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Title: Byron's Narrative of the Loss of the Wager
Author: Byron, John
Language: English
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                           BYRON'S NARRATIVE
                            OF THE LOSS OF
                               THE WAGER

                     WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE GREAT
                     THEIR ARRIVAL IN ENGLAND 1746

                    HENRY LEGGATT & CO 85 CORNHILL


                    PRINTED BY BRADBURY AND EVANS,
                           BOUVERIE STREET.


At a time when every thing connected with the name of Byron is regarded
with such general interest, it is a subject of surprise and regret that
no popular edition should exist of the Narrative of Commodore Byron.
Indeed, to procure any copy at all of the work requires some research
and trouble. To supply this deficiency is the object of the present

To the admirers of the illustrious Poet, the Narrative of the
sufferings of his grandfather will, on more than one account,
be acceptable. In the Poems, it is often, whether humorously or
pathetically, alluded to; for instance, in the mournfully beautiful
stanzas to his sister, written soon after he left England for the last
time, he says,

    "A strange doom is thy father's son's, and past
    Recalling, as it lies beyond redress;
    Reversed for him _our grandsire's fate_ of yore,
    He had _no rest at sea_, nor I on shore!"

Again, in a different mood, in Don Juan, after having carried his hero
through the horrors of a shipwreck, as disastrous and fatal in itself
and its consequences as his imagination could conceive, he observes--

                      "----for none
    Had suffered more--his hardships were comparative
    To those related in my grand-dad's Narrative."

To which passage he appends the following note:--"Admiral Byron was
remarkable for never making a voyage without a tempest. He was known
to the sailors by the facetious name of 'foul-weather Jack.'" Indeed,
to this narrative the poet is indebted for many of the incidents in
that surpassing description of "the dangers of the sea." The awful
"whispering" in which, according to the Admiral, the men communicated
their first horrid thoughts of putting one of their number to death for
the support of the rest, is admirably preserved and amplified in Don

    "At length one whispered his companion, who
    Whispered another, and thus it went round,
    And then into a hoarser murmur grew,
    An ominous and wild, and desperate sound,
    And then his comrade's thought each sufferer knew,
    'Twas but his own, suppressed till now, he found:
    And out they spoke of lots for flesh and blood,
    And who should die to be his fellow's food."

The germ of the conception of the cave-scenes, so beautifully described
in the poem, will also be found here; the fondness of Juan for his
favourite dog, the voracity with which he devoured the long-withheld
food, and many other incidents, were suggested by this Narrative.[1]

Captain Inglefield's account of the loss of the Centaur, (in
September, 1782), furnished Byron with many of those trivial incidents,
which, as the poet well knew, render a story, to use Gibbon's words,
"circumstancial and animated," instead of "vague and languid;" the
"eternal difference between fiction and truth." The behaviour of the
sailors before the sinking of the ship; some lashing themselves in
their hammocks, some putting on their best clothes; the sail made
of blankets; the ragged piece of sheet with which they caught the
rain-water; the words used by the man who first saw the land, &c. &c.,
are all faithfully copied or slightly altered from Inglefield.]

To those who would study the character of Lord Byron; discover what
qualities of his nature were derived from his ancestors, and what were
peculiarly his own; who would trace the effect produced on his writings
by early tastes, habits, and associations, the narrative will afford
ample material for observation.

Mr. Moore,--who, in paying to genius that tribute which genius alone
can fully pay, has shewn how thoroughly he understood the character
of the poet (a character, perhaps, after all to be _felt_ rather than
_explained_), how well he appreciated his virtues and the peculiar
circumstances attendant on genius, which palliate, if they do not
excuse, his foibles,--remarks, that Lord Byron "strikingly combined,
in his own nature, some of the best and perhaps worst qualities that
lie scattered through the various characters of his predecessors;
the generosity, the love of enterprise, the high-mindedness of some
of the better spirits of his race, with the irregular passions, the
eccentricity, and daring recklessness of the world's opinion, that so
much characterised others." In the character then of the most famous
of those "better spirits," as exemplified in his own narrative of his
sufferings and adventures, we may discern the source of many of the
amiable qualities which descended to and adorned the immortal poet.
We shall observe in both the same frankness, generosity, affability,
love of excitement, the same mildness, and unassuming modesty. But
the contrasts of their characters we shall find even more striking
than the resemblances. We shall see in the sailor the ease and
contentedness of spirit arising from its agreement with the sphere
it moves in--the soul harmonizing with the situation--the man with
the circumstances--the Supply equivalent to the Demand. We shall see
in the poet the "high instincts of a creature moving about in worlds
not realized"--the large expectancies, the high anticipations,
unfulfilled and unanswered; the discontent, the jarring of a being not
_at one_ with the place of its existence, panting for something above
it, aspiring "beyond the fitting medium of desire." We shall see him
inordinately yearning after affection and happiness, yet enveloped,
as it were, in a nervous network of sensibility, feelingly alive to
every the faintest manifestation of slight, neglect, unkindness,--to
all that causes sorrow and pain: we shall see the co-existence of
these qualities producing necessarily disappointment and disgust; the
very capability of enjoying the good, unfitting him for the endurance
of the ill; the power of imagination heightening the beauties of the
ideal, the keenness of perception aggravating the defects of the real;
the consequent struggles for existence in a wounded spirit between
"feelings unemployed," affections unreturned, and the bitterness
or apathy they engender--between original benevolence and acquired
misanthropy. We shall see the sailor habitually yielding himself to
the guidance and authority of others, unhesitatingly acknowledging,
and, as a matter of course, complying with, the established relations,
laws, and customs of society; submitting without repining, question,
or surprise, to the vicissitudes of fortune; patient of hardship,
uncomplaining of Circumstance. The poet, from the pride of Mind,
accustomed ever to decide for itself, to act and reflect always,
obstinately questioning even Destiny and Fate; bidding haughty
defiance to their Ruler, or yielding with sullen indifference or
gloomy repining; if confessing the necessity of compliance, hardly
resigned. We shall find the sailor sustaining his cheerfulness in
every situation; the poet, plunging, perhaps from constitutional
melancholy, into misery; acted upon by that strong attraction, that
irresistible impulse towards the dark and the sad, that capability,
strikingly described by himself, of "learning to love despair." We
shall see throughout the difference between the continual presence and
the comparative absence of consciousness, that power by which Self,
rising as it were above itself, makes itself the subject of microscopic
observation. In the writings especially, of each, we shall observe
the operations of these opposite properties. The sailor writes on,
unaware and thoughtless of the effect of what he writes: the poet,
in his letters particularly, seems to know intuitively the effect on
others of every word he sets down; he reads their thoughts, he hears
their remarks as he writes; and this knowledge, so immediate that its
effects on his style seem almost unintentional, continually modifies
his expressions, giving the appearance of affectation to what is
no more than a natural result of his quick perception and extreme
sensitiveness. In every action, too, of the poet, important or trivial,
the working of this principle, so hard to be discovered in the sailor,
is equally evident. He looks always to the effect: nothing seems done
solely for itself: the love of admiration, of being remarkable, of
standing alone, however disguised, may almost always be detected.
Finally, we shall not fail to observe throughout, the contrast
between the single and the "many-sided" mind; between the ordinary
and the extraordinary; between the Mortal made immortal by force of
circumstances; the Immortal, in spite of circumstances, asserting and
maintaining his inborn immortality.

Yet, enhanced as the interest attaching to this narrative is, by the
connection of its author with one of the greatest of the master-minds
of these latter days, it is a work which of itself may well demand
and obtain our attention and regard. The incidents it relates are
peculiarly of that complexion which has caused it to be remarked (as
Byron himself has somewhere) that Fiction, however wonderful, must
often yield to Truth. It is a striking specimen of the romance of real
life. The spectacle of a member of an old and noble family, accustomed
to the comforts and luxuries that attend high birth, reduced to the
necessity, at one time, of beating his _shirt_ in order to crush the
vermin it was useless to attempt to get rid of by washing; and at
another, of making a meal (eagerly, as he himself confesses,) of the
putrid remains of a favourite dog, is as well calculated to excite the
curiosity of the observer of mankind as to gratify the taste of the
reader of romance. And if the extraordinary nature of the incidents
themselves arouse our wonder, the manner in which they are related will
insure and fix our sympathy. The simple, unaffected style, slightly
tinged with the quaintness of old phraseology; the total absence of
any thing like striving after effect; the apparent unconsciousness of
the narrator that he must be the object of admiration or pity; the
freedom from all attempts to disguise some feelings, or to affect and
assume others; the modesty, the frankness, which characterize this
narration, while they give additional interest to the work itself,
afford indisputable testimony to the amiableness of the author. To
have imitated so correctly this natural style, is one of the highest
triumphs of the genius of Defoe, in his romance of Robinson Crusoe.

Considered, then, either as an useful appendage to the Works and Life
of Byron; as an aid in forming an estimate of his character; or as
an account of sufferings and adventures which would appear suitable
rather to a romance than to a journal of events actually experienced;
an illustration of the strange vicissitudes human life may undergo, of
the extremities and hardships human nature may bear; or, in short, as a
specimen of simple and beautiful writing, this work can scarcely fail
of affording delight and gratification to the reader.

JOHN BYRON, the second son of William, the fourth Lord Byron, by his
third wife, was born at Newstead Abbey, November 8th, 1723, and at an
early age entered as a midshipman in the British navy. He still held
that rank in 1740, when the expedition to the South Sea against the
Spaniards took place under the command of Commodore Anson. The Wager,
Captain Cheap, to which Mr. Byron belonged, was separated from the rest
of the squadron, and wrecked on a desert island to the southward of
Chiloe (47° south lat.) After encountering the most dreadful sufferings
from famine, a small number of the crew, including the Captain and
Mr. Byron, reached the isle of Chiloe, and surrendered themselves
prisoners to the Spaniards. They were afterwards removed to Chili,
and detained some time at Valparaiso and St. Jago; but were at length
allowed to return to England, where they arrived after an absence of
more than five years. At a subsequent period, Mr. Byron published
his "Narrative." The young seaman was not deterred by his misfortunes
from pursuing his naval career; he returned to the service of his
country, and commanded the America, in Boscawen's action off Cape
Lagos, August 18, 1759. His skill and enterprising spirit afterwards
occasioned his appointment to the command of an expedition fitted out
to make discoveries in the South Sea.[2] He sailed from England, June
21st, 1764, and having circumnavigated the globe, returned home in
May, 1766. Several islands were explored in this voyage, which were
afterwards visited by Bougainville and Cooke; and experiments were
also made to determine the accuracy of Harrison's time-keeper, and
its consequent value as a means of ascertaining the longitude. This
officer subsequently was made an admiral, and commanded in the West
Indies during the American war. Admiral Byron was much beloved in the
navy, more so, perhaps, than any other officer except Nelson. He died
in 1798, leaving one son, John, who dying before his uncle, Lord Byron,
the title of the latter descended to his only son, George Gordon, the

Byron's ship in this expedition was the Dolphin: she was the second
ship ever coppered in the British navy.]

                           BYRON'S NARRATIVE
                                OF THE
                          _Loss of the Wager._

The equipment and destination of the squadron fitted out in the year
1740, of which Commodore Anson had the command, being sufficiently
known from the ample and well-penned relation of it under his
direction, I shall recite no particulars that are to be found in
that work. But it may be necessary, for the better understanding the
disastrous fate of the Wager, the subject of the following sheets, to
repeat the remark, that a strange infatuation seemed to prevail in the
whole conduct of this embarkation. For though it was unaccountably
detained till the season for its sailing was past, no proper use was
made of that time, which should have been employed in providing a
suitable force of sailors and soldiery; nor was there a due attention
given to other requisites for so peculiar and extensive a destination.

This neglect not only rendered the expedition abortive in its principal
object, but most materially affected the condition of each particular
ship; and none so fatally as the Wager, which being an old Indiaman
brought into the service on this occasion, was now fitted out as a
man of war; but being made to serve as a store ship, was deeply laden
with all kinds of careening geer, military and other stores, for the
use of the other ships; and, what is more, crowded with bale goods,
and encumbered with merchandise. A ship of this quality and condition
could not be expected to work with that readiness and ease which was
necessary for her security and preservation in those heavy seas with
which she was to encounter. Her crew consisted of men pressed from
long voyages to be sent upon a distant and hazardous service: on the
other hand, all her land-forces were no more than a poor detachment of
infirm and decrepid invalids from Chelsea hospital, desponding under
the apprehensions of a long voyage. It is not then to be wondered,
that Captain Kid, under whose command the ship sailed out of the port,
should in his last moments presage her ill success, though nothing very
material happened during his command.

At his death he was succeeded by Captain Cheap, who still, without any
accident, kept company with the squadron till we had almost gained
the southernmost mouth of Straits Le Maire; when, being the sternmost
ship, we were, by the sudden shifting of the wind to the southward,
and the turn of the tide, very near being wrecked upon the rocks of
Staten Land; which, notwithstanding, having weathered, contrary to the
expectation of the rest of the squadron, we endeavoured all in our
power to make up our lost way and regain our station. This we effected,
and proceeded on our voyage, keeping company with the rest of the ships
for some time; when, by a great roll of a hollow sea, we carried away
our mizen mast, all the chain plates to windward being broken. Soon
after, hard gales at west coming on with a prodigious swell, there
broke a heavy sea in upon the ship, which stove our boats, and filled
us for some time.

These accidents were the more disheartening, as our carpenter was on
board the Gloucester, and detained there by the incessant tempestuous
weather, and sea impracticable for boats. In a few days he returned,
and supplied the loss of the mizen-mast by a lower studding-sail boom;
but this expedient, together with the patching up of our rigging, was
a poor temporary relief to us. We were soon obliged to cut away our
best bower anchor to ease the fore-mast, the shrouds and chain plates
of which were all broken, and the ship in all parts in a most crazy

Thus shattered and disabled, a single ship, (for we had now lost sight
of our squadron) we had the additional mortification to find ourselves
bearing for the land on a lee shore, having thus far persevered in
the course we held, from an error in conjecture; for the weather was
unfavourable for observation, and there are no charts of that part
of the coast. When those officers who first perceived their mistake,
endeavoured to persuade the captain to alter his course, and bear
away, for the greater surety, to the westward, he persisted in making
directly, as he thought, for the island of Socoro; and to such as dared
from time to time to deliver their doubts of being entangled with the
land stretching to the westward, he replied, that he thought himself in
no case at liberty to deviate from his orders; and that the absence of
his ship from the first place of rendezvous, would entirely frustrate
the whole squadron in the first object of their attack, and possibly
decide upon the fortune of the whole expedition. For the better
understanding the force of his reasoning, it is necessary to explain,
that the island of Socoro is in the neighbourhood of Baldivia, the
capture of which place could not be effected without the junction of
that ship, which carried the ordnance and military stores.

The knowledge of the great importance of giving so early and unexpected
a blow to the Spaniards, determined the captain to make the shortest
way to the point in view; and that rigid adherence to orders from which
he thought himself in no case at liberty to depart, begot in him a
stubborn defiance of all difficulties, and took away from him those
apprehensions, which so justly alarmed all such as, from an ignorance
of the orders, had nothing present to their minds but the dangers of a
lee shore.[3]


Captain Cheap has been suspected of a design of going on the
Spanish coast without the Commodore; but no part of his conduct seems
to authorise, in the least, such a suspicion. The author who brings
this heavy charge against him, is equally mistaken in imagining that
Captain Cheap had not instructions to sail to this island, and that
the Commodore did neither go nor send thither, to inform himself if
any of the squadron were there. This appears from the orders delivered
to the captains of the squadron, the day before they sailed from St.
Catherine's (L. Anson's Voyage, B.I.C. 6.); from the orders of the
council of war held on board the Centurion, in the bay of St. Julian,
(C. 7.); and from the conduct of the Commodore (C. 10.) who cruized
(with the utmost hazard) more than a fortnight off the isle of Socoro,
and along the coast in its neighbourhood. It was the second rendezvous
at Baldivia, and not that at Socoro, that the Commodore was forced by
necessity to neglect.]

We had for some time been sensible of our approach to the land, from
no other tokens than those of weeds and birds, which are the usual
indications of nearing the coast; but at length we had an imperfect
view of an eminence, which we conjectured to be one of the mountains
of the Cordilleras. This, however, was not so distinctly seen but
that many conceived it to be the effect of imagination: but if the
captain was persuaded of the nearness of our danger, it was now too
late to remedy it; for at this time the straps of the fore jeer
blocks breaking, the fore-yard came down; and the greatest part of
the men being disabled through fatigue and sickness, it was some time
before it could be got up again. The few hands who were employed in
this business now plainly saw the land on the larboard beam, bearing
N.W., upon which the ship was driving bodily. Orders were then given
immediately by the captain to sway the fore-yard up, and set the
fore-sail; which done, we wore ship with her head to the southward, and
endeavoured to crowd her off from the land: but the weather, from being
exceedingly tempestuous, blowing now a perfect hurricane, and right in
upon the shore, rendered our endeavours (for we were now only twelve
hands fit for duty) entirely fruitless. The night came on, dreadful
beyond description, in which, attempting to throw out our topsails to
claw off the shore, they were immediately blown from the yards.

In the morning, about four o'clock, the ship struck. The shock we
received upon this occasion, though very great, being not unlike the
blow of a heavy sea, such as in the series of preceding storms we had
often experienced, was taken for the same; but we were soon undeceived
by her striking again more violently than before, which laid her upon
her beam ends, the sea making a fair breach over her. Every person that
now could stir was presently upon the quarter-deck; and many even of
those were alert upon this occasion, that had not showed their faces
upon deck for above two months before: several poor wretches, who were
in the last stage of the scurvy, and who could not get out of their
hammocks, were immediately drowned.

In this dreadful situation she lay for some little time, every soul
on board looking upon the present minute as his last; for there was
nothing; to be seen but breakers all around us. However, a mountainous
sea hove her off from thence, but she presently struck again, and broke
her tiller. In this terrifying and critical juncture, to have observed
all the various modes of horror operating according to the several
characters and complexions amongst us, it was necessary that the
observer himself should have been free from all impressions of danger.
Instances there were, however, of behaviour so very remarkable, they
could not escape the notice of any one who was not entirely bereaved
of his senses; for some were in this condition to all intents and
purposes; particularly one, in the ravings of despair brought upon him,
was seen stalking about the deck, flourishing a cutlass over his head
and calling himself king of the country, and striking every body he
came near, till his companions, seeing no other security against his
tyranny, knocked him down. Some, reduced before by long sickness and
the scurvy, became on this occasion as it were petrified and bereaved
of all sense, like inanimate logs, and were bandied to and fro by the
jerks and rolls of the ship, without exerting any efforts to help
themselves. So terrible was the scene of foaming breakers around us,
that one of the bravest men we had could not help expressing his dismay
at it, saying it was too shocking a sight to bear; and would have
thrown himself over the rails of the quarter-deck into the sea, had
he not been prevented: but at the same time there were not wanting
those who preserved a presence of mind truly heroic. The man at the
helm, though both rudder and tiller were gone, kept his station; and
being asked by one of the officers, if the ship would steer or not,
first took his time to make trial by the wheel, and then answered with
as much respect and coolness as if the ship had been in the greatest
safety; and immediately after applied himself with his usual serenity
to his duty, persuaded it did not become him to desert it as long as
the ship kept together. Mr. Jones, mate, who now survives not only
this wreck, but that of the Litchfield man of war upon the coast of
Barbary, at the time when the ship was in the most imminent danger,
not only shewed himself undaunted, but endeavoured to inspire the same
resolution in the men; saying, "My friends, let us not be discouraged:
did you never see a ship amongst breakers before? Let us try to push
her through them. Come, lend a hand; here is a sheet, and here is a
brace; lay hold; I don't doubt but we may stick her yet near enough
to the land to save our lives." This had so good an effect, that many
who before were half dead, seemed active again, and now went to work
in earnest. This Mr. Jones did purely to keep up the spirits of the
people as long as possible; for he often said afterwards, he thought
there was not the least chance of a single man being saved. We now
ran in between an opening of the breakers, steering by the sheets and
braces, when providentially we stuck fast between two great rocks; that
to windward sheltering us in some measure from the violence of the
sea. We immediately cut away the main and foremast; but the ship kept
beating in such a manner, that we imagined she could hold together but
a very little while. The day now broke, and the weather, that had been
extremely thick, cleared away for a few moments, and gave us a glimpse
of the land not far from us. We now thought of nothing but saving our
lives. To get the boats out, as our masts were gone, was a work of some
time; which when accomplished, many were ready to jump into the first,
by which means they narrowly escaped perishing before they reached the
shore. I now went to Captain Cheap (who had the misfortune to dislocate
his shoulder by a fall the day before, as he was going forward to get
the fore-yard swayed up), and asked him if he would not go on shore;
but he told me, as he had done before, that he would be the last to
leave the ship; and he ordered me to assist in getting the men out as
soon as possible. I had been with him very often from the time the ship
first struck, as he desired I would, to acquaint him with every thing
that passed; and I particularly remarked, that he gave his orders at
that time with as much coolness as ever he had done during the former
part of the voyage.

The scene was now greatly changed; for many who but a few minutes
before had shewn the strongest signs of despair, and were on their
knees praying for mercy, imagining they were now not in that immediate
danger, grew very riotous, broke open every chest and box that was
at hand, stove in the heads of casks of brandy and wine as they were
borne up to the hatchways, and got so drunk, that several of them
were drowned on board, and lay floating about the decks for some days
after. Before I left the ship, I went down to my chest, which was at
the bulkhead of the wardroom, in order to save some little matters, if
possible; but whilst I was there the ship thumped with such violence,
and the water came in so fast, that I was forced to get upon the
quarter-deck again, without saving a single rag but what was upon my
back. The boatswain and some of the people would not leave the ship so
long as there was any liquor to be got at; upon which Captain Cheap
suffered himself to be helped out of his bed, put into the boat, and
carried on shore.

It is natural to think, that to men thus upon the point of perishing
by shipwreck, the getting to land was the highest attainment of
their wishes; undoubtedly it was a desirable event; yet, all things
considered, our condition was but little mended by the change.
Whichever way we looked, a scene of horror presented itself: on one
side the wreck (in which was all that we had in the world to support
and subsist us), together with a boisterous sea, presented us with
the most dreary prospect; on the other, the land did not wear a much
more favourable appearance: desolate and barren, without sign of
culture, we could hope to receive little other benefit from it than the
preservation it afforded us from the sea. It must be confessed this was
a great and merciful deliverance from immediate destruction; but then
we had wet, cold, and hunger, to struggle with, and no visible remedy
against any of these evils. Exerting ourselves, however, though faint,
benumbed, and almost helpless, to find some wretched covert against
the extreme inclemency of the weather, we discovered an Indian hut, at
a small distance from the beach, within a wood, in which as many as
possible, without distinction, crowded themselves, the night coming on
exceedingly tempestuous and rainy. But here our situation was such
as to exclude all rest and refreshment by sleep from most of us; for
besides that we pressed upon one another extremely, we were not without
our alarms and apprehensions of being attacked by the Indians, from a
discovery we made of some of their lances and other arms in our hut;
and our uncertainty of their strength and disposition, gave alarm to
our imagination, and kept us in continual anxiety.

In this miserable hovel, one of our company, a lieutenant of invalids,
died this night; and of those who for want of room took shelter under
a great tree, which stood them in very little stead, two more perished
by the severity of that cold and rainy night. In the morning, the calls
of hunger, which had been hitherto suppressed by our attention to more
immediate dangers and difficulties, were now become too importunate to
be resisted. We had most of us fasted eight and forty hours, some more;
it was time, therefore, to make inquiry among ourselves what store of
sustenance had been brought from the wreck by the providence of some,
and what could be procured on the island by the industry of others:
but the produce of the one amounted to no more than two or three
pounds of biscuit dust reserved in a bag; and all the success of those
who ventured abroad, the weather being still exceedingly bad, was to
kill one sea-gull, and pick some wild cellery. These, therefore, were
immediately put into a pot, with the addition of a large quantity of
water, and made into a kind of soup, of which each partook as far as
it would go; but we had no sooner thrown this down than we were seized
with the most painful sickness at our stomachs, violent reachings,
swoonings, and other symptoms of being poisoned. This was imputed to
various causes, but in general to the herbs we made use of, in the
nature and quality of which we fancied ourselves mistaken; but a little
further inquiry let us into the real occasion of it, which was no other
than this: the biscuit dust was the sweepings of the bread-room, but
the bag in which they were put had been a tobacco bag; the contents
of which not being entirely taken out, what remained mixed with the
biscuit-dust, and proved a strong emetic.

We were in all about a hundred and forty who had got to shore; but
some few remained still on board, detained either by drunkenness, or
a view of pillaging the wreck, among which was the boatswain. These
were visited by an officer in the yawl, who was to endeavour to prevail
upon them to join the rest; but finding them in the greatest disorder,
and disposed to mutiny, he was obliged to desist from his purpose and
return without them. Though we were very desirous, and our necessities
required that we should take some survey of the land we were upon; yet
being strongly pre-possessed that the savages were retired but some
little distance from us, and waited to see us divided, our parties did
not make this day, any great excursions from the hut; but as far as
we went, we found it very morassy and unpromising. The spot which we
occupied was a bay formed by hilly promontories, that to the north so
exceeding steep, that in order to ascend it (for there was no going
round, the bottom being washed by the sea), we were at the labour
of cutting steps. This, which we called Mount Misery, was of use to
us in taking some observations afterwards, when the weather would
permit: the southern promontory was not so inaccessible. Beyond this,
I, with some others, having reached another bay, found driven ashore
some parts of the wreck, but no kind of provision; nor did we meet
with any shell-fish, which we were chiefly in search of. We therefore
returned to the rest, and for that day made no other repast than what
the wild cellery afforded us. The ensuing night proved exceedingly
tempestuous; and, the sea running very high, threatened those on board
with immediate destruction by the parting of the wreck. They then were
as solicitous to get ashore, as they were before obstinate in refusing
the assistance we sent them; and when they found the boat did not come
to their relief at the instant they expected it, without considering
how impracticable a thing it was to send it them in such a sea, they
fired one of the quarter-deck guns at the hut; the ball of which did
but just pass over the covering of it, and was plainly heard by the
captain and us who were within. Another attempt, therefore, was made
to bring these madmen to land, which, however, by the violence of the
sea, and other impediments, occasioned by the mast that lay alongside,
proved ineffectual. This unavoidable delay made the people on board
outrageous: they fell to beating every thing to pieces that fell in
the way; and, carrying their intemperance to the greatest excess,
broke open chests and cabins for plunder that could be of no use to
them: and so earnest were they in this wantonness of theft, that one
man had evidently been murdered on account of some division of the
spoil, or for the sake of the share that fell to him, having all the
marks of a strangled corpse. One thing in this outrage they seemed
particularly attentive to, which was, to provide themselves with arms
and ammunition, in order to support them in putting their mutinous
designs in execution, and asserting their claim to a lawless exemption
from the authority of their officers, which they pretended must cease
with the loss of the ship. But of these arms, which we stood in great
need of, they were soon bereaved, upon coming ashore, by the resolution
of Captain Cheap and Lieutenant Hamilton of the marines. Among these
mutineers which had been left on board, as I observed before, was the
boatswain; who, instead of exerting the authority he had over the
rest, to keep them within bounds as much as possible, was himself a
ringleader in their riot: him, without respect to the figure he then
made, for he was in laced clothes, Captain Cheap, by a blow well laid
on with his cane, felled to the ground. It was scarce possible to
refrain from laughter at the whimsical appearance these fellows made,
who, having rifled the chests of the officers' best suits, had put them
on over their greasy trowsers and dirty checked shirts. They were soon
stripped of their finery, as they had before been obliged to resign
their arms.

The incessant rains, and exceeding cold weather in this climate,
rendered it impossible for us to subsist long without shelter; and
the hut being much too little to receive us all, it was necessary
to fall upon some expedient, without delay, which might serve our
purpose: accordingly the gunner, carpenter, and some more, turning
the cutter keel upwards, and fixing it upon props, made no despicable
habitation. Having thus established some sort of settlement, we had
the more leisure to look about us, and to make our researches with
greater accuracy than we had before, after such supplies as the most
desolate coasts are seldom unfurnished with. Accordingly we soon
provided ourselves with some sea-fowl, and found limpets, muscles, and
other shell-fish in tolerable abundance; but this rummaging of the
shore was now becoming extremely irksome to those who had any feeling,
by the bodies of our drowned people thrown among the rocks, some of
which were hideous spectacles, from the mangled condition they were in
by the violent surf that drove in upon the coast. These horrors were
overcome by the distresses of our people, who were even glad of the
occasion of killing the gallinazo (the carrion crow of that country),
while preying on these carcases, in order to make a meal of them. But
a provision by no means proportionable to the number of mouths to be
fed, could, by our utmost industry, be acquired from that part of the
island we had hitherto traversed: therefore, till we were in a capacity
of making more distant excursions, the wreck was to be applied to as
often as possible, for such supplies as could be got out of her. But as
this was a very precarious fund in its present situation, and at best
could not last us long; considering too that it was very uncertain how
long we might be detained upon this island the stores and provision
we were so fortunate as to retrieve, were not only to be dealt out
with the most frugal economy, but a sufficient quantity, if possible,
laid by to fit us out, whenever we could agree upon any method of
transporting ourselves from this dreary spot. The difficulties we had
to encounter in these visits to the wreck, cannot be easily described;
for no part of it being above water except the quarter-deck and part
of the fore-castle, we were usually obliged to purchase such things as
were within reach, by means of large hooks fastened to poles, in which
business we were much incommoded by the dead bodies floating between

In order to secure what we thus got, in a manner to answer the ends
and purposes above-mentioned, Captain Cheap ordered a store tent to
be erected near his hut as a repository, from which nothing was to
be dealt out but in the measure and proportion agreed upon by the
officers; and though it was very hard upon us petty officers, who
were fatigued with hunting all day in quest of food, to defend this
tent from invasion by night, no other means could be devised for this
purpose so effectual as the committing this charge to our care; and we
were accordingly ordered to divide the task equally between us. Yet,
notwithstanding our utmost vigilance and care, frequent robberies
were committed upon our trust, the tent being accessible in more
than one place. And one night, when I had the watch, hearing a stir
within, I came unawares upon the thief, and presenting a pistol to his
breast, obliged him to submit to be tied up to a post till I had an
opportunity of securing him more effectually. Depredations continued
to be made on our reserved stock, notwithstanding the great hazard
attending such attempts; for our common safety made it necessary to
punish them with the utmost rigour. This will not be wondered at,
when it is known how little the allowance which might consistently be
dispensed from thence, was proportionable to our common exigencies; so
that our daily and nightly task of roving after food, was not in the
least relaxed thereby; and all put together was so far from answering
our necessities, that many at this time perished with hunger. A boy,
when no other eatables could be found, having picked up the liver of
one of the drowned men (whose carcase had been torn to pieces by the
force with which the sea drove it among the rocks), was with difficulty
withheld from making a meal of it. The men were so assiduous in their
research after the few things which drove from the wreck, that in order
to have no sharers of their good fortune, they examined the shore no
less by night than by day; so that many of those who were less alert,
or not so fortunate as their neighbours, perished with hunger, or were
driven to the last extremity. It must be observed, that on the 14th of
May we were cast away, and it was not till the 25th of this month that
provision was served regularly from the store tent.

The land we were now settled upon was about 90 leagues to the
northward of the western mouth of the straits of Magellan, in the
latitude of between 47 and 48° south, from whence we could plainly
see the Cordilleras; and by two Lagoons on the north and south of us,
stretching towards those mountains, we conjectured it was an island.
But as yet we had no means of informing ourselves perfectly, whether
it was an island or the main; for besides that the inland parts at a
little distance from us seemed impracticable from the exceeding great
thickness of the wood, we had hitherto been in such confusion and want
(each finding full employment for his time, in scraping together a
wretched subsistence, and providing shelter against the cold and rain),
that no party could be formed to go upon discoveries. The climate and
season too were utterly unfavourable to adventurers, and the coast, as
far as our eye could stretch seaward, a scene of such dismal breakers
as would discourage the most daring from making attempts in small
boats. Nor were we assisted in our enquiries by any observation that
could be made from that eminence we called Mount Misery, toward land,
our prospect that way being intercepted by still higher hills and
lofty woods: we had therefore no other expedient, by means of which
to come at this knowledge, but by fitting out one of our ship's boats
upon some discovery, to inform us of our situation. Our long-boat
was still on board the wreck; therefore a number of hands were now
dispatched to cut the gunwale of the ship, in order to get her out.
Whilst we were employed in this business, there appeared three canoes
of Indians paddling towards us: they had come round the point from the
southern Lagoons. It was some time before we could prevail upon them
to lay aside their fears and approach us; which at length they were
induced to do by the signs of friendship we made them, and by shewing
some bale-goods, which they accepted, and suffered themselves to be
conducted to the captain, who made them, likewise, some presents. They
were strangely affected with the novelty thereof; but chiefly when
shewn the looking-glass, in which the beholder could not conceive it to
be his own face that was represented, but that of some other behind it,
which he therefore went round to the back of the glass to find out.

These people were of a small stature, very swarthy, having long,
black, coarse hair, hanging over their faces. It was evident, from
their great surprise, and every part of their behaviour, as well as
their not having one thing in their possession which could be derived
from white people, that they had never seen such. Their clothing
was nothing but a bit of some beast's skin about their waists, and
something woven from feathers over the shoulders; and as they uttered
no word of any language we had ever heard, nor had any method of making
themselves understood, we presumed they could have had no intercourse
with Europeans. These savages, who upon their departure left us a few
muscles, returned in two days, and surprised us by bringing three
sheep. From whence they could procure animals in a part of the world
so distant from any Spanish settlement, cut off from all communication
with the Spaniards by an inaccessible coast and unprofitable country,
is difficult to conceive. Certain it is, that we saw no such creatures,
nor ever heard of any such, from the Straits of Magellan, till we got
into the neighbourhood of Chiloe: it must be by some strange accident
that these creatures came into their possession; but what that was, we
never could learn from them. At this interview we bartered with them
for a dog or two, which we roasted and eat. In a few days after, they
made us another visit, and bringing their wives with them, took up
their abode with us for some days; then again left us.

Whenever the weather permitted, which was now grown something drier,
but exceeding cold, we employed ourselves about the wreck, from which
we had, at sundry times, recovered several articles of provision
and liquor: these were deposited in the store-tent. Ill-humour and
discontent, from the difficulties we laboured under in procuring
subsistence, and the little prospect there was of any amendment in our
condition, was now breaking out apace. In some it shewed itself by a
separation of settlement and habitation; in others, by a resolution of
leaving the captain entirely, and making a wild journey by themselves,
without determining upon any plan whatever. For my own part, seeing
it was the fashion, and liking none of their parties, I built a
little hut just big enough for myself and a poor Indian dog I found
in the woods, who could shift for himself along shore, at low water,
by getting limpets. This creature grew so fond of me, and faithful,
that he would suffer nobody to come near the hut without biting them.
Besides those seceders I mentioned, some laid a scheme of deserting us
entirely: these were in number ten; the greatest part of them a most
desperate and abandoned crew, who, to strike a notable stroke before
they went off, placed half a barrel of gunpowder close to the captain's
hut, laid a train to it, and were just preparing to perpetrate their
wicked design of blowing up their commander, when they were with
difficulty dissuaded from it by one who had some bowels and remorse of
conscience left in him. These wretches, after rambling for some time in
the woods, and finding it impracticable to get off, for they were then
convinced that we were not upon the main, as they had imagined when
they first left us, but upon an island within four or five leagues of
it, returned and settled about a league from us; however, they were
still determined, as soon as they could procure craft fit for their
purpose, to get to the main. But before they could effect this, we
found means to prevail upon the armourer and one of the carpenter's
crew,--two very useful men to us, who had imprudently joined them,--to
come over again to their duty. The rest, (one or two excepted) having
built a punt, and converted the hull of one of the ship's masts into a
canoe, went away up one of the Lagoons, and never were heard of more.

These being a desperate and factious set, did not distress us much
by their departure, but rather added to our future security: one in
particular, James Mitchell by name, we had all the reason in the
world to think had committed no less than two murders since the loss
of our ship; one on the person found strangled on board, another on
the body of a man whom we discovered among some bushes upon Mount
Misery, stabbed in several places, and shockingly mangled. This
diminution of our numbers was succeeded by an unfortunate accident
much more affecting in its consequences, I mean the death of Mr.
Cozens, midshipman; in relating which with the necessary impartiality
and exactness, I think myself obliged to be more than ordinarily
particular. Having one day, among other things, got a cask of peas out
of the wreck, about which I was almost constantly employed, I brought
it to shore in the yawl; when having landed it, the captain came down
upon the beach, and bid me to go up to some of the tents and order
hands to come down and roll it up; but finding none except Mr. Cozens,
I delivered him the orders, who immediately came down to the captain,
where I left them when I returned to the wreck. Upon my coming on
shore again, I found that Mr. Cozens was put under confinement by the
captain, for being drunk and giving him abusive language: however,
he was soon after released. A day or two after, he had some dispute
with the surgeon, and came to blows: all these things incensed the
captain greatly against him. I believe this unfortunate man was kept
warm with liquor, and set on by some ill-designing persons; for, when
sober, I never knew a better natured man, or one more inoffensive. Some
little time after, at the hour of serving out provisions, Mr. Cozens
was at the store tent; and having, it seems, lately had a quarrel with
the purser, and now some words arising between them, the latter told
him he was come to mutiny; and without any further ceremony, fired a
pistol at his head, which narrowly missed him. The captain, hearing
the report of a pistol, and perhaps the purser's words, that Cozens
was come to mutiny, ran out of his hut with a cocked pistol in his
hand, and, without asking any questions, immediately shot him through
the head. I was at this time in my hut, as the weather was extremely
bad; but running out upon the alarm of this firing, the first thing
I saw was Mr. Cozens on the ground, weltering in his blood: he was
sensible, and took me by the hand, as he did several others, shaking
his head, as if he meant to take leave of us. If Mr. Cozens' behaviour
to his captain was indecent and provoking, the captain's, on the other
hand, was rash and hasty: if the first was wanting in that respect
and observance which is due from a petty officer to his commander,
the latter was still more unadvised in the method he took for the
enforcement of his authority; of which, indeed, he was jealous to the
last degree, and which he saw daily declining, and ready to be trampled
upon. His mistaken apprehension of a mutinous design in Mr. Cozens,
the sole motive of this rash action, was so far from answering the end
he proposed by it, that the men, who before were much dissatisfied and
uneasy, were by this unfortunate step thrown almost into open sedition
and revolt. It was evident that the people, who ran out of their tents,
alarmed by the report of fire-arms, though they disguised their real
sentiments for the present, were extremely affected at this catastrophe
of Mr. Cozens (for he was greatly beloved by them): their minds were
now exasperated, and it was to be apprehended, that their resentment,
which was smothered for the present, would shortly shew itself in
some desperate enterprise. The unhappy victim, who lay weltering in
his blood on the ground before them, seemed to absorb their whole
attention; the eyes of all were fixed upon him; and visible marks of
the deepest concern appeared in the countenances of the spectators.
The persuasion the captain was under, at the time he shot Mr. Cozens,
that his intentions were mutinous, together with a jealousy of the
diminution of his authority, occasioned also his behaving with less
compassion and tenderness towards him afterwards than was consistent
with the unhappy condition of the poor sufferer: for when it was begged
as a favour by his mess-mates, that Mr. Cozens might be removed to
their tent, though a necessary thing in his dangerous situation, yet
it was not permitted; but the poor wretch was suffered to languish on
the ground some days, with no other covering than a bit of canvass
thrown over some bushes, where he died. But to return to our story:
the Captain, addressing himself to the people thus assembled, told
them, that it was his resolution to maintain his command over them as
usual, which still remained in as much force as ever; and then ordered
them all to return to their respective tents, with which order they
instantly complied. Now we had saved the long-boat from the wreck, and
got it in our possession, there was nothing that seemed so necessary
towards the advancing our delivery from this desolate place, as the
new modelling this vessel so as to have room for all those who were
inclined to go off in her, and to put her in a condition to bear the
stormy seas we must of course encounter. We therefore hauled her up,
and having placed her upon blocks, sawed her in two, in order to
lengthen her about twelve feet by the keel. For this purpose, all
those who could be spared from the more immediate task of procuring
subsistence, were employed in fitting and shaping timber as the
carpenter directed them; I say, in procuring subsistence, because the
weather lately having been very tempestuous, and the wreck working
much, had disgorged a great part of her contents, which were every
where dispersed about the shore.

We now sent frequent parties up the Lagoons, which sometimes succeeded
in getting some sea-fowl for us. The Indians appearing again in the
offing we put off our yawl, in order to frustrate any design they
might have of going up the Lagoon towards the deserters, who would
have availed themselves of some of their canoes to have got upon the
main. Having conducted them in, we found that their intention was to
settle among us, for they had brought their wives and children with
them, in all about fifty persons, who immediately set about building
themselves wigwams, and seemed much reconciled to our company; and,
could we have entertained them as we ought, they would have been of
great assistance to us, who were yet extremely put to it to subsist
ourselves, being a hundred in number; but the men, now subject to
little or no control, endeavoured to seduce their wives, which gave
the Indians such offence, that in a short time they found means to
depart, taking every thing along with them; and we, being sensible
of the cause, never expected to see them return again. The carpenter
having made some progress in his work upon the long-boat, in which
he was enabled to proceed tolerably, by the tools and other articles
of his business retrieved from the wreck, the men began to think of
the course they should take to get home; or rather, having borrowed
Sir John Narborough's Voyage of Captain Cheap, by the application of
Mr. Bulkely, which book he saw me reading one day in my tent, they,
immediately upon perusing it, concluded upon making their voyage home
by the Straits of Magellan. This plan was proposed to the captain,
who by no means approved of it, his design being to go northwards,
with a view of seizing a ship of the enemy's, by which means he might
join the Commodore: at present, therefore, here it rested. But the
men were in high spirits from the prospect they had of getting off
in the long-boat, overlooking all the difficulties and hazards of a
voyage almost impracticable, and caressing the carpenter, who indeed
was an excellent workman, and deserved all the encouragement they
could give him. The Indians having left us, and the weather continuing
tempestuous and rainy, the distresses of the people for want of food
become insupportable. Our number, which was at first one hundred and
forty-five, was now reduced to one hundred, and chiefly by famine,
which put the rest upon all shifts and devices to support themselves.
One day, when I was at home in my hut with my Indian dog, a party came
to my door, and told me their necessities were such, that they must
eat the creature or starve. Though their plea was urgent, I could not
help using some arguments to endeavour to dissuade them from killing
him, as his faithful services and fondness deserved it at my hands;
but, without weighing my arguments, they took him away by force and
killed him; upon which, thinking that I had at least as good a right to
a share as the rest, I sat down with them, and partook of their repast.
Three weeks after that I was glad to make a meal of his paws and skin,
which, upon recollecting the spot where they had killed him, I found
thrown aside and rotten. The pressing calls of hunger drove our men to
their wit's end, and put them upon a variety of devices to satisfy it.
Among the ingenious this way, one Phips, a boatswain's mate, having
got a water puncheon, scuttled it; then lashing two logs, one on each
side, set out in quest of adventures in this extraordinary and original
piece of embarkation. By this means he would frequently, when all the
rest were starving, provide himself with wild fowl; and it must have
been very bad weather indeed which could deter him from putting out
to sea when his occasions required. Sometimes he would venture far
out in the offing, and be absent the whole of the day: at last, it
was his misfortune, at a great distance from shore, to be overset by
a heavy sea; but being near a rock, though no swimmer, he managed so
as to scramble to it, and with great difficulty ascended it: there he
remained two days with very little hopes of any relief, for he was too
far off to be seen from shore; but fortunately a boat, having put off
and gone in quest of wild fowl that way, discovered him making such
signals as he was able, and brought him back to the island. But this
accident did not so discourage him but that soon after, having procured
an ox's hide, used on board for sifting powder, and called a gunner's
hide, by the assistance of some hoops he formed something like a canoe,
in which he made several successful voyages. When the weather would
permit us, we seldom failed of getting some wild fowl, though never in
any plenty, by putting off with our boats; but this most inhospitable
climate is not only deprived of the sun for the most part, by a thick,
rainy atmosphere, but is also visited by almost incessant tempests. It
must be confessed, we reaped some benefit from these hard gales and
overgrown seas, which drove several things ashore; but there was no
dependence on such accidental relief; and we were always alert to avail
ourselves of every interval of fair weather, though so little to be
depended on, that we were often unexpectedly and to our peril overtaken
by a sudden change. In one of our excursions I, with two more, in a
wretched punt of our own making, had no sooner landed at our station
upon a high rock, than the punt was driven loose by a sudden squall;
and had not one of the men, at the risk of his life, jumped into the
sea and swam on board her, we must in all probability have perished;
for we were more than three leagues from the island at the time. Among
the birds we generally shot, was the painted goose, whose plumage is
variegated with the most lively colours; and a bird much larger than
a goose, which we called the race-horse, from the velocity with which
it moved upon the surface of the water, in a sort of half flying, half
running motion. But we were not so successful in our endeavours by
land; for though we sometimes got pretty far into the woods, we met
with very few birds in all our walks. We never saw but three woodcocks,
two of which were killed by Mr. Hamilton, and one by myself. These,
with some humming-birds, and a large kind of robin redbreast, were the
only feathered inhabitants of this island, excepting a small bird with
two very long feathers in his tail, which was generally seen amongst
the rocks, and was so tame, that I have had them rest upon my shoulder
whilst I have been gathering shell-fish. Indeed, we were visited by
many birds of prey, some very large; but these only occasionally, and,
as we imagined, allured by some dead whale in the neighbourhood, which
was once seen. However, if we were so fortunate as to kill one of them,
we thought ourselves very well off. In one of my walks, seeing a bird
of this latter kind upon an eminence, I endeavoured to come upon it
unperceived with my gun, by means of the woods which lay at the back of
that eminence; but when I had proceeded so far in the wood as to think
I was in a line with it, I heard a growling close by me, which made me
think it advisable to retire as soon as possible; the woods were so
gloomy I could see nothing; but as I retired, this noise followed me
close till I had got out of them. Some of our men did assure me, that
they had seen a very large beast in the woods; but their description
of it was too imperfect to be relied upon. The wood here is chiefly
of the aromatic kind; the iron wood, a wood of a very deep red hue,
and another, of an exceeding bright yellow. All the low spots are very
swampy; but what we thought strange, upon the summits of the highest
hills were found beds of shells, a foot or two thick.

The long-boat being near finished, some of our company were selected
to go out in the barge, in order to reconnoitre the coast to the
southward, which might assist us in the navigation we were going upon.
This party consisted of Mr. Bulkely, Mr. Jones, the purser, myself,
and ten men. The first night, we put into a good harbour, a few leagues
to the southward of Wager's Island; where finding a large bitch big
with puppies, we regaled upon them. In this expedition we had our usual
bad weather, and breaking seas, which were grown to such a height the
third day, that we were obliged, through distress, to push in at the
first inlet we saw at hand. This we had no sooner entered, than we
were presented with a view of a fine bay, in which having secured the
barge, we went ashore; but the weather being very rainy, and finding
nothing to subsist upon, we pitched a bell tent, which we had brought
with us, in the wood opposite to where the barge lay. As this tent was
not large enough to contain us all, I proposed to four of the people
to go to the end of the bay, about two miles distant from the bell
tent, to occupy the skeleton of an old Indian wigwam, which I had
discovered in a walk that way upon our first landing. This we covered
to windward with sea-weed; and lighting a fire, laid ourselves down,
in hopes of finding a remedy for our hunger in sleep; but we had not
long composed ourselves before one of our company was disturbed by the
blowing of some animal at his face, and upon opening his eyes, was not
a little astonished to see, by the glimmering of the fire, a large
beast standing over him. He had presence of mind enough to snatch a
brand from the fire, which was now very low, and thrust it at the nose
of the animal, who thereupon made off: this done, the man awoke us,
and related, with horror in his countenance, the narrow escape he had
had of being devoured. But though we were under no small apprehensions
of another visit from this animal, yet our fatigue and heaviness was
greater than our fears; and we once more composed ourselves to rest,
and slept the remainder of the night without any further disturbance.
In the morning, we were not a little anxious to know how our companions
had fared; and this anxiety was increased upon tracing the footsteps
of the beast in the sand, in a direction towards the bell tent. The
impression was deep and plain, of a large round foot, well furnished
with claws. Upon our acquainting the people in the tent with the
circumstances of our story, we found that they too had been visited
by the same unwelcome guest, which they had driven away by much the
same expedient. We now returned from this cruise, with a strong gale,
to Wager's Island; having found it impracticable to make farther
discoveries in the barge, on so dangerous a coast, and in such heavy
seas. Here we soon discovered, by the quarters of dogs hanging up, that
the Indians had brought a fresh supply to our market. Upon enquiry, we
found that there had been six canoes of them, who, among other methods
of taking fish, had taught their dogs to drive the fish into a corner
of some pond, or lake, from whence they were easily taken out, by the
skill and address of these savages. The old cabal, during our absence,
had been frequently revived; the debates of which generally ended in
riot and drunkenness. This cabal was chiefly held in a large tent,
which the people belonging to it had taken some pains to make snug and
convenient, and lined with bales of broad cloth driven from the wreck.
Eighteen of the stoutest fellows of the ship's company had possession
of this tent, from whence were dispatched committees to the Captain,
with the resolutions they had taken with regard to their departure;
but oftener for liquor. Their determination was to go in the long-boat
to the southward, by the straits of Magellan; and the point they were
labouring, was to prevail upon the Captain to accompany them. But
though he had fixed upon a quite different plan, which was to go to
the northward, yet he thought it politic, at present, seemingly to
acquiesce with them, in order to keep them quiet. When they began to
stipulate with him, that he should be under some restrictions in point
of command, and should do nothing without consulting his officers, he
insisted upon the full exercise of his authority as before. This broke
all measures between them, and they were from this time determined he
should go with them, whether he would or no. A better pretence they
could not have for effecting this design, than the unfortunate affair
of Mr. Cozens; which they therefore made use of for seizing his person,
and putting him under confinement, in order to bring him to his trial
in England. The long-boat was now launched, and ready for sailing,
and all the men embarked, except Captain Pemberton, with a party of
marines, whom he had drawn up upon the beach with the intention of
conducting Captain Cheap on board; but he was at length persuaded to
desist from this resolution by Mr. Bulkely. The men too, finding they
were straitened for room, and that their stock of provision would
not admit of their taking supernumeraries aboard, were now no less
strenuous for his enlargement, and being left to his option of staying
behind. Therefore, after having distributed their share in the reserved
stock of provision, which was very small, we departed, leaving Captain
Cheap, Mr. Hamilton of the marines, and the surgeon, upon the island.
I had all along been in the dark as to the turn this affair would take;
and not in the least suspecting but that it was determined Captain
Cheap should be taken with us, readily embarked under that persuasion;
but when I found that this design, which was so seriously carried on
to the last, was suddenly dropped, I was determined, upon the first
opportunity, to leave them; which was at this instant impossible for
me to do, the long-boat lying some distance off shore, at anchor. We
were in all eighty-one, when we left the island, distributed into the
long-boat, cutter, and barge; fifty-nine on board the first, twelve
in the second, in the last, ten. It was our purpose to put into some
harbour, if possible, every evening, as we were in no condition to keep
those terrible seas long; for without other assistance, our stock of
provisions was no more than might have been consumed in a few days;
our water was chiefly contained in a few powder-barrels; our flour was
to be lengthened out by a mixture of sea-weed; and our other supplies
depended upon the success of our guns, and industry among the rocks.
Captain Pemberton having brought on board his men, we weighed; but a
sudden squall of wind having split our foresail, we with difficulty
cleared the rocks, by means of our boats, bore away for a sandy bay,
on the south side of the Lagoon, and anchored in ten fathom. The next
morning we got under way; but it blowing hard at W. by N. with a
great swell, we put into a small bay again, well sheltered by a ledge
of rocks without us. At this time, it was thought necessary to send
the barge away back to Cheap's bay, for some spare canvass, which
was imagined would be soon wanted. I thought this a good opportunity
of returning, and therefore made one with those who went upon this
business in the barge. We were no sooner clear of the long-boat, than
all those in the boat with me declared they had the same intention.
When we arrived at the island, we were extremely welcome to Captain
Cheap. The next day, I asked him leave to try if I could prevail upon
those in the long-boat to give us our share of provision: this he
granted; but said if we went in the barge, they would certainly take
her from us. I told him my design was to walk it, and only desired the
boat might land me upon the main, and wait for me till I came back. I
had the most dreadful journey of it imaginable, through thick woods
and swamps all the way; but I might as well have spared myself that
trouble, as it was to no manner of purpose; for they would not give
me, nor any one of us that left them, a single ounce of provisions of
any kind. I therefore returned, and after that made a second attempt;
but all in vain. They even threatened, if we did not return with the
barge, they would fetch her by force. It is impossible to conceive the
distressed situation we were now in, at the time of the long-boat's
departure. I do not mention this event as the occasion of it; by which,
if we who were left on the island experienced any alteration at all,
it was for the better; and which, in all probability, had it been
deferred, might have been fatal to the greatest part of us; but at
this time, the subsistence on which we had hitherto chiefly depended,
which was the shell-fish, were every where along shore eat up; and
as to stock saved from the wreck, it may be guessed what the amount
of that might be, when the share allotted to the Captain, Lieutenant
Hamilton, and the surgeon, was no more than six pieces of beef, as many
of pork, and ninety pounds of flour. As to myself, and those that left
the long-boat, it was the least revenge they thought they could take
of us to withhold our provision from us, though at the same time it
was hard and unjust. For a day or two after our return, there was some
little pittance dealt out to us, yet it was upon the foot of favour;
and we were soon left to our usual industry for a farther supply. This
was now exerted to very little purpose, for the reason before assigned;
to which may be added, the wreck was now blown up, all her upper works
gone, and no hopes of any valuable driftage from her for the future.
A weed called slaugh, fried in the tallow of some candles we had
saved, and wild cellery, were our only fare; by which our strength was
so much impaired, that we could scarcely crawl. It was my misfortune
too, to labour under a severe flux, by which I was reduced to a very
feeble state; so that in attempting to traverse the rocks in search of
shell-fish, I fell from one into very deep water, and with difficulty
saved my life by swimming. As the Captain was now freed, by the
departure of the long-boat, from the riotous applications, menaces, and
disturbance of an unruly crew, and left at liberty to follow the plan
he had resolved upon, of going northward, he began to think seriously
of putting it in execution; in order to which, a message was sent to
the deserters, who had seated themselves on the other side of the
neighbouring Lagoon, to sound them, whether they were inclined to join
the Captain in his undertaking; and if they were, to bring them over
to him. For this set, the party gone off in the long-boat had left
an half allowance proportion of the common stock of provision. These
men, upon the proposal, readily agreed to join their commander; and
being conducted to him, increased our number to twenty. The boats which
remained in our possession to carry off all these people, were only the
barge and yawl, two very crazy bottoms; the broadside of the last was
entirely out, and the first had suffered much in the variety of bad
weather she had gone through, and was sadly out of repair. And now our
carpenter was gone from us, we had no remedy for these misfortunes, but
the little skill we had gained from him. However, we made tolerable
shift to patch up the boats for our purpose. In the height of our
distresses, when hunger, which seems to include and absorb all others,
was most prevailing, we were cheered with the appearance, once more,
of our friendly Indians, as we thought, from whom we hoped for some
relief; but as the consideration was wanting, for which alone they
would part with their commodities, we were not at all benefitted by
their stay, which was very short. The little reserve too of flour made
by the Captain for our sea-stock when we should leave the island, was
now diminished by theft: the thieves, who were three of our men, were
however soon discovered, and two of them apprehended; but the third
made his escape to the woods. Considering the pressing state of our
necessities, this theft was looked upon as a most heinous crime, and
therefore required an extraordinary punishment: accordingly the Captain
ordered these delinquents to be severely whipped, and then to be
banished to an island at some distance from us; but before this latter
part of the sentence could be put in execution, one of them fled; but
the other was put alone upon a barren island, which afforded not the
least shelter; however, we, in compassion, and contrary to order,
patched him up a bit of a hut, and kindled him a fire, and then left
the poor wretch to shift for himself. In two or three days after, going
to the island in our boat with some little refreshment, such as our
miserable circumstances would admit of, and with an intent of bringing
him back, we found him dead and stiff. I was now reduced to the lowest
condition by my illness, which was increased by the vile stuff I eat,
when we were favoured by a fair day, a thing very extraordinary in this
climate. We instantly took the advantage of it, and once more visited
the last remains of the wreck,--her bottom. Here our pains were repaid
with the great good fortune of hooking up three casks of beef, which
were brought safe to shore. This providential supply could not have
happened at a more seasonable time than now, when we were afflicted
with the greatest dearth we had ever experienced, and the little
strength we had remaining was to be exerted in our endeavours to leave
the island. Accordingly we soon found a remedy for our sickness, which
was nothing but the effects of famine, and were greatly restored by
food. The provision was equally distributed among us all, and served us
for the remainder of our stay here.

We began to grow extremely impatient to leave the island, as the
days were now nearly at their longest, and about midsummer in these
parts; but as to the weather, there seems to be little difference in a
difference of seasons. Accordingly, on the 15th of December, the day
being tolerable, we told Captain Cheap we thought it a fine opportunity
to run across the bay. But he first desired two or three of us to
accompany him to our place of observation, the top of Mount Misery;
when looking through his perspective, he observed to us that the sea
ran very high without. However, this had no weight with the people, who
were desirous, at all events, to be gone. I should here observe, that
Captain Cheap's plan was, if possible, to get to the island of Chiloe;
and if we found any vessel there, to board her immediately, and cut
her out. This he might certainly have done with ease, had it been his
good fortune to get round with the boats. We now launched both boats,
and got every thing on board of them as quick as possible. Captain
Cheap, the surgeon, and myself, were in the barge with nine men; and
Lieutenant Hamilton and Mr. Campbell in the yawl with six. I steered
the barge, and Mr. Campbell the yawl; but we had not been two hours at
sea before the wind shifted more to the westward, and began to blow
very hard, and the sea ran extremely high; so that we could no longer
keep our heads towards the cape or headland we had designed for. This
cape we had had a view of in one of the intervals of fair weather,
during our abode on the island, from Mount Misery; and it seemed to be
distant between twenty and thirty leagues from us. We were now obliged
to bear away right before the wind. Though the yawl was not far from
us, we could see nothing of her, except now and then, upon the top of
a mountainous sea. In both the boats, the men were obliged to sit as
close as possible, to receive the seas on their backs, to prevent their
filling us, which was what we every moment expected. We were obliged
to throw everything overboard, to lighten the boats, all our beef, and
even the grapnel, to prevent sinking. Night was coming on, and we
were running on a lee-shore fast, where the sea broke in a frightful
manner. Not one amongst us imagined it possible for boats to live in
such a sea. In this situation, as we neared the shore, expecting to
be beat to pieces by the first breaker, we perceived a small opening
between the rocks, which we stood for, and found a very narrow passage
between them, which brought us into a harbour for the boats as calm
and smooth as a mill-pond. The yawl had got in before us, and our joy
was great at meeting again after so unexpected a deliverance. Here we
secured the boats, and ascended a rock. It rained excessively hard all
the first part of the night, and was extremely cold; and though we had
not a dry thread about us, and no wood could be found for firing, we
were obliged to pass the night in that uncomfortable situation, without
any covering, shivering in our wet clothes. The frost coming on with
the morning, it was impossible for any of us to get a moment's sleep;
and having flung overboard our provision the day before, there being
no prospect of finding anything to eat on this coast, in the morning we
pulled out of the cove; but found so great a sea without, that we could
make but little of it. After tugging all day, towards night we put in
among some small islands, landed upon one of them, and found it a mere
swamp. As the weather was the same, we passed this night much as we had
done the preceding; sea-tangle was all we could get to eat at first,
but the next day we had better luck; the surgeon shot a goose, and we
found materials for a good fire. We were confined here three or four
days, the weather all that time proving so bad that we could not put
out. As soon as it grew moderate, we left this place, and shaped our
course to the northward; and perceiving a large opening between very
high land and a low point, we steered for it; and when got that length,
found a large bay, down which we rowed, flattering ourselves there
might be a passage that way; but towards night we came to the bottom of
the bay, and finding no outlet, we were obliged to return the same way
we came, having met with nothing the whole day to alleviate our hunger.

Next night we put into a little cove, which, from the great quantity
of red-wood found there, we called Redwood Cove. Leaving this place in
the morning, we had the wind southerly, blowing fresh, by which we made
much way that day, to the northward. Towards evening we were in with a
pretty large island. Putting ashore on it, we found it clothed with the
finest trees we had ever seen, their stems running up to a prodigious
height, without knot or branch, and as straight as cedars: the leaf
of these trees resemble the myrtle leaf, only somewhat larger. I have
seen trees larger than these in circumference, on the coast of Guinea,
and there only; but for a length of stem, which gradually tapering,
I have no where met with any to compare to them. The wood was of a
hard substance, and, if not too heavy, would have made good masts; the
dimensions of some of these trees being equal to a main-mast of a first
rate man-of-war. The shore was covered with driftwood of a very large
size; most of it cedar, which makes a brisk fire; but is so subject to
snap and fly, that when we awoke in the morning, after a sound sleep,
we found our clothes singed in many places with the sparks, and covered
with splinters.

The next morning being calm, we rowed out; but as soon as clear of
the island, we found a great swell from the westward; we rowed to the
bottom of a very large bay, which was to the northward of us, the land
very low, and we were in hopes of finding some inlet through, but did
not; so kept along shore to the westward. This part, which I take to be
above fifty leagues from Wager Island, is the very bottom of the large
bay it lies in. Here was the only passage to be found, which (if we
could by any means have got information of it) would have saved us much
fruitless labour. Of this passage I shall have occasion to say more

Having at this time an off-shore wind, we kept the land close on board,
till we came to a head-land: it was near night before we got abreast
of the headland, and opening it discovered a very large bay to the
northward, and another headland to the westward, at a great distance.
We endeavoured to cut short our passage to it by crossing, which is
very seldom to be effected, in these overgrown seas, by boats: and this
we experienced now; for the wind springing up, and beginning to blow
fresh, we were obliged to put back towards the first headland, into a
small cove, just big enough to shelter the two boats. Here an accident
happened that alarmed us much. After securing our boats, we climbed up
a rock scarcely large enough to contain our numbers: having nothing to
eat, we betook ourselves to our usual receipt for hunger, which was
going to sleep. We accordingly made a fire, and stowed ourselves round
it as well as we could; but two of our men being incommoded for want of
room, went a little way from us, into a small nook, over which a great
cliff hung, and served them for a canopy. In the middle of the night
we were awakened with a terrible rumbling, which we apprehended to
be nothing less than the shock of an earthquake, which we had before
experienced in these parts; and this conjecture we had reason to think
not ill founded, upon hearing hollow groans and cries as of men half
swallowed up. We immediately got up, and ran to the place from whence
the cries came, and then we were put out of all doubt as to the opinion
we had formed of this accident; for here we found the two men almost
buried under loose stones and earth: but upon a little farther enquiry
we were undeceived as to the cause we had imputed this noise to, which
we found to be occasioned by the sudden giving way of the impending
cliff, which fell a little beyond our people, carrying trees and rocks
with it, and loose earth; the latter of which fell in part on our men,
whom we with some pains rescued from their uneasy situation, from which
they escaped with some bruises. The next morning we got out early, and
the wind being westerly, rowed the whole day for the headland we had
seen the night before; but when we had got that length could find no
harbour, but were obliged to go into a sandy bay, and lay the whole
night upon our oars; and a most dreadful one it proved, blowing and
raining very hard. Here we were so pinched with hunger, that we eat the
shoes off our feet, which consisted of raw seal skin. In the morning
we got out of the bay; but the incessant foul weather had overcome us,
and we began to be indifferent as to what befel us; and the boats,
in the night, making into a bay, we nearly lost the yawl, a breaker
having filled her, and driven her ashore upon the beach. This, by some
of our accounts, was Christmas-day; but our accounts had so often been
interrupted by our distresses, that there was no depending upon them.
Upon seeing the yawl in this imminent danger, the barge stood off, and
went into another bay to the northward of it, where it was smoother
lying; but there was no possibility of getting on shore. In the night
the yawl joined us again. The next day was so bad, that we despaired
reaching the headland, so rowed down the bay in hopes of getting some
seal, as that animal had been seen the day before, but met with no
success; so returned to the same bay we had been in the night before,
where the surf having abated somewhat, we went ashore, and picked up a
few shell-fish. In the morning, we got on board early, and ran along
shore to the westward, for about three leagues, in order to get round a
cape, which was the westernmost land we could see. It blew very hard,
and there ran such a sea, that we heartily wished ourselves back again,
and accordingly made the best of our way for that bay which we had left
in the morning; but before we could reach it night came on, and we
passed a most dismal one, lying upon our oars.

The weather continuing very bad, we put in for the shore in the
morning, where we found nothing but tangle and sea-weed. We now passed
some days roving about for provisions, as the weather was too bad to
make another attempt to get round the cape as yet. We found some fine
Lagoons towards the head of the bay; and in them killed some seal, and
got a good quantity of shell-fish, which was a great relief to us.
We now made a second attempt to double the cape; but when we got the
length of it, and passed the first headland, for it consists of three
of an equal height, we got into a sea that was horrid; for it ran all
in heaps, like the Race of Portland, but much worse. We were happy to
put back again to the old place, with little hopes of ever getting
round this cape.

Next day, the weather proving very bad, all hands went ashore to
procure some sustenance, except two in each boat, which were left as
boat-keepers; this office we took by turns; and it was now my lot to be
upon this duty with another man. The yawl lay within us at a grapnel;
in the night it blew very hard, and a great sea tumbled in upon the
shore; but being extremely fatigued, we in the boats went to sleep,
notwithstanding, however, I was at last awakened by the uncommon motion
of the boat, and the roaring of the breakers every where about us. At
the same time I heard a shrieking, like to that of persons in distress;
I looked out, and saw the yawl canted bottom upwards by a sea, and
soon afterwards disappeared. One of our men, whose name was William
Rose, a quarter-master, was drowned; the other was thrown ashore by
the surf, with his head buried in the sand; but by the immediate
assistance of the people on shore, was saved. As for us in the barge,
we expected the same fate every moment; for the sea broke a long way
without us. However we got her head to it, and hove up our grapnel, or
should rather say kellick, which we had made to serve in the room of
our grapnel, hove overboard some time before, to lighten the boat. By
this means we used our utmost efforts to pull her without the breakers
some way, and then let go our kellick again. Here we lay all the next
day, in a great sea, not knowing what would be our fate. To add to our
mortification, we could see our companions in tolerable plight ashore,
eating seal, while we were starving with hunger and cold. For this
month past, we had not known what it was to have a dry thread about us.

The next day being something more moderate, we ventured in with the
barge, as near as we could to the shore, and our companions threw us
some seal's liver; which having eat greedily, we were seized with
excessive sickness, which affected us so much, that our skin peeled off
from head to foot.

Whilst the people were on shore here, Mr. Hamilton met with a large
seal, or sea-lion, and fired a brace of balls into him, upon which the
animal turned upon him open-mouthed; but presently fixing his bayonet,
he thrust it down its throat, with a good part of the barrel of the
gun, which the creature bit in two seemingly with as much ease as if it
had been a twig. Notwithstanding the wounds it received, it eluded all
farther efforts to kill it, and got clear off.

I call this animal a large seal, or sea-lion, because it resembles a
seal in many particulars; but then it exceeds it so much in size,
as to be sufficiently determined, by that distinction only, to be
of another species. Mr. Walter, in Lord Anson's Voyage, has given a
particular description of those which are seen about Juan Fernandes;
but they have in other climates, different appearances as well as
different qualities, as we had occasion to observe in this, and a
late voyage I made. However, as so much already has been said of
the sea-lion, I shall only mention two peculiarities; one relative
to its appearance, and the other to its properties of action, which
distinguish it from those described by him. Those I saw, were without
that snout, or trunk, hanging below the end of the upper jaw; but then
the males were furnished with a large shaggy mane, which gave them a
most formidable appearance. And, whereas, he says, those he saw were
unwieldy, and easily destroyed: we found some, on the contrary, that
lay at a mile's distance from the water, which came down upon us, when
disturbed, with such impetuosity, that it was as much as we could do to
get out of their way; and when attacked, would turn upon us with great

Having lost the yawl, and being too many for the barge to carry off, we
were compelled to leave four of our men behind. They were all marines,
who seemed to have no objection to the determination made with regard
to them, so exceedingly disheartened and worn out were they with the
distresses and dangers they had already gone through. And, indeed, I
believe it would have been a matter of indifference to the greatest
part of the rest, whether they should embark, or take their chance.
The captain distributed to these poor fellows arms and ammunition, and
some other necessaries. When we parted, they stood upon the beach,
giving us three cheers, and called out, God bless the king. We saw them
a little after, setting out upon their forlorn hope, and helping one
another over a hideous tract of rocks; but considering the difficulties
attending this only way of travelling left them--for the woods are
impracticable, from their thickness, and the deep swamp everywhere to
be met in them--considering too, that the coast here is rendered so
inhospitable, by the heavy seas that are constantly tumbling upon it,
as not to afford even a little shell-fish, it is probable that all met
with a miserable end.

We rowed along shore to the westward, in order to make one more attempt
to double the cape: when abreast of the first headland there ran such
a sea, that we expected, every instant, the boat would go down. But
as the preservation of life had now, in a great measure, lost its
actuating principle upon us, we still kept pushing through it, till we
opened a bay to the northward. In all my life, I never saw so dreadful
a sea as drove in here; it began to break at more than half a mile
from the shore. Perceiving now that it was impossible for any boat to
get round, the men lay upon their oars till the boat was very near
the breakers, the mountainous swell that then ran, heaving her in at
a great rate. I thought it was their intention to put an end to their
lives and misery at once; but nobody spoke for some time. At last,
Captain Cheap told them, they must either perish immediately, or pull
stoutly for it to get off the shore; but they might do as they pleased.
They chose, however, to exert themselves a little, and after infinite
difficulty, got round the headland again, giving up all thoughts of
making any further attempt to double the cape. It was night before we
could get back to the bay, where we were compelled to leave four of our
men, in order to save, if possible, the remainder; for we must all have
certainly perished, if more than sixteen had been crowded into so small
a boat. This bay we named Marine Bay. When we had returned to this bay,
we found the surf ran so high, that we were obliged to lay upon our
oars all night; and it was now resolved to go back to Wager's Island,
there to linger out a miserable life, as we had not the least prospect
of returning home.

But before we set out, in consequence of this resolution, it was
necessary, if possible, to get some little stock of seal to support us
in a passage, upon which, wherever we might put in, we were not likely
to meet with any supply. Accordingly, it was determined to go up that
Lagoon in which we had before got some seal, to provide ourselves with
some more; but we did not leave the bay till we had made some search
after the unhappy marines we had left on shore. Could we have found
them, we had now agreed to take them on board again, though it would
have been the certain destruction of us all. This, at another time,
would have been mere madness; but we were now resigned to our fate,
which we none of us thought far off; however, there was nothing to be
seen of them, and no traces but a musket on the beach.

Upon returning up the Lagoon, we were so fortunate as to kill some
seal, which we boiled, and laid in the boat for sea-stock. While we
were ranging along shore in detached parties in quest of this, and
whatever other eatable might come in our way, our surgeon, who was
then by himself, discovered a pretty large hole, which seemed to lead
to some den, or repository, within the rocks. It was not so rude, or
natural, but that there were some signs of its having been cleared,
and made more accessible by industry. The surgeon for some time
hesitated whether he should venture in, from his uncertainty as to the
reception he might meet with from any inhabitant; but his curiosity
getting the better of his fears, he determined to go in; which he
did upon his hands and knees, as the passage was too low for him to
enter otherwise. After having proceeded a considerable way thus, he
arrived at a spacious chamber; but whether hollowed out by hands, or
natural, he could not be positive. The light into this chamber was
conveyed through a hole at the top; in the midst was a kind of bier,
made of sticks laid crossways, supported by props of about five foot
in height. Upon this bier, five or six bodies were extended; which,
in appearance, had been deposited there a long time, but had suffered
no decay or diminution. They were without covering, and the flesh of
these bodies was become perfectly dry and hard; which, whether done by
any art, or secret, the savages may be possessed of, or occasioned
by any drying virtue in the air of the cave, could not be guessed.
Indeed, the surgeon, finding nothing there to eat, which was the chief
inducement for his creeping into this hole, did not amuse himself with
long disquisitions, or make that accurate examination which he would
have done at another time; but crawling out as he came in, he went and
told the first he met of what he had seen. Some had the curiosity to
go in likewise. I had forgot to mention that there was another range
of bodies, deposited in the same manner, upon another platform under
the bier. Probably this was the burial place of their great men, called
caciques; but from whence they could be brought we were utterly at
a loss to conceive, there being no traces of any Indian settlement
hereabout. We had seen no savage since we left the island, or observed
any marks in the coves, or bays to the northward, where we had
touched,--such as of fire-places, or old wigwams, which they never fail
of leaving behind them; and it is very probable, from the violent seas
that are always beating upon this coast, its deformed aspect, and the
very swampy soil that every where borders upon it, that it is little

We now crossed the first bay for the headland we left on Christmas-day,
much dejected; for under our former sufferings, we were in some measure
supported with the hopes that, as we advanced, however little, they
were so much the nearer the termination; but now our prospect was
dismal and dispiriting, indeed, as we had the same difficulties and
dangers to encounter, not only without any flattering views to lessen
them, but under the aggravating circumstance of their leading to an
inevitable and miserable death; for we could not possibly conceive that
the fate of starving could be avoided by any human means, upon that
desolate island we were returning to. The shell-fish, which was the
only subsistence that island had hitherto afforded in any measure, was
exhausted; and the Indians had shewn themselves so little affected by
the common incitements of compassion, that we had no hopes to build
upon any impressions of that sort in them. They had already refused
to barter their dogs with us, for want of a valuable commodity on
our side; so that it is wonderful we did not give ourselves up to
despondency, and lay aside all farther attempts; but we were supported
by that invisible power, who can make the most untoward circumstances
subservient to his gracious purposes.

At this time, our usual bad weather attended us; the night too set in
long before we could reach the cove we before had taken shelter in;
so that we were obliged to keep the boat's head to the sea all night,
the sea every where a-stern of us, running over hideous breakers. In
the morning, we designed standing over for that island in which we
had observed those straight and lofty trees before mentioned, and
which Captain Cheap named Montrose Island; but as soon as we opened
the headland to the westward of us, a sudden squall took the boat,
and very near overset her. We were instantly full of water; but by
baling with our hats and hands, and any thing that would hold water, we
with difficulty freed her. Under this alarming circumstance, we found
it advisable to return back and put into the cove, which the night
before we were prevented getting into. We were detained here two or
three days, by exceeding bad weather; so that, had we not fortunately
provided ourselves with some seal, we must have starved, for this place
afforded us nothing.

At length we reached Montrose Island. This is by much the best and
pleasantest spot we had seen in this part of the world; though it has
nothing on it eatable but some berries, which resembled gooseberries
in flavour: they are of a black hue, and grow in swampy ground; and
the bush or tree that bears them is much taller than that of our
gooseberries. We remained here some time, living upon these berries,
and the remainder of our seal, which was now grown quite rotten. Our
two or three first attempts to put out from this island were without
success, the tempestuous weather obliging us so often to put back
again. One of our people was much inclined to remain here, thinking it
as least as good a place as Wager's Island to end his days upon; but
he was obliged to go off with them. We had not been long out before it
began to blow a storm of wind; and the mist came on so thick, that we
could not see the land, and were at a loss which way to steer; but we
heard the sea, which ran exceedingly high, breaking near us; upon which
we immediately hauled aft the sheet, and hardly weathered the breakers
by a boat's length. At the same time we shipped a sea that nearly
filled us: it struck us with that violence, as to throw me, and one or
two more, down into the bottom of the boat, where we were half drowned
before we could get up again. This was one of the most extraordinary
escapes we had in the course of this expedition; for Captain Cheap, and
every one else, had entirely given themselves up for lost. However,
it pleased God that we got that evening into Redwood Cove, where the
weather continued so bad all night, we could keep no fire in to dry
ourselves with; but there being no other alternative for us, but to
stay here and starve, or put to sea again, we chose the latter, and
put out in the morning again, though the weather was very little
mended. In three or four days after, we arrived at our old station,
Wager's Island; but in such a miserable plight, that though we thought
our condition upon setting out would not admit of any additional
circumstance of misery, yet it was to be envied in comparison of what
we now suffered, so worn and reduced were we by fatigue and hunger;
having eat nothing for some days but sea-weed and tangle. Upon this
expedition, we had been out, by our account, just two months; in which
we had rounded, backwards and forwards, the great bay formed to the
northward by that high land we had observed from Mount Misery.

The first thing we did upon our arrival, was to secure the barge, as
this was our sole dependence for any relief that might offer by sea;
which done, we repaired to our huts, which formed a kind of village
or street, consisting of several irregular habitations; some of which
being covered by a kind of brush-wood thatch, afforded tolerable
shelter against the inclemency of the weather. Among these, there was
one which we observed with some surprise to be nailed up. We broke
it open, and found some iron work, picked out with much pains from
those pieces of the wreck which were driven ashore. We concluded from
hence, that the Indians who had been here in our absence, were not of
that tribe with which we had some commerce before, who seemed to set
no value upon iron, but from some other quarter; and must have had
communication with the Spaniards, from whom they had learned the value
and use of that commodity. Thieving from strangers is a commendable
talent among savages in general, and bespeaks an address which they
much admire; though the strictest honesty, with regard to the property
of each other, is observed among them. There is no doubt but they
ransacked all our houses; but the men had taken care, before they went
off in the long-boat, to strip them of their most valuable furniture;
that is, the bales of cloth used for lining, and converted them into
trowsers and watch-coats. Upon farther search, we found, thrown aside
in the bushes, at the back of one of the huts, some pieces of seal, in
a very putrid condition; which, however, our stomachs were far from
loathing. The next business, which the people set about very seriously,
was to proceed to Mount Misery, and bury the corpse of the murdered
person, mentioned to have been discovered there some little time after
our being cast away; for to the neglect of this necessary tribute to
that unfortunate person, the men assigned all their ill-success upon
the late expedition.

That common people in general are addicted to superstitious conceits,
is an observation founded on experience; and the reason is evident:
but I cannot allow that common seamen are more so than others of the
lower class. In the most enlightened ages of antiquity, we find it to
have been the popular opinion, that the spirits of the dead were not at
rest till their bodies were interred; and that they did not cease to
haunt and trouble those who had neglected this duty to the departed.
This is still believed by the vulgar, in most countries; and in our
men, this persuasion was much heightened by the melancholy condition
they were reduced to; and was farther confirmed by an occurrence which
happened some little time before we went upon our last expedition.
One night we were alarmed with a strange cry, which resembled that
of a man drowning. Many of us ran out of our huts towards the place
from whence the noise proceeded, which was not far off shore; where
we could perceive, but not distinctly (for it was then moonlight), an
appearance like that of a man swimming half out of water. The noise
that this creature uttered was so unlike that of any animal they had
heard before, that it made a great impression upon the men; and they
frequently recalled this apparition at the time of their distresses,
with reflections on the neglect of the office they were now fulfilling.

We were soon driven again to the greatest straits for want of something
to subsist upon, by the extreme bad weather that now set in upon us.
Wild celery was all we could procure, which raked our stomachs instead
of assuaging our hunger. That dreadful and last resource of men, in
not much worse circumstances than ours, of consigning one man to death
for the support of the rest, began to be mentioned in whispers; and
indeed there were some among us who, by eating what they found raw,
were become little better than cannibals. But fortunately for us, and
opportunely to prevent this horrid proceeding, Mr. Hamilton, at this
time, found some rotten pieces of beef, cast up by the sea at some
miles distance from the huts, which he, though a temptation which few
would have resisted in parallel circumstances, scorned to conceal from
the rest; but generously distributed among us.

A few days after, the mystery of the nailing up of the hut, and what
had been doing by the Indians upon the island in our absence, was
partly explained to us; for about the fifteenth day after our return,
there came a party of Indians to the island in two canoes, who were not
a little surprised to find us here again. Among these, was an Indian of
the tribe of the Chonos, who live in the neighbourhood of Chiloe.[4]
He talked the Spanish language, but with that savage accent which
renders it almost unintelligible to any but those who are adepts in
that language. He was likewise a cacique, or leading man of his tribe;
which authority was confirmed to him by the Spaniards; for he carried
the usual badge and mark of distinction by which the Spaniards, and
their dependents, hold their military and civil employments, which is a
stick with a silver head. These badges, of which the Indians are very
vain, at once serve to retain the cacique in the strongest attachment
to the Spanish government, and give him greater weight with his own
dependents: yet, withal, he is the merest slave, and has not one thing
he can call his own. This report of our shipwreck (as we supposed)
having reached the Chonos, by means of the intermediate tribes, which
handed it to one another, from those Indians who first visited us;
this cacique was either sent to learn the truth of the rumour, or
having first got the intelligence, set out with a view of making some
advantage of the wreck, and appropriating such iron-work as he could
gather from it to his own use: for that metal is become very valuable
to those savages, since their commerce with the Spaniards has taught
them to apply it to several purposes. But as the secreting any thing
from a rapacious Spanish rey, or governor (even an old rusty nail),
by any of their Indian dependents, is a very dangerous offence, he
was careful to conceal the little prize he had made, till he could
conveniently carry it away; for in order to make friends of these
savages, we had left their hoard untouched.


Chiloe is an island on the western coast of America, about the 43rd
deg. of S. latitude; and the southernmost settlement under the Spanish
jurisdiction on that coast.]

Our surgeon, Mr. Elliot, being master of a few Spanish words, made
himself so far understood by the cacique as to let him know, that
our intention was to reach some of the Spanish settlements, if we
could; that we were unacquainted with the best and safest way, and
what tract was most likely to afford us subsistence in our journey;
promising, if he would undertake to conduct us in the barge, he should
have it, and every thing in it, for his trouble, as soon as it had
served our present occasions. To these conditions the cacique, after
much persuasion, at length agreed. Accordingly, having made the best
preparation we could, we embarked on board the barge to the number of
fifteen, including the cacique, whose name was Martin, and his servant
Emanuel. We were, indeed, sixteen, when we returned from our last
fruitless attempt to get off the island; but we had buried two since
that, who perished with hunger; and a marine, having committed theft,
run away to avoid the punishment his crime deserved, and hid himself
in the woods; since which he was never heard of. We now put off,
accompanied with the two Indian canoes; in one of which was a savage,
with his two wives, who had an air of dignity superior to the rest, and
was handsome in his person. He had his hut, during his stay with us,
separate from the other Indians, who seemed to pay him extraordinary
respect; but in two or three nights, these Indians, being independent
of the Spaniards, and living somewhere to the southward of our Chono
guide, left us to proceed on our journey by ourselves.

The first night we lay at an island destitute of all refreshment; where
having found some shelter for our boat, and made ourselves a fire, we
slept by it. The next night we were more unfortunate, though our wants
were increasing; for having run to the westward of Montross island, we
found no shelter for the barge; but were under the necessity of lying
upon our oars, suffering the most extreme pangs of hunger. The next
day brought us to the bottom of a great bay, where the Indian guide
had left his family, a wife and two children, in a hut. Here we staid
two or three days, during which we were constantly employed in ranging
along shore in quest of shell-fish.

We now again proceeded on our voyage, having received on board the
family of our guide, who conducted us to a river, the stream of which
was so rapid, that after our utmost efforts from morning to evening, we
gained little upon the current, and at last were obliged to desist from
our attempt and return. I had hitherto steered the boat; but one of our
men sinking under the fatigue, expired soon after, which obliged me to
take the oar in his room, and row against this heart-breaking stream.
Whilst I was thus employed, one of our men whose name was John Bosman,
though hitherto the stoutest man among us, fell from his seat under
the thwarts, complaining that his strength was quite exhausted for
want of food, and that he should die very shortly. As he lay in this
condition, he would every now and then break out in the most pathetic
wishes for some little sustenance; that two or three mouthfuls might be
the means of saving his life. The Captain, at this time, had a large
piece of boiled seal by him, and was the only one that was provided
with any thing like a meal; but we were become so hardened against the
impressions of others' sufferings by our own; so familiarized to scenes
of this, and every other kind of misery; that the poor man's dying
entreaties were vain. I sat next to him when he dropped, and having a
few dried shell-fish (about five or six) in my pocket, from time to
time put one in his mouth, which served only to prolong his pains; from
which, however, soon after my little supply failed, he was released
by death. For this, and another man I mentioned a little before to
have expired under the like circumstances, when we returned from this
unsuccessful enterprise, we made a grave in the sands.

It would have redounded greatly to the tenderness and humanity of
Captain Cheap, if at this time he had remitted somewhat of that
attention he shewed to self-preservation; which is hardly allowable
but where the consequence of relieving others must be immediately
and manifestly fatal to ourselves; but I would venture to affirm,
that in these last affecting exigencies, as well as some others, a
sparing perhaps adequate to the emergency, might have been admitted
consistently with a due regard to his own necessities. The Captain had
better opportunities for recruiting his stock than any of us; for his
rank was considered by the Indian as a reason for supplying him when he
would not find a bit for us. Upon the evening of the day in which these
disasters happened, the Captain producing a large piece of boiled seal,
suffered no one to partake with him but the surgeon, who was the only
man in favour at this time. We did not expect, indeed, any relief from
him in our present condition; for we had a few small muscles and herbs
to eat; but the men could not help expressing the greatest indignation
at his neglect of the deceased; saying that he deserved to be deserted
by the rest for his savage behaviour.

The endeavouring to pass up this river was for us, who had so long
struggled with hunger, a most unseasonable attempt; by which we were
harassed to a degree that threatened to be fatal to more of us; but our
guide, without any respect to the condition our hardships had reduced
us to, was very solicitous for us to go that way, which possibly he
had gone before in light canoes; but for such a boat as ours was
impracticable. We conceived, therefore, at that time, that this was
some short cut, which was to bring us forward in our voyage; but we
had reason to think afterwards, that the greater probability there was
of his getting the barge, which was the wages of his undertaking, safe
to his settlement by this, rather than another course, was his motive
for preferring it to the way we took afterwards, where there was a
carrying place of considerable length, over which it would have been
impossible to have carried our boat.

The country hereabouts wears the most uncouth, desolate, and rugged
aspect imaginable; it is so circumstanced, as to discourage the most
sanguine adventurers from attempts to settle it: were it for no other
reason than the constant heavy rains, or rather torrents, which pour
down here, and the vast sea and surf which the prevailing westerly
winds impel upon this coast, it must be rendered inhospitable. All
entrance into the woods is not only extremely difficult, but hazardous;
not from any assaults you are likely to meet with from wild beasts;
for even these could hardly find convenient harbour here; but from the
deep swamp, which is the reigning soil of this country, and in which
the woods may be said rather to float than grow; so that, except upon a
range of deformed broken rocks which form the sea-coast, the traveller
cannot find sound footing any where. With this unpromising scene
before us we were now setting out in search of food, which nothing but
the most pressing instances of hunger could induce us to do: we had,
indeed, the young Indian servant to our cacique for our conductor, who
was left by him to shew us where the shell-fish was most plenty. The
cacique was gone with the rest of his family, in the canoe, with a view
of getting some seal, upon a trip which would detain him from us three
or four days.

After searching the coast some time with very little success, we
began to think of returning to the barge; but six of the men, with
the Indian, having advanced some few paces before the officers, got
into the boat first; which they had no sooner done than they put off,
and left us, to return no more. And now all the difficulties we had
hitherto endured, seemed light in comparison of what we expected to
suffer from this treachery of our men, who, with the boat, had taken
away every thing that might be the means of preserving our lives. The
little clothes we had saved from the wreck, our muskets and ammunition
were gone, except a little powder, which must be preserved for kindling
fires, and one gun, which I had, and was now become useless for want of
ammunition; and all these wants were now come upon us at a time when we
could not be worse situated for supplying them. Yet under these dismal
and forlorn appearances was our delivery now preparing; and from these
hopeless circumstances were we to draw hereafter an instance scarce
to be paralleled, of the unsearchable ways of Providence. It was at
that time little suspected by us, that the barge, in which we founded
all our hopes of escaping from this savage coast, would certainly have
proved the fatal cause of detaining us till we were consumed by the
labour and hardships requisite to row her round the capes and great
headlands; for it was impossible to carry her by land, as we did the
boats of the Indians. At present, no condition could be worse that we
thought ours to be: there ran at this time a very high sea, which
breaking with great fury upon this coast, made it very improbable that
sustenance in any proportion to our wants could be found upon it; yet,
unpromising as this prospect was, and though little succour could be
expected from this quarter, I could not help, as I strolled along shore
from the rest, casting my eyes towards the sea. Continuing thus to look
out, I thought I saw something now and then upon the top of a sea that
looked black, which upon observing still more intently, I imagined at
last to be a canoe; but reflecting afterwards how unusual it was for
Indians to venture out in so mountainous a sea, and at such a distance
from the land, I concluded myself to be deceived. However, its nearer
approach convinced me, beyond all doubt, of its being a canoe; but that
it could not put in any where hereabouts, but intended for some other
part of the coast. I ran back as fast as I could to my companions, and
acquainted them with what I had seen. The despondency they were in
would not allow them to give credit to it at first; but afterwards,
being convinced that it was as I reported it, we were all in the
greatest hurry to strip off some of our rags to make a signal withal,
which we fixed upon a long pole. This had the desired effect: the
people in the canoe seeing the signal, made towards the land at about
two mile distance from us; for no boat could approach the land where we
were: there they put into a small cove, sheltered by a large ledge of
rocks without, which broke the violence of the sea. Captain Cheap and
I walked along shore, and got to the cove about the time they landed.
Here we found the persons arrived in this canoe, to be our Indian guide
and his wife, who had left us some days before. He would have asked us
many questions; but neither Captain Cheap nor I understanding Spanish
at that time, we took him along with us to the surgeon, whom we had
left so ill that he could hardly raise himself from the ground. When
the Indian began to confer with the surgeon, the first question was,
What was become of the barge and his companion? and as he could give
him no satisfactory answer to this question, the Indian took it for
granted that Emanuel was murdered by us, and that he and his family ran
the same risk; upon which he was preparing to provide for his security,
by leaving us directly. The surgeon seeing this, did all in his
power to pacify him, and convince him of the unreasonableness of his
apprehensions; which he at length found means to do, by assuring him
that the Indian would come to no harm, but that he would soon see him
return safe; which providentially, and beyond our expectation, happened
accordingly; for in a few days after, Emanuel having contrived to make
his escape from the people in the barge, returned by ways that were
impassable to any creature but an Indian. All that we could learn from
Emanuel relative to his escape was, that he took the first opportunity
of leaving them; which was upon their putting into a bay somewhere to
the westward.

We had but one gun among us, and that was a small fowling-piece of
mine; no ammunition but a few charges of powder I had about me; and
as the Indian was very desirous of returning to the place where he had
left his wife and canoe, Captain Cheap desired I would go with him and
watch over him all night, to prevent his getting away. Accordingly I
set out with him; and when he and his family betook themselves to rest
in the little wigwam they had made for that purpose, I kept my station
as centinel over them all night.

The next morning Captain Cheap, Mr. Hamilton, and the surgeon, joined
us: the latter, by illness, being reduced to the most feeble condition,
was supported by Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Campbell. After holding some
little consultation together, as to the best manner of proceeding in
our journey, it was agreed, that the Indian should haul his canoe, with
our assistance, over land, quite across the island we were then upon,
and put her into a bay on the other side, from whence he was to go in
quest of some other Indians, by whom he expected to be joined; but as
his canoe was too small to carry more than three or four persons, he
thought it advisable to take only Captain Cheap and myself with him,
and to leave his wife and children as pledges with our companions till
his return.

As it was matter of uncertainty whether we should ever recover the
barge or not, which was stipulated, on our side, to become the property
of the cacique, upon his fulfilling his engagements with us; the
inducements we now made use of to prevail upon him to proceed with us
in our journey were, that he should have my fowling-piece, some little
matters in the possession of Captain Cheap, and that we would use our
interest to procure him some small pecuniary reward.

We were now to set off in the canoe, in which I was to assist him in
rowing. Accordingly, putting from this island, we rowed hard all this
day and the next, without any thing to eat but a scrap of seal, a very
small portion of which fell to my share. About two hours after the
close of the day, we put ashore, where we discovered six or seven
wigwams. For my part, my strength was so exhausted with fatigue and
hunger, that it would have been impossible for me to have held out
another day at this toilsome work. As soon as we landed, the Indian
conducted Captain Cheap with him into a wigwam; but I was left to shift
for myself.

Thus left, I was for some time at a loss what I had best do; for
knowing that in the variety of dispositions observable among the
Indians, the surly and savage temper is the most prevalent, I had good
reason to conclude, that if I obtruded myself upon them, my reception
would be but indifferent. Necessity, however, put me upon the risk;
I accordingly pushed into the next wigwam upon my hands and knees;
for the entrance into these kind of buildings is too low to admit of
any other manner of getting into them. To give a short description of
these temporary houses, called wigwams, may not be improper here, for
the satisfaction of those who never saw any; especially as they differ
somewhat from those of North America, which are more generally known
from the numerous accounts of that country.

When the Indians of this part of the world have occasion to stop any
where in their rambles, if it be only for a night or two, the men, who
take this business upon them, while the women are employed in much
more laborious offices, such as diving in the sea for sea-eggs, and
searching the rocks for shell-fish, getting fuel, &c., repair to the
woods, and cutting a sufficient number of tall, strait branches, fix
them in an irregular kind of circle, of uncertain dimensions; which
having done, they bend the extremities of these branches so as to meet
in a centre at top, where they bind them by a kind of woodbine, called
supple-jack, which they split by holding it in their teeth. This frame,
or skeleton of a hut, is made tight against the weather with a covering
of boughs and bark; but as the bark is not got without some trouble,
they generally take it with them when they remove, putting it at the
bottom of their canoes: the rest of the wigwam they leave standing.
The fire is made in the middle of the wigwam, round which they sit upon
boughs; and as there is no vent for the smoke, besides the door-way,
which is very low, except through some crevices, which cannot easily be
stopped, they are not a little incommoded on that account; and the eyes
of some of them are much affected by it.

But to return: in this wigwam, into which I took the liberty to
introduce myself, I found only two women, who, upon first seeing a
figure they were not accustomed to, and such a figure too as I then
made, were struck with astonishment. They were sitting by a fire, to
which I approached without any apology. However inclined I might have
been to make one, my ignorance of their language made it impossible to
attempt it. One of these women appeared to be young, and very handsome
for an Indian; the other old, and as frightful as it is possible to
conceive any thing in human shape to be. Having stared at me some
little time, they both went out; and I, without any farther ceremony,
sat me down by the fire to warm myself, and dry the rags I wore. Yet I
cannot say my situation was very easy, as I expected every instant to
see two or three men come in and thrust me out, if they did not deal
with me in a rougher manner.

Soon after the two women came in again, having, as I supposed,
conferred with the Indian, our conductor; and appearing to be in great
good-humour, began to chatter and laugh immoderately. Perceiving the
wet and cold condition I was in, they seemed to have compassion on
me, and the old woman went out and brought some wood, with which she
made a good fire; but my hunger being impatient, I could not forbear
expressing my desire that they would extend their hospitality a little
further, and bring me something to eat. They soon comprehended my
meaning, and the younger beginning to rummage under some pieces of bark
that lay in the corner of the wigwam, produced a fine large fish: this
they presently put upon the fire to broil; and when it was just warm
through, they made a sign for me to eat. They had no need to repeat
the invitation; I fell to, and dispatched it in so short a time, that
I was in hopes they would comprehend, without further tokens, that I
was ready for another; but it was of no consequence, for their stock of
eatables was entirely exhausted.

After sitting some time in conference together, in which conversation
I could bear no part, the women made some signs to me to lay down and
go to sleep, first having strewed some dry boughs upon the ground. I
laid myself down, and soon fell fast asleep; and about three or four
hours after awaking, I found myself covered with a bit of blanket, made
of the down of birds, which the women usually wear about their waist.
The young woman, who had carefully covered me, whilst sleeping, with
her own blanket, was lying close by me: the old woman lay on the other
side of her. The fire was low, and almost burnt out; but as soon as
they found me awake they renewed it, by putting on more fuel. What I
had hitherto eat served only to sharpen my appetite; I could not help,
therefore, being earnest with them to get me some more victuals. Having
understood my necessities, they talked together some little time;
after which getting up, they both went out, taking with them a couple
of dogs, which they train to assist them in fishing. After an hour's
absence, they came in trembling with cold, and their hair streaming
with water, and brought two fish; which having broiled, they gave me
the largest share; and then we all laid down as before to rest.

In the morning my curiosity led me to visit the neighbouring wigwams,
in which were only one or two men; the rest of the inhabitants were all
women and children. I then proceeded to enquire after Captain Cheap and
our Indian guide, whom I found in the wigwam they at first occupied:
the authority of the cacique had procured the Captain no despicable
entertainment. We could not learn what business the men, whose wives
and children were here left behind, were gone out upon; but as they
seldom or never go upon fishing-parties (for they have no hunting here)
without their wives, who take the most laborious part of this pursuit
upon themselves, it is probable they were gone upon some warlike
expedition, in which they use bows and arrows sometimes, but always
the lance. This weapon they throw with great dexterity and force, and
never stir abroad without it. About this time their return was looked
for; a hearing by no means pleasant to me; I was, therefore, determined
to enjoy myself as long as they were absent, and make the most of the
good fare I was possessed of; to the pleasure of which I thought a
little cleanliness might in some measure contribute; I therefore went
to a brook, and taking off my shirt, which might be said to be alive
with vermin, set myself about to wash it; which having done as well
as I could, and hung on a bush to dry, I heard a bustle about the
wigwams; and soon perceived that the women were preparing to depart,
having stripped their wigwams of their bark covering, and carried it
into their canoes. Putting on, therefore, my shirt just as it was, I
hastened to join them, having a great desire of being present at one of
their fishing parties.

It was my lot to be put into the canoe with my two patronesses, and
some others who assisted in rowing; we were in all four canoes. After
rowing some time, they gained such an offing as they required, where
the water here was about eight or ten fathom deep, and there lay upon
their oars. And now the youngest of the two women, taking a basket in
her mouth, jumped overboard, and diving to the bottom, continued under
water an amazing time: when she had filled the basket with sea-eggs,
she came up to the boat-side; and delivering it so filled to the other
women in the boat, they took out the contents, and returned it to her.
The diver, then, after having taken a short time to breathe, went down
and up again with the same success; and so several times for the space
of half an hour. It seems as if Providence had endued this people
with a kind of amphibious nature, as the sea is the only source from
whence almost all their subsistence is derived. This element too,
being here very boisterous, and falling with a most heavy surf upon a
rugged coast, very little, except some seal, is to be got any where
but in the quiet bosom of the deep. What occasions this reflection is
the early propensity I had so frequently observed in the children of
these savages to this occupation; who, even at the age of three years,
might be seen crawling upon their hands and knees among the rocks and
breakers; from which they would tumble themselves into the sea without
regard to the cold, which is here often intense; and showing no fear of
the noise and roaring of the surf.

This sea-egg is a shell-fish, from which several prickles project in
all directions, by means whereof it removes itself from place to place.
In it are found four or five yolks, resembling the inner divisions of
an orange, which are of a very nutritive quality, and excellent flavour.

The water was at this time extremely cold; and when the divers got
into the boats, they seemed greatly benumbed; and it is usual with
them after this exercise, if they are near enough their wigwams, to
run to the fire; to which presenting one side, they rub and chafe it
for some time; then turning the other, use it in the same manner,
till the circulation of the blood is restored. This practice, if it
has no worse effect, must occasion their being more susceptible of
the impressions of cold, than if they waited the gradual advances of
their natural warmth in the open air. I leave it to the decision of the
gentlemen of the faculty, whether this too hasty approach to the fire
may not subject them to a disorder I observed among them, called the
elephantiasis, or swelling of the legs.[5]


There are two very different disorders incident to the human body,
which bear the same name, derived from some resemblance they hold with
different parts of the animal so well known in the countries to which
these disorders are peculiar. That which was first so named is the
leprosy, which brings a scurf on the skin not unlike the hide of an
elephant. The other affects the patient with such enormous swellings of
the legs and feet, that they give the idea of those shapeless pillars
which support that creature; and therefore this disease has also been
called elephantiasis by the Arabian physicians; who, together with the
Malabarians, among whom it is endemial, attribute it to the drinking
bad waters, and the too sudden transitions from heat to cold.]

The divers having returned to their boats, we continued to row till
towards evening, when we landed upon a low point. As soon as the canoes
were hauled up, they employed themselves in erecting their wigwams,
which they dispatch with great address and quickness. I still enjoyed
the protection of my two good Indian women, who made me their guest
here as before; they first regaled me with sea-eggs, and then went out
upon another kind of fishery by the means of dogs and nets. These dogs
are a cur-like looking animal, but very sagacious, and easily trained
to this business. Though in appearance an uncomfortable sort of sport,
yet they engage in it readily, seem to enjoy it much, and express
their eagerness by barking every time they raise their heads above the
water to breathe. The net is held by two Indians, who get into the
water; then the dogs, taking a large compass, dive after the fish, and
drive them into the net; but it is only in particular places that the
fish are taken in this manner. At the close of the evening, the women
brought in two fish, which served us for supper; and then we reposed
ourselves as before. Here we remained all the next day; and the morning
after embarked again, and rowed till noon; then landing, we descried
the canoes of the Indian men, who had been some time expected from an
expedition they had been upon. This was soon to make a great alteration
in the situation of my affairs, a presage of which I could read in the
melancholy countenance of my young hostess. She endeavoured to express
herself in very earnest terms to me; but I had not yet acquired a
competent knowledge of the Indian language to understand her.

As soon as the men were landed, she and the old Indian woman went up,
not without some marks of dread upon them, to an elderly Indian man,
whose remarkable surly and stern countenance was well calculated to
raise such sensations in his dependents. He seemed to be a cacique, or
chief man among them, by the airs of importance he assumed to himself,
and the deference paid him by the rest. After some little conference
passed between these Indians, and our cacique conductor, of which,
most probably, the circumstances of our history, and the occasion of
our coming here, might be the chief subject, for they fixed their
eyes constantly upon us, they applied themselves to building their
wigwams. I now understood that the two Indian women with whom I had
sojourned, were wives to this chieftain, though one was young enough to
be his daughter; and as far as I could learn, did really stand in the
different relations to him both of daughter and wife. It was easy to be
perceived that all did not go well between them at this time: either
that he was not satisfied with the answers that they returned him to
his questions, or that he suspected some misconduct on their side; for
presently after, breaking out into savage fury, he took the young one
up in his arms, and threw her with violence against the stones; but his
brutal resentment did not stop here, he beat her afterwards in a cruel
manner. I could not see this treatment of my benefactress without the
highest concern for her, and rage against the author of it; especially
as the natural jealousy of these people gave occasion to think that
it was on my account she suffered. I could hardly suppress the first
emotions of my resentment, which prompted me to return him his
barbarity in his own kind; but besides that this might have drawn upon
her fresh marks of his severity, it was neither politic, nor indeed in
my power, to have done it to any good purpose at this time.

Our cacique now made us understand that we must embark directly, in the
same canoe which brought us, and return to our companions; and that
the Indians we were about to leave, would join us in a few days, when
we should all set out in a body, in order to proceed to the northward.
In our way back, nothing very material happened; but upon our arrival,
which was the next day, we found Mr. Elliot, the surgeon, in a very bad
way; his illness had been continually increasing since we left him. Mr.
Hamilton and Mr. Campbell were almost starved, having fared very ill
since we left them: a few sea-eggs were all the subsistence they had
lived upon; and these procured by the cacique's wife, in the manner I
mentioned before. This woman was the very reverse of my hostess; and as
she found her husband was of so much consequence to us, took upon her
with much haughtiness, and treated us as dependents and slaves. He was
not more engaging in his carriage towards us; he would give no part of
what he had to spare to any but Captain Cheap, whom his interest led
him to prefer to the rest, though our wants were often greater. The
captain, on his part, contributed to keep us in this abject situation,
by approving this distinction the cacique showed to him. Had he treated
us with not quite so much distance, the cacique might have been more
regardful of our wants. The little regard and attention which our
necessitous condition drew from Captain Cheap, may be imputed likewise,
in some measure, to the effects of a mind soured by a series of crosses
and disappointments; which, indeed, had operated on us all to a great
neglect of each other, and sometimes of ourselves.

We were not suffered to be in the same wigwam with the cacique and his
wife; which, if we had had any countenance from Captain Cheap, would
not have been refused. What we had made for ourselves was in such a
bungling manner, that it scarce deserved the name even of this wretched
sort of habitation. But our untoward circumstances now found some
relief in the arrival of the Indians we waited for; who brought with
them some seal, a small portion of which fell to our share. A night
or two after they sent out some of their young men, who procured us a
quantity of a very delicate kind of birds, called shags and cormorants.
Their manner of taking these birds resembles something a sport called
bat fowling. They find out their haunts among the rocks and cliffs in
the night, when taking with them torches made of the bark of the birch
tree, which is common here, and grows to a very large size, (this bark
has a very unctuous quality, and emits a bright and clear light, and in
the northern parts of America is used frequently instead of a candle,)
they bring the boat's side as near as possible to the rocks, under the
roosting-places of these birds; then waving their lights backwards and
forwards, the birds are dazzled and confounded so as to fall into the
canoe, where they are instantly knocked on the head with a short stick
the Indians take with them for that purpose.

Seals are taken in some less frequented parts of these coasts, with
great ease; but when their haunts have been two or three times
disturbed, they soon learn to provide for their safety, by repairing to
the water upon the first alarm. This is the case with them hereabouts;
but as they frequently raise their heads above water, either to breathe
or look about them, I have seen an Indian at this interval, throw his
lance with such dexterity as to strike the animal through both its
eyes, at a great distance; and it is very seldom that they miss their

As we were wholly unacquainted with these methods of providing food
for ourselves, and were without arms and ammunition, we were driven
to the utmost straits; and found ourselves rather in worse condition
than we had been at any time before. For the Indians having now nothing
to fear from us, we found we had nothing to expect from them upon any
other motive. Accordingly, if ever they did relieve us, it was through
caprice; for at most times they would shew themselves unconcerned at
our greatest distresses. But the good Indian women, whose friendship
I had experienced before, continued, from time to time, their good
offices to me. Though I was not suffered to enter their wigwams, they
would find opportunities of throwing in my way such scraps as they
could secrete from their husbands. The obligation I was under to them
on this account was great, as the hazard they ran in conferring these
favours was little less than death. The men, unrestrained by any
laws or ties of conscience, in the management of their own families,
exercise a most despotic authority over their wives, whom they consider
in the same view as any other part of their property, and dispose of
them accordingly: even their common treatment of them is cruel; for
though the toil and hazard of procuring food lies entirely upon the
women, yet they are not suffered to touch any part of it till the
husband is satisfied; and then he assigns them their portion, which is
generally very scanty, and such as he has not a stomach for himself.
This arbitrary proceeding, with respect to their own families, is not
peculiar to this people only. I have had occasion to observe it in
more instances than this I have mentioned, among many other nations of
savages I have since seen.

These Indians are of a middling stature, well set, and very active;
and make their way among the rocks with an amazing agility. Their
feet, by this kind of exercise, contract a callosity which renders
the use of shoes quite unnecessary to them. But before I conclude the
few observations I have to make on a people so confined in all their
notions and habits, it may be expected I should say something of their
religion; but as their gross ignorance is in nothing more conspicuous,
and as we found it advisable to keep out of their way when the fits
of devotion came upon them, which is rather frantic than religious,
the reader can expect very little satisfaction on this head. Accident
has sometimes made me unavoidably a spectator of scenes I should have
chosen to have withdrawn myself from; and so far I am instructed. As
there are no fixed seasons for their religious exercises, the younger
people wait till the elders find themselves devoutly disposed; who
begin the ceremony by several deep and dismal groans, which rise
gradually to a hideous kind of singing, from which they proceed to
enthusiasm, and work themselves into a disposition that borders on
madness; for suddenly jumping up, they snatch firebrands from the fire,
put them in their mouths, and run about burning every body they come
near: at other times, it is a custom with them to wound one another
with sharp muscle-shells till they are besmeared with blood. These
orgies continue till those who preside in them foam at the mouth, grow
faint, are exhausted with fatigue, and dissolve in a profusion of
sweat. When the men drop their part in this frenzy, the women take it
up, acting over again much the same kind of wild scene, except that
they rather outdo the men in shrieks and noise. Our cacique, who had
been reclaimed from these abominations by the Spaniards, and just knew
the exterior form of crossing himself, pretended to be much offended
at these profane ceremonies, and that he would have died sooner than
have partaken of them. Among other expressions of disapprobation, he
declared that whilst the savages solemnized these horrid rites, he
never failed to hear strange and uncommon noises in the woods, and to
see frightful visions; and assured us, that the devil was the chief
actor among them upon these occasions.

It might be about the middle of March, that we embarked with these
Indians. They separated our little company entirely, not putting any
two of us together in the same canoe. The oar was my lot, as usual,
as also Mr. Campbell's; Mr. Hamilton could not row, and Captain Cheap
was out of the question; our surgeon was more dead than alive at the
time, and lay at the bottom of the canoe he was in. The weather coming
on too bad for their canoes to keep the sea, we landed again, without
making great progress that day. Here Mr. Elliot, our surgeon, died. At
our first setting out, he promised the fairest for holding out, being
a very strong, active young man: he had gone through an infinite deal
of fatigue, as Mr. Hamilton and he were the best shots amongst us, and
whilst our ammunition lasted never spared themselves, and in a great
measure provided for the rest; but he died the death many others had
done before him, being quite starved. We scraped a hole for him in the
sand, and buried him in the best manner we could. Here I must relate a
little anecdote of our Christian cacique. He and his wife had gone off,
at some distance from the shore, in their canoe, when she dived for
sea-eggs; but not meeting with great success, they returned a good deal
out of humour. A little boy of theirs, about three years old, whom they
appeared to be dotingly fond of, watching for his father and mother's
return, ran into the surf to meet them: the father handed a basket of
sea-eggs to the child, which being too heavy for him to carry, he let
it fall; upon which the father jumped out of the canoe, and catching
the boy up in his arms, dashed him with the utmost violence against
the stones. The poor little creature lay motionless and bleeding, and
in that condition was taken up by the mother; but died soon after. She
appeared inconsolable for some time; but the brute his father shewed
little concern about it. A day or two after we put to sea again, and
crossed the great bay I mentioned we had been to the bottom of, when
we first hauled away to the westward. The land here was very low and
sandy, with something like the mouth of a river which discharged itself
into the sea; and which had been taken no notice of by us before, as
it was so shallow that the Indians were obliged to take every thing
out of their canoes, and carry it over the neck of land, and then haul
the boats over into a river, which at this part of it was very broad,
more resembling a lake than a river. We rowed up it for four or five
leagues, and then took into a branch of it, that ran first to the
eastward, and then to the northward: here it became much narrower, and
the stream excessively rapid, so that we made but little way, though
we worked very hard. At night we landed upon its banks, and had a most
uncomfortable lodging, it being a perfect swamp; and we had nothing to
cover us, though it rained very hard. The Indians were little better
off than we, as there was no wood here to make their wigwams; so that
all they could do was to prop up the bark they carry in the bottom
of their canoes with their oars, and shelter themselves as well as
they could to leeward of it. They, knowing the difficulties that were
to be encountered here, had provided themselves with some seal; but
we had not the least morsel to eat, after the heavy fatigues of the
day, excepting a sort of root we saw some of the Indians make use of,
which was very disagreeable to the taste. We laboured all the next
day against the stream, and fared as we had done the day before. The
next day brought us to the carrying-place. Here was plenty of wood;
but nothing to be got for sustenance. The first thing the Indians did
was to take every thing out of their canoes; and after hauling them
ashore, they made their wigwams. We passed this night, as generally we
had done, under a tree; but what we suffered at this time is not easily
to be expressed. I had been three days at the oar without any kind of
nourishment, but the wretched root I mentioned before. I had no shirt,
as mine was rotted off by bits, and we were devoured by vermin. All
my clothes consisted of an old short grieko, which is something like
a bearskin, with a piece of a waistcoat under it, which once had been
of red cloth, both which I had on when I was cast away; I had a ragged
pair of trowsers, without either shoe or stocking. The first thing
the Indians did in the morning was to take their canoes to pieces:
and here, for the information of the reader, it will be necessary
to describe the structure of these boats, which are extremely well
calculated for the use of these Indians, as they are frequently obliged
to carry them over land a long way together, through thick woods, to
avoid doubling capes and headlands in seas where no open boat could
live. They generally consist of five pieces, or planks; one for the
bottom, and two for each side; and as these people have no iron tools,
the labour must be great in hacking a single plank out of a large tree
with shells and flints, though with the help of fire. Along the edges
of the plank they make small holes, at about an inch from one to the
other, and sew them together with the supple-jack, or woodbine; but as
these holes are not filled up by the substance of the woodbine, their
boats would be immediately full of water if they had not a method of
preventing it. They do this very effectually by the bark of a tree,
which they first steep in water for some time, and then beat it between
two stones till it answers the use of oakum, and then chinse each hole
so well, that they do not admit of the least water coming through,
and are easily taken asunder and put together again. When they have
occasion to go over land, as at this time, each man or woman carries a
plank; whereas it would be impossible for them to drag a heavy boat
entire. Every body had something to carry except Captain Cheap; and he
was obliged to be assisted, or never would have got over this march;
for a worse than this, I believe, never was made. He, with the others,
set out some time before me. I waited for two Indians, who belonged to
the canoe I came in; and who remained to carry over the last of the
things from the side we were on. I had a piece of wet heavy canvas,
which belonged to Captain Cheap, with a bit of stinking seal wrapped
in it (which had been given him that morning by some of the Indians)
to carry upon my head, which was a sufficient weight for a strong man
in health, through such roads, and a grievous burthen to one in my
condition. Our way was through a thick wood, the bottom of which was
a mere quagmire, most part of it up to our knees, and often to our
middle; and every now and then we had a large tree to get over, for
they often lay directly in our road. Besides this, we were continually
treading upon the stumps of trees, which were not to be avoided, as
they were covered with water; and having neither shoe nor stocking, my
feet and legs were frequently torn and wounded. Before I had got half
a mile, the two Indians had left me; and making the best of my way,
lest they should be all gone before I got to the other side, I fell
off a tree that crossed the road, into a very deep swamp, where I very
narrowly escaped drowning, by the weight of the burthen I had on my
head. It was a long while before I could extricate myself from this
difficulty; and when I did my strength was quite exhausted. I sat down
under a tree, and there gave way to melancholy reflections. However,
as I was sensible these reflections would answer no end, they did not
last long. I got up, and marking a great tree, I there deposited my
load, not being able to carry it any farther, and set out to join my
company. It was some hours before I reached my companions. I found them
sitting under a tree, and sat myself down by them without speaking a
word; nor did they speak to me, as I remember, for some time; when
Captain Cheap, breaking silence, began to ask after the seal and piece
of canvas. I told him the disaster I had met with, which he might have
easily guessed by the condition the rags I had on were in, as well as
having my feet and ancles cut to pieces: but instead of compassion
for my sufferings, I heard nothing but grumbling from every one, for
the irreparable loss they had sustained by me. I made no answer; but
after resting myself a little, I got up and struck into the wood, and
walked back at least five miles to the tree I had marked, and returned
just time enough to deliver it before my companions embarked, with the
Indians, upon a great lake, the opposite part of which seemed to wash
the foot of the Cordilleras. I wanted to embark with them; but was
given to understand I was to wait for some other Indians that were to
follow them. I knew not where these Indians were to come from: I was
left alone upon the beach, and night was at hand. They left me not
even a morsel of the stinking seal that I had suffered so much about.
I kept my eyes upon the boats as long as I could distinguish them;
and then returned into the wood, and sat myself down upon the root
of a tree, having eat nothing the whole day but the stem of a plant
which resembles that of an artichoke, which is of a juicy consistence,
and acid taste. Quite worn out with fatigue, I soon fell asleep;
and awaking before day, I thought I heard some voices at no great
distance from me. As the day appeared, looking further into the wood, I
perceived a wigwam, and immediately made towards it; but the reception
I met with was not at all agreeable; for stooping to get into it, I
presently received two or three kicks in my face, and at the same time
heard the sound of voices seemingly in anger; which made me retire, and
wait at the foot of a tree, where I remained till an old woman peeped
out, and made signs to me to draw near. I obeyed very readily, and
went into the wigwam: in it were three men and two women; one young
man seemed to have great respect shewn to him by the rest, though he
was the most miserable object I ever saw. He was a perfect skeleton,
and covered with sores from head to foot. I was happy to sit a moment
by their fire, as I was quite benumbed with cold. The old woman took
out a piece of seal, holding one part of it between her feet, and the
other end in her teeth, and then cut off some thin slices with a sharp
shell, and distributed them about to the other Indians. She then put
a bit on the fire, taking a piece of fat in her mouth, which she kept
chewing, every now and then spirting some of it on the piece that was
warming upon the fire; for they never do more with it than warm it
through. When it was ready, she gave me a little bit, which I swallowed
whole, being almost starved. As these Indians were all strangers to me,
I did not know which way they were going; and indeed it was now become
quite indifferent to me which way I went, whether to the northward
or southward, so that they would but take me with them, and give me
something to eat. However, to make them comprehend me, I pointed first
to the southward, and after to the lake, and I soon understood they
were going to the northward. They all went out together, excepting the
sick Indian, and took up the plank of the canoe, which lay near the
wigwam, and carried it to the beach, and presently put it together;
and getting every thing into it, they put me to the oar. We rowed
across the lake to the mouth of a very rapid river, where we put
ashore for that night, not daring to get any way down in the dark;
as it required the greatest skill, even in the day, to avoid running
foul of the stumps and roots of trees, of which this river was full.
I passed a melancholy night, as they would not suffer me to come near
the wigwam they had made; nor did they give me the least bit of any
one thing to eat since we embarked. In the morning we set off again.
The weather proved extremely bad the whole day. We went down the river
at an amazing rate; and just before night they put ashore upon a stony
beach. They hauled the canoe up, and all disappeared in a moment, and
I was left quite alone: it rained violently, and was very dark. I
thought it was as well to lay down upon the beach, half side in water,
as to get into a swamp under a dropping tree. In this dismal situation
I fell asleep, and awaked three or four hours after in such agonies
with the cramp, that I thought I must die upon the spot. I attempted
several times to raise myself upon my legs, but could not. At last I
made shift to get upon my knees, and looking towards the wood I saw
a great fire at some distance from me. I was a long time crawling to
it; and when I reached it, I threw myself almost into it, in hopes of
finding some relief from the pain I suffered. This intrusion gave great
offence to the Indians, who immediately got up, kicking and beating me
till they drove me some distance from it; however I contrived a little
after to place myself so as to receive some warmth from it, by which I
got rid of the cramp. In the morning we left this place, and were soon
after out of the river. Being now at sea again, the Indians intended
putting ashore at the first convenient place, to look for shell-fish,
their stock of provisions having been quite exhausted for some time.
At low water we landed upon a spot that seemed to promise well; and
here we found plenty of limpets. Though at this time starving, I did
not attempt to eat one, lest I should lose a moment in gathering them;
not knowing how soon the Indians might be going again. I had almost
filled my hat when I saw them returning to the canoe. I made what haste
I could to her; for I believe they would have made no conscience of
leaving me behind. I sat down to my oar again, placing my hat close to
me, every now and then eating a limpet. The Indians were employed the
same way, when one of them, seeing me throw the shells overboard, spoke
to the rest in a violent passion; and getting up, fell upon me, and
seizing me by an old ragged handkerchief I had about my neck, almost
throttled me; whilst another took me by the legs, and was going to
throw me overboard, if the old woman had not prevented them. I was all
this time entirely ignorant by what means I had given offence, till I
observed that the Indians, after eating the limpets, carefully put the
shells in a heap at the bottom of the canoe. I then concluded there
was some superstition about throwing these shells into the sea, my
ignorance of which had very nearly cost me my life. I was resolved to
eat no more limpets till we landed, which we did some time after upon
an island. I then took notice that the Indians brought all their shells
ashore, and laid them above high water mark. Here, as I was going to
eat a large bunch of berries I had gathered from a tree, for they
looked very tempting, one of the Indians snatched them out of my hand
and threw them away, making me to understand that they were poisonous.
Thus, in all probability, did these people now save my life, who, a few
hours before, were going to take it from me for throwing away a shell.

In two days after, I joined my companions again; but do not remember
that there was the least joy shewn on either side at meeting. At
this place was a very large canoe belonging to our guide, which would
have required at least six men to the oar to have made any kind of
expedition: instead of that, there was only Campbell and myself,
besides the Indian, his companion, or servant, to row, the cacique
himself never touching an oar, but sitting with his wife all the time
much at his ease. Mr. Hamilton continued in the same canoe he had
been in all along, and which still was to keep us company some way
further, though many of the others had left us. This was dreadful hard
work to such poor starved wretches as we were, to be slaving at the
oar all day long in such a heavy boat; and this inhuman fellow would
never give us a scrap to eat, excepting when he took so much seal that
he could not contrive to carry it all away with him, which happened
very seldom. After working like galley-slaves all day, towards night,
when we landed, instead of taking any rest, Mr. Campbell and I were
sometimes obliged to go miles along shore to get a few shell-fish;
and just as we had made a little fire in order to dress them, he has
commanded us into the boat again, and kept us rowing the whole night
without ever landing. It is impossible for me to describe the miserable
state we were reduced to: our bodies were so emaciated, that we hardly
appeared the figures of men. It has often happened to me in the coldest
night, both in hail and snow, where we had nothing but an open beach
to lie down upon, in order to procure a little rest, that I have been
obliged to pull off the few rags I had on, as it was impossible to get
a moment's sleep with them on for the vermin that swarmed about them;
though I used, as often as I had time, to take my clothes off, and
putting them upon a large stone, beat them with another, in hopes of
killing hundreds at once; for it was endless work to pick them off.
What we suffered from this, was ten times worse even than hunger. But
we were clean in comparison to Captain Cheap; for I could compare
his body to nothing but an ant-hill, with thousands of those insects
crawling over it; for he was now past attempting to rid himself in the
least from this torment, as he had quite lost himself, not recollecting
our names that were about him, or even his own. His beard was as long
as a hermit's: that and his face being covered with train-oil and dirt,
from having long accustomed himself to sleep upon a bag, by the way of
a pillow, in which he kept the pieces of stinking seal. This prudent
method he took to prevent our getting at it whilst he slept. His legs
were as big as mill-posts, though his body appeared nothing but skin
and bone.

One day we fell in with about forty Indians, who came down to the beach
we landed on, curiously painted. Our cacique seemed to understand but
little of their language, and it sounded to us very different from
what we had heard before. However, they made us comprehend that a ship
had been upon the coast not far from where we then were, and that she
had a red flag: this we understood some time after to have been the
Anne pink, whose adventures are particularly related in Lord Anson's
voyage; and we passed through the very harbour she had lain in.

As there was but one small canoe that intended to accompany us any
longer, and that in which Mr. Hamilton had been to this time, intended
to proceed no farther to the northward, our cacique proposed to him to
come into our canoe, which he refused, as the insolence of this fellow
was to him insupportable; he therefore rather chose to remain where he
was, till chance should throw in his way some other means of getting
forward: so here we left him; and it was some months before we saw him

We now got on, by very slow degrees, to the northward; and as the
difficulties and hardships we daily went through would only be a
repetition of those already mentioned, I shall say no more, but that
at last we reached an island, about thirty leagues to the southward
of Chiloe. Here we remained two days for a favourable opportunity to
cross the bay, the very thoughts of which seemed to frighten our
cacique out of his senses; and, indeed, there was great reason for his
apprehensions; for there ran a most dreadful hollow sea, dangerous,
indeed, for any open boat whatever, but a thousand times more for such
a crazy vessel as we were in. He at length mustered up resolution
enough to attempt it, first having crossed himself for an hour
together, and made a kind of lug-sail out of the bits of blankets they
wore about them, sewed together with split supple jacks. We then put
off, and a terrible passage we had. The bottom plank of the canoe was
split, which opened upon every sea; and the water continually rushing
over the gunnel, I may say that we were in a manner full the whole
way over, though all hands were employed in baling without ceasing
a moment. As we drew near the shore, the cacique was eager to land,
having been terrified to that degree with this run, that if it had not
been for us, every soul must have perished; for he had very near got
in amongst the breakers, where the sea drove with such violence upon
the rocks, that not even an Indian could have escaped, especially as
it was in the night. We kept off till we got into smooth water, and
landed upon the island of Chiloe; though in a part of it that was
not inhabited. Here we staid all the next day, in a very heavy snow,
to recover ourselves a little after our fatigue; but the cold was so
excessive, having neither shoe nor stocking, we thought we should have
lost our feet; and Captain Cheap was so ill, that if he had had but a
few leagues further to have gone without relief, he could not have held
out. It pleased God now that our sufferings, in a great measure, were
drawing to an end.

What things our cacique had brought with him from the wreck, he here
buried under ground, in order to conceal them from the Spaniards, who
would not have left him a rusty nail if they had known of it. Towards
evening, we set off again; and about nine the same night, to our great
joy, we observed something that had the appearance of a house. It
belonged to an acquaintance of our cacique; and as he was possessed of
my fowling-piece, and we had preserved about one charge of powder, he
made us load it for him, and desired we would show him how to discharge
it; upon which, standing up, and holding his head from it as far as
possible, he fired, and fell back into the bottom of the canoe. The
Indians belonging to the house, not in the least used to fire-arms,
ran out and hid themselves in the woods. But after some time, one
of them, bolder than the rest, got upon a hill, and hollowed to us,
asking who and what we were. Our cacique now made himself known, and
they presently came down to the boat, bringing with them some fish,
and plenty of potatoes. This was the most comfortable meal we had made
for many long months; and as soon as this was over, we rowed about two
miles farther to a little village, where we landed. Here our cacique
presently awoke all the inhabitants by the noise he made, and obliged
one of them to open his door to us, and immediately to make a large
fire; for the weather was very severe, this being the month of June,
the depth of winter in this part of the world. The Indians now flocked
thick about us, and seemed to have great compassion for us, as our
cacique related to them what part he knew of our history. They knew not
what countrymen we were, nor could our guide inform them; for he had
often asked us if we were French, Dutch, or English, the only nations
he had ever heard of besides the Spaniards. We always answered we were
from Grande Bretagne, which he could make nothing of; for we were
afraid, if he knew us to be English, as he had heard that nation was at
war with the Spaniards, he never would have conducted us to Chiloe.

These good-natured compassionate creatures seemed to vie with each
other who should take the most care of us. They made a bed of
sheepskins close to the fire, for Captain Cheap, and laid him upon
it; and indeed, had it not been for the kind assistance he now met
with, he could not have survived three days longer. Though it was now
about midnight, they went out and killed a sheep, of which they made
broth, and baked a large cake of barley-meal. Any body may imagine what
a treat this was to wretches who had not tasted a bit of bread, or
any wholesome diet, for such a length of time. After we could eat no
longer, we went to sleep about the fire, which the Indians took good
care to keep up. In the morning, the women came from far and near, each
bringing with her something. Almost every one had a pipkin in her hand,
containing either fowls or mutton made into broth, potatoes, eggs, or
other eatables. We fell to work as if we had eat nothing in the night,
and employed ourselves so for the best part of the day. In the evening,
the men filled our house, bringing with them some jars of a liquor they
called chicha, made of barley-meal, and not very unlike our oat-ale
in taste, which will intoxicate those who drink a sufficient quantity
of it; for a little has no effect. As soon as the drink was out, a
fresh supply of victuals was brought in; and in this manner we passed
the whole time we remained with these hospitable Indians. They are a
strong well-made people, extremely well featured, both men and women,
and vastly neat in their persons. The men's dress is called by them
a puncho, which is a square piece of cloth, generally in stripes of
different colours, with a slit in the middle of it wide enough to let
their heads through, so that it hangs on their shoulders, half of it
falling before, and the other behind them: under this they wear a short
kind of flannel shirt without sleeves or neck. They have wide-knee'd
breeches, something like the Dutch seamen, and on their legs a sort
of knit buskins without any feet to them; but never any shoes. Their
hair is always combed very smooth, and tied very tight up in a great
bunch close to the neck: some wear a very neat hat of their own making,
and others go without. The women wear a shift like the men's shirts,
without sleeves; and over it a square piece of cloth, which they fasten
before with a large silver pin, and a petticoat of different stripes:
they take as much care of their hair as the men; and both have always
a kind of fillet bound very tight about the forehead, and made fast
behind: in short, these people are as cleanly as the several savage
nations we had met with before were beastly. Upon our first coming
here, they had dispatched a messenger to the Spanish corregidore at
Castro, a town a considerable distance from hence, to inform him of
our arrival. At the end of three days, this man returned with an order
to the chief caciques of these Indians we were amongst, to carry us
directly to a certain place, where there would be a party of soldiers
to receive us. These poor people now seemed to be under great concern
for us, hearing by the messenger the preparations that were making
to receive us; for they stand in vast dread of the Spanish soldiery.
They were very desirous of knowing what countrymen we were. We told
them we were English, and at that time at war with the Spaniards; upon
which they appeared fonder of us than ever; and I verily believe, if
they durst, would have concealed us amongst them, lest we should come
to any harm. They are so far from being in the Spanish interest,
that they detest the very name of a Spaniard. And, indeed, I am not
surprised at it; for they are kept under such subjection, and such a
laborious slavery, by mere dint of hard usage and punishments, that it
appears to me the most absurd thing in the world, that the Spaniards
should rely upon these people for assistance upon any emergency. We
embarked in the evening, and it was night before we got to the place
where we were to be delivered up to the Spanish guard. We were met
by three or four officers, and a number of soldiers, all with their
spados drawn, who surrounded us as if they had the most formidable
enemy to take charge of, instead of three poor helpless wretches,
who, notwithstanding the good living we had met with amongst these
kind Indians, could hardly support ourselves. They carried us to the
top of a hill, and there put us under a shed; for it consisted of a
thatched roof, without any sides or walls, being quite open; and here
we were to lay upon the cold ground. All sorts of people now came to
stare at us as a sight; but the Indian women never came empty-handed;
they always brought with them either fowls, mutton, or some kind of
provision to us; so that we lived well enough. However, we found a
very sensible difference between the treatment we had met with from
the Indians, and what we now experienced from the Spaniards. With the
former, we were quite at liberty to do as we pleased; but here, if we
only went ten yards to attempt at getting rid of some of the vermin
that devoured us, we had two soldiers, with drawn spados, to attend us.
About the third day, a Jesuit from Castro came to see us; not from a
motive of compassion, but from a report spread by our Indian cacique,
that we had some things of great value about us. Having by chance seen
Captain Cheap pull out a gold repeating watch, the first thing the good
father did was to lug out of his pocket a bottle of brandy, and give
us a dram, in order to open our hearts. He then came roundly to the
point, asking us if we had saved no watches or rings. Captain Cheap
declared he had nothing, never suspecting that the Indian had seen his
watch, having, as he thought, always taken great care to conceal it
from him; but knowing that Campbel had a silver watch, which had been
the property of our surgeon, he desired him to make it a present to
the jesuit, telling him, at the same time, that as these people had
great power and authority, it might be of service to us hereafter.
This Campbel very unwillingly did, and received from the father, not
long after, a pitiful present, not a quarter part of the value of the
rim of the watch. We understood afterwards, that this had come to the
governor's ears, who was highly offended at it, as thinking that if
any thing of that sort had been to be had, it was his due; and did not
spare the jesuits in the least upon the occasion. Soon after this, the
officer of the guard informed us there was an order come to carry us to
Castro. In the evening, we were conducted to the water-side, and put
into a large periago; and there were several more, to attend us, full
of soldiers. About eight o'clock at night, we were off the town. The
boats all laid upon their oars, and there was a great deal of ceremony
used in hailing and asking for the keys, as if it had been a regular
fortification. After some time, we landed; but could see neither gates
nor walls, nor any thing that had the appearance of a garrison. As
we walked up a steep hill into the town, the way was lined with men
who had broomsticks upon their shoulders instead of muskets, and a
lighted match in their hands. When we came to the corregidore's house,
we found it full of people. He was an old man, very tall, with a long
cloak on, a tie-wig without any curl, and a spado of immense length
by his side. He received us in great state and form; but as we had no
interpreter, we understood little or nothing of the questions he asked
us. He ordered a table to be spread for us with cold ham and fowls;
which we three only sat down to, and in a short time dispatched more
than ten men with common appetites would have done. It is amazing,
that our eating to that excess we had done, from the time we first got
amongst these kind Indians, had not killed us; we were never satisfied,
and used to take all opportunities, for some months after, of filling
our pockets when we were not seen, that we might get up two or three
times in the night to cram ourselves. Captain Cheap used to declare,
that he was quite ashamed of himself. After supper, the corregidore
carried us to the jesuits' college, attended by the soldiers, and all
the rabble of the town. This was intended, at present, for our prison,
till orders were received from the governor, who resided at Chaco,
above thirty leagues from this place. When we got to the college, the
corregidore desired the father provincial, as they styled him, or
head of the jesuits here, to find out what religion we were of, or
whether we had any or not. He then retired, the gates were shut, and
we were conducted to a cell. We found in it something like beds spread
on the floor, and an old ragged shirt a-piece, but clean, which was
of infinite service to us; nor did eating at first give me half the
satisfaction this treasure of an old shirt did. Though this college
was large, there were but four jesuits in it, nor were there any more
of that order upon the island. In the morning Captain Cheap was sent
for by the father provincial: their conversation was carried on in
Latin, perhaps not the best on either side; however, they made shift to
understand one another. When he returned, he told us the good fathers
were still harping upon what things of value we might have saved and
concealed about us; and that if we had any thing of that sort, we could
not do better than let them have it. Religion seemed to be quite out
of the question at present; but a day or two after the corregidore
being informed that we were heretics, he desired these jesuits would
convert us; but one of them told him it was a mere joke to attempt
it, as we could have no inducement upon that island to change our
religion, but that when we got to Chili, in such a delightful country
as that was, where there was nothing but diversions and amusements,
we should be converted fast enough. We kept close to our cell till the
bell rang for dinner, when we were conducted into a hall, where there
was one table for the fathers, and another for us. After a very long
Latin prayer, we sat down and eat what was put before us, without a
single word passing at either table. As soon as we had finished, there
was another long prayer, which, however, did not appear so tedious as
the first; and then we retired to our cell again. In this manner we
passed eight days without ever stirring out; all which time one might
have imagined one's-self out of the world; for excepting the bell
for dinner, a silence reigned throughout the whole, as if the place
had been uninhabited. A little before dark, on the eighth evening,
we heard a violent knocking at the gate, which was no sooner opened
than there entered a young officer booted and spurred, who acquainted
the fathers that he was sent by the governor to conduct us to Chaco.
This young man was the governor's son; by which means he obtained
a commission next in authority, upon this island, to his father. He
ought to have been kept at school, for he was a vain, empty coxcomb,
much disliked by the people of the island. After taking leave of the
jesuits, who I imagined were not sorry to be rid of us, after finding
their expectations balked, we set out, having about thirty soldiers on
horseback to attend us. We rode about eight miles that night, when we
came to an Estancia, or farm-house, belonging to an old lady who had
two handsome daughters. Here we were very well entertained, and the
good old lady seemed to have great compassion for us. She asked the
governor's son if he thought his father would have any objection to my
passing a month with her at her farm. As she was a person of rank in
this island, he said he would acquaint his father with her request,
and made no doubt but he would grant it. I observed our soldiers,
when they came into the house, had none of them any shoes on, but
wore buskins, like the Indians, without any feet to them. They all
had monstrous great spurs, some of silver and others of copper, which
made a rattling when they walked like chains. They were all stout,
strong-looking men, as the Spaniards, natives of the island, in general
are. After a good supper, we had sheepskins laid near the fire for us
to sleep on. Early in the morning we mounted again, and after riding
some miles across the country, we came to the water-side, where we
found several periagos waiting for us, with some officers in them. Most
of the soldiers dismounted and embarked with us, a few only being sent
round with the horses. It was three days before we arrived at Chaco,
as the tides between this island and the main are so rapid that no
boat can stem them. The same precaution was taken here as at Castro;
we passed through a whole lane of soldiers, armed as I mentioned those
to have been before, excepting a few, who really had matchlocks, the
only fire-arms they have here. The soldiers, upon our journey, had
given a pompous account of el Palacio del Rey, or the king's palace,
as they styled the governor's house, and therefore we expected to see
something very magnificent; but it was nothing better than a large
thatched barn, partitioned off into several rooms. The governor was
sitting at a large table covered with a piece of red serge, having
all the principal officers about him. After some time he made us sit
down, attempting to converse with us by his linguist, who was a stupid
old fellow, that could neither talk English nor Spanish, but said he
was born in England, had resided above forty years in that country,
and having formerly been a buccaneer, was taken by the Spaniards near
Panama. The governor kept us to supper, and then we were conducted
across the court to our apartment, which was a place that had served
to keep the fire wood for the governor's kitchen; however, as it was
dry over head, we thought ourselves extremely well lodged. There was a
soldier placed at the door with a drawn spado in his hand, to prevent
our stirring out; which was quite unnecessary, as we knew not where to
go if we had been at liberty. One of these soldiers took a great fancy
to my ragged grieko, which had still some thousands about it; and in
exchange gave me an old puncho, the sort of garment with a hole in the
middle to put one's head through, as above related to be worn by the
Indians; and for the little bit of my waistcoat that remained, he gave
me a pair of breeches. I now should have thought myself very handsomely
equipped, if I had had but another shirt. The next day, about noon,
the governor sent for us, and we dined at his table; after which we
returned to our lodging, where we were never alone, for every body was
curious to see us. We passed about a week in this manner, when the
sentinel was taken off, and we were allowed to look about us a little,
though not to go out of the palace, as they were pleased to call it.
We dined every day with the governor; but were not very fond of his
fast days, which succeeded each other too quickly. I contrived to make
friends with his steward and cook, by which means I always carried my
pockets full to my apartment, where I passed my time very agreeably.
Soon after, we had leave to walk about the town, or go wherever we
pleased. Every house was open to us; and though it was but an hour
after we had dined, they always spread a table, thinking we never could
eat enough after what we had suffered; and we were much of the same
opinion. They are, in general, a charitable, good sort of people, but
very ignorant, and governed by their priests, who make them believe
just what they please. The Indian language is chiefly spoken here,
even by the Spaniards one amongst another; and they say they think it
a finer language than their own. The women have fine complexions, and
many of them are very handsome; they have good voices, and can strum
a little upon the guitar; but they have an ugly custom of smoking
tobacco, which is a very scarce commodity here; and therefore is looked
upon as a great treat when they meet at one another's houses. The lady
of the house comes in with a large wooden pipe crammed with tobacco;
and after taking two or three hearty whiffs, she holds her head under
her cloak lest any of the smoke should escape, and then swallows it;
some time after you see it coming out of her nose and ears. She then
hands the pipe to the next lady, who does the same, till it has gone
through the whole company. Their houses are but very mean, as will
be easily imagined by what I have said of the governor's. They make
their fire in the middle of their rooms, but have no chimneys; there
is a small hole at each end of the roof to let the smoke out. It is
only the better sort of people that eat bread made of wheat, as they
grow but very little here, and they have no mills to grind it; but
then they have great plenty of the finest potatoes in the world:
these are always roasted in the ashes, then scraped, and served up at
meals instead of bread. They breed abundance of swine, as they supply
both Chili and Peru with hams. They are in no want of sheep, but are
not overstocked with cows; owing, in a great measure, to their own
indolence in not clearing away the woods, which if they would be at the
pains to do, they might have sufficient pasture. Their trade consists
in hams, hogs-lard, which is used throughout all South America instead
of butter; cedar plank, which the Indians are continually employed in
cutting quite to the foot of the Cordilleras; little carved boxes,
which the Spanish ladies use to put their work in; carpets, quilts,
and punchos neatly embroidered all round; for these, both in Chili
and Peru, are used by the people of the first fashion, as well as the
inferior sort, by way of riding-dress, and are esteemed to be much more
convenient for a horseman than any kind of coat whatever.

They have what they call an annual ship from Lima, as they never expect
more than one in the year; though sometimes it happens that two have
come, and at other times they have been two or three years without any.
When this happens they are greatly distressed, as this ship brings
them baize, cloth, linens, hats, ribbons, tobacco, sugar, brandy, and
wine; but this latter article is chiefly for the use of the churches:
matte, an herb from Paraguay, used all over South America instead
of tea, is also a necessary article. This ship's cargo is chiefly
consigned to the jesuits, who have more Indians employed for them
than all the rest of the inhabitants together, and of course engross
almost the whole trade. There is no money current in this island. If
any person wants a few yards of linen, a little sugar, tobacco, or any
other thing brought from Peru, he gives so many cedar planks, hams, or
punchos, in exchange. Some time after we had been here, a snow arrived
in the harbour from Lima, which occasioned great joy amongst the
inhabitants, as they had no ship the year before, from the alarm Lord
Anson had given upon the coast. This was not the annual vessel, but one
of those that I mentioned before which come unexpectedly. The captain
of her was an old man, well known upon the island, who had traded here
once in two or three years, for more than thirty years past. He had a
remarkable large head, and therefore was commonly known by a nick-name
they had given him of Cabuço de Toro, or Bull's-head. He had not been
here a week before he came to the governor, and told him, with a most
melancholy countenance, that he had not slept a wink since he came
into the harbour, as the governor was pleased to allow three English
prisoners liberty to walk about instead of confining them; and that
he expected every moment they would board his vessel, and carry her
away: this he said when he had above thirty hands aboard. The governor
assured him he would be answerable for us, and that he might sleep in
quiet; though at the same time he could not help laughing at the man,
as all the people in the town did. These assurances did not satisfy
the captain: he used the utmost dispatch in disposing of his cargo,
and put to sea again, not thinking himself safe till he had lost sight
of the island. It was about three months after us that Mr. Hamilton
was brought in by a party that the governor had sent to the southward
on purpose to fetch him. He was in a wretched condition upon his first
arrival, but soon recovered with the good living he found here.

It is usual for the governor to make a tour, every year, through the
several districts belonging to his government: on this occasion he took
us with him. The first place he visited was Carelmapo, on the main; and
from thence to Castro. At these places he holds a kind of court; all
the chief caciques meeting him, and informing him of what has passed
since his last visit, and receiving fresh orders for the year to come.
At Castro we had the same liberty we enjoyed at Chaco, and visited
every body. It seemed they had forgot all the ceremony used upon our
first landing here, which was with an intent to make us believe it
was strongly fortified; for now they let us see plainly that they had
neither fort nor gun. At Chaco they had a little earthen fort, with
a small ditch palisadoed round it, and a few old honey-combed guns
without carriages, and which do not defend the harbour in the least.
Whilst we were at Castro, the old lady, (at whose house we lay the
first night upon leaving the jesuits' college) sent to the governor,
and begged I might be allowed to come to her for a few weeks: this
was granted; and accordingly I went and passed about three weeks with
her very happily, as she seemed to be as fond of me as if I had been
her own son. She was very unwilling to part with me again; but as the
governor was soon to return to Chaco, he sent for me, and I left my
benefactress with regret.

Amongst the houses we visited at Castro, there was one belonging to
an old priest, who was esteemed one of the richest persons upon the
island. He had a niece, of whom he was extremely fond, and who was to
inherit all he possessed. He had taken a great deal of pains with her
education, and she was reckoned one of the most accomplished young
ladies of Chiloe. Her person was good, though she could not be called
a regular beauty. This young lady did me the honour to take more notice
of me than I deserved, and proposed to her uncle to convert me, and
afterwards begged his consent to marry me. As the old man doted upon
her, he readily agreed to it; and accordingly on the next visit I made
him, acquainted me with the young lady's proposal, and his approbation
of it, taking me at the same time into a room where there were several
chests and boxes, which he unlocked; first shewing me what a number of
fine clothes his niece had, and then his own wardrobe, which he said
should be mine at his death. Amongst other things, he produced a piece
of linen, which he said should immediately be made up into shirts for
me. I own this last article was a great temptation to me; however, I
had the resolution to withstand it, and made the best excuses I could
for not accepting of the honour they intended me; for by this time I
could speak Spanish well enough to make myself understood.

Amongst the Indians who had come to meet the governor here, there
were some caciques of those Indians who had treated us so kindly at
our first landing upon Chiloe. One of these, a young man, had been
guilty of some offence, and was put in irons, and threatened to be
more severely punished. We could not learn his crime, or whether the
governor did not do it in a great measure to shew us his power over
these Indian chiefs: however, we were under great concern for this
young man, who had been extremely kind to us, and begged Captain Cheap
to intercede with the governor for him. This he did, and the cacique
was released; the governor acquainting him at the same time, with great
warmth, that it was to us only he owed it, or otherwise he would have
made a severe example of him. The young man seemed to have been in no
dread of farther punishment, as I believe he felt all a man could do
from the indignity of being put in irons in the public square, before
all his brother caciques and many hundreds of other Indians. I thought
this was not a very politic step of the governor, as the cacique
came after to Captain Cheap to thank him for his goodness, and in all
probability would remember the English for some time after; and not
only he, but all the other caciques who had been witnesses of it, and
who seemed to feel, if possible, even more than the young man himself
did. We now returned to Chaco, and the governor told me, when the
annual ship came, which they expected in December, we should be sent
in her to Chili. We felt several earthquakes while we were here. One
day as I happened to be upon a visit at a house where I was very well
acquainted, an Indian came in, who lived at many leagues distance from
this town, and who had made this journey in order to purchase some
little trifles he wanted; amongst other things, he had bought some
prints of saints. Very proud of these, he produced them, and put them
into the hands of the women, who very devoutly first crossed themselves
with them, and afterwards kissed them; then gave them to me, saying at
the same time, they supposed such a heretic as I was would refuse to
kiss them. They were right in their conjectures: I returned them to the
Indian without going through that ceremony. At that very instant, there
happened a violent shock of an earthquake, which they imputed entirely
to the anger of the saints; and all quitted the house as fast as they
could, lest it should fall upon their heads. For my part, I made the
best of my way home for fear of being knocked on the head, when out of
the house, by the rabble, who looked on me as the cause of all this
mischief, and did not return to that house again till I thought this
affair was forgotten.

Here is a very good harbour; but the entrance is very dangerous for
those who are unacquainted with it, as the tides are so extremely
rapid, and there are sunken rocks in the mid-channel. The island is
above seventy leagues round; and the body of it lies in about 40° 20'
south, and is the most southern settlement the Spaniards have in these
seas. Their summer is of no long duration, and most of the year round
they have hard gales of wind and much rain. Opposite the island,
upon the Cordilleras, there is a volcano, which, at times, burns with
great fury, and is subject to violent eruptions. One of these alarmed
the whole island, whilst we were here: it sounded in the night like
great guns. In the morning, the governor mounted his horse, and rode
backwards and forwards from his house to the earthen fort, saying
it was the English coming in, but that he would give them a warm
reception; meaning, I suppose, that he would have left them a good fire
in his house; for I am certain he would soon have been in the woods, if
he had seen any thing like an English ship coming in.

Women of the first fashion here seldom wear shoes or stockings in the
house, but only keep them to wear upon particular occasions. I have
often seen them coming to the church, which stood opposite to the
governor's house, barelegged, walking through mud and water; and at the
church door put on their shoes and stockings, and pull them off again
when they came out. Though they are in general handsome, and have good
complexions, yet many of them paint in so ridiculous a manner, that it
is impossible to help laughing in their faces when you see them. The
governor we found here was a native of Chili. The government, which
is appointed by that presidency, is for three years; which appears to
be a long banishment to them, as their appointments are but small,
though they make the most of it. The towns of Castro and Chaco, consist
only of scattered houses, without a regular street; though both have
their places or squares, as almost all Spanish towns have. Chaco is
very thinly inhabited, excepting at the time the Lima ship arrives;
then they flock thither from all parts of the island, to purchase what
little matters they want; and as soon as that is done, retire to their
estancias, or farms. It was about the middle of December this ship came
in; and the second of January, 1742-3, we embarked on board of her.
She was bound to Valparaiso. We got out to sea with some difficulty,
having been driven by the strength of the tide very near those sunken
rocks mentioned before. We found a great sea without; and as the ship
was as deep as any laden collier, her decks were continually well
washed. She was a fine vessel, of about two hundred and fifty tons. The
timber the ships of this country are built of is excellent, as they
last a prodigious time; for they assured us that the vessel we were
then in had been built above forty years. The captain was a Spaniard,
and knew not the least of sea affairs; the second captain, or master,
the boatswain, and his mate, were all three Frenchmen, and very good
seamen; the pilot was a Mulatto, and all the rest of the crew were
Indians and Negroes. The latter were all slaves and stout fellows; but
never suffered to go aloft, lest they should fall overboard, and the
owners lose so much money by it. The Indians were active, brisk men,
and very good seamen for that climate. We had on board the head of the
jesuits as passenger. He and Captain Cheap were admitted into the great
cabin, and messed with the captain and his chaplain. As for us, we were
obliged to rough it the whole passage; that is, when we were tired we
lay down upon the quarter-deck, in the open air, and slept as well as
we could; but that was nothing to us, who had been used to fare so much
worse. We lived well, eating with the master and boatswain, who always
had their meals upon the quarter-deck, and drank brandy at them as we
do small beer; and all the rest of the day were smoking cigars.

The fifth day we made the land four or five leagues to the southward
of Valparaiso; and soon after falling calm, a great western swell
hurried us in very fast towards the shore. We dropped the lead several
times, but had such deep water we could not anchor. They were all much
alarmed, when the jesuit came out of the cabin for the first time,
having been sea-sick the whole passage. As soon as he was informed of
the danger, he went back into the cabin, and brought out the image of
some saint, which he desired might be hung up in the mizen-shrouds;
which being done, he kept threatening it, that if we had not a breeze
of wind soon, he would certainly throw it overboard. Soon after,
we had a little wind from off the land, when the jesuit carried the
image back with an air of great triumph, saying he was certain that we
should not be without wind long, though he had given himself over for
lost some time before it came. Next morning we anchored in the port of
Valparaiso. In that part which is opposite to the fort, ships lay so
near the land, that they have generally three anchors ashore, as there
is eight or ten fathom close to; and the flaws come off the hills with
such violence, that if it was not for this method of securing them,
they would be blown out. This is only in summer time, for in the winter
months no ships ever attempt to come in here; the northerly winds then
prevail, and drive in such a sea that they must soon be ashore. The
Spanish captain waited upon the governor of the fort, and informed him
that he had four English prisoners on board. We were ordered ashore in
the afternoon, and were received as we got upon the beach, by a file
of soldiers, with their bayonets fixed, who surrounded us, and then
marched up to the fort, attended by a numerous mob. We were carried
before the governor, whose house was full of officers. He was blind,
asked a few questions, and then spoke of nothing but the strength of
the garrison he commanded, and desired to know if we had observed that
all the lower battery was brass guns. We were immediately after, by his
order, put into the condemned hole. There was nothing but four bare
walls, excepting a heap of lime that filled one third of it, and made
the place swarm with fleas in such a manner that we were presently
covered with them. Some of Admiral Pizarro's soldiers were here in
garrison that had been landed from his ships at Buenos Ayres, as he
could not get round Cape Horn. A centinel's box was placed at our door,
and we had always a soldier with his bayonet fixed, to prevent our
stirring out. The curiosity of the people was such, that our prison
was continually full from morning till night, by which the soldiers
made a pretty penny, as they took money from every person for the
sight. In a few days, Captain Cheap and Mr. Hamilton were ordered up
to St. Jago, as they were known to be officers by having saved their
commissions; but Mr. Campbell and I were to continue in prison. Captain
Cheap expressed great concern when he left us; he told me it was what
he had all along dreaded, that they would separate us when we got into
this country; but he assured me, if he was permitted to speak to the
president, that he would never leave soliciting him till he obtained
a grant for me to be sent up to him. No sooner were they gone than we
fared very badly. A common soldier, who was ordered to provide for us
by the governor, brought us each, once a day, a few potatoes mixed with
hot water. The other soldiers of the garrison, as well as the people
who flocked to see us, took notice of it, and told the soldier it was
cruel to treat us in that manner. His answer was, "The governor allows
me but half a real a day for each of these men; what can I do? It is
he that is to blame: I am shocked every time I bring them this scanty
pittance, though even that could not be provided for the money he gives
them." We from this time lived much better, and the soldier brought us
even wine and fruit. We took it for granted, that our case had been
represented to the governor, and that he had increased our pay. As to
the first, we were right in our conjectures; it had been mentioned to
him, that it was impossible we could subsist on what he allowed; and
his answer to it was, that we might starve; for we should have no more
from him, and that he believed he should never be repaid even that.
This charitable speech of the governor was made known every where, and
now almost every one who came to see us gave us something; even the
mule-drivers would take out their tobacco pouch, in which they kept
their money, and give us half a real. All this we would have given to
our soldier, but he never would receive a farthing from us, telling us
we might still want it; and the whole time we were there, which was
some weeks, he laid aside half his daily pay to supply us, though he
had a wife and six children, and never could have the least hope or
expectation of any recompence. However, two years after this, I had
the singular pleasure of making him some return, when my circumstances
were much better than his. One night, when we were locked up, there
happened a dreadful shock of an earthquake. We expected, every moment,
the roof and walls of our prison to fall in upon us, and crush us to
pieces; and what added to the horror of it was, the noise of chains and
imprecations in the next prison which joined to ours, where there were
near seventy felons heavily loaded with irons, who are kept here to
work upon the fortifications, as in other countries they are condemned
to the gallies. A few days after this, we were told an order was come
from the president to the governor to send us up to St. Jago, which is
ninety miles from Valparaiso, and is the capital of Chili. There were
at this time several ships in the port from Lima delivering their
cargoes; so that almost every day there were large droves of mules
going up to St. Jago with the goods. The governor sent for one of the
master-carriers, and ordered him to take us up with him. The man asked
him how he was to be paid our expences, as he should be five days upon
the road. The governor told him he might get that as he could, for he
would not advance him a single farthing. After taking leave of our
friendly soldier, who even now brought us some little matters to carry
with us, we set out, and travelled about fourteen miles the first day,
and lay at night in the open field, which is always the custom of these
people, stopping where there is plenty of pasture and good water for
the mules. The next morning we passed over a high mountain, called
Zapata; and then crossing a large plain, we passed another mountain,
very difficult for the mules, who each carried two heavy bales: there
were above a hundred of them in this drove. The mules of Chili are the
finest in the world; and though they are continually upon the road,
and have nothing but what they pick up at nights, they are as fat and
sleek as high-fed horses in England. The fourth night we lay upon a
plain in sight of St. Jago, and not above four leagues from it. The
next day, as we moved towards the city, our master-carrier, who was
naturally well disposed, and had been very kind to us all the way upon
the road, advised me, very seriously, not to think of remaining in
St. Jago, where he said there was nothing but extravagance, vice, and
folly, but to proceed on with them as mule-driver, which, he said, I
should soon be very expert at; and that they led an innocent and happy
life, far preferable to any enjoyment such a great city as that before
us could afford. I thanked him, and told him I was very much obliged
to him; but that I would try the city first, and if I did not like it,
I would accept of the offer he was so good to make me. The thing that
gave him this high opinion of me was, that as he had been so civil to
us, I was very officious in assisting to drive in those mules that
strayed from the rest upon those large plains we passed over; and this
I thought was the least I could do towards making some returns for the
obligations we were under to him.

When we got into St. Jago, the carrier delivered us to the captain of
the guard, at the palace gate; and he soon after introduced us to the
president, Don Joseph Manso, who received us very civilly, and then
sent us to the house where Captain Cheap and Mr. Hamilton were. We
found them extremely well lodged at the house of a Scotch physician,
whose name was Don Patricio Gedd. This gentleman had been a long time
in this city, and was greatly esteemed by the Spaniards, as well for
his abilities in his profession, as his humane disposition. He no
sooner heard that there were four English prisoners arrived in that
country, than he waited upon the president, and begged they might
be lodged at his house. This was granted; and had we been his own
brothers, we could not have met with a more friendly reception; and
during two years that we were with him, his constant study was to make
every thing as agreeable to us as possible. We were greatly distressed
to think of the expence he was at upon our account; but it was in vain
for us to argue with him about it. In short, to sum up his character in
a few words, there never was a man of more extensive humanity. Two or
three days after our arrival, the president sent Mr. Campbell and me
an invitation to dine with him, where we were to meet Admiral Pizarro
and his officers. This was a cruel stroke upon us, as we had not any
clothes fit to appear in, and dared not refuse the invitation. The
next day, a Spanish officer belonging to Admiral Pizarro's squadron,
whose name was Don Manuel de Guiror, came and made us an offer of two
thousand dollars. This generous Spaniard made this offer without any
view of ever being repaid, but purely out of a compassionate motive
of relieving us in our present distress. We returned him all the
acknowledgments his uncommon generous behaviour merited, and accepted
of six hundred dollars only, upon his receiving our draught for that
sum upon the English consul at Lisbon. We now got ourselves decently
clothed after the Spanish fashion; and as we were upon our parole, we
went out where we pleased to divert ourselves.

This city is situated about 33 degrees and 30 minutes, south
latitude, at the west foot of the immense chain of mountains called
the Cordilleras. It stands on a most beautiful plain of about thirty
leagues extent. It was founded by Don Pedro de Baldivia, the conqueror
of Chili. The plan of it was marked out by him in squares, like Lima;
and almost every house belonging to people of any fashion, has a large
court before it, with great gates, and a garden behind. There is a
little rivulet, neatly faced with stone, runs through every street;
by which they can cool the streets, or water their gardens, when
they please. The whole town is extremely well paved. Their gardens
are full of noble orange-trees and floripondies, with all sorts of
flowers, which perfume the houses, and even the whole city. Much about
the middle of it, is the great square, called the Plaça Real, or the
Royal Square; there are eight avenues leading into it. The west side
contains the cathedral and the bishop's palace; the north side is the
president's palace, the royal court, the council house, and the prison;
the south side is a row of piazzas, the whole length of which are
shops, and over it a gallery to see the bull-feasts; the east side has
some large houses belonging to people of distinction; and in the middle
is a large fountain, with a brass bason. The houses have, in general,
only a ground floor, upon account of the frequent earthquakes; but they
make a handsome appearance. The churches are rich in gilding as well
as in plate: that of the jesuits is reckoned an exceeding good piece
of architecture; but it is too high built for a country so subject to
earthquakes, and where it has frequently happened that thousands of
people have been swallowed up at once. There is a hill, or rather high
rock, at the east end of the city, called St. Lucia, from the top
of which you have a view of all the city, and the country about for
many leagues, affording a very delightful landscape. Their estancias,
or country houses, are very pleasant, having generally a fine grove
of olive trees, with large vineyards to them. The Chili wine, in my
opinion, is full as good as Madeira, and made in such quantities that
it is sold extremely cheap. The soil of this country is so fertile,
that the husbandmen have very little trouble; for they do but in a
manner scratch up the ground, and without any kind of manure it yields
an hundred fold. Without doubt the wheat of Chili is the finest in the
world, and the fruits are all excellent in their kinds. Beef and mutton
are so cheap, that you may have a good cow for three dollars, and a
fat sheep for two shillings. Their horses are extraordinary good; and
though some of them go at a great price, you may have a very good one
for four dollars, or about eighteen shillings of our money. It must
be a very poor Indian who has not his four or five horses; and there
are no better horsemen in the world than the Chileans; and that is not
surprising, for they never choose to go a hundred yards on foot. They
have always their laço fixed to their saddle: the laço is a long thong
of leather, at the end of which they make a sliding noose. It is of
more general use to them than any weapon whatever; for with this they
are sure of catching either horse or wild bull, upon full gallop, by
any foot they please. Their horses are all trained to this, and the
moment they find the thong straitened, as the other end is always made
fast to the saddle, the horse immediately turns short, and throwing
the beast thus caught, the huntsman wounds or secures him in what
manner he may think proper. These people are so dexterous, that they
will take from the ground a glove or handkerchief, while their horse
is upon full stretch; and I have seen them jump upon the back of the
wildest bull, and all the efforts of the beast could not throw them.
This country produces all sorts of metals; it is famous for gold,
silver, iron, tin, lead, and quicksilver, but some of these they do not
understand working, especially quicksilver. With copper they supply
all Peru, and send, likewise, a great deal to Europe. The climate of
Chili is, I believe, the finest in the world. What they call their
winter does not last three months; and even that is very moderate, as
may be imagined by their manner of building, for they have no chimneys
in their houses. All the rest of the year is delightful; for though
from ten or eleven in the morning till five in the afternoon, it is
very hot, yet the evenings and mornings are very cool and pleasant; and
in the hottest time of the year, it is from six in the evening till
two or three in the morning, that the people of this country meet to
divert themselves with music and other entertainments, at which there
is plenty of cooling liquors, as they are well supplied with ice from
the neighbouring Cordilleras. At these assemblies, many intrigues are
carried on; for they think of nothing else throughout the year. Their
fandangoes are very agreeable; the women dance inimitably well, and
very gracefully. They are all born with an ear for music, and most of
them have delightful voices; and all play upon the guitar and harp.
The latter, at first, appears a very aukward instrument for a woman;
yet that prejudice is soon got over, and they far excel any other
nation upon it. They are extremely complaisant and polite; and when
asked either to play, dance, or sing, they do it without a moment's
hesitation, and that with an exceeding good grace. They have many
figure-dances; but what they take most delight in, are more like our
hornpipes than any thing else I can compare them to; and upon these
occasions they shew surprising activity. The women are remarkably
handsome, and very extravagant in their dress. Their hair, which is
as thick as is possible to be conceived, they wear of a vast length,
without any other ornament upon the head than a few flowers; they plait
it behind in four plaits, and twist them round a bodkin, at each end
of which is a diamond rose. Their shifts are all over lace, as is a
little tight waistcoat they wear over them. Their petticoats are open
before, and lap over, and have commonly three rows of very rich lace
of gold or silver. In winter they have an upper waistcoat of cloth of
gold or silver; and in summer, of the finest linen, covered all over
with the finest Flanders lace. The sleeves of these are immensely
wide. Over all this, when the air is cool, they have a mantle, which
is only of bays, of the finest colours, round which there is abundance
of lace. When they go abroad, they wear a veil, which is so contrived
that one eye is only seen. Their feet are very small, and they value
themselves as much upon it as the Chinese do. Their shoes are pinked
and cut; their stockings silk, with gold and silver clocks; and they
love to have the end of an embroidered garter hang a little below the
petticoat. They have fine sparkling eyes, ready wit, a great deal of
good nature, and a strong disposition to gallantry.

By the description of one house you have an idea of all the rest. You
first come into a large court, on one side of which is the stable: you
then enter a hall; on one side of that is a large room, about twenty
feet wide, and near forty feet long; the side next the window is the
estrado, which runs the whole length of the room. The estrado is a
platform, raised about five or six inches above the floor, and is
covered with carpets and velvet cushions for the women to sit on, which
they do after the Moorish fashion, cross-legged. The chairs for the
men are covered with printed leather. At the end of the estrado, there
is an alcove, where the bed stands; and there is always a vast deal of
the sheets hanging out, with a profusion of lace to them, and the same
on the pillows. They have a false door to the alcove, which sometimes
is very convenient. Besides, there are generally two other rooms, one
within another; and the kitchen and other offices are detached from the
house, either at one side or the end of the garden.

The ladies are fond of having their Mulatto female slaves dressed
almost as well as themselves in every respect, excepting jewels, in
which they indulge themselves to the utmost extravagance. Paraguay
tea, which they call Matte, as I mentioned before, is always drunk
twice a-day: this is brought upon a large silver salver, with four
legs raised upon it, to receive a little cup made out of a small
calabash, or gourd, and tipped with silver. They put the herb first
into this, and add what sugar they please, and a little orange juice;
and then pour hot water on them, and drink it immediately, through the
conveyance of a long silver tube, at the end of which there is a round
strainer, to prevent the herb getting through. And here it is reckoned
a piece of politeness for the lady to suck the tube two or three times
first, and then give it the stranger to drink without wiping it.

They eat every thing so highly seasoned with red pepper, that those
who are not used to it, upon the first mouthful would imagine their
throats on fire for an hour afterwards; and it is a common custom here,
though you have the greatest plenty at your own table, to have two or
three Mulatto girls come in at the time you dine, bringing, in a little
silver plate, some of these high-seasoned ragouts, with a compliment
from Donna such-a-one, who desires you will eat a little bit of what
she has sent you; which must be done before her Mulatto's face, or it
would be deemed a great affront. Had this been the fashion at Chiloe,
we should never have offended; but sometimes here we could have wished
this ceremony omitted.

The president never asked any of us a second time to his table. He
expected us once a fortnight to be at his levee, which we never failed;
and he always received us very politely. He was a man of a very amiable
character, and much respected by every body in Chili, and some time
after we left that country, was appointed viceroy of Peru.

We had leave, whenever we asked it, to make an excursion into the
country for ten or twelve days at a time; which we did sometimes
to a very pleasant spot belonging to Don Joseph Dunose, a French
gentleman, and a very sensible, well-bred man, who had married a
very agreeable lady at St. Jago, with a very good fortune. We also
sometimes had invitations from the Spaniards to their country-houses.
We had a numerous acquaintance in the city, and in general received
many civilities from the inhabitants. There are a great many people
of fashion, and very good families from Old Spain settled here. A
lady lived next door to us, whose name was Donna Francisca Giron;
and as my name sounded something like it, she would have it that we
were Parientes. She had a daughter, a very fine young woman, who both
played and sung remarkably well: she was reckoned the finest voice in
St. Jago. They saw a great deal of company, and we were welcome to
her house whenever we pleased. We were a long time in this country,
but we passed it very agreeably. The president alone goes with four
horses to his coach; but the common vehicle here is a calash, or
kind of vis-à-vis, drawn by one mule only. Bull-feasts are a common
diversion here, and they far surpass anything of that kind I ever saw
at Lisbon, or any where else. Indeed, it is amazing to see the activity
and dexterity of those who attack the bulls. It is always done here
by those only who follow it as a trade, for it is too dangerous to be
practised as a diversion; as a proof of which, it is found that though
some may hold out longer than others, there are few who constantly
practice it, that die a natural death. The bulls are always the wildest
that can be brought in from the mountains or forests, and have nothing
on their horns to prevent their piercing a man the first stroke, as
they have at Lisbon. I have seen a man, when the bull came at him with
the utmost fury, spring directly over the beast's head, and perform
this feat several times, and at last jump on his back, and there sit
a considerable time, the bull the whole time attempting every means
to throw him. But though this practitioner was successful, several
accidents happened while I was there. The ladies, at these feasts, are
always dressed as fine as possible; and, I imagine, go rather to be
admired than to receive any amusement from a sight that one should
think would give them pain. Another amusement for the ladies here, are
the nights of their great processions, when they go out veiled; and as
in that dress they cannot be known, they amuse themselves in talking
to people much in the manner that is done at our masquerades. One
night in Lent, as I was standing close to the houses as the procession
went by, and having nothing but a thin waistcoat on under my cloak,
and happening to have my arm out, a lady came by, and gave me a pinch
with so good a will, that I thought she had taken the piece out; and,
indeed, I carried the marks for a long time after. I durst not take
the least notice of this at the time; for had I made any disturbance,
I should have been knocked on the head. This kind lady immediately
after mixed with the crowd, and I never could find out who had done
me that favour. I have seen fifty or sixty penitents following these
processions; they wear a long white garment with a long train to it,
and high caps of the same, which fall down before, and cover all their
faces, having only two small holes for their eyes; so that they are
never known. Their backs are bare, and they lash themselves with a
cat-o'-nine-tails till the long train behind is covered all over with
blood. Others follow them with great heavy crosses upon their backs;
so that they groan under the weight as they walk barefooted, and often
faint away. The streets swarm with friars of all the different orders.
The president has always a guard at his palace regularly clothed. The
rest of their forces consists of militia, who are numerous.

All European goods are very dear. English cloth, of fourteen or fifteen
shillings a yard, sells there for ten or eleven dollars; and every
other article in proportion. We found many Spaniards here that had
been taken by Commodore Anson, and had been for some time prisoners on
board the Centurion. They all spoke in the highest terms of the kind
treatment they had received; and it is natural to imagine, that it was
chiefly owing to that laudable example of humanity, our reception here
was so good. They had never had anything but privateers and buccaneers
amongst them before, who handled their prisoners very roughly; so that
the Spaniards in general, both of Peru and Chili, had the greatest
dread of being taken by the English; but some of them told us, that
they were so happy on board the Centurion, that they should not have
been sorry if the Commodore had taken them with him to England. After
we had been here some time, Mr. Campbell changed his religion, and of
course left us. At the end of two years, the president sent for us,
and informed us a French ship from Lima, bound to Spain, had put into
Valparaiso, and that we should embark in her. After taking leave of our
good friend Mr. Gedd, and all our acquaintance at St. Jago, we set out
for Valparaiso, mules and a guide being provided for us. I had forgot
to say before, that Captain Cheap had been allowed by the president
six reals a day, and we had four for our maintenance the whole time we
were at St. Jago, which money we took up as we wanted it. Our journey
back was much pleasanter than we found it when we were first brought
hither, as we had now no mules to drive. The first person I met, upon
our entrance into Valparaiso, was the poor soldier whom I mentioned to
have been so kind to us when we were imprisoned in the fort. I now made
him a little present, which, as it came quite unexpected, made him very
happy. We took lodgings till the ship was ready to sail, and diverted
ourselves as we pleased, having the good fortune, at this time, to have
nothing to do with the governor or his fort. The town is but a poor
little place; there are, indeed, a good many storehouses built by the
water side for the reception of goods from the shipping.

About the 20th of December, 1744, we embarked on board the Lys frigate,
belonging to St. Malo. She was a ship of four hundred and twenty
tons, sixteen guns, and sixty men. She had several passengers on
board; and amongst the rest, Don George Juan, a man of very superior
abilities, (and since that time well known in England) who, with Don
Antonio Ulloa, had been several years in Peru, upon a design of
measuring some degrees of the meridian near the equator. We were now
bound to Conception, in order to join three other French ships that
were likewise bound home. As this was a time of the year when the
southerly winds prevail upon this coast, we stood off a long way to the
westward, making the island of Juan Fernandez. We did not get into the
bay of Conception till the 6th of January, 1745, where we anchored at
Talcaguana, and there found the Louis Erasme, the Marquis d'Antin, and
the Delivrance, the three French ships that we were to accompany. It is
but sixty leagues from Valparaiso to Conception, though we had been so
long making this passage; but there is no beating up, near the shore,
against the southerly wind, which is the trade at this season, as you
are sure to have a lee-current; so that the quickest way of making a
passage is to stand off a hundred and twenty or thirty leagues from the

The bay of Conception is a large, fine bay; but there are several
shoals in it, and only two good anchoring-places, though a ship may
anchor within a quarter of a league of the town; but this only in the
very fine months, as you lay much exposed. The best anchoring-place is
Talcaguana, the southernmost neck of the bay, in five or six fathom
water, good holding ground, and where you are sheltered from the
northerly winds. The town has no other defence than a low battery,
which only commands the anchoring-place before it. The country is
extremely pleasant, and affords the greatest plenty of provisions of
all kinds. In some excursions we made daily from Talcaguana, we saw
great numbers of very large snakes; but we were told they were quite
harmless. I have read some former accounts of Chili, by the jesuits,
wherein they tell you that no venomous creature is to be found in it,
and that they even made the experiment of bringing bugs here, which
died immediately; but I never was in any place that swarmed with them
so much as St. Jago; and they have a large spider there, whose bite
is so venomous, that I have seen from it some of the most shocking
sights I ever saw in my life; and it certainly proves mortal if proper
remedies are not applied in time. I was once bit by one on the cheek,
whilst asleep, and, presently after, all that part of my face turned
as black as ink. I was cured by the application of a bluish kind of
stone (the same, perhaps, they call the serpent-stone in the East
Indies, and which is a composition). The stone stuck, for some time,
of itself on my face, and dropping off, was put into milk till it had
digested the poison it had extracted, and then applied again till the
pain abated, and I was soon afterwards well. Whilst the ships remained
at Conception, the people were employed in killing cattle and salting
them for the voyage; and every ship took on board as many bullocks
and sheep as their decks could well hold; and having completed their
business here, they sailed the 27th of January; but about eight days
after our ship sprung a very dangerous leak forward; but so low,
that there was no possibility of stopping it without returning into
port, and lightening her till they could come at it. Accordingly we
separated from the other ships, and made the best of our way for
Valparaiso, keeping all hands at the pump night and day, passengers
and all. However, as it happened, this proved a lucky circumstance
for the Lys, as the three other ships were taken; and this certainly
would have been her fate likewise, had she kept company with the rest.
As soon as we got into port, they lightened the ship forwards, and
brought her by the stern till they came at the leak, which was soon
stopped. They made all the dispatch possible in completing the water
again. Whilst at Valparaiso, we had one of the most violent shocks of
an earthquake that we had ever felt yet. On the first of March we put
to sea again, the season being already far advanced for passing Cape
Horn. The next day we went to an allowance of a quart of water a day
for each man, which continued the whole passage. We were obliged to
stand a long way to the westward; and went to the northward of Juan
Fernandez above a degree, before we had a wind that we could make any
southing with. On the 25th, in the latitude of 46 degrees, we met with
a violent hard gale at west, which obliged us to lie to under a reefed
mainsail for some days; and before we got round the Cape, we had many
very hard gales, with a prodigious sea and constant thick snow; and
after being so long in so delightful a climate as Chili, the cold was
almost insupportable. After doubling the Cape, we got but slowly to
the northward; and, indeed, at the best of times, the ship never went
above six knots; for she was a heavy-going thing. On the 27th of May
we crossed the line; when finding that our water was grown extremely
short, and that it would be almost impossible to reach Europe without
a supply, it was resolved to bear away for Martinico. On the 29th of
June, in the morning, we made the Island of Tobago, and then shaped
a course for Martinico; and on the first of July, by our reckonings,
expected to see it, but were disappointed. This was imputed to the
currents, which, whether they had set the ship to the eastward or
westward, nobody could tell; but upon looking over the charts, it
was imagined, if the current had driven her to the westward, it must
have been among the Granadillos, which was thought impossible without
seeing any of them, as they are so near together, and a most dangerous
place for rocks. It was then concluded we were to the eastward, and
accordingly we steered S.W. by W., but having run this course for above
thirty leagues, and no land appearing, it was resolved to stand to the
northward till we should gain the latitude of Porto Rico, and on the
4th in the evening we made that island; so that it was now certain the
ship had been hustled through the Granadillos in the night, which was,
without doubt, as extraordinary a passage as ever ship made. It was
now resolved to go between the islands of Porto Rico and St. Domingo
for Cape François, therefore we lay to that night. In the morning, we
made sail along shore; and about ten o'clock, as I was walking the
quarter-deck, Captain Cheap came out of the cabin, and told me he had
just seen a beef-barrel go by the ship; that he was sure it had but
lately been thrown overboard, and that he would venture any wager we
saw an English cruizer before long. In about half an hour after we saw
two sail to leeward, from off the quarter-deck; for they kept no look
out from the mast-head, and we presently observed they were in chace
of us. The French and Spaniards on board now began to grow a good deal
alarmed, when it fell stark calm; but not before the ships had neared
us so much, that we plainly discerned them to be English men of war;
the one a two-decker, the other a twenty-gun ship. The French had
now thoughts, when a breeze should spring up, of running the ship on
shore upon Porto Rico, but when they came to consider what a set of
banditti inhabited that island, and that in all probability they would
have their throats cut for the sake of plundering the wreck, they were
resolved to take their chance, and stand to the northward between the
two islands. In the evening, a fresh breeze sprung up, and we shaped
a course accordingly. The two ships had it presently afterwards, and
neared us amazingly fast. Now every body on board gave themselves up;
the officers were busy in their cabins, filling their pockets with
what was most valuable; the men put on their best clothes, and many of
them came to me with little lumps of gold, desiring I would take them,
as they said they had much rather I should benefit by them, whom they
were acquainted with, than those that chased them. I told them there
was time enough, though I thought they were as surely taken as if the
English had been already on board. A fine moonlight night came on, and
we expected every moment to see the ships along-side of us; but we saw
nothing of them in the night, and, to our great astonishment, in the
morning no ships were to be seen even from the mast-head. Thus did
these two cruizers lose one of the richest prizes, by not chasing an
hour or two longer. There were near two millions of dollars on board,
besides a valuable cargo. On the eighth, at six in the morning, we were
off Cape La Grange; and, what is very remarkable, the French at Cape
François told us afterwards that was the only day they ever remembered,
since the war, that the Cape had been without one or two English
privateers cruising off it; and but the evening before, two of them had
taken two outward bound St. Domingo men, and had gone with them for
Jamaica; so that this ship might be justly esteemed a most lucky one.
In the afternoon we came to an anchor in Cape François harbour.

In this long run we had not buried a single man; nor do I remember that
there was one sick the whole passage; but at this place many were taken
ill, and three or four died; for there is no part of the West Indies
more unhealthy than this; yet the country is beautiful, and extremely
well cultivated. After being here some time, the governor ordered us to
wait upon him, which we did; when he took no more notice of us than if
we had been his slaves, never asking us even to sit down.

Towards the end of August, a French squadron of five men of war came
in, commanded by Monsieur L'Etanducre, who were to convoy the trade
to France. Neither he nor his officers ever took any kind of notice
of Captain Cheap, though we met them every day ashore. One evening,
as we were going aboard with the captain of our ship, a midshipman
belonging to Monsieur L'Etanducre, jumped into our boat, and ordered
the people to carry him on board the ship he belonged to, leaving us
to wait upon the beach for two hours before the boat returned. On the
sixth of September we put to sea, in company with the five men of war,
and about fifty sail of merchant-men. On the eighth we made the Cayco
Grande; and the next day a Jamaica privateer, a large fine sloop, hove
in sight, keeping a little to windward of the convoy, resolving to pick
up one or two of them in the night, if possible. This obliged Monsieur
L'Etanducre to send a frigate to speak to all the convoy, and order
them to keep close to him in the night; which they did, and in such a
manner, that sometimes seven or eight of them were on board one another
together; by which they received much damage; and to repair which,
the whole squadron was obliged to lay to sometimes for a whole day.
The privateer kept her station, jogging on with the fleet. At last,
the commodore ordered two of his best-going ships to chase her. She
appeared to take no notice of them till they were pretty near her, and
then would make sail and be out of sight presently. The chasing ships
no sooner returned, than the privateer was in company again. As by this
every night some accident happened to some of the convoy by keeping so
close together, a fine ship of thirty guns, belonging to Marseilles,
hauled out a little to windward of the rest of the fleet; which
L'Etanducre perceiving in the morning, ordered the frigate to bring the
captain of her on board of him; and then making a signal for all the
convoy to close to him, he fired a gun, and hoisted a red flag at the
ensign staff; and immediately after the captain of the merchant-man
was run up to the main-yard-arm, and from thence ducked three times. He
was then sent on board his ship again, with orders to keep his colours
flying the whole day, in order to distinguish him from the rest. We
were then told, that the person who was treated in this cruel manner,
was a young man of an exceeding good family in the south of France,
and likewise a man of great spirit; and that he would not fail to call
Monsieur L'Etanducre to account when an opportunity should offer; and
the affair made much noise in France afterwards. One day, the ship
we were in happened to be out of her station, by sailing so heavily,
when the commodore made the signal to speak to our captain, who seemed
frightened out of his wits. When we came near him, he began with the
grossest abuse, threatening our captain, that if ever he was out of his
station again, he would serve him as he had done the other. This rigid
discipline, however, preserved the convoy; for though the privateer
kept company a long time, she was not so fortunate as to meet with the
reward of her perseverance.

On the 27th of October, in the evening, we made Cape Ortegal; and on
the 31st, came to an anchor in Brest road. The Lys having so valuable
a cargo on board, was towed into the harbour the next morning, and
lashed alongside one of their men of war. The money was soon landed;
and the officers and men, who had been so many years absent from
their native country, were glad to get on shore. Nobody remained on
board but a man or two to look after the ship, and we three English
prisoners who had no leave to go ashore. The weather was extremely
cold, and felt particularly so to us, who had been so long used to hot
climates; and what made it still worse, we were very thinly clad. We
had neither fire nor candle; for they were allowed on board of no ship
in the harbour, for fear of accidents, being close to their magazines
in the dock-yard. Some of the officers belonging to the ship were so
kind to send us off victuals every day, or we might have starved; for
Monsieur L'Intendant never sent us even a message; and though there was
a very large squadron of men of war fitting out at that time, not one
officer belonging to them ever came near Captain Cheap. From five in
the evening we were obliged to sit in the dark; and if we chose to have
any supper, it was necessary to place it very near us before that time,
or we never could have found it. We had passed seven or eight days in
this melancholy manner, when one morning a kind of row-galley came
alongside, with a number of English prisoners belonging to two large
privateers the French had taken. We were ordered into the same boat
with them, and were carried four leagues up the river to Landernaw. At
this town we were upon our parole; so took the best lodgings we could
get, and lived very well for three months, when an order came from
the court of Spain to allow us to return home by the first ship that
offered. Upon this, hearing there was a Dutch ship at Morlaix ready to
sail, we took horses and travelled to that town, where we were obliged
to remain six weeks, before we had an opportunity of getting away. At
last we agreed with the master of a Dutch dogger to land us at Dover,
and paid him beforehand. When we had got down the river into the road,
a French privateer that was almost ready to sail upon a cruize, hailed
the Dutchman, and told him to come to an anchor; and that if he offered
to sail before him, he would sink him. This he was forced to comply
with, and lay three days in the road, cursing the Frenchman, who at
the end of that time put to sea, and then we were at liberty to do the
same. We had a long uncomfortable passage. About the ninth day, before
sunset, we saw Dover, and reminded the Dutchman of his agreement to
land us there. He said he would; but instead of that, in the morning
we were off the coast of France. We complained loudly of this piece of
villany, and insisted upon his returning to land us, when an English
man of war appeared to windward, and presently bore down to us. She
sent her boat on board with an officer, who informed us the ship he
came from was the Squirrel, commanded by Captain Masterson. We went on
board of her, and Captain Masterson immediately sent one of the cutters
he had with him, to land us at Dover, where we arrived that afternoon,
and directly set out for Canterbury upon post-horses; but Captain Cheap
was so tired by the time he got there, that he could proceed no further
that night. The next morning he still found himself so much fatigued,
that he could ride no longer; therefore it was agreed that he and Mr.
Hamilton should take a post-chaise, and that I should ride; but here an
unlucky difficulty was started; for upon sharing the little money we
had, it was found to be not sufficient to pay the charges to London;
and my proportion fell so short, that it was, by calculation, barely
enough to pay for horses, without a farthing for eating a bit upon the
road, or even for the very turnpikes. Those I was obliged to defraud,
by riding as hard as I could through them all, not paying the least
regard to the men, who called out to stop me. The want of refreshment
I bore as well as I could. When I got to the Borough, I took a coach
and drove to Marlborough-street, where my friends had lived when I left
England; but when I came there, I found the house shut up. Having been
absent so many years, and in all that time never having heard a word
from home, I knew not who was dead or who was living, or where to go
next; or even how to pay the coachman. I recollected a linen-draper's
shop, not far from thence, which our family had used. I therefore drove
there next, and making myself known, they paid the coachman. I then
enquired after our family, and was told my sister had married Lord
Carlisle, and was at that time in Soho-square. I immediately walked
to the house, and knocked at the door; but the porter not liking my
figure, which was half French, half Spanish, with the addition of a
large pair of boots covered with dirt, he was going to shut the door in
my face; but I prevailed with him to let me come in.

I need not acquaint my readers with what surprise and joy my sister
received me. She immediately furnished me with money sufficient to
appear like the rest of my countrymen; till that time I could not be
properly said to have finished all the extraordinary scenes which a
series of unfortunate adventures had kept me in for the space of five
years and upwards.

                               THE END.


       *       *       *       *       *

                         Transcriber's Notes:

Maintained original spelling, hypenation and punctuation.

Obvious printer errors have been corrected.

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