Atkins Entreats the Captain to Spare His Life--The Latter Recovers His Vessel from the Mutineers, and Robinson Leaves the IslandUpon this, Will Atkins cry'd out, For God's Sake, Captain, give me Quarter, what have I done? They have been all as bad as I, which by the Way was not true neither; for it seems this Will. Atkins was the first Man that laid hold of the Captain, when they first mutiny'd, and used him barbarously, in tying his Hands, and giving him injurious Language. However, the Captain told him he must lay down his Arms at Discretion, and trust to the Governour's Mercy, by which he meant me; for they all call'd me Governour.
In a Word, they all laid down their Arms, and begg'd their Lives; and I sent the Man that had parley'd with them, and two more, who bound them all; and then my great Army of 50 Men, which particularly with those three, were all but eight, came up and seiz'd upon them all, and upon their Boat, only that I kept my self and one more out of Sight, for Reasons of State.
Our next Work was to repair the Boat, and think of seizing the Ship; and as for the Captain, now he had Leisure to parley with them: He expostulated with them upon the Villany of their Practices with him, and at length upon the farther Wickedness of their Design, and how certainly it must bring them to Misery and Distress in the End, and perhaps to the Gallows.
They all appear'd very penitent, and begg'd hard for their Lives; as for that, he told them, they were none of his Prisoners, but the Commander of the Island; that they thought they had set him on Shore in a barren uninhabited Island, but it had pleased God so to direct them, that the Island was inhabited, and that the Governour was an English Man; that he might hang them all there, if he pleased; but as he had given them all Quarter, he supposed he would send them to England to be dealt with there, as Justice requir'd, except Atkins, who he was commanded by the Governour to advise to prepare for Death; for that he would be hang'd in the Morning.
Though this was all a Fiction of his own, yet it had its desired Effect; Atkins fell upon his Knees to beg the Captain to interceed with the Governour for his Life; and all the rest beg'd of him for God's Sake, that they might not be sent to England.
It now occurr'd to me, that the time of our Deliverance was come, and that it would be a most easy thing to bring these Fellows in, to be hearty in getting Possession of the Ship; so I retir'd in the Dark from them, that they might not see what Kind of a Governour they had, and call'd the Captain to me; when I call'd, as at a good Distance, one of the Men was order'd to speak again, and say to the Captain, Captain, the Commander calls for you; and presently the Captain reply'd, Tell his Excellency, I am just a coming: This more perfectly amused' them; and they all believed that the Commander was just by with his fifty Men.
Upon the Captain's coming to me, I told him my Project for seizing the Ship, which he lik'd of wonderfully well, and resolv'd to put it in Execution the next Morning.
But in Order to execute it with more Art, and secure of Success, I told him, we must divide the Prisoners, and that he should go and take Atkins and two more of the worst of them, and send them pinion'd to the Cave where the others lay: This was committed to Friday and the two Men who came on Shore with the Captain.
They convey'd them to the Cave, as to a Prison; and it was indeed a dismal Place, especially to Men in their Condition.
The other I order'd to my Bower, as I call'd it, of which I have given a full Description; and as it was fenc'd in, and they pinion'd, the Place was secure enough, considering they were upon their Behaviour.
To these in the Morning I sent the Captain, who was to enter into a Parley with them, in a Word to try them, and tell me, whether he thought they might be trusted or no, to on Board and surprize the Ship. He talk'd to them of the Injury done him, of the Condition they were brought to; and that though the Governour had given them Quarter for their Lives, as to the present Action, yet that if they were sent to England, they would all be hang'd in Chains, to be sure; but that if they would join in so just an Attempt, as to recover the Ship, he would have the Governour's Engagement for their Pardon.
Any one may guess how readily such a Proposal would be accepted by Men in their Condition; they fell down on their Knees to the Captain, and promised with the deepest Imprecations, that they would be faithful to him to the last Drop, and that they should owe their Lives to him, and would go with him all over the World, that they would own him for a Father to them as long as they liv'd.
Well, says the Captain, I must go and tell the Governour what you say, and see what I can do to bring him to consent to it: So he brought me an Account of the Temper he found them in; and that he verily believ'd they would be faithful.
However, that we might be very secure, I told him he should go back again, and choose out five of them, and tell them, they might see that he did not want Men, that he would take out those five to be his Assistants, and that the Governour would keep the other two, and the three that were sent Prisoners to the Castle, (my Cave) as Hostages, for the Fidelity of those five; and that if they prov'd unfaithful in the Execution, the five Hostages should be hang'd in Chains alive upon the Shore.
This look'd severe, and convinc'd them that the Governour was in Earnest; however they had no Way left them, but to accept it; and it was now the Business of the Prisoners, as much as of the Captain, to perswade the other five to do their Duty.
Our Strength was now thus ordered for the Expedition: 1. The Captain, his Mate, and Passenger. 2. Then the two Prisoners of the first Gang, to whom having their Characters from the Captain, I had given their Liberty, and trusted them with Arms. 3. The other two who I had kept till now, in my Bower, pinion'd; but upon the Captain's Motion, had now releas'd. These five releas'd at last: So that they were twelve in all, besides five we kept Prisoners in the Cave, for Hostages.
I ask'd the Captain, if he was willing to venture with these Hands on Board the Ship; for as for me and my Man Friday, I did not think it was proper for us to stir, having seven Men left behind; and it was Employment enough for us to keep them assunder, and supply them with Victuals.
As to the five in the Cave, I resolv'd to keep them fast, but Friday went in twice a Day to them, to supply them with Necessaries; and I made the other two carry Provisions to a certain Distance, where Friday was to take it.
When I shew'd my self to the two Hostages, it was with the Captain, who told them, I was the Person the Governour had order'd to look after them, and that it was the Governour's Pleasure they should not stir any where, but by my Direction; that if they did, they should be fetch'd into the Castle, and be lay'd in Irons; so that as we never suffered them to see me as Governour, so I now appear'd as another Person, and Spoke of the Governour, the Garrison, the Castle, and the like, upon all Occasions.
The Captain now had no Difficulty before him, but to furnish his two Boats, Stop the Breach of one, and Man them. He made his Passenger Captain of one, with four other Men; and himself, and his Mate, and five more, went in the other: And they contriv'd their Business very well; for they came up to the Ship about Midnight: As soon as they came within Call of the Ship, he made Robinson hale them, and tell them they had brought off the Men and the Boat, but that it was a long time before they had found them, and the like holding them in a Chat 'till they came to the Ship's Side when the Captain and the Mate entring first with their Arms, immediately knock'd down the second Mate and Carpenter, with the But-end of their Muskets, being very faithfully seconded by their Men, they secur'd all the rest that were upon the Main and Quarter Decks, and began to fasten the Hatches to keep them down who were below, when the other Boat and their Men entring at the fore Chains, secur'd the Fore-Castle of the Ship, and the Scuttle which went down into the Cook Room, making three Men they found there, Prisoners.
When this was done, and all safe upon Deck, the Captain order'd the Mate with three Men to break into the Round-House where the new Rebel Captain lay, and having taken the Alarm, was gotten up, and with two Men and a Boy had gotten Fire Arms in their Hands, and when the Mate with a Crow split open the Door, the new Captain and his Men fir'd boldly among them, and wounded the Mate with a Musket Ball which broke his Arm, and wounded two more of the but kill'd no Body.
The Mate calling for Help, rush'd however into the Round-House, wounded as he was, and with his Pistol shot the new Captain thro' the Head, the Bullet entring at his Mouth, and came out again behind one of his Ears; so that he never spoke a Word; upon which the rest yielded, and the Ship was taken effectually, without any more Lives lost.
As soon as the Ship was thus secur'd, the Captain order'd seven Guns to be fir'd, which was the Signal agreed upon with me, to give me Notice of his Success, which you may be sure I was very glad to hear, having sat watching upon the Shore for it till near two of the Clock in the Morning.
Having thus heard the Signal plainly, I laid me down; and it having been a Day of great Fatigue to me, I slept very sound, 'till I was something surpriz'd with the Noise of a Gun; and presently starting up, I heard a Man call me by the Name of Governour, Governour, and presently I knew the Captain's Voice, when climbing up to the Top of the Hill, there he stood, and pointing to the Ship, he embrac'd me in Arms, My dear Friend and Deliverer, says he, there's your Ship, for she is all yours, and so are we and all that belong to her. I cast my Eyes to the Ship, and there she rode within little more than half a Mile of the Shore; for they had weighed for as soon as they were Masters of her; and the Weather being fair, had brought her to an Anchor just against the Mouth of the little Creek; and the Tide being up, the Captain had brought the Pinnace in near the Place where I at first landed my Rafts, and so landed just at my Door. I was at first ready to sink down with the Surprize. For I saw my Deliverance indeed visibly put into my Hands, all things easy, and a large Ship just ready to carry me away whither I pleased to go. At first, for some time, I was not able to answer him one Word; but as he had taken me in his Arms, I held fast by him, or I should have fallen to the Ground.
He perceived the Surprize, and immediately pulls a Bottle out of his Pocket, and gave me a Dram of Cordial, which he had brought on Purpose for me; after I had drank it, I sat down upon the Ground; and though it brought me to my self, yet it was a good while before I could speak a Word to him.
All this while the poor Man was in as great an Extasy as I, only not under any Surprize, as I was; and he said a thousand kind tender things to me, to compose me and bring me to my self; but such was the Flood of Joy in my Breast, that it put all my Spirits into Confusion, at last it broke out into Tears, and in a little while after, I recovered my Speech.
Then I took my Turn, and embrac'd him as my Deliverer; and we rejoyc'd together. I told him, I look upon him as a Man sent from Heaven to deliver me, and that the whole Transaction seemed to be a Chain of Wonders; that such things as these were the Testimonies we had of a secret Hand of Providence governing the World, and an Evidence, that the Eyes of an infinite Power could search into the remotest Corner of the World, and send Help to the Miserable whenever he pleased.
I forgot not to lift up my Heart in Thankfulness to Heaven, and what Heart could forbear to bless him, who had not only in a miraculous Manner provided for one in such a Wilderness, and in such a desolate Condition, but from whom every Deliverance must always be acknowledged to proceed.
When we had talk'd a while, the Captain told me, he had brought me some little Refreshment, such as the Ship afforded, and such as the Wretches that had been so long his Master had not plunder'd him of: Upon this he call'd aloud to the Boat, and bid his Men bring the things ashore that were for the Governour; and indeed it was a Present, as if I had been one not that was to be carry'd away along with them, but as if I had been to dwell upon the Island still, and they were to go without me.
First he had brought me a Case of Bottles full of excellent Cordial Waters, six large Bottles of Madera Wine; the Bottles held two Quarts a-piece; two Pound of excellent good Tobacco, twelve good Pieces of the Ship's Beef, and six Pieces of Pork, with a Bag of Pease, and about a hundred Weight of Bisket.
He brought me also a Box of Sugar, a Box of Flower, a Bag full of Lemons, and two Bottles of Lime-Juice, and Abundance of other things: But besides these, and what was a thousand times more useful to me, he brought me six clean new Shirts, six very good Neckcloaths, two Pair of Gloves, one Pair of Shoes, a Hat, and one Pair of Stockings, and a very good Suit of Cloaths of his own, which had been worn but very little: In a Word, he cloathed me from Head to Foot.
It was a very kind and agreeable Present, as any one may imagine to one in my Circumstances: But never was any thing in the World of that Kind so unpleasant, awkard, and uneasy, as it was to me to wear such Cloaths at their first putting on.
After these Ceremonies past, and after all his good things were brought into my little Apartment, we began to consult what was to be done with the Prisoners we had; for it was worth considering, whether we might venture to take them away with us or no, especially two of them, who we knew to be incorrigible and refractory to the last Degree; and the Captain said, he knew they were such Rogues, that there was no obliging them, and if he did carry them away, it must be in Irons, as Malefactors to be delivered over to Justice at the first English Colony he could come at; and I found that the Captain himself was very anxious about it.
Upon this, I told him, that if he desir'd it, I durst undertake to bring the two Men he spoke of, to make it their own Request that he should leave them upon the Island: I should be very glad of that, says the Captain, with all my Heart.
Well, says I, I will send for them up, and talk with them for you; so I caused Friday and the two Hostages, for they were now discharg'd, their Comrades having perform'd their Promise; I say, I caused them to go to the Cave, and bring up the five Men pinion'd, as they were, to the Bower, and keep them there 'till I came.
After some time, I came thither dress'd in my new Habit, and now I was call'd Governour again; being all met, and the Captain with me, I caused the Men to be brought before me, and I told them, I had had a full Account of their villanous Behaviour to the Captain, and how they had run away with the Ship, and were preparing to commit farther Robberies, but that Providence had ensnar'd them in their own Ways, and that they were fallen into the Pit which they had digged for others.
I let them know, that by my Direction the Ship had been seiz'd, that she lay now in the Road; and they might see by and by, that their new Captain had receiv'd the Reward of his Villany; for that they might see him hanging at the Yard-Arm.
That as to them, I wanted to know what they had to say, why I should not execute them as Pirates taken in the Fact, as by my Commission they could not doubt I had Authority to do.
One of them answer'd in the Name of the rest, That they had nothing to say but this, That when they were taken, the Captain promis'd them their Lives, and they humbly implor'd my Mercy; But I told them, I knew not what Mercy to shew them; for as for my self, I had resolv'd to quit the Island with all my Men, and had taken Passage with the Captain to go for England: And as for the Captain, he could not carry them to England, other than as Prisoners in Irons to be try'd for Mutiny, and running away with the Ship; the Consequence of which, they must needs know, would be the Gallows; so that I could not tell which was best for them, unless they had a Mind to take their Fate in the Island; if they desir'd, that I did not care, as I had Liberty to leave it, I had some Inclination to give them their Lives, if they thought they could shift on Shore.
They seem'd very thankful for it, said they would much rather venture to stay there, than to be carry'd to England to be hang'd; so I left it on that Issue.
However, the Captain seem'd to make some Difficulty of it, as if he durst not leave them there: Upon this I seem'd a little angry with the Captain, and told him, That they were my Prisoners, not his; and that seeing I had offered them so much Favour, I would be as good as my Word; and that if he did not think fit to consent to it, I would set them at Liberty, as I found them; and if he did not like it, he might take them again if he could catch them.
Upon this they appear'd very thankful, and I accordingly set them at Liberty, and bad them retire into the Woods to the Place whence they came, and I would leave them some Fire Arms, some Ammunition, and some Directions how they should live very well, if they thought fit.
Upon this I prepar'd to go on Board the Ship, but told the Captain, that I would stay that Night to prepare my things, and desir'd him to go on Board in the mean time, and keep all right in the Ship, and send the Boat on Shore the next Day for me; ordering him in the mean time to cause the new Captain who was kill'd, to be hang'd at the Yard-Arm that these Men might see him.
When the Captain was gone, I sent for the Men up to me to my Apartment, and entred seriously into Discourse with them of their Circumstances, I told them, I thought they had made a right Choice; that if the Captain carry'd them away, they would certainly be hang'd. I shewed them the new Captain, hanging at the Yard-Arm of the Ship, and told them they had nothing less to expect.
When they had all declar'd their Willingness to stay, I then told them, I would let them into the Story of my living there, and put them into the Way of making it easy to them: Accordingly I gave them the whole History of the Place, and of my coming to it; shew'd them my Fortifications, the Way I made my Bread, planted my Corn, cured my Grapes; and in a Word, all that was necessary to make them easy: I told them the Story also of the sixteen Spaniards that were to be expected; for whom I left a Letter, and made them promise to treat them in common with themselves.
I left them my Fire Arms, viz. Five Muskets, three Fowling Pieces, and three Swords. I had above a Barrel and half of Powder left; for after the first Year or two, I used but little, and wasted none. I gave them a Description of the Way I manag'd the Goats, and Directions to milk and fatten them, and to make both Butter and Cheese.
In a Word, I gave them every Part of my own Story; and I told them, I would prevail with the Captain to leave them two Barrels of Gun-Powder more, and some Garden-Seeds, which I told them I would have been very glad of; also I gave them the Bag of Pease which the Captain had brought me to eat, and bad them be sure to sow and encrease them.
Having done all this, I left them the next Day, and went an Board the Ship: We prepared immediately to sail, but did not weigh that Night: The next Morning early, two of the five Men came swimming to the Ship's Side, and making a most lamentable Complaint of the other three, begged to be taken into the Ship, for God's Sake, for they should be murthered, and begg'd the Captain to take them on Board, tho' he hang'd them immediately.
Upon this the Captain pretended to have no Power without me; But after some Difficulty, and after their solemn Promises off Amendment, they were taken on Board, and were some time after soundly whipp'd and pickl'd; after which, they prov'd very honest and quiet Fellows.
Some time after this, the Boat was order'd on Shore, the Tide being up, with the things promised to the Men, to which the Captain at my Intercession caused their Chests and Cloaths to be added, which they took, and were very thankful for; I also encourag'd them, by telling them, that if it lay in my Way to send any Vessel to take them in, I would not forget them.
When I took leave of this Island, I carry'd on board for Reliques, the great Goat's-Skin-Cap I had made, my Umbrella, and my Parrot; also I forgot not to take the Money I formerly mention'd, which had lain by me so long useless, that it was grown rusty, or tarnish'd, and could hardly pass for Silver, till it had been a little rubb'd, and handled; as also the Money I found in the Wreck of the Spanish Ship.
And thus I left the Island, the Nineteenth of December, as I found by the Ship's Account, in the Year 1686, after I had been upon it eight and twenty Years, two Months, and 19 Days; being deliver'd from this second Captivity, the same Day of the Month, that I first made my Escape in the Barco-Longo, from among the Moors of Sallee.
In this Vessel, after a long Voyage, I arriv'd in England, the Eleventh of June, in the Year 1687, having been thirty and five Years absent.
When I came to England, I was as perfect a Stranger to all the World, as if I had never been known there. My Benefactor and faithful Steward, who I had left in Trust with my Money, was alive; but had had great Misfortunes in the World; was become a Widow the second Time, and very low in the World: I made her easy as to what she ow'd me, assuring her, I would give her no Trouble; but on the contrary, in Gratitude to her former Care and Faithfulness to me, I reliev'd her as my little Stock would afford, which at that Time would indeed allow me to do but little for her; abut I assur'd her, I would never forget her former Kindness to me; nor did I forget her, when I had sufficient to help her, as shall be observ'd in its Place.
I went down afterwards into Yorkshire; but my Father was dead, and my Mother, and all the Family extinct, except that I found two Sisters, and two of the Children of one of my Brothers; and as I had been long ago given over for dead, there had been no Provision made for me; so that in a Word, I found nothing to relieve, or assist me; and that little Money I had, would not do much for me, as to settling in the World.
I met with one Piece of Gratitude indeed, which I did not expect; and this was, That the Master of the Ship, who I had so happily deliver'd, and by the same Means sav'd the Ship and Cargo, having given a very handsome Account to the Owners, of the Manner how I had sav'd the Lives of the Men, and the Ship, they invited me to meet them, and some other Merchants concern'd, and altogether made me a very handsome Compliment upon the Subject, and a Present of almost two hundred Pounds Sterling.
But after making several Reflections upon the Circumstances of my Life, and how little way this would go towards settling me in the World, I resolv'd to go to Lisbon, and see if I might not come by some Information of the State of my Plantation in the Brasils, and of what was become of my Partner, who I had reason to suppose had some Years now given me Over for dead.
With this View I took Shipping for Lisbon, where I arriv'd in April following; my Man Friday accompanying me very honestly in all these Ramblings, and proving a most faithful Servant upon all Occasions.
When I came to Lisbon, I found out by Enquiry, and to my particular Satisfaction, my old Friend the Captain of the Ship, who first took me up at Sea, off of the Shore of Africk: He was now grown old, and had left off the Sea, having put his Son, who was far from a young Man, into his Ship; and who still used the Brasil Trade. The old Man did not know me, and indeed, I hardly knew him; but I soon brought him to my Remembrance, and as soon brought my self to his Remembrance, when I told him who I was.
After some passionate Expressions of the old Acquaintance, I enquir'd, you may be sure, after my Plantation and my Partner: The old Man told me he had not been in the Brasils for about nine Years; but that he could assure me, that when he came away, my Partner was living, but the Trustees, who I had join'd with him to take Cognizance of my Part, were both dead; that however, he believ'd that I would have a very good Account of the Improvement of the Plantation; for that upon the general Belief of my being cast away, and drown'd, my Trustees had given in the Account of the Produce of my Part of the Plantation, to the Procurator Fiscal, who had appropriated it, in Case I never came to claim it; one Third to the King, and two Thirds to the Monastery of St. Augustine, to be expended for the Benefit of the Poor, and for the Conversion of the Indians to the Catholick Faith; but that if I appear'd, or any one for me, to claim the Inheritance, it should be restor'd; only that the Improvement, or Annual Production, being distributed to charitable Uses, could not be restor'd; but he assur'd me, that the Steward of the King's Revenue (from Lands) and the Proviedore, or Steward of the Monastery, had taken great Care all along, that the Incumbent, that is to say my Partner, gave every Year a faithful Account of the Produce, of which they receiv'd duly my Moiety.
I ask'd him if he knew to what height of Improvement he had brought the Plantation? And, Whether he thought it might be worth looking after? Or, Whether on my going thither, I should meet with no Obstruction to my Possessing my just Right in the Moiety?
He told me, he could not tell exactly, to what Degree the Plantation was improv'd; but this he knew, that my Partner was grown exceeding Rich upon the enjoying but one half of it; and that to the best of his Remembrance, he had heard, that the King's Third of my Part, which was it seems granted away to some other Monastery, or Religious House, amounted to above two hundred Moidores a Year; that as to my being restor'd to a quiet Possession of it, there was no question to be made of that, my Partner being alive to witness my Title, and my Name being also enrolled in the Register of the Country; also he told me, That the Survivors of my two Trustees, were very fair honest People, and very Wealthy; and he believ'd I would not only have their Assistance for putting me in Possession, but would find a very considerable Sum of Money in their Hands, for my Account; being the Produce of the Farm while their Fathers held the Trust, and before it was given up as above, which as he remember'd, was for about twelve Years.
I shew'd my self a little concern'd, and uneasy at this Account, and enquir'd of the old Captain, How it came to pass, that the Trustees should thus dispose my Effects, when he knew that I had made my Will, and had made him, the Portuguese Captain, my universal Heir, & c.
He told me, that was true; but that as there was no Proof of my being dead, he could not act as Executor, until some certain Account should come of my Death, and that besides, he was not willing to intermeddle with a thing so remote; that it was true he had registred my Will, and put in his Claim; and could he have given any Account of my being dead or alive, he would have acted by Procuration, and taken Possession of the Ingenio, so they call'd the Sugar-House, and had' given his Son, who was now at the Brasils, Order to do it.
But, says the old Man, I have one Piece of News to tell you, which perhaps may not be so acceptable to you as the rest, and that is, That believing you were lost, and all the World believing so also, your Partner and Trustees did offer to accompt to me in your Name, for six or eight of the first Years of Profits, which I receiv'd; but there being at that time, says he, great Disbursements for encreasing the Works, building an Ingenio, and buying Slaves, it did not amount to near so much as afterwards it produced: However, says she old Man, I shall give you a true Account of what I have received in all, and how I have disposed of it.
After a few Days farther Conference with this ancient Friend, he brought me an Account of the six first Years Income of my Plantation, sign'd by my Partner and the Merchants Trustees, being always deliver'd in Goods, viz. Tobacco in Roll, and Sugar in Chests, besides Rum, Molossus, & c. which is the Consequence of a Sugar Work; and I found by this Account, that every Year the Income considerably encreased; but as above, the Disbursement being large, the Sum at first was small: However, the old Man let me see, that he was Debtor to me 470 Moidores of Gold, besides 60 Chests of Sugar, and 15 double Rolls of Tobacco which were lost in his Ship; he having been Ship-wreck'd coming Home to Lisbon about 11 Years after my leaving the Place.
The good Man then began to complain of his Misfortunes, and how he had been obliged to make Use of my Money to recover his Losses, and buy him a Share in a new Ship: However, my old Friend, says he, you shall not want a Supply in your Necessity; and as soon as my Son returns, you shall be fully satisfy'd.
Upon this, he pulls out an old Pouch, and gives me 160 Portugal Moidores in Gold; and giving me the Writing of his Title to the Ship, which his Son was gone to the Brasils in, of which he was a Quarter Part Owner, and his Son another, he puts them both into my Hands for Security of the rest.
I was too much mov'd with the Honesty and Kindness of the poor Man, to be able to bear this; and remembering what he had done for me, how he had taken me up at Sea, and how generously he had used me on all Occasions, and particularly, how sincere a Friend he was now to me, I could hardly refrain Weeping at what he said to me: Therefore, first I asked him, if his Circumstances admitted him to spare so much Money at that time, and if it would not straiten him? He told me, he could not say but it might straiten him a little; but however it was my Money, and I might want it more than he.
Every thing the good Man said was full of Affection, and I could hardly refrain from Tears while he spoke: In short, I took 100 of the Moidores, and call'd for a Pen and Ink to give him a Receipt for them; then I returned him the rest, and told him, If ever I had Possession of the Plantation, I would return the other to him also, as indeed I afterwards did; and that as to the Bill of Sale of his Part in his Son's Ship, I would not take it by any Means; but that if I wanted the Money, I found he was honest enough to pay me; and if I did not, but came to receive what he gave me reason to expect, I would never have a Penny more from him.
When this was pass'd, the old Man began to ask me, If he should put me into a Method to make my Claim to my Plantation? I told him, I thought to go over to it my self: He said, I might do so if I pleas'd; but that if I did not, there were Ways enough to secure my Right, and immediately to appropriate the Profits to my Use; and as there were Ships in the River of Lisbon, just ready to go away to Brasil, he made me enter my Name in a Publick Register, with his Affidavit, affirming upon Oath that I was alive, and that I was the same Person who took up the Land for the Planting the said Plantation at first.
This being regularly attested by a Notary, and a Procuration affix'd, he directed me to send it with a Letter of his Writing, to a Merchant of his Acquaintance at the Place, and then propos'd my staying with him till an Account came of the Return.
Never any Thing was more honourable, than the Proceedings upon this Procuration; for in less than seven Months, I receiv'd a large Packet from the Survivors of my Trustees the Merchants, for whose Account I went to Sea, in which were the following particular Letters and Papers enclos'd.
First, There was the Account Current of the Produce of my Farms or Plantation, from the Year when their Fathers had ballanc'd with my old Portugal Captain, being for six Years; the Ballance appear'd to be 1174 Moidores in my Favour.
Secondly, There was the Account of four Years more while they kept the Effects in their Hands, before the Government claim'd the Administration, as being the Effects of a Person not to be found, which they call'd Civil
Death; and the Ballance of this, the Value of the Plantation encreasing, amounted to [38,892] Cruisadoes, which made 3241 Moidores.
Thirdly, There was the Prior of the Augustin's Account, who had receiv'd the Profits for above fourteen Years; but not being to account for what was dispos'd to the Hospital, very honestly declar'd he had 872 Moidores not distributed, which he acknowledged to my Account; as to the King's Part, that refunded nothing.
There was a Letter of my Partner's, congratulating me very affectionately upon my being alive, giving me an Account how the Estate was improv'd, and what it produced a Year, with a Particular of the Number of Squares or Acres that it contained; how planted, how many Slaves there were upon it, and making two and twenty Crosses for Blessings, told me he had said so many Ave Marias to thank the Blessed Virgin that I was alive; inviting me very passionately to come over and take Possession of my own; and in the mean time to give him Orders to whom he should deliver my Effects, if I did not come my self; concluding with a hearty Tender of his Friendship, and that of his Family, and sent me, as a Present, seven fine Leopard's Skins, which he had it seems received from Africa, by some other Ship which he had sent thither, and who it seems had made a better Voyage than I: He sent me also five Chests of excellent Sweet-meats, and an hundred Pieces of Gold uncoin'd, not quite so large as Moidores.
By the same Fleet, my two Merchant Trustees shipp'd me 1 200 Chests of Sugar, 800 Rolls of Tobacco, and the rest of the whole Accompt in Gold.
I might well say, now indeed, That the latter End of Job was better than the Beginning. It is impossible to express pere the Flutterings of my very Heart, when I look'd over these Letters, and especially when I found all my Wealth about me; for as the Brasil Ships come all in Fleets, the same Ships which brought my Letters, brought my Goods; and the Effects were safe in the River before the Letters came to my Hand. In a Word, I turned pale, and grew sick; and had not the old Man run and fetch'd me a Cordial, I believe the sudden Surprize of Joy had overset Nature, and I had dy'd upon the Spot.
Nay after that, I continu'd very ill, and was so some Hours, 'till a Physician being sent for, and something of the real Cause of my illness being known, he order'd me to be let Blood; after which, I had Relief, and grew well: But I verily believe, if it had not been eas'd by a Vent given in that Manner, to the Spirits, I should have dy'd.
I was now Master, all on a Sudden, of above 5000 l. Sterling in Money, and had an Estate, as I might well call it, in the Brasils, of above a thousand Pounds a Year, as sure as an Estate of Lands in England: And in a Word, I was in a Condition which I scarce knew how to understand, or how to compose my self, for the Enjoyment of it.
The first thing I did, was to recompense my original Benefactor, my good old Captain, who had been first charitable to me in my Distress, kind to me in my Beginning, and honest to me at the End: I shew'd him all that was sent me, I told him, that next to the Providence of Heaven, which disposes all things, it was Owing to him; and that it now lay on me to reward him, which I would do a hundred fold: So I first return'd to him the hundred Moidores I had receiv'd of him, then I sent for a Notary, and caused him to draw up a general Release or Discharge for the 470 Moidores, which he had acknowledg'd he ow'd me in the fullest and firmest Manner possible; after which, I caused a Procuration to be drawn, impowering him to be my Receiver of the annual Profits of my Plantation, and appointing my Partner to accompt to him, and make the Returns by the usual Fleets to him in my Name; and a Clause in the End, being a Grant of 100 Moidores a Year to him, during his Life, out of the Effects, and 50 Moidores a Year to his Son after him, for his Life: And thus I requited my old Man.
I was now to consider which Way to steer my Course next, and what to do with the Estate that Providence had thus put into my Hands; and indeed I had more Care upon my Head now, than I had in my silent State of Life in the Island, where I wanted nothing but what I had, and had nothing but what I wanted: Whereas I had now a great Charge upon me, and my Business was how to secure it. I had ne'er a Cave now to hide my Money in, or a Place where it might lye without Lock or Key, 'till it grew mouldy and tarnish'd before any Body would meddle with it: On the contrary, I knew not where to put it, or who to trust with it. My old Patron, the Captain, indeed was honest, and that was the only Refuge I had.
In the next Place, my Interest in the Brasils seem'd to summon me thither, but now I could not tell, how to think of going thither, 'till I had settled my Affairs, and left my Effects in some safe Hands behind me. At first I thought of my old Friend the Widow, who I knew was honest, and would be just to me; but then she was in Years, and but poor, and for ought I knew, might be in Debt; so that in a Word, I had no Way but to go back to England my self, and take my Effects with me.
It was some Months however before I resolved upon this; and therefore, as I had rewarded the old Captain fully, and to his Satisfaction, who had been my former Benefactor, so I began to think of my poor Widow, whose Husband had been my first Benefactor, and she, while it was in her Power, my faithful Steward and Instructor. So the first thing I did, I got a Merchant in Lisbon to write to his Correspondent in London, not only to pay a Bill, but to go find her out, and carry her in Money, an hundred Pounds from me, and to talk with her, and comfort her in her Poverty, by telling her she should, if I liv'd, have a further Supply: At the same time I sent my two Sisters in the Country, each of them an Hundred Pounds, they being, though not in Want, yet not in very good Circumstances; one having been marry'd, and left a Widow; and the other having a Husband not so kind to her as he should be.
But among all my Relations, or Acquaintances, I could not yet pitch upon one, to whom I durst commit the Gross of my Stock, that I might go away to the Brasils, and leave things safe behind me; and this greatly perplex'd me.
I had once a Mind to have gone to the Brasils, and have settled my self there; for I was, as it were, naturaliz'd to the Place; but I had some little Scruple in my Mind about Religion, which insensibly drew me back, of which I shall say more presently. However, it was not Religion that kept me rom going there for the present; and as I had made no Scruple of being openly of the Religion of the Country, all the while I was among them, so neither did I yet; only that now and then having of late thought more of it, (than formerly) when I began to think of living and dying among them, I began to regret my having profess'd my self a Papist, and thought it might not be the best Religion to die with.
But, as I have said, this was not the main thing that kept me from going to the Brasils, but that really I did not know with whom to leave my Effects behind me; so I resolv'd at last to go to England with it, where, if I arrived, I concluded I should make some Acquaintance, or find some Relations that would be faithful to me; and according I prepar'd to go for England with all my Wealth.
In order to prepare things for my going Home, I first, the Brasil Fleet being just going away, resolved to give Answers suitable to the just and faithful Account of things I had from thence; and first to the Prior of St. Augustine I wrote a Letter full of Thanks for their just Dealings, and the Offer of the 872 Moidores, which was indisposed of, which I desir'd might be given 500 to the Monastery, and 372 to the Poor, as the Prior should direct, desiring the good Padres Prayers for me, and the like.
I wrote next a Letter of Thanks to my two Trustees, with all the Acknowledgment that so much Justice and Honesty call'd for; as for sending them any Present, they were far above having any Occasion of it.
Lastly, I wrote to my Partner, acknowledging his Industry in the Improving the Plantation, and his Integrity in encreasing the Stock of the Works, giving him Instructions for his future Government of my Part, according to the Powers I had left with my old Patron, to whom I desir'd him to send whatever became due to me, 'till he should hear me more particularly; assuring him that it was my Intention, not only to come to him, but to settle my self there for the Remainder of my Life: To this I added a very handsom Present of some Italian Silks for his Wife, and two Daughters, for such the Captain's Son inform'd me he had; with two Pieces of fine English broad Cloath, the best I could get in Lisbon, five Pieces of black Bays, and some Flanders Lace of a good Value.
Having thus settled my Affairs, sold my Cargoe, and turn'd all my Effects into good Bills of Exchange, my next Difficulty was, which Way to go to England: I had been accustom'd enough to the Sea, and yet I had a strange Aversion to going to England by Sea at that time; and though I could give no Reason for it, yet the Difficulty encreas'd upon me so much, that though I had once shipp'd my Baggage, in order to go, yet I alter'd my Mind, and that not once, but two or three times.
It is true, I had been very unfortunate by Sea, and this might be some of the Reason: But let no Man slight the strong Impulses of his own Thoughts in Cases of such Moment: Two of the Ships which I had singl'd out to go in, I mean, more particularly singl'd out than any other, that is to say, so as in one of them to put my things on Board, and in the other to have agreed with the Captain; I say, two of these Ships miscarry'd, viz. One was taken by the Algerines, and the other was cast away on the Start near Torbay, and all the People drown'd except three; so that in either of those Vessels I had been made miserable; and in which most, it was hard to say.
Having been thus harass'd in my Thoughts, my old Pilot, to whom I communicated every thing, press'd me earnestly not to go by Sea, but either to go by Land to the Groyne, and cross over the Bay of Biscay to Rochell, from whence it was but an easy and safe Journey by Land to Paris, and so to Calais and Dover; or to go up to Madrid, and so all the Way by Land thro' France.
In a Word, I was so prepossess'd against my going by Sea at all, except from Calais to Dover, that I resolv'd to travel all the Way by Land; which as I was not in Haste, and did not value the Charge, was by much the pleasanter Way; and to make it more so, my old Captain brought an English Gentleman, the Son of a Merchant in Lisbon, who was willing to travel with me: After which, we pick'd up two more English Merchants also, and two young Portuguese Gentlemen, the last going to Paris only; so that we were in all six of us, and five Servants; the two Merchants and the two Portuguese, contenting themselves with one Servant, between two, to save the Charge; and as for me, I got an English Sailor to travel with me as a Servant, besides my Man Friday, who was too much a Stranger to be capable of supplying the Place of a Servant on the Road.
In this Manner I set out from Lisbon; and our Company being all very well mounted and armed, we made a little Troop, whereof they did me the Honour to call me Captain, as well because I was the oldest Man, as because I had two Servants, and indeed was the Original' of the whole Journey.
As I have troubled you with none of my Sea-Journals, so I shall trouble you now with none of my Land-Journal: But some Adventures that happen'd to us in this tedious and difficult Journey, I must not omit.
When we came to Madrid, we being all of us Strangers to Spain, were willing to stay some time to see the Court of Spain, and to see what was worth observing; but it being the latter Part of the Summer, we hasten'd away, and set out from Madrid about the Middle of October: But when we came to the Edge of Navarre, we were alarm'd at several Towns on the Way, with an Account, that so much Snow was fallen on the French Side of the Mountains, that several Travellers were obliged to come back to Pampeluna, after having attempted, at an extream Hazard, to pass on.
When we came to Pampeluna it self, we found it so indeed; and to me that had been always used to a hot Climate, and indeed to Countries where we could scarce bear any Cloaths on, the Cold was insufferable; nor indeed was it more painful than it was surprising, to come but ten Days before out of the old Castile where the Weather was not only warm but very hot, and immediately to feel a Wind from the Pyrenean Mountains, so very keen, so severely cold, as to be intollerable, and to endanger benumbing and perishing of our Fingers and Toes.
Poor Friday was really frighted when he saw the Mountains all cover'd with Snow, and felt cold Weather, which he had never seen or felt before in his Life.
To mend the Matter, when we came to Pampeluna, it continued snowing with so much Violence, and so long, that the People said, Winter was come before its time, and the Roads which were difficult before, were now quite impassable: For in a Word, the Snow lay in some Places too thick for us to travel; and being not hard frozen, as is the Case in Northern Countries: There was no going without being in Danger of being bury'd alive every Step. We stay'd no less than twenty Days at Pampeluna; when seeing the Winter coming on, and no Likelihood of its being better; for it was the severest Winter all over Europe that had been known in the Memory of Man. I propos'd that we should all go away to Fonterabia, and there take Shipping for Bourdeaux, which was a very little Voyage.
But while we were considering this, there came in four French Gentlemen, who having been stopp'd on the French Side of the Passes, as we were on the Spanish, had found out a Guide, who traversing the Country near the Head of Languedoc, had brought them over the Mountains by such Ways, that they were not much incommoded with the Snow; and where they met with Snow in any Quantity, they said it was frozen hard enough to bear them and their Horses.
We sent for this Guide, who told us, he would undertake to carry us the same Way with no Hazard from the Snow, provided we were armed sufficiently to protect our selves from wild Beasts; for he said, upon these great Snows, it was frequent for some Wolves to show themselves at the Foot of the Mountains, being made ravenous for Want of Food, the Ground being covered with Snow: We told him, we were well enough prepar'd for such Creatures as they were, if he would ensure us from a Kind of two-legged Wolves, which we were told, we were in most Danger from, especially on the French Side of the Mountains.
He satisfy'd us there was no Danger of that kind in the Way that we were to go; so we readily agreed to follow him, as did also twelve other Gentlemen, with their Servants, some French, some Spanish; who, as I said, had attempted to go, and were obliged to come back again.
Accordingly, we all set Out from Pampeluna, with our Guide, on the fifteenth of November; and indeed, I was surpriz'd, when instead of going forward, he came directly back with us, on the same Road that we came from Madrid, above twenty Miles; when being pass'd two Rivers, and come into the plain Country, we found our selves in a warm Climate again, where the Country was pleasant, and no Snow to be seen; but on a sudden, turning to his left, he approach'd the Mountains another Way; and though it is true, the Hills and Precipices look'd dreadful, yet he made so many Tours, such Meanders, and led us by such winding Ways, that we were insensibly pass'd the Height of the Mountains, without being much incumbred with the Snow; and all on a sudden, he shew'd us the pleasant fruitful Provinces of Languedoc and Gascoign, all green and flourishing; tho' indeed it was at a great Distance, and we had some rough Way to pass yet.
We were a little uneasy however, when we found it snow'd one whole Day, and a Night, so fast, that we could not travel; but he bid us be easy, we should soon be past it all: We found indeed, that we began to descend every Day, and to come more North than before; and so depending upon our Guide, we went on.
It was about two Hours before Night, when our Guide being something before us, and not just in Sight, out rushed three monstrous Wolves, and after them a Bear, out of a hollow Way, adjoyning to a thick Wood; two of the Wolves flew upon the Guide, and had he been half a Mile before us, he had been devour'd indeed, before we could have help'd him: One of them fastned upon his Horse, and the other attack'd the Man with that Violence, that he had not Time, or not Presence of Mind enough to draw his Pistol, but hollow'd and cry'd out to us most lustily; my Man Friday being next me, I bid him ride up, and see what was the Matter; as soon as Friday came in Sight of the Man, he hollow'd as loud as t'other, O Master! O Master! But like a bold Fellow, rode directly up to the poor Man, and with his Pistol shot the Wolf that attack'd him into the Head.
It was happy for the poor Man, that it was my Man Friday; for he having been us'd to that kind of Creature in his Country, had no Fear upon him; but went close up to him, and shot him as above; whereas any of us, would have fir'd at a farther Distance, and have perhaps either miss'd the Wolf, or endanger'd shooting the Man.
But it was enough to have terrify'd a bolder Man than I, and indeed it alarm'd all our Company, when with the Noise of Friday's Pistol, we heard on both Sides the dismallest Howling of Wolves, and the Noise redoubled by the Eccho of the Mountains, that it was to us as if there had been a prodigious Multitude of them; and perhaps indeed there was not such a Few, as that we had no cause of Apprehensions.
However, as Friday had kill'd this Wolf, the other that had fastned upon the Horse, left him immediately, and fled; having happily fastned upon his Head, where the Bosses of the Bridle had stuck in his Teeth; so that he had not done him much Hurt: The Man indeed was most Hurt; for the raging Creature had bit him twice, once on the Arm, and the other Time a little above his Knee; and he was just as it were tumbling down by the Disorder of his Horse, when Friday came up and shot the Wolf.
It is easy to suppose, that at the Noise of Friday's Pistol, we all mended our Pace, and rid up as fast as the Way (which was very difficult) would give us leave, to see what was the Matter; as soon as we came clear of the Trees, which blinded us before, we saw clearly what had been the Case, and how Friday had disengag'd the poor Guide; though we did not presently discern what kind of Creature it was he had kill'd.
But never was a Fight manag'd so hardily, and in such a surprizing Manner, as that which follow'd between Friday and the Bear, which gave us all (though at first we were surpriz'd and afraid for him) the greatest Diversion imaginable: As the Bear is a heavy, clumsey Creature, and does not gallop as the Wolf does, who is swift, and light; so he has two particular Qualities, which generally are the Rule of his Actions; First, As to Men, who are not his proper Prey; I say, not his proper Prey; because tho' I cannot say what excessive Hunger might do, which was now their Case, the Ground being all cover'd with Snow; but as to Men, he does not usually attempt them, unless they first attack him: On the contrary, if you meet him in the Woods, if you don't meddle with him, he won't meddle with you; but then you must take Care to be very Civil to him, and give him the Road; for he is a very nice Gentleman, he won't go a Step out of his Way for a Prince; nay, if you are really afraid, your best way is to look another Way, and keep going on; for sometimes if you stop, and stand still, and look steadily at him, he takes it for an Affront; but if you throw or toss any Thing at him, and it hits him, though it were but a bit of a Stick, as big as your Finger, he takes it for an Affront, and sets all his other Business aside to pursue his Revenge; for he will have Satisfaction in Point of Honour; that is his first Quality: The next is, That if he be once affronted, he will never leave you, Night or Day, till he has his Revenge; but follows at a good round rate, till he overtakes you.
My Man Friday had deliver'd our Guide, and when we came up to him, he was helping him off from his Horse; for the Man was both hurt and frighted, and indeed, the last more than the first; when on the sudden, we spy'd the Bear come Out Of the Wood, and a vast monstrous One it was, the biggest by far that ever I saw: We were all a little surpriz'd, when we saw him; but when Friday saw him, it was easy to see Joy and Courage in the Fellow's Countenance; O! O! O! Says Friday, three Times, pointing to him; O Master, You give me te Leave! Me shakee te Hand mith him: Me make you good laugh.
I was surpriz'd to see the Fellow so pleas'd; You Fool you, says I, he mill eat you up: Eatee me up! Eatee me up! Says Friday, twice over again; Me eatee him up: Me make you good laugh: You all stay here, me show you good laugh; so down he sits, and gets his Boots off in a Moment, and put on a Pair of Pumps (as we call the flat Shoes they wear) and which he had in his Pocket, gives my other Servant his Horse, and with his Gun away he flew swift like the Wind.
The Bear was walking softly on, and offer'd to meddle with no Body, till Friday coming pretty near, calls to him, as if the Bear could understand him; Hark ye, hark ye, says Friday, me speakee wit your: We follow'd at a Distance; for now being come down on the Gascoign side of the Mountains, we were entred a vast great Forest, where the Country was plain, and pretty open, though many Trees in it scatter'd here and there.
Friday, who had as we say, the Heels of the Bear, came up with him quickly, and takes up a great Stone, and throws at him, and hit him just on the Head; but did him no more harm, than if he had thrown it against a Wall; but it answer'd Friday's End; for the Rogue was so void of Fear, that he did it purely to make the Bear follow him, and show us some Laugh as he call'd it.
As soon as the Bear felt the Stone, and saw him, he turns about, and comes after him, taking Devilish long Strides, and shuffling along at a strange Rate, so as would have put a Horse to a midling Gallop; away runs Friday, and takes his Course, as if he run towards us for Help; so we all resolv'd to fire at once upon the Bear, and deliver my Man; though I was angry at him heartily, for bringing the Bear back upon us, when he was going about his own Business another Way; and especially I was angry that he had turn'd the Bear upon us, and then run away; and I call'd out, You Dog, said I, is this your making us laugh? Come away, and take your Horse, that me may shoot the Creature; he hears me, and crys Out, No shoot, no shoot, stand still, you get much Laugh. And as the nimble Creature run two Foot for the Beast's one, he turn'd on a sudden, on one side of us, and seeing a great Oak-Tree, fit for his Purpose, he beckon'd to us to follow, and doubling his Pace, he gets nimbly up the Tree laying his Gun down upon the Ground, at about five or six Yards from the Bottom of the Tree.
The Bear soon came to the Tree, and we follow'd at a Distance; the first Thing he did, he stopp'd at the Gun, smelt to it, but let it lye, and up he scrambles into the Tree, climbing like a Cat, though so monstrously heavy: I was amazed at the Folly, as I thought it, of my Man, and could not for my Life see any Thing to laugh at yet, till seeing the Bear get up the Tree, we all rod nearer to him.
When we came to the Tree, there was Friday got out to the small End of a large Limb of the Tree, and the Bear got about half way to him; as soon as the Bear got out to that part where the Limb of the Tree was weaker, Ha, says he to us, now you see me teachee the Bear dance; so he falls a jumping and shaking the Bough, at which the Bear began to totter, but stood still, and begun to look behind him, to see how he should get back; then indeed we did laugh heartily: But Friday had not done with him by a great deal; when he sees him stand still, he calls out to him again, as if he had suppos'd the Bear could speak English; What you no come farther, pray you come farther; so he left jumping and shaking the Tree; and the Bear, just as if he had understood what he said, did come a little further, then he fell a jumping again, and the Bear stopp'd again.
We thought now was a good time to knock him on the Head, and I call'd to Friday to stand still, and we would shoot the Bear; but he cry'd out earnestly, O pray! O pray! No shoot, me shoot, by and then; he would have said, By and by: However, to shorten the Story, Friday danc'd so much, and the Bear Stood so ticklish, that we had laughing enough indeed, but still could not imagine what the Fellow would do; for first we thought he depended upon shaking the Bear off; and we found the Bear was too cunning for that too; for he would not go out far enough to be thrown down, but clings fast with his great broad Claws and Feet, so that we could not imagine what would be the End of it, and where the Jest would be at last.
But Friday put us out of doubt quickly; for seeing the Bear cling fast to the Bough, and that he would not be persuaded to come any farther; Well, well, says Friday, you no come farther, me go, me go; you no come to me, me go come to you; and upon this, he goes out to the smallest End of the Bough, where it would bend with his Weight, and gently lets himself down by it, sliding down the Bough, till he came near enough to jump down on his Feet, and away he run to his Gun, takes it up, and stands still.
Well, said I to him Friday, What will you do now? Why don't you shoot him? No shoot, says Friday, no yet, me shoot nom, me no kill; me stay, give you one more laugh; and indeed so he did, as you will see presently; for when the Bear see his Enemy gone, he comes back from the Bough where he stood; but did it mighty leisurely, looking behind him every Step, and coming backward till he got into the Body of the Tree; then with the same hinder End foremost, he came down the Tree, grasping it with his Claws, and moving one Foot at a Time, very leisurely; at this Juncture, and just before he could set his hind Feet upon the Ground, Friday stept up close to him, clapt the Muzzle of his Piece into his Ear, and shot him dead as a Stone.
Then the Rogue turn'd about, to see if we did not laugh, and when he saw we were pleas'd by our Looks, he falls a laughing himself very loud; so me kill Bear in my Country, says Friday; so you kill them, says I, Why you have no Guns:
No, says he, no Gun, but shoot, great much long Arrow.
This was indeed a good Diversion to us; but we were still in a wild Place, and our Guide very much hurt, and what to do we hardly knew; the Howling of Wolves run much in my Head; and indeed, except the Noise I once heard on the Shore of Africa, of which I have said something already, I never heard any thing that filled me with so much Horrour.
These things, and the Approach of Night, called us off, or else, as Friday would have had us, we should certainly have taken the Skin of this monstrous Creature off, which was which saving; but we had three Leagues to go, and our Guide hasten'd us, so we left him, and went forward on our Journey.
The Ground was still cover'd with Snow, tho' not so deep and dangerous as on the Mountains, and the ravenous Creatures, as we heard afterwards, were come down into the Forest and plain Country, press'd by Hunger to seek for Food; and had done a great deal of Mischief in the Villages, where they surpriz'd the Country People, kill'd a great many of their Sheep and Horses, and some People too.
We had one dangerous Place to pass, which our Guide told us, if there were any more Wolves in the Country, we should find them there; and this was in a small Plain, surrounded with Woods on every Side, and a long narrow Defile or Lane, which we were to pass to get through the Wood, and then we should come to the Village where we were to lodge.
It was within half an Hour of Sun-set when we entred the first Wood; and a little after Sun-set, when we came into the Plain. We met with nothing in the first Wood, except, that in a little Plain within the Wood, which was not above two Furlongs over, we saw five great Wolves cross the Road, full Speed one after another, as if they had been in Chase of some Prey, and had it in View; they took no Notice of us, and were gone, and out of our Sight in a few Moments.
Upon this our Guide, who by the Way was a wretched faint-hearted Fellow, bid us keep in a ready Posture; for he believed there were more Wolves a coming.
We kept our Arms ready, and our Eyes about us, but we saw no more Wolves, 'till we came thro' that Wood, which was near half a League, and entred the Plain; as soon as we came into the Plain, we had Occasion enough to look about us: The first Object we met with, was a dead Horse; that is to say, a poor Horse which the Wolves had kill'd, and at least a Dozen of them at Work; we could not say eating of him, but picking of his Bones rather; for they had eaten up all the Flesh before.
We did not think fit to disturb them at their Feast, neither did they take much Notice of us: Friday would have let fly at them, but I would not suffer him by any Means; for I found we were like to have more Business upon our Hands than we were aware of. We were not gone half over the Plain, but we began to hear the Wolves howl in the Wood on our Left, in a frightful Manner, and presently alter we saw about a hundred coming on directly towards us, all in a Body, and most of them in a Line, as regularly as an Army drawn up by experienc'd Officers. I scarce knew in what Manner to receive them; but found to draw our selves in a close Line was the only Way: so we form'd in a Moment: But that we might not have too much Interval, I order'd, that only every other Man should fire, and that the others who had not fir'd should stand ready to give them a second Volley immediately, if they continued to advance upon us, and that then those who had fir'd at first, should not pretend to load their Fusees again, but stand ready with every one a Pistol; for we were all arm'd with a Fusee, and a Pair of Pistols each Man; so we were by this Method able to fire six Volleys, half of us at a Time; however, at present we had no Necessity; for upon firing the first Volley, the Enemy made a full Stop, being terrify'd as well with the Noise, as with the Fire; four of them being shot into the Head, dropp'd, several others were wounded, and went bleeding off, as we could see by the Snow: I found they stopp'd, but did not immediately retreat; whereupon remembring that I had been told, that the fiercest Creatures were terrify'd at the Voice of a Man, I caus'd all our Company to hollow as loud as we could; and I found the Notion not altogether mistaken; for upon our Shout, they began to retire, and turn about; then I order'd a second Volley to be fir'd, in their Rear, which put them to the Gallop, and away they went to the Woods.
This gave us leisure to charge our Pieces again, and that we might loose no Time, we kept going; but we had but little more than loaded our Fusees, and put our selves into a Readiness, when we heard a terrible Noise in the same Wood, on our Left, only that it was farther onward the same Way we were to go.
The Night was coming on, and the Light began to be dusky, which made it worse on our Side; but the Noise encreasing, we could easily perceive that it was the Howling and Yelling of those hellish Creatures; and on a sudden, we perceiv'd 2 or 3 Troops of Wolves, one on our Left, one behind us, and one on our Front; so that we seem'd to be surrounded with 'em; however, as they did not fall upon us, we kept our Way forward, as fast as we could make Our Horses go, which the Way being very rough, was only a good large Trot; and in this Manner we came in View of the Entrance of a Wood, through which we were to pass, at the farther Side of the Plain; but we were greatly surpriz'd, when coming nearer the Lane, or Pass, we saw a confus'd Number of Wolves standing just at the Entrance.
On a sudden, at another opening of the Wood, we heard the Noise of a Gun; and looking that Way, out rush'd a Horse, with a Saddle, and a Bridle on him, flying like the Wind, and sixteen or seventeen Wolves after him, full Speed; indeed, the Horse had the Heels of them; but as we suppos'd that he could not hold it at that rate, we doubted not but they would get up with him at last, and no question but they did.
But here we had a most horrible Sight; for riding up to the Entrance where the Horse came out, we found the Carcass of another Horse, and of two Men, devour'd by the ravenous Creatures, and one of the Men was no doubt the same who we heard fir'd the Gun; for there lay a Gun just by him, fir'd off; but as to the Man, his Head, and the upper Part of his Body was eaten up.
This fill'd us with Horror, and we knew not what Course to take, but the Creatures resolv'd us' soon; for they gather'd about us presently, in hopes of Prey; and I verily believe there were three hundred of them: It happen'd very much to our Advantage, that at the Entrance into the Wood, but a little Way from it, there lay some large Timber Trees, which had been cut down the Summer before, and I Suppose lay there for Carriage; I drew my little Troop in among those Trees, and placing our selves in a Line, behind one long Tree, I advis'd them all to light, and keeping that Tree before us, for a Breast Work, to stand in a Triangle, or three Fronts, enclosing Our Horses in the Center.
We did so, and it was well we did; for never was a more furious Charge than the Creatures made upon us in the Place; they came on us with a growling kind of a Noise (and mounted the Piece of Timber, which as I said, was our Breast Work) as if they were only rushing upon their Prey; and this Fury of theirs, it seems, was principally occasion'd by their seeing our Horses behind us, which was the Prey they aim'd at: I order'd our Men to fire as before, every other Man; and they took their Aim so sure, that indeed they kill'd several of the Wolves at the first Volley; but there was a Necessity to keep a continual Firing; for they came on like Devils, those behind pushing on those before.
When we had fir'd our second Volley of our Fusees, we thought they stopp'd a little, and hop'd they would have gone off; but it was but a Moment; for others came forward again; so we fir'd two Volleys of our Pistols, and I believe in these four Firings, we had kill'd seventeen or eighteen of them, and lam'd twice as many; yet they came on again.
I was loath to spend our last Shot too hastily; so I call'd my Servant, not my Man Friday, for he was better employ'd; for with the greatest Dexterity imaginable, he had charg'd my Fusee, and his own, while we were engag'd; but as I said, I call'd my other Man, and giving him a Horn of Powder, I bad him lay a Train, all along the Piece of Timber, and let it be a large Train; he did so, and had but just Time to get away, when the Wolves came up to it, and some were got up upon it; when I snapping an uncharg'd Pistol, close to the Powder, set it on fire; those that were upon the Timber were scorcht with it, and six or seven of them fell, or rather jump'd in among us, with the Force and Fright of the Fire; we dispatch'd these in an Instant, and the rest were so frighted with the Light, which the Night, for it was now very near Dark, made more terrible, that they drew back a little.
Upon which I order'd our last Pistol to be fir'd off in one Volley, and after that we gave a Shout; upon this, the Wolves turn'd Tail, and we sally'd immediately upon near twenty lame Ones, who we found struggling on the Ground, and fell a cutting them with our Swords, which answer'd our Expectation; for the Crying and Howling they made, was better understood by their Fellows, so that they all fled and left us.
We had, first and last, kill'd about three Score of them; and had it been Day-Light, we had kill'd many more: The Field of Battle being thus clear'd, we made forward again; for we had still near a League to go. We heard the ravenous Creatures houl and yell in the Woods as we went, several Times; and sometimes we fancy'd we saw some of them, but the Snow dazling our Eyes, we were not certain; so in about an Hour more, we came to the Town, where we were to lodge, which we found in a terrible Fright, and all in Arms; for it seems, that the Night before, the Wolves and some Bears had broke into the Village in the Night, and put them in a terrible Fright, and they were oblig'd to keep Guard Night and Day, but especially in the Night, to preserve their Cattle, and indeed their People.
The next Morning our Guide was so ill, and his Limbs swell'd with the rankling of his two Wounds, that he could go no farther; so we were oblig'd to take a new Guide there, and go to Tholouse, where we found a warm Climate, a fruitful pleasant Country, and no Snow, no Wolves, or any Thing like them; but when we told our Story at Tholouse, they told us it was nothing but what was ordinary in the great Forest at the Foot of the Mountains, especially when the Snow lay on the Ground: But they enquir'd much what kind of a Guide we had gotten, that would venture to bring us that Way in such a severe Season; and told us, it was very much' we were not all devour'd. When we told them how we plac'd our selves, and the Horses in the Middle, they blam'd us exceedingly, and told us it was fifty to one but we had been all destroy'd; for it was the Sight of the Horses which made the Wolves so furious, Seeing their Prey; and that at other Times they are really afraid of a Gun; but the being excessive Hungry, and raging on that Account, the Eagerness to come at the Horses had made them sensless of Danger; and that if we had not by the continu'd Fire, and at last by the Stratagem of the Train of Powder, master'd them, it had been great Odds but that we had been torn to Pieces; whereas had we been content to have sat still on Horseback, and fir'd as Horsemen, they would not have taken the Horses for so much their own, when Men were on their Backs, as otherwise; and withal they told us, that at last, if we had stood altogether, and left our Horses, they would have been so eager to have devour'd them, that we might have come off safe, especially having our Fire Arms in our Hands, and being so many in Number.
For my Part, I was never so sensible of Danger in my Life; for seeing above three hundred Devils come roaring and open mouth'd to devour us, and having nothing to shelter us, or retreat to, I gave my self over for lost; and as was, I believe, I shall never care to cross those Mountains again; I think I would much rather go a thousand Leagues by Sea, though I were sure to meet with a Storm once a Week.
I have nothing uncommon to take Notice of, in my Passage through France; nothing but what other Travellers have given an Account of, with much more Advantage than I can. I travell'd from Tholouse to Paris, and without any considerable Stay, came to Callais, and landed safe at Dover, the fourteenth of January, after having had a severely cold Season to travel in.
I was now come to the Center of my Travels, and had in a little Time all my new discover'd Estate safe about me, the Bills of Exchange which I brought with me having been very currently paid.
My principal Guide, and Privy Councellor, was my good antient Widow, who in Gratitude for the Money I had sent her, thought no Pains too much, or Care too great, to employ for me; and I trusted her so entirely with every Thing, that I was perfectly easy as to the Security of my Effects; and indeed, I was very happy from my Beginning, and now to the End, in the unspotted Integrity of this good Gentle-woman.
And now I began to think of leaving my Effects with this Woman, and setting out for Lisbon, and so to the Brasils; but now another Scruple came in my Way, and that was Religion; for as I had entertain'd some Doubts about the Roman Religion, even while I was abroad, especially in my State of Solitude; so I knew there was no going to the Brasils for me, much less going to settle there, unless I resolv'd to embrace the Roman Catholick Religion, without any Reserve; unless on the other hand, I resolv'd to be a Sacrifice to my Principles, be a Martyr for Religion, and die in the Inquisition; so I resolv'd to stay at Home, and if I could find Means for it, to dispose of my Plantation.
To this Purpose I wrote to my old Friend at Lisbon, who in Return gave me Notice, that he could easily dispose of it there: But that if I thought fit to give him Leave to offer it In my Name to the two Merchants, the Survivors of my Trustees, who liv'd in the Brasils, who must fully under+ stand the Value of it, who liv'd just upon the Spot, and who I knew were very rich; so that he believ'd they would be fond of buying it; he did not doubt, but I should make 4 or 5000 Pieces Of Eight, the more of it.
Accordingly I agreed, gave him Order to offer it to them, and he did so; and in about 8 Months more, the Ship being then return'd, he sent me Account, that they had accepted the Offer, and had remitted 33000 Pieces Of Eight, to a Correspondent of theirs at Lisbon, to pay for it.
In Return, I sign'd the Instrument of Sale in the Form which they sent from Lisbon, and sent it to my old Man, who sent me Bills of Exchange for 32800 Pieces of Eight to me, for the Estate; reserving the Payment of 100 Moidores a Year to him, the old Man, during his Life, and 50 Moidores afterwards to his Son for his Life, which I had promised them, which the Plantation was to make good as a Rent-Charge. And thus I have given the first Part of a Life of Fortune and Adventure, a Life of Providence's Checquer-Work, and of a Variety which the World will seldom be able to show the like of: Beginning foolishly, but closing much more happily than any Part of it ever gave me Leave so much as to hope for.
Any one would think, that in this State of complicated good Fortune, I was past running any more Hazards; and so indeed I had been, if other Circumstances had concurr'd, but I was inur'd to a wandring Life, had no Family, not many Relations, nor however rich had I contracted much Acquaintance; and though I had sold my Estate in the Brasils, yet I could not keep the Country out of my Head, and had a great Mind to be upon the Wing again, especially I could not resist the strong Inclination I had to see my Island, and to' know if the poor Spaniards were in Being there, and how the Rogues I left there had used them.
My true Friend, the Widow, earnestly diswaded me from it, and so far prevail'd with me, that for almost seven Years she prevented my running Abroad; during which time, I took my two Nephews, the Children of one of my Brothers into my Care: The eldest having something of his own, I bred up as a Gentleman, and gave him a Settlement of some Addition to his Estate, after my Decease; the other I put out to a Captain of a Ship; and after five Years, finding him a sensible bold enterprising young Fellow, I put him into a good Ship, and sent him to Sea: And this young Fellow afterwards drew me in, as old as I was, to farther Adventures my self.
In the mean time, I in Part settled my self here; for first of all I marry'd, and that not either to my Disadvantage or Dissatisfaction, and had three Children, two Sons and one Daughter: But my Wife dying, and my Nephew coming Home with good Success from a Voyage to Spain, my Inclination to go Abroad, and his Importunity prevailed and engag'd me to go in his Ship, as a private Trader to the East Indies: This was in the Year 1694.
In this Voyage I visited my new Collony in the Island, saw my Successors the Spaniards, had the whole Story of their Lives, and of the Villains I left there; how at first they insulted the poor Spaniards, how they afterwards agreed, disagreed, united, separated, and how at last the Spaniards were oblig'd to use Violence with them, how they were subjected to the Spaniards, how honestly the Spaniards used them; a History, if it were entred into, as full of Variety and wonderful Accidents, as my own Part, particularly also as to their Battles with the Carribeans, who landed several times upon the Island, and as to the Improvement they made upon the Island it self, and how five of them made an Attempt upon the main Land, and brought away eleven Men and five Women Prisoners, by which, at my coming, I found about twenty young Children on the Island.
Here I stay'd about 20 Days, left them Supplies of all necessary things, and particularly of Arms, Powder, Shot, Cloaths, Tools, and two Workmen, which I brought from England with me, viz. a Carpenter and a Smith.
Besides this, I shar'd the Island into Parts with 'em, reserv'd to my self the Property of the whole, but gave them such Parts respectively as they agreed on; and having settled all things with them, and engaged them not to leave the Place, I left them there.
From thence I touch'd at the Brasils, from whence I sent a Bark, which I bought there, with more People to the Island, and in it, besides other Supplies, I sent seven Women, being such as I found proper for Service, or for Wives to such as would take them: As to the English Men, I promis'd them to send them some Women from England, with a good Cargoe of Necessaries, if they would apply themselves to Planting, which I afterwards perform'd. And the Fellows prov'd very honest and diligent after they were master'd, and had their Properties set apart for them. I sent them also from the Brasils five Cows, three of them being big with Calf, some Sheep, and some Hogs, which, when I came again, were considerably encreas'd.
But all these things, with an Account how 300 Caribbees came and invaded them, and ruin'd their Plantations, and how they fought with that whole Number twice, and were at first defeated, and three of them kill'd; but at last a Storm destroying their Enemies Cannoes, they famish'd or destroy'd almost all the rest, and renew'd and recover'd the Possession of their Plantation, and still liv'd upon the Island.
All these things, with some very surprizing Incidents in some new Adventures of my own, for ten Years more, I may perhaps give a farther Account of hereafter.