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Title: Life Aboard a British Privateer in the Time of Queen Anne - Being the Journal of Captain Woodes Rogers, Master Mariner
Author: Leslie, Robert C.
Language: English
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[Illustration: _Running past Minehead with a fine gale at S.E._]

                         LIFE ABOARD A BRITISH

                      IN THE TIME OF QUEEN ANNE.

                         BEING THE JOURNAL OF
                        CAPTAIN WOODES ROGERS,
                            MASTER MARINER.

                           ROBERT C. LESLIE.


                      CHAPMAN AND HALL, LIMITED,

                            CHANCERY LANE.




  INTRODUCTION                                                         1


  FROM KING ROAD, BRISTOL, TO CORK IN IRELAND                          5


  AMONGST THE CANARY ISLANDS                                          21


  FROM GRANDE TOWARDS JUAN FERNANDEZ                                  41


  FROM LOBOS TOWARDS GUIAQUIL IN PERU                                 67


  ROAD IN PERU                                                        90


  GOOD HOPE, HOME                                                    110

  APPENDIX                                                           131




  Running past Mine Head       _Frontispiece_

  Section of Eighteenth Century Frigate                                9

  Captain Rogers' Carriage Stops the Way                              15

  Crossing the Tropick                                                24

  Figure of the Quadrant and Manner of Observation                    26

  Figure of the Cross-staff and Manner of Observation                 27

  The Figure of the Nocturnal                                         28

  Captain Rogers gives the "Duke" a Great List                        36

  The Bird "Alcatros"                                                 41

  The "Dutchess" in Difficulties                                      47

  Juan Fernandez                                                      50

  Mr. Selkirk joins the "Duke" Frigate                                52

  Captains Rogers and Dover under the Piemento
  Trees                                                               61

  Pinnaces under Sail                                                 63

  A Council of War                                                    76

  The "Duke" takes the Manila Ship                                   102

  Batavia Roads                                                      119

  The Old Ship's Belfry                                              130

  A Map of the World, with the Ships "Duke" and
  "Dutchess" tract round it from 1708 to 1711                        130

  The Old Sea Clock                                                  143




[Sidenote: 1708]

Most people know their "Robinson Crusoe," and have heard of the author
Defoe. But how many of us have heard even the name of Woodes Rogers,
Master Mariner? or have read his quaint Journal of a cruising voyage
round the world in the ships "Duke" and "Dutchess" of Bristol, "printed
in 1712 for A. Bell and B. Lintot at the Crosse Keys and Bible between
the two Temple Gates Fleet Street."? Yet it was this Woodes Rogers
who not only discovered the original Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk, but
after making a "note of him when found" upon the island of Juan
Fernandez,[1] at once proceeded to make very practical use of him by
giving him command of the "Increase," one of many small prizes taken in
the South Seas from the Spaniards by the "Duke" and "Dutchess."

That Rogers was more than a master mariner, of much resource and pluck,
is shown in his Journal, and the wonderful way in which he handled the
very mixed group of men which formed the small floating commonwealth
under him. It was more than thirty years later that Lord Anson sailed
a similar voyage round the world with the advantage of the experience
of Rogers and others, while Anson's squadron was fitted, manned, and
armed by Government: yet, considering the loss of life and material
which marked that cruise, it seems to me that, judged by results,
Rogers' voyage was a far more wonderful performance, and that it
attracted some attention at the time is shown by a notice of it in
Captain Berkley's "Naval History," (published, 1756), where, under the
heading of "Conduct of the Bristol Privateers," he says, "we have read
in very pompous language the names of those who, with great ships and
great preparations, encompassed the Globe. But at this time came in
two privateers, of Bristol, who with no more than the common strength
of such vessels, undertook the voyage, and at the end of two years and
three months returned," &c.

In his own Preface, Captain Rogers says, "I was not fond to appear
in print; but my friends who had read my journal prevail'd with me
at last to publish it," adding, "I know 'tis generally expected,
that when far distant voyages are printed, they should contain new
and wonderful discoveries, with surprising accounts of people and
animals; but this voyage being only design'd for cruising on the
enemy, it is not reasonable to expect such accounts here as are to
be met with in travels relating to history, geography, &c., while,
as for stile, I have not had time, were it my talent, to polish it;
nor do I think it necessary for a mariner's journal. 'Tis also," he
says, "a particular misfortune, which attends voyages to the South
Sea, that the buccaneers, to set off their own knight-errantry, and
to make themselves pass for prodigies of courage and conduct, have
given such romantic accounts of their adventures, and told such strange
stories, as make the voyages of those who come after (and cannot allow
themselves the same liberty), to look flat and insipid to unthinking
people. Therefore I request my readers, that they be favourable in
their censures when they peruse this journal which is not calculated
to amuse, but barely to relate the truth, and which is all written in
the language of the sea, that being more genuine and natural for a
mariner than the method us'd by authors that write ashoar." I have,
therefore, in the following extracts, quoted Rogers' Journal as closely
as possible, adding only a short connecting note here and there, where

                                                      ROBERT C. LESLIE.



[1] Though this island in the Pacific is the one usually associated
with Robinson Crusoe, Defoe conceals its identity by wrecking Crusoe's
ship upon an island to the north of Brasil, near the "Great River




[Sidenote: 1708]

[Sidenote: _Setting out from King Road._]

Many a modern pleasure yacht would exceed the tonnage of the frigates
"Duke" and "Dutchess," the "Duke" being 320 tons, with 30 guns and
117 men, and the "Dutchess" only 260 tons, with 26 guns, and 108
men. "Both ships," says Rogers, "well furnished with all necessaries
on board for a distant undertaking weigh'd from King Road Bristol
August 2nd 1708 in company with the 'Scipio,' 'Peterborough Frigate,'
'Prince Eugene,' 'Bristol Galley,' 'Berkley Galley,' 'Bucher Galley,'
'Sherstone Galley,' and 'Diamond Sloop,' bound to Cork in Ireland."
These "galleys" must not be confounded with the lateen rigged vessels
of that name in the south of Europe; being simply small, low, straight
ships of light draught easily moved by oars or sweeps in calms. In
Rogers' time a ship was said to be "Frigate built" when she had a poop
and forecastle rising a few steps above the waist, and "galley built,"
when there was no break in the line of her deck and topsides. But the
use of oars was not confined to these Bristol[2] galley built ships,
for Rogers speaks of using them on several occasions in the "Duke" and
"Dutchess." While in old draughts of small vessels of this class, of
even a later date, row-ports are often shown.

Between the Holmes and Minehead the little fleet came to "an Anchor
from 10 to 12 at night, when all came to sail again, running past
Minehead with a fine gale at S.E. at six in the morning." No time was
lost before an attempt was made to add to the number of the fleet,
for the same day, at 5 p.m., the "Dutchess," like a young hound,
breaks away from the pack in chase of what seemed a large ship, which
they lost sight of again at 8 o'clock. But "having been informed at
Bristol that the 'Jersey,' a French man-of-war, was cruising betwixt
England and Ireland, the ships sailed all night with hammocks stowed
and cleared for a fight. Though it was well for us," says Rogers, "that
this proved a false alarm, since had it been real we should have made
but an indifferent fight, for want of being better manned."

[Sidenote: _An incompetent Pilot._]

[Sidenote: _Arrival at Cork._]

After parting company with three galleys and the "Prince Eugene," the
fleet, on the 5th of August, "finding they have overshot their port,
come to an anchor at noon off two rocks, called the Sovereigne's
Bollacks, near Kinsale; at 8 p.m. they weighed again with a small gale
at east, which increased and veered to northward." At this time Rogers
had a Kinsale pilot on board who, he says, "was like to have endanger'd
our ships by turning us into the next bay to the west of Cork, the
weather being dark and foggy." "Which," says Rogers, "provoked me to
chastise him for undertaking to act as pilot without understanding his
business better." On the 7th the "Duke" and "Dutchess" anchored in the
Cove of Cork, and remained there, more or less weather bound, until the
28th, the entries in Rogers' log varying little beyond telling us that
on the 11th, "it blow'd fresh and dirty weather:" while on the 12th,
"it blew fresh and dirty weather, on which day there clear'd and run
near forty of our fresh water sailors." In whose place "came off a boat
load of men from Cork, that appear'd to be brisk fellows but of several
nations; so I sent to stop the rest till we were ready, our ships being
pester'd." On the 28th the weather was fine enough to "Careen clean and
tallow the ships five streaks below the water line." Nothing marked the
smart privateersman and seaman of those days more than his constant
care in keeping the bottom of his ship perfectly clean. Indeed, Captain
Rogers never seemed happier than when he had one or other of the little
frigates held over for scraping and cleaning, in some quiet bay, so
nearly upon her beam ends, as to bring her keel almost out of water.

[Illustration: _Section of Eighteenth Century Frigate, showing space
occupied by hemp cables and other stores._]

When shipping the rest of his crew before sailing from Cork, we get a
taste of Rogers' foresight and policy. For he tells us, "we have now
above double the number of officers usual in privateers, besides a
large complement of men;" adding, "we took this method of doubling our
officers to prevent mutinies, which often happen in long voyages, and
that we might have a large provision for a succession of officers in
each ship in case of mortality."

It must, however, have been a sore trial to a tarpaulin seaman, like
Rogers, to have to note at the same time, "that in order to make room
for our men and provisions, we sent the sheet cable and some other
store cordage on shore, having on board three cables besides, and being
willing rather to spare that than anything else we had aboard."

In a small frigate quite a fourth part of the hold was, before the
introduction of chain cables, occupied by the cable tier or room; and
when one considers, not only the space they filled, but the difficulty
of handling them, and the care required to keep them from chafing when
in use, and from damp and rot when stowed away, it is astonishing that
ships returning from long cruises ever had an anchor or cable left
which they could trust.

Among the troubles attending the use of hemp cables, that of firing in
the hawse holes and at the bits, or timbers they passed over in running
out, was one; and each time the anchor was let go men were stationed
with buckets of water to prevent this.

[Sidenote: _The crew at Cork._]

[Sidenote: _Many weddings among them._]

It was while victualling and shipping men at this time that a side-note
appears of the "Strange behaviour of our men at Cork;" alluding to
the fact, "that they were continually marrying whilst we staid there,
though they expected to sail immediately." Among others, a Dane was
coupled by an Irish priest to an Irish woman, without understanding
a word of each other's language, so that they were forc'd to use an
interpreter. "Yet," says Rogers, "I perceived this pair seem'd more
afflict'd at separation than any of the rest; the fellow continu'd
melancholy for several days after we were at sea." Whether the Irish
bride shared her Danish husband's depression is, of course, not related
by Rogers, who goes on to say that "the rest, understanding each other,
drank their cans of flipp[3] till the last minute, concluding with a
health to our good voyage, and their happy meeting, and then parted

[Sidenote: _Names of the officers._]

Though the chief command of the expedition fell to Woodes Rogers,
master mariner, yet, as was the case in most of these private ventures
to the South Seas, several of his officers were men with no claim to
the name of sailor, who had either money invested in the ships, or
interest with the owners. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that
"the second Captain of the 'Duke,' and captain of the Marines, was one
Thomas Dover, a doctor of phisick," or that this Captain Dover's first
lieutenant was "his kinsman, Mr. Hopkins, an apothecary." On the other
hand, Rogers had cleverly secured as his master the celebrated William
Dampier, also rated "Pilot of the South Seas," "he having," as Rogers
says, "already been there three times and twice round the world." This
was no doubt poor Dampier's last venture at sea, for though Rogers
mentions his name once or twice in consultation during the cruise,
he is altogether lost sight of toward the end of it. Among the other
officers, "the third mate, John Ballet, was also designated surgeon,
having," says Rogers, "been Captain Dampier's doctor in his last
unfortunate voyage;" while two young lawyers have their names upon the
ship's books, "designed to act as midshipmen."

[Sidenote: _How the crew was made up._]

Including boatswains, gunners, carpenters, &c., there were on board
the "Duke" thirty-six officers, and of the rest of the crew, we are
told that "a third were foreigners, while of Her Majestie's subjects
many were taylors, tinkers, pedlars, fiddlers, and hay-makers, with ten
boys and one negro; with which mix'd gang we hope to be well manned
as soon as they have learnt the use of arms, and got their sea legs;"
which, says Rogers, "we doubt not soon to teach 'em and bring 'em to

It was the 1st of September before the "Duke" and "Dutchess" left
the Cove of Cork with twenty merchant vessels, under convoy of Her
Majesty's ship "Hastings," "both of us," says Rogers, "very crowded
and pester'd ships, their holds full of provisions, and between decks
encumbered with cables, much bread, and altogether in a very unfit
state to engage an enemy, without throwing many stores overboard."
Nevertheless, on the 2nd, the two little frigates stand out from
the fleet to chase a sail to windward; and Rogers is glad to find
that they sailed as well as any in the fleet, not even excepting the
man-of-war, so that, he says, "we begin to hope we shall find our
heels, since we go so well tho deep and pester'd."

The chase, however, proved an inoffensive "French built Snow,[4] of
Bristol, joining our fleet from Baltimoor" (Ireland).

[Sidenote: _Captain Paul's civility._]

The weather being fine on the 4th of September, Rogers and Captain
Courtenay of the "Dutchess," in answer to a signal from Captain Paul,
of the Sherstone galley, make a morning call upon that gentleman, in
which they are joined by the commander of the "Scipio," and after being
"handsomely treated by Captain Paul," he proposes joining them in a few
days, privateering off that well-stocked preserve, Cape Finisterre.
A marginal note occurs here in Rogers' journal of "Captain Paul's
civility," referring to a present, or tip, "of some scrubbers and iron
scrapers for our ships' bottoms, together with a speaking trumpet and
other things we wanted, for which Captain Paul would accept nothing in

[Sidenote: _The crew acquainted with our design._]

[Sidenote: _Leave Captain Paul._]

The time had now come for parting company with the man-of-war, "and
it became necessary," says Rogers, "to acquaint the ships companies
with our designes in order that while in company with one of Her
Majesties ships any malcontents might be exchanged into her. But with
the exception of one fellow who expected to have been made tything man
in his parish that year, and said his wife would have to pay forty
shillings in his abscence, all hands were satisfied," while even the
discontented tything man became reconciled to his lot, when asked to
join all hands at the grog-tub in drinking to a good voyage. Parting
company, however, with the man-of-war also entailed giving up the
proposed cruise off Finisterre with the Sherstone Galley, or as Rogers
puts it "we had to break measures with Captain Paul. But I excused it
to him and saluted him, which he answered and wished us a prosperous
undertaking. Wind N. by W. and clear weather." As the crowded little
frigates roll across the Bay of Biscay together before this fair
wind, we have the first entry in Captain Rogers' log of one of the many
snug little dinners given on board his ship to the officers of the
"Dutchess," and which is returned by them in due form the next day.

[Illustration: _Captain Rogers' carriage stops the way._]

This constant interchange of civilities among the officers of ships
sailing in company is a very marked feature in the manners and customs
of the mariners of that date. Among men-of-war anchored in roadsteads
or in port such events are even now, of course, not uncommon. But in
those days, judging from entries in Rogers' log, few days passed at
sea without actual communication by boat between the ships, the crews
of which must have had constant practical experience, both in lowering
and hoisting in boats. While, though this must often have been done
with a high sea running, there is no record of a mishap to a boat or
crew during the entire cruise--a fact speaking volumes for the fine
boatmanship of the sailors of this period.[5]

[Sidenote: _A committee._]

Though practically under the able leadership of Rogers, the two
privateers formed together a small floating commonwealth, no important
measures being decided upon until they had passed a committee of the
officers of both ships. The first of these marine parliaments sat on
board the "Duke," just after an entry in Rogers' log says, "that now
we begin to consider the length of our voyage, and the many different
climates we must pass, and the excessive cold which we cannot avoid
going about Cape Horn; at the same time we have but a slender stock
of liquor, and our men but meanly clad, yet good liquor to sailors is
preferable to clothing. Upon this we held our first committee to debate
whether t'was necessary for us to stop at Madera?"

Here follows a minute of the resolutions as passed, which are formally
signed by each member of the Committee, thus:

  "THOS: DOVER, _President_.


At six the next morning both frigates go in chase of a sail, "the
'Dutchess' having a mile start given her in order to spread the more;"
Rogers adding "that it blew fresh with a great sea, and the chase being
to windward, we crowd'd extravagantly."

Nine hours later they came up with the chase, "who bore right down upon
us, showing Swedish colours. We fired twice at her before she brought
to, when we board'd her, Captain Courtney's boat being just before
ours. We examined the master, and found he came round Scotland and

This was a very usual track in the old war times, in order to avoid
capture in the British Channel. But it made Rogers suspect the Swede
of having something in the shape of warlike stores on board, so that,
naturally anxious to prove her a prize, after such a long chase to
windward, and believing some men "he found drunk, who told us they
had gunpowder and cables aboard, he resolved to strictly examine
her, placing twelve men on board, and taking the master and twelve
of her men on board the 'Duke.'" Nothing, however, was found to
prove her a prize, and Rogers "let her go," as he says, "without the
least embezelment. Her master giving him two hams and some ruff't
dried beef," in return for which Rogers gave him "a dozen bottles of
red-streak cider."

[Sidenote: _A mutiny quell'd._]

[Sidenote: _Mutineers pardon'd._]

The character both of Rogers and his crew come out strongly on this
occasion, for he tells us "that while I was on board the Swede
yesterday our men mutiny'd. The ringleaders being our boatswain and
three inferior officers. But this morning the chief officers having
kept with me in the after part of the ship we confined the authors
of this disorder, in which there was not one foreigner concerned,
putting ten mutineers in irons, a sailor being first soundly whip'd for
exciting the rest to join him. Others less guilty were punished and
discharg'd, but I kept the chief officers all arm'd, fearing what might
happen; the ship's company seeming inclin'd to favour the mutineers,
some beg'd pardon and others I was forc'd to wink at." The only reason
for this rising was discontent of the crew at not being allowed to
plunder the Swede. "Two days later," says Rogers, "the men in irons
discover'd others who were ringleaders in the mutiny." These are, of
course, placed in irons with the rest, Captain Rogers judiciously
creating a new boatswain, "in the room of Giles Cash, who, being a most
dangerous fellow," I agreed with the master of the "Crown Galley,"
then in company, to carry for me in irons to Madera, "which extreme
measure" was taken because "on September the 14th a sailor follow'd
by near half the ship's company came aft to the steerage door, and
demanded the boatswain out of irons; on which," says Rogers, "I desired
him to speak with me on the quarter deck, which he did, where, the
officers assisting, I seiz'd him (_i.e._, tied him up) and made one of
his chief comrades whip him, which method I thought best for breaking
any unlawful friendship amongst themselves, which, with different
correction to other offenders, allay'd this tumult, so that now they
began to submit quietly and those in irons to beg pardon and promise
amendment. This mutiny would not have been easily lay'd were it not
for the number of our officers, which we begin to find very necessary
to bring our crew to discipline, always difficult in privateers, but
without which 'tis impossible to carry on any distant undertaking like
ours. Fine pleasant weather, moderate gales." Two days later, "on their
humble submission, and strict promise of good behaviour for the time to
come," the mutineers are set free; "they having," says Rogers, "while
they continued in irons had sentries over 'em, and were fed with bread
and water."

[Sidenote: _A Spanish prize taken._]

On September the 18th they sight "Pico Teneriff, and at 5 next morning
spy'd a sail under their lee bow, which proved a prize, a Spanish
bark about 25 tuns belonging to Oratava in Teneriff, and bound to
Forteventura with about 45 passengers; who rejoiced when they found
us English, because they feared we were Turks. Amongst the prisoners
were four Fryars, one of them the Padre Guardian for the Island of
Forteventura, a good honest fellow whom we made heartily merry drinking
King Charles the _Thirds_ health, but the rest were of the _wrong


[2] Writing of Bristol in 1808, Pinkerton says that "in the late wars
with France they built here a sort of galleys, called runners, which
being well armed and manned, and furnished with letters of marque,
overtook and mastered several prizes of that nation. Many of these
_ships_ were then also carriers for the London merchants, who ordered
their goods to be landed here, and sent to Gloucester by water, thence
by land to Lechlade, and thence _down_ the Thames to London; the
carriage being so reasonable that it was more than paid for by the
difference of the insurance and risque between this port and London."

[3] "Flipp, a liquor much used in ships, made by mixing beer with
spirits and sugar."--JOHNSON, 1760.

[4] "Snow." A vessel which would now be called a brig. The largest two
masted craft of that time, and then distinguished from a brig by having
a square mainsail below her maintopsail; a fore and aft sail being also
carried upon a small spar fitted to, and just abaft the mainmast. In
the original brigs this fore and aft sail was set upon the mainmast
itself, and was the mainsail, in the Snow it became the spanker.

[5] Forty or fifty years ago the crews of South Sea whalers were very
smart sea-boatmen, and their captains thought nothing of lowering a
boat in a double reefed topsail breeze, to take a cup of tea or glass
of grog with the captain of a ship in company. Great simplicity was the
main feature of boat lowering gear on board these ships; but constant
practice made communication between them so easy, that it took place
often under difficulties which now would be sufficient to entitle the
officer in charge of the boat to a gold watch and chain.




[Sidenote: 1708 _Sept._]

Considering that Captain Rogers' main object in cruising among the
Grand Canaries was to lay in a store of liquor for his voyage "about
Cape Horn," this small Spanish bark, with a cargo of two butts of wine,
and a hogshead of brandy, was a lucky windfall.

[Sidenote: _A letter from Port Oratava._]

A trifling hitch occurred, however, about her ransom, owing to the
headstrong conduct of Mr. Carlton Vanbrugh, the "Duke's" agent, "who,
against his Captain's judgement," went ashore with the master of the
prize to settle this matter, and was there detained; the authorities
refusing to let him go unless the bark was restored to them free of
charge; they claiming protection from capture for all vessels trading
between these Islands; which view of the case was supported, not only
by the British Consul at Oratava, but by certain English merchants
there, and from whom Rogers received a long letter actually advising
him to give up his prize; which he answered in full, with his reasons
for not doing this; the chief of which was, that possession is
nine-tenths of the law.

[Sidenote: _Our Answer._]

[Sidenote: _Capt. Rogers' generosity._]

The answer of the Spanish authorities, however, "being," as Rogers
tells us, "of a dilatory character," he at once wrote the following
dispatch; informing them "that had it not been out of respect for his
officer ashoar, he would not have staid one minute, and that now he
should stay only till morning for their answer, taking meanwhile a
cruise among the Islands in order to make reprisals, and tho' he could
not land his men, that he would visit the town with his guns by eight
next morning; when he hoped to meet the Governor's Frigate, and repay
his civility in his own way." "Which letter," says Rogers, "had its
effect, for as we stood in close to the town at eight o'clock next
morning, we spy'd a boat coming off, in which proved to be one Mr.
Crosse, an English merchant, and our agent Mr. Vanbrugh, with wine,
grapes, hogs, and other necessaries for the ransom of the bark. And
so, upon his coming up, we immediately went to work, discharged the
bark, and parted her cargo between our ships. We treated Mr. Crosse as
well as we could, and at his desire, gave the prisoners back as much
as we could find of what belonged to their persons, particularly to
the fryars their books, Crucifixes, and Reliques. We presented the old
Padre with a cheese, and such as were strip'd with other clothes, so
that we parted well satisfied on all sides."

After which very comfortable arrangement, Captain Rogers, carefully
concealing his destination from the Spaniards by stating that he was
"bound to the English West Indies," sailed on his way rejoicing, "that
now we are indifferently well stocked with liquors, and shall be better
able to endure cold when we get the length of Cape Horn."

On the afternoon of the 22nd another sail was spy'd and chased to the
westward, until "a stiff gale coming on, put us," says Rogers, "out
of hopes of seeing her again to advantage." The next day, the weather
being fine, with fresh gales, the officers of both ships again dine
together on board the "Duke," when a committee is held, and a vote of
censure passed upon Mr. Carlton Vanbrugh for landing against the wish
of his Captain. No doubt also the quality of the Canary was discussed,
and perhaps helped to smooth the course of this debate.

[Sidenote: _Pass the Tropick._]

It would seem, from the next entry in the log, that the penalties
usually exacted by Neptune of those crossing the _Line_ for the first
time, then became his due somewhat earlier in the voyage; or upon first
entering what sailors call the "Horse latitudes." For Rogers says that
September the 25th "we passed the tropick, and according to custom
duck'd those that had not done so before. The manner of doing it was
by a rope thro' a block from the main yard to hoist 'em above halfway
up to the yard and let 'em fall at once into the water, having a stick
cross thro their legs, and well fastened to the rope, that they might
not be surprised and let go their hold.

[Illustration: _Crossing the Tropick._]

"This prov'd of great use to our freshwater sailors to recover the
colour of their skins, which were grown very black and nasty. Those
that we duck'd after this manner three times, were about sixty, and
others that would not undergo it chose to pay half a crown fine; the
money to be levy'd and spent at a public meeting of all the ships
companies when we return to England. The Dutchmen and some Englishmen
desir'd to be duck'd, some six, others eight, ten, and twelve times, to
have the better title for being treated when they come home."

The "Duke" and "Dutchess" made the Island of Sal, one of the Cape de
Verds, on the morning of September 29th, and "after being satisfied,"
says Rogers, "it was Sal, we stood from it W. and W. by N. for St.
Vincent, going under easy sail all night because we had none aboard
either ship that was acquainted with these islands; but on the 30th
when day broke we saw 'em all in a range much as is laid down in the
draughts, and at ten o'clock anchored in the bay of St. Vincent in five
fathom water." When one considers the means by which these early master
mariners determined their position at sea, and that for want of good
timekeepers they were almost quite dependent upon dead reckoning for
their longitude, the accuracy and boldness with which Rogers made his
landfalls is truly surprising.

The accompanying figures, from a standard work upon navigation of the
period,[6] are interesting as showing the curious form of nautical
instruments used by old shipmen, like Woodes Rogers, for taking
altitudes of the sun, moon, pole, stars, &c., before the invention of
Hadley's quadrant.

[Illustration: The Figure of the Quadrant and Manner of Observation.
(Davis's Quadrant.)]

[Illustration: The Figure of the Cross-Staff and the Manner of

"Davis's Quadrant," invented by the celebrated navigator of that name
in Queen Elizabeth's time, was the best of these. This instrument
was known also as "the back-staff" from the position of the observer
with his back to the sun when using it. The cross-staff or fore-staff
was, however, still used, as it was in the time of Columbus; this was
simply a four-sided straight staff of hard wood, about three feet long,
having four cross-pieces of different lengths made to slide upon it as
the cross-piece does upon a shoemaker's rule. These cross-pieces were
called respectively the ten, thirty, sixty, and ninety cross, and were
placed singly upon the staff according to the altitude of the sun or
star at time of observation; the angle measured being shown by a scale
of degrees and minutes intersected by the cross-piece on that side the
staff to which it (the cross) belonged. Besides the cross-staff, a
form of small quadrant, called an "Almacantas staff," was used just
after sunrise, and before sunset, for finding the sun's azimuth, and
the variation of the compass, while in latitudes north of the line, the
"Nocturnal" gave the hour of the night, by observing with it the hands
of the great star-clocks, Ursa Major and Minor, as they turned about
the Pole Star.

[Illustration: The Figure of the Nocturnal.]

[Sidenote: _Letter to the Governor of St. Antonio._]

"The day after anchoring at St. Vincent," Rogers says, "we clear'd
our ships, but it blow'd too hard to row our boatloads of empty
butts ashoar; and we could do little to wooding and watering, till
this morning, we were forc'd to get a rope from the ship to the
watering-place, which is a good half mile from our anchorage, and
so haul'd our empty casks ashoar by boatloads, in order to have 'em
burnt and cleaned in the inside, being oil-casks, and for want of
cleaning our water stunk insufferably. But borrowing a cooper from
the 'Dutchess,' and having five of my own, we made quick dispatch."
"We also sent a boat to St. Antonio, with one Joseph Alexander a good
linguist, and a respectful letter to the Govenour, who accounts himself
a great man here, tho' very poor, to get in truck for our prize goods
what we wanted; they having plenty of cattel, goats, hogs, fowls,
melons, potatoes, limes, ordinary brandy, tobacco, &c." And while here
Rogers adds, "that tho' our people were meanly stock'd with clothes,
and the 'Dutchess's' crew much worse, yet we are both forc'd to watch
'em very narrowly, and punish'd some of 'em, to prevent their selling
what they have to the negroes that come over with little things from
St. Antonio's." In his letter to the Govenour, Rogers tells him that
"as our stay cannot exceed two days, despatch is necessary, and that
the bearer can inform his Honour of the public occurrences of Europe,
and the great successes of the Confederate arms against the French and
Spaniards, which no doubt must soon be follow'd with a lasting peace,
which God grant."

[Sidenote: _Desertion of a Linguist._]

From an entry in the journal a few days later to the effect "that our
boat return'd yesterday with two good black cattel, one for each ship,
but no news of our linguist;" it appears that worse luck befell him
than that which attended Mr. Carlton Vanbrugh, or it may be that he
took less real interest in the cruise than that gentleman. Whether
this was so or not, the officers of both frigates at once agreed, on
the return of the boat "with the two good black cattel," that they
"had better leave him behind than to wait with two ships for one man
that had not follow'd his orders;" or as Captain Rogers puts it in a
marginal note, "our linguist deserts."

That there was honour as well as method among the leaders in these
"undertakings to the South Seas," is clear from the minutes of a debate
now held on board the "Duke," "to prevent those mutinies and disorders
amongst the men who were not yet reconcil'd since the taking of the
small Canary prize."

[Sidenote: _Regulations about plunder._]

[Sidenote: _The reasons that forc'd us to allow plunder._]

Among these regulations it was agreed "that what is plunder be
adjudg'd by the superior officers and agents in each ship; and that
if any person do conceal any plunder exceeding in value one piece
of eight, twenty-four hours after capture of a prize, he shall be
severely punished and lose his share of the plunder. The same penalty
to be inflict'd for being drunk in time of action or disobeying his
officer's commands, or deserting his post in sea or land service.
That public books of plunder are to be kept in each ship, the plunder
to be appraised and divided as soon as possible after capture. Every
person to be sworn and searched so soon as they shall come aboard, any
person refusing, to forfeit his share of the plunder; and that whereas
Captain Rogers and Captain Courtney to make both ships companies easy,
have given the whole cabin plunder (which in all probability is the
major part), to be divided among the crew, it is agreed that the said
Captains Woodes Rogers and Steph: Courtney, shall have 5 per cent. each
of 'em over and above their respective shares, &c. That a reward of
twenty pieces of eight be given to him that first sees a prize of good
value exceeding 50 tuns." Rogers adds that this arrangement was "agreed
on in order to make the men easy, without which we must unavoidably
have run into such continual scenes of mischief and disorder, which
have not only tended to the great hindrance, but generally to the total
disappointment of all voyages of this nature, that have been attempted
so far abroad in the memory of man."

Hearing nothing more of "their good linguist," the "Duke" and
"Dutchess" "came to sail at seven in the evening," of Oct. 8th, from
St. Vincent. After having "put the deputy Govenour of S. Antonio (a
negro), ashoar, where he must lie in a hole of the rocks there being
no house on that part of the island." In his description of these
islands Rogers mentions "that they have here very large spiders, which
weave their webs so strong that 'tis difficult to get thro' 'em, and
that the heats are excessive to us who came newly from Europe, so that
several of our men began to be sick and were blooded;" while "some of
the officers that went ashore a hunting could meet no game but a wild
ass, which, after a long chase they got within shot and wounded; yet
he afterwards held out so as to tire them, and they return'd weary and

The piety of the expedition appears to have increased steadily as it
got further from home, for as they draw near the Equator "in close
cloudy weather with squalls of rain," we read how first "having put up
the smith's forge, and he began to work on such things as we wanted,"
that a day or two after "We began to read prayers in both ships,
mornings and evenings, as opportunity would permit, according to the
Church of England; designing to continue it the term of the voyage."

[Sidenote: _A Second Mate punish'd for Mutiny._]

The number of junior officers on board the frigates was not always
unattended with troubles, in all which cases the first remedy tried by
Captain Rogers was that of shuffling, or exchanging them from ship to
ship. But it is a significant fact that it was the day after a dinner
party on board the "Dutchess," that her captain came on board the
"Duke" with his second mate, Mr. Page, desiring to exchange him into
the "Duke" in the room of Mr. Ballet. Page, however, who seems to have
held views of his own upon this subject, having declined to get into
the "Dutchess's" boat, and thereby "caused his superior officer to
strike him, whereupon Page struck again and several blows past," was on
his arrival on board the "Duke" at once "ordered on the forecastle into
the bilboes;[7] where, it being calm, he slipped through the ship's
corporal's hands overboard, thinking to swim back to the 'Dutchess.'
A boat, however, being alongside, he was soon overtaken, brought on
board, and lash'd to the main gears,[8] where for this, and his abusive
language exciting the men to mutiny, he was drub'd and afterwards
confined in irons on board the 'Duke.'"

A week later Rogers mentions incidentally in his log, "that this
morning I let Mr. Page out of irons on his humble submission, and
promises of amendment; fair pleasant weather with fresh gales."

[Sidenote: _Concealers of plunder punish'd._]

On board the "Duke," however, the bilboes must have been kept in fair
working order, with little time to get rusty, for two days after Mr.
Page got clear of them, "two persons being accus'd of concealing a
peruke, two shirts, and a pair of stockings from the plunder of the
Canary bark, are found guilty and order'd into them."

[Sidenote: _Extraordinary lightning._]

[Sidenote: _Fluttering weather._]

Beyond noting what Rogers calls a "turnado" with lightning, "which fell
as if it had been liquid," and that "while the storm held, which was
not above an hour, the ships even with all sail furl'd lay along very
much," nothing remarkable is recorded after leaving the Cape de Verds
until November 16th, when "with a brave breeze at E. they stood in with
the land, and suppos'd it to be the island of Cape Frio on the coast
of Brazil." But "the brave breeze" failing them near land, they were
two days "towing and rowing the ships," in foggy, rainy weather, before
anchoring in the cove off the Isle of Grande, where they designed to
wood, water, and careen their frigates.

[Sidenote: _Frenchmen's graves._]

Terror of past depredations, committed by the French Corsairs, had made
the Brazilians very suspicious of strangers, and Rogers says "his boat
was fir'd on several times when trying to land with a present to the
Govenour of Angre de Reys; but on finding them to be English the fryars
begged pardon and invited them to their Convent." Besides wooding,
watering, and careening his frigates, while at the Isle of Grande,
Rogers appears to have unrigged the "Duke's" main and fore masts, for
he speaks of "seeking for wood to repair our main and fore trustle
trees" (supports of the round tops) "which were broke," and that while
so engaged "they found abundance of Frenchmen's graves, which the
Portuguese told them were those of near half the crews of two great
French ships that water'd in this place nine months before. But," adds
Rogers, "God be thank'd ours are very healthy."

[Illustration: _Captain Rogers gives the "Duke" a great list._]

[Sidenote: _A monstrous animal eaten here by the inhabitants._]

The weather is now described "as violent hot," spite of which Rogers
speaks of "cleaning one side of the 'Dutchess,' on the afternoon of
the 24th, and the other side the next morning; giving the ships great
lists; and that having men enough, he let the pinnace, with Captain
Dover, Mr. Vanbrugh, and others, go whilst the 'Duke' was cleaning, to
take their pleasure, but to return by twelve o'clock, when we should
want our boat. And when they did so, they brought with 'em a monstrous
creature, which they had kill'd, having prickles like a hedgehog, with
fur between them, and a head and tail like a monkey's. It stunk," says
Rogers, "intolerably, which the Portuguese told us was only the
skin, that the meat of it is very delicious and that they often kill'd
them for the table. But our men, being not yet at very short allowance,
none of 'em had stomach good enough to try the experiment, so that we
were forc'd to throw it overboard to make a sweet ship." That some of
those forming the crews of the "Duke" and "Dutchess," should not enjoy
their cruising voyage as well as Rogers and his officers did, is not
surprising, and this was evidently the case with "Michael Jones and
another, two Irish land-men who," says Rogers, "while we lay at the
Isle of Grande run into the woods thinking to get away;" in spite of
the experiences "of two such sparks that run away the day before from
the 'Dutchess,' and in the night were so frighted with tygers as they
thought, but really by monkeys and baboons, that they ran into the
water hollowing to the ship till they were fetch'd aboard again."

[Sidenote: _A Portuguese canoe attack'd by mistake, and one of their
men kill'd._]

Captain Rogers evidently regarded desertion from his ship as an act
of foolish ingratitude, and that men incapable of appreciating the
advantages of prosecuting to the bitter end a voyage with him to
the South Seas, deserved the severest form of punishment; for upon
recovering these two ungrateful "Irish land-men," a few days later,
they were at once "order'd to be severely whip'd and put in irons."
It was while engaged in intercepting a canoe, suspected of helping
these men to escape, that the "Duke's" agent, Mr. Vanbrugh, again got
into trouble, through unluckily shooting an "indian, the property of a
certain fryar who own'd and steer'd that canoe." While, as the friar
alleged that "in the confusion," he not only "lost his slave, but
gold amounting to £200, and threatened to seek justice in Portugal or
England," Rogers was not able, "though he made the 'fryar' as welcome
as he could, to reconcile him." A committee of inquiry was therefore
wisely called upon Mr. Vanbrugh's conduct in firing, without orders,
upon the canoe.

[Sidenote: _Mr. Vanbrugh remov'd from on board the "Duke."_]

The result of which inquiry was, that after first entering a protest
in the ship's books against Mr. Vanbrugh, he was shifted into the
"Dutchess," her agent, Mr. Bathe, taking his place on board the "Duke."

[Sidenote: _A Procession at Angre de Reys: our comical assistance at it
and entertainment._]

[Sidenote: _The Govenour and fathers entertain'd on board._]

Having completed their refit in rather less than a week, which as it
included the lifting of the rigging of the "Duke's" main and fore
mast, besides the wooding, watering, and careening of both frigates
under a tropical sun, was not bad work; they wound up their stay at the
Isle de Grande, by "assisting with both ship's musick," at an important
religious function, or as Rogers calls it, "entertainment," at Angre
de Reys; "where," he says, "we waited on the Govenour, Signior Raphael
de Silva Lagos, in a body, being ten of us, with two trumpets and a
hautboy, which he desir'd might play us to church, where our musick
did the office of an organ, but separate from the singing, which was
by the fathers well perform'd. Our musick played 'Hey boys up go we!'
and all manner of noisy paltry tunes. And after service, our musicians,
who were by that time more than half drunk, march'd at the head of
the company; next to them an old father and two fryars carrying lamps
of incense, then an image dressed with flowers and wax candles, then
about forty priests, fryars, &c., followed by the Govenour of the town,
myself, and Capt. Courtney, with each of us a long wax candle lighted.
The ceremony held about two hours; after which we were splendidly
entertained by the fathers of the Convent, and then by the Govenour.
They unanimously told us they expected nothing from us but our
Company, and they had no more but our musick." The day after, however,
before sailing, Rogers in return, entertained the Governor and fathers
on board the "Duke," "When," he says, "they were very merry, and in
their cups propos'd the Pope's health to us. But we were quits with 'em
by toasting the Archbishop of Canterbury; and to keep up the humour, we
also proposed William Pen's health, and they liked the liquor so well,
that they refused neither;" while as "in the evening it came on blowing
with thick showers," the Governor, the fathers and friars, made a night
of it on board the frigates, not being landed till next morning, "when
we saluted 'em with a huzza from each ship, because," as Rogers says,
"we were not overstock'd with powder, and made them a handsome present
of butter and cheese from both ships in consideration of the small
presents and yesterday's favours from 'em, and as a farther obligation
on 'em to be careful of our letters which we took this opportunity to
deliver into their own hands."

[Illustration: _The Bird "Alcatros."_]


[6] J. Seller's "Practical Navigation," 1694.

[7] Bilboes, long bars of iron with shackles sliding on them, and a
lock at the end, used to confine the feet of prisoners as the hands are
by handcuffs.

[8] Main-geers; an assemblage of tackles coming down to the deck at the
main mast, by which the mainyard was hoisted or lowered in ships of
that time.




[Sidenote: 1708]

A voyage of near 6,000 miles now awaited the little frigates before
reaching Juan Fernandez, the first place they expected to refresh at
after leaving the Isle de Grande. A good stock of necessaries was,
therefore, laid in here, and a letter, giving an account of their
proceedings so far, left with the Governor of Angre de Reys, to be sent
to England by the first opportunity.

[Sidenote: _The bird Alcatros._]

They did not clear the Brazilian coast until December 3rd, and little
is recorded in Rogers' journal until the 6th, when, in close, cloudy

    "At length did cross an albatross,
    Thorough the fog it came."

Rogers[9] spells it "Alcatros, a large bird," he says, "who spread
their wings from eight to ten feet wide."

The whole of this part of the voyage might, indeed, be described in
quotations from the "Ancient Mariner," for we read that, December the
13th, "in the afternoon the little 'Duke's' mainsail was reef'd, which
was the first time since we left England." For

    "Now the storm blast came, and he
    Was tyrannous and strong;
    He struck with his o'ertaking wings,
    And chased us south along."


    "And now there came both mist and snow,
    And it grew wondrous cold."

Or, as Rogers says, "We find it much colder in this latitude than in
the like degree North, though the sun is in its furthest extent to the
southward, which may be ascribed to our coming newly out of warmer
climates, or 'tis probable the winds blow over larger tracts of ice
than in the same degree of N. latitude."

Then we read of thick fog, in which they lose sight of their consort
for many hours, "though we made all the noise agreed on between
us." And so the monotonous sea-life wears on, varied only by the
smallest events, as when, December 10th, the commanders agree to chop
boatswain's mates, the "Dutchess'" "being mutinous, and they willing to
be rid of him." Or how, on the 18th, "in cold hazy rainy weather, one
of the men on board the 'Dutchess' fell out of the mizen top, and broke
his skull," and Captain Rogers boards her "with two surgeons; where
they examine the wound, but found the man irrecoverable, so he died,
and was buried next day; brisk gales from W.N.W.," &c.

[Sidenote: _Falkland's Islands_]

On the 23rd high distant land is sighted, "which appear'd first in
three, afterwards in several more islands. This," says Rogers, "is
Falkland's Land, describ'd in few draughts, and none lay it down
right, tho the Latitude agrees pretty well." On Christmas Day, blowing
a strong gale S.W., at six in the evening they lost sight of the
land, but spying a sail under their lee bow, distant four leagues,
"immediately," says Rogers, "let our reefs out, chas'd, and got ground
of her apace, till ten at night, when we lost sight of her. We spoke
our consort, and agreed to bear away to the northward till dawning,
as we were both of opinion, that if homeward bound, the chase, after
loosing sight of us, would steer north. But when it was full light we
saw nothing, being thick hazy weather, till 7 a.m. When it cleared we
saw the chase again, and falling calm, we both got out our _oars_,
row'd, and tow'd with boats ahead, and gained on the chase, till six in
the evening, perceiving we approach'd her, I went in my boat to speak
with Captain Courtney, and agree how to engage her if a great ship, as
she appear'd to be, and adjusted signals, if either of us should find
it proper to board her in the night. On returning on board a breeze
sprang, and we made all possible sail, keeping the chase in view 'til
ten o'clock, when it came on thick again, but being short nights,
we thought it impossible to lose one another, and kept her open on
our larboard, and the 'Dutchess' on our starboard bow. At one in the
morning I was persuaded to shorten sail for fear of losing our consort
if we kept on. At daylight it was a thick fog, so that we could see
neither our consort nor chase for an hour, when it clear'd, and we saw
our consort on our larboard bow, and fir'd a gun for her to bear down,
but we immediately saw the chase ahead of the 'Dutchess' a few miles,
which gave us new life. We forthwith hal'd up for them, but the wind
heading us, we had a great disadvantage in the chase. The water was
smooth however. And we ran at a great rate, until it coming on to blow
more and more, the chase out-bore our consort, so she gave off, and
being to windward, came down very melancholy to us, supposing the chase
to have been a French homeward bound ship from the South Seas.[10]
Thus this ship escap'd, which considering that we always outwent her
before, is as strange as our first seeing of her in this place, because
all ships that we have heard of, bound either out or home, keep within
Falkland's Island."

Woodes Rogers was no doubt a very hardheaded mariner, still few
sailors are without a trace of superstition, and his closing remark,
in describing this long and unsuccessful chase, points to a feeling
with him that the vessel which all at once "out-bore his consort," was
one, the speed and presence of which in that sea was to him a mystery.
His own ships were clean, and sailing their best; but very few English
vessels of that time were able to "out-go" the ships then built by the
French for trade, or piracy, in the South Seas.

[Illustration: _The "Dutchess" in difficulties._]

[Sidenote: 1709]

The usual foul weather, at any rate, came upon them at once, when,

    "With far-heard whisper, o'er the sea
    Off shot the spectre-bark,"

in the shape of "strong gales with heavy squalls from south to west,"
during which the "Dutchess" (to ease and stiffen her) "put the guns
into the hold again that she took up in the chase." Christmas Day, and
those following it, must have been days of "toil and trouble" on board
the "Duke" and "Dutchess" to both men and officers; but Rogers made up
for it all when, "in fresh gales of wind from W.N.W. with fogs, being
New Year's Day, every officer was wished a 'Merry New Year' by our own
musick, and I had a large tub of punch hot upon the quarter-deck, where
every man in the ship had above a pint to his share, and drank our
owners and friends' healths in Great Britain, to a happy new-year,
a good voyage, and a safe return. After which we bore down to our
consort, and gave them three huzzas, wishing them the same." Though,
like most good seamen, Woodes Rogers appears to have been lucky in his
weather, and during the three years' cruise to have sustained little
damage from storm or tempest, the "Duke" and "Dutchess" did not escape
a few hours dusting in the passage "about Cape Horn," for in latitude
60.58 S., on the 5th of January, just past noon, "it came on to blow
strong," when Rogers says, "we got down our foreyard and reef'd our
foresail and mainsail; but there came on a violent gale of wind and a
great sea. A little before 6 p.m. we saw the 'Dutchess' lowering her
mainyard. The tack flew up, and the lift unreev'd, so that the sail to
leeward was in the water and all aback, their ship taking in a great
deal of water to leeward. Immediately they loosed their spritsail, and
wore her before the wind. I wore after her, expecting when they had
gotten their mainsail stow'd, they would take another reef in, and
bring to under a two reef'd mainsail and reef'd and ballanc'd mizen.
But to my surprise they kept scudding to southward.

"I dreaded running amongst ice, because it was excessive cold; so
I fir'd a gun as a signal for them to bring to, and brought to
ourselves again under the same reef'd mainsail. They kept on, and our
men reported an ensign in their maintopmast rigging as a signal of
distress, which made me doubt they had sprung their mainmast.

"So I wore again, our ship working exceeding well in this great sea.
Just before night I was up with them again, and set our foresail twice
reef'd to keep 'em company, which I did all night. About three the
next morning it grew more moderate; we soon after made a signal to
speak with them, and at five they brought to. When I came within hail I
enquir'd how they all did aboard?

"They answered they had shipp'd a great deal of water in lying by,
and were forced to put before the wind, and the sea had broke in the
cabin windows, and over their stern, filling their steerage and waste,
and had like to have spoil'd several men. But God be thank'd, all was
otherwise indifferent well with 'em, only they were intolerably cold
and everything wet."

[Sidenote: _Round Cape Horn._]

[Sidenote: _Juan Fernandez Island._]

The next day the weather was raw cold and rainy with a great sea from
N.W., which did not, however, deter Rogers and Captain Dampier from
"going in the yall on board the 'Dutchess' to visit 'em after the
storm, where," he says, "we found 'em in a very orderly pickle; with
all their clothes drying, the ship and rigging cover'd with them from
the deck to the maintop while six more guns are got into the hold to
make the ship more lively." That so far the "Duke" and "Dutchess,"
in spite of their small size and number of men (333), were healthy
ships, is shown by an entry here in the log of the death of "John Veal
a land-man, being the first death from sickness out of both ships
since our leaving England." After running as far south as Lat. 61.53,
"which," says Rogers, "for ought we know is the furthest that any one
has yet been to the southward, and where we have no night;" they, on
the 15 of Jan., in longitude 79.58 from London, "accounted themselves
in the South Sea being got round Cape Horn." Ten days later, the
"Dutchess" speaks the "Duke" to the effect that her men are greatly
in want of a harbour to refresh them, many being ill through want of
clothes, and being often wet in the cold weather. Matters were not much
better on board the "Duke;" "several of ours," says Rogers, "being very
indifferent. So that as we are very uncertain of the latitude of 'Juan
Fernandez,' the books laying 'em down so differently that not one chart
agrees with another, and being but a small island, and in some doubts
of striking it we designe to hale in for the mainland to direct us."
At seven in the morning, however, of January 31st, 1709, all their
doubts were set at rest, and the foundation laid, upon which the "Life
and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe" are built, when Captain
Rogers made Juan Fernandez, bearing W.S.W., distant about seven leagues.

The next day at 2 p.m., Rogers says, "we hoisted our pinnace out, and
Captain Dover with the boats crew went in her to go ashoar, tho we
could not be less than 4 leagues off.

[Illustration: _Juan Fernandez._]

[Sidenote: _Alexander Selkirk, a Scotchman found on the Isle of Juan
Fernandez, where he had liv'd four years and four months alone._]

"As soon as it was dark we saw a light ashore; and our boat being
then about a league from the island bore away for the ships when she
saw the light, and we put out lights for the boat, tho' some were of
opinion the light we saw was our boat's. But as night came on it
appeared too large for that. So we fir'd one quarter deck gun, and
several muskets, showing lights in our shrouds, that our boat might
find us, whilst we ply'd in the lee of the Island. About two in the
morning our boat came on board, having been in tow of the 'Dutchess;'
and we were glad they got well off, because it began to blow. We were
all convinc'd this light was on shore, and designed to make our ships
ready to engage, believing them to be French ships at anchor, which we
must either fight, or want water," &c. The next morning "we tacked, to
lay the land close aboard, and about ten open'd the south end of the
island; here the flaws came heavy off shore, and we were forc'd to reef
our topsails. When we open'd the middle bay, where we expected to find
our enemy, we saw all clear, and no ships in that, nor the next bay.
Though we guess'd there had been ships there, but that they were gone
on sight of us. About noon we sent our yall ashore with Capt. Dover,
Mr. Frye, and six men, all arm'd; meanwhile we and the 'Dutchess' kept
turning to get in, and such heavy flaws came off the island that we
were forc'd to let fly our topsail sheets, keeping all hands to stand
by our sails for fear of the winds carrying 'em away: though when
the flaws were gone we had little or no wind. Our boat not returning
we sent our pinnace, also arm'd, to see what was the occasion of the
yall's stay; for we were afraid that the Spaniards had a garison there
and might have seized 'em. We put out a signal, and the 'Dutchess'
show'd a French ensign. Immediately our pinnace return'd from the
shore, and brought abundance of craw-fish with a man cloth'd in
goatskins, who look'd wilder than the first owners of them. He had been
on the island four years and four months, being left there by Captain
Stradling in the ship 'Cinque-Ports.' His name was Alexander Selkirk, a
Scotchman, who had been master of the 'Cinque-Ports,' a ship that came
here last with Capt. Dampier, who told me this was the best man in her;
so I immediately agreed with him to be mate on board our ship.

[Illustration: _Mr. Selkirk joins the "Duke" Frigate._]

"'Twas he made the fire last night when he saw our ships, which he
judg'd to be English. During his stay here he had seen several ships
pass, but only two came to anchor, which as he went to view he found
to be Spanish and retired from 'em, upon which they shot at him. Had
they been French, he would have submitted, but chose to risque dying
alone" (note, not living alone) "in the Island, rather than fall into
the hands of the Spaniards in these parts, lest they murder, or make a
slave of him in the mines; for he fear'd they would spare no stranger
that might be capable of discovering the South Sea. The Spaniards he
said had landed before he knew what they were, and came so near him
that he had much ado to escape: for they not only shot at him, but
pursue'd him into the woods, where he climb'd a tree at the foot of
which they stop'd and kill'd several goats just by, but went off again
without discovering him. He told us he was born at Largo in the county
of Fife, Scotland, and was bred a sailor from his youth. The reason of
his being left here was a difference betwixt him and his captain. When
left, he had with him his clothes and bedding, with a firelock, some
powder, bullets, and tobacco, a hatchet, a knife, a kettle, a Bible,
some practical pieces, and his mathematical instruments and books.

"He diverted and provided for himself as well as he could; but for the
first eight months had much ado to bear up against melancholy, and the
terror of being alone in such a desolate place. He built two huts with
piemento trees, cover'd them with long grass, and lin'd them with the
skins of goats which he killed with his gun as he wanted, so long as
his powder lasted, which was but a pound, and that being near spent,
he got fire by rubbing two sticks of piemento wood together on his
knees. In the lesser hut, at some distance from the other, he dressed
his victuals, and in the larger he slept, and employed himself in
reading, singing Psalms, and praying, so that he said he was a better
Christian while in this solitude, than ever he was before, or than he
was afraid he should ever be again. At first he never eat anything
till hunger constrain'd him, partly for grief, and partly for want of
bread and salt; nor did he go to bed till he could watch no longer. The
piemento[11] wood, which burnt very clear, serv'd him both for fire
and candle, and refresh'd him with its pleasant smell. He might have
had fish enough, but could not eat 'em, as for want of salt, they made
him ill, except Craw-fish, which are there as large as lobsters and
very good. These he sometimes boiled, and at others broiled as he did
his goats flesh, of which he made very good broth, for they are not so
rank as ours; he kept an account of 500 that he kill'd while there, and
caught as many more, which he marked on the ear and let go.[12] When
his powder fail'd he took them by speed of foot; for his way of living,
and continued exercise of walking and running, clear'd him of all gross
humours, so that he run with wonderful swiftness thro the woods, and
up the rocks and hills, as we perceiv'd when we employ'd him to catch
goats for us. We had a bull dog which we sent with several of our
nimblest runners to help him catch goats; but he distanc'd and tir'd
both the dog and men, catch'd the goats and brought 'em to us on his
back. He told us that his agility in pursuing a goat had once like to
have cost him his life; he pursue'd it with so much eagerness that he
catch'd hold of it on the brink of a precipice hidden by some bushes,
so that he fell with the goat down the said precipice a great height,
and was so stun'd and bruised with the fall that he narrowly escap'd
with his life, and when he came to his senses found the goat dead under
him. He lay there about 24 hours and was scarce able to crawl to his
hut a mile distant, or to stir abroad again in ten days. After a while
he came to relish his meat well enough without salt and bread, and in
the season had plenty of good turnips which had been sow'd there by
Captain Dampier's men, and have overspread some acres of ground. He had
enough of good cabbage from the cabbage trees and season'd his meat
with the fruit of the piemento tree, which is the same as the Jamaica
pepper and smells deliciously. He soon wore out all his shoes and
clothing by running thro the woods; and at last, being forced to shift
without them, his feet became so hard that he run every where without
annoyance, and it was some time before he could wear shoes after we
found him. For not being used to any so long, his feet swelled when he
first came to wear 'em. After he conquer'd his melancholy he diverted
himself sometimes by cutting his name on the trees, and the time of his
being left and continuance there. He was at first much pester'd with
cats and rats, that bred in great numbers from some of each species
which had got ashore from ships that put in there to wood and water.
The rats knaw'd his feet and clothes while asleep, which obliged him to
cherish the cats with goats flesh; by which many of them became so tame
that they would lie about him in hundreds, and soon deliver'd him from
the rats.

"He likewise tam'd some kids, and to divert himself would now and
then sing and dance with them and his cats; so that by the care of
Providence, and vigour of his youth, being now about 30 years old, he
came at last to conquer all the inconveniences of his solitude and to
be very easy. When his clothes wore out he made himself a coat and cap
of goatskins, which he stitch'd together with little thongs of the same
that he cut with his knife. He had no other needle but a nail, and when
his knife was wore to the back, he made others as well as he could of
iron hoops that were left ashore, which he beat thin and ground upon
stones. Having some linen cloth by him, he sow'd himself shirts with a
nail and stitch'd 'em with the worsted of his old stockings, which he
pull'd out on purpose. He had his last shirt on when we found him.

"At his first coming on board us," says Rogers, "he had so much forgot
his language for want of use, that we could scarce understand him,
for he seemed to speak his words by halves. We offer'd him a dram,
but he would not touch it, having drank nothing but water since his
being there, and t'was some time before he could relish our victuals.
He could give us an account of no other product of the Island except
some small black plums, which are very good, but hard to come at, the
trees which bear 'em growing on high mountains and rocks. The climate
is so good that the trees and grass are verdant all the year. He saw
no venomous or savage creature, nor any sort of beast but goats on the
Island. The first of these having been put ashore here on purpose for
a breed, by Juan Fernandez, a Spaniard, who settled there with some
families till the continent of Chili began to submit to the Spaniards,
which tempted them to quit this island, tho capable of maintaining
a number of people, and of being made so strong that they could not
easily be dislodg'd. Ring-rose, in his account of Capt. Sharp's voyage
and other buccaneers, mentions one who had escap'd ashore here out of
a ship, which was cast away with her company, and says he liv'd five
years alone before he had an opportunity of another ship to carry him
off. While Capt. Dampier talks of a Moskito Indian that belong'd to
Capt. Watlin, who being a hunting in the woods when the Captain left
the island, liv'd here three years alone, and shifted much as Mr.
Selkirk did, till Capt. Dampier came hither in 1684 and carry'd him
off; the first that went ashore was one of his countrymen and they
saluted one another, first by prostrating themselves by turns on the
ground, and then embracing.

[Sidenote: _Capt. Woodes Rogers indulges in some moral reflections._]

[Sidenote: _But soon curbs himself._]

"But whatever there is in these stories this of Mr. Selkirk I know
to be true, and his behaviour afterwards gives me reason to believe
the account he gave me how he spent his time, and bore up under such
an affliction, in which nothing but the Divine Providence could have
supported any man. And by this we may see, that solitude and retirement
from the world, is not such an unsufferable state of life as most men
imagine, especially when people are fairly call'd, or thrown into it
unavoidably, as this man was, who in all probability must otherwise
have perished in the seas, the ship which he left being cast away not
long after, when few of the company escaped. We may perceive also by
his story," adds Rogers, "the truth of the maxim 'that necessity is the
mother of invention,' since he found means to supply his wants in a
very natural manner, so as to maintain life, tho not so conveniently,
yet as effectually as we are able to do with the help of all our arts
and society. It may likewise instruct us how much a plain and temperate
way of living conduces to the health of the body and the vigour of the
mind, both which we are apt to destroy by excess and plenty, especially
of strong liquor. For this man, when he came to our ordinary method of
diet and life, tho he was sober enough, lost much of his strength and
agility. But I must quit these reflections, which are more proper for a
philosopher and divine than a mariner, and return to my own subject."
Which he does, and at once goes on to tell how "this morning we clear'd
ship, unbent our sails, and got them ashoar to mend and make tents for
our men, while the Govenour, for so we call'd Mr. Selkirk, (tho we
might as well have nam'd him _absolute Monarch_ of the island,) caught
us two goats, which make excellent broth mixed with turnip tops and
other greens for our sick, they being twenty in all, but not above
two that we account dangerous." Selkirk kept up this supply, of two
goats a day, during the time the ships remained at Juan Fernandez;
and no doubt the poor half-wild sailor man rather enjoyed these last
goat-hunts before he became absorbed into the busy monotony of sea life
on board Rogers' little frigate. We seldom catch Captain Rogers giving
himself time for repose during his cruise, but the natural charms of
this island appear to have had some effect even upon his practical
matter of fact temperament, for he says, while here, "'twas very
pleasant ashoar among the green piemento trees, which cast a refreshing
smell. Our house being made by putting a sail round four of 'em, and
covering it a top with another; so that Capt. Dover and I both thought
it a very agreable seat, the weather being neither too hot nor too

[Illustration: _Captains Rogers and Dover under the Piemento Trees._]

Rogers, however, did not come about the Horn into the South Seas to sit
under the shade of sweet-smelling trees, especially after having "been
inform'd at the Canaries, that five stout French ships were coming
together to these seas"; therefore, having completed the wooding and
watering of his ships, and the boiling down of about eighty gallons of
sea-lions' oil, which, he says, "we refin'd and strain'd to save our
candles, or for the sailors to fry their meat in for want of butter,"
he is, just eleven days after making the island, ready for sea again,
with its "_absolute Monarch_" aboard.

Before sailing, however, certain signals, to be made by the arrangement
of their sails, were agreed upon between the commanders as to the
chasing of ships, &c., while in case of the frigates being separated
before reaching their next place of refreshment, the island of Lobos de
la Mer, it was settled that "two crosses were to be set up there at the
landing place near the farther end of the starboard great island: and a
glass bottle to be buried direct north of each cross, with news of what
had happen'd since parting, and their further designes." Nothing indeed
now appears to have been left undone which could add to the safety and
efficiency of the small force under Rogers' command.

[Illustration: _Pinnaces under sail._]

[Sidenote: _Come to short allowance of water._]

"For a fortnight after leaving Juan Fernandez," he says, "we put both
pinnaces in the water to try them under sail, having fixed them each
with a gun after the manner of a paterero, and all things necessary
for small privateers, hoping they'll be serviceable to us in little
winds to take vessels": and a few days later in a calm, both frigates
are again heeled and tallowed, though the nearest land was sixty miles
distant; while the crews are put upon an allowance of water of three
pints a man per day, "that," says Rogers, "we may keep at sea some time
without being discover'd by watering ashore. Because an enemy once
discovered, there was nothing of any value put to sea from one end of
the coast to the other."

It was now the 9th of March, and in fair weather, before a moderate
gale at S.E., the ships are kept under easy sail, with all boats in
tow, about twenty-one miles off the coast of Peru, "in hopes of seeing
rich ships either going or coming out of Lima; the men beginning to
repine, that tho come so far, we have met with no prizes in these
seas," which may have accounted for the frigates being brought to for a
day at this time, while the men are "sent in the boats under the shoar
to examine two white rocks which at a distance look'd like ships."

[Sidenote: _A small prize taken._]

On the 16th, however, a small prize of sixteen tons, manned by two
Spaniards and some Indians, falls into their hands, and Rogers learns
from these Spaniards that no enemy has been in those parts since
Captain Dampier was there four years ago; also that Stradling's ship,
the "Cinque Ports," "who was Dampier's consort, founder'd on the coast
of Barbacour, only Captain Stradling and six or seven men being saved,
who lived four years prisoners at Lima much worse than our Govenour
Selkirk whom they left on Juan Fernandez."

[Sidenote: _Arrive at the Isle of Lobos._]

[Sidenote: _Fit up the small bark for a Privateer._]

The following day, piloted by the crew of their prize, they anchored in
the "Thorow-fair between the islands of Lobos de la Mer," and Rogers,
finding his new prize well built for sailing, at once resolved to fit
her out as a privateer. She was, therefore, taken "into a small round
cove in the southernmost island, haul'd up dry, and after having her
bottom well cleaned, relaunched, and called the 'Beginning,' Capt. Cook
being appointed to command her."

In the meantime, while Rogers stayed to overlook this, and the building
of a "larger boat for landing men, should an attempt be made upon
the mainland," the "Dutchess," having landed her sick men, and been
heeled and cleaned outside, is sent upon a cruise round the island,
with instructions to meet the "Beginning," when ready, off the
southernmost end of it. Like a true seaman, Captain Rogers appears to
have thoroughly enjoyed this work of fitting out his "small bark," and
describes how he got a spare topmast out of the "Duke," "which made her
a new main mast, a mizen topsail being alter'd to make her a mainsail."
And though the work included "fixing a new deck with four swivel guns,"
she was "victualed and manned by 20 men from the 'Duke,' and 12 from
the 'Dutchess,' all well arm'd, and ready for sea," in three days from
the time of being taken in hand.

"As I saw her out of harbour," says Rogers, proudly, "with our pinnace
she looks very pretty and I believe will sail well in smooth water,
having all masts sails rigging and materials like one of the half
galleys fitt'd out for Her Majestie's service in England."[13]

[Sidenote: _A Prize._]

Two days after joining the "Dutchess," this pretty little "Beginning"
captured another small prize, the "Santa Josepha," "of 50 tuns, full
of timber, cocoa, and coconuts and some tobacco which we distributed
among our men." And after being cleaned and re-christened the
"Increase," the "Santa Josepha" became the hospital ship of the fleet,
"all the sick men and a doctor from each ship being put on board with
_Mr. Selkirk_ as master."



[9] The name of this bird has been said to have been derived from
"Alb," a priest's white vestment; but I incline to think that Rogers
is right in his spelling of it, and that it was spelt Alcatros, from
the Spanish "Alca, a razor-bill," the two birds being much alike in the
shape of the bills.

[10] Curiously enough, on his return home, Rogers learnt that this
French ship, which so mysteriously "outwent them," was the very vessel
in which Captain Stradling, of the "Cinque Ports" (Selkirk's ship),
returned to England after being kept four years' prisoner by the

[11] The Allspice tree of the West Indies. This tree usually grows from
seed eaten and carried by birds, which easily accounts for its being
found upon this island.

[12] Thirty years later Commodore Anson found some of Selkirk's
ear-marked goats when he touched at Juan Fernandez.

[13] The "half galley" of the Mediterranean was a vessel of about 120
feet long by 18 wide, and 9 or 10 deep, fitted with two large lateen
sails, and masts that could be lowered on deck at pleasure. She carried
five cannon, and was rowed with twenty oars on a side.




[Sidenote: 1709]

[Sidenote: _Livers of old seals unwholesome._]

[Sidenote: _Information of rich ships._]

[Sidenote: _A large prize taken._]

Having given his ship the usual "good heel," and "tallowing her low
down," Rogers came to sail March 30th, at ten o'clock, with his new
launch in tow from Lobos. On more than one occasion Rogers shows a
decided want of sympathy with the sportsmen of the expedition, and
relates here "how there were in this island abundance of vultures,
alias carrion crows, which looked so like turkeys that one of our
officers at landing bless'd himself at the sight, hoping to fare
deliciously. He was so eager he would not stay till the boat could put
him ashore, but leap'd into the water with his gun, and getting near
to a parcel let fly at 'em. But when he came to take up his game, it
stunk insufferably and made us merry at his mistake." These birds were
no doubt a flock of Gallenazo, described by Darwin as frequenting
the wooded isles on the west coast of South America, and as "feeding
exclusively upon what the sea throws up, and the carcases of dead
seals," which, from the following entry in the journal must have been
very plentiful in this island, "where," says Rogers, "owing to the
presence of certain unwholesome old seals, whose livers disagreed with
those of our crew that eat them; the air, with the wind off shore, is
loaded with an ugly noisome smell, which gave me a violent headach, and
was complain'd of by all," as quite unlike the spice-laden breezes of
Juan Fernandez. Rogers' headache and these unwholesome old seals were
no doubt quickly forgotten at sea, when listening to the stories of
their Spanish prisoners about "a certain rich widow of the late Vice
Roy of Peru, who was expected to embark with her family and wealth;
shortly for Acapulco. Also of a stout ship with dry goods for Lima,
and another richly laden from Panama, with a Bishop aboard." Acting on
which advice, "it was agreed to spend as much time as possible cruising
off Payta without discovering themselves." They had not long to wait,
for two days after leaving Lobos "a sail was spy'd to windward about
daybreak, and the pinnace being hoisted out and mann'd under the
command of Mr. Frye, first lieutenant of the 'Duke,' by 8 o'clock took
the 'Ascension' of 500 tons, built gallion fashion, very high with
galleries." This was "the stout ship from Lima," and from her "they
learnt that the ship with the Bishop would stop at Payta to recruit,"
and, being near that place, Rogers "resolved to watch narrowly, in
order to catch his Lordship."

With the exception of a "small vessel of 35 tuns laden with timber from
Guiaquil," and captured by the "Beginning," nothing hove in sight for
several days, one of which seems to have been passed by Rogers, first
in chasing his consort for some hours, mistaking her for the Bishop's
ship, and then keeping up the joke until she cleared for action, "which
I did," he says, "to surprise them." This was a favourite form of
practical joke with Rogers, affording no doubt great amusement both to
him and his lieutenant, Mr. Frye, when dining together next day "on
board the new prize upon a good quarter of mutton and cabbage--a great
rarity," adds Rogers, "here."

[Sidenote: _Mr. Vanbrugh's miscarriages._]

A week of inaction, however, followed, while the increasing number of
the fleet and prisoners, and consequent greater number of mouths to
provide for, began to tell rapidly upon their stores, especially of
water, "which beginning to grow short, we cannot," says Rogers, "keep
the sea much longer." Wherefore, "at a meeting held on board the 'Duke'
April 12th, we came to a full resolution to land and attempt Guiaquil."
At this meeting it was also decided that the name of that somewhat
impetuous sportsman, Mr. Carlton Vanbrugh, should no longer remain
on the committee. "He having not only threaten'd to shoot one of the
'Duke's' men at Lobos for refusing to carry some carrion-crows that he
shot, but abus'd Capt. Dover."

So long as the ships were at sea, and the work of a purely naval kind,
the seamen of the expedition had matters pretty much their own way, and
things went on smoothly enough.

But the moment a land expedition was agreed on, disputes quickly arose
between Captain Rogers and those of his officers not actually seamen.
While speaking of his men, he says, "We know that misfortunes attend
sailors out of their element, and hear that they begin to murmur about
the encouragement they are to expect for landing; which they allege is
a risque more than they shipp'd for."

[Sidenote: _Regulations about plunder, and encouragement for the men to

It was therefore found necessary to come to a definite arrangement
as to the disposal of the plunder of Guiaquil before "the mixed gang
of most European nations" of which the crews were composed could
be induced to enter heartily into an attempt upon it. Rules were,
therefore, after much discussion, drawn up for the conduct of all
taking part in this little invasion, and "what was to be deem'd the
men's share" in the booty settled, which included "all manner of
bedding and clothes, short of stripping" (whatever that might mean),
"gold rings, buckles, buttons, liquors and provisions; with all arms
and ammunitions, except great guns for ships; "in a word, everything
portable was to be carried off, and be divided equally among the men,
the one very honourable exception being "woman's earrings."

It was also settled "that prisoners of note shall be carefully kept as
pledges for any of our men that be missing. But that it was desirable
no man should trust to this, or be a moment absent from his officers
or post." The whole winding up with the hope "that the foregoing
rules being strictly follow'd, they will exceed all other attempts of
this nature before us in these parts; and not only enrich and oblige
ourselves and friends, but even gain reputation from our enemies."

The plunder of Guiaquil had scarcely been thus comfortably arranged,
and two of the small prizes armed and manned for it, when at daybreak
of April the 15th another sail was "sighted between them and the land,"
and, being calm, both ships' pinnaces were sent in pursuit of her.

[Sidenote: _A Spanish ship attack'd._]

[Sidenote: _Lieut. Rogers, my brother, killed._]

Unfortunately, in the hurry of starting for the chase, and expecting
little resistance, they neglected to take their swivel guns, or
"patereroes," with them. The result of which was, that after repeated
attempts "to get into a position for boarding, the boats were obliged
to retire much damaged, under a heavy fire of partridge shot and
small arms, with the loss of two kill'd and three wounded: among the
former was," says Rogers, "my unfortunate brother, Mr. Thomas Rogers,
shot through the head, and instantly died, to my unspeakable sorrow."
Philosophically adding, "but as I began this voyage with a resolution
to go thro it, and the greatest misfortune shall not deter me, I'll as
much as possible avoid being thoughtful and afflicting myself for what
can't be recall'd, but indefatigably pursue the concerns of the voyage,
which has hitherto allow'd little respite."

[Sidenote: _The ship taken._]

The Spanish ship was accordingly followed up and taken that afternoon
at 2 p.m., and proved to be the ship from Panama; "but we missed the
Bishop," says Rogers, "who ten days before landed at Point St. Helena
with his attendants, plate, &c."

After adding another small prize, loaded with cassia soap and leather
to the fleet, "on the following day," Rogers says, "about twelve we
read the prayers for the dead, and threw my dear brother overboard with
one of our sailors; hoisting our colours half mast; and we beginning,
the rest of the fleet follow'd, firing each some volleys of small arms.
Our officers expressing great concern for his loss, he being a very
hopeful, active young man, a little above twenty years of age."

Even if inclined to do so, Woodes Rogers had now no time for
"thoughtful affliction," his squadron having increased under him from
two to eight vessels, with over three hundred prisoners to feed and
guard. All which, until his return from the attack upon Guiaquil, were
placed on board the frigates and three of the prizes; with orders "to
remain at sea forty-eight hours undiscover'd, then to sail for Point
Arena and anchor there. Irons being put on board every ship because,
having many more prisoners than men to guard 'em, we must have 'em well

Two hot days and nights were now passed in the boats of the expedition,
rowing and towing their small barks among the islands and mangrove
swamps, piloted by Dampier, and one of the Spanish prize captains, up
the creeks toward Guiaquil. Great caution being taken to avoid being
seen, as "they learnt on landing upon the island of Puna," that a
report had been spread among the Spaniards a month before, that they
might expect to be "attacked by some English Lords, in 7 vessels from
London, under the conduct of an Englishman named Dampier."

Captain Rogers rarely complained of hardships and was not easily
frightened, but when lying in his boat under the mangrove bushes, he
remarks, "that the muskitoes pester'd and stung him grievously; while
when at anchor across the tide on a dark night with a small rolling
sea, the boat being deep laden and cramm'd with men," he says, "that
though engaged about a charming undertaking he would rather be in a
storm at sea than there."

One can hardly help pausing a moment here, to consider the hazardous
position of this little body of adventurers, and admire the
self-reliance of Rogers and his officers, in venturing upon the sack of
Guiaquil, while the small force under them was divided among a fleet
of six prizes with 300 prisoners on board to guard and feed. Want of
water, as he says, no doubt made some attempt upon the mainland now
almost a necessity. Still even this might have been obtained elsewhere;
while Rogers' expression, "tho engaged upon a charming undertaking,"
and the building of the launch at Lobos, both point to a preconceived
plan having been arranged for this attack, but so timed by him as to
appear to the men a mere question of fighting the Spaniards ashore, or
perishing at sea for want of water.

[Sidenote: _The town alarm'd. Our officers differ in their opinion
about attacking it._]

[Sidenote: _Fall down again from the Town to meet our barks and land
with the morning flood._]

[Sidenote: _Treat with the Corregidore._]

It was on the 22nd of April, that after leaving the small barks about
half way between the island of Puna and the town of Guiaquil, Rogers
got with his boats "about 12 at night in sight of the town with 110
men," but on finding "when abreast of it and ready to land, from
abundance of lights, with a confused noise of their bells, a volley
of small arms, and two great guns, that the town was alarm'd, Captain
Dover, the doctor of physick and he fell into a debate of above an
hour, as to whether to attack the place then in the dark during this
first alarm, or not?" Rogers was of course for pushing on, but Captain
Dover and the majority were against him, while Dampier, when asked how
the buccaneers would have acted in such a case, said simply enough,
"that they never attacked a place after it was once alarm'd." And so,
the tide being favourable, the boats dropped down the river again out
of sight of the town to the two barks; where a further consultation was
held among the officers, lying in a boat astern of one of the barks,
in order that what was debating might not be overheard by the rest of
the company. Which debate ended in Rogers yielding to the majority, and
sending two Spanish prisoners to treat with the Corregidore of the town
for its ransom, valued by Rogers, with the goods and negroes in his
prizes, and "certain new ships then on the stocks near the town," at
40,000 pieces of eight.[14]

[Illustration: _A Council of War._]

[Sidenote: _The treaty broke off._]

[Sidenote: _We land and attack the Town._]

As Rogers had foreseen, the Spaniards wisely made use of this time to
carry off inland every thing of value; and after two days spent in
negotiations, made "an offer of 32000 pieces of eight and no more,"
upon which, his two barks and boats now lying close to the town, he
"ordered their interpreter to tell 'em, we had done treating, and after
advising all that wished to save their lives to retire out of shot, at
once hal'd down our flag of truce and let fly our English and field
colours." And two ship's guns of about six hundred-weight each, mounted
on field carriages, being placed in the great launch, Rogers, Captain
Dover, and Captain Courtney landed with seventy men from their boats, a
lieutenant with others being left on board one of the barks to ply her
guns over their heads into the town.

"The enemy," says Rogers, "drew up their horse at the end of the
street, fronting our men and barks, and lin'd the houses with men at
half musket shot of the bank where we landed, making a formidable
show in respect to our little number. We landed and fired every man
on his knee at the brink of the bank, then loaded, and as we advanc'd
call'd to our bark to forbear firing, for fear of hurting our men. We
who landed kept loading and firing very fast; but the enemy made only
one discharge, and retir'd back to their guns, where their horse drew
up a second time. We got to the first houses, and as we open'd the
street, saw four guns pointing at us before a spacious church, but as
our men came in sight firing, the horse scower'd off. This encouraged
me to call to our men to run and seize the guns, and I hasten'd towards
'em with eight or ten men till within pistol shot, when we all fir'd,
some at the gunners, and others at the men in arms in front of the
church, where they were very numerous; but by the time we had loaded
and more of our men came in sight, they began to run, and quitted the
guns, after firing them with round and partridge, one of the last was
discharged at us very near, but, thanks to God, did us no hurt; and
they had not time to relade them. By this time the rest of our men were
come up with Capt. Courtney and Captain Dover, and they leaving me with
a few men to guard the church, marched to the other end of the town,
and so," as Rogers says in his marginal note, "we beat 'em out of the

[Sidenote: _We post guards._]

Guards were now posted in all directions round the town, and the
Spaniards' guns turned, and left in charge of Captain Dampier to defend
the great place in front of the church. While Captain Dover fired
some houses that commanded another church in which he had taken up a
position, "there being a hill and thick woods near this post, from
which the enemy were almost continually popping at him all night." The
portable plunder of the town, with the exception "of jars of wine and
brandy in great plenty, proved of little value;" while "the sultry,
hot, wet unhealthful weather made the carrying of these to the water
side a work of great fatigue." Only half-an-hour elapsed from the time
of landing until the Spaniards vacated the place, and their loss was
but fifteen killed and wounded; while out of Rogers' small force only
two were hurt, one of these being "mortally wounded by the bursting of
a cohorn shell fir'd out of one their own mortars on board the bark."
The following day Rogers says, "we kept our colours flying on the great
church, and sent the Lieutenant of Puna with proposals to ransom the

[Sidenote: _We plunder the Town._]

[Sidenote: _The seamen's civility to the Spanish ladies._]

[Sidenote: _The value of the chains, &c., they found on the ladies._]

Meanwhile Rogers and his men were busy searching every hole and corner
in it for concealed valuables, he having great difficulty while so
engaged in preventing his men tearing up "the floor of the great church
to look amongst the dead for treasure; but which he would not suffer
because of a contagious distemper that had swept off a number of people
there not long before, so that this church floor was full of graves."
He was himself, however, lucky enough to pick up in this same church
"the Corregidore's gold-headed cane," and another with a silver head;
"none among the Spaniards," he remarks, "carrying a cane but chief
officers, and among them none under a captain wearing a silver or
gold-headed one, so that those gentlemen must have been much in haste
to leave these badges of office behind them." Besides carrying off
"these badges of office," Capt. Rogers says, "we unhung a small church
bell[15] and sent it aboard for our ships use." A boat was also sent
higher up the river in quest of treasure, and landing, found most of
the houses full of women, particularly at one place, where "there were
above a dozen handsome genteel young women, well dress'd and their
hair tied with ribbons very neatly, from whom the men got several
gold chains, &c., but were otherwise so civil to them that the ladies
offer'd to dress 'em victuals and brought 'em a cask of good liquor.
This," says Rogers, "I mention as a proof of our sailors modesty, and
out of respect to Mr. Connely, and Mr. Selkirk, the late Govenour of
Juan Fernandez, who commanded this party: for being young men, I was
willing to do 'em this justice, hoping the Fair Sex will make 'em a
grateful return when we arrive in Great-Britain on account of their
civil behaviour to these charming prisoners." Besides this pleasing
account of their treatment of, and by, the Spanish ladies, these modest
young officers "brought back with them gold chains, plate, &c., to the
value of over £1000, and reported, that in places above the town they
saw several parties of more than 300 arm'd Horse and foot, so that we
apprehend," says Rogers, "the enemy designe to gain time by pretending
to pay ransom, till, with vast odds, they may attack us and reckon
themselves sure of victory."

[Sidenote: _Our agreement with the Town for ransom._]

[Sidenote: _We march off to our barks._]

[Sidenote: _Our farewell to the Town._]

[Sidenote: _Our great loss in not taking it by surprise._]

After many alarms by night and much skirmishing by day, in which Rogers
lost two more men, the prisoners on the 26th of April returned with an
offer of 30,000 pieces of eight for the town, ships, and barks, to be
paid in twelve days. "Which time Rogers did not approve of," and sent
his final answer to the effect that "they would see the town all on
fire by three that afternoon, unless they agreed to give sufficient
hostages for the money to be paid within six days." Upon which,
about 2 p.m., the prisoners came back with two men on horseback, the
required hostages, and said their terms were accepted; and the Spanish
agreement arrived the following morning "sign'd by 'em," an English
one being sent in return as follows to them: "Whereas the City of
Guiaquil, lately in _subjection_ to Philip V. King of Spain, is now
taken by storm, and in the possession of Captains Thomas Dover, Woodes
Rogers, and Stephen Courtney, Commanding a body of Her Majesty of
Great Britain's subjects: We the underwritten are content to become
hostages for the said city, and to continue in the custody of the
said Captains till 30,000 pieces of eight shall be paid to them for
the ransom of the said city, two new ships, and six barks; the said
sum to be paid at Puna in six days from the date hereof; During which
time no hostility is to be committed on either side between this and
Puna; After payment the hostages to be discharged, and all prisoners
to be deliver'd up; otherwise the said hostages do agree to remain
prisoners till the said sum is discharg'd in any other part of the
World. In witness whereof we have voluntarily set our hands, this 27th
day of April Old Stile and the 7th of May N.S. in the year of our
Lord 1709." Which remarkable document was signed by the two hostages,
"who, with all the things we have got together were shipped off," says
Rogers, "by 11 o'clock the same morning; after which, with our colours
flying, we march'd through the town to our barks; when I, marching in
the rear with a few men, picked up several pistols, cutlashes, and
poleaxes; which shew'd that our men were grown very careless weak and
weary of being soldiers, and that 'twas time to be gone from hence."
On the whole Rogers seems to have thought that the Spaniards got the
better of him in this bargain. "For though upon weighing anchor at 8
next morning from Guiaquil," he says, "we made what shew and noise we
could with our drums, trumpets, and guns, and thus took leave of the
Spaniards very cheerfully;" he ends with the remark, "though not half
so well pleased as we should have been had we taken 'em by surprise.
For I was well assur'd from all hands that at least we should then
have got above 200,000 pieces of eight in money, and a greater plenty
of such necessaries as we now found." Among which "was about 250 bags
of flower, beans, peas, and rice, 15 jars of oil, about 160 jars of
other liquors, some cordage ironware and small nails, with four jars of
powder, a tun of pitch and tar, a parcel of clothing and necessaries,
and as I guess," says Rogers, "about £1200 in plate earrings et cetera,
and 150 bales of dry goods, 4 guns, and 200 Spanish ordinary useless
arms and musket barrels, a few packs of indigo, cocoa, and anotto,
with about a tun of loaf sugar. Besides these which we took, we left
abundance of goods in the town, with liquors of most sorts, sea stores
several warehouses full of cocoa, divers ships on the stocks, and two
new ships unrigged upwards of 400 tuns which cost 80000 crowns and lay
at anchor before the town. And by which it appears the Spaniards had
a good bargain; but a ransom for these things was far better for us
than to burn what we could not carry off.--Among the casualties that
occurred to the men during the occupation of Guiaquil," Rogers says,
"a French man belonging to my company, sent with others to strengthen
Capt. Courteney's quarters, being put centinel, shot Hugh Tidcomb one
of our men, so that he died. This accident happening by a too severe
order to shoot any in the night that did not answer, neither this man
nor the centinel understanding how to ask or answer the watchword. By
which neglect a man was unaccountably lost." While of those wounded in
the confusion of a night attack "was a man shot against the middle of
his pole axe,[16] that hung at his side, which shot made an impression
on the iron and bruised the part under it so that it proved a piece
of armour well placed." Captain Courteney's chief lieutenant was also
wounded upon the outside of the thickest part of his leg by one of his
pistols hanging at his side, which unluckily discharged itself, leaving
a bullet in the flesh, but with little danger to his life. Which
incidents kept all on the alert at night, "the centinels calling to
each other every quarter of an hour to prevent 'em sleeping." No doubt
the men that took an active part in this attempt upon Guiaquil were
the pick of the frigates' crews. But it speaks well for their state of
discipline that only one, "a Dutchman, so much as transgressed orders
by drinking beyond his bearing," and he, after being missed for a day
or two, came aboard before they sailed, having been roused "out of his
brandy-wine-fit, and his arms restored to him by the honest man of the
house where he lay."

[Sidenote: _The King of Spain's ten sorts of Americans in this

In his description of the "Province of Guiaquil, for the information
of such as have not been in those parts," Rogers gives a table of
"10 sorts of men besides Spaniards there;" viz., "the Mustees, Fino
Mustees, Terceroons de Indies, Quateroons de Indies, Mullattoes,
Quateroons de Negroes, Terceroons de Negroes, Indians, Negroes, and
Sambos;" but adds, "that tho these be the common sorts, they have rung
the changes so often upon these peals of generation that there is no
end of their destinctions, so that the King of Spain is here able to
match the skins of his _Americans_ to any colour, with more variety and
exactness than a draper can match his cloth and trimming." The accounts
given of Guiaquil by the "French Buccaneers alias pirates are," he
says, "very false, tho they left their infamous mark, of having been
there about 22 years ago, when in their attack on the place they lost
a great many men, and afterwards committed a great deal of brutishness
and Muther."

Though Woodes Rogers himself would now rank little above a pious sort
of pirate, it is curious to note from what he says here, and again
after visiting the Gallapagos Islands, one of the chief haunts of the
buccaneers, that he looked upon them as much below him socially, while
after his own experience in these seas, he evidently mistrusted the
accounts of their exploits there as exaggerated or romantic tales of
little value to future navigators.

[Sidenote: _The men very sickly._]

It was on their way "towards these Gallapagos islands," piloted no
doubt by Dampier, that on the 11th of May seventy men in the "Duke" and
"Dutchess" fell ill of a malignant fever, which, from its attacking
only those engaged in the late operations at Guiaquil, was most likely
contracted there by them.

[Sidenote: _Several men die._]

Among those taken ill was "Capt. Courtney, Capt. Dover going on board
the 'Dutchess' to prescribe for him." While on the 15th Mr. Hopkins,
Dr. Dover's kinsman and assistant, died on board the "Duke," "being,"
says Rogers, "a very good-temper'd sober man well belov'd by the whole
ships company, having read prayers for us once a day ever since we
passed the Equinox." A day seldom passed now without a record by Rogers
of the death of one or two of the best of his crew, there being sixty
sick men on board the "Duke" and eighty in the "Dutchess" at one time;
and though there was no want of doctors in either ship, the store of
medicines began to run very short. So that, thinking prevention better
than cure, "and finding punch preserve my own health, I did at this
time," says Rogers, "prescribe it freely among such of our company as
were well to preserve theirs."

The Gallapagos, when found, were searched one after the other in vain
for fresh water, until, after getting a few turtle and some fish there,
the number of sick, and want of water, compelled them to steer for the
island of Gorgona, near the mainland.



[14] A piece of eight was the name then given to the old Spanish
dollar, value about four shillings and sixpence.

[15] In ships of that date the belfry was quite an important, and very
ornamental little structure just abaft the forecastle and forard of a
space called "no man's land," where, between it and the boat on the
booms amidships was stowed all the ropes, blocks, and tackles, likely
to be wanted upon the forecastle.

[16] Pole axe, a hatchet like a battle axe, with a short handle, and
furnished with a sharp point at the back of its head. Used chiefly
to cut away the rigging of an enemy attempting to board. It is also
employed in boarding an enemy whose hull is more lofty than the
boarder's, by driving the points of several axes into the enemy's
ship's side, thereby forming a sort of scaling-ladder; hence it is
often called a boarding-axe.




[Sidenote: 1709]

[Sidenote: _Mr. Hatley and our bark missing._]

[Sidenote: _Abundance of Pope's bulls found in the "Marquiss."_]

While engaged cruising among the Gallapagos, two more small prizes were
however added to the fleet, but, at the same time, great anxiety was
felt as to the safety of one of the recent prizes, a small bark under
the command of a Mr. Hatley, which was lost sight of here, with only
two days' water on board. And after several days of unsuccessful search
she was "bewail'd as lost," it being supposed that Hatley and his prize
crew of three men had been surprised and overpowered while asleep by
the two Spaniards and three negro prisoners on board her.[17] Besides
careening the frigates and landing their sick men while in Gorgona
Road, arrangements were made with certain Spaniards of note among the
prisoners for the purchase, or rather what Rogers called the ransom,
of the large gallion-built ship, with the other small prizes and their
cargoes; but the stout French-built ship, the "Havre de Grace," in
attempting the capture of which Rogers' brother was killed, was not
sold, but after being re-christened the "Marquiss," was re-fitted, and
armed with nine guns, as an additional cruiser. It was in discharging
cargo, before careening her, that "500 bales of Pope's bulls were
found, which, taking up abundance of room in the ship, we throw'd
overboard," says Rogers, "to make room for better goods, except what we
us'd to burn the pitch off our ship's bottoms when we careen'd 'em."
These bulls or indulgences, he says, "tho they cannot be read, the
print looking worse than any of our old ballads, are sold here by the
clergy for 3 Ryals to 50 pieces of eight each."

[Sidenote: _The blind superstition of the Spaniards towards an image of
the Virgin cast overboard._]

[Sidenote: _A fancied miracle._]

[Sidenote: _A mutiny design'd but prevented._]

[Sidenote: _The civil behaviour of our men to Spanish ladies we had
taken prisoners._]

Though Rogers rarely lets a chance pass of having a shot at the Pope,
he was far from having bigoted or puritanical ideas about the Catholic
religion, for in speaking of his treatment of some of his prisoners of
the better class, he says, "We allow'd liberty of conscience on board
our floating commonwealth, and there being a priest in each ship,
they had the great cabin for their Mass, whilst we us'd the Church of
England service over them on the quarter deck; so that the papists
here were the Low Church men." Other reasons, not connected with his
prisoners' liberty of conscience, may have had something to do with
this arrangement. It happened, however, curiously enough, that about
this time Rogers and his crew, quite unintentionally, assisted in the
making of what afterwards became, no doubt, a very valuable relique
to the Romanists here. For while discharging the cargo of the Spanish
gallion-built ship, he says, "A large wooden effigy of the Virgin Mary
was either dropt or thrown overboard, which drove ashoar near the
north point of the island, from whence some Indians there a fishing,
brought her in their canoe to the shoar over against our ship, where
we gave our prisoners liberty to walk that day. Who, as soon as they
saw her, cross'd and bless'd themselves, and fancied this must be the
Virgin come by water from Lima to help them, and set the image up on
shoar and wiped it dry with cotton, and when they come aboard told us,
that tho' they had wiped her again and again, she continued to sweat
very much; while all those around were devoutly amazed, praying and
telling their beads. They shew'd this cotton to the ransomers and the
interpreter wet by the excessive sweat of the Holy Virgin, which they
kept as a choice relick." "Before this," says Rogers, "when I heard the
like stories, I took 'em to have been invented meerly to ridicule the
Romanists; but when I found such silly stories believed by eight grave
men of a handsome appearance and good reputation amongst the Spaniards,
I was convinced of the ignorance and credulity of the Papists." Just
after the valuation and sale of the plunder of Guiaquil and the prizes
was settled, a mutiny was discovered among the crew of the "Duke,"
sixty of whom signed a paper, expressing discontent at the large share
of plunder assigned to "the gentlemen that were officers, tho not
sailors amongst us." But a little firmness, combined with a judicious
use of the bilboes on Rogers' part, with an abatement on three of
these gentlemen's shares, soon brought his men to reason; "while
though," says Rogers, "sailors usually exceed all measures when left to
themselves on these occasions, I must own ours have been more obedient
than any ship's crew engaged in a like undertaking I ever heard of;"
adding, "but if any sea officer thinks himself endowed with patience
and industry, let him command a privateer and discharge his office well
in a distant voyage, and I'll engage he shall not want opportunities to
improve, if not to exhaust all his stock." It must be remembered that
Captain Rogers wrote this little growl, and found his stock of patience
running short, on the equator, in a small ship, half full of sick men,
and soon after what he calls "those general misunderstandings, and
several unhappy differences among us, arrising out of, and before our
attack on Guiaquil." That Rogers had at this time even more difficult
questions and people to deal with, is shown by an entry in his log,
that, "amongst the prisoners taken on board the last prize from
Panama, was a gentlewoman and her family, her eldest daughter, a pretty
young woman of about 18 newly married, and her husband with her, to
whom we assigned the great cabin of the prize, none being suffer'd to
intrude amongst them. Yet I was told the husband shew'd evident marks
of jealousy, the Spaniard's epidemick, but I hope he had not the least
reason for it amongst us, my third lieutenant, Glendall, alone having
charge of the ship, who being above 50 years of age appeared to us
the most secure guardian to females that had the least charm;" which
is followed by the description of "an ugly creature call'd by the
Spaniards a sloth, caught in Gorgona, and which," says Rogers, "being
let go at the lower part of the mizen shrouds was two hours getting
to the masthead, keeping all the time an equal and slow pace as if he
walk'd by art and all his movements had been directed by clockwork
within him." "Many monkeys were shot in Gorgona Island, fricassees and
broth being made of them for the sick men." But though "Capt. Dampier,
who had been accustomed to such food, said he never eat any thing in
London that seemed so delicious as a monkey or baboon of these parts,
none of the Duke's officers would touch them, provisions being not yet
scarce enough." Rogers also describes the "land turtles alias tortoises
caught in the Gallapagos islands as the ugliest creatures in nature,
with a shell black as jet not unlike the top of an old hackney coach;
the neck long about the bigness of a mans wrist, with club feet as big
as ones fist shaped like those of an elephant, the head little and
visage small like a snake looking very old and black." He adds: "they
lay eggs on our deck about the size of gooses, white with a large thick
shell exactly round."

[Sidenote: _Negroes muster'd and encourag'd to fight if there should be

[Sidenote: _The men exercised by a sham fight with the "Dutchess."_]

After leaving Gorgona, the "Duke," "Dutchess," and "Marquiss," on the
25th of August, bore away for Tecames Road, in order to trade with
the natives and Spaniards there for fresh provisions, &c. The Indians
here, however, were at first disposed to fight rather than trade, so
that while careening the ships half the men had to be kept under arms;
until Rogers happily thought of conciliating them with "a present of
three large wooden Spanish saints he had on board, and which, with
a feather'd cap for the chief's wife," were sent on shore. Besides
these "wooden saints," a portion of the prize goods on board the
"Duke" consisted of about thirty-five negroes, and these not being
readily turned into money at this time, were, "being lusty fellows,"
mustered by Rogers, and, "after taking the names of those that had
any, and giving names to those that wanted them, were placed with
arms and powder in charge of Michael Kendall, a free negro of Jamaica
who deserted from the Spaniards at Gorgona, with orders to drill them
continually to act as marines in case we meet an enemy." While, in
order to encourage, and make this black contingent as presentable as
possible, "they were given bays" (baize) "for clothing, and with a
dram all round to confirm the contract, were told that now they must
look upon themselves as Englishmen, and no more as negro slaves to the
Spaniards." With which rough and ready form of emancipation and British
baptism, "they," says Rogers, "express'd themselves highly pleas'd;
while I promise myself good assistance from them, bearing in mind the
proverb, that those who know nothing of danger, fear none;" while in
order to further perfect these negroes and the men in the use of the
great guns and small arms, the "Dutchess," at ten one morning, hoisted
Spanish colours, and a sham fight was arranged, "during which everyone
acted the part he ought have done if in earnest, firing with ball
excepted. Our prisoners were secur'd in the hold with the surgeons, and
to imitate the business for them, I order'd," says Rogers, "red lead
mixed with water to be thrown upon two of our fellows and sent 'em down
to the surgeons, who were much surpris'd, and thinking they had been
really wounded, went about to dress them, but finding their mistake, it
was a very agreable diversion."

On the afternoon of Nov. 4th, "the 'Dutchess' being near," Rogers
sent his yawl aboard with Lieut. Glendall "to agree exactly on some
remarkable land, that each of us knowing the same landmark, might the
better keep our stations. We agreed also that the 'Marquiss' should now
be in the middle with the 'Dutchess' next the shore." Two days later
it was arranged between the captains of the "Duke" and "Dutchess" that
the outer berth should be exchanged for the inner one every two days,
in order, says Rogers, "that we may have equal chances for seeing the
Manila ship, because I now think the inner birth the likeliest; Sir
Thomas Cavendish in Queen Elizabeth's time having took the Spanish
Galleon in this place on the 4th of November."

An old salt, in the days when yachting was almost unknown, used to say,
"that a man who went to sea for pleasure, would be likely to go to hell
for pastime." Englishmen and Americans, however, do now go to sea not
only for amusement, but spend large sums in doing so, many of these
being men who, in Rogers' time, would no doubt have gone to sea for
gain, and the pleasure and excitement of Spanish gallion-hunting. But
three weary months, like those now spent in the "Duke" and "Dutchess,"
cruising under a tropical sun off Cape St. Lucas, waiting and watching
for the "Manila ship," were enough to try the patience of the most
ardent of gallion-hunters.

It is not surprising, therefore, that a sea parliament had at this time
to assemble on board the "Duke" to pass measures for the prevention
and punishment of gambling, which had so increased of late among the
officers and crews of the ships, that some of the men had lost the
greater part of their share in the plunder recently divided among them.
It was probably one of these reckless gamblers that was ordered into
irons about this time "for wishing himself a pirate, or that an enemy
was alongside who could overpower us"--a wish which must have appeared
even more atrocious to Captain Rogers than did that of Mr. Squeers'
pupil, "the juniorest Palmer," who after first "wishing he was in
heaven," went on to "wish he was a donkey, because then he wouldn't
have a father as didn't love him!" Among the measures passed "against
wagering and gaming" on board the frigates, the most useful was one
repudiating "all debts contracted from man to man, unless attested
by the commanders and entered on the ship's books;" which strange
old-motherly resolution was "agreed to and signed by the officers and
men in each ship in sight of California, Nov. 11th, 1709."

[Sidenote: _A negro woman brought to bed on board the "Duke."_]

The tedium of this long cruise was broken once by touching at the
islands of Tres Marias for wood and water, and again by a second visit
to the Galapagos in hopes of falling in with "poor Hatley and his
bark;" but nothing was found there beyond some traces of the buccaneers
in the shape of wreckage and broken wine jars. Rogers also mentions
at this time, as an event of some importance, the birth on board the
"Duke" of "a tawny coloured negro girl," the mother being a negress
from Guiaquil, kept among other prize goods of the same class to act
as laundresses[18] and seamtresses on board the ships. Both mother
and child were well cared for, a close cabin being provided for her,
together with a "bottle of thick strong Peru wine." This interesting
event was evidently not looked upon by Captain Rogers as an unmixed
blessing, for he says that "he gave our other she-negro nymph (called
Daphné) strict orders to be careful not to transgress in this way."

[Sidenote: _'Tis agreed to sail to Guam or some other place to

[Sidenote: _Discover the Manila ship._]

Provisions of all sorts, especially bread, were, "after a strict
rummage of the ships," now found to be running short, while their new
consort, the "Marquiss," was discovered to be defective and leaking,
and had to be taken to the "port of Segura," for repairs. "So that,"
Rogers says, "we all looked very melancholy, necessity compelling us
to no longer continue cruising for the Manila ship, but sail at once
across the Pacific for the island of Guam in order to revictual before
starting for China and the Indies, and thence round the Cape of Good
Hope, for England." This was, however, scarcely decided upon, when, on
December 21st, at nine a.m., a man "at the mast head cry'd out he saw
another sail as well as the 'Dutchess,'" which, though at first thought
to be the "Marquiss" rejoining them, proved "after several wagers" to
be the long expected "Acapulco ship." The weather continued calm that
day, which "kept them all in a very uncertain languishing condition,"
and the chase had to be tended during the night by "two pinnaces
showing false fires, that we might know whereabouts they and the chase

[Illustration: _The "Duke" takes the Manila Ship._]

[Sidenote: _Pursue her._]

[Sidenote: _Engage her._]

[Sidenote: _Take her._]

[Sidenote: _Capt. Rogers wounded._]

But a little after daybreak on the 23rd, still having no wind, Rogers
says, "we _got_ out _eight_ of our _ship's oars_, and rowed above an
hour, when there sprung up a small breeze, upon which I order'd a large
kettle of chocolate to be made for our ship's company, (having no
spiritous liquor to give them) and then went to prayers, but before
we had concluded, were disturb'd by the enemy firing at us. She had
barrels hanging at each yard arm, which looked like powder barrels to
deter us from boarding. The 'Dutchess' being to leeward, with little
wind, did not come up. And the enemy firing her stern chase several
times, we returned it with our forechase, till getting close aboard,
we gave her several broadsides plying our small arms briskly, which
they return'd as thick for awhile, but did not ply their guns so fast
as we. After a little while shooting ahead of them we lay athawt their
hawse close aboard, and ply'd them so warmly, that she soon struck
her colours two-thirds down; and the 'Dutchess' coming up, fired five
guns and a volley of small shot, to which she made no reply, having
submitted. This Galleon was," says Rogers, "called by the long name
of 'Nostra Seniora de la Incarnacion Desengàno,' Sir John Pichberty,
Commander, she had twenty guns, with twenty patereroes and 193 men,
whereof nine were killed, ten wounded, and several blown up and burnt
with powder. We engaged them about three glasses" (an hour and a half),
"in which time we had only myself and another wounded. I being shot
through the left cheek, the bullet striking away great part of my upper
jaw, and several teeth which dropt down on the deck where I fell. The
other was an Irish land-man slightly wounded. A shot disabled our
mizenmast, and I was forced to write what I would say to prevent the
loss of blood, and because of the pain I suffered by speaking."

On examining the officers on board the prize, they learnt that "she
left Manila in company with a much larger vessel; but having lost
sight of her about three months ago, they thought she must be got to
Acapulco before now." The latter part of this information was evidently
not relied on, for measures were at once taken to secure and leave the
present prize and prisoners at Port Segura, and start the "Dutchess"
with the "Marquiss," which they found in "sailing posture there," on
an eight days' cruise for the other gallion, the "Nostra Seniora del
Incarnation Desengàno," now re-christened the "Batchelor," to remain in
port with as many men as could be spared to guard and refit her. Her
sails being removed, and the prisoners, of whom there were 170, secured
for the time on board a small bark, anchored a mile distant from her
without rudder, sails, or boat, with a few men to give them victuals
and drink. Rogers' wound must have been serious, for on the 24th he
says, "In the night I felt something clog my throat, which I swallow'd
with much pain, and suppose it was a part of my jaw bone or the shot,
which we can't yet give account of;" adding, "but I soon recover'd
myself, only my throat and head being greatly swell'd, I have much ado
to swallow any sorts of liquid for sustenance," which made him very
weak; and, what was worse, "that he spoke in great pain, and not loud
enough to be heard at any distance."

[Sidenote: _They see the other Manila ship and pursue her._]

[Sidenote: _Captain Rogers again badly wounded._]

But though the surgeons and chief officers wished him to stay in port
on board the prize, he was unable to resist the temptation, when, on
the afternoon of the 26th, "two sentries who had been placed upon a
hill above the port signalled by three waffs that a third sail was
in sight, as well as the 'Dutchess' and 'Marquiss,'" of joining his
consorts as soon as possible, in command of his own ship, Captain Dover
remaining on board the prize. It was 7 p.m., and soon quite dark,
before the "Duke" was under weigh; but at daybreak next morning all
three vessels were sighted to windward, distant about four leagues;
the wind remained scant, however, all day, so that Rogers and his
crew had the mortification of seeing first the "Marquiss" and then
the "Dutchess" briskly engage the gallion without being able to join
them; in fact it was midnight before they did so, and then only to
find that the "Marquiss" had fired away nearly all her powder and
shot with little or no effect, her guns being too small, and that the
"Dutchess" had been forced to stretch away, with several men wounded,
from the Spaniard, to repair her foremast and other defects, among
which was a shot in her powder-room. "Curiously enough," Rogers says,
"the Spaniard had been making signals to the 'Duke,' and edging toward
her all day, mistaking her for her lost consort, until just before
dusk, otherwise, having little wind, and that against us, we should
not have been up with her at all." The following day, however, the
"Duke" was near enough to join in the fight, but only to find, as the
"Dutchess" and "Marquiss" had done before her, that their largest
round shot (six-pounders) did very little hurt to the gallion, a
brave new ship, the "Bignonia," of 900 tons and 60 guns, and well
provided with close-quarters,[19] and her waist protected by strong
boarding-netting.[20] The "Dutchess" had now twenty men killed and
wounded, while a fire-ball from the enemy's roundtop, lighting on
the "Duke's" quarter-deck, blew up an ammunition chest, by which Mr.
Vanbrugh and a Dutchman were much burnt; while Rogers says, "Just
before we blew up on the quarter deck I was unfortunately wounded by a
splinter in the left foot, part of my heel bone being struck out and
ankle cut above half through, which bled very much before it could be
dressed, and weaken'd me so that I could not stand, but lay on my back
in great misery." From first to last they had been engaged six or seven
hours, and placed not less than 500 shot in the gallion; yet there she
lay "driving," the Spanish flag obstinately flying from her maintopmast
head, "all our battering signing little beyond killing two men in her
tops, and shattering her rigging."

[Sidenote: _After a long engagement are forced to let the large Manila
ship go._]

As all this fighting was simply of a commercial character, a council
was now assembled on board the "Duke," and though the Spaniard still
"lay with his mainyard aback, expecting another brush," it was at once
decided, "that after keeping the galleon company till night, they
should then lose her, and return to the harbour to look after the
prize already taken." This measure was the more urgent as ammunition
of all sorts was running short, and the "Duke's" mainmast shot through
miserably in two places, so that it settled to it, threatening every
moment to fall by the board, and bring other spars down with it;
which, as they had a long voyage before them, and masts not easily got
there without great delay, might even endanger the safety of the whole
expedition. It was indeed lucky for them that they did not attempt to
board this great ship, for they learnt afterwards that her complement
of men amounted to 450, besides passengers; while in all three ships
they had now less than 120 men left fit for boarding. Soon after this
the "Spaniard filled her sails and made away W.N.W.," glad enough, no
doubt, to lose sight of them, though in size and force she was quite
equal to the great gallion that, to Lord Anson's surprise, bore down
upon the "Centurion," of 60 guns, instead of trying to avoid her.
Weight of metal, however, enabled him to make as short work of that
gallion as Rogers did of the smaller one.

Rogers himself was of opinion that had the "Duke" and "Dutchess"
attacked this ship together in the first instance, they would have
taken her, and was most anxious for that reason that the "Dutchess"
and "Marquiss" should not go out of port until his ship was ready to
sail. The majority, however, decided then that he should remain in port
until the arrangements for the security of the smaller gallion and her
prisoners were completed. Upon arriving at Port Segura the prisoners,
with Captain Pichberty, his officers, and a padre, were supplied with
water and provisions, and after acknowledging in writing "that they
had been very civilly treated," were despatched in the small bark to


[17] On returning to England, Rogers learnt that Mr. Hatley's bark was
not lost; but that, after pluckily keeping the sea for a fortnight
without water, he was forced to make for the mainland; where he and his
companions fell into the hands of some Spanish Indians, and were by
them tied up to a tree, whipped, and otherwise illtreated, their lives
being only saved by a padre, who interfered and cut them down; after
which Hatley remained a prisoner at Lima for some time.

[18] Even in Nelson's time, and later, it was not unusual to find
women, the wives of petty officers, on board a man-of-war in
commission, who acted as washerwomen, and helped the surgeons and their
mates in the sick-bay, or on the orlop deck among the wounded in time
of action; and the author can remember one of these old ladies, about
forty years ago, living in the island of Jersey with her husband, a
retired gunner, who had been in the actions of the Nile and Trafalgar.

[19] "Close-quarters." Strong barriers of wood across a ship in certain
places, used as a retreat when boarded, fitted with loop-holes for
small arms, and often with powder-chests on the deck over them, which
can be fired from the close-quarters upon a boarding party.

[20] Boarding-nettings extended fore and aft above the gunwale to a
proper height up the rigging, to prevent an enemy jumping aboard.

Anson says that, in addition to these, the gallion taken by him "was
provided against boarding both by 'close quarters,' and a strong net of
two inch rope laced over her waist, defended by half pikes."




[Sidenote: 1710]

Before sailing for Guam, it was necessary to appoint a commander for
their new consort, the "Batchelor" frigate, and Captain Dover having,
it seems, a large money-stake in the ships, was, much against Rogers'
wish, selected by the majority for this post. But under protest from
Rogers, who as he lay, no doubt in great misery, on his back, recounts
"how it was now after taking this rich prize our great misfortune to
have a paper war amongst ourselves." Rogers' chief objection to Captain
Dover was "that owing to his violent temper, capable men could not well
act under him, while as a Dr of physick he was incapable as a seaman

A peace was, however, patched up, by appointing Mr. Robert Frye,
Rogers' first lieutenant, and Mr. William Stretton to take sole charge
of the ship as to navigation, with Mr. Selkirk and another as chief
mates; Captain Dover to have command in other matters.

And being a large ship, "thirty good men were sent on board her from
the 'Duke,' with twenty-five from the 'Dutchess,' and thirteen from the
'Marquiss,' which, with thirty-six Manila Indians, called Lascarrs, and
other prisoners will," says Rogers, "bring up her complement to 110
men." Before sailing, "ten of the 'Duke's' guns were struck down into
the hold, to ease the ship, being altogether useless betwixt here and
the East Indies."

[Sidenote: _Sight the Island of Guam._]

[Sidenote: _Send to the Spanish Governor for provisions._]

The voyage from Cape St. Lucas in California to Guam, one of the
Ladrone islands, occupied fifty-eight days, the best day's run being
168 miles, and the worst 41. The distance sailed by reckoning was 6,300
miles, which gives an average of 108 miles a day, about equal to a
speed of four and a half miles an hour, which may seem slow to us,[21]
but it must be remembered that the speed of the dullest sailer was
that of all the others in company; and that besides the loss of speed
due to the rapid fouling of uncoppered ships in the tropics, it was
the custom then to shorten sail after dark. Beyond the death of many
wounded men, and the burial of "a negro named Depford, who being very
much addicted to stealing of provisions, his room was more acceptable
at this time than his company," nothing of importance is recorded after
leaving Port Segura on the 11th of January until the 14th of February,
when, "in commemoration of the ancient custom, of chusing valentines,"
Rogers "drew up a list of the fair ladies in Bristol, that were in any
ways related to, or concerned in the ships, and sent for his officers
into the cabin, where every one drew and drank a ladies health in a
cup of punch, and to a happy sight of 'em all, which I did," he says,
"to put 'em in mind of home." The "Duke" had been leaky for some time,
and after many attempts to stop the leak with bonnet-pieces, &c., one
pump had to be constantly kept going, two men of each watch taking an
hour's spell at the pump at a time; "which labour, together with being
on short allowance," Rogers says, "makes our people look miserably." So
that there was much rejoicing among all hands at sighting Guam on March
the 11th; but though "several flying prows came off to look at the
ships, and run by them very swift," none could be tempted to venture
aboard until Rogers hoisted Spanish colours, when "on turning into the
harbour one came under his stern with two Spaniards in her, who being
told in Spanish, in answer to their questions, that they were friends
from New Spain, willingly came on board, and enquired whether they had
any letters for the Govenour? We had one ready," says Rogers, "and
detaining one Spaniard on board, sent the other ashore with our letter
which was thus. We being servants of Her Majesty of Great Britain,
stopping at these islands on our way to the East Indies, will not
molest the settlement provided you deal friendly with us, being willing
to pay for whatever provisions you can spare, &c. But, if after this
civil request, you do not act like a man of honour, and deny us our
request, you may immediately expect such military treatment as we are
with ease able to give you. Signed, Woodes Rogers, S. Courtney, and E.

[Sidenote: _His civil answer._]

This letter appears to have acted like a charm upon the Governor of
Guam and his officers, for he at once answered "with a present of
four bullocks, one for each ship, with limes oranges and coconuts.
And being now arrived," says Rogers, "at a place of peace and plenty,
we all became indifferent well reconciled among ourselves after the
misunderstandings at California which had been so much increased of
late by our shortness of water and provisions."

[Sidenote: _A sickly old Spanish gentleman left at Guam._]

And in return for the Governor's civility, an entertainment was
"provided for him and four Spanish gentlemen on board the 'Bachelor,'
where we all met, and made 'em," says Rogers, "as welcome as time and
place would afford, with musick and our sailors dancing, when I, not
being able to move myself, was hoisted in a chair out of my ship and
the boat into the 'Batchelor.'" Considering that he was in an enemy's
port, Captain Rogers appears to have rapidly established diplomatic
relations with the Governor of Guam of a most friendly and agreeable
kind. For this entertainment was followed by one of the same sort on
board the "Duke," "Dutchess," and "Marquiss," which were returned
by the Governor and his suite on shore; when Rogers and his brother
officers, after partaking of "sixty dishes of various sorts," presented
the Governor, in return for his four bullocks and civility, with "two
negro boys dress'd in liveries together with scarlet clothe serge and
six pieces of cambric." And after purchasing "14 small lean cattel, two
cows and calves, 60 hogs, 100 fowls, with indian corn, rice, yams and
cocoa nuts" in proportion, Rogers ended his week's stay at the island
by leaving there an old Spaniard "called Antonio Gomes Figuero, whom
they took in the first prize in the South seas, designing to carry him
to Great Britain," as a witness upon any question which might arise
there respecting other prizes taken in the South Seas. "But he, being
in all appearance not likely to live, we dismissed him here; he first
giving a certificate that he saw us take certain barks and prisoners
subjects to Philip V. King of Spain." Rogers was so pleased as a
seaman with the speed and handiness of the flying proahs of Guam (or,
as he spells it, "prows")--which, he says, "by what I saw, I believe
may run twenty miles an hour for they passed our ships like a bird
flying"--that he carried one of them with him to London, thinking it
might be worth fitting up there as a curiosity on the canal in St.
James's Park. This was more than thirty years before the account of
these "flying proahs" appeared in Anson's voyage.

The "Duke" continued so leaky at this time, that before leaving Guam
Rogers decided upon handing over to Captain Courtney a chest of plate
and money to be put on board the "Dutchess." While Rogers himself
"being still very weak and not able to stand," it was agreed that
Captain Courtney, in the "Dutchess," should lead the squadron by night
through the almost unknown straits of Molucca, and among the various
reefs, shoals, and islands they must pass in the passage to the island
of Bouton or Boutong, where they designed to wood and water on their
way to Batavia.

The order of sailing was therefore "for the 'Dutchess' to keep ahead
with a light, her pinnace when possible to be ahead of her, all signals
for tacking or altering course to be given by the 'Dutchess.'" So
little was this part of the world then known to the English, that even
Dampier, their pilot, who had been there twice, and was the discoverer
of some of these islands in 1699, seems to have lost his way; so that
they were glad to get hold of the Malay skipper of a small native bark,
and persuade him by bribes, in spite of his fear of the Dutch, to act
as pilot between Bouton and Batavia. Rogers says, however, that "this
way into India would not be difficult if better known."

After leaving Guam the weather was for some days dark, squally, and
unsettled, with thunder and lightning, and mention is made of more than
one ugly gale of wind, while three tropical April showers, in the form
of water-spouts, were met with on the 15th of that month, one of which
had like to have broke on the "Marquiss" had not the "Dutchess" broke
it before it reached her, by firing two shots.[22]

[Sidenote: _A Bishop's cap presented to the King of Bouton._]

On the 29th of May, however, the four ships were safely anchored at
the island of Bouton; but stayed there only long enough to water and
get a supply of fresh fruit and vegetables; Rogers finding the king of
the island both "dilatory and designing in his dealings with them,"
notwithstanding which, before sailing, they made him "a present of a
Bishop's cap, a thing of little use to us, but what he highly esteem'd
and gratefully accepted of."

It was on the 17th of June, 1710, near the north coast of Java, that
the "Duke" and "Dutchess" met the first vessel bound east from Europe
since they sailed from Bristol in August, 1708. She was a Dutch ship of
600 tons and 50 guns, from whom they learnt "that Queen Anne's Consort,
Prince George of Denmark, was dead. That the wars continued in Europe,
where we had good success in Flanders, but little elsewhere." And what
was of more importance to them at that time than any European news,
they "borrowed" from this ship, "a large draft of those parts."

[Illustration: _Batavia Roads._]

In addition to the troubles of a leaky ship, with the clang of her
pump constantly ringing in his ear, and the dangers of an intricate
navigation among coral reefs, &c., Rogers tells us that here "their
voyage was like to have been ruined by the mutinous conduct of an
officer on board his ship, with other officers and men on board the
'Dutchess,' which knot was only broken by putting the _leaders_ in
irons," &c. On anchoring in Batavia Road, however, matters smoothed
down rapidly, at least so far as the men were concerned, for Rogers
says, "Till now I find that I was a stranger to the humours of our
ship's company, some of whom are hugging each other, while others
bless themselves that they were come to such a glorious place for
punch, where arrack is eightpence per gallon, and sugar one penny a
pound, whereas a few weeks past a bowl of punch to them was worth
half the voyage." While personally Captain Rogers is made happy, and
congratulates himself, first, "on the discovery of a large musket shot,
which the doctor now cut out of his mouth, it having been there six
months, so that the upper and lower jaw being broken and almost closed,
he had much ado to come at it;" and next, "that several pieces of his
foot and heel bone having been removed, he believes himself, thank God,
in a fair way to have the use of his foot and recover his health."
Though Rogers makes light of these trifling operations and discomforts,
and they are not pleasant subjects to dwell on, they could not be
passed without notice, as pointing out distinctly the sort of man
physically fit to have charge of "a charming undertaking" of this kind,
while considering the ways of life on ship-board in those days, and the
climate he was in at this time, the marvel is not that "he now thought
himself in a fair way to recover his health," but that he lived to
reach home and write his travels.[23]

They anchored in Batavia Roads on the 20th of June, where they found
"betwixt thirty and forty sail great and small," and having, "as
customary," says Rogers, "lost almost a day in running so far west
round the Globe, we here altered our account of time."

A complete overhaul, both of ships and prize goods, was now made; and
all bale goods carefully repacked in "waxcloth, and tarpaulins."

While the "Marquiss," being found much honeycombed by the worm, was
condemned as unfit for the voyage home "about the Cape of Good Hope,"
and after discharging her cargo into the other ships, her hull, "being
very leaky, was sold for 575 Dutch dollars to Captain John Opie, of the
'Oley' frigate, lately arrived from London."

The Dutch were naturally not at all anxious to assist English ships
in this part of the world; and it was the 8th of July, "after a long
correspondence and many dilatory answers," before Rogers got leave from
"the General" at Batavia to refit and careen at Horn Island, about
three leagues to the northward of their present anchorage. He by no
means suffering them to "careen at Umrest where all the Dutch ships
are cleaned." This was a great grievance to Captain Rogers, especially
as at Batavia he was not in a position to strengthen the Saxon of his
despatches by any allusion to his six-pounders. That he did what he
could in a leaky ship to keep his powder dry at this time is, however,
shown by an entry in the "Duke's" log, "that in rummaging one day in
the powder room we found a leak three or four foot under water which we
did our best to stop." While before arriving at Batavia the ten guns,
which had been "struck down into the hold," at sea, were got up and
mounted. This hoisting in and out of a frigate's hold of ten cannon as
wanted, reads oddly in these days of heavy guns.

The forty sail Rogers found lying in Batavia Road were nearly all
Dutch, and during his stay there of four months only five other English
ships touched at the port.

Owing to "some unwholesome water drunk by his crew while careening
at Horn Island," Rogers lost several men here by fever, &c., and to
replace them and others, who tempted maybe by the price of arrack,[24]
ran from the ships at this time, thirty-four Dutch sailors were shipped
before sailing. Rogers must have known something of sailors and their
ways, but even he expresses surprise at men deserting so late in the
voyage, and losing their hard-earned share of prize-money, or, as he
calls it, "plunder;" perhaps, however, in the case of the "Duke's" men,
the prospect of constant work at the pumps had something to do with
their leaving her.

The "Duke," "Dutchess," and "Batchelor," did not actually take their
"departure from Java Head" until October 4th, and it was the 27th of
December before they "came up with Cape Falso and by noon were abreast
of the Cape of Good Hope and saw the Table Land." During this three
months' voyage, Rogers says, "nothing remarkable happen'd, except
that on the 31st of October the 'Duke' having three feet of water in
her, and her pumps choaked, we fir'd guns for our consorts to come to
our relief, but had just sucked her" (_i.e._, pumped her dry) "as the
'Dutchess' came up."

"During the whole of this voyage," Rogers says, "he remained very thin
and weak, as his ship did leaky," and the day after anchoring in Table
Bay, "they buried Mr. Ware, chief surgeon, with naval honours as usual;
being a very honest useful man, and good surgeon, bred up at Leyden in
the study of phisick as well as surgery."

They lost also while at the Cape another important officer, in the
person of Mr. Vanbrugh; who in the early part of the cruise, as the
"Duke's" agent, more than once gave Rogers trouble in his negotiations
about plunder, &c.

[Sidenote: _My proposals to the other Capts. not comply'd with._]

The expenses of ships in commission could not have been great in
Rogers' time, or they would have entirely swallowed any profits, even
of a privateering cruise, due to the owners, owing to the length of
time the vessels lay idle at anchorages such as Batavia Roads and Table
Bay. For though the "Duke" and her consorts arrived at the Cape on the
27th of December, 1710, it was April, 1711, before they sailed for
England in company with sixteen Dutch East Indiamen and six English
ships. Rogers was anxious himself not to have waited for the convoy of
these ships. "Thinking we should loose too much time by staying for
them, and the benefit of their convoy to Holland; which would not only
be out of the way, but very tedious and chargeable, while having large
quantities of decaying goods on board, the time lost in waiting for
the Dutch at the Cape might be better spent in Brazil, where we could
lie in little danger from an enemy and vend our goods at great rates;
sailing thence to Bristol through the North channel with the summer
before us. Keeping in the latitude of 55 or 56 degrees for two or three
hundred leagues before getting the length" (_i.e._ longitude) "of the
north of Ireland, and by that means avoiding the track of an enemy."
But though Rogers earnestly press'd that if they would not agree to
this, one of the privateers might take this run alone, and the other
keep with the 'Batchelor' and Dutch fleet, the majority was against the
thing, and thought it safer to go home altogether under convoy of the
Dutch than run any risk of losing their rich prize by meeting an enemy
between the Cape and home. Much of the officers' time during their
long stay at the Cape was spent ashore holding sales of prize goods to
the Dutch settlers; and among other things so disposed of, mention is
particularly made of twelve negroes. Rogers also wrote to his owners
from here telling them "of his safe arrival with the Acapulco ship,
now called the 'Batchelor' frigate mounted with 20 great guns, and 200
brass patereroes, with 116 men; a firm ship; and that the 'Duke' and
'Dutchess,' being fitted with everything necessary, only waited for the
fleet which was expected to sail about the end of March."

Including the "Duke," "Dutchess," and "Batchelor," a fleet of
twenty-five armed ships was now ready to sail under the command of
a Dutch flag, vice- and rear-admiral. For though really only armed
merchantmen, the commanders of these Dutch Indiamen, most of which
were a thousand tons, took the rank and state of officers in the Dutch
navy. And it must have been a picturesque scene in Table Bay, when at
daybreak on the 5th of April "the Flag hoisted a blue ensign, loos'd
his foretopsail, and fir'd a gun as the signal to unmoor." In doing
which on board the "Duke," Rogers says, "our cable rubb'd against the
oakum, which for a time had partially stopped the leak, and occasioned
his ship to be as leaky as ever, after having been indifferent tight
for some time." As soon as the fleet was under weigh, the captains of
the English vessels were signalled to go on board the flag-ship, to
receive their order of sailing, &c., "which were very particular and
obligatory to be punctually observ'd."

A voyage from the Cape to the Texel, even by the direct route up the
British Channel, was a long one in those days for a fleet of this size,
touching nowhere, and with over 5,000 men to feed; but the course they
steered, away across the Atlantic to the westward of the Azores, and
then north-eastward as far as the Shetlands, almost doubled the length
of it. The squadron crossed the line on the 14th of May, "being the
eighth time we have done so," says Rogers, "in our course round the
world." This was thirty-eight days after leaving the Cape, giving a
mean speed of rather more than three miles an hour. The Spanish ship,
the "Batchelor," seems to have been the dullest sailer among them, for
Rogers speaks of often taking her in tow, and of the Dutch admiral's
"civility in allowing her to keep ahead of the fleet at night, which
he would not permit any other ship to do." No collisions or disasters
of any sort are recorded during the whole of this long voyage, the
monotony of which was varied on the 15th of June by an entertainment
on board the flag-ship to the skippers of the English, and some of the
Dutch ships, "when the good humour of the Admiral soon made all the
company understand each other without a linguist." While on reaching
latitude 51 north, thick foggy weather prevailed for many days, "during
which the Flag-ship fir'd two guns every half hour, each ship answering
with one, which consum'd a great deal of powder, but by the noise of
the guns it was easy to keep company, though often so thick that we
could not see three ship's lengths" (equal to about one now).

Greatly to Rogers' admiration, the Dutchmen, being good ship's
husbands, spent most of this time in scraping and cleaning their
ships, bending new sails, &c., "so that they look as if newly come out
of Holland;" and as they drew nearer home, and the chance of meeting
an enemy increased, "the three admirals hal'd down their flags, and
to appear more like men of war hoist'd pennants at their maintop

Evidently men like these three Dutch admirals were as much at home,
if not as happy, afloat as ashore, if indeed a change from floating
securely a few feet above the sea level to land many feet below it,
could be called being ashore.

How many of those who to-day rattle about Holland by rail, and admire
the stately well-to-do look of old Dutch cities and towns, give a
thought to these sedate fleets of sailing Indiamen, in which the wealth
that built and kept the sea from swallowing them every higher tide than
usual was slowly but surely carried two hundred years ago; or know that
shipping, moving then some five miles an hour under sail, actually
paid its owners better than now, though driven by the feverish beat of
steam round the world at fifteen knots. Soon after making Fair Island,
near the Shetlands, on the 16th of July, Rogers says, "We fell in with
the Dutch _men of war_, with the exception of one or two that remained
cruising with the fishing doggers off the north-east of Shetland, where
having little wind we lay by, the boats from the land coming to and fro
all night and supplied us with what they had, being poor people who
live by fishing."

[Sidenote: _Arrive at the Texel in Holland._]

The whole squadron, now in convoy of the men-of-war, with a small
breeze, turned south again down the North Sea, and after seven days
"crossed the bar, and anchored at 5 p.m. of the 23rd of July at the
Texel in Holland, the Dutchmen," says Rogers, "firing all their
guns for joy at their arrival in their own country, which they very
affectionately call Fatherland."

The cruise of the "Duke" and "Dutchess" was virtually ended when they
anchored in the Texel Roads, where they were met by some of the owners
from England. But many delays occurred before they were ready to
sail again, with some East India ships for London, in convoy of the
"Essex," "Canterbury," "Meday," and "Dunwich" men-of-war; so that it
was October 14th before the last entry in Woodes Rogers' log was made,
"that this day, at 11 of the clock, we and our Consort and prize got up
to Eriff, where we came to an anchor, which ends our long and fatiguing

[Illustration: The Old Ship's Belfry.]

[Illustration: _A MAP of the WORLD, with the Ships "Duke" & "Dutchess"
Tract round it._

FROM 1708 TO 1711.]


[21] The speed of Rogers' little squadron across the Pacific, under
sail, was barely half that of the British Fleet which in July, 1888,
was able to make the passage under steam from Portsmouth to Bantry Bay,
Ireland, at a mean speed of eight knots!


    "The horrid apparition still draws nigh,
    And white with foam the whirling billows fly.
    The guns were primed; the vessel northward veers,
    Till her black battery on the column bears:
    The nitre fired: and, while the dreadful sound
    Convulsive shook the slumbering air around,
    The watery volume, trembling to the sky,
    Burst down a dreadful deluge from on high!"

[23] Captain Woodes Rogers not only lived to write his travels, but
afterwards had charge of a naval squadron, sent to extirpate the
pirates who infested the West Indies. He died in 1732, just a year
after the death of Defoe.

[24] Rogers speaks of shipping while at Batavia "half a leaguer of
Spelman's _neep_, or the best sort of arrack." Is the modern term "nip
of spirit" derived from this word neep?





The art of naval warfare has so greatly changed since the following
prescription for chasing, fighting, and taking a 60-gun ship was
written in Rogers' time, that it is really doubtful whether any
definite rules for a sea fight could be given to-day. But in his time
such matters appear to have been as well understood as the making of a
bowl of good punch was. So, at any rate, we are taught by the author of
"a collection of sundry pleasant and critical questions in navigation
and the fighting of ships, for the improvement and diversion of the
learner in his spare hours." The writer of which tells us "he has had
twenty years' experience at sea as mate, master, and sworn teacher of
the mathematics to the gentlemen volunteers in her Majestie's Royal
Navy." He begins his instructions with the right methods of handling a
ship in various kinds of weather, from the first change for the worse,
"when the wind becometh fresh and frisking," until "it bloweth a storm
with a very hollow grown sea." But the storm being past, the author
says cheerfully, "Let us turn to windward," which soon brings his ship
"into a good latitude and her proper station;" where the young officer
is advised "to hand his topsails, farthel (or furl) the foresail and
mainsail, trail up the mizen, and lie his ship a hull" (under bare
poles) "until fortune appear upon the horizon;" a man being sent at the
same time "to the maintop masthead" to look out for her in the shape of
"any ships that have been nipt with the last northerly winds."

Like the big salmon of the literary fisherman, a sail is soon sighted,
"A brave lusty ship of sixty guns. So much the better," says the
writer, "for though we have but fifty, the enemy hath more goods in
his hold, and it blows a brave chasing gale. Therefore let us set
spritsails, spritsail-topsails, flying jib, and topgallants; and as we
raise her apace we shall be up with her in three glasses" (half-hour
glasses). It sounds strange in these days of monster ironclads to read
that during a chase in a fifty-gun ship the crew were "ordered aft to
remain quiet there, as the ship will steer better being too much by the

The enemy soon goes about, and is immediately followed by the young
beginner. The chase "being a foul ship" (_i.e._ covered with weeds,
barnacles, &c.), he gets to windward of her, and is advised to keep
there, with "his enemy under his lee."

The gunner is now ordered "to see his guns all clear, and that nothing
pester the decks." The hammocks being stowed round the bulwarks
fore and aft in the nettings, the order is given to "down with all
bulkheads" (cabin partitions, &c.) "that may hinder us or hurt with
splinters;" and the gunner is asked, "whether there be good store of
cartridges ready filled, and shot in the garlands" (racks for ball on
deck) "between the guns and round the masts and hatches." He is also to
see that "rammers, sponges, ladles, priming-irons, horns, linstocks,
wads, swabs, and tubs of water, are all in place;" and that when
engaged, "the guns be well loaded with crossbar and langrel" (old nails
and bolts tied in bundles to cut an enemy's rigging), "and that the
blunderbusses, musketoons, pistols, cutlashes, poleaxes, half-pikes,
&c., are in readiness, and that the patereroes" (swivel guns) "and
stock-fowlers in the round tops, have their chambers full of good
powder, with bags of small shot" (bullets) "to load them, in order to
clear the deck in case of the enemy boarding."

The men are then called to quarters; and escape being impossible,
the chase shortens sail, and "puts abroad the white French ensign,"
which is saluted with a cheer, and a remark, "that though a larger
ship and full of men, we shall match her, for our colours are St.
George's." Then comes a neat little oration, headed "The Captain's
Speech." "Gentlemen, We are maintained by her Majesty Queen Anne,
and our country, to do our endeavours to keep the sea from her
Majestie's enemies, piracy, and robbers; and 'tis our fortune to meet
this ship. Therefore I desire you, in her Majestie's name, and for
your own countrie's honour, that every man behave himself like an
Englishman, and courageous to observe the word of command and do his
best endeavour. So, committing ourselves and cause into God's hand,
every man to his quarter, and God be with us and grant us victory!"
This speech is at once followed by an order to the ship's musicians
of "Up noise of trumpets, and hail our prize," which the French ship
"answereth again with her trumpets." Which preliminaries of the
old naval duel being over, the gunner is warned "to hold fast and
not fire till fairly alongside of him, and within musket-shot." The
time arrived, the guns are run out with the command, "Give him a
broadside, a volley of small arms, and a huzza." After which the men
are encouraged with, "Well done, my hearts! The enemy returns the
compliment. What cheer, is all well betwixt decks? Yea, yea, only
he hath rak'd us through and through. No fear, 'tis our turn next.
Edge toward him, and give not fire till we are within pistol-shot.
Port your helm, he plies his small shot.--Come, boys, load and fire
our small arms briskly.--Hold fast, gunner; right your helm, and run
up alongside. Starboard a little.--Now a broadside, gunner.--That
was well done; this one hath thinned their decks of men, but his
small-arms did gall us. Clap some case and partridge into the guns now
loading. Brace-to the foretopsail that we shoot not ahead of him. He
lies broad-off to bring his other broadside to bear. Starboard hard!
Trim your topsails. He fires his starboard broadside, and pours in
small shot.--Give no fire till he falls off, that he may receive our
full broadside. Steady!--Port a little.--Fire!--Huzza! Cheerly, my
mates, his foremast is by the board; that broadside did execution. He
bears away to stop leaks; the day will be ours! Keep her thus.--Port,
port hard! Bear up and give him our starboard broadside. Load with
double-head round and case-shot. Yea, yea; port, make ready to board;
have lashers and grapplings ready, with able men to tend 'em. Well
steered; edge toward him, and when you fire bring your guns to bear
right among his men with the case-shot. Fire!--Starboard, well done my
hearts! they lie heads and points aboard the prize. Board him bravely.
Enter, enter. Are you fast lashed? Yea, yea. Cut up his decks, ply your
hand-grenades. They cry quarter!--Good: quarter is granted provided you
lay down arms; open your hatches, haul down all sails and furl them.
Loose the lashings, and we will sheer off and hoist out our boats; but
if you offer to fire or make sail again, expect no quarter for your
lives." Boats are then lowered, and the captain, officers, and part of
the crew of the prize taken on board the young beginner's ship.

So much for the attack and capture of a vessel at sea in those days.
In case, however, "the reader be curious to learn" something of the
measures taken by merchantmen in Rogers' time to beat off an enemy, he
is referred to "Defensive Sea Fighting" in Park's "Art of Fighting in
Merchant Ships."

From the "Table of Gunnery" given below it would seem that our
ancestors' guns were stronger or their powder weaker than ours, the
weight of a charge of powder given in it in some cases exceeding half
the weight of the shot:--

                     A TABLE OF GUNNERY.

               |  Weight  |  Weight  |  Weight  |  Range   |  Range
               |  of Gun. | of Shot. |    of    |  Point   | Extreme.
               |          |          |  Powder. |  blank.  |
               |   lbs.   | lbs. oz. | lbs. oz. |  yards.  |  yards.
  Cannon Royal |   8,000  | 58   0   | 23   0   |   300    |   3,000
  Demi-cannon  |   5,200  | 32   0   | 15   0   |   300    |   3,000
  24 Pounder   |   4,800  | 24   0   | 11   0   |   300    |   3,000
  12 Pounder   |   3,000  | 12   0   |  8   0   |   295    |   2,900
  Saker        |   1,500  |  5   4   |  4   0   |   250    |   2,500
  Faucon       |     750  |  2   8   |  1   8   |   200    |   2,000


For want of correct timekeepers, a ship's longitude was, in the time
of Queen Anne and for some time afterwards, an unsolved problem.
But in the "Compleat Modern Navigator's Tutor, or The whole art of
Navigation," published by one Joshua Kelly, of "Broad Street Wapping
near Wapping New-stairs," in 1720, we are taught "five of the most
rational ways of finding it." The learner is advised, however, "not
to confide too much in them, or to omit any of the methods of a sea
journal or other precautions to preserve a ship when she nears land."
Among these methods eclipses of the moon and Jupiter's satellites
of course come first. But of the first of these methods we are told
that "it would be accurate and useful if we could have an eclipse of
the moon every night," and of the second, that "the impractibility
of managing a telescope twelve or fourteen feet long in the tossing
rolling motion of a ship at sea, surrounds it with difficulties scarce
to be remedy'd."

The craving of these old navigators for some form of good sea
timekeeper is shown by Kelly's suggestion for finding the longitude
by what he calls "automatas, or unerring clocks or watches," or even
by "hour-glasses," directions being given for "preparing and using
a very perfect and true-running sand glass, which may precisely run
twenty-four hours without error, to be set exactly at noon on leaving
the land; which glass upon being run out, is to be turned instantly
every day, not losing any time in the turning of it; and so having very
warily kept the said glass 'til you think good to make an observation
at noon, and having in readiness an half hour, minute, and half
minute glass, you may thereby know exactly how much the twenty-four
hour glass is before or after the ship's time; the difference being
your longitude, east or west, according as the time by the sun is
afore or after the time by the glass." Navigation by account, or dead
reckoning, has changed little since Kelly's time. Indeed, the use of
the chronometer and the perfection of the modern sextant has almost
superseded it except in the case of small coasters, &c.

But in Kelly and Woodes Rogers' days the log chip, reel, line, and half
minute glass were the mariner's sole means of finding his longitude, or
distance, sailed east or west.

Steam and patent logs have much simplified such calculations, which
required many corrections not only for leeway but for errors in the log
line and glass; "Shortness of the knots in a line," says Kelly, "being
on the safer side, that a ship be not ahead of her reckoning; it being
better to look for land before we come at it than to _be ashoar before
we expect it._"


Are the storms at sea of this century heavier than those of the time of
Queen Anne? is a question one can hardly help asking after studying the
logs of the "Duke" and "Dutchess" during their three years' cruise.
Judging from Rogers' account, the whole of this period must have been
one of remarkably fine weather at sea, even in the latitude of Cape
Horn, as compared with the tempests torn to tatters which we constantly
fall in with in the sea stories of to-day.

Or perhaps Capt. Woodes Rogers was of that old type of happy sea-dog
for whom the song was written in which Jack "pities them poor folk
ashore," when a storm comes on? Or perhaps "life on the ocean wave"
in his time was really not so terrible for sailormen as it is now?
These questions are not easily answered, for even among comparatively
recent sea-writers, such as Marryat and Dana, life afloat, though not
described as all smooth sailing, is never described as all hurricane
and hurlyburly. Like a true seaman Marryat delights to draw pictures of
men at home on the sea, and well able to contend with wind and wave,
rather than write of ships with sails torn to shreds, and crews taking
to drink as soon as they are caught in a close-reefed topsail breeze
off Cape Horn.

Steam, no doubt, has much to answer for in having increased, rather
than diminished the apparent terrors of bad weather at sea; causing
writers who draw their experiences of storms from the decks of long
narrow ships driven six or seven knots in the teeth of a gale, to form
exaggerated ideas of tempests, and the behaviour of well handled
sailing craft in the same weathers. A steamer plunges into a head-sea
in a blundering sort of way, wallowing from side to side as she does
so, and shipping water to port or starboard in the most uncertain
manner. The power that drives the great hull against the rolling masses
of water seems to have no sympathy with either the ship or the waves;
and drenched from stem to stern, the vessel reels and staggers on her
way, kept only to her work by careful use of helm. Now, the sailing
vessel meets a head-sea, when lying-to under easy canvas, as though
she knew just what to do with it. She is at one, so to speak, with the
whole matter. Her long tapering spars act pendulum-like, checking all
sudden or jerky rolling; and as long as a stitch of canvas can be set
she meets the waves in a give-and-take way reminding one of the "soft
answer that turneth away wrath." Again, modern describers of sea-storms
seem to forget, that on board well found ships, things are not merely
fitted for use in fair weather, but to bear the strain of bad weathers;
and that loss of canvas and spars at sea was, and is looked upon as a
matter of negligence; so much so that in the navy most of these losses
had to be made good by the officer in command. And one seldom heard
in old sea stories of cordage left to rattle and shriek, or sails to
bang about and explode like cannon in the hands of real seamen. In
fact, after once the canvas was reduced to its lowest, a head gale in a
sailing vessel was less noisy than the same wind on shore among trees
or houses; while down below the noise of the weather was not to be
compared with the rattle and rumble of a gale inside a house. In the
case of a sudden squall striking a ship after a spell of fine weather,
or just after leaving port, no doubt a few loose things might fetch
away, and give young sailors or passengers the notion that every thing
was going topsy-turvy; but after a short spell of really hard weather,
things soon get into place at sea, and, so far as officers and crew are
concerned, the routine of sea life goes on as monotonously as in more
moderate weather.

Even in that nobly simple story of disaster at sea, told of St. Paul,
the approach of the catastrophe is unattended by noise; there is
none of the confusion and shrieking of cordage that mark the stagey
shipwreck of modern fiction. Nor did those old shipmen yield the loss
of their ship without a good fight; but after sounding twice they cast
four anchors out of the stern and quietly watched for the day. After
which, the ship's head being already shoreward, the rudderbands were
loosed, and a final effort was made to save their vessel by running
for a creek; until falling into a place where two seas met, the ship
struck, and some on planks, and some on broken pieces of the wreck, all
got safe to shore.

[Illustration: _The Old Seaclock_]

                            Chiswick Press



    Transcriber's Notes:

    Punctuation normalized.

    Anachronistic, non-standard, and inconsistent spellings retained as

    Italics markup is enclosed in _underscores_.

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