An History of the Strange Adventures, and Signal Deliverances of Mr. Philip Ashton, Jun. of Marblehead.
UPON Friday, June 15th. 1722. After I had been out for some time in the Schooner Milton, upon the Fishing grounds, off Cape Sable Shoar, among others, I came to Sail in Company with Nicholas Merritt, in a Shallop, and stood in for Port|Rossaway, designing to Harbour there, till the Sabbath was over; where we Arrived about Four of the Clock in the Afternoon. When we came into the Harbour, where several of our Fishing Vessels had arrived before us, we spy'd among them a Brigantine, which we sup|posed to have been an Inward bound Vessel, from the West Indies, and had no apprehensions of any Danger from her; but by that time we had been at Anchor two or three Hours, a Boat from the Brigantine, with Four hands, came along side of us, and the Men Jumpt in upon our Deck, without our suspecting any thing but that they were Friends, come on board to visit, or inquire what News; till they drew their Page 2 Cutlashes and Pistols from under their Clothes, and Cock'd the one and Brandish'd the other, and began to Curse & Swear at us, and demanded a Surrender of our Selves and Vessel to them. It was too late for us to rectify our Mistake, and think of Freeing our selves from their power: for however we might have been able, (being Five of us and a Boy) to have kept them at a Distance, had we known who they were, before they had boarded us; yet now we had our Arms to seek, and being in no Capacity to make any Resistance, were necessitated to submit our selves to their will and pleasure. In this man|ner they surprised Nicholas Merritt, and 12 or 13 other Fishing Vessels this Evening.
When the Boat went off from our Vessel, they carried me on board the Brigantine, and who should it prove but the In|famous Ned Low, the Pirate, with about 42 Hands, 2 Great Guns, and 4 Swivel Guns. You may easily imagine how I look'd, and felt, when too late to prevent it, I found my self fallen into the hands of such a mad, roaring, mischei|vous Crew; yet I hoped, that they would not force me away with them, and I purposed to endure any hardship among them patiently, rather than turn Pirate with them.
Low presently sent for me Af•, and according to the Pirates usual Custom, and in t•eir proper Dialect, asked me, If I would sign their Articles, and go along with them. I told him, No; I could by no means consent to go with them, I should be glad if he would give me my Liberty, and put me on board any Vessel, or set me on shoar there. For indeed my dislike of their Company and Actions, my concern for my Parents, and my fears of being found in such bad Company, made me dread the thoughts of being carried away by them; so that I had not the least Inclination to continue with them.
Upon my utter Refusal to joyn and go with them, I was thrust down into the Hold. which I found to be a safe retrea• for me several times afterwards. By that time I had been in the Hold a few Hours, they had compleated the taking the several Vessels that were in the Harbour, and the Examining of the Men; and the next Day I was fetched up with some others that were there, and about 30 or 40 of us were put on board a Schooner belonging to Mr. Orn of Marblehead, which the Pirates made use of for a sort of a Prison, upon the present occasion; where we were all confined unarm'd, with an armed Guard over us, till the Sultan's pleasure should be further known.
Page 3The next Lord's Day about Noon, one of the Quarter Masters, John Russel by Name, came on board the Schooner, and took six of us, (Nicholas Merritt, Joseph Libbre, Lawrence Fabins, and my self, all of Marblehead, the Eldest of us, if I mistake not, under 21 Years of Age, with two others) and carried us on board the Brigantine; where we were called up|on the Quarter Deck, and Low came up to us with Pistol in hand, and with a full mouth demanded, Are any of you Mar|ried Men? This short and unexpected Question, and the sight of the Pistol, struck us all dumb, and not a Man of us dared to speak a word, for fear there should have been a design in it, which we were not able to see thro'. Our Silence kindled our new Master into a Flame, who could not bear it, that so many Beardless Boyes should deny him an Answer to so plain a Question; and therefore in a Rage, he Cock'd his Pistol, and clapt it to my Head, and cryed out, You D-g! why don't you Answer me? and Swore vehemently, he would shoot me thro' the Head, if I did not tell him immediately, whether I was Married or no.
I was sufficiently frightned at the fierceness of the Man, and the boldness of his threatning, but rather than lose my Life for so trifling a matter, I e'en ventured at length to tell him, I was not Married, as loud as I dar'd to speak it; and so said the rest of my Companions. Upon this he seemed something pacified, and turned away from us.
It seems his design was to take no Married Man away with him, how young soever he might be, which I often wondred at; till after I had been with him some considerable time, and could observe in him an uneasiness in the sentiments of his Mind, and the workings of his passions towards a young Child he had at Boston (his Wife being Dead, as I learned, some small time before he turned Pirate) which upon every lucid interval from Revelling and Drink he would express a great tenderness for, insomuch that I have seen him sit down and weep plentifully upon the mentioning of it; and then I concluded, th•• probably the Reason of his taking none but Single Men was, that he might have none with him under the Influence of such powerful attractives, as a Wife & Children, lest they should grow uneasy in his Service, and have an In|clination to Desert him, and return home for the sake of their Families.
Low presently came up to us again, and asked the Old Question, Whether we would Sign their Articles, and go Page 4 along with them? We all told him No; we could not; so we were dismissed. But within a little while we were call'd to him Singly, and then it was demanded of me, with Sterness and Threats, whether I would Joyn with them? I still per|sisted in the Denial; which thro' the assistance of Heaven, I was resolved to do, tho' he shot me. And as I understood, all my Six Companions, who were called in their turns, still refused to go with him.
Then I was led down into the Steerage, by one of the Quar|ter-Masters, and there I was assaulted with Temptations of another kind, in hopes to win me over to become one of them; a number of them got about me, and instead of Hissing, shook their Rattles, and treated me with abundance of Respect and Kindness, in their way; they did all they could to sooth my Sorrows, and set before me the strong Allurement of the Vast 〈◊〉 they should gain, and what Mighty Men they designed to be and would fain have me to joyn with them, and share in their Spoils; and to make all go down the more Glib, they greatly Importuned me to Drink with them, not doubting but this wile would sufficiently entangle me, and so they should prevail with me to do that in my Cups, which they perceived they could not bring me to while I was Sober: but all their fair and plausible Carriage, their proffered Kindness, and airy notions of Riches, had not the Effect upon me which they desired; and I had no Inclination to drown my Sorrows with my Senses in their Inebriating Bowls, and so refused their Drink, as well as their Proposals.
After this I was brought upon Deck again, and Low came up to me, with his Pistol Cock'd, and clap'd it to my Head, and said to me, You D-g you! if you will not sign our Articles, and go along with me, I'll shoot you thro' the Head; and uttered his Threats with his utmost Fierceness, and with the usual Flashes of Swearing and Cursing. I told him, That I was in his hands, and be might do with me what be pleased, but I could not be willing to go with him: and then I earnestly beg'd of him, with many Tears, and used all the Arguments I could think of to perswade him, not to carry me away; but he was deaf to my Cryes, and unmoved by all I could say to him; and told me, I was an Impudent D-g, and Swore, I should go with him whether I would or no. So I found all my Cryes, and En|treaties were in vain, and there was no help for it, go with them I must, and as I understood, they set mine, and my Page 5 Townsmens Names down in their Book, tho' against our Con|sent. And I desire to mention it with due Acknowledgments to GOD, who withheld me, that neither their promises, nor their threatnings, nor blows could move me to a willingness to Joyn with them in their pernicious ways.
Upon Tuesday, June 19th. they changed their Vessel, and took for their Privateer, as they call'd it, a Schooner belonging to Mr. Joseph Dolliber of Marblehead, being new, clean, and a good Sailer, and shipped all their hands on board her, and put the Prisoners, such as they designed to send home, on board the Brigantine, with one—who was her Master, and ordered them for Boston.
When I saw the Captives were likely to be sent Home, I thought I would make one attempt more to obtain my Free|dom, and accordingly Nicholas Merritt, my Townsman and Kinsman, went along with me to Low, and we fell upon our knees, and with utmost Importunity besought him to let us go Home in the Brigantine, among the rest of the Captives: but he immediately called for his Pistols, and told us we should not go, and Swore bitterly, if either of us offered to stir, he would shoot us down.
Thus all attempts to be delivered out of the hands of un|reasonable Men (if they may be called Men) were hitherto unsuccessful; and I had the melancholly prospect of seeing the Brigantine sail away with the most of us that were taken at Port-Rossaway, but my self, and three Townsmen mentioned, and four Isle of Shoal-men detained on board the Schooner, in the worst of Captivity, without any present likelyhood of Escaping.
And yet before the Brigantine sailed, an opportunity present|ed, that gave me some hopes that I might get away from them; for some of Low's people, who had been on shoar at Port-Rossa|way to get water, had left a Dog belonging to him behind them; and Low observing the Dog a shoar howling to come off, order'd some hands to take the Boat and fetch him. Two Young Men, John Holman, and Benjamin Ashton, both of Marblehead, readily Jumpt into the Boat, and I (who pretty well knew their Inclination to be rid of such Company, & was exceedingly desirous my self to be freed from my present Sta|tion, and thought if I could but once set foot on shoar, they Page 6 should have good luck to get me on board again) was geting over the side into the Boat; but Quarter Master Russel spy'd me, and caught hold on my Shoulder, and drew me in board, and with a Curse told me, Two was eno', I should not go. The two Young Men had more sense and virtue than to come off to them again, so that after some time of waiting, they found they were deprived of their Men, their Boat, and their Dog; and they could not go after them.
When they saw what a trick was play'd them, the Quarter Master came up to me Cursing and Swearing, that I knew of their design to Run away, and intended to have been one of them; but tho' it would have been an unspeakable pleasure to me to have been with them, yet I was forced to tell him, I knew not of their design; and indeed I did not, tho' I had good reason to supect what would be the event of their going. This did not pacifie the Quarter-Master, who with outragious Cursing and Swearing clapt his Pistol to my Head, and snap'd it; but it miss'd Fire: this enraged him the more; and he re|peated the snapping of his Pistol at my Head three times, and it as often miss'd Fire; upon which he held it over-board, and snap'd it the fourth time, and then it went off very readily. (Thus did GOD mercifully quench the violence of the Fire, that was meant to destroy me!) The Quarter-Master upon this, in the utmost fury, drew his Cutlash, and fell upon me with it, but I leap'd down into the Hold, and got among a Crowd that was there, and so escaped the further effects of his madness and rage. Thus, tho' GOD suffered me not to gain my wished-for Freedom, yet he wonderfully preserved me from Death.
All hopes of obtaining Deliverance were now past and gone; the Brigantine and Fishing Vessels were upon their way home|ward, the Boat was ashore, and not likely to come off again; I could see no possible way of Escape; and who can express the concern and Agony I was in, to see my self, a Young Lad not 20 Years Old, carried forcibly from my Parents, whom I had so much reason to value for the tenderness I knew they had for me, & to whom my being among Pyrates would be as a Sword in their Bowels, and the Anguishes of Death to them; confined to such Company as I could not but have an exceeding great abhorrence of; in Danger of being poisoned in my morals, by Living among them, and of falling a Sacrifice to Justice, if ever I should be taken with them. I had no way left for my Comfort, but earnestly to commit my self and my cause to Page 7 GOD, and wait upon Him for Deliverance in his own time and way; and in the mean while firmly to resolve, thro' Di|vine Assistance, that nothing should ever bring me to a willing|ness to Joyn with them, or share in their Spoils.
I soon found that any Death was preferible to being link'd with such a vile Crew of Miscreants, to whom it was a sport to do Mischief; where prodigious Drinking, monstrous Cur|sing and Swearing, hideous Blasphemies, and open defiance of Heaven, and contempt of Hell it self, was the constant Em|ployment, unless when Sleep something abated the Noise and Revellings.
Thus Confined, the best course I could take, was to keep out of the way, down in the Hold, or whereever I could be most free from their perpetual Din; and fixedly purpose with my self, that the first time I had an opportunity to set my Foot on shore, let it be in what part of the World it would, it should prove (if possible) my taking a final leave of Low and Company.
I would remark it now also (that I might not interrupt the Story with it afterwards) that while I was on board Low, they used once a Week, or Fortnight, as the Evil Spirit moved them, to bring me under Examination, and a new de|mand my Signing their Articles, and Joyning with them; but Blessed be GOD, I was enabled to persist in a constant refusal to become one of them, tho' I was thrashed with Sword or Cane, as often as I denyed them; the fury of which I had no way to avoid, but by Jumping down into the Hold, where for a while I was safe. I look'd upon my self, for a long while, but as a Dead Man among them, and expected every Day of Examination would prove the last of my Life, till I learned from some of them, that it was one of their Articles, Not to Draw Blood, or take away the Life of any Man, after they had given him Quarter, unless he was to be punished as a Criminal; and this emboldned me afterwards, so that I was not so much affraid to deny them, seeing my Life was given me for a Prey.
This Tuesday, towards Evening, Low and Company came to sail in the Schooner, formerly called the Ma•y, now the Fancy, and made off for Newfoundland; and here they met with such an Adventure, as had like to have proved fa•al to them. They fell in with the Mouth of St. John's Harbour in a Fogg, before they knew where they were; when the Fogg clearing up a little, they spy'd a large Ship riding at Anchor Page 8 in the Harbour, but could not discern what she was, by reason of the thickness of the Air, and concluded she was a Fish|••ader; this they look'd upon as a Boon Prize for them, and thought they should be wonderfully well accommodated with a good Ship under Foot, and if she proved but a good Sailer, would greatly further their Roving Designs, and render them a Match for almost any thing they could meet with, so that they need not fear being taken.
Accordingly they came to a Resolution to go in and take her; and imagining it was best doing it by Statagem, they concluded to put all their Ha•ds, but Six or Seven, down in the Hold, and make a shew as if they were a Fishing Vessel, and so run up along side of her, and surprise her, and bring her off; and great was their Joy at the distant prospect how cleverly they should catch her. They began to put their de|signs in Execution, stowed away their Hands, leaving but a few upon Deck, and made Sail in order to seise the Prey; when there comes along a small Fisher-Boat, from out the Harbour and hailed them, and asked them, from whence they were? They told them, from Barbadoes, and were laden with 〈◊〉 and Sugar; then they asked the Fisherman, What large Ship that was in the Harbour? who told them it was a large Man of War.
The very Name of a Man of War struck them all up in a Heap, spo••d their Mirth, their fair Hopes, and promising De|sign of having a good Ship at Command; and left they should catch a •artar, they thought it their wisest and safest way, instead of going into the Harbour, to be gone as fast as they could; and accordingly they stretched away farther Eastward, and put into a small Harbour, called Carboneur, about 15 Leagues distance; where they went on Shoar, took the Place, and destroyed the Houses, but hurt none of the People; as they told me, for I was not suffered to go a shore with them.
The next Day they made off for the GrandBank, where they took seven or eightVessels, and among them a French Banker, a Ship of about 350 Tuns, and 2 Guns; this they carried off with them, and stood away for St. Michaels.
Off of St. Michael, they took a large Portugueze Pink, laden with Wheat, coming out of the Road, which I was told was formerly call'd the Rose-Frigat. She struck to the Schooner, fearing the large Ship that was coming down to them; tho' all 〈◊〉〈◊〉 had been no Match for her, if the PortguezePage 9 had made a good Resistance. This Pink they soon observed to be a much better Sailer than their French Banker, which went heavily; and therefore they threw the greatest part of the Wheat over board, reserving only eno' to Ballast the Ves|sel for the present, and took what they wanted out of the Banker, and then Bu••• her, and sent the most of the Portugueze away in a large Lanch they had taken.
Now they made the Pink, which Mounted 14 Guns, their Commodore, and with this and the Schooner Sailed from St. Michaels, to the Canaries, where off of Tener•• they gave Chase to a Sloop, which got under the Command of the Fortress, and so escaped falling into their Hands; but stretch|ing along to the Western end of the Island, they came up with a Fishing Boat, and being in want of Water, made them Pilot them into a small Harbour, where they went a shore and got a supply.
After they had Watered, they Sailed away for Cape de Verde Islands, and upon making the Isle of May, they desery'd a Sloop, which they took, and it proved to be a Bristol-man, one Pa•• or Pier Master; this Sloop they designed for a Tender, and put on board her my Kinsman Nicholas Merritt, with 8 or 9 hands more, and Sailed away for Bonavista, with a design to careen their Vessels.
In their Passage to Bonavista, the Sloop wronged both the Pink and the Schooner; which the Hands on board observing, being mostly Forced Men, or such as were weary of their Em|ployment, upon the Fifth of September. Ran away with her and made their Escape.
When they came to Bonavista, they 〈◊〉 down the Schooner, and careen'd her, and then the Pink; and •ere they gave the Wheat, which they had kept to Ballast the Pink with, to the Portugueze, and took other Ballast.
After they had cleaned and fitted their Vessels, they steered away for St. Nicholas, to get better Water: and here as I was told, 7 or 8 hands out of the Pink went a shore a Fowling, but never came off more among which I suppose Lawrence Fabine was one, and what became of them I never could hear to this Day. Then they put out to Sea, and stood away for the Coast of Brasil hoping to meet with Richer Prizes than they had yet takes; in the Passage thither, they made a Ship, which they gave chase 〈◊〉, but could not come up with; and when they came upon the Coast, it had like to have proved a sad Coast to the•• For the Trade-Winds blowing exceeding hard Page 10 at South East, they fell in upon the Northern part of the Coast, near 200 Leagues to the Leeward of where they designed; and here we were all in exceeding great Da•ger, and for Five Days and Nights together, hourly feared when we should be swal|lowed up by the violence of the Wind and Sea, or •••nded upon some of the Shoals, that lay many Leagues off from Land. In this time of Extremity, the Poor Wretches had no where to go for Help! For they were at open Defiance with their Maker, & they could have but little comfort in the thoughts of their Agreement with Hell; such mighty Hectors as they were, in a clear Sky and a fair Gale, yet a fierce Wind and a boisterous Sea sunk their Spirits to a Cowardly dejection, and they evidently feared the Almighty, whom before they defied, le•t He was come to Torment them before their expect|ed Time; and tho' they were so habituated to Cursing and Swearing, that the Dismal Prospect of Death, & this of so long Continuance, could not Correct the Language of most of them, yet you might plainly see the inward Horror and Angu••• of their Minds, visible in their Countenances, and like Men amazed, or starting out of Sleep in a fright, I could hear them ever now and then, cry out, Oh! I wish I were at Home.
When the Fierceness of the Weather was over, and they had recovered their Spirits, by the help of a little N••tes, they bore away to the West Indies, and made the thre•••ands call'd the Triangles, lying off the Main about 40 Leagues to the Eastward of Surinam. Here they went in and careened their Vessels again; and it had like to have proved a fatal Scour|ing to them.
For as they hove down the Pink, Low had ordered so many hands upon the Shrouds, and Yards, to throw her Bottom out of Water, that it threw her Ports, which were open, under Water; and the Water flow'd in with such freedom that it presently overset her. Low and the Doctor were in the Cab|bin together, and assoon as he perceived the Water to gush in upon him, he bolted out at one of the Stern-Ports, which the Doctor also attempted, but the Sea rushed so violently in|to the Port by that time, as to force him back into the Cab|bin, upon which Low nimbly run his Arm into the Port, and caught hold of his Shoulder and drew him out, and so saved him. The Vessel pitched her Masts to the Ground, in about 6 Fathom Water, and turn'd her Keel out of Water; but as her Hull filled, it sunk, and by the help of her Yard-Arms, which I suppose bore upon the Ground, her Masts were raised Page 11 something out of Water: the Men that were upon her Shrouds and Yards, got upon her Hull, when that was uppermost, and then upon her •op-Ma••s and Shrouds, when they were raised again. I (w•• with other light Lads were sent up to the Main-Top-Gallant Yard) was very difficultly put to it to save my Life, being but a poor Swimmer; for the Boat which picked the Men up, refused to take me in, & I was put upon making the best of my way to the Buoy, which with much ado I recovered, and it being large I stayed my self by it, till the Boat came along close by it, and then I called to them to take me in; but they being full of Men still refused me; and I did not know but they meant to leave me to perish there; but the Boat making way a head very slowly because of her deep load, and Joseph Libbie calling to me to put off from the Buoy and Swim to them, I e'en ventured it, and he took me by the hand and drew me in board. They lost two Men by this Ac|cident, viz. John Bell, and one they called Zana Gourdon. The Men that were on board the Schooner were busy a m•nd|ing the Sail•, underan Auning so they knew nothing of what had happened to the Pink, till the Boat full of Men came along side of them, tho' they were but about Gun-Shot off, and We made a great out-cry; and therefore they sent not their Boat to help take up the Men.
And now Low and his Gang, having lost their Frigate, and with •er the greatest part of their 〈◊〉 and Water, were again reduced to their Schooner as their only Priva••er, and in her they put to Sea, and were brought to very great stra•s for want of Water; for they could not get a supply at the Triangles, and when they hoped to furnish themselves at To|•ago, the Current set so strong, & the Season was so Calm, that they could not recover the Harbour, so they were forced to stand away for Grand Grenada, a French Island about 18 Leagues to the Westward of Tabago, which they gained, after they had been at the hardship of half a pint of Water a Man for Sixteen Dayes together.
Here the French came on board, and Low having put all his Men down, but a sufficient number to Sail the Vessel, told them upon their Enquiry, Whence he was, that he was come from Barbadoes, and had lost his Water, and was oblig'd to put in for a recruit; the poor People not suspecting him for a Pyrate, readily suffered him to send his Men ashoar and fetch off a supply. But the Frenchmen afterwards suspecting Page 12 he was a Smugling Trader, thought to have made a Boon Prize of him, and the next day fitted out a large Rhode-Island built Sloop of 70 Tuns, with 4 Guns mounted, and about 30 Hands, with design to have taken him. Low was apprehen|sive of no danger from them, till they came close along side of him and plainly discovered their design, by their Number and Actions, and then he called up his hands upon Deck, and having about 90 Hands on board, & 8 Guns mounted, the Sloop and Frenchmen fell an easy prey to him, and he made a Privateer of her.
After this they cruised for some time thro' the West Indies, in which excursion they took 7 or 8 Sail of Vessels, chiefly Sloops; at length they came to Santa Cruz, where they took two Sloops more, & then came to Anchor off the Island.
While they lay at Anchor here, it came into Low's Head, that he wanted a Doctor's Chest, & in order to procure one, he put four of the Frenchmen on board one of the Sloops, which he had just now taken, & sent them away to St. Thomas's, about 12 Leagues off where the Sloops belonged, with the promise, that if they would presently send him off a good Doctors Chest, for what he sent to purchase it with, they should have their Men & Vessels again, but if not, he would kill all the Men & burn the Vessels. The poor People in Com|passion to their Neighbours, & to preserve their Interest, readily complyed with his Demands; so that in little more than 24 Hours the four Frenchmen returned with what they went for, & then according to promise, they & their Sloops were Dismissed.
From Santa Cruz they Sailed till they made Curacao, in which Passage they gave Chase to two Sloops that outsailed them & got clear; then they Ranged the Coast of New Spain, and made Carthagena, & about mid-way between Carthagena and Port-Abella, they descry'd two tallShips, which proved to be the Mermaid Man of War, & a large Guinea-Man. Low was now in the Rhode-Island Sloop, & one Farrington Spriggs a Quarter-Master, was Commander of the Schooner, where I still was. For some time they made Sail after the two Ships, till they came so near that they could plainly see the Man of War's large range of Teeth, & then they turned Tail to, and made the best of their way from them; upon which the Man of War gave them Chafe & overhalled them apace. And Page 13 now I confess I was in as great terrour as ever I had been yet, for I concluded we should be taken, & I could expect no other but to Dye for Companies sake; so true is what Solomon tells us, a Companions of Fools shall be destroyed. But the Pirates finding the Man of War to overhale them, separated, & Low stood out to Sea, & Spriggs stood in for the Shoar. The Man of War observing the Sloop to be the larger Vessel much, and fullest of Men, threw out all the Sail she could, & stood after her, and was in a fair way of coming up with her pre|sently: But it hapened there was one Man on board the Sloop, that knew of a Shoal Ground thereabouts, who direct|ed Low to run over it; he did so; and the Man of War who had now so forereached him as to sling a Shot over him, in the close pursuit ran a Ground upon the Shoal, and so Low and Company escaped Hanging for this time.
Spriggs, who was in the Schooner, when he saw the Danger they were in of being taken, upon the Man of War's out sail|ing them, was afraid of falling into the hands of Justice; to prevent which, he, and one of his Chief Companions, took their pistols, and laid them down by them, and solemnly Swore to each other, and pledg'd the Oath in a Bumper of Liquor, that if they saw there was at last no possibility of Escaping, but that they should be taken, they would set Foot to Foot, and Shoot one another, to Escape Justice and the Halter. As if Divine Justice were not as inexorable as Humane!
But, as I said, he stood in for the Shoar, and made into Pickeroon Bay, about 18 Leagues from Carthagena, and so got out of the reach of Danger. By this means the Sloop and Schooner were parted; and Spriggs made Sail towards the Bay of Honduras, and came to Anchor in a small Island called Utilla, about 7 or 8 Leagues to Leeward of Roatan, where by the help of a small Sloop, he had taken the Day before, he haled down, and cleaned the Schooner.
While Spriggs lay at Utilla, there was an Opportunity presented, which gave occasion to several of us to form a design, of making our Escape out of the Pirates Company; for having lost Low, and being but weak handed, Spriggs had determined to go thro' the Gulf, and come upon the Coast of New-England, to encrease his Company, and supply himself with Provision; whereupon a Number of us had entred into a Combination, to take the first fair advantage, to Subdue our Page 14 Masters, and Free our selves. There were in all about 22 Men on board the Schooner, and 8 of us were in the Plot, which was, That when we should come upon the Coast of New-Eng|land, we would take the opportunity when the Crew had sufficiently dozed themselves with Drink, and had got found a Sleep, to secure them under the Hatches, and bring the Vessel and Company in, and throw ourselves upon the Mercy of the Government.
But it pleased GOD to disappoint our Design. The Day that they came to Sail out of Utilla, after they had been par|t•d from Low about five Weeks, they discovered a largeSloop, which bore down upon them. Spriggs, who knew not the Sloop, but imagined it might be a spanish Privateer, full of Men, being but weak handed himself, made the best of his way from her. The Sloop greatly overhaled the Schooner Low, who knew the Schooner, & thought that since they had been separated, she might have fallen into the hands of honest Men, fired upon her, & struck her the first Shot. Spriggs, seeing the Sloop fuller of Men than ordinary, (for Low had been to Honduras, & had taken a Sloop, & brought off several Baymen, & was now become an Hundred strong) & 〈◊〉 still ignorant of his old Mate, refused to bring to, but continued to make off; and resolved if they came up with him, to fight them the best he could. Thus the Harpies had like to have fallen foul of one another. But Low hoisting his Pirate Colours, discovered who he was; and then, hideous was the noisy joy among the Piratical Crew, on all sides, ac|companied with Firing, & Carousing, at the finding their Old Master, & Companions, & their narrow Escape: and so the design of Crusing upon the Coast of New-England came to nothing. A good Providence it was to my dear Country, that it did so; unless we could have timely succeeded in our de|sign to surprise them.
Yet it had like to have proved a fatal Providence to those of us that had a hand in the Plot; for tho' our design of sur|prising Spriggs and Company, when we should come upon the Coast of New-England, was carried with as much secrecy as was possible, (we hardly daring to trust one another, and mentioning it always with utmost privacy, and not plainly, but in distant hints) yet now that Low appeared, Spriggs had got an account of it some way or other; and full of Resent|ment and Rage he goes aboard Low, and acquaints him with Page 15 what he called our Treacherous design, and says all he can to provoke him to Revenge the Mischief upon us, and earnestly urged that we might be shot. But GOD who has the Hearts of all Men in His own Hands, and turns them as He pleases, so over ruled, that Low turned it off with a Laugh, and said he did not know, but if it had been his own case, as it was ours, he should have done so himself; and all that Spriggs could say was not able to stir up his Resentments, and procure any heavy Sentence upon us.
Thus Low's merry Air saved us at that time; for had he lisped a Word in compliance with what Spriggs urged, we had surely some of us, if not all, have been lost. Upon this he comes on board the Schooner again, heated with Drink, but more chased in his own Mind, that he could not have his Will of us, and swore & tore like a Mad man, crying out that four of as ought to go forward, & 〈◊〉 and to me in particular he said, You D-g, Ashton, deserve to be hang'd up at the Yards-Arm, for designing to cut us off. I told him, I had no design of hurting any man on board, but if they would let me go away quietly I should be glad. This matter made a very great noise on board for se••ral Hours, but at length the Fire was quenched, and thro' the Goodness of GOD, I Escaped being consumed by the violence of the Flame.
The next Day, Low ordered all into Roatan Harbour to clean, and here it was that thro' the Favour of GOD to me, I first gained Deliverance out of the Pirates hands; tho' it was a long while before my Deliverance was perfected, in a return to my Country, and Friends; as you will see in the Sequel.
Roatan Harbour, as all about the Gulf of Honduras, is full of small Islands, which go by the General Name of the Keys. When we had got in here, Low and some of his Chief Men had got a shoar upon one of these small Islands, which they called Port-Royal Key, where they made them Booths, and were Ca|rousing. Drinking, and Fiting, while the two Sloops, the Rhode-Island, and that which Low brought with him from the Ray were cleaning. As for the Schooner, he leaded her with the Logwood which the Sloop brought from the Bay, & gave her, according to promise, to one John Blaze, and put four men along with him in her, and when they came to Sail from this Place, sent them away upon their own account, and what be|came of them I know not.
Page 16Upon Saturday the 9th of March, 1723, the Cooper with Six hands in the Long-Boat were going ashore at the Water|ing place to fill their Casks; as he came along by the Schooner I called to him and asked him, if he were going a shoar? he told me Yes; then I asked him, if he would take me along with him; he seemed to hesitate at the first; but I urged that I had never been on shoar yet, since I first came on board, and I thought it very hard that I should be so closely confin|ed, when every one else had the Liberty of going ashoar at several times, as there was occasion. At length he took me in, imagining, I suppose, that there would be no danger of my Running away in so desolate uninhabited a Place, as that was.
I went into the Boat with only an Ozenbrigs Frock and Trousers on, and a Mill'd Cap upon my Head, having neither Shirt, Shoes, nor Stockings, nor any thing else about me; whereas, had I been aware of such an Opportunity, but one quarter of an Hour before, I could have provided my self something better. However thought I, if I can but once get footing on Terra Firma, tho' in never so bad Circumstances, I shall count it a happy Deliverance; for I was resolved, come what would, never to come on board again.
Low had often told me (upon my asking him to send me away in some of the Vessels, which he dismissed after he had taken them) that I should go home when he did, and not before, and Swore that I should never set foot on shoar till he did. But the time for Deliverance was now come. GOD had ordered it that Low and Spriggs, and almost all the Com|manding Officers, were ashoar upon an Island distinct from Roatan where the Watering place was; He presented me in sight, when the Long Boat came by, (the only opportunity I could have had) He had moved the Cooper to take me into the Boat, and under such Circumstances as rendred me least lyable to Suspicion; and so I got ashoar.
When we came first to Land, I was very Active in helping to get the Cask out of the Boat, & Rowling them up to the Watering place; then I lay down at the Fountain & took a hearty Draught of the Cool Water; & anon, I gradually strol'd along the Beech, picking up Stones & Shells, & looking about me; when I had got about Musket Shot off from them (tho' they had taken no Arms along with them in the Boat) I be|gan to make up to the Edge of the Woods; when the Cooper Page 17 spying me, call'd after me, & asked me where I was going; I told him I was going to get some Coco-Nuts, for there were some Coco-Nut Trees just before me. So soon as I had re|covered the Woods, and lost sight of them, I betook my self to my Heels, & ran as fast as the thickness of the Bushes, and my naked Feet would let me. I bent my Course, not directly from them, but rather up behind them, which I continued till I had got a considerable way into the Woods, & yet not so far from them but that I could hear their talk, when they spake any thing loud; and here I lay close in a very great Thicke•, being well assured, if they should take the pains to hunt after me never so carefully they would not be able to find me.
After they had filled their Cask and were about to go off, the Cooper called after me to come away; but I lay snug in my Thicket, and would give him no Answer, tho' I plainly eno' heard him. At length they set a hallooing for me, but I was still silent: I could hear them say to one another. The D-g is lost in the Woods, and can't find the way out again; then they hallooed again; and cried, he is run-away and won't come again; the Cooper said, if he had thought I would have served him so, he would not have brought me ashoar. They plainly saw it would be in vain to seek for me in such hide|ous Wood, and thick Brushes. When they were weary with hallooing, the Cooper at last, to shew his good Will to me, (I can't but Love and Thank him for his Kindness) call'd out, If you don't come away presently, I'll go off and leave you alone. But all they could say was no Temptation to me to discover my self, and least of all that of their going away and leaving me; for this was the very thing I desired, that I might be rid of them, and all that belonged to them. So finding it in vain for them to wait any longer, they put off with their Wa|ter, without me; and thus was I left upon a desolate Island destitute of all help, and much out of the way of all Travel|lers; however this Wilderness I looked upon as Hospitable, and this Loneliness as good Company, compared with the State and Society I was now happily Delivered from.
When I supposed they were gone off, I came out of my Thicket, and drew down to the Water side, about a Mile be|low the Watering place, where there was a small run of Wa|ter; and here I sat down to observe their Motions, and know when the Coast was clear; for I could not but have some remaining fears left they should send a Company of Armed Page 18 Men after me; yet I thought if they should, the Woods and Bushes were so thick that it would be impossible they should find me. As yet I had nothing to Eat, nor indeed were my Thoughts much concerned about living in this Desolate Place, but they were chiefly taken up about my geting clear. And to my Joy, after the Vessels had stayed five Dayes in this Harbour, they came to Sail, and put out to Sea, and I plainly saw the Schooner part from the two Sloops, and shape a different Course from them.
When they were gone and the Coast clear, I began to reflect upon my self, and my present Condition; I was upon an Island from whence I could not get off; I knew of no Ha|mane Creature within many scores of Miles of me; I had but a Scanty Cloathing, and no possibility of getting more; I was destitute of all Provision for my Support, and knew not how I should come at any; every thing looked with a dismal Face; the sad prospect drew Tears from me in abundance; yet since GOD had graciously granted my Desires, in freeing me out of the hands of the Sons of Violence, whose Business '〈◊〉 to de|vise Mischief against their Neighbour, and from whom every thing that had the least face of Religion and Virtue was in|tirely Banished, (unless that Low would never suffer his Men 〈◊〉, work upon the Sabbath, (it was more devoted to •lay) and I have seen some of them then sit down to Read in a good Book• therefore I purposed to account all the hardship I might now meet with, as Light, & Easy, compared with being Associated with them.
In order to find in what manner I was to Live for the time to come, I began to Range the Island over, which I suppose is some 10 or 11 Leagues Long, in the Latitude of 16 deg. 30 min. or thereabouts. I soon found that I must look for no Company, but the Wild Bea•• of the Field, and the Fowl of the Air; with all of which I made a Firm Peace, and GOD said Amen to it. I could discover no Footsteps of any Habi|tation upon the Island; yet there was one walk of Lime Trees near a Mile long, and ever now & then I found some broken Shreds of Earthen Pots, scattered here and there upon the Place, which some say are some remains of the Indians that formerly Lived upon the Island.
The Island is well Watered, and is full of Hills, high Moun|tains, and lowly Vallies. The Mountains are Covered over Page 19 with a sort of •nrubby black Pine, & are almost inaccessible. The Vallies abound with Fruit Trees, and are so prodigiously thick with an underbruth, that 'tis difficult passing.
The Fruit were Coco-Nuts, but these I could have no ad|vantage from, because I have no way of coming at the inside; there are Wild-Figs, and Vines in abundance, these I chiefly lived upon, especially at first; there is also a sort of Fruit growing upon Trees somewhat larger than an Orange, of an Oval shape, of a brownish Colour without, and red within, having two or three Stones about as large as a Walnut in the midst: tho' I saw many of these fallen under the Trees, yet I dared not to meddle with them for sometime, till I saw some WildHogs eat them with safety, and then I thought I might venture upon them too, after such Tasters, and I found them to be a very delicious sort of Fruit; they are called Mammees Supporters, as I learned afterwards. There are also a sort of small Beech-Plumb, growing upon low shrubs; and a larger fort of Plumb growing upon Trees, which are called Hog-Plumbs; and many other sorts of Fruit which I am wholly a Stranger •o. Only I would take notice of the Goodness of GOD to me, in preserving me from destroying my self by feeding upon any Noxious Fruit, as the Mangeneil Apple, Which I often took up in my hands, and look'd upon, but had not the power to eat of; which if I had, it would have been present Death to me, as I was informed afterwards, tho' I knew not what it was.
There are also upon this Island, and the Adjacent Islands, and Keys, Deer, and Wild Hogs; they abound too with Fowl of diverse sorts, as Ducks, Teil, Curlews, Galdings, (a Fowl long Legged, and shaped somewhat like a Heron, but not so big) Pellicans, Boobys, Pigeons, Parrots, &c. and the Shoars abound with Tortoise.
But of all this Store of Beast, and Fowl, I could make no use to Supply my Necessities; tho' my Mouth often watered for a Bit of them; yet I was forced to go without it; for I had noKnife, or other Instrument of Iron with me, by which to cut up a Tortoise, when I had turned it; or to make Snares or Pitts, with which to entrap, or Bows & Arrows with which to kill any Bird or Beast withal; nor could I by any possible means that I knew of, come at Fire to dress any if I had taken them; tho' I doubt not but some would have gone down Raw if I could have come at it.
Page 20I sometimes had thoughts of Digging Pits and covering them over with small Branches of Trees, & laying Brush and Leaves upon them to take some Hogs or Deer in; but all was vain imagination, I had no Shovel, neither could I find or make any thing that would answer my end, and I was presently convinced, that my Hands alone, were not sufficient to make one deep and large eno' to detain any thing that should fall into it: so that I was forced to rest satisfied with the Fruit of the Vine, and Trees, and looked upon it as good Provision, and very handy for one in my Condition.
In length of time, as I was poking about the Beech, with a Stick, to see if I could find any Tortoise Nests, (which I had heard lay their Eggs in the Sand) I brought up part of an Egg clinging to the Stick, and upon removing the Sand which lay over them, I found near an Hundred & Fifty Eggs which had not been laid long eno' to spoil; so I took some of them and eat them: And in this way I sometimes got some Eggs to Eat, which are not very good at the best; yet what is not good to him that has nothing to Live upon, but what falls from the Trees,
The Tortoise lay their Eggs above High Water Mark, in a hole which they make in the Sand, about a Foot, or a Foot and half deep, and cover them over with the Sand, which they make as smooth & even as any part of the Beech, so that there is no discerning where they are, by any, the least sign of a Hillock, or Rising; and according to my best observation, they Hatch in about 18 or 20 Days, and as soon as the Young Ones are Hatch'd they betake themselves immediately to the Water.
There are many Serpents upon this, and the Adjacent Islands. There is one sort that is very Large, as big round as a Man's Wast, tho' not above 12 or 14 Feet long. These are called Owlers. They look like old fallen Stocks of Trees covered over with a short Moss, when they lye at their length; but they more usually lye coiled up in a round. The first I saw of these greatly surprised me; for I was very near to it before I discovered it to be a Living Creature, and then it opened it's Mouth wide eno' to have thrown a Hat into it, and blew out its Breath at me. This Serpent is very slow in its motion, and nothing Venemous, as I was afterwards told by a Man, who said he had been once bitten by one of them. There Page 21 are several other smaller Serpents, some of them very Venemous, particularly one that is called a Barber's Pole, being streaked White and Yellow. But I met with no Rattle-Snakes there, unless the Pirates, nor did I ever hear of any other being there.
The Islands are also greatly infested with vexatious Insects, especially the Musketto, and a sort of small Black Fly, (some|thing like a Gnat) more troublesome than the Musketto; so that if one had never so many of the comforts of Life about him, these Insects would render his Living here very burthen|some to him; unless he retired to a small Key, destitute of Woods and Brush, where the Wind disperses the Vermin.
The Sea hereabouts, hath a variety of Fish; such as are good to Eat, I could not come at, and the Sharks, and Alligators or Crocodiles, I did not care to have any thing to do with; tho' I was once greatly endangered by a Shark, as I shall tell after|wards.
This was the Place I was consined to; this my Society and Fellowship; and this my State and Condition of Life. Here I spent near Nine Months, without Converse with any Living Creature; for the Parrots here had not been taught to Speak. Here I lingred out one Day after another, I knew not how, without Business, or Diversion; unless gathering up my Food, rambling from Hill to Hill, from Island to Island, gazing upon the Water, and staring upon the Face of the Sky, may be called so.
In this Lonely and Distressed Condition, I had time to call over my past Life; and Young as I was, I saw I had grown Old in Sin; my Transgressions were more than my Days; and tho' GOD had graciously Restrained me from the Grosser Enormities of Life, yet I saw Guilt staring me in the Face; eno' to humble me and forever to vindicate the Justice of GOD in all that I underwent. I called to mind many things I had heard from the Pulpit, and what I had form•rly Read in the Bible, which I was now wholly Destitute of, tho' I thought if I could but have one now, it would have sweetned my Condition, by the very Diversion of Reading, and much more from the Direction and Comfort it would have afforded me. I had some Comforts in the midst of my Calamity. It was no small Support to me, that I was about my Lawful Employment, when I was first taken; and that I had no hand in bringing my Misery upon my self, but was forced away sorely against my Will. It wonderfully aleviated my Sorrows, Page 22 to think, that I had my Parents approbation, and consent in my going to Sea; and I often fancied to my self, that if I had gone to Sea against their will and pleasure, and had met with this Disaster, I should have looked upon it as a designed Pun|ishment of such Disobedience, and the very Reflection on it would have so aggravated my Misery, as soon to have put an end to my Days. I looked upon my self also, as more in the way of the Divine Blessing now, than when I was linked to a Crew of Pirates, where I could scarce hope for Protection and a Blessing. I plainly saw very signal Instances of the Power & Goodness of GOD to me, in the many Deliverances which I had already experienced, (the least of which I was utterly unworthy of) and this Encouraged me to put my Trust in Him; and tho' I had none but GOD to go to for help, yet I knew that He was able to do more for me than I could ask or think; to Him therefore I committed my self, purposing to wait hopefully upon the Lord till he should send Deliver|ance to me: Trusting that in his own time and way, he would find out means for my safe Return to my Fathers House; and earnestly entreating that he would provide a better place for me.
It was my Daily Practice to Ramble from one part of the Island to an other, tho Ihad a more special Home near to the Water side. Here I had built me a House to defend me from the heat of the Sun by Day, and the great Dews of the Night. I took some of the best Branches I could find fallen from the Trees, and stuck them in the Ground; and I contrived as of|ten as I could (for I built many such Huts) to fix them leaning against the Limb of a Tree that hung low; I split the Palmeto Leaves and knotted the Limb & Sticks together; then I covered them over with the largest and best Palmeto Leaves I could find. I generally Situated my Hut near the Water side, with the open part of it facing the Sea, that I might be the more ready upon the look out, and have the advantage of the Sea Breez, which both the Heat and the Vermin required. But the Vermin, the Muskettos and Flys, grew so troublesome to me, that I was put upon contrivance to get rid of their Company. This led me to think of getting over to some of the Adjacent Keys, that I might have some Rest from the disturbance of these busy Companions. My greatest difficulty lay in getting over to any other Island; for I was but a very poor Swimmer; and I had no Can•o, nor any means of making one. At length I got a peice of Bamboe, which is hollow like a Reed, and light as a Page 23 Cork, and having made tryal of it under my Breast and Arms in Swimming by the Shoar; with this help I e'en ventured to put off for a small Key about Gun-shot off, and I reached it pretty comfortably. This Key was but about 3 or 400 Feet in compass clear of Woods & Brush, & lay very low; & I found it so free from the Vermin, by the free Passage of the Wind over it, that I seemed to be got into a New World, where I lived more at ease. This I kept as a place of Retreat, whither I retired when the Heat of the Day rendred the Fly-kind most troublesome to me: for I was obliged to be much upon Roatan for the sake of my Food, Water, & House. When I swam backward & forward from my Night to my Day Island, I used to bind my Frock & Trousers about my Head, but I could not so easily carry over Wood & Leaves to make a Hut of; else I should have spent more of my time upon my little Day Island.
My Swimming thus backward & forward exposed me to some Danger. Once I Remember as I was passing from my Day to my Night Island, the Bamboe got from under me e're I was aware, & the Tide orCurrent set so strong, that I was very dif|ficultly put to it to recover theShoar; so that a few Rods more distance had in all probability landed me in another World. At another time as I was Swimming over to my Day Island, a Shovel nos'd Shark, (of which the Seas thereabouts are full, as well as Alligators) struck me in the Thigh just as I set my Foot to Ground, & so grounded himself (I suppose) by the shoalness of the Water, that he could not turn himself to come at me with his Mouth, & so, thro' the Goodness of GOD, I escaped falling a Prey to his devouring Teeth. I felt the Blow he gave me some hours after I had got ashoar. By accustoming my self to Swim, I at length grew pretty dext|erous at it, and often gave my self the Diversion of thus pas|sing from one Island to another among the Keys.
One of my greatest difficulties lay in my being Bare-foot, my Travels backward & forward in the Woods to hunt for my Daily Food, among the thick under-brush, where the Ground was covered with sharp Sticks & Stones, & upon the hot Beech among the sharp broken Shells, had made so many Wounds and Gashes in my Feet, & some of them very large, that I was hardly able to go at all. Very often as I was treading with all the tenderness I could, a sharp Stone or Shell on the Beech, or pointed Stick in the Woods, would run into the Old Wounds, & the Anguish of it wou'd strike me down as sud|denly as if I had been shot thro', & oblige me to set down and Page 24 Weep by the hour together at the extremity of my Pain: so that in process of time I could Travel no more than needs must, for the necessary procuring of Food. Sometimes I have sat leaning my Back against a Tree, with my Face to the Sea, to look out for the passing of a Vessel for a whole Day together.
At length I grew very Weak & Faint, as well as Sore and Bruised; and once while I was in this Condition, a Wild Boar seemed to make at me with some Fierceness; I knew not what to do with my self, for I was not able to defend my self against him if he should attack me. So as he drew nearer to me, I caught hold of the Limb of a Tree which was close by me, & drew my Body up by it from the Ground as well as I could; while I was in this Hanging posture, the Boar came and struck at me, but his Tushes only took hold on my shat|tered Trousers & tore a peice out; and then he went his way. This I think was the only time that I was assaulted by any Wild Beast, with whom I said I had made Peace; and I look upon it as a Great Deliverance.
As my Weakness encreased upon me, I should often fall down as tho' struck with a dead sleep, and many a time as I was thus falling, and sometimes when I lay'd my self down to Sleep, I never expected to wake or rise more; and yet in the midst of all GOD has Wonderfully preserved me.
In the midst of this my great Soreness & Feebleness I lost the Days of the Week, & how long I had layn in some of my numb sleepy Fits I knew not, so that I was not able now to distinguish the Sabbath from any other Day of the Week; tho' all Days were in some sort a Sabbath to me. As my Illness prevailed I wholly lost the Month, and knew not where abouts I was in the Account of Time.
Under all this Dreadful Distress, I had no healing Balsames to apply to my Feet, no Cordials to revive my Fainting Spirits, hardly able now & then to get me some Figs or Grapes to Eat, nor any possible way of coming at a Fire, which the Cool Winds, & great Rains, beginning to come on now called for. The Rains begin about the middle of October, & continue for Five Months together, and then the Air is Raw Cold, like our North East Storms of Rain; only at times the Sun breakes out with such an exceeding Fierceness, that there is hardly any enduring the Heat of it.
Page 25I had often heard of the fetching Fire by Rubbing of two Sticks together; but I could never get any this way, tho' I had often trie• while I was in Health and Strength, untill I was quite tired. Afterwards I learned the way of getting Fire from two Sticks, which I will Publish, that it may be of Service to any that may be hereafter in my Condition.
Take Two Sticks, the one of harder the other softer Wood, the dryer the better, in the soft Wood make a sort of Mortice or Socket, point the harder Wood to fit that Socket; hold the softer Wood firm between the Knees, take the harder Wood between your Hands with the point fixed in the Socket, and rub the Stick in your Hands backward & forward brisk|ly like a Drill, and it will take Fire in less than a Minute; as I have sometimes since seen, upon experiment made of it.
But then I knew of no such Method (and it may be should have been difficultly put to it to have formed the Mortice and Drill for want of a Knife) and I suffered greatly without a Fire, thro' the chillness of the Air, the Wetness of the Season, and Living only upon Raw Fruit.
Thus I pass'd about Nine Months in this lonely, melan|choly, wounded, and languishing Condition. I often lay'd my self down as upon my last Bed, & concluded I should cer|tainly Dye alone, & no Body knew what was become of me. I thought it would be some relief to me if my Parents could but tell where I was; and then I thought their Distress would be exceeding great, if they knew what I under went. But all such thoughts were vain. The more my Difficulties encreased, and the nearer prospect I had of Dying, the more it drove me upon my Knees, and made me the more earnest in my Crys to my Maker for His favourable regards to me, and to the Great Redeemer to pardon me, and provide for my after well being.
And see the surprising Goodness of GOD to me, in sending me help in my time of trouble, & that in the most unexpect|ed way & manner, as tho' an Angel had been commissioned from Heaven to relieve me.
Sometime in November 1723. I espied a small Canoo, com|ing towards me with one Man in it. It did not much sur|prise me. A friend I conld not hope for; and I could not Page 26 resist, or hardly get out of the way of an Enemy, nor need I fear one. I kept my Seat upon the Edge of the Beech. As he came nearer he discovered me & seemed g••tly surprised. He called to me. I told him whence I was, & that he might safely venture ashoar, for I was alone, & almost Dead. As he came up to me, he stared & look'd wild with surprise; my Garb & Countenance astonished him; he knew not what to make of me; he started back a little, & viewed me more thorowly; but upon recovering of himself, he came forward, & took me by the Hand & told me he was glad to see me. And he was ready as long as he stayed with me, to do any kind offices for me.
He proved to be a North-Britain, a Man well in Years, of a Grave and Venerable Aspect, and of a reserved Temper. His Name I never knew, for I had not asked him in the little time he was with me, expecting a longer converse with him; and he never told me it. But he acquainted me that he had lived with the Sp•niards 22 Years, and now they threatned to Burn him, I knew not for what Crime: therefore he had fled for Sanctuary to this Place, & had brought his Gun, Amunition, and Dog, with a small quantity of Pork, designing to spend the residue of his Days here, & support himself by Hunting. He seemed very kind & obliging to me, gave me some of his Pork, and assisted me all he could; tho' he conversed little.
Upon the Third Day after he came to me, he told me, he would go out in his Canoo among the Islands, to kill some Wild Hogs & Deer, and would have had me to go along with him. His Company, the Fire and a little dressed Provision something recruited my Spirits; but yet I was so Weak, and Sore in my Feet, that I could not accompany him in Hunting: So he set out alone, and said he would be with me again in a Day or two. The Sky was Serene and Fair, and there was no prospect of any Danger in his little Voyage among the Islands, when he had come safe in that small 〈◊〉 at near 12 Leagues; but by that time he had been gone an Hour, there arose a most Violent Gust of Wind and Rain, which in all probability overset him; so that I never saw nor heard of him any more. And tho' by this means I was deprived of my Companion, yet it was the Goodness of GOD to me, that I was not well eno' to go with him; for thus I was pre|served from that Destruction which undoubtedly overtook him.
Page 27Thus after the pleasure of having a Companion almost Three Days, I was as unexpectedly reduced to my former lonely Condition, as I had been for a little while recovered out of it. It was grievous to me to think, that I no sooner saw the Dawnings of Light, after so long Obscurity, but the Clouds returned after the Rain upon me. I began to expe|rience the Advantage of a Companion, and find that Two is better than One, and flattered my self, that by the help of some fresh Hogs Grease, I should get my Feet well, and by a better Living recover more Strength. But it pleased GOD to take from me the only Man I had seen for so many Months after so short a Converse with him. Yet I was left in better Circumstances by him than he found me in. For at his going away he left with me about Five Pound of Pork, a Knife, a Bottle of Powder, Tobacco Tongs and Flint, by which means I was in a way to Live better than I had done. For now I could have a Fire, which was very needful for me, the Rainy Months of the Winter; I could cut up some Tortoise when I had turned them, and have a delicate broiled Meal of it: So that by the help of the Fire, and dressed Food, and the Blessing of GOD accompaning it, I began to recover more Strength, only my Feet remained Sore.
Besides, I had this Advantage now, which I had not be|fore, that I could go out now and then and catch a Dish of Crab-Fish, a Fish much like a Lobster, only wanting the great Claws. My manner of catching them was odd; I took some of the best peices of the old broken small Wood, that came the nearest to our Pitch Pine, or Candle-Wood, and made them up into a small Bundle like a Torch, and holding one of these lighted at one End in one hand, I waded into the Water upon the Beach up to my Wast: the Crab-Fish spying the Light at a considerable distance, would crawl away till they came directly under it, and then they would lye still at my Feet. In my other hand I had a Forked Stick with which I struck the Fish and tossed it ashoar. In this manner I sup|plyed my self with? Mess of Shell-Fish, which when roasted is very good Eating.
Between two and three Months after I had lost my Com|panion, as I was ranging a long shoar, I found a small Canoo. The sight of this at first renewed my Sorrows for his Loss; for I thought it had been his Canoo, and it's coming ashore thus, was a proof to me that he was lost in the Tempest: but upon further Examination of it I found it was one I had never seen before.
Page 28When I had got this little Vessel in possession, I began to think my self Admiral of the Neighbouring Seas, as well as Sole Possessor and Chief Commander upon the Islands; and with the advantage hereof I could transport my self to my small Islands of Retreat, much more conveniently than in my former Method of Swimming. In process of time I tho't of making a Tour to some of the more distant and larger Islands, to see after what manner they were inhabited, and how they were provided, and partly to give my self the Liberty of Diversions. So I lay'd in a small parcel of Grapes and Figs, and some Tortoise, & took my Fire-Works with me, and put off for the Island of Bonacco, an Island of about 4 or 5 Leagues long, and some 5 or 6 Leagues to the Eastward of Roatan.
As I was upon my Voyage I discovered a Sloop at the East|ern End of the Island; so I made the best of my way, and put in at the Western End; designing to travel down to them by Land, partly because there ran out a large point of Rocks far into the Sea, and I did not care to venture my self so far out in my little Canoo as I must do to head them: & partly because I was willing to make a better discovery of them, before I was seen by them; for in the midst of my most de|plorable Circumstances, I could never entertain the thoughts of returning on board any Pirate, if I should have the oppor|tunity, but had rather Live and Dye as I was. So I haled up my Canoo, and fastned her as well as I could, and set out upon my Travel.
I spent two Days, and the biggest part of two Nights in Travelling of it; my Feet were yet so sore that I could go but very slowly, and sometimes the Woods and Bushes were so thick that I was forced to Crawl upon my Hands and Knees for half a Mile together. In this Travel I met with an odd Adventure that had like to have proved fatal 'o me, and my preservation was an eminent Instance of the Divine Conduct and Protection.
As I drew within a Mile or two of where I supposed the Sloop might be, I made down to the Water side, and slowly opened the Sea, that I might not discover my self too soon; when I came down to the Water side I could see no sign of the Sloop, upon which I concluded that it was gone clear, while I spent so much time in Traveling. I was very much tired with my long tedious March, and sat my self Page 29 down leaning against the Stock of a Tree facing to the Sea, and fell a Sleep. But I had not slept long before I was a|wakned in a very surprising manner, by the noise of Guns. I started up in a fright, and law Nine Periaguas, or large Canooes, full of Men firing upon me. I soon turned about and ran as fost as my sore Feet would let me into the Bushes; and the Men which were Spaniards, cryed after me, O Englishman, we'll give you good Quarter. But such was the Surprise I had taken, by being awakned out of Sleep in such a manner, that I had no command of my self to hearken to their offers of Quarter, which it may be at another time under cooler thoughts I might have done. So I made into the Woods, and they continued Firing after me, to the Number of 150 small Shot at least, many of which out off several small twigs of the Bushes along side of me as I went off. When I had got out of the reach of their Shot, into a very great Thicket, I lay close for several Hours; and perceiving they were gone by the noise of their Oars in Rowing off, I came out of my Thicket, and Travelled a Mile or two along the Water side, below the place where they Fired upon me, and then I saw the Sloop under English Colours, Sailing out of the Harbour, with the Periaguas in tow; and then I concluded that it was an English Sloop that had been at the Bay, whom the Spaniards had met with and taken.
The next Day I went up to the Tree, where I so narrowly Escaped being taken Napping, and there to my surprise I found 6 or 7 Shot had gone into the Body of the Tree, with|in a Foot or less of my Head as I sat down; & yet thro' the wonderful goodness of GOD to me, in the midst of all their Fire, and tho' I was as a Mark set up for them to shoot at, none of their Shot touched me. So did GOD as yet signally preserve me.
After this I Travelled away for my Canoo' at the Western End of the Island, and spent near three Days e're I reached it. In this Long March backward and forward, I suffered very much from the Soreness of my Feet, & the want of Provision; for this Island is not so plentifully stored with Fruit as Roat|an is, so that I was very difficultly put to it for my Subsist|ence, for the 5 or 6 Days that I spent here; and besides the Maskettoes and Black Flys were abundantly more numerous, and vexatious to me than at my old Habitation. The Dif|ficulties I met with here made me lay aside all thoughts of Page 30 tarrying any time to search the Island. At length much tired and spent I reached my Canoo, and found all safe there, to my great Joy; and then I put off for Roatan, which was a Royal Palace to me in comparison of Bonacco, where I arrived to my great Satisfaction about Ten a Clock at Night, & found all things as I left them.
Here I Lived (if it may be called Living) alone for about even Months more, from the time of my loosing my North British Companion; and spent my time after my usual manner in Hunting for my Food, and Ranging the Islands; till at length it pleased GOD, to send some Company to me with whom I could Converse, and enjoy somewhat more of the Comforts of Life.
Sometime in June, 1724, as I was upon my small Island, where I often retired for Shelter from the pestering Insects, I saw two large Canooes making into the Harbour; as they drew near they saw the Smoak of the Fire which I had kindled, and wondring what it should mean came to a stand. I had fresh in my Memory what I met with at Banacco, and was very loth to run the risque of such another firing, and there|fore steped to my Canoo upon the back side of my small Island, not above 100 feet off from me, and immediately went over to my great Mansion, where I had places of safety to Shelter me from the Designs of an Enemy, and Rooms large and spacious eno' to give a kindly welcome to any ordinary number of Friends. They saw me cross the Ferry of about Gun shot over, from my little to my great Island, and being as much afraid of Spaniards, as I was of Pirates, they drew very cautiously towards the shoar. I came down upon the Beech shewing my self openly to them; for their caution made me think they were no Pirates, and I did not much care who else they were; however, I thought I could call to them, and know what they were, before I should be in much danger from their shot; and if they proved such as I did not like, I could easily retire from them. But before I called, they, who were as full of fears as I could be, lay upon their Oa•s and hallooed to me, enquiring who I was, and whence I came; I told them I was an English Man, and had Run|away from the Pirates. Upon this they drew something nearer and enquired who was there besides my self; I assured them I was alone. Then I took my turn, and asked them who they were, and whence they came. They told me they Page 31 were Bay-men, come from the Bay. This was comfortable News to me; so I bid them pull ashoar, there was no danger, I would stop for them. Accordingly they put ashoar, but at some distance from me, and first sent one Man ashoar to me; whom I went to meet. When the Man came up to me he started back, frighted to see such a Poor, Ragged, Lean, Wan, Forlorn, Wild, Miserable Object so near him: but upon re|covering himself, he came and took me by the hand, and we fell to embracing one another, he with Surprise and wonder, I with a sort of Extasy of Joy. After this was over he took me up in his Arms and carried me down to their Canooes, where they were all struck with astonishment at the sight of me, were glad to receive me, and expressed a very great ten|derness to me.
I gave them a short History how I had escaped from Low,and had lived here alone for Sixteen Months, (Saving three days) what hardship I had met with, and what danger I had run thro'. They stood amazed! they wondred I was alive! and expressed a great satisfaction in it, that they were come to relieve me. And observing I was weak, and my Spirits low, they gave me about a Spoonful of Rhum to re|cruit my fainting Spirits. This small quantity, thro' my long disuse of any Liquor higher Spirited than Water, and my present weakness, threw my Animal Spirits into such a violent Agitation, as to obstruct their Motion, and produced a kind of Stupor, which left me for sometime bereft of all Sense; some of them perceiving me falling into such a strange Insensibility, would have given me more of the same Spirit to have recovered me; but those of them that had more wit, would not allow of it. So I lay for some small time in a sort of a Fit, and they were ready to think that they should lose me as soon as they had found me. But I revived.
And when I was so thorowly come to my self as to converse with them, I found they were Eighteen Men come from the Bay of Honduras, the Chief of which were, John Hope, and John Ford. The occasion of their coming from the Bay was, a Story they had got among them, that the Spaniards had pro|jected to make a descent upon them by Water, while the In|dians were to assault them by Land, and cut off the Bay; and they retired hither to avoid the Destruction that was de•iga•d. This John Hopeand Fordhad formerly, upon a like occasion, sheltred themselves among these Islands, and lived for four Page 32 Years together upon a small Island called Barbarat, about two Leagues from Roatan,where they had two Plantations, as they called them; and being now upon the same design of retreating for a time for Safety, they brought with them two Earrels of Flower, with other provisions, their Fire-Arms, Ammunition and Dogs for Hunting, and Nets for Tortoise, and an Indian Woman to dress their Provision for them. They chose for their chief Residence a small Key about a quarter of a Mile Round, lying near to Barbarat,which they called the Castle of Comfort, chiefly because it was low, and clear of Woods and Bushes, where the Wind had an open passage, and drove away the pestering Muskettoesand Gnats. From hence they sent to the other Islands round about for Wood and Wa|ter, and for Materials, with which they Built two Houses, such as they were, for Shelter.
And now I seemed to be in a far more likely way to Live pretty tollerably, than in the Sixteen Months past; for besides the having Company, they treated me with a great deal of Civility, in their way; they Cloathed me, and gave me a large sort of Wrapping Gown to lodge in a Nights to defend me from the great Dews, till their Houses were Covered; and we had plenty of Provision. But after all they were Bad Company, and there was but little difference between them and the Pirates, as to their Common Conversation; only I thought they were not now engaged in any such bad design as rendred it unlawful to Joyn with them, nor danger|ous to be found in their Company.
In process of time, by the Blessing of GOD, & the Assistance I received from them, I gathered so much Strength that I was able sometimes to go 〈◊〉 a Hunting with them. The Islands hereabouts, I observed before, abound with Wild Hogs and Deer, and Tortoise. Their manner was to go out a num|ber of them in a Canoo, sometimes to one Island, sometimes to another and kill what Game they could meet with, and Jirk their Pork, by beginning at one end of a Hog and cutting along to the other end, and so back again till they had gone all over him, and flee the flesh in long strings off from the Bones; the Venison they took whole or in quarters, and the Tortoise in like manner; and return home with a load of it; what they did not spend presently, they hung up in their House a smoak drying; and this was a ready supply to them at all times.
Page 33I was now ready to think my self out of the reach of any danger from an Enemy, for what should bring any here? and I was compassed continually with a Number of Men with their Arms ready at hand; and yet when I thought my self most secure, I very narrowly escaped falling again into the hands of the Pirates.
It happened about 6 or 7 Months after these Bay-men came to me, That three Men and I took a Canon with four Oars, to go over to Bonacco, a Hunting and to kill Tortoise. While we were gone the rest of the Bay-men haled up their Canooes, and Dryed and Tarred them, in order to go to the Bay and see how matters stood there, and to fetch off their Effects which they had left behind them, in case they should find there was no safety for them in tarrying. But before they were gone, we, who had met with good Success in our Voyage, were upon our return to them with a full load of Tortoise and Jirks Pork. As we were upon entring into the Mouth of the Harbour, in a Moon-light Evening, we saw a great •lash of Light, and heard the report of a Gun, which we thought was much louder than a Musket, out or a large Periagua, which we saw near our Castle of Comfort. This put us into a great Consternation, and we knew not what to make of it. Within a Minute or two we heard a Volley of 18 or 20 small Arms discharged upon the shoar, and heard some Guns also fired off from the shoar. Upon which we were satisfied that some Enemy, Pirates or Spaniards were attacking our People, and being cut off from our Companions, by the Periaguas which lay between us and them, we thought it our wisest way to save our selves as well as we could. So we took down our little Mast and Sail, that it might not betray us, and rowed out of the Harbour as fast as we could; thinking to make our Escape from them undiscovered, to an Island about a Mile and half off. But they either saw us before we had taken our Sail down, or heard the noise of our Oars as we made out of the Harbour, and came after us with all speed, in a Periagua of 8 or 10 Oars. We saw them coming, & that they gained ground upon us apace, & therefore pull'd up for Life, resolving to reach the nearest shoar if possible. The Periagua overhaled us so fast that they discharged a Swivel Gun at us, which over-shot us; but we made a shift to gain the shoar before they were come fairly within the reach of their small Arms; which yet they fired upon us, as we were getting ashoar. Then they called to us, and told us they were Pirates, and not Spaniards, and we Page 34 need not fear, they would give us good Quarter; supposing this would easily move us to surrender our selves to them. But they could not have mentioned any thing worse to dis|courage me from having any thing to do with them, for I had the utmost dread of a Pirate; and my first aversion to them was now strengthened with the just fears, that if I should fall into their hands again, they would soon make a Sacrifice of me, for my Deserting them. I therefore concluded to keep as clear of them as I could; and the Bay-men with me had no great inclination to be medling with them and so we made the best of our way into the Woods. They took away our Canoo from us, and all that was in it; resolving if we would not come to them, they would strip us, as far as they were able, of all means of Subsistance where we were. I who had known what it was to be destitute of all things, and alone, was not much concerned about that, now that I had Company, and they their Arms with them, so that we could have a supply of Provision by Hunting, and Fire to dress it with.
This Company it seems were some of Spriggs Men, who was Commander of the Schooner when I Ran-away from them. This same Spriggs, I know not upon what occasion, had cast off the Service of Low, and set up for himself as the Head of a Party of Rovers, and had now a good ship of 24 Guns, and a Barmuda Sloop of 12 Guns, under his Command, which were now lying in Roatan Harbour, where he put in to Water and Clean, at the place where I first made my Escape. He had discovered our People upon the small Island, where they Resided, and sent a Periagua full of Men to take them. Ac|cordingly they took all the Men ashoar, and with them an Indian Woman and child; those of them that were ashoar abused the Woman shamefully. They killed one Man after they were come ashore, and threw him into one of the Baymens Canooes where their Tar was, and set Fire to it, and burnt him in it. Then they carried our People on Board their Vessels, where they were barbarously treated.
One of the Baymen Thomas Grande, turned Pirate; and he being acquainted that Old Father Hope (as we called him) had hid many things in the Woods, told the Pirates of it, who beat poor Hope unmercifully, and made him go and shew them where he had hid his Treasure, which they took away from him.
Page 35After they had kept the Bay-men on board their Vessels for five Days, then they gave them a Flat, of about 5 or 6 Tons to carry them to the Bay in, but they gave them no Provision for their Voyage; and before they sent them away, they made them Swear to them, not to come near us, who had made our Escape upon another Island. All the while the Vessels rode in the Harbour, we kept a good look out, but were put to some difficulties, because we did not dare to make a Fire to dress our Victuals by, least it should discover whereabouts we were, so that we were forced to live upon Raw Provision for five Days. But as soon as they were gone, Father Hope with his Company of Bay-men, (little regarding an Oath that was forced from them; and thinking it a wicked Oath, better broken, than to leave four of us in such a help|less Condition) came to us, and acquainted us who they were, and what they had done.
Thus the 〈◊〉 Providence of GOD, which had so often heretofore appeared on my behalf, again took special care 〈◊〉 me, and sent me out of the way of danger. 'Tis very apparent that if I had been with my Companions, at the usual Resi|dence, I had been taken with them; and if I had, it is beyond question (humanely speaking) that I should not have escaped with Life, if I should the most painful and cruel Death, that the Madness and Rage of Spriggs could have invented for me; who would now have called to mind the design I was engaged in while we were parted from Low, as well as my final Deserting of them. But Blessed be GOD, who had designs of favour for me, and so ordered that I must at this time be absent from my Company.
Now Old Father Hope and his Company are all designed for the Bay; only one John Symonds, who had a Negro belong|ing to him, purposed to tarry here for some time, and carry on some sort of Trade with the Jamaica Men upon the Main. I longed to get home to New-England, and thought if I went to the Bay with them, it was very probable that I should in a little while meet with some New-England Vessel, that would carry me to my Native Country, from which I had been so long a poor Exile. I asked Father Hope, if he would take me in with him, and carry me to the Bay. The Old Man, tho' he seemed glad of my Company, yet told me the many Difficulties that lay in the way; as that their Flat was but a poor thing to carry so many Men in for near 70 Leagues, Page 36 which they must go before they would be out of the reach of Danger; that they had no Provision with them, and it was uncertain how the Weather would prove, they might be a great while upon their Passage thither, & their Flat could very poorly endure a great Sea; that when they should come to the Bay, they knew not how they should meet with things there, and they were Daily in Danger of being cut off; and it may be I should be longer there, in case all was well, than I cared for, e'er I should meet with a Passage for New-England; for the New-England Vessels often Sailed from the Bay to other Ports: so that all things considered, he thought I had better stay where I was, seeing I was like to have Company; whereas rather than I should be left alone he would take me in.
On the other hand, Symonds, who as I said 〈◊〉 to spend sometime here, greatly urged me to 〈◊〉 him Company. He told me that as soon as the Sea 〈◊◊◊〉 pur|posed to go over to the Main to the jamaica•raders, where I might get a Passage to Jamaica, and from thence to New|England, probably quicker, and undoubtedly much safer than I could from the Bay; and that in the mean while I should fare as he did.
I did not trouble my self much about fareing, for I knew I could not fare harder than I had done; but I thought, upon the Consideration of the whole, that there seemed to be a fairer Prospect of my getting home by the way of Jamaica, than the Bay; and therefore I said no more to Father Hope about going with him, but concluded to stay. So I thanked Father Hope and Company for all their Civilities to me, wish|ed them a good Voyage, and took leave of them.
And now there was John Symonds, and I, and his Negro left behind; and a good Providence of GOD was it for me, that I took their Advice and stayed; for tho' I got not home by the way of Jamaica as was proposed, yet I did another and quicker way, in which there was more evident Interpositions of the Conduct of Divine Providence, as you will heat presently.
Symonds was provided with a Canoo, Fire-Arms, and two Dogs, as well as a Negro; with these he doubted not but we should be furnished of all that was necessary for our Subsistence; with this Company I spent between two and three Months, after the usual manner in Hunting and Ranging the Islands. And yet the Winter Rains would not suffer us to hunt much more than needs must.
Page 40When the Season was near approaching for the Jamaica Traders to be over at the Main, Symonds proposed the going 〈◊〉 some of the other Islands that abounded more with Tor|toise, that he might get the Shells of them, and carry to the Traders and in Exchange furnish himself with Ozenbrigs and Shoes and such other necessaries as he wanted. We did so, and having got good store of Tortoise Shell, he then proposed to go first for Bonacco, which lies nearer to the Main than Roat|an, that from thence we might take a favourable Snatch to run over.
Accordingly we went to Bonacco, and by that time we had been there about Five Days there came up a very hard North, which blew exceeding Fierce, and lasted for about three Days; when the heaft of the Storm was over, we saw several Vessels 〈◊〉 for the Harbour; their number and large|ness ma••〈◊◊◊〉 might be Friends, and now an op|portunity 〈◊◊〉 which Deliverance might be per|fected to me.
The Larger Vessels came to Anchor at a great Distance off; but a Brigantine came over the Shoals, nearer in against the Watering place (for Bonacco as well as Roatan abounds with Water) which sent in her Boat with Cask for Water: I plainly saw they were Englishmen, and by their Garb & Air, and number, being but three Men in the Boat, concluded they were Friends, and shewed my self openly upon the Beech be|fore them: as soon as they saw me they stop'd rowing, and called out to me to know who I was. I told them, and en|quired who they were. They let me know they were honest Men, about their Lawful Business, I then called to them to come ashoar, for there was no Body here that would hurt them. They came ashoar, and a happy meeting it was for 〈◊〉. Upon enquiry I found that the Vessels were the Diamond Man of War, and a Fleet under his Convoy, bound to Jamaica, (many whereof she had parted with in the late Storm) which by the violence of the North had been forced so far Southward; and the Man of War wanting Water, by reason of the Sickness of her Men which occasioned a great Con|sumption of it, had touched here, and sent in the Brigantine to fetch off Water for her. Mr.Symonds, who at 〈◊〉 kept at the other end of the Beech, about half a Mile off, (•elf the three Men in the Boat should refuse to come ashoar, •••ing two of us together,) at length came up to us and became a sharer in my joy, and yet not without some very 〈◊〉 reluctance at the Thoughts of Parting. The Brigantine Page 38 proved to be of Salem,(within two or three Miles of my Fathers House) Capt. Dove Commander, a Gentleman whom I knew. So now I had the prospect of a Direct Passage Home. I sent off to Capt.Dove, to know if he would give me a Passage home with him, and he was very ready to com|ply with my desire; and upon my going on Board him, besides the great Civilities he treated me with, he took me into pay; for he had lost a hand and needed me to supply his place. The next Day the Man of War sent her Long Boat in, full of Cask, which they filled with Water, and put on Board the Brigantine, who carried them off to her. I had one Difficul|ty more to encounter with, which was to take leave to Mr.Symonds, who Wept heartily at parting; but this I was for|ced to go thro' for the Joy of getting Home.
So the latter end of March 1725, we came to Sail, and kept Company with the Man of War, 〈◊〉 was bound to Jamaica: the first of April we parted, and thro' the good hand of GOD upon us came safe thro' the Gulf of Florida, to Salem-Harbour, where we Arrived upon Saturday-Evening, the first of May: Two Years, Ten Months and Fifteen Days, after I was first taken by the Pirate Low; and Two Years, and near two Months after I had made my Escape from him up|on Roatan Island. I went the same Evening to my Father's House, where I was received, as one coming to them from the Dead, with all Imaginable Surprise of Joy.
Thus I have given you a Short Account, how GOD has Conducted me thro' a great variety of Hardships and Dangers, and in all appeared Wonderfully Gracious to me. And I can|not but take notice of the strange concurrence of Divine Providence all along, in saving 〈◊〉 from the Rage of the Pirates, and the Malice of the Spaniards, from the Beasts of the Field, and the Monsters of the Sea; in keeping me alive amidst so many Deaths, in such a lonely and helpless Condition; and in bringing about my Deliverance: the last Articles whereof are as peculiarly Remarkable as any;—I must be just then gone over to Bonacco; a Storm must drive a Fleet of Ships so far Southward; and their want of Water must oblige them to put in at the Island where I was;—and a Vessel bound to my own Home must come and take me in.—Not unto Men and means, but unto thy Name, O Lord, be all the Glory! Amen.
Philip Ashton, Jun.