Daniel Defoe.

The King of Pirates

We were now sufficiently provided for; in all those Prizes we got also about 56 Men, who, by Choice and Volunteer, agreed to go along with us, including the Carpenters and Surgeons, who we obligd always to go; so that we were now above 200 Men, two Ships, and the Burmoodas Sloop; and giving the other Sloop, and the New England homeward bound Ship their Sails again, we let them go; and as to the Malt which we took in the Burmoodas Sloop, we gave it the last New England Master, who was going to Barbadoes.

We gat in all those Ships, besides the Provisions above-mentiond, about 200 Musquets and Pistols, good Store of Cutlasses, about 20 Tun of Iron Shot and Musquet Ball, and 33 Barrels of good Powder, which was all very suitable Things to our Occasions.

We were fully satisfyd, as we said to one another, now, and concluded that we would stand away to the Windward, as well as we could, towards the Coast of Africa, that we might come in the Winds Way for the Coast of Brasil; but our Frigat (I mean that we were first shippd in) was yet out upon the Cruise, and not come in; so we came to an Anchor to wait for her, when, behold, the next Morning she came in with full Sail, and a Prize in Tow: She had, it seems, been farther West than her Orders, but had met with a Spanish Prize, whither bound, or from whence, I remember we did not enquire, but we found in her, besides Merchandize, which we had no Occasion for, 65000 Pieces of Eight in Silver, some Gold, and two Boxes of Pearl of a good Value; five Dutch, or rather Flemish, Seamen that were on Board her, were willing to go with us; and as to the rest of the Cargo, we let her go, only finding four of her Guns were Brass, we took them into our Ship, with seven great Jars of Powder, and some Cannon-Shot, and let her go, using the Spaniards very civilly.

This was a Piece of meer good Fortune to us, and was so encouraging as nothing could be more, for it set us up, as we may say; for now we thought we could never fail of good Fortune, and we resolvd, one and all, directly to the South Seas.

It was about the Middle of August 1690 that we set forward, and steering E. by S. and E. S. E. for about fifteen Days, with the Winds at N. N. W. variable, we came quickly into the Trade Winds, with a good Offing, to go clear of all the Islands; and so we steerd directly for Cape St. Augustin in the Brasils, which we made the 22nd of September.

We cruisd some Time upon the Coast, about the Bay of All Saints, and put in once or twice for fresh Water, especially at the Island of St. Johns, where we got good Store of Fish, and some Hogs, which, for fresh Provisions, was a great Relief to us: But we gat no Purchase here; for whether it was that their European Ships were just come in, or just gone out, we know not, or whether they suspected what we were, and so kept close within their Ports, but in thirteen Days that we plyd off and on about Fernambuque, and about fourteen Days more that we spent in coasting along the Brasil Shore to the South, we met not one Ship, neither saw a Sail, except of their Fishing-Boats or small Coasters, who kept close under Shore.

We crossd the Line here about the latter End of September, and found the Air exceeding hot and unwholsome, the Sun being in the Zenith, and the Weather very wet and rainy; so we resolvd to stand away South, without looking for any more Purchase on that Side.

Accordingly we kept on to the South, having tolerable good Weather, and keeping the Shore all the Way in View till we came the Length of St.

Julien, in the Latitude of 48 Degrees, 22 Minutes South; here we put in again, being the Beginning of November, and took in fresh Water, and spent about ten Days, refreshing ourselves, and fitting our Tackle; all which Time we livd upon Penguins and Seals, of which we killd an innumerable Number; and when we prepard to go, we salted up as many Penguins as we found would serve our whole Crew, to eat them twice a Week as long as they would keep.

Here we consulted together about going thro the Straits of Magellan; but I put them quite out of Conceit of making that troublesom and fatieguing Adventure, the Straits being so hazardous, and so many Winds requird to pass them; and having assurd them, that in our Return with Bat Sharp, we went away to the Latitude of 55 Degrees 30 Minutes, and then steering due East, came open with the North Seas in five Days Run, they all agreed to go that Way.

On the 20th of November we weighd from Port Julien, and having a fair Wind at N. E. by E. led it away merrily, till we came into the Latitude of 54, when the Wind veering more Northerly, and then to the N. W. blowing hard, we were driven into 55 Degrees and half, but lying as near as we could to the Wind, we made some Westward Way withal: The 3d of December the Wind came up South, and S. E. by S. being now just as it were at the Beginning of the Summer Solstice in that Country.

With this Wind, which blew a fresh Gale, we stood away N. N. W. and soon found ourselves in open Sea, to the West of America; upon which we hauld away N. by E. and N. N. E. and then N. E. when on the 20th of December we made the Land, being the Coast of Chili, in the Latitude of 41 Degrees, about the Height of Baldivia; and we stood out from hence till we made the Isle of St. Juan Fernando, where we came to an Anchor, and went on Shore to get fresh Water; also some of our Men went a hunting for Goats, of which we killd enough to feed us all with fresh Meat for all the while we stayd here, which was 22 Days. [Jan. 11.]

During this Stay we sent the Sloop out to Cruise, but she came back without seeing any Vessel; after which we orderd her out again more to the North, but she was scarce gone a League, when she made a Signal that she saw a Sail, and that we should come out to help them; accordingly the Frigat put to Sea after them, but making no Signal for us to follow, we lay still, and workd hard at cleaning our Ship, shifting some of the Rigging, and the like.

We heard no more of them in three Days, which made us repent sorely that we had not gone all three together; but the third Day they came back, tho without any Prize, as we thought, but gave us an Account that they had chacd a great Ship and a Bark all Night, and the next Day; that they took the Bark the Evening before, but found little in her of Value; that the great Ship ran on Shore among some Rocks, where they durst not go in after her, but that manning out their Boats, they got on Shore so soon, that the Men belonging to her durst not land; that then they threatend to burn the Ship as she lay, and burn them all in her, if they did not come on Shore and surrender: They offerd to surrender, giving them their Liberty, which our Men would not promise at first; but after some Parly, and arguing on both Sides, our Men agreed thus far, that they should remain Prisoners for so long as we were in those Seas, but that as soon as we came to the Height of Panama, or if we resolvd to return sooner, then they should be set at Liberty; and to these hard Conditions they yielded.

Our Men found in the Ship 6 Brass Guns, 200 Sacks of Meal, some Fruit, and the Value of 160000 Pieces of Eight in Gold of Chili, as good as any in the World: It was a glittering Sight, and enough to dazzle the Eyes of those that lookd on it, to see such a Quantity of Gold laid all of a Heap together, and we began to embrace one another in Congratulation of our good Fortune.

We brought the Prisoners all to the Island Fernando, where we used them very well, built little Houses for them, gave them Bread, and Meat, and every Thing they wanted; and gave them Powder and Ball to kill Goats with, which they were fully satisfyd with, and killd a great many for us too.

We continud to Cruise [Feb. 2] hereabout, but without finding any other Prize for near three Weeks more; so we resolvd to go up as high as Puna, the Place where I had been so lucky before; and we assurd our Prisoners, that in about two Months we would return, and relieve them; but they chose rather to be on Board us, so we took them all in again, and kept on with an easy Sail, at a proper Distance from Land, that we might not be known, and the Alarm given; for as to the Ship which we had taken, and which was stranded among the Rocks, as we had taken all the Men out of her, the People on the Shore, when they should find her, could think no other than that she was driven on Shore by a Storm, and that all the People were drownd, or all escapd and gone; and there was no Doubt but that the Ship would beat to Pieces in a very few Days.

We kept, I say, at a Distance from the Shore, to prevent giving the Alarm; but it was a needless Caution, for the Country was all alarmd on another Account, viz. about an 130 bold Buccaneers had made their Way over Land, not at the Isthmus of Darien, as usual, but from Granada, on the Lake of Nicaragua to the North of Panama, by which, tho the Way was longer, and the Country not so practicable as at the ordinary Passage, yet they were unmolested, for they surprizd the Country; and whereas the Spaniards, looking for them at the old Passage, had drawn Entrenchments, planted Guns, and posted Men at the Passages of the Mountains, to intercept them and cut them off, here they met with no Spaniards, nor any other Obstruction in their Way, but coming to the South Sea had Time, undiscoverd, to build themselves Canoes and Periaguas, and did a great deal of Mischief upon the Shore, having been followd, among the rest, by 80 Men more, commanded by one Guilotte, a Frenchman, an old Buccaneer; so that they were now 210 Men; and they were not long at Sea before they took two Spanish Barks going from Guatimala to Panama, loaden with Meal, Coco, and other Provisions; so that now they were a Fleet of two Barks, with several Canoes, and Periaguas, but no Guns, nor any more Ammunition than every one carryd at first at their Backs.

However, this Troop of Desperadoes had alarmd all the Coast, and Expresses both by Sea and Land were dispatchd, to warn the Towns on the Coast to be upon their Guard, all the way from Panama to Lima; but as they were represented to be only such Freebooters as I have said, Ships of Strength did not desist their Voyages, as they found Occasion, as we shall observe presently: We were now gotten into the Latitude of 10, 11, and 12 Degrees and a Half; but, in our overmuch Caution, had kept out so far to Sea, that we missd every Thing which would otherwise have fallen into our Hands; but we were better informd quickly, as you shall hear.

Early in the Morning, one of our Men being on the Missen-top, cryd, A Sail, a Sail; it provd to be a small Vessel standing just after us; and as we understood afterwards, did so, believing that we were some of the Kings Ships looking after the Buccaneers. As we understood she was a-Stern of us, we shortend Sail, and hung out the Spanish Colours, separating ourselves, to make him suppose we were cruising for the Buccaneers, and did not look for him; however, when we saw him come forward, but stretching in a little towards the Shore, we took Care to be so much to Starboard that he could not escape us that Way; and when he was a little nearer, the Sloop plainly chacd him, and in a little Time came up with him, and took him: We had little Goods in the Vessel, their chief Loading being Meal and Corn for Panama, but the Master happend to have 6000 Pieces of Eight in his Cabin, which was good Booty.

But that which was better than all this to us was, that the Master gave us an Account of two Ships which were behind, and were under Sail for Lima or Panama; the one having the Revenues of the Kingdom of Chili, and the other having a great Quantity of Silver, going from Puna to Lima, to be forwarded from thence to Panama, and that they kept together, being Ships of Force, to protect one another; how they did it we soon saw the Effects of.

Upon this Intelligence we were very joyful, and assurd the Master, that if we found it so, we would give him his Vessel again, and all his Goods, except his Money, as for That, we told him, such People as we never returnd it any Body: However, the Mans Intelligence provd good, for the very next Day, as we were standing South-West, our Spanish Colours being out, as above, we spyd one of the Ships, and soon after the other; we found they had discoverd us also, and that being doubtful what to make of us, they tackd and stood Eastward to get nearer the Land; we did the like, and as we found there was no letting them go that Way but that we should be sure to lose them, we soon let them know that we were resolvd to speak with them.

The biggest Ship, which was three Leagues a-Stern of the other, crowded in for the Shore with all the Sail, she could make, and it was easy for us to see that she would escape us; for as she was a great deal farther in with the Land than the other when we first gave Chace, so in about three Hours we saw the Land plain a-Head of us, and that the great Ship would get into Port before we could reach her.

Upon this we stretchd a-Head with all the Sail we could make, and the Sloop, which crowded also very hard, and out-went us, engagd the small Ship at least an Hour before we could come up: But she could make little of it, for the Spanish Ship having 12 Guns and 6 Patereroes, would have been too many for the Sloop if we had not come up: However, at length, our biggest Ship came up also, and, running up under her Quarter, gave her our whole Broadside; at which she struck immediately, and the Spaniards cryd, Quarter, and Miserecordia; Upon this, our Sloops Men enterd her presently, and securd her.

In the Beginning oft his Action, it seems, our Redhand Captain was so provokd at losing the greater Prize, which, as he thought, had all the Money on Board, that he swore he would not spare one of the Dogs, (so he calld the Spaniards in the other Ship) but he was prevented; and it was very happy for the Spaniards, that the first Shot the Ship made towards us, just as we were running up to pour in our Broadside, I say, the first Shot took Captain Redhand full on the Breast, and shot his Head and one Shoulder off, so that he never spoke more, nor did I find that any one Man in the Ship shewd the least Concern for him; so certain it is, that Cruelty never recommends any Man among Englishmen; no, tho they have no Share in the suffering under it; but one said, D n him, let him go, he was a butcherly Dog; another said, D n him, he was a merciless Son of a B ch; another said, he was a barbarous Dog, and the like.

But to return to the Prize, being now as certain of the smaller Prize as that we had missd the great one, we began to examine what we had got; and it is not easy to give an exact Account of the prodigious Variety of Things we found: In the first Place, were 116 Chests of Pieces of Eight in Specie, 72 Bars of Silver, 15 Bags of wrought Plate, which a Fryer that was on Board would have perswaded us, for the Sake of the Blessed Virgin, to have returnd, being, as he said, consecrated Plate to the Honour of the holy Church, the Virgin Mary, and St. Martin; but, as it happend, he could not perswade us to it; also we found about 60000 Ounces of Gold, some in little Wedges, some in Dust. We found several other Things of Value, but not to be namd with the rest.

Being thus made surprisingly rich, we began to think what Course we should steer next; for as the great Ship, which was escapd, would certainly alarm the Country, we might be sure we should meet with no more Purchase at Sea, and we were not very fond of landing, to attack any Town on Shore. In this Consultation tis to be observd, that I was, by the unanimous Consent of all the Crew, made Captain of the great Ship, and of the whole Crew; the whole Voyage hither, and every Part of it, having, for some Time before, been chiefly managd by my Direction, or at least by my Advice.

The first Thing I proposd to them all, was, seeing we had met with such good Luck, and that we could not expect much more, and if we stayd longer in these Seas, should find it very hard to revictual our Ships, and might have our Retreat cut off by Spanish Men of war; (five of which we heard were sent out after the other Buccaneers) we should make the best of our Way to the South, and get about into the North Seas, where we were out of all Danger.

In Consequence of this Advice, which was generally approvd, we stood away directly South; and the Wind blowing pretty fair at N. N. E. a merry Gale, we stood directly for the Isle of Juan Fernando, carrying our rich Prize with us.

We arrivd here the Beginning of June, having been just six Months in those Seas. We were surprizd, when coming to the Island, we found two Ships at an Anchor close under the Lee of the Rocks, and two little Periaguas farther in, near the Shore; but being resolvd to see what they were, we found, to our Satisfaction, they were the Buccaneers of whom I have spoken above: The Story is too long to enter upon here; but in short, without Guns, without Ship, and only coming over Land with their Fusees in their Hands, they had rangd these Seas, had taken several Prizes, and some pretty rich, and had got two pretty handsome Barks, one carryd six Guns, and the other four; they had shard, as they told us, about 400 Pieces of Eight a Man, besides one Thing they had which we were willing to buy of them; they had about 100 Jarrs of Gunpowder, which they took out of a Store Ship going to Lima.

If we was glad to meet them, you may be sure they were glad to meet with us, and so we began to sort together as one Company, only they were loth to give over and return, as we were and which we had now resolvd on.

We were so rich ourselves, and so fully satisfyd with what we had taken, that we began to be bountiful to our Countrymen; and indeed they dealt so generously with us, that we could not but be inclind to do them some Good, for when we talkd of buying their Gunpowder, they very frankly gave us 50 Jarrs of it gratis.

I took this so kindly, that I calld a little Council among ourselves, and proposd to send the poor Rogues 50 Barrels of our Beef, which we could very well spare; and our Company agreeing to it, we did so, which made their Hearts glad; for it was very good, and they had not tasted good Salt-beef for a long Time; and with it we sent them two Hogsheads of Rum: This made them so hearty to us, that they sent two of their Company to compliment us, to offer to enter themselves on Board us, and to go with us all the World over.

We did not so readily agree to this at first, because we had no new Enterprize in View; but however, as they sent us Word they had chosen me so unanimously for their Captain, I proposd to our Men to remove ourselves, and all our Goods, into the great Ship and the Sloop, and so take the honest Fellows into the Fregat, which now had no less than 22 Guns, and would hold them all, and then they might sail with us, or go upon any Adventures of their own, as we should agree.

Accordingly we did so, and gave them that Ship, with all her Guns and Ammunition, but made one of our own Men Captain, which they consented to, and so we became all one Body.

Here also we shard our Booty, which was great indeed to a Profusion; and as keeping such a Treasure in every Mans particular private Possession, would have occasiond Gaming, Quarrelling, and perhaps Thieving and Pilfering, I orderd that so many small Chests should be made as there were Men in the Ship, and every Mans Treasure was naild up in these Chests, and the Chests all stowd in the Hold, with every Mans Name upon his Chest, not to be touchd but by general Order, and to prevent Gaming, I prevaild with them to make a Law or Agreement, and everyone to set their Hands to it; by which they agreed, That if any Man playd for any more Money than he had in his Keeping, the Winner should not be paid whatever the Loser run in Debt, but the Chest containing every Mans Dividend, should be all his own, to be deliverd whole to him; and the Offender, whenever he left the Ship, if he would pay any Gaming Debts afterward, that was another Case; but such Debts should never be paid while he continud in that Company.

By this Means also we securd the Ships Crew keeping together; for if any Man left the Ship now, he was sure to leave about 6000 Pieces of Eight behind him, to be shard among the rest of the Ships Company, which few of them card to do.

As we were now all embarkd together, the next Question was, Whither we should go? As for our Crew, we were so rich, that our Men were all for going back again, and so to make off to some of the Leeward Islands, that we might get a-Shore privately with our Booty: But as we had shippd our new Comrades on Board a good Ship, it would be very hard to oblige them to go back without any Purchace, for that would be to give them a Ship to do them no Good, but to carry them back to Europe just as they came out from thence, viz. with no Money in their Pockets.

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