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VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD, IN 1683-1691, BY CAPTAIN JOHN COOKE, ACCOMPANIED BY CAPTAIN COWLEY, AND CAPTAIN WILLIAM DAMPIER.[145]

INTRODUCTION.

In the Collection of Voyages and Travels by Harris, this voyage is made two separate articles, as if two distinct voyages, one under the name of Captain Cowley, and the other under that of Dampier; though both are avowedly only separate relations of the same voyage, which was commanded by Captain Cooke, and ought to have gone under his name. On the present occasion both relations are retained, for reasons which will appear sufficiently obvious in the sequel; but we have placed both in one chapter, because only a single circ.u.mnavigation, though somewhat branched out by the separation of the original adventures. This chapter is divided into three sections: the _first_ of which contains the narrative of the princ.i.p.al voyage, so far as related by Captain Cowley; along with which the observations of Dampier upon many of the places, visited during the voyage, are introduced. The _second_ continues the adventures of Cowley on his return from India to Europe, after separating from his first companions. The _third_ resumes the relation of the voyage, as written by Dampier, and gives a continuation of the enterprise, after the separation of Cowley.

[Footnote 145: Dampier’s Voyage round the World, and Cowley’s do. both in a Coll. of Voyages in four vols. 8vo, published at London in 1729.

Also Harris, I. 77. and Callender, II. 528.]

In the remainder of this introduction, taken from the Collection by Harris, an account is given of the origin of this voyage, together with a sketch of the previous adventures of Dampier, before engaging in this enterprise, in both of which are contained some notices of the lawless, yet famous Buccaneers, respecting whom a more detailed account is proposed to be inserted in a subsequent division of this work. Dampier published an account of this voyage, to be found in a Collection of Voyages, in four volumes 8vo, printed at London in 1729, for James and John Knapton, and which have been used in preparing the present relation of this voyage for the press.–E.

The adventures of the _Buccaneers of America_, however blameable, will render these men ever famous by their wonderful exploits. They usually fitted out small vessels in some of our colonies of America, and cruised in these till they were able to make prize of some larger ships. As their designs required the utmost secrecy, they very often took masters and pilots on board under false pretences, and did not explain to them the true nature of their expeditions till out to sea, when they were absolute masters. This was the case with Captain Cowley on the present occasion, a very intelligent man and able navigator, who happened to be in Virginia in 1683, and was prevailed upon to go as master of a privateer, said to be bound for _Pet.i.t Goave_, a French port in the island of St Domingo, where these people used to take commissions. In reality, however, their purpose was to take what prizes they could, without the formality of a commission.

It is proper to state, that this voyage, at least in part, is the same with the _first_ voyage of Captain Dampier round the world. Before proceeding to the incidents of the voyage, we shall give a concise account of the grounds on which it was undertaken, and the commanders who were engaged in it; and this the rather, that the original journal of Captain Cowley, published by Captain Hacke, gives very little information on these subjects, probably because Cowley was ashamed of having engaged in such an expedition.

Among the Buccaneers who did so much mischief in the Spanish West Indies, was one John Cooke, a native of the island of St Christophers, a brisk bold man, who so distinguished himself as to be promoted to the rank of quarter-master in the ship commanded by Captain Yankey. On taking a Spanish prize, which was converted into a privateer, Cooke claimed the command of her, according to the custom, of the Buccaneers; and being extremely popular, soon engaged a sufficient number of men to serve under him. The great majority of the Buccaneers at this time being French, and dissatisfied to see an Englishman invested with such a command, merely by the choice of the crew, without any commission, they plundered the English of their ships, goods, and arms, and turned them ash.o.r.e on the island of _Avache_, on the coast of St Domingo, usually called _Ash_ by English seamen. On this occasion, an old Buccaneer, named Captain _Tristian_, having more humanity than the rest, carried Captain Davis, Captain Cooke, and eight other Englishmen to Pet.i.t Goave; where, while Captain Tristian and many of his men were ash.o.r.e, these Englishmen made themselves masters of the ship, sending all the French in their turn ash.o.r.e, and sailed to Avache, where, by using Captain Tristian’s name to the governor, they procured all the rest of their countrymen to be sent on board.

Being now sufficiently strong to set up for themselves, they resolved to make prize of whatever came in their way, and accordingly took two French ships, one laden with wine, and the other of considerable force, in which they embarked, carrying her and their prize goods to Virginia, where they arrived in April 1683. After selling their wines and other goods, they purchased provisions, naval stores, and every thing else that might be wanted during a long voyage, and fitted out their prize ship as a privateer, naming her the Revenge. According to the narrative of Cowley, she carried eight guns and 52 men, while Dampier gives her 18 guns and 70 men.[146]

[Footnote 146: This difference, at least in regard to the size and force of the ship, will be found explained in the sequel, as they took a larger ship on the coast of Africa, which they used during the voyage, and named the Revenge after their own ship. The additional number of men mentioned by Dampier is not accounted for.–E.]

Before proceeding to the narratives of this voyage, it is proper to give a concise account of Captain William Dampier, extracted from his own works, being an extraordinary character and an eminent navigator, whose many discoveries ought to recommend his memory to posterity, as a man of infinite industry, and of a most laudable public spirit. Captain William Dampier was descended of a very respectable family in the county of Somerset, where he was born in 1652. During the life of his father and mother, he had such education as was thought requisite to fit him for trade; but losing his parents while very young, and being of a roving disposition, which strongly incited him to the sea, those who now had the care of him resolved to comply with his humour, and bound him about 1669 to the master of a ship who lived at Weymouth, in Dorsetshire. With this master he made a voyage to France that year, and in the next went to Newfoundland; but was so pinched by the severity of that climate, that on his return he went home to his friends, almost tired of the sea.

Soon after his return, however, hearing of a ship bound for the East Indies from London, he went there in 1670, and entered before the mast in the John and Martha, in which he made a voyage to Bantam.

He returned to England in January, 1672, and retired to the house of his brother in Somersetshire, where he remained all the ensuing summer. In 1673, he entered on board the Prince Royal, commanded by the famous Sir Edward Spragge, and was in two engagements that summer against the Dutch. He afterwards returned to his brother’s house, where he met with one Colonel h.e.l.lier, who had a large estate in Jamaica, and who persuaded him to go over to that island, where he was some time employed in the management of that gentleman’s plantation. Not liking the life of a planter, which he continued somewhat more than a year, he engaged among the logwood cutters, and embarked from Jamaica for Campeachy, in August 1675, but returned to Jamaica in the end of that year. In February 1676, he went again to Campeachy, where he acquainted himself thoroughly with the business of logwood cutting, in which he proposed to advance his fortune; for which purpose he returned to England in 1678.

While in Campeachy, he became acquainted with some Buccaneers, who gave him an inclination for that kind of life, in which he was afterwards engaged, but of which in the sequel he became much ashamed.

He returned from England to Jamaica in April 1679, intending to become a complete logwood cutter and trader at the bay of Campeachy; but changed his mind, and laid out most part of what he was worth in purchasing a small estate in Dorsetshire. He then agreed with one Hobby to make a trip to the continent, before returning to England. Soon after commencing this voyage, coming to anchor in Negril bay at the west end of Jamaica, they found there Captains c.o.xon, Sawkins, Sharpe, and other privateers, with whom all Mr Hobby’s men entered, leaving only Mr Dampier, who also at length consented to go with them. This was about the end of 1679, and their first expedition was against Portobello. This being accomplished, they resolved to cross the isthmus of Darien, and to pursue their predatory courses against the Spaniards in the South Sea.

On the 5th April, 1680, they landed near _Golden Island_, between three and four hundred strong; and carrying with them sufficient provisions, and some toys to gratify the Indians, through whose country they had to pa.s.s, they arrived in nine days march at _Santa Maria_, which they easily took, but found neither gold nor provisions, as they expected.

After staying three days at Santa Maria, they embarked in canoes and other small craft for the South Sea. They came in sight of Panama on the 23d April, and in vain attempted to take _Puebla Nova_, where their commander Captain Sawkins was slain. They then withdrew to the isles of _Quibo_, whence they sailed on the 6th June for the coast of Peru; and touching at the islands of _Gorgonia_ and _Plata_, they came in the month of October to _Ylo_, which they took. About Christmas of that year they arrived at the island of Juan Fernandez, where they deposed Captain Sharpe, who had the chief command after the death of Sawkins, and elected Captain Watling in his stead. Under his command they made an attempt upon Arica, but were repulsed with the loss of twenty-eight men, among whom was their new commander Watling. After this they sailed for some time without any commander; and, arriving at the island of _Plata_, they split into two factions about the choice of a new commander. Before proceeding to the election, it was agreed that the majority, together with the new commander, should keep the ship, and the minority should content themselves with the canoes and other small craft. On the poll, Captain Sharpe was restored, and Mr Dampier, who had voted against him, prepared, together with his a.s.sociates, to return over land to the Gulf of Mexico.

Accordingly, on the 17th April, 1681, they quitted Captain Sharpe, without electing any commander, and resolved to repa.s.s the Isthmus of Darien, though only forty-seven men. This was one of the boldest enterprises ever ventured upon by so small a number of men, yet they succeeded without any considerable loss. Landing on the continent on the 1st of May, they repa.s.sed the isthmus in twenty-three days; and on the 24th embarked in a French privateer, commanded by Captain Tristian, with whom they joined a fleet of nine buccaneers, on board of which were nearly 600 men. With this great force they were in hopes of doing great things against the Spaniards; but, owing to various accidents, and especially to disagreement among the commanders, they had very little success. Dampier and his companions, who had returned over land from the South Sea, made themselves masters of a _tartan_, and, electing Captain Wright to the command, they cruised along the Spanish coast with some success, and went to the Dutch settlement of Curacoa, where they endeavoured to sell a good quant.i.ty of sugar they had taken in a Spanish ship. Not being able to effect this purpose, they continued their voyage to the Tortugas islands, and thence to the Caraccas, where they captured three barks, one laden with hides, another with European commodities, and the third with earthenware and brandy.

With these prizes they sailed to the island of _Roca_, where they shared them, and then resolved to separate, though only consisting of sixty men. Twenty of these, among whom was Dampier, proceeded with their share of the goods in one of these barks to Virginia, where they arrived in July, 1682. After continuing there some time, a considerable part of them made a voyage to Carolina, whence they returned to Virginia. Having spent the best part of their wealth, they were now ready to proceed upon any plan that might offer for procuring more. Soon after Captain Cooke, of whom some account has been already given, came to Virginia with his prize, and published his intention of going into the South Sea to cruise against the Spaniards. Dampier, who was his old acquaintance, and knew him to be an able commander, readily agreed to go with him, and induced most of his companions to do the same, which was of much consequence to Cooke, as it furnished him with a full third of his crew.

SECTION I.

_Narrative of the Voyage by Captain Cowley, till he quitted the Revenge on the Western Coast of America_.[147]

They sailed from Achamack in Virginia on the 23d August, 1683, taking their departure from Cape Charles in the Revenge of eight guns and fifty-two men, John Cooke commander, and bound for the South Sea; but Captain Cowley, who had charge of the navigation of the Revenge as master, not being then let into the secret object of the enterprise, steered a course for Pet.i.t Goave in St Domingo, in which he was indulged for the first day, but was then told that they were bound in the first place for the coast of Guinea. He then steered E.S.E. for the Cape de Verd islands, and arrived at _Isola de Sal_, or the Salt island, in the month of September. They here found neither fruits nor water, but great plenty of fish, and some goats, but the last were very small. At this time the island, which is in the lat.i.tude of 16 50′ N. and longitude 23 W. from Greenwich, was very oddly inhabited, and as strangely governed. Its whole inhabitants consisted of four men and a boy, and all the men were dignified with t.i.tles. One, a mulatto, was governor, two were captains, and the fourth lieutenant, the boy being their only subject, servant, and soldier. They procured here about twenty bushels of salt, the only commodity of the island, which they paid for in old clothes, and a small quant.i.ty of powder and shot; and in return for three or four goats, gave the governor a coat, of which he was in great want, and an old hat. The salt in which this island abounds, and from which it derives its name, is formed naturally by the heat of the sun from the sea-water, which is let into great ponds about two English miles in extent.

[Footnote 147: The original narrative of this voyage, written by Captain Cowley, is contained in the fourth volume of the Collection of Voyages published in 1729 by James and John Knapton, usually denominated Dampier’s Voyages, and has been used on the present occasion.–E]

This island is about nine leagues from N. to S. and about two leagues from E. to W. and has abundance of salt ponds, whence it derives its name, but produces no trees, and hardly even any gra.s.s, some few poor goats feeding scantily upon shrubs near the sea. It is frequented by wild fowl, especially a reddish bird named _Flamingo_, shaped like a heron, but much larger, which lives in ponds and muddy places, building their nests of mud in shallow pools of standing waters. Their nests are raised like conical hillocks, two feet above the water, having holes on the top, in which they lay their eggs, and hatch them while standing on their long legs in the water, covering the nest and eggs only with their rumps. The young ones do not acquire their true colour, neither can they fly till ten or eleven months old, but run very fast. A dozen or more of these birds were killed, though very shy, and their flesh was found lean and black, though not ill tasted. Their tongues are large, and have near the root a piece of fat, which is esteemed a dainty.

From hence they sailed to the island of St Nicholas, twenty-two leagues W.S.W. from the island of Salt, and anch.o.r.ed on the S.W. side of the island, which is of a triangular form, the longest side measuring thirty leagues, and the two others twenty leagues each. They here found the governor a white man, having three or four people about him, who were decently cloathed, and armed with swords and pistols, but the rest of his attendants were in a very pitiful condition. They dug some wells on sh.o.r.e, and traded for goats, fruits, and wine, which last was none of the best. The country near the coast is very indifferent, but there are some fine valleys in the interior, pretty well inhabited, and abounding in all the necessaries of life.

The princ.i.p.al town of this island is in a valley, fourteen miles from the bay in which the Revenge came to anchor, and contains about 100 families, the inhabitants being of a swarthy complexion. The country on the sea is rocky and barren, but in the interior there are several vallies, having plenty of gra.s.s, and in which vines are cultivated. The wine is of a pale colour, and tastes somewhat like Madeira, but is rather thick.

From thence they went to Mayo, another of the Cape de Verd islands, forty miles E.S.E. from St Nicholas, and anch.o.r.ed on its north side.

They wished to have procured some beef and goats at this island, but were not permitted to land, because one Captain Bond of Bristol had not long before, under the same pretence, carried away some of the princ.i.p.al inhabitants. This island is small, and its sh.o.r.es are beset with shoals, yet it has a considerable trade in salt and cattle. In May, June, July, and August, a species of sea-tortoises lay their eggs here, but are not nearly so good as those of the West Indies. The inhabitants cultivate some potatoes, plantains, and corn, but live very poorly, like all the others in the Cape de Verd islands.

After continuing here five or six days, they resolved to go to the island of St Jago, in hopes of meeting some ship in the road, intending to cut her cable and run away with her. They accordingly stood for the east part of that island, where they saw from the top-mast head, over a point of land, a ship at anchor in the road, which seemed fit for their purpose: but, by the time they had got near her, her company clapped a spring upon her cable, struck her ports, and run out her lower tier of guns, on which Cooke bore away as fast as he could. This was a narrow escape, as they afterwards learnt that this ship was a Dutch East Indiaman of 50 guns and 400 men.

This is by far the best of the Cape de Verd islands, four or five leagues west from Mayo; and, though mountainous, is the best peopled, having a very good harbour on its east side, much frequented by ships bound from Europe for the East Indies and the coast of Guinea, as also by Portuguese ships bound to Brazil, which come here to provide themselves with beef, pork, goats, fowls, eggs, plantains, and cocoa-nuts, in exchange for shirts, drawers, handkerchiefs, hats, waistcoats, breeches, and all sorts of linen, which are in great request among the natives, who are much addicted to theft. There is here a fort on the top of a hill, which commands the harbour. This island has two towns of some size, and produces the same sort of wine with St Nicholas.

There are two other islands, Fogo and Brava, both small, and to the west of St Jago. Fogo is remarkable, as being an entire burning mountain, from the top of which issues a fire which may be seen a great way off at sea in the night. This island has a few inhabitants, who live on the sea-coast at the foot of the mountain, and subsist on goats, fowls, plantains, and cocoa-nuts. The other islands of this group are St Antonio, St Lucia, St Vincent, and Bona Vista.

They sailed thence for the coast of Guinea, and, being near Cape Sierra Leona, they fell in with a new-built ship of forty guns, well furnished with water, all kinds of provisions, and brandy, which they boarded and carried away.[148]

[Footnote 148: They appear to have named this ship the Revenge, and to have destroyed their original vessel.–E.]

From thence they went to Sherbro river, also on the coast of Guinea, where they trimmed all their empty casks and filled them with water, not intending to stop any where again for water till their arrival at Juan Fernandez in the South Sea. There was at this time an English factory in the Sherbro river, having a considerable trade in _Cam-wood_, which is used in dying red; but the adventurers do not appear to have had any intercourse with their countrymen at this place. They were well received, however, by the negro inhabitants of a considerable village on the sea-sh.o.r.e, near the mouth of this river, who entertained Cowley and his companions with palm-wine, in a large hut in the middle of the town, all the rest of the habitations being small low huts. These negroes also brought off considerable supplies to the ship, of rice, fowls, honey, and sugar canes, which they sold to the buccaneers for goods found in the vessel they had seized at Sierra Leona.

Going from thence in the month of December, along the coast of Guinea, to the lat.i.tude of 12 S. they crossed the Atlantic to the opposite coast of Brazil, where they came to soundings on a sandy bottom at eighty fathoms deep. Sailing down the coast of Brazil, when in lat. 4 S. they observed the sea to be as red as blood, occasioned by a prodigious shoal of red shrimps, which lay upon the water in great patches for many leagues together. They likewise saw vast numbers of seals, and a great many whales. Holding on their course to lat. 47 S.

they discovered an island not known before, which Cowley named _Pepy’s Island_,[149] in honour of Samuel Pepys, secretary to the Duke of York when Lord High Admiral of England, a great patron of seamen. This island has a very good harbour, in which 1000 ships might ride at anchor, and is a very commodious place for procuring both wood and water. It abounded in sea-fowl, and the sh.o.r.e, being either rocks or sand, promised fair for fish.

[Footnote 149: An island in the southern Atlantic, in lat. 46 34′ S.

called _Isle Grande_, is supposed to be the discovery of Cowley.

According to Dalrymple, it is in long. 46 40′ W. while the map published along with Cook’s Voyages places it in long. 35 40′ W. from Greenwich.–E.]

In January 1684 they bore away for the Straits of Magellan, and on the 28th of that month fell in with the _Sebaldine_ or Falkland islands, in lat. 51 25′ S. Then steering S.W. by W. to the lat. of 53 S. they made the Terra del Fuego. Finding great ripplings near the Straits of Le Maire, they resolved to go round the east end of States Land, as had been done by Captain Sharp in 1681, who first discovered it to be an island, naming it _Albemarle_ island. A prodigious storm came on upon the 14th February, which lasted between a fortnight and three weeks, and drove them into lat. 63 30′ S. This storm was attended by such torrents of rain, that they saved twenty-three barrels of water, besides dressing their victuals all that time in rain water.[150] The weather also was so excessively cold, that they could bear to drink three quarts of burnt brandy a man in twenty-four hours, without being intoxicated.

[Footnote 150: It was discovered by the great navigator Captain Cook, who at one time penetrated to lat. 71 10′ S. that the solid ice found at sea in high southern lat.i.tudes affords perfectly fresh water, when the first meltings are thrown away.–E.]

When the storm abated, they steered N.E. being then considerably to the west of Cape Horn, and got again into warm weather. In lat. 40 S. they fell in with an English ship, the Nicholas of London, of 26 guns, commanded by Captain John Eaton, with whom they joined company. They sailed together to the island of Juan Fernandez, where they arrived on the 23d March, and anch.o.r.ed in a bay at the south end of the island in twenty-five fathoms. Captain Watling, who succeeded Captain Sharp, was there in 1680, and named it _Queen Catharine’s_ island. At his departure, he accidentally left a Moskito Indian, who still remained, having a gun, a knife, a small flask of powder, and some shot. In this desolate condition, he found it equally hard to provide for his subsistence, and to conceal himself from the Spaniards, who had notice of his being left there, and came several times to take him. He had chosen a pleasant valley for his residence, about half a mile from the coast, where he had erected a very convenient hut, well lined with seal-skins, and had a bed of the same, raised about two feet above the ground. By the help of a flint, he had converted his knife into a saw, with which he had cut the barrel of his gun to pieces, which he fashioned into harpoons, lances, fishing-hooks, and a long knife, by heating them in a fire. All this cost him much labour, but enabled him to live in sufficient comfort. On seeing the ships at sea, he guessed them to be English, and immediately dressed two goats, and a large quant.i.ty of cabbage, to entertain them on landing. He was also much pleased, when they landed on the island, to see two of his old acquaintances, Captains Cooke and Dampier, who had belonged to the ship by which he was left on the island.

The island of Juan Fernandez is in lat. 34 15′ S. [33 42′] about 420 English miles from the coast of Chili. The whole island is a pleasant mixture of hills and vallies, the sides of the hills partly covered with wood, and partly savannas, or places naturally clear of wood, bearing fine gra.s.s. Among the woods are what are called cabbage-trees, but not so large as in other parts of the world. The goats which feed on the west end of the island are much fatter and better than those at the east end, though the latter has better and greater plenty of gra.s.s, with abundance of excellent water in the vallies, while the west end is a dry plain, the gra.s.s scanty and parched, and has hardly any wood or fresh water. Though fertile, this island has no inhabitants, who might live here in plenty, as the plain is able to maintain a great number of cattle, and the sea affords vast quant.i.ties of seals, sea-lions, snappers, and rock-fish. The sea-lions are not much unlike seals, but much larger, being twelve or fourteen feet long, and as thick as a large ox. They have no hair, and are of a dun colour, with large eyes, their teeth being three inches long. One of these animals will yield a considerable quant.i.ty of oil, which is sweet and answers well for frying. They feed on fish, yet their flesh is tolerably good. The snapper is a fish having a large head, mouth, and gills, the back red, the belly ash-coloured, and its general appearance resembling a roach, but much larger, its scales being as broad as a shilling. The rock-fish, called _baccalao_ by the Spaniards, because resembling the cod, is rounder than the former, and of a dark-brown colour, with small scales, and is very good food, being found in vast abundance on the coasts of Peru and Chili. This island has only two bays fit for anchorage, with a rivulet of fresh water in each, and both at the east end, and so conveniently situated that they might easily be fortified, and defended by a slender force against a powerful army, being inaccessible from the west, by reason of the high mountains. Five Englishmen, left by Captain Davies, secured themselves here against a great number of Spaniards.

After remaining fourteen days at this island, they left it on the 8th April, 1684, steering N.N.E. till off the bay of Arica, whence they sailed to Cape Blanco, in hopes of meeting the Spanish Plate fleet from Panama; but if they had gone into the bay of Arica, they must have taken a Spanish ship which lay there, having 300 tons of silver on board. In lat. 10 S. on the 3d May, they were forced to capture a ship laden with timber, much against their inclination, lest they should be known through her means to be on the coast. They then sailed to the southern island of _Lobos_, in lat. 70 S. about forty-three English miles from the coast of Peru, where they landed their sick for refreshment, heeled their ships, and sc.r.a.ped their bottoms, to render them fitter for action.

This island is named _Lobos del Mar_, to distinguish it from another which is nearer the continent, and called therefore _Lobos de la Tierra.

Lobos del Mar_ is properly a double island, each a mile in circuit, separated by a small channel which will not admit ships of burden. A little way from sh.o.r.e, on the north side, there are several scattered rocks in the sea, and at the west end of the eastermost isle is a small sandy creek, in which ships are secure from the winds, all the rest of the sh.o.r.e being rocky cliffs. The whole of both islands is rocky and sandy, having neither wood, water, nor land animals; but it has many fowls, such as b.o.o.bies, and above all penguins, about the size of a duck, and with similar feet; but their bills are pointed, their wings are mere stumps, which serve them as fins when in the water, and their bodies are covered with down instead of feathers. As they feed on fish, they are but indifferent eating, but their eggs are very good. Penguins are found all over the South Sea, and at the Cape of Good Hope. The road for ships is between the before-mentioned rock and the eastmost island.

They were now very eager to make some capture, as their provisions, especially water, were very scanty, so that the subsistence of their prisoners, as well as themselves, gave them much anxiety. By information of their prisoners, they were also convinced that their being in these seas was known to the Spaniards, who consequently would keep all their richest ships in port. After much consultation, therefore, it was resolved to make an attempt on Truxillo, in lat. 8 4′ S. a populous city about six miles from the port of _Guanehagno_, though the landing-place was of difficult access, as at that place there was a strong probability of making a considerable booty. They sailed therefore with this design on the 18th May, their whole number of men fit for duty being one hundred and eight. Soon after weighing anchor, three ships were descried under sail, which they chased and captured, being laden with flour from Guanehagno to Panama. In one of them was found a letter from the viceroy of Peru to the president of Panama, intimating that there were enemies on the coast, and that he had sent these three ships to supply their wants. It was also learnt from the prisoners, that the Spaniards were erecting a fort near their harbour of Guanehagno, in consequence of which the design on Traxillo was abandoned. Besides a large loading of flour, the three captured ships had a good quant.i.ty of fruits and sweetmeats, which made them agreeable prizes to the English, who were now very short of provisions; but they had landed no less than 800,000 dollars, on hearing that there were enemies in these seas.

It was now resolved to carry their prizes to some secure place, where the best part of the provisions they had now procured might be laid up in safety, for which purpose they steered for the _Gallapagos_ or _Enchanted Islands_,[151] which they got sight of on the 31st May, and anch.o.r.ed at night on the east side of one of the easternmost of these islands, a mile from sh.o.r.e, in sixteen fathoms, on clear white hard sand. To this Cowley gave the name of _King Charles’s Island_. He likewise named more of them, as the Duke of Norfolk’s Island immediately under the line, Dessington’s, Eares, Bindley’s, Earl of Abington’s, King James’s, Duke of Albemarles, and others. They afterwards anch.o.r.ed in a very good bay being named York Bay. Here they found abundance of excellent provisions, particularly guanoes and sea and land tortoises, some of the latter weighing two hundred pounds, which is much beyond their usual weight. There were also great numbers of birds, especially turtle-doves, with plenty of wood and excellent water; but none of either of these was in any of the other islands.[152]

[Footnote 151: These islands, so named by the Spaniards from being the resort of tortoises, are on both sides of the line, from about the Lat.

of 2 N. to 1 50′ S,. and from about 88 40′ to 95 20′ both W. from Greenwich.–E.]

[Footnote 152: Cowley mentions having found here a [illegible] thing of its nature of quant.i.ty.–E.]

These Gallapagos are a considerable number of large islands, situated under and on both sides of the line, and dest.i.tute of inhabitants. The Spaniards, who first discovered them, describe them as extending from the equator N.W. as high as 5 N. The adventurers in this voyage saw fourteen or fifteen, some of which were seven or eight leagues in length, and three or four leagues broad, pretty high yet flat. Four or five of the most easterly were barren and rocky, without either trees, herbs, or gra.s.s, except very near the sh.o.r.e. They produced also a sort of shrub, called d.i.l.d.o-tree, about the bigness of a man’s leg, and ten or twelve feet high, without either fruit or leaves, but covered with p.r.i.c.kles from top to bottom. The only water in these barren isles, was in ponds and holes in the rocks. Some of the isles are low and more fertile, producing some of the trees that are known in Europe. A few of the westermost isles are larger than the rest, being nine or ten leagues long, and six or seven broad, producing many trees, especially Mammee figs, and they have also some pretty large fresh-water streams, and many rivulets. The air is continually refreshed, by the sea-breeze by day and the land-winds at night, so that they are not troubled with such excessive heats, neither are they so unwholesome as most places so near the equator. During the rainy season, in November, December, and January, they are infested with violent tempests of thunder and lightning; but before and after these months have only refreshing showers, and in their summer, which is in May, June, July, and August, they are without any rains.

They anch.o.r.ed near several of these islands, and frequently found sea tortoises basking in the sun at noon. On a former occasion, Captain Davies came to anchor on the west side of these islands, where he and his men subsisted on land-tortoises for three months, and saved from them sixty jars of oil. He also found several good channels on that side, with anchorage between the isles, and several rivulets of fresh water, with plenty of trees for fuel. The sea also round these islands is well stored with good fish of a large size, and abounds in sharks.

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Published inA General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels