Page images

used for preserving the society from danger: After a long debate it was agreed, first, That they should be disarmed, and not permitted to have either gun, or powder, or fhot, or sword, or any weapon, and fhould be turned out of the society, and left to live where they would, and how they could, by themselves; but that none of the rest, either Spaniards or English, should converse with them, speak with them, or have any thing to do with them; that they should be forbid to come within a certain distance of the place where the rest dwelt; and that if they offered to commit any disorder, so as to spoil, burn, kill, or destroy any of the corn, plantings, buildings, fences, or cattle belonging to the fociety, that they should die without mercy, and would shoot them wherever they could find them.

The governor, a man of great humanity, musing upon the sentence, considered a little upon it; and, turning to the two honest Englishmen, faid, Hold; you must reflect, that it will be long ere they can raise corn and cattle of their own, and they must not starve; we must therefore allow them provisions. So he cau. sed to be added, That they should have a proportion of corn given them to last them eight months, and for seed to fow, by which time they might be supposed to raise foine of their own; that they should have fix milch-goats, four he-goats, and fix kids given them, as well for present subsistence, as for a store; and that they should have tools given them for their work in the field; such as, fix hatchets, an axe, a saw, and the like: But they should have none of these tools or provisions, unless they would swear


folemnly, that they would not hurt or injure any of the Spaniards with them, or of their fellow Englishmen.

Thus they dismissed them the society, and turned them out to shift for themselves. They went away sullen and refractory, as neither contented to go away, or to stay; but, as there was no remedy, they went, pretending to go and choose a place where they should settle themselves, to plant and live by themselves; and some provisions were given, but no wea. pons.

About four or five days after, they came again for some victuals, and gave the governor an account where they had pitched their tents, and marked themfelves out an habitation or plantation ; it was a very convenient place indeed, on the remotest part of the island, N. E. much about the place where I providentially landed in my first voyage, when I was dri , ven out to sea, the Lord alone knows whither, in my foolish attempt to surround the island.

Here they built themselves two handsome huts, and contrived them in a manner like my first habitation, being close under the side of a hill, having some trees growing already to the three sides of it; so that by planting others, it would be very easily covered from the sight, unless narrowly searched for; they desired some dry goat skins for beds covering, which were given them; and upon their giving their words that they would not disturb the rest, or injure any of their plantations, they gave them hatchets, and what other tools they could spare; some peale, barley, and rice, for fowing, and, in a word, any thing they wanted but arms and ammunition.


They lived in this feparate condition about fix months, and had got in their first harvest, though the quantity was but small, the parcel of land they had planted being but little; for indeed, having all their plantation to form, they had a great deal of work upon their hands; and when they came to make boards, and pots, and such things, they were quite out of their element, and could make nothing of it; and when the rainy season came on, for want of a cave in the earth, they could not keep their grain dry, and it was in great danger of spoiling: and this humbled them much ; so they came and begged the Spaniards to help them, which they very readily did; and in four days worked a great hole in the side of the hill for them, big enough to secure their corn, and other things from the rain; but it was but a poor place at best, compared to mine ; and especially as mine was then; for the Spaniards had greatly enlarged it, and made several new apartments in it. About three quarters

after this separation, a new frolick took these rogues, which, together with the former villainy they had committed, brought mischief enough upon them, and had very near been the ruin of the whole colony: the three new associates began, it seems, to be weary of the laborious life they led, and that without hope of bettering their circumstances; and a whim took them, that they would make a voyage to the continent from whence the favages came, and would try if they could not seize upon some prisoners among the natives there and bring them home, so as to make them do the laborious

of the work for them.


of a


The project was not so preposterous, if they had gone no farther ; but they did nothing, and proposed nothing, but had either mischief in the design, or mis. chief in the event: and, if I may give my opinion, they seemed to be under a blast from Heaven ; for if we will not allow a visible curse to pursue visible crimes, how shall we reconcile the events of things with divine justice? It was certainly an apparent vengeance on their crime of mutiny and piracy, that brought them to the state they were in; and, as they shewed not the least remorse for the crime, but added new villainies to it, such as, particularly, that piece of monstrous cruelty of wounding a poor slave, because he did not, or perhaps could not, understand to do what he was directed; and to wound him in such a manner, as, no question, made him a cripple all his life, and in a place where no surgeon or medicine could be had for his cure: and, what was still worse, the murderous intent; or, to do justice to the crime, the intentional murder, for such to be sure it was, as was afterwards the formed design they all laid, to murder the Spaniards in cold blood, and in their sleep.

But I leave observing, and return to the story: The three fellows came down to the Spaniards one morning, and, in very humble terms, desired to be admitted to speak with them: the Spaniards very readily heard what they had to say, which was this: that they were tired of living in the manner they did; that they were not handy enough to make the necessaries they wanted; and that, having no help, they found they should be starved; but if the Spaniards would give them leave to take one of the canoes which


they came over in, and give them arms and ammunition, proportioned for their defence, they would go over to the main, and seek their fortune, and so deliver them from the trouble of supplying them with any other provisions.

The Spaniards were glad enough to be rid of them; but yet very honestly represented to them the certain * destruction they were running into; told them,

they had suffered such hardships upon that very spot, that they could, without any spirit of prophecy, tell them, that they would be starved or murdered ; and bade them consider of it.

The men replied audaciously, they should be starved if they stayed here, for they could not work, and would not work; and they could but be ftarved abroad; and if they were murdered, there was an end of them, they had no wives or children to cry after them; and, in short, insisted importunately upon their demand, declaring that they would go, whether they would give them any arms or no.

The Spaniards told them, with great kindness, that if they were resolved to go, they should not go like naked men, and be in no condition to defend themselves; and that though they could ill spare their fire-arms, having not enough for themselves, yet they would let them have two musquets, a pistol, and a cutlass, and each man a hatchet, which they thought sufficient for them.

In a word, they accepted the offer; and having baked thein bread enough to serve them a month, and given them as much goat's flesh as they could eat while it was sweet, and a great basket full of dried grapes, a pot full of frelh water, and a young kid

« PreviousContinue »