Mr. DAMPIER's Voyages TO THE BAY of Campeachy.
Vol. II. Part II. Containing an Account of the Bay of Campeachy in the West-Indies, and Parts adjacent.
The Author's first going to Sea, to France, to New|foundland, and after to the East-Indies. His setting out for the West-Indies. Of St. Lucia, the Caribbe-Indians, and Captain Warner. He arrives at Jamaica; His Aboad and Travels there, and first Voyage to Campeachy. The East and North of Jucatan described. Key-Mugere, Cape Catoch. and its Logwood-Cut|ting. The Mount and its Salt-petre Earth. The Indian Towns, the Tarpom-Fish, Fishermen, and Lookouts. Rio de la Gartos, Salt-Ponds, Selam, Sisal, and Cape Condecedo. His first Arrival at Island Trist, in the Bay of Page 2 [year 1673] Campeachy. His Anchoring at One-Bush-Key, and Entertainment among the Logwood-Cutters. The escape of four English Prisoners from Mexico, and Campeachy. He returns for Jamaica, and is chased by two Spanish Vessels. The difficulty of their Passage back, and his falling foul of the Alcranes Isles. The Boobies and Egg-Birds there, &c. Sword-Fish, Nurses, Seals, &c. Of Captain Long and others Ship-wrack'd here. The Soundings here about: He passeth through the Colorado Shoals, and Anchors near Cape St. Antonio in Cuba; and coasting by the Island of Pines, Anchors at the Island of Grand Kayman. He goes back and Anchors at Island Pines, its Product, Racoons, Land-Crabs, fierce Crocodiles, Cattle, &c. He stands off to Sea again, and with the help of a seasonable North Wind, after much difficulty, arrives at Jamaica.
AMong other things referr'd to in my for|mer Volume, I mentioned an Account I intended to give of the Bay of Cam|peachy, where I lived first and last about 3 Years. I shall now discharge my self of that Promise; and because my Campeachy Voyages were in order of time, before that Round the World, I shall upon this occa|sion go so far back as to speak briefly of my first going to Sea, and the Rambles I made till my setting out for Campeachy.
My Friends did not originally design me for the Sea, but bred me at School till I came to Years fit for a Trade. But upon the Death of my Father and Mother, they who had the disposal of me, took other Measures; and having removed me from the Latine School to learn Writing and Page 3 [year 1673] Arithmetick, they soon after plac'd me with a Master of a Ship at Weymouth, complying with the Incli|nations I had very early of seeing the World: With him I made a short Voyage to France: and return|ing thence, went to Newfoundland, being then about eighteen Years of Age. In this Voyage I spent one Summer; but so pinched with the rigour of that cold Climate, that upon my return I was absolutely against going to those parts of the World, but went home again to my Friends. Yet going up a while after to London, the offer of a warm Voyage and a long one, both which I always desired, soon carried me to Sea again. For hearing of an outward-bound East-India Man, the John and Martha of London, Capt. Earning Commander, I entered my self aboard, and was employed before the Mast, for which my two former Voyages had some way qualified me. We went directly for Bantam in the Isle of Java, and staying there about two Months, came home again in little more than a year; touching at St. Ja|go of the Cape Verd Islands at our going out, and at Ascension in our return. In this Voyage I gain'd more experience in Navigation, but kept no Journal. We arrived at Plymouth about two Months before Sir Robert Holms went out to fall upon the Dutch Smyrna Fleet: and the second Dutch Wars breaking out upon this, I forbore going to Sea that Summer, reti|ring to my Brother in Somersetshire. But growing wea|ry of staying ashore, I lifted my self on board the Royal Prince, Commanded by Sir Edward Sprague, and served under him in the Year 1673. being the last of the Dutch War. We had three En|gagements that Summer; I was in two of them, but falling very sick, I was put aboard an Hospital Ship a day or two before the third Engagement, seeing it at a distance only; and in this Sir Edward Sprague was kill'd. Soon after I was sent to Harwich, with Page 4 [year 1674] the rest of the Sick and Wounded: And having langui|shed a great while, I went home to my Brother to recover my health.
By this time the War with the Dutch was con|cluded; and with my health, I recovered my old Inclination for the Sea. A Neighbouring Gentleman, Colonel Hellier of East-Coker in Somersetshire, my Native Parish, made me a seasonable offer to go and manage a Plantation of his in Jamaica, under one Mr. Whalley: for which place I set out with Capt. Kent in the Content of London.
I was then about 22 Years old, and had never been in the West-Indies; and therefore, lest I might be trapann'd and sold as a Servant after my arrival in Jamaica, I agreed with Capt. Kent to work as a Seaman for my Passage, and had it under his hand to be cleared at our first arrival. We sailed out of the River Thames in the beginning of the Year 1674. and meeting with favourable Winds in a short time got into the Trade-wind, and went merrily along, steering for the Island Barbadoes. When we came in sight of it Captain Kent told his Passengers, if they would pay his Port-Charges he would anchor in the Road, and stop whilst they got refreshment: But the Merchants not caring to part with their Money, he bore away, directing his Course towards Jamaica.
The next Island that appeared in our view was St. Lucia. 'Tis distant from Barbadoes about 30 Leagues, and very wealthy in large Timber Trees fit for all uses. For this reason 'tis often visited by the En|glish, who stock themselves here with Rollers, &c. They have endeavoured to settle an English Co|lony there, but hitherto unsuccessfully, because of the Caribbe-Indians.
The Caribbees are a sort of Warlike Indians, de|lighting to •ove on the Sea in Periagoes or large Canoas. Their chiefest Habitations are on the Main; Page 5 [year 1674] but at certain Seasons of the Year they visit the Islands for their Pleasure. Barbadoes was former|ly much frequented by them; but since the En|glish settled there they have been forced to abandon it, and content themselves in their Sea-Voyages, or with such Islands only as are not possess'd by the Europeans; except where they have hopes of conquering; as they have done at St. Lucia.
Near the Main where these Indians live, lies Tabago, which, when it was first settled by the Dutch, was much infested by them. These Indi|ans, as I have heard, had formerly Planta|tions on most of the Caribbe-Islands; and in their Sea Voyages did use to remain 3 Weeks or a Month at a time on an Island, and then remove to ano|ther; and so visit most of them before their re|turn to the Main.
St. Vincent is another of these Islands lying near St. Lucia: We passed between them; and seeing a smoke on St. Lucia, we sent our Boat ashore there. Our men found some of the Caribbe-Indians, and bought of them Plantains, Bonanoes, Pine-Apples, and Sugar-Canes; and returning aboard again, there came with them a Canoa with 3 or 4 of the Indians. These often repeated the word Captain Warner, and seemed to be in some disquiet about him. We did not then understand the meaning of it; but since I have been informed that this Captain War|ner, whom they mentioned, was born at Antego, one of our English Islands, and the Son of Gover|nour Warner, by an Indian Women, and bred up by his Father after the English manner; he learn|ed the Indian Language also of his Mother; but being grown up, and finding himself despised by his English Kindred, he forsook his Fathers House, got away to St. Lucia, and their lived among •he Caribbe-Indians, his Relations by the Mother Page 6 [year 1674] side. Where conforming himself to their Cu|stoms he became one of their Captains, and roved from one Island to another, as they did. About this time the Caribbees had done some spoil on our English Plantations at Antego: and therefore Governour Warner's Son by his Wife took a Party of Men and went to suppress those Indians; and came to the Place where his Brother the Indian-Warner lived. Great seeming Joy there was at their Meet|ing; but how far it was real the Event shewed; for the English Warner providing plenty of Liquor, and inviting his half Brother to be merry with him, in the midst of his Entertainment ordered his Men upon a signal given to murder him and all his Indians; which was accordingly performed. The Reason of this inhumane Action is diversly repor|ted; some say that this Indian Warner committed all the spoil that was done to the English; and there|fore for that Reason his Brother kill'd him and his Men. Others that he was a great Friend to the English, and would not suffer his Men to hurt them, but did all that lay in his power to draw them to an amicable Commerce; and that his Brother kill'd him, for that he was ashamed to be Related to an Indian. But be it how it will, he was call'd in question for the Murder, and forced to come home to take his Tryal in Eng|land. Such perfidious Doings as these, beside the Baseness of them, are great hindrances of our gaining an Interest among the Indians.
Putting from these Islands we steered away fur|ther West, and falling in with the East end of Hispaniola, we ranged down along on the South side even to Cape Tihuron, which is the West-end of the I sland. There we lay by and sent our Boat ashore; for Captain Kent had been informed that there were great Groves of Orange-Trees near this Cape; but our Men not finding any, he then Page 7 [year 1674] concluded there were none: But I have been since informed my self by several that have been there, that their are enough of them thereabouts. From hence we steered away for Jamaica, where we ar|rived in a short time, bringing with us the first News they had of the Peace with the Dutch.
Here, according to my Contract, I was immedi|ately discharged; and the nevt day I went to the Spanish Town, call'd Sant' Jago de la Vega; where meeting with Mr. Whalley, we went together to Colonel Hellier's Plantation in 16 Mile-Walk. In our way thither we past through Sir Tho. Muddiford's Plantation, at the Angells, where at that time were Otta and Cacao Trees growing; and fording a pretty large River, we past by the side of it 2 or 3 Miles up the Stream, there being high Mountains on each side, The way to 16 Mile-Walk was formerly a great deal about, round a large Mountains; till Mr. Cary Hellier, the Colonel's Brother, found out this way. For being desirous of making out a shorter cut, he and some others coasted along the River, till they found it run between a Rock that stood up perpendicularly steep on each side, and with much difficulty they climbed over it. But a Dog that belonged to them, finding a hole to creep through the Rock, suggested to them that there was a hollow Passage; and he clear'd it by blowing up the Rock with Gunpowder, till he had made a way through it broad enough for a Horse with a Pack, and high enough for a Man to ride through. This is called the Hollow Rock. Some other Places he levell'd, and made it an in|different good Passage.
He was a very ingenious Gentleman, and doubt|less had he lived, he might have propagated some advantagious Arts on that Island. He was once endeavouring to make Salt Petre at the Angells, but did not bring it to Perfection. Whether the Page 8 [year 1674] Earth there was not right, I know not; but pro|bably there may be Saltpetre Earth in other Places, especially about Passage-Fort, where as I have been informed, the Canes will not make good Sugar, by Reason of the Saltness of the Soil.
I liv'd with Mr. Whalley at 16 Mile-walk for almost six Months, and then entred my self into the Service of one Captain Heming, to manage his Plantation at St. Anns, on the North side of the Island, and accordingly rode from St. Jago de la Vega toward St. Anns.
This Road has but sorry accommodations for Travellers. The first night I lay at a poor Hun|ters Hut, at the foot of Mount Diabolo on the South side of it, where for want of Clothes to cover me in the Night I was very cold when the Land-wind sprang up.
This Mountain is part of the great Ridge that runs the length of the Island from East to West; to the East 'tis call'd the Blew Mountain, which is higher than this. The next day crossing Mount Diabolo, I got a hard Lodging at the Foot of it on the North side; and the third day after arrived at Captain Heming's Plantation.
I was clearly out of my Element there, and therefore as soon as Captain Heming came thither I disingaged my self from him, and took my pas|sage on Board a Sloop to Port-Royal, with one Mr. Statham, who used to trade round the Island, and touched there at that time.
From Port-Royal I sailed with one Mr. Fishook, who traded to the North side of the Island, and sometimes round it: and by these coasting Voy|ages I came acquainted with all the Ports and Bays about Jamaica, and with all their Manu|factures; as also with the Benefit of the Land and Sea-winds. For our Business was to bring Goods Page 9 [year 1675] to, or carry them from Planters to Port-Royal; and we were always entertain'd civilly by them, both in their Houses and Plantations, having Liberty to walk about and view them. They gave us also Plantains, Yams, Potatoes &c. to carry aboard with us; on which we fed commonly all our Voyage.
But after six or seven Months, I left that Employ also, and shipt my self aboard one Capt. Hudsel, who was bound to the Bay of Campeachy to load Logwood.
We sailed from Port-Royal about the beginning of August, 1675. in Company with Capt. Wren in a small Jamaica Bark, and Capt. Johnson Com|mander of a Ketch belonging to New-England.
This Voyage is all the way before the Wind, and therefore Ships commonly sail it in 12 or 14 Days; Neither were we longer in our Passage; for we had very fair Weather, and touch'd no where till we came to Trist Island in the Bay of Campeachy, which is the only place they go to. In our way thither we first sailed by little Caimanes, leaving it on our Larboard side, and Key Monbrack, which are two small Islands, lying South of Cuba. The next Land we saw was the Isle of Pines; and steering still Westerly, we made Cape Corien|tes: and sailing on the South side of Cuba, till we came to Cape Antonio, which is the West end of it, we stretched over towards the Peninsula of Jucatan, and fell in with Cape Catoch, which is in the extream part of that Promontory towards the East.
The Land trends from this Cape one way South about 40 Leagues till you come to the Island Cozumel, and from thence it runs S. W. down into the Bay of Honduras. About 10 Leagues from Cape Catoch, be|tween it and Cozumel, lies a small Island called by the Spaniards Key-Muger, or Womens-Island; because 'tis reported that when they went first to settle in these Page 10 [year 1675] parts they left their Wives there, while they went over on the Main to find some better habitation: Tho' now they have no settlement near it, whatever they have had formerly.
About 3 Leagues from Cape Catoch, and just against it is a small Island called Loggerhead-Key; probably because it is frequently visited by a sort of Turtle so call'd: near this Island we always find a great Ripling, which Seamen call the Rip-raps. This Cape, tho' it appears to be part of the Main, yet is divided from it by a small Creek, scarce wide enough for a Canoa to pass through, though by it 'tis made an Island. This I have been credibly informed of by some, who yet told me that they made a shift to pass it in a Canoa.
The Cape is very low Land by the Sea, but some|what higher as you go further from the shore. It is all over-grown with Trees of divers sorts, especially Logwood; and therefore was formerly much frequented by the Jamaica Men, who came thither in Sloops to load with it, till all the Logwood|trees near the Sea were cut down; but now 'tis wholly abandoned, because the Carriage of it to the shore repuires more labour, than the cutting, logging and chipping. Besides they find better Wood now in the Bays of Campeachy and Honduras, and have but a little way to carry it; not about 300 Paces, when I was there: whereas at Cape Catoch they were forc'd to carry it 1500 Paces before they left that Place.
From Cape Catoch we coasted along by the shore, on the North side of Jucatan towards Cape Condecedo. The Coast lies nearest West. The distance between these two Capes is about 80 Leagues. The shore lies pretty level without any visible Points or Bendings in the Land. It is Woody by the shore, and full of sandy Bays and lofty Mangroves.
The first place of note to the West of Cape Catoch, is a small Hill by the Sea, call'd the Mount, and Page 11 [year 1675] is distant from it about 14 Leagues, It is very remark|able, because there is is no other High-Land on all this Coast. I was never ashore here, but have met with some well acquainted with the Place, who are all of opinion that this Mount was not natural, but the Work of Men: And indeed it is very probable this place has been inhabited; for here are a great many large Cisterns, supposed to have been made for the receiving of Rain-water, for there are no fresh Springs to be found here, the Soil being all sandy and very salt. So that, as I have been credibly informed by an intelligent Person, the Spaniards do fetch of it to make Salt-Petre. He also told me, that being once there in a Privateer, and landing some Men on the Bay, they found about 100 Packs of this Earth bound up in Palmeto leaves; and a Spanish Mulatto to guard it. The Privateers at first sight of the Packs were in hopes there had been Maiz or Indian Corn in them, which they then wanted; but opening them they found nothing but Earth; and examining the Mu|latto for what use it was, he said to make Powder, and that he expected a Bark from Compeachy to fetch it away. He further told me, that tasting of it he found it very salt; as all the Earth there|abouts was. So that 'tis not improbable that those Cisterns were made for the carrying on of Salt-Petre Work. But whatever was the design at first, it is now wholly laid aside: for there is no use made of them; neither are there any Inhabitants near this Place.
Between the Mount and Cape Condecedo, close by the Sea, are many little Spots of Mangrove Trees, which at a distance appear like Islands: but coming nearer, when other lower Trees appear, it shews like ragged and broken Ground; but at last all the Land presents it self to your view very even.
Page 12 [year 1675] The next place of note on this Coast is Rio de la Gartos, almost in the mid-way between Cape Cotoch and Cape Condecedo. This also is a very remarkable Place; for here are 2 Groves of High Mangroves, one on each side the River, by which it may be known very well. The River is but small, yet deep enough for Canoas. The Water is good, and I know not any other Brook of fresh River on all the Coast from Cape Catoch till within 3 or 4 Leagues of Campeachy Town.
A little to the East of this River is a Fish-Range, and a small Indian Hutt or two within the Woods; where the Indian Fishers who are subject to the Spaniards, lye in the Fishing-Seasons, their Habi|tations and Families being farther up in the Country. Here are Poles to hang their Nets on, and Barbecues to dry their Fish. When they go off to Sea, they fish with Hook and Line about 4 or 5 Leagues from the shore, for Snappers and Gropers, which I have already described in my Voyage round the World. Chap. 4. pag. 91.
Since the Privateers and Logwood-ships have sailed this way, these Fisher-men are very shy, having been often snapp'd by them. So that now, when they are out at Sea, if they see a Sail, they presently sink their Canoas even with the edge of the Water; for the Canoas when they are full of Water, will sink no lower, and they themselves lye just with their heads above Water, till the Ship which they saw is pass'd by or comes nigh. I have seen them under sail, and they have thus vanished on a sudden. The Fish which they take near the Shore with their Nets, are Snooks, Dog-Fish, and sometimes Tarpoms.
The Tarpom is a large scaly Fish, shaped much like a Salmon, but somewhat flatter. 'Tis of a dull Silver Colour, with Scales as big as a Half Crown. A large Tarpom will weight 25 or 30 Pound. 'Tis good sweet wholsome Meat, and the Flesh solid and firm. Page 13 [year 1675] In its belly you shall find two large Scalops of Fat, weighing two or three Pound each: I never knew any taken with Hook and Line; but are either with Nets, or by striking them with Harpoons, at which the Moskito-Men are very expert. The Nets for this purpose are made with strong double Twine, the Meshes 5 or 6 Inches square. For if they are too small, so that the Fish be not intang|led therein, he presently draws himself a little back|ward, and then springs over the Net: Yet I have seen them taken in a Sain made with small Meshes in this manner. After we have inclosed a great number, whilst the two ends of the Net were drawing ashore, 10 or 12 naked Men have fol|lowed; and when a Fish struck against the Net, the next Man to it grasped both Net and Fish in his Arms, and held all fast till others came to his assistance. Besides these we had three Men in a Canoa, in which they mov'd side-ways after the Net; and many of the Fish in springing over the Net, would fall into the Canoa: And by these means we should take two or three at every draught. These Fish are found plen|tifully all along that shore from Cape Catoch to Trist, especially in clear Water, near sandy Bays; but no where in muddy or rocky Ground. They are also about Jamaica, and all the Coast of the Main; es|pecially near Carthagena.
West from Rio de le Gartos, there is a Look-out or Watch-tower, called Selam. This is a Place close by the shore, contrived by the Spaniards for their Indians to watch in. There are many of them on this Coast: Some built from the Ground with Timber, others only little Cages placed on a Tree, big enough for one or two Men to sit in, with a Ladder to go up and down. These Watch-towers are never without an Indian or two all the day long; the Indians who live near any of them being obli|ged to take their turns.
Page 14 [year 1675] About three or four Leagues Westward of Selam, is another Watch-box on a high Tree, called Linchanchee Lookout, from a large Indian Town of that Name, 4 Leagues up in the Country; and two Leagues farther within Land is another Town called Chinchanchee. I have been ashore at these Lookouts, and have been either rowing in a Canoa or walking ashore on all this Coast, even from Rio de la Gartos to Cape Condecedo: but did never see any Town by the shore, nor any Houses besides Fishing-hutts on all the Coast, except only at Sisal. Between Selam and Linchanchee are many small regular Salt Ponds, divided from each other by little Banks; the biggest Pond not above 10 yards long and 6 broad.
The Inhabitants of these two Towns attend these Ponds in the Months of May, June, and July to gather the Salt, which supplies all the Inland Towns of these Parts; and there is a skirt of Wood between the Sea and the Ponds, that you can neither see them nor the People at work till you come ashore.
From these Salt Ponds further West, about three or four Leagues, is the Lookout called Sisal. This is the highest and most remarkable on all the Coast; it stands close by the Sea, and it is built with Timber. This is the first Object that we make off at Sea; and sometimes we take it for a Sail, till running nearer we discover the High Mangrove-trees appearing in small Tufts at several distances from it.
Not far from hence there is a Fort with 40 or 50 Soldiers to Guard the Coast; and from this place there is a Road through the Country to the City of Merida. This is the chiefest City in all the Province of Jucatan, it being inhabited mostly with Spani|ards: Yet there are many Indian Families among them, who live in great subjection, as do the rest of the Indians of this Country. The Province of Ju|catan,Page 15 [year 1675] especially this Northern and the most East|erly part of it, is but indifferently fruitful, in compa|rison of that rich Soil farther to the West: Yet is it pretty populous of Indians, who all live together in Towns; but none within five or six Miles of the Sea, except (as I said) at 2 or 3 Fishing places; and even there the Indians resort to fish but at cer|tain Seasons of the Year. Therefore when Privateers come on this Coast, they fear not to land and ram|ble about, as if they were in their own Country, seeking for Game of any sort, either Fowl or Deer; of both which there are great plenty, especially of the latter, though sometimes they pay dear for it: A small Jamaica Privateer once landed 6 or 7 Men at this Lookout of Sisal; who not suspecting any danger, ordered the Canoa with 3 or 4 Men to row along by the shore, to take them in upon their giving a sign or firing a Gun: But within half an hour they were attack'd by about 40 Spanish Soldiers, who had cut them off from the shore, to whom they surren|dered themselves Prisoners. The Spaniards carried them in triumph to the Fort, and then demanded which was the Captain. Upon this they all stood mute, for the Captain was not among them; and they were afraid to tell the Spaniards so, for fear of being all hanged for Straglers; Neither did any one of them dare to assume that Title, because they had no Commission with them, nor the Copy of it; for the Captains don't usually go ashore without a Copy at least, of their Commission, which is wont to secure both themselves and their Men.—At last one John Hullock cock'd up his little crop• Hat, and told them that he was the Captain; and the Spaniards demanding his Commission, he said it was aboard; for that he came ashore only to hunt, not thinking to have met any Enemy. The Spaniards were well satisfied with this Answer, and afterwards respected him as the Captain, and served him with Page 16 [year 1675] better Provision and Lodging than the rest; and the next day when they were sent to the City of Merida about 12 or 13 Leagues from thence, Captain Hul|lock had a Horse to ride on, while the rest went on Foot: And though they were all kept in close Prison, yet Hullock had the honour to be often sent for to be examined at the Governour's House, and was frequently Regal'd with Chocolate, &c. From thence they were carried to Campeachy Town, where still Captain Hullock was better served than his Comrades: At last, I know not how, they all got their Liberties, and Hullock was ever after called Captain Jack.
It is about 8 Leagues from Sisal to Cape Condecedo; twenty Leagues North of which lies a small Island, call'd by the Spaniards Isles des Arenas, but the Eng|lish Seamen, as is usual with them, corrupt the Name strangely; and some call it the Desarts, others the Desarcusses; but of this Island, having never seen it, I can give no account.
All this Coast from Cape Catoch to Cape Conde|cedo, is low Land, the Mount only excepted. It is most sandy Bay by the Sea; yet some of it is Man|grovy Land; within which you have some Spots of dry Savannah, and small scrubbed Trees, with short thick Bushes among them. The Sea deepens gra|dually from the shore, and Ships may anchor in sandy Ground in any depth from 7 or 8 Foot to 10 or 12 Fathom Water.
In some Places on this Coast we reckon our di|stance from the shore by the depth of the Sea, allow|ing 4 Fathom for the first League, and for every Fa|thom afterward a League more.
But having got thus to Cape Condecedo, I shall de|fer the further description of these Parts from this Cape Southward and Westward to the High-Land of St Martin, which is properly the Bay of Campeachy; and from thence also further Westward, till my se|cond Page 17 [year 1675] coming on this Coast, when I made so long a stay here. To proceed therefore with my present Voyage having past Cape Catoch, the Mount, Rio de la Gartos, Sisal, and Cape Condecedo, we stood South|ward directly for Trist, the Haven of our Logwood-Cutters; at which Place being not above 60 Leagues distant, we soon arrived.
Trist is the Road only for big Ships, Smaller Vessels that draw but a little Water run 3 Leagues farther, by crossing over a great Lagune that runs from the Island up into the Main-Land; where they anchor at a place called One-Bush-Key. We stayed at Trist 3 days to fill our Water, and then with our 2 Consorts sailed thence with the Tide of Flood; and the same Tide arrived there. This Key is not above 40 Paces long, and 5 or 6 broad, having only a little crooked Tree growing on it, and for that reason it is called One-Bush-Key. It seems to be only a heap of Shells, for the Island is covered with them. The greatest part are Oyster-shells. There are a great many Oysters-banks in this Lagune, and the adjacent Creeks; but none afford better, either for largeness or taste, than the Bank about this Island. In the wet Season the Oysters as well of One-Bush-Key as other Places here, are made fresh by the Freshes running out of the Country: But in the dry time they are salt enough. In the Creeks they are smaller, but more numerous; and the Mangrove-Roots that grow by the sides of the Creeks are loaden with them; and so are all the Branches that hang in the Water.
One-Bush-Key is about a Mile from the shore; and just against the Island is a small Creek that runs a Mile farther, and then opens into another wide La|gune; and through this Creek the Logwood is brought to the Ships riding at the Key. Between the Oyster-Banks that lye about the Island and the Main, there is good Riding in about 12 Foot Wa|ter. Page 18 [year 1675] The bottom is very soft Oaz, insomuch that we are forced to shooe our Anchors to make them hold. The Main by it is all low Mangrovy-Land, which is over-flow'd every Tide; and in the Wet Season is covered with Water. Here we lay to take in our Lading.
Our Cargo to purchase Log-wood was Rum and Sugar; a very good Commodity for the Logwood-cutters, who were then about 250 Men, most Eng|lish, that had settled themselves in several Places hereabouts: Neither was it long before we had these Merchants came aboard to visit us; we were but 6 Men and a Boy in the Ship, and all little enough to entertain them: for besides what Rum we sold by the Gallon or Firkin; we sold it made into Punch, wherewith they grew Frolicksome. We had none but small Arms to fire at their drinking Healths, and therefore the noise was not very great at a distance; but on Board the Vessels we were loud enough till all our Liquor was spent: We took no Money for it, nor expected any; for Log-wood was what we came hither for, and we had of that in lieu of our Commodities after the rate of 5 Pound per Tun, to be paid at the Place where they cut it; and we went with our Long-boat to fetch small Quan|tities. But because it would have taken up a long time to load our Vessel with our own Boat only, we hired a Periago of the Logwood-Cutters to bring it on Board; and by that means made the quicker dispatch. I made two or three Trips to their Huts, where I and those with me were always very kindly entertain'd with Pig and Pork and Pease, or Beef and Dough-Boys. Their Beef they got by hunting in the Savannahs. As long as the Liquor lasted, which they bought of us, we were treated with it either in Drams or Punch. But for a more particular account of the Logwood-Cutters I shall refer the Reader to my second Voyage hither, Page 19 [year 1675] which I made shortly after my return to Jamaica, because I saw a great prospect of getting Money here, if Men would be but diligent and frugal.
But let's proceed with our Voyage: It was the latter end of September, 1675. when we sailed from One-Bush-Key with the Tide of Ebb; and anchored again at Trist that same Tide; where we watered our Vessel in order to sail. This we accomplished in two Days, and the third day sailed from Trist toward Jamaica. A Voyage which proved very tedious and hazardous to us, by reason of our Ships being so sluggish a Sailor that She would not ply to Windward, whereby we were necessarily driven upon several Shoals that otherwise we might have avoided, and forced to spend 13 Weeks in our Passage, which is usually accomplished in half that time.
We had now a Passenger with us, one Will. Wood|ers a Jamaica Seamen, that with three others that were taken by the Spaniards, was sent to the City of Mexico, where they remained Prisoners six or eight Months, but at last wereremanded to La Vera Cruz, and from thence by Sea to Campeachy: They were not imprisoned, but only kept to work on Board the Ship that brought them, and soon found an opportunity to make their escapes in this man|ner. They had been imployed ashore all the day, and being sent aboard at Night, they fell to con|trive how to run away with the Boat; but considering that they wanted necessaries for their Voyage, they resolved first to go back and supply themselves, which they might then do the better, because they knew there were none but a few Indians on Board. Accordingly having seiz'd and bound the Indians, taking with them a Compass, with some Bread and Water, they put off to Sea, and arriv'd at Trist a Week before our departure: And this Will. Wooders was the means under God of the Preservation of our Ship.
Page 20 [year 1675] The third day, after we left Trist, about 8 in the Morning, near 12 or 14 Leagues W. S. W. from Campeachy, we saw two Sail about 3 Leagues to Windward coming directly towards us, the Captain supposing that they had been Jamaica Vessels, would have lain by to hear some News, and to get some Li|quor from them; for we had now none on Board but a few Bottles in a small Case, that the Captain reserved for his own Drinking. But Wooders with|stood the Captains Proposal, and told him, that when he came from Campeachy there were two small Ves|sels ready to sail for Tobasco River, which is not above 11 or 12 Leagues Leeward of Trist, and that it was more probable these were those two Ves|sels than any from Jamaica. Upon this we ed|ged off more to Sea, and they also alter'd their Course steering away still directly with us; so that we were now assured they were Spaniards; and therefore we put away; quartering, and steering N. W. and though they still fetch'd on us a-pace, yet to make the more speed they turned a Boat loose that was in a Tow, at one of their Sterns, and She being a good Sailor came within Gun-shot of us; when, as it pleased God, the Land-wind dyed away o• a sudden, and the Sea Breez did not yet spring up.
While the Wind lasted we thought our selves but a degree from Prisoners; neither had we yet great hopes of escaping; for our Ketch, even when light, was but a dull Sailor, worse being deep loaden. However, we had now time to unbend the Foresail, and make a studding Sail of it, to put right be|fore the Sea-Breez when it should spring up. This was accordingly done in a trice, and in less than an hour after the Breez sprung up fresh, and we put right before the Wind. We had this advantage in it, that all the Sail we had did us service; while on the contrary, those who chased us, being three Page 21 [year 1675] Mast Vessels, could not bring all theirs to draw.; for their After-sails becalmed their Head-sails, and we held them tack for two or three Hours, neither gain|ing nor losing Ground. At last the Wind freshing on by the coming of a Tornado, we gained conside|rably of them; so they fired a Gun and left their Chase, but we kept on crouding till Night; and then clapp'd on a Wind again and saw no more of them.
In about a Fortnight after this, we were got as far to the East as Rio de la Gartos, and there overtook us a small Barmudoes Boat belonging to Jamaica which had not been above ten days come from Trist, who sailed much better than we did. Therefore our Merchant went on board of Her, for he saw we were like to have a long Passage; and Provision began to be scarce already, which he could not so well brook as we. Our Course lay all along against the Trade-wind.
All the hopes that we had was a good North, this being the only time of the Year for it: and soon after we saw a black Cloud in the N. W. (which is a sign of a North, but of this more in my Discourse of Winds) for two days, Morning and Evening. The third day it rose apace and came away very swiftly. We presently provided to receive it by furling all but our Main-sail; intending with that to take the advantage of it. Yet this did us but little service; for after an Hours time, in which it blew fresh at N. W. the Cloud went away, and the Wind came about again at E. N. E. the usual trade in these Parts. We therefore made use of the Sea and Land-Breezes, as we had done before; and being now as high as the before mentioned Fishing Banks on the North of Jucatan, we so ordered our Business, that with the Land-winds we run over to the Banks; and while it was calm between the Land-winds and Sea-Breez, we put out our Hooks and Lines and Page 22 [year 1675] fished, and got plenty every Morning: One time our Captain after he had haled in a good Fish, being eager at his sport, and throwing out his Line too ha|stily, the Hook hitched in the Palm of his Hand, and the weight off the Lead that was thrown with a jerk, and hung about six Foot from the Hook, forced the beard quite through, that it appeared at the back of his Hand.
Soon after this we got as high as the Mount, and then stood off about 30 Leagues from Land, in hopes to get better to Windward there, than near the shore; because the Wind was at E. S. E. and S. E. by E. a fresh gale: continuing so 2 or 3 days. We steered off to the North, expecting a Sea-Breez at E. N. E. and the third day had our desire. Then we tack'd and steered in again S. E. for the shore of Jucatan. Our Ketch, as I said, was a heavy Sailer, especially on a Wind: for she was very short; and having great round Bows, when we met a Head-Sea, as now, she plunged and laboured, not going a-head, but tumbling like an Egg-shell in the Sea. It was my fortune to be at the Helm from 6 a Clock in the Evening till 8. The first 2 Glasses she steered very ill; for every Sea would strike her dead like a Log; then she would fall off 2 or 3 Points from the Wind, though the Helm was a Lee; and as she recovered, and made a little way, she would come again to the Wind, till another Sea struck her off again. By that time 3 Glasses were out the Sea became more smooth; and then she steered very well, and made pretty fresh way through the Water. I was somewhat surprized at the sudden Change, from a rough Sea to a smooth; and therefore looked over-board 2 or 3 times; for she steered open on the Deck, and it being very fair Weather, all our Men were layn down on the Deck and fallen asleep. My Captain was just behind me on the Quarter Deck fast asleep too, for neither he nor they dreaded any Danger, we being Page 23 [year 1675] about 30 Leagues from the Main-Land, at Noon, and as we thought, not near any Island.
But while I was musing on the sudden alteration of the Sea, our Vessel struck on a Rock, with such force that the Whipstaff threw me down on my back: This frighted me so much that I cryed out, and bad them all turn out, for the Ship struck. The surge that the Ship made on the Rock, avvakened most of our Men, and made them ask, What the matter vvas? But her striking a second time, soon ansvvered the Question, and set us all to vvork for our Lives. By good fortune she did not stick, but kept on her way still, and to our great comfort, the water was very smooth, otherwise we must certainly have been lost; for we very plainly savv the Ground un|der us: so we let go our Anchor, in 2 fathom Wa|ter, clean White Sand: When our Sails vvere furled, and a sufficient scope of Cable veered out, our Cap|tain, being yet in amaze, vvent into his Cabin, and most of us with him to vievv his draught, and we soon found vve were fallen foul of the Alcranes.
The Alcranes are 5 or 6 low sandy Islands, lying in the Lat. of about 23d. North, and distant from the Coast of Jucatan about 25 Leagues; the biggest is not above a Mile or two in Circuit. They are distant from one another 2 or 3 Miles, not lying in a Line, but scattering here and there, with good Chan|nels of 20 or 30 Fathom Water, for a Ship to pass between. All of them have good Anchoring on the West sides, where you may ride in what depths you please, from 10 to 2 Fathom Water, clean sandy Ground. On some there are a fevv lovv Bushes of Burton-vvood, but they are mostly Barren and Sandy, bearing nothing but only a little Chicken-Weed; neither have they any fresh Water. Their Land-Animals are only large Rats, vvhich are in great Plenty; and of Fovvls, Boobies in vastabundance, vvith Men of War and Egg-Birds. These inhabit Page 24 [year 1675] only some of the Northermost of them, not pro|miscuously one among another, but each sort within their own Precincts, (viz.) the Boobies and the other two sorts each a-part by themselves; and thus two or three of the Islands are wholly taken up. The Boobies being most numerous, have the greatest portion of Land. The Egg-Birds, tho' they are many, yet being but small, take up but little room to the rest: Yet in that little part which they inhabit, they are sole Masters, and not disturbed by their Neighbours. All three sorts are very tame, especially the Boobies, and so thick settled, that a Man cannot pass through their Quarters, without coming within reach of their Bills, with which they continually peckt at us. I took notice that they sat in Pairs; and therefore at first thought them to be Cock and Hen; but upon striking at them, one flew away from each place, and that which was left behind seemed as malicious as the other that was gone. I admired at the boldness of those that did not fly away, and used some sort of violence to force them, but in vain; for indeed these were young Ones, and had not yet learned the use of their Wings, tho' they were as big and as well feathered as their Dams, only their Feathers were something whiter and fresher. I took notice that an old one, either the Cock or Hen, always sat with the young to secure them; for otherwise these fowls would prey on each other, the strong on the weak, at least those of a different Kind would make bold with their Neigh|bours: the Men-of-War-Birds as well as the Boo|bies left Guardians to the Young, when they went off to Sea, lest they should be starved by their Neighbours; for there were a great many old and lame Men-of-War-Birds that could not fly off to Sea to seek their own Food. These did not inhabit among their Consorts, but were either expelled the Com|munity, or else chose to lye out at some distance Page 25 [year 1675] from the rest, and that not altogether; but scatter|ing here and there, where they could rob securest: I saw near 20 of them on one of the Islands, which sometimes would sally into the Camp to seek for Booty, but presently retreated again, whether they got any thing or nothing. If one of these lame Birds found a young Booby not guarded, it presently gave him a good poult on the back with his Bill to make him disgorge, which they will do with one stroak, and it may be cast up a Fish or two as big as a Mans Wrist; this they swallow in a trice, and march off, and look out for another Prize. The sound Men-of-War will sometimes serve the old Boobies so off at Sea. I have seen a Man-of-War fly directly at a Booby, and give it one blow, which has caused it to cast up a large Fish, and the Man-of-War flying directly down after it, has taken it in the Air, before it reach'd the Water.
There are abundance of Fish at some distance from these Islands, by which the Fowls inhabiting here, are daily supplied.
The Fish near the Island, are Sharks, Sword-Fishes, and Nurses; all three sorts delighting to be near sandy Bays; those that I saw here were but of a small size, the Sword-Fish not above a Foot and a half, or two Foot long; neither were the Sharks much longer, and the Nurses about the same length. The Nurse is just like a Shark, only its Skin is rougher, and his used for making the finest Rasps. Here are many Seals: they come up to sun themselves only on two or three of the Islands, I don't know whether exactly of the same kind with those in colder Cli|mates, but, as I have noted in my former Book, they always live where there is plenty of Fish.
To the North of these Islands lyes a long ledge of Rocks bending like a Bow; it seems to be 10 or 12 Yards wide, and about 4 Leagues long, and 3 Leagues distant from the Island. They are above Wa|ter, Page 26 [year 1675] all joyning very close to one another, except at one or two Places, where are small Passages about nine or ten Yards wide; 'twas through one of these that Providence directed us in the Night; for the next Morning we saw the Riffabout half a Mile to the North of us, and right against us was a small Gap, by which we came in hither, but coming to view it more nearly with our Boat, we did not dare to venture out that way again. One Reason why we would have gone out to the North|ward, was, because from our Main-top we saw the Islands to the Southward of us, and being unac|quainted, knew not whether we might find among them a Channel to pass through; our second reason was the hopes of making a better slant in for the shore, if we could weather the East end of the Riff. In order to this we weighed Anchor, keeping down by the side of the Riff till we were at the West end of it, which was about a League from where we Anchored: then we stood off to the North, and there kept plying off and on to weather the East end of the Riff, three Days; but not being able to effect it, by reason of a strong Current, setting to the N. W. we ran back again to the West end of the Riff, and steered away for the Islands. There we Anchored and lay three or four days, and visited most of them, and found plenty of such Creatures, as I have already described.
Though here was great store of such good Food and we like to want, yet we did neither salt any, nor spend of it fresh to save our Stock. I found them all but one Man averse to it, but I did heartily wish them of another mind, because I dreaded wanting before the end of the Voyage; a hazard which we needed not to run, there being here such plenty of Fowls and Seals, (especially of the later) that the Spaniards do often come hither to make Oyl of their Fat; upon which account it has been visited by En|glish-men Page 27 [year 16--] from Jamaica, particularly by Capt Long: who having the Command of a small Bark, came hither purposely to make Seal-Oyl, and anchored on the North side of one of the sandy Islands, the most convenient Place, for his design:—Having got ashore his Cask to put his Oyl in, and set up a Tent for lodging himself and his Goods, he began to kill the Seal, and had not wrought above three or four days before a fierce North-wind blew his Bark ashore. By good fortune she was not damnified: but his Company being but small, and so despairing of setting her afloat again, they fell to contriving how to get away; a very difficult task to accomplish, for it was 24 or 25 Leagues to the nearest Place of the Main, and above 100 Leagues to Trist, which was the next English Settlement. But contrary to their ex|pectation, instead of that, Capt. Long bid them fol|low their Work of Seal-killing and making Oyl; assuring them that he would undertake at his own peril to carry them safe to Trist. This though it went much against the grain, yet at last he so far prevail|led by fair Words, that they were contented to go on with their Seal-killing, till they had filled all their Cask. But their greatest work was yet to do, viz. how they should get over to the Main, and then coast down before the Wind to Trist. Their Boat was not big enough to transport them, so they conclu|ded to cut down the Barks Masts and rip up her Deck to make a Float for that purpose.
This being agreed on, the next Morning betimes, pursuant to their Resolution, they were going to break up their Vessel; but it happned that very Night, that two New-England Ketches going down to Trist, ran on the backside of the Riff, where they struck on the Rocks, and were bulged; and Cap|tain Long and his Crew seeing them in distress, pre|sently took their Boat, and went off to help them unlade their Goods, and bring them ashore; and Page 28 [year 1675] in requital they furnished the Captain with such tackle and other necessaries as he wanted, and assisted him in the launching his Vessel, and lading his Oyl, and so they went merrily away for Trist. This lucky accident was much talked of amongst the Captain's Crew; and so exasperated the New-Eng|land Men, when they heard the whole story, that they were thinking, if the Commanders would have suffered them, to have thrown him into the Sea, to prevent his doing more mischief. For they were sure that he by his Art had caused them to run aground. The whole of this Relation I had from Captain Long himself.
From the main to these Islands, the Sea deep|ens gradually till you come to about 30 Fa|thom Water, and when you are 25 or 26 Leagues off shore to the Eastward of them, if you steer away West, keeping in that Depth, you can|not miss them: The same Rule is to be obser|ved to find any other Island; as the Triangles, the Isles Des Arenas, &c. for the Bank runs all along the shore, on which are Soundings of equal Depth, and the Sea appears of a muddy palish Colour, but when past the Bank on the North side of it, it resumes its natural greenness, and is too deep for any Sounding till you are within 30 Leagues of the North side of the Bay of Mexico, where by re|lation there is such another Bank, (abounding with Oysters) running all along the shore: But to re|turn to our Voyage.
Having spent 2 or 3 Days among the Alcranes Islands we set sail again, and steering in Southerly for the Main, having the Wind at E. N. E. we fell in with it a little to Leeward of Cape Catoch, plying under the shore till we reach'd the Cape; from thence we continued our Course Northerly, the Wind at E. by S. The next Land we designed for was Cape Antonio, which is the Westermost Point Page 29 [year 1675] of the Island Cuba, and distant from Cape Catoch about 40 Leagues.
Some when they sail out of the Bay, keep along by the Land of Jucatan, till they come as far as the Island Cozumel, and from thence stretch over towards Cuba; and if the Wind favours them any thing they will get as high as Cape Corientes before they fall in with Cuba; for in their Passage from thence they are not in so much danger of being hur|ried away to the North by the Current between the two Capes, or to the North of them, as we were: For taking our Course Northward till the Latitude of 22 d. 30 m. we tack'd again and the Wind at E. steered away S. S. E. 24 hours, and having taken an Observation of the Sun, as we did the Day before, found our selves in 23 d. being driven backwards in 24 hours 30 Miles. We had then the Channel open between the two Capes, but to the North of either: Yet at last we got over to the Cuba shore, and fell in with the North of the Island, about 7 or 8 Leagues from Cape Antonio. Now we both saw and ran thro' some of the Colorado Sholes, but found a very good Channel among a great many Rocks that appear'd above Water. Being thus got within the Sholes, between them and Cuba, we found a pretty wide clear Channel and good Anchoring; and advancing further, within a League of the Cape, we Anchored and went ashore to get Water, but found none. In the Evening when the Land-wind sprung up, we weighed again, and doubling the Cape, coasted along on the South-side of the Island, taking the Advantages both of Sea and Land-winds: For though we had now been about two Months from Trist, and this the time of the Year, for Norths, yet to our great trouble they had hitherto failed us, and besides, as I said before, our Ketch was such a Leewardly Vessel, that we did not yet ex|pect we could possibly reach Jamaica meerly by turn|ing, Page 28〈1 page duplicate〉Page 29〈1 page duplicate〉Page 30 [year 1675] though sometimes assisted by Sea and Land-Winds. In about a Week after this, we got up with, and coasted along the Isle of Pines, for 7 or 8 Leagues, and then stood off to Sea, and the third Morning fell in with the West end of Grand Caymanes.
This Island is about 40 leagues South from Pines, and about 15 to the West of little Caymanes. We anchored at the West end, about half a mile from the shore. We found no Water nor any Provision, but saw many Crocodiles on the Bay, some of which would scarce stir out of the way for us. We kill'd none of them (vvhich vve might easily have done) though Food began to be short vvith us; indeed had it been in the Months of June or July vve might pro|bably have gotten Turtle, for they frequent this Island some Years as much as they do little Cay|manes. We stayed here but 3 or 4 Hours, and steered back for Pines, intending there to hunt for Beef or Hog, of both vvhich there is in great plen|ty. The second day in the morning vve fell in vvith the West-end of Pines, and running about 4 or 5 miles Northvvard, vve anchored in 4 fathom Water clean Sand, about 2 mile from the shore, and right against a small Creek through the Mangroves into a vvide Lagune.
The Isles of Pines lies on the South-side, tovvards the West-end of Cuba, and is distant from it 3 or 4 Leagues. Cape Corientes on Cuba is five or six Leagues to the Westward of the Isle of Pines. Be|tween Pines and Cuba are many small woody Islands scattered here and there, with Channels for Ships to pass between; and by report there is good ancho|ring near any of them. Jamaica Sloops do some|times pass through between Cuba and Pines, when they are bound to Windward, because there the Sea is always smooth: They are also certain to meet good Land-winds; besides they can anchor Page 31 [year 1675] when they please, and thereby take the benefit of the Tides; and when they are got past the East-end of Pines, they may either stand out to Sea again, or if they are acquainted among the small Islands to the East of it, (which are called the South Keys of Cuba) they may range among&;st them to the Eastward, still taking the greater benefit of the Land|winds and Anchoring; besides, if Provision is scarce they will meet Jamaica Turtlers, or else may get Turtle themselves, at which many of them are ex|pert. There is also plenty of Fish of many sorts, but if they are not provided with Hooks, Lines, or Harpoons, or any other Fishing-Craft, nor meet with any Turtlers, Cuba will afford them Sustenance of Hog or Beef. The great inconvenience of going in the inside of Pines between it and Cuba, proceeds from a Spanish Garrison of about 40 Soldiers at Cape Corientes, who have a large Periago, well fit|ted with Oars and Sails, and are ready to launch out, and seize any small Vessel, and seldom spare the Lives as well as the Goods of those that fall into their Hands, for fear of telling Tales. Such Vil|lanies are frequently practised not only here, but also in several other places of the West-Indies, and that too with such as come to Trade with their Country-men. The Merchants and Gentry indeed are no way guilty of such Actions, only the Soldiers and Rascality of the People; and these do com|monly consist of Mulatoes or some other sort of Copper-colour'd Indians, who are accounted very Barbarous and Cruel.
The Isle of Pines is about 11 or 12 Leagues long, and 3 or 4 broad. The West end of it is low Mangrovy-Land; and within, which is a Lagune of about 3 or 4 Miles wide running to the Eastward, but how far I know not, with a small Creek of 2 or 3 Foot Water, reaching to the Sea. The Lagune it self is so shallow, especially near the Island, that Page 32 [year 1675] you cannot bring a Canoa within 20 or 30 Paces of the shore. The South side of the Island is low, flat, and rocky; the Rocks are perpendicularly steep towards the Sea, so that there is no Anchoring on that side; but the West-end very good in sandy Ground. The Body of the Island is high Land, with many little Hills incompassing a high Pike or Mountain standing in the middle. The Trees that grow here are of divers sorts, most of them un|known to me. Red Mangroves grow in the low swampy Land against the Sea, but on the firm hilly part Pine-Trees are most plentiful. Of these here are great Groves of a good height and bigness, streight and large enough to make Top-masts, or standing Masts for small Vessels; at the West end there is a pretty big River of fresh Water, but no coming at it near the Sea for red Mangroves, which grow so thick on both sides of it, that there is no getting in among them.
The Land-Animals are Bullocks, Hogs, Deer, &c. Here are small Savannahs for the Bullocks and Deer to feed in, as well as Fruit in the Woods for the Hogs: Here are also a sort of Racoons or Indian Conies, and in some places plenty of Land-Turtle, and Land-Crabs of two sorts, white and black: Both of them make holes in the Ground like Conies, where they shelter themselves all day, and in the Night come out to feed; they will eat Grass, Herbs, or such Fruit as they find under the Trees: The Manchaniel Fruit, which neither Bird nor Beast will taste, is greedily devoured by them, without doing them any harm. Yet these very Crabs that feed on Manchaniel, are venemous both to Man and Beast that feeds on them, though the others are very good Meat; the white Crabs are the largest sort; some of them are as big as a Mans two Fists joyned together; they are shaped like Sea-Crabs, having one large Claw, wherewith they will pinch very Page 33 [year 1675] hard, neither will they let go their hold, though you bruise them in pieces, unless you break the Claw too; but if they chance to catch your Fingers, the way is to lay your Hand, Crab and all, flat on the Ground, and he will immediately loose his hold and scamper away. These white-ones built in wet swampy dirty Ground near the Sea, so that the Tide washes in their Holes; but the black Crab is more cleanly, delighting to live in dry Places, and makes its House in sandy Earth: black Crabs are commonly fat and full of Eggs; they are also accounted the better Meat, tho' both sorts are very good.
Here are also a great many Alligators and Croco|diles that haunt about this Island, and are said to be the most daring in all the West-Indies. I have heard of many of their Tricks; as that they have followed a Canoa, and put their Noses in over the Gunnal, with their Jaws wide open, as if ready to de|vour the Men in it: and that when they have been ashore in the Night near the Sea, the Croco|diles have boldly come in among them, and made them run from their Fire, and taken avvay their Meat from them. Therefore when Privateers are hunting on this Island, they always keep Sentinels out to vvatch for these ravenous Creatures, as duly as they do in other Places for fear of Enemies, especially in the Night, for fear of being devoured in their sleep.
The Spaniards of Cuba have here some Craules, i. e. Herds of Hogs, with a few Indians or Mula|toes to look after them: Here are also Hunters that gain a livelihood by killing wild Hog and Beef.
This Island is reported to be very wet. I have heard many say, that it rains here more or less every day in the Year; but this I suppose is a mistake, for there fell no rain about us, so long as we stayed Page 32〈1 page duplicate〉Page 33〈1 page duplicate〉Page 34 [year 1675] here, neither did I see any appearance of it in other Places of the Island.
We were no sooner at an Anchor, but five of us went ashore, leaving only the Cook and Cabbin-Boy aboard: We had but two bad fowling Pieces in the Ship; those we took with us, with a design to kill Beef and Hog. We went into the Lagune, where we found Water enough for our Canoa, and in some Places not much to spare; when we were got almost over it, we saw 8 or 10 Bulls and Cows feed|ing on the shore close by the Sea. This gave us great Hopes of good success. We therefore rowed away aside of the Cattle, and landed on a sandy Bay, about half a mile from them: there we saw much footing of Men and Boys; the Impressions seemed to be about 8 or 10 days old, we supposed them to be the Track of Spanish Hunters. This troub|led us a little, but it being now their Christmas, we concluded that they were gone over to Cuba to keep it there, so we went after our Game; the Boatswain and our Passenger Will. Wooders having one Gun, and persuming on their skill in shooting, were permitted to try their fortune with the Cattle that we saw before we landed, while the Captain and my selfwith our own Gun struck up directly into the Woods. The fifth Man, whose genius led him rather to fish than hunt, stayed in the Canoa: and had he been furnished with a Harpoon, he might have got|ten more Fish than we did Flesh, for the Cattle smel|ling our two Men before they came nigh them, ran away; after that our Men rambled up into the Country to seek for some other Game.
The Captain and I had not gone half a Mile before we came among a Drove of near 40 great and small wild Hogs. The Captain firing, wounded one of them, but they all ran away; and though we fol|lowed the Blood a good way, yet did not come up with him, nor with any other to get a second shot; Page 35 [year 1675] however because there was such a great track of Hogs in the Woods, we kept beating about, being still in hopes to meet with more Game before Night, but to no purpose, for we saw not one more that Day. In the Evening we returned to our Boat weary and vext at our ill success. The Boatswain and his Consort were not yet returned, therefore we stayed till 'twas dark, and then went aboard without them: the next Morning betimes we went ashore again, as well to try our fortune at Hunting, as to recover our two Men which we thought might now be returned to the place where they landed; but not seeing them, the Captain and I went again out to Hunt, but came back at Night with no better success than before; neither did we see one Beef or Hog, though much track all the day. This day he that look'd to the Boat kill'd a young Sword-fish with the Boat-hook; there were a great many of them, as also Nurses and Dog-fish, playing in shole Water; he had also discover'd a stream of Fresh Water, but so inclosed with thick red Mangroves, that 'twas impossible to fill any in Cask; we could scarce get a little to drink. Our two Men that went out the day before, were not yet returned; therefore when 'twas dark we went aboard again, being much perplex'd for fear of their falling into the hands of the Spanish Hunters; if we had been certain of it, we would have sail'd presently, for we could not expect to redeem them again, but might have been taken our selves, either by them, or by the Cape Soldiers before mentioned. Indeed these thoughts about their danger and our own, kept me waking all Night. However the next Morning betimes we went ashore again, and before we got into the Lagune we heard a Gun fired, by which we knew that our Men were arrived; so we fired another in answer and rowed away as fast as we could to fetch them, designing to fail as soon as we came aboard; for by the flattering South and S. W. Page 36 [year 1675] Winds together with the Clearness of the Sky, we sup|posed we should have a North: the Land intercepted our prospect near the Horizon in the N. W. therefore we did not see the black Cloud there, which is a sure Prognostick of a North; when we came ashore we found our two Men. They kill'd a Hog the first day, but losing their way, were forced to march like Tigres all the next Day to get to us, and threw away most of their Meat to lighten themselves, yet 'twas Night before they got to the side of the Lagune; and then being 3 or 4 Miles, still from us, they made a fire and roasted their Meat, and having fill'd their Bellies; lay down to sleep, yet had still a small Pittance left for us. We presently returned aboard, and feasted on the remains of the Roastmeat, and being now pretty full, got up our Anchor and stood away to the South, coasting along by the Island: and doubling the S. W. Point, we steered away E. S. E. We had the Wind, when we weighed at West a moderate Gale, but veering about to the North, got at N. W. By that time we got to the South West Point of Pines, and it now blew a fierce Gale, and held thus two Days, and then came to the N. N. W. blowing hard still, and from thence to the North: then we edged away S. E. for it blew hard, and we could not bring her nearer the Wind. From the N. it came about to the N. N. E. then we knew than the heart of it was broke, however it blew hard still: then it came about to the N. E. and blew about 4 hours, and so by degrees dyed away and edged more Easterly, till it came to the E. by N. and there it stood. We were in good hopes while the North continued, to have gotten to Ja|maica before it ceased, and were sorry to find our selves thus disappointed; for we could not see the Island, though we judged we could not be far from it; at Noon we had a good observation, and found ourselves in the Latiude of the Island.
We now had not one bit of any kind of Food Page 37 [year 1675] aboard; therefore the Captain desired to know out opinions what to do, and which way we might soonest get to some shore, either to beat for Jamaica, or to bear away before the Wind, for the South Keys. All the Seamen but my self, were for going to the South Keys, alledging that our Ship being such a dull Sailer would never get to Wind-ward without the help of Sea and Land Breezes, which we could not expect at such a distance as we were, being out of the sight of any Land: and that it was probable that in three or four days time we might be among the South Keys, if we would put for it; and there we should find Provision enough, either Fish or Flesh. I told them that the Craft was in Catching it, and it was as probable that we might get as little Food in the Souths Keys, as we did at Pines, where, though there was plenty of Beefs and Hogs, yet we could not tell how to get any: besides we might be six or seven days in getting to the Keys; all which time we must of necessity fast, which if 'twere but two or three days, would bring us so low, that we should be in a weak condition to Hunt. On the contrary, if they would agree to beat a day or two longer for the Island Jamaica, we might in all probability see, and come so near it, that we might send in our Boat and get Pro|vision from thence, though we could not get in to Anchor: for by all likelihood we were not so far from the Island, but that we might have seen it, had it been clear; and that the hanging of the Clouds seemed to indicate to us, that the Land was obscured by them. Some of them did acquiesce with me in my Opinion; how|ever, 'twas agreed to put away for the South Keys, and accordingly we veered out our Sheets, trimm'd our Sails, and steered away N. N. W. I was so much dissatisfied, that I turned into my Cabbin, and told them we should be all starved.
Page 38 [year 1675] I could not sleep, tho' I lay down; for I was very much troubled to think of fasting 3 or 4 Days, or a Week; having fared very hard already. In|deed 'twas by meer accident that our Food lasted so long; for we carried two Barrels of Beef out with us to sell, but 'twas so bad that none would buy it; which proved well for us: for after our own Stock was spent, this supplied us. We boiled every day two pieces of it; and because our Pease were all eaten, and our Flour almost spent, we cut our Beef in small bits after 'twas boiled, and boiled it again in Water, thicken'd with a little Flour, and so eat it altogether with Spoons. The little Pieces of Beef were like Plums in our Hodg-podg. Indeed 'twas not fit to be eaten any other way; for tho' it did not stink, yet it was very unsavory and black, without the least sign of Fat in it: Bread and Flour being scarce with us, we could not make Dough-boys to eat with it. But to proceed, I had not lain in my Cabbin above three Glasses, before one on the Deck cryed out, Land! Land! I was very glad at the News, and we all immediately discerned it very plain. The first that we saw was High-land, which we knew to be Blewfields-Hill, by a bending or Saddle on the Top, with two small Heads on each side. It bore N. E. by E. and we had the Wind at E. therefore we presently clapp'd on a Wind, and steered in N. N. E. and soon after we saw all the Coast, being not above 5 or 6 Leagues from it. We kept jogging on all the Afternoon, not striving to get into any particular place; but where we could fetch, there we were resolved to Anchor: The next day being pretty near the shore, between Blemfields Point, and Point-Nigrill, and having the Wind large enough to fetch the latter, we steered away directly thither; and seeing a small Vessel about two Leagues N. W. of us, making signs to speak with us by hoysing and lowring her Topsails, Page 93 [year 1675] we were afraid of her, and edged in nearer the shore; and about three a Clock in the Afternoon, to our great joy, we anchored at Nigrill, having been 13 Weeks on our Passage. I think never any Vessel before nor since, made such Traverses in coming out of the Bay as we did, having first blunder'd over the Alcrany Riff, and then visited those Islands; from thence fell in among the Colorado Shoals, after|ward made a trip to Grand Caymanes; and lastly, visited Pines, tho' to no purpose. In all these Ram|bles we got as much experience as if we had been sent out on a design.
As soon as we came to Anchor, we sent our Boat ashore to buy Provisions to regale our selves, after our long fatigue and fasting, and were very busie going to drink a Bowl of Punch: When unexpectedly Capt. Rawlins, Commander of a small New-England Vessel, that we left at Trist; and one Mr. John Hooker, who had been in the Bay a Twelve-month cutting Logwood, and was now coming up to Jamaica to sell it, came aboard, and were invited into the Cab|bin to drink with us; the Bowl had not yet been touch'd, (I think there might be six Quarts in it) but Mr. Hooker being drunk to by Captain Rawlins, who pledg'd Capt. Hudswel, and having the Bowl in his hand, said, That he was under an Oath to drink but 3 Draughts of strong Liquor a Day, and putting the Bowl to his Head, turn'd it off at one Draught, and so making himself drunk, disappoin|ted us of our Expectations, till we made another Bowl. The next day having a brisk N. W. Wind, which was a kind of Chocolatto North, we arrived at Port-Royal; and so ended this troublesome Voyage.
The Author's second Voyage to the Bay of Cam|peachy. His arrival at the Isle of Trist, and settling with the Logwood-Cutters. A Descrip|tion of the Coast from Cape Condecedo to Trist. Salinas or Salt Ponds. Salt gathered for the Spaniards by the Indians. Hina, a re|markable Hill. Horse-hoof-fish. The Triangle Islands. Campeachy Town twice taken. Its chief Trade, Cotton. Champeton River; and its Logwood, a rich Commodity. Port-Royal Harbour and Island. Prickly-Grass. Sapa|dillo Trees. Trist Island describ'd. Coco-Plum-bushes. The Grape-Tree. Its Animals, Lizards. Laguna Termina and its strong Tides. Summasenta-River, and Chucque|bull Town. Serles his Key. Captain Serles his Adventure. The East and West Lagunes, with their Branches inhabited by Logwood Cut|ters. Oaks growing there, and no where else within the Tropicks. The Original of the Logwood-Trade. The Rainy Season, and great Floods occasioned by Norths. The dry Season. Wild Pine-plant. The Logwood-Tree. Blood-Wood, Stock-fish Wood and Camwood. A De|scription of some Animals, Squashes, large long-tail'd Monkies, Ant-bears, Sloths, Ar|madillos, Tigre-Cats, Snakes of three sorts Calliwasps, Huge Spiders, Great Ants and Page 41 [year 1675] their Nests, Rambling Ants, Humming Birds, Black-Birds, Turtle Doves, Quams, Corresos, Carrion Crows, Subtle Jacks, Bill-birds, Cock-recos, Ducks of several sorts, Curlews, Herons, Crabcatchers, Pelicans, Cormorants, Fishing, Hawks. Several sorts of Fish, Tenpounders, Paricootas, Garr-fish, Spanish Mackril: The Ray, Alligators. Crocodiles, how they differ from Alligators. A narrow escape of an Irish-man from •n Alligator.
IT was not long after our arrival at Port-Royal, before we were payed off, and discharged. Now Captain Johnson of New-England, being bound again into the Bay of Campeachy, I took the oppor|tunity of going a Passenger with him, being re|solved to spend some time at the Logwood Trade; and accordingly provided such necessaries as were required about it (viz.) Hatchets, Axes, Macheats, (i. e. Long Knives) Saws, Wedges, &c. a Pavillion to sleep in, a Gun with Powder and Shot, &c. and leaving a Letter of Attorney with Mr. Fleming, a Merchant of Port-Royal, as well to dispose of any thing that I should send up to him, as to remit to me what I should order, I took leave of my Friends and Imbarked.
About the middle of Feb. 75, ---6. We sailed from Jamaica, and with a fair Wind and Weather, soon got as far as Cape Catoch; and there met a pretty strong North, which lasted two days. After that the Trade settled again at E. N. E. which speedily car|ried us to Trist Island. In a little time I setled my self in the West Creek of the West Lagune with some old Logwood-Cutters, to follow the Employ|ment with them. But I shall proceed no farther with the Relation of my own Affairs, till I have Page 42 [year 1675] given a description of the Country, and its Product, with some particulars of the Logwood-Cutters; their hunting for Beef, and making Hides, &c.
I have in my former Voyage described the Coast from Cape Catoch to Cape Condecedo. Therefore I shall now begin where I then left off, and following the same method, proceed to give some Account of the Sea-coast of the Bay of Campeachy; being com|petently qualified for it by many little Excursions that I made from Trist during my Abode in these Parts.
The Bay of Campeachy is a deep bending of the Land, contained between Cape Condecedo on the East, and a Point shooting forth from the High-Land of St. Martins on the West. The distance between these two place is about 120 Leagues, in which are many large and navigable Rivers, wide Lagunes, &c. Of all which I shall treat in their order, as also of the Land on the Coast; its Soil, Product, &c. To|gether with some Observations concerning the Trees, Plants, Vegetables, Animals, and Natives of the Country.
From Cape Condecedo to the Salinas is 14 or 15 Leagues; the Coast runs in South: It is all a Sandy Bay between, and the Land also within is dry and sandy, producing only some scrubbed Trees. Half|way between these two Places you may dig in the Sand above High-water Mark, and find very good fresh Water.
The Salina is a fine small Harbour for Banks; but there is not above 6 or 7 Foot Water; and close by the Sea, a little within the Land, there is a large Salt Pond, belonging to Campeachy Town, which yields abundance of Salt. At the time when the Salt Kerns, which is in May or June, the Indians of the Country are ordered by the Spaniards, to give their attendance, to rake it ashore, and gather it into a great Pyramidal Heap, broad below and sharp at the top, Page 43 [year 1675] like the Ridge of a House; then covering it all over with dry Grass and Reeds, they set Fire to it; and this burns the out-side Salt to a hard black Crust: The hard Crust is afterwards a defence against the Rains that are now settled in, and preserves the Heap dry even in the wettest Season. The Indians, whose business I have told you, is to gather the Salt thus into Heaps, wait here by turns all the Kerning Season, not less than 40 or 50 Families at a time; yet here are no Houses for them to lie in, neither do they at all regard it; for they are relieved by a fresh supply of Indians every Week; and they all sleep in the open Air, some on the Ground, but most in very poor Hammocks fastned to Trees or Posts, stuck into the Ground for that purpose. There Fare is no better than their Lodging; for they have no other Food, while they are here, but Tartilloes and Posole. Tartilloes are small Cakes made of the Flour of Indian Corn; and Posole is also Indian Corn boiled, of which they make their Drink. But of this more hereafter, when I treat of the Natives and their manner of Living. When the Kerning Season is over, the Indians march home to their settled Habitations, taking no more care of the Salt. But the Spaniards of Campeachy, who are owners of the Ponds, do frequently send their Barks hither for Salt, to load Ships that lye in Campeachy Road; and afterwards transport it to all the Ports in the Bay of Mexico, especially to Aluarado and Tompeck, two great Fishing Towns: and I think that all the Inland Towns thereabouts, are supplied with it; for I know of no other Salt Ponds on all the Coast, besides this and those before mentioned. This Salina Harbour was often visited by the English Logwood-Cutters in their way from Jamaica to Trist. And if they found any Barks here, either light or laden, they made bold to take and sell both the Ships and the Indian Sailors that belonged to them. This they Page 44 [year 1675] would tell you was by way of reprizal, for some former injuries received of the Spaniards; though indeed 'twas but a pretence: for the Governours of Jamaica knew nothing of it, neither durst the Spa|niards complain; for at that time they used to take all the English Ships they met with in these Parts, not sparing even such as came laden with Sugar from Ja|maica, and were bound for England; especially if they had Logwood aboard. This was done openly, for the Ships were carried into the Havanna, there sold, and the Men imprisoned without any Redress.
From the Salinas to Campeachy Town, is about 20 Leagues; the Coast runs S. by W. The first 4 Leagues of it, along the Coast, is drowned Mangrove-Land, yet about two Mile South of the Salina, about 200 Yards from the Sea, there is a fresh Spring, which is visited by all the Indians that pass this way either in Bark or Canoa; there being no Water besides near it; and there is a small dirty Path leads to it thro' the Mangroves; after you are past these Mangroves, the Coast riseth higher with many sandy Bays, where Boats may conveniently land, but no fresh Water till you come to a River near Campeachy Town. The Land further along the Coast is partly Mangrovy but most of it dry Ground, and not very fruitful; producing only a few scrubbed Bushes: and there is no Logwood growing on all this Coast, even from Cape Catoch to Campeachy Town.
About six Leagues before you come to Campeachy, there is a small Hill called Hina, where Privateers do commonly Anchor and keep Sentinels on the Hill, to look out for Ships bound to the Town: There is plenty of good Fire-wood, but no Water; and in the Surf of the Sea, close by the shore, you find abundance of Shell-fish, called by the English, Horse|hoofs, because the under part or Belly of the Fish is flat, and somewhat resembling that Figure in shape and Magnitude; but the Back is round like a Tur|tles; Page 45 [year 1675] the Shell is thin and brittle, like a Lobsters; with many small Claws: and by report they are very good Meat; but I never tasted any of them my self.
There are three small low sandy Islands, about 25 or 26 Leagues from Hina, bearing North from it, and 30 Leagues from Campeachy. On the South side of these Islands there is good Anchorage; but neither Wood nor Water: and as for Animals, we saw none, but only great numbers of large Rats and Plenty of Boobies, and Men-of-War-Birds. These Islands are call'd the Triangles, from the Figure they make in their Position. There are no other at any distance from the shore, but these and the Alcranies, men|tioned in the former Chapter, in all this Coast that I have seen.
From Hina to Campeachy, as I have said before, is about 6 Leagues. Campeachy is a fair Town, standing on the shore in a small bending of the Land; and is the only Town on all this Coast, even from Cape Catoch to La vera Cruz, that stands open to the Sea. It makes a fine shew, being built all with good stone. The Houses are not high, but the Walls very strong; the Roofs flattish, after the Spanish Fashion, and covered with Pantile. There is a strong Cittadel or Fort at one end, planted with many Guns, where the Governour resides with a small Garrison to de|fend it. Though this Fort commands the Town and Harbour, yet it has been twice taken. First by Sir Christopher Mims; who about the Year 1659. having summoned the Governour, and afterwards stayed 3 days for an Answer before he landed his Men, yet then took it by Storm, and that only with small Arms. I have been told that when he was advised by the Jamaica Privateers, to take it by Stra|tagem in the Night, he replyed, that he scorned to steal a Victory; therefore when he went against it, he gave them warning of his Approach, by his Page 46 [year 1675] Drums and Trumpets; yet he took the Fort at the first Onset, and immediately became Master of the Place.
It was taken a second time by English and French Privateers, about the Year 1678, by surprize. They landed in the Night about two Leagues from the Town, and marching into the Country, lighted on a Path that brought them thither. The next Morning near Sun-rising, they entred the Town, when many of the Inhabitants were now stirring in their Houses, who hearing a noise in the Street, looked out to know the Occasion; and seeing armed Men marching to|wards the Fort, supposed them to be some Soldiers of their own Garrison, that were returned out of the Country for about a Fortnight or 3 Weeks before, they had sent out a Party to suppress some Indians, then in Rebellion; a thing very common in this Country. Under favour of this Supposition, the Privateers marched through the Streets, even to the Fort, without the least Opposition. Nay, the Towns-People bad them Good Morrow; and Congratulated their safe return; not discovering them to be Ene|mies, till they fired at the Sentinels on the Fort-wall, and pesently after began a furious Attack; and turning two small Guns, which they found in the Parade, against the Gates of the Fort, they soon made themselves Masters of it. The Town is not very rich, though as I said before, the only Sea-port or all this Coast. The chiefest Manufacture of the Country is Cotton-Cloth; this serves for cloathing the Indians, and even the poorer sort of Spaniard wear nothing else. It is used also for making Sails for Ships, and remitted to other parts for the same purpose.
Besides Cotton-Cloth, and Salt fetched from the Salinas, I know of no other vendible Commodity exported hence. Indeed formerly this place was the Scale of the whole Logwood-Trade; which is there Page 47 [year 1675] fore still called Palo (i. e. Wood) de Campeachy; tho' it did not grow nearer than at 12 or 14 Leagues distance from the Town.
The place where the Spaniards did then cut it, was at a River called Champeton, about 10 or 12 Leagues to Leeward of Campeachy Town; the Coast from thence South, the Land pretty high and rocky. The Native Indians that lived hereabouts, were hired to cut it for a Ryal a Day, it being then worth 90, 100 or 110l. per Tim.
After the English had taken Jamaica, and began to cruise in this Bay, they found many Barks laden with it, but not knowing its value then, they either set them adrift or burned them, saving only the Nails and Iron work; a thing now usual among the Privateers; taking no notice at all of the Cargo; till Capt. James, having taken a great Ship laden with it and brought her home to England, to fit her for a Privateer; beyond his Expectation, sold his Wood at a great rate; tho' before he valu'd it so little that he burned of it all his Passage home. After his re|turn to Jamaica, the English visiting this Bay, found out the Place where it grew, and if they met no Prize at Sea, they would go to Champeton River, where they were certain to find large Piles cut to their Hand, and brought to the Sea side ready to be shipp'd off. This was their Common Practice; till at the last the Spaniards sent Soldiers thither to pre|vent their Depredations.
But by this time the English knew the Trees, as growing; and understanding their value, began to rummage other Coasts of the Main, in search of it, till, according to their desire, they found large Groves of it, first at Cape Catoch; (which, as I have said before, was the first Place where they settled to Logwood-cutting) and loaded many Vessels from thence to Jamaica, and other Places. But it growing scarce there, they found out the Lagune of Trist in the Page 48 [year 1675] Bay of Campeachy; where they followed the same Trade, and have ever since continued it, even to the time of my being here: But to proceed.
From the River Champeton to Port-Royal, is about 18 Leagues; the Coast S. S. W. or S. W. by S. Low-land with a sandy Bay, against the Sea, and some Trees by the shore, with small Savannahs, mixt with small shrubby Woods within Land all the way. There is only one River between Champeton and Port-Royal, called Port Escondedo.
Port-Royal is a broad entrance into a Salt Lagune, of 9 or 10 Leagues long, and 3 or 4 wide, with 2 Mouths, one at each end. This Mouth of Port-Royal hath a Barr, whereon there is 9 or 10 Foot Water. Within the Barr it is deep enough, and there is good Anchoring on either side. The en|trance is about a Mile over, and two Miles in length; it hath fair sandy Bays on each side, with smooth Landing.
Ships commonly anchor on the Weather or East side next Champeton, both for the convenience of some Wells they dug on the Bays by the Priva|teers and Log-wood-Cutters, as also to ride more out of the Tide, which here runs very strong. This Place is remarkable enough, because from hence the Land trends away West, and runs so for about 65 or 70 Leagues farther.
On the West side of this Harbour is a low Island, call'd by Us Port-Royal-Island; which makes one side of the Mouth, as the Main does the other: It is about 2 Miles wide and 3 Leagues long, running East and West. The East end of this Island is sandy and pretty clear of Woods, with some Grass, bear|ing a small prickly Bur, no bigger than a Grey Pea, which renders it very troublesome to those that walk bare-foot, as the Bay-Men often do. There are some Bushes of Burton-wood: and a little further to the West grow large Sapadillo-Trees, whose Fruit is Page 49 [year 1676] long and very pleasant. The rest of the Island is more woody, especially the North side, which is full of white Mangrove close to the shore.
On the West side of this Island, is another small low Island, called Trist, separated from the former by a small Salt Creek, scarce broad enough for a Canoa to paddle through.
The Island Trist is in some Places three Miles wide, and about 4 Leagues in length; running E. and W. The East end is swampy and full of white Mangroves; and the South side much the same: The West part is dry and sandy, bearing a sort of long Grass, growing in Tufts very thin. This is a sort of Savannah, with some large Palmeto-Trees grow|ing in it. The North side of the West end is full of Coco-Plum Bushes, and some Grapes.
The Coco-Plum Bush is about 8 or 9 Foot high, spreading out into many Branches. Its Rind black and smooth, the Leaves oval and pretty large, and of a dark Green. The Fruit is about the bigness of a Horse-Plum, but round; some are black, some white, others reddish: The Skin of the Plum is very thin and smooth; the inside white, soft and woolly, rather fit to suck than bite, inclosing in the Middle a large soft Stone. This Fruit grows commonly in the Sand near the Sea; and I have tasted some that have been saltish; but they are commonly sweet and pleasant enough, and accounted very wholsom.
The Body of the Grape-Tree is about two or three Foot in Circumference, growing 7 or 8 Foot high, then sends forth many Branches, whose Twigs are thick and gross; the Leaves are shaped much like an Ivy Leaf, but broader and more hard; the Fruit is as big as an ordinary Grape, growing in Bunches or Clusters among the Twigs all over the Tree; it is black when ripe, and the inside reddish, with a large hard Stone in the middle. This Fruit is very pleasant and wholsom, but of little substance, the Stones Page 50 [year 1676] being so large: The Body and Limbs of the Tree are good Fewel, making a clear strong Fire, there|fore often used by the Privateers to harden the Steels of their Guns when faulty.
The Animals of this Island are, Lizards, Guanoes, Snakes and Deer: Beside the common small Lizard, there is another sort of a large kind, call'd a Lyon-Lizard: This Creature is shap'd much like the other, but almost as big as a Man's Arm, and it has a large Comb on its Head; when it is assaulted it sets its Comb up an end; but otherways it lies down flat: Here are two or three sorts of Snakes: some very large, as I have been told.
At the West end of the Island close by the Sea, you may dig in the Sand 5 or 6 foot deep, and find good fresh Water: There are commonly Wells ready made by Seamen to water their Ships; but they soon fill up, if not cleared; and if you dig too deep, your Water will be Salt. This Island was seldom clear of Inhabitants when the English visited the Bay for Logwood; for the biggest Ships did always ride here in 6 or 7 fathom Water close by the shore; but smaller Vessels ran up 3 Leagues farther to One-Bush-Key, of which in my former Chapter.
The second Mouth or Entrance into this Lagune is between Trist, and Beef-Island, and is about 3 mile wide. It is shoal without, and only two Channels to come in: The deepest Channel on the Spring Tide, has 12 Foot Water. It lyes near the middle of the Mouth; hard Sand on the Bar; the West Channel is about 10 Foot Water; and lyes pretty near Beef-Island: you run in with the Sea-Breez, and sound all the way; taking your sounding from Beef-Island shore. The bottom is soft Oaz, and its shoals gra|dually. Being shot in within Beef-Island Point, you will have three Fathom; then you may stand over towards Trist, till you come near the shore, and Page 51 [year 1676] there anchor as you please; There is good Anchor|ing any where within the Bar between Trist and Beef-Island, but the Tide is much stronger than at Port-Royal. This is the other Mouth or opening to the Salt Lagune before mentioned. This Lagune is call'd by the Spaniards, Laguna Termina, or the La|gune of Tides, because they run very strong here. Small Vessels, as Barks, Periagoes or Canoas may sail thro' this Lagune, from one Mouth to the other, or into such Creeks, Rivers, or smaller Lagunes, as empty themselves into this, of which here are many: The first of note on the East part of this Lagune, as you come in at Port-Royal, is the River Summa|senta.
This River, though but small, yet is big enough for Periagoes to enter. It disembogues on the South side near the middle of the Lagune. There was formerly an Indian Village named Summasenta, near the Mouth of the River; and another large Indian Town, called Chucquebul, 7 or 8 Leagues up in the Country. This latter was once taken by the Pri|vateers; by whom I have been informed, that there were about two thousand Families of Indians in it, and two or three Churches, and as many Spa|nish Friers, though no white Men beside. The Land near this River yields plenty of Logwood.
From Summasenta River to One-Bush-Key is 4 or 5 Leagues, the shore running West. I have described One-Bush-Key, and the Creek against it, which, as I said, is very narrow, and not above a mile long before it opens into another wide Lake, lying near|est N. and S. called the 〈◊〉Lagune. It is about a League and a half wide, and 3 Leagues long, encom|passed with Mangrove-Trees. At the S. E. cor|ner of it there is another Creek about a mile wide at the Mouth, running 6 or 7 Miles into the Country; on both sides of it grows plenty of Logwood; there|fore it was inhabited by Englishmen who lived in Page 52 [year 1676] small Companies, from three to ten in a Company; and setled themselves at their best convenience for Cutting. At the Head of the Creek they made a path, leading into a large Savannah full of black Cattle, Horses and Deer; which was often visited by them upon occasion.
At the North end, and about the middle of the East Lagune, there is another small Creek like that which comes out against One-Bush-Key, but less and shallower, which dischargeth it self into Laguna Termina, against a small sandy Key, called by the English Serles's Key, from one Captain Serles, who first Careen'd his Vessel here, and was afterwards kil|led in the Western Lagune, by one of his Company as they were cutting Logwood together. This Cap|tain Serles was one of Sir Henry Morgans Command|ers, at the Sacking of Panama; who being sent out to cruise in a small Vessel in the South Seas, happened to surprize at Taboca, the Boatswain and most of the Crew belonging to the Trinity, a Spanish Ship, on Board which were the Friers and Nuns, with all the old Gentlemen and Matrons of the Town, to the number of 1500 Souls, besides an immense Treasure in Silver and Gold, as I was informed by Captain Peralta, who then Commanded her, as he did afterwards, when she was taken by Captain Sharp; all which he might have taken in the Ship had he pursued her.
On the West side of the East Lagune, there is a small Skirt of Mangroves, that separates it from another running parallel with it, called the East-Lagune, which is abou•〈◊〉 bigness of the former.
Towards the North 〈◊〉 of this Lagune runs a small Creek, coming out of the East Lagune, deep enough for small Barks to pass through.
At the South end of this Lagune, there is a Creek about a mile wide at its Mouth; and half a mile from thence it divides into two Branches; one called Page 53 [year 1676] the East, the other the West Branch, both deep enough for small Barks 7 or 8 Miles up. The Water is fresh 10 Months; but in the midst of the dry Season 'tis brackish. Four Miles from the Mouth, the Land on both sides these two Branches is wet and swampy, affording only Mangroves by the Creeks sides; only at the Heads of them, there are many large Oaks, besides which I did never see any grow|ing within the Tropicks: but 20 Paces within that grows plenty of Logwood, therefore the Cutters settled themselves here also.
On the West side of the West Branch lyes a large Pasture for Cattle about 3 Miles from the Creek; to which the Logwood-Cutters had made paths from their Huts to hunt Cattle, which are always there in great numbers; and commonly fatter than those in the Neighbouring Savannahs; and therefore was called the fat Savannah; and this West Creek was always most inhabited by Logwood-Cutters.
The Logwood-Trade was grown very common before I came hither, here being as I said before, about 260 or 270 Men living in all the Lagune and at Beef-Island, of which Isle I shall speak hereafter: This Trade had its Rise from the decay of Priva|teering; for after Jamaica was well settled by the English, and a Peace established with Spain, the Privateers who had hitherto lived upon plundering the Spaniards, were put to their shifts; for they had prodigally spent whatever they got, and now wanting subsistance, were forced either to go to Petit Guavas, where the Privateer-Trade still continued, or into the Bay for Logwood.—The more Industrous •ort of them came hither, yet even these, though they could work well enough if they pleased; y•• thought it a dry business to toil at Cutting Wood. They were good Marks-Men, and so took more delight in Hunting; but neither of those Employments affected them so Page 54 [year 1676] much as Privateering; therefore they often made Sallies out in small Parties among the nearest Indian Towns; where they plundred and brought away the Indian Women to serve them at their Huts, and sent their Husbands to be sold at Jamaica; besides they had not forgot their old Drinking-bouts, and would still spend 30 or 40l. at a sitting aboard the Ships that came hither from Jamaica; carousing and firing of Guns 3 or 4 days together. And tho' afterwards many sober Men came into the Bay to cut Wood, yet by degrees the old Standards so debauched them that they could never settle themselves under any Civil Government, but continued in their Wickedness, till the Spaniards, encouraged by their careless Rio|ting, fell upon them, and took most of them singly at their own Huts; and carried them away Prisoners to Campeachy or La Vera Cruz; from whence they were sent to Mexico, and sold to several Tradesmen in that City; and from thence, after two or three Years, when they could speak Spanish, many of them made their Escapes, and marched in by-Paths back to La Vera Cruz, and by the Flota conveyed to Spain, and so to England. I have spoke with many of them since, who told me that none of them were sent to the Silver Mines to work, but kept in or near the City, and never suffered to go with their Caravans to New Mexico, or that way. I relate this, because it is generally suggested that the Spaniards commonly send their Prisoners thither, and use them very barbarously; but I could never learn that any European has been thus served; whether for fear of discovering their Weak|ness, or for any other Reason, I know not. But to proceed. It is most certain that the Logwood-Cutters, that were in the Bay when I was there, were all routed or taken; a thing I ever feared, and that was the reason that moved me at last to come away, Page 55 [year 1676] although a Place where a Man mi••• have gotten an Estate.
Having thus given an Account of the first setling of this Place by my Country-men, I shall next say something concerning the Seasons of the Year, some particulars of the Country, its Animals, of the Logvvood-Trade, and their manner of Hun|ting, and several remarkable Passages that happened during my stay there.
This part of the Bay of Campeachy lyes in about ••d. of North Lat. The Sea-Breezes here in fair weather, are at N. N. E. or N. The Landwinds are at •. S. E. and S. but in bad Weather at E. S. E. a hard gale for two or three days together. The dry Season begins in September, and holds till April or May; then comes in the wet Season, which begins with Tornadoes; first one in a day, and by degrees increasing till June; and then you have set Rains till the latter end of August. This svvells the Rivers so that they over|flow, and the Savannahs begin to be covered with Water; and although there may be some intermissi|ons of dry Weather, yet there are still plentiful showers of Rain: so that as the water does not in|crease; neither does it decrease, but continues thus till the North Winds are set in strong, and then all the Savannahs for many Miles, seem to be but part of the Sea, The Norths do commonly set in about the beginning of October, and continue by intervals till March. But of these I shall speak more in my Chapter of Winds. These Winds blowing right in on the Land, drive in the Sea, and keep the Tides from their constant Course as long as they last, which is sometimes two or three Days; by this means the Freshes are pent up, and overflow much more th•n before, tho' there be less Rain. They blow most 〈◊〉 in December and January; but afterwards th•• de|crease in strength; and are neither so frequent nor lasting, and then the Freshes begin to drain from off Page 56 [year 1676] the low Ground. By the middle of Feb. The Land is all dry; and in the next Month perhaps you will scarce get Water to drink, even in those Savannahs that but 6 Weeks before were like a Sea. By the be|ginning of April, the Ponds also in the Savannahs are all dryed up, and one that knows not how to get Wa|ter otherways may perish for thirst; but those that are acquainted here, in their Necessity make to the Woods, and refresh themselves with Water that they f••d in wild Pines.
Ths wild Pine is a Plant so called, because it somewhat resembles the Bush that bears the Pine: they are commonly supported, or grow from some Bunch, Knot or Excrescence of the Tree, where they take root, and grow upright. The Root is short and thick, from whence the Leaves rise up in folds one within another, spreading off at the top: They are of a good thick Substance, and about 10 or 12 Inches long. The out-side Leaves are so compact as to con|tain the Rain-water as it falls. They will hold a Pint and a half, or a Quart; and this Water refreshes the Leaves and nourishes the Root. When we find these Pines, we stick our Knives into the Leaves just above the Root, and that lets out the Water, which we catch in our Hats, as I have done many times to my great relief.
The Land near the Sea or the Lagunes is Mangrovy, and always wet, but at a little distance from it, it is fast and firm, and never overflow'd but in the w•• Season. The Soil is a strong yellowish Clay; But yet the upper Coat or surface is a black mould, tho' not deep. Here grow divers sorts of Trees of no great bulk or height. Among these the Logwood-Trees thrive best, and are very plentiful; this being the most proper Soil for them: for they do not thrive in day Ground; neither shall you see any growing in rich black mould. They are much like our White-Thorns in England; but generally a great deal bigger: Page 57 [year 1676] the Rind of the young growing Branches is white and smooth; with some prickles shooting forth here and there: So that an English-man not knowing the difference, would take them for White-Thorns; but the Body and old Branches are blackish; the Rind rougher, with few or no prickles. The leaves are small and shaped like the Common White-Thorn-Leaf, of a palish Green. We always chuse to cut the old black-rinded Trees; for these have less sap, and require but little pains to chip or cut it. The sap is white, and the heart red: The heart is used much for dying; therefore we chip off all the white sap, till we come to the heart; and then it is fit to be transported to Europe. After it has been chip'd a little while, it turns black; and if it lyes in the Water it dyes it like Ink; and sometimes it has been used to write with. Some Trees are 5 or 6 Foot in Circumference: and these we can scarce cut into Logs small enough for a Man's Burthen, without great Labour; and therefore are forced to blow them up. It is a very ponderous sort of wood, and burns very well, making a clear strong fire, and very lasting. We always harden the Steels of our Fire-Arms, when they are faulty, in a Logwood|fire, if we we can get it, but otherways, as I said before, with Burton wood or the Grape-tree. The true Log|wood I think grows only in the Country of Jucatan; and even there but only in some Places near the Sea. The chiefest places for it are either here or at Cape Catoch, and on the South side of Jucatan in the Bay of Honduras. There are other sorts of Wood much like it in colour, and used for dying also; some more esteemed, others of lesser value. Of these sorts Bloodwood and Stock-fish-wood are of the natural growth of America.
The Gulph of Nicaragua, which opens against the Isle of Providence, is the only Place that I know in the North Seas, that produces the Blood|wood. Page 58 [year 1676] And the Land on the other side of the Country against it in the South Seas, produceth the same sorts.
This Wood is of a brighter red than the Log|wood. It vvas sold for 30l. per Tun, vvhen Log|wood vvas but at 14 or 15; and at the same time Stock-Fish-Wood vvent at 7 or 8. This last sort grows in the Country near Rio la Hacha, to the East of St. Martha, by the sides of Rivers in the Lovv-Land. It is a smaller sort of Wood than the former. I have seen a Tree much like the Logwood, in the River of Conception in the Sambaloes; and I knovv it will dye; but whether it be either of these tvvo sorts, I know not: Besides here and in the places before-mentioned, I have not met with any such Wood in America.
At Cherburg near Sierra-Leone in Africa, there is Camvvood, which is much like Blood-vvood, if not the same. And at Tunqueen, in the East-Indies, there is also such another sort: I have not heard of any more in any part of the World. But to proceed.
The Land as you go farther from the Sea riseth still somewhat higher; and becomes of a more plan|table Mould: There the Trees are generally of ano|ther sort; growing higher and taller than the Log|vvood-trees or any near them: Beyond this, you still enter in large Savannahs of long Grass, two or three Miles wide; in some Places much more.
The Mould of the Savannahs is generally black and deep, producing a course sort of sedgy Grass: In the latter end of the dry time, vve set fire to it, which runs like Wild-fire, and keeps burning as long as there is any Fewel; unless some good shovver of Rain put it out: Then presently springs up a new green Crop, vvhich thrives beyond all belief. The Savannahs are bounded on each side vvith Ridges of higher Land, of a light-brown Colour; deep and very fruitful: producing extraordinary great high Page 59 [year 1676] Trees. The Land for 10 or 20 Miles from the Sea, is generally compos'd of many Ridges of delicate Wood-land, and large Furrows of pleasant grassy Savannahs, alternately intermix'd with each other.
The Animals of this Country are, Horses, Bullocks, Deer, Warree, Precary, Squashes, Possums, Mon|kies, Ant Bears, Sloths, Armadilloes, Porcupines, Land-turtle, Guanoes, and Lizards of all kinds.
The Squash is a four-footed Beast, bigger than a Cat: Its Head is much like a Foxes; with short Ears and a long Nose. It has pretty short Legs, and sharp Claws, by which it will run up Trees like a Cat. The Skin is covered with short fine yellowish Hair. The flesh of it is good, sweet, wholesom Meat. We commonly skin and roast it; and then we call it Pig; and I think it eats as well. It feeds on nothing but good Fruit; therefore we find them most among the Sapadillo-Trees; This Creature never rambles very far: and being taken young, will become as tame as a Dog; and be as roguish as a Monkey.
The Monkies that are in these Parts are the ugliest I ever saw. They are much bigger than a Hare, and have great Tails about two foot and a half long. The under side of their Tails is all bare, with a black hard skin; but the upper side, and all the Body is covered with course, long, black, staring Hair. These Creatures keep together 20 or 30 in a Company, and ramble over the Woods; leaping from Tree to Tree. If they meet with a single Person they will threaten to devour him. When I have been alone I have been afraid to shoot them, especially the first time I met them. They were a great Company dancing from Tree to Tree, over my Head; chatter|ing and making a terrible Noise; and a great many grim Faces, and shewing Antick Gestures. Some broke down dry Sticks and threw at me; others scattered Page 60 [year 1676] their Urine and Dung about my Ears; at last one bigger than the rest, came to a small Limb justover my Head; and leaping directly at me, made me start back; but the Monkey caught hold of the Bough with the tip of his Tail; and there conti|nued svvinging to and fro, and making Mouths at me.—At last I past on, they still keeping me Company, with the like menacing Po|stures, till I came to our Huts. The Tails of these Monkies ars as good to them as one of their Hands; and they will hold as fast by them. If two or more of us were together they would hasten from us. The Females with their young ones are much troubled to leap after the Males; for they have commonly two: one she carries under one of her Arms; the other sits on her back, and clasps her tvvo fore Paws about her Neck. These Monkies are the most sul|len I ever met with; for all the Art we could use, would never tame them. It is a hard matter to shoot one of them, so as to take it; for if it gets hold with its Clavvs or Tail, it will not fall as long as one breath of Life remains. After I have shot at one and broke a Leg or an Arm, I have pitied the poor Creature to see it look and handle the vvounded Limb; and turn it about from side to side. These Monkies are very rarely, or (as some say) never on the Ground.
The Ant-Bear is a four-footed Beast, as big as a pretty large Dog; with rough black-brown Hair: It has short Legs; a long Nose and little Eyes; a very little Mouth, and a slender Tongue like an Earth|worm about 5 or 6 Inches long. This Creature feeds on Ants; therefore you alvvays find them near an Ants Nest or Path. It takes its Food thus. It lays its Nose down flat on the Ground, close by the Path that the Ants travel in, (whereof here are many in this Country) and then puts out his Tongue athwart the Path: the Ants passing forwards and Page 61 [year 1676] backwards continually, when they come to the Tongue make a stop, and in two or three Minutes time it will be covered all over with Ants; which she preceiving draws in her Tongue, and then eats them; and after puts it out again to trapan more. They smell very strong of Ants, and taste much stronger; for Ihave eaten of them. I have met with these Creatures in several places of America, as well as here; (i. e. in the Sambaloes) and in the South-Seas on the Mexican Continent.
The Sloth is a four-footed, hairy, sad coloured Ani|mal; somewhat less than the Ant-bear, & not so rough: Its Head is round, its Eyes small; it has a short Nose, and very sharp Teeth; short Legs, but extra or|dinary long sharp Claws. This Creature feeds on Leaves, whether indifferently of all sorts, or only on some particular kinds, I know not. They are very mischievous to the Trees where they come, and are so slow in motion, that when they have eaten all the Leaves on one Tree, before they can get down from that and climb another, and settle themselves to their fresh Banquet (which takes them up 5 or 6 days, tho' the Trees stand near: They are no|thing but skin and bones, altho' they came down plump and fat from the last Tree. They never de|scend till they have stript every Limb and Bough, and made them as bare as Winter. It takes them up 8 or 9 Minutes to move one of their Feet 3 Inches forward; and they move all their four Feet one after another, at the same slow rate; neither will stripes make them mend their pace; which I have tryed to do, by whipping them; but they seem insensible, and can neither be frighted, or provoked to move faster.
The Armad••o (so called from its Suit of Armour) is as big as a small sucking Pig: the body of it pretty long. This Creature is inclosed in a thick Shell, Page 62 [year 1676] which guards all its back, and comes down on both sides, and meets under the belly, leaving room for the four Legs; the Head is small, with a Nose like a Pig, a pretty long Neck, and can put out its Head before its Body when it walks; but on any danger she puts it in under the shell; and drawing in her Feet, she lies stock still like a Land-Turtle: And though you toss her about she will not move her self. The Shell is joynted in the middle of the back; so that she can turn the fore-part of her body about which way she pleases. The Feet are like those of a Land-Turtle, and it has strong Claws wherewith it digs holes in the Ground like a Cony. The flesh is very sweet and tastes much like a Land-Turtle.
The Porcupine being a Creature well known, I'll pass it in silence.
The Beasts of prey that are bred in this Country are Tigre-Cats, and (as is reported by our Men) Lions. The Tigre-Cat is about the bigness of a Bull-Dug, with short Legs, and a truss Body, shaped much like a Mastiff, but in all things else, (viz.) its Head, the colour of its Hair, and the manner of its Preying, much resembling the Tigre, only some|what less. Here are great numbers of them: They prey on young Calves or other Game; whereof here is plenty. And because they do not want Food, they are the less to be feared. But I have wisht them farther off, when I have met them in the Woods; because their aspect appears so very stately and fierce. I never did see any Lion in this Coun|try; but I have been informed by two or three per|sons that they did see Lions here: But I am assured, that they are not numerous.
Here are a great many poisonous Creatures in this Country; more particularly Snakes of divers sorts, some yellow, some green, and others of a dun Colour, with black and yellowish spots. The yellow Page 63 [year 1676] Snake is commonly as big as the small of a Man's Leg; and 6 or 7 Foot long. These are a lazy sort of Creatures; for they lye still and prey on Lizards, Guanoes, or other small Animals that come in their way.
It is reported that sometimes they lirk in Trees: and that they are so mighty in strength, as to hold a Bullock fast by one of his Horns, when they hap|pen to come so near that she can twist her self about the Limb of the Tree and the Horn at once. These are accounted very good Meat by some, and are eaten frequently: I my self have tryed it for cu|riosity, but cannot commend it. I have heard some Bay-men report, that they have seen some of this kind here as big as an ordinary Man's Waste; but I never saw any such.
The green Snakes are no bigger about than a Man's Thumb, yet 4 or 5 Foot long: The Backs are of a very lively green colour, but their Bellies in|clining to yellow. These are commonly in Bushes among the green Leaves, and prey upon small Birds. This I have often seen, and was once in danger to be bit by one before I saw it: For I was going to take hold of a Bird that fluttered and cryed out just by me, yet did not fly away, neither could I ima|gine the reason till reaching out my hand, I per|ceived the head of a Snake close by it; and looking more narrowly, I saw the upper part of the Snake, about two or three Inches from his Head, twisted about the poor Bird.
What they feed on besides Birds I know not, but they are said to be very venemous.
The dun coloured Snake is a little bigger than the green Snake, but not above a Foot and a half, or two Foot long; these we should often see in and about our Huts; but did not kill them, because they de|stroyed the Mice, and are very nimble in chacing those Creatures. Besides Snakes, here are Scorpions Page 64 [year 1676] and Centapees in abundance. Here are also Gally|wasps. These are Creatures somewhat resembling Lizards, but larger; their Bodies about the thickness of a Man's Arm, having four short Legs, and small short Tails; their colour a dark brown. These Creatures live in old hollow Trunks of Trees, and are commonly found in wet swampy Ground, and are said to be very poisonous.
Here are also a sort of Spiders of a prodigious size, some near as big as a Man's fist, with long small Legs like the Spiders in England, they have two Teeth, or rather Horns an Inch and a half, or two Inches long, and of a proportionable bigness, which are black as Jett, smooth as Glass, and their small end sharp as a Thorn; they are not strait but bend|ing. These Teeth we often preserve. Some wear them in their Tobacco pouches to pick their Pipes. Others preserve them for Tooth-Pickers, especially such as were troubled with the Toothach; for by report they will expel that pain, tho' I cannot ju|stifie it of my own Knowledge. The backs of these Spiders are covered with a dark yellowish Down, as soft as Velvet. Some say these Spiders are vene|mous; others not; whether is true I cannot deter|mine.
Tho' this Country be so often over-flown with Water; yet it swarms with Ants, of several sorts; viz. great, small, black, yellow, &c. The great black Ant stings or bites almost as bad as a Scorpion; and next to this the small yellow Ants bite is most painful; for their sting is like a spark of fire; and they are so thick among the boughs in some places, that one shall be covered with them before he is aware. These Creatures have Nests on great Trees, placed on the Body be|tween the Limbs: some of their Nests are as big as a Hogshead; this is their Winter Habitation; for in the wet Season they all repair to these their Cities: Page 65 [year 1676] Here they preserve their Eggs. Ants-Eggs are as much esteemed by the Planters in the West-Indies for feeding their Chickens, as Great Oat-meal with us in England. In the dry Season when they leave their Nests, they swarm over all the Woodland; for they never trouble the Savannahs: You may then see great Paths made by them in the Woods of three or four Inches broad beaten as plain as the Roads in England. They go out light, but bring home heavy Loads on their backs, all of the same sub|stance, and equal in bigness: I never observed any thing besides pieces of green Leaves, so big that I could scarce see the Insect for his Burthen; yet they would march stoutly, and so many still pressing after, that it was a very pretty sight, for the Path lookt prefectly green with them. There was one sort of Ants of a black Colour, pretty large, with long Legs; these would march in Troops, as if they were busie in seeking somewhat; they were always in hast, and followed their Leaders exactly, let them go whither they would; these had no beaten Paths to walk in, but rambled about like Hunters: Sometimes a Band of these Ants would happen to march through our Huts, over our Beds, or into our Pavilions, nay, sometimes into our Chests; and there ransack every part; and where-ever the foremost went, the rest all came after: We never disturbed them, but gave them free liberty to search where they pleased; and they would all march off before night. These Companies were so great, that they would be two or three hours in passing by, though they went very fast.
The Fowls of this Country are Humming Birds, Black Birds, Turtle Doves, Pigeons, Parrots, Para|kites, Quames, Corresoes, Turkies, Carrion Crows, Subtle Jacks, Bill Birds, Cockrecoes, &c. The Hum|ming Bird is a pretty little feather'd Creature, no bigger than a great over-grown Wasp, with a black Bill no bigger than a small Needle, and his Legs and Page 66 [year 1676] Feet in proportion to his body. This Creature does not wave his Wings like other Birds when it flies, but keeps them in a continued quick motion like Bees or other Infects, and like them makes a con|tinual humming Noise as it flies. It is very quick in motion, and haunts about Flowers and Fruit, like a Bee gathering Hony, making many near addresses to its delightful Objects, by visiting them on all sides, and yet still keeps in motion, sometimes on one side, sometime on the other; as often rebounding a foot or two back on a sudden, and as quickly re|turns again, keeping thus about one Flower five or six minutes, or more. There are two or three sorts of them, some bigger than others, but all very small, neither are they coloured alike; the largest are of a blackish colour.
The Black Bird is somewhat bigger than ours in England; it has a longer Tail, but like them in Co|lour: They are sometimes called Chattering Crows, because they chatter like a Magpy.
There are three sorts of Turtle Doves (viz.) white brested Doves, dun coloured Doves, and ground Doves. The white breasts are the biggest; they are of a blewish gray Colour with white Breasts; these are fine, round and plump, and almost as big as a Pigeon. The next sort are all over of a dun, lesser than the former, and not so round. The ground Dove much bigger than a Sky-Lark, of a dull grey, very round and plump, and commonly runs in pairs on the ground, and probably thence have their name. The other two sorts flie in pairs, and feed on Berries, which they commonly gather themselves from the Trees where they grow; and all threes sorts are very good Meat.
Pigeons are not very common here; they are less than our Wood Quests, and as good food.
The Quam is as big as an ordinary Hen Turkey, of a blackish dun Colour; its Bill like a Turkeys; Page 67 [year 1676] it flies about among the Woods; feeds on Berries, and is very good meat.
The Correso is a larger Fowl that the Quam: The Cock is black, the Hen is of a dark brown. The Cock has a Crown of black Feathers on his Head, and appears very stately. These live also on Berries, and are very good to eat; but their Bones are said to be poisonous; therefore we do either burn or bury them, or throw them into the Water for fear our Dogs should eat them.
Carrion Crows are blackish Fowls about the big|ness of Ravens; they have bald Heads, and redish bald Necks like Turkeys; and therefore by Strangers that come newly from Europe, are often mistaken for such. These live wholly on flesh, (and are there|fore called Carrion Crows:) There are great num|bers of them; They are heavy, dull Creatures, and by their perching long at one place they seem to be very lazy: yet they are quick enough to find out their Prey; for when we hunt in the Woods or Sa|vannahs, as soon as we have killed a Beast, they will immediately flock about us from all parts, and in less than an hours time there will be two or three hundred, though at first there was not one to be seen. I have sometimes admired from whence so many came so suddenly; for we never see above two or three at a place, before they come to feast on a Car|kass.
Some of the Carrion Crows are all over white, but their Feathers look as if they were sullied: They have bald Heads and Necks like the rest; they are of the same bigness and make; without any diffe|rence but in Colour; and we never see above one or two of these white ones at a time; and 'tis seldom •lso that we see a great number of the black ones, but we see one white one amongst them.
1. The Logwood-Cutters call the white ones King Carrion Crows, and say, that they are much bigger Page 68 [year 1676] than the others; and that when a great number are assembled about a Carcass, if a King Carrion Crow be among them, he falls on first, and none of the others will taste the least Morsel, till he has filled his Belly and is withdrawn; nay, that they will sit perching on the Trees about him, without approach|ing the Carcass, till he flies away; and then in an instant they fall on all together. I have seen of the King Carrion Crows, but could not perceive them to be bigger than the rest; neither were the black ones, their Companions, so unmannerly as to let them eat without Company; they are very vo|racious, and will dispatch a Carcass in a Trice: For that reason the Spaniards never kill them, but fine any one that shall: And I think there is also an Act in Jamaica that prohibits their destruction; and the Logwood-Cutters, tho' under no such obligation, yet are so zealously superstitious, that none will hurt them for fear of receiving some damage after|wards.
Subtle Jacks are Birds as big as Pidgeons; they are mostly blackish; the tips of their Wing Feathers are yellowish, as are also their Bills. They have a pe|culiar and wonderful cunning way of building dif|ferent from any others: Their Nests hang down from the boughs of lofty Trees, whose Bodies are clean without limbs for a considerable height: The branches to which they fasten them, are those that spread farthest out from the body; and the very ex|tremities of those boughs are only used by them. O• Trees that grow single by themselves at some di|stance from others, they build clear round; but i• they joyn to others, they make choice of such on|ly as are bordering upon a Savannah, Pond or Creek, and hang down those Nests from those limbs that spread over their Savannahs, &c. neglecting such as are near other Trees: Their Nests hang down two or three foot from the twigs to which they are Page 69 [year 1676] fastned, and look just like Cabbage-Nets stuft with Hay. The Thread that fastens the Nest to the twig is made of long Grass (as is also the Nest it self) very ingeniously twisted together: It is but small at the twig; but near the Nest grows thicker. The Nest has a hole in the side for the Bird to enter at, and 'tis very pretty to see twenty or thirty of them hanging round a Tree. They are all called by the English Subtle Jacks, because of this uncommon way of building.
There are two or three sorts of Bill-Birds, so called by the English, because their Bills are almost as big as themselves. The largest I ever saw are about the size of English Wood-peckers, and much like them: There are others of a smaller sort; but they are not often met with, and I never saw many of them.
Cockrecoes are short winged Birds, coloured like Partridge, but somewhat lesser; neither are they so plump and round. They have long Legs, delight|ing to run on the Ground among Woods in swam|py Places or near Creeks. They make a loud Noise Mornings and Evenings, and Answer one ano|ther very prettily; and they are extraordinary sweet Meat.
The Water-Fowls are Duck and Mallard; Cur|lews, Herons, Crabcatchers, Pelicans, Cormorants, Fishing-Hawks, Men-of-War-Birds, Boobies, &c.
There are three sorts of Ducks, viz. The Mus|covy, the Whistling and the common Duck. Mus|covy Ducks are less than ours, but otherwise exactly alike. They perch on old dry Trees, or such as have no leaves on them, and seldom light on the Ground but to feed. Whistling Ducks are some|what less than our Common Duck, but not differ|ing from them in shape or Colour: In flying, their Wings make a pretty sort of loud whistling Noise. These also perch on Trees as the former. The Page 70 [year 1676] other sort are like our Common Ducks, both in bigness and colour, and I have never observed them to pitch upon Trees. All three sorts are very good Meat
Here are two sorts of Curlews different in bigness and colour; the greater are as big as Turkeys, with long Legs and long crooked Bills, like a Snipes, in length and bigness proportionable to the Bulk of their Bodies: They are of a dark colour; their Wings black and white; their Flesh black, but very sweet and wholesom: They are call'd by the English double Curlews, because they are twice as big as the other sort.
The small Curlews are of a dusky brown, with long Legs and Bills like the former: their Flesh is most esteemed as being the sweetest.
Herons are like ours in England in bigness, shape and colour.
Crabcatchers are shaped and coloured like Herons, but they are smaller: They feed on small Crabs no bigger than ones Tumb, of which there is great plenty.
Pelicans are large flat-footed Fowls, almost as big as Geese, and their Feathers in colour like them: they have short Legs, long Necks, and their Bills are about two Inches broad and 17 or 18 long; the fore part of their Necks or Breasts is bare, and covered with a soft, smooth, yet loose Skin, like that about the Necks of Turkies: This Skin is of the colour of their Feathers, mixt with a dark and light grey, so axactly interwoven that it appears very beautiful. They are a very heavy Bird, and seldom fly far, or very high from the Water: They com|monly sit on Rocks at some distance from the shore, where they may look about them. They seem to be very melancholy Fowls, by their perching all alone: they sit as if they were sleeping, holding their Heads upright, and resting the ends of their Page 71 [year 1676] Bills on their Breast; they are better Meat than Boobies or Men-of-War-Birds.
Cormorants are just like young Ducks in shape, having such Feet and Bills: They are black with white Breasts, and live on small Fish which they take near the shore, or on Worms which they get out of the Mud at low Water. They taste very fishy, yet are indifferent good Meat, they being ve|ry fat.
Fishing Hawks are like our smallest sort of Hawks in colour and shape, with such Bills and Talons; They perch upon stumps of Trees or dry Limbs that hang over the Water about Creeks, Rivers or against the Sea: and upon sight of any small Fish near them, they Skim along just over them, and snatching up the Prey with their Talons, presently rise again without touching the Water with their Wings. They don't swallow the Fish whole as all other Fishing Fowls, that ever I saw do, but tear it with their Bills and eat it Piece-Meal.
The Lagunes, Creeks and Rivers are plentifully stored with great variety of Fish (viz.) Mullets, Snooks, Tenpounders, Tarpoms, Cavallies, Parri|cootas, Gar-fish, Stingrays, Spanish Mackril, with many others.
Tenpounders are shaped like Mullets, but are so full of very small stiff Bones, intermixt with the Flesh, that you can hardly eat them.
Parricootas are long Fish, with round Bodies like Mackril: They have very long Mouths and sharp Teeth; they are about 8 or 10 Inches round, and three Foot and half long. They commonly haunt in Lagunes among Islands, or in the Sea near the shore. They are a floating Fish, and greedily take the Hook, and will snap at Men too in the Water. We commonly take them when we are under sail, with a Hook towing after our Stern. They are firm well-tasted Fish; but 'tis dangerous Page 72 [year 1676] eating them, for some Men have been poisoned with them.
Divers Persons are of Opinion that these Crea|tures are poysonous in some Places only, and that but at some times of the Year. I know that in ma|ny Parts of the West-Indies, some have been injured by eating them, and that at different Seasons of the Year; therefore Seamen commonly taste the Li|ver before they venture any further; and if that has a biting taste like Pepper, they esteem the fish un|wholsom, but if not, they eat it: and yet I have found even this Rule fail too. I judge the Head and the Parts near it, to be chiefly venomous.
Gar-fish are round, but neither so big nor long as the former; but what is more peculiar, they have long bony Snouts, like the Sword-fish, only as the Sword-fishes Snout is flat, and indented like a Saw on each side; so on the contrary these have their Snouts like a Spear, round, smooth and sharp at the end, and about a foot long. These area sort of floaty or Flying Fish: for they skip along a Foot or two above the Water, for the length of twenty or thirty Yards: then they just touch the edge of the Water, and spring forward so much farther, and them touch the Water, and spring forward again, a great many times before they cease. They dart them|selves with such a force that they strike their Snout through the sides of a Cotton-Tree Canoa; and we often fear that they will strike quite through our very Bodies.—They are extraordinary sweet Fish.
Spanish Mackril are in shape and colour like our Mackril, but larger: They are three Foot or three and half long, and nine or ten Inches about, and they also are generally esteemed very excellent Fish.
Page 73 [year 1676] The Ray is a flat Fish, like Skate, and I have seen three sorts of them; viz. the Stingray, the Raspray and the Whipray. The Stingray and Rasp|ray are much a like in shape; but the former has three or four strong sharp Prickles, near two Inches long, at the Root of its Tail, which are said to be very venomous, but the rest of his Skin is smooth. The Raspray has a rough knotty Skin wherewith Rasps are made: the Skins of the largest are so rough, that the Spaniards in some Places grate their Cassavy with them, which is a Root very common all over the West-Indies; and of which the Spaniards and English frequently make their Bread; but the fairest Skins are used to cover Surgeons Instrument Cases, and other such fine Things; but of late they are counterfeited. I have been told that in Turkey Asses Skins are stamped with small hard Seeds, which gives them Impressions like Raspray.
The Whipray differs from the other two sorts, having a small, but longer Tail, and ending with a Knob, shaped like a Harpoon. All these three sorts are much about a Foot and half broad. There is yet another sort of these flat Fish of the Whipray kind, but of a prodigious bigness; viz. three or four Yards square, and their Tails as long: these we call Sea-Devils; they are very strong Fish, and are sometimes Gamesom; but they make an odd Figure when they leap out of the Water, tumbling over and over.
Neither are Turtle and Manatee wanting in this Lagune. Here are some Hawks-bill-Turtle, but the green Turtle is most plentiful. They are of a middle size; yet here was once a very large one taken, as I have mentioned in my Voyages round the World.
Here are abundance of Manatee, which are both large and sweet.
Page 74 [year 1676] Alligators are also in great numbers in all the Creeks, Rivers and Lagunes in the Bay of Campeachy; and I think that no part of the Universe is better stock'd with them.
The Alligator is a Creature so well known every where, that I should not describe it, were it not to give an Account of the difference between it and the Crocodile; for they resemble each other so nearly in their shape and bulk, as also in their Natures, that they are generally mistaken for the same Species; only the one supposed to be the Male, the other the Female: Whether they are so or not, the World may judge by the following Observations. As to their Bulk and length, I never saw any so large as some I have heard and read of; but accor|ding to my best Judgment, though I have seen Thousands, I never met with any above sixteen or seventeen Foot long, and as thick as a large Colt. He his shaped like a Lizard, of a dark brown colour, with a large head and very long Jaws, with great strong Teeth, especially two of a Remarkable Length, that grow out of, and at the very end of the under Jaw in the smallest part, on each side one; there are two holes in the upper Jaw to receive these, otherways he could not shut his Mouth. It has 4 short Legs and Broad Claws, with a long Tail. The Head, Back and Tail is fenced with pretty hard Scales, joyned together with a very thick tough Skin: Over its Eyes there are two hard scally Knobs, as big as a Mans Fist, and from the Head to the Tail, along the Ridge of his Back 'tis full of such knotty hard Scales, not like Fish-Scales, which are loose, but so united to the Skin, that it is all one with it, and can't be taken asunder, but with a sharp Knife. From the Ridge of the Back down on the Ribs towards the Belly, (which is of a dusky yellow colour like a Frog) there are many of these Scales, but not so substantial nor so thick placed as the other. Page 75 [year 1676] These Scales are no hindrance to him in turning; for he will turn very quick, considering his length. When he goes on Land his Tail drags on the Ground.
The Flesh smells very strong of Musk; especially four Kernels or Cods that are always found about them, two of which grow in the Groin, near each Thigh; the other two at the Breast, one under each Fore-leg, and about the bigness of a Pullets Egg; therefore when we kill an Alligator, we take out these, and having dried them wear them in our Hats for a perfume. The Flesh is seldom eaten but in case of Necessity, because of it strong scent.
Now the Crocodile hath none of these Kernels, neither doth his Flesh taste at all Musky, therefore esteemed better Food. He is of a yellow colour, neither hath he such long Teeth in his under Jaw. The Crocodile's Legs also are longer, and when it runs on Land, it bears its Tail above the Ground, and turns up the tip of it in a round bow, and the Knots on the back are much thicker, higher and firmer than those of the Alligator; and differ also as to the Places where they are found. For in some Parts, as here in the Bay of Campeachy, are abundance of Alligators, where yet I never saw nor heard of any Crocodiles. At the Isle Grand Caymanes, there are Crocodiles, but no Alligators. At Pines by Cuba, there are abundance of Crocodiles, but I cannot say there are no Alligators, tho' I never saw any there. Both Kinds are called Caymanes, by the Spaniards; therefore probably they may reckon them for the same. And I know of no other difference, for they both lay Eggs alike, which are not distinguishable to the Eye: They are as big as a Goose-Egg, but much longer, and good Meat; yet the Alligators Eggs taste very musky: They prey both alike in either Element, Page 76 [year 1676] for they love Flesh as well as Fish, and will live in either fresh or salt Water. Beside these Creatures, I know none that can live any where, or upon any sort of Food, like them. 'Tis reported, that they love Dogs Flesh better than any other Flesh what|soever. This I have seen with my own Eyes, that our Dogs were so much afraid of them, that they would not very willingly drink at any great River or Creek where those Creatures might lurk and hide themselves, unless they were (through Necessity) constrained to it; and then they would stand five or six Foot from the brink of the Creek or River, and bark a considerable time before they would Adventure nearer; and then even at the sight of their own Shadows in the Water, they would again retire to the Place from whence they came, and bark vehemently a long time; so that in the dry Season, when there was no fresh Water but in Ponds and Creeks, we used to fetch it our selves and give it our Dogs; and many times in our Hunting, when we came to a large Creek that we were to pass through, our Dogs would not follow us; so that we often took them in our Arms, and carried them over.
Besides the fore-mentioned difference between the Alligator and Crocodile; the latter is accounted more fierce and daring then the Alligator: There|fore when we go to the Isles of Pines or Grand Caymanes to hunt, we are often molested by them, especially in the Night. But in the Bay of Cam|peachy, where there are only Alligators, I did never know any Mischief done by them, except by accident Men run themselves into their Jaws. I remember one Instance of this Nature, which is as follows.
Page 77 [year 1676] In the very height of the dry time seven or eight Men (English and Irish) went to a place called Pies Pond, on Beef-Island, to hunt. This Pond was never dry, so that the Cattle drew hither in swarms, but after two or three days hunting they were shy, and would not come to the Pond till Night, and then if an Army of Men had lain to oppose them, they would not have been debarr'd of Water. The Hunters knowing their Custom, lay still all Day, and in the Night visited this Pond, and killed as many Beefs as they could. This Trade they had driven a Week, and made great profit. At length an Irish-man going to the Pond in the Night, stumbled over an Alligator that lay in the Path: The Alligator seized him by the Knee; at which the Man cries out, Help! help! His Consorts not know|ing what the matter was, ran all away from their Huts, supposing that he was fallen into the Clutches of some Spaniards, of whom they were afraid every dry Season. But poor Daniel not finding any assistance, waited till the Beast opened his Jaw to take better hold; because it is usual for the Alligator to do so; and then snatch'd away his Knee, and slipt the But-end of his Gun in the room of it, which the Alligator griped so hard, that he pull'd it out of his Hand and so went away. The Man being near a small Tree climb'd up out of his reach; and then cried out to his Consorts to come and assist him; who being still within Call, and watching to hear the Issue of the Ala|rum, made haste to him with Fire-brands in their Hands, and brought him away in their Arms to his Hut; for he was in a deplora|ble condition, and not able to stand on his Feet, his Knee was so torn with the Alligators Teeth.
His Gun was found the next day ten or twelve Paces from the place where he was seized, with Page 78 [year 1676] two large Holes made in the But-end of it, one on each side, near an Inch deep; for I saw the Gun afterwards. This spoiled their sport for a time, they being forc'd to carry the Man to the Island Trist, where their Ships were, which was six or seven Leagues distant.
This Irish-man went afterwards to New-England, to be cured, in a Ship belonging to Boston, and nine or ten Months after returned to the Bay again, being recovered of his Wound, but went limping ever after.
This was all the mischief that ever I heard was done in the Bay of Campeachy, by the Creatures call'd Alligators.
Logwood Mens way of Living. Their Hunting for Beefs in Canoas. Alligators. The Author's setling with Logwood-Men. He is lost in Hunting. Captain Hall and his Mens disaster. The way of preserving Bullocks Hides. Two hairy Worms growing in the Author's Leg. Dangerous Leg-worms in the West-Indies. The Author strangely cured of one A violent Storm. A Description of Beef-Island: its Fruits and Animals. The Spaniards way of hocksing Cattle. Their care of preserving their Cattle. The wasteful destruction made of them by the English and French Privateers. The Author's narrow Escape from an Alli|gator.
THE Logwood-Cutters (as I said before) inhabit the Creeks of the East and West Lagunes, in small Campanies, building their Huts close by the Creeks sides for the benefit of the Sea-Breezes, as near the Logwood Groves as they can, removing often to be near their Business: yet when they are settled in a good open Place, they chuse rather to go half a Mile in their Canoas to work, than lose that convenience. Tho' they build their Huts but slightly, yet they take care to thatch them very well with Palm or Palmeto Leaves, to prevent the Rains, which are there very violent, from soaking in.
Page 80 [year 1676] For their Bedding they raise a Barbecue, or wooden Frame 3 Foot and a half above Ground on one side of the House; and stick up four Stakes, at each corner one, to fasten their Pavilions; out of which here is no sleeping for Moskitoes.
Another Frame they raise covered with Earth for a Hearth to dress their Victuals: and a third to sit at when they eat it.
During the wet Season, the Land where the Logwood grows is so overflow'd, that they step from their Beds into the Water perhaps two Foot deep, and continue standing in the wet all Day, till they go to. Bed again; but nevertheless account it the best Season in the Year for doing a good days La|bour in.
Some fell the Trees, others saw and cut them into convenient Logs, and one chips off the Sap, and he is commonly a principal Man; and when a Tree is so thick, that after it has lodg'd, it remains still too great a Burthen for one Man, we blow it up with Gun-powder.
The Logwood-Cutters are generally sturdy strong Fellows, and will carry Burthens of three or four hundred Weight; but every Man is left to his choice to carry what he pleaseth, and commonly they agree very well about it: For they are contented to la|bour very hard.
But when Ships come from Jamaica with Rum and Sugar, they are too apt to mis-pend both their Time and Money. If the Commanders of these Ships are Free, and treat all that come the first Day with Punch, they will be much respected, and every Man will pay honestly for what he drinks afterwards; but if he be niggardly, they will pay him with their worst Wood, and commonly they have a stock of such lay'd by for that purpose; nay, they will cheat them with hollow Wood fill'd with dirt in the middle and both ends plugg'd up Page 81 [year 1676] with a piece of the same drove in hard, and then sawed off so neatly, that it's hard to find out the deceit; but if any Man come to purchase with Bills payable at Jamaica, they will be sure to give him the best Wood.
In some places, especially in the West Creek of the West Lagune, they go a hunting every Saturday to provide themselves with Beef for the Week fol|lowing.
The Cattle in this Country are large and fat in February, March, and April: At other times of the Year they are sleshy, but not fat, yet sweet enough. When they have kill'd a Beef, they cut it into four Quarters, and taking out all the Bones, each Man makes a hole in the middle of his Quarter, just big enough for his Head to go through, then puts it on like a Frock, and trudgeth home; and if he chances to tire, he cuts off some of it, and flings it away.
It is a diversion pleasant enough, though not without some danger, to hunt in a Canoa; for then the Cattle having no other feeding Places than the sides of the Savannahs, which are somewhat higher Ground than the middle, they are forced sometimes to swim; so that we easily come to shoot them, when they are thus in the Water.
The Beast, when she is so hard pursued that she cannot escape, turns about and comes full tilt at the Canoa, and striking her Head against the Prow, drives her back 20 or 30 Paces; then she scampers away again: But if she has received a wound, she commonly pursues us till she is knock'd down. Our chiefest care is to keep the head of the Canoa to|wards her; for if she should strike against the broad side, it would indanger over-setting it, and consequently wetting our Arms and Ammunition. Besides, the Savannahs at this time swarm with Alligators, and therefore are the more dangerous on that account.
Page 82 [year 1676] These Creatures in the wet Season forsake the Rivers, and inhabit the Drownd-Savannahs to meet with Purchase, and no Flesh comes amiss to them, whether alive or dead. Their chief Subsistence then is on young Cattle, or such Carkasses as we leave behind us, which in the Dry Season feed the Carrion-Crows; but now are a Prey to the Alligators. They remain here till the Water drains off from the Land; and then confine themselves to the Stagnant Ponds; and when they are dry, they ramble away to some Creek or River.
The Alligators in this Bay are not so fierce as they are reported to be in other Places; for I never knew them pursue any Man, although we do frequently meet them; nay, they will flee from us: and I have drank out of a Pond in the dry time, that hath been full of them, and the Water not deep enough to cover their backs, and the compass of the Pond so small that I could get no Water, but by coming within two Yards of the Alligators Nose; they lying with their Heads towards mine as I was drink|ing, and looking on me all the while. Neither did I ever hear of any bit in the Water by them, tho' probably should a Man happen in their way, they would seize upon him.
Having thus given some Description of the Coun|try, I shall next give an Account of my Living with the Logwood-Men, and of several Occurrences that happened during my stay here.
Tho' I was a Stranger to their Employment and manner of Living, as being known but to those few only of whom we bought our Wood, in my for|mer Voyage hither; yet that little Acquaintance I then got, incouraged me to visit them after my se|cond arrival here; being in hopes to strike in to work with them. There were six in Company, who had a Hundred Tuns ready cut, log'd and chip'd, but not brought to the Creeks side, and they Page 83 [year 1676] expected a Ship from New-England in a Month or two, to fetch it away.
When I came hither, they were beginning to bring it to the Creek: And because the Carriage is the hardest Work, they hired me to help them at the rate of a Tun of Wood per Month; promising me that after his Carriage was over, I should strike in to work with them, for they were all obliged in Bonds to procure this 100 Tuns jointly together, but for no more.
This Wood lay all in the Circumference of 5 or 600 Yards, and about 300 from the Creek-side in the middle of a very thick Wood, unpassable with Burthens. The first thing we did was to bring it all to one Place in the middle, and from thence we cut a very large Path to carry it to the Creeks side. We laboured hard at this Work 5 Days in the Week; and on Saturdays went into the Savannahs and kil|led Beeves.
When we killed a Beef, if there were more than four of us, the Overplus went to seek fresh Game, whilst the rest dress'd it.
I went out the first Sunday and complyed very well with my Master's Orders, which was only to help drive the Cattle out of the Savannahs into the Woods, where two or three Men lay to shoot them: And having kill'd our Game, we marched Home with our Burthens. The next Saturdy after, I went with a design to kill a Beef my self, thinking it more honour to try my own Skill in Shooting, than only to drive the Game for others to shoot at. We w••t now to a Place called the Upper Savannah, go|ing four Miles in our Canoas, and then landing, walk'd one Mile thro' the Woods, before we came into the Savannah, and marched about two Miles in it, before we came up with any Game. Here I gave my Com|panions the slip, and wandred so far into the Woods that I lost my self; neither could I find the Page 84 [year 1676] way into the open Savannah, but instead of that ran directly from it, through small spots of Sa|vannahs and Skirts of Woods. This was sometime in May, and it was between ten a Clock and one when I began to find that I was (as we called it, I suppose from the Spaniards) Morooned, or Lost, and quite out of the Hearing of my Comrades Guns. I was somewhat surpriz'd at this; but however, I knew I should find my way out, as soon as the Sun was a little lower. So I sat down to rest my self; resolving however to run no farther out of my way; for the Sun being so near the Zenith, I could not distinguish how to direct my Course. Being weary and almost faint for want of Water, I was forced to have recourse to the Wild-Pines, and was by them supplied, or else I must have perished with Thirst. About three a Clock I went due North, as near as I could judge, for the Savannah lay East and West, and I was on the South side of it.
At Sun-set I got into the clear open Savannah, being about two Leagues wide in most Places, but how long I know not. It is well stored with Bul|locks, but by frequent hunting they grow shy, and remove farther up into the Country. Here I found my self four or five Mile to the West of the Place where I stragled from my Companions. I made homewards with all the speed I could, but being overtaken by the Night, I lay down on the Grass a good distance from the Woods, for the be|nefit of the Wind, to keep the Muskitoes from me; but in vain: for in less than an Hours time I was so persecuted, that though I endeavoured to keep them off by Fanning my self with Boughs and shifting my Quarters 3 or 4 times; yet still they haunted me so that I could get no sleep. At Day-break I got up and directed my Course to the Creek where we landed, from which I was then about two Leagues. I did not see one Beast of any Page 85 [year 1676] sort whatever in all the way; though the day before I saw several Young Calves that could not follow their Dams, but even these were now gone away, to my great Vexation and Disappointment, for I was very hungry. But about a Mile farther, I spied ten or twelve Quams perching on the Boughs of a Cotton-Tree. These were not shy, therefore I got well enough under them; and having a single Bullet (but no shot) about me, fired at one of them, but miss'd it, though I had before often kill'd them so. Then I came up with, and fired at 5 or 6 Turkies, but with no better success. So that I was forced to march forward still in the Savannah, toward the Creek; and when I came to the Path that led to it through the Woods, I found (to my great Joy) a Hat stuck upon a Pole: and when I came to the Creek I found another. These were set up by my Consorts, who were gone home in the Evening, as Signals that they would come and fetch me. There|fore I sat down and waited for them; for although I had not then above three Leagues home by Water, yet it would have been very difficult, if not impos|sible for me to have got thither over Land, by rea|son of those vast unpassable Thickets abounding every where along the Creeks side; wherein I have known some puzzled for two or three days, and have not advanced half a Mile, though they la|boured extreamly every day. Neither was I disap|pointed of my hopes; for within half an Hour after my arrival at the Creek, my Consorts came, bring|ing every Man his Bottle of Water, and his Gun, both to hunt for Game and to give me notice by Firing, that I might here them; for I have known several Men lost in the like manner, and never heard of afterwards.
Such an Accident befel one Captain Hall of New-England, who came hither in a Boston Ship, to take in Logwood, and was fraighted by two Scotch|men, Page 86 [year 1676] and one Mr. W. Cane, an Irish-man who design|ing to go with Goods from Jamaica to New-England; for that reason when his Logwood was aboard, tar|ried at Trist with the Ship, and hunted once in 2 or three Days for Beef to lengthen out his Salt Provi|sion. One Morning the Captain designing to hunt, took five of his Men, with his Mate, as also his Merchant Mr. Cane along with him. They Land|ed at the East end of the Island, which is low Man|grove-land; the Savannah is a considerable distance from the Sea, and therefore troublesom to get to it. However, unless they would row four or five Leagues farther, they could not find a more con|venient place; beside, they doubted not of Mr. Canes skill to conduct them. After they had followed him a Mile or two into the Woods, the Captain seeing him to make a Halt (as being in some doubt) to consider of the way, told him in derision, that he was but a sorry Woodsman, and that he would swing him but twice round, and he should not guess the way out again; and saying no more to him went forwards, and bid his Seamen follow him, which they did accordingly. Mr. Cane, after he had recollected himself, struck off another way, and desired them to go with him: But instead of that, they were all for following the Captain. In a short time Mr. Cane got out of the Woods into the Sa|vannah, and there kill'd a good fat Cow, and quar|tering it, made it fit for Carriage, supposing the Captain and Crew would soon be with him. But after waiting 3 or 4 hours, and firing his Gun seve|ral times, without hearing any Answer, took up his Burden and returned towards the Sea-side; and upon giving a Signal a Boat came and brought him aboard. In the Mean time the Captain and his Men after 4 or 5 Hours ranging the Woods, began to grow tired, and then his Mate happily trusting more to his own Judgment, left him and the four Seamen, and about Page 87 [year 1676] four or five a Clock being almost spent with Thirst, got out of the Woods to the Sea shore, and as weak as he was, fired his Gun for the Boat to fetch him, which was immediately done.
When he came Aboard he gave an Account where|about, and in what a condition he left the Captain and his Men; but it being then too late to seek him, the next Morning very early Mr. Cane and two Sea|men taking Directions from the Mate (who was so fatigued that he could not stir) where he had left the Captain, went ashore, and at length came with|in call of him, and at last found him laid down in a Thicket, having just sense to call out sometimes, but not strength enough to stand; so they were forced to carry him to the Sea-side. When they had a little refreshed him with Brandy and Water, he told them how his Company had fainted for Thirst, and drop'd down one after another, though he still incouraged them to be chearful and rest themselves a while, till he got some supplies of Water for them; that they were very patient, and that two of his Men held out till five a Clock in the Afternoon, and then they fainted also; but he him|self proceeded in quest of his way till night; and then fell down in the place where they then found him.
The two Seamen carried the Captain Aboard, while Mr. Cane scarched about for the rest, but to no purpose; for he returned without them, and could never hear of them afterwards.
This was a warning to me never to straggle from my Consorts in our Hunting. But to proceed.
When my Months Service was up, in which time we brought down all the Wood to the Creek side, I was presently pay'd my Tun of Logwood; with which, and some more that I borrow'd, I bought a little Provision, and was afterwards entertained as a Page 88 [year 1676] Companion at work with some of my former Masters; for they presently broke up Consort-ships, letting the Wood lye till either Mr. West came to fetch it, according to his Contract, or else till they should otherwise dispose of it. Some of them immediately went to Beef-Island to kill Bullocks for their Hides, which they preserve by pegging them out very tite on the Ground. First they turn the fleshy side, and after the hair upwards, letting them lye so till they are very dry. 32 strong Pegs as big as a Man's Arm, are required to stretch the Hide as it ought to be. When they are dry they fold them in the middle from Head to Tail, with the Hair outward; and then hang them cross a strong pole so high that the ends may not touch the Ground, 40 or 50, one upon another, and once in 3 Weeks or a Month they beat them with great Sticks, to strike off the Worms that breed in the Hair, and eat it off, which spoils the Hide. When they are to be ship'd off, they soak them in salt Water to kill the remaining Worms; and while they are yet wet they fold them in 4 folds, and afterwards spread them abroad again to dry. When they are fully dry, they fold them up again, and so send them Aboard. I was yet a Stranger to this Work, therefore remained with 3 of the old Crew to cut more Logwood. My Consorts were all three Scotch-men; one of them named Price Morrice had lived there some Years, and was Master of a pretty large Periago; for without some sort of Boat, here is no stirring from one place to another. The other two were young Men that had been bred Merchants, viz. Mr. Duncam Campbell; and Mr. George—These two not liking either the Place or Employ|ment, waited an opportunity of going away by the first Ship that came hither to take in Logwood. Ac|cordingly not long after the above-mentioned. Capt. Hall of Boston, came hither on that design, and was Page 89 [year 1676] fraighted by them with 40 Tun. It was agreed that George should stay behind to cut Logwood; but Campbell should go to New-England to sell this Car|go, and bring back Flower, and such other Commo|dities that were proper to purchase Hides and Log|wood in the Bay. This retarded our business; for I did not find Price Morrice very intent at Work: for 'tis like he thought he had Logwood enough. And I have particularly observed there, and in other Places, that such as had been well-bred, were gene|rally most careful to improve their Time, and would be very industrious and frugal, when there was any probability of considerable Gain. But on the con|trary, such as had been inur'd to hard Labour, and got their Living by the sweat of their Brows, when they came to a plenty, would extravagantly squander away their Time and Money in Drinking and mak|ing a Bluster.
To be short, I kept to my Work by my self, till I was hindred by a hard, red and angry Swelling like a Boyl, in my right Leg; so painful that I was scarce able to stand on it: but I was directed to roast and apply the Roots of White Lillies (of which here is great plenty, growing by the Creek sides) to draw it to a head. This I did three or four Days, without any benefit. At last I perceived two White Specks in the middle of the Boil; and squeezing it, two small white Worms spurted out: I took them both up in my Hand, and perceived each of them to be invested with three Rows of black, short, stiff Hair, running clear round them; one Row near each end; the other in the middle; each Row distinct from other; and all very regular and uniform. The Worms were about the bigness of a Hens Quill, and about three fourths of an Inch long.
I never saw Worms of this sort breed in any Man's Flesh. Indeed Guinea Worms are very frequent in some Places of the West-Indies, especially at Cura|sao;Page 90 [year 1676] They breed as well in Whites as Negroes: And because that Island was formerly a Magazin of Ne|groes, while the Dutch drove that Trade with the Spaniards, and the Negroes were most subject to them; 'twas therefore believed that other People took them by Infection from them. I rather judge that they are generated by drinking bad Water; and 'tis as likely that the Water of the other Island of Aruba and Bonariry may produce the same Effects; for many of those that went with me from thence to Virginia (mentioned in my former Volume) were troubled with them after our arrival there: parti|cularly I my self had one broke out in my Ancle, after I had been there five or six Months.
These Worms are no bigger than a large brown Thread, but (as I have heard) five or six Yards long; and if it breaks in drawing out, that part which re|mains in the Flesh will putrifie, and be very painful, and indanger the Patients Life; or at least the use of that Limb: and I have known some that have been scarified and cut strangely, to take out the Worm. I was in great torment before it came out: my Leg and Ancle swell'd and look'd very red and angry; and I kept a Plaister, to it, to bring it to a Head. At last drawing off my Plaister out came about three Inches of the Worm; and my pain abated presently. Till then I was Ignorant of my Malady; and the Gentlewoman, at whose House I was, took it for a Nerve; but I knew enough what it was, and pre|sently roll'd it up on a small Stick. After that I opened it every Morning and Evening, and strained it out gently, about 2 Inches at a time, not with|out some pain, till at length I had got out about two Foot.
Riding with one Mr. Richardson, who was going to a Negro to have his Horse cured of a gall'd Back, I asked the Negro if he could undertake my Leg: and which he did readily; and in the mean Page 91 [year 1676] time I observed his Method in curing the Horse; which was this. First he strok'd the sore Place, then applying to it a little rough Powder, which looked like Tobacco Leaves dryed and crumbled small, and mumbling some Words to himself, he blew upon the part three times, and waving his Hands as often over it, said, it would be well speedily. His Fee for the Cure was a White Cock.
Then coming to me, and looking on the Worm in my Ancle, he promised to cure it in three Days, de|manding also a White Cock for his pains, and using exactly the same Method with me, as he did with the Horse. He bad me not open it in three Days; but I did not stay so long; for the next Morning the Cloath being rubb'd off, I unbound it, and found the Worm broken off, and the Hole quite healed up. I was afraid the remaining part would have given some trouble, but have not felt any pain there from that day to this.
To return. I told you how I was interrupted in following my Work, by the Worms breeding in my Leg. And to compleat my misfortune, presently after we had the most violent Storm, for above 24 Hours, that ever was known in these Parts. An Ac|count of which I shall give more particularly in my Discourse of Winds and shall now only mention some Passages.
I have already said, we were four of us in Com|pany at this Place cutting Logwood: and by this Storm were reduced to great Inconveniencies; for while that lasted we could dress no Victuals, no• even now it was over, unless we had done it in the Canoa; for the highest Land near us was almost 3 Foot under Water: besides our Provision too was most of it spoiled, except the Beef and Pork, which was but little the worse.
We had a good Canoa large enough to carry us all; and seeing it in vain to stay here any longer, we Page 92 [year 1676] all embarked and rowed away to One-Bush-Key, about 4 Leagues from our Huts. There were 4 Ships riding here, when the Storm began: but at our arrival we found only one, and hoped to have got some Refresh|ment from it, but found very cold entertainment: For we could neither get Bread nor Punch, nor so much as a Dram of Rum, though we offered them Money for it. The Reason was, they were already over-charged with such as being distressed by the Storm, had been forced to take Sanctuary with them: Seeing we could not be supplied here, we asked which way the other three Ships were driven? they told us that Capt. Prout of New-England was driven towards Trist, and 'twas probable he was carried out to Sea, unless he struck on a Sand, called the Middle Ground; that Capt. Skinner of New-England was driven towards Beef-Island; and Captain Chand|ler of London, drove away towards Man-of-War Lagune.
Beef-Island lies North from One-Bush-Key; but the other two Places lie a little on each side: One to the East; the other to the West. So away we went for Beef-Island: and coming within a League of it, we saw a Flag in the Woods, made fast to a Pole, and placed on the Top of a high Tree. And coming still nearer, we at last saw a Ship in the Woods, about 200 Yards from the Sea. We rowed directly towards her; and when we came to the Woods side, found a pretty clear Pas|sage made by the Ship, through the Woods, the Trees being all broke down; and about three Foot Water Home to the Ship. We rowed in with our Canoa, and went aboard, and were kindly Enter|tained by the Seamen: but the Captain was gone Aboard Captain Prout, who stuck fast on the middle Ground before-mentioned. Captain Prout's Ship was afterwards got off again; but the Stumps of the Trees ran clear through the bottom of Captain Page 93 [year 1676] Skinner's, therefore there was no hope of saving her. Here we got Victuals and Punch, and stayed about two Hours, in which time the Captain came aboard and invited us to stay all Night. But hearing some Guns fired in Man-of-War Lagune, we concluded that Captain Chandler was there, and wanted as|sistance. Therefore we presently rowed away thi|ther, for we could do no Service here: and before Night found him also stuck fast on a Point of Sand. The Head of his Ketch was dry, and at the Stern, there was above 4 foot Water. Our coming was very seasonable to Captain Chandler, with whom we stayed two Days: in which time we got out all his Goods, carried off his Anchor, &c. and so not being able as yet to do him more Service, we left him for the present, and went away to hunt at Beef-Island.
At Trist were four Vessels riding before this Storm; one of them was driven off to Sea, and never heard of afterwards. Another was cast dry upon the shore, where she lay and was never got off again: But the third rode it out. Another was riding without the Bar of Trist, and she put to Sea, and got to New-England; but much shattered. About • days before this Storm began, a small Vessel, Commanded by Captain Vally, went hence, bound to Jamaica. This Vessel was given for lost by all the Logwood-Cutters: but about 4 Months after she returned thither again; and the Captain said he felt nothing of the Storm, but when he was about 30 Leagues to Windward of Trist, he had a fresh Summasenta Wind that carried him as high as Cape Condecedo; but all the time he saw very black Clouds to the Westward.
Beef-Island is about 7 Leagues long, and 3 or 4 broad. It lies in length East and West. The East end looks toward the Island Trist; and is low drowned Land: and near the Sea produceth nothing but Page 94 [year 1676] white and black Mangrove-Trees. The North side lies open to the Main Sea, running straight from East to West. The Eastermost part for about three Leagues from Trist is Low and Mangrovy; at the end of which there is a small salt Creek, deep enough at high Water for Boats to pass.
From this Creek to the West end, is 4 Leagues all sandy Bay, closed on the backside with a low Sand|bank, abounding with thick prickly Bushes, like a White-thorn; bearing a whitish hard shell-Fruit, as big as a Sloe, much like a Calla-bash. The West end is washed with the River St. Peter St. Paul. This end is over-grown with red Mangroves. About 3 Leagues up from the Mouth of this River shoots forth a small Branch, running to the Eastward, and dividing Beef-Island from the Main on the South, and afterwards makes a great Lake of fresh Water, cal|led Fresh Water Lagune. This afterward falls into a Salt Lake, called Man-of-War Lagune; which empties it self into Laguna Termina, about 2 Leagues from the South East Point of the Island.
The inside or middle of this Island is a Savannah, bordered all round with Trees, most Mangrovy; either black, white or red, with some Logwood.
The South side, between the Savannahs and the Mangroves is very rich. Some of this Land lyes in Ridges higher than the Savannahs.
The Savannahs produce plenty of long Glass, and the Ridges curious high flourishing Trees of divers sorts.
The Fruits of this Island are Penguins, both red and yellow, Guavers, Sapadilloes, Limes, Oranges, &c. These last but lately planted here by a Colony of Indians; who revolted from the Spaniards and settled here.
It is no new thing for the Indians in these Woody Parts of America, to fly away whole Towns at once, and settle themselves in the unfrequented Page 95 [year 1676] Woods to enjoy their Freedom; and if they are accidentally discovered, they will remove again; which they can easily do; their Houshold-Goods being little else but their Cotton Hammacks, and their Callabashes. They build every Man his own House, and tye up their Hammacks between two Trees; wherein they sleep till their Houses are made. The Woods afford them some Subsistance, as Pecary and Warree; but they that are thus stroling (or moroon|ing, as the Spaniards call it) have Plantain-Walks that no Man knows, but themselves; and from thence they have their Food, till they have raised Plantation Provision near their New-built Town. They clear no more Ground than what they actually employ for their Subsistance. They make no Paths: but when they go far from Home; they break now and then a Bough; letting it hang down; which serves as a Mark to guide them in their return. If they happen to be discovered by other Indians, inha|biting still among the Spaniards, or do but mistrust it, they immediately shift their Quarters to another Place. This large Country affording them good fat Land enough, and very Woody, and therefore a proper Sanctuary for them.
It was some of these fugitive Indians that came to live at Beef-Island; where, besides gaining their Free|dom from the Spaniards, they might see their Friends and Accquaintances, that had been taken some time before by the Privateers, and sold to the Logwood-Cutters, with whom some of the Women lived still though others of them had been conducted by them, to their own Habitations.—It was these Women after their return made known the Kind Entertainment that they met with from the English; and perswaded their Friends to leave their Dwellings near the Spaniards, and settle on this Island; and they had been here almost a Year before they were discovered by the English: and even then were ac|cidentally Page 96 [year 1676] found out by the Hunters, as they follow|ed their Game. They were not very shy all the time I lived there; but I know that upon the least disgust they would have been gone.
The Animals of this Island are, Squashes in abun|dance, Porcupines, Guanoes, Possomes, Pecary, Deer, Horses; and Horn Cattle.
This Island does properly belong to John d' Acosta a Spaniard of Campeachy Town, who possess'd it when the English first came hither to cut Logwood. His Habitation was then at the Town of Campeachy; but in the dry Season he used to come hither in a Bark, with six or seven Servants, and spend two or three Months in hocksing and killing Cattle, only for their Hides and Tallow.
The English Logwood-Cutters happened once to come hither, whilst John d' Acosta was there; and he hearing their Guns, made towards them, and de|sired them to forbear firing; because it would make the Cattle wild; but told them that any time when they wanted Beef, if they sent to him he would hor as many as they pleased, and bring the Meat to their Canoas. The English thankfully accepted his Offer; and did never after shoot his Cattle; but sent to him, when they wanted; and he (according to his Promise) supplied them. This created him so much Friendship, that they intended when they returned to Jamaica, to bring him a present, and Goods al|so to Trade with him; which would have been very Advantagious to both Parties: but some of his Servants acquainted the Townsmen of it, at his return to Campeachy. And they being Jealous of the English, and envying him, complained to the Governour; who presently cast him into Prison, where he remained many Years: This happened about the Year 71 or 72. Thus the Project of Trading with the English miscarried here, and John d' Acosta was forced to relinquish his Right of this Page 97 [year 1676] s•nt and profitable Island, leaving it wholly to the English; for neither he nor any other Spaniard ever came hither afterward to hocks Cattle.
This way of Hocksing Bullocks seems peculiar to the Spaniards; especially to those that live here|abouts, who are very dextrous at it. For this Reason some of of them are constantly employed in it all the Year; and so become very expert. The Hockser is mounted on a good Horse, bred up to the Sport; who knovv so well vvhen to advance or retreat upon occasion, that the Rider has no trouble to manage him. His Arms is a Hocksing Iron, which is made in the shape of a Half Moon, and from one corner to the other is about 6 or 7 Inches; vvith a very sharp Edge.
This Iron is fastned by a Socket to a Pole about 14 or 15 Foot long. When the Hockser is mounted, he lays the Pole over the Head of his Horse, with the Iron forward, and then rides after his Game; and having overtaken it, strikes his Iron just above the Hock, and Hamstrings it. The Horse presently wheels off to the left; for the wounded Beast makes at him presently with all his force; but he scampers away a good distance before he comes about again. If the Hamstring is not quite cut asunder with the stroke, yet the Bullock by continual springing out his Leg, certainly breaks it: and then can go but on three Legs, yet still limps forward to be revenged on his Enemy. Then the Hockser rides up softly to him and strikes his Iron into the Knee of one of his fore-Legs; and then he immediately tumbles down. He gets off his Horse, and taking a sharp-pointed strong Knife, strikes it into his Pole, a little behind the Horns, so dextrously that at one blow he cuts the string of his Neck; and down falls his Head. This they call Poling. Then the Hockser immediately Mounts, and Rides after more Game, leaving the other to the Page 98 [year 1676] Skinners, who are at hand, and ready to take off his Hide.
The right Ear of the Hocksing-Horse by the weight of the Pole lay'd constantly over it when on Duty, hangs down always, by which you may know it from other Horses.
The Spaniards pick and chufe only the Bulls and old Cows, and leave the young Cattle to breed; by which means they always preserve their Stock entire. On the contrary, the English and French kill without distinction; yea, the young rather than the old; without regard of keeping up their Stock. Jamaica is a remarkable Instance of this our Folly, in this Particular. For when it was first taken by the Eng|lish, the Savannahs were well stockt with Cattle; but were soon all destroy'd by our Souldiers, who suffered great Hardships afterwards for it: and it was never stock'd again till Sir Thomas Linch was Governour. He sent to Cuba for a supply of Cattle, which are now grown very plentiful, because every Man knows his own proper Goods. Whereas before, when there was no Property, each Man destroyed as fast as he could. The French (I think) are greater De|stroyers than the English.
Had it not been for the great care of the Spaniards, in Stocking the West Indies with Hogs and Bullocks, the Privateers must have starved. But now the Main, as well as the Island, is plentiful provided; parti|cularly the Bay of Campeachy, the Islands of Cuba, Pines, Hispaniola, Portarica, &c. Where, besides wild Hogs, there are abundance of Crawls or Hog|farms; in some of which, I have heard, there are no less than 1500. This was the main Subsistence of the Privateers.
But to return again to Beef-Island. Our English Hunters have much lessened the numbers of the Cat|tle there. And those that are left, by constant shoot|ing are now grown so wild and desperate, that it Page 99 [year 1676] is dangerous for a single Man to fire at them, or to venture through the Savannahs. For the old Bulls that have been formerly shot, will make at him: and they will all draw up in Battalia to defend them|selves upon our approach; the old Bulls in the Front; behind them the Cows, in the same manner; and behind them the young Cattle. And if we strive to wheel about to get in the Reer, the Bulls will certainly face about that way, and still present a Front to us. Therefore we seldom strive to shoot any out of a great Herd; but walk about in the Woods, close by the Savannah; and there we light of our Game. The Beast makes directly at the Hunter, if it be desperately wounded (as I have ex|perienced my self) but if but slightly, they com|comly run away. The old Hunters tell us, that a Cow is more dangerous of the two; because they say, she runs at her Enemy with her Eyes open; but the Bull shuts his, so that you may easily avoid him. But this I cannot affirm upon my own know|ledge, and rather doubt the truth of it; for I knew one shrewdly gor'd by a Bull. He was a Consort with Mr. Baker, in the West Lagune; where having tir'd themselves with cutting of Logwood, they took an occasion to go in their Canoa to Beef-Island, to re|fresh themselves there a fortnight or three Weeks; because here were several sorts of Fruits, and plenty of Cabbage to eat with their fresh Beef, which they could not fail to meet with. They came to a Place call'd the Salt-Greek; and there built them a Hut. About 4 a clock while Mr. Baker lay down to sleep, his Consort march'd out into the Savannah, about a Mile from their Huts; and there coming within shot of a Bull, wounded him desperate|ly; but yet the Bull had still so much strength left as to pursue and overtake his Adversary, trampling on him; and goring his Thigh, so that he was not able Page 100 [year 1676] to rise. The Bull by this time was spent, and fell down dead by him: And there the Man had also perished, if Mr. Barker had not come the next Mor|ning to seek him; who finding him by the dead Beast, took him on his Back, and lug'd him home to their Hut. The next day he put him in his Canoa, and delivered him aboard a Ship, into the hands of a Surgeon, who cured him in a little time.
I told you we left Capt. Chandler, with a design of going to Beef-Island, to spend some time in Hun|ting at Pies Pond, before mentioned. But before we came thither we went a shore to kill a Beef for Sup|per; where I was surprized with an odd accident. Passing throught a small Savannah, about 2 or 3 Foot deep, we smelt a strong scent of an Alligator; and presently after I stumbled over one, and fell down immediarely. I cry'd out for help; but my Con|sorts, instead of assisting me, ran away towards the Wood. I had no sooner got up to follow them, but I stumbled on him a second time; and a third time also; expecting still when I fell down to be de|voured. Yet at last I got our safe; but so frighted that I never cared for going through the Water again as long as I was in the Bay.
The River St. Peter St. Paul. The Mountain-Cow and Hippopotamus. Tobasco Island. Gua|vers. Tobasco River. Manatee. Villa de Mosa. Estapo. Halapo. Tacatalpo de Sierra. Small Bees. Indians. Tartillos. Posole. Cotton Garments. Early Marriages. Towns. Festi|vals. Shape and Features.
THE River St. Peter St. Paul springs from the high Mountains of Chiapo, about 20 Leagues within the Country, which are so called from a City not far distant. Its first Course is Easterly for a considerable length, till it meets with Moun|tains on that side: then it turns short about North|ward, till within 12 Leagues of the Sea. And lastly, it divides its self into two Branches. The Western Branch falls into the River Tobasco; the other keeps its Course till within 4 Leagues of the Sea; then divides it self again. The Eastermost of these Branches separates Beef-Island from the Main; and falls into Man-of-War Lagune, as is before related. The other keeps its Course and Name till it falls into the Sea, between Beef-Island and To|basco Island; where it is no broader than the Thames at Gravesend. There is a Bar at its Entrance, but of what depth I know not; over which small Ves|sels may pass well enough by the Benefit of the Tide. It is both deeper and broader after you are in; for there it is 15 or 16 Foot Water, and very good Riding. By Report of the Privateers who have been up this River, it is very broad before it Page 102 [year 1676] parts; and beyond that farther in the Country, has di|vers large Indians Towns built on its Banks: the chief of which is called Summasenta; and many large Cacao and Plantains walks: the Soil on each side being very fruitful. The unmanur'd Land is overgrown with lofty Trees of many sorts, especially the Cot|ten or Cabbage; of the latter there are whole Groves; and in some Places (especially a little way from the Rivers side) great Savannahs full of Bul|locks, Horses, and other Animals; amongst which the Mountain Cow (called by the Spaniards Ante) is most remarkable.
This Beast is as big as a Bullock of two Years old. It is shaped like a Cow in Body; but her Head much bigger. Her Nose is short, and the Head more compact and round. She has no Horns. Her Eyes are round, full, and of a prodigious size. She has great Lips, but not so thick as the Cows Lips. Her Ears are in proportion to the Head, rather broader than those of the Common Cow. Her Neck is thick and short. Her Legs also shorter than ordinary. She has a pretty long Tail; thin of Hairs, and no Bob at the end. She has course thin Hair all over her Body. Her Hide is near two Inches thick. Her flesh is red; the grain of it very fine. The Fat is white, and all together it is sweet wholsom Meat. One of them will weigh 5 or 600 Weight.
This Creature is always found in the Woods near some large River; and feeds on a sort of long thin Grass, or Moss, which grows plentifully on the Banks of Rivers; but never feeds in Savannahs, or Pastures of good Grass, as all other Bullocks do. When her Belly is full, she lies down to sleep by the brink of the River; and at the least Noise slips into the Water: where sinking down to the bottom, tho' very deep, she walks as on dry Ground. She can|not run fast, therefore never rambles far from the River; for there she always takes Sanctuary, in case Page 103 [year 1676] of danger. There is no shooting of her, but when she is asleep.
They are found, beside this Place, in the Rivers in the Bay of Honduras; and on all the Main from thence as high as the River of Darien. Several of my Consorts have kill'd them there, and knew their Track, which I my self saw in the Isthmus of Darien; but should not have known it, but as I was told by them. For I never did see one, nor the Track of any but once. The Impression in the Sand, seemed much like the Track of a Cow, but I was well assured that none of our common Cows could live in that Place: neither are there any near it by many Miles.
My Consorts than gave me this Relation, and since I have had the same from other English-men as well as Spaniards.
Having shew'd the fore-going Description to a Person of Honour, he was pleased to send it to a Learned Frend in Holland; from whom he received this Answer.
THE Account I have of this Paper from the English Minister at Leyden is this. The De|scription of your Sea-Cow, agrees with the Hippopo|tamus kept hereso exactly, that I take them to be Crea|tures of the same kind. Only this here at Ley|den is bigger than any Ox. For the Eyes, Ears and Hair, nothing can be said, seeing this Skin wants all these. The Teeth are worth noticing, which are very large, and firm, and fine as any Ivory.
I have spoke with a very Intelligent Person, Kins|man to the Burgomaster of Leyden, who having had that Hippopotamus (as they call it) presented to him, made a Present thereof to the University; who having viewed that Skin very well, saith, It's much bigger than Page 104 [year 1676] you make yours, and cannot weigh less than one Thou|sand Weight.
Let me add of mine own, that perhaps they are greater, about the Cape of Good Hope; whence that of Leyden came. And seeing there are no Horns, perhaps it may as well be called a River-Horse as a River-Cow: But for that, it must bear the de|nomination given it by the People of the Place where they are; which may be different in Africa and Ame|rica.
But what he says of her sinking to the bottom in deep Rivers, and walking there, if he adds, what I think he supposes, that he rises again, and comes on the Land; I much question. For that such a huge Body should raise it self up again (though I know Whales and great Fishes can and do) transcends the Faith of I. H.
I readily acknowledge, there is some resemblance between this Monntain-Cow of America, and the African Hippopotamus; but yet am of Opinion that they must needs be of a different Species; for the Mountain-Cow is never known to swim out to Sea, nor to be found near it; and is not above half so big, and has no long Teeth. But for further satisfaction, I have here infected two Accounts of the African Hippopotamus, as they were sent; the one of the Honourable Person before-mentioned, from Captain Covent of Porbury, near Bristol, a Gentleman of great Ability and Experience, as well as known In|tegrity, who used to Trade to Angola: The other to my self, from my worthy Friend Captain Rogers, as he has seen them in the River Natal, in the La|titude of 30, on the East side of the Cape of Good Hope.
The Sea Horse's Head, Ears and Nostrils are like our Horses; with a short Tail and Legs. And his Foot|steps in the Sand like a Horses; but the Body above Page 105 [year 1676] twice as big. He grases on the shore, and dungs like a Horse. Is of a dark-brown, but glittering in the Water. His pace is but slow on the shore; in the Water more swift. He there feeds on small Fish and what he can get; and will go down to the bot|tom in 3 Fathom Water. For I have watch'd him; and he hath staid above half an hour before he arose. He is very mischievous to white Men. I have known him open his Mouth and set one Tooth on the Gunnel of a Boat, and another on the second Strake from the Keel (which was more than four foot distant) and there bit a hole through the Plank, and sunk the Boat; and after he had done, he went away shaking his Ears. His strength is incredibly great; for I have seen him in the Wash of the shore, when the Sea has tossed in a Dutch-man's Boat, with 14 Hogsheads of Water in her, upon the said Beast; and left it dry on his Back; and another Sea came and fetch'd the Boat off, and the Beast was not hurt, as far as I could perceive. How his Teeth grow in his Mouth I could not see; only that they were round like a Bow, and about 16 Inches long; and in the biggest part more than 6 Inches about. We made several shot at him; but to no purpose, for they would glance from him as from a Wall. The Natives call him a Kittimpungo, and say he is Fe|tisso, which is a kind of a God; for nothing, they say can kill him: And if they should do to him, as the White Men do, he would soon destroy their Ca|noas and Fishing-Nets. Their Custom is when he comes near their Canoas, to throw him Fish; and then he passeth away, and will not meddle with their Fishing Craft. He doth most mischief when he can stand on the Ground; but when a-float, hath only power to bite. As our Boat once lay near the shore, I saw him go under her, and with his Back lift her out of the Water; and overset her with 6 Men aboard: but, as it happened, did them no harm. Page 106 [year 1676] Whilst we lay in the Road we had three of them, which did trouble this Bay every Full and Change, and two or three Days after; the Natives say, they go together, two Males and one Female. Their Noise is much like the bellowing of a large Calf.
This past Remark was made of a Sea-Horse at Lo|ango, in the Year 1695.
Captain Roger's Letter.
THE Hippopotamus or Sea-Horse, lives as well on the Land as in the Sea or in Rivers. It is sha|ped much like an Ox, but bigger; weighing 1500 or, 1600l. This Creature is very full bodied, and co|vered with Hair of a Mouse Colour; thick, short and of a very beautiful sleekness, when he first comes out of the Water. The Head is flattish on the top. It has no Horns: but large Lips, a wide Mouth and strong Teeth; four of which are longer than the rest, (viz.) two in the upper Jaw; one on each side and two more in the under: These last are four or five Inches long; the other two are shorter. It has large broad Ears; great goggle Eyes; and is very quick sighted. It has a thick Neck; and strong Legs, but weak Footlocks. The Hoofs of his Feet are Cloven in the middle: And it has two small Hoofs above the Footlock, which bending to the Ground when it goes, make an Impression on the Sand like four Claws. His Tail is short and tapering like a Swines; without any Bob at the end. This Beast is commonly fat and very good Meat. It grazeth ashore in wet swampy Ground near Rivers or Ponds; but retires to the Water, if purused. When they are in the Water, they will sink down to the bottom; and there walk as on dry Ground. They will run almost as fast as a Man; but if chased hard, they will turn about and look very fierce, like a Boar; and fight if put to it. The Na|tives Page 107 [year 1676] of the Country have no Wars with these Crea|tures; but we had many Conflicts with them, both on Shore and in the Rivers: and though we commonly got the better by killing some, and routing the rest; yet in the Water we durst not molest them, after one Bout; which bad like to have proved fatal to 3 Men that went in a small Canoa to kill a single Sea-Horse, in a River where was 8 or 10 Foot Water. The Horse, according to his Custom, was marching in the bottom of the River; and being spied by these Men, they wounded him with a long Lance; which so enraged the Beast, that he rose up immediately, and giving a fierce look he opened his Jaws and bit a great piece of the G••nal or upper edge of the Canoa, and was like to over-set it, but presently sunk down again to the bot|tom: and the Men made away as fast as they could, for fear he should come again.
The West branch of the River St. Peter St. Paul, after it has run 8 or 9 Leagues N. W. loseth it self in Tobasco River about 4 Leagues from the Sea, and so makes the Island Tobasco, which is 12 Leagues long, and 4 broad at the North end: for from the River St. Peter St. Paul, to the mouth of Tobasco River, is accounted 4 Leagues; and the Shore lies East and West.
The first League on the East is Mangrove Land, with some Sandy Bay, where Turtle come ashore to lay their Eggs.
The West part of it is Sandy Bay quite to the Ri|ver Tobasco. But because here is constantly a great Sea, you have no good Landing till within the River. The N. W. part of it is full of Guaver Trees, of the greatest variety, and their Fruit the largest and best tasted I have met with; and 'tis really a very deli|cious Place. There are also some Coco-Plums and Grapes, but not many. The Savannahs here are na|turally fenced with Groves of Guavers, and produce Page 108 [year 1676] good Grass for Pasture, and are pretty well stock'd with fat Bullocks: and I do believe it is from their eating the Guaver Fruit that these Trees are so thick. For this fruit is full of small seeds; which being swal|lowed whole by the Cattle, are voided whole by them again; and then taking root in their Dung, spring up abundantly.
Here are also Deer in great numbers; these we|constantly find feeding in the Savannahs Mornings and Evenings. And I remember an unlucky Accident whilst I was there. Two or three Men went out one Evening purposely to hunt; when they were in the spots of Savannahs, they separated to find their Game, and at last it so happened, that one of them fired at a Deer and killed it, and while he was skin|ning it, he was shot stark dead by one of his Con|sorts, who fired at him, mistaking him for a Deer. The poor Man was very sorry for so sad a mischance; and for fear of the dead Man's Friends, durst never go back again to Jamaica.
The River of Tobasco is the most noted in all the Bay of Campeachy, and springs also from the high Mountains of Chiapo; but much more to the West|ward than that of St. Peter St. Paul. From thence it runs N. E. till within 4 Leagues of the Sea, where it receives the fore-mentioned Branch of St. Peter St. Paul, and then runs North till it falls into the Sea. Its Mouth is about two Miles wide, and there is a Bar of Sand lying off it, with not above 11 or 12 foot Water; but a Mile or two within the Mouth, at a nook or bending of the River on the East-side there is three Fathom, and good Riding, without any danger from the strength of the Cur|rent. The Tide flows up about four Leagues in the dry Season, but in the Rains not so far; for then the Freshes make the Ebb run very strong.
During the Norths it over-flows all the low Land Page 109 [year 1676] for 14 or 15 Leagues up the River, and you may then take up fresh Water without the Bar.
This River, near its Mouth, abounds with Cat|fish, with some Snooks, and Manatee in great plen|ty; there being good feeding for them in many of its Creeks, especially in one place on the Starbord side about 2 Leagues from the Sea, which runs in|to the Land 2 or 300 paces, and then opens very wide, and is so shoal that you may see their backs above Water as they feed; a thing so rare, that I have heard our Musketo-Men say, they never saw it any where else; on the least noise they will all scamper out into the River: yet the Musketo-men seldom miss of striking them. There are a sort of Fresh-water Manatee, not altogether so big as the Sea kind, but otherwise exactly alike in shape and tast, and I think rather fatter. The Land by the Rivers, especially on the Starbord side, is swampy, and overgrown with Trees.
(Here are also abundance of Trees, the larg|est that I ever saw, till I came to the Gallapagos Islands in the S. Seas) viz. Mangroves, Macaws, and other sorts that I know not. In some places near the River side, further up the Country, are Ridges of dry Land, full of lofty Cabbage and Cotton Trees, which make a very pleasant Landskip. There is no Settlement within 8 Leagues of the River's Mouth, and then you come to a small Breast-work, where there is commonly a Spaniard with 8 or 9 Indians posted on each side the River, to watch for Boats coming that way: And because there are divers Creeks running in from the Savannahs, some of these Sentinesl are so placed in the Woods, that they may look into the Savannahs, for fear being surprized on the back side: Yet for all their caution, these Sentinels were snap'd by Captain Nevil, Commander of a small Brigantine, in a second Expedition that he made to take the Town called Villa de Mose. His Page 110 [year 1676] first attempt miscarried by his being discovered. But the second time he got into a Creek, a League below these Sentinels, and there dragging his Canoas over some Trees that were laid cross it, purposely to hin|der his passage, he came in the night upon their backs in their several Post; so that the Town, ha|ving notice of his coming by their firing as they should have done, was taking without any ressistance.
Villa de Mose is a small Town standing on the Starboard side of the River, 4 Leagues beyond this Breast-work. 'Tis inhabited chiefly by Indians, with some Spaniards, there is a Church in the middle, and a Fort at the West end, which commands the River. Thus far Ships come to bring goods, espe|cially European Commodities; viz. Broad-cloth, Serges, Perpetuana's, Kersies, Thred-Stockings, Hats, Osnabrugs white and blew, Kentins, Platilloes, Bri|tannias, Hollandilloes, Iron-work, &c. They arrive here in November or December, and stay till June or July, selling their Commodities, and then load chiefly with Cacao, and some Sylvester. All the Merchants and petty Traders of the Country Towns come hither about Christmas to Traffick, which makes this Town the chiefest in all these parts, Cam|peachy excepted; yet there are but few Rich Men that live here. Sometimes Ships that come hither load Hides and Tallow, if they cannot fraight with Cacao. But the chiefest place for Hides is a Town lying on a Branch of this River, that comes out a League below the Breast-work, where Spanish Barks usually lade once a Year; but I can give no further account of it. Four Leagues beyond Villa de Mose further up the River lies Estapo, inhabited partly with Spaniards, but most Indians, as generally the Towns in this Country are: It's said to be pretty rich; stands close by the River, on the South side, and is so built between two Creeks, that there is but one Avenue leading to it; and so well guarded Page 111 [year 1676] with a Breast-work, that Captain Hewet a Privateer, who had under him near 200 Men, was there re|pulsed, losing many of them, and himself wounded in the Leg. In his way thither he took Villa de Mose, and left a Party there to secure his Retreat. If he had taken Estapo, he designed to pass on to Halpo, a Rich Town, three Leagues farther up the River, and from thence to visit Tacatalpo, lying 3 or 4 Leagues beyond, which is accounted the wealthiest of the three: the Spaniards call it Tacatalpo de Si|erra: whether to distinguish it from another Town of that name, or to denote its nearness to the Moun|tains, I know not. 'Tis the best Town on this River, having three Chnrches, and several Rich Merchants; and between it and Villa de Mose are many large Cacao Walks on each side the River.
I have seen a sort of white Cacao brought from hence, which I never met with any where else. It is of the same bigness and colour on the outside, and with such a thin husky Coat as the other; but the inner substance is white, like fine Flower; and when the outward Coat is broken, it crumbles as a lump of Flower doth. Those that frequent the Bay call it Spama, and affirm that it is much used by the Spa|niards of those parts, to make their Chocolate froth, who therefore set a great value on it. But I never yet met with any in England that knew it, except the Right Honourable the Earl of Carbery, who was pleased to tell me he had seen of it.
The Land on the South side of the River is low Savannahs or Pasture: The side where the Town of Villa de Mose stands, is a sort of grey sandy Earth; and the whole Country, the Up-land I mean, seems to be much the same: But the Low-land is of a black deep Mould, and in some places very strong Clay; and there is not a Stone to be found in all the Coun|try. The healthy dry Land is very Woody, except where inhabited or planted. It is pretty thick settled Page 112 [year 1676] with Indian Towns, who have all a Padre or two among them, and a Cacique or Governour to keep the Peace. The Cacao Tree thrives here very well; but the Nuts are smaller than the Caraccus Nuts; yet Oyly and Fat whilst new. They are not plant|ed near the Sea, as they are on the Coast of Caraccus, but at least 8 or 10 Miles up in the Country. The Cacao-walks belong chiefly to the Spaniards; and are only planted and dress'd by Indians, hired for that purpose; yet the Indians have of their own, Plantain-walks, Plantations of Maiz, and some small Cacao-walks; about which they spent the chiefest of their time. Some employ themselves to search in the Woods for Bees that build in hol|low Trees: and get a good livelihood by the Honey and Wax. These are of two sorts: One pretty large; the other no bigger, but longer, than an or|dinary black Fly: in other respects, just like our common Bees; only of a darker colour. Their Stings are not strong enough to enter a Man's Skin; but if disturbed, they will fly at one as furiously as the Great Bees; and will tickle, but cannot hurt you. Their Honey is white and clear; and they make a great deal of it. The Indians keep of them tame, and cut hollow Trunks for them to make their Combs in. They place one end of the Log (which is saw'd very even) on a Board, leaving a hole for the Bees to creep in at: and the upper end is covered with a Board, put close over it. The young and lusty Indians (such as want Em|ployment) hire themselves to the Spaniards. They Work cheap, and are commonly paid in such Goods as the Spaniards do not value. And I have been told that they are obliged to Work for their Ma|sters, one day in a Week, gratis: But whether this Priviledge belongs only to the Padres, or to the Laity also, I know not. The Indians inhabiting these Villages, live like Gentlemen in Comparison Page 113 [year 1676] of those that are near any great Town, such as Campeachy or Merida: for there even the Poorer and Rascally sort of People, that are not able to hire one of these poor Creatures, will by violence drag them to do their Drudgery for nothing, after they have work'd all day for their Masters: nay, they often take them out of the Market from their Business; or at least enjoyn them to come to their Houses when their Market is ended: and they dare not refuse to do it.
This Country is very fruitful; yelding plentiful Crops of Maiz; which is there chiefest Subsist|ence. After it is boiled they bruise it on such a Rub|bing-Stone as Chocolate is ground on. Some of it they make into small thin Cakes, called Tartilloes. The rest they are put into a Jar till it grows sowr; and when they are thirsty, mix a handful of it in a Cal|labash of Water, which gives it a sharp pleasant taste, then straining it through a large Callabash prick'd full of small Holes to keep out the Husks, they drink it off. If they treat a Friend with this Drink, they mix a little Honey with it; for their Ability reaches no higher: And this is as acceptable to them as a Glass of Wine to us. If they travel for two or three Days from Home, they carry some of this ground Maiz in a Plantain Leaf, and Cal|labash at their Girdles to make their drink, and take no farther care for Victuals, till they come home again. This is called Posole: And by the English Poorsoul. It is so much esteemed by the Indians, that they are never without some of it in their Houses.
Another way of Preparing their Drink, is to parch the Maiz, and then grind it to Powder on the Rubbing-stone, putting a little Anatta to it; which grows in their Plantations, and is used by them for no other purpose. They mix it all Page 114 [year 1676] with Water, and presently drink it off without straining.
In long Journeys they prefer this Drink before Posole.
They feed abundance of Turkies, Ducks and Dung|hill Fowls, of which the Padre has an exact Ac|count; and is very strict in gathering his Tithe: and they dare not kill any except they have his Leave for it.
They plant Cotton also for their Cloathing. The Men wear only a short Jacket and Breeches. These with a Palmeto-Leaf Hat is their Sundays Dress; for they have neither Stockings nor Shoes; neither do they wear these Jackets on Week Days. The Women have a Cotton-Petticoat, and a large Frock down to their Knees; the Sleeves to their Wrists, but not gathered. The Bosom is open to the Breast, and Imbroidered with black or red Silk, or Grogram Yarn, two Inches broad on each side the Breast, and clear round the Neck. In this Garb, with their Hair ty'd up in a Knot behind, they think themselves extream fine.
The Men are obliged by the Padres (as I have been inform'd) to Marry when they are Fourteen Years old, and the Women when Twelve: And if that Age they are not provided, the Priest will chuse a Virgin for the Man (or a Man for the Vir|gin) of Equal Birth and Fortune; and joyn them to|gether.
The Spaniards give several Reasons for this Im|position, viz. That it preserves them from De|baucher, and makes them Industrious.—That it brings them to pay Taxes, both to the King and Church; for as soon as they are Married they pay to both.—And that it keeps them from ram|bling out of their own Parish, and settling in another, which would by so much lessen the Pa|dres Page 115 [year 1676] Profit. They love each other very well; and live comfortably by the sweat of their Brows: They build good large Houses, and inhabit altoge|ther in Towns. The side Walls are Mud or Watling, plaister'd on the inside; and thatch'd with Palm or Palmeto Leaves.
The Churches are large, built much higher than the Common Houses, and covered with Pantile: and within adorned with Coarse Pictures and Ima|ges of Saints; which are all painted tauny like the Indians themselves. Besides these Ornaments, there are kept in the Curches Pipes, Hautboys, Drums, Vizars and Perruques for their Recreation at solemn Times; for they have little or no Sport or Pastime but in Common, and that only upon Saints Days, and the Nights ensuing.
The Padres that serve here, must learn the Indi|an Language before they can have a Benefice. As for their Tithes and other Incoms, Mr. Gage, (an English Man) hath given a large Account of them in his Survey of the West-Indies. But however, this I will add of my own knowledge, that they are very dutiful to their Priests; observing punctual|ly their Orders: and behave themselves very circum|spectly and reverently in their Presence.
They are generally well shaped, of a middle size; streight and clean Limbed. The Men more spare, the Women plump and fat, their Faces are round and flat, their Foreheads low, their Eyes little, their Noses of a middle size, somewhat flattish: full Lips; pretty full but little Mouths: white Teeth, and their Colour of a dark tauny, like other Indians. They sleep in Hammacks made with small Cords like a Net, fastned at each end to a Post. Their Furniture is but mean, viz. Earthen Pots to boil their Maiz in, and abundance of Callabashes. They are a very harmless sort of People; kind to Page 116 [year 1676] any strangers; and even to the Spaniards, by whom they are so much kept under, that they are worse than Slaves: nay, the very Negroes will domineer over them; and are countenanced to do so by the Spaniards. This makes them very melancholy and thoughtful: however they are very quite, and seem contented with their Condition, if they can tolerably subsist: But sometimes when they are imposed on beyond their Ability, they will march off whole Towns, Men, Women and Children together, as is before related.
The River of Checapeque. The River of Dos Bocas. The Towns up the Country. Halpo. Their Trade. Old Hats, a good Commodity. A sad Accident in Hunting. Tondelo River. Musketos troublesom on this Coast. Guasick|walp River. Teguantapeque River. Few Gold Mines on all this part of the Sea-Coast. Teguantapeque Town. Keyhooca and its Cacao-Trade. Vinellos. Alvarado River; and its Branches. Its Fort, Town and Trade. Cod Pepper. La Vera Cruz. The Fort of St. John d'Ulloa. The Barra la Venta Fleet; and their Navigation about the West-India Coast. The Town of Tispo. Paunuk River and Town. Lagune and Town of Tompeque. Huniago Island. Its Trade in Shrimps. The Author's return to Logwood-Cutting at Trist. Captain Gibbs kill'd there by some Indians he brought from New-England. The Author's setting out to Jamaica and return for Eng|land.
HAving given the Reader an Account of the Indians inhabiting about the River of Tobasco; I come next to describe the Western Coast of this Bay, with its Rivers and other most re|markable Particulars. From Tobasco River to the Page 118 [year 1766] River Checapeque is 7 Leagues. The Coast lies East and West; all Woody low Ground, sandy Bay, and good Anchoring; but there falls in a pretty high Sea on the shore, therefore but bad Landing; yet Canoas may with care run in, if the Men are ready to leap out, as soon as she touches the Ground; and then she must immediately be drag'd up out of the Surf. And the same caution and dex|terity is to be used when they go off again. There is no fresh Water between Tobasco River and Che|capeque. This latter is rather a salt Creek than a River; for the Mouth of it is not above 20 Paces wide, and about 8 or 9 Foot Water on the Bar; but within there is 12 or 13 Foot at low Water, and good riding for Barks, half a Mile within the Mouth.
This Creek runs in E. S. E. about two Miles, and then strikes away South up into the Country. At its Mouth between it and the Sea is a bare sandy Point of Land: Where, on the side next the River, close by the Brink of it (and no where else) you may scrape up the Sand (which is course and brown) with your Hands, and get fresh Water; but if you dig lower the Water will be salt. Half a Mile within the Mouth, when you are past the sandy Point, the Land is wet and swampy, bearing only Mangroves on each side for 4 or 5 Leagues up; and after that firm Land: where you will find a Run of fresh Wa|ter, it being all salt till you come thither. A League beyond this is a Beef Estantion or Farm of Cattle, belonging to an Indian Village. In the Woods on each side this River there are plenty of Guanoes, Land Turtle, and abundance of Quams and Corresos, with some Parrots; and there is no Settlement nearer than the Beef Estantion: nor any thing else remark|able in this River that I know.
A League West from Checapeque there is another small River called Dos Boccas, 'tis only fit for Ca|noas Page 119 [year 1676] to enter: It has a Bar at its Mouth, and there|fore is somewhat dangerous. Yet the Privateers make light of it; for they will govern a Canoa very ingeniously. However Captain Rives and Cap|tain Hewet, two Privateers, lost several Men here in coming out; for there had been a North, which had raised the Bar, and in going out most of their Canoas were overset, and some Men drowned.
This River will not float a Canoa above a League within its Mouth, and so far is salt: but there you meet with a fine clear Stream of fresh Water, about a League up in the Country: and beyond this are fair Savannahs of long Grass, fenced in with Ridges of as rich Land as any in the World. The Mold such as is formerly described; all plain and level, even to the Hills of Chiapo.
There are no Indian Towns within 4 or 5 Leagues of the Sea; but further off they are pretty thick; lying within a League, 2 or 3 one after another: Halpo is the chiefest.
The Indians make use of no more Land than serves to maintain their Families in Maiz; and to pay their Taxes: And therefore between the Towns it lies uncultivated.
In all this Country they rear abundance of Poul|try, Viz. Turkies, Ducks and Dunghil Fowls: but some of them have Cacao-Walks. The Cacao of these Parts is most of it sent to Villa de Mose, and ship'd off there. Some of it is sold to Carriers that travail with Mules, coming hither commonly in Nov. or Dec. and staying till Febr. or March. They lye a Fortnight at a time in a Village to dispose of their Goods; which are commonly Hatchets, Ma|cheats, Axes, Hoes, Knives, Cizars, Needles, Thread, Silk for sowing, Womens Frocks; small Looking|glasses, Beads, Silver or Copper Rings wash'd with Gold, set with Glass instead of Stones, small Pi|ctures of Saints, and such like Toys for the Indians. Page 120 [year 1676] And for the Spaniards, Linnen and Woollen Cloaths, Silk Stockings, and old Hats new dress'd, which are here very valuable, and worn by those of the best Quallity; so that an old English Beaver thus ordered, would be worth 20 Dollars; so much is Trade wanted here in this Country. When he has sold off his Goods, he is generally paid in Cacao, which he carries to La Vera Cruz.
From Dos Boccas to the River Palmas is 4 Leagues, low Land and sandy Bay between.
From Palmas to the Halover is 2 Leagues.
The Halover is a small Neck of Land, parting the Sea from a large Lagune. It is so call'd by the Privateers, because they use to drag their Ca|noas in and out there.
From the Halover to St. Anns is 6 Leagues.
St. Anns is a Mouth that opens the Lagune be|fore mention'd: there is not above 6 or 7 Foot Water, yet Barks often go in there to Careen.
From St. Anns to Tondelo is 5 Leagues. The Coast still West; the Land low, and sandy Bay against the Sea: a little within which are pretty high Sand-Banks, cloathed with prickly Bushes, such as I have already described at Beef-Island.
Against the Sea near the West end, within the Sand Bank, the Land is lower again; the Woods not very high, and some spots of Savannahs, with plenty of fat Bullocks; In hunting of which a Frenchman unhappily lost his Life. For his Com|pany being stragled from him to find Game, he unluckily met a Drove of Cattle flying from them in the Woods, which were so thick that there was no passing but in these very narrow Paths that the Cattle themselves had made; so that not being able to get out of their way, the foremost of the Drove thrust his Horns into his Back and carried him 100 Paces into the Savannah, where he fell down with his Guts trailing on the Ground.
Page 121 [year 1676] The River Tondelo is but narrow, yet capable to receive Barks of 50 or 60 Tuns: there is a Bar at the Entrance, and the Channnel crooked. On the West side of the Bar there is a spit of Sand shoots out; therefore to avoid it at your coming in, you must keep the East side aboard; but when once en|tred, you may run up for two or three Leagues; on the East side a quarter of a Mile within the Mouth, you may lie secure: but all this Coast, and espe|cially this River, intolerably swarms with Musketoes, that there is no sleeping for them.
About 4 or 5 Leagues from the Mouth this River is fordable, and there the Road crosses it; where two French Canoas that lay in this River intercepted the Caravan of Mules laden with Cacao, that was returning to La Vera Cruz, taking away as much as they could carry with them.
From Tondelo River, to the River of Guasickwalp, is 8 Leagues more, the Coast still West; all along sandy Bay and Sand-hills, as between St. Anns and Tondelo; only towards the West part the Bank is lower, and the Trees higher. This is one of the Principal Rivers of this Coast; 'tis not half the breadth of the Tobasco River, but deeper. Its Bar is less dangerous than any on this Coast, having 14 foot Water on it, and but little Sea. Within the Bar there is much more, and soft Oasie Ground. The Banks on both sides are low. The East side is woody, and the West side Savannah. Here are some Cat|tle; but since it has been frequented by Privateers, the Spaniards have driven most of their Bullocks from hence farther into the Country. This River hath its rise near the South Sea, and is Navigable a great way into Land; especially with Boats or small Barks.
The River T•guantepeque, that falls into the South Seas, has its Origine near the Head of Guasickwalp; and it is reported that the first Naval Stores for the Page 122 [year 1676] Manila Ships were sent through the Country from the North to the South Seas, by the conveniency of these two Rivers, whose heads are not above 10 or 12 Leagues asunder, I heard this discoursed by the Privateers long before I visited the South Seas; and they seemed sometimes minded to try their Fortunes this way: supposing (as many do still) that the South Sea shore is nothing but Gold and Silver. But how grosly they are mistaken, I have satisfied the World already. And for this part of the Country, though it is rich in Land, yet it has not the least appearance of any Mine, neither is it thick inhabited with Spaniards: And if I am not deceived, the very Indians in the heart of the Country, are scarce their Friends.
The Town of note on the S. Sea, is Teguantapeque; and on the N. Seas Keyhooca is the chiefest near this River. Besides these two, the Country is only in|habited by Indians; therefore it is wholly unfre|quented by Shipping.
Keyhooca is a large rich Town of good Trade, about 4 Leagues from the River Guasickwalp, on the West fide. It is inhabited with some few Spa|niards and abundance of Mulatoes. These keep many Mules, they being most Carriers, and fre|quently visit the Cacao Coast for Nuts; and travel the Country between Villa de Mose and La Vera Cruz.
This Country is pleasant enough in the dry Season; but when the furious North Winds rage on the Coast, and violently drive in the Sea, it suffers ex|treamly, being so much overflown, that there is no travelling. It was in the wet Season when Capt. Rives and Capt. Hewet made an Expedition in Ca|noas from the Island Trist to the River Guasickwalp, and there landed their Men, designing to attack Keyhooca; but the Country was so wet that there was no marching; neither was the Water high Page 123 [year 1676] enough for a Canoa. Here are great plenty of Vi|nelles.
From the River Guasickwalp the Land runs West 2 or 3 Leagues, all low Land with sandy Bay to the Sea, and very woody in the Country. About three Leagues to the West of it the Land trends away to the North for about 16 Leagues; rising higher also even from the very Shore, as you go up within Land, making a very high Promontory called St. Martins Land; but ending in a pretty bluff point; which is the West Bounds of the Bay of Campeachy.
From this bluff Point to Alvarado is about 20 Leagues; the first four of it a high rocky shore, with steep Cliffs to the Sea; and the Land some|what woody. Afterwards you pass by very high Sand-Hills by the Sea; and an extraordinary great Sea falls in on the shore, which hinders any Boats from Landing. Within the Sand-hills again the Land is lower, pretty plain and fruitful enough in large Trees.
The River of Alvarado is above a Mile over at the Mouth, yet the entrance is but shole, there be|ing Sands for near two Mile off the shore, clear from side to side, nevertheless there are two Chan|nels through these Sands. The best, which is in the middle, has 12 or 14 Foot Water. The Land on each side of the Mouth is high Sand-banks, above 200 Foot high.
This River comes out of the Country in three Branches, meeting altogether just within the Mouth, where it is very wide and deep. One of these Branches comes from the Eastward: Another from the Westward: And the third, which is the true River of Alvarado and the biggest, comes directly out of the Country, opposite to the Sand-hills, about a Mile West of the Rivers Mouth. This last springs a great way from the Sea, passing through a very fertile Country, thick setled with Towns of Spa|niardsPage 124 [year 1676] and Indians. On the West side, and just against the Mouth of the River, the Spainiarde have a small Fort of 6 Guns, on the declivity of the Sand-bank, a great height above the River; which commands a small Spanish Town on the back of it, built in a Plain close by the River. It is a great Fishery, chiefly for Snooks, which they catch in the Lake; and when they are salted and dryed, drive a great Trade in Exchanging them for Salt and other Com|modities. Besides salt Fish, they export from hence abundance of dry Cod-Pepper, and some pickled and put in Jars. This Pepper is known by the Name of Guinea Pepper. Yet for all this Trade, 'tis but a poor Place, and has been often taken by the Privateers, chiefly to secure their Ships while they should go up in their Canoas to the rich Towns within Land, which notwithstanding they never yet attempted, by reason that La Vera Cruz bor|dering so near, they were still afraid of being at|tacqued both by Sea and Land from thence, and so never durst prosecute their designs on the Country Towns.
Six Leagues West from Alvarado there is another large Opening out into the Sea; and it is reported to have a Communication by a small Creek with this River of Alvarado; and that Canoas may pass through it from one River to the other. And at this Opening is a small Fishing Village. The Land by the Sea is a continued high Sand-bank, and so vio|lent a Sea, that it is impossible to land with Boat or Canoa.
From this River to La Vera Cruz is six Leagues more, the Coast still West. There is a Riff of Rocks runs along the shore from Alvarado to Vera Cruz, yet a good Channel for small Vessels to pass be|tween it and the Shore. And about two Leagues to the East of Vera Cruz are two Islands called Sa|crifice Islands. I have set down the distance between Page 125 [year 1676] Alvarado and La Vera Cruz, according to the Com|mon Account of 12 Leagues, which I take to be truer, but our Draughts make it 24. The Land by the Sea is much the same.
La Vera Cruz is a fair Town seated in the very bottom of the Bay of Mexico, at the S. W. Point or Corner of the Bay; for so far the Land runs West; and there it turns about to the North. There is a good Harbour before it, made by a small Island, or Rock rather, just in its Mouth; which makes it very Commodious. Here the Spaniards have built a strong Fort, which commands the Harbour; and there are great Iron Rings fix'd in the Fort-Wall against the Harbour for Ships to fasten their Ca|bles. For the North Winds blow so violently here in their Seasons that Ships are not safe at An|chors.
This Fort is called St. John d' Ulloa; and the Spa|niards do frequently call the Town of Vera Cruz by this Name.
The Town is a Place of great Trade; being the Sea-Port to the City of Mexico, and most of the great Towns and Cities in this Kingdom. So that all the European Commodities, spent in these Parts, are Landed here, and their Goods brought hither and exported from hence. Add to this, that all the Treasure brought from Manila, in the East-Indies comes hither through the Country from Ac|capulca.
The Flota comes hither every three Years from Old Spain; and besides Goods of the Product of the Country, and what is brought from the East-Indies and ship'd aboard them: The King's Plate that is gathered in this Kingdom; together with what belongs to the Merchants, amounts to a vast Summ. Here also comes every Year the Barra|lavanta Fleet in October or November, and stays till March. This is a small Squadron, consisting of 6 Page 126 [year 1676] or 7 Sail of stout Ships, from 20 to 50 Guns. Thes• are ordered to visit all the Spanish Sea-Port Town• once every Year; chiefly to hinder Foreigners from Trading; and to suppress Privateers. From this Por• they go to the Havana on the North side of Cuba to sell their Commodities.—From hence they pass through the Gulph of Florida; standing so far to the North as to be out of the Trade-Winds, which are commonly between 30d. and 40d. of Lat. and being in a variable Winds-way they stretch away to the Eastwards till they may fetch Portarica, if they have Business there; if not, they keep still to the Eastward till they come to Trinidado, an Island near the Main, inhabited by the Spaniards, and the most Eastern part of any Consequence in the North Seas. The Barralaventa Fleet touches there first, and from thence sails to the Margarita, a considerable Spanish Island near the Main. From thence they Coast down to Comana and La Guiary, and passing by the Coast of Carraccus, they sail towards the Gulph of Mericaia, from thence they double Cape La Vell, and so down to Rio la Hacha, St. Martha and Carthagena. If they meet with any English or Dutch Trading Sloops, they chase and take them, if they are not too nimble for them: The Privateers keep out of their way, having always Intelligence where they are.
From Carthagena they sail to Portobelo; and from thence to Campeachy: and lastly, to La Vera Cruz: And this is their Annual Navigation about the West-Indian Coast.
La Vera Cruz was taken by the Privateers, about the Year 85. under the conduct of one John Russel an old Logwood Cutter that had formerly been taken by the Spaniards and sent to Mexico; where learning Spanish, he by that means escaped to La Vera Cruz; and being released from thence, he af|terwards managed this Expedition.
Page 127 [year 1676] From hence to Old Vera Cruz is 5 Leagues. This was the first Town of that Name; but wanting a good Harbour there, it was removed to the place where it now stands.
From Old Vera Cruz to Tispo is about 15 Leagues; the Coast lies N. and S. Tispo is a pretty handsom small Town, built close by the Sea, and watered with a little Rivulet; but wanting a Harbour, 'tis destitute of any Maritime-Trade.
From Tispo to the River Panuk is about 20 Leagues; The Coast lies N. and S. nearest, 'tis a large River descending out of the very Bowels of the Country, and running East, falls into the Gulph of Mexico, in Lat. about 21-50 m. It has 10 or 11 Foot Water on the Bar, and is often visited with Barks that sail up it, as far as the City Panuk; lying distant from the Sea about 20 Leagues; and is the principal of this Country, being a Bishops See. There are two Churches, one Convent and a Chapel; and about 500 Families of Spaniards, Mulatoes and Indians, The Houses are large and strong; with Stone Walls; and they are thatched with Palmeto Leaves.
One Branch of this River comes out of the La|gune of Tompeque, and mixes with this, three Leagues before it falls into the Sea. Therefore 'tis sometimes called the River of Tompeque. The La|gune of Tompeque lies on the South side of the Ri|ver; and breeds abundance of Fish, especially Shrimps. There is a Town of the same Name, built on its Banks, whose inhabitants are most Fi|shermen. Beyond this Lagune there is another large one, wherein is an Island and Town, named Haniago; its Inhabitants most Fishermen, whose chief employment is to take Shrimps. These they boil with Water and Salt, in great Coppers for the purpose; and having dryed them after|wards in the Sun, they are made up in Packs and Page 128 [year 1676] sent to all the chief Towns in the Country, especi|ally to Mexico, where, tho' but a hungry sort of Food, they are mightily esteemed.
The Account I have given of the Campeachy Rivers, &c. was the result of the particular Obser|vations I made in cruising about that Coast, in which I spent 11 or 12 Months. For when the vio|lent Storm, before-mentioned took us, I was but just settling to Work, and not having a stock of Wood to purchase such Provision as was sent from Jamaica, as the old Standards had; I, with many more in my circumstances, was forced to range about to seek a subsistance in Company of some Privateers then in the Bay. In which rambles we visi|ted all the Rivers, from Trist to Alvarado; and made many Descents into the County among the Villages there, where we got Indian-Corn to eat with the Beef, and other Flesh that we got by the way, or Manatee and Turtle, which was also a great support to us.
Alvarado was the Westermost place I was at Thither we went in two Barks with 30 Men in each and had 10 or 11 kill'd and desperately wound|ed in taken the Fort; being four or five Hours en|gag'd in that Service, in which time the Inhabitants having plenty of Boats and Canoas, carried all their Riches and best Moveables away. It was after Sun-set before the Fort yielded; and growing dark, we could not pursue them, but rested quietly that Night; the next day we kill'd, salted and sent aboard 20 or 30 Beefs, and a good quanity of Salt-fish, and Indian Corn, as much as we could stow away. Here were but few Hogs, and those eat very fishy, therefore we did not much esteem them: but of Cocks, Hens and Ducks were sent aboard in abun|dance. The tame Parrots we found here were the largest and fairest Birds of their kind that I ever saw in the West-Indies. Their colour was yellow Page 129 and red, very coursly mixt; and they would prate very prettily; and there was scarce a Man but what sent aboard one or two of them. So that with Pro|vision, Chests, Hen-Coops and Parrot-Cages, our Ships were full of Lumber, with which we intended to sail: But the second Day after we took the Fort, having had a Westerly Wind all the Morning, with Rain, 7 Armadilloes that were sent from La Verd Cruz appeared in sight, within a Mile of the Bars, coming in with full sail; but they could scarce stem the Current of the River; which was very well for us; for we were not a little surprized. Yet we got under sail, in order to meet them; and clearing our Decks by heaving all the Lumber over-board, we drove out over the Bar, before they reach|ed it: But they being to Wind-ward, forced us to exchange a few shot with them. Their Admi|ral was called the Toro. She had 10 Guns and 100 Men; another had 4 Guns and 80 Men: The rest having no great Guns, had only 60 or 70 Men a|piece, armed with Muskets, and the Vessels barrica|doed round with Bull-hides Breast high. We had not above 50 Men in both Ships, 6 Guns in one and two in the other. Assoon as we were over the Bar, we got our Larboard-Tacks aboard and stood to the East|ward, as nigh the Wind as we could lye. The Spaniards came away quartering on us; and our Ship being the Head-most, the Toro came directly towards us, designing to board us. We kept firing at her, in hopes to have lamed either Mast or Yard; but failing, just as she was shearing aboard, we gave her a good Volley, and presently clapp'd the Helm a Weather, wore our Ship, and got our Star|board Tacks aboard, and stood to the Westward; and so left the Toro, but were saluted by all the small Craft as we past by them, who stood to the Eastward after the Toro, that was now in pursuit and close by our Consort. We stood to the Westward Page 130 till we were against the River's Mouth; then we tackt, and by the help of the Current that came out of the River, we were near a Mile to Wind-ward of them all. Then we made sail to assist our Consort, who was hard put to it; but on our approach the Toro edged away towards the Shore, as did all the rest, and stood away for Alvarado: And we, glad of the Deliverance, went away to the Eastward, and visited all the Rivers in our return again to Trist; and searched the Bays for Munjack to carry with us for the Ship's use, as we had done before for the use both of Ships and Canoa's.
Munjack is a sort of Pitch or Bitumen, which we find in Lumps, from three or four pounds to thirty pounds in a lump; washed up by the Sea, and left dry on all the Sandy-Bays on all this Coast: It is in Substance like Pitch, but blacker; it melts by the Heat of the Sun, and runs abroad as Pitch would do if exposed, as this is, on the Bays: The smell of it is not so pleasant as Pitch, neither does it stick so firmly as Pitch, but it is apt to peel off from the Seams of Ships Bottoms; however we find it very useful here where we want Pitch; and because it is commonly mixed with Sand by lying on the Bays, we melt it and refine it very well before we use it; and commonly temper it with Oyl or Tallow to correct it; for though it melts by the heat of the Sun, yet it is of a harsher Nature than Pitch. I did never find the like in any other Part of the World, neither can I tell from whence it comes.
And now the Effects of the late Storm being almost forgot, the Lagune Men settled again to their Im|ployments; and I among the rest fell to Work in the East Lagune, where I remained till my departure for Jamaica.
Page 131 I will only add as to this Logwood-Trade in ge|neral, that I take it to be one of the most profitable to England, and it nearest resembles that of New|foundland; since what arises from both, is the pro|duct of bare Labour; and that the Persons imploy|ed herein are supported by the Produce of their Na|tive Country.
It is not my Business to determine how far we might have a right of cutting Wood there, but this I can say, that the Spaniards never receive less Da|mage from the Persons who generally follow that Trade, than when they are employed upon that Work.
While I was here the last time, Capt. Gibbs arriv'd in a Ship of about 100 Tuns, and brought with him 20 stout New-England Indians that were taken in the Wars there, designing to have sold them at Jamaica, but not finding a good Market, brought them hither to cut Logwood, and hired one Mr. Richard Dawkins to be their Overseer, who carried them to work at Summasenta: But it so happened that about a Week after, the Captain came thither in his Boat from One-Bush-Key where his Ship lay, and the Overseer having some Business, desired leave to be absent for two or three Days: But as soon as he and the Seamen were gone, the Indians taking their Opportunity killed the Captain and marched off, designing to return to their own Country by Land: They were seen about a Month afterward, and one of them was taken near the River Tondelo.
After I had spent about ten or twelve Months at the Logwood Trade, and was grown pretty well acquainted with the way of Traffick here, I left the Imployment, yet with a design to return hither af|ter I had been in England; and accordingly went from hence with Captain Chambers of London, bound to Jamaica. We sailed from Trist the be|ginning Page 132 ginning of April, 1678. and arrived at Jamaica in May, where I remained a small time, and then re|turned for England with Captain Leader of London. I arriv'd there the beginning of August the same Year: and at the beginning of the following Year, I set out again for Jamaica, in order to have gone thence to Campeachy; but it proved to be a Voyage round the World, of which the Publick has already had an Account, in my former Volume, and the First Part of This.