. Obtaining a fair wind, they steered northward for one thousand four hundred leagues, until they reached the forty-second degree of north latitude. Here they found the cold so intense, that many of the crew suffered greatly. The air was biting in the extreme, and even the ropes of the ship on which the rain fell became covered with ice. This occurred not only at night, but during the day, when the sun was shining.

As they sailed two degrees farther north, the seamen could scarcely keep themselves warm with the thickest clothing they could put on. They found it difficult also, even with double the number of men, to work the ropes and trim the sails. The crew, not without reason, began to murmur, and declared that they should never be able to endure the cold. The Admiral, however, urged them to persevere. They were standing on when they found themselves close to a shore trending to the westward, and, compelled by a contrary wind, they put into a bay, where they brought up; but the anchorage appearing very insecure, they sailed out again. The Admiral would have continued on his course again in search of a passage, but a northerly wind springing up, drove the Golden Hind once more to the southward.

Though it was in the height of summer, the cold continued so bitter, that many would have taken to their beds had they not been compelled to attend to the working of the ship. During this time also the sky became so overcast with clouds and thick mists, that it was impossible to take an observation. At length they came to the conclusion that there was no passage at all along the north shore of America, or that it was so blocked up with ice as to be impassable. They ran in and dropped anchor in a roadstead, since called the Bay of San Francisco.

The following day the natives came down to the beach, and sent off a man in a canoe, who, as he approached, stood up and made a long speech, using a variety of gesticulations, moving his hands and turning his head about in all directions. His address concluded, he turned back and made for the shore. In a short time he came again, and behaved exactly in the same manner; a third time he appeared, bringing with him as a present a bunch of feathers, much like those of a black crow, all neatly and cleverly put together, forming a sort of crown, such as was also worn by the principal persons in attendance on the chief. He also produced a small basket made of rushes, filled with a herb, which the natives called tabak, from which the French take the word tabac, and the English tobacco. Having tied this to a pole, he placed it in the boat alongside.

Drake would at once have recompensed him with several articles, but the only thing he would receive was a hat, which was floated off to him.

As the ship had sprung a leak and required to be put on shore, she was carried nearer, in order that her cargo might be landed, and that she might be repaired.

In order to guard against any attack from the natives, the Admiral decided on throwing up a fort, in which, for security, their valuable cargo and stores might be placed, and which would serve as a protection to themselves.

While the English were thus employed, the natives were seen coming over the brow of a hill, at the foot of which, close to the beach, the fort was being built. At first only a few warriors appeared, armed with bows and arrows, then more and more came. The seamen sprang to their arms; Drake ordered them not to fire or to show any sign of alarm.

The savages, it appeared, however, had no hostile intentions, for they approached in a humble fashion, as if they were inclined rather to reverence the white strangers than to attack them. Their numbers still further increased.

It being intimated to them by signs that they must lay aside their bows and arrows, they willingly did as they were directed. The example of the first parties was followed by the rest. Drake, anxious to secure their good-will by every possible means, distributed among them various articles of clothing, of which they stood greatly in need. As the natives by their reverential gestures appeared to look upon their visitors as beings of a superior order, Drake, shocked at the thoughts of allowing himself or his men for a moment to be so worshipped, tried to make them understand that he and his companions required clothing as much as they did, as also food and water, for which purpose he and his companions ate and drank in their presence. Notwithstanding this, nothing apparently could remove the idea entertained by the Indians that the white men were divinities.

In return for the shirts, linen, cloths, and other articles they had received, they offered feather ornaments, net-work bags, quivers made of deer-skin, and various skins.

The costume of these people was not very elaborate. The women wore on their shoulders the skins of deer, with the hair upon them, in addition to which they had petticoats formed of rushes combed out, hanging down from their waists to their knees. They appeared to be very obedient to their lords and masters, and did not even venture to move without asking permission. The men wore scarcely any clothing whatever.

Having satisfied their curiosity, or whatever brought them to visit the strangers, they retired towards some woods seen in the distance, where their dwellings were supposed to be.

Scarcely had they reached the woods, when they began weeping and crying out, the women especially shrieking in shrill tones, the sounds, although they were three-quarters of a mile off, reaching to the fort.

Drake wisely considered, in consequence of the experience he had had with other savages, notwithstanding the humble way in which they had behaved, that it would be dangerous to trust them too much, well aware, also, that any trifling event might cause a breach of the peace.

For two days none of the savages came near the voyagers, who were thus able to finish the fort without interruption. It was constructed of rough stones and stakes, so that with their guns and crossbows it might easily be defended against any number of assailants.

At the end of two days a still larger number of people than before appeared in the distance, men, women, and children, who brought with them, as they had before, feathers and bags of tabak, as propitiatory offerings. On reaching the top of a hill they stopped, when one of their number, who appeared to be their chief, commenced an oration in a loud voice, which could be clearly heard, though he was at some distance; while he used at the same time the strangest and most violent gestures, exerting himself until he was breathless.

When he had concluded, the rest bowed their bodies, crying “Oh!” as if to give their consent to the truth of all he had spoken. This done, the men, leaving their bows and arrows on the top of the hill with their women and children, approached the fort with their presents. As they did so, the women began shrieking in the most piteous tones, tearing their flesh with their nails, and dashing themselves against hard stones and stumps of trees and prickly bushes until blood streamed from their cheeks and all parts of their bodies. Supposing that they were performing some rite in honour of the diabolical beings they worshipped, Drake, to avert the evil which might ensue should he calmly sanction such a proceeding, ordered his men to fall on their knees, he himself setting the example. There they offered up prayers to God, that He would in His own good pleasure open the eyes of the savages, that they might in due time be called to a knowledge of Himself and Jesus Christ, whom He hath sent to be the salvation of the Gentiles.

While the chaplain was reading certain portions in the Bible, and the seamen were joining in the prayers and singing psalms, the savages watched them attentively, at every pause uttering “Oh!” as if highly pleased.

The service over, the savages approached, and their first request was that the English would again sing them some psalms.

On further presents being offered them, they left them behind, wishing to show that they had not come to receive such things. Towards the end of another three days a still larger number of people appeared: so great, indeed, was the concourse, that it seemed as if the whole population of the country for a considerable distance must have been assembled.

From the midst of the crowd two persons were seen approaching, who from their gestures were supposed to be heralds. As far as could be understood, their Hioh or King was at hand, and desired to pay the strangers a visit.

One of the heralds spoke in a low soft voice, as if to prompt his companion; the other repeated word by word what was said in a loud and sonorous tone. The speech lasted half an hour. At the end of it they requested that something might be sent to their Hioh, as a token that he would be received as a friend.

With this request Drake willingly complied, and a suitable present was placed in the hands of the heralds, who took their departure.

In a short time a handsome man of great stature was seen approaching, who from his plumed head-dress and a coat of rich skins which he wore, reaching to his waist, was shown to be their King. In front marched a fine-looking man of large size, carrying a heavy black club, to which was suspended two feather crowns and three chains of great length, made of bone highly polished, and a bag containing tabak.

He was accompanied by some tall warriors, who formed his body-guard, their head-dresses and coats being very similar to those of the King. They all had their faces painted, some with white, others black, and others of various colours, each man carrying in his hand a gift of some sort. Behind these came a concourse of nearly naked people, their long hair being gathered into a bunch behind, and ornamented with plumes of feathers in various forms, some having stuck a feather on each side on the front of their heads, which looked like horns.

Last of all came the women and children, the women carrying, hung round their necks in front, baskets of tabak and roots which they called petah,—no doubt the potato,—and boiled fishes. Their baskets, formed of dried grass, were neatly woven, the edges ornamented with mother-of-pearl and shells; while on the sides were interwoven red feathers in various devices. So fine were these baskets that they would hold water.

As the cortège approached they struck up a loud chant, to the measured time of which they marched forward. As they got nearer, after a shout of welcome had been uttered by the entire concourse, the sceptre-bearer advanced, and in a manly voice commenced an oration, prompted by a companion, and at the conclusion, according to the rule, they all shouted “Oh!” to signify “Amen.”

The King himself then, accompanied by both men and women, the children only being left behind, with stately step came down the hill. On reaching its foot, close to the fort, the sceptre-bearer commenced in a slow measure a dignified dance, keeping time to a chant or song which he began; then the King and his guards and every other person joined in the song and dance, the women also dancing, but not singing. In this way, dancing and singing, they advanced close up to the fort.

So satisfied was Drake that these performances were friendly, that he allowed them freely to enter the fort. When the women approached with their offerings, it was seen that blood was streaming from their bodies, their faces, and necks.

They now requested Drake to sit down, when both the King and his chief men made long orations, and these the English understood to signify that they desired to place the country and everything they possessed at the feet of her Majesty the Queen. They were still further convinced of this when the King—the rest singing a joyful song—placed the crown on the Admiral’s head, and threw the bone chains which had been brought round his neck, addressing him as “Hioh.”

Drake, not considering this as any superior reverence to himself, but only such as would be paid to the King, did not think it right to refuse the homage or the gifts thus freely offered, hoping that in time to come it might redound to the honour and profit of his country, and that these children of nature would willingly receive missionaries of the Gospel, and be brought to a right knowledge of the true and ever-living God.

The natives now dispersing themselves among the English, each selected some person on whom to bestow his present, choosing, it was observed, most willingly the youngest. This done, they again commenced shrieking and tearing the flesh on their faces. In vain the officers and men endeavoured to dissuade them from continuing such heathenish practices, by lifting up their eyes and hands to heaven, as if pointing to the living God, whom they ought to serve.

Becoming at length more calm, the natives began to exhibit their sores and wounds, shrunk sinews, and other complaints from which they suffered, by signs beseeching them to cure them, as if by merely blowing upon them this could be done. On this the young surgeon got out such lotions, plasters, and ointments as he fancied might do them service. It was almost night before the savages retired, but nearly every day they returned, and sometimes forgot to bring food with them, when the Admiral ordered them to be supplied with mussels, seals, and such meat as could be spared, with which they appeared well pleased.

Observing that their offerings were not acceptable, they refrained from bringing them, but still came down and sat in groups, watching what was going forward. They appeared to be people of an especially tractable and mild nature, free from treachery. Their only weapons were their bows and arrows, which constituted all their wealth. These were, however, so small and weak that they could do but little injury with them; they employed them chiefly to shoot the fish swimming along shore or the smaller animals of the chase. This seemed strange, as the men were strong, and would take up loads such as two or three Englishmen could barely lift, and carry them without difficulty up or down hill for a mile together. They also ran with exceeding swiftness and for a long time.

Having got on well in the repairing and refitting of the ship, Drake and his officers made an excursion into the interior, where they saw vast herds of fat deer, and the whole land seemed burrowed by small animals somewhat like coneys, the heads resembling those of rats, the feet of moles, and having tails of great length. Under their chins and on either side was a bag, into which they stowed their food after they had gathered it, that they might either feed their young or themselves at their leisure. The people ate the meat of these animals, and the skins were considered of great value, the King’s robes of state being made of them. Several of the native houses were entered. The lower part consisted of a square pit dug in the earth, with a roof; while the upper portion was formed by several poles stuck in the ground and joined together at the top, the whole being interlaced with twigs, and this being covered with earth was impervious to cold or rain. The doorway was of the size and shape of the scuttle of a ship, formed in the sloping roof, and served also to allow the escape of smoke.

A fire was placed in the centre, and the beds of the inmates were on the hard ground, covered only with rushes and mats. The huts being low, and without any means of ventilation except from a single small doorway, the heat within, even though there was no fire, when a number of persons were collected, was intense.

By the time the Admiral returned, everything was ready for continuing the voyage. Before sailing he put up a strong post, with a brass plate fixed to it, on which was engraved the name of the Queen, the day and year of their arrival, and the free giving up of the province, both by the King and the people, into her Majesty’s hands, together with a sixpence, showing her Majesty’s picture and arms. Underneath Drake’s name was engraven, and further particulars. He believed that no Spaniard had ever before set foot on the shore, not being aware that Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, a Portuguese by birth, had thirty-seven years previously explored the coast by command of the Viceroy of Spain.

As the natives perceived that the English were about to take their departure, the ship being now hauled out, with her sails ready for hoisting, they gave themselves up to unbounded grief, so that nothing that could be said to them seemed to lighten their sorrow. They could not be prevented lighting a fire, supposed to be sacrificial; but when the English commenced praying and singing psalms, they appeared to forget their fury, and came round, lifting up their hands and eyes to heaven, as they saw them doing. On the 23rd of July they took a sorrowful farewell of their visitors, who, shoving off in their boats, went on board the Golden Hind. Her crew, as they sailed away, saw fires burning on all the surrounding heights, kindled by the natives, evidently either to do them honour or to show their affection.

Drake bestowed on this country the name of Albion, in consequence of the whiteness of the cliffs, which resembled those of England, and because his native land was so-called.


Chapter Eighteen.

Voyage of Sir Francis Drake, continued—A.D. 1579-80.

Search of passage to north-east abandoned—Passage across the Pacific—A group of islands made—Thievish practices of the natives—Called the Carolines—The Moluccas reached—Friendly reception by the King of Ternate—Comes off in his state barge—His magnificent jewels—The Hind sails—Careened at an island near Celebes—Gigantic trees, fire-flies, crabs—Gets among reefs and shoals—Strikes on a rock—Perilous position of the ship—Gets off—A heavy gale—Runs under bare poles—Anchors off Baratira—Natives friendly—Sails on to Java—The Rajah treats them well—The Golden Hind sails across the Indian Ocean—Rounds the Cape of Good Hope—Touches at Sierra Leone—Enters the Channel—Plymouth reached the 25th of September, 1580—Received by the Queen—The Queen visits the Golden Hind—Drake knighted—His subsequent enterprises against the Spaniards—In command of the Bonaventura attacks the Spanish Armada—His last expedition to the West Indies, and death at sea.

After touching at some islands which lie about a day’s sail to the westward of California, where there was a large supply of seals and aquatic birds, the Golden Hind continued her course. In consequence of the increased cold, all idea of finding a passage round the north of America, by the consent of every officer on board, was abandoned, and a course was steered which, it was hoped, would enable them to reach the Moluccas.

For full sixty-eight days the voyagers sailed on, their view during the whole of that period being bounded by sky and sea. As far as their experience went, it was to them a Pacific Ocean, for they had smooth water and favouring breezes. They fell in with the usual sights, flying-fish endeavouring to escape from their foes the bonitos; huge whales showing their presence by spouting clouds of mist into the air; while now and then a strong-winged bird passed in their sight.

Good fellowship prevailed amongst them, no words of discontent escaped from their lips. They had confidence in their leader, and, above all, reliance on God’s good providence. They were men pious after a manner. The robberies they committed did not trouble their consciences, for they considered that they had lawfully despoiled the Spaniards of their unlawfully gotten gains. They each considered that they had performed a noble and meritorious act in thus revenging on the heads of the tyrants the injuries inflicted on the helpless Indians, as well as of those which they and their countrymen had received. Even Master Fletcher, the chaplain, looked with a complacent eye on the crucifix set with brilliants, the bowls, chalices, and other articles, which, according to his view, having been taken from the idolatrous temples of the hated foe, were his proper share of the spoil; and he was ready to receive as many more similar articles as might be allotted to him.

As the sailors thought of the huge bars of silver and the chests of plate stowed away in the hold, they prayed with all earnestness to Heaven for a successful termination to their voyage, and resolved, like true men as they were, that nothing should be lacking on their part to accomplish it.

At length a group of islands was seen, from which a large number of canoes came off, manned some by four, others by fifteen men, bringing with them cocoa-nuts, fish, potatoes, and fruits. Their canoes were formed out of one tree, but smoothly and cleverly hollowed out, having the appearance of being skilfully burnished. The bow and stern were of the same shape, turned inwards in a semicircle, and highly ornamented with glistening shells. On either side of the canoe pieces of timber were hung out, from a yard to a yard and a half long, according to the size of the canoes, to the ends of which was fastened a beam, the object being to keep them from upsetting.

The ears of the natives hung down on either side of their cheeks, weighted by heavy ornaments. Some had nails on their fingers an inch long, and their teeth were as black as pitch, caused by rubbing them with a black pigment contained in a cane.

On first coming alongside they appeared ready to trade in an ordinary honest way, and gave the articles they had brought off willingly for whatever they received; but others coming round in great numbers, snatched up anything they could get hold of, and made off with it.

Drake, to show that this was not approved of, would not deal with those who had thus behaved. They still, however, came round with the greatest impudence, and asked for more. At length, to warn them, he ordered a gun without shot to be fired over their heads. On hearing the sound, in natural alarm they leapt overboard, and dived under their canoes, when, waiting until the ship had passed on, they got into them and made for the shore. Others, however, in a short time came off, one of whom had the impudence to steal a dagger from a seaman’s belt. Being ordered to restore it, instead of so doing, he grasped at other things, and tried to make his escape. At length the seamen, losing patience, handling the ropes’ ends and other still more formidable weapons, drove their roguish visitors overboard, and as they sailed away, bestowed on the group the name of the Islands of Thieves, now known as the Carolines. Thence sailing southward, the Hind passed several islands till she reached that of Mindanao, whence two canoes came off; but the wind blowing strong, Drake could not wait to communicate with them.

On the 3rd of November she came in sight of the high-peaked Molucca Islands, to the east of which lies the great island of Gilolo. The two principal are called Ternate and Tidore. Drake had intended to touch at the latter, but when near the little island of Motir, belonging to Ternate, a person of consequence, the Viceroy of the island, came off with the information that the King had driven the Portuguese, who were enemies to him as well as to them, out of Ternate, and that he was anxious to receive the English with due honour, and to open up a commercial intercourse with them. He assured Drake that if he dealt with the Portuguese, he would find them treacherous and deceitful, and that the King of Ternate would have nothing to do with him if he had any intercourse with them.

In consequence of this Drake resolved to run to Ternate, off which island, early the next day, the Golden Hind came to an anchor. The Admiral immediately sent a velvet cloak to the King, with a message stating that he came on a friendly visit.

The Viceroy did not fail strongly to impress the King’s mind with an idea of the consequence and power of the Queen of England, and he came back carrying a signet ring, as a sign to Drake that he would be well received, saying that the King himself, with his nobles, would soon pay him a visit on board.

Meantime Drake sent one of his officers on shore, who was met on landing by a number of the chief people, and by them was conducted into the presence of the King.

His Majesty blamed himself for not having at once come off to pay his promised visit, and announced his intention of speedily making his appearance. The ship was accordingly decked with flags, the officers and crew were attired in their best, while the guns were got ready to fire a salute. At length signs were perceived that the great person was coming off.

Three large canoes, each of which contained some of the chief people of the kingdom, approached. Canopies were spread from one end of the canoes to the other, of fine mats supported on a framework of reeds. The occupants were attired in white linen or cloth of Calicut, each person seated in order according to his rank, the white heads of some of them showing the wisdom of the King in employing grave and reverend councillors. Besides them were a number of young, handsome-looking men, who, also attired in white, stood under the canopy, but showing, from the places they occupied, that they were of inferior rank. Round them, again, were arranged soldiers, neat and orderly, with their arms brightly polished. On the galleries on the outside of the state barge sat the rowers, in three ranks, each canoe having eight. At the head of the canoe sat two men, one holding a drum and the other a brass instrument, with which they struck time to direct the rowers. In the bow also was a handsome brass cannon of about a yard in length, and each man, except the rowers, had his sword, dagger, and shield, some of them carrying other weapons, such as guns, lances, bows, and darts.

As these magnificently equipped barges came near the ship, they rowed round and round, one following the other, the chief persons in them bowing low as they did so, in token of homage. They then put the former envoy on board, who signified that the King was coming, and desired that a hawser might be sent to the barges, in order that they might tow the ship into a better berth.

As the Golden Hind went gliding on, the King himself came off in a handsome barge, richly ornamented, accompanied by six grave and ancient fathers, and as he approached he also bowed towards the ship in a far more humble way than could have been expected. He was a tall, very corpulent man, of a pleasant and handsome countenance. So great was the respect shown him, that even the chief councillors did not speak to him except on their knees. Drake, wishing to do all the honour in his power to the King, and highly pleased at the confidence he exhibited, ordered the ordnance to be fired, the trumpets to sound, and the band to strike up a lively tune.

This delighted the King so much that he requested the band to come into a boat, which was towed by his barge for a whole hour together. Drake, to strengthen the friendship thus commenced, sent a variety of presents to the King, who had in the meantime dispatched a messenger to bring his brother, named Moro. The latter soon appeared, accompanied by a number of followers, all handsomely dressed, in barges as magnificent as those of the King.

His Majesty now expressed his wish to return on shore, saying that he would come back the next day, and before night he sent on board rice, sugar-canes, and sugar in various forms, fowls, plantains, cocoa-nuts, and sago, now first known to the English. They might also have obtained any amount of cloves, but Drake did not wish further to load his ship.

The Admiral was expecting the arrival of the King, when Prince Moro came with apologies, saying that if Drake would go ashore he himself would remain as a hostage. To this, however, all the officers were greatly averse, suspecting treachery, and he therefore determined to send several of them with Prince Moro, retaining the Viceroy of Motir as a hostage.

On landing they were courteously received by a large number of persons of rank in handsome dresses, and were conducted to the palace. This was a four-sided building, the centre canopied by a cloth of many colours, such as tents are made of. All the way round it were cushioned seats. It was the usual council-house, and not used for any other purpose. On one side was the chair of state, placed on a handsome carpet, having over it a very beautiful and rich canopy.

As the King did not make his appearance for an hour, the officers had time to examine things at their leisure. Before he appeared, about threescore noble, grave, and ancient personages entered and took their seats round the building, while at the farther end were a large number of richly dressed young men. Outside stood four fine-looking white-headed persons clothed in red robes reaching to the ground, having turbans on their heads similar to the Turks. They were, it was understood, strangers, but long resident in the country. Two of them were Turks, one an Italian, and the last a Spaniard, who had been rescued from the Portuguese.

At length the King appeared, followed by ten grave senators, walking under a rich canopy embossed with gold, and guarded by twelve men armed with lances, the points turned downwards.

The officers, accompanied by Prince Moro, rose to meet him. He received them graciously. He was dressed like his countrymen, but far more sumptuously. His garments from the waist downward were of cloth of gold of the richest description; his legs were bare, but on his feet he wore red slippers; his head-dress was a sort of turban twisted through wide gold rings, and somewhat resembled a crown. Round his neck he wore a massive gold chain; on his left hand four magnificent rings, adorned by a diamond, an emerald, a ruby, and a turquoise; and on his right an unusually large turquoise in one ring, and in another ring many diamonds of a smaller size artistically arranged.

While he sat in his chair of state, on his right side stood a page holding a large fan, richly embroidered and set with sapphires, with which he constantly fanned his master. The heat was excessive, both on account of the sun’s rays and the number of persons assembled.

The officers, having delivered their message, received permission to take their departure. Before retiring to the boats, they had time to examine the castle, which was very ill fortified. It had only two guns, which had been captured from the Portuguese, and they were not mounted. The present King had lately succeeded his father, who had been killed by the Portuguese. Having driven them out of the country, he greatly increased his strength, and was contemplating an attack on Tidore, from which he hoped to expel them.

While the Golden Hind remained off Ternate, a stranger came on board, very well dressed, and of courteous manners. He described himself as a Chinese, related to the Emperor of China. He said that being accused of a crime of which he was innocent, he thought it prudent to quit his country and travel, after having obtained permission from the King, that should he bring back anything curious, he should obtain his pardon.

Having described the unbounded wealth of China, he entreated Drake to visit the country before returning to Europe. Drake, however, having already more than wealth enough on board his ship, and wishing to get back to England as soon as possible, declined his offer.

On the 9th of November, having shipped all necessary stores and provisions, the Golden Hind proceeded on her voyage. It was necessary, however, before she could attempt to cross the wide expanse of the Indian Ocean, and to encounter the storms off Cape Horn and in the Atlantic, which might be expected, to careen and thoroughly repair her. On the 14th, therefore, they anchored at a convenient spot near an uninhabited island off the east coast of Celebes. The first thing they did was to pitch their tents, and entrench themselves as strongly as they could on the shore, lest any of the inhabitants of the larger island in view might attack them. After having thus provided for their security, they landed the cargo and set up a smith’s forge. As all their coals were spent, before they could use it, they had to manufacture charcoal.

The place was remarkably healthy, and those who had hitherto been sickly quickly recovered their strength. The island was thickly wooded with trees of great height. Among them fire-flies in vast numbers were seen flitting, at night every twig on the trees appearing as if lighted up by stars.

They also saw what they took to be huge bats, which moved rapidly through the air with short flights. When they alighted they hung on the boughs, with their backs downwards. They also found, in vast numbers, large land crabs, which lived in colonies under the roots of trees, but never, as far as they could see, entered the water. They accordingly called this place Crab Island.

All necessary repairs being completed, the Golden Hind sailed on the 12th of December, directing her course westward. When off the coast of Celebes, she became entangled among reefs and shoals, from out of which it required the greatest possible care to find a free passage. Here they were sailing, now in one direction, now in another, until the 9th of January, when, a favourable breeze springing up, they believed that they had extricated themselves from their dangerous position, and that they had an open sea before them. They were running under all sail, when, in the beginning of the first night watch, a loud grating sound was heard,—the masts quivered: the Golden Hind had run hard and fast on a rock. No land was in sight; there appeared no hopes of getting her off. Like pious men as they were, of a sort, they fell down on their knees and implored God’s protection. They then rose,—their brave Admiral setting the example,—and bestirred themselves to see what could be done. The pumps were tried and quickly sucked dry, showing that the hull of the Golden Hind was sound.

It was now deemed important to carry an anchor out to seaward, but before doing so a boat was lowered, into which the Admiral leaped, undertaking the charge of sounding all round the ship; but even at a boat’s length from her no bottom was found to which a cable could reach. She appeared fixed hard and fast, and should any sea get up she must inevitably quickly go to pieces.

Of this all were thoroughly convinced, although, Drake and his officers setting the example, all manfully kept up their spirits. Their boat could not carry more than twenty persons at once with safety, while the whole company consisted of fifty-eight, and the land was six leagues from them, the wind being directly off shore. At first it was proposed to send one boat-load on shore, but there was the risk of their falling into the hands of the savage inhabitants. Anxiously they awaited the return of day. It came at length. They forthwith made another attempt to carry out an anchor, but no holding ground was found. They were apparently on the very pinnacle of a rock. It was the top of high water. There appeared every probability that, when the tide became lower, the ship would fall over on her bilge and be destroyed.

Again they took to praying, and, after a short address by the Admiral and chaplain, they all together partook of the sacrament. Then, lest they should be guilty of not using all lawful means to free themselves from their danger, they commenced unloading the ship by casting all the goods they could lay their hands on into the sea.

Powder and shot and provisions were hove overboard, for they trusted that, should God permit the ship once more to float, He would not allow them to fall into the hands of their enemies, or to perish from want of food. The tide continued to fall, but the breeze blew strongly against the side which was inclined towards the rock, and kept the ship on an even keel, although, at one time, on that side there was not more than seven feet of water, while she required thirteen to float her. The breeze increasing, she heeled over on the opposite side, where the water was the deepest, and by this means, her keel tearing away the coral rock, she was suddenly floated, at a moment no one expected, into deep water. A shout of joy escaped the throats of the gallant crew of the Golden Hind, nor did they forget to offer up their grateful thanks to Heaven for their delivery. This was the greatest danger they had hitherto encountered. For many days afterwards, however, they were entangled among the reefs off the low coast of Celebes.

On the 20th of January, Drake, desiring to come to an anchor, sent the boat a considerable distance off, to look for a spot where he could bring up. Before, however, she could return, the ship was struck by a wind from the south-west, little short of a hurricane, by which the sea was rapidly lashed into fury, endangering not only the boat, but the ship herself, for she was now caught on a lee shore, off which it seemed impossible to beat. Happily the violence of the storm passed over, and the Golden Hind, picking up her boat, was able to ply off the land. Although she got clear of that danger, for many days she was exposed to others of a similar nature, and, being struck by another violent squall, it became necessary to furl all sail and to run under bare poles.

On the 6th of February five islands were in sight, towards one of which they steered, and came to an anchor. Here they wooded and watered, and on the 8th, as they were again at sea, two canoes were seen coming off to the ship. The natives in them, who were fine-looking fellows, but naked, with the exception of turbans on their heads and cloths round their loins, invited them to come to their town of Barativa.

Piloted by the strangers, the Golden Hind steered on for the town. The inhabitants appeared honest and hospitably inclined, and brought off a plentiful supply of nutmegs, pepper, lemons, cucumbers, cocoa-nuts, figs, sago, and other fruits. Indeed, they behaved in so kind and friendly a way that the crew of the Golden Hind felt themselves safer and more at their ease than they had at any place they had visited, with the exception of Ternate.

Two days were spent in recruiting their strength after their toil, and taking fresh provisions on board. Once more they sailed westward, and, after passing many other islands, on the 9th of March came in sight of the large island of Java. Drake, without hesitation, accompanied by several of his officers, went on shore and presented himself to the King, by whom he was cordially welcomed and entertained with music and a review of his troops. They found that this island was governed by a principal chief or Rajah, named Donan, who had under him several other rajahs, each presiding over a certain district. Scarcely a day passed that the Rajah or some of his subordinates did not come on board. They were invariably entertained by music and the exhibition of those things which it was thought would be pleasing to them.

Rajah Donan, in return, entertained them with a concert of his national instruments, which sounded strange in their ears; he likewise sent on board an ox. Though these visits caused some interruption, the crew, eager to prosecute their voyage, laboured hard in refitting and cleaning the bottom of the ship, which was found to be covered with barnacles, greatly impeding her sailing.

In all their transactions with these people they found them a mild and gentle race, honest and just in their dealings. Goats, hens, cocoa-nuts, plantains, and other kinds of fruits were obtained. The Golden Hind at length set sail from Java on the 26th of March, steering west-south-west, directly for the Cape of Good Hope.

Thus, as they had passed over the Pacific, the bold mariners steered their course, day after day the sea and sky alone in sight, until the 21st of May, when high rocky land was seen on the starboard bow, which they well knew was the southern part of Africa. They coasted along until the 15th of June, when, with a smooth sea and gentle wind from the south-east, they passed so near to the Cape that they might have sent a shot on shore from one of their guns.

Thus their experience differed greatly from that of the Portuguese, who had always represented it as a cape of storms. The crew of the Golden Hind suspected that they had done so for the purpose of preventing other mariners from attempting to pass it. The crew of the Golden Hind had now proved that the dreaded cape could be rounded and the Straits of Magellan passed through in safety.

For a whole month they did not again sight land until the 15th of June, when they passed Rio de Sesto, where they saw some boats of negroes fishing, but did not communicate with them. On the 22nd of the same month they came to an anchor off Sierra Leone, where, at the mouth of the river Tagoine, they spent two days watering. They were not a little astonished to see countless numbers of oysters clinging to the branches of the mangrove-trees overhanging the water. These and plenty of lemons, which they found very wholesome and refreshing, were used as food.

Once more the Golden Hind was at sea steering northward, the richest argosy which had ever yet floated on the ocean. The hearts of the gallant crew beat high as they neared their native shores. No longer fearing danger, even from revengeful Spaniards, they stood on until, greatly to their joy, soundings were struck. The well-known Land’s End and the Start came in sight, and on the 25th of September, 1580—Sunday, according to the reckoning on board—the Golden Hind, after a voyage of two years and ten months, dropped her anchor in the harbour of Plymouth.

Great was the astonishment of the mariners when they found that the true day, with those who had remained on shore, was Monday the 26th, they not being aware that they had lost a day by the course they had steered, following the sun, and thereby gaining on him.

When the amount of wealth Drake had brought was known, his arrival was hailed throughout the kingdom as an event of national importance; still more so by those who could best appreciate the value of his great undertaking in having circumnavigated the globe, passed through the Straits of Magellan, and made many most important discoveries.

There were those, however, who endeavoured to detract from his merits, and accused him merely of being a successful pirate. Others blamed him for having put the unhappy Doughty to death, and many complained that his attack on the Spaniards would lay their mercantile marine at the mercy of their enemies.

He was, notwithstanding the remarks of his detractors, graciously received at Court in private, although the Queen thought it necessary to show him a certain amount of coldness in public.

So violent were the complaints made by the Spanish ambassador, that she sequestrated the treasure brought home by the Golden Hind, and part of it was paid over to the Spanish agent, by whom it was transmitted to Philip, and employed in supporting the Irish rebellion. The Queen, however, laughed at the complaints of the ambassador that the English had intruded into the South Sea, observing that she knew not why her subjects and others should be prohibited from sailing to the Indies, which she could not acknowledge to belong to the Spaniards by virtue of the Pope’s bull, for that could never oblige princes who owed him no obedience, nor by reason that the Spaniards had arrived here and there, had erected cottages, and given names to capes and rivers.

A rupture with Spain becoming inevitable, Queen Elizabeth, throwing aside her simulated coldness, received Drake openly, and expressed her admiration of his boldness, discretion, and brilliant success. The Golden Hind having been brought up to Deptford on the 4th of April, 1581, she went on board in state, and Drake, who knew the tastes of his royal mistress, spared no pains in preparing a worthy banquet. Copies of Latin verses written by the Winchester scholars, praising the Golden Hind and her commander, were nailed to the masts. The banquet over, the Queen conferred upon Drake the honour of knighthood, and issued orders that his ship should be preserved as a monument of the glory of the nation and of the illustrious navigator.

After a residence of two or three years on shore, Sir Francis Drake put to sea in command of a squadron destined to attack the Spaniards wherever they should be found. Having captured some small vessels, he surprised Saint Jago, the chief town of the Cape de Verde Islands, and thence sailed for the Leeward Islands, after which he visited the principal town of San Domingo, though less booty was obtained than was expected.

His next enterprise was directed against Carthagena, which was gallantly captured, the Governor, Alonzo Bravo, being taken prisoner. After a part of the city had been destroyed, a ransom of thirty thousand pounds was accepted for the preservation of the latter. The yellow fever, however, broke out, and carried off numbers of the victorious Englishmen, so that projected attempts on Nombre de Dios and Panama were abandoned, and the squadron sailed for the coast of Florida. Here two settlements, San Augustine and Santa Helena, were burned, and then, touching at Virginia, Drake took on board the hapless survivors of the colony commenced the previous year by Sir Walter Raleigh.

Though the booty obtained was insignificant, the dismantling of so many fortresses at the commencement of the war was of importance.

This was the first of many services rendered by the great navigator. Rumours of an intended invasion of England by the Spaniards, with their so-called Invincible Armada, induced the merchants of London to fit out at their own expense twenty-six vessels of different sizes, which were placed under the command of Drake. To this squadron four ships and two pinnaces were added by the Queen, the largest of which, named the Bonaventura, was commanded by Drake in person.

With this force, early in April, 1587, he sailed from Plymouth to look out for the Spaniards. Hearing from the commanders of two Dutch vessels that a Spanish fleet was lying at Cadiz, about to sail with stores and ammunition of all sorts, he steered for that port, and in the course of one day and two nights destroyed shipping amounting to ten thousand tons.

This important service rendered, he gained information that the Saint Philipe, a Portuguese carrack from the East Indies, was expected at Terceira, one of the Azores. Though the crews of the squadron were almost destitute of provisions, by threats and promises he induced them to continue at sea, and ere long came in sight of and captured the richest prize ever yet taken; but valuable as was her cargo, still more so were the papers found on board, for from them the English merchants acquired so thorough a knowledge of the Indian trade, that they were ere long able to found that profitable company which established the empire of Britain in the East.

Returning home, Sir Francis was in the following year appointed Vice-Admiral under Lord Howard of Effingham. Before long news came that the Spanish Armada was approaching the coast.

Who does not know how Drake, warping his ships out of Plymouth Harbour, attacked the haughty Dons, hanging on their rear as they sailed vauntingly on, harassing, capturing, and destroying them? How he ran alongside a mighty galleon commanded by Don Pedro de Valdez, which at the name of Drake surrendered without striking a blow? How the navy of England did their part, though Heaven gained them the victory?

The war with Spain continuing, Drake, in conjunction with Sir John Hawkins, took command of an expedition for the purpose of crushing the power of the Spaniards in the West Indies. The fleet, consisting of six ships of the navy and twenty-one private vessels, and having on board twenty-five thousand soldiers and sailors, sailed from Plymouth on the 28th of August, 1595.

It was unfortunate from the commencement. First detained in the Channel from a false report that another armada was about to be sent against our shores, no sooner did it arrive off Dominica, than one of the vessels was captured by the enemy, whom in consequence it was no longer possible to surprise. The squadron then proceeded to Porto Rico; but Hawkins died on the evening of their arrival off the place; and shortly afterwards a shot from the fortress entering the cabin of Drake’s ship, where he and his officers were seated at supper, knocking the stool from under him, killed Sir Nicholas Clifford and several others.

The place was captured the next day, but the Spaniards having removed all their treasure, and their women and children, the invaders reaped but a barren victory.

Several places fell into the hands of the English, and were given to the flames; but though a small amount of booty was obtained, their numbers were greatly reduced by this desultory style of warfare. An expedition under Sir Thomas Baskerville to capture Panama failed, and the party with difficulty got back to their ships.

This last calamity so preyed on Drake that he was seized with a fever, and after languishing for nearly three weeks, he expired near Porto Bello on the 28th of January, 1595, in the fifty-first year of his age. His followers showed the deepest grief at his loss. His body, enclosed in a leaden coffin, was committed to the deep with all the pomp which circumstances would allow. Thus, as was said, he lived by the sea, died on it, and was buried in it. The whole country mourned his loss, and though his last enterprise had been unsuccessful, all united in admiring the genius and valour of one whose memory, as was written of him, will survive as long as the duration of that world which he circumnavigated.


Chapter Nineteen.

Voyage of Cavendish round the World—A.D. 1586.

Parentage of Cavendish—Sails with Sir Richard Grenville to the West Indies—Introduced to the Queen—Fits out expedition for the South Sea—Sails from Plymouth—Lands at Sierra Leone—Attacks a negro town—Passage across the Atlantic—Anchors off coast of Brazil—Puts into Port Desire—Large size of natives—Attacked by them—Enters the Straits of Magellan—A deserted Spanish colony—One man rescued—San Felipe visited—Port Famine—Enters the Pacific—The squadron puts into Mocha—Obtains provisions by a mistake of the natives—An expedition on shore at Quintero—Twelve of the crew cut off—Anchors off Moron Moreno—Degraded natives—Proceedings at Areca—Prisoners taken and tortured—Payta plundered—The island of Paria and its wealthy cacique—The English surprised by Spaniards—Several killed—Cavendish burns the place—Several vessels captured—Cocoa found on board a prize—Some persons made prisoners on shore held captive till provisions are brought—In search of the Manilla galleon—She is attacked and captured—The prisoners well treated—The Santa Anna set on fire—The Desire and Content set sail—Ersola, a pilot, carried off—The Content lost sight of—No tidings ever received of her—The ship touches at Guham and proceeds on to the Philippines—Treachery of Ersola discovered—He is hung—A Spanish frigate put to flight—Death of Captain Havers—Java reached—Reception by the Rajah—The Indian Ocean crossed—A tempest—Passes the Cape of Good Hope—Touches at Saint Helena—Hears of the defeat of the Spanish Armada—Enters Plymouth with silken sails—Knighted by Queen Elizabeth—Sails on a second voyage—Numerous disasters—Dies of a broken heart.

At an early age Thomas Cavendish, by the death of his father, William Cavendish, of Trunley Saint Martin, in the county of Suffolk, became an orphan, and the possessor of that goodly estate on which he was born. From his childhood he had been wont to gaze on the ocean, which rolled in front of the family mansion, and thus at an early age he became enamoured of a sea life.

Instead of spending his time in hunting and hawking, or other field sports, and indulging in the luxurious ease which his wealth would have allowed, as soon as he had power over his fortune, after following the Court of her Majesty for a short period, he resolved to undertake some noble enterprise which might bring credit to himself and redound to the honour of his country.

Hearing that Sir Richard Grenville, afterwards so celebrated, was about to sail, for the purpose of founding a colony in Virginia, in 1585, he fitted out a vessel at his own cost, of which he took command, and sailed in the fleet of that brave captain. Although he gained but small profit by the voyage, he obtained a considerable amount of nautical skill, and a knowledge of the islands of the West Indies, among which the squadron cruised before returning home.

Not satisfied with this short voyage, having conversed with several of those who had sailed with Drake, and with other pilots and mariners, he resolved on undertaking an expedition which might rival that of the renowned navigator who had a short time before returned in triumph from his voyage round the world in the richly-laden Golden Hind.

Through the recommendation of his friend Lord Hunsdon, he received a licence from the Queen to cruise against her enemies, and he lost no time in fitting out three vessels. These were the Desire, of one hundred and twenty tons burden, in which he sailed as Admiral, the Content, of sixty tons, and the Hugh Gallant, a bark of forty tons, carrying altogether one hundred and twenty-three officers, seamen, and soldiers. Having embarked near his own house at Harwich on the 10th of July, 1586, on board the Desire, he sailed thence for Plymouth, where his little squadron was directed to rendezvous.

Those were days when gentlemen considered it necessary to settle all disputes with the sword, and unhappily one of his followers, Mr Hope, having engaged in a duel, was mortally wounded, though he insisted on returning to his ship.

On the 21st of July, all things being ready, the anchors were weighed, and the little squadron sailed out of Plymouth Sound. On the 25th the hapless Mr Hope died of his wound. The next day five large Spanish vessels were seen, which, steering for the Desire, attacked her; but the Admiral plied his guns so vigorously that they were glad to escape, having done no material damage.

Having sighted various places, on the 26th of August the squadron put into the harbour of Sierra Leone. The following day two negroes came off and gave the information that there was a Portuguese vessel higher up the harbour. In order to learn more about her, some of the crew went on shore and danced and amused themselves with the negroes, from whom they learned that it would be impossible to approach her with the ships. Disappointed in this. Cavendish and seventy of his men landed the following day, attacked the town, set some of the houses on fire, and took what little spoil they could find. On their return the negroes who had fled, having rallied in a wood, shot poisoned arrows at them, and hurt three or four. Notwithstanding this, the crew again landed for the purpose of filling their water-casks and washing their clothes. While they were thus occupied a party of negroes rushed out upon them from the woods, and shooting their arrows, hurt several of the men, among whom was a soldier, who, breaking off the shaft, allowed the head to remain in the wound rather than have it cut out. It being poisoned, his body swelled and became black, and he died the next morning.

Touching at the Cape de Verde Islands, the squadron steered a west-south-west course across the Atlantic, and on the 31st of October sighted a lofty mountain in Brazil, twenty-four leagues from Cape Frio. The next day the ships came to an anchor between the island of San Sebastian and the main. Here the greater part of a month was spent in setting up a pinnace, preparing casks, and other necessary works.

Again sailing on the afternoon of the 17th of December, the squadron entered a hitherto unknown harbour, to which the Admiral gave the name of Port Desire, in memory of his own ship. Here vast numbers of seals were found, and also penguins. As the tides ebbed and flowed considerably, the ships were put on shore to be careened and graved. No water, however, being found near the harbour, the people had to go a considerable distance to fetch it. A man and a boy were thus employed, when they were set upon by fifty huge savages, who shot their arrows, and wounded them sorely. They would have been killed had not the Admiral, with nineteen men, coming up, put the natives to flight. Though the English followed, so rapidly did the savages run that they soon made their escape. As they were seen above the rocks they appeared like giants, and the print mark of one of their feet being measured, was found, it is asserted, to be eighteen inches in length. This, however, was not a correct way of judging of their height, and was probably an exaggeration, as none have since been found much taller than the tallest Europeans. Cavendish had after this no communication with the natives of this part of the coast.

Sailing from Port Desire, the voyagers brought up off another island three leagues away from it, where they salted and dried the penguins they had taken. They now stood on in sight of land, until on the 6th of January they entered the Straits of Magellan. Here the squadron anchored near the first narrow or angostura, as the Spaniards called it. Soon afterwards lights were seen on the northern shore, which, as they were supposed to be signals, were answered from the ships.

In the morning Cavendish sent off a boat towards the beach, where three men were seen making signals with a handkerchief. They were soon perceived to be Spaniards, who had fancied that the ships were manned by their countrymen; and great was their disappointment when they found out their mistake. Their history was a sad one. They were part of a colony which sailed from Spain in twenty-three large ships, carrying three thousand five hundred men, under the command of Don Pedro Sarmiento, with the title of Viceroy, it being the intention of the Spanish Government to found towns and erect forts on the shores of the narrowest part of the straits, so as to prevent the English or other nations from passing through them.

The greater number of vessels had been wrecked or had turned back, but Pedro Sarmiento at length arrived at the straits in February, 1584, where he landed the colonists, and the foundations of two towns named Nombre de Jesus and San Felipe were laid, situated about seventy miles apart. The Viceroy himself was driven away by stress of weather, and Rivera, one of his officers, with the larger portion of the provisions intended to support the colonists during the winter, sailed for Spain. The unhappy settlers were thus left without food in that dreary region, to endure the inclemency of the winter. Numbers died of famine and cold. Month after month wore by. At length the settlers at Nombre de Jesus built two small barks, hoping to make their way to Brazil, but before they cleared the straits one was wrecked, and the survivors in the other vessel abandoned their project in despair. Of four hundred men and thirty women who had formed the inhabitants of San Felipe, only fifteen men and three women were alive when Cavendish discovered them. Cavendish at once undertook to convey them to Peru. After some demur, they agreed to accept his liberal offer, and sent a messenger, Tome Hernandez, to express their willingness to come on board. Just at this juncture a strong easterly gale springing up, the vessels were compelled to weigh and run before it, and the hapless colonists were left to their miserable fate.

It was hopeless for Cavendish to try and turn back to their relief. As the vessel sped on, Hernandez showed them the wreck of a small bark called the John Thomas, which it was supposed had been left there by Drake.

After passing through the narrows, they brought up off the island of Santa Magdelena on the 8th of January, 1587. Here in two hours they killed and salted a large supply of penguins. Running to the south-west, the next day they came off the other Spanish settlement, San Filipe. Not a living being appeared, but among the ruins of the houses and forts the bodies of several Spaniards were discovered, lying as they had died, like dogs.

In the forts several pieces of cannon were found buried, though the carriages were still standing in their places. The English dug up the guns and carried them off, the only booty they obtained worth preserving.

The town had been well built, and had near it an abundance of wood and water. In one place stood a gibbet, showing that strict discipline had been maintained by the governor until all had succumbed to the common misfortune. It is probable that the wretched inhabitants had been compelled to live on mussels and limpets till they had no strength left to gather them, and that numbers dying from starvation, the survivors had been driven by the horrible stench of the corpses in the houses to seek for pure air and provisions along the shore. Here they had been killed by the savages, in whose possession a variety of European weapons were seen.

Cavendish gave the name of Port Famine to the place, and the Spaniards also call it in their charts Puerto de Hambre. For three weeks the squadron lay in this sheltered harbour, unable to proceed on account of contrary winds, but at length a fair breeze springing up, they cleared the passage on the 24th of February, and entered the Pacific.

On the 1st of March a fearful storm coming on, the Hugh Gallant was lost sight of, and fears were entertained for her safety. For several days the storm raged, but at length the Desire and Content managed to put into Mocha, off the coast of Chili. Here, to the infinite relief of all on board, they were soon afterwards joined by the Hugh Gallant; but her crew were so greatly exhausted by labouring at the pumps, that they could scarcely furl the sails.

Wishing to obtain provisions, Cavendish at once sent a boat to the main; but the fierce Araucanians who inhabited the country, mistaking the crew for Spaniards, of whom they have ever been the deadly enemies, furiously assailed them, but were soon compelled to retreat by a few discharges of the English calivers. They are the most warlike and intelligent aborigines of the southern part of the continent.

The following day Cavendish landed on the island with seventy men, and marched to the town of Santa Maria, where he was received in a friendly way by the chief natives, who also fancied that they were their masters the Spaniards. Here was a church with several storehouses near it, in which had been collected the tribute of provisions destined for the Spanish Governor. These stores, consisting of maize, potatoes, and dried dog-fish, were at once unsuspectingly handed over to the English, the inhabitants adding presents of hogs and fowls in large quantities. In return Cavendish invited the two principal chiefs to dine on board his ship, where he made them merry with wine, when to their astonishment they found out that their hosts were not Spaniards, and that they had handed over their tribute to the wrong persons! On this, nothing disconcerted, the two chiefs appeared to be as friendly as ever, and tried to induce the English to go across to Arauco, assuring them that they would find abundance of gold; but after the experience he had had with the Araucanians, Cavendish wisely declined to venture among them.

Touching at two other places, the voyagers entered the bay of Quintero. Here they found a herdsman asleep on the side of a hill, but before they could get up to him he awoke, and, mounting a horse, galloped off, and, as was feared, gave information of the English being on the coast.

Cavendish, however, went on shore, where he saw three horsemen approaching, flourishing their swords. On this he sent Hernandez to enter into conversation with them. He returned, saying that they were willing to furnish as large a supply of provisions as he might require. On being sent a second time to make further arrangements, forgetting all his vows, he sprang into the saddle behind one of his countrymen, who then galloped off as fast as they could go, hurried by the shots sent after them.

Indignant at this, Cavendish resolved to send an expedition on shore to find their town and burn it. On the following day Captain Havers accordingly landed with a party of sixty well-armed men, who marched eight miles inland, till they were stopped by the steepness of the mountains at whose base they had arrived. On the way they saw vast numbers of cattle and horses wonderfully wild, as well as hares, coneys, partridges, and other birds. Finding no town, they were returning, when they espied two hundred Spanish horsemen; but as they marched along in battle array, the Dons thought it wise not to attack them, and they regained their ships that night. On the ist of April a party again went on shore to fill their water-casks at a bright stream some distance from the beach. They were thus engaged when a large band of horsemen and men on foot came pouring down upon them, and twelve were cut off, either killed or taken prisoners. The rest were rescued by the soldiers who were sent on shore, and the enemy, after a sharp fight, were beaten off, with the loss of twenty-four men.

Notwithstanding this, by keeping a vigilant watch, Cavendish obtained water for all his ships. It was afterwards ascertained that the Spaniards executed as pirates six of the men they had captured, though they sailed with a commission from their Queen, who was at open war with Spain.

Leaving Quintero, they anchored, on the 15th of April, off Moron Moreno. The natives who came off to the ships were friendly, but appeared to be a degraded race, their wigwams being of the roughest description, consisting merely of skins thrown over a pole supported on forked sticks. Their boats or balsas were looked upon as ingenious contrivances. They were formed of two large inflated skins, secured together by sinews. On these they put to sea, and caught numbers of fish, with which they paid their tribute to the Spaniards, whose cruel system had reduced them to their present abject state.

Once more sailing, on the 23rd they arrived off Areca, where a small bark coming out of the harbour was captured; but the crew got away in the boat, and though the Admiral’s pinnace made chase, she failed to overtake her. Finding, however, a large vessel anchored in the roads, the pinnace went alongside, and the crew having landed, captured her and her cargo. Several shots, which she narrowly escaped, were fired from the fort at the pinnace, and in revenge Cavendish resolved to attack and pillage the town. The Content, however, was not in sight, and it was necessary to wait for her. When she arrived it was found that she had been engaged some leagues to the southward in carrying off as much as she could conveniently stow of a cargo of Spanish wine. By this time the inhabitants had been able to conceal their treasure, and to make such preparations for their defence that Cavendish deemed it prudent not to attack them. He, however, sent the pinnace on shore with a flag of truce to learn if the Spaniards would redeem the ship just captured, hoping thus to obtain the men who had been carried off by the horsemen at Quintero. They replied, however, that they had been ordered by the Viceroy of Lima not to have any traffic with the heretics under pain of death, and that the prisoners could not be restored.

While this business was being transacted a vessel was seen standing into the harbour, on which the boats were sent out to intercept her; but before they could reach her she was run ashore two miles to the southward of the town. Numbers of persons were seen escaping from her, among whom were several friars, but they made such haste that before they could be taken or killed they had all got away. The vessel was boarded, but nothing of value being found in her, the boats returned to the ships.

Next morning the great ship was set on fire and one of the barks sunk, when, carrying the other with them, the squadron sailed northward. On the 27th a small bark was captured, having on board a Greek, who proved to be a good pilot for the coast of Chili, as also one Fleming and three Spaniards. They were carrying letters from Santiago, near Quintero, to Lima, giving an account of the squadron being on the coast. The crew, however, had been sworn not to reveal this should they be captured. To make them do so their thumbs were put into a winch, and the old Fleming was persuaded that he would be hung if he did not confess. Still he resisted. At last one of the Spaniards gave in and acknowledged the truth, on which the bark was burnt and the men carried off. During the next fortnight several prizes were made and two towns visited, from which an ample supply of bread, fowls, and wine was obtained.

On the 20th of April Cavendish, with a large number of his men, landed at Payta, which they took without loss, the inhabitants after a short skirmish having fled, carrying with them their treasure, to a place among the hills.

Here they were pursued, and twenty-five pounds of silver and other valuable articles taken, besides abundance of household stuff. As, however, they were a mile and a half from the town, Cavendish would not allow his men to burden themselves with anything but the silver and gold, fearing that they might be attacked by the enemy, who outnumbered them as five to one. They got back in safety to the town, which consisted of upwards of two hundred well-built houses, was kept very clean, and had a guildhall in the midst. It was set on fire with goods in it to the value of five or six thousand pounds, and burnt to the ground. The vessel in the roads was also burnt, and the squadron then steered for the island of Puna.

Here a vessel of two hundred and fifty tons was found, and forthwith sunk. Cavendish then landed, and paid a visit to the cacique, who lived in a magnificent house richly furnished, and was married to a Spanish lady. All the people in the island were completely subjected to him, and he made them work like slaves. The cacique had fled to the mainland, but was pursued. Cavendish obtained information from an Indian that a party of sixty soldiers had landed from Guaiaquil to attack him. Notwithstanding this, he marched on through the woods to some houses where he heard that the cacique and his wife had taken refuge. They had, however, again fled with their gold and silver. Cavendish, here obtained ample stores, which had previously been landed from the ship he had sunk, and also the rich leather hangings and household stuff belonging to the cacique’s house, which he discovered. In the garden were fruits and vegetables of every sort in great abundance, and numbers of horses, oxen, and fat sheep on the pasture-grounds, together with turkeys, ducks, hens, and poultry of great size. Not believing that any enemy in the neighbourhood would venture to attack them, the party on shore had wandered about in search of provisions, when suddenly a large body of Spanish soldiers made their appearance, accompanied by a number of natives.

The English were driven back to the water’s side, but held the enemy in check, notwithstanding their overpowering numbers, until a boat arrived to carry them off. In the meantime several English had been killed, and the boat was so overloaded that four were left behind. They, however, held their own under a cliff until the boat returned, after she had carried the rest on board. Altogether twelve Englishmen were killed, and forty-six of the enemy slain. Next day Cavendish landed with seventy men, drove the Spaniards before him, and set fire to the town, which contained three hundred houses. They then ravaged the fields, orchards, and gardens, and burnt four large ships building on the stocks.

The Spaniards not daring again to molest them, the Content was hauled on shore and graved, and on the 5th of June the squadron sailed from Puna, and brought up to obtain water at a place named Rio Dolce. Here, for want of men, the Hugh Gallant was burnt.

After having sighted the coast of New Spain on the 9th of July, they took what proved to them a valuable prize, a ship of one hundred and twenty tons, on board of which the pilot was a certain Michael Sancius. Having no special love for the Spaniards, he told the Admiral that a rich galleon, the Santa Anna, was shortly expected from the Philippine Islands.

This news exhilarated the hearts of the rovers, who hoped that she might prove as rich an argosy as that taken by Drake. The rest of the crew, six in number, with the ropes and fire-wood, being transferred to the Desire, the prize was set on fire. The next day another vessel was captured, engaged in warning the inhabitants that the English were on the coast, as also intended to give information to the galleon of her danger. The crew had got on shore, so their vessel was burnt. Putting into Acapulco, they found a bark laden with cocoas and anil. They here landing, burnt the town, the church, and the custom-house, in which latter they found six hundred bags of anil, to dye cloth, each bag being worth forty crowns, and four hundred bags of cocoas, each worth ten crowns. These cocoas served in the country both for food and money, one hundred and fifty of them being valued at one real of silver. They resemble an almond in appearance, but are not so pleasant in taste. The people both eat them and make a drink of them. This appears to be the first time the English met with the berry now in such general use. After various adventures on shore, the vessels came off the haven of Puerto de Navidad, when thirty of the crew went on shore in the pinnace. They here surprised a mulatto in his bed, who was travelling with letters warning the people along the coast of the proceedings of the English. His letters were captured, his horse killed, and the houses of the town set on fire, as also were two new ships on the stocks, of two hundred tons each; but the messenger was allowed to go free.

On the morning of the 9th of September Cavendish sent Captain Havers with forty men on shore, and under the guidance of Michael Sancius they made their way two leagues up the country. Here they surprised three householders, with their wives and children, and some Indians, a carpenter, who was a Spaniard, and a Portuguese.

They were all bound and compelled to accompany the seamen to the beach. The wives were here set at liberty on condition of obtaining a supply of plantains, lemons, oranges, pineapples, and other fruits, of which, in a short time, they brought a large supply. On this they and their husbands were allowed to depart, but Sembrano, the Spanish carpenter, and Diego, the Portuguese, were detained to make themselves useful on board.

Crossing the Tropic of Cancer, the English came to an anchor off a little island a league to the northward of Mapatalan. Here one of their prisoners escaped by swimming across to the mainland, a distance of a mile. They were now in great want of water, and on first landing did not believe that it could be found on the island; but one of their Spanish prisoners, called Flores, told them that if they would dig in the sand they could procure it. This they did, and after getting down about three feet, it bubbled up in such profusion that they in a short time were able to fill all their casks.

They remained here until the 9th of October, when again sailing, they came off the Cape of Saint Lucar, which greatly resembles the Needles of the Isle of Wight.

Here, according to the information received from Sancius, they expected to fall in with the Manilla galleon. The Desire and Content, therefore, beat up and down off the headland of California, a bright look-out being kept for their expected prize. Soon after seven o’clock the trumpeter of the Desire, who had gone aloft, espied a vessel bearing in from the offing, on which he cried out, with no small joy to himself and the whole company, “A sail! a sail!”

On this the master and several others hurried aloft, when, convinced that he was right, Cavendish was informed of the joyful news.

The two small vessels were immediately got ready for the expected fight, and the sails being trimmed, they gave chase to the galleon. In the afternoon they got up to her, and without waiting to hail, they each having given her a broadside and a volley of small shot, laid her aboard, although she was of seven hundred tons burden and full of men, whereas their ships’ companies had been greatly reduced with those they had at different times lost. They were at once convinced that she was the Santa Anna, the galleon they were in search of, belonging to the King of Spain. The tacks had been hauled down, and she was hove to, but not a man could be seen on her decks. As soon as the English began to climb up, however, they perceived the Spaniards standing close together, armed with lances, javelins, rapiers, targets, and vast quantities of large stones, with which they so warmly attacked the heads of their assailants that the latter were driven back again into their ships, two being killed and several wounded. On this, as the two little vessels sheered off, Cavendish ordered his crews again to fire their great guns, and to discharge their small arms among the Spaniards, by which the sides of the galleon were pierced through and through, and many of her crew killed and wounded.

The Spanish captain, however, like a valiant man, still stood at his post, refusing to yield. Cavendish on this, ordering the trumpets to sound, the broadside guns and small arms were again fired, with such effect that many more Spaniards were killed and wounded; while the shot striking the huge ship between wind and water, she began to fill. On this the Spanish captain struck his colours, and holding out a flag of truce, asked for quarter.

Cavendish promised that it would be given, and ordered the Spanish officers to strike their sails and lower a boat.

Without loss of time this was done, and one of the principal merchants coming up the side of the Desire, falling on his knees, implored the Admiral’s mercy.

Cavendish assured him it would be granted, that their lives would be spared, and that they would be well treated, provided he was correctly informed of the amount of valuables on board the galleon.

The captain and pilot, who had also arrived, told him that the ship carried one hundred and twenty-two thousand pesos of gold, and that the rest of her cargo consisted of silks, satins, damasks, with musk and other merchandise, with provisions of all sorts in abundance.

They were detained on board while the galleon their prize was carried into Puerto Seguro. There was here a stream of clear water, with plenty of fish, fowl, and wood to be obtained, as also numerous hares and coneys. As soon as they had anchored, the English employed themselves in transferring the rich cargo on board their own vessels, as also in dividing the treasure, to each man being allotted a certain portion; but the crew of the Content were very far from contented, and showed some inclination to mutiny. They were, however, to all appearances speedily pacified, though as it turned out they were far from being really so.

The Spaniards were supplied with sufficient arms to defend themselves against the natives and everything else they required, for which the captain, in the name of the rest, expressed himself very grateful. All the passengers and most of the ship’s company were allowed to go except two Japanese lads, who were detained, and three others who had been born in Manilla, the youngest of whom afterwards became a page to the Countess of Essex.

Besides these, Rodrigo, a Portuguese who had visited Canton and other parts of China, and had been in Java and the Philippines, was kept, and a Spaniard, Thomas de Ersola, an experienced pilot between Acapulco, the Ladrones, and the Philippines.

The Santa Anna, which had still five hundred tons of goods in her, was set on fire, and all arrangements being made, on the 19th of November, to the joy of their crews, the Admiral, firing a farewell salute, stood out of harbour at three o’clock in the afternoon, and with a fair wind, steering westward, they commenced their homeward voyage.

The King’s ship was soon burnt down to the water’s edge, but curious as it may seem, she escaped destruction. Her cables being burnt through, she drifted on shore, when the Spaniards managed to extinguish the flames, and with the planks they had obtained and the sails and rigging which had been landed, the trees in the neighbourhood supplying them with masts and yards, they fitted her for sea, and before long contrived to make their escape.

Cavendish took a great liking to Ersola, and placed much confidence in him as a pilot. He seemed to merit this by the accurate way in which he guided the ship across the Pacific.

On going out of the harbour the Content had been left astern. Night coming on, she was lost sight of, and when morning broke she was nowhere to be seen. In vain the Desire waited for her. At length, spreading her sails, she stood on her course.

From that day no more was seen of the hapless Content, nor was the slightest clue obtained as to what became of her. Some thought that she had sailed for the Straits and been lost, but Ersola was of opinion that Captain Hare, who commanded her, thinking to be wiser than Drake, had attempted the North-East Passage, and had got so far north that he had perished, with all his company, in the ice.

That there was such a passage no one doubted, and that America was a continent by itself, independent of the rest of the world.

For forty-five days the Desire glided on with a fair wind out of sight of land, until on the 3rd of January, 1588, she made the island of Guham, one of the Ladrones. From thence a number of natives came off, bringing fruits and vegetables, but became so troublesome that, losing temper, Cavendish in a most unjustifiable manner ordered a shot to be fired among them.

On the 14th of the same month the Desire made the Philippines, and sailing on, came to an anchor, on the morning of the 15th, in a safe harbour in the island, called Capal. Scarcely had the anchor been dropped than one of the chief caciques of the island came off with provisions, supposing the ship to be Spanish. He being detained on board, his people were sent on shore to invite the other cacique to come off, which he shortly did, bringing an abundance of provisions, so that the whole of the clay was spent in buying hogs, hens, roots, cocoas, and other vegetables, by which the crew were greatly refreshed.

This island was about sixty leagues distant from Manilla, which was already a flourishing place, containing seven hundred inhabitants, among them many merchants from China, and also several Sanguelos, who were partly Moors, or Malays probably, and partly heathen. The Sanguelos were especially clever in inventing and making all manner, of things, so that few or no Christians could surpass them. They excelled in drawing and embroidering upon satin, silk or lawn, representing either beasts, fowls, fish, or worms, in the most natural manner. They also worked in silk, silver, gold, and pearl.

On the same night of their arrival at Capal the Portuguese Nicholas Rodrigo, who had been taken out of the Santa Anna, desired to speak to Cavendish in secret. His request being granted, he told the Admiral that although he had hitherto appeared to be discontented, he was truly grateful to him for the kindness he had received, and as a proof of this he desired to put him on his guard against a treacherous plot which had been devised by the pilot Ersola to deliver up his vessel to the Spaniards. As a proof that what he said was true, a letter, he stated, would be found in Ersola’s chest. Search being made, the letter was discovered, which Ersola had intended to send by some natives to Manilla. It called on the authorities there forthwith to fit out an expedition to capture the Desire, warning them that if she escaped, the English would bring their countrymen down to attack the settlement.

A drum-head court martial was immediately held. The hapless pilot at first denied all knowledge of the letter, but at length compelled to confess his guilt, with a short shrift he was next morning hanged at the yard-arm.

The Desire remained nine days at Capal, during which Cavendish obliged the chief cacique, as well as the caciques of a hundred other islands, to pay tribute to him in hogs, hens, potatoes, and cocoas. The tribute being received on board, he hoisted the flags and sounded the drums and trumpets. Then telling them that the English were enemies to the Spaniards, he paid them in money more than an equivalent for the provisions they had brought. To show their pleasure, the caciques rowed about the ship in their canoes at a great rate. The brave voyagers, who never doubted the existence of Satan, firmly believed what they stated,—that those people wholly worshipped the devil, and oftentimes have conferences with him who “appeareth unto them in a most ugly and monstrous shape.”

Setting sail on the 24th, the Desire ran along the coast, past Manilla, putting to flight some frigates which had been sent after her, and dispersing some Spaniards who fired at her boat.

One or two men died at this time, and on the last day of February Captain Havers succumbed to a burning ague, from which he had suffered several days, to the great grief of all on board.

Passing by the Moluccas, the Desire, after various adventures, reached Java, where she was visited by the chief Rajah, named Bolamboam, an aged despot who possessed a hundred wives, while his son had fifty. His people were said to be the bravest of all those inhabiting the south-east part of the world, for they never feared any death.

Several Portuguese who were settled in this part of the island visited the ship, and, hearing that their King, Don Antonio, was a friend of the Queen of England, urged Cavendish to advise him to come out and found a kingdom which would comprehend the Moluccas, Ceylon, China, and the Philippines. A friendly reception was also promised to the English.

Firing a parting salute on the 16th of March, Cavendish took his departure, traversing for forty days that “mightie and vaste sea between the yle of Java and the main of Africa, observing the heavens, the crosiers or southern cross, the other starres, the fowles, which are marks unto seamen of fair weather or foul weather, approaching of lands or islands, the winds, the tempests, the rains and thunder, with the alterations of the tides and currents.”

On the 10th of May the Desire was overtaken by a terrific storm, but it calmed in a few hours, and the next day a look-out from the masthead saw land, which was supposed to be the Cape of Good Hope, but was ultimately proved to be False Cape.

It was not until the 16th of May that, with a brisk gale, the ship passed the Cape of Good Hope, and on the 8th of June she came in sight of the island of Saint Helena. Only four people were found upon the island, but it was abundantly stored with fruits and vegetables of all sorts, carefully cultivated, while there were numberless goats and hogs running wild among the mountains.

The Portuguese homeward-bound East Indian fleet, the smallest of which vessels were of eight or nine hundred tons burden, laden with spices, Calicut cloth, precious stones, pearls, and treasure, had called off there only twenty days before.

Having touched at the Azores on the 3rd of September, the Desire fell in with a Plymouth vessel coming from Lisbon, which gave the voyagers the glorious information of the overthrow of the Spanish Armada.

Directly afterwards the Desire encountered a terrific gale, which carried away the greater part of her remaining sails. To replace them others were manufactured from the Indian damasks, and the canvas made of the silk grass of the South Seas, which had a most lustrous appearance. One of her topsails was of cloth of gold, while her officers and crew were dressed in silk clothes, their own having probably long since worn out.

Thus equipped, on the 9th of September the Desire entered the long-wished-for port of Plymouth, to the great astonishment of the inhabitants, who, as they gazed at her, fancied that all her sails were of silk, supposing naturally that this betokened the value of her cargo. In this they were not far wrong, for the wealth Cavendish brought home was enough to buy a fair earldom.

He was received with great kindness by the Queen, who, considering that his exploit almost rivalled that of Drake, bestowed on him the honour of knighthood. He boasted to his patron, Lord Hunsdon, that he had burnt and sunk nineteen sail of ships, small and great; that all the villages and towns where he had landed he had burnt and spoiled, and had carried off a great quantity of treasure, his most profitable transaction being that of the capture of the Santa Anna, as her cargo was the richest that had ever floated on those seas, so that his ships could only contain a small portion.

Happy would it have been for the gallant Cavendish had he remained contentedly on shore, but his eager soul burned for fresh enterprises. Having fitted out a squadron of three ships and two barks, in one of which, the Roebuck, John Davis went as captain, he sailed from Plymouth on the 26th of August, 1591, for the purpose of finding a North-West Passage by way of the Pacific into the Atlantic. Disaster, however, followed him from the first. He was deserted by one of his captains, and failing to get through the Straits of Magellan, was compelled to return home. He died of a broken heart, after a vain search for Saint Helena, where he hoped to refresh his crew, towards the end of the year 1592.


Chapter Twenty.

Cape Horn first doubled by Schouten and Le Maire—A.D. 1615-17.

Desire of Dutch merchants to find a fresh passage into the South Sea—Le Maire applies to Captain Schouten—The Unity and Horn fitted out—Sail—Touch at Dover and Plymouth—Put into Sierra Leone—Fruit and water obtained—The Horn struck by a sea-unicorn—Make the coast of South America—Attempting to enter Port Desire, the Unity strikes a rock—Both vessels nearly lost—The vessels put on shore to clean—The Horn burnt—Penguins—Sea-lions—Discovery of the Straits of Le Maire—Cape Horn named and doubled—Steer for Juan Fernandez—Unable to find anchorage off it—Touch at Dog, Water, and Fly Islands—Fire at a double canoe—Some of the natives killed—The Unity anchors off an island—Natives swarm around her—Boat attacked—Natives become friendly—Their chief visits the ship—The savages attack the ship—Course changed to the northward—Two savages killed—Friendly intercourse with others—The King and his courtiers take to flight at the sound of a great gun—Meeting of two Kings—A feast—Other islands visited—Coast of New Guinea reached—Natives attack the ship—Shock of an earthquake felt on board—Sail along western coast of New Guinea—Hostility of the natives—Barter with the natives at the south end—Touch at Gilolo and Amboyna—The Unity confiscated at Batavia—Death of La Maire—Captain Schouten reaches Holland.

The Dutch, from an early period of their history, had actively engaged in commercial enterprises. They had followed the Spaniards and Portuguese to India, and having successfully competed with them for its trade, had established settlements and factories in many of the most fertile portions of the Eastern Archipelago. They had, notwithstanding, no idea of the advantages of free trade, and the Dutch East India Company having been formed, obtained from the States General of the United Provinces—as their government was then called—exclusive privileges, prohibiting all the rest of their subjects from trading to the eastward beyond the Cape of Good Hope, or westward through the Straits of Magellan, in any of the countries within those limits, whether known or unknown, under the heaviest penalties. This prohibition gave great dissatisfaction to many of the wealthy merchants of Holland, who wished to employ their ships in making discoveries and trading at their own risk. Among them was Isaac Le Maire, a rich merchant of Amsterdam, then residing at Egmont, who had a desire to employ his wealth in acquiring fame as a discoverer.

Le Maire was a person of determination, and having considered among his friends who was most likely to assist him, fixed upon William Cornelison Schouten, of Horn, an experienced master-mariner, who had already made three voyages to the Indies, as supercargo, pilot, and master. Le Maire first asked him whether he thought it possible that some other passage, besides that of the Straits of Magellan, might be found to the South Sea, and if so whether the countries to the south of that passage would afford commodities as rich as those of the East or West Indies.

Schouten replied that such a passage might be found, and also that there might be many wealthy countries to the westward of the straits.

Believing that the East India Company’s charter could not prohibit Dutch subjects from trading with countries to be reached by a new route, they came to the determination of at once fitting out some fleet vessels to make the experiment.

Le Maire advanced half of the funds, and Schouten, with the assistance of Peter Clementson, burgomaster of Horn, and other friends, advanced the remainder. It is probable that they might have heard from some English pilots who were in the service of the United Provinces, that Drake had discovered an open sea to the south of Terra del Fuego. They did not openly avow their object, but they succeeded in obtaining from the Government the privilege of making the first four voyages to the places they might discover. Their destination, however, was not disclosed to the seamen. The other merchants, unable to penetrate their designs, derisively called them: “gold-seekers.”

Schouten was to have command of the expedition, and to sail in the larger ship, and Jacques Le Maire, the eldest son of Isaac, was to be supercargo. They at once commenced fitting out two vessels for the voyage, the largest, the Eendracht, or in English the Unity, was of three hundred and sixty tons, carried nineteen guns and twelve swivels, and a crew of sixty-five men, and had on board two pinnaces, one for sailing and another for rowing, a launch, and a small boat. The smaller vessel was named the Horn, of one hundred and ten tons, carrying eight guns and four swivels. Her crew consisted of twenty-two men. She was commanded by Jan Schouten, and Aris Clawson was her supercargo.

The two vessels sailed from the Texel on the 14th of June, and called off Dover, where an experienced English gunner was engaged. Experiencing a heavy storm, they took shelter under the Isle of Wight, and on the 27th put into Plymouth, where a carpenter, Maydenblick, was engaged.

Sailing thence on the 28th of June, with fine weather and a fair breeze, they proceeded on their voyage. The strictest rules were laid down for the government of officers and men. When a boat went on shore where any hostility was to be expected, one of the commanders was always to be in charge. The supercargo was to have the exclusive management of all commercial dealings. The officers were warned against holding conversations with the men in regard to the objects of the voyage; and while they were to be strict in the execution of their duty, they were not to subject the crews to unnecessary toil.

Touching at various places, they cast anchor off Sierra Leone on the 30th of August. The village at that time consisted only of eight or nine poor thatched huts. The native inhabitants declined to come off until a hostage was left for their security, because a French ship had lately perfidiously carried off two of their number. The water which poured down from every hill was to be had in abundance, and the casks could be filled by placing them under the falls. Lemons were so cheap that ten thousand could have been obtained for a few knives. Each man purchased one hundred and fifty for sea store.

After leaving Sierra Leone, as they were gliding over the smooth sea, a sudden shock was felt on board the Horn, as if she had struck on a rock, and, as the crew looked over her side, they saw the water change to a crimson hue. The cause was not known until the ship was afterwards laid on shore, when a large horn, of a substance resembling ivory, was found sticking into her bottom, it having pierced through three stout planks. The Line was crossed on the 25th of October, after which Captain Schouten informed the ships’ companies of the object of the voyage. At this they exhibited their satisfaction, hoping to discover some gold countries, to make amends for their toils.

On the 3rd of November they were off the island of Ascension or Martin Vaz. Standing on, they came in sight on the 6th of December of the mainland of South America. It was of no great height, and had a white appearance. The same night they dropped anchor in ten fathoms, at a short distance from Port Desire. Next morning, standing on to the southward, they saw before them a line of cliffs, which they understood marked the entrance to the channel. They, however, found that they had got into a wrong one, and the Unity ran aground by the stern, but the wind blowing from off the land, she got clear again. Next morning, a boat being sent ahead to sound the channel, which was found to be twelve fathoms deep, they entered boldly, having a north-east wind to carry them along. After they had sailed about three miles, however, the wind began to veer, and they brought up in twenty fathoms, but the bottom being composed of slippery stones, and the wind blowing hard from the north-west, they dragged their anchors, and drifted down towards the cliffs, where there appeared every probability that they both would be lost. The Unity lay with her side against the cliffs, though still afloat, while the Horn stuck so fast that, as the tide fell, she remained high and dry. For some time a strong wind blowing from the north-west kept her upright, but as it dropped she sank over, until her bulwarks were under water. On seeing this, as it was impossible to right her, the explorers gave up all hopes of saving her; but, the weather remaining calm, the succeeding flood set her upright again, and she and the Unity, hauling out of their dangerous position, stood farther up the river.

Here they again dropped anchor off King’s Island. On landing they found it so thickly covered with the nests of penguins, each of which contained three or four eggs—that a man might have taken fifty or sixty without moving his position. They here also saw emus and deer with extremely long necks. While wandering over the hills they came upon several heaps of stones, beneath which they discovered bones, as they supposed of persons ten and eleven feet along. Plenty of good fish and fowls were obtained, but no water could be found for some days.

On the 17th of December they laid the Unity ashore in order to clean her bottom, and the following day the Horn was hauled up for the same purpose, at a distance of about two hundred yards from her consort. It was providential that she was thus far. It being necessary to soften the old pitch off her bottom, to which barnacles and mud were sticking, they lighted a fire beneath her bottom. As they were in a hurry to perform the operation, they threw on more sticks and reeds, scattering the fire along her whole length. While they were working away with their iron scrapers, suddenly they saw fire bursting out through her ports. How this had happened they could not tell. There was no fresh water at hand, and as the tide had fallen, leaving her fully fifty feet from the margin of the river, they had to run all that distance with buckets, or whatever else they could lay hold of, to bring up water to extinguish the flames. Before a sufficient quantity could be brought the fire had got a complete hold of the vessel. In vain they dashed the water over her, the flames rapidly spread from stem to stern, and, at length, seeing that all their efforts were useless, they had to stand by and watch her burning, a small portion only of her stores and provisions having been saved. In a short time the poor Horn became a mere heap of ashes.

On the 20th they launched the Unity, and the next day carried on board all the ironwork, anchors, guns, and whatever else they had been able to save from the unfortunate Horn. While hunting about for water, without which they could not venture to sea, they found on the 25th some holes full of it. Though it was white and muddy, it was well tasting, and they accordingly carried on board a large quantity in casks on men’s shoulders.

Near this place they discovered a number of sea-lions, the young of which they found very good to eat; but the creatures were so fierce that they could only be killed by musket-shots. On the 13th of January, 1616, they left Port Desire, and on the 18th sighted the Falkland Islands.

Holding their course south by west, they saw land bearing west and west-south-west from them, and shortly afterwards other land to the south. The wind blowing strong, they were compelled to take in sail. The next morning they saw land to starboard at the distance of about a league, consisting of high snow-covered hills. Then they saw other land bearing east from the former, also high and rugged. As these two lands were about eight leagues apart, and as there was a strong current running to the southward in the direction of the opening, they guessed that there might be a free passage between them.

They had good reason to hope that this might be the one they were in search of, leading into the South Sea. They accordingly steered for it, but the wind falling, they were compelled to restrain their eagerness. Here, as they were gliding on, they saw prodigious multitudes of penguins and also whales in such vast schools that they had to steer with caution lest, by running against them, the monsters should injure the ship. On the 25th they got close up to the north shore of the eastern land they had seen, to which they gave the name of Staten Land, in honour of the States of Holland.

The wind being favourable, they now stood through the Straits. On both sides they observed sandy bays and good roadsteads, but the shores were bare of trees and shrubs. There were, however, abundance of fish, porpoises, penguins, and other birds. To the land on the starboard side they gave the name of Maurice Land, being a part of Terra del Fuego. The wind being north, they stood briskly on, steering west-south-west, but again shifting to south-west, they were compelled to steer south.

They now met with long high waves, which rolled on in slow succession, while the water appeared to be unusually blue, evident signs, as they considered, that the great South Sea was before them, and that they had made their way into it by a passage of their own discovering. Numbers of seamews, or rather of albatrosses, larger than swans, their wings when extended measuring six feet from tip to tip, came circling round the ship, and even alighted on board, being so tame as to allow themselves to be taken by the hand without even attempting to escape. The wind was generally favourable, but with storms of rain and snow, the sea running very high. As they steered south-west they saw land to the north-west and north-north-west, the lofty snow-capped mountains of Terra del Fuego. At length they came off a sharp point, the most southern extremity of that land, to which they gave the name of Cape Horn, in compliment to the port from which they had sailed.

Theirs were the first human eyes probably which had ever closely viewed that now well-known promontory, although Drake may possibly have seen it at a distance when scudding before the gale which drove the sorely-battered Golden Hind out of her course.

Having kept a bright look-out in all directions, and having seen no land to the southward, they were now thoroughly convinced that they had doubled the extreme end of the continent of South America, or rather of the islands which lie off it.

Altering their course to the northward, they, on the 12th of February, had attained the parallel of the western end of the Straits of Magellan, and returning thanks to Heaven for their happy discovery, they commemorated the event by a cup of wine, which was handed three times round the ship’s company. The officers, holding a consultation, agreed to give the name of the Straits of Le Maire to the passage through which they had come, in compliment to the worthy merchant who had promoted the expedition, although that honour might justly have been bestowed upon Captain Schouten.

The next land they saw was Juan Fernandez, but missing the proper anchorage, they were unable to bring up. Captain Schouten sent a boat, however, to look for a safe place to anchor; but the officer in command of her, on his return, reported that the island was inaccessible, though he brought off a large quantity of lobsters, crabs, and a few fish, having also seen many sea-wolves. They next sighted another small island, but here also were unable to anchor, and on sending a boat ashore, her crew could only find some herbs, which tasted like scurvy-grass, though they saw several dogs which neither barked nor snarled, for which reason they called it Dog Island.

When about a league away from another low island, a canoe, in which were six or eight reddish-coloured Indians with long black hair, came off to the ship; but the explorers could not communicate with them, as they understood none of the languages in which they were addressed.

Sailing along the coast, another canoe came off. The skins of her crew, who were nearly naked, except a piece of matting hung from a belt round their waists, were punctured over with snakes, dragons, and other reptiles. They would not venture on board, but came to the boats, when the Dutch gave them beads, knives, and other trifles. They quickly showed their thievish disposition by stealing the nails from the cabin windows and the bolts from the doors. The boat, with a well-armed crew, was now sent on shore; but the moment they landed, about thirty natives rushed from the woods, armed with clubs, slings, and spears, and tried to take away the arms from the soldiers; but on receiving a discharge of musketry, they took to flight.

This island was low and sandy, and was covered with cocoa-nut-trees. It was about one hundred leagues from Dog Island. At the next island at which they touched, on the 16th, they were fortunate enough to find abundance of fresh water in a pit not far from shore, as also some herbs, which proved serviceable to those who were afflicted with scurvy. To this island they gave the name of Water Island.

Sailing westward, anchorage was found off another island about twenty leagues distant from it, a musket-shot from the shore, where they observed a stream of fresh water. After having had considerable difficulty in getting ashore, they found a spring in a wood; but suddenly, as they were about to fill their casks with water, a savage started up, and they considered it wise to beat a retreat to the boat.

Just as they got there, five or six more savages appeared, but on seeing them, quickly retired into the wood. Although they had got rid of the savages, they encountered other adversaries of a more formidable nature, for they were followed by myriads of black flies, so that they came on board absolutely covered with them from head to foot. This plague of flies raged in the ship for three or four days, until by the help of a good breeze they were blown away. The Dutch naturally called this island Fly Island, but it is now known as Palliser’s Island.

Continuing their course westward, when about one thousand five hundred and ten leagues from the coast of Peru, they saw a large double canoe standing towards them. On this a gun was fired to make her heave to. The people in her not understanding the meaning of the signal, naturally made off as fast as they could. On this the Dutch sent their boat with ten musketeers, who fired a volley at her. On seeing the boat approach, some of the savages leapt overboard, but the rest surrendered without resistance, on which the Dutch used them kindly, dressing the wounds of those who were hurt, and saving the lives of some who had leapt into the sea. Besides the men, there were eight women and several children,—in all twenty-three persons. They were cleanly looking, of a reddish colour, and almost naked, wearing only the usual cloth, hung to a belt in front.

The men wore their long black hair curled, but the women had theirs cut short. The only articles found on board were a few fishing-hooks: the upper part was formed of stone, and the other of bone or mother-of-pearl. They had no water, but satisfied their thirst with the liquor of a few cocoa-nuts, or with salt water, of which even the children drank heartily. The canoe was probably bound from one of the Society Islands to Otaheite.

On the 10th high land was seen on the larboard side, about eight leagues off, but the Unity was unable to reach it. On the 11th she came up with another high island, with a second, much lower, about two leagues to the southward.

About this time another double canoe appeared, which outsailed the Unity. She was steered with two oars, one in each canoe. The Dutch, wishing to anchor, stood in until they brought up about a cannon-shot from the island, which consisted of an entire mountain, resembling one of the Moluccas, and was covered over with cocoa-nut-trees. No sooner had the ship come to an anchor than she was surrounded by canoes, the people from which leaped into the water and swam to her, carrying in their hands cocoa-nuts and roots of various sorts. These they bartered for nails, beads, and other trifles; so that the crew obtained a sufficient number of cocoa-nuts to supply each of them bountifully.

This traffic brought so many of the native canoes round the ship, that the Dutchmen had a difficulty in steering clear of them. A boat was now sent to the other island to discover better anchorage, but she was quickly beset with a vast number of canoes, full of wild savages armed with clubs, who attempted to board her. When the seamen first fired their muskets, the natives laughed at them for making so much noise and doing so little harm; but at the next discharge, a savage being shot through the breast, they quickly retreated. They were strong, well-proportioned men, and expert swimmers.

Notwithstanding the hostility they first displayed, the savages came again on the 12th in their canoes, laden with cocoa-nuts, bananas, roots, hogs, and fresh water, all struggling to get first on board. Those from the canoes outside leaped into the sea, and, diving, swam to the ship with bunches of cocoa-nuts in their mouths, climbing up the sides like so many rats, in such swarms that the Dutch had to keep them off with their cutlasses. Sufficient cocoa-nuts were obtained that day to give each man of the crew a dozen.

The natives seemed astonished at the strength of the Unity. Some of them were seen to dive under her bottom, knocking against it with stones, as if to try how strong it was. Their King or chief sent on board a black hog as a present, the messenger being ordered to take no reward. Shortly afterwards he came in person, in a large double canoe, attended by thirty-five single canoes. When at a distance he and his people began to shout at the top of their voices, that being their manner of welcoming strangers. He was not to be distinguished from any of his subjects by any external mark, for he was as naked as they were; but it was seen who he was by the reverence they showed him. The Dutchmen, to do him honour, began beating their drums and sounding their trumpets, and this seemed to afford him much satisfaction, as he and his attendants, to show how highly they appreciated this reception, bowed and clapped their hands until they grew tired of the performance. The King then sent another pig, in one of the small canoes, on board the Unity, for which Captain Schouten returned him an old hatchet, some rusty nails, some glass beads, and a piece of linen cloth, with which he seemed highly pleased.

They then invited him by signs to come on board. He would not, however, trust himself with the strangers; but, after satisfying his curiosity, he, followed by the rest of the canoes, took his departure.

At noon on the 13th, fully twenty-three double canoes and forty-five single ones, in each of which there could not have been less than seven or eight men, were seen coming off from the shore, and soon perfectly surrounded the ship. At first the savages pretended to come for the purpose of trading, making signs of friendship, and endeavouring to persuade their visitors to remove the ship to another island, where there was better anchorage. Captain Schouten suspected, however, in spite of this, that there was some mischief intended. He therefore ordered his men to arm themselves, and load their guns as well as their muskets, to be ready for an attack. He was not mistaken, for in a short time the savages, finding their signs not attended to, began to shout in the most fearful manner, and then the crew of the King’s ship, which was nearest, plying her paddles, forced her with such force against the Unity, that the heads of the two canoes composing it were both dashed to pieces.

The rest of the canoes came rushing on from every side, the people in them throwing showers of heavy stones on board. As they did so Captain Schouten ordered his crew to open upon them with musketry, and at the same time the great guns, which had been loaded with bullets and nails, were fired right down on the surrounding canoes. This had the desired effect, for the savages in the nearest canoes, leaping overboard, endeavoured to make for the shore, while the others paddled off as fast as they could, endeavouring to escape from the anger of the white men, whom they had so treacherously endeavoured to destroy. It was found that their assailants came from the lower or more southerly of the two islands, which the Dutchmen, therefore, named Traitors’ Island.

Not wishing to have anything more to do with such people, Captain Schouten ordered the anchor to be weighed, and the Unity stood towards another island about thirty leagues off, where he hoped to be more fortunate in obtaining refreshments. As the ship approached the island the boat was sent along the shore to sound, for the purpose of discovering good anchorage ground.

While the ship was standing off the shore about a dozen canoes came off, bringing a small quantity of flying-fish. These the natives willingly exchanged for beads; but Captain Schouten, deeming it unwise to allow them to come alongside, ordered them under the stern, when the exchange was made by means of a rope, the beads being let down and the fish hauled up. The savages, having disposed of their fish, paddled away for the Unity’s boat, which was engaged in sounding. Getting up to her, they suddenly made an attempt to board, but their intention being perceived, they were met with so warm a reception from the Dutchmen’s guns, pikes, and cutlasses, that two were killed, and the rest were glad to hurry away as fast as they could.

The shores of this island were composed of black cliffs with green summits, and numbers of cocoa-nut-trees growing on them. Several huts were seen scattered about, and at one place there was a large village, close to a shelving beach.

As no convenient anchorage was found, Captain Schouten now stood away to the south-west, hoping to discover the great southern land of which he was in search.

At length, however, on the 18th of May, being in latitude 16 degrees 5 minutes south, and at least one thousand six hundred leagues westward of the coast of Peru, without having seen any signs of a continent, Captain Schouten called his officers together, and observed that if they continued on their present course they would reach the southern side of New Guinea, and that if they were unable to find a passage beyond that country, either to the west or north, they would inevitably be lost, as it would be impossible for them to get back, in consequence of the east winds which prevailed in those seas. He proposed, therefore, that they should now alter their course to the northward, so as to fall in with the north side of New Guinea.

Had he continued on he would have fallen in with the group of islands now called the New Hebrides, and afterwards probably have become the discoverer of New South Wales, and perhaps have made his way through Torres Straits, between New Holland and New Guinea, which had a short time before been discovered by Luis Vaez de Torres. It must be remembered, however, that at this period the whole of the vast region to the south of the East Indian Archipelago was totally unknown to the civilised world.

Le Maire and the other officers willingly agreed to this proposal, and the course was accordingly shaped to north-north-west. Before long they fell in with another island, but could only get within a league of it, when they were visited by two canoes, some of the people in them being allowed to come on board. The natives had not been long in the ship before, one of them carrying off a shirt, the whole leapt back into their canoes, and then began shouting and threatening to throw their spears. To show them their folly some muskets were discharged, by which two of the unfortunate savages were killed, while the rest made off at a rapid rate.

It strikes one that the Dutchmen were apt to fire unnecessarily at the savages; but then again it must be remembered that the latter were so ignorant of the power of firearms that unless the pieces were shotted they only laughed at the senseless noise, and that they hurled their spears with such unerring aim that some of the Dutchmen might have been killed had they not employed the means of defence in their power.

Notwithstanding the death of these two savages, some more canoes came off on the 22nd from another part of the island, apparently with peaceable intentions, bringing cocoa-nuts, roots, and roasted hogs, which they bartered for knives, beads, and nails.

They were, however, quite as well versed in stealing as their countrymen. Their huts in considerable numbers were seen along the shore, the roofs being conical and covered with leaves. As Captain Schouten here found a good place for watering, he detained six of the islanders on board, and sent three of his own people as hostages to the King, who treated them with great respect and presented them with four hogs, giving also strict orders to his people not to interfere with the boat while watering. The natives stood in great awe of him. One of them having stolen a cutlass, and a complaint being made to one of his officers, the thief was pursued and soundly thrashed, besides being compelled to make restitution. The officer signified that it was well for the culprit that the King did not know of his crime, for had that been the case his life, to a certainty, would have been forfeited.

Their houses were about twelve feet high and twenty in circumference, the only furniture seen in them being beds of dry leaves, a fishing-rod or two, and a large club.

These islanders appeared to hold firearms in great dread. On one occasion the King desired to hear one of the great guns let off, and for this purpose he took his seat under a canopy in state, having on his head a crown of white, red, and green feathers of parrots and doves, with his courtiers about him, trying to look unconcerned. No sooner, however, was the gun fired, than jumping up, he ran off as fast as his legs could carry him into the woods, followed by his attendants, and no persuasions could stop them.

On the 25th and 26th Captain Schouten sent on shore to procure hogs, but the islanders having only a few left, would not part with any, and would only sell cocoa-nuts, bananas, and roots. The King, notwithstanding, continued to treat his guests with kindness, and as a mark of his regard he and his principal minister took the crowns off their heads and put them on two of the party.

The doves seen here were white on the back, and black everywhere else, except the breast. Each of the King’s councillors had one of these birds sitting beside him on a stick.

An ample supply of fresh water having been taken on board, preparations were made for sailing. Before leaving, Captain Schouten and Le Maire went on shore, accompanied by their trumpeters, whose music highly pleased the King. The friendly disposition exhibited by the tawny sovereigns was, they suspected, as much from fear as love, for he offered them ten hogs and a large quantity of cocoa-nuts, if they would quit his island in a couple of days. It was evident that he suspected the Dutch of having some design to seize his country. He requested them, notwithstanding this, to assist him in a war he was carrying on with the inhabitants of another part of the island. This they declined doing. He, however, fearlessly paid them a return visit on board the Unity. On coming up the side he made some cabalistic signs, or, as the Dutch supposed, offered up prayers to his idols, and he did the same at the door of every cabin he entered. When the Dutchmen went on shore the inhabitants showed them the most abject marks of respect, by kissing their feet and placing them on their necks.

The name of Horn was given to this island. It is divided into two portions, joined by a narrow low neck of land, which gives it the appearance of two islands.

The friendly King sent on board on the morning of the 30th of May to say that another King was coming to visit him, and to request that drums and trumpets from the ship might be in attendance to do his visitor honour.

This request was readily granted. Soon after the other King made his appearance, accompanied by a train of three hundred naked Indians, having bunches of green herbs stuck about their waists, of which herb they make their drink. They brought also a present of sixteen hogs. When the two Kings came in sight of each other, they began to bow and to utter certain prayers. As they met, they both fell prostrate on the ground, and after making several strange gestures, they got up and walked to two seats provided for them. Having uttered more prayers and bowed reverently to each other, they sat down under the same canopy, while the drums and trumpets from the ship played a march, to their great entertainment.

After this preparations were commenced for a solemn banquet. The liquor to be consumed at it was concocted in the following strange and disagreeable manner. A number of young Indians quickly collected in the presence of the two Kings, bringing with them a large quantity of kava, a sort of herb. Each person then filled his mouth with it, and having chewed it for some time, spat it into a large wooden trough, on which water was poured. After stirring this for some time, they squeezed out the liquor, which was presented in cups to the two Kings. They also offered some to the Dutch, who turned away with a disgust which must have astonished their hosts. The substantial part of the entertainment consisted of roasted roots and hogs, the latter nicely dressed in the following manner. The entrails being taken out, the hair was singed off, when a pit having been dug and lined with leaves, the bottom was covered with heated stones, on which the hog was placed, the inside being also filled with hot stones. It was then covered with other stones, and on the top with a thick layer of leaves. The whole was then covered up, so as to prevent the escape of heat. By this means the animal was perfectly dressed. The natives presented the Dutchmen with two hogs dressed in this manner, with the same forms and ceremonies they used to their Kings, placing them on their heads, and then humbly kneeling, left them at their feet.

They also presented their guests with eleven live hogs, for which they were given in return some knives, old nails, and glass beads. These natives were of a dark yellow colour, tall, strongly built, and so well proportioned that the tallest Dutchman was of the size of the smallest of them. Some wore their hair curled, others frizzled or tied up in knots, while several had it standing bolt upright on their heads like hogs’ bristles, a quarter of an ell long. The women were short, ill-shaped, and exceedingly ugly.

The Dutchmen bidding the friendly natives farewell, the Unity sailed on the ist of June, and stood on until she came off a low island, with three or four small islands near it, covered by trees. Here a canoe similar to those formerly described came off from the shore. The people were black and armed with bows and arrows, being the first weapons of that description the Dutchmen had seen among the Indians of the South Sea.

These people made the voyagers understand by signs that there was more land to the westward, where another King dwelt, who would provide them with good refreshment.

Passing numerous islands, some of which were rugged and full of cliffs, they at length made some high land, which they supposed to be a headland on the coast of New Guinea. They stood towards it, but could find no bottom to anchor.

Here two or three canoes came off full of black naked people, who spoke a language differing entirely from that before heard. On seeing the boat sounding they attacked her with their slings, but, frightened by a few shots, quickly took to flight.

During the night fires were seen burning along the coast, probably as alarm signals. Soon after it was dark more canoes came off, and kept lurking about the ship; but though the Dutch tried to make them understand that they wished to be friendly and were anxious to purchase provisions, the savages only replied by the most horrible noises and outcries.

The Unity anchored that night off a bay in forty-five fathoms. In the morning a fleet of canoes came off, full of savages armed with clubs, wooden swords, and slings. The Dutch tried to propitiate them by offering them trinkets and toys, but this had not the slightest effect on the savages, who began hurling their missiles and approaching so near—one of the Dutchmen being wounded, the first who had been hurt during the voyage—that it became necessary to fire at them. Not, however, until several of them had been killed did they take to flight, when they leapt overboard, and dived and swam for their lives. On this the Dutch, pursuing them in their boat, with what was certainly wanton cruelty, knocked several on the head, and took three prisoners and four of their canoes, the latter serving as fuel, of which they were in want.

Having made, one of the wounded men understand that if his countrymen would bring off hogs and bananas the rest of the prisoners would be set at liberty, they sent him on shore, telling him that ten hogs must be paid as a ransom for each of the others; but as the natives refused to agree to this arrangement, one of the captives, who was named after the wounded Dutchman Moses, was carried off.

They here procured some beautiful birds, the plumage of which was entirely red. From the appearance of the people they concluded that they were Papuans. Sailing on along the coast, they saw three other high islands, being then in 3 degrees 20 minutes south latitude.

On the night of the 29th, as the ship was sailing calmly on, she was suddenly shaken so violently that the crew rushed up on deck, fully expecting to find that she had run aground; but on sounding, no bottom was found, and it was seen that no rocks nor shallows were in the neighbourhood. They therefore came to the conclusion that the shaking had been caused by a submarine earthquake, such as often takes place in that volcanic region. The following night the same fearful phenomenon again occurred, accompanied by terrific claps of thunder, while the lightning darted so fiercely from the sky that, had not a heavy downpour of rain come on there seemed every probability that the ship would have been set on fire.

In the morning several canoes appeared full of blacks, who were allowed to come on board. As a token that they wished to be friendly, they broke some sticks they carried over the Dutchmen. Their canoes were very neatly formed, and they themselves were more civilised than the savages last visited. Their black hair was covered over with chalk. They came only to beg, having brought nothing with them, though cocoa-nut trees were seen in abundance on the shore.

On the 1st of July the Unity again anchored between an island and the coast of New Guinea. She was almost immediately surrounded by twenty-five canoes, carrying the same people who had before given tokens of peace. They now, however, came in a very different spirit; for several of them caught hold of two anchors which hung over the bows, and began tugging away, expecting to draw the ship ashore. The rest, coming up on either side, began, with loud shouts and cries, to hurl stones from their slings, and to cast their darts. On this Captain Schouten ordered the guns to be fired, when the shot quickly knocked the canoes to pieces, killed twelve or thirteen men, and wounded a much larger number, when the rest at once took to flight.

The Dutch now continued their cruise round the northern end of New Guinea. Passing a large group of islands, twenty-three in number, of different sizes, some high, others low, most of them being left on the starboard side, their hearts were cheered by coming in sight of a lofty mountain, which they took to be the hill of Banda, but which was in reality several degrees of latitude off from it.

On the 7th they approached a range of lofty hills, some of which they found were volcanoes, for which reason they named the island Volcano Island. It was thickly inhabited, and abounded in cocoa-nut trees. The people regarded the ship with evident terror, and would not come near her. Steering west-south-west, and occasionally altering their course to the west-north-west, they anchored on the 8th about a cannon-shot from the shore between two islands, one lofty and the other somewhat lower. It was inhabited by Papuans, whose mode of bedecking themselves, owing to their natural deformity, made them literally appear like monsters. Nearly the whole of them had their limbs fearfully misshapen, besides which they had strings of hogs’-teeth hung about their necks, rings in their noses, their hair frizzled, and their faces black and ugly. Their habitations were remarkable, being light structures of bamboo, mounted on stakes eight or nine feet above the ground, and close to the water. There were two villages near the shore, from whence the inhabitants brought off hogs and cocoa-nuts, but so high a price was demanded that none were purchased.

By the morning of the 5th they reckoned that they were off the extreme western part of New Guinea, along which they had sailed two hundred and eighty leagues. Here several canoes came off, bringing beans, rice, tobacco, and two beautiful birds of paradise. The natives spoke the language of Ternate, and some of them a little Spanish and Malayan. They were clothed from the waist down, some with loose silken robes, and others with trousers, while some, who were Mohammedans, wore silken turbans on their heads; many also had gold and silver rings on their fingers. They bartered their provisions for beads and other toys, but seemed more desirous of having linen than anything else. Suspicious of the Dutch, they would not tell the name of their country. It was afterwards found that they were natives of Tidore.

Captain Schouten now shaped a course, intending to go round the north point of Gilolo, and, having touched at Soppy, anchored on the 5th off the coast of that island. At this place some of the seamen went on shore several times to catch fish. On one occasion, when they were drawing their net, four soldiers from Ternate rushed suddenly out of a wood, sword in hand, and had not the surgeon, who was present, cried out, “These are Holland men!” would have killed them. The soldiers instantly stopped, and, throwing water on their heads, in token of peace, approached in a friendly manner, saying that they had mistaken the Dutchmen for Spaniards. They at once accompanied the seamen on board, and, being well treated, undertook to bring off provisions, which promise they fulfilled.

Having sighted Ternate and Tidore, the Unity anchored, on the evening of the 17th, off the former island. Here Captain Schouten with Le Maire went on shore, and were kindly entertained by the King of Amboyna and the admiral and general of the station.

At this place the pinnaces and the stores of the unfortunate Horn were sold for one thousand three hundred and fifty reals, with which Captain Schouten obtained some provisions. On the 28th he anchored at Batavia, then called Jacutra. Here John Paterson Koen, President of the Dutch East India Company, arrived on the 31st of October; but instead of the friendly reception the voyagers expected he would offer, to their bitter grief he the next day sequestered the Unity and her cargo, declaring that she was forfeited to the East India Company for illegally sailing within the bounds of their charter.

In vain Le Maire protested against this arbitrary proceeding, and declared that the seizure was unlawful, as they had not offended against the letter nor intention of the company’s charter, since they had not come to India by either of the forbidden passages,—the Straits of Magellan or the Cape of Good Hope,—but by a passage they themselves had discovered, and which must be extremely advantageous to the commerce of their own countrymen and to the trading world.

Finding, however, all his efforts vain, he and Captain Schouten, with some of their people, embarked on board the Amsterdam on the 14th of December, 1616, and others on board the Zealand, while the rest entered the service of the company. On the 31st of the same month poor Jacques Le Maire died, chiefly of grief and vexation at the failure of the enterprise, which had been so successful until the arrest of the ship and cargo. He had kept a journal with great care during the voyage, and he left an earnest request that it should be published, that the world might know and judge of the usage he and his companions had received. The voyagers arrived on the 1st of July, 1617, in Holland, from which they had been absent, during their circumnavigation of the globe, two years and seventeen days.


Chapter Twenty One.

Voyages and adventures of William Dampier—from A.D. 1674.

His parentage—Early voyages—Sails for Jamaica as a planter—Visits Bay of Campeachy—Turns logwood-cutter—His adventures—Joins the buccaneers—Succeeds—Returns to England—Marries—Again goes to Jamaica—Captured by buccaneers, and takes part in several expeditions in the South Sea—Recrosses the Isthmus of Darien, and reaches the Samballas Islands—Joins Captain Tristan—The prizes sold to the Dutch—Goes to Virginia—Joins the Revenge—Captain Cook sails for the South Seas—Puts into the Sherbro’ River—Cook treacherously captures a Dane—The name of the Bachelor’s Delight given to her—Cape Horn doubled—Steers for Juan Fernandez—Falls in with the Nicholas—Meeting of the Mosquito Indians, Will and Robin, at Juan Fernandez—Several vessels captured on the coast—A design on Truxillo abandoned—Death of Cook—Buried on shore—Narrow escape of the party on shore—Davis elected captain—Transactions at Amapalla—Eaton and Davis separate—Davis joined by other pirates—Paita attacked and burnt—Attempt on Guayaquil abandoned—A packet-boat captured—Hear of the sailing of the Plata fleet—Lay in wait for it off New Panama—Attempts of the Spaniards with a fire-ship—Large parties of pirates unite—Plan to attack Panama—Encounters a Spanish fleet—Stratagem of the Spaniards to place the pirates in a disadvantageous position—The Spanish fleet escapes—Lexa and Leon plundered—Swan proposes to cross the Pacific—Santa Pecaque plundered—A large body of the rovers massacred—The prisoners set on shore on a desert island—The Cygnet prepared for crossing the Pacific—Dampier cured of a dropsy.

Few British seamen have seen so much of the world, or have gone through more remarkable adventures, with the power of describing them, than William Dampier. He was born in 1652, near Yeovil, in Somersetshire, on the farm of his father, a well-to-do yeoman, who sent him at an early age to a good school, where he acquired some classical knowledge. He was afterwards removed to another, where he learned writing and arithmetic.

Having shown a strong inclination for the sea, on the death of his parents his guardians apprenticed him to a shipmaster at Weymouth, with whom he made a voyage to France, and in the following year one to Newfoundland; but suffering from the cold, he got disgusted with a sailor’s life, and settled for a short time with a brother in Somersetshire.

His longing for adventure, however, soon revived, and hearing of an outward-bound East Indiaman about to sail for Bantam in Java, knowing that at all events he should be warm enough there, he shipped on board of her before the mast.

Having gained considerable nautical experience, he returned home, and after again living on shore with his brother, he entered on board the Royal Princess man-of-war, commanded by Sir Edward Spragge. In this ship he took part in two sanguinary fights; but falling ill, he was sent to hospital on shore, thus missing the last engagement in which his brave commander was killed.

On his recovery he accepted an offer from his brother’s landlord, Colonel Hellier, to go out as under-manager to an estate in Jamaica. He accordingly sailed, and after visiting several islands, reached Jamaica. Growing weary, however, of a planter’s life, he made trips in different traders, carrying goods along the coast, by which he gained a thorough knowledge of the harbours and bays of the island.

In August, 1675, he sailed on board a vessel bound for the island of Trist, in the Bay of Campeachy. He here became enamoured of the free life of the logwood-cutters, and after his return to Jamaica, having supplied himself with tools, a gun, and store of powder and shot, as well as a tent, he again sailed for the island of Trist. He now began to keep a regular journal, which tells us of his adventures while engaged as a logwood-cutter. They are amongst the most interesting of his life, while his notes on the natural history of the country show his accuracy as an observer. The logwood-cutters varied their occupation by hunting the wild cattle, and on one occasion Dampier nearly perished by having lost his way in the woods. During his wanderings he had the unpleasant reflection that a short time before six or seven of the crew of a Boston ship had died, in the vain endeavour to find their way to the shore.

On another occasion he was, while crossing a small savannah with his companions, who had gone on ahead, nearly losing his life. He perceived the strong scent of an alligator; directly afterwards he stumbled over one, and fell into the water. Recovering, he shouted to the other men, but they, terror-stricken, were flying towards the woods. A second, and even a third time he fell, every moment expecting to be seized by the jaws of the horrid monster; but he at length got safely on shore. An alligator had a few days before actually seized one of his comrades by the knee, but the man had the presence of mind to wait until the brute relinquished his grip to take a firmer hold, when he rammed the butt-end of his musket down its throat, and scampered off.

During a hurricane he was deprived of his stock of provisions. Having no means of procuring a fresh supply, he was compelled to join a company of buccaneers, or privateers as he called them, with whom he spent a year before he could make his escape, pillaging the Spaniards and making descents on native villages. While with the freebooters a Spanish fort was attacked, but they lost ten men killed or desperately wounded, and obtained little booty, except the flesh of some thirty bullocks, some Indian corn, poultry, and a number of tame parrots.

While the vessels of the buccaneers were encumbered by the live stock and provisions they had obtained, they were attacked by some Spanish armadillos, which they succeeded, however, in beating off. After this adventure Dampier returned to the island of Trist, and was so successful in his occupation as a woodcutter, that he was enabled to return to England in 1678. Here he married a young woman attached to the Duchess of Grafton’s family, but after spending about half a year at home he again sailed for Jamaica, carrying out a quantity of goods to exchange for the commodities most in request among the woodcutters.

He spent nearly a year in Jamaica, where he was so successful in his mercantile transactions that he was able to send over money sufficient to purchase a small property in Dorsetshire. He was about to return home and take possession of it, when he was persuaded to engage in a voyage to the Mosquito shore. On the way the vessel fell in with a squadron of three noted pirates, Coxon, Sawkins, and Sharp. The whole of the crew of the merchantman joining them, Dampier was compelled to go with them also.

Soon afterwards Porto Bello was sacked by two hundred of the pirates, each of whom obtained as his share one hundred and sixty pieces of eight. After this the buccaneers marched across the Isthmus of Panama, three hundred and thirty strong, under the command of Captain Sharp, accompanied by a band of Mosquito Indians. On their way they attacked the town of Santa Maria, where the Indians put many of the inhabitants to death. They then embarked in a fleet of canoes and boats, and, having deposed Sharp, chose Captain Coxon for their commander.

Shortly afterwards they separated, Dampier accompanying Sharp. Again uniting preparatory to an attack on Panama, they encountered three Spanish ships, and, after a severe action, in which many on both sides fell, they captured them. Sawkins was now raised to the command, but was killed while leading on his men in an attack on Puebla Nueva.

The pirates at length repaired to the island of Juan Fernandez to refit, and William, one of the Mosquito Indians, was left behind.

Captain Watling, who had been elected chief, was shortly afterwards killed in an attempt to capture Arica, and Sharp was once more placed at the head of the band. He managed, in one of the vessels he had captured, to double Cape Horn, and return in safety to England, where he narrowly escaped being hung as a pirate. Dampier, meantime, with a minority of the party, consisting of forty-four Europeans, two Mosquito men, and a Spanish Indian, after undergoing great hardships and perils, crossed the isthmus to the mouth of the river Concepcion, where they obtained canoes, in which they proceeded to one of the Samballas Islands. Here they found a French privateer, commanded by Captain Tristan, whom they joined. Having captured a large Spanish ship, with twelve guns and forty men, laden with sugar, tobacco, and marmalade, the cargo was offered to the Dutch Governor of Curaçoa, who was too cautious to purchase it himself, but recommended them to go to Saint Thomas’s, which belonged to the Danes, saying that he would send a sloop to take the sugar off their hands.

Declining his suggestion, they sailed to another Dutch colony, where they easily disposed of their booty.

Dampier some time after this found his way to Virginia, where he was residing with several of his former companions, when a ship, captured by a party of English buccaneers under Captain Cook, and named the Revenge, put into the harbour. As she carried eighteen guns, and was equipped for a long voyage—and it was necessary to get away from those seas as soon as possible, lest they should be treated as pirates—it was proposed that a voyage should be made to the South Seas.

Besides Dampier, the ship’s company consisted of Lionel Wafer, the surgeon, Ambrose Cowley, and many adventurers who had lately crossed the Isthmus of Panama. The ship being well stored, sailed from Achamack in Virginia on the 23rd of August, 1683.

Having helped themselves to some casks of wine from a Dutch vessel, they steered for the Cape de Verde Islands, and thence were intending to hold a course for the Straits of Magellan, but, as they were driven east by foul weather, they put into the river Sherbro’. The natives, being in no way shy, brought off an abundance of plantains, sugar-cane, rice, fowls, honey, and palm wine. Here they found at anchor a large Danish ship, which, being far superior to their own vessel, Captain Cook resolved to capture. Concealing most of his crew, who were well armed, and allowing only a few to appear on deck, he steered for the stranger. He had given directions to the helmsman to run her aboard, notwithstanding whatever command he might issue. The helmsman doing as he had been ordered, ran her alongside, when the pirate crew, springing from their places of concealment, rushed, cutlass in hand, over the bulwarks of the Dane, which they captured after a short struggle, with the loss, however, of five men.

Dampier, justly ashamed of the nefarious proceeding, does not mention it in his journal, but it is found in that of Cowley, who wrote an account of the voyage. The crew of the captured ship being sent on shore to shift for themselves, she was towed out of the harbour; and such stores, guns, and ammunition as were required being moved out of the Revenge into her, the pirates set fire to their old ship, that she might tell no tales, and sailed away in their prize. She carried thirty-six guns, and was victualled for a long voyage.

The name of the Bachelor’s Delight was bestowed upon her, and with exulting hearts the buccaneers directed their course for the Straits of Magellan. On their way two or three of the crew died, and among them one of the surgeons, greatly to their regret, as they had now only one remaining.

Having touched at the Falkland Islands, then known under the name of Sibald de Weert, to obtain water and fresh provisions, they steered for the entrance of the straits. Dampier, knowing the want of discipline among the lawless crew, feared to take the ship through so narrow and dangerous a passage, and endeavoured to persuade Captain Cook to sail round Cape Horn, instead of attempting that of the straits. Captain Cook, however, insisted on keeping to his original plan; but on reaching the northern entrance to the Straits of Le Maire, the ship, having been tossed about in the sea created by counter-currents, was forced through them, and the pirates were compelled, after all, to go round Cape Horn. Fortunately they were able to supply themselves with water from the heavy rain which fell.

The Bachelor’s Delight, entering the South Sea on the 3rd of March, steered for Juan Fernandez. On the 19th a strange sail was seen bearing down upon them, and it being supposed she was Spanish, preparations were made for a fight.

On signals being exchanged, she was found to be the Nicholas of London, which, though nominally an honest trader, was in reality a pirate, commanded by Captain Eaton. He coming on board, the Bachelor’s Delight supplied him with water, while he gave bread and beef in exchange. Both being bound for the same island, they continued their course together, and on the 22nd of March, 1684, came in sight of it.

Having come to an anchor, Dampier and others went on shore to look for a Mosquito Indian named Will, who had been left there three years before by Captain Watling. As they approached, he having discerned the ships, and knowing them to be English, came down to the seaside to welcome them. As soon as they reached the beach, another Mosquito Indian, named Robin, leapt on shore, and running to his brother Mosquito man, threw himself flat on his face at his feet. The other helped him up, and having embraced him, also fell flat on his face on the ground at the feet of Robin, who also took him up.

Dampier and his companions stood watching with pleasure and surprise the tenderness and solemnity of this interview, which was exceedingly affectionate on both sides. When it was over they all embraced.

Will was delighted to see so many old friends, coming, as he supposed, to take him away. He was almost naked, his own clothes having been worn out, so that he had only a skin about his waist. Seeing the vessels, he had in the morning killed three goats and dressed them with cabbage, to treat his visitors as soon as they got on shore.

The Spaniards had several times searched for him, but he had always managed to conceal himself from them. He had been out hunting in the woods for goats when Captain Watling had embarked his men, and he had thus been left behind. He had with him his gun and a knife, with a small horn of powder and a few shot. This ammunition being spent, he contrived, by notching his knife, to saw the barrel of his gun into small pieces, with which he made harpoons, lances, hooks, and a long knife. Having made a fire by means of his gun-flint and a piece of the barrel of his gun which he had hardened, he heated the pieces, which he hammered out or bent as he desired with stones, and either sawed them with his jagged knife or ground them to an edge with persevering labour, hardening them to a good temper.

This may seem strange, but the Mosquito Indians are especially clever in manufacturing implements out of the roughest materials. With the weapons he thus made he was able to kill goats or fish. At first he had lived upon seals; but, having made some good hooks, he never afterwards killed any seals, except for the purpose of cutting up their skins to make lines and thongs. He had erected a hut for himself, half a mile from the sea, which was lined with goat-skins, his clothes and bedding being formed of the same material. Seals and sea-lions swarmed round the coast of this island.

Although Alexander Selkirk, afterwards found by Dampier, was the true original of Robinson Crusoe, Defoe appears to have taken some of his descriptions from the adventures of the Mosquito Indian just mentioned.

The hills of Juan Fernandez are partly covered with woods, and partly open, intersected by fertile valleys, the grass being rich and delicate. There were no trees fit for masts, but there was much fine timber, among which was the cabbage-tree. Here Captain Cook was taken seriously ill, and was evidently in a declining state.

The crews having refreshed themselves during sixteen days, the two ships sailed for the coast of America. A Spanish vessel was captured on the 3rd of May, bound for Lima with timber, before news of the pirates being on the coast was known at the settlements.

Notwithstanding this, Cook and Eaton, uniting their forces, determined to attack Truxillo. Three vessels were shortly afterwards captured, laden with flour. On board one of them were eight tons of quince marmalade, but the pirates were bitterly disappointed on learning that they had missed a vessel containing eight hundred thousand pieces of eight, which had shortly before been landed. Finding that the garrison of Truxillo was prepared for them, they steered for the Galapagos, which lie under the equator, and are uninhabited. They abound, however, in land turtle and enormous iguanas; there was also abundance of sea turtle. So numerous, indeed, were the land turtle, that a large ship’s company might subsist on them for many months together.

Depositing a portion of their flour in a hut built on one of the islands, they again sailed for the mainland. As they were standing off Cape Blanco, Captain Cook died, and, as he was much respected, his crew carried him on shore to be buried. While they were engaged in digging the grave three Indians appeared, two of whom were captured. They informed the pirates that large herds of cattle were to be found in the neighbourhood. Two boats were therefore sent, under the guidance of the Indians, to obtain a supply.

Dampier, considering that the enterprise was dangerous, returned with a part of the men on board; the rest continued their sport and slept on shore. Next morning they discovered that their boat, which they had left on the beach, was destroyed, and that they were watched by a party of fifty armed Spaniards. The enemy, however, afraid to encounter them openly, remained among the trees, and kept firing from thence at them. The latter thought it prudent to retreat to an isolated rock which they had seen when landing, just appearing above the water. Wading off to it, almost up to their necks, amidst a shower of bullets, they gained its highest point. Here they hoped to hold out until the Spaniards had retired; but what was their horror to find that the water was rising, and that in a short time the rock would be entirely covered! Fortunately their position was seen from the ships, and a boat sent to rescue them.

On the death of Captain Cook, the quartermaster, Edward Davis, was elected commander in his stead.

After this the pirates entered the Gulf of Amapalla. On an island within it the priest of a village was made prisoner, with two native boys, while endeavouring to escape. With these as hostages, Captain Davis and a number of his men proceeded to the town, where he told the people that his people were Spaniards, and had been sent to clear the sea of pirates, his intention being to repair his ships.

This statement being credited, he and his men were well received. He accompanied the inhabitants to church, where all public business was transacted. The intention of Davis was to ensnare the principal inhabitants, and to make them pay a ransom. His object was frustrated, in consequence of one of the pirates violently pushing a man before him, when the Indians, suspecting treachery, took to flight. Upon this Davis and his people fired, and one of the unfortunate Indians was killed. Notwithstanding this, through fear, they assisted in storing the ships with animals taken from a farm belonging to a nunnery. In return, Davis presented one of his prizes, laden with flour, to the inhabitants. The crews having had a dispute about the division of the spoil, the two vessels here separated; Eaton sailing on the 2nd of September, and Davis, accompanied by Dampier, on the following day, the padre and the young Indians having been previously landed. Davis now found it difficult to decide what course to pursue. The Spaniards were everywhere on the alert, in consequence of a party of buccaneers having crossed the isthmus, and now being engaged in cruising in boats along the coast.

The Bachelor’s Delight now put into La Plata, where Drake had destroyed the Cacafuego. While she lay here, the Cygnet, of London, a regular trader, under Captain Swan, came in. He had endeavoured to open up a peaceful traffic with the Spaniards, but his party had been attacked and several of his men killed.

Swan was therefore, in his own defence, compelled to turn pirate. While the two ships lay here, they were joined by the band of buccaneers who had crossed the isthmus under the command of Peter Harris, the nephew of a well-known leader of that name.

During the time that the ships were refitting, a small bark which had been captured was sent out on a cruise, and succeeded in taking a vessel of four hundred tons, laden with timber. From her crew the rovers obtained intelligence that the Viceroy was fitting out a fleet of ten frigates, to drive them from the South Seas. Having formed the design of attacking Paita, they joined forces, and, much regretting the absence of Eaton, sailed for that place. Entering the roads on the 3rd of November, they found the town nearly abandoned, with all the treasure carried away. They demanded, however, flour, sugar, wine, and water to be sent off; but, as this was not complied with, landing, they set the town on fire, and it was burnt to the ground.

Harris’s ship being found a slow one, she was burnt, and her crew joined the larger vessels. In vain they looked for Eaton, who, as it turned out, had sailed for the East Indies.

Having refitted the vessels, and obtained a supply of wood, seals, penguins, and boobies, which were salted at the island of Lobos de Tierra, they made a descent on Guayaquil; but disagreements arose between the commanders, and, after landing and getting in sight of the town, they abandoned the enterprise, neither being willing to trust the other.

Descents were made on two or three other places, and near Tomaco they captured a vessel, with a Spanish gentleman—Don Diego de Pinas—on board, and several other Spaniards.

On the 1st of January, 1685, the two vessels sailed for the island of Gallo. On their way they captured a packet-boat from Lima, and, securing her despatches, learned that the Governor had hastened the sailing of the Plate fleet from Callao to Panama.

On hearing this, the rovers eagerly looked forward to the capture of these richly-laden vessels. In order to careen their ships, and lay in wait for their prey, they steered for the Pearl Islands. On their way they touched at Gorgona, where they landed most of their prisoners.

Several prizes having been captured, their squadron now consisted of six sail, but only two—the Bachelor’s Delight and the Cygnet—were large vessels.

Reaching the Pearl Islands, they supplied themselves with all necessaries, then again sailed to watch for the Plate fleet. For some time they cruised before New Panama, a very fair city, standing close by the sea, about four miles from the ruins of the old town. The country round it was very beautiful, and it was newly walled, with guns pointing seaward. Growing weary of watching, they stood out to sea, and came to an anchor near the island of Taboga. While they lay here a vessel appeared, the people on board of which stated that they had come to traffic secretly with the English. Suddenly, however, about midnight, they were seen to take their departure, and the vessel, bursting into flames, was discovered to be a fire-ship.

The vessels slipping their cables, by great exertions put to sea and escaped damage. On their return they were alarmed by observing a fleet of canoes full of armed men steering towards them. Their joy was great when they discovered that the new-comers were a party of buccaneers, mustering two hundred and eighty men, English and French, who had crossed the isthmus on an expedition to the South Sea. About eighty of the former entered with Davis and Swan, and the vessels which had before been captured were given to the remainder. Their force was further increased by another party numbering one hundred and eighty, all British, under Captain Townley. Three other parties shortly afterwards arrived, mustering two hundred and sixty-four men.

With a force amounting in all to about one thousand men, they resolved to attack Panama. Before, however, making the attempt, they ascertained from intercepted letters that the Lima fleet was at sea, and they resolved to capture it in the first place. Their squadron now consisted of ten sail, but the Bachelor’s Delight and Cygnet were the only well-armed vessels, while the Spanish fleet amounted to fourteen,—two of which carried forty guns, one thirty-six, another eighteen, one eight, and two fire-ships, all supplied with numerous crews.

At length, sighting the enemy, they bore down before the wind; but the Spaniards kept close on a wind, and although a few shots were exchanged, succeeded in avoiding their assailants until nightfall. A light was then seen hoisted on board the Spanish Admiral’s ship. This was supposed to be a signal for his fleet to anchor. After some time it was lowered, but was again seen to leeward. Consequently the buccaneers steered for it during the night. Great was their disgust when morning broke to discover the Spanish fleet well to windward, a small bark having conveyed the lantern to leeward, and thus placed them in a dangerous position. The Spaniards now got under weigh and bore down before the wind, compelling the buccaneers to retreat.

A running fight ensued, but the Frenchmen kept out of the way, and the rovers, bold as they were, dared not, in their small vessels, come to closer quarters. All hopes of the capture of the long-looked-for Lima fleet was thus lost. To avenge themselves they sailed for the Rio Lexa, near which was the town of Leon, on the Lake of Nicaragua. Both places were attacked and captured. A ransom of three hundred thousand dollars was demanded for Leon, but the Spaniards put off paying it; and the buccaneers, suspecting that a strong force was gathering to overwhelm them, retreated to the shore. One Spanish gentleman who had promised one hundred and fifty head of cattle as his ransom, scrupulously redeemed his word.

After this adventure the buccaneers determined to separate, and Captain Swan proposed to his crew to cross the Pacific, and to return home by India. Dampier, who had long wished to get free from the lawless band, was among the first to agree to the proposal, and leaving the Bachelor’s Delight, he joined the Cygnet. It was necessary, however, first to victual the ship. For this purpose the town of Santa Pecaque, which was well stored with provisions for supplying the slaves in the neighbouring mines, was captured. During two or more days a large quantity of maize and other provisions were brought off. Captain Swan warned his men when on shore engaged in transporting the provisions to keep together, and to be constantly on the watch, lest they should be attacked by the Spaniards. A party of fifty-four Englishmen and nine blacks had been thus engaged, and were on their return to the ship, when the sound of rapid firing was heard on board. Captain Swan, fearing that they were attacked, immediately landed with the greater part of the remainder of his crew, and hurried to their assistance. On reaching the spot, to his grief he found that the whole had been massacred, a large body of Spaniards having suddenly set upon them, and either shot them down or sabred them, not allowing one to escape. Among them were several of the officers, one of whom was supercargo on board the Cygnet, and who had written the history of his adventures.

This disaster, the most serious which had befallen the buccaneers since their arrival on the coast, determined Captain Swan to hasten his departure. The Cygnet now sailed for Cape Saint Lucas, and put into the middle island of the Tres Marias. It was well stored with iguanas, raccoons, rabbits, pigeons, deer, turtle, seals, and fish of various kinds. Here a considerable number of persons whom the pirates had taken prisoners were landed and left to shift for themselves, in revenge for the disaster suffered at Santa Pecaque.

The ship was careened, a tender was sent across to the mainland for water, and final preparations made for the intended voyage. Dampier had been suffering much from dropsy, when, by the advice of a native, he underwent a treatment which he was assured would restore him to health. He was first buried up to his neck in hot sand, and then, after undergoing a profuse perspiration, he was placed in a close tent, where he remained until he became cool. By this means he was entirely cured.


Chapter Twenty Two.

Dampier’s voyages, continued—A.D. 1686.

The Cygnet and a bark sail from Cape Corrientes for the Ladrones—Short allowance of food—The crew threaten to mutiny—Narrow escape from shipwreck—Guam reached—Friendly intercourse with the Governor—Provisions obtained—A friar kept as hostage—A Manilla ship appears and escapes—Quit Guam and reach Mindanao, one of the Philippines—Visit from Rajah Laut—The Viceroy—An officer visits the Sultan—Friendly reception—Entertainments on shore—Rajah Laut’s treachery—The crew become discontented—Run off with the Cygnet leaving Captain Swan and portion of the crew on shore—Many die poisoned by the natives—The Cygnet lays in wait for the Manilla ship—Reed chosen as captain—Put into a harbour—Refit the ship and cut down the quarter-deck—Nearly wrecked—Anchor off Mindano—Go to Polo Condore—Refit the ship—Live on friendly terms with the natives—Again sail—Some of a boat’s crew killed by Malays—Proceed to the west of China—Remarks on the natives—Come off the Pescadores—Obtain provisions from the natives—The Bashee Islands visited—Leave Luconia—Dampier desires to return for Captain Swan—Hears of his death—Waterspouts—Anchor off Callasunguny—Visits exchanged with the Sultan—Sail for the coast of New Holland—Intercourse with the natives—Sail for the Nicobar Islands—A canoe with natives captured—Dampier set on shore—Brought off again—Again set on shore with several companions—They obtain a canoe, and set sail for Achin—Perilous voyage—Reach Achin—Sufferings of the voyagers—Dampier makes several voyages, and becomes gunner at Boncoulin—Plan of trading to Meangis—The Painted Prince—He escapes privately to Boncoulin on board the Defence—Reaches England after twelve years absence—Death of the Painted Prince-Dampier publishes his adventures.

On the 31st of March, 1686, the Cygnet, with a hundred men on board, commanded by Captain Swan, and a bark, commanded by Captain Tait, with whom went fifty men besides slaves, made sail from Cape Corrientes with a fresh breeze of north-north-east. The only provisions they had been able to obtain were some Jew-fish, caught by the Mosquito men, and salted, and a store of maize. They now steered due west for the Ladrones. As they might possibly be fifty or sixty days before making Guam, the crews were at once put on short allowance, having only one meal a day. In three days they had consumed their salted Jew-fish, and had now nothing but the maize on which to subsist. However, they made good runs every day before the fresh trade winds, and in about twenty days the crews, expecting to get soon in, insisted on having a larger allowance.

With some reluctance the captain allowed them ten spoonfuls of maize a day each man, instead of eight. Dampier declares that he benefited by this meagre fare, and drank about three times every twenty-four hours, but some men drank only once in nine or ten days, and one did not swallow any liquid for seventeen days, and asserted that he did not feel at all thirsty. They ran on for nearly five thousand miles without seeing a flying-fish or fowl of any sort, but then they fell in with a number of boobies, which they supposed came from some rocks not far off. As they approached Guam some rain fell, a sign that they were in the neighbourhood of land. Many of the crew were in a state of mutiny, and had formed a plot to kill Captain Swan and eat him should their provisions fail, and they had now only meal sufficient for three days more.

He was a stout, lusty man, and when the danger was past he remarked, laughing, “Ah, Dampier, you would have made them but a poor meal!” for the latter was as lean as the captain was fat.

The bark being ahead, passed over a shoal with only four fathoms of water on it, on which Captain Tait hauled his wind and waited for the Cygnet. He then came on board and described what he had seen. At first they were very doubtful where they had got to, as no shoal was marked on the Spanish charts; but by keeping northward, at four o’clock that evening, the 20th of May, the island of Guam was sighted. On the following day the two vessels came to an anchor on the western side of Guam, about a mile from shore, after a run of seven thousand three hundred and two miles. The Spaniards had here a port and a garrison of thirty men. Having been unable to distinguish the vessels as they approached after dark, supposing that they belonged to their own nation, a priest came off with two boats, and was greatly surprised to find that they were English. He was, however, well treated, although detained as a hostage. He agreed to obtain the necessary provisions, and to arrange for a fair exchange of commodities. He accordingly wrote to the Governor of the fort, who willingly agreed to the proposed terms. Next day the natives brought off rice, pineapples, melons, oranges, limes, cocoa-nuts, and a sort of fruit called by the English bread-fruit, which proved of the greatest value to the half-starved seamen. The fruit was baked on shore, and brought off hot ready to be eaten. Besides the garrison there were only two or three Spanish priests on the island; the rest of the inhabitants consisting of about one hundred natives. It had but shortly before been thickly populated, but the natives, attempting to capture the fort and turn out their tyrants, were, with the help of Captain Eaton, who put in there at this juncture, either killed or compelled to fly the island.

Besides the fruit, the Governor sent every day one or two canoes laden with hogs and various delicacies. While the vessels lay here, a Manilla ship appeared in the offing, and, unseen by the English, the Governor made her a signal that the buccaneers were there, and she stood away from the shore. Running to the southward, however, she got on the shoal from which Captain Tait had so narrowly escaped, and was very nearly lost. The pirate crews, hearing of this, were eager to go and capture her. Captain Swan, however, being sick or ashamed of robbing, and perhaps suspecting that she would prove a tough customer, persuaded them to abandon their design.

On the 30th of May the Governor sent off a last present, including six or seven bags of rice; he also hinted that the west monsoon was at hand, and that therefore it behoved his visitors to be jogging, unless they desired to return to America. The same day the friar who had remained as a hostage was sent on shore with various presents, including a brass clock, an astrolabe, and a telescope. Grateful for these, he made a return present of six hogs and a roasting pig, three or four bushels of potatoes, and fifty pounds of Manilla tobacco.

Besides minor articles they had as many cocoa-nuts as could be stowed, a good stock of rice, and fifty hogs in salt. This store, they hoped, was amply sufficient to carry them on to Mindanao, one of the Philippine Islands, where they had resolved to go.

The two largest of these islands are Luconia and Mindanao, on the former of which Magalhaens was killed in his mad attempt to conquer the natives. The whole of the group was then subject to the Spaniards, with the exception of the islands of Mindanao and Saint John’s.

The passage to Mindanao occupied nineteen days, during which the Cygnet and her consort met with a heavy gale which compelled them to remain at anchor. On approaching they hoisted their colours and fired a salute of seven guns, which was returned from the shore by three. The town stood on the banks of the river about two miles from the sea. The houses were built upon piles from fourteen to twenty feet in height, and as this was the rainy season, were completely surrounded by water, so that they appeared as if standing in a lake, many of the inhabitants going from house to house in their canoes. The island was at this time governed by rival Rajahs, the Rajah of Mindanao being the chief.

Captain Swan’s object was to gain his friendship, especially as he was supposed to be hostile to the Spaniards. As soon as the Cygnet and her consort dropped their anchors, a canoe, paddled by ten paddlers, came off, carrying a man of consequence, who introduced himself as Rajah Laut, the brother and prime minister of the Sultan. He was attended by one of his nephews, who spoke Spanish fluently, and a conversation was thus carried on through Mr Smith, who had been made prisoner at Rio Lexa.

When he understood that the strangers were English, he welcomed them cordially, but evidently seemed disappointed on being told by Captain Swan that he had come merely to obtain provisions, and not to establish a factory.

The Rajah had been informed by a Captain Goodlad, who had touched there some time before, that he would induce the East India merchants to form one on the island to carry on a trade with him.

Rajah Laut and his nephew remained all the time in their canoe, saying that they had no authority from the Sultan to go on board the ship. Captain Swan, believing that he should have to remain some time at the island, was anxious to consult the Sultan, and accordingly sent a Mr More on shore with a present of scarlet cloth, three yards of broad gold lace, a Turkish scimitar, and a pair of pistols. Mr More was well received, and many questions were asked him through an interpreter in Spanish.

On being dismissed he found a supper prepared for him and his boat’s crew at Rajah Laut’s house, after partaking of which he returned on board. The inhabitants behaved to their visitors in the most friendly way, insisting on their coming into their houses to be treated, although their treats were but mean, consisting of tobacco and betel-nut and a little sweet spiced water.

Rajah Laut, seeing so many of the men in fine clothes, asked who they were, when he was told, as a joke, that they were noblemen, who had come aboard to see the world, but that the rest, who had shabby garments, were only common seamen.

After this he showed much respect to those who had good clothes, and especially to one John Thacker, who, having husbanded his share of the spoil, had plenty of gold in his pocket, which he liberally spent, besides which he was a good dancer.

Captain Swan discovering this, undeceived the Rajah, and gave a drubbing to the unfortunate nobleman, against whom he was so much incensed that he could never afterwards bear to see him.

At this time Captain Swan had his men in such perfect subjection, that he could punish whom he chose, and he might, had he wished, have induced them to form a settlement on the island. During the Ramadan no amusement of any sort took place on shore; but as soon as the feast was over, Rajah Laut entertained Captain Swan and his officers with performances of dancing women, such as are common over India. The females of the place were especially addicted to dancing. Forty or fifty would form a ring, joined hand in hand, and sing a chorus while keeping time; though they never moved from the same spot, they would make various gestures, now throwing forward one leg, now another, while they shouted loudly and clapped their hands while the chorus was sung.

Much of the night was spent in this way. Many of the seamen who had money lived on shore among the inhabitants, spending it in the too usual profligate manner. Christmas Day was spent on board, and it was expected that Captain Swan would then announce his intentions for the future; but he kept them to himself, and no one could tell what he intended to do.

He now received a secret visit from the nephew of a Sultan of one of the Spice Islands, who came to invite him to form a settlement on shore, provided he would defend the island from the Dutch. He, however, had not the resolution to engage in the undertaking.

So satisfied was Captain Swan of the good intentions of the natives, that he carried his vessel over the bar into the river. She had not been there long when it was discovered that her bottom was perforated by the teredo, and it appeared a short time before that a Dutch vessel had been entirely destroyed by them in less than two months.

Rajah Laut, who had become heir to her great guns, no doubt hoped to obtain those of the Cygnet, as well as her stores and cargo, in the same manner.

The evil having been discovered in time, the crew set to work to rip off the worm-eaten planks, and put on new, and to sheathe and tallow the ship’s bottom. They also took on board her cargo, consisting of iron and lead, as also rice for the voyage, and filled the water-casks.

Rajah Laut had long promised to supply her with beef, and he invited Dampier and a party of others to accompany him on a hunting expedition; but only a few cows were seen, and none were shot. It now became evident that he was playing false with the voyagers, and that his great object was to detain them until their ship was destroyed. Suspecting this, they got her over the bar. On a second expedition, when Rajah Laut carried his wives and family with him, Dampier had an opportunity of seeing much of the manners and customs of the people.

As soon as the Rajah was out of the house the ladies came to the quarters of the English, and talked freely with them. They were much surprised on hearing that the King of England had only one wife. Some approved of the custom, but others considered it a very bad one.

Though the party were several days out in the country, the cows were so wild that only three heifers were killed. With these Dampier and his men returned on board.

Rajah Laut now showed his true character. He first borrowed twenty ounces of gold from Captain Swan, who very unwillingly lent them to him, and could not afterwards get them back. He also demanded payment for the food the captain and his men had eaten at his house.

These matters greatly annoyed the captain, who was a man of bad temper. His own ship’s company were every day pressing him to be gone. Some of them ran away, assisted by Rajah Laut; the whole crew, indeed, became disaffected. Those who had no money lived on board and wished to be off, while those who had still some cash remaining were content to stay. The former stole some of the cargo, which they sent on shore to purchase arrack and honey to make punch, with which they became drunk and quarrelsome.

Captain Swan might at once have put a stop to these disorders, had he exerted his authority; but, as he and the supercargo were always living on shore, nothing was done. The mutiny was brought to a head by the discovery of the captain’s journal, in which he inveighed against the crew, and especially a man named Reed.

Captain Tait, who had before behaved ill and been punished by Captain Swan, took advantage of this state of discontent to advise the men to turn him out, hoping to be chosen in his stead to command the ship.

They would have sailed at once, had not the surgeon and his mate been on shore. To get them off, the mutineers dispatched John Cookworthy, a follower of their party, who was directed to say that one of the men had broken his leg, and required their assistance. The surgeon replied that he intended to return next day, but sent his mate, Herman Coppinger. Dampier, who had been on shore, accompanied Coppinger off to the ship, and then discovered the trick that had been played, and the treacherous projects of the crew. He immediately on this sent to the captain, who, however, not believing that his men would run away, remained on shore.

The next day he did not appear, and on the morning of the 13th the mutineers, firing a gun, weighed anchor, and were standing out to sea, when Mr Nelly, the chief mate, pulled after them and got on board. He advised them again to anchor, which they did; but Captain Swan, either from cowardice or reluctance to leave the island, still refused to return on board.

The mutineers would allow no one to visit on shore, so Dampier and Coppinger were kept prisoners. Losing patience, they once more weighed and steered for Mindanao, leaving the captain and thirty-six men on shore, besides those who had run off. Sixteen had been buried there, most of whom had died from the effects of poison administered to them by the natives. Several others succumbed from the same cause, after they had been some weeks at sea, the surgeon being unable to counteract the effects of the noxious drugs they had swallowed.

The Cygnet left Mindanao on the 14th of January, 1687, directing her course to Manilla, in the neighbourhood of which place it was intended to cruise, in the hopes of capturing the galleon. On the 3rd of February they came to an anchor off an island well suited for beaching the ship.

Before this Reed had been chosen as captain, Tait as master, and More as quartermaster. The quarter-deck was here cut down, to make the ship the better for sailing, and her bottom was scrubbed and tallowed.

In the island were seen vast numbers of large bats, their bodies as big as ducks, with wings from seven to eight feet from tip to top. The ground in many places was covered with vines, which ran over it until they met a tree, when they climbed up it to its topmost branches. They were of the thickness of walking-canes, the joints being between a couple and three feet apart.

Again sailing, on the 10th of February they coasted along the shore, but had not long been out of port when the ship struck on a rock. Fortunately, the water was smooth and the tide at flood; but, as it was, they lost a large piece of their rudder, and the ship narrowly escaped being wrecked.

By the fires they saw burning on the shore, they supposed the country was thickly inhabited by Spaniards. On the 18th the ship brought up off the island of Mindano. While she lay there, a canoe with four Indians came from Manilla. At first they were shy, but, hearing the pirates speak Spanish, they came alongside, and informed them that the harbour of Manilla was seldom or never without twenty or thirty sail of vessels, a few Spaniards and Portuguese, but mostly Chinese.

The pirates told them that they had come to trade with the Spaniards, and requested them to carry a letter to the merchants there. This was only a pretence, as their business was only to pillage. A fair opportunity to trade would have been afforded them, had they really desired it.

Shortly after sailing, they saw a vessel coming from the northward, and, making chase, captured her. She was a Spanish bark, bound to Manilla, but as she had no goods on board they let her go. Two days afterwards they took another vessel laden with rice and cotton cloth, also bound for Manilla. The goods were for the Acapulco ship which had escaped them at Guam, and was now at Manilla.

They now resolved to go to Pulo Condore, which, being out of the way, they hoped there to remain concealed, and to clean their ship, until the latter end of May, when they intended to look out for the Acapulco ship, which was expected to come by about that time. They anchored off Pulo Condore on the 14th, and found it to be the largest and only inhabited one of a group of islands. The people were from Cochin, and, as several of the seamen could speak Malay, it was easy to carry on a conversation with them.

The pirates lived here in the most intimate way with the natives, whose chief employment was making tar from the sap of trees. Others employed themselves in catching turtle and boiling the fat into oil, which, with the tar, they sent to their native country.

The island abounded in birds, such as parrots, doves, pigeons, and wild cocks and hens. The country people supplied them with hogs and turtle, and other provisions.

A convenient spot being found, the ship was careened and the men employed in felling trees, sawing them into planks, and making a house to store their goods. A new suit of sails was also made from the cloth taken out of the Manilla ship. Here two of the men died who had been poisoned. At their request their livers were taken out by the doctor, and found to be black, light, and dry, like pieces of cork. Having spent a month at this place, they sailed on the 21st of April, and after touching at a number of places, on their way they overtook a Chinese junk, which came from Sumatra, fully laden with pepper. From her crew the pirates learned that the English were settled on the island, at a place called Sillabar.

On anchoring they saw a small bark at anchor near the shore. Captain Reed ordered a boat’s crew to go and ascertain what she was, charging the men on no account to venture on board. Neglecting his advice, they pulled alongside, and several of them, leaping up, were stabbed by the Malays who manned her, supposing that they had come with hostile intent. The rest quickly leapt overboard, some into the boat, and others into the sea. Among them was Daniel Wallis, who had never swum before, but who now swam lustily until he was taken on board. Captain Reed immediately shoved off in another boat to punish the Malays, but they seeing him coming, they scuttled their vessel and made for the shore, where they hid themselves. Here Dampier and Coppinger resolved to leave the pirates, it having been against their will that Captain Swan had been deserted, and they having become ashamed of the proceedings of their companions. Coppinger managed to land, but Captain Reed sent after him and brought him back, and they had to put off their design until a more favourable opportunity.

Finding the sea where they intended to cruise for the Manilla ship dangerous on account of numberless reefs, on which many Spanish vessels, with their cargoes, had been lost, the pirates abandoned their design and sailed for the island of Saint John, lying on the south coast of the province of Canton, in China. The inhabitants were Chinese. There were here plenty of hogs, goats, buffaloes, and bullocks to be seen. Dampier describes the way the feet of the women were bound up so that they lose the use of them, and instead of walking they only stumble about their houses, and then squat down again. They seldom stir abroad, and one would be apt to think their retaining this fashion were a stratagem of the men to confine them at home, to keep them from gadding and gossiping with their friends. The poorer sort trudge about the streets without shoes or stockings, and these cannot afford to have little feet, having to get their living with them. There being signs of a coming storm, in order to have sea-room the ship made sail away from the land.

The hurricane burst on them as they expected. Their safety depended on their being able to scud under bare poles, which they did during the whole night; and Dampier and his shipmates averred that they had never been in so violent a storm before.

Fearing that another tempest might come on, they resolved to run for the Pescadores, lying between the island of Formosa and the coast of China.

Making the group on the 20th of July, they found themselves before a large town, with a number of junks going in and out of the harbour. Though they would have preferred anchoring in some uninhabited spot, they had no remedy but to run boldly in. The quartermaster was at once sent on shore to go to the Governor and inform him that they were bound for Amoy, and as they had suffered some damage by the late storm, they wished to remain there until finer weather.

The Governor received the quartermaster civilly, and told him that they could refit the ship better at Amoy or Macao, and dismissed him with a present of flour, cakes, and pineapples. Officers afterwards came on board, but did not appear to suspect the character of their visitors. In a short time the ship was surrounded by native boats, each having three or four men, who soon crowded the decks, and began to steal all the iron on which they could lay hands. One of them being found carrying off a linchpin, a seaman took hold of the fellow, who immediately bawled out, when the rest leapt overboard. The thief, however, not being ill-treated, and receiving a piece of iron, swam to his friends, who had hovered about the ship to see the issue. After this the people were honest and civil, and brought off goats and roots, which were purchased for iron.

Sailing thence, the Cygnet touched at one of the Bashee Islands, and soon afterwards encountered another storm, which so disheartened the pirate crew that they wished themselves at home again. But Captain Reed and Captain Tait persuaded them to go towards Cape Comorin, intending to cruise in the Red Sea, where they expected to pick up some rich prizes.

Fearing to go through the Straits of Malacca, they agreed to sail round the eastern side of the Philippine Islands, and keep south towards the Spice Islands, so as to pass into the East Indian Ocean, about the island of Timor.

Leaving the island of Luconia with all their golden prospects disappointed, they steered for Mindanao. Here they received a visit from the young prince, who had been sent by his uncle. He informed them he had lately seen Captain Swan, who with his men had been assisting Rajah Laut in fighting against the hill tribes, and were held in high estimation.

Here Dampier endeavoured to persuade some of the crew to return for Captain Swan to Mindanao, but his plan being betrayed to Captain Reed and Captain Tait, they made haste to be gone. Dampier afterwards heard that some of the people had got away to Batavia, and from thence to Europe; that some had died; and that Captain Swan and his surgeon, in attempting to get on board a Dutch ship, had been upset by the natives and drowned.

Dampier being here unable to make his escape, was carried on to the island of Celebes. As they were coasting along during the night, the sound of numerous oars was heard, and, supposing they were about to be attacked, they got up their arms and stood ready to defend themselves.

As soon as it was day they saw a large proa, with about sixty men in her, and six smaller proas. These lay to about a mile to windward to view the stranger, probably intending to make a prey of her.

At last the Cygnet hoisted Dutch colours, hoping to allure them nearer, but they pulled away, and were soon out of sight. Standing into this bay, they came to an anchor near a spot where a vast number of trees grew, and one especially of great size. This Captain Reed ordered to be cut down to form into a canoe, as all their boats had been lost during the storm. Dampier and many others, who had been logwood-cutters in the Bay of Campeachy and Honduras, were expert at this work. They took their turns, cutting together, but were one whole day and a half before they got it down. This tree was eighteen feet in circumference, and forty-four clear trunk, without knot or branch. Great was their disappointment on examining it to find that it was rotten at heart, and would not serve their purpose.

Soon after sailing, while becalmed, two or three waterspouts were seen, which seemed terrible, as it was impossible to get out of their way. The waterspout Dampier describes as the small ragged part of a cloud, hanging down from the blackest part. It generally slopes, appearing as if it had a small elbow in the middle. It is smaller at the lower end, not bigger than one’s arm, and no bigger towards the cloud whence it proceeds. Though he had seen many, he observed that the fright is always the greatest of the harm it does.

During a calm, which came on while the ship was off Bouton, the Mosquito men were employed in striking turtle with their harpoons. They returned on board with a native, who spoke the Malay language, and told them that farther on was a good anchoring-place in the neighbourhood of a large town called Calla-sus-ung. Here they brought up on the 15th of December. Soon after the Sultan sent a messenger to inquire their business, and, being satisfied with their report, promised to come on board. Meantime a number of boats brought off provisions. The ship was made ready to receive the Sultan, who soon came off in a handsome proa, with a large white silk flag at the head of the mast, edged round with red. In the middle was a green griffin trampling on a winged serpent, which threatened its adversary with open mouth. At the head of the proa sat the Sultan, with three of his sons and several of his nobles, while ten ministers as guards were standing on each side of him. Other guards were arranged about the vessel.

The Sultan was handsomely dressed in a silken turban, a sky-coloured silk pair of breeches, and a piece of red silk thrown across his shoulders, the greater part of his back and waist appearing naked. He had neither stockings nor shoes. As he was conducted by the captain into his cabin, five guns were fired in his honour. After remaining on board a couple of hours he returned on shore.

The next day the captain, by the Sultan’s invitation, returned the visit, accompanied by eight men, and Dampier went with them. The Sultan received them in a neat house, near which forty naked soldiers with muskets were drawn up. They were entertained with tobacco and betel-nut and young cocoa-nuts.

While they were seated on their mats, the women and children thronged near the windows to look at them. The next day the Sultan again came on board, bringing a little slave boy as a present. The captain said he was too young to be at sea, and the Sultan exchanged him for a bigger boy. The men purchased a number of parrots and cockatoos, as white as milk, with bunches of feathers on their heads. The captain also purchased a canoe, which the carpenters altered by sawing off one end and making it flat, when she rowed and sailed admirably.

From this place the Cygnet steered across for New Holland, as the crew wished to ascertain what that country would afford them. On the 4th of January, 1688, they fell in with the land of New Holland, and then coasted along some distance.

At that time it was not known whether it was an island or a continent, but Dampier affirms that it joins neither to Asia, Africa, nor America. The land was low and sandy, and destitute of water.

Dampier describes the inhabitants as the “miserablest people in the world. The Hodmadods of Monomatapa (that is, the Hottentots of the Cape), though nasty people, yet, for wealth, are gentlemen to these, and, setting aside their human shape, they differ little from the brutes.”

After some trouble, the English induced some of these natives to approach them, and gave them some old clothes, intending to make them carry their casks of water to the boat; but all the signs they could make would not induce the natives to touch the barrels; instead, they stood, like statues, without motion, grinning as so many monkeys would have done, and staring one upon another!

The seamen were therefore compelled to carry the water themselves, but the natives very formally put the clothes off again, and laid them down, as if they were only to work in. They did not appear, indeed, to have any great fancy for them at first, neither did they look surprised at anything they saw. On another occasion, when the boat approached the shore, a number of them appeared, threatening the strangers with their clubs and lances. At last the captain ordered a drum to be beaten. No sooner did they hear the noise than they ran away as fast as they could, crying out, “Gurry, gurry!”

At spring-tide the ship was hauled into a sandy bay, and all the neap-tides she lay wholly aground, so that there was ample time to clean her bottom. Dampier again attempted to persuade the men to take the ship to some English factory and deliver her up; but he was threatened, should he say anything more on the subject, to be left behind. He accordingly desisted, hoping to find some better opportunity for making his escape.

From the coast of New Holland the Cygnet stood for the island of Cocoas. Here fresh water was obtained, and one of the canoes brought on board as many boobies and man-of-war birds as was sufficient for all the ship’s company. They caught also a land animal resembling a large crawfish without its great claws. Their flesh was very good, and they were so large that no man could eat two of them at a meal.

Again, at the little island of Triste, Dampier attempted to make his escape, but abandoned his intention for the present, finding it impossible to run off with the boat. Sailing on the 29th, they chased and captured a proa, with four men, belonging to Achin. She was laden with cocoa-nuts and cocoa-nut oil. The ship was filled up with as many of these commodities as could be stowed away, when a hole was made in the bottom of the proa, and she was sunk, while her crew were detained on board.

Captain Reed did this under the belief that Dampier and others who wanted to make their escape would be afraid to go on shore, lest the natives should kill them.

Passing the north-west end of Sumatra, the pirates steered for the Nicobar Islands, to the south of the Andamans. Here the ship was again careened, in order that she might be thoroughly cleaned, and thus sail faster.

The natives were a well-looking people, of a dark colour, the men being almost naked, but the women wore a short petticoat. After the ship was again floated, Dampier, finding that he could not get off by stealth, insisted on being landed. At last the captain agreed, and, getting up his chest and bedding, he induced some of his shipmates to row him on shore. One of them gave him an axe, which he had secreted.

Near the shore where he landed were two houses deserted by the inhabitants. The natives, who had been concealed, observing the boat pulling away, came out and made signs to the crew to take off their companion. When they saw that this did not succeed, the principal man came up to Dampier and offered to take him off in his own canoe. On this being declined, he invited him into his house with his chest and clothes.

He had not, however, been on shore an hour, when Captain Tait, with several armed men, came to take him back. He assured them that he had no intention to resist by force and accordingly accompanied them. On arriving on board the ship, he found her in an uproar, and three other persons demanded to be set on shore. These were Mr Coppinger, the surgeon, Mr Hall, and a man named Ambrose. Captain Reed offered no opposition to the departure of the two last, but would not part with the unfortunate surgeon. At last, Mr Coppinger, leaping into the canoe, swore that go he would, and that he would shoot any man who tried to prevent him. On this, Oliver, the quartermaster, following him into the canoe, took away his gun, and he was dragged back into the ship.

Dampier, Mr Hall, Ambrose, and a Portuguese were then set on shore. Soon afterwards, the four Malays belonging to Achin were also landed. The party now felt strong enough to defend themselves against the natives. Dampier’s intention was to get into their good graces, and to obtain whatever he wanted by fair means. He would have preferred, for some reasons, having been left by himself, for he felt sure he should succeed in winning over the islanders.

The natives, on seeing so many visitors, kept at a distance, but did not attempt to molest them. Next morning, the owner of the house came to see them, and from him they obtained a canoe in exchange for an axe. They at once, being anxious to be off, embarked in her, but had got a short distance only from the shore, when she was overturned. They succeeded, however, in towing their chests and other property to the beach, and immediately lighted some fires to dry the contents, some books and sketches of maps having alone suffered. The Achinese in the meantime fitted their canoe with outriggers on each side, and made a mast and a substantial sail with mats. As soon as all was ready, they put off again in their frail bark, the islanders accompanying them in their canoes. Mr Hall, to frighten them away, fired a gun over their heads. On hearing it, they jumped overboard, and that fatal shot made all the natives their enemies.

They had great difficulty in procuring cocoa-nuts, and on going to the farther end of the island, they found a large number of people, who made signs for them to be off. On this Dampier presented his gun at them. On seeing it, they all fell flat down on their faces, but he turned round and fired it towards the sea, to show the savages that no harm was intended them.

As soon as he had reloaded, they pulled gently in. Again the savages made signs of their hatred, on which Dampier again fired off his gun, when the greater number sneaked away, leaving only five or six men on the beach. On this, Mr Hall landed, the only weapon he carried being his sword. The natives did not stir, so he took one of them by the hand, and making signs of friendship, a peace was concluded.

This evidently gave the greatest satisfaction to all the inhabitants, who now brought down melory, a sort of cake, made from a fruit resembling the bread-fruit. This they exchanged for old rags and strips of cloth.

Going to the south of the island, Dampier and his party provided themselves with more melory and a dozen large cocoa-nuts filled with water, containing in all about three gallons and a half. They also obtained three bamboos, which held three gallons more. This served for their sea store. Their intention was to go to Achin, on the north-west end of the island of Sumatra, from which they were about forty leagues distant. It bore south-south-east.

On the 15th of May, 1688, the Nicobar canoe commenced her perilous voyage with her company of eight persons, viz., three Englishmen, four Malays, and the Portuguese. She was about the burden of a London wherry below bridge, built sharp at both ends. She was deeper than a wherry, but not so broad, and so thin and light that when empty four men could launch her or haul her ashore on a sandy bay. She had a substantial mast and a mat sail, and good outriggers lashed very fast and firm on each side. Without them she would easily have been upset, and even with them, had not they been made very strong.

The Achinese placed such confidence in the Englishmen, that they would do nothing which Dampier and Mr Hall did not approve of. Dampier had made a sketch in his pocket-book from the chart on board the ship, and as he had also brought off a small compass, he was thus able to steer a right course. All night long they rowed on, relieving each other, while Dampier and Mr Hall steered by turns. After rowing twenty leagues, as soon as the morning of the 17th broke, they looked out for the island of Sumatra. It was nowhere to be seen; and glancing back, to their disappointment they observed the Nicobar Islands not more than eight leagues distant, showing that they had been pulling against a strong current. The wind again freshening on the 18th, they made better way. Dampier observed, however, a large circle round the sun, which caused him much anxiety, as it was the indication of a coming gale; yet he made no remark, lest he should discourage his companions. He observed, too, that should the wind, which was already strong, become more violent, they must steer away before it, and probably be driven sixty or seventy leagues to the coast of Queda, on the Malayan peninsula.

The wind came as expected. At first, by decreasing the sail, they attempted to keep to the wind, but the outriggers bent so fearfully that there was a fear of their breaking, in which case the canoe must have been overturned, and all on board have perished. They were, therefore, compelled, about one o’clock in the afternoon, to put right before the wind and sea. The wind continued increasing; the sea still swelled higher, and often broke, but striking the back of the helmsman, it was prevented from coming on board in sufficient quantities to endanger the vessel, but they were compelled to keep baling continually.

The evening of the 18th was very dismal: the sky looked black, being covered with dark clouds; the wind blew hard, and the seas ran high, roaring loudly, and covered with white foam. A dark night was coming on, no land in sight to cheer them, and the little bark in danger of being swallowed up by every wave; and what was worse than all, was, as Dampier confesses, none of them thought themselves prepared for another world. “I had been in many imminent dangers before now, but the worst of them all was but a plaything in comparison with this. Other dangers came not upon me with such a leisurely and dreadful solemnity. The sudden skirmish or engagement, also, was nothing when once blood was up, and pushed forward with eager expectations. But here I had a lingering view of approaching death, and little or no hopes of escaping it. My courage, which I had hitherto kept up, failed me. I made many sad reflections on my former life, and looked back with horror and detestation to actions which before I disliked, but now I trembled at the remembrance of. I had long before this repented me of that roving course of life, but never with such concern as now. I did also call to mind the many miraculous acts of God’s providence towards me in the whole course of my life. For all these I returned thanks, and once more desired God’s assistance, and composed my mind as well as I could in the hopes of it.”

These hopes were not disappointed. He and Mr Hall taking it in turns to steer, while the rest hove out the water, they prepared, as Dampier writes, “to spend the most doleful night I ever was in. About ten o’clock it began to thunder, lighten, and rain; but the rain was very welcome to us, having drank up all the water we brought from the island.”

At first the wind blew harder than ever. In half an hour it moderated, and by a lighted match they looked at their compass to see how they steered, and found their course to be still east, and thus they steered for several hours. For a short time they were able to haul up, but again had to put before the wind. During this period they were soaked through and through by the rain, which chilled them extremely. At eight o’clock on the morning of the 19th one of the Malays exclaimed that he saw land, and that it was Pulo Way, at the north-west end of Sumatra.

Trimming the smallest amount of sail they could venture to hoist, they steered with it, their outriggers doing them good service, for the wind pressed down the boat’s side, and would have overturned her had it not been for them. As they approached the land, they saw that it was not Pulo Way they had at first observed, but the Golden Mountain in Sumatra, so-called by the English.

At ten o’clock it fell perfectly calm, and they took to their oars. In the morning they saw land about eight leagues off. With a fresh breeze, they steered for the river Jonca, about thirty-four leagues to the eastward of Achin. Entering it, the Malays, who were well acquainted with the people, carried them to a small fishing village, where they found accommodation in a hut.

The scorching heat of the sun at first starting, and subsequent cold and rain, threw the whole party into fevers. They were kindly treated by the inhabitants, who brought them abundance of provisions, and they were conveyed in a large proa to Achin. Here Dampier was placed under the charge of Mr Driscoll, a resident in the East Indian Company’s factory. A few days afterwards the Portuguese, and subsequently Ambrose, died of the fever, and Mr Hall was so ill that it appeared unlikely he would recover, though Dampier, under the pretty severe treatment of a native doctor began to regain his strength. The effects of the fever hung about him until nearly a year afterwards.

He here made the acquaintance of Captain Bowery, who invited him to make a trip to the Nicobar Islands, but contrary winds compelled the ship to return.

Notwithstanding Captain Bowery’s kind offers, Dampier accepted an invitation from a Captain Welden to sail to Tonquin. This voyage was performed, as well as another to Malacca. On his return from the last voyage, a little before Christmas, 1689, he met a Mr Morgan, one of the crew of the Cygnet. He had become mate of a Danish ship. From this man he learned the fate of many of his former companions. Some had taken service with the Great Mogul; others had joined the garrison at Fort George, having received a pardon for their piratical proceedings. The remainder of the crew, after committing various piracies, had entered into the service of one of the princes of Madagascar, in a harbour of which island their ship had sunk.

After making other trips, Dampier went to Fort Saint George, and from thence proceeded to Bencoulin, an English factory on the west coast, where he acted as gunner for five months. He had been persuaded to leave Madras by a Mr Moody, supercargo of a ship called the Mindanao Merchant, who had promised to buy a vessel and send him in command of her, to trade with the natives of the small island of Meangis. Mr Moody had in his possession a son of the King of the island, dubbed Prince Jeoly, who, with his mother, had been captured by the Malays, from whom Mr Moody had purchased them. Dampier’s idea was that by treating them kindly he might be able to open up a commerce with the people, and establish a factory there. The prince was tattooed all down his breast and between his shoulders, as also on his thighs, while several broad rings or bracelets were marked round his arms and legs. The drawings did not represent figures or animals, but were full of lines, flourishes, chequered work, very skilfully and gracefully marked.

The poor young savage was thus known as the Painted Prince.

Mr Moody, being uncertain about fulfilling his engagement, as a recompense to Dampier, gave him a half share in the Painted Prince and his mother. Dampier took the utmost care of them; but, notwithstanding this, the unfortunate mother soon died, to the great grief of her son, who wrapped her up in all her clothes, as well as in two new pieces of chintz which Mr Moody had given her, and she was thus buried.

Growing weary of his life at Bencoulin, and pining to return home, being also anxious to carry out his project of making a voyage to Meangis, Dampier requested his discharge.

This was granted by the Governor and Council, and the Defence, Captain Heath, bound for England, coming into the roads, he agreed to ship on board her. Mr Moody had made over his share of the Painted Prince to Mr Goddard, her chief mate. When, however, Dampier was about to embark, the Governor, who was an ill-tempered, tyrannical man, refused to allow him to go. In vain he pleaded, and at last, having arranged with Mr Goddard to be received on board at night, leaving all his property, with the exception of his journals and a few other papers, he crept through one of the port-holes, and got into the boat which was waiting for him. He lay concealed until the last boat from the shore had left the ship, which then set sail for the Cape of Good Hope on the 25th of January, 1691.

Owing to the bad nature of the water, fever, which carried off many of the men and reduced others to the greatest state of weakness, broke out on board. To so helpless a condition was the crew reduced that they were unable to carry the ship into Cape Town Harbour, and would have had to keep at sea had not a Dutch captain sent a hundred men on board to take in her sails and bring her to an anchor. Here she remained some weeks, while the crew regained their strength. On the 23rd of May the Defence sailed from the Cape, and after touching at Saint Helena, without further mishap arrived in the Channel. Here, convoyed by some men-of-war, she got off Plymouth, and thence, parting with several ships which had kept her company, she ran into the Downs, where she anchored on the 16th of September, 1691.

Dampier, poor as he had been when he first joined the buccaneers, had to part with his share in the Painted Prince to obtain the means of reaching his home. The unfortunate Jeoly, after being carried about for some time to be shown as a sight, died of small-pox at Oxford.

From the time he left England in 1679, on board the Loyal Merchant, until his return in the Defence, upwards of twelve years had elapsed, during which period he had circumnavigated the globe, and visited more strange countries and gone through more hazardous adventures than almost any man who has ever lived, impelled undoubtedly by a roving disposition, but still more so by his ardent thirst to obtain a knowledge of natural history.

What became of his poor wife during this time, or how he supported himself on his return home, we are not told, except that he published the following year his “New Voyage Round the World,” to which he afterwards added a supplement, entitled “Voyages and Discoveries.” Possibly he obtained a good sum for these works, as from their excellence they soon brought the author into notice. Weary of wandering, he probably remained for some time on shore.


Chapter Twenty Three.

Dampier’s voyages, continued—A.D. 1699.

Dampier in command of the Roebuck—Voyage to New Holland—Visits the shore—The first kangaroo seen—Failure of attempt to catch a native—The ship, refitted at Timor, sails for New Guinea—Coasts along the shore—Beautiful birds seen—Intercourse with the natives-Provisions obtained—A volcano seen—A waterspout nears the ship—Meets a Chinese vessel, and hears of the Dutch settlements—Goes to Batavia—Rotten state of the Roebuck—Sails for England—Founders off Ascension—The crew landed—Residence on the island—Taken off by the Anglesey—Sails for Barbadoes—Dampier returns to England—His services overlooked—Sails in command of a squadron for the South Seas—Rounds Cape Horn—Fight with a French ship—Clipperton runs off with the tender and his commander’s commission—Attempts to take the galleon—Defeated—Headed by Funnell, the crew mutiny, and part go off in a prize—Puna plundered—The Saint George destroyed—Her guns and stores put on board a prize—Sails for the East Indian Archipelago—Taken by the Dutch, and imprisoned—Escapes—Reaches England—Loss of credit—Joins Captain Woodes Rogers as pilot on board the Duke—She, with the Duchess, Captain Courtney, sails for the South Seas—Come off Juan Fernandez—Discover Alexander Selkirk, the original of “Robinson Crusoe”—His residence on the island—The sick landed—The ships sail—Prizes captured—Guayaquil attacked and plundered—The Manilla galleon captured—Rich booty—Prisoners well treated—Another galleon attacked—Privateers beaten off—Sail by way of Guam for Java—Sickness of crew—The Marquis sold—The ships return home—Dampier falls into poverty—Time and place of his death unknown.

The desire to discover new countries having revived among the English in the reign of William the Third, we next hear of Dampier in 1699, in command of the Roebuck, a king’s ship fitted out for a voyage to examine the coasts of New Holland and New Guinea. She carried twelve guns and a crew of fifty men, with provisions for twenty months, but was old and crazy. She sailed from the Downs on the 14th of January, and after touching at the Cape de Verdes, shaped a course round the Cape of Good Hope. On the morning of the 2nd of August the mainland of New Holland was seen, but no anchorage being found, and bad weather coming on, she was obliged to stand off until the 5th, when she again stood in, and brought up in Shark’s Bay. Among the animals Dampier saw on shore was one he describes as a sort of raccoon, differing from that of the West Indies chiefly as to the legs, for these have very short fore legs, but go jumping on the hind ones as the others do. This probably is the first description given of the small kangaroo of New Holland. He mentions different sorts of blossoming trees of several colours, but mostly blue, and smelling very sweet and fragrant. There were also beautiful and variegated flowers growing on the ground. The great want was for water, and for this a long search was made at different parts of the coast. At length a boat was sent ashore with an armed party carrying pickaxes and shovels. Three natives were seen, who retired; but when they observed the men beginning to dig, a large number collected, and with angry gestures ordered the strangers to begone.

At length, Dampier, accompanied by an active fellow, went forward to try and conciliate them; but still they kept aloof. Being anxious to capture one who might show them water, the commander allowed his companion to try and run one of them down. On being overtaken, they faced about, threatening their pursuer and Dampier with their spears. The former, though armed with a cutlass, was unable to keep them at bay, and Dampier, to save his life, was compelled to fire over their heads. The savages, seeing no harm was done, only uttered the words, “Pooh, pooh!” On this Dampier again fired, and one native fell, enabling the sailor to escape. Dampier on this turned back with his men, abandoning his attempt to capture a native, and being very sorry for what had happened. One only of the party, who appeared to be the chief, had his face painted with white pigment, to make him look more fierce.

In vain search was made for the huts of the natives. Some animals were seen resembling wolves, lean as skeletons,—probably dingoes. At last some brackish water was found, and the Roebuck proceeded to Timor. Here the ship, being refitted and the crew refreshed, Dampier sailed on the 20th of December for the coast of New Guinea. It was made on the 1st of January, 1700, and appeared to be high, level land, covered with trees. The party who went on shore in the boats obtained fruits of unknown kinds, and a stately land fowl, about the size of a poultry-yard cock, sky-coloured with a white spot, surrounded by others of a reddish hue on the wings, and a huge bunch of feathers on the crown, was shot.

Beating up to the northward against currents and adverse winds, occasionally anchoring, an island named Sabuda was reached. Here they found a tribe closely resembling the natives of Mindanao, of a tawny skin. The voyagers also saw negroes having curly hair, like those who had at first obtained for the country the name of New Guinea. Still farther north, shell-fish of an enormous size were found. On the passage the ship touched upon a shoal, but got off without damage, and came to an anchor. Here cockles were procured weighing ten pounds, much smaller than some previously seen, the shell of which alone weighed seventy-eight pounds! Pigeons were obtained, and bats of enormous size were seen here. Rounding the northern end of the island, Dampier endeavoured to get to the eastward, but made slow progress. On the way the ship nearly ran on an island not laid down in the charts. To commemorate his escape, he named the place Providence Island.

Crossing the Line and passing Admiralty Islands, a mountainous land was approached, well wooded with large plantations, and cleared patches on the hill-sides. Numerous boats and proas came off, and as Dampier was anxious to establish an intercourse with the natives, he endeavoured to induce them to come alongside. They would not, however, venture near, but eagerly received some beads, knives, and other toys, floated to them in a bottle. They endeavoured to induce the Roebuck to come to an anchor, but this she was prevented doing by the current. When they saw her standing off, they approached, launching showers of stones after her from their slings. The crew had got ready their small arms, and a gun was fired, which either killed or wounded one of the savages. In consequence of this event, Dampier named the place Slinger’s Bay.

On the 3rd of March an island, marked in the Dutch charts as Gerret Denijs, was reached, covered by lofty thickly-wooded mountains. On the sea-shore were numerous large cocoa-nut trees, and small huts were seen. The inhabitants were black,—a strongly-limbed people with round heads,—their hair curled, short, and dyed of different colours, red, white, and yellow. Although they had round faces, with broad bottle noses, yet their countenances would have been pleasant, had they not disfigured them by painting and wearing great rings through their noses as big as a man’s thumb. They had also holes in their ears, in which they wore similar ornaments. Their canoes were ingeniously formed with outriggers on one side, the head and stern especially being adorned with carved work, of fowls, fish, or a human hand. They managed their paddles with great dexterity. Their weapons were lances, swords, and slings, and some had bows and arrows. As she proceeded northward the ship was followed by a canoe. To each of the natives in it Dampier gave a knife, a looking-glass, and a string of beads. He showed them pumpkins and cocoa-nuts, intimating that he wished to have some more of the same description. On this they produced three out of their boat. When shown nutmegs they intimated that they had such growing on their island. They also recognised gold-dust.

Another canoe afterwards came off, the natives appearing tractable and well disposed. Seeing a deep bay where the ship might ride at anchor safely, Dampier steered into it. When the ship was about five miles from the shore, six canoes came off, with about forty men in them. He made signs to them to go ashore, but they would not attend to him. He therefore sent a shot over their heads, when they pulled away as fast as they could. They had, however, no sooner got ashore, than others came off. One, a large, well-built boat, had forty men in her. Soon after another of smaller size made her appearance, with several others. As the ship lay becalmed, and it appeared probable that the savages intended to make an attack, the gunner was ordered to fire one of the guns loaded with round and small shot. The last dropped into the water short of them, but the round shot flew a hundred yards beyond them, between two of their canoes. This so frightened the natives, that they rowed away with all speed. A light breeze having sprung up, the ship neared the shore, when a vast number of people were seen peeping from behind the rocks on shore. Another gun was fired to scare them, as it was important to keep them at a distance while the boats were obtaining wood and water. The ship brought up at the mouth of a small river, up which it was hoped water might be procured. A boat was sent on shore, and on seeing her approach the natives came off and threw cocoa-nuts into her. While the pinnace remained here, the yawl was sent up to search for water, and soon returned with the casks full. Dampier afterwards sent ashore various articles, to purchase hogs, yams, and other roots; but the natives, although they admired axes and hatchets, would give only cocoa-nuts, and always made signs to their visitors to begone.

During another visit the natives showed more confidence. The men wore feathers in their heads, and had lances in their hands. The women had no ornaments, but wore bunches of green branches before and behind, on a string round their waists. They carried on their heads large baskets full of yams. During the next visit the people were more shy than at first. They had also carried off all the cocoa-nuts from the trees, and driven away the hogs. The sailors made signs to them, to know what had become of their hogs, when the natives, pointing to some houses at the bottom of the bay, intimated by the noises they made that there were hogs and goats up there, expressing by signs, such as holding out their hands at different distances from the ground, the animals they meant.

Wood was abundant; but though the natives fully understood the word cocoas, they did not bring any more. Dampier himself went on shore and visited some of their huts, which were poor buildings. The doors were made fast, as the inhabitants had fled. While he was thus employed, the men in the yawl filled two hogsheads and the barricoes, or breakers, with water. On his return on board, the officers and men requested leave to go and obtain the hogs; but he was unwilling to yield to their wishes, fearing that they would deal roughly with the natives. At last he consented, ordering them to act cautiously for their own safety, and to return at once should rain come on, to be exposed to which in that climate was considered dangerous. The great guns were got ready to cover them, should the natives appear hostile. As soon as the boat approached, the savages crowded to the shore, shaking their lances, some wading into the sea, holding up a shield in one hand and a lance in the other.

The sailors held up such commodities as were likely to attract them, but to no purpose, the natives still waved them off. The seamen at length, resolved to have some provisions, fired their muskets to scare them away. This had the desired effect, and all disappeared, with the exception of two or three, who still stood in a menacing posture. One, however, being shot in the arm, he dropped his target and ran off. None were seriously hurt, the object of the seamen being to frighten rather than injure the savages. They then landed, and found a number of tame hogs running about the house. Nine were shot, and with these, as it had begun to rain, they returned on board. In the evening, the rain having ceased, another party went on shore, when eight more hogs and a little live pig were captured. The natives by this time showed a disposition to be friendly, and brought down a number of cocoa-nuts, which they left on the shore.

These, with some nets and images, were brought off in a canoe. Next day the canoe was sent back with a couple of axes, two hatchets, some knives, looking-glasses, and other articles in her, thus amply repaying the natives for the provisions of which they had been deprived.

Sailing from the bay two days afterwards, a volcano was seen to the north-west sending forth a large pillar of fire, which shot up for two or three minutes, and then sank down until scarcely visible, then again rising and blazing as before. It was on an island, between which and the mainland, on the following day, the ship passed, there being a good channel between them.

All night the volcano vomited forth flame and smoke, and at every explosion a dreadful sound was heard like that of thunder. The intervals between these explosions were about half a minute. Some were faint in comparison to others, yet even the weakest vented a good deal of fire, and the largest made a roaring noise, and sent up a large flame thirty yards high, at the same time a stream of fire was seen running down the side of the mountain, reaching to the bottom.

The following day, as the ship had got to the other side, the stream of lava could no longer be perceived. Several other islands were seen and named. One was called Sir George Rooke’s Island, another Crown Island, and a third Sir Robert Riche’s Island.

On the 12th the sky looked very red, but soon after the sun was up there was a squall to windward, when on a sudden one of the men called out that he saw something astern. It was a waterspout beginning to work within a quarter of a mile of the ship in the wind’s eye. She was at once put before the breeze. It came very swiftly, whirling the water up in a pillar about six or seven yards high. As yet no pendulous cloud from whence it might come could be seen. In about four or five minutes it came within a cable’s length of the ship, when a long pale stream was observed descending from the clouds to the whirling water. Almost immediately afterwards the threatening column passed off to leeward.

After passing the island of Ceram about eight at night, a large vessel was seen on the weather side. As it was possible she might prove an enemy, the men went to their guns with matches lighted. The small arms were got upon the quarter-deck, and every preparation made for a fight; but as they were on opposite tacks, she was soon at a distance. The following morning, both vessels being becalmed, Dampier sent his yawl aboard the stranger, which proved to be a Chinese vessel, laden with rice, arrack, tea, porcelain, and other commodities, bound for Amboyna. The master gave the English a good deal of important information, and told them that the Dutch had settled at several places in the Eastern Archipelago.

The Roebuck was now steered for Batavia, as she required considerable repairs, having become foul and crazy, though it was not suspected in how rotten and ruinous a condition she was.

While here, Dampier heard that the Dutch had sent two vessels to capture him, supposing that he was a pirate.

The Roebuck sailed from Batavia on the 17th of October, and had a quick run across the Indian Ocean. On the 30th of December she reached the Cape of Good Hope, and from thence stood directly for Saint Helena, where she remained for some days. Just as she had made the island of Ascension, it was discovered that a dangerous leak had been sprung. The chain pumps were set going, but the water still gained on the crew. On the morning of the 23rd February, in the hopes of being able to stop the leak, the ship was steered in for the bay, and came to an anchor. Dampier devised a plan for stopping the leak; but either through the carelessness or ignorance of the carpenter, it was only made worse. Notwithstanding all his endeavours to check it, the water rushed in with such force that it was very evident the ship could not be kept afloat.

The boats were accordingly hoisted out, and the anchor being weighed, the vessel was warped in nearer the shore until she had only three fathoms and a half under her keel. A raft was now constructed to carry the men’s chests and bedding ashore.

Before eight o’clock at night most of them had landed. In the morning the sails were unbent to make tents, and the next day a spring of fine water was found, and goats, land crabs, man-of-war birds, and boobies were seen; turtles in abundance could also be obtained, so that the ship’s company had no fear of starving. Some lived in the tents, and others sheltered themselves in the holes of the rocks.

About a week after the crew landed two ships were seen, and Dampier ordered his men to turn a dozen turtles, should they send on shore; but they stood off the land.

He and his people resided on this island until the second of April, when eleven sail appeared to windward, but passed by. The day following three ships of war and an East Indiaman came into the bay and anchored.

Dampier, with about thirty-five of his men, went on board the Anglesey, while the rest were disposed of between the other two men-of-war. The Anglesey was bound for Barbadoes, where she arrived on the 8th of May, 1701. Dampier was extremely anxious, however, to get home to vindicate his character for the loss of his ship. In a short time he succeeded in obtaining a passage on board the Canterbury, East Indiaman, in which he at length reached England.

Although during his voyage he had made many important additions to geographical knowledge, he was much distressed at the loss of his ship and his papers; and, as the Earl of Pembroke no longer presided at the Admiralty, he obtained no reward for his services, nor promise of further employment. No one in authority seemed to consider that he had been sent to sea in a rotten old ship, unfit for the service, and that she had foundered not from any fault of his, but through sheer old age and decrepitude.

After the death of William the Third, followed by the War of the Spanish Succession, privateering was actively carried on. A company of merchants had fitted out two vessels, the Saint George and the Cinque Ports, to cruise against the Spaniards in the South Seas. The command of these vessels was given to Dampier,—a proof of the estimation in which he was held. He hoisted his flag in the former, which earned twenty-six guns and one hundred and twenty men. The other was commanded by Captain Stradling, who acted throughout very independently of his superior. They sailed from the Downs in April, 1703, but were kept some time at Kinsale, into which port they had put. It was not until September that they finally got to sea. Their first object was to capture the flotilla which sailed from Buenos Ayres, or, should they fail in so doing, to go round Cape Horn and wait for the treasure-ships from Baldivia, and to seize the famed Manilla galleon.

The ill-disciplined crew soon quarrelled among themselves, but Dampier managed to keep them in subjection, until, rounding Cape Horn, they reached Juan Fernandez. Here they encountered a French cruiser, which they attacked; but after a seven hours’ fight she got away, both parties having suffered considerable loss. They afterwards failed to reach the latitude intended before the treasure-ships had sailed from Baldivia.

Their next enterprise, which was to surprise the fleet in the Bay of Santa Maria, also failed, although Dampier captured a few small vessels sailing thence. At Nocoya John Clipperton, Dampier’s chief mate, ran off with the tender, carrying away his captain’s commission, as well as most of the ammunition and stores.

The Saint George now sailed for the northward, and, to the great joy of the crew, espied the Manilla galleon. She was attacked, but the guns of the Saint George, carrying only five-pound shot, could do nothing against the twenty-four-pounders of the galleon, and, much shattered, she was compelled to haul off. The crew, now more than ever discontented at this misfortune, rose in mutiny; and Funnell, who was Dampier’s steward, putting himself at their head, was allowed to take one of the prizes,—a brigantine of seventy guns and thirty-four men,—with a portion of the stores, guns, and ammunition, to sail for India.

Dampier had now but twenty-five men left, but, notwithstanding this, after refitting his vessel, he attacked and plundered the town of Puna. After this it was found that the Saint George was so unsound and rotten as to be unfit to keep at sea. He accordingly shipped her guns, ammunition, and stores into a brigantine which he had taken, and abandoned her. In his new vessel he sailed for the Indian Archipelago, where, not having his commission to show, he was seized by the Dutch and thrown into prison. At last, however, he obtained his freedom, and returned home poorer than when he set out; while the owners of the Saint George, who had gained nothing by the adventure, bitterly complained of her loss.

Dampier had now no longer sufficient interest to obtain the command of a ship; but another privateering expedition being set on foot by some Bristol merchants, who equipped two ships, the Duke and Duchess, he agreed to go as pilot.

The command was given to Captain Woodes Rogers, with whom Dampier sailed on board the Duke, of three hundred tons, thirty guns, and one hundred and seventy men. Captain Dover was her second captain, and she had three lieutenants. The Duchess was commanded by Captain Courtney, a gentleman of fortune, who had provided a large portion of the funds for the expedition. Mr Edward Cook went as her second captain, with three lieutenants. She was two hundred and seventy tons burden, and carried twenty-six guns, and one hundred and fifty-one men. Both ships had legal commissions from H.R.H. Prince George of Denmark, Lord High Admiral, to cruise on the coast of Peru and Mexico, in the South Seas, against Her Majesty’s enemies, the French and Spaniards. The crews were of a mixed character and very undisciplined. One-third were foreigners of most nations, while of her Majesty’s subjects there were tinkers, tailors, haymakers, pedlars, fiddlers, one negro, and about ten boys. It was hoped, notwithstanding, that as soon as they had learned the use of their arms and got their sea legs, they would be brought under discipline.

Showing a mutinous disposition, before long many of the crew had to be put in irons, and the rest taking warning, without any misadventure, both ships got round Cape Horn, and steered for the island of Juan Fernandez. Here it was their intention to obtain water. On coming off it at night they observed a fire on shore, which caused them much anxiety, as it was supposed that these were French ships there, which they must either engage or go without the water they so much needed. Some supposed that the fire was lighted by a Spanish garrison, others by a body of Frenchmen, or a crew of pirates. Both the ships were got ready to engage should it become necessary.

On beating up to the island in the morning, no strange ships were seen in either of the bays into which they could look. The voyagers accordingly came to the conclusion that if any ships had been there, they had made their escape during the night on seeing the approach of the English. Boats were sent on shore, and after some time the pinnace returned, bringing an abundance of crayfish, and a wild-looking man dressed in goat-skins.

Who this stranger was it soon became known. It will be remembered in the previous voyage made by Dampier, about four years before, that the Cinque Ports, commanded by Captain Stradling, separated from him. The master of this vessel was Alexander Selkirk, a Scotchman, born at Largs, in the county of Fife, who had been bred a sailor from his youth. He was considered by Dampier as the most experienced and best man on board. Having had a dispute with Captain Stradling, and considering from the leaky state of the Cinque Ports that she might never reach England, he had desired to be put on shore at this island of Juan Fernandez, with which he was well acquainted, having been there before to obtain wood and water.

After some reflection he changed his mind, and requested to be taken off again; but to this Captain Stradling would not consent, and the Cinque Ports sailing away, he was left to his fate.

No sooner did he come up the side than he was recognised by Captain Dampier, who was heartily glad to see him, and strongly recommended him to Captain Rogers, who at once gave him the rank of mate on board. He it was who had made the fire on shore the previous night on seeing the approach of the ships which he guessed were English.

During the four years he had been on the island he had not conversed with a single human being. On his first coming on board the Duke, he had so greatly forgotten his language that it was difficult to understand him, for he seemed to speak his words by halves. He was offered a dram, but would not touch it, having drunk nothing but water since his being left there. It was some time, indeed, before he could even relish the ship’s provisions.

He had, during his stay, seen several vessels pass by, but only two came to an anchor. As he cautiously approached to discover their nationality, he found them to be Spaniards, and immediately retired; but having been seen, he was pursued, and had great difficulty in escaping from them. They followed him into the woods, where he climbed to the top of a tree close to the foot of which they passed in chase of some goats, which they shot, but failed to discover him.

When landed, he had with him his clothes and bedding, with a gun, some powder, bullets, and a hatchet, a knife, a kettle, and his Bible, besides some mathematical instruments and books. For the first eight months he had great difficulty in bearing up against the melancholy feelings which oppressed him at being left alone in so desert a place. He occupied himself, however, in building two huts with pimento-trees, which he covered with long grass, and lined with the skins of goats he had killed with his gun. He had, however, but a pound of powder, and when that was nearly expended he produced fire by rubbing two sticks of pimento-tree on his knee. The lesser hut served him as kitchen, and in the larger he slept and employed himself in reading, singing psalms, and praying; so that, as he remarked, he was a better Christian while in this solitude than he had ever been before.

At first he never ate until hungry, partly because his grief took away his appetite, and partly because he had neither bread nor salt. He also never went to bed until he could watch no longer. From the pimento wood he manufactured torches, which served him as a light at night, while he enjoyed its fragrant smell. He might have caught fish, but he could not eat them for want of salt, as they disagreed with him, except crayfish, which were as large as English lobsters, and very good. These he sometimes boiled, at others broiled, as he did his goat’s flesh, with which he made very good broth.

He kept an account of five hundred goats which he had killed, and of as many more which he caught, and, having marked them on the ear, let go. When his powder failed, he caught the animals, nimble as they were, by chasing them, and from constant practice he ran with wonderful swiftness through the woods and up the rocks and hills. On one occasion, while thus engaged, he nearly lost his life by falling over a precipice. When he came to his senses, he found the goat dead under him. He there lay for twenty-four hours, and was then scarcely able to crawl to his hut, which was about a mile off. On reaching it he did not move again for ten days. He at last got accustomed to eat his meat without bread or salt. During the season he had plenty of good turnips, which had been sown by Captain Dampier’s crew, and now covered several acres of ground. Cabbage-trees also afforded him good cabbage. He seasoned his food with the fruit of the pimento-trees, which is similar to Jamaica pepper. He also found black pepper, which had some useful medicinal qualities. On wearing out his shoes, not thinking it necessary to manufacture fresh ones, he went barefooted, and thus his feet became so hard that he could run over the roughest ground without suffering. When he first took to wearing them on board his feet swelled and caused him considerable uneasiness. He employed part of his time in cutting his name on trees, with the date of his landing, and other particulars. At first he was greatly annoyed by cats and rats, which had been landed from some ships touching there, and had now greatly increased. The rats gnawed his feet and clothes while he was asleep, so he bethought himself of encouraging the cats by giving them the goats’ flesh. By this means so many of them became tame that they would assemble round him in hundreds, and kept the rats at bay. He likewise tamed some kids, and, to amuse himself, would now and then dance and sing with them and his cats.

When his clothes wore out, he made himself a coat and cap of goat-skins, which he stitched together with thongs of the same material. A nail served him for a needle. When, in time, his knife wore out from constant grinding, he made others of some iron hoops which had been left on shore. Finding in his chest some linen cloth, he manufactured some shirts, using a nail as a needle, and employing the worsted of an old stocking to stitch them, and he had his last shirt on when discovered. Had the vessels he had seen been Frenchmen he would have gone among them, but he preferred the risk of dying on the island to falling into the hands of Spaniards, who would, he believed, have murdered him, or made him a slave in the mines, as they were supposed to treat all the strangers they could get hold of.

He described the climate as genial, the winter lasting only during June and July, when there was but little frost, though occasionally heavy rains. He saw no venomous or savage creature on the island, the only beasts, besides rats and cats, being goats, the ancestors of which had been left there by Juan Fernandez, the discoverer. Besides the pimento-trees, some of which were sixty feet high, and some large cotton-trees, the only trees of value were some bearing black plums, which, however, growing among the mountains and rocks, were difficult to get at. The trees and grass were verdant all the year round, and it was evident that the soil was fertile in the extreme.

Alexander Selkirk was the true original of Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe.” He afterwards entered the Royal Navy as a lieutenant, but obtained no higher rank.

Many of the men who had been suffering from scurvy were here landed and sheltered in tents, and by means of two or three goats which Selkirk caught for them each day, and the vegetables with which they were supplied, they soon recovered.

Sailing from Juan Fernandez, a look-out was kept for Spanish vessels. Quarrels and disputes arose among the officers, but they were settled by the judicious management of the captain, and by the sensible regulations laid down for their government.

On the ist of April they took a vessel of five hundred tons, laden with dry goods and negroes, commanded by two brothers, Joseph and John Morel. Many others were taken, differing in value. From these they gained useful information as to the condition of the various places on the coast. Their first exploit was an attack on the town of Guayaquil, when Dampier commanded the artillery. Though the Spaniards were prepared, it was captured without much loss of life, the soldiers, notwithstanding that they numbered many more than the English, having fled into the woods at the approach of the invaders. The vessels getting up the river, the guns were brought to bear on the town, by which the privateers had it completely in their power, when, having taken possession instead of burning it down, they offered to ransom it for twenty-seven thousand dollars, besides the plunder they picked up, which amounted to the value of about two thousand pounds. These terms were agreed to, and the money paid to them. They likewise sold the goods taken on board their various prizes to the Morels and the other Spaniards, though at a quarter of their value. But this was better than destroying the merchandise which they could not carry off. Sailing northward, the Duke and Duchess, with one of the prizes which they had fitted out as a ship of war, attacked a Manilla galleon with number of merchants and several ladies on board. She carried twenty guns, twenty pattereroes, and one hundred and ninety-three men. After an engagement which lasted about three glases, she struck her colours, having nine men killed, ten wounded, and several blown up with powder. Captain Rogers was himself badly wounded in the face, and one man was slightly wounded. The prize was called by the high-sounding name of Nuestra Señora de la Incarnation Disenganio. Though not so richly-laden as they had expected, the silks, satin, and china not having arrived at Manilla before she sailed, she still contained in gold and silver to the value of twelve thousand pounds, besides other articles of commerce. She was carried into Porto Seguro, where the more valuable part of her cargo was transferred to the privateers. Her passengers, especially the ladies, were so well treated, that they warmly expressed their gratitude. Indeed, both on this occasion and at Guayaquil, the females who fell into the power of the privateers experienced no injury.

From the prisoners they learned that another larger and far more richly-laden galleon was coming from Manilla, but it was stated that she had already reached her destination. This, however, Captain Rogers did not believe. Leaving a guard in charge of the prisoners on board a prize in the harbour, the Duke and Duchess, with another vessel called the Marquis, which had been fitted out, put to sea, to watch for the Manilla ship. Before long a stranger was seen approaching, and the other vessels being at a distance, she mistook the Duke for her consort, the galleon lately captured, and allowed Captain Rogers to get up to her.

He attacked her gallantly, but she was heavily armed and strongly manned, and, before he could venture to run alongside, had triced up her boarding nettings.

The Duchess and Marquis soon came up and joined the fight, but after engaging her for seven hours and making with their small shot but little impression on her thick hull, the captain agreed that it would be folly to run the risk of losing their masts, and therefore, hanging on to her until dark, so as to prevent her entering Porto Seguro, they edged away, and allowed her to escape without further molestation. She proved to be the Vigonia, of about nine hundred tons, carrying forty heavy guns and as many pattereroes, with a crew of about four hundred and fifty men.

Captain Rogers was here again wounded. The crew of the galleon were well protected by bales placed between the guns. How many men she lost it was impossible to ascertain, but two were seen to drop from the tops.

On the 10th of January the three ships sailed from Porto Seguro, and steered for the island of Guam, where they arrived on the 10th of March. They anchored under Spanish colours, but on making themselves known were well received by the Governor, who treated them with perfect confidence and supplied them with provisions, they in return entertaining him and his officers on board, while the English were courteously received on shore. Thence they sailed by the north of Gilolo, stopping at Bouton to take in provisions and water, till they reached Batavia. Here the surgeon and several other persons died of fever, contracted on shore. The Marquis was found to be so rotten that her goods were transferred to the other two vessels, and she was sold.

At the end of October they left Java, and putting into the Cape, waited there for the homeward-bound fleet, in company with which—twenty-five sail in all, Dutch and English—after passing round to the north of Shetland, they anchored in the Texel in July of the following year.

Here they had to wait for some time for a convoy, but at length, on the 14th of October, the two ships came to an anchor off Erith, thus ending their long and perilous voyage.

Their skilful and talented pilot probably landed here, but from that day forward nothing of his history is known. Owing to the falsehoods and misstatements published by Clipperton and Funnell, his character has been much maligned. He, too, probably died in poverty, as he was already advanced in life on his return from his last voyage; and the prize money obtained was not distributed until eight or nine years afterwards.

He bitterly repented of his early life among the buccaneers; even when with them his conduct was always humane; and he was induced to remain in their company more for the sake of adventure than for obtaining booty. He at all events escaped from that hardness of moral feeling which is too generally the consequence of associating with abandoned companions.

Few voyagers have added so much to our knowledge of distant parts of the world, and the accuracy of his remarks has been acknowledged by all those who have visited the countries he describes.

His conduct must not be judged by the opinions of the present day, when even privateering is looked down upon and condemned by all right thinking men. Whatever his countrymen may have thought of him, foreign voyagers speak of him in the highest terms. Humboldt says that no navigator could be compared to him. Malte-Bran terms him the learned Dampier, and French and Dutch discoverers style him the incomparable, the eminent, the skilful, the exact Dampier.


Chapter Twenty Four.

Anson’s voyage to the South Sea—A.D. 1740.

War with Spain—Original plan of expedition abandoned—The Centurion and other ships ordered to form a squadron under Commodore Anson—Miserable equipment—Ships overladen—Drop down Channel—Cross Atlantic, and pass through the Straits of Le Maire—Bad weather comes on—Two of the ships nearly wrecked—Severn and Pearl lost sight of—Centurion in fearful danger—Scurvy breaks out, and numbers die—Anchors at Juan Fernandez—The sick landed—The Trial joins her—Goats found marked by Alexander Selkirk—The Gloucester comes off the island—Long time in getting in—The Anna Pink appears—The Centurion goes in chase of a stranger—Takes a prize—Crew and stores of the Anna Pink transferred to Centurion—The Trial takes a prize, and crew and stores being removed into the prize, she is destroyed—Females taken on board a prize courteously treated—Paita attacked and captured—The seamen dress up in the Spaniards’ clothes—Booty taken—The town burnt—Spaniards acknowledge Anson’s generous treatment of his female prisoners—The squadron lays in wait for the Manilla galleon—Negroes enter on board as seamen—Miss the galleon—Preparations for crossing the Pacific—Prizes turned adrift—The Gloucester abandoned—Her crew taken on board Centurion—Scurvy again breaks out—Fearful mortality—The Ladrones sighted—Centurion brings up off Tinian—Sick landed—She is driven out to sea—Great anxiety—A vessel commenced—The ship appears—Reaches Macao—Repaired—Fresh men shipped—Sails to watch for the galleon—Her capture—The Centurion on fire—Anson’s coolness—Sails with his prize for Canton—Roguery of the Chinese—Anson and his men extinguish a fire at Canton—Sails for England—Hears of the war with France—Narrow escape from a French fleet.

War with Spain having been declared towards the end of 1739, it was proposed to fit out two squadrons, one under the command of Captain Cornwall, to sail round the Cape of Good Hope and attack Manilla, and the other under Captain Anson, then commanding the Centurion, to sail into the Pacific, round Cape Horn, to injure the settlements of the Spaniards on the west coast of South America, and to destroy their trade. The two squadrons were afterwards to meet to carry out together whatever might be deemed advisable. The first part of the scheme was soon abandoned, and Commodore Anson’s squadron alone was ordered to proceed into the South Sea.

Captain Anson’s family was little known. He was not supposed to possess even brilliant talents, for “he was,” as Earl Stanhope writes of him, “dull in conversation and slow in business, but he had undaunted bravery, steady application, and cool judgment. He punctually followed his instructions and zealously discharged his duty, and by these qualities—qualities within the attainment of all—he rose to well-earned honours, and bequeathed an unsullied renown. He thus deserves to be held forth to British seamen as an example of what may be accomplished by industry, courage, and love of their profession.”

The squadron consisted of the Centurion, of sixty guns and four hundred men, on board of which the commodore flew his broad pennant; the Gloucester and Severn, each of fifty guns; the Pearl, of forty; the Wager, of twenty-eight; and the Trial sloop, of eight guns. There were also two victuallers to carry provisions, to be taken on board the squadron when there was room to receive them.

Besides the seamen, there were four hundred and seventy invalids and marines. Five hundred of the former unfortunates, notwithstanding that the commodore strongly protested against such unsuitable men being sent, were ordered to embark, many of them out-pensioners from Chelsea, but two hundred and forty who had sufficient strength to get away escaped, their places being supplied by two hundred and ten marines—raw, undrilled recruits, who had not yet been allowed to use firearms. They were placed under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Crackerode. Many of the poor worn-out old pensioners shed tears as they marched on board, feeling their utter unfitness for the duty they were called upon to perform. Indeed, out of the whole number, not a single man returned. The squadron, after many delays, sailed from Saint Helen’s on the 16th of September, 1740. Having touched at Madeira, they anchored on the 18th of December off the island of Santa Catalina, on the coast of Brazil.

On touching at Madeira, Commodore Anson learned from the Governor that a squadron of Spanish ships, commanded by Don Josef Pizarro, had been sent out to attack them. This expedition, however, met with a lamentable fate.

Anson’s crews suffered greatly from the ships being so deeply laden that the ports could not be opened to admit air. As soon as they arrived at Santa Catalina, the tents were erected on the shore, and the sick men sent into them. The ships were also repaired, some of the guns sent down below, and the stores taken on board.

In about a month the squadron again sailed. Having put into Fort Saint Julian to obtain salt and fresh water, a council of war was held, when the commodore proposed to the captains under him that they should attack the town of Baldivia, the most southern place on the coast of Chili. On the 1st of March, Cape Virgin Mary was sighted, at the entrance to the Straits of Magellan. The weather at that time was beautiful, but it was remarked in those southern latitudes that fair weather was always of short duration, and was a certain presage of a succeeding storm. On the 7th of March they were passing along the coast of Staten Island, which surpasses all others in the wildness and horrors of its appearance. It seems to be composed entirely of rocks, terminating in a vast number of rugged points, which tower up to a prodigious height, all covered with everlasting snow, while the points themselves are surrounded with frightful precipices. The hills appear as if rent by earthquakes, with nearly perpendicular chasms dividing them, reaching almost to their very bottoms, so that nothing can be imagined more savage and gloomy than the whole aspect of this coast.

Favoured by a strong current and brisk breeze, the squadron passed through the Straits of Le Maire in about two hours, and the voyagers flattered themselves that the chief difficulty of their undertaking was over, their hopeful ideas being heightened by the brightness of the sky and the serenity of the weather. Scarcely, however, were they through the straits than the wind began to blow in violent squalls, while the tide rapidly drove the ships to the eastward. It was with the greatest difficulty that the Wager and Anna Pink escaped being dashed to pieces against the shores of Staten Island. The sea rose into mountainous billows, and the ship rolling gunwale to, threatened to dash the men to pieces against the decks or sides, several, indeed, being killed and others greatly injured.

After some time the gale subsided, but on the 23rd again broke out with redoubled violence, the mainsail of the Centurion being split to rags. Storm succeeded storm. For a long time the squadron endeavoured to beat against the easterly gales, during which the Severn and Pearl were separated from them and never more seen. To add a finishing-stroke to their misfortunes, the scurvy broke out among the storm-tossed crew. At first it began to carry off two or three a day, but at last eight or ten died in twenty-four hours.

Most of the survivors were suffering from the same distemper, and the few who preserved their health were quite worn out with incessant labour. Sometimes four or five dead bodies, some sewn up in their hammocks, others not, were to be seen washing about the decks for want of help to bury them in the sea. Notwithstanding this, the Gloucester was the only ship which suffered much, by carrying away her mainyard; but on the 7th of April several guns were heard to leeward, and it was soon seen that the Wager had lost her mizenmast and main-topsail yard, while the Anna Pink had had her bowsprit so injured that there was a risk of her losing her fore-topmast. By this time the weather had moderated, and assistance was sent to the disabled ships.

On the 8th of May the island of Soccoro was sighted off the coast of Patagonia, a barren and inhospitable region, the shore being lined with rocks, above which the snow-covered Andes could be seen in the distance. By this time scurvy had destroyed no less than two hundred men. In vain the Centurion cruised for the missing ships, and at last stood for the island of Juan Fernandez; but it was passed during thick weather, and it was not until the 9th of June that it was at length discovered. While the Centurion was endeavouring to find the right bay in which to anchor, the current set her so close to the shore that she was compelled to bring up. In the morning a lieutenant with a boat’s crew was sent to try and discover the proper anchorage. He returned with some seals and grass, which was eagerly devoured by the men suffering from scurvy. So weak were all the crew that it was with great difficulty that the anchor could be weighed, nor indeed was it tripped until assisted by a strong breeze. They here found the Trial sloop. Her commander came on board and stated that out of his small crew he had buried thirty-four men, and that those who remained were so weak, that only himself, his lieutenant, and three of his men were able to handle the sails.

Tents having been erected, the healthy men were employed in carrying the sick on shore. It was hoped that they would at once be restored to health; but for the first ten or twelve days rarely less than six were buried each day, and it was not until they had been twenty days on shore that the survivors began to recover.

Anson, who had brought a number of seeds and fruit-stones, at once had them planted for the benefit of those who might afterwards visit the spot. Anson’s people found the island still abounding with goats, and among the first killed was one which had its ears slit, by which they concluded that it was one of those which Alexander Selkirk had captured no less than thirty-two years before their arrival. It was indeed an animal of majestic appearance, dignified with a venerable beard and many other signs of antiquity.

Several others, also marked, were met with, they all having long beards and other characteristics of extreme age. The goats had no longer the island to themselves; for dogs had been landed which had increased so greatly that they disputed the territory with the former occupants, hunting together in packs. A curious spectacle was witnessed when one of these packs made chase after a herd of goats which escaped to the mountains. Here the active animals took refuge on a ridge which was accessible only by a narrow path, skirted on each side with precipices. On the top of the path a long-bearded he-goat posted himself fronting the enemy. The dogs, which had pursued eagerly, got up to about twenty yards from him, when, seeing his determined attitude, they dared approach no nearer, and laid themselves down, panting, well knowing that he would hurl them down the precipice, should they venture to attack him. The dogs, it was suspected, lived entirely on seals’ flesh, for several which were killed and eaten had a fishy taste. As the goats, taking refuge in the more inaccessible parts of the country, could with difficulty be killed, the crews subsisted on the flesh of the young seals, which they called veal, and on that of the sea-lions, which was denominated beef. Large numbers of fish were also caught with lines.

The Trial sloop having so quickly joined the Centurion, it was hoped that the rest of the squadron would appear; but a fortnight passed, and none being seen, the worst was feared as to their fate. On the 21st of June, however, a ship was perceived to leeward of the island, but she disappeared. It was not until the 26th that a sail was again seen; it was found to be the Gloucester, and a boat was immediately sent off laden with fresh water, fish, and vegetables. This seasonable supply saved the lives of the survivors on board her. She had already thrown overboard two-thirds of her complement. Excepting the officers and their servants, scarcely any were capable of doing duty. Every one of the pensioners had died, and most of the marines. For many weeks afterwards, however, though several of the Centurion’s crew were sent to her assistance with further refreshments, she was unable to beat up to the anchorage. It was not until the 23rd of July that she at length got into the bay. Her crew were now reduced to less than eighty men. The sick, on being landed and well supplied with fresh provisions, recovered sooner than was expected. Great anxiety was now felt on account of the non-appearance of the Anna Pink, laden with provisions, as the flour on board the other ships was almost exhausted. At last, about the middle of August, she came in, having spent the greater part of the intermediate period in harbour on the coast of Patagonia, where the wild animals, killed by the crew, supplied them with abundance of meat. None of her men had died.

The Anna Pink was now broken up and her stores transferred to the Centurion, which stood in great need of them, as it had been with much difficulty that a fresh suit of sails had been made out of the canvas remaining on board; it had been even necessary to unlay a cable to obtain sufficient ropes for her rigging.

It was now computed that of the nine hundred and sixty-one men who had left England in the Centurion, Gloucester, and Trial, six hundred and twenty-six were dead, three hundred and thirty-five thus alone remaining to man the three ships.

Brave as Anson was, he could not but dread lest he should, with his diminished crews, fall in with Don Pizarro’s squadron, not aware at the time of its fate, which had been even worse than his own.

A vessel being seen in the north-east, which, having got near the island, steered away towards the coast, it was concluded that she was Spanish. On this Anson resolved to give her chase, and his crew, hurrying on board the Centurion, bent sails, and by five in the afternoon was under weigh.

For three days the chase was continued, when the stranger made her escape. On steering back towards Juan Fernandez, the Centurion, however, made out another sail, which at first bore down upon her. Supposing that she was one of Pizarro’s squadron, every preparation was made for an engagement. On getting nearer, however, it was discovered that she was a merchantman, and four shots quickly brought her to. She was found to be laden with sugar and blue cloth, with a few other articles. Besides this there were several trunks containing silver, the value of which amounted to seventy thousand pounds. Beside the treasure obtained, Anson had the satisfaction of hearing of the destruction of Pizarro’s squadron, and that there was no chance of being molested by any men-of-war. By means of intercepted letters and the information obtained from the prisoners, it was found that several other richly-laden vessels were likely soon to sail from Callao to Valparaiso. To obtain the best chance of capturing them, Anson ordered his ships to cruise separately, the Gloucester being directed to take up her station off Paita, out of sight of land. On the 19th of September the Centurion, accompanied by the Carmelo, her prize, put to sea. Four days afterwards two ships were seen, one of which, a powerful vessel, stood towards them. The crew of the Centurion went to their quarters, but as the stranger could not escape, they were ordered not to fire. Being hailed in Spanish, an answer came from Mr Hughes, a lieutenant of the Trial, who gave them the welcome intelligence that she was a prize to that ship, having been captured after a long chase. She measured six hundred tons, being one of the largest merchantmen employed in those seas, and had on board five thousand pounds sterling. The Trial had, however, sprung all her masts, but, bad weather coming on, no assistance could for some time be rendered her. When at length the weather moderated, her commander came on board, and representing her leaky and unseaworthy state, requested that he and his crew might be transferred to the ship which he had just taken, which was now called the Trial’s Prize. To this the commander agreed, and the guns, stores, and everything of value were removed on board the prize. Having returned to Juan Fernandez, the Centurion again put to sea, and shortly afterwards captured another prize, but of no great value. She had three ladies on board, a mother and two daughters, who were in a dreadful fright on seeing the English, but the honourable treatment they received from Anson and his officers soon quieted their fears.

Another prize was in a short time taken, from which information was received that there was a considerable amount of treasure in the custom-house at Paita, ready to be shipped on board a fast sailing-ship then in port. To prevent this the commodore resolved at once to attack the place, which was of no strength, and contained, it was supposed, but a small garrison. The ships standing in during the night, four boats were dispatched, carrying fifty-eight men, under the command of Lieutenant Brett. The Spanish pilots taken in the prizes were warned that if they proved treacherous they would be shot, and the rest of the prisoners carried off to England.

Lieutenant Brett reached the mouth of the bay without being discovered, but no sooner did he enter it than some of the people on board a vessel riding at anchor perceived them, and instantly put off in their boat, rowing towards the fort, shouting out, “The English! the English dogs!” by which the whole fort was alarmed.

Several lights being seen, Lieutenant Brett hurried forward his men, to give the enemy as little time as possible to prepare for their defence. Before a boat could reach the shore, a shot was fired from the fort, passing very near one of them. This made their crews redouble their efforts, and, before another gun was fired, leaping on shore, they were conducted by a Spanish pilot through a narrow street into a large square. As they marched along with tolerable regularity, the shouts and cheers of the sailors, so long confined on shipboard, who now, for the first time, found themselves in an enemy’s country, with the prospect of immense pillage, joined with the noise of their drums, made the Spaniards suppose that they were a numerous party. The invaders were received by a volley from the merchants holding the treasure, who had arranged themselves in a gallery running round the custom-house. One of the seamen was killed and two wounded, but the house being surrounded, and the fire being briskly returned, the defenders disappeared, and the English obtained quiet possession.

Lieutenant Brett now divided his men into two parties, ordering one to surround the Governor’s house, to secure him if possible, while he himself, with the other party, marched to the fort. The latter was at once entered, the garrison having escaped over the walls. The Governor also had got away, habited in but scanty garments, leaving a young wife much in the same condition, but who was afterwards carried off by two sentinels. The escape of the Governor greatly vexed Lieutenant Brett, as he had hoped by capturing him to treat for the ransom of the place. The few inhabitants who remained were shut up under a guard in one of the churches, except some negroes, who were employed in carrying the treasure from the custom-house and other places to the fort, escorted by a file of musketeers.

Although orders had been issued that there should be no pillage, the sailors could not be prevented from entering the houses, and as the Spaniards had left behind them their clothing, mostly embroidered or laced, the seamen put them on over their dirty trousers and jackets, some adding a bagwig or a laced hat to their costume. When this practice was once begun there was no preventing the whole detachment from imitating it.

Those who came latest, not finding men’s clothing, equipped themselves with women’s gowns and petticoats, so that when they appeared before their commander he was not immediately satisfied that they were his own people. Meantime, while the British crews were employed in carrying off the treasure, two hundred horsemen were seen collecting outside the town, besides other troops, but the commodore having got the Centurion close in, felt very sure that they would not venture to attack his people on shore. Reports were, however, brought off on the second day that the number of the enemy being greatly augmented, they intended to storm the place, led by one Gordon, a Scotch papist and captain of a ship in those seas.

Notwithstanding this the crews continued their work of spoliation, and the next day a reinforcement was sent on shore, so that the Spaniards dared not attempt to carry out their plan.

On the third day, the 15th of November, besides the treasure, the more valuable part of the effects found in the town, consisting of rich brocades, bales of fine linens, etcetera, cases of brandy and wine, hogs, sheep, fowls, and other provisions, were brought off. The prisoners were then landed, and placed in one of the churches at a distance from the town. Lastly the place itself was set on fire in all directions, and burned to the ground.

As Lieutenant Brett and his men were about to embark, the Spaniards, seeing them on the open beach, made a feint of attacking them, but halted, as it was expected they would do, when they came near. The boats were about to shove off when it was found that one of their number, a Dutchman, was missing. Just then they heard his voice shouting, but the smoke was so thick that he could not be seen. Presently he came rushing into the water, and was lifted on board half dead from fright. It appeared that having taken too much brandy he had fallen asleep, when on awakening, seeing some Spaniards approaching, and finding himself surrounded by smoke, he started up, and dashing through the flames, fortunately directed his course towards the beach.

This affair at Paita, though well executed, inflicted a cruel injury, not on the Spanish Government so much as on an unoffending and industrious community, and Anson has justly been blamed for the act.

Having scuttled and sunk all the vessels found in the harbour, with the exception of five, which were fitted out as men-of-war, he sailed away from the place with his booty, the value of which amounted to upwards of thirty thousand pounds.

Notwithstanding the severe loss they had suffered, the prisoners expressed their gratitude to the commodore for the considerate way they had been treated. An ecclesiastic of some distinction especially was most warm in his expressions of thankfulness for the civilities he and his countrymen had received. He could never forget the way the men had been treated, but he said that the commodore’s behaviour to the women was so extraordinary and so extremely honourable that he doubted whether all the regard to his ecclesiastical character would be sufficient to render it credible.

Having rejoined the Gloucester, which had taken only two small vessels, Anson steered for the southern part of California, there to watch for a Spanish galleon annually dispatched with treasure from the port of Acapulco to Manilla. On arriving at their destination, after cruising for some time, during the night a light was seen, when they were about twenty-five leagues from the shore. Chase was immediately made, it being supposed it was the galleon’s light. Great was their disappointment when morning broke to discover that it was underwood or stubble burning on the side of a lofty mountain, which, seen at the immense distance at which it was discovered, appeared no larger than an ordinary ship’s light. On arriving in the neighbourhood of Acapulco, a boat was sent into the harbour at night to ascertain the state of its defences. Three negroes were captured on board a fishing canoe, and were taken to the commodore. They gave the information that means had been energetically taken to defend the place, and that a garrison had been stationed on an island at the entrance.

Anson therefore resolved not to attack it, but to devote all his means to capturing the Manilla galleon as soon as she should come out of port. For this purpose he stationed his squadron of six ships over a long distance, but sufficiently near to each other to keep up communication. Besides these, two boats were sent in every night to watch the entrance of the harbour.

A good many negroes had been taken at different times, and these were promised their freedom if they would enter on board as seamen and be trained to the management of the guns. It was supposed that the galleon would sail on the 3rd of March from Acapulco, and every one was looking out for her; but the days went by and she did not appear. At last it was necessary to obtain water, and Anson steered for the harbour of Chequetan, about thirty leagues from Acapulco. He hoped, when it was known that the ships were there, the galleon might attempt to slip out and try to escape. He therefore left Lieutenant Hughes to cruise off the port of Acapulco twenty days longer, that, should the galleon sail, he might easily be informed of it.

To protect the watering-place, which was at some distance from the beach, a strong barricade was erected across the only path leading into the country, a little way beyond it, and here a guard was always stationed. As the whole of the crews together were scarcely sufficient to man even the Centurion, three of the prizes, having their cargoes and stores removed, were carried out and sunk. These and many other arrangements having been concluded, preparations were made for sailing across the Pacific. It was necessary first to pick up the boat off Acapulco, which ought long before that time to have returned.

Having got to within three leagues of Acapulco, and nothing of the boat being seen, it was feared that she had been wrecked or captured by the Spaniards. Under the supposition that she had been taken, Captain Anson sent in a Spanish officer, one of his many prisoners, and a boat manned by Spaniards, to offer an exchange of prisoners. Some time after she had gone the missing boat appeared, the wan countenances of her crew showing the sufferings they had gone through.

They had been about to return when a strong current carried them away to leeward, and they had to run still farther to look out for some place where they might land and obtain water. As they had not now to wait to hear from the shore, the prisoners were put on board two launches, which were well supplied with water and provisions, they all thanking the commodore and praising his humanity for the way they had been treated.

On the 6th of May the two ships, the Centurion and Gloucester, took their departure from the coast of Mexico, hoping that in a few weeks they would arrive at Canton, whither they were bound. During this passage the scurvy again broke out with almost as much severity as before. At first they were favoured by the trade wind until the end of July, afterwards heavy weather came on, during which the gale carried away the Gloucester’s topmasts, and she sprung so bad a leak that it seemed impossible she would keep afloat; and finally her commander, Captain Mitchell, begged to be taken on board the Centurion with his crew. The commodore came therefore to the resolution of destroying her, although with her went a large quantity of valuable goods. The weather became calm, and the boats were at once engaged in removing the sick, but three-fourths of them expired before they could be got on board the Centurion.

Captain Mitchell’s last act before leaving the Gloucester was to set her on fire, and she was thus deserted. When she had been left about four leagues astern, she blew up. The noise made by the explosion was slight, but a dense black pillar of smoke shot up to a considerable height in the air. Thus perished H.M.S. Gloucester.

On the 26th the Ladrones were sighted, and the ship stood towards Tinian, prepared for an encounter should the Spaniards attempt to attack her. To deceive them Spanish colours were hoisted, and the ship was made to look as much as possible like the Manilla galleon. The cutter was then sent in shore. Soon afterwards a proa came off to meet her, and was captured and brought back in tow. In her was a Spaniard, with four Indians. One of these was a carpenter by trade. Wishing to get away from the place, he very willingly shipped on board the Centurion. The Spaniard gave so favourable an account of Tinian, that all were cheered with the prospect of landing there. He stated it to be uninhabited, but used by the Spaniards at Guam as a store for supplies for their garrison, of which he was a sergeant, sent here with Indians to jerk beef; and that wild cattle, hogs, poultry, and fruit abounded. This account delighted the English, and finding themselves masters of the situation, they secured a bark, which was the only vessel capable of giving notice to the Governor of Guam, and prepared to take possession of the island. A large hut, used as a storehouse, was taken possession of as a hospital, and the commodore himself and all his officers assisted in conveying the sick on shore, as he had before done at Juan Fernandez. They were indeed the only persons who had strength sufficient for this service.

The place fully came up to the most favourable descriptions given of it. Here there seemed a fair prospect that the sick would in time recover. Deaths took place at first, but fresh provisions, rest, and good air soon began to restore the remainder to health, and in about a month’s time all who were able to do duty were sent on board the Centurion. She was moored in the most perfect way possible, as many gales were anticipated. Many of the officers and a large number of the crew were on shore, as well as Captain Anson, now himself suffering from scurvy. The expected storm came on, and when morning broke, what was their dismay not to perceive the ship! It was supposed that she was lost, and several people suggested that the boat should be sent round the island to look for the wreck, and save any who might have escaped. Others began to fear that the Governor of Guam, hearing of their being there, would send a strong party to take them prisoners, and perhaps treat them as pirates, and deprive them of their lives. Many believed that they were destined to remain on the island, without any means of returning home. Captain Anson did his utmost to keep up their courage, and told them that he had formed a plan to lengthen the Spanish bark, so as to be able to carry the whole of them to China. For some time, however, he did not succeed in raising their spirits; but as the Governor of Guam did not send to capture them, they began to hope that the plan proposed by the commodore might succeed, and the work he suggested was commenced.

He himself always rose at daybreak, and commenced work, thus shaming the rest, who were now as industrious as he could desire, and punctually came at the same time to the rendezvous, whence they were distributed to their different employments. While thus engaged one day a sail was seen in the offing. Hopes were entertained that it was the Centurion returning. Presently another rose above the horizon, when Captain Anson examining them through his glass, observed that they were only boats. He now fully believed that they were those of the Centurion, which had probably foundered, and all his hopes of harassing the enemy and performing the duties imposed on him vanished. After a time, however, he discovered that they were Indian proas. Not to alarm the Indians, he ordered his people to keep out of sight. They came to within a quarter of a mile of the shore, where they remained for two hours, and then again stood to the northward.

The bark had been hauled up, sawn in two, and considerable progress made in the work, when, on the 11th of October, one of the Gloucester’s men, being on a hill in the middle of the island, was seen rushing down at full speed, crying out, “The ship, the ship!”

On this Mr Gordon, a lieutenant of marines, hurried to the commodore, who, at the news, threw down his axe, with which he was at work, and in his joy broke through, for the first time, the calm reserved manner he had hitherto maintained. All hurried down to the beach, and before the evening the Centurion was visible to all. A boat was immediately dispatched, with eighteen men, carrying fresh meat and fresh vegetables, for the refreshment of her crew. The next afternoon she came to an anchor in the road. When driven out to sea, those on board had fired guns, but owing to the wind and rain, they had not been heard. After great exertions the anchor was hove up, and the ship continued driving, and, as she was short-handed, it was a long time before sail could be made on her. For many days she had been beating up to windward, until she had got back as described.

The Commodore now lived on board. The same accident again occurred, and the ship was driven out to sea, leaving seventy of her men on shore. After five days, however, she got back again, and having completed her water, sailed on 21st of October for Macao.

The Centurion was for some time beating along the coast of China, among countless fishing-boats, until she came to an anchor off Macao on the 12th of November. She remained at this port for five months, until the health of her crew had been re-established.

Captain Anson here had the satisfaction of learning that the Severn and Pearl, the two ships which had separated from the squadron, had arrived safely at Rio Janeiro. Of the sad fate of the Wager, and the loss of the larger number of her officers and crew, he did not receive intelligence till his return home. He was annoyed by the extortionate demands made by the Chinese carpenters for the necessary repairs of the ship, while he had considerable difficulty at times, in consequence of the behaviour of the Chinese authorities, in obtaining provisions.

At length, on the 19th of April, all being ready, the Centurion made sail and stood out to sea, her crew increased by several Lascars and Dutch, so that she was now in a condition to resume hostilities. Before Anson left Macao, he let it be understood that he intended to touch at Batavia on his homeward voyage, but he had formed a very different decision.

The Manilla galleon, not having sailed from Acapulco, in consequence of his appearance off that place, calculating that there would be two vessels this year instead of one, he determined to cruise off the island of Samal in the hopes of intercepting them. He at first kept this plan to himself, but as soon as the ship was at sea he summoned the crew on deck and informed them of his intentions. The place he intended to cruise off was Cape Espirito Santo. It was sighted on the 20th of May. As the commodore knew that sentinels were placed on that cape to give notice of the Manilla ship as soon as she made the land, he immediately tacked and took in top-gallant sails to avoid being discovered.

The crew were now kept constantly practising at their guns, an exercise which had been pursued for some time previously. By this means they were rendered extremely skilful. Every preparation was also made for battle. The commodore’s journal shows how anxiously he and all on board were looking out for their expected prize. At last, just a month after the arrival of the Centurion at her station, a sail was discovered at sunrise in the south-east quarter, by a midshipman, Mr Charles Proby. The commodore had taken every means in his power to secure the victory. He had placed about thirty of his choicest marksmen in the tops, and as he had not hands enough remaining to quarter a sufficient number to each great gun in the usual manner, he placed on his lower tier only two men to each gun, who were to be employed solely in loading it, while the rest of the people were divided into different gangs of ten men each to run out and fire such guns as were loaded. By this arrangement he was able to make use of all his guns, and instead of firing broadsides at intervals, to keep up a constant fire without intermission. He knew that it was the custom of the Spaniards to fall down on deck when they saw a broadside preparing, and to continue in that posture until it had been given, after which they rose, and presuming the danger to be over for some time, worked their guns and fired with great briskness, until they supposed that another broadside was ready to be fired, when they acted as before. The plan adopted by the commodore, however, rendered this practice of theirs impossible.

At the news of a sail being in sight, the ship’s company had no doubt that this was one of the galleons, and they expected soon to see the other. The Centurion stood on until about half-past seven, when the stranger could be seen from her deck, and no doubt remained that she was one of the long-sought-for ships. The hopes of the Centurion’s crew rose high, and all hands with alacrity hastened to their stations. At length the galleon fired a gun and took in her topgallant sails, which was supposed to be a signal for her consort to hasten up. The Centurion, therefore, fired a gun to leeward in order to amuse her.

The commodore was surprised all this time to find that the galleon did not alter her course, but continued to bear down upon her, for he hardly believed—what afterwards appeared to be the case—that her captain knew his ship to be the Centurion, and had resolved to fight her. About noon the Centurion was a little more than a league from the galleon, and could fetch her wake, so that she could not now escape. No second ship appearing, it was concluded that she had been separated from her consort. Soon after the galleon hauled up her foresail, and brought to under her topsails, with her head to the northward, hoisting Spanish colours, and having the standard of Spain on the topgallant masthead.

The Centurion now rapidly neared the galleon. A little after noon there were several squalls of wind and rain, which often obscured the latter from sight; but whenever it cleared up, she was observed resolutely lying to. Towards one o’clock, the Centurion hoisted her broad pennant and colours, she being then within gunshot of the enemy. The Spaniards, the commodore observed, had neglected to clear their ship, they being engaged in throwing overboard cattle and lumber. He gave orders to fire upon them with the chase-guns, to prevent them from completing their work.

The galleon returned the fire with two of her stern-chasers. Soon after the Centurion came abreast of her, within pistol-shot, keeping to leeward for the purpose of preventing her from putting before the wind and getting away.

Now the engagement commenced in earnest. For the first half-hour the Centurion overreached the galleon, and lay on her bow. By the greater wideness of the ports of the former, she could traverse almost all her guns, while the galleon could only bring a part of hers to bear. Scarcely had the action begun, when the mats with which the galleon had stuffed her netting took fire and burned violently, blazing up half as high as the mizen-top. This accident threw the enemy into great confusion, and the commodore feared lest the galleon should be burned, and his ship suffer by driving on board her. The Spaniards at last, however, freed themselves from the fire by cutting away the netting and tumbling the whole mass into the sea.

Still the Centurion kept her advantageous position, firing her guns with great regularity; whilst, at the same time, the topmen, who having at their first volley driven the Spaniards from their tops, made great havoc with their small arms, killing or wounding every officer but one that appeared on the quarter-deck, and wounding in particular the general of the galleon himself. After the engagement had lasted half an hour, the Centurion fell alongside the galleon, the decks of which her grape-shot swept so effectually,—killing and wounding a great number,—that the Spaniards were thrown into the greatest disorder, as could be seen from on board the Centurion. The Spanish officers were observed running about to prevent desertion by the men from their quarters; but all their endeavours were in vain; and at last, having fired five or six guns, the galleon’s colours being already burnt, the standard at her main-top-gallant-masthead was struck. The seaman who did this would have run great risk of being shot down, had not the commodore given orders to the men not to molest him. The action lasted altogether about an hour and a half, during which the Spaniards lost sixty-seven killed and eighty-four wounded.

The prize was called Nuestra Señora de Cabadonga, and was commanded by Don Jeronimo de Montero, a Portuguese by birth, and a skilful and brave officer. The galleon was much larger than the Centurion, had a crew of five hundred and fifty men, and thirty-six guns, besides twenty-eight pidreroes or petards, each of which carried a four-pound ball. She was besides well furnished with small arms, and was provided with boarding nettings.

The treasure she contained amounted to nearly a million and a half of dollars. Scarcely, however, had the galleon struck, and the long-expected wealth she contained become the prize of the English, than a terrible announcement was made to the commodore by one of the lieutenants, who whispered to him that the Centurion was on fire near the powder-room. He received the intelligence with his usual calmness, and, taking care not to alarm the crew, he gave the necessary orders for extinguishing it. Some cartridges had been blown up between deck, in consequence of which a quantity of oakum, near the after-hatchway, close to the powder-room, was on fire. The volumes of smoke which issued from this caused the apprehension that a dangerous fire had broken out.

The crew, led by their officers, set to work to extinguish it. While they were thus engaged, the galleon fell on board the Centurion on the starboard quarter, but she was cleared without doing or receiving any considerable damage. By the exertions of the men, the fire was in a short time got under. The commodore now made the first lieutenant, Mr Saumarez, captain of the prize, appointing her a post ship in his Majesty’s navy.

Most of the prisoners were at once removed on board the Centurion, and judicious arrangements were made for keeping them from rising, which, as they far outnumbered the crew of the Centurion, they might easily have done; indeed, when they saw the men by whom they had been captured, they expressed themselves with great indignation, to be thus beaten by a handful of boys.

All the seamen, with the exception of the wounded, were placed in the hold, and that they might have air, the two hatchways were left open, these hatchways being fitted with a square partition of thick planks, made in the shape of a funnel, which enclosed each hatchway on the lower deck, and reached to that directly over it on the upper deck, rising seven or eight feet above it. It would thus have been extremely difficult for the Spaniards to clamber up. To increase that difficulty four swivels were planted at the mouth of each funnel, and a sentry with a lighted match stood ready to fire into the hold, should they attempt to escape. The officers, amounting to seventeen or eighteen, were lodged in the first lieutenant’s cabin, under a guard of six men, while their general, who was wounded, lay in the commodore’s cabin, with a sentinel placed over him.

As there was a scarcity of water, only a pint a day could be supplied to each prisoner. Of this they could not complain, as the ship’s company had but a pint and a half. Still, they suffered greatly.

All arrangements being made, the Centurion and her prize sailed for Canton. Captain Anson now heard that the Manilla ship, for which he had watched at Acapulco the preceding year, had set sail sooner than the others, and had probably got into the port of Manilla before the Centurion arrived off Cape Espirito Santo. He had thus to regret his long delay at Macao. On her arrival in the river of Canton, a boat, with a mandarin, immediately came off to the Centurion from the forts of Boca Tigris, to inquire what she was and where she came from.

Captain Anson, in reply, gave him an exact account of the ship. The officer, on hearing of the number of guns and the amount of ammunition she had on board, declared that he could not venture to make such a statement to his superiors, who would instantly become alarmed.

Captain Anson’s object was to remain here during the monsoon, and to obtain a supply of provisions for his voyage home. During his stay in the river he had to submit to various annoyances. The Chinese authorities treated him in a way for which they were then and have ever since been notorious. The provisions they promised were not forthcoming, and the traders endeavoured to cheat the strangers in all sorts of ways. The fowls which had been brought on board quickly died, and the crew thought that they had been poisoned. On examining them it was found that they had been crammed with stones and gravel, to increase their weight. The hogs also which had been purchased ready killed had had water injected into them, and even the live ones had had salt given them to increase their thirst, so that they had drunk vast quantities of water, and were inflated. Even at the last, hearing that the barbarians, as they called the English, never ate anything which died of itself, the Chinese managed to drug the animals so that they died before the ship was out of harbour, numbers of boats following to pick up the carcases. Anson’s greatest difficulty was to obtain food, and Anson had himself to go up to Canton, the contractors not having prepared the bread they had promised, nor any other articles of food. At last the authorities had the impudence to demand port dues for the ship. This Captain Anson, answering that she was a man-of-war, and that he had not come to trade, refused to pay. He at last dispatched a letter to the Viceroy, insisting that his various demands should at once be complied with.

He, with some of his officers and a boat’s crew, had gone up to Canton, when a fire broke out in the town, which threatened to burn down the whole place. Chiefly by his and his men’s exertions the fire was got under, although not until a large amount of damage had been done. It consumed a hundred shops and eleven streets full of warehouses. When the fire was subdued, many Chinese merchants came to Captain Anson and requested him that he would allow each of them one of his “soldiers,” as they called his boat’s crew, to guard their warehouses and dwelling-houses, which they feared might be pillaged, should any tumult arise. He granted their request, and had the satisfaction of finding that his men had behaved themselves with great diligence and fidelity.

Next morning many of the inhabitants waited on the commodore to thank him for his assistance, frankly owning that they could never of themselves have extinguished the fire. Captain Anson’s conduct on this occasion greatly assisted him in his subsequent proceedings with the timid and treacherous Chinese.

His great object was now to sail for England before the enemy should gain intelligence of the wealth carried in the Centurion. Having disposed of the galleon for six thousand dollars, much below her real value, Captain Anson set sail from Macao on the 15th of December, 1743. Having touched at Prince’s Island in the Straits of Sunda, he anchored in Table Bay, at the Cape of Good Hope, where he remained until the 3rd of April, 1744, when he sailed for England.

Speaking a ship on the way, he learned that war had broken out between the English and French.

A careful look-out was kept to avoid the enemy, and on the 15th of June, to the infinite joy of all on board, the ship came safely to an anchor at Spithead. Captain Anson there learned that a French fleet was cruising in the chops of the Channel, and, from the account of their position, he found that the Centurion had run right through it, but had, during the time, been concealed by a thick fog.

The return of the expedition, although with sadly-diminished numbers, caused general joy throughout the country. The treasure taken from the galleon was carried through the streets to the Tower in thirty-two waggons, attended by a large procession. The voyage thus happily ended had occupied three years and nine months. Had the ships been properly fitted out, and supplied with efficient crews, most of the disasters which had attended the expedition would have been avoided. At the same time the intrepidity and prudence of the commodore, and the unflinching perseverance and courage displayed by the seamen, are worthy of all admiration, and make the expedition of the Centurion one of the most notable of voyages.


Chapter Twenty Five.

Voyages of Captain Cook—A.D. 1768.

Birth and education—Enters the Royal Navy—Employed to take soundings in the Saint Lawrence—Diligence in study—Marriage—Expedition to observe the transit of Venus—Cook appointed to the command—Equipment of the Endeavour—Scientific men sail with him—Leave Plymouth—The nuns of Santa Clara—Jealousy of the Governor of Rio de Janeiro—Natives come on board—Their behaviour—Landing and exploring the country—Overtaken by a snow-storm—Sufferings from cold—Return to the ship—Voyage continued—Round Cape Horn—Run 700 leagues—Coral reefs—Naming islands—Anchor in Matavia Bay—Conduct of the natives—Captain Cook lands—Aspect of the country—Reception by the chiefs—Pocket-picking by the inhabitants—A thief shot—Annoyance of Captain Cook—Excursions up the country—Erect a fort—Punishment of one of the ship’s company—The pity of the natives excited—Theft—Recovery of the property—The transit of Venus—The Queen Oberea—A native priest wishes to accompany the English—Dress, habits, and manufactures of the natives—The expedition sails—Islands visited—A famous warrior—Dancers—The Society Islands—Off Oheteroa—Opposition of the people—Anniversary of sailing—A comet—Discovery of New Zealand—Disturbance with the natives—Prisoners taken—Attempt to carry off a boy—Mercury Bay—Furious Gale—Survey of New Zealand completed—Australia sighted—Anchor, and go on shore—Conduct of the people—Botany Bay—Strikes a reef—Repairing the vessel—Australia—Sail for England—Sickness at Batavia—Arrival.

Captain James Cook, who deservedly takes rank as the greatest of English explorers and navigators, was the son of a farm labourer, and born at Marton, near Stockton-upon-Tees, on the 27th of October, 1728. Shortly afterwards his father, an intelligent and industrious man, obtained a situation as farm bailiff to Mr Thomas Skottowe, of Airy-holme, near Ayton, in Yorkshire, by whom young James, when old enough, was sent to a commercial school, where he learned writing and the rules of arithmetic. At the age of thirteen he was apprenticed to Mr William Sanderson, a grocer and haberdasher, at the fishing town of Straiths, near Whitby. He remained with his master until he was about eighteen years of age, when, having a strong desire to go to sea, he obtained a release from his engagement, and having apprenticed himself to Messrs Walker and Company, shipowners, of Whitby, he embarked on board one of their vessels—the Truelove, collier—trading between Newcastle and London. After having made several voyages, from his thorough knowledge of seamanship, he was raised to the rank of mate on board the Friendship.

In her he remained until the breaking out of war between England and France in 1756, when, considering the risk he ran of being pressed, he volunteered as an able seaman on board the Eagle, of sixty guns, commanded by Captain Harmer, who was succeeded by Captain Palliser, afterwards Sir Hugh Palliser, Cook’s warm and constant patron. He had by this time many friends on shore, and his captain, who having remarked his intelligence and assiduity, had already made him a quartermaster, received a letter recommending him to his notice, and in a short time obtained for him a warrant as master. In 1759 Cook was accordingly made master of the Grampus, but the former master returning, he was appointed to the same rank on board the Garland. He was again doomed to disappointment, as she had sailed, but quickly received an order appointing him to the Mercury, which immediately sailed for North America, to join the fleet under Sir Charles Saunders, which, in conjunction with General Wolfe’s force, was engaged in the siege of Quebec. He was here employed, by the recommendation of Captain Palliser, who now commanded the Shrewsbury, in taking soundings in the Saint Lawrence opposite Quebec. While thus occupied he had a narrow escape of being captured by the French. After this he had many opportunities of displaying his talents, while he applied himself diligently to the study of astronomy and other branches of nautical science. While serving on board the Northumberland, he was engaged in the capture of Newfoundland, and was afterwards employed, at different periods, in surveying its coast. At the end of 1762, returning to England, he married Miss Elizabeth Batts, a young lady of respectable family. By her he had six children, three of whom died in their infancy. His last visit to Newfoundland was as marine surveyor, in 1767. After the establishment of peace between England and France, two expeditions had been fitted out to circumnavigate the globe, one under Lord Byron, and the other under Captains Carteret and Wallis. Before the return of the latter commanders, a new expedition was designed for the purpose of observing the transit of Venus, which had been calculated by astronomers would occur in 1760. Various parts of the Pacific were talked of as most suitable; but before the expedition was ready, Captain Wallis returned and recommended King George’s Island or Otaheite as the most eligible situation for observing the approaching transit.

After various persons had been proposed to command the expedition, the Secretary of the Admiralty named Cook; and Sir Hugh Palliser, who was applied to, strongly recommending him, he was at once appointed.

Instead of selecting a frigate or larger ship, Sir Hugh Palliser chose the Endeavour, a bark of three hundred and seventy tons, built for a collier, as more suitable for the purpose, as she could, from her build, carry ample provisions and stores, could run into shallow water, and might be laid on shore to be repaired without risk.

She was at once carried into a basin in Deptford yard, and Lieutenant Cook received his commission as commander. She was fitted with ten carriage and ten swivel guns, and those appointed to sail on board her numbered, in addition to the commander, his officers, and scientific men, forty-one able seamen, twelve marines, and nine servants, making altogether eighty-five persons. She was victualled for eighteen months. One of the chief promoters of the expedition was Mr Banks, afterwards Sir Joseph Banks, President of the Royal Society, who obtained permission to join the expedition. He took with him Dr Solander, a Swedish naturalist, a secretary, two draughtsmen, and four servants. The Admiralty also appointed Mr Green, an astronomer, to assist Lieutenant Cook in his observations. A large supply of such articles as were likely to be useful were taken on board by Mr Banks.

The Endeavour having gone round to Plymouth, set sail from thence on the 26th of August, 1768, and steered a course for Madeira. Here the simple nuns of the convent of Santa Clara, hearing that the strangers were great philosophers, begged to be informed when it would thunder, and whether a spring of fresh water was to be found anywhere within the walls of the cloisters.

The Endeavour, sighting Teneriffe, reached Rio de Janeiro on the 13th of November. Here the ignorant Portuguese Governor, jealous of the expedition, and unable to comprehend its objects, treated the voyagers with scant courtesy. His only idea was that they were going out to witness the passing of the north star through the south pole.

On the 11th of January, 1769, Cook came in sight of Tierra del Fuego, and three days afterwards entered the straits of Le Maire. The Endeavour anchored in the bay of Good Success, where they met with a number of the inhabitants, three of whom were induced to come on board, but showed a remarkable want of interest in all they witnessed. Being treated, however, in a kind way, they became very friendly, and showed no fear of their visitors. They were not so low in the scale of humanity as many voyagers have described them, and probably not less capable of receiving instruction than other savages. The weather being fair and mild, on the 16th of January Mr Banks, Dr Solander, Mr Green, Mr Monkhouse, the surgeon, and Mr Buchan, a landscape painter, landed to explore the country. After crossing a morass, commencing the ascent of a mountain, and passing a wooded tract, it being nearly eight o’clock in the evening, the party were greatly fatigued, while they were chilled with the intense cold. Though Dr Solander had kept saying, “Whoever sits down will sleep, and whoever sleeps will wake no more,” he himself was the first to insist on resting, and it was with the greatest difficulty his companions could get him on. He and a black man were at length allowed to recline against some bushes for about five minutes, but even during that short period his limbs became so numbed that he could hardly move. The rest of the party had gone on, and had succeeded in lighting a fire, towards which the Doctor was dragged, but it was found impossible to rouse the black, who was left in charge of another black and one of the seamen named Richmond. The snow came on and fell incessantly for two hours.

Mr Banks dispatched some persons to look for Richmond and the blacks, but they were unable to find them. About midnight a cry was heard, and the seaman was discovered standing, but unable to move, while one of the blacks lay insensible on the ground. So exhausted were the party that their united efforts failed to bring in the unfortunate negroes, who quickly expired, and were left where they fell, covered up with boughs. The night was passed in the greatest possible misery. In the morning, so fierce were the snow-blasts that it was found impossible to proceed, while they dared not venture to quit the fire. At length, having shot a vulture, the only food they obtained, at ten o’clock they set out, and after walking three hours found themselves on the beach, in sight of the vessel. On the 22nd the Endeavour proceeded on her voyage, and the fourth day afterwards rounded Cape Horn. She then ran for seven hundred leagues without land being in sight. Several coral islands were passed, the first of which was inhabited, and, after the dreary mountains of Tierra del Fuego, appeared a terrestrial Paradise. It was an almost circular band of land, with here and there cocoa-nut trees rising out of it, and enclosing a large lagoon. The natives appeared to be tall, of a copper colour, with long black hair, and they held in their hands poles of considerable length. This was called Lagoon Island, others, from their shape, obtained the names of Bow Island, Chain Island, and and Bird Island.

About noon on the 9th of April the high mountains of Otaheite were faintly discerned, but owing to calms the ship did not come to an anchor in Matavia Bay until the morning of the 13th. She was immediately surrounded by canoes, their crews bringing off fruits and fish, and waving green branches as a sign of friendship.

These were taken by the seamen and placed in different parts of the ship, to show the natives that their visitors also wished for peace. Strict rules were now laid down by the commander for the government of his people while on shore. He then landed with Mr Banks and Dr Solander, and a party of men under arms.

The natives received them in the most humble manner, the first who approached creeping up on his hands and knees to present a green branch as an emblem of peace.

After examining a place to ascertain if it was suitable for watering purposes, the party marched three or four miles into the interior through groves of trees loaded with cocoa-nuts and bread-fruit, affording the most grateful shade. Numerous huts were seen under these trees, which in the daytime had the appearance of roofs without walls. At night mats were let down, to afford such privacy as the habits of the people in that genial climate required.

All this time none of the principal persons of the island had made their appearance. After the ship had been there a couple of days, two chiefs, Matahah and Tootahah, came off, the first fixing on Mr Banks as his friend, and the latter on Captain Cook. The ceremony of making friends was gone through. It consisted in the natives taking off the greater part of their clothing and putting on that of their visitors. Their dress was formed of the bark made from the paper mulberry-tree. Captain Cook, Mr Banks, and others went on shore with their new friends, where they met another chief named Tabourai-Tamaide, and formed a treaty of friendship with him.

During a feast with which he entertained his visitors, Dr Solander and Mr Monkhouse found that their pockets had been picked, the one of an opera-glass, the other of his snuffbox. The chief showed his concern, and offered several pieces of native cloth as a compensation. This, however, was refused. The chief going out, by the aid of a sage woman, recovered the articles, and restored them to their owners.

One of the first objects to be attained was the erection of a fort, to protect the astronomical instruments. The spot was soon fixed upon, away from the habitations of the natives, and a party of men sent on shore to commence operations. While the principal officers were away, a number of people gathered round to watch what was going on, and one of them, rushing forward, seized a sentry’s musket, and made off with it. Without consideration, a midshipman ordered the marines to fire, which they did, but did not hit the thief. He, however, being pursued, was at length shot dead.

Notwithstanding this, the chiefs behaved with great moderation, and seemed satisfied that the act was not in consequence of any hostile feeling, though death was far too severe a punishment for the crime the man had committed.

Cook was greatly annoyed at this incident. He considered it prudent, however, to warp the ship closer in, to protect his people while engaged on shore, as he feared, in consequence of no natives coming near the ship, that they might be attacked. Before long, however, the natives got over their alarm, and brought propitiatory gifts of the usual green boughs. So confident was Cook of their good feeling that he allowed his officers to make excursions into the country.

Crossing a belt of fertile land on the side of the harbour, they reached a range of barren hills. Beyond them again they descended into a wide plain, watered by a river nearly a hundred yards wide. The plain was studded over with houses, the inhabitants of which appeared to live on the ample productions of their country. Happy as the people appeared to be, it was evident that they were mere children of impulse, scarcely knowing right from wrong. The greater number were pertinacious thieves, and addicted besides to many vices. Though not apparently bloodthirsty, they were accustomed to offer up human sacrifices. But little insight at that time was gained into their religious practices.

While the fort was in course of erection, the natives watched the proceedings closely. It was finished by the 26th of April, and six swivel guns were mounted on it. This seemed to alarm the people, who moved to a distance; but the chiefs came in with their wives, and exhibited no signs of fear. While they were there the butcher took a fancy to a stone hatchet in the hands of one of the women, and because she refused to give it, he threatened to kill her. The captain hearing of this, ordered him to receive a couple of dozen in the presence of the natives.

When they saw the first strokes given their kind feelings being aroused, they entreated that the rest of the man’s punishment might be remitted, and when their petition was refused they burst into tears. A day or two after this great alarm was caused in the fort by the disappearance of a large instrument in a case, without which the intended observation could not be taken. The friendly chiefs were applied to, and by their means the thief was traced, and though the parts of the instrument had been divided among various persons, the whole were collected uninjured, and it was finally set up in its place.

To have a better chance of obtaining a clear sky, the astronomers were divided into three parties. One with Mr Banks proceeded to the island of Eimeo, twelve miles west of Otaheite; Mr Hicks went to a spot eastward of Matavia Bay; while Captain Cook and Dr Solander remained at the fort. The eventful morning of the 3rd of June arrived. The sky was perfectly clear, and the passage of the planet Venus over the sun’s disc was observed to great advantage.

Captain Wallis had discovered a female whom he supposed to be the Queen of the isles. She was recognised by Mr Molineux, the master of the Endeavour, who had accompanied Captain Wallis on his late voyage. Her name was Oberea. She was therefore treated with much attention, and many presents were made to her. Among them she seemed to value most a child’s doll, possibly supposing it to be one of the gods of the white man. She had apparently been deposed, and Tootahah had become the principal chief, but, jealous of the favours shown to Oberea, was not content until a doll had been presented to him also, and at first he seemed to value it more than a hatchet. Among the attendants of Oberea was Tupia, who had become a priest, and had evidently considerable influence among his countrymen. He had from the first attached himself to the English, and now expressed a strong desire to accompany them when they should quit the country. As his services were likely to prove of the greatest value, Captain Cook gladly agreed to his proposal, and he was appointed interpreter on board the Endeavour.

The inhabitants of Otaheite were far superior to those of most of the other islands. They were all more or less clothed in well-made cloth manufactured from the paper mulberry-tree, and ingeniously painted. In wet weather they wore instead garments made of matting, some of a very fine and beautiful description. They produced a great variety of basket-work, and made string and rope of various thicknesses. Their houses were neat, and they were remarkably clean in their habits, many of them washing twice or oftener in a day. The last event of importance which occurred was the desertion of two marines, who stole from the fort, intending to remain in the country.

As Captain Cook could not allow so bad an example to be set, he was compelled, in order to recover them, to detain Tootahah and several other chiefs until the fugitives should be restored. The natives retaliated by capturing two petty officers, and the arms of two others, and matters began to look serious, until, by the intervention of Tootahah, the deserters were restored and received due punishment.

After a stay of three months the voyagers, having bade farewell to their friends on shore, prepared for sailing, when Tupia, accompanied by a boy as his servant, came on board, and expressed his readiness to accompany them.

About noon on the 12th of April the anchor was weighed, and the vessel getting under sail, the Indians on board took their leave of their visitors and Tupia, weeping with a deep and silent sorrow, in which there was something very striking and tender. Tupia evinced great firmness, struggling to conceal his tears, and, climbing to the masthead, made signals until he was carried out of sight of the friends he was destined never again to see. As they sailed along he frequently prayed to his god Tane for a favourable breeze, but it was observed that he never commenced his orisons until he saw the signs of the coming gale.

The islands of Eimeo, Huaheine, Ulietea, and Bolabola were visited in succession. The ship anchoring near Ulietea, Captain Cook took the opportunity to stop a leak, and take in ballast; he went also to visit Opoony, the warlike sovereign of Bolabola, who had conquered this and many of the neighbouring islands. Instead of seeing a fine-looking warrior, as he expected, he found a withered, half-blind, decrepit old man, who was, notwithstanding, the terror of the surrounding islands. The people on shore welcomed their visitors with all possible courtesy. On their way they met a company of dancers, men and women, who were said by Tupia to be among the principal people. The women wore graceful head-dresses of long braids of hair and flowers, with pearls in their ears. The upper parts of their bodies were unclothed, but they were amply covered from the breast downwards in native cloth stained black. Regular dramas were represented before the strangers, and the style of dancing was objectionable in the extreme. An ample supply of hogs, poultry, and provisions having been obtained at Ulietea, the Endeavour again sailed. When off Bolabola, at which the landing was found to be extremely difficult, to gratify Tupia Captain Cook fired one of his guns, though the ship was several leagues off. Tupia’s object was to exhibit his hatred of the King of that island, as well as the power of his new allies. To the group of islands which had been seen or visited, Captain Cook gave the name of the Society’s Islands, but Otaheite was not included among them, and continued to be known as King George’s Island.

On the 13th of August the Endeavour came off Oheteroa, considerably to the south of the others. Here the natives, dressed in coloured cloths and feathers, stood ready to oppose a landing; and after several fruitless attempts to conciliate them, Captain Cook continued his course to the southward. On the 25th of August, the anniversary of their departure from England, the day was celebrated by taking a Cheshire cheese from a locker where it had been preserved for the purpose, and tapping a cask of porter, which proved to be in excellent order. On the morning of the 30th a comet was seen in the east, a little above the horizon. After this, a heavy sea and strong gales were met with from the westward, and the ship being wore round, stood to the northward. On the weather moderating, the cruise was continued westward during the whole month of September, and on the 6th of October land was seen from the masthead bearing West-by-North.

On the evening of the next day the voyagers got near enough to observe that the country was of great extent, with several ranges of hills rising one above the other, and beyond them a lofty chain of mountains. The general notion was that they had found the Terra Australis Incognita. Night coming on, they were compelled to stand off, but the following day again sailed for the shore.

They saw some neat small houses, and a large number of people seated on the beach. Farther on was discovered a high regular paling, enclosing the whole top of a hill. In the afternoon the ship came to an anchor off the mouth of a river in a bay, the sides of which were composed of white cliffs of great height.

Such was the first view the English obtained of New Zealand, which has since become the home of many thousands of our countrymen. Captain Cook, Mr Banks, Dr Solander, and a party of men having landed, tried to open a communication with the natives across a river. While they were on the bank, a party of savages with long lances rushed out of a wood, and were on the point of spearing the men left in charge of the boat, when the coxswain fired and shot one of them dead. The natives then ran away. On examining the dress of the dead man, it was found to answer the description given in an account of Tasman’s voyage, which convinced the explorers that that navigator had previously visited the country. On the following day the natives again appeared on the opposite side of the river, inviting the strangers to cross; but Tupia warned them to be careful, and prepared for hostilities. Ultimately the savages swam across, almost all armed. At first they appeared inclined to trade, but in a short time made an attempt to seize the weapons of the English, and one of them carried off the cutlass of a seaman, which he flourished about his head as he made his escape. Others in considerable numbers came down to his assistance. At first Mr Banks fired, and merely wounded the man, who was still retreating, when Mr Monkhouse took a more fatal aim, and he dropped, and another piece being fired, the savages at length fell back. Shortly afterwards Captain Cook, who was anxious to make some prisoners, and by treating them well to inspire a general confidence, sent the boats to capture some canoes which were seen coming in from the sea. The natives, however, assailed their pursuers so vigorously with stones and other missiles, that the English were compelled to fire, and four men were killed. Three boys were captured. Cook deeply lamented this proceeding, though it appeared to be almost unavoidable. The boys on being taken on board became reconciled, and at first seemed very unwilling to be sent on shore, but were ultimately seen to join their companions.

Such was the unhappy commencement of our acquaintance with the natives of New Zealand. As nothing could be obtained at the place where Cook first anchored, it was called “Poverty Bay.” Leaving on the 11th, he proceeded along the coast for six days, until the bluff headland was reached, to which he gave the name of “Cape Turnagain,” as the ship was there put about to return along the coast. She continued her course until she had sailed completely round the island. Names were given to the bays and headlands, which they retain to the present day. The intercourse with the natives was mostly of the same lamentable character as that at the commencement, though they in some instances brought off fish and willingly traded with the voyagers. The savages, however, stole whatever they could lay hands on, though appearing to be amicably disposed. One suddenly seized Tayeto, Tupia’s boy, and, dragging him into his canoe, made off. The marines fired at the canoe farthest from the boy, when one of the natives fell, on which the other let go his hold of Tayeto, who leaped overboard and swam to the ship.

At Mercury Bay—so-called in consequence of an observation of the planet Mercury having been made in the harbour—the natives behaved in a more peaceable manner, though many of them there tried to cheat their visitors. To this conduct there were some exceptions. One chief, named Toiava, behaved with great propriety, and expressed his hope that his countrymen would properly conduct themselves in future. Some of the canoes which approached the ship were of great size, one of them having sixteen paddles on each side and containing sixty men. She was making directly for the ship, when a gun loaded with grape-shot was fired in front of her, and, on a second shot being discharged over the heads of the crew, they seized their paddles and made for the shore.

A headland, near which this occurrence took place, was consequently called “Cape Runaway.” Captain Cook having landed near the spot called by Tasman: “Murderer’s Bay,” on ascending one of the neighbouring hills, discovered that the country, which he at first supposed to consist of one large island, was divided by a strait into two islands. This strait has since been called Cook’s Strait. Leaving the inlet, on which he bestowed the name of Queen Charlotte’s Sound, the ship was borne rapidly through the straits. Having been exposed, when off the coast, to a furious gale, which, though it was the height of summer, lasted for five weeks, he continued his survey of New Zealand, and having run down the coast of Middle Island, and discovered Banks’s Island, he returned to Cook’s Straits. The Endeavour took her departure from Cape Farewell, the last land seen of New Zealand, on the 31st of March; and sailing westward, on he 19th of April land was descried, which proved to be part of New Holland. For several days the Endeavour coasted along the shore to the northward, until at last a bay was discovered, into which she ran and came to an anchor. Several black natives were seen on shore flourishing their spears. Abreast of the Endeavour was a village of about eight huts, and not far off four small canoes, with a man fishing in each. Presently an old woman with three children came out of the forest, laden with fire-wood. She threw down her burden, and kindled a fire, when the men, landing, began to dress the fish, apparently taking no notice of the ship.

Captain Cook, with several companions, went on shore, when most of the people ran away; but two, armed with lances, came down on the rocks to dispute the landing of the strangers, regardless of the presents which Captain Cook held out to them, flourishing their lances and shouting in discordant tones. Even when a shot was fired, though at first they retreated, one of them returned and threw a stone at the invaders. At last, another musket, loaded with small shot was fired at their legs, when, one of them throwing a spear, they both took to flight. The explorers, now landing, found some little children hidden in a hut; they were not disturbed, but some presents of beads, ribbons, and pieces of cloth were left in exchange, for a bundle of spears which was appropriated. It was at first supposed that these were poisoned, as a green substance was observed on their tips; but, on examining them, it was found to be seaweed, and that they must have been used for spearing fish. The next day, when Mr Banks, Dr Solander, and the others, landed, they found that their presents had not been removed. While the English were filling casks at a spring, and drawing the seine, when large numbers of fish were taken, the natives watched what was going forward without attempting to molest them.

Several excursions were made by the naturalists on shore, when they also kept at a distance. A few animals and numerous gaily coloured birds were seen, and vast quantities of plants collected, from which circumstance Captain Cook gave the place the name of Botany Bay, which for half a century it retained. On the 6th of May the Endeavour left Botany Bay, and steered northward. Shortly afterwards, as she was passing along the coast, a seaman named Jackson observed what he took to be the entrance to a harbour, which in consequence was called Port Jackson; but Cook did not attempt to enter, being doubtful at the time whether it would prove to be a harbour. The object was now to lay the ship ashore, to clean and repair her. As he sailed along he anxiously looked out for a suitable spot, landing occasionally to explore the country. He had got as far north as 16 degrees 4 minutes, when, one fine night, as the ship was rapidly running on, a grating sound was heard. She had struck upon a reef. The officers and crew hurried on deck. The well was sounded: she was making a great deal of water. The boats were hoisted out, and attempts made to heave her off, but she beat so violently on the rocks that the crew could scarcely keep their feet, and she could not be moved. Her sheathing-boards and false keel also floated up. As she had struck at high water, though she might not sink, there appeared every probability of her becoming a wreck. Cook did not despair. At once the guns, ballast, and other heavy articles were thrown overboard, and preparations made for heaving her off when the tide again rose. Happily a dead calm came on, and at daybreak land was seen about eight leagues off. All day long the crew laboured without moving her. The night tide was likely to be the highest. At length she was hove off into deep water. Now the difficulty was to keep her afloat, for the crew were wellnigh exhausted by their exertions. At length Mr Monkhouse suggested that he had seen a vessel saved by fothering a sail—that is, covering it thickly with oakum, and then dragging it under the ship’s bottom to the place where the leak existed, when the oakum, drawn in by the force of the water, would fill up the openings.

This was done, and succeeded so well that two pumps kept her afloat until the 17th, when a safe harbour was found, and she was at once hauled ashore. It was then discovered that a fragment of the rock had gone through her bottom, and remained sticking there. Had this fallen out, she must have foundered. Tents and a forge were at once set up on the shore, and the carpenter, blacksmith, and others to assist, were speedily busy repairing the damage the ship had received. The sick were also landed. Of these there were many, for notwithstanding all their care, that scourge of seamen, scurvy, had already made much progress.

Mr Banks and other scientific gentlemen made excursions into the country. They saw several animals, but the strangest of all was of about the size of a greyhound, mouse coloured, and very swift. It had a long tail, and leapt like a hare, while the print of its feet resembled those of a goat. It was some time before another of the same species was seen and shot, when it was discovered to be what has since become a well-known animal, called after the native name, a kangaroo. Some days elapsed before any natives were seen. At last a gang approached, when Captain Cook ordered his people to take no notice of them. This had the desired effect of allaying their fears, and though shy, they became tolerably friendly.

A few days afterwards a party ventured on board, and took a great fancy to some turtles which had been caught, though they seemed to regard nothing else with interest. They first took hold of one, and then attempted to carry it off; but, on being prevented, jumped into their canoes, and paddled away in a rage. On landing, they seized a brand from under the pitch-kettle, and with it set fire to the long grass. It blazed up so furiously that it was with the greatest difficulty that the tent in which Tupia was lying sick could be preserved, while the woodwork of the smith’s forge was destroyed; it also caught a sow and young pigs, one of which was scorched to death. On a subsequent occasion the natives played a similar trick. Providentially, the stores and powder had been taken on board, or the consequences would have been serious.

Thanks to the knowledge of the naturalist, many vegetables were found on shore which contributed greatly to restore the health of the scurvy-stricken patients. Although in many respects the ship could not have remained at a more satisfactory place, a view to the eastward, obtained from some high ground, caused serious apprehensions. As far as the eye could reach were rocks and shoals without number, while it was evident that there would be great danger in navigating among the winding channels between them. The master, who had been engaged in surveying the mouth of the harbour, brought an equally unsatisfactory report, and it seemed surprising that the ship on entering the bay could have escaped the numerous dangers in her way. As provisions were running short, it was necessary to put to sea as soon as possible; but heavy gales kept the ship in harbour until the 4th of August, when at length she made her way out of Endeavour Harbour. For many hours, with the most vigilant care, she was steered among the reefs, until night approaching, and it coming on to blow, it was necessary to bring up. The gale increased, and she began to drive. By striking her yards, and then her topmasts, she at length rode securely. Here she remained for four days, until Captain Cook resolved to try and find a passage inside the reefs, close to the shore. At last, by the long rolling swell which set in from the eastward, he was convinced that he was free of the reefs; but the movement caused the ship to leak, and serious apprehensions were entertained that she would be unable to accomplish the voyage. His object was to ascertain whether the coast of New Holland, along which he was sailing, was or was not united to that of New Guinea. By standing on he was afraid that, should a passage exist, he might overshoot it. The ship was therefore hove to. The next morning a reef was seen, over which the surf was breaking with terrific violence. The current rapidly carried the ship towards it, the wind fell to a dead calm, and it was impossible to anchor on account of the depth of the sea. The only two boats fit for the service were sent ahead to tow, and the sweeps were got out; but all their efforts seemed to be unavailing, and her destruction seemed inevitable, when a light air sprang up, and she was able to get to some distance. Twice the breeze dropping, she was carried back towards the roaring breakers, until an opening was seen in the reef, through which she safely passed.

Day after day, keeping the land close aboard, Captain Cook sailed northward, until his perseverance was rewarded by the discovery of Cape York, the northern extremity of Australia, and the southern side of Torres Straits, through which he passed.

Having landed, and taken possession of the whole eastern coast in the right of his Majesty King George the Third, he called it New South Wales. Having found his way through the intricate navigation of the straits, Cook sailed northward along the coast of New Guinea, and at last came to an anchor in three fathoms of water, though still three or four miles from the shore. He then, with Mr Banks, Dr Solander, and others, landed, well armed. They made their way round a wood, until they reached a group of cocoa-nut trees, at about a quarter of a mile from the beach, when suddenly three blacks rushed out of the wood, the foremost of whom threw something from his hand which burnt like gunpowder, while the others darted their lances.

Though some small shots were discharged at the savages, they still came on, throwing their darts; but some bullets fired put them to flight, and it was hoped none were injured. On looking round, they saw the men in charge of the boat making signs that more natives were approaching, and presently a hundred appeared, shouting, throwing their darts, and sending out clouds of smoke from long tubes. As they were watched from the ship, it appeared that they were using firearms, though the sound was wanting. Some muskets being discharged over their heads, the savages retreated leisurely.

Besides other discoveries, Captain Cook on this voyage ascertained the size of New Zealand, also that the coast of New Holland was fit to become the habitation of civilised man, and that that vast territory was separated from New Guinea. The condition of the Endeavour made it now necessary to carry her to some harbour where she might undergo a complete refit. The nearest place was Batavia, belonging to the Dutch. He was aware of its unhealthiness, but he had no choice, and hoped that his crew would escape. Passing Timor, he came off the island of Savu, not at that time marked in the charts, but which had lately been taken possession of by the Dutch, though its native Rajah still remained its nominal ruler.

From this fertile spot abundance of provisions were obtained at fair prices. Java Head was reached on the ist of October. Poor Tupia was very ill, and Mr Banks at once sent on shore to procure fresh provisions for him. The ship proceeded on to Batavia. Here Cook was received with all courtesy and kindness by the Dutch Governor, and every assistance afforded him to repair the Endeavour. She was in a worse state than had been supposed. Her frame was much shattered, her pumps were rotten, and the planking in some places was not half an inch thick.

Tupia at first seemed to revive as he witnessed the wonders of a civilised community, but he soon experienced a reaction. Young Tayeto was also seized with an inflammation of the lungs, and Mr Banks, Dr Solander, Mr Monkhouse, and others were taken seriously ill. Tents were set up on shore for the invalids, but before long the surgeon succumbed. A few days afterwards young Tayeto died, and Tupia, who loved him as a son, was so much affected that he quickly followed him to the grave.

Mr Banks and Dr Solander rapidly recovered on being removed to a more healthy spot, but seven persons were buried at Batavia, and others imbibed the seeds of disease, which in the end proved fatal. When the Endeavour sailed from Batavia on the 26th of December, 1770, she had forty sick on board, and many others in feeble condition; and before she reached the Cape of Good Hope three-and-twenty persons died, in addition to those who were buried at Batavia.

On anchoring in Table Bay the sick were sent on shore, where most of them recovered. At that time Cape Town consisted of about a thousand brick houses with thatched roofs, and the inhabitants described the country as sterile, so as not to tempt the English to take possession of it.

Shortly after leaving the Cape, the master and first lieutenant, Mr Hicks, died. The latter was succeeded by Mr Charles Clerke, who accompanied Captain Cook in all his subsequent voyages.

Calling off Saint Helena, Captain Cook found there the Portland man-of-war, commanded by Captain Elliot, with whom he deposited his logs and other valuable papers, for fear that the Endeavour should not reach home.

The Portland and her convoy of twelve Indiamen were soon out of sight. Though the sails and rigging of the Endeavour were rotten, and she leaked considerably, she ultimately reached the Downs on the 12th of June.


Chapter Twenty Six.

Captain Cook’s Second Voyage—A.D. 1772.

Supposed great southern land—Exploring expedition formed—Captain Cook appointed commander—Equipment of the Resolution and Adventure—Sail from Plymouth—Reported discovery by the French—Steer south—Land-like appearance of the ice—Intense cold—Separation of the ships—Icebergs—Sail from the Antarctic regions for New Zealand—Reach Dusky Bay—Health of the crew—Intercourse with the natives—Visit the ship—Garden planted—Live stock left—Sail for Queen Charlotte’s Sound—Fall in with the Adventure—Traffic with the natives—Voyage continued—Scurvy on board Captain Furneaux’s ship—Sail for Otaheite—Nearly on a reef—Natives visit the ship—Propensity to steal—Treatment—Interview with the King—Sail for Matavia Bay—Sail for Huaheine—Behaviour of the chief—A native is taken on board—Leave the Society Islands—Steer for Middleburg and Amsterdam—Reception—Description of the country—Object of the voyage continued—Quantities of ice—Illness of the commander—Easter Island—Ancient monuments—Sail for the Marquesas—Anchor at Nombre de Dios—The Indians come on board—A savage killed—Return to Otaheite—Native expedition against Eimeo—Voyage continued—Savage Island—The Tonga group—At Erromongo—Quarrel with the natives—Tamia—Native cultivation—A new island discovered—Reception by the natives—New Caledonia—Norfolk Island—News of the Adventure—Reach Christmas Sound—The natives—Sandwich Land—Vain search for Cape Circumcision—Steer for the Cape of Good Hope—News of an accident which befell the Adventure—Sail for England—Results of the voyage.

Before the return of Captain Cook to England it was supposed that New Guinea, New Holland, and New Zealand formed one great southern land, denominated Terra Australis Incognita. Though he had proved that these were islands, it was still supposed that there existed a great southern land, which had been seen by a French officer, Captain Bouvet, in 1739.

To determine whether such a land did exist, it was resolved to send out another expedition, the command of which was offered to Captain Cook. He gladly accepted it, and chose two vessels—the Resolution, of four hundred and sixty-two tons, on board of which he sailed, and the Adventure, of three hundred and thirty-six tons, of which Captain Tobias Furneaux was made commander. Two astronomers, Messrs Wales and Bayley; three naturalists, Mr Foster and his son, a Swede—Dr Sparrmann; and a landscape painter, accompanied the expedition.

An abundant supply of provisions of an anti-scorbutic nature was placed on board. Each ship also carried a vessel in frame of twenty tons, to serve as tenders. The Resolution had a complement of one hundred and twelve officers and men, and the Adventure of eighty-one. Fishing-nets, hooks, and articles of all sorts to barter with the savages were put on board; indeed, no exploring expedition had ever left England so well equipped.

After frequent delays the two ships left Plymouth on the 13th of July, 1772, and shaped a course for Madeira. Merely touching at Funchal, they took in a supply of water at the Cape de Verdes. The two ships then sailed for the Cape of Good Hope.

Here the Governor informed Captain Cook that a French ship had discovered land in the meridian of the Mauritius, in latitude 48 degrees south, and that a French expedition, under Captain Marion, was now exploring the South Pacific. On the 22nd of November Captain Cook left the Cape of Good Hope, and steered a course towards Cape Circumcision, the name given to the point of land which Captain Bouvet supposed to be a part of the southern continent.

As the ships got farther south, the weather became so cold that much of their live stock died. On the 10th of December an island of ice was seen, after which thick hazy weather came on. While the Resolution was leading, an iceberg was discerned from her deck. It was about fifty feet high, with perpendicular sides, against which the sea broke furiously. Captain Furneaux, mistaking it for land, hauled his wind. Other navigators probably have been deceived as he was. Day after day the ship sailed on among icebergs, exposed to storms of rain and sleet and constant storms, although it was the middle of summer.

Captain Cook now steered to the west, hoping to get round the ice and reach the highest position of Cape Circumcision; but he finally came to the conclusion that Captain Bouvet had mistaken some lofty icebergs surrounded by field ice for land.

The ships were thus engaged until the 8th of February, when, during thick weather, the Adventure was separated from the Resolution. For three days Captain Cook cruised in search of her, and was at last compelled to proceed. Here numerous whales were seen, and flocks of antarctic petrels. While two of the boats were engaged in collecting loose ice off an iceberg, to melt for water, it was seen to lean over until it completely turned bottom up, though it thus lost neither in height nor size. The boats providentially escaped. By the middle of March, the antarctic summer being over, Captain Cook shaped a course for New Zealand, where he intended to recruit his crew and refit the ship. On the 26th he entered Dusky Bay in the middle island, having sailed over nearly ten thousand miles without having once sighted land. His crew had been kept in excellent health by the anti-scorbutic provisions on which they were fed, and by the frequent airing of the ship by fires. A snug harbour having been found, the ship was warped into it, and places forthwith cleared in which the observatories, forge, and the tents were set up. By the suggestion of Captain Cook, wholesome beer was brewed from the leaves of a tree resembling the American black spruce; indeed, he at all times attended to the most minute points calculated to maintain the health of his people.

A few families of natives only were met with. One of these having taken up their quarters near the watering-place, soon became intimate. They looked with perfect indifference on the trinkets offered them, but evidently set a high value on hatchets and spike nails.

The head of the family and his daughter paid a visit to the ship. Before stepping on board, however, he presented a couple of talc hatchets to the captain and Mr Foster, and the girl gave one to Mr Hodges. He also waved a green branch, with which he struck the ship, and made a speech before coming on board.

On a shooting expedition another party of natives was met with, the chief of whom approached with a plant in his hand, one end of which he presented to the captain, while he himself held the other. After making a speech, he took off his cloak, which he placed on Cook’s shoulders. After this he and his companions attended the English to the boat, and assisted in launching her, and seemed much inclined to carry off anything they could lay hands on.

Captain Cook, according to his universal plan, here left five geese in a retired cove, hoping that by multiplying they might benefit the natives. He also had a garden dug, and sown with seeds of various sorts.

Leaving this harbour, the Resolution sailed for Queen Charlotte’s Sound, encountering on the way no less than six waterspouts of unusual size. A gun was got ready to fire, but they all passed by without touching her. On reaching their destination, the Adventure, to the satisfaction of all, was found to have arrived there first. At Queen Charlotte’s Sound a garden was also planted, and Captain Cook gave the natives some potatoes, explaining their use, and the mode of cultivating them. A boar and two sows, and a pair of goats, were likewise landed. The natives appeared to be friendly, and some came on board with their children, for whom they hoped to obtain presents, though at first it was supposed with the intention of selling them. To one of the boys, about ten years old, a white shirt had been given, and he went about showing it until he encountered an old goat, who knocked him over into some dirt. The boy was inconsolable until his shirt had been washed and dried. While a party of the natives were on board, a large canoe was seen coming into the harbour. Some of the natives hurried on shore to look after the women and children, but two who remained begged the captain to fight for them, and fire at the strangers.

The latter, however, came alongside without fear. Their first question was for Tupia. On hearing that he was dead, some of them expressed their sorrow. Among those he saw, Captain Cook did not recognise a single person he knew when there in 1770, and he concluded, therefore, that the entire population had changed since then.

The Resolution and Adventure once more proceeded on their voyage, on the 7th of June, 1773, it being Captain Cook’s intention to explore the unknown part of the Southern Ocean between New Zealand and Cape Horn. After they had been the greater part of the month at sea, Captain Furneaux sent word that the scurvy had broken out on board his ship, that the cook had died, and that twenty men were ill. It appeared that her people had neglected to eat vegetables while at Queen Charlotte’s Sound, and since they had been at sea, Captain Cook had from the first insisted on having wild celery, scurvy-grass, and other herbs boiled with the peas and wheat, both for officers and men. He consequently had only three men ill, and one alone of scurvy. Instead, therefore, of continuing the cruise to the southward, he determined to put into Otaheite. Several low islands, on which cocoa-nut trees grew, were seen on the way. Having reached the south-east end of Otaheite, the two ships being together, at daybreak they found themselves not half a league from a reef, towards which the send of the sea, the wind having fallen, was drifting them rapidly. To anchor was impossible. A passage was discovered through the reef, but a boat being sent ahead to sound, it was found there was not sufficient water for the ships to pass on. The horrors of shipwreck threatened the explorers. Closer and closer they drove to the reef. At last the anchors were let go. The Resolution was brought up in less than three fathoms, striking at every fall of the sea. The Adventure, however, remained afloat. Kedge anchors and hawsers were immediately carried out, which would have availed but little had not the tide turned, and a light breeze coming off shore, both vessels making sail, got safely to sea.

On anchoring close in shore in the Bay of Oaiti-piha, numbers of natives came off, bringing numerous fruits and vegetables, which they exchanged for nails and beads; but the petty chiefs were greatly addicted to pilfering and cheating in every possible way, and on one occasion the whole party being found stealing, they were turned out of the ship and two muskets fired over their heads to frighten them. They took to flight, leaving a little boy, who was at first greatly alarmed, but having been kindly treated and some beads given him, he was sent safely on shore. This at once restored the confidence of the natives.

On another occasion a native seized a musket from one of the sentinels and made off with it. He was seen, however, by one of the chiefs, and his prize restored. On the following day the chief brought a quantity of cocoa-nuts tied up in bundles, but on opening them it was found that they were empty. The chief did not seem disconcerted, but acknowledged, after opening two or three himself, that the inside had been extracted. He afterwards, to make amends, sent off a quantity of plantains and bananas.

After an interview with the King Waheatoua, whom Cook had formerly known under the name of Tearee, the ships sailed for Matavia Bay. Before they anchored, a large number of natives came off. Among them was the King Otoo. Next day Captain Cook and some of his officers set off to visit him. He was found seated on the ground under the shade of a tree, with a large crowd round him, all standing with bare heads and shoulders in mark of respect. Captain Cook having given the presents he had brought, King Otoo inquired for Tupia and for several officers who had been on board the Endeavour. Afterwards coming on board, when, entering the cabin, several of the chiefs who had been there before, uncovered their shoulders, although they showed no other mark of respect. He took an especial fancy to the bagpipes. In return for the civilities he had received, he entertained the voyagers with a dramatic performance, in which his sister, elegantly dressed in a robe of feathers, took part.

Leaving this place, the ships anchored in the harbour of Owharre, in the island of Huaheine. Abundance of provisions were exchanged, and the chief Oree, who had on Cook’s former voyage exchanged names with him, was still living, and now seemed greatly rejoiced to see him again. Friendly intercourse was maintained with the people. Notwithstanding this, Mr Sparrmann, one day while wandering in the woods, was robbed of his clothes and hanger. Oree, on hearing of it, shed tears, and by his personal exertions recovered most of the articles.

From this island Captain Furneaux received on board his ship a young man named Omai, who was anxious to accompany him; but he was not a chief, and was inferior in figure, complexion, and manners to most of them.

Ulietea was also visited. Here also a friendly intercourse was kept up with the natives. Captain Cook, who had before praised the inhabitants of these islands greatly, now discovered many of their horrible habits and customs; among others he found that human sacrifices were offered up at their Morais, the victims frequently being persons to whom the priests had taken a dislike, and who, unsuspicious of their intended fate, were knocked on the head.

After leaving the Society Islands, Cook steered west for Middleburg and Amsterdam, discovered by Tasman. At the first island the explorers met with an enthusiastic reception. The chief conducted the officers to his dwelling, which was built near the shore at the head of a fine lawn, under the shade of some shaddock-trees, in a most delightful situation. Here they were entertained and invited to join in a kava feast. Cook was the only person who ventured to taste the beverage.

Leaving this island, they steered for Amsterdam or Tonga Taboo. The natives welcomed them with white flags. When Cook landed, their chief Attago conducted him over part of the country; and so fair was its aspect, that he could fancy himself transported into the most fertile plains of Europe; not a spot of waste ground was to be seen. Fences were often formed of useful plants, and the road occupied as little space as possible. In other places the inhabitants resembled those of the Society Islands.

As it was now time to prosecute his researches in high southern latitudes, he sailed on the 7th of October, and having sighted Pilstart, he on the 21st descried the land of New Zealand, though, owing to contrary winds, he did not reach Queen Charlotte’s Sound until the 3rd of November, having in the meantime lost sight of the Adventure. He here remained three or four weeks, waiting for her appearance, and then sailed in the hopes of completing the circle round the pole in a high latitude.

This was a most dreary part of his voyage. Immense masses of ice were seen, and occasionally the antarctic petrels, grey albatrosses, and some other birds; but there were few other objects of interest to amuse the minds of the crew. Often the ship was in great peril from icebergs. At one time no less than ninety-seven were seen within a field of ice, besides a number outside, many of them very large, and looking like a range of mountains rising one above another until they were lost sight of in the clouds. The outer or northern edge of this field was composed of loose or broken ice, so closely packed together that it was impossible for the ship to enter it. Since therefore he could not proceed farther to the south, he determined to stand back in search of a more genial clime. Many of his crew were suffering, and he himself was seized with so dangerous an illness that his life was despaired of. Unable to leave his cabin, Mr Cooper, his first officer, took charge of the ship. When he began to recover, a favourite dog, belonging to Mr Forster, was killed to supply him with fresh meat and broth.

The first land made was Easter Island, which had been in vain looked for by Byron, Cartaret, and Bougainville. There was no anchoring-ground, and but a very small supply of fresh provisions or water. The inhabitants, numbering between six and seven hundred, had made less progress in the arts than any other tribes of Polynesia. The objects of chief interest in the island were gigantic statues, some from fifteen to twenty-seven feet in height; on the head of each was a cylindrical block of red-coloured stone, wrought perfectly round. The carving on the upper portion resembling a human head and breast—was rude, though the nose and chin were fairly delineated, while the ears were of a length out of all proportion. The natives paid the statues no respect, and it appeared unlikely that they could have been carved by the ancestors of the present inhabitants.

From Easter Island Cook steered northward, until he came in sight of the Marquesas, discovered by Mendana. Passing between Dominica and Santa Christina, he came to an anchor in the port called Nombre de Dios by the Spaniards. A number of canoes immediately came off, their occupants richly tattooed, bringing bread—fruit and fish, which they willingly exchanged for nails. In each canoe was a heap of stones, and every man had a sling tied round his hand. Next morning many more came off and began to barter, and the deck was soon crowded. One of the savages stole an iron stanchion, when, as a warning, Cook gave an order to the marines to fire over the canoe in which the plunderer was making off. Unfortunately a marine aiming at him, shot him dead.

They, however, returned after some time, and again began bartering; but some of the gentlemen incautiously introduced new articles of trade, which were eagerly sought for, especially red feathers. When these were not to be obtained, the savages refused to bring off more provisions. Cook had to sail away without them.

He now steered nearly south-west, until the most easterly of King George’s Islands was reached. Hence he returned to Otaheite, where he was warmly welcomed by the natives. Here provisions had become very plentiful. Numerous new habitations had been erected, and an immense number of canoes, destined for an expedition against Eimeo, were drawn up along the beach.

Some of the war canoes were from fifty to ninety feet long. In all there were three hundred and thirty vessels, carrying nine thousand seven hundred and sixty warriors and rowers, dressed in breast-plates and turbans or helmets, while other warriors were armed with clubs, spears, and stones. Having refitted the ship, Cook sailed for Huaheine, where he found his old friend Oree as kind as ever. They were received in the most affectionate manner by him and his family. The old chief wept when he heard that Captain Cook was not likely again to return, and inquired where he would be buried. When Cook replied “At Stepney,” a hundred voices instantly echoed “Stepney mariai no Toote!” Toote being the name by which the natives called Cook.

Here Oedidee, who had been so long on board, was landed, greatly to the grief of the young islander, who, as he looked up at the ship, burst into tears, and then sank down into the canoe which was conveying him ashore.

After leaving Olietea, the Resolution proceeded westward, sighting Howe Island, seen by Captain Wallis, and afterwards an island before unknown, to which the name of Palmerston was given. On the 20th of June she came in sight of an island eleven leagues in circuit. Keeping the ship well out to sea, Captain Cook in vain attempted to open a communication with the natives, who, regardless of the muskets pointed at them, rushed forward, shaking their spears. One man darted his weapon at Captain Cook, who, to defend himself, pulled his trigger, but his musket missed fire. Unwilling to shed blood, he and his companions retired to their boat. In consequence of the fierce behaviour of the natives, he named this Savage Island.

After leaving this place, the Resolution steered westward, or west-south-west, until a string of islands was seen ahead, which proved to be those of the Tonga group. A canoe came off. At first the inhabitants appeared to be friendly, but various thefts were committed. Mr Clark’s gun was snatched out of his hand, and another savage seized a fowling-piece belonging to the surgeon, who was out shooting. The marines were therefore landed, and took possession of two large double sailing canoes; but the chiefs restored the articles, and brought on board a man who had been slightly wounded by small shot, stretched on a board as if dead. They seemed to think the captain wanted him. On examination, he proved to be very slightly hurt, and his wounds were dressed.

After leaving the Friendly Islands, the Australis del Esperito Santo of Quiros was reached. Sailing round it, Cook proved it to be an island. Passing another, which the natives called Ambrym, he anchored the next day off another island, of which he discovered the name to be Mallicolo. The natives were hideous in appearance and very dark, while their language differed entirely from that of the other South Sea Islands. Having passed several more islands, he again anchored, on the 3rd of August, on the south-east side of Erromango. Here a large number of people assembled as the boat pulled for the shore. Cook landed with only a green branch in his hand, and offered a number of presents to the chief, which were accepted. Still the natives were armed with clubs, spears, bows and arrows, and kept advancing in a suspicious manner. On this the captain stepped back into the boat, when the islanders, rushing forward, attempted to drag her up the beach. Others snatched at the oars. In this predicament he was compelled to raise his gun, but the piece only flashed in the pan. The savages now began throwing stones, darts, and shooting their arrows, one of the crew being wounded in the chin. Captain Cook now ordered his men to fire. The first discharge threw the savages into confusion, but a second was hardly sufficient to drive them from the beach. They then retired behind the trees, from which they continued to shoot their arrows. The boat succeeded in getting off, and returning to the ship. Cook now ordered a gun to be fired, and a shot was pitched among the crowd. Happily no one was killed, but it prevented all further communication with the savages, who too probably did not forget the way they had been treated.

After leaving Erromango, Cook steered for another island, which was called Tanna, and on which a volcano was seen in full activity. The natives, coming off, proved to be daring thieves, some attempting to steal even the rings from the rudder. An effort was made to carry off the buoys, but a musket or two, fired over their heads, had the effect of driving them off. One old man, who said his name was Paowang, continued to bring off provisions, and barter with the English. After some time Cook, with a well-armed party, landed, but the natives, instead of being frightened, began to use such threatening gestures that it was necessary to fire upon them. At the same time the guns opened from the ship. At first the savages dispersed, but soon came back in a humble manner, and there appeared every probability that they would prove submissive.

After this the English were able to make excursions in various parts of the island, while old Paowang enabled them to obtain as much wood as was required, as also bread-fruit, plantains, and cocoa-nuts.

Black and savage as were the inhabitants, every hill was covered with plantations. The vegetation was luxuriant, and the valleys watered by sparkling streams. Having surveyed the whole of the group, Captain Cook left Tanna on the 20th of August, and stood for New Zealand. On her course to the north-west a fourth island was discovered, and, passing through a reef, the ship came to an anchor. The natives, in numerous canoes, came alongside, and were invited on board. Although naked, with the exception of the usual wrapper, they were intelligent, and examined with much interest the goats, hogs, ducks, dogs, and cats. Some were invited into the cabin, but would touch none of the provisions except some yams.

Afterwards Captain Cook landed, and all the chiefs made speeches. One of them, Teabooma, especially, showing a friendly disposition, was of great use in obtaining water, fuel, and provisions. Though hundreds of natives came on board, not a theft was committed. In some respects the country resembled New Holland, but the sides of the mountains and other places had an especially dreary aspect. The natives had made some advances out of a purely savage state. They lived in well-thatched circular huts, some of which had two fireplaces, and some even two stories, while their canoes were of large size.

Such was the first knowledge obtained of New Caledonia, and it was considered, with the exception of New Zealand, the largest island in the Pacific. To the south of it a small island was seen, to which the name of the Isle of Pines was given, on account of the number of tall trees growing on it.

Some of these were cut down for spars, and the Resolution then bore away for New Zealand.

On the 10th of October a small island was discovered, rising to a great height out of the ocean, and bearing numbers of spruce pine and cabbage-palms. It was uninhabited, and possibly no human being had ever before landed there. The name of Norfolk Island was given to it, and it was afterwards used by the British as a station for twice-convicted prisoners.

On the 18th of October the Resolution anchored in Ship Cove, near Mount Egmont, in New Zealand. The conduct of the natives was suspicious. They found that the Adventure had been there, and feared from what was said that some accident had happened to her; what it was could not be made out.

On the 10th of November Captain Cook again sailed, and on the 20th of December reached a harbour at the western entrance of the Straits of Magellan, to which the name of “Christmas Sound” was given. Here a number of natives made their appearance in nine canoes: a little, ugly, half-starved, beardless race. Their clothing consisted of two or three seal-skins, forming a cloak. Some had only one sealskin, and the women wore a sort of apron. On the 28th the Resolution again sailed, and rounded Cape Horn the next morning. She afterwards put into Success Bay, in the Straits of Le Maire, where a notice was left for Captain Furneaux, should he call there. Vast numbers of sea-lions, bears, geese, and ducks were obtained, the former for the sake of their blubber, from which oil was made. On the 3rd of January, 1775, the Resolution was again at sea. Ten days afterwards two islands were discovered—one being named “Willis’s Island,” from the man who first saw it, and the other “Bird Island,”—while beyond, land was seen extending for a considerable distance.

On approaching, they landed at three different places,—the British flag was displayed, and possession of the country taken in his Majesty’s name. It was a dreary region, bordered by perpendicular cliffs of considerable height, from which pieces were continually breaking off. Beyond, the country was equally savage and horrible, not even a shrub being seen large enough to make a toothpick.

At first it was supposed to be a continent, but proved, after they had sailed partly round it, to be an island, about seventy leagues in circuit. After passing other islets and rocks, land of considerable extent was discovered, to which the name of “Sandwich Land” or “Southern Thule” was given. It rose to a great height, covered everywhere with snow. While the Resolution was close in with the coast, a great westerly swell sent her nearer and nearer to it. No bottom was found, and a thick haze obscured the land. It appeared too probable that the ship would be dashed to pieces on one of the most horrible coasts in the world. When the fog cleared away, a point appeared, beyond which no land was visible.

After escaping this danger, Captain Cook looked in vain for the long-sought Cape Circumcision. Convinced, at last, that it did not exist, to the delight of all he steered for the Cape of Good Hope. On arriving there he found a letter from Captain Furneaux, giving an account of the massacre of a midshipman and a boat’s crew by the natives, who had rushed down on them while at dinner, and clubbed them all.

After being treated with great courtesy by the Dutch, Captain Cook sailed for England on the 27th of April, in company with the Dutton East Indiaman, and on the 30th of July, 1775, he anchored at Spithead, having been absent from home three years and eighteen days.

Besides the numerous important discoveries made by Cook on this voyage, he had shown that, by due attention, the health of a ship’s company can be preserved in all climates, and while undergoing extreme toil. His system was to make the crew keep their persons, hammocks, bedding, and clothes clean and dry; to air the ship once or twice every week with fires, or to smoke her with gunpowder mixed with vinegar and water. A fire in an iron pot was frequently lowered to the bottom of the well. The ship’s coppers were kept constantly cleaned. Fresh water was taken on board whenever practicable, and vegetables, including scurvy-grass, and greens of all descriptions, were, when possible, obtained. As a remedy against scurvy, sweet wort was found most valuable, two or three pints a day being given to a man on the slightest appearance of the disease. Preparations of potatoes, lemons, and oranges were served out, and a pound of sour-krout was supplied to each man twice a week, while sugar and wheaten flour were found useful, but oatmeal and fish oil were considered to promote scurvy.

The voyage, now completed, was justly considered without a parallel in the history of maritime enterprise. Never, indeed, had any expedition been conducted with greater skill and perseverance. Cook received the honours which were his due. He was raised to the rank of Post-Captain, and named a Captain in Greenwich Hospital, and in February of the following year he was unanimously elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.


Chapter Twenty Seven.

Captain Cook’s third voyage—A.D. 1776.

A third voyage planned—The Resolution and Discovery commissioned—Expedition sails—Omai taken on board—Touch at the Cape of Good Hope—Van Diemen’s Land—New Zealand—The Friendly or Tonga Islands reached—Acquaintance formed with Feenon—His treacherous designs—Cook’s determined conduct checks the natives—Visits Otaheite—Omai shows his true character—Astonishment of natives on seeing horses ridden—Omai landed at Huaheine with his property—His bad conduct and wretched fate—Desertions at Ulietea—Live stock landed—Bolabola and other islands visited—Unknown islands sighted—Cook lands—Natives receive him with deep respect—Assist the watering party—Name of Sandwich Islands given to the group—Ships proceed to coast of America—Natives come off at Nootka Sound—Anchor in Prince William’s Sound—The ships enter Behring’s Straits—Turned back by the ice—Anchor off Oonalaska—Kind behaviour of the Russian authorities—The expedition returns to the Sandwich Islands—Sail round them, and come to an anchor in Karakavoa Bay—Vast numbers of natives come off—Cook supposed to be their god Rono—Honours paid to him—Ceremonies at a temple—Ships put to sea—Compelled to return—Temper of the natives changed—Attempts to coerce them—Death of Captain Cook and several men—His character—Captain Clerke succeeds, and makes peace with the natives—Ships sail in search of a passage round America—Touch at Saint Peter and Saint Paul—Courtesy of the Russians—Ships again compelled to return by the ice—Death of Captain Clerke—Captain Gore takes command—Sails for Macaohigh price obtained for seal-skins—Commanders of French ships ordered to treat the Adventure and Resolution as neutrals—Touch at the Cape of Good Hope—Steer round Scotland, and reach the Nore 4th of October, 1780—Remarks on Captain Cook’s discoveries—Notice of his family.

It had long been the desire of scientific men to discover a passage round the north coast of America between the Atlantic and Pacific. In 1773, Captain Phipps, afterwards Lord Mulgrave, went to Baffin’s Bay, but had returned without making any important discovery. At a dinner at the house of Lord Sandwich, to which Sir Hugh Palliser, Mr Stevens, Secretary to the Admiralty, and Captain Cook had been invited, the importance of the design was under discussion, when Cook, although he might justly have enjoyed quiet and repose, volunteered to command any expedition which might be undertaken. His offer was accepted. He was at once appointed to the command of the Resolution, and Captain Clerke, who had been with him on each of his previous voyages, received orders to commission the Discovery, a vessel of three hundred tons, fitted out as the Adventure had been. The ships were ready early in July, 1776. Everything that could tend to preserve the health of the crews was put on board,—warm clothing, as well as numerous animals, garden seeds of all sorts, and iron tools to traffic with the natives, while many things, purely for the benefit of the people, were to be supplied. The chief object of the voyage was to find a passage from the Pacific into the Atlantic; but the Society Islands and other spots were to be visited on the way. The young savage Omai, who had been petted and made a lion of in London, but whose advancement in civilisation was entirely superficial, and who had imbibed no religious principles, was to be restored to his country, under the foolish notion that he would convey to the islanders of the Pacific an exalted idea of the “greatness and majesty of the British nation,” as a writer of the day expresses it.

A very brief sketch of this voyage can alone be given. The two ships sailed from Plymouth on the 12th of July, 1776, and reached the Cape of Good Hope on the 10th of November. Again sailing on the 3rd of December, they sighted Marion and the Crozet Islands, and coasted along Kerguelen’s Land, which was found to be an island, desolate and sterile in the extreme. On the 24th of January they anchored in Adventure Bay, on the coast of Van Diemen’s Land. A few natives appeared, whose only weapons were pointed sticks, and who were black and perfectly naked. Sailing on the 30th of January, the ships reached Queen Charlotte’s Sound in New Zealand on the 12th of the next month. The natives were somewhat shy, fearing that Cook had come to punish them for the murder of the boat’s crew belonging to the Adventure. Some of those who had not taken part in it urged him to do so; but, as he remarks, “the natives of one part were constantly requesting him to destroy their neighbours—indeed, the tribes were living in a state of warfare among each other.”

Leaving Queen Charlotte’s Sound, Mangeea was reached, a pleasing fertile island, and beyond it another called Wateea, a spot of great beauty, diversified by hills and plains. The inhabitants were in general remarkably handsome, and were of the same race as those of the Society Islands. Thence a course was steered for Hervey Island, seen on the previous voyage. Though then supposed not to be inhabited, several canoes came off, carrying men of a somewhat darker hue and a more fierce and warlike aspect than the natives of Mangeea, though probably of the same race.

On the passage to the Friendly Islands, the ships called off Palmerston Island, where scurvy-grass, palm-cabbages, and fodder for the animals and birds, and cocoa-nuts for the crew, were obtained.

Passing Savage Island on the 1st of May, they dropped anchor at Annamooka. Here Cook made the acquaintance of Feenon, who, though then only a tributary, afterwards became lord of the whole group. By his means an abundant supply of provisions of all sorts was obtained. Feenon and another chief, Omai, accompanied him to Hapai, belonging to the same archipelago. Here Cook accompanied them on shore, and a large concourse of people, numbering three thousand, assembled, whom the chief addressed, urging them to bring such provisions as were required.

They were entertained with various games, such as wrestling and pugilistic matches. Some warriors engaged in a succession of single combats, in which they fought with clubs. Cook, on landing, suspected from the behaviour of the chiefs that something more than ordinary was in agitation. In fact, friendly as they appeared, they had formed a plot, instigated by Feenon, to massacre their visitors and take possession of their ships, as they did some years afterwards of the vessel in which Mr Mariner sailed. Fortunately, disputes arose amongst the conspirators, and they either abandoned or put off their design. Feenon, notwithstanding his intended treachery, accompanied their other visitors on board ship, and dined with the captain. Afterwards he sent a present of two large hogs, some yams, and a considerable quantity of cloth. Notwithstanding this apparently friendly intercourse, the natives, who came on board in considerable numbers, stole whenever they had an opportunity. At length, to put a stop to this, Cook seized three canoes which were alongside, and then going ashore with a strong guard, and having found the King, his brother Feenon, and some other chiefs in a house, immediately placed a guard over them, and made them understand that until the things were returned they must remain under restraint. This had the desired effect, and most of the articles were brought back. Cook then invited the King and other chiefs to accompany him on board to dinner. The King set the example, although the others at first objected, and in a short time the remainder of the things were brought back.

Cook remained at the Tonga Islands for nearly three months. Having left with them several useful animals and various seeds, he sailed on the 17th of July for Otaheite. Here Omai found several relatives, who showed him little affection until he presented them with some coloured plumes and other treasures he had brought. Cook here induced his crew to take cocoa-nut liquor in exchange for part of their allowance of spirits, with beneficial results. Omai showed his true character by associating with the lower orders of the people; and had not Cook interfered, he would have given everything he possessed away to his worthless companions. Some horses had been brought out, on two of which the captains rode daily over the plains of Matavai, to the great astonishment of the natives, who on all occasions assembled to witness this, to them, extraordinary feat.

Leaving Otaheite, Cook the next day landed at Eimeo, where one of the goats he carried to stock their islands was stolen. It was not until several war canoes and six or eight huts had been burnt that the natives restored the missing animal.

On the 12th of October, he anchored at Huaheine, where it was arranged that Omai was to be left, though he himself wished to settle at Ulietea, where his father had possessed some land, which he hoped to be able to recover through the means of the English. He was very indignant on finding that the captain would not consent to do this, but was at last reconciled to the plan proposed for him. The grant of a piece of land being obtained from the chief, a house was built, a garden stocked, and the young savage was sent on shore with various firearms, toys, a portable organ, an electrical machine, fireworks, with other things, as well as a horse and a mare, a boar and sow, and a male and female kid. Being thus established, it was hoped that with these advantages he would be able to maintain himself, and instruct the islanders in some of the arts of civilisation. He exhibited the deepest grief when he was at length landed, and would gladly have remained with his friends.

How different was the conduct of Omai to that which was expected! Abandoning his European dress, he quickly sank into idleness, barbarously employing his firearms either to assist the chief in his wars or to shoot those of his countrymen who had offended him. In three years he died, despised even by the savages it was supposed that he would have improved.

At Otaheite, where Cook afterwards touched, three or four of his people having deserted, several members of the chief’s family were seized and kept as hostages until they should be delivered up. Oreo, the chief, fearing that the runaways might not be discovered, formed a plot to seize the captain and some of his principal officers; but, as they wisely took care not to put themselves in his power, this was prevented, and fortunately the deserters were discovered and brought on board.

Bolabola was the next island visited, for the purpose of recovering an anchor which had been lost by Bougainville at Otaheite, and brought here as a tribute to its warlike inhabitants; Cook’s object being to manufacture it into iron tools to trade with. It was easily obtained from the chief Opoony for some axes and other articles.

Cook here landed, as at other places, goats and hogs, in hopes that the archipelago would in a few years be stocked with all the valuable domestic animals of Europe. Sailing from Bolabola on the 8th of December, he steered northward, and on the 24th saw a low island, of barren appearance, to which the name of “Christmas Island” was given. It was uninhabited, though nearly twenty leagues in circumference. No fresh water could be found here, but three hundred green turtles were taken.

On the 18th of January, 1778, an island appeared north-east by east, and soon after another was seen bearing north, and the next day a third, in a west-north-west direction. From the second some men came off to the ships in a canoe. They were of a brown colour, but the features of many differed little from those of Europeans. As the vessels steered along the coast, several villages were seen, and the inhabitants brought off pigs and fine potatoes. From the looks of amazement with which they regarded the ships and everything on board, it was evident that they were unused to European visitors; at the same they exhibited remarkable intelligence. On rowing ashore with three armed boats and a party of marines, the instant Cook landed, the natives fell flat on their faces, until by expressive signs he prevailed upon them to rise. They had brought a number of small pigs, which they presented on plantain-leaves, one of the party making a long speech. The people willingly assisted the sailors in rolling the casks to and from the watering-place, and made no attempt to cheat or steal.

To this group, now first visited by civilised man, the name of the “Sandwich Islands” was given, in compliment to the First Lord of the Admiralty. On leaving these islands,—destined to be so fatal to the discoverer,—the ships steered for New Albion, which had been visited by Drake. After tacking on and off the shore for several days, they put into a harbour, which received the title of “Hope Bay.” The morning afterwards three canoes, shaped like Norway yawls, came off from a village, and a man, dressed in the skin of an animal, with a rattle in each hand, make a long speech. Others followed, and one of the party sang a pleasant air in a soft tone. When the voyagers moved to a safer anchorage, a large number of inhabitants made their appearance. They willingly supplied the ships with such provisions as they possessed, but would receive nothing but brass in return, and all brass articles to be found on board were bartered away. Nearly a month was passed in uninterrupted friendship among these savages. The inlet was called “Nootka Sound,” from the native name.

Again putting to sea on the 4th of May, Mount Saint Elias was seen. Nine days afterwards the ships came to an anchor in a bay, on which was bestowed the name of “Prince William’s Sound.” The most remarkable feature of some of the inhabitants on its shores was a slit through the lower lip, parallel with the mouth, through which were worn pieces of carved bone. Sometimes the natives would remove this bone, and thrust out their tongues from the opening, which had a most hideous effect.

After examining an inlet, which it was hoped would lead round the north coast of America, the vessels sailed south-west round the promontory of Alaska. At length the discoverers reached the entrance to Behring’s Straits, although not aware at the time of the fact. About the 9th, the most westerly point of America was reached, to which the name of Cape Prince of Wales was given. On the same evening the coast of Asia came in view, and on the following morning the ships anchored in a harbour of the Tschutski territories. Here the natives, though alarmed, made their visitors profound bows. A few days after this the ships encountered a dense field of ice, extending across their course as far as the eye could reach. To proceed farther was impossible, and the ships’ heads were therefore turned to the southward. Coasting the shores of Asia, Cook anchored off Oonalaska. Here the natives were most inoffensive. Their stature was low, their necks short, their faces swarthy and chubby; whilst they had black eyes and small beards. Their houses were large oblong pits, covered with a roof thatched with grass and earth.

A few days after the arrival of the ships, the Captains were surprised by a present of a salmon pie, baked in flour, and a note in Russian, which was delivered to them by two natives. John Ledyard, a corporal of marines, afterwards known as a traveller, volunteered to proceed with the messengers and discover who had sent the gift. In two days he returned with three Russian traders, and shortly afterwards Mr Ismyloff, the principal person in the island, arrived. Through him Cook transmitted to the Admiralty a letter enclosing a chart of his discoveries. Intending to make another attempt to find the long-sought-for passage, Cook returned to the Sandwich Islands. On the 26th of November he discovered Mowee, lying farther west than the islands before visited, and on the evening of the 30th a much larger island to windward, called Owhyhee or Hawaii. Several weeks were passed in sailing round this island in search of a harbour. At length the ships came to an anchor, on the morning of January 17th, 1779, in Karakavoa. Here a vast number of people were assembled to witness, to them, the so novel spectacle. Multitudes came off in canoes, crowding into the ships, many hundreds swimming round like shoals of fish, and the shores were thronged with eager spectators, who expressed their pleasure in shouts, songs, and various extravagant motions. It was supposed they fancied Captain Cook to be their god Rono, who after a long absence had returned to their island. At the time this he of course did not know, or he would not have received the worship paid to him. No sooner was the Resolution moored, than two chiefs came, accompanied by a priest named Koah, who approached the captain with much veneration, and threw over his shoulders a piece of red cloth, and then made an offering to him of a small pig, and landing, they conducted him to a Morai or temple, where he was presented in due form to their idols, arranged on a platform within it.

After various other ceremonies, the priest presented him with a large live pig and a piece of red cloth, and the men who brought it prostrated themselves before him. He now descended from the platform, and led the captain before a number of other images, each of which he addressed in a sneering tone, snapping his fingers at it until he came to the centre, when he threw himself before it and kissed it, requesting the captain to do the same, who throughout had suffered himself to be directed by the priest Koah. After this, a feast having been prepared, the two captains were fed by the priests.

After distributing some presents, the captains returned, being conducted to the boats by men bearing wands, the people falling down before them as they walked along the beach. It is sad to reflect that a man of judgment and intelligence should have submitted to this idolatrous worship. Captain Cook probably expected that by yielding to the natives, he should obtain greater facilities for trading and keeping up amicable relations with them. After this the King Terreeoboo, with his wife and child, came on board. He had previously paid the Resolution a visit, when the ships were off Mowee. The following day he came in state, he and his chiefs dressed in rich feathered cloaks, and armed with long spears and helmets. In the second canoe sat the chief priests, with idols of wicker-work of gigantic size, covered with feathers of different colours and pieces of red cloth. Their eyes were large pearl-oysters, and their mouths were marked with double rows of dogs’ fangs, giving them a hideous appearance.

When Cook returned the visit the King threw a superb cloak over his shoulders, and placed a crown of feathers on his head, spreading six other cloaks at his feet, of great beauty, while his attendants brought four hogs, sugar-canes, and cocoa-nuts. After this the ships sailed, but, meeting with very bad weather, were compelled to put back into Karakavoa. On their return it was observed by some of those on board that a change had taken place in the minds of some of the natives. Instead, however, of trying to win back the people by gentle means, force was resorted to directly any offence was committed. Some of the people having stolen several articles from the Discovery, were trying to escape, when she opened fire upon them. The articles were returned, but an officer on shore not knowing this, seized a canoe belonging to one of the chiefs, who, in a squabble, was afterwards knocked down. Captain Cook, also ignorant of what had taken place, followed the supposed thieves into the interior, although he returned unmolested. The next day the Discovery’s cutter was carried off, and Captain Cook, in order to recover it, resolved to seize the King. With this object he landed, carrying with him his double-barrelled gun, accompanied by Mr Phillips and nine marines. Mr King ordered the marines to keep their pieces loaded, and to be on their guard. He then, going to the huts of the priests, endeavoured to quiet their alarm. Captain Cook in the meantime reached the old King’s house, and persuaded him to come on board; but as they were embarking one of his wives came down and induced him to give up his intention. A vast number of armed men now began to collect, and Captain Cook, seeing that matters were growing serious, considered how he might best prevent bloodshed, and endeavoured to draw off his party.

Meantime the boats stationed in the bay had fired at some canoes, and a chief of high rank had been killed. The hostile natives soon heard of this. Mr Phillips, on seeing the state of affairs, had withdrawn his men to some rocks close to the water. The anger of the natives being excited, they now began to throw stones, and one of them threatened Captain Cook with his dagger. In defence he fired one of his barrels, loaded with small shot. He then discharged the other, and a man was killed. The marines had now begun to fire, and Captain Cook had turned round either to order them to cease or to summon the boat, when a savage struck him on the back with a large club, and he fell forward on his hands and knees, letting his fowling-piece drop. A chief next plunged his dagger into his back, and he fell into the water, the natives who crowded round preventing him from rising.

From that moment nothing more was seen of him. The natives rushing on, four of the marines were killed before they could reach the boats; another was saved by the gallantry of Lieutenant Phillips, who, though wounded himself, leapt overboard, and dragged the man who was struggling in the water into the pinnace.

Lieutenant King had remained near the observatory with a party of his men. Though the natives attacked him, he drove them off, and they at last willingly agreed to a truce. He afterwards tried to obtain the body of his captain, and in a few days some human flesh was brought off by a man, who said that this was all that remained, the head, bones, and hands being in possession of the King. With the exception of the head the greater portion of the remainder was subsequently brought on board, and they being placed in a coffin, were committed to the deep with the usual naval honours.

So angered were the crews of the two ships at the loss of the captain, that it was with the greatest difficulty the officers could restrain them from hurrying on shore and wreaking their vengeance on the heads of the natives.

Thus died Captain Cook in the fifty-first year of his age, surpassed by none as a seaman, and was probably equalled by few as a marine surveyor and draughtsman; while, if he was at times hasty, he was kind-hearted and humane, and possessed the important power of attaching both officers and men to his person. Captain Clerke, who succeeded to the command, made peace with the chiefs, many of whom came on board expressing their sorrow at what had happened, while the natives brought off provisions as usual. Indeed, as the ships sailed away they expressed every mark of affection and good-will.

Two other islands of the group, Woakoo and Atooi, were visited, when the natives behaved in the same friendly way as elsewhere. After this, on the 12th of March, the ships sailed for Behring’s Straits, in search of a passage into the Atlantic.

Captain Clerke, who had been suffering for some time from consumption, was evidently fast sinking, but he still persevered in his undertaking. On the 28th of April the harbour of Saint Peter and Saint Paul was reached. The Russian inhabitants, on finding that the explorers were English, treated them with the greatest possible kindness, and through Major Behin, the Governor of Bolcheretsk, Captain Clerke sent home an account of the proceedings of the expedition, with that of the death of Captain Cook. Both ships, after passing through Behring’s Straits, encountered an icy barrier, against which the Discovery was nearly lost.

Every effort having been made in vain, Captain Clerke resolved to return. Before the ships again anchored in the harbour of Saint Peter and Saint Paul he had breathed his last. He was there buried on some ground on which it was intended to raise a church. The command of the expedition now devolved on Captain Gore, who went on board the Resolution, while Lieutenant King took charge of the Discovery. That ship, on being examined, was found to have suffered seriously from the ice. It seemed surprising, indeed, from the injuries she had received, that she had kept afloat.

She was repaired as far as possible, some time being spent in these necessary operations, as also in exchanging civilities between the officers of the Russian garrison and the English.

The ships sailed on the 9th of October, and steered a course for Macao. While in Behring’s Straits sea-otter and other skins had been obtained; these realised altogether upwards of two thousand pounds. The report of the high prices obtained on the return home of the expedition, probably set on foot the fur trade with the west coast of North America, which afterwards became of such considerable importance. Here Captain Gore heard that war had broken out between England and France; but soon afterwards, being informed that the commanders of the French ships had been directed to treat the expedition under Captain Cook as belonging to a neutral power, he put to sea, resolved to preserve the strictest neutrality during the remainder of the voyage.

Touching at several places in the Indian seas, the ships at length reached Cape Town, where they were treated with the same kindness as on former visits. Sailing thence on the 9th of May, they made the coast of Ireland on the 12th of August. Strong southerly winds compelling them to run to the northward, they rounded Scotland, and at length, on the 4th of October, arrived at the Nore, after an absence of four years, two months, and twenty-two days.

It is remarkable that during this time the two ships only twice, for a short time, lost sight of each other.

Owing to the admirable arrangements for preserving health, during the whole time the Resolution had lost only five men by sickness, three of whom were ill when she left England, while the Discovery had not lost a man.

Although one of the objects of the expedition had failed, that of finding a way through Behring’s Straits round the north coast of America, during this and his previous voyages Cook had made far more discoveries than any previous navigator. He had surveyed the whole eastern coast of New Holland, and proved it to be an island, as also that of New Zealand. He had discovered New Caledonia, and surveyed the islands of the New Hebrides, and other islands in the Austral Ocean. He had made known the Marquesas and Tonga group, and completed the survey of the Society Islands. He had succeeded in finding Easter Island, had visited the groups of the low archipelago, and had discovered numerous separate islands,—Norfolk, Botany, Palmerston, Hervey, Savage, Mangaia, Wateeoo, Allakootaia, Turtle, Toobania, and Christmas, as also the magnificent group known as the Sandwich Islands. He had ascertained the strait between America and Asia to be eighteen leagues in width.

It was not until many years after that any navigator penetrated as far north as he had done. In the Antarctic Ocean he had brought to light Sandwich Land, settled the position of Kerguelen’s Land, as also of Isla Grande, on which he justly prided himself; and his survey of the southern shore of Tierra del Fuego was long unsurpassed, while he rendered the greatest service to the cause of humanity by the way he maintained the health of his crews. During all previous expeditions numbers of the men had perished. During his long and protracted voyage he lost none by scurvy, and very few from any other disease.

The nation, grateful to him, bestowed a pension of two hundred pounds a year on his wife, and each of his children had twenty-five pounds a year settled on them, though the latter did not live long to enjoy it. Three died in infancy. Another, a midshipman, was lost on board the Thunderer. The second, intended for the ministry, died at Oxford, in the seventeenth year of his age; and the eldest, who became a commander, was drowned while attempting to get on board his ship off Poole during a gale of wind. His widow survived until the year 1835, when, she died at the age of ninety-three.


Chapter Twenty Eight.

Parry’s three voyages in search of a North-West Passage—A.D. 1819.

Ancient voyagers in arctic seas—Parry’s voyage in command of the Alexander—Under Captain John Ross—Parry’s first expedition with the Hecla and Griper—The ice reached—Danger among icebergs—The vessels freed—Steer westward—A way cut through the ice—Enter Lancaster Sound—Sail up it till stopped by the ice—Reach longitude 110 degrees west—A passage cut through the ice into a harbour in Melville Island—Preparations for passing the winter—A paper established—Plays acted—An observatory and house built on shore—The former catches fire—Many of the men frost-bitten while extinguishing the flames—All animals quit the country—Scurvy appears—Mustard and cress grown—Employments of officers and men—Excursions on shore—Ice begins to break up—Get out of harbour—Attempt to sail westward defeated—Return—Parry’s second expedition with Fury and Hecla in 1821 to Hudson’s Bay—Dangers among icebergs and floes—Visited by Esquimaux—Fox’s Channel and Repulse Bay reached—Further explorations made—No opening found—More natives appear—Ships frozen in near Lyon Inlet—Plays acted—A school established—Natives come on board—Native village—Honesty and intelligence of natives—A clever woman—Iliglink and her son—The Esquimaux leave them—Ships again put to sea—In fearful danger—Fury and Hecla Strait reached—Attempt to pass through it—Go into winter quarters—Natives appear—Winter less pleasantly spent than the former—Great difficulty in escaping—Parry’s wish to remain overruled—Ships swept along by the current—Sail homewards—Reception at Lerwick—Parry’s third voyage in the Hecla and Fury, 1824—Accompanied by the William Harris transport—Call off Lievely—Reach Lancaster Sound—Are frozen up in Port Eowen—Masquerades—Good conduct of the men—Progress in the school—Expedition on shore—Ships get out of harbour—In fearful danger—The Fury wrecked and abandoned—The Hecla refitted, sails homeward, and safely reaches England—Remarks on Admiral Sir Edward Parry.

From the days of Edward the Sixth, and even before that period, attempts have been made to discover a passage eastward along the northern shores of Europe and Asia to India from the westward, and from the Atlantic into the Pacific, as well as to reach the north pole.

Among the gallant men who commanded these expeditions the names of Sir Hugh Willoughby, Richard Chancellor, Sir Martin Frobisher, Barentz, Henry Hudson, and Baffin stand out pre-eminently. Captain Cook, as we have seen, made attempts to penetrate from the Pacific into the Atlantic, and at the same time Captain Phipps, afterwards Lord Mulgrave, accompanied by Nelson, then a midshipman, was engaged in an attempt to reach the north pole along the coast of Spitzbergen. For some time after this the interest in arctic discovery died away, but was at length revived in the year 1818 by the reports of the state of the ice, which was said to have broken away from the coast of Greenland in places where it had been attached to the shore for centuries. In that year four ships were fitted out—two, the Isabella, commanded by Captain John Ross, and the Alexander by Lieutenant Parry, to explore the north-west passage, and the Dorothea, commanded by Captain Buchan, and the Trent, by Lieutenant John Franklin,—for the purpose of attempting to reach the north pole. Many of the officers who subsequently became well known as arctic explorers were employed in these expeditions; among others were Mr Beechy and Mr Hoppner, both sons of eminent artists, and themselves excellent draughtsmen.

Neither of the expeditions was successful. Captain Ross sailed up Davis’s Straits into Baffin’s Bay, passing the entrances to Smith’s and Lancaster Sounds, across both of which he was persuaded that a lofty range of mountains extended. These he called Crocker Mountains. The openings, he was convinced, were merely the mouths of deep inlets. Lieutenant Parry differed entirely from his commanding officer, and deep regret was expressed by many on board that an opening, by examining which important discoveries might have resulted, should have been abruptly quitted.

The reports brought home satisfied most scientific men that an opening existed through Lancaster Sound. On the following year, therefore, the Admiralty fitted out an expedition, which was placed under the command of Lieutenant Parry, who had Mr Beechy as his lieutenant.

As Parry takes the highest rank amongst arctic explorers, it is proposed to give a sketch of his three voyages to the polar regions in search of a north-west passage.

The expedition being determined on, two vessels, the Hecla, of three hundred and seventy-five tons, carrying fifty-eight men, and the Griper, a gun brig of one hundred and eighty tons, with thirty-six persons on board, were forthwith got ready for sea. Both vessels were strengthened as much as possible, and stored with provisions for two years, including an ample supply of anti-scorbutics, and everything which could be thought of to enable the crews to endure the extreme rigours of a polar winter. Captain Sabine accompanied Lieutenant Parry as astronomer, and Mr Beechy as lieutenant. Among the midshipmen were Joseph Nias and James Clark Ross, who became eminent arctic explorers. The Griper was commanded by Lieutenant Siddon, and his first lieutenant was Mr Hoppner.

The two vessels sailed from the Nore on the 11th of May, 1819, and having rounded the Orkneys, stood across the Atlantic. Having contrary winds, they made but slow progress. On the 18th of June they first fell in with icebergs, flying amid which were numberless petrels, kittiwakes, tarns, and other winged inhabitants of the northern regions. Some of these bergs, of which fifty were seen at a time, were of great size. The heavy southern swell dashed the loose ice with tremendous force against them, sometimes raising a cloud of white spray, which broke over their tops to the height of more than a hundred feet, accompanied by a loud noise, resembling distant thunder. As the Hecla was drifting on with a southerly current, she was nearly nipped by a detached floe, which drove her against a berg aground, one hundred and forty feet high, where the depth of water was one hundred and twenty fathoms, so that its whole height must have exceeded eight hundred feet.

Parry at first attempted to force his way north and west, amid the masses of ice, in the direction of Lancaster Sound; but as the vessels were sailing on, the floes suddenly closed round them, and on the 25th both were so completely beset that it was impossible to turn their heads in any direction. Here they were fixed, though in no danger, until the morning of the second day, when the violence of the sea loosening the ice, it was driven against the ships’ sides with such force that, had they not been strongly built, they would probably have been destroyed. At this time, from the crow’s nest, upwards of eighty-eight enormous icebergs were seen, besides many smaller ones. The vessels being at length freed, Lieutenant Parry came to the resolution of abandoning the attempt to reach Lancaster Sound by a direct course, and instead steered northward along the border of the great ice-field, in the hopes of finding open water farther to the north. He steered on that course until he reached latitude 73 degrees, when he resolved upon making a determined push to the westward.

A favourable breeze springing up, the ships stood on among the detached floes, through which they were warped by securing ice-anchors with hawsers to the more solid pieces ahead. Before they had made much progress, a thick fog came on, which prevented the open lanes ahead being seen. Still they continued to make way, sometimes dangerously beset by masses of ice; yet by persevering efforts, they first got into one lane, then into another, till, the fog clearing, they saw only one long floe separating them from the open sea. The ice-saws were therefore set to work, and with great labour cutting through the floe, they had the satisfaction of seeing the shore clear of ice extending out before them. They now steered for Lancaster Sound, and on the 30th of July they gained its entrance. As they sailed on, under a press of canvas, westward, the mast-heads were crowded by officers and men, eagerly looking out to ascertain if the supposed mountain barrier lay across their course.

The sound continued open, and it was calculated that the two shores were still thirteen leagues apart, without the slightest appearance of land to the westward.

Again and again a report was received from aloft that all was clear ahead, and the explorers began to flatter themselves that they had fairly entered the polar sea. Several headlands were passed, and wide openings to the north and south. With a strong breeze from the eastward, running on until midnight, they found themselves in latitude 83 degrees 12 minutes, nearly one hundred and fifty miles from the entrance of the sound, which was fully fifty miles in breadth. The Griper, which had fallen astern, joining the Hecla, they together reached latitude 86 degrees 30 minutes, when two other inlets were discovered, and named Burnet and Stratton; and then a bold headland, to which the name of Fellfoot was given. A lengthened swell rolling in from the north and west, gave them hopes that they had now really reached the wide expanse of the polar basin, and that nothing would stop their progress to Icy Cape, the western boundary of America.

While their hopes were at the highest land ahead was seen, but it proved only to be a small island. Very soon afterwards more land was seen, with a broad inlet, named Maxwell Bay. Still the sea stretched out uninterruptedly before them, but their hopes fell when, in a short time, they saw to the south a line of continuous ice.

Shortly afterwards an open passage appeared, through which it was hoped the ships would make their way westward. On proceeding on, however, the explorers discovered, to their sorrow, that this ice was joined to a compact and impenetrable body of floes, completely crossing the channel. They had therefore to haul their wind and stand away from it, for fear of being caught in the ice, along the edges of which a violent surf was beating.

As soon as the weather, which had been thick, became clear, an open sea, with a dark water sky, was seen to the south. In the hopes that this might lead to a passage, unencumbered with ice, the commander steered for it, and shortly reached the mouth of a large inlet, ten leagues broad, with no visible termination. The names of Clarence and Seppings were given to the two capes at its entrance.

Avoiding the ice on one side, the ships entered a broad open channel. The coast was dreary in the extreme, while the irregularity of the compass showed that they were approaching the magnetic pole, and increased the difficulties of navigation. They had run one hundred and twenty miles up this inlet, to which the name of Prince Regent was given, when the ice was found extending across it. Standing out of it, Parry steered across the channel, until he came off another broad inlet, leading north, which was called Wellington Inlet.

The great channel through which they were passing was called Barrow Straits, in compliment to the promoter of the expedition. The wind again becoming favourable, the ship sailed triumphantly along; three islands they successively passed being named Cornwallis, Bathurst, Byam Martin. The compass had now become perfectly useless, and they judged that they had passed the magnetic meridian at about 100 degrees west latitude, where it would have pointed due south instead of north. The cold also greatly increased, and thick fogs enveloped them. They had also to saw a passage through a thick floe.

Still forcing their way on, they discovered a large island, to which the name of Melville was given. Though the wind failed, by towing and warping, on the 4th of September they reached the meridian of 110 degrees west from Greenwich, in latitude 74 degrees 44 minutes 20 seconds, and became entitled to a reward of five thousand pounds, voted by Parliament to the first British ship’s company who should obtain that meridian. To the bluff headland where the observation was made the appropriate name of Bounty Cape was given.

Encouraged by their success, they continued their course, until it was crossed by an impenetrable barrier of ice. In vain for a fortnight they attempted to pierce it, until about the 20th the young ice began to form rapidly on the surface, and Parry was convinced that a single hour’s calm would be sufficient to freeze up the ships in the midst of the sea. Reluctantly, therefore, he was compelled to return, not without encountering great danger and difficulty. On the 24th he got off a harbour on the western side of Melville Island. A large floe, two miles wide, guarded its entrance. To get through this floe, it was necessary to form a channel with the ice-saws. To do this two parallel lines were first marked with boarding-pikes on the ice, at a distance from each other of somewhat more than the breadth of the Hecla. Having cut along these lines, large pieces were detached by cross-saws, and then again cut diagonally, in order to be floated out. Sometimes the boat’s masts and sails were placed on them to hasten their movements. In two days the channel was cut, and the ships carried in and anchored in five fathoms of water, about a cable’s length from the beach. At first the ice round them was every morning cleared away, but it was soon found that the task was useless, and the two ships became frozen up for the winter. They were immediately unrigged and housed over, snow walls built round them, and other plans adopted for keeping out the cold.

As they had ample provisions, preserved meat and concentrated soup were substituted for salt beef, and beer and wine were served out instead of spirits. They also had sour-krout, pickles, and vinegar. Every day the seamen were mustered and compelled to swallow a certain quantity of lime-juice in the presence of their officers, while their gums and shins were examined to detect the first appearance of scurvy. The stove for baking was placed in a central position, and by other arrangements a comfortable temperature was maintained in the cabin. At a distance from it, however, and in the bed-places, steam and even the breath soon turned into ice, which had to be carefully scraped away. To amuse the people, a newspaper was started, under the editorship of Captain Sabine, and a school was established, at which many of the men, who had never before handled a pen, learned to write well. Plays were acted, a fresh one being performed every fortnight, sometimes by the officers, and sometimes by the men. The theatre was on the quarter-deck, where, however, the cold was often as low as freezing-point, except close to the stove,—a position eagerly sought for.

Lieutenant Beechy became stage manager. The theatre received the name of the North Georgian, and was opened on the 5th of November, with “Miss in her Teens.” The ships’ companies were highly delighted, and Lieutenant Parry took a part himself, considering that an example of cheerfulness, by giving a direct countenance to everything that could contribute to it, was not the less essential part of his duty, under the peculiar circumstances in which they were placed.

It was by this means that Parry established a character for ready and happy expedients, accompanied by a sound judgment, which kept alive the active powers of the mind, and prevented it from falling into the worst of all conditions,—a state of morbid torpor. His plan was completely successful, and the crew, as well as the officers, were as happy as, under the circumstances, could possibly be expected.

One of the first works carried out, after the ships had been made snug for the winter, was the erection of an observatory, at a spot convenient for communication with the ships; and a house was also built on the beach, for the reception of the clock and other instruments. The walls of this were of double plank, with moss between, so that a high temperature could be kept up in it, without difficulty, by a single stove. To induce the men to take exercise, the band played, and they tramped round the deck to the music. While thus engaged, one day, what was their dismay to see the house containing the valuable instruments on fire! The crew, without stopping to put on their extra warm clothing, hurried to the shore, pulled off the roof with ropes, knocked down a part of the sides, and, by being thus able to throw in large quantities of snow, succeeded in extinguishing the flames. So bitter was the cold that, though thus actively employed, the noses and cheeks of all the men were white by frostbites. The medical officers were compelled to run from one to the other and rub them with snow, in order to restore animation; even thus it was found necessary to cut off several fingers of one poor fellow, and sixteen others were added to the sick list. Hunting excursions were organised, and reindeer, musk oxen, partridges, and ptarmigan were met with. Some of the former were killed. No bears had been seen, until one day Captain Sabine’s servant being at a distance from the ship, a huge white monster started up and pursued him. The man ran as fast as his legs could carry him, until he got on board, when the bear, coming close to the ship, was shot at and wounded, but notwithstanding made its escape. It was the only one seen during the long stay of the ships on that desolate shore. The animal tribes disappeared early in the winter. On the 15th of September a herd of deer was seen lying down, except a large stag. This, after the rest had risen, guarded the herd in their flight, frequently going round them, sometimes striking them with his horns to make them move faster.

On the same day the last covey of ptarmigan was met with. What no one would have expected to see in that frozen region—three specimens of a caterpillar were obtained one of which, as an arctic curiosity, was brought to England.

For some months the crew retained excellent health, but early in January the gunner showed symptoms which indicated scurvy. The immediate cause appeared to be a collection of damp which had formed round his bed-place. At once all the anti-scorbutics were put into requisition, such as lime-juice, pickles, spruce beer; a quantity of mustard and cress had also been raised from mould placed over the stove-pipe, which rapidly grew. So successful were these remedies that, in nine days, the patient could walk about. The only animals remaining were a pack of wolves, which nightly surrounded the ships, although they cleverly avoided being captured. A beautiful white fox, however, was caught and made a pet of, and became very much attached to the commander, in whose cabin it took up its quarters. Every day, indeed every hour, had its allotted duties. On Sundays divine service was invariably performed, and a sermon read on board both ships, the men attending with evident satisfaction. The officers, unless when there was wind, took walks on shore, but were not permitted to go beyond two miles from the ship. After the ordinary duties of examining the berths and bed-places, the crews had their suppers, and the officers went to their tea, and after this the men were allowed to amuse themselves with games of various kinds, as well as dancing and singing, until nine o’clock, when they had to turn in, and all lights were extinguished. The officers employed their evenings in reading and writing, with an occasional game of chess, or a tune on the flute or violin, until half-past ten.

For forty-eight days they were entirely deprived of a sight of the sun, the long-continued night being lighted up only partially by the moon and occasionally by the aurora borealis. Thus the months went by until the middle of May arrived, and the ptarmigan began to appear. A considerable number were shot, their flesh having a beneficial effect on the crew. Under the snow was found an abundance of sorrel, a most potent antidote against scurvy. Footsteps of deer were seen, the animals evidently moving northwards. As soon as the cold decreased, the commander made an excursion across Melville Island, on which the vegetable productions were dwarf willow, sorrel, moss, grass, and saxifrage.

Captain Sabine fell in with a ranunculus in full flower on the western side of the island, evidently the most genial. The crew had in the meantime been employed in cutting away the ice from round the ships.

Soon after the commander’s return, on the 15th of June, from his excursion, the ice in the offing began to move with a loud grinding noise, and by the middle of July the thermometer rose to 60 degrees, the highest point it reached in Melville Island. By the 24th everything was ready for sea, but still it seemed very probable that the two ships would be much longer detained, while it was known that in eight or nine weeks from that period the navigable season must come to a conclusion. Before the expiration of July the thermometer again fell, and the pools of water froze over in the night, but there were channels through which the boats could pass. On the ist of August, however, the outer mass of ice suddenly broke up and floated out. With eager haste the anchors were weighed, the sails spread, and the two ships, after being shut up for ten whole months and a part of September, sailed out of Winter Harbour, and stood round the shore of Melville Sound. They were still not free from danger, as the masses of ice were whirling about in all directions. To avoid them the ships stood close into the shore, but at length, off a point of land surrounded by hummocks of ice, some vast masses were seen driving down upon the Hecla. The Griper was in the same dangerous predicament, and there appeared every probability that she would be nipped and destroyed. Escaping these dangers, they pushed their way westward until they arrived at very nearly the most western point of the island, when all further progress was barred by the density of the ice.

The commander having consulted the officers of both ships, it was agreed that any further attempt to proceed in that direction would be useless. It was also arranged that they should run back along the edge of the ice, to look out for any opening which might lead them to the American continent. None, however, was found, and on the 31st of August they repassed Lancaster Sound.

They now, not without some risk of being frozen up after all, made their way to the southward, and on the 28th of October came in sight of Fair Island and the Orkneys.

The commander reached London on the 3rd of November, 1820, after an absence of eighteen months. Out of both ships’ companies only one man, who had left home in ill health, died; the rest returned in excellent health and strength.

Scarcely had Captain Parry returned than it was resolved to fit out another expedition without delay. For this purpose the Hecla was again commissioned, and as it was considered that vessels of the same size were best calculated for the work, the Fury, of three hundred and seventy-seven tons, was appointed to accompany her instead of the old Griper.

Several of the officers who had served in the former voyage were again employed, and Commander Lyon was appointed to the command of the Hecla, while Commander Parry took charge of the Fiery. Among the midshipmen were F.R.M. Crozier and James Clarke Ross, both of whom were arctic explorers of note, the former ultimately destined to perish in the realms of ice.

The two ships were accompanied by the Nautilus transport, filled with stores and provisions, to be transhipped on arriving at the ice.

Parry was directed to proceed towards or into Hudson’s Straits. He was then to penetrate to the westward until he should reach Repulse Bay, or some other part of the shores of Hudson’s Bay to the north of Wager River, or some portion of the coast which he should feel convinced to be a part of America. Failing this, he was to keep along the line of this coast to the northward, examining every bend or inlet which should appear likely to afford a practicable passage to the westward.

The three ships sailed from the Nore on the 8th of May, 1821, but it was not until the 14th of June that they came in sight of the first iceberg, or until the 2nd of July that they reached Resolution Island, the valleys of which were filled with snow, while a dense fog hung over the land, rendering the scene before them indescribably dreary and desolate. In a short time the ships were surrounded by no less than six hundred and fifty-four icebergs, one of which rose to two hundred and fifty-eight feet above the sea. Among them were large floes, which were turned round and round by the strong tides and currents rushing in from the ocean. At the same time, fearful as they are in appearance, they are less dangerous to approach than those aground, against which a ship is liable to be carried with the whole force of the tide.

Captain Lyon, on one occasion, having fixed an anchor to a mass of ice with two strong hawsers, both were carried away, and the anchor broken off as if it had been made of crockeryware. The ships were here separated to the distance of eleven or twelve miles, and became closely beset by the ice, where they remained for eight or nine days. During nineteen days only seventy miles were made. At length they reached, on the 21st, the Savage Islands. Next afternoon a loud shouting was heard, and shortly afterwards a large number of natives were seen paddling their canoes through the lanes of open water, or occasionally drawing them over the ice. These were chiefly kayaks, rowed by a single man. There were also five oomiaks or women’s boats, of considerable size, formed of a framework of wood and whalebone, covered with deer-skins, and having flat sides and bottom. One of these contained no less than twenty-one women, boys, and young children. They were of a wild tribe, and evidently more debased than those of the Greenland shore. They laughed, and shouted, and skipped, and then commenced traffic with the greatest eagerness, some of them stripping off the skins which formed their only covering, until they were almost in a state of nudity; the women, however, always retaining their breeches. They drove, as they fancied, a hard bargain; yet, being ignorant of the value of the skins, they raised shouts of triumph when they exchanged them for a nail, saw, or razor. Hideous as were the old women, some of the children looked almost pretty, although, being thrown carelessly into the bottom of the boat, they more resembled young wild animals than human beings. The men were especially addicted to practical jokes. One of them, getting behind a sailor, shouted lustily in his ear, then gave him a hearty box on the other. Captain Parry formed a very unfavourable opinion of the moral character of these natives, who seemed to have acquired, by an annual intercourse with our ships for nearly a hundred years, many of the vices of civilisation, without having imbibed any of the virtues or refinements which adorn it. Notwithstanding all obstructions, the expedition, early in August, came in view of Southampton Island, at the entrance of Fox’s Channel, and from thence forced its way to Repulse Bay, through which it was supposed that a passage westward existed; but, after it had been thoroughly explored, Captain Parry proved that the land round it was continuous. The appearance of the land was not altogether uninviting. It rose to seven or eight hundred feet, and there was the usual vegetation found in the arctic regions. Reindeer and hares were plentiful, as were ducks and other birds. In one spot were the remains of no less than sixty Esquimaux habitations, consisting of stones laid one over the other, in regular circles, eight or nine feet in diameter. There were besides about a hundred structures,—fireplaces, store-houses, and other rough enclosures, four or five feet high,—used to keep their skin canoes from being gnawed by the dogs.

Getting out of Repulse Bay, Captain Parry commenced a career of discovery along an unknown coast. An inlet was discovered, on which the name of Gore was bestowed. At the mouth of the opening the valleys were richly clad with grass and mosses. The birds were singing, the butterflies and other insects displaying the most gaudy tints; so that the seamen might have fancied themselves in some happier clime, had not the mighty piles of ice in the frozen strait told a different tale.

While the ships were at anchor, hunting parties were sent out, and the game laws of the preceding year were strictly enforced, by which every beast and bird was to be given up for the general good, the capturer only retaining the head and legs. The head, however, was sometimes greatly extended, so as to include several joints of the back-bone. At length the explorers found themselves among a complete labyrinth of islands, amidst which strong currents set in various directions, while fogs and drift ice made navigation perilous in the extreme. Successive masses assailed the Fury. At one time her anchor was dragged along with a grinding noise, two flukes being broken off. She was afterwards carried forward by a violent stream amid thick mist, while it was found impossible to steer her in any direction.

At length the ships emerged into the open sea, but a strong northerly gale compelled them to run before it, when, on the 6th of August, they found themselves close to the spot where they had been on the 3rd of September. Still Captain Parry persevered, examining every opening, in the hopes that each might prove a passage into the polar ocean.

Lyon and Hoppner Inlets were surveyed. When near the shore, a number of Esquimaux came off to obtain some iron tools. The behaviour of one of the fair sex created considerable surprise. She had sold one boot, but obstinately retained the other. At length the suspicions of the seamen being aroused, she was seized and the buskin pulled off, when it proved to be a receptacle of stolen treasure. Besides other articles, it contained a pewter plate and a couple of spoons.

The end of September was now approaching. The summer was far from genial, and now, at any moment, the icy hand of winter might grasp the ships. Pancake ice began to form on the surface of the ocean. As the ships rolled from side to side, the ice clung to them in vast masses, and the various pieces which were tossing in the sea around became cemented into one great field, which threatened every moment to bear down upon them and dash them to pieces.

As it was important, without delay, to secure the ships for the winter, a small island lying off the northern point of the entrance into Lyon Inlet was fixed on. The distance was about half a mile, but the soft state of the pancake ice rendered the task not a very laborious one, though often dangerous, as it bent like leather beneath the feet of the seamen as they were working. At length it was accomplished, and the two ships were frozen in for another winter.

As there was no time to be lost, arrangements were at once made for passing it comfortably. Both ships were more thoroughly heated than had been the case on the previous voyage. They were both more amply provisioned, and anti-scorbutics against scurvy had been more bountifully supplied.

To amuse them, the theatre was opened on the 9th of November. The play of “The Rivals” being chosen, the two captains appeared as Sir Anthony and Captain Absolute.

A school was also established, and it was interesting to observe the zeal with which the hardy tars applied themselves to their books.

Sixteen of the men who had before been unable to form a letter could by Christinas write very well. That day was passed with the usual festivities, the seamen being amply regaled with fresh beef, cranberry pies, and grog, when they drank, with three hearty cheers, the health of each officer in succession. The shortest day was scarcely observed; indeed, the sun did not entirely leave them.

A few hares were caught, with a purely white covering, which resembled swans’-down rather than hair, and about a hundred white foxes were snared in the nets. At first they were perfectly ungovernable, but in a short time the young ones threw off their timidity, and became tame.

The sky was frequently brilliantly lighted by the aurora borealis. The light had a tendency to form an irregular arch, which in calm weather was very distinct. When the air became agitated, showers of rays spread in every direction with the rapidity of lightning. Sometimes long streams of light were spread out with inconceivable swiftness. No rule could be traced in the movement of the light parcels which are called the “merry dancers.” The sun and moon were often surrounded with haloes and concentric circles of vapour, tinted with the brightest hues of the rainbow. Parhelia, or mock suns, frequently shone in different quarters of the firmament. Still the life the explorers were compelled to lead was becoming very monotonous, when, on the morning of the ist of February, a number of figures were seen in the distance, moving over the ice. The spy-glasses were turned towards them, and they were pronounced to be Esquimaux.

As it was important to establish friendly relations with these people, the two commanders, attended by a few men, proceeded towards them, walking in file behind each other, that they might cause no alarm. As the natives approached, they formed themselves into a line of twenty-one; then they advanced slowly, until, making a full stop, they saluted the English by the usual movement of beating their breasts. They were well clothed in rich deer-skins. On coming to the ships they immediately began to strip; and the females, finding that they could obtain knives, nails, and needles for their dresses, pulled them off, when it was discovered that they had others of a similar character beneath the outer ones.

A visit to their village, at their invitation, was paid; but at first no one could discover their habitations. They, however, led the way to a hill in the snow, through which they crept, on hands and knees, along a winding passage of considerable length, until they reached a little hall with a dome-shaped roof, the doors of which opened into three apartments, each occupied by a separate family. This curious structure was tenanted by sixty-four men, women, and children. It was formed entirely of slabs of snow, about two feet long and half a foot thick. On the outside a series of cupolas rose about seven feet above the ground, and were sixteen feet in diameter. A plate of ice in the roof served as a window.

When first seen the village appeared like a cluster of hillocks among the snow; but successive falls filled up the intervening spaces, and converted it into one smooth surface, so that the boys and dogs were seen sporting over the roof. In each room, suspended from the roof, a lamp was burning, with a long wick formed from a species of moss, the oil being the produce of the seal or walrus. This lamp served at once for light, heat, and cooking.

A few hours had been sufficient to put up the village. The natives were as desirous of pleasing as they were ready to be pleased, and a favourable impression was thus made at the first interview, which was not diminished during a constant intercourse of between three and four months. They were strictly honest, and frequently returned articles which had been dropped by accident.

During a visit to the Hecla, the fiddler having struck up a tune, these merry people danced with the seamen for an hour, and then returned in high glee to their huts. They were highly delighted with the tones of the organ, as with the songs of the seamen and music of every description. They were very ingenious in employing such materials as they had at their disposal. A sledge being required to carry a lad to some distance, one of them set to work, and in a short time cut out of ice a serviceable little sledge, hollowed like a bowl, and smoothly rounded at the bottom. The thong to which the dogs were secured was fixed to a groove cut round its upper edge. Among the women was one named Iliglink, the mother of a lad called Toolooak, who had frequently come on board. She was a superior person, of great natural talent. Her voice was soft; she had an excellent ear for music, and a great fondness for singing. It was somewhat difficult, indeed, when she once began, to stop her. She made beautiful models of canoes, sledges, and other articles; but she showed her superior intelligence by the readiness with which she communicated her knowledge of the geographical outline of the sea-coast of the country and of the islands. Several sheets of paper were placed before her, and she drew roughly, on a large scale, an outline of the land about Repulse Bay and Lyon Inlet, continuing it northerly to the present winter station of the ships. Sheet after sheet was tacked on until she had completely lost sight of Winter Island, at the other end of the table. She afterwards drew, on a smaller scale, with wonderful accuracy, a chart embracing a much wider extent of coast. With intense interest it was found that she drew the extreme northern boundary of America, or rather its north-east extremity, round which Captain Parry had received instructions to proceed, if possible.

The armourer’s forge especially attracted her attention, and she expressed great astonishment at seeing two pieces of iron welded together. She was rather spoiled, however, by the attention paid her, and seemed to claim as a right her privilege of coming on board whenever she pleased.

Early in April some of the tribe deserted their habitations, proceeding to the westward in search of food, and at the end of May the whole party announced that they were about to migrate to the northward. On receiving what they considered the most valuable presents from the commander, the women broke into such immoderate fits of laughter as to be almost hysterical, finishing by bursting into tears.

The men were thankful, but less noisy in expressing their satisfaction. As these good-humoured and very cheerful people took their departure, they greeted the voyagers with three cheers, in true English style.

While preparations were being made for sailing three deaths occurred, two on board the Fury, and one seaman of the Hecla.

On the 2nd of July the ships moved out of their winter quarters, but they did not put to sea until the 8th. They were almost immediately exposed to most terrific danger, being driven along the ice at a furious rate, frequently almost nipped by it. At one time the Hecla’s stern was lifted more than five feet out of the water, and her rudder unslung by a violent jerk. Had another floe backed the one which lifted her, the ship must inevitably have turned over or parted amidships. Providentially she righted, and drove several miles to the southward before her rudder could be again slung. The Fury was exposed to almost equal peril of destruction. By long and unremitting perseverance, and by taking advantage of every opening and breeze of wind, the ships moved to the northward as far as latitude 67 degrees 18 minutes, to the mouth of a fresh water river. The boats were lowered, and parties landed and proceeded up the banks of the river, where, at about two and a quarter miles from the entrance, they found a fine waterfall, the scenery being romantic and beautiful in the extreme. It was named Barrow, after the Secretary of the Admiralty. Its beauties were enhanced by the vegetation on its banks, the enlivening brilliancy of a cloudless sky, and the animation given to the scene by several reindeer, which were grazing beside the stream.

On the 14th of July the ships reached the island of Amitiske, which by Iliglink’s chart appeared near the strait which they had reason to believe would conduct them to the polar sea. Here they saw an enormous herd of walruses, lying piled up over each other on the loose drift ice. A boat’s crew from each ship was sent to attack them, but the animals—some with their cubs on their backs,—making a most determined resistance, kept their assailants at bay. One of them, rushing forward, tore the planks of a boat in several places, and very nearly sank her. Three only were killed.

Sailing on, a strait was seen stretching westward in long perspective; but the hopes of the explorers were soon disappointed, when the ice was discovered extending in one unbroken line across it, from shore to shore.

This passage was named Fury and Hecla Strait. Hoping ultimately, however, to force the ships through, Parry made an expedition along the surface of the strait, and from an elevation saw a wide passage opening out to the west, inducing him to believe that he saw before him the polar sea. Scarcely, however, had he returned when the ice began to break in rents and fissures, and, soon entirely disappearing, the vessels floated in open water. With a brisk breeze he stood on, but at the end of five days it was announced from the crow’s nest that ice in a continuous field occupied the whole breadth of the channel. On examining it, however, it was found to be rotten, and the captain, therefore, determined to try and force the ships through it. With all canvas set, they had proceeded three or four hundred yards, when they stuck, and, in spite of all their efforts, were unable to make the slightest advance during the remainder of the season. With the greatest difficulty they were at length extricated, and proceeded to the neighbouring harbour of Igloolik, into which, by the usual operation of sawing, they made their way. Here they prepared to spend another winter. The two ships were at some distance from each other, though not sufficiently so to prevent constant intercourse. They were prevented, however, from continuing their theatrical entertainments, but schools were carried on as industriously as before. A wall of snow, twelve feet high, was built round the Fury, at a distance of twenty yards from her, forming a large square, like that of a farmyard, by which not only was the snow-drift kept out, but a good walk, sheltered from every wind, was afforded. Before long the Esquimaux appeared, among whom were several of their old friends; but Iliglink did not arrive, nor was any reason given for her not coming. The winter was less pleasantly spent than the former, while some slight cases of scurvy appeared, arising from the want of fresh anti-scorbutic plants. At length, when the month of August arrived, the ships were as securely confined in the ice as in the middle of winter, except that a pool of water, about twice their own length and diameter, had opened round them. There was a distance of four or five miles between the ships and the sea, yet notwithstanding, Captain Parry determined to commence the laborious task of sawing his way through it.

By the 6th of August, about four hundred yards of ice were sawn through, leaving a broad canal, eleven hundred yards in length. By this and the disruption of the floe on the 8th of August, the Fury floated once more in open water, and was followed on the 12th by the Hecla.

Captain Parry had come to the resolution of sending the Hecla home, and by taking such stores and provisions as could be spared from her on board the Fury, with her alone to brave a third winter in the polar regions; but on desiring the medical officers to furnish him with their opinions as to the probable effect that a third winter passed in these regions would produce on the health of the ship’s company, they expressed it very strongly to the effect that it would be dangerous in the extreme. Captain Lyon fully agreed with this, and the ships, therefore, stood out eastward. The current rapidly hurried them along to the southward, their drift being twenty-one miles in twenty-four hours, though closely beset, without a single pool of water in sight the whole time. As they approached a headland, they were whirled round it at the rate of two or three knots an hour, and on passing Barrow River were drifted nine or ten miles off land by the current setting out of it.

On the 17th of September, a strong westerly breeze clearing them from the ice, enabled them to shape their course for Trinity Islands in a perfectly open sea, from whence they ran down Hudson’s Straits, without meeting with any obstruction. The favourable wind still continued, and on the 10th of October they anchored in Brassa Sound, off Lerwick, where they enjoyed their first sight of civilised man, after an absence of seven and twenty months.

They were received by the people of Lerwick in the warmest manner. The bells were set ringing, the town was illuminated, and people flocked in from all parts of the country, to express their joy at their unexpected return.

On the 18th Captain Parry arrived at the Admiralty, and the ships were paid off on the 16th of November.

The idea being entertained that the passage westward into the Pacific might be made through Prince Regent’s Inlet, Captain Parry was appointed to the command of another expedition for the purpose of ascertaining if this could be done. The Hecla was re-commissioned, he taking command of her, while Commander Hoppner was appointed to the Fury, with Horatio Thomas Austin and James Clark Ross as his lieutenants. The Hecla carried sixty-two and the Fury sixty persons.

The ships sailed from the Nore on the 19th of May, 1824, accompanied by the William Harris transport. Captain Parry received his instructions to make the best of his way to Davis Straits, to cross over to Lancaster Sound, and, proceeding through Barrow Straits, endeavour to make through Prince Regent’s Inlet a passage into the sea which bounds the American continent on its northern coast, and thence westward to the Pacific. At the Danish settlement of Lievely the ships received their stores from the William Harris, which returned home. On leaving the harbour, the Hecla struck on a sunken rock, but without receiving much damage. On the 17th of July the ice began to close round the ships, and from that time forward the crews were constantly employed in warping or sawing through the frozen mass. On several occasions the Hecla received awkward nips, and it was not until the 9th of September that they got into open water. On the 10th of September they entered Lancaster Sound, and found it free from ice; but on the 13th they had the mortification of perceiving the sea ahead covered with young ice, through which they made their way until they came to the entrance of Port Bowen, into which the ships were warped by the ist of October, and here took up their winter station. The usual preparations for passing that dreary season were made. Numerous whales were seen off the coast, which would have afforded a rich harvest to a whaler.

Parry’s first care was to find occupation and diversion for the seamen. As many of their former amusements were worn threadbare, he proposed a masquerade, in which officers and men alike took part. Admirably dressed characters of various descriptions made their appearance, and were supported with a degree of spirit and humour which would not have discredited a more refined assembly. It does especial credit to the disposition and good sense of the men that, although the officers entered fully into the spirit of these amusements, which took place once a month alternately on board each ship, no instance occurred of anything that could interfere with the regular discipline, or at all weaken the respect of the men towards their officers. Mr Hooper, purser of the Hecla, superintended the school, aided by other officers. The progress of the men was surprisingly great. He also attended to the cultivation of that religious feeling which so essentially improves the character of seamen, by furnishing the highest motives for increased attention to their other duties. The officers also found full employment in the various observations to which their attention was directed. An expedition was also made to the eastward, under Commander Hoppner. On his return, two other parties, under the respective commands of Lieutenants Sherer and Ross, travelled, the former to the southward, and the latter to the northward, along the coast of Prince Regent’s Inlet, for the purpose of surveying it accurately. The travelling along the shore was so good that they were enabled to extend their journeys far beyond the points intended. On returning, Lieutenant Ross brought the welcome intelligence that the sea was perfectly open at a distance of twenty-two miles northward of Port Bowen. On the 12th of July the ice began to break up, and by the 20th, owing to the sudden separation of the floe, the ships got free. They first crossed over to the western shore of Prince Regent’s Inlet, then proceeded southward, close in with the land, having alternately open water and floating ice, to which they had occasionally to make fast. Before long, however, the ice was observed to be in rapid motion towards the shore. The Hecla was immediately beset, in spite of every exertion, and, after breaking two of the largest ice-anchors, in endeavouring to heave in to the shore, she was compelled to drift with the ice. Both ships were in extreme danger. The cliffs next the sea, four or five hundred feet in perpendicular height, were constantly breaking down, and the ships lay so close in shore as to be almost within range of some of these falling masses. The following day the Hecla managed to get to a greater distance; but the Fury remained where she was, and on the 31st a hard gale brought the ice closer and closer, until it pressed with very considerable violence on both ships, though mostly on the Fury, which lay in a very exposed position. Shortly afterwards the Fury was forced on the ground, where she lay, but was got off again at high water. A broad channel appearing and a fresh breeze springing up, an attempt was made to reach the water; but the ice came bodily in upon the ships, which were instantly beset in such a manner as to be literally helpless and unmanageable.

Thus they were carried southward, when the Hecla, driving close in shore, struck the ground several times, and remained immovable. The Fury was seen driving past, narrowly escaping being forced on board her. She was driven about three hundred yards, powerfully pressed by the ice, until she became so severely nipped and strained as to leak a good deal, when she was again forced ashore. Both ships, however, got off at high water, but on the 2nd of August the Fury was again driven on the beach, and the Hecla narrowly escaped. Captain Parry went on board the former vessel, and found four pumps going, and Commander Hoppner and his men almost exhausted with the incessant labours of the last eight and forty hours. They were now looking out for a spot where the Fury might be hove down, when again the ice drove down upon them. Once more freed, however, the ships proceeded to a place where there were three bergs, at which it was determined to heave down the Fury. The formation of a basin was at once commenced, and completed by the 16th of August, and on the 18th all the Fury’s stores, provisions, and other articles, were landed, and she was hove down. Scarcely, however, had this been done when a gale of wind came on, which destroyed the bergs, and made it necessary to tow both the ships away from the land. The Fury was again reloaded, but on the 21st was once more driven on shore. It was now seen that any attempt to carry her to a place of safety, even should she be got off, would be hopeless and productive of extreme risk to the remaining ship, and that an absolute necessity existed for abandoning her. Her crew, with such stores as were required, were transferred to the Hecla, and every effort was made to carry the surviving ship into clear water.

Five and twenty days of the time when navigation was practicable had been lost. As soon, therefore, as the boats had been hoisted up and stowed, they sailed away to the north-eastward, with a light air off the land, in order to gain an offing before the ice should again set in shore. The Hecla was at length worked out of Prince Regent’s Inlet, and arrived safely at Melville Harbour, where the necessary repairs were effected for enabling her to cross the Atlantic.

Weighing anchor on the 1st of September, the Hecla entered Barrow Strait, where the sea was found perfectly open, and she was thus enabled to bear away to the eastward. In crossing Lancaster Sound more than the usual quantity of icebergs were seen. For ten miles she had only to make one tack, when she reached the margin of the ice, and got on its eastern side into the open sea. On the 10th of October the Orkney Islands were sighted, and on the 12th Captain Parry landed at Peterhead.

This last voyage to discover the north-west passage, though less successful than the former ones, equally exhibited the courage, perseverance, and hardihood which had before distinguished the officers and crews employed; while we cannot help contrasting the admirable discipline maintained with the sad want of it displayed in so many of the voyages described in the preceding pages.

In 1827 Captain Parry commanded an expedition, which was fitted out in the hopes of reaching the north pole by way of Spitzbergen, when, accompanied by Captain Ross, he performed a long and hazardous journey over the ice; but, after travelling six hundred miles, it was found that they had only made good, owing to the drift of the ice, one hundred and seventy miles.

As a reward for his laborious services, he received the honour of knighthood, and Admiral Sir Edward Parry will ever be remembered as one of the bravest, most sagacious, and enterprising officers who have done honour to the British Navy.

The voyages of Sir John Franklin will now occupy us in succession to the heroic Parry.


Chapter Twenty Nine.

Sir John Franklin’s expeditions.

Birth and youthful career of Franklin—His service at sea—Appointed to survey the Coppermine River—His expedition—His second expedition to the Arctic regions—Made Governor of Tasmania—His return—The last Franklin expedition.

Sir John Franklin, whose Arctic expeditions and their consequences will form the subject of this chapter, was born at Spilsby, in Lincolnshire, on the 16th of April, 1786. He was the youngest son of most respectable parents and intended for the Church, but as he preferred the sea service, his father yielded, and got him appointed a middy at fourteen years of age. Young Franklin soon saw some service. He was present at Copenhagen in 1801, and was appointed to the Investigator, which, under his cousin Captain Flinders, explored the Australian coast. The Investigator went to grief, and when the crew were transferred to the Porpoise she was wrecked, the ship’s company and officers living on a sandbank for fifty days. After being taken off, Franklin was carried to Canton, and when he eventually reached England he was appointed to the Bellerophon, and was present at the battle of Trafalgar, where he was signal midshipman, and behaved splendidly.

For several years he served in the Bedford, and was engaged and wounded at New Orleans. In 1818 he was put in command of the Trent to find an Arctic passage to India, and in this Captain Buchan, in the Dorothea, took command. But the latter vessel being damaged, the expedition returned to England, though Franklin wished to proceed alone.

After this, his reputation having been well established, not only as a thorough seaman but as a man of science, he was appointed to the expedition to cross the continent from Hudson’s Bay to the Coppermine, and explore the coast eastward.

We will now, as briefly as possible, give the interesting narrative of Franklin’s Arctic expeditions.

While Sir Edward Parry, whose expedition we have already detailed, was endeavouring to cross the Polar Sea westwards, Lieutenant John Franklin was commissioned by the Admiralty to ascertain the sources of the Coppermine River. At the same time Doctor Richardson and Messrs Hood and Back were also nominated, with two English sailors, to accompany him. This small party embarked on board the Hudson Bay Company’s vessel Prince of Wales on the 23rd of May, 1819, and after some perils they arrived off York Factory, on the Hudson Bay shore, in August of the same year.

On the 9th of September the party commenced their exploration, and reached Cumberland House on the 22nd of October. Franklin, notwithstanding the advanced period of the year, determined to push on, and after a delay he set out, accompanied only by Lieutenant Back, on the 18th of January, 1820. Doctor (afterwards Sir John) Richardson and Mr Hood were to bring up the baggage and more stores in the early spring. The enterprising pair then journeyed more than eight hundred miles in the terrible Arctic winter, and reached Fort Chepeywan on the 26th of March following.

Meanwhile Doctor Richardson and Mr Hood remained at Cumberland House engaged in congenial pursuits and studying the Cree Indians, with other natural history subjects. The notes they give concerning the manners and customs of the Indians are extremely interesting, but are by this time pretty well known. Their dexterity in hunting and hawking are particularly commended, and much useful information concerning the fauna of the district was collected by Doctor Richardson and his companion.

When spring began to appear Doctor Richardson and his friend, with the Indian hunters, set out to join Franklin, and the “misery”—there is no other name for it—which the party endured, not from cold but from the mosquitoes, must be read about in detail to be even partially appreciated. This is a fearful plague of the northern regions just as Nature is beginning to clothe herself anew in green, and the white mantle of winter has disappeared in those places where snow is not perpetual.

On the 18th of July, 1820, the whole party was assembled at Fort Chepeywan, and they set out together, so as to reach the mouth of the Coppermine in time to establish winter quarters for the next cold season. But tremendous difficulties beset them—lakes and rivers had to be crossed, portages had to be made, as rapids had to be avoided, and shallows had to be circumvented. Thus it was the middle of August again ere they reached a place whence further progress was impossible that season. The signs of approaching winter could not be disregarded: a house was constructed as a winter residence, and called “Fort Enterprise.”

Their objective point was still many, many miles away, and those miles they could not traverse with their boats and stores. So, after a hurried peep at the head of the river, they made ready to winter, and with that view laid in a stock of provisions. This consisted chiefly of pemmican, which is frozen or dried reindeer-flesh kneaded with the fat into a kind of paste. Fish was added to this, but as people came along—natives and their families, who “made for” shelter as quickly as possible—the stock was not enough. Ammunition gave out, many necessary stores had not come up, and at length Mr—afterwards Admiral Sir George—Back determined to return, and bring up the required stores.

After a lapse of five months this intrepid young officer returned to Franklin. In the meantime he had travelled one thousand miles in snow-shoes, had no covering at night except a blanket and a deer-skin, the thermometer at 40 degrees to 50 degrees below zero, and on occasions he was for two or three days without food! This was indeed intrepidity, but he knew his friends were waiting for him, and that without some such self-sacrifice they could not have remained in their winter quarters, where, during Mr Back’s absence, they suffered greatly from the climate.

The young voyager brought back with him two interpreters, whose names in English were “Stomach” and “Ear,” but who were called Augustus and Junius, in preference to the British equivalents of their baptismal names. During the winter all played games and wrote out their journals—a favourite occupation with all travellers in their forced idleness. They subsisted on reindeer meat without vegetables, and drank tea or chocolate. The Indians were very kind and friendly all the time. Many instances are related of their good-nature and simplicity.

The 14th of June had come before the travellers considered the icy river navigable. Some difficulties occurred with the hunters as to the procuring of provisions by the way, but when all had been arranged comfortably, a start was made, and the rocky river attempted.

The party arrived at the Copper hills, where the ore was searched for, and then the expedition continued its course, though the Indians would not go on after a while for fear of meeting the Esquimaux; and even the Canadian hunters wanted to go back. The sea was reached on the 18th of July, and the party paddled their own canoes towards the east. For more than five hundred miles they coasted, until, instead of finding themselves in the Arctic Ocean, they were only in an immense bay. So they turned back and went up Hood’s River, with the intention to go as far as possible by water, and then strike overland to Fort Enterprise again.

This was a hazardous attempt, but it was their only chance. They were soon stopped by a waterfall, and then the pilgrimage began. The large canoes were made into two smaller ones, for the crossing of rivers and lakes, and, with only provisions for two days, they started overland.

In three days they encountered quite a wintry climate, and from the 5th to 26th of September they had to march through snow and live on mosses, without any guide, or observation, to show the way, and many days they had no food at all. Frozen, and eventually almost in despair, the Canadians grew impatient. One canoe was disabled, the other lost, and, at length, when they all reached the Coppermine River, they had no means of crossing it.

In this emergency, Doctor Richardson volunteered to swim the hundred and thirty yards of icy water (38 degrees), and carry a line over. He made the attempt, and had almost succeeded when the cold overcame him, and he was dragged back nearly drowned. He was with much difficulty restored to animation. A kind of basket was then rigged up, and in it Saint Germain, an interpreter, paddled over, carrying the line. He managed to reach the opposite bank, and with no more than a wetting the rest all crossed in safety after him.

This was in the beginning of October, and winter was upon them. So Franklin sent on some of the men with Mr Back to find the Indians near Fort Enterprise, and the rest followed. But the lichens disagreed with two men, and though Doctor Richardson went back and endeavoured to cure them and bring them along, he was obliged to abandon them to die in their tracks. Things looked so serious that Richardson and Hood pluckily proposed to remain at the first convenient halting-place with the weaker brethren, and let Franklin push on to the fort, and send back help and food. This was agreed to. Franklin went on, but Hepburn, the English sailor, volunteered to remain with Richardson. This parting took place on the 7th of October, twenty-four miles from the fort. Of the eight men who left with Franklin, four were taken ill and returned to Doctor Richardson, but only one man, the Iroquois Michel, reached the tent in rear.

On the 11th Franklin, with four men, reached the fort, and found it completely empty and deserted—no food, no friends, nothing! After a while a note was found from Mr Back saying he had gone after the Indians, but he was unsuccessful in finding them. Others were sent afterwards, and so for eighteen days Franklin lived miserably on the skins, bones, and remains of the reindeer which had been eaten the previous winter!

On the 29th of October Richardson and Hepburn came in—walking skeletons. Where was poor Hood? Where were the others? A tragic tale had to be told by Doctor Richardson. Here is the account of what happened.

For two days the party left by Franklin had no food. Michel then brought a little game. Then another day and no food, and Mr Hood was very ill. Next day the Iroquois carried home some “wolf-meat,” but Richardson believes it was a part of the body of one of the wanderers who had been killed by the Iroquois. This man now became very ill-natured and got worse and worse in his conduct, refusing to supply his companions with food or to share what he had procured. One day after being remonstrated with while Doctor Richardson and Hepburn were absent from the tent, this wretch shot Hood in the back, and Michel was so evidently the murderer that afterwards, in self-defence, Richardson shot him unexpectedly as he was coming to the fort. Hepburn had noticed certain acts which left no doubt of Michel’s intention to murder his companions, and Richardson anticipated the murderer’s aim.

After this Richardson, emaciated and half dead, with Hepburn a perfect skeleton, found Franklin as bad as themselves. Utterly unable to find any food they gnawed skins and bones. They were on the point of death when on the 7th of November assistance came. Three Indians sent by Back appeared with food. They afforded material assistance, and finally conducted the remainder of the party to the next fort. The survivors reached York Factory in July, 1822, having been absent from it just three years.

Many Arctic expeditions were sent out after this for the north-west exploration. Commander Lyon, in the Hecla, has been already mentioned. We shall hear of the Blossom in connection with Sir John Franklin. The Victory, under Captain John Ross and Lieutenant Ross, Captain Back in the Terror and in boats, the Hudson Bay Company’s employés in 1836-39, and Doctor John Rae, 1846-47, all added their “notable voyages” to the record of Arctic expeditions, and were we to detail them there would be a sameness in the narratives, though the adventurous spirit breathed through them all. But later on we will mention Doctor Kane’s expedition.


We will at present confine ourselves to Sir John Franklin’s expeditions undertaken in 1825-27 and 1845-50, with the search made for him by various vessels.

Not contented with what had been done, and was being done, by Parry and others in the North, Franklin undertook to conduct a second expedition, which Captain Beachey was appointed to meet by going round Cape Horn, and through Behring’s Strait to the eastward, so as to unite with Franklin, who hoped to come overland. Four expeditions, including these, were fitted out; but we have already seen what Parry did. Captain Lyon’s attempt to survey the coast failed; so we will follow Franklin in his second venture.

The explorer was again accompanied by Doctor Richardson and Lieutenant Back; Mr Kendall and Mr Drummond also went as members of the “staff.” Their object was to descend the Mackenzie River to the sea. There it was determined the party should divide, one portion going eastward, the other westward to Behring’s Strait.

The whole expedition reached Fort Chepeywan once again in July, 1825, and pressed onto the Great Bear Lake; then, following the river which runs out of it to the Mackenzie River, they took up winter quarters; but, as there was still time to explore a little, Franklin descended the Mackenzie to the sea, and returned to the Fort (Franklin) before the severity of winter had overtaken him.

Winter passed over in the usual manner, and in June, 1826, it was judged that an advance might safely be made. On the 15th June all were ready. Two parties were formed. Franklin and Lieutenant Back, with fourteen men, were to go westward in the Reliance and Lion (boats); Doctor Richardson and Mr Kendall, with the Dolphin and Unicorn, were to proceed eastward. They all descended the Mackenzie together, and when they reached the mouth they separated as agreed on. Franklin’s party proceeded westward, and met with some opposition from the Esquimaux, who tried to steal the stores and other things.

Eventually the explorers got free, and sailed on in continually thick, foggy weather. It was the middle of August before the boats reached the half-way point between the Mackenzie and the Cape. After a careful consideration of the circumstances, and being ignorant of the vicinity—comparatively speaking—of Captain Beachey in the Blossom, which had been directed to unite with him, Franklin made up his mind to return, as the winter was already beginning to manifest its approach.

Beachey was at that time actually expecting Captain Franklin. Only one hundred and forty-six miles intervened between them, and the brave explorer afterwards declared that had he known of the Blossom being so near he would have risked the meeting. But he had no reason to think that Beachey had got nearer than Kotzebue Sound, whereas a party from the Blossom had even ventured round Icy Cape in the search for Franklin.

The result was that Franklin returned, encountering severe weather, and on the 21st of September again gained the shelter of Fort Franklin. Beachey, meanwhile, waited in Kotzebue Sound as long as he dared, and then retreated to Petropavlovok. The extent of Franklin’s survey had extended over three hundred and seventy-four miles of dreary coast without discovering a single harbour for vessels. He penetrated as far as latitude 70 degrees 24 minutes, and longitude 149 degrees 37 minutes West.

Doctor Richardson’s party made some very valuable observations in his survey of five hundred miles—a much more pleasant journey than Franklin’s. In the account of the expedition are many interesting details of Esquimaux life. Doctor Richardson and his companions reached winter quarters in safety on the Great Bear Lake. In 1827 Captain Beachey again made his way up to Kotzebue Sound, in the expectation of encountering Franklin, but, of course, did not meet him. These three parties traced the coast down to Return Reef westward, from the Mackenzie eastward to Cape Kensurstern, and circumnavigated the Great Bear Lake, this, “if continued eastward, would have solved the North-West Passage.”

Before considering the several Arctic expeditions which made attempts to discover the desired North-West Passage, we will speak of Sir John Franklin’s third and last expedition to the Icy Regions. In the year 1829, Captain Franklin had been created a Knight, and received the degree of D.C.L. at Oxford. In 1830 he commanded the Rainbow in the Mediterranean, which ship was known as “Franklin’s Paradise,” so well did he treat his crew. In the year 1836, he was appointed Governor of Van Dieman’s Land (Tasmania), and in that colony he remained until 1843, where he was, and is still, gratefully remembered. He returned to England in consequence, it is said, of some misunderstanding with the Colonial Office, and in 1845 he claimed the command of the new expedition.

The Last Voyage of Franklin.

In 1844 public attention was again directed to the discovery of the North-West Passage. The expedition under Sir James Ross, in the Erebus and Terror, to the South Polar regions had reopened the Arctic question. The vessels had been proved sound; they were available for a new advance. Sir John Franklin had returned from Tasmania, and when the Admiralty had decided to send out an expedition, he laid claim to the post of commander of it.

It was not until May, 1845, that the Erebus and Terror, fitted with auxiliary screws, were ready to go. A store-vessel accompanied them as far as Disco, on the Greenland coast, and there the two ships entered Baffin’s Bay. Along the coast and into the ice they go, meeting it as it is making its slow way to the south. At length the ships are completely surrounded, and anchored to the snowy floes which extend in all directions.

By the end of July they have managed to press on out of the track of all the whaling vessels, and make for Lancaster Sound, westward. The desolate coast of North Devon is skirted, and subsequently Beachey Island is reached. From hence they move northward again, and to Wellington Channel, only to be turned back again by the ice.

But the signs of coming winter made it absolutely necessary that some sheltered place should be found in which the long dreary months might be passed. Day after day the Erebus and Terror sought such a resting-place, and found none. Any advance was now out of the question; the “massing” ice prevented that, and threatened them daily. At length it was decided to run for shelter to Beachey Island, and in Erebus and Terror Bay the expedition was made as snug as possible for the winter. The daily record of the passed months tells us of a continual struggle with ice and snow; checks and renewed efforts; storm-tossed seas, and icebergs innumerable.

At Beachey Island the vessels remained after their exploration of nearly three hundred miles of new ground. Plans, no doubt, were made for the following year, while the cold death-like hand of winter came and grasped everything in its iron grip. The sun, of course, left the ships, and after climbing the hills to see the last of him, the crews went back in darkness to the vessels. How the crews amused themselves during the winter we can imagine, and we find plenty of testimony to the games, the acting, the reading, and study, in which time was passed. The great thing to be aimed at was occupation—action. Stagnation meant death.

Three men died during the winter, and when the sun reappeared, when the creeks in the ice warned the crews that the time of release was at hand, a good and anxious look-out was kept. At length the ice-floes moved away, and after a while the channel was cut out for the release of the Erebus and Terror. The open water was at length gained, the instructions were to go south-west from Cape Walker, and that was now the point aimed at. When the Cape had been gained, and quitted for Cape Herschel, the ships fell into the Melville Island ice-stream, and they struggled on till King William’s Land was sighted. But unfortunately by that time another winter had began to reform the ice. So there was nothing to do but find winter quarters, which were finally established northward of Cape Felix, in anything but a happy place, for the ice there is described as of a most fearful nature, and of terrible pressure.

Here there was a fearful prospect—nothing but ice in mountains, and in masses which tossed the ships—slowly indeed—and threatened to “nip” them in halves. But notwithstanding all the hardships, the men bore up, and prepared for the overland journey to Cape Herschel—a hundred miles only!—as soon as the spring should open. As soon as possible, a pioneer party, under Lieutenant Gore and Mr Des Voeux, of the Erebus, started off to see the channel or path by which they might reach America. When they rapidly returned to tell their comrades the good news they had gathered, they found Sir John Franklin dead!

Shortly afterwards, in a deep crevasse in the ice, the body was laid while the burial service was read over it by Captain Fitzjames. Franklin, “like another Moses, fell when his work was accomplished—with the long object of his life in view.”

The movement of such ice as was still around the vessels would not take place till very late. The ice will move, but winter may again shut the ships in before they have traversed one half of the ninety miles still remaining. Captains Fitzjames and Crozier consult accordingly.

The floe moves, and the imbedded ships go south with it, but there is no water. No sailing is possible. Drifting helpless with the ice, the Erebus and Terror are carried along, but unless open water be found, they will drift back again in the autumn, or at any rate remain imprisoned in it.

Autumn has arrived—the new ice is forming, the floe no longer moves at all. Thirty miles have been passed over by the floe; the explorers are so much nearer, but then the drift ceases. Sixty miles or less of ice intervene, and then the open sea will be reached. But the doom has gone forth. Winter closes again on the brave, the sick, and the suffering; cold, disease, and privation are fast decimating the available hands. The snow-cloud settles down upon the vessels, darkness shrouds them; and when the curtain again rises, and the sun shines out, we find twenty-one officers and men had been laid to their long, last rest in the Arctic solitudes. One hundred and four men still remain—hungry, frozen, patient, brave. Alas that all the bravery was no avail!

It is pitiful to dwell upon the remainder of the sad story of the expedition. We can picture the band now reduced to such extremity that they must all remain to die, or struggle on across the ice and snow to Cape Herschel. They must go. They pack the boats, and put them upon sleighs, and then wait for spring to set about their weary work.

April comes, and has nearly gone, when the command is given. The men look their last upon the Erebus and Terror, give them three cheers, and go away into the desolate waste—to die! Point Victory their object. They gained it, and then their helplessness came and stared them in the face. In a cairn on the point Fitzjames placed a brief record, and that is all. They have only food for a month more, and day by day the strong are growing weak and the weak are dying.

The increase in the number of the latter necessitated a division. The sick must remain till help comes, or go back to the ships. We can picture the fearful alternative. Many remained, and of that number two skeletons were afterwards found, and on board one of the ships the “bones of a large man with long teeth!” That is all!

The remainder pushed on to Cape Herschel, and left a record in a cairn. They were desperate and dying men, yet they endeavoured to reach the Great Fish River, but alas! alas! the skeleton found lying face downwards, left unburied as he fell, tells us as much of the fate of the whole party as if the record had been kept.

“The Polar clouds uplift
One moment, and no more.”

For a long time no one knew the fate of the Erebus and Terror, until Lady Franklin sent out McClintock in the Fox to lift the veil which hung over the last voyage of the intrepid John Franklin. But before giving the account of McClintock’s successful search we will enumerate the various attempts made by Government to ascertain the fate of Franklin. Our summary must be a very brief one.

Three years after Franklin had set out considerable uneasiness was felt in Great Britain concerning him. In 1848 two ships, the Herald and the Plover, were sent out by the Admiralty to afford assistance, but Sir John Richardson and Doctor Rae had anticipated the Government vessels, and gone via New York to the Mackenzie, which he had already twice visited with Franklin. Captain Sir James Ross also was searching by the Lancaster Sound, and he experienced many hardships; but in 1850 his vessels (the Enterprise and Investigator, under Collinson and McClure) were sent, and later on an international squadron was dispatched to Lancaster Sound under Captains Austin and Penny, Sir John Ross in the Felix, and Mr Grinnell’s two American ships under Lieutenant De Haven, as well as the Albert, sent out by Lady Franklin at her own cost, commanded by Commander Forsyth.

This mixture of royal and mercantile naval commands gave rise to some unfriendly feelings, but Captain Penny succeeded in finding many traces of Franklin’s crews, and the tombs of those who had died in 1846. Many most useful surveys and some geographical discoveries were made, but beyond the traces found by Ommaney and Penny nothing of the fate of the Franklin expedition was discovered.

In 1852 Sir E. Belcher sailed on the same errand. Lady Franklin also dispatched the Isabel. Doctor Rae in 1854, however, discovered, through the information afforded by the Esquimaux, that some white men had been seen in King William’s Land a few years previously, “dragging boats across the ice,” and “looking thin.” The Hudson’s Bay Company then sent Mr Anderson, in accordance with a request of the English Government, to explore the district; and on Montreal Island he found the remains of a boat, and obtained from the Esquimaux many relics of Franklin’s expedition, with articles which had belonged to the crews. This intelligence decided Lady Franklin to make another attempt to learn the actual fate of her brave husband.

Before Doctor Rae had returned with the intelligence he had gained concerning the Franklin Expedition, a very important Arctic Expedition had been undertaken by Doctor Elisha Kane. To this we must turn our attention in a new chapter, as he went out to the limits of the Arctic Zone in search of Sir J. Franklin, and accomplished a most adventurous journey.


Chapter Thirty.

Dr Kane’s voyage to the Polar Regions.

American exploration—The “open Polar Sea”—Dr Kane’s voyage in the Advance—Sledge-work—The Advance in winter quarters—Incidents of the winter—Abandonment of the ship—Terrible suffering—Drifting—Rescued.

The Americans had already sent out an expedition to search for Franklin, which was commanded by Lieutenant De Haven. These vessels were the Advance and Rescue, and the expedition, which we have referred to as the “Grinnell Expedition,” was accompanied by Doctor E.K. Kane as “surgeon, naturalist, and historian.” In the spring of 1853, when more search expeditions were being sent out, Mr Grinnell, Mr Peabody, and other gentlemen, dispatched Doctor Kane as leader of this important undertaking.

Doctor Kane had minutely studied the Arctic problem, and he entertained the idea that around the Pole is open water—a theory afterwards acted on by Doctor Hayes, and set forth in a pamphlet by Captain Bent, called “Gateways to the Pole,” which sustains the belief that the Gulf Stream, by its warm water, keeps the northern channel free from ice, and by following the Gulf Stream the Pole may be reached.

But this is a digression. Doctor Kane had accepted the conduct of the expedition, and at once embarked upon it. He went upon the supposition of the “open Polar Sea,” and sailed in the Advance from New York, on the 30th of May, 1853. He had determined to penetrate as far up “Smith’s Strait” as possible, and by it enter the Polar Sea. His party consisted of eighteen officers and men, including Doctor Hayes.

At Saint John’s, Newfoundland, they paused to embark some dogs for sleigh-hauling, and steered thence for Baffin’s Bay. Early in July the ship entered Frikernaes, in Greenland, where the people received the crew gladly. On the 16th the promontory of Swartchuk was passed; and, later, icebergs were met with in considerable numbers, under one of which they were nearly swamped, the warning fragments only giving the ship time to cast off her icy moorings. Melville Bay was however navigated, and by the 3rd of August the North Water, through which Kane wished to reach Smith’s Strait (or Sound), was opening to their view.

The “Red Snow,” or Crimson Cliffs mentioned by Sir John Ross, were safely passed, and then doubling Alexander Cape, Smith’s Sound was fairly entered. When Littlebow Island was at length reached, Doctor Kane determined to form a store depot there, and leave a boat, in view of future contingencies. Stones, and sand, and water were placed and poured upon the covered stores, blankets, etcetera. This cache was soon frozen solid, and thus preserved from the weather and the Polar bears. The boat was left near what proved to be an old Esquimaux camp.

When these far-seeing preparations had been made, Doctor Kane endeavoured to press on, but all attempts were defeated by the ice which pressed upon the vessel; so an advance along the coast was tried. A storm arose, and the bergs came dashing along before the wind. The brave Kane determined to utilise his threatening foes, and, making fast to one fine iceberg, the Advance was towed along, while the storm lasted, through the ice which the drifting berg cleared away merrily. Thus, after considerable peril from storm and ice, the vessel lay at rest in temporary shelter under another iceberg, which, fortunately, protected them from the hurricane.

They had come fully ten miles in the track of the convenient iceberg; and, when the storm abated—which it did on the 22nd—the crew took the Advance in tow, but made little progress along the ice-belt. Doctor Kane was too impatient to stay with the vessel, so, with a few followers, he hurried on in front to survey the coast in a boat, somewhat unpleasantly named the Forlorn Hope, which, however, they soon abandoned for a sleigh.

The journey in this conveyance was neither so easy nor so rapid as perhaps may be expected, but some progress was made, though eight miles a day does not come up to our European notions of sledge-travelling. Finding the ice more and more difficult the sleigh was in its turn quitted, and the party advanced on foot. In this manner, in not very cold weather, they proceeded rapidly. They passed Cape Thackeray, which they named, and reached Cape George Russell; whence they viewed the great Humboldt Glacier, Cape Jackson, and Cape Barrow, all illustrious titles in the archives of the world.

When Doctor Kane had made a search for a harbour, and found none so convenient as the place he had left the Advance, he made his way back again, satisfied that he had as good winter quarters as he could reasonably expect to find. But he, perhaps, overlooked the fact that had he discovered a convenient inlet in the ice fifty miles from the ship, how was the Advance to be brought into it over an ice-pack, where a boat or a sleigh could not travel? So, perhaps, all things considered, it was fortunate that he did not find a better shelter.

Doctor Kane and his men returned to the Advance, and had her warped in between two islands for the winter, which was then rapidly approaching. Soundings were taken in seven fathoms, and when all had been made snug, the vessel was secured, laid-up in harbour—a shelter which she was destined never to quit—at any rate, not as a “commissioned” ship.

Preparations were made for sleigh journeys. The dogs were trained, sleighs were constructed, while an observatory was also erected. Some of the party made excursions during the winter, and found their course barred by an immense glacier four hundred feet high. Varied means were resorted to to kill the usual monotony of the Arctic winter. A newspaper was started, “hare and hounds” was practised, and perhaps amateur plays were acted, beside the “Frozen Deep.” They did get up a fancy ball, and enjoyed it very much.

A fire on board ship varied these more interesting proceedings. It occurred while an experiment was being made to kill rats with carbonic acid gas. The chief immediate effects were to nearly suffocate Doctor Kane and three others, a considerable fire, and some discomfort. Then some dogs went mad in consequence of the depression induced by darkness and the intense cold. The explorers encountered many dangers in their excursions, also in falling into crevasses, etcetera. Some dogs died owing to want of sunlight.

Never had any explorers wintered in such high latitudes before, excepting perhaps in Spitzbergen. We cannot picture to ourselves the intense Egyptian darkness which prevails in such places as Kane and his companions wintered. The thermometer was more than 100 degrees below freezing point. This was in February, 1854, and the “madness” of the dogs, though not harmful to their masters, was evidently attributable to the terrible cold, which affected the air passages, and to the continued absence of light.

At length Doctor Kane went with a selected party to meet the sun. He set off to find the light for which all were perishing. The sun was sighted, and the news was quickly followed by the orb, which revived the half-frozen crew and the remaining dogs, of which only six were alive, the rest had died mad—“mentally” afflicted—not with “hydrophobia,” but with “brain” disease. As for the effect on the men, we may quote Doctor Kane, who says, “An Arctic night and an Arctic day age a man more harshly than a year anywhere else in all this weary world.”

Doctor Kane had made preparations for his sledge expedition to the north, and a small party was sent ahead on the 19th of March to establish a depot of stores. But by the 31st of the month three men returned, swollen, haggard, and scarcely able to articulate. Four men had been left frozen in the ice in a tent, perfectly disabled. Even the direction in which they lay was uncertain, but Kane and nine men started to the rescue. They nearly relinquished the search in sheer despair until some footprints were discovered which gave them the clue. They reached the tent after a continued search of twenty-one hours.

After a brief rest—some sleeping in the small tent by turns, while the rest walked about outside to keep themselves from freezing—they set out on their homeward journey, but quickly became aware of their rapidly failing energies. They were still nine miles from home, and some men wanted to lie down and sleep, another was frozen stiff, and another lay down in the snow. A halt was necessary.

The tent was pitched: no fire could be lighted, as no one could hold the materials for striking the flame. The worst patients were put inside the tent, and then Kane and Godfrey pushed on to the camp for food. They could only keep themselves awake by incessant talking all the way, and Doctor Kane states they were neither of them entirely in their right senses during this trying walk. They remember a bear which tore a “jumper” that one of the men had thrown off on the previous day; however, the animal did not mind the explorers at all. But Bruin had upset the tent, and it was with much difficulty Kane and his companion raised it. They then went to sleep, and Kane’s beard was frozen to the buffalo skin, so he had to be “cut out.” By the time they had made preparations, the remainder of the party arrived, and they all made for the brig.

The remainder of the journey was scarcely accomplished with life. Many ate snow, and their mouths swelled fearfully. Nearly all were exhausted. At length they became delirious, and only reached the Advance by instinct, for they were all staggering along blindly when Peterson and Whipple met them with some restoratives. This expedition cost two men amputation, and two others died.

During the short summer some expeditions were organised, as the Advance remained immovable. Some discoveries were made, but the expeditions ended in disaster. The Humboldt Glacier and Tennyson Monument—the latter a column of ice, like an obelisk four hundred and eighty feet high, on a pedestal—were visited. But nothing resulted from the excursions but blindness, privation, and suffering. An attempt was made to communicate with Sir E. Belcher on Beachey Island, but it failed, and another winter in the ice had to be faced. Some men preferred to leave the ship, but they returned after a while.

The winter passed drearily, amid privations which brought the men almost down to the lowest pitch of despair but employment fortunately kept them from the last depth, and preparations for a spring excursion cheered them up. The Esquimaux were friendly, and a treaty was entered into with them, which proved useful.

At last summer appeared. The 17th of May was fixed for the start; the Advance was to be abandoned. The day was Sunday. Prayers were read, and then Doctor Kane addressed his men, hopefully pointing out their duty, and encouraging them to proceed, unselfishly helping the sick and behaving like men. The flags were then hoisted and struck; then the Advance was abandoned, and the retreat commenced to Littleton Island first, and thence to Danish Settlements.

It was Tuesday, the 19th of June, when the party took a last leave of the Esquimaux and put to sea; that first night a boat was swamped. The Eric went down in the ice; the Faith and Hope remained. On the 22nd, Northumberland Island was reached in a blinding snowstorm; but fresh provisions were fortunately procured.

They then succeeded, by dragging the boats over the ice, with occasional rowing, in crossing the Murchison Channel, and encamped for the night on the land ice-floe. Thus they proceeded, amid tremendous difficulties, on scanty food—bread-dust and a lump of tallow about the size of a walnut—and tea when they could procure water. At length they found the loads heavier, and came to the sad conclusion that their energies were giving way. Nothing in view, “we were sorely disheartened,” says Doctor Kane.

No wonder! Utterly at the mercy of the ice, which at times broke up, and fell down, threatening to carry them to destruction with it, or bury them amid the hummocks. Hemmed in, and in imminent danger of death, they nevertheless clung to the ice until the rising tide should float them up and enable them to scale the icy cliffs into comparative shelter—“Weary Man’s Rest.”

There they remained till the snow had abated, and then they struggled on amid ice and “sludge” until checked by a glacier. They had doubled Cape Dudley Digges, and after a survey, decided to wait in the ice at “Providence Halt.” After a week’s rest they again continued their way, past the “Crimson Cliffs,” and into more cheerful regions. They were, however, nearly starving, but managed to secure a seal, which saved them for the time; their feet were badly swollen, and they had no desire to sleep. They were now drifting in the open bay (in the Atlantic “ice-drift”) in leaky boats, a position sufficiently perilous, even without the accompaniments of hunger and sleeplessness.

On the 1st of August, however, they had reached familiar waters. Two days later a cry was heard, ending in a “hullo.” Men were coming, in a small boat. “It is the Upernavik oil-boat,” said Petersen. He was right. From the men they learned the news of the Crimean War, and the discovery of the remains of Franklin’s party a thousand miles south of the places they had explored.

Next day they gained Upernavik in safety, after eighty-four days’ travelling; in the open air all the time. In Upernavik they remained until the 6th of September, and then embarked for the Shetland Isles. On the way they fell in with some American vessels which had been dispatched to search for them, and they were soon welcomed in New York.

From a scientific point of view Doctor Kane’s expedition had most important results in the discovery of a large channel to the north-west, and in many other discoveries and surveys of the American and Greenland coasts.


Chapter Thirty One.

The “Fox” Expedition.

Expeditions in search of Franklin—The Fox commissioned by Sir L. McClintock—The search by Hobson—Relics found—The fate of Sir John Franklin’s expedition—The North-West Passage discovered.

While Doctor Kane was away in 1853 the North-West Passage had been demonstrated by Captains McClure and Collinson, who it may be remembered went on in 1850 in the Investigator and Resolute to carry out the “Behring Strait Expedition.” In 1853 Lady Franklin sent out the Rattlesnake and Isabel to find McClure. Captain Inglefield also went out, as already stated, to aid Sir E. Belcher in Barrow Strait. It was on this voyage that Lieutenant Bellot was lost (August, 1853). Belcher found no traces of Franklin, but they found McClure and his ships’ company, who had been in the ice for three years. They had gone in by Behring’s Strait and returned by Baffin’s Bay, which established the fact of the so long doubted passage parallel with the American coast between these pieces of water. In 1854 the ships Assistance, Resolute, Pioneer, Intrepid, and the Investigator were all abandoned. The crews were taken on board the Talbot, Phoenix, and North Star, and reached England in 1854 without having found any true trace of Franklin, though it had been ascertained that he wintered upon Beachey Island in 1845-6.

The crews of the Erebus and Terror were given up. War was threatening in Europe, and the relics of Franklin were obscured in the smoke of the Crimean battles. Nevertheless, the idea that Sir John Franklin and his devoted followers were in the Arctic regions, and still alive, was entertained by a good many people. The Admiralty declined to inquire farther, but Lady Franklin again found means to equip and dispatch a fourth expedition. In 1857 the preparations were made. Captain McClintock, who had commanded former expeditions, undertook the post of leader. The Fox was purchased, and on the 1st of July, 1857, the search again was entered upon.

After an interesting voyage, the Fox arrived off Upernavik, and procured some dogs for the sleighs. On the 6th of August letters were sent home, and the yacht bore away for Baffin’s Bay. Ice in quantities was encountered; and the ship was then steered along the “pack,” till on the 12th of August the Fox was moored to an iceberg. On the 16th, the floes began to move off; but the vessel was soon beset by the floes again after a short progress; and on the 7th of September the Fox was quite hemmed in, and had to remain where she then was until the 17th of April, 1858. Then ensued the terrible silence and darkness of the winter, and the monotonous, weary cycle of the days, while drifting helplessly in the ice.

On the 26th of February daylight superseded the candles, and in March the ice showed symptoms of breaking up. The disruption at length came. The Fox was in imminent danger from the closing up of the ice, and the force with which the floes come together cannot be estimated by any who have not witnessed the scene. The dogs were alarmed, and many were lost. The Fox drifted and sailed on, was again beset, and in danger. At length the ice broke up, the vessel was put under steam, and before the wind; she pushed her way out, and on the 28th of April the Fox dropped anchor in Holsteinberg harbour, in Greenland, where the crews met with a warm and cheerful reception.

After many struggles and escapes Cape York was reached on the 26th of June, and then many places were visited, but no traces nor information concerning the lost expedition could be obtained. So, in August, the Fox sought Beachey Island, and erected a tombstone over the remains of those who lay there, close to Bellot’s monument. Many days were occupied in endeavouring to pass Bellot’s Strait, but again and again were carried back by tides and ice-drift. Some land expeditions were made and surveys taken, but at the end of September the strait was quitted, and a refuge sought within Kennedy Harbour.

Hobson, who had been exploring, had a very narrow escape of being carried away on the floating ice; but he got back safely to the ship. After this the ship’s company sat down in winter quarters until the 10th of February. Captain McClintock and Lieutenant Young then left the Fox on searching expeditions. McClintock came back on the 14th with intelligence concerning some white men who had been seen off the north-west coast of King William’s Land. Young returned early in March, and was off again on the 18th to Fury Beach. Afterwards three search parties were formed. Lieutenants Hobson and Young and Captain McClintock all started. The last resigned to the first-named the most likely field of discovery in King William’s Land. McClintock went towards the Fish River, and subsequently found the dead man we have already mentioned, lying face downwards in the snow, near Cape Herschel. He then came across a boat which Hobson had already found, and left in it a memorandum to the effect that he had discovered the records of the Erebus and Terror, and had returned to the Fox. Along the shore by Cape Victoria Hobson had searched and found the memorandum left in the cairn which told of the death of Franklin on the 11th of June, 1847, and that, after quitting the ships, the one hundred and six survivors, under Captain Crozier, would start for the Great Fish River. Many relics were found by Hobson, and near Cape Crozier he discovered a boat with two skeletons, with matches, spoons, and money, prayer-books, etcetera.

Further investigation proved that all had perished in the attempt to make the North-West Passage, an attempt which may be said to have succeeded, though the poor men themselves never lived to tell of their success. They came down Franklin Straits, and had found the Passage they sought. The searchers were satisfied, and the Fox returned home.

Captain McClintock had well accomplished his mission. He found that the lamented Franklin had reached within ninety miles of success, for just that distance intervened between him and the place reached by Messrs Simpson and Deane in 1838-9. Franklin’s men died “in accomplishing their last great earthly task, and but for the energy and devotion of the wife of their great leader, it would in all probability never have been known that they were indeed the first Discoverers of the North-West Passage.”


Chapter Thirty Two.

The German and Austrian Expeditions to the Arctic Regions.

The Germania and Hansa—They part company—The fate of the Hansa and her crew—The Germania expedition and its return—Voyage of Payer and Weyprecht in 1871—Austro-Hungary expedition—The Tegethoff—Discovery of Franz-Joseph Land—Sledge work—Incidents—The return—The Tegethoff abandoned—Home again.

The Germania and Hansa constituted the second German expedition to Arctic regions. The first had been undertaken in 1868 under Koldeway and Petermann, but when the Germania returned another expedition on a larger scale—the Hansa under Koldeway, and the sister vessel under Hegemann—proceeded with all the necessary equipment from Bremen on the 15th of June, 1869, and on the 5th of July crossed the Arctic circle, where similar ceremonies to those practised when the “line” is crossed, were performed. Jan Meyer’s Land was passed, and on the 10th of July the Hansa and Germania parted company in the fog, and met again no more. An error in signalling occasioned the separation.

The Hansa continued along shore and got in amid the ice. The winter set in, and the crew managed to exist as men usually do under such circumstances. They built a hut and killed bears, living with no very great discomfort till the middle of October, when the ice pressed on the ship and stove it in. The water gained when the ice retreated; the Hansa was doomed to destruction, and she sank, on the 21st, in latitude 70 degrees 52 minutes North 21 degrees West near the Liverpool coast amid the floating ice.

The crew escaped to the ice. They had already, Crusoe fashion, saved all they could from the ship. The field of ice in which they had encamped drifted away to the south. The floe was examined. It was about seven miles in circumference, about two miles in diameter, and about forty-five feet thick, five feet being above water. Christmas came, still they drifted. By the new year the ice gave symptoms of breaking up, the wind blew, and the danger was imminent. Though the floe had been considerable no mishap occurred to them. The boats were fortunately in good condition, but day after day the ice kept threatening, until at last the floe became so small that living on it any longer was out of the question. February, March, and April had passed thus, and on the 6th of May the latitude of Bergen had been reached. The ice raft was soon abandoned, the boats launched, but the ice again stopped them. On the 6th of June, after various adventures, the voyage was resumed, and the boats’ heads put for Freiderichsthal on the south-west coast of Greenland, near Cape Farewell, which was gained in June, 1870. Schleswig was reached in safety in September via Copenhagen, where they were landed by the Constance.

The Germania meantime had continued her voyage, and endeavoured, though without success, to reach the east coast of Greenland. She wintered in Sabine Bay. The ordinary incidents of the winter occurred, and we need not mention the health-drinking and Christmas festivities in the Arctic Regions. The explorers quite disagreed with Kane’s “open sea” theory after making some sledge expeditions to verify the suggestion. Ice was everywhere, as far as the eyes could see. Many surveys were undertaken, and much useful scientific information was obtained, but no new discoveries of any importance were made by either the Hansa or the more fortunate Germania.

The homeward voyage passed without incidents, and the surviving ship returned to Bremen on the 11th of September, when the stupendous results of their countrymen’s arms in France were revealed to them in all their meaning.

Several expeditions other than the above were dispatched in 1869, but they did little. In 1870 there was no great voyage accomplished, but in 1871 the Arctic Regions were again looked at as the Ultima Thule of voyagers, and in June of that year Lieutenants Payer and Weyprecht sailed away to Novaya Zemlya, where they found an open sea with little ice. In October they returned to Tromsoe, after sighting the island they sought.

The North-East passage now became the idea. That it could be accomplished via Siberia, Lieutenant Payer believed, and the Austro-Hungarian Arctic expedition was soon an accomplished fact. Doctor Petermann said the work accomplished by the little expedition were very valuable, and it was decided to supplement it. The steamship Tegethoff was fitted out: the equipment was most complete, many well-known Arctic voyagers lending their assistance. Captain Carlsen was pilot, Captain Weyprecht commanded, and Lieutenant Payer was the land explorer.

The Tegethoff left Bremen on the 13th of June, 1872, and came in sight of Novaya Zemlya on the 29th of July. In August the Jabjörn yacht joined company; but little in the way of exploration was undertaken until August, when the yacht, with Count Wilczek, left the Tegethoff to her own devices. The gallant vessel pushed on, and was beset by the ice very soon on the north coast of Novaya Zemlya, where in many and great dangers the winter passed. On the 29th of October the sun disappeared for 109 days! The winter over, the months of May, June, and July were spent in trying to saw the Tegethoff out of the ice; but all the efforts made were futile. The north wind in July sent the ice southward, but in a month the return drift set in with southerly winds, and no hope of the breaking up of the ice was entertained. In August, 1873, the crew sighted land; it was approached, and named after Count Wilczek, the originator of the expedition.

The gloom of Arctic night prevented any more exploration. The vessel continued to drift northward, and at length the floe was driven on an island, where it remained with the vessel, three miles from the shore. The second winter now began. In January the cold was very severe: the oil froze, the lamps went out, and the brandy even was congealed into a solid mass. Bears paid the voyagers frequent visits, and many were shot; but all males, no female bears appeared.

In March, Lieutenant Payer and his party went on a sledge-journey in a north-west direction to Hall Island. The whole region seemed “devoid of life”—ice and great glaciers everywhere. The cold was intense. This party returned, and another journey was undertaken to the north with the sleighs, equipped as directed by Sir L. McClintock. This expedition resulted in the discovery of Franz-Joseph Land, as it was named after the Emperor. It is like Eastern Greenland—a “land of desolation,” with high mountains and vast glaciers, of a greenish-blue colour. The vegetation is extremely poor, and the country is uninhabited.

Further on they reached another territory, which they named Crown Prince Rudolf Land, the habitation of millions of sea-birds, and thousands of bears, seals, and foxes. A great glacier was crossed, but as it was quitted an immense fissure engulfed the sleigh with the stores, while the others only narrowly escaped by cutting the traces. Lieutenant Payer hurried back for assistance, and at length dogs, men, and sleigh were pulled up, safe and nearly sound. Rounding Auk Cape, the explorers reached open water by the shore.

Pressing on to latitude 81 degrees 57 minutes north, the party reached their farthest point. From an elevated position the explorer made his observations, which led him to the conclusion that there is no open polar sea, yet that the ocean is not always covered with ice. There is a medium which a favourable year would improve, and render navigation, near the shore, possible. Having deposited a record of the visit, the party returned over the hundred and sixty miles they had come.

One more little journey was made, and then the thoughts of the officers and men turned to home. On the 20th of May the ship’s colours were nailed to the mast, and the retreat was commenced. Provisions were packed in boats, the boats placed on sleighs, but little progress was made at first as all hands were required for each sleigh in turn. Two months were occupied in making a distance of eight miles—and a third winter in the ice seemed probable.

At last, in July, they made a mile a day. In August they reached the edge of the pack, when the sleighs were abandoned, and the dogs killed, as no room could be spared. The boats then crossed open water to Novaya Zemlya, and at the end of three months from leaving the ship sighted a Russian vessel. The Nickolai brought them to Vardoe in Norway, where the voyagers landed in September, 1874.

The success of the expedition was unquestionable, for land was discovered two hundred miles north of Nova Zemlya. The success of the sleighing is due to Sir L. McClintock’s advice.

(The Tegethoff we see drifted north—other vessels we have read of drifted south. Does not that indicate a simultaneous movement of ice around the Pole on both sides? The American side going south as the ice-floe on the Asiatic side ascends—as glaciers in Switzerland which are connected, advance and recede in turn. This idea would go to prove that no open sea exists there; the ice covers the whole of the Polar Ocean, and moves north and south correspondingly. This is, however, only speculation, but as the Tegethoff is said to have been drifted by the wind, which must have been southerly, and therefore northerly on the other side, the fact will not militate against the idea above suggested.)

The Austro-Hungarian Expedition did not succeed in discovering the North-East Passage. We will now turn to the great Nordenskïold, who did succeed.


Chapter Thirty Three.

The voyages of Erik Nordenskïold—1870-1878.

Expeditions to the North—To Spitzbergen and the Yenissei—The Discovery of the North-East Passage.

Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskïold was born at Helsingfors, Finland, in November, 1832. His father was a distinguished naturalist; Erik often accompanied him in his expeditions, and thus early acquired a taste for natural history and research. He entered the University at Helsingfors in 1849. The stern rule of Russia subsequently compelled young Nordenskïold to go to Sweden. The governor of Finland, fancying he detected treason in some after-supper speech, Nordenskïold was obliged to depart; but this was the turning point in his career.

The illustrious Mosander received the student cordially. Nordensk’iold studied hard, and in 1858 made his first acquaintance with Arctic seas in Torrell’s Spitzbergen expedition. In 1861 he again accompanied Torrell to Spitzbergen. In July, 1863, he married. In 1864 he commanded an expedition fitted out by the Academy of Stockholm, and in 1868, aided by Government and Mr Oscar Dickson, he reached the highest latitude ever attained in the eastern hemisphere. From this expedition he brought home a rich collection of curiosities. Again, in 1870, Mr Dickson paid the expenses of a voyage to Greenland.

In 1872, Nordenskïold (whose name, we may mention, is pronounced Nordensholt) undertook another Polar expedition with two vessels, the Polhern and the Gladen. A quantity of reindeer-moss was provided and stowed in a third ship, the Onkel Adam. Nordenskïold was accompanied by Lieutenant L. Palander, with Doctor Envall, E. Parent, an Italian officer, and Messrs Wijkander and Kjellman as scientists. On the 4th of July the Polhern and Gladen sailed; from Gothenburg, and when the former reached Tromsoe, the Austrian Polar vessel Amiral Tegethoff was about to sail.

On the 25th of July, South Cape, the southern extremity of Spitzbergen, was sighted, and the vessels proceeded along the coast northward between Prince Charles Foreland and the mainland till Fair Haven was reached. Here they were obliged to remain because of the ice, and in August the Onkel Adam arrived with the reindeer and other necessary assistance, and with stores. The attempt to reach the Seven Islands north of Spitzbergen was now abandoned for that season, but some progress to the north was effected, and Mussel Bay, to the north-north-east of Spitzbergen, was selected as winter quarters.

Scarcely had the necessary preparations been made when a sudden and extremely violent storm arose; by this the unexpected advent of the ice was announced. The cold hand was quickly laid upon the waters, and the winter campaign had to be faced. But we may imagine the surprise of the explorers when, as they were settling down in winter quarters, six strangers approached, who informed Nordenskïold that their six ships had been unexpectedly frozen in, and there were fifty-eight men in danger of ultimate starvation!

This was most unpleasant news, for the expedition had only sufficient for its own requirements, and such an addition to the party was a very serious drawback. Still help was absolutely necessary, and a note was sent to the captains of the imprisoned ships, that the explorers would do all in their power.

But a sad blow awaited them. In another severe storm all the reindeer got away; and, of course, a valuable supply of fresh meat, besides transport, was cut off at one fell stroke. Only one of the reins was recaptured, and he was wounded. Fortunately some large wild reindeer were shot, and they made a welcome addition to the larder. At the end of October winter began to set in severely, and the reindeer-moss was utilised by the imprisoned people as food. The winter-time was passed as well as possible, and interesting observations were taken. Scurvy and pleurisy, however, attacked the men; and though Christmas and New Year were celebrated, and 1873 was saluted by a display of fireworks, the precarious condition of the crews was by no means ameliorated.

However, lamp-light was dispensed with on the 6th of February, and on the 13th of March the sun was seen again. In January the cold had been “inconsiderable,” and the bay had been cleared of ice, but on the 20th of February the cold was very great. April was occupied in preparations for Nordenski’old’s expedition across North-East Land, and on the 24th of April he and Palander started with three sleighs. After some delay, in consequence of accident, Palander returned, and Nordenskïold proceeded to Shoal Point, the north-west extremity of North-East Land, where Palander again joined him on the 5th of May (1873).

The sledge party started on the 6th. It consisted of Nordenskïold, Palander, and nine men, who intended to proceed to the Seven Islands which will be found on the map north of Spitzbergen. Each man in turn was cook for the party; he had to rise early and get breakfast ready. The march was then proceeded with, resting occasionally at certain intervals during the ten hours allotted to the daily journey. Sailing over the ice and snow on the sledges, good progress was made, and on the 12th Costien’s Island was reached.

Early on the 16th, Parry Island was gained, and a small depot was made there. Some of the men then were sent back. The leaders of the party here made a survey from an elevated standpoint, and this view showed them that there was no possibility of going north of the Seven Islands, as the ice was in such an uneven condition. The journey in the anticipated direction was therefore abandoned as hopeless.

But Nordenskïold would not return by the same way he had come. He determined to go back by way of North-East Land, a course which occupied the party forty days, but they gained considerable information, and the scientific results, as well as the difficulties, were greater than had been expected. The expedition returned safely to Mussel Bay on the 29th of June. The members who had been left behind had passed a most uncomfortable time. The cold was great, provisions scarce. Scurvy set in, which, added to home-sickness and anxiety on account of the absent ones, made matters worse. Food became scarcer, but providentially Mr Leigh Smith, in the Diana, arrived, and he satisfied the immediate requirements of the unfortunate Swedes. The historian of the expedition warmly acknowledges the assistance so opportunely rendered.

Spring was at hand. Palander came in, and then Nordenskïold. All anxiety was then over. The same day, the 29th of June, the vessels passed through the channel which had been cut in the ice, and then they anchored in open water. No time was lost. The Onkel Adam sailed homeward almost immediately: the Gladen followed. The Polhern, however, remained in the icy latitudes for some time longer dredging. On the 6th of August, after with difficulty escaping the ice, Nordenskïold arrived at Tromsoe, and on the 29th at Gothenberg, where the expedition dispersed.

In 1875 and 1876 the professor made two voyages to the Yenissei River and up it. By this course he opened up Siberia to trade, and received the thanks of the Russian Government for inaugurating a sea route to Siberia. But these voyages, in a sense tentative, were completely eclipsed by the expedition undertaken in the Vega, in which Nordenskïold accomplished the long-desired North-East Passage from the North Atlantic to the North Pacific Ocean eastwards. The ease with which he had accomplished the two voyages already mentioned (to the Yenissei River) urged him to proceed with the expedition which he had been studying for years, the discovery of the North-East Passage.

Sebastian Cabot was the first adventurer in the work destined to be accomplished by the Swedish explorer. More than three hundred years ago Cabot equipped three ships for the “Merchant Adventurers,” and put them under the command of Sir H. Willoughby and Chancelor in 1553. This ended in disaster. In 1580 the “Muscovy Company,” as the “Adventurers” called themselves, sent out Arthur Pitt, who could not open the “pack” ice. Barentz, who tried three times, in 1593, 1595, and 1596, was closed up in the ice of Novaya Zemlya, and perished. Henry Hudson tried in 1607-8. The Danes made the attempt in 1653. Captain J. Wood also sailed to the unhospitable shores of Novaya Zemlya, and so terrified people by his descriptions that they gave up the attempt in despair.

Thus the North-East Passage became a dreaded and a sealed course to the mariners of all nations. It was deemed impossible to break through the icy barrier; and the Russians made the attempt only to prove the assertion by failure. But when Nordensk’iold had reached the Kara Sea, and the Yenissei River, he began to think he could also solve the long-tried problem of the North-East Passage eastwards to the Pacific.

Assisted by his liberal friend, Mr Oscar Dickson, and supported by King Oscar the Second of Sweden, and M. Sibiriakoff, a Siberian landholder, Nordenskïold purchased the steam-whaler Vega—a name now celebrated throughout the civilised world. She was equipped and manned under Government auspices, and provisioned for two years. She sailed from Gothenburg on the 21st of July, accompanied by the steamer Lena, commanded by Johannesen from Tromsoe. There were also supply vessels in company, but our narrative (which is compiled from “Nordenskïold’s Voyages,” and other sources) will deal with the Vega, and incidentally with the Lena, till she parted company at the mouth of the river whose name she bears. In the expedition were included many scientific gentlemen, and the crews were composed of picked men.

The vessels rounded the North Cape, and on the 29th of July sighted Novaya Zemlya. Then they passed the Yergar Strait and entered the Kara Sea, the immense gulf lying between Novaya Zemlya and the north point of the Asiatic continent, Cape Chalyaskin. On the 31st of July the little fleet was united at Chabarook (Charbarova). The vessels which had accompanied the Lena and Vega went up the Yenissei River with cargoes, and returned safely to Norway. The Vega and Lena proceeded, and after some delays the North-East Cape (Cape Chalyaskin) was reached for the first time. Flags were hoisted and salutes fired to emphasise the fact, and they were acknowledged by an immense bear that came out upon the ice to welcome the ships. Hence fogs and occasional ice-floes hindered the navigation. Many very interesting scientific searches were made, and after the 23rd of August the sea was smooth and free from ice up to the delta of the Lena River. Here the vessels parted company on the 27th-28th of August, the Lena to go up the river, while the Vega proceeded alone to the Siberian Islands.

Many interesting remains of the mammoth animals were discovered in these islands, and the supply of ivory must be very valuable to the seekers. The ice was too rotten to permit of landing, and the boats could not pass in, so Nordenskïold reluctantly relinquished his intention to explore those almost unknown islands, and the animal remains which abound there.

The Vega continued her uninterrupted course eastward till the ist of September. Then snow fell, and the Bear Islands were covered with the white garment. The navigation became difficult; the coast was cautiously skirted till, as September wore on, the nights became too dark for sailing, and the Vega was obliged to come to an anchor every evening.

On these occasions the natives came and made friends with the voyagers, and subsequently these Tchuktches welcomed the foreigners. The description given of the natives and their dwellings is curious. They live in large tents, which enclose sleeping-places or a kind of inner chambers, heated and lighted by an oil lamp. In these inner rooms the native women sit, with very little clothing on. In summer a fire is kept burning in the centre of the hut, and the smoke goes up through a hole in the roof. In winter there is no fire, and presumably the hut is closed against the outer air. The Greenlanders and Tchuktches use similar household articles: they trade for needles, knives and tools, linen shirts, etcetera, and especially brandy. Everyone smokes tobacco when he or she can obtain it. When it cannot be had, some herbs are chewed and smoked, after being dried behind the ears. Men and women seldom wear head coverings; they have tunics and trousers of reindeer skin, mocassins or shoes of bear-skin or walrus hide; the women plait their hair, and wear it long. The men cut theirs except the outer margin, which is combed down in a “fringe.” The faces are painted or “tattooed” by both sexes.

The Vega continued her eastward course, meeting with little incident, but continually adding to the information already acquired. So on till the 27th of September, when, in the strait that separates Asia from America—near the entrance of Behring’s Strait, the vessel got imprisoned in the early forming ice. The rising north wind rapidly piled up the hummocks, and in a short time all hope of quitting the place until the summer had to be abandoned, but very reluctantly, by Nordenskïold. “One single hour’s steaming would have probably been sufficient to traverse the distance” between their position and the open strait, and one day earlier no difficulty would have presented itself!

This was extremely disappointing, and Nordenskïold writes pathetically about been frozen in so near the goal he had been so long aiming at. It was “the one mishap” which had attended his Arctic exploration. In this condition the vessel remained for two hundred and sixty-four days, the time passed nearly in darkness, but not unpleasantly, for the scientist has resources which set time at defiance. Good health and spirits were present, and the natives were friendly. At length deliverance came. On the 18th of July the Vega was released, and on the 20th she passed Behring’s Straits. The North-East Passage was an accomplished fact! After a stormy cruise, in the course of which the ship was struck by lightning, and a voyage of marine discovery welcome to the civilised world accomplished, the Vega reached Yokohama, whence the electric current carried the news of Nordenskïold’s success from sea to sea. The homeward journey was made by the Suez Canal to Europe, where the welcome accorded to the brave explorer was a veritable triumph. Nor must those who assisted him be forgotten. To Mr Oscar Dickson the honour belongs of holding out the full hand to Nordenskïold, without which his first voyages would never have been accomplished, and the North-East Passage might be still a mystery.


Chapter Thirty Four.

Captain Hall’s Voyages.

Doctor Hayes’ voyages—Captain Hall’s experiences—The Polaris expedition—High latitudes—Illness and death of Captain Hall—The catastrophe on the ice—Skating on the floe—A perilous journey—Saved—Fate of the Polaris.

We must pass rapidly by Doctor Hayes’ voyages undertaken to survey Greenland. He fully believed in the theory of the “open Polar Sea,” and he had been a member of Kane’s party. He left Boston in 1860, and entered Baffin Bay in August of that year. After much delay from ice, he started with sleighs across Smith’s Sound to Grinnel Land. He encountered tremendous difficulties—most of his party turned back, but Hayes, with three men, persevered, and succeeded in reaching Grinnel Land. He still pushed on, then with only one companion, and reached the most northerly point attained, whence he could see water covered with soft ice. This he states is the open Polar Sea in the summer. He saw a headland farther north—“the most northerly land known.” But having no boat he was obliged to return to his companions, and they reached Boston in 1861. The American Civil War prevented him from trying again for some years, but he subsequently explored Greenland, more for pleasure than in the interests of science, in 1869.

We now come to the voyages of Captain Charles F. Hall, which culminated in the Polaris expedition. In 1860, however, Captain Hall had made an attempt to find some traces of the Franklin expedition; but meeting with an accident, he returned. In 1864 he sailed again, and reached Hecla Strait. He carried home many Franklin relics, and ascertained that Sir John had actually discovered the North-West Passage, and established the melancholy truth that most of Franklin’s men died of starvation in King William’s Land, where their bones lay bleaching in the snowy waste. After five years’ residence amongst the Esquimaux he ascertained that Captain Crozier, of the Terror (and he believed a companion), were living amongst the Esquimaux in 1864.

In September, 1869, Captain Hall returned to America, having discovered the site of Frobisher’s settlement three hundred years before; but it was not until 1872 that he was enabled to start in the Polaris to find the North Pole. On the 29th of June he sailed from New York. Doctor Bessel accompanied the ship as naturalist, and at least one member of Kane’s expedition also went. Captain Tyson, who figures in the narrative, joined the Polaris at Godhaven, and Hans, the hunter, at Upernavik.

On the 21st of August the Polaris continued her voyage, and followed Kane’s route. Captain Hall reached the spot where the Advance had been quitted, and pushing on steadily, reached the channel which had been thought was the “open Polar Sea.” He proceeded up to latitude 82 degrees 16 minutes North; but here the Polaris was beset in the ice at last; hitherto all had been plain sailing. They reached winter quarters in September, and named the place “Thank God” Bay, latitude 81 degrees 38 minutes North, longitude 61 degrees 44 minutes West.

The winter was fatal to Captain Hall. After his return from a few days’ sledging journey, he was suddenly taken ill. In this exploration, which he undertook with the Esquimaux and his first mate (Mr Chester), he reached a place he named Newman’s Bay, in latitude 82 degrees North. When the illness first attacked him it was not deemed serious; but he became partially paralysed, and on the 8th of November he expired, leaving Captain Buddington in command. Captain Hall was buried on the morning of the 11th of November, the darkness of the Polar night being faintly illuminated by ship’s lanthorns and the weird boreal gleam of the stars in the atmosphere.

During the remainder of the winter, surveys were made; but Buddington did not continue the discipline of Hall. In May, Tyson, Meyers, and the two Esquimaux started on a sledging expedition, and got some musk oxen. Through these boat-expeditions, during the summer, discipline was greatly relaxed, and consequently the original plan of the voyage could not be carried out. The Polaris on the ice drifted, as other vessels have drifted, and came down Smith’s Sound to Kane’s former winter quarters.

A panic occurred in October, which nearly proved fatal to some of the members of the expedition. The ice “nipped” the Polaris, and it appears, from all accounts, that the ice-master who commanded (Buddington) completely lost his presence of mind, and commanded a general heaving overboard of stores and everything on deck. The order was obeyed, with results as might have been anticipated. The ice was broken up by the lifting and settling of the ship. The stores were scattered broadcast on the floe, and Captain Tyson, with a few of the most sensible men, left the vessel to arrange the stores, with the Esquimaux and their wives and children as assistants in the work.

They were all very busy sorting the supplies when a terrible rending and cracking was heard. Explosion succeeded explosion—the ice opened in many places—the Polaris was freed; and in a few moments, before the people on the ice could return, or indeed realise the situation, she had plunged into the darkness and disappeared!

This was a terrible catastrophe. There were nineteen men, women, and children actually adrift upon a mass of ice, with a very limited supply of provisions; and the only means of gaining terra firma two small boats. These were got ready, but the loose ice rendered their use impossible. The Polaris came in sight, but paid no attention to signals. So the voyagers remained drifting on the ice-floe, about four miles in circumference, but by no means assured from disruption, which might occur at any moment.

The ice continued to drift, and now and then pieces broke off. On the 16th the dreaded event occurred—the floe parted—the castaway party on one side, and the house, etcetera, on the other. But by means of the boats the stores were recovered, and then a fresh floe was occupied, whereon snow-huts were erected, Esquimaux fashion.

Time passed. October went and November came; food was scarce, and the exploring party were “allowanced.” But two seals, less cautious than their companions, were at length captured—nearly all the dogs had already been eaten, and fresh food was absolutely necessary. The seals caught were scientifically killed, the blood was drunk, and “the eyes,” says Captain Tyson, “given to the youngest child.” (The animal, being cut up, is divided into portions which are distributed by lot to the various candidates for the delicate morsels, of which the brain is considered the daintiest.)

We need scarcely detail the daily round and common tasks of the drifting party on the ice. In January Davis Strait was reached, and a ray of sunlight cheered them on the 19th, so the progress southward had been considerable. The German seamen did not behave well and caused considerable anxiety, but there was no long disturbance.

At the beginning of the month of March the ice reached Cumberland Gulf, and on the 11th of that month it broke up with direful noises, leaving the whole party on a small piece, which being fortunately very thick continued its journey southward very gently. Seals were now captured in abundance. One of the Esquimaux also shot a bear. Then the floe was quitted, and the pack ice reached. After that things became worse. A gale arose and blew away their tent and bedding, and unless they had all clung to the boat it would have been lost also. They saved it, but remained without shelter, half-frozen and in danger of starvation. At the end of April three steamers successively appeared, but although the castaways did all they could to attract attention they were not perceived until on the 30th another “steam sealer,” the Tigress, of Newfoundland, appeared and rescued them from their perilous position. They were all landed at Saint John’s on the 12th of May.

Meanwhile, as the Polaris had not appeared, the Tigress was commissioned by Captain Green, U.S.N., to seek her. She steamed up to Littleton Island, where an encampment of Esquimaux was discovered. The men were wearing clothing obtained from the Polaris, but after search and inquiry no after trace of the crew could be obtained, so Captain Green returned to Saint John’s. They reached New York afterwards, and heard that Buddington and his crew had been picked up by a whaler some months before.

The ill-fated Polaris had been abandoned in latitude 78 degrees 23 minutes North, and 73 degrees 21 minutes West. She had been rendered almost useless by the ice, and the Esquimaux were presented with the hull; but she foundered. The crew encamped during the winter, and in the summer they sailed down to Cape York, where they met the ice. But in Melville Bay a steamer was seen embedded in the ice. This vessel was the Ravenscraig, of Dundee, whose Captain, Allen, received them very kindly. He subsequently put some of them on a vessel bound for Dundee, whither they then proceeded, and came home from Liverpool to New York; the others came back a few weeks later. Thus ended the unfortunate Polaris expedition, which, but for the untimely death of Captain F. Hall, might have accomplished its object—the discovery of the North Pole.


Chapter Thirty Five.

Captain Sir George S. Nares’ voyage with the “Alert” and “Discovery”—1875-6.

The Alert and Discovery—Heavy weather—Arrival in Greenland—Winter on the ice—Amusements and employments—Sledging work—The return home—Reception—Conclusion.

In 1875 the British Government commissioned the Alert and the Discovery, under the command respectively of Captains Nares and Stephenson, to explore the Arctic regions of the Pole. This expedition was fitted out in the most complete manner, and had the advantage of the advice and assistance of the most experienced Arctic travellers. Commander Markham, who was attached to the Alert, had crossed the Arctic circle before, as had Captain Nares, and all that could be done was done to make the voyage a success.

Sir George Nares had already seen considerable Arctic and sea service. His scientific voyage in the Challenger, too, had given him an unlimited fund of experience, in addition to his previous geographical attainments. Captain H. Stephenson also had proved his mettle in many parts of the world, and under these commanders were many trustworthy and experienced officers. The expedition quitted Portsmouth amid enthusiastic cheers on the 29th of May, 1875, and made their way across the Atlantic. Here they met with most violent storms, which tried both ships and ships’ companies, as well as the Valorous store ship, which parted company in the ocean. The first ice was seen on the 27th of June, and the Valorous was picked up again all well.

Skirting the Greenland coast amid the ice, the vessels encountered heavy weather, and at length anchored in Godhaven Harbour, in the Isle of Disco. Here supplies and sledge dogs were embarked, and on the 15th of July the Alert towed the Discovery out of harbour, and proceeded northwards. They reached Upernavik and left it. Soon afterwards the Alert grounded, but cleared at high water. Cape York was gained in seventy hours, an extremely rapid passage. The Alert passed on by the Crimson Cliffs and Cape Digges, which have been so often mentioned, and reached the Cary Islands on the 27th of July. Depots were formed here and records placed with letters, as also on Sutherland and Littleton Islands. The advance into Smith’s Sound was by no means easy, and several times the ships had to return to the latitude of Kane’s winter quarters.

About this time the Alert was nearly crushed by an iceberg, but got clear, and the crew made the mountain tow the vessel by grappling it. By very slow degrees, pushing and driving through the “pack,” the vessels at last reached Cape Constitution, to which Doctor Kane had penetrated, but which he did not pass. Going still northwards the ships cleared Kennedy Channel and reached Hall’s Basin, in the north-east side of which were the winter quarters of the unfortunate Polaris. Robeson Channel had now to be cleared.

All this time the officers and men who could be spared from duty were not idle. Parties went hunting and sketching. Many scientific observations were made by dredging. Photographs were taken also. The Musk ox gave the hunters some sport, and Doctor Moss records that all the animals met with, though presumably they had never seen man before, were afraid of the party, thus contradicting the popular notion that animals which have never seen man are not afraid of him.

At this stage of the journey excellent winter quarters were found for the Discovery. The retreat of the ships had been secured. Orders were for the Discovery to remain in or about the eighty-second parallel. Such a situation was now found. The Discovery therefore remained just north of Lady Franklin Strait, on the opposite side of Hall’s Basin, to that on which the Polaris wintered.

On the 26th of August the Alert proceeded alone into Robeson Channel, but got into difficulties with the ice, which bore down on the ship in tremendous masses. But fortunately she found shelter, and escaped destruction. Any further progress appeared impossible, so preparations were made for forming the winter quarters near at hand. As September had come the sledges were got ready, and Commander Markham set out with stores to establish a depot for the spring exploring parties farther north. The party returned in three weeks frost-bitten and exhausted, but they had accomplished their mission. Lieutenant Aldrich had also come back, but reported nothing but ice.

Attempts were made to communicate with the Discovery, but the state of the ice and snow prevented any such adventure, though Captain Stephenson was only sixty miles distant. Winter now set in, and the Alert was banked in snow. Candles and stoves and snow kept the inhabitants warm, and snow-houses were erected for scientific and storage purposes. The prospect afforded a view of limitless snow, and then darkness set in and limited the view to a few yards, except when the oft-recurring moon gave her welcome light. Doctor Moss, in his journal, gives a spirited description of the daily routine, which we condense. The cold was intense—the greatest ever experienced (73 degrees).

The toilet is rapidly performed, a tub is a weekly luxury. The men have breakfasted, and the rattling of cups and saucers warns the officers curried-sardine day has come round again! Cocoa is ready and hot rolls. Then the men have lime-juice and hot water for health’s sake. Afterwards all hands parade on deck for inspection and prayers. Then work begins. Water is procured from ice, tools mended, etcetera. The crew dine at one o’clock, the officers at 2:30. The latter go for a walk or rehearse theatricals. Going out, the air smells like green walnuts, says Doctor Moss. The walk, unless there is a moon, is taken up and down a beaten track, in the dark, half a mile long. The dinner gong sounds, all come in (brushing off the snow first). Then dinner, and when the cloth is off the white cat seats herself on the table. After dinner reading or writing, then school for the men; and music, chess or whist concluding the evening.

The Alert had no sun for a hundred and forty-two days, and the darkness was nearly as deep at noonday as an ordinary moonless night in England. On the 2nd of March the sun shone brightly, and the sledging was arranged for. The theatrical season had ended on the 24th of February. Many favourite farces were played, and the burlesque written by the chaplain met with great success.

A sledge party left to find the Discovery, but returned exhausted, and Petersen was nearly lost. He afterwards died, poor fellow, and was buried by his comrades on Cairn Hill, on the 14th of May. We have not space to follow all the sledging expeditions. We must condense the information and the interest. For two months and a half this, the most monotonous of all travelling, was continued. The labour was most severe an