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´╗┐Title: Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Paul Cuffe, a Pequot Indian During Thirty Years Spent at Sea, and in Travelling in Foreign Lands
Author: Cuffe, Paul
Language: English
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Transcriber's Note: Minor typographical errors have been corrected
without note. Irregularities and inconsistencies in the text have
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underscores: _italics_. The cover of this ebook was created by the
transcriber and is hereby placed in the public domain.


NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF PAUL CUFFE,

A PEQUOT INDIAN:

DURING THIRTY YEARS SPENT AT SEA,

AND IN

TRAVELLING IN FOREIGN LANDS.


VERNON:
PRINTED BY HORACE N. BILL,
1839.



NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF PAUL CUFFE,

    A descendant of an Indian family, which formerly resided in the
    eastern part of Connecticut and constituted a part of that fierce
    and warlike tribe of Indians called Pequots, of whose exploits in
    the early Wars of New-England, the reader may become acquainted by
    perusing "Trumbull's History of the Indian Wars."


The subject of this narrative was born in the town of Westport, in the
State of Massachusetts. His father, Paul Cuffe, was a sea-faring man,
and had the command of a number of merchant vessels. It was with him
that I made my first voyage, when a boy twelve years old. This was in
the year 1808. On the morning of a pleasant day in the month of May, of
that year, we hoisted sail and stood out for sea. There were 16 hands
on board. This was new business to me, and with the novelty attending a
sea voyage I was highly pleased. Nothing uncommon attended this voyage,
which was made to Passamaquaddy, for Plaster of Paris. We made this
voyage down in about 10 days. After loading our vessel, which took two
weeks, we again set sail for Wilmington, in Delaware, at which port we
safely arrived in 16 days, discharged our freight, took in ballast and
300 bushels of apples, and sailed for Savannah, in Georgia, where we
arrived without any accident to mar the pleasure of the voyage, in
about twenty days, where we again discharged our freight and reloaded
our vessel with Cotton, Rice and Logwood. Here we lay three months in
making preparation for sea again. From this place we made out into the
broad Atlantic with all sails fluttering in the balmy breeze, and all
hands full of hope and buoyant with expectation. This was a long,
tedious voyage, as the reader will readily imagine when I inform him
that we sailed a great number of days in a northward direction, until
we made the Grand Banks; then we steered away for the northern coast of
Scotland, which we reached in about fifty days. Thence we continued our
course around the Orknies into the Northern Sea, and made the entrance
to the Baltic through what is called the Sleeve; thence along the coast
of Copenhagen northward to Gottenburgh, a flourishing town in West
Gothland in Sweden. Here we lay six weeks, sold our lading, and took in
a load of iron, steel and hemp. From thence we sailed for Elsinore, a
seaport of Denmark, where we took in a number of passengers for
Philadelphia, at which place we arrived after a long passage, sometime
in the month of September, 1809. During this voyage we had much rough
weather; so much so, that we were compelled to throw overboard fifty
tons of iron while on the Grand Banks. During this gale we lost our
fore-top-mast, jib-boom and long boat.

At this port we sold our load; after which my father put me to a high
school in Williams' Alley, where I remained two years. This was an
excellent school, taught by a Friend Quaker, a very worthy man, whom I
shall ever have cause to respect for his many acts of kindness towards
me.

After the close of my term at school, I returned home to Westport,
after an absence of three years and five months. If the reader has ever
been a long while absent from home, he can easily imagine my feelings
on my arrival at the dear paternal mansion. Here I again saw my father
and mother, brothers and sisters, where I remained but three weeks
before I again left the fire side of my dear parents to launch out upon
the broad Atlantic's briny bosom. At the expiration of the above term,
I shipped aboard of the brig Traveller, Capt. Thomas Wainer, for
Kennebec, state of Maine. On our passage to this place, our vessel
capsized about 10 o'clock at night, which caused us much trouble to get
her righted again; but after four hours' struggle, and by the aid of
our Great Father, we got the ship to rights, and went on our passage,
which we finished in about seven days from this event. Here we sold our
loading and took in a load of pine lumber. At this place we were
detained but about ten days, when we again hoisted sail for Westport,
where we arrived in ten days thereafter. Here I tarried with my family
but four weeks before I again shipped aboard of the last named vessel
for Lisbon, in Portugal, where we arrived after a rough passage of
forty-five days. Our lading was 525 barrels of whale oil, which we sold
at Lisbon. While at this place we heard the roar of the cannon in an
engagement between a division of the army of the Great Napoleon and the
English and Portuguese troops, and the night after this battle the
writer saw five hundred wounded soldiers brought into Lisbon to have
their wounds dressed. In this engagement the English and Portuguese
repelled the army of Napoleon, and caused them to fall back a number of
miles.

Here we tarried about four months, and took in one hundred and eighty
merino sheep, being the second load ever taken to the United States.
Besides these we took in Salt and Wine. Our passage back to Westport
was made in thirty-five days. Here we tarried but one week, and again
after taking in ballast, proceeded to sea, and steered away for
Edenton, North Carolina; at which port we arrived in 16 days. Here we
were detained about six weeks. After loading our brig with shingles and
herring, we again stood out for sea, and made for St. Domingo, an
Island of the West Indies, peopled by free blacks, having a republican
form of government.

During this passage we encountered heavy gales of wind, and came very
near being shipwrecked, but we were all preserved, and in 16 days from
the time we set sail, we made Port Au Prince. This is a large sea port
town, situated between two high mountains. This place is the residence
of the chief magistrate of the nation. Robert Boyer was then clothed
with the presidential power. This personage was of commanding aspect,
and appeared to be a mulatto. He used every day to call out his body
guard, who were a fine looking set of fellows as I had ever seen. They
appeared to understand military tactics to perfection. They were
elegantly dressed in red frocks and trowsers, faced with blue and
green. On the whole, they might be called first rate soldiers. Boyer
was most superbly dressed and equipped, and on horseback made an
elegant appearance.

This is an unhealthy place for strangers, our crew being mostly sick
while there. We stopped at this place about three weeks, during which
time we took in a cargo of Coffee and Sugar. From this port we sailed
sometime in October 1812. At this time the government of my native
country and Great Britain were at war. During this voyage, which was
made to New-York, we were chased by a British man-of-war for more than
four hours, while off Bermuda; but we out-sailed her and made our
escape. When off Cape Hatteras, we lost our fore top-sail during a
heavy squall of wind. We reached the quarantine at New-York, after a
passage of 13 days. Here we had to lay to for 3 days, for the purpose
of being examined by the health officer; after which we went up to the
city, where we discharged our freight which took about one week, when
we again sailed for Westport, the place of my nativity. Here I saw my
father and mother, with whom I stayed but 5 weeks before I again left
my peaceful home and all the many little endearments which always
surround the paternal mansion, for New Bedford, a sea port town in the
south-eastern part of Massachusetts, where I shipped aboard the Atlas,
a whaleman, bound to the Brazil banks. We hoisted sail just at night,
and steered away in an east northeast direction until we crossed the
Grand banks, and then stood away for the Azores, where, after 20 days'
sail, we made the Island of Carvo, one of that group of Islands. Here
we stopped a few days and took in 500 bushels of potatoes and 100
bushels of onions. There was no harbor in this place; so we were
obliged to go ashore in our boats. The people brought down the above
articles on their backs. Men, women and children were all engaged in
supplying us with the above articles. We paid them in oil, of which
they were very fond. What they do with it I know not. They were a very
kind people to strangers, but poor. From this place we sailed for the
Cape De Verds, on the coast of Africa. We were forty-two days in
sailing from the former to the latter island. We touched at the island
of Buenavista, one of this group, where we took in thirty-two hogs, for
which we paid corn, meal and bread. These people are of a very dark
hue, and speak the Portuguese language. Here we stopped but four days,
when we set all sails and steered away a southwest course, for the
Brazil Banks, where we arrived, after a sail of forty-two days.

Here we commenced fishing for whale, but for a time had bad luck, owing
to the drunken habits of our Captain. We sunk twelve whales before we
caught one. Then we caught six in the course of two weeks. I harpooned
all these, and assisted in taking and towing them along side the ship.
After we get a whale along side, we hitch our blubber hooks into the
head, after severing it from the body, then, with our windlass, draw it
aboard, and dip the oil out, which sometimes amounts to more than fifty
barrels. After this, we commence cutting the whale in a circular manner
with our spades; then we hitch the blubber hooks into the commencement
next to where the head was taken off, and by pulling at the windlass,
take off a large piece which will usually when tried and strained,
produce ten barrels of oil. Before heaving on board this piece, another
hook is fastened below the one to be taken off; when this is done with
a cross blow from the spade, the first piece is separated from the rest
of the whale. Then the cutting is continued in the same manner as
before mentioned, and another piece torn off and swung aboard. This
operation keeps the whale constantly rolling over until the mass of
flesh is stripped from the carcass, which is then permitted to float
off, or sink, and it becomes the sport of sharks, who feed upon the
little flesh which remains after it has gone through the hands of the
whalemen.

Here we stayed but six weeks before we took in 1600 barrels of oil.
This was about 300 miles off the Brazil coast.--From this place we set
sail with our cargo about the middle of June 1813, for New Bedford,
where we arrived in fifty-seven days. When off Block Island we saw the
keel of a brig, upon which were marked the names of a number of persons
who undoubtedly belonged to her and had died upon the wreck.

We were about five days unloading ship, after which the hands were paid
off and discharged. After this I went again to visit my parents at
Westport, where I stayed but two weeks before I went to Philadelphia
across land, and shipped aboard the Dorothea, a Letter of Marque brig,
Captain Aaron Pitney, bound to St. Jago, loaded with flour and
hoop-poles. This brig mounted ten guns. When out two days we fell in
with an English brig of ten guns, to which we gave chase, and fought
her for about two hours, when she got away from us, we being unable to
gain upon her in consequence of having our rigging badly cut to pieces.
In this action we lost two men killed and the Captain badly wounded.

About three days after the above action, about 4 o'clock A.M., we
discovered an English frigate, which gave chase to us, and fired
several guns, none of which reached us. This vessel we outsailed and
left far behind by 2 o'clock P.M. Eight days after this chase, we
reached St. Jago, and discharged our freight. Here we tarried three
weeks and sold the brig to a Spanish gentleman. We then took passage in
the American schooner Mary, bound to Alexandria, in the District of
Columbia, upon the river Thames. This vessel had been trading under an
English license, and had been taken by the schooner Rollo of Baltimore.
Her captors were sending her home as a prize. Of this we were not made
acquainted until we had got out to sea. When we set sail, we had nine
men sick with the yellow fever, six of whom died and were consigned to
the vasty deep, after the usual ceremony of the reading of prayers, &c.
We were off the east end of Cuba, when we discovered early in the
morning, a large sail to the eastward, which we took to be an American
man-of-war, but soon found we had been fatally deceived, for she was a
large English sloop-of-war called the Sapho, Capt. O'Brady. She fired a
broad side which sent all hands below except the captain and mate.--She
then stopped firing and run down upon us, and asked us if we did not
know it was war time, to which we answered in the affirmative. She then
run under our lee, and sent her launch and jolly boat with 30 men, who
boarded us. The Capt. having the old license from the British Admiralty
with him, presented it to the boarding master, who immediately went on
deck and informed the Capt. of the sloop that the schooner had a good
license, and was told by the Capt. to overhaul her well, and let her
go, if all was right. The boarding master then went below and told the
Capt. that he would overhaul his trunk, which he refused, but after
some threats from the former, the latter gave up the keys. Search was
then made and a commission from the schooner Rollo was found, and the
uniform coat of the Captain. This took from us all chance of escape,
for immediately after, a prize master and twelve men from the sloop
were sent aboard of us to take charge. The Capt. of the English sloop
then told the prize master to leave all the American sick aboard the
prize, and send the others aboard of his vessel. They then ordered all
our crew aboard the sloop except the second mate and myself, who
feigned ourselves sick.

Sometime during the afternoon, the sloop gave chase to an American
privateer, and the prize ship steered away for Jamaica. Soon after
this, Mr. Hutchins, the second mate of the Mary, gave the British a
large supply of rum, in which he had previously put a quantity of
laudanum. This, after a little time, threw them into a lethargic state,
as a matter of course. After they had become quite sleepy, the mate
told me that we must retake the ship that night, and that I must stand
by him, for he had picked me out of the whole crew of the Mary for that
very purpose. I told him that there was so many well armed men on
board, that I thought the proposed adventure too hazardous, but he said
we could easily accomplish it if we would be bold, as we should have to
go to Jamaica and probably die there, unless we could free ourselves
that night. I then told him I would stand by him. The sleepy crew were
now all in the steerage, except the prize master, who was in the cabin
asleep. Eight o'clock in the evening, was the time agreed upon to
commence operations. When that hour arrived, the mate directed me to go
below and seize the officer in the cabin, while he would secure the
hatchway and prevent the crew from making their way to the deck. All
now depended on doing business with despatch. While hurrying below, I
slipped and fell upon the deck; this waked my antagonist, whom I
intended to catch napping, but imagine my disappointment when he jumped
from his berth like a tiger who had been suddenly awakened by a band of
hunters; but I was ready, and as he struck the deck and was in the act
of drawing his sword I closed around him, fastening his arms from
behind by grasping him firmly; but he was a powerful man and I but a
boy, still I was determined and resolute. After squabbling for some
time, he shook me from him, and while in the act of turning to face me,
I gave him a blow under the chin that felled him to the deck. I then
cut his belt as soon as thought, and threw his pistols and sword under
the cabin steps; just at this time, Mr. Hutchins, who had succeeded in
his part of the enterprize, threw a hatchet to me and told me to split
the officer's head open if he attempted to get up. This I took and
holding it over his head, told him I would finish him in an instant if
he moved. At this juncture Mr. H. came to my assistance, and we soon
finished the business by putting the prize master in irons.

After all this was done we armed ourselves and steered away for St.
Jago, a Spanish port on the Island of Cuba.

My comrade and myself now had full command, and felt ourselves free. We
took turns in watching the crew, and every thing went on well until the
next morning, when our hopes of freedom were suddenly blighted, even
when we were in plain sight of, and but three miles from, the port to
which we were steering, by being retaken by the same sloop which had
taken us the day before. They immediately put us in irons, which they
kept on us for fifteen days thereafter. Thus we were doomed to the most
cruel disappointment. We were now put on board the sloop, which sailed
for Kingston, on the Island of Jamaica; but she had sailed but a few
days before she gave chase to an American privateer. A running fight
was kept up between these two war vessels until towards night, when the
British sloop had her main-top-mast shot away. This took some little
time to repair, after which we steered for our place of destination,
where we arrived in about three days. While making the port we run
aground and were not able to get off until about four o'clock next
morning, and then by the aid of a British man-of-war, which was lying
at Port Royal.

The captain of the sloop kindly kept us on board his vessel for two
weeks; after which we were sent on board of a prison ship, where we
remained eight months. While here we fared very poorly, having only
half a pound of meat, a pound of bread and a gill of peas per day.
There were nine hundred American prisoners confined in this vessel,
shut out from home and all its many endearments. Many of them were sick
with yellow fever, and met here their final exit far from friends and
home.

After the expiration of the above time, six of us got away, by swimming
about a fourth of a mile to a vessel which lay at anchor in the harbor,
the jolly boat of which we made bold to take into our possession, and
steered out of the port through a great number of men-of-war in safety.

Early the next morning, we captured a small fishing canoe manned by
five slaves, from which we took a turtle, four fish, a sail and three
paddles. Immediately afterwards we heard the alarm guns fired aboard of
the ship from which we had but just made our escape. We then made for
shore, drew our boat into a swamp, and lay concealed all of that day.
When night came, we drew our boat to the water and pulled away for St.
Domingo. The next day we discovered an English Drogger, manned with
slaves, seventeen in number, and loaded with porter and cheese. This
craft we boarded and took possession of, after putting the slaves
aboard of our craft and giving them a small part of the loading of the
vessel. We then steered away for New Orleans, but ill luck again
attended us, for we had not had possession of her but a few hours
before an English man-of-war gave chase to, and compelled us to run
ashore to save being retaken. But we had not been on shore long before
we were again taken by some soldiers and marched about thirty miles
back into the country, and lodged in a stone jail, where we remained 25
days. Then we were marched down to the sea shore and put aboard the
Sea-Horse frigate, and carried back to Port Royal, where we were put in
irons and again placed on board the prison ship. Thus were all our
hopes of freedom again destroyed, when we thought our liberty was
almost within our grasp. After this we were kept on half the usual
quantity of provisions for about a month, to pay us for our love of
liberty and fresh air, and hard pay we thought it was too.

We were again put in irons and otherwise harshly treated, and had given
up all hope of ever seeing our native shores, when one day soon after
this, Captain Joseph Merryhew, from Wilmington, in Delaware, was
brought on board the prison ship with nine other prisoners. This man
knew, and inquired of me how long I had been a prisoner. I told him,
and he promised to help me to obtain my freedom; which promise he
faithfully kept. He was a freemason, and a kind hearted man, and to his
influence I own my early release from the miseries of imprisonment,
which I had borne for nearly a year. This humane man procured not only
my release but a large number more of my poor countrymen. This was a
happy change to men who were sighing for freedom.

We hoisted sail sometime in the month of August, 1814, and steered away
for Baltimore. Our ship was called the William Penn. Captain Turner. In
about eighteen days after leaving Port Royal, we made Cape Henry, on
the Virginia coast, where we found a British blockading fleet at
anchor, the commander of which ordered us to Philadelphia, to which
port we steered away, but we had the bad luck to strike upon the shoals
of Barnegat, during a thick fog that came on that afternoon, but after
three hours hard labor we got off and went on our voyage and soon made
the Delaware bay, which was also blockaded. Here we were again refused
the privilege of going into port, but were ordered to Boston, and were
told by the British officers to get out to sea within three hours or
they would fire into us. At this time we were almost out of provisions
and water. Of this we made the tyrant officers acquainted, but they
utterly refused either to furnish us with these necessaries or permit
us to enter Philadelphia. So we were again compelled to go to sea with
one day's provisions and water, and steered away for Boston. The next
day about 10 o'clock, A.M., we made Great Egg Harbor. The crew then
told the Captain that he must go ashore, for they would not stay aboard
and starve.--He said he dared not do it. They then told him that they
would give him half an hour to think of it, and if he did not then
comply that they should take the ship ashore. He however complied, and
we steered away accordingly. We were soon aground and were compelled to
throw overboard all the ballast, casks, and every thing on board;
however, after much hard struggling with the sand and waves we got over
the bar, and got as near shore as possible, where we drove stubs down
to keep the vessel. After which, we stripped her of all her rigging and
sails. The next morning we saw the shore lined with the militia of New
Jersey, who took us to be an enemy, but they soon found their mistake.
Instead of an enemy, they found us a poor set of weather-beaten,
starved fellows. Soon after this, the Custom-House officer sent down
boats and took us off, and carried us to the village that was near by,
and gave us all a good dinner; after which, we dispersed; some went to
New-York, and some to Philadelphia. This was about the middle of
September, 1814. Two hundred and seven of the crew started the next day
after we got ashore, for Philadelphia by land, which was about one
hundred and fifty miles. With this number I journeyed. We suffered much
on our journey, being destitute of money, and being compelled to beg
what little we eat on the road. At night we slept in the woods. We were
seven days in getting to the place of our destination, two of which we
eat nothing but whortleberries, which we picked by the way side. On the
third day a Friend Quaker kindly provided us with a good breakfast and
gave us money to pay our bridge fare. This man's name was John Rogers;
and of him it may be truly said, "he did unto others as he would have
them do unto him." How few of the pious of this covetous age can be
found to exhibit as much real disinterested benevolence as this man
did. After this we did not suffer for want of food.

We arrived at Philadelphia, and from thence we went either to sea or to
our several homes. After getting my pay, I went again to see my parents
at Westport. Here I stayed until spring, when I again shipped aboard
the ship Traveller, Jonathan Kendricks, master. The crew numbered
seventeen souls, principally Cape Cod men. We sailed for the Straits of
Belisle, where we went after codfish. We sailed as far north as
Esquimaux bay, where we took in one hundred and sixty thousand fish in
the short space of forty-five days. We then sailed for Boston. When off
Nantucket we experienced a severe gale, which continued all one night,
during which time the ship struck on the shoals; but after two hours we
got off and put into Chatham, on Cape Cod. We lost our main-mast during
this gale, and all the boats but one; besides this, we lost one man by
the name of Hagars, who fell from the fore-top and was drowned. We
dried our fish at Chatham and refitted before sailing for Boston, at
which place we arrived some time in December. Here we disposed of our
fish and returned to New Bedford and stayed until spring.

The next trip which I made to sea, was in the brig America, of 200
tons, William Dagget, master. We sailed from Boston with a crew of ten
men, and twenty-five passengers, on a cruise to New Orleans, which we
made in twenty days.

While Opposite Cape Florida, we fell in with a pirate schooner, which
gave chase to us by coming down upon our larboard quarter, and giving
us a gun which passed through our bulwark. Our Captain at this juncture
advised a surrender of our vessel, but the mate declared he would not
give up if the men would stand by him. The passengers told him they
would fight as long as there was a man left. They then stripped off
their coats, and we cleared for action. We then fired a broad side,
which cut away the pirate's main-mast and killed several of her crew.
We fired several broad-sides, and the passengers fired the small arms
to good effect, for the enemy soon wore away to windward and got off as
soon as possible by means of their oars. We saw several dead bodies
floating on the water belonging to the pirate crew. We had but one man
wounded and none killed.

We stayed at New Orleans three weeks, took in a load of Cotton, and
again sailed for Providence, where we arrived after a passage of thirty
days. Here we discharged our cargo and took in a set of ballast, and
after staying about twenty days we again set sail for Richmond, in
Virginia, after flour. We took in 1700 barrels of flour at the latter
place and after staying about three weeks again set sail for Boston,
where we arrived after a sail of fifteen days. Here we were paid off
and discharged; after which I went home to New Bedford, my parents at
this time being dead. Here I stayed until the next June, 1817, when I
shipped aboard of the Alexander Barclay, Captain Joseph Dunbar, bound
to Baltimore, for Cotton, Fustick, and Tobacco-stalks. After loading
our vessel with the above articles, we set sail for Bremen, a town in
Germany, on the river Weser. We had three passengers, Dr. Jamison, wife
and daughter. We were four weeks in loading our vessel and thirty days
on our passage to Bremen. We had an excellent Captain. At Bremen we
stayed but three weeks, discharged our freight, took in ballast, and
two passengers, a Swedish lady and her daughter. From here we sailed to
Gottenburgh, which took us fifteen days. Here we took in a load of
Iron, stayed four weeks, and again set sail for New Bedford, which
place we reached in forty-seven days thereafter. We went north about
between Scotland and the Ferroe Islands.--When on the banks, we saw
large islands of ice which contained a number of hundred acres, and
some of them one hundred and fifty feet high. We arrived at New Bedford
about the first of January, 1818. The next year I spent principally
around home. But in May 1819, I shipped aboard of the brig Traveller
again, on a cruise to Cape Harrison, in latitude 65 degrees north,
where we took in twelve hundred quintals of codfish. While here we
killed four white bears. Wild geese were very plenty. We saw the
Esquimaux Indians a number of times sailing in their skin canoes. We
made this voyage in about six months. We sold our fish at Boston, and
went home to Bedford, where all hands were paid off and discharged.

The next voyage that I made was with Captain Joseph Gardner, to
Matanzas, in the ship William, for Molasses, Coffee, and Sugar. This
was in the year 1820. The seas were thickly infested with pirates at
this time, which detained us eighteen days after we were loaded.
Captain Porter at this time lay off Matanzas, in the sloop Peacock. He
had a number of schooners also under his command, two of which convoyed
us with sixty other merchantmen across the Bahama banks.

The next fall I went on another voyage in the Mary, of Boston, Captain
Joseph White, to St. Thomas for Molasses, which we carried to Boston.

During the next eight years I made sixteen voyages to the West India
Islands, under different Captains and in different vessels. In none of
these voyages did any thing unusual occur, though we had to throw some
of our cargoes overboard to save the vessels. After the above voyages I
stayed at home a few months, but not being contented on shore, about
the 25th of June, 1829, I again went to sea in the ship Trident, of 600
tons. There were sixty of the crew, principally experienced whalemen.
We were bound to the Pacific Ocean, for whale. Our course was as usual
by way of the Western Islands, where we arrived in about 20 days. We
caught three Sperm on the passage. We stopped at Flores, one of these
islands, where we took in potatoes, onions, pumpkins, hogs, and
chickens. Here we stopped but two days. Then we steered away south for
the Cape De Verds, which we passed. The next land which we saw was the
Isle of May. Thence we steered away for Cape Horn, where we arrived in
90 days thereafter. We then doubled Cape Horn, and sailed northward off
the coast, until we came to the island of Juan Fernandez, famous for
its being for several years the abode of the celebrated Robinson
Crusoe. One could not help thinking of the dreadful life this
celebrated navigator lived while here. His lonely hours and tantalizing
dreams. His constant fear of beasts and cannibal savages. While here we
visited the untenanted cave where that noted adventurer is said to have
resided. On this island are a great many goats; also peaches, which
grow wild in the woods. There were but few people here. The colony
planted by Crusoe not having multiplied very fast. The land here is
good, but the shore is generally bold. From this place we sailed for
Payta, in latitude 5 degrees south, where we arrived after more than
six months sail from the time we left New Bedford. Here we took in
potatoes and onions, re-fitted ship, and made ready for fishing. Here
we stayed eighteen days. Then we sailed for the "offshore ground" a
famous place for sperm whale. We were fifty days sailing from Payta to
the shore. Here we stayed five months, and took but two hundred barrels
sperm. We then sailed again for Payta, where we recruited ship, staid a
couple of weeks, and then sailed for Tombus, where we took in wood and
water. When this was done, we sailed the for Gallipago Islands, where
we went for Terrapin. The Terrapin very much resembles our large
Turtle, only they live wholly on the land, and weigh from four to five
hundred pounds. The manner of taking them is as follows: In the morning
we used to go up into the island, among the bushes, where we usually
found them feeding upon cabbage trees, that they had gnawed down the
night before. After finding them two of us used to go up to them and
turn them over upon their backs, then tie their legs, and swing them
between us, by lashing them to our backs. We then carry them to the
boats, and from thence to the ship. We sometimes keep them alive six
months without any food or drink. They make excellent soup, and are
esteemed very healthy. They are worth, when brought to a sea-port city,
from two hundred to three hundred dollars. We took six hundred of these
animals in five days, and got them on board ship.

After this, we went again to the "off shore" coast, for sperm whale. We
had the luck to take six whale after we had been out two days. After
this we continued our sail to the place of destination, where we took
in eighteen hundred barrels of oil. Here we stayed three months, and
sailed for Callao, on the coast of Peru. After arriving at the latter
place, I left the ship and went aboard of the Charles, of London. The
Trident, after recruiting ship sailed for New Bedford.

The Charles, on board of which I had shipped, sailed in about two weeks
after I went aboard, for sperm, along the coast, but we had such a
drunken Captain that we could not do any business. He was not sober any
of the time while we were out. After going into the port from whence we
last sailed I left the Charles and went on board the Golconda, of New
Bedford. In this vessel I stayed about nine months, during which we
fished in Panama bay with tolerable success. The Captain was a bad man
and abused the crew very much.--From this bay we went to Payta, where I
was paid off and left the ship.

The people of this place procure their water from springs that are nine
miles off, which is brought in every morning on asses in what are
called callabashes, that hold from fifteen to twenty gallons each.
After staying at this place five months, myself and two others started
with one ass loaded with water and provisions for Peuro, situated one
hundred miles south east from Payta. The country through which we
passed was a sandy desert, without a shrub or spire of grass to cheer
us on our way. At night we slept on the sand and had no other shelter
than the canopy of the heavens afforded. We were five days on our
journey. There was no water to be seen during our whole journey, nor a
single house or cultivated spot. The sands drift as the snow does in
the northern parts of America. When I arrived at the place of our
destination, I engaged to work for a Spanish gentleman called Don
Francisco. This man owned a distillery in which I labored two months.
Then I went about 70 miles further into the country, to a place called
Apputaria, which was situated on the Columbian mountains. Here I
labored five months on a farm, for a man named Tarbury. The people in
this vicinity are Spaniards, and are very hospitable to strangers. Here
the people live by raising sweet potatoes, corn, cotton and sugar cane.
Here I stayed six months and enjoyed myself very well. The religion of
this people is the Catholic.

The only man with whom I had formed an acquaintance who was from the
United States, was a Cape-Cod man. This man and myself had lived
together from the time I landed at Payta. From Apputaria we started
about the first of March, 1834, and went again to Peuro, where my
companion died, far from home and friends, in a foreign land. He had no
kind friend to close his eyes for the last time, except the writer of
this narrative, who rendered him such assistance as was in his power to
render, and when he slept in death, procured him such a burial as was
in accordance with the custom of the country.

After the death of my friend I stayed about a week, and them left that
place and went to Payta, which is a sea-port town.--Here I stayed but
about one month before I again shipped on board a whaler called the
Mechanic, of Newport, Rhode Island. Alter leaving this port we went
down to Tombus, where we took in potatoes, squashes, onions and water
melons. We then steered away for the offshore ground, which is about
three thousand miles west of the coast of Peru. Here we took two whale,
after which we steered away west until we came to the Reupore Islands,
but we did not land here on account of the ferocity of the natives, who
were armed with heavy, carved war-clubs. The land appeared to be good,
but was mountainous, back from the shore. The people were almost white,
but very savage in their appearance, and went almost naked.--What
little clothing they had was made of grass wove into a species of
cloth. This they tied around their waists. It reached down before
nearly to the knees. These people have never permitted the missionaries
to live among them, but they worship idols made of stone. They raise
potatoes and oranges of the vegetable kind, and of the animal, hogs. Of
these latter, we purchased a hog that would weigh two bundled pounds,
for one whale tooth. What they do with the teeth I do not know. This
the natives brought to us by swimming to the ship. From the last
mentioned Islands we steered away west by north, about two thousand
miles further, when we reached an island called Riotier, one of a group
called the Society Islands. Here my time being up, I left the ship and
went among the natives, who were a very friendly, hospitable people.
Here I staved five months, and learned much of the customs and manners
of the country. The people generally go naked, and men, women and
children live promiscuously together.

Their houses are very simple, being constructed by driving posts into
the ground and then by fastening beams made of round sticks to the top
of these posts, and smaller sticks, covered with grass wove very
compactly together to the beams. This forms the dwelling of these poor,
but happy people. When the wind blows hard, or when it rains they heave
up grass mats on the side of the house towards the wind. Under this
frail covering whole families, sometimes consisting of twenty or
thirty, are huddled together both by night and by day. The people are
very indolent, having every thing necessary for their subsistence
growing spontaneously around them. Their food is bread fruit, which
grows upon trees somewhat resembling apple trees. It grows like an
apple, but as large as a man's head. This is prepared for eating by
roasting it in the fire and by taking off the skin. Then it is sliced
up the same as we slice up bread for the table. This is better than the
best wheat bread. Of this fruit they have two crops in a year which
lasts about two months and a half each crop. Then they have during the
other parts of year two crops of Fayees, a kind of fruit that grows
upon bushes about ten feet high and resembles large cucumbers. These
are cooked by digging holes in the ground and then making hot fires in
them and heating the same as we heat ovens. When the hole is
sufficiently hot they clear out the fire, put in the fruit, and cover
them over with large leaves. In about two hours they are sufficiently
cooked.--When cooked, they become soft like a potatoe, but much more
delicious. There is also a root, called tea-root, which is about four
inches in diameter and two or three feet long.--These, when roasted,
afford a juice similar to molasses. Besides these, they have plenty of
good fish, hogs and cattle. Horses are very scarce, though I saw a few
while there.

The people of this place, when they make a feast, which is often, roast
a hog whole. This they do by digging a hole in the ground sufficiently
large to put the animal in, then they build a large fire in it and heat
it, as English people heat their ovens. While they are making the dirt
oven ready, they have another large fire close by, where they heat
small round stones. When these are sufficiently heated and the hole is
also heated, they clear out the coals, and put a layer of the heated
round stones upon the bottom, then they lay in the hog and cover it
with large leaves, then over these a layer of the hot stones, then
another of the leaves, and over all, they throw a layer of dirt. When
the hog has become properly roasted, they take it out and lay it upon
sticks prepared for that purpose, and the guests set round and eat.

There is an Englishman by the name of Hunter, who has a sugar
plantation on this island, and employs seventy five hands, all natives
of the country. He has about one hundred and seventy five acres under
improvement. The sugar manufactured here is of good quality. There is a
kind of root that grows here called tarrow, which resembles a potatoe.
This is the only vegetable that I saw cultivated on the island. To
raise these, the people burn over a spot during the dry season, and sow
the seed, and get it in with sticks, where the land is not very mellow.
It generally will sprout, and grow without any labor being bestowed
upon it after sowing. The roots are fit for use in three months. These
are cooked by roasting as we roast potatoes.

There is a missionary on this island, and the people are more
intelligent than most of the other islanders in that vicinity.--They
are one of the most peaceable and happy people with whom the writer was
ever acquainted. They seem to be peculiarly the favorites of our Great
Father. Possessing one of the most salubrious of climates, with every
thing formed in nature, and growing spontaneously for their support,
they are well fitted to enjoy life and all its attendant blessings.
They are happy in their poverty, and contented in their simplicity; and
I assure my readers, that it was not without many painful sensations,
that I left this ocean isle, and its peaceful inhabitants. May God ever
be with, and preserve them for their many acts of benevolence, shown to
the writer of this narrative, when a stranger thrown among them, and
more than fourteen thousand miles from the land of his nativity.

One day, after I had been on the island about five months, I
accidentally found a ship at the harbor which belonged to Martha's
Vineyard, in the United States. This was the first vessel which I had
seen since I had been here. The Captain's name was Toby. After getting
acquainted with this man, he proposed my going home with him. He said I
had not better stay among the natives any longer--that my folks at home
would be glad to see me, I finally concluded to go with him.

We sailed from this place sometime during the latter part of 1835, and
arrived at the vineyard in the spring of 1836.

While on our homeward bound passage, we lost three men, by being struck
by a whale.

After discharging our freight at Oldtown, on the Vineyard, I went home
to New Bedford, where I stayed three months, when I again shipped
aboard of a whaler called the Delight, Captain Philip Sanford. Our
voyage was made to St. Domingo in twenty eight days. Here we commenced
fishing, but catched nothing but black fish, which we sold for
potatoes, oranges, squashes &c. We then went down upon the Jamaica
coast, where we caught seven sperm whale; after this we went into
Mexico Bay where we took four more whale.--Then we went to the Western
Islands, where we caught three more large whale. We then stopped at
Flores, and took in potatoes, onions, chickens, pumpkins and squashes.
We stopped at several other of this group of Islands on our way home.
We were gone eight months on this voyage. After unloading our ship, I
stayed at New Bedford but a few weeks before I again left home on a
visit to the State of New-York, to see a cousin that I had not seen for
more than eighteen years. This man lives in the town of Stockbridge,
and county of Madison. His name is Michael Wainer, a man of good
property and of respectable standing. I stayed at this place until the
spring of 1838, when I went to Buffalo, and shipped aboard of the
Steamer Wisconsin, bound to Detroit, in the State of Michigan. We had
two hundred and fifty passengers, with their goods, on board. The next
trip that we made was to Chicago, in the State of Illinois; our lading
was the same as we had in our last trip. On our return passage, I hurt
my foot while taking in wood, at Cleaveland in Ohio. After this I
boarded a few days in Buffalo, but my foot continuing lame, I again
returned to Stockbridge, where I arrived sometime in the month of June,
1838. Here I labored for several persons in the course of the season. I
think the people of this place are as industrious and respectable as in
any place with which I have been acquainted. They are, in general, good
livers, have fewer poor people among them, than most of the places
which I have visited, and are very civil and courteous to strangers.
They are principally emigrants from the New England States. The town is
beautifully situated, having the Oneida Creek, running from south to
north through its centre. Upon this stream are a number of grist and
saw mills. Here would be an excellent place for erecting manufactories
of cotton or wool. From the centre of this town to the Utica and
Syracuse Rail Road is but seven miles. This town produces excellent
winter wheat, corn, rye, barley and oats. It is called one of the
richest towns in the State of New-York.

I now take leave of those who may hereafter peruse this relation of
events through which the writer has passed, during his stay among
earth's travellers. May heaven's choicest blessings ever be theirs,
together with the innumerable comforts which are the attendants of an
earthly pilgrimage. Good bye.

PAUL CUFFE.

_Stockbridge, N.Y. March 18, 1839._





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