Henry Pitman’s A Relation of the Great Suffering
In February 1685, Charles II died, and his brother James II was crowned king. James II had many political opponents, partly due to his Catholicism (they worried that he would try to make England officially Catholic again, and like Mary I, do so by violence), but even more because of what many saw as his tendency towards absolutism. Political opponents in and out of Parliament worried he would be like his father. Some of those critics instead supported the claims of Charles II on, the Duke of Monmouth, to the crown, who, if he had been declared legitimate by his father, would indeed have been the rightful king instead of James II. In the months after his father’s death, Monmouth planned a rebellion from his position in exile in Holland. Monmouth invaded with a small army, landing in Lyme-Regis, in the western part of England, and calling supporters to join him. James II meanwhile gathered his army, and the rebellion was relatively quickly repressed.
Henry Pitman was one of the thousands of people captured in the aftermath of Monmouth’s Rebellion. In his case, he had participated in only a minor and indirect way. Many hundreds, perhaps thousands, were sentenced to death during the “bloody assizes” that followed, with the full punishment for treason (being hanged, drawn, & quartered). Because he played a more minor role, but also by good luck, Pitman escaped that sentence by being “reprieved” and sent to the colonies as his majesty’s bound servant. Selling such servants brought profits; indeed, after Monmouth’s rebellion, there was a struggle within the king’s court over who would receive how many convicts to sell in the West Indies. Pitman was one of those.
His adventures, published only after the Glorious Revolution, were part of the effort to repudiate the actions of James II. They capture the plight of someone bound into long-term servitude in Barbados, and the profound, life-threatening difficulties of escape. While the tale is exciting—so much so that Pitman would serve as partial inspiration for Rafael Sabatini’s book, and subsequent 1922 movie, Captain Blood—his description is also sobering. Few other such accounts from this early date survive. Why did his early efforts fail? How was he able to finally escape? What did Pitman’s experience share in common with those enslaved, according to his account? Pitman was one of tens of thousands of English (and Irish & Scottish) convicts over the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries whose death sentences were reprieved when they were sold as indentured servants in the colonies.
Questions to Consider:
- How did Pitman find himself bound and transported to Barbados? Why?
- What roles did the local Barbados government play in legalizing his status?
- Why does Pitman see his status as “enslaved”?
- Compare the act used to manage the bound Monmouth Rebels to the Barbados slave code & Jamaican Servant code. How was he treated? How was he able to escape? Did he have more chances to escape than others (poor whites, or those of African or Indigenous origin)? Why or why not?
- How long did Pitman serve? What happened to his brother?
- What questions might Pitman’s history help you to understand?
- Henry Pitman, A RELATION OF THE Great Sufferings AND Strange Adventures Of HENRY PITMAN, Chyrurgion to the late Duke of Monmouth (London: Printed by Andrew Sowle, sold by John Taylor, 1689), Reprinted in part in P.F. Campbell, “Adventures of a Monmouth Rebel,” in Chapters in Barbados History, first series, ed. P.F. Campbell (St. Ann’s Garrison, Barbados: Letchworth Press Ltd for Barbados Museum & Historical Society, 1986).
- Steve Pincus, 1688: The First Modern Revolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011).
- MacDonald Wigfield, The Monmouth Rebellion: A Social History, Including the Complete Text of Wade’s Narrative, 1685, and a Guide to the Battlefield of Sedgemoor (Tatowa, NJ: Moonraker Press, 1980).
- Tim Harris, Revolution: The Great Crisis of the British Monarchy, 1685–1720 (London and New York: Penguin, 2007), esp. pp. 66–100.
- Stephen M. Carter, Fighting for Liberty: Argyll & Monmouth’s Military Campaigns Against the Government of King James, 1685 (Helion & Company, 2020).
- Melinda Zook, Radical Whigs and Conspiratorial Politics in Late Stuart England (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999).
- Anna Keay, The Last Royal Rebel: The Life and Death of James, Duke of Monmouth (New York, NY: Bloomsbury Press, 2016).
- Simon Newman, “Hidden in plain sight: long-term escaped slaves in late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century Jamaica,” William and Mary Quarterly (2018).
- Jerome S. Handler, “Escaping Slavery in a Caribbean plantation society: Marronage in Barbados, 1650s-1830s,” British West Indian Guide (1997), 183-225. https://brill.com/view/journals/nwig/71/3-4/article-p183_1.xml
- Roger Ekirch, Bound for America: The Transportation of British Convicts to the Colonies, 1718-1775 (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1987).
- Henry Pitman, A RELATION OF THE Great Sufferings AND Strange Adventures Of HENRY PITMAN, Chyrurgion to the late Duke of Monmouth (London: Printed by Andrew Sowle, sold by John Taylor, 1689), Early English Books Online https://www.proquest.com/eebo/docview/2240855559/fulltextPDF/EE9618A492B34A1EPQ/1?accountid=14696 [Accessed May 7, 2018).
Cite this page
Of HENRY PITMAN,
Chyrurgion to the late Duke of Monmouth, contain-
ing an Account;
- Of the occasion of his being engaged in the Duke’s Service. 2. Of his Tryal, Condemnation, and Transportation to Barbadoes, with the most severe and Unchristian Acts made against him and his Fellow-sufferers, by the Governour and General Assembly of that Island. 3. How he made his escape in a small open Boat with some of his fellow Captives, namely, Jo. Whicker, Peter Bagwell, William Woodcock, Jo. Cooke, Jeremiah Atkins, &c. And how miraculously they were preserved on the Sea. 4. How they went ashore on a uninhabitable Island, where they met with some Privateers that burnt their Boat, and left them on that desolate place to shift for themselves. 5. After what manner they lived there for about three Moneths, until the said Henry Pitman was taken aboard a Privateer, and at length arrived safe in England. 6. How his Companions were received aboard another Privateer that was afterwards taken by the Spainards, and they all made Slaves; And how aftar six Moneths Captivity they were delivered, and returned to England also.
Licensed, June 13th, 1689.
London, Printed by Andrew Sowle; And are to be Sold by John Taylor, at the Sign
of the Ship in Paul‘s Church-Yard, 1689.
A RELATION, &c.
AS a necessary Introduction to the following Relation, it will be convenient that I give account of the occasion of my being engaged with the rest that went in to the Duke of Monmouth, and how far I was concerned in that Action.
Being at that time but newly returned from a Voyage to Italy, I went to see my Relations at Sandford in Sommerset-shire, where I had not been long before the Duke Landed at Lime, and making forwards, was advanced as far as Ilmister; upon which I was induced partly out of my own Curiosity, and partly by the Importunity of some of my Acquaintance, to go and see whether his strength and number was answerable to what the common Rumor had spread abroad; and to that purposed rode accompanied with my Brother, and some other Friends to Taunton, whither the Duke by this time was marching with such Forces as he had got together.
After some stay there, having fully satisfied my Curiosity by a full view both of his Person and his Army, I resolved to have returned home, and in order thereunto I took the direct Road back again with a Friend, who had the same Intention with my self, but understanding upon the Road that if we went forward, we should be certainly intercepted by the Lord of Oxford‘s Troop, then in our way, we found our selves of necessity obliged to retire back again to the Duke’s Forces, till we could meet with a more safe and convenient opportunity: but after some time losing my Horse, and no opportunity presenting it self, I was prevailed with by the importunate desires of my Friends and Acquaintance then in the Army, to stay and take care of the sick and wounded men, to which I was the rather induced, in regard I thought my self liable to the same punishment, should the Duke be defeated, as those who still remained in the Army; but more especially for that I saw many sick and wounded men miserably lamenting the want of Chyrurgions to dress their Wounds, so that Pity and Compassion on my fellow Creatures more especially, being my Brethren in Christianity, obliged me to stay and perform the Duty of my Calling among them, & to assist my Brother Chi-
rurgions [surgeons] towards the relief of those that otherwise must have languisht in misery; tho’ indeed there were many did, notwithstanding our utmost care and diligence, whose Lives perhaps might have been preserved to this day, had we had a Garrison; wherein to have given them Rest, and not have been constrained through the Cruelty and Inhumanity of the King’s Soldiers, to expose their wounded and fractured Limbs to the violent agitation and shoging of the Carts in our daily Marches. But as I was never in Arms my self, so neither was I wanting in my care to dress the Wounds of many of the King’s Soldiers, who were Prisoners in the Duke’s Army, using the utmost of my care and skill for both: And thus I continued in full Employment, dressing the wounded in the Night time, and marching by Day till the fatal rout and overthrow of the whole Army.
In my flight homewards I was taken Prisoner, and committed to Ilchester Goal by Col. Hellier, in whose Porch I had my Pockets rifled, and my Coat taken off my Back by my Guard; and in that manner was hurried away to Prison, where I remained, with many more under the same Circumstances, until the Assizes at Wells; tho’ perhaps there could not any thing have been proved against most of us, to have done us much harm, had they not extorted Confessions from us by sending certain Persons to the Prisons where we were, who called us forth one after another, and told us, That the King was very Gracious and Merciful, and would cause none to be executed but such as had been Officers, or otherwise Capital Offenders; and therefore if we would render our selves fit Objects of the King’s Grace & Favour, our only way was to give them an Account where we went into the Duke’s Army, and in what Capacity we served him, &c. otherwise we must expect no mercy or favour from the King, who would certainly punish all such wilful and obstinate Offenders. By which means they drew us into the Acknowledgment of our Guilt, and our Examinations and Confessions were written and sent to the King, before the Lord Chief Justice Jefferies came to try us: so that he knew before-hand our perticular Crimes, and likewise received Orders from the King (as ’tis supposed) who, and what Number to execute; but seeing our former Confessions were sufficient only to find the Bill against us by the Grand Jury, and not to prove us Guilty (the Petty Jury being obliged to give their Verdict according to the Evidence in Court) the Lord Chief Justice fearing lest we should deny what we formerly confest, and by that means put them to the trouble of proving it against us, caused about twenty eight Persons at the Assizes at Dorchester,
to be chosen from among the rest, against whom he knew he could procure Evidence, and brought them first to their Tryal, who pleaded Not Guilty; but Evidence being produced they were immediately condemned, and a Warrant signed for their Execution the same After-noon. The suddain Execution of these men so affrightned the rest, that we all, except three or four, pleaded Guilty, in hopes to save our Lives, but not without large Promises of the Kings Grace and Favour; for the Lord Chief Justice told us, That if we would acknowledge our Crimes by pleading Guilty to our Indictment, the King who was almost all Mercy, would be as ready to forgive us, as we were to rebel against him; yea, as ready to pardon us as we would be to ask it of him: and now was that common saying verified, Confess and be hanged; for notwithstanding his large Promises of Grace and Favour, we were all condemned to be drawn, hanged, & quartered, & by his order there was 230 executed, besides a great Number hanged immediately after the Fight; the rest of us was ordered to be Transported to the Caribe Islands, and in order thereunto my Brother and I, with near 100 more, was given to Jeremiah Nepho, and by him sold to George Penne a needy Papist, that wanted Money to pay for our Transportation, and therefore was very importunate with my Relations to purchase mine and my Brothers freedom, which my Relations at first were unwilling to do, having no assurance of performing Articles at such a distance, and therefore thought it best to defer it until we came to Barbadoes, or otherwise to agree to pay him as soon as they should receive an account of our being set free: But this not satisfying him, having present occasion of Money, he threatned that if they would not pay him now, he would give orders to his Brother-in-law in Barbadoes that our freedom should not be sold us after we came there, but that he should treat us with more rigour and severity then others; with these Threats on the one hand, and Promises of particular Favour on the other, he at length prevailed with our Relations, to give him threescore Pounds, upon condition that we should be free when we came to Barbadoes, only owning some Person whom we should think fit to nominate as a titular Master, and in case that these, with other Conditions, was not performed, the said George Penne was bound with his Brother John Penne in a Bond of 120 l. to pay the threescore Pounds back again: And thus we may see the buying and selling of Free-men into slavery, was beginning again to be renewed among Christians, as if that Heathenish Custom had been a necessary dependance on arbitrary Power.
And in order to our Transportation, we were removed to Weymouth, and Shipt aboard a Vessel that belonged to London, which in a few days set Sail for Barbadoes, where we arrived in about five Weeks time, but had a very sickly passage, insomuch that nine of my Companions were buried in the Sea. We had not been many days in Barbadoes, before the Governour of the said Island summoned the General Assembly, who welcomed us with the following Unchristian and Inhumane Acts.
An Act for the governing and retaining within this Island all such Rebels convict as by his most sacred Majesties Order or Permit, have been or shall be Transported from his Europian Dominion to this Place.
Whereas a most horrid, wicked and execrable Rebellion was lately raised and prosecuted within his Majesties Dominions, by James Scot, late Duke of Monmouth, and Archibald Campbell, late Earl of Argile, and their trayterous Complices, with intent to destroy his Majesties most sacred Person and royal Family, to overthrow his Crown and Government, and to render his Dominions the Theatres of Blood and Misery. In prevention whereof, it hath pleased the divine Providence, which is ever peculiarly watchful to guard the Thrones of Princes, to accompany his Majesties Counsel and Arms with such Success and Victory, that the said Rebels and Traytors were utterly defeated, for which impious Fact many of them have since deservedly suffered the pains of Death, according to Law, which the rest were liable unto, being equally guilty of those barbarous Crimes, and must have undergone, but that his Majesty, in his Princely and unparralled Grace and Clemency hath been pleased to extend his mercy in sparing the Lives of several Thousands of them, by comuting the Execution of their Sentance unto atemporary Service in his American Colonies; and forasmuch as his sacred Majesty hath signified it as his royal Pleasure, that the said Rebels, or so many of them as should be transported to his said American Collonies, should be there held and obliged to serve the Buyers of them, for, and during the full space of and term of ten Years at least, and that they be not permitted in any manner whatsoever to redeem themselves by Money, or otherwise, until that time be fully expired. Therefore we his Majesties most dutiful and loyal Subjests, his Lieutenant Governonr, Council, and general Assembly of this his Majesties said Island, taking the Premises into our serious Consideration, and being zealous to render all due and ready Obedience to his Majesties Command, as also to make apparent with how great abhorrence and detestation we resent the said late wicked, inhumane
and damnable Rebellion, and all those that were Promotors and Actors therein, have thought it becoming our duty to Bnact, and it is hereby Enacted by the Right Honourable Edward Steed, Esq Lt. Governour and Commander in chief of this and other the Caribbe Islands, the Honourable, the Council, and general Assembly of this Island, and Authority of the same, That what Person or Persons soever were guilty of the aforesaid Rebellion, and have been therefore Convict, which either already have been, or hereafter shall be brought to this Island, either by his Majesties order or permit for the purpose aforesaid, shall be held, compelled and obliged to serve and obey the Owner or Purchaser of him or them in their Plantations within this Island, in all such Labour or Service as they shall be commanded to perform, and do by their Owners, Masters or Mistresses, or their Overseers, for the full time and term of Ten Years, from the day of their Landing, and disposed of fully to be compleated and ended, any Bargain, Law, Ʋsage or Custom in this Island to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding; and to the intent that no Disobedience may be suffered or done upon his Majesties said Orders and Expectations concerning the said Rebels convict, but that they may become fully liable unto, and bare the aforesaid mark of their monstrous Villany. It is farther enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Master of a Ship, Importer, Owner, Master or Purchaser of any of the Rebels aforesaid, shall acquit, release or discharge them, or any of them, or do permit them, or any of them to redeem themselves by Money, or other Reward, or Recompence, or Consideration whatsoever, respecting either themselves or the said Rebels convict, before the term of ten Years Service in this Island, as aforesaid, be fully compleated and ended, or shall conive at, or assist unto their, or any of their Removes, With-drawings or Escapings from off this Island, the Party or Parties so offending herein shall therefore forfeit and pay unto his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors the sum of two Hundred Pound Sterling for each, or every one of the said Rebels, which by him or them shall be either aquitted, released, discharged or permitted to be redeemed, or conived at, or assisted unto, a remove, withdrawing or escaping off this Island, before the full end of the Term aforesaid, over and above the value or recompence for which it was permitted or done; and farther shall suffer Imprisonment in the Common Goal of this Island, for the space and term of one whole Year, without Bail or Mainprize, and be for ever thereafter uncapable of hearing any publick Office within this Island.
And it is hereby further enacted and ordaired by the Authority aforesaid, that if one or more of the aforesaid Servants or Rebels convict, shall attempt, endeavour or contrive to make his or their escape from off this Island, before the said term of ten Years be fully compleat and ended, such Servant or Servants for his
or their so attempting or indeavouring to make escape, shall upon proof thereof made to the Governour, receive by his Warrant 39 Lashes on his bare Body on some publick day in the next Market-Town to his Masters place of abode, and on another Market day in the same Town, be set in the Pillory by the space of one Hour, and be burnt in the Fore-head with the Letters F. T. signifying Fugitive Traytor, so as the Letters may plainly appear in his Fore-head: but for all other Misdimeanours and Miscarriages they shall be prosecuted and punished according to the Laws of this Island provided for the governing of other Servants.
And to the end the said convict Rebels may be the better known & distinguisht, it is hereby further enacted and ordained, that within eight days after the arrivat of any Ship or Vessel to this Island, in which any of the said convist Rebels are brought, the Master of the said Ship shall deliver to the Governour, and in to the Secrataries Office of this Island, a true List or Catalogue of those Names upon Oath, and the Merchant or Merchants to whom they come consined, or who have the disposal of them, shall also within eight dayes after finishing the Sale, give unto the said Office a just account of the Persons Names to whom they were sold, and disposed of; and in case of failure herein, the same shall forfeit to the King, his Heirs and Successors the sum of Two Hundred Pounds Sterlings, and the Merchant or Merchants shall forfeit in like manner the sum of two Hundred Pounds Sterling.
And for such of the said convict Rebels as have been already Imported before the making and publishing of this Act, the Master and Merchant of such Vessels are hereby required forth-with to deliver to the Secratary such List or Catalogue as aforesaid, upon Penalty of the like forfeiture, which said List or Catalogue the said Secretary is required to receive and write out fairly, and cause to be hung up in his Office, that all Persons concerned may have free recourse thereto.
And in case the first Buyer shall sell, or assign over any such Rebel or Rebels convict, to any other Inhabitant or Inhabitants of this Island, the Vender is hereby required to give notice thereof to the Secretary, to the end the Name or Names of such Servant or Servants may be changed in the Secretarys Office, from the first to the second, or other Purchaser or Assigns may stand charged as the first.
And in case of the death of any of the Servants aforesaid, it is hereby further enacted, That the present Owner shall within fourteen days make, or cause Oath to be made before the next, or some Justice of the Peace, of the Name and Death of such a Servant, and that he really was in the Record, and not another of the same Name, that by means of the Certificate sent to the Secretary’s Office that the Secretary may charge him dead.
And if any Owners or Vendors shall fail in either of the Cases aforesaid, he
or they shall forfeit to his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors the sum of twenty five Pound Sterling, and for the Secratary’s pains therein, and also in case of changing Masters or Mistresses, the Secratary may receive for such Person, dead or assigned over six Pence, and no more.
And to the end none of the Servants or convict Rebels may remove or escape from this Island by obtaining Tickets under wrong Names, or other fraudulent or illegal Methods of this kind, it is hereby further enacted and ordained by the Authority aforesaid, that all Justices of the Peace that shall hereafter take Affidavits, to be sent to the Secratary’s Office; for Persons that design to go off this Island shall always express and insert in those Affidavits, that the Person so going off, and desiring a Ticket, is not one of those Servants and convict Rebels, without which the Secratary is hereby forbidden to grant or produce a Ticket; and the Secratary is also required to use the same method in such Affidavits as shall be taken before himself, under the Penalty of forfeiting to his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors the sum of two hundred Pound Sterling, for his neglect in either of these cases, and whosoever obtaining a Ticket lawfully out of the Secratary’s Office, being of the Name of any of those Rebels, or otherwise, and shall permit any of the said Rebels of that Name, or others, to have such Tickets by which he may be in a probable way of making his escape off this Island, shall forfeit to the use of our Soveraign Lord the King, his Heirs and Successors, the sum of one hundred Pound Sterling, if he be able to pay the same, and also suffer Imprisonment in the Common Goal by the space of six Moneths, without Bail or Mainprize, the said Commitment to be made, and Execution to be levied by Warrant from the Governnour, upon proof made before him by two Witnesses, or one Witness, with pregnant Circumstances; but in case such Persons be uncapable to make Payment of such Forfeiture, he is hereby ordered to lie in Prison during the space of six Moneths, and be set once in the Pillory by the space of two Hours at a time, in each of the four Market-Towns of this Island on four several dayes.
And for the encouragement of all such as shall inform or discover any false, fraudulent or wicked Practice of this kind, it is hereby enacted, that one fifth part of all forfeits in the Act mentioned, shall be to the use and benefit of such Informers.
And to the end the Restraint continuing and holding the said Rebels convict within this Island, during the term aforesaid, may be the effectually and fully secured and provided for, and also for preventing the Servants, Slaves and Debtors of this Island from running of, by which some have perished in the Sea, It is is hereby further enacted and ordained by the Authority aforesaid, that every Owner or Keeper of any small Vessel, Sloop, Shallop, Wherry, Fishing Boat, or any
other sort of Boat belonging to this Island, shall within twenty dayes after publication hereof, give into the Secratary’s Office of this Island in the sum of two hundred Pound Sterling, excepting the small Boats and Wherries, who are to enter in the sum of ten Pound Sterling, that he will not convey or carry off from this Island any of the aforesaid Rebels convict, or any other Person that hath not a lawful Ticket, or will permit, suffer, or consent to the same, but will use his utmost skill, care and diligence in securing and guarding his small Vessel, Sloop, Shallop or Boat, in such manner as may must probably prevent the Escapes of such Fugitives; and if any Owner, or Keeper of such small Vessel, Sloop, Shallop or Boat, shall hereafter make Sale, Change, or any other Alienation thereof, without first giving notice in the Secratary’s Office, that new security may be there taken, such Vessel, Shallop or Boat shall be forfeited to his Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, and the vendor to be further obliged to put in Security to answer all Damages that may happen by reason of such Sale, before security so given; and the like Method and Forfeitures is hereby required and appointed unto Masters of Ships in case they shall sell, or dispose of any Beat to any of the Inhabitants of this Island. And whosoever shall hereafter build or set up in this Island any small Vessel, Sloop, Shallop or Boat, shall, when he or they builds the same, enter in to the Security aforesaid, under the Penalty of forfeiting the materials thereof to his Majstey, his Heirs and Successors.
And be it further ordained and enacted, that the Secratary shall have, and recive for the Bond and Certificate for Wherrys, fishing Boats, and other small Boats, only fifteen Pence; and for all other Vessels of a greater bull five Shillings each, as has been accustomary.
And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that it shall be Fellony in every Master of every Shallop, Sloop, Wherry or other Boat belonging to this Island, that runneth away with any Shallop, Sloop, Wherry, or other Boat which they command.
And it is further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that if any Woman in this Island, Owner or Mistress of any such convict Rebels, by any means whatsoever shall Inter-marry with any of the said convict Rebels, whereby the said Rebels may become free feom their Servitude, or suffer or consent to the Marriage of their Daughters, or other near Relations, by which such Servant is freed, conived at, or eased from his servitude aforesaid, that upon notice thereof given to the Governour and Coucil of such Marriage or Marriages, such Rebel or Rebels aforesaid shall notwithstanding be by the Governour and Council ordered to serve the remainder of his time to some other Person whom the Governour and Council shall think sit, and the Woman so marrying, as aforesaid, is to forfieit to our Soveraign
Lord the King, his Heirs or Assigns the sum of two hundred Pound Sterling, and suffer six Moneths Imrisonment for such her inter-marrying with any of the said Rebels convict.
And lastly, it is enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that the Act be published by the Minister of the several Parishes in this Island, in their several Parish Churches once in every six Moneths from the Date hereof, upon such Penalty as the Governour and Council for the time being shall think sit to impose on the Person so neglecting to publish the same.
Given under my Hand the fourth day of January, 1685.
BUt to return to my discourse, we were consigned to Charles Thomas and his Company, with perticular Orders and Instructions from George Penne not to sell me nor my Brother, but permit us to make choice of some Person to own as a titular Master; however, they were so unkind, they would not allow us that liberty, but compelled us contrary to our Desires and Inclinations to live with one Robert Bishop, pretending that they had not absolutely sold us to him, but could remove us again in case we disliked our place; and that the ofore-mentioned George Penne might not be obliged to repay the Money we gave him, they told us we should have the yearly Salary of twenty Pounds, which they were to receive for our Service: But these pretences were only to amuse us, for afterwards when we were constrained by the great unkindness of our Master to address our selves unto them, not only in Person, but also by many importunate and affectionate Letters, intreating them to use their utmost endeavour and interest with our Master in order to remove us, but we found it in vain for they had possitively sold us, and also given it in on their Oaths at the Secrataries Office.
When our Master perceived that we were uneasie, and unwilling to serve him, he grew more and more unkind unto us, and would not give us any Clothes, nor me any benefit of my Practise, whereby to enable me to provide for my self; for I was obliged to give him an account of what Physick I administred out of his Plantation, and he received the Money for the same. Our Diet was very mean, five Pound of salt Irish Beef, or salt Fish a Week for each man, and Indian or Guiny Corn ground on a Stone, and made into Dumplins instead of Bread; which course and meane fare brought me to a violent Flux, insomuch that I was focced to complain to my Master, desiring him to allow me some
Flower instead of Indian Corn to make Dumplins withal, and humbly recommended to his consideration my Profession and Practice, which I hoped would render me deserving of better Accomodation than was usually allowed to other Servants; but he, not moved with Pity, angrily replyed, I should not have so good. Whose unkind answer moved me so, that I had the confidence to tell him, That I would no longer serve him, nor any other as a Surgeon, unless I were entertained according to the just Merits of my Profession and Practice, and that I would chuse rather to work in the Field with the Negroes, than to dishonour my Profession by serving him as a Physitian and Surgeon, and to accept of the same entertainment as common Servants. My angry Master at this was greatly enraged, and the fiery Zeal of his immoderate Passion was so heightned by some lying Stories of a fellow Servant, that he could not content himself with the bare execution of his Cane on my Head, Arms and Back, although he had played so long thereon like a furious Fencer, until he had split him in pieces, but he also confined me close Prisoner in the Stocks, which stood in a open place, exposed to the scorching heat of the Sun, where I remained about twelve Hours, until my Mistriss, moved either with Pitty or Shame, gave over for my release.
It would be too tedious to give a perticular Account of the many other Abuses and Unkindnesses we received at his Hands, and therefore it shall suffice to say that in this condition we lived with him about fifteen Moneths, until by his debauched and extravagant course of Life he had run himself so extreamly in Debt, and perticularly to those Merchants that sold us to him, that he could not well pay for us; for which reason we were removed from him, but the Merchants were forced to remit the Money due for our Service, before he would return us. And now being returned again, we remained in the Merchants Hands as Goods unsold; and because I would not consent to be disposed of at their pleasure, they threatned to Horse-whip me, and put me to servile Imployment.
But we had not been long here before my Brother dyed, and I being wearied with long and fruitless Expectation of my Pardon, and no less perplexed and tired with the great Abuses I had received at their Hands, resolved to attempt the making my escape from off the Island; to which purpose after several contrivances and ways that came into my Head, and those well weighed with all the consequent Circumstances that possibly I could foresee, I concluded at length to proceed after this manner:
Being introduced by a Friend into the acquaintance of one John Nuthall,
a Carver, whose condition was somewhat mean, and therefore one that wanted Money to carry him off the Island, I imparted my design unto him, and employed him to buy a Boat of a Guiney Man that lay in the Road, promising him for his Reward not only his Passage free, and Money for his present Expences, but to give him the Boat also when we arrived at our Port.
By the way, it is to be understood, that the means which enabled me to defray these extraordinary Charges, was a private Consignation of Goods from my Relations to a perticular Friend in the Island, who took care to dispose of them for me. John Nuthall therefore readily consented to what I proposed, and after I had enjoyned him to secrecy, I delivered him twelve Pounds to buy the Boat, which accordingly he did, and gave in Security for the same at the Secratary’s Office, conformable to the Custom and Laws of the Island; nevertheless, all that would not prevent the Jealousie of the Magistrates that sprung from the consideration of his Poverty, and the little service they knew the Boat would do him, whereupon they sent for John Nuthall, and strickly commanded him to discover who it was that had employed him to buy the Boat, and threatned to put him to his Oath; nevertheless they could get nothing out of him, for the man had so much Courage, that he confidently denyed that any Person had employed him, but that he bought the Boat meerly for his own use.
Yet was not all this sufficient, they still threatned to sease the Boat, unless he gave in better security; Upon which he came to me, to advise what was best to be done, I ordered him forwith to sink the Boat; which as it very much abated the suspition of the Magistrates, so it secured the Boat from seisure: While these things were in agitation, one of John Nuthall‘s Creditors, to whom he owed seven Pounds for Tools, threatned to Arrest him, unless he paid him down the Money, which was no small surprise to a Man that had no Money to make his Payment; however, having a days respite to procure satisfaction, he came and told me, That unlses I would supply him with Money to pay his Debt, necessity would constrain him to discover my design; So that well knowing the danger I was in, I was forced to supply him. And here I must not omit to relate that by this time I had discovered my design to two of my Acquaintance under the same Circumstances, Thomas Austin and John Whicker, who readily agreed to be my Companions, and gave me what Money they could well spare to help carry on the design, but my self was the chief contriver and manager of the whole, having more time and liberty
than they; for I usually met John Nuthall every Night at some convenient place, remote from the Town by the Sea side, where after we had consulted together, he took his Instructions how to proceed.
In this interval of time, the Boat being sunk, and by that means the suspition of the Magistrates quite over. John Nuthall‘s debt paid, and he again secured to Secresie, we began to think of providing Necessaries for our intended Voyage, which as they occured to my thoughts, I set them down, that so nothing might be forgotten, which take as followeth, A hundred weight of Bread, a convenient quantity of Cheese, a Cask of Water, some few Bottles of Canary, Madera Wine, and Beer: These for the support of Nature; and then for Use, a Compass, Quadrant, Chart, half Hour-Glass, half Minute-Glass, Log and Line, large Tarpaulin, a Hatchet, Hammer, Saw and Nailes, some spare Boards, a Lanthorn and Candles: All which were privately conveyed to a Friends House not far from the Water-side, to be in a readiness against the time. Which after I had bethought my self, who besides to make choice of for my Companions, was the next thing to be considered of, but that a luckey chance after a short expectation, presented us with one; for within few dayes the Governour of Mevis putting in at the Barbadoes, the Governour, for his more noble entertainment, caused the Malitia of the Town to be in Arms, which was attended with Revelling, Drinking and Feasting to excess; the consequence of which I easily conjectured would be drowsie Security and Carelesness: This time I therefore thought most proper for our intended enterprize, and gave notice thereof to my intended Companions, most of whom I kept ignorant of my design until now, fearing it should by any means be discovered, and ordered them not to carry home their Arms, but to bring them after it was Night to a certain Store house by the Wharf, where I designed to put to Sea: the Store-house being then under the care of John Wicker, one of my Confederates, and therefore a most happy convenience to conceal both them and their Arms till it was time to set Sail.
In the mean time John Nuthall employed two lusty Blacks to empty the Water out of our Skiff, and set her a float, and then brought her to the Wharf before the Store-house, whither by this time we had conveighed our Necessaries, keeping the Blacks within the Store-house, that they might have no opportunity to discover our design. About eleven a Clock at Night, thinking it time to embark in our small Vessel, we assigned one of our Company to stand Centry at the head of the Wharf, to give
us notice if the Watch should happen to come that way; and Then with all speed we put our Provisions and Necessaries aboard; which we had no sooner done, but we had an Alarm that the Watch was approaching to the head of the Wharf: a misfortune which so surprized us, that we all of an instant betook our selves to our Heels, and for my own part soon recovered a Friends House, giving all for lost, supposing my Companions were fallen into the Enemie; hands. But whilst I was condoling my Misfortune to my Friend, and giving him a lamentable account of our attempt and discovery, and also consulting whither to retire in the Country to lie dormant if possible, till some better opportunity offered it self, I heard a Person at the Window enquiring for me. At first I was in a dreadful fear, lest it was one of the Watch in quick persuit after me, but knowing him by his Voice to be one of my Companions, I gladly received the account he gave me, which was, that the Watch came only to call up one of their Number that was to watch with them that Night, and then went away without taking the least notice of the Boat. However, I was so disheartened by this unlucky Accident, that I was altogether unwilling to make a second attempt, till at length over-ruled by the Importunity of my Friend, more especially when he told me that they all waited for me, and could not go without me (for neither of them had any skill in Navigation) and considering the baseness of disappointing so many Persons whom I had ingaged in so much danger, I resolved once more to hazard a burnt Forehead and fore Back, and going with him to the Water side, I found my Companions by the Boat waiting for me, and not a little glad to see me come again; then we put the Negroes into the Store-house, charging them not to stir forth, or make any noise till the Morning; and to incourage them to be faithful to us; I gave them three half pieces of Eight for their good Service.
This done, and thus delivered from our Fears, we embarked in our small Vessel, being in number eight, namely, John Whicker, Peter Bagwell, William Woodcock, John Cooke, Jeremiah Atkins, and my self, which were Sufferers on the account of the Duke of Monmouth; the other two was John Nuthall who bought the Boat for me, and Thomas Waker. Thomas Austin, of whom I formerly spake, was so possessed with fear of being cast away, that he would not go with us: About Midnight we put off to Sea, designing for Quirasao, a Dutch Island, that lies about 200 Leagues thence, for we durst not go to any English Island, for fear we should be taken and sent back again. We rowed softly forward within a Pistols
shot of the fort; for there lay at that time a Man of War in the Road, which made us not a little afraid of being discovered by those watchful Enemies, but Providence so ordered it, that we passed both without discovery. However, by that time we were got clear of the Fort and Shiping, our Boat being so extream leaky, had taken in so much Water, that we were almost ready to sink, not daring to heave it out before for fear of making a noise to alarm our Enemies: But having the conveniency of a Tub and large wooden Bowle, we fell to work, and in a little time we pretty well emptied our Boat, and then we set our Mast and hoisted our Sail, and steered our Course South West as near as I could judge, (intending to make the great Granada) for our Candles being bruised into one mass of Tallow, and our Tinder and Matches wet, we could not strike a light to steere by our Compass, neither indeed had we any Candles lighted for the same Reason, during our whole Voyage, so that in the Night we were forced to steere by the Stars, and when it was cloudy, by the Wind.
That which troubled us most, was the leakiness of our little Vessel, for although we endeavoured all we could to stop her gaping Seams, with our Linnen, and all the Rags we had, which we tallowed with our bruised Candles, yet she was so thin, so feeble, so heavy loaden, and wrought so exceedingly, by reason of the great motion of the Sea, that we could not possibly make her tight, but was forced to keep one Person almost continually Night and Day, to throw out the water, during our whole Voyage; the same Night most of my Companions were so Sea sick, that notwithstanding we were all ready to sink, I could hardly perswade them to throw out the Water, and my place being at the Helm to guide and govern the Boat, I could not safely go thence; however at length, through great Importunity and earnest Perswasions, I prevailed with them to take a little pains to preserve us from drowning. My Companions now began to wish themselves at Barbadoes again, and would willingly have returned, but I told them, there was no possibility of it, being so far to leward of the Island. One of them through Carelesness in heaving out the Water, threw over our wooden Bowle, and we running away with a large Wind, could not go back to take it up, so that we had nothing left to throw out the Water but our Tub, which obliged them to be more careful of it, for our Lives were concerned therein.
May the 10th, in the Morning we were got almost out of sight of the Island, at least far enough from being descried from thence: And per-
ceiving no sort of Vessel in persuit of us, we began to be cheered up with the thoughts of our Liberty, and the hopes of our safe arrival at our desired Port: But then alas! the Night no sooner approacht, but we were assailed with a brisk Gale of Wind, under which misfortune another worse befell us, that we split our Rudder, so that we were forced to lower our Sail, and with an Oar to keep our Boat before the Sea, whilst one of my Company (a Joyner) mended our Helm, by nailing to it two pieces of Boards, that done, we went cheerily on again.
May the 11th, we had indifferent good Weather, and my Companions pretty well recovered of their Sea sickness, and now we had time to put things in a better posture in our Boat, and to raise her, which we did by nailing on Tarpolings from her sides to our Oars, that were lasht fast about nine Inches above, which did us good service in keeping out the Sea: We likewise made a Tilt, with a Hamock over the hinder part of our Boat, to defend us from the scorching heat of the Sun.
May the 12th, this Morning notwithstanding we steered South-West to weather the Great Granada the Currant had set us so much to the Northward, that we made the Granadilloes to bear West of us, which obliged us to steere more Southerly to weather the Great Granada.
May the 13th, the last Night we weathered the Great Granada, and steered down the South side of the same, and then shaped our Course for the Testegoes, for I could not take any true Observation by my Quadrant, because of the uneven motion of the Sea, and the nearness of the Sun to the Zenith, and therefore was constrained to steere a Course from Island to Island, though the farther way about.
May the 14th, We had fair Weather, and a fresh Gale of Wind, and about Noon, as I remember, we made the Testegoes, bearing South, South-West, and before Night made the North-East end of the Magaretaes. But by this time being so extreamly spent for want of sleep, having been obliged for the most part Night and Day to steere the Boat, I was desirous to take a little Rest, but first I directed one of my Companions how to steere down by the said Island, and then composed my self to Sleep, in which interval of time my Companions eagerly longing for fresh Water, regard ours stunk so extreamly as it did, stood in for the Land, and loar’d the Sail, designing to go ashore, at which time I happily awoke, and apprehending the great danger of falling into the Hands of the Indians, who had already kindled a Fire on the Shore not far from us, I caused the Sail again to be hoistup, & hasted away with all Expedition, & being favou
red with a brisk Gale of Wind got soon out of fear or danger of those savage Canibals.
May the 15th, we had fair Weather, and very pleasant Sailing down the North side of this Island: But when we had got about the middle of the Island my Companions were no less importunate than before to go ashore for fresh Water; to which I at length consented, partly because I saw that part of the Island free from Inhabitants, and partly enticed by the fair appearance of a sandy Bay, and the Water seemed so smooth, that I thought we could not injure our Boat by running her ashore, in regard we had neither Anchor nor Grapling to ride her off. But contrary to our expectations, and to our great surprisal, we found the Ground near the Shore exrream foul, and the Sea heaved us so fast in, that we could not possibly avoid being split on the Rocks, had not I leapt into the Sea to fend her off, which whilst I laboured to do with my Feet against the Rock, till I was almost spent, my Companions with their two Oars rowed her off, at which our Hearts were filled with Joy, and our Mouthes with Praises to the Lord, who had so wonderfully preserved us from being cast away on this Island, where probably we must either have been starved our selves, or have become Food for those inhumane Man-eaters. From the West end of this Island we directed our Course for Saltatudos, but that After-noon the Wind increased, and a white Ring encircled the Moon, which I thought presaged ill Weather, and to our great sorrow proved too true, for about nine at Night a dreadful Storm arose, which made us despair of ever seeing the Morning-Sun; and now the Sea began to foam, and to turn its smooth Surface into Mountains and Vales, our Boat was tossed and tumbled from one side to the other, and so violently driven and hurried away by the fury of the Wind and Sea, that I was affraid we should be driven by the Island in the Night time, and therefore we brought our Boat too, with her Head against the Sea; but the Wind and Sea still increasing we was forced to bear up before it, with only Sail sufficient to give her steeridge way. And now in vain we began to wish our selves at the Barbadoes again, or which was worse on that Island on which we were so lately like to have been wrackt, believing that a Misery then, which now we should have thought a happiness; and that which confirmed us the more in the certainty of our approaching Ruin, was an unexpected Voice, which to our thinking, seemed to hallow to us at a great distance. But the Omnipotent, who is never unmindful of the Cries of his People in Distress, heard our Prayers; so that when all
our Hopes were given over, and we had resigned our selves into his Hands, expecting every moment when the wide gaping Sea would devour and swallow us up, God of his infinite Mercy and unspeakable Goodness, commanded the violence of the Winds to cease, and allayed the fury of the raging Waves, eternal Praises to his Name for evermore.
May the 16th, this Morning at break of Day saw the Island of Saltatudos just before us, and when it was sufficiently light that we could discern how the Land lay, we steered down the North side, intending to go ashore at some convenient place to refresh our selves after that dreadful Storm, and to take on board some fresh Water, and if possible to stop the leaks of our Boat, in order to proceed in our Voyage for Quirasoe, and accordingly when we came to leward of a small Island hard by the other, we stood in directly for the shore, thinking it a convenient place to Land, which we had no sooner done, but we saw a Canow coming thence directing her Course towards us; at which sight being a little surprised, my Companions provided their Arms, and charged their Musquets and Blunderbuss with pieces of Glass-Bottles (for we coming from Barbadoes in so great a hurry and fear, through forgetfulness they left their Bag of Bullets on the Wharf.) When they were come somewhat nearer, that we could perceive them to paddle like Indians, we bore up and were running from them; which as soon as they perceived they waved their Hats, and hailed us, by which we knew they were not Indians, as we supposed, and therefore permitted them to come nearer, and perceiving them to be white men, we enquired what they were, they told us, They were English men in distress, &c. and waited for an opportunity to go off the Island. The account we gave them of our selves was very short, That we came from one of the Windward Islands, by which they supposed we had fled for Debt, and should have continued in that belief, had not Thomas Waker, one of my Companions, privately informed them, that there was only he and John Nuthall that were Debtors, the rest of us being Rebels; for he thought thereby to ingratiate himself and Friend into their favour. But these Privateers (for so they were as we afterwards understood) hated them the more for their Treachery, and loved us the better, confessing that they were Rebels too, adding, That if the Duke of Monmouth, had had One Thousand of them, they would soon have put to flight the King’s Army. But to proceed, when we came to the shore the Privateers assisted us to hall up our Boat, that she might not be injured by the Sea, having no conveniency to ride her off; which done, they
shewed us the Well of fresh Water, which was hard by their Huts, where we refreshed our selves a little, and with our Sail we made a shade to keep the Sun from us, and when we had so done, we lay down under it to refresh our selves with Rest and Sleep, having had but little of either all our Voyage, being so extreamly thronged together in our little Boat. These Privateers at first were very kind to us, and gave us some of their Provision, and related to us the Story of their Adventures, which to the best of my memory was thus that they formerly belonged to one Captain Yanche, Commander of a Privateer of 48 Guns that designed to plunder a Spanish Town by the Gulf of Florida, called St Augusteen, and in order thereunto sent thirty of them out into the Gulf of Florida, to take Canows from the Indians for the more convenient and speedy Landing their men, but they going ashore on the Main to turn Turtle, was set upon by the Indians, and two of them killed on the place; however at length they put the Indians to flight, and some time afterwards took two or three Canows, and one Indian Prisoner, who conducted them to his own and his Fathers Plantations (on condition they would afterwards set him free) where they stored themselves with Provisions, and other Necessaries; but it cost them dear, for their Quarter Master and one more of the Company was poisoned, by their unwary eating of Casader Roots, the rest of them went with those Canows and Indian which they had taken, to the place appointed, expecting to meet their Man of War, but could not find him, and therefore being necessitated to shift for themselves as well as they could, they came to this Island, hoping to meet here with some Vessel loading of Salt, in which they might get passage for some English Port, but was disappointed here also, for the Ships were all gone before they came.
After we had sufficiently refresht our selves with Rest and Sleep, and returned to the Lord the Praises due unto his Name for this wonderful & miraculous deliverance, we thought it time to consider how to stop the Leaks of our Boat, and to raise a Deck over her with Rinds of Trees, &c. that we might proceed in our intended Voyage for Quirasoe, our Intentions were no sooner perceived by the Privateers, but they endeavoured to perswade us from it, alledging the insufficient of our Boat, and the Dangers we were so lately exposed unto, advising us rather to go with them in their Pereagoes a Privateering, than to hazard our lives by a second attempt; with the like Argument they would have easily prevailed with my Companions to consent to go with them, had I not perswaded them to the contrary. But
when the Privateers saw it was in vain to perswade, they thought to compel us by burning our Boat, supposing then that we would chuse rather to go with them, then to slay upon the Island till S[?]ping came for Salt, which would be eight or nine Moneths, and in the mean time to be in danger of being taken by the Spaniards for Privateers, or otherwise to be starved with Hunger; for we had no more then four or five pound of Bread for each man left. But this contrivance answered not their Expectations; for notwithstanding they burnt our Boat, and took our Sails; and other Utensils from us, I continued my resolution, and chose rather to trust divine Providence on that desolate and uninhabitable Island, than to partake or be any ways concerned with them in their Piracy, having confidence in my self, that God who had so wonderfully and miraculously preserved us on the Sea, and brought us to this Island, would in like manner deliver us hence, if we continued faithful to him. And in order to our better Accomodation and Preservation on this Island, I gave the Privateers 30 pieces of Eight for the Indian they took on the Main (but was not so true to their Promise as to set him at liberty (which I expected would be serviceable unto us in catching Fish, &c.)
About the 25th of May, twenty two of the Privateers having first raised the sides of their Pereagoes with Boards (fastened with the Nails they saved in the burning our Boat) and fitted them for the Sea, they set sail, leaving four of their Company behind that refused to go with them, as also a Spanish Boat that was of no service to them, neither could be of any use to us, unless we had Sails to sail her, and a Rudder to guide her, both of which we wanted.
In this condition they left us, deprived of all ways and means of getting off until the season aforesaid, unless God by a perticular Providence should direct some Vessel or other to touch here.
But before I proceed to give account of our manner of Life in this place, I think it necessary to give a short description of the Island it self, which is scituated in the Latitude of 11 Degrees, and 11 Minutes North Latitude, its extent is about twelve Miles in length, and two or three in breadth, and is about one hundred and twenty Leagues from Barbadoes, called by the Spainards Tortuga, from the great plenty of Turtle that resorts thither, but our English gives it the Name of Saltitudos, because there is such great quantity of Salt yearly brought from thence; the Spaniard claims the Propriety of this Island, lying so near the Main where they inhabit, and therefore will sometimes take our English Vessels as they are loading of
Salt, of which they took two the Season before we came there. The East and West end of this Island is for the most part Sand, the middle consists of hard and carggy Rocks, that are very poreous, resembling honey Combs, and therefore we called them Honey-Comb Rocks: There is plenty of small Bushes growing out of the Sand, and Shrubs from between the Rocks, but no Timber Trees on the whole Island.
One the South side near the East end, is the Salenaes, or salt Ponds, from whence the Salt is brought; which is thus made, the Sea or salt Water penetrates through the beachy Banks of the Sea, and over flows a large Plain of two or three Miles circumference, near a Foot deep, where by the scorching heat of the Sun the thin Aqueous part is exhaled, and the Saline part is Coagulated into pure white Christaline Salt; and because there is a continual supply of Salt Water from the Sea, the Sun continues exhaling and coagulating, until the whole Salenaes is deeply covered over with Salt, so that all they have to do is only to rake it together, and carry it aboard. There is great plenty of Birds and Fowl, as Pellicans Flammans, Parakets, Mocking Birds, and a innumerable company of Sea-Fowl, and some Vegitable Productions, of which I shall have occasion to treat hereafter.
But to return from this Digression, the Privateers had no sooner left us, but we found our selves of necessity obliged to seek out for Provision, and being led by the Example of those four Privateers that staid behind, we walked along the Sea-shore to watch for Tortoise or Turtle, which when they came up out of the Sea to lay their Eggs in the Sand, we turned them on their Backs, and they being uncapable of turning themselves again, we let them remain so till the day following, or until we had conveniency of killing them; for if they were sufficiently defended from the heat of the Sun by a shade, which we usually built over them, they would live several days out of the Water: And thus we walked to and fro in the Night time to turn Turtle, and in the Day time we were imployed in killing them, whose Flesh was the chiefest of our Diet, being roasted by the Fire on wooden Spits; and sometimes when we designed a Feastival we left some part of the Flesh on the Calepatch and Calapee, that is, the Back and Breast Shells, which we roasted, by setting them upright in two forked Sticks thrust into the Sand, before a large Fire: what we did not eat we cut into long and slender pieces, and after we had salted it very well, we dried it carefully in the Sun on ranges of Sticks set up for that purpose; for we had no other way of preserving it, having nothing to
wet salt it in, but we found it so difficult to divide their shells, that we broke our knives, and were forced to make new ones out of the swords my Companions brought with them, which we did after this manner; first, we broke them into suitable lengths, and softned them in the Fire, and then rubed them on a Stone to a fit shape and thinness, and after we had hardened them again, we fixt them in Hafts, and made them more serviceable then our former. And here for the better Information of some Persons I think fit to describe these Sea Beasts (if I may so call them) which are somewhat of an Oval form, strongly defended on the Back and Breast with a thick Shell, and have four Fins covered with thick Scales, that serve them instead of Legs when they come ashore; they feed on Woose or Sea Grass that grows out of the Rocks, which I judge is the true reason they do not eat Fishy; they breathe, and therefore are obliged to come frequently up to the surface of the Water, on which they sometime float so sound a sleep, that they give Sea-men opportunity with a Boat to take them up; their Flesh is very delightsome and pleasant to the taste, much resembling Veal, but their Fat is more yellow; the she or Female Turtle comes up on the Shore to lay their Eggs in the Sand three times in the Year, in the Moneths of April, May and June, where they are brought to Maturity by the sweet Influence of the Sun; and when the young ones are hatcht they musters out of their Cells, and marches into the Sea, but not without danger of being devoured by the Sea-Fowl, that wait to destroy them; each of these Tortoises lay about 140 Eggs at one time in about an hours space; which are full as large as Hens Eggs, but with this difference that these are round, and covered only with a thick strong Membrane or Skin, nor will their whites harden by heat, as the whites of Hens Eggs; their Yolks we beat in Calabashes, with some Salt, and fryed them with the fat of the Tortoise, like to Pancakes, in a piece of a earthen Jar found by the Sea-side, which we did eat instead of Bread.
I never saw any Creature so long a dying as these, for after we had cut their Throats, divided their Bodies, and cut their Flesh into small and minute parts, every part and portion would continue twitching and moving it self a long time: They have a three-fold Heart, said to be the Heart of a Fowl, of a Beast, and of a Fish, which will stir and pant several Hours after is it taken out of their Bodies.
Our continual feeding on these Tortoises, brought us to a violent looseness, which I speedily stopt with an Opiatick Tincture; which I provided on another occasion; for before we came from Barbadoes, I thought of a way
to deliver our selves out of our Enemies Hands, (in case we should be taken) without shedding of Blood; and it was thus, I dissolved a sufficient quantity of Opium in a Bottle of rich Cordial Water, which we carried with us in the Boat, intending to give it to those Persons that should take us, which I supposed they would readily drink, and by that means would be overtaken with so profound a Sleep, that we should have opportunity sufficient to make our escape from their.
We were obliged to go many Miles from the Well of fresh Water, to turn Turtle, and to fetch Salt from the Salenaes, which necessitated us to carry our. Water with us in a Cask over those uneven Rocks, which soon wore out our Shoes, and compelled us to make our soft and tender Feet, unwillingly to salute those hard and craggy Rocks, which was very irksome to us at first, but time and necessity made it more familiar and easie, that at length the Bottoms of our Feet was hardened into such a callous substance, that there was scarce any Rocks so hard but we could boldly trample them under our Feet.
When the season of the Tortoises coming ashore was expired, and we had gotten a considerable quantity of their Flesh salted and dryed for our Winter store, we set about building of Houses to defend us from the stormy Weather, which we were shortly to expect, which we did so artificially, and covered them so well with course Grass that grew by the Sea side, that neither the violence of Winds, nor fierceness of Storms could easily injure or offend us. Our houshold Goods consisted chiefly in two or three earthen Jarrs left us by the Privateers, some few Calebashes and Shels of Fish that we found by the Sea side: in our Houses we formed little kind of Cabbins to repose our selves in, with as much ease as possibly we could.
In these little Huts or Houses we spent most of our time, sometimes Reading or Writing, and at other times I went abroad with my Indian a Fishing, at which he was so dextrous, that with his Bow and Arrow he would shoot a small Fish at a great distance; sometimes we caught some Craw-Fish, which we broiled over the Coales, and for change of Diet we sometime eat a sort of Shell-Fish that live on the Rocks, and are like Snales, but much langer, called Wilks.
And, as there is no Mountain so barren, on which their may not be found some Medicinal Plant, so neither was this Island so unfruitful, but it aforded us two Vegetable Productions of great service unto us, the one we called Turks Heads, being of an Oral form, beset on every side with
Sharp Prickles like a Hedge-Hog, out of which there grew in the upper part a longith red and pleasant Fruit, about the bigness of a small Nut, in taste resembling a Strawberry; the other was much more serviceable to us, called Curarse, of an oval Body or stump like the former, but out of this grew long thick Leaves, whose edges were prickly, and its juice so exceeding sharp and pungent, that it was not easily suffered on the bare Skin, with which we washed our Linnen as with Soap, for it would feour excellent well; through the Leaves is dispersed long and tready Fibres, with which when we had separated and dryed it in the Sun, we made very good Thread, and mended our Clothes therewith the Needles which we made of Bones; with the Leaves I made a most excellent Balsom for Wounds, by boyling them in the Fat of the Tortoises, which I brought to a fit consistency by adding Bees Wax thereunto. Thus much of its external use, its internal follows: After we had cut off the Leaves about three or four Inches distant from the Body, we digged a great Hole or Pit in the Sand, and heated it exceeding hot; and put the said Body therein, covering it up in the hot Sand, where we permitted it to remain five or six days, in which time the juice that was before so extraordinary sharp and corrosive, by this digestion became so strangely changed, that it was extreamly sweet and pleasant, like the Syrup of baked Pears.
And after we had pressed it forth, and fermented it with a proportionable quantity of Water, it became a most pleasant and spiritous Liquor to drink; the innermost part of the Body or Stump we cut into slices, and eat it like Bread. At this Island there is an innumerable Company of Sea-Fowl, that lay their Eggs in the Sand, over-spreading at some places near twenty Yards, as heap together as the Birds can well sit to lay them; and when the young Ones are hatched, they run about in great Companies like Chickens a considerable time before they are able to fly, which often afforded us pleasant diversion to persue and take them, which when we had skined, salted and dryed in the Sun, we could preserve a long time, but they did eat extream Fishy, much like Red-Herrings.
We endeavoured to make a Pot to boil out [Turtle?] in, by tempering the finest Sand with the Yolks of [Turtles?] Eggs and Goats Hair, for we could find no Clay nor Earth in the Whole Island, but could not possibly [make?] them endure drying, so that we were forced to eat our [Turtle?] roasted by the Fire on wooden Spits.
There is a pleasant fragrant Herb grows out of the Sand among the rocks
Which we called wild Sage, whose Leaves we smoaked instead of Tobacco, and for want of a Pipe I smoaked it in a Crab’s Claw, of which there was plenty, but they were so poor we did not eat them.
There is also an insect, called a Soldier, having a Shell like a Snail; but some say this shell is not proper to themselves, for having weak and tender Bodies, they get possession of these Shells to defend themselves against the injury of the Air, and attempts of other Creaters; as they grow bigger they shift their Shells, and get into larger, being commonly those of Peridwinkles; they have instead of a Foot of instrument like a Crabs Claw, wherewith they close the entrance of their Shalls, and thereby secures their whole Bodies; when they are set near the Fire they presently foresake their quarters, and if it be presented to them again, they go backwards; they commonly keep in great Companies about the Rocks near the Well of fresh Water, and when they inten to change their Lodgings, there sometimes happens a serious ingagement, managed with that clasping Instrument, till the strongest by Conquest gets Possession, which he carries about with him on his Back during his Pleasure.
Another little Insect is worthy to be mentioned, called Lizards, and were so familiar and friendly, that they would come boldly among us, and do us no harm; they have four legs, their bodies are adorned with divers delightsome Colours; they feed on Flies, and for that reason was serviceable unto us in killing them, which they performed with great nimbleness and cunning, for they lay down where they suppose the Fly would come, putting their Heads into as many different postures as the Fly shifts places, and when they find their advantage they start so directly on their Prey with open Month that they seldom miss it; they are so very tame that when we were eating, they would come on our Meat and Hands to catch Flys.
After we had spent about three Moneths in this desolate and disconsolate Island, we saw a Ship attended with a small Sloop, steering towards the Shore, at which we were at once possest with Hopes and Fear, with Hopes that it was some English Vessel, in which we might probably get a passage thence, and with fear lest it should be a Spaniard, who doubtless would make us Prisoners if they could take us, supposing that we were Privateers.
The four Privateers that remained with us all this time drew near the Sea side, where the Ship was at an Anchor; and after they had discovered them to be Privateers, made signs to them to send their Boat ashore,
which accordingly they did; and after they had carried them on Board the Captain of the Man of War sent up the Sloop to that part of the Island where I and my Companions were, and when they came ashore unto us, enquired which was the Doctor; my Companions informed them it was I, one of them, therefore addrest himself perticularly to me, Desiring me in the Name, and on the behalf of their Captain, to go with them on Board the Man of War, where I should be kindly entertained, and have liberty to come ashore when I please. I readily imbraced his kind Invitation, but could not procure liberty for any of my Companions to go with me. When we came to the Man of War, I was very honourably handed up the side, the Trumpets in the mean time sounding, and very kindly received and well-com’d aboard by the Captain and Doctor, who invited me aft into the great Cabbin, where I was not only feasted with Wine and choice Provision, but had given me by the Doctor a pair of Silk Stockings, a pair of Shoes, and a great deal of Linnen-Cloth to make me Shirts, &c. And after a long discourse concerning the Affairs of England, more perticularly of the progress and defeat of the late Duke of Monmouth, which they seemed to deplore; I address’d my self to the Captain in the behalf of my self and Companions, humbling intreating him to permit us to go with them either to that Port to which they were bound, or otherwise to put us on board some English Ship that they should accidently meet withal: For I understood by their Discourse that they had taken a rich Prize, and was bound directly for a Port to spend their Money (as they usually do) so that I apprehended no danger in going with them. But the Captain not being able to take us aboard without the consent of the Company, having but two Votes, and as many shares in the Ship and Cargo; the Company were called together, and after some Debates they voted that they would take me with them, but none of my Companions. However, they were so kind that they sent them a Cask of Wine, and some Bread and Cheese, a Gammon of Bacon, and some Linnen-Cloth, Thread and Needles to make them Shirts, &c. and the next day permitted them to come on board, and entertained them very courtiously.
In about two dayes time we sit Sail, leaving my Companions on the Island, not a little grieved at my departure, and stood away to the Nothward, with a design to go to Illa Terra; from which at present I shall digress to give an account what became of those Privateers that left us, who were the occasion of my being delivered from this place. The next day after they went from us they arrived at the main Continent,
where they halled up their Periagoes, and stayed there about a Fortnight, waiting to seise some Spanish Vessel that might come that way, which they designed if possible speedily to board before the Spaniards could get themselves in a posture of defence; but not meeting here with any Prize, went to Windward, where they took a Canow loaden with Pork, and meeting with some English Vessel at one of the Windward Issands, they parted Companies, some went for Carolina, and the others went in a small Sloop to Blanco, where they met with a Man of War, a Piivatcer, that had taken a Fortugees, a great Ship, called the Grand Gustaphus, loaden with Wine and Linnen-Cloth, &c. When they had shared her Cargo, they parted Companies, the French with their shares went for Petty Gnavers in the Grand Gustaphus, and the English being informed by those other Privatiers of our being on Saltatidos, came thither with their Man of War, and took me off, as is before exprest.
In about five or six days after we left Saltatudos, we made Porto Rico, and our Vessel being so extream leaky, some of the Company were for putting into Mena, but the rest not consenting, we steered betwixt Porto Rico and Hispaniola, and so to the Eastward of the Abroletaes or Hankerchers, where there were divers Vessels on the Wrack diving for Plate; but we stopt not here, but continued our Course to the Northward, until we came into the Latitude of Illa Terra, and then steered away West for the Island, and as we were running down we saw a Ketch, to which we gave Chase, and in a few Hours came up with her, who told us, that they came from New York, and was bound for Providence; as soon as the Privateers understood that Providence was inhabitated again, they altered their Resolutions, and designed to go with them to that place, and accordingly kept them company; the Night following we met with bad Weather, and was like to run ashore on Illa Terra, through the carelesness of our Pilot, had not a Person from the Quarter-Deck, that was more watchful then the rest, espied the Land just before us; but this was not all, for after we had tacked about, and was lying by with the Heads of both Vessels off ashore, the men on board the Ketch were so drunk with the Wine the Privateers had given them, that they suffered their Ketch to drive aboard us, and with the violence of the blow she gave us broke down our Cat-head, and had we not by a perticular Providence got free from her, we had both unavoidably sunk down in the Sea, for our Vessel was so extreamly leaky before, that at the same time she had three Foot of Water in her Hold; and our Pumps being both out of
order, we were forced to convey it out with Tubs. The next day we steered into Providence, and came to Anchor, under the command of a small Stochadoe Fort, built by the new Inhabitants, who had not been here above 8 Moneths, but had so well improved their time, that they had built a Town by the Sea side, and elected a Governour from among themselves, who with the consent of twelve more of the chief men of the Island made, and enacted divers Laws for the good of their little Common wealth, being as yet under the protection of no Prince.
The Privateers found here a kind Reception by the Inhabitants, and after they had gotten their Goods ashore, they ran their Ship a Ground, and burnt her, giving their Guns to the Inhabitants to fortifie the Island, designing to divide themselves into small Members, and to go thence to some other place where they might sell their Goods, and betake themselves to honest course of Life. The Governour of this Island was a very sober man, an Independent, and usually preached to the Inhabitants every first day of the Week, at which time he caused a Gun to be fired for a signal, to give notice to the People when he was going to begin. Whilst I remained here, the Privateers had two false Alarms, supposing the Spaniards were come again to dispossess them of the Island; for this being formerly a Harbour for Privateers, and a Nest of Robers, the Spaniards on a time, when most of the men were on the old Wrack, pillaged and burnt their Town, and carried away, as it was reported, thirty thousand Pound in Plate and Money, and took some of the Inhabitants Prisoners, the others fled to Illa Terra, where they remained till this Island was resetteld by those new Inhabitants that came from Jamaica, and other parts. The Island it self is very fruitful, and if the report of the Inhabitants be true, the quickest in production of any I ever heard or read of; there is plenty of wild Hogs in the Woods, which the Inhabitants often kill, and good store of wild Grapes, with which they make good Wine, and divers sorts of Fruits, as Oranges, Lemons, Limes, Guavers, &c. Also medicinal Herbs, as Tea Radix, Contra Yerva, Jesuits Bark, &c. Of eatable Roots, there is Partatoes, Yams and Edders, &c.
The Ketch with whom we came in company to this Island, sold part of their Bread and Flower to the Privateers for Linnen Cloth, and some they sold to the Inhabitants: And in about a Fortnights time they set Sail for Carolina, and I with them; but as we were falling down amongst the Bohemia Islands, towards the Gulf of Florida, we were like to be cast away on the Rocks and Shoals that lay in our way, but through mercy we
got clear. When we came on the Coast of Carolina, we met with blowing Weather, and by the mistake of our Captain fell in to the Southward, where we came to an Anchor, but the Wind was so high, that in weighing of him our Cable broke: The next day we came to an Anchor again just before the Bar of Carolina, for our Captain was afraid to go in with his Vessel, for fear they would seise him, because he had been dealing with the Privateers, and for that reason he only sent in his Boat to get some fresh Provision, and to put on Shore a Passenger that came with us; and because I found no Vessel here bound directly for England, I resolved to go with them for New-York: And here also we had the Misfortune to lose our other Anchor, insomuch that when we came to Sandy-Hook, we were forced to ride our Vessel by two of her Guns, which we had slung for that purpose, until our Boat had got us a small Anchor from on board some other Vessel. The next day we went up to New York, where, as I was walking one Morning on the Bridge, I accidently met with a Person I knew, that came lately from Barbadoes; at first I was surprized, but having Confidence that he would not discover me, I went to him, and desired his company to some House, where we might privately discourse together: He was glad to see me safe there, and accordingly to my desire he went with me to a House hard by, where I gave him an account of my Adventures, and what had happened to me since I left Barbadoes; and he in requital gave me an Account of the different Resentments People had of our departure, and how that after we were gone our Masters had hired a Sloop to send after us; but thinking it in vain, they did not persue us; however, they sent our Names, and the description of our Persons to the leward Islands, that so if any of us came thither, we might be taken Prisoners and sent up again: At one time it was reported, that we had gotten aboard a Dutch Vessel, and was bound for Holland: at another time that we were taken Prisoners at St Christophers, and to be sent back in Chains, which made our Masters rejoyce, and insultingly to boast of the severe Punishments they would inflict upon us; and was resolved, as they said, that I should be hanged for an Example to others, because I was the chief contriver and manager of our escape: But these Hopes and Insulstings of theirs were soon over, for when at length they could hear no true account of us, they concluded that we perished in the Sea. I had not been long at New-York before I got passage in a Vessel bound for Amsterdam, and in order thereunto took out a Ticket from the Secrataries Office by another Name; and in about five Weeks time we arrived at Cows, on the Isle of Weight, where this
Vessel stopt to clear; and as soon as I had got my Chest, &c. ashore, I embarqued for Southampton, where I left my Chest at a Friends House, and returned in a disguise to my Relations, who before this time (unknown to me) had procured my Pardon, and joyfully received me as one risen from the Dead; for having received no account from me since I left Barbadoes, they did almost despair of ever seeing me any more.
NOw unto the Eternal and True God, the sacred Fountain of all Mercies, that have been with me in all Dangers and times of Tryal, who miraculously preserved me on the deep Waters, and according to the multitude of his Mercies delivered me, when appointed to dye, unto him do I with sincere Gratitude dedicate the remainder of my dayes, Humbly imploring that the Angel of his presence may always attend me, and the Remembrance of his repeated Favours more and more engaged my Heart to serve him, that in Testimony of my abundant Thankfulness, I may return to him a perpetual Sacrifice of Praise and Thanksgiving, hencesorth and forever.
From my Lodging at the Sign of the Ship, in St Paul’s Church-Yard;
London, June the 10th, 1689.
An Account of the Adventures of my Companions since I left them on Saltatudos, communicated to me by John Whicker since his arrival in England.
Dear Doctor, in answer to your Request I have given you the following Account;
ABout a Fortnight after you left us on Saltatudos, two of our Companions, John Nuthall and Thomas Waker having made Sails of the Cloth the Privateers left us, and fitted, the Spanish Boat for the Sea, went from us, designing for Quirasoe; but the Boat being so large and unruly, and they so unskilful in Navigation, that I fear they either perished in the Sea, or was driven ashore on the Main amongst the cruel Spaniards; for we never heard of them since.
The next day after they departed from us, arrived here a small Privateer Boat of about four Tuns, in which were eight English men and a Negro, that formerly belonged to the Ship in which you embarqued, but that they left her, and went ashore upon a Island, called Fernando, which lies to the Southward upon the Coast of Brazil. Their reason for leaving their Ship was this; Having been out of Carolina about an Year and Half, and had made nothing of a Voyage considerable, resolved for the South Seas coming to the Streights of Magdaleen, met with very bad Weather, which forced them to put back again, and resolved to turn Pirates; but these eight men being averse to the rest of their Companions design, went ashore upon the Island aforesaid, carrying with them what they had on board, intending to go from thence in a small Boat, which was given them by the Ship’s Crew, with some Rigging, and other necessaries, which they designing to build upon, and raise her higher in case of bad Weather, having in their Company two Carpenters and a Joyner; taking their leaves of each other, the Ship put to Sea, next Morning saw a Sail at a considerable distance, but making the
best of their way, soon came up with her, and finding her to be a Portugeizs, they laid her aboard, and took her with very little resistance, although she was a bigger Ship, and had more men then the Privateers; having made her their prize, brought her away to the same Island, on which were their Companions, and turned the Prisoners ashore among them, giving them a Boat and Oars: But this caused no small trouble among the English, who were then Inhabiters with them; but being well armed, they kept them at a distance from their appartment all that day; but the next Night the Spaniards ran away, carrying with them their own Boat, and the English mens too; then were they in a bad condition, not having a Ship nor boat with which they could convey themselves from that desolate Island then were they constrained to cut & fall a sort of Trees, called Mangroves, and in the best manner they could, sawed out Boards, Planks, and other Timbers sit for their use, and began to build a new Boat from the Keel, and in six Weeks, or thereabouts, finisht her, being in burthen as they judg’d four Tuns; no one being idle, but imploying themselves, some about their new Vessel, while others (by turn) travelled the Island to shoot Provision, which was a sort of Birds, call’d Bookes, something resembling our English Sea-Gulls, or Pyes, (but bigger.) This Island affords a fort of very large and pleasant Figgs, which they also fed on sometimes.) There are a great many wild Dogs, very large and fat, which eat very little or nothing but Figs. Likewise in the day time there comes ashore Sea-Lyons, which will sit by the Water-side, and make a hideous roaring; they are hairy about their Head and Neck, much like our Land Lyons; their Paws very lage, with a Skin like the Foot of a Swan, which serves them to swim withal; they are very fearful and timerous, not suffering a man to come nigh them, but presently makes to the Sea; they live under Water as well as above. Having lancht and rigged their Boat, they put on board their Provision, which was only a small Cask of Pease that was given them by the Ship, which they kept by them for their Sea store. Having Water and all things aboard, took their departure from Ferdinando, aforesaid, committing themselves to the protection of Almighty God, and the mercies of the Seas, directing their Course for Tabago: But missing it, the Pilot ordered to bear up the Helm for Saltatudos, at which place they arriv’d, but almost famish’d (for they had neither Pease nor Water for the space of five or six days before. Having lain some dayes at the East end of the Island unknown to us, and being in great want of Provision, resolved to travel the Island to see if they
could find out any Food, by chance they found some salt Turtle, which we had laid upon a Tree, and covered it over with a Callapatch, to secure it from the Weather.
Three of these men being very ill principled and loose kind of Fellows, waiting their opportunity when three of their Companions were abroad, went aboard and fetcht their Arms, then came ashore to their Hut, where the other two were, and presented a Pistol to each of their Breasts, and swore if they would not carry every thing aboard they were dead men. The two men being surprized, and not able to make any resistance, the three having all the Arms in their Custody, were forced to comply, and carry all aboard. Which done, they charged them that if they did not acquaint them when the other came home, they would make them Examples. They promised very fair, having done this, they went aboard, waiting for their coming home. In the Evening the other three men came to their Hut, not mistrusting what had happened, but finding the Hut risted, and every thing gone, enquired the meaning of it, which having understood, bethought what to do; to tarry they were afraid; to go they could not tell where; for they had travelled all Day, and could not find a drop of fresh Water, neither was there any at the Hut, for the other had carried all aboard, being very faint one was resolved to hail the Boat, and beg a little; the other kept close to hear how he would fare, who having hailed them, they made answer he should have some: So coming ashore laid hold on him, and tyed his Hands behind him, and left him in Custody with one of them while they went to look for the rest: The reason why they endeavoured to take them, was because they had hid their Monies in the Sand, and did not keep it in their Chests; but in the mean time while they were looking for the other, the Prisoner by means of a Knife he had in his Pocket, cut loose the Line with which his Hands were tyed, and made his escape: Being thus exiled from his Companions bethought himself of ranging the Island to look for men; for the Turtle which they found came afresh into his Memory: all this time he had no Victuals, nor a drop of Watter, but was constrained to drink his own, being so excessive hot, at length having travelled about the Island till almost ready to faint, he came near our Huts, and seeing us dressing of Turtle with nothing on, only a pair of Drawers, the man made a stand, thinking we had been Iudians, for we were tan’d with the Sun as yellow almost as them; at length advanced, and enquired if we were English men: We told him we were; then he begg’d for a little Water, which
we gave him, and some of our Turtles And after some Conference, he told us his condition, and desired us to help him to regain what was so ungratefully taken from him and his fellow-sufferers, by their own Countrymen and Boats Crew, which we readily agreed to; and when we had sixt our Arms, we travelled all Night till we came where the Boat lay, which was about six or seven Miles from that place. When we came near the place, we hid our selves in the Bushes by the Sea side, waiting their coming ashore next Morning, which they usually did as we were informed. Morning being come, two of them came ashore, and the Negro slave bearing a Vessel to fetch Water, and they with their Arms, leaving one aboard with about twelve pieces by him ready loaden; when they were come on shore, we appeared with our Arms ready cockt, enclosed them, and took them Prisoners; then we brought them to the Water-side, and shewed the other aboard what we had done, commanded him not to Fire, but to jump over board, and swim ashore to us, which he immediately did: So taking them all Prisoners, we put them ashore, leaving them some of our Provision; the rest we put aboard in order to prosecute our Voyage for New-England. So victualling and watering our small Frigot in the best manner we could we left them upon the Island, and the 24th of August took our Departure from Saltatudos, and in about six dayes time made the Island of Porto Rico, but our Pilot not being very well acquainted with that Country, supposed it to be the high Land of St Domingo upon Hispaniola, & therefore ordered to bear up the Helm, & stand away to the Westward before the Wind: the next day we could see no Land, which caused no small trouble amongst us, being dubious where we were. Towards the Evening we made the East end of Hispaniola: then our Pilot saw his error, that we had lost our passage between the two Islands, Hispaniola and Portarico, before-mentioned, we were sailing down the South side of Hispaniola about nine dayes; having sometimes very little Wind, at other times Turnadoes, that we could not carry Sail. Our Water being all spent, we were forced some to drink their own Water, others to drink salt Water taken up by the side. Running along close aboard shore, we espied three men running with all the haste that possibly they could, till they came to a Canow which lay at the Mouth of a Creek, which immediately they rowed up into the Country among the Woods, we imagining they were afraid of us, supposing us to be Spaniards, then we came to an Anchor, and my self with one more, (a Carpenter) swim’d ashore, but with a great deal of difficulty, for the Rocks lying so far off the shore, had like to have dasht out our Brains:
Coming ashore we swom up the Creek, but the Tyde being so strong against us, we were forced to return back again; neither finding the men, nor hopes of getting fresh Water, therefore we swom aboard again. Weighing our Anchor, we steered within the Isle of Ash, which lies almost to the West end of Hispaniola, our Pilot looking over his Waggoner, found that within this Island was a fresh Water Creek, into which we designed to run, but through mistake run about two Leagues up into a wrong Creek, where we could find no fresh Water, that with drinking salt Water our Mouthes were almost grown together, and hardly able to speak; but God Almighty was pleased to send us a very great shower of Rain, which lasted so long, that by means of a Sheet held up by the four Corners, with a weight in it, we caught about two Gallons of Water. So loaring our Sails we haled up the Creek into the Woods, and went ashore, and concluded to dig a Well; when we had digged about four or six Foot deep, we found fresh Water to our great Comfort and Satisfaction; lying ashore all Night to take up the Water as it sprung, we were almost stung to death with a sort of Flys, called Musquetoes and Merrywings, which draw’d Blisters and Bladders in our Skin; that we lookt as if we had had the Small Pox, which was very tedious for our Bodies to endure. By next Morning we had got about forty Gallons of Water aboard, with which we put to Sea again; but we had not been at Sea above three Hours, before we saw a Sail within the West end of the Isle of Ash, before-mentioned; we bore up our Helm, and stood away for her; In a short time we saw her come to an Anchor: supposing her to be a Jamaica Sloop, for she had our Kings Jack & Antient out: We hailed them, whose answer was (from Jamaica) so coming to Anchor by their side, they laid us aboard with two Canows, full of Spaniards, all armed as Pirates, and carried us aboard their Sloop; stript us naked, and put us down in their Hold, having nothing to lay our naked Bodies upon only their Ballast Stones, or a top of their Water Cask; the Provision they allowed us was course and short, about half a Pint of Indian Corn a day for a man for nine dayes together.
The place where they carried us, is called St Jago, a Spanish Town upon Cuba, we remaind in this condition above six Moneths; when they went to Sea, we were carried as their Slaves, (to pump Ship) wash their Clothes, and beat Corn in great wooden Morters, and Negroes with naked Swords, always standing by as Overseers, that our Hands have been bladdered and so sore, that we could hardly hold any thing:
When at home, our business was to row the Canow up two Leagues in the Country (full of Jars to fetch Water) which we were forced to carry upon our naked Backs a great way to fill them; sometimes into the Woods to cut Wood, bare-footed and bare-leged, neither Shirts to our Backs, nor Hat to our Heads, but only a Rag sufficient to cover our Nakedness. Our Provision, as I told you before, was Indian Corn boiled in Water, but a larger share than at first.
About the latter end of October we were divided, my self with three more were put on board a small Barque, the rest of my Companions remained aboard the Sloop, both Vessels being bound down to leward of Cape Cruse, having information of a Dutch Trader that lay there before a small, Town, called Byan; in which Voyage we were taken all very sick in the Ague, as
well Spaniards as English, which reduced us to a deplorable condition, having nothing to yield us any comfort. In this distemper dyed one of our Companions Jeremiah Atkins of Taunton during his Sickness, they were very cruel to him, not suffering us to carry him down into the Hold, but made him lie Day and Night upon the Deck; all we could do for him, was to cover him with the bark of a Cabbage-Tree, to keep the Sun from him by Day, and the Dew by Night: In this languishing condition he lay about a Week, and then dyed; when dead, they threw him over board, letting him float a Stern, without using any means to sink him, as is usual. Returning back again for St. Jago, without their expected Prize, off of Cape Cruse, my self and one more of our Companions was taken again from on Board the Barque, and put aboard the Sloop, and two other of our English were put aboard the Barque, who took their departure from us at Cape Cruse aforesaid, bound for Carthagena, a Spanish Town upon the main Continent. In five dayes we arrived at our Port of St Jago, where we lay about a Moneth, and having kreen’d [careened, or cleaned the bottom of] our Sloop, put to Sea again; bound for the North side of Hispaniola to take French-men. Turning up to Windward of Cuba, we met with a Jamaica Sloop bound for the Wrack, the Spaniard commanded him to hoist out his Canow, and come aboard; which he refusing, went his way, having weathered Cape Myeeze, which is the Eastward point of Cuba; we stood along shore bound for a small Town, call’d Barracco, where in two dayes we arrived: we lay there till the latter end of October, at which place our Sloop drove ashore, and struck off about fourteen Foot of her false Keel; but after a great deal of trouble got her off again; at this place they got two Hogs, and a quantity of Plantins, a sort of Food
that grows upon Trees; they are made use of instead of Bread among the Inhabitants in the West-Indies. We then proceeded in our Voyage for Hispaniola, and fell in with a place, called the Mould, off which place we saw two Sail, an English Vessel that came from Jamaica, bound for New-York, and a French Sloop bound for Pettygwavers, a French Town to leward on the North side of the said Hispaniola; having a fresh Gale we came up with the Englishman, brought him by the Lee, commanded the Captain aboard, with four of his men, and put twelve Spaniards aboard his Ship. Then chasing the French man, came up with him about an hour after Night: the French-man stood it out and fought us, making a stout Resistance, although they had not above seven or eight men, and in the Spaniards were thirty five Men, eight Guns, six Patterreroes, and every man his small Arms: The French making such a bold Resistance kept them off, till such time as they had an opportunity, to run their Sloop a Ground in the Mould, in the dark, by which means they saved their lives, otherwise they had been all dead men, as the Spaniards swore if they took them: In the next Morning we run into the Mould, and brought out their Sloop, and put about ten Men aboard, bringing both Prizes away for St. Jago. From the English Captain they took 900 l. in Money, and plundred him of all he had, save the suite of Clothes that he wore, and waited the Governours motion to make a Prize of the Ship, which would have been done, had not the Spanish Governour received advice of the Duke of Albermales arrival at Jamaica; upon which news the Governour paid the English Captain 600 l. of his Money back again, and sent him away to Jamaica, and all the English Prisoners, that would go with him were free by his consent. By this time arrived the Barque, in which was the other three of our Companions, who were very glad to hear of our and their Redemption, we embarqued once again Free-men together, by God’s Grace bound for Jamaica, where we safely arrived about the latter end of March: So seperating our selves we endeavoured in the best manner we could to get passage for England our native Country, desiring God Almighty to deliver us, and all our dear Country-men Protestants, from the barbarous Cruelty of the Spaniards and Papists.
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BEing endued with the lively Colour, Taste and Smell of the Herb, containing its essential Virtues and Qualities, and is much to be preferred before the Spirit commonly sold, in all cases wherein that is recommended, as in the Scurvey, Dropsie, Jaundice, Hipocondriak Melancholly, &c. Price 1 s. a Bottle.
SO called, from its great and admirable Faculty, in easing all manner of Pains in any part of the Body, which it does, not only by taking away that painful Sensation, but by correcting or removing the material cause that excites it: A Medicine so well corrected, and friendly to Nature, that it far exceeds both in case and virtue the common Preparations of Mathew’s Pill, or any of the Nature yet exposed to the World. Price 1 s. a Box.
‘THis Spirit is of most subtile and volatile Parts, and is a specifick in most Diseases of the Head, as Appoplexies, Lethargies, and all manner of sleepy Diseases, Falling Sickness, Convulsions, Megrim, Vertigo or Giddiness of the Head, Cattarhs, &c. The small of it powerfully revives those that are in Fits or Fainty, and for the most part gives ease in Pains of the Head, in a few Minutes time. It Cures the Plurisie Quinsie, without Blood-letting, and all manner of Inflamations, either external or internal. It is a famous Medicine in all Obstructions of the Liver, Spleen, messentery Womb, &c. and the Diseases of those parts; The Cholick, Stone, Gout, Scurvey, Hypocondriack Melancholly, Kings Evil, Rickets, Feavers & Agues, &c. Price 1 s. a Bottle.
A Most excellent Purging Pill, in all cases where Purging is necessary, as in the Scurvey, Dropsie, Gout, Venerial Disease, Appoplexies, Epilepsies, old and invelerate Head-Aches, Cholick, and Iliack Passion, Jaundice, Green-Sickness, &c. Price 1 s. a Box.
These medicines are all Prepared and Sold (with Printed Directions, giving a more full Account of their Virtues, &c.) by Henry Pitman, at the Sign of the Ship in St. Paul’s Church-Yard.
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