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Shipwreck of Mr. Ring-rose, the author of this narrative. He is taken by the Spaniards and miraculously by them preserved. Several other accidents and disasters which betel him after the loss of his companions till he found them again. Description of the Gulf of Vallona.
ON Monday, April 19th, at break of day, we hauled our canoe into the water again, and departing from the island aforementioned: wet and cold as we were, we rowed away towards the Punta de San Lorenzo, or Point St. Lawrence. In our way we met with several islands which lie straggling thereabouts. But now we were again so hard put to it, by the smallness of our vessel, and being in an open sea, that it had become the work of one man, yea sometimes of two, to cast out the water, which came in on all sides of our canoe. After struggling for some time with these difficulties, as we came near one of those islands, a heavy sea overturned our boat, by which means we were all forced to swim for our lives. But we soon got to the shore, and to the same place our canoe came tumbling after us. Our arms were very fast lashed to the inside of the boat, and our locks were as well cased and waxed down as was possible; so were also our cartouche boxes and powder-horns. But all our bread and fresh water was utterly spoilt and lost.
Our canoe being tumbled on shore by the force of the waves, our first business was to take out and clear our arms. This we had scarcely done, when we saw another canoe fall into the same misfortune at a little distance to leeward of us, amongst a great number of rocks that bounded the island. The persons that were cast away proved to be six Spaniards of the garrison of Santa Maria, who had found an old canoe, and had followed us to escape the cruelty of the Indians. They presently came to us, and made us a fire which being clone, we got our meat and broiled it on the coals, and all of us ate amicably together. But we stood in great need of water, or other drink to our victuals, not knowing in the least where to get any. Our canoe was thrown up by the waves to the edge of the water, and there was no great fear of its splitting, being full six inches in thickness, on the sides thereof. But that in which the Spaniards came, split itself against the rocks, being old and slender, into an hundred pieces. Though we were thus shipwrecked and driven ashore, as I have related, yet otherwise, and at other times, is this Gulf of San Miguel a mere mill-pond for smoothness of water.
My company was now altogether for returning, and proceeding no farther, but rather for living amongst the Indians, in case we could not reach the ships we had left behind us in the Northern Sea. But with much ado I prevailed with them to go forward, at least one day longer, and in case we found not our people the next day, that then I would be willing to do anything which they should think fit. Thus we spent two or three hours of the day in consulting about our affairs, and withal keeping a man to watch and look out on all sides, for fear of any surprisal by the Indians, or other enemies. About the time that we were come to a conclusion in our debates, our watchman by chance spied an Indian; who, as soon as he saw us, ran into the woods. I sent immediately two of my company after him, who overtook him, and found that he was one of our friendly Indians. Thus he led them to a place not far distant, where seven more of his company were, with a great canoe which they had brought with them. They came to the place where I was with the rest of my company, and seemed to be glad to meet us on that island. I asked them by signs for the main body of our company, and they gave me to understand, that if we would go with them in their canoe, which was much bigger than ours, we should be up with the party by the next morning. This news, as may easily be supposed, not a little rejoiced our hearts.
Presently after this friendly invitation, they asked who the other six men were, whom they saw in our company, for they easily perceived us not to be all of one and the same coat and lingua. We told them they were Wankers, which is the name they commonly give to the Spaniards in their own language. Their next question was, if they should kill those Spaniards? but I answered them, No, by no means, I would not consent to have it done. With which answer they seemed to be satisfied for the present. But a little while after, my btck being turned, my company thinking that they should thereby oblige the Indians, beckoned to them to kill the Spaniards. With this, the poor creatures perceiving the danger that threatened them, made a sad shriek and outcry, and I came in time to save all their lives. But withal, I was forced to give way and consent that they should have one of them for to make their slave. Hereupon I gave the canoe that I came in to the five Spaniards remaining, and bid them get away and shift for their lives, lest those cruel Indians should not keep their word, and they should run the same danger again they had so lately escaped. Having sent them away whilst I rested myself here, I took a survey of this gulf, and the mouth of the river, which I finished the same day, and do here present to the view of the reader.
But now, thanks
God, joining company with those Indians, we got into a
canoe, which for its bigness, was better able to carry
than our own that we had brought to carry five. The
Indians had also
fitted a very good sail to the said canoe; so that having
now a fresh
and strong gale of wind, we set sail from thence, and made
brave way, to the infinite joy and comfort of our hearts,
ourselves so well accommodated, and so happily rid of the
but lately had endured. We had now a smooth and easy
such tedious and labour-some pains as we had sustained in
far since we left Santa Maria. Under the point of St.
mentioned above, is a very great rippling of the sea,
occasioned by a
strong current which runs hereabouts and which often
our boat with its dashes, as we sailed. This evening,
departure from the island where we were cast away, it
vehemently for several hours, and the night proved to be
About nine o'clock that night we descried two fires on the
the continent, over against us. These fires were no sooner
by the Indians of our canoe, than they began to shout for
joy and cry
out, Captain Antonio, Captain Andrceas, the names of their
captains and leaders; and to affirm they were assured
were made by their companions. Hence they made for the
those fires, as fast as they could drive. But so soon as
came among the breakers near the shore, there came out
from the woods
about threescore Spaniards with clubs and other arms, and
of our canoe on both sides thereof, hauled it out of the
dry. So that by this means we were all suddenly taken and
prisoners. I laid hold of my gun, thinking to make some
myself, but all was in vain, for they suddenly seized me
or five of them and hindered me from action. Meanwhile our
leaped overboard, and got away very nimbly into the woods;
companions standing amazed at what had happened, and the
our surprisal. I asked them presently if any of them could
either French or English; but they answered, No. Hereupon
as well as
I could, I discoursed to some of them, who were more
the rest, in Latin, and by degrees came to understand
condition. These were Spaniards who had been turned ashore
our English party, who left them upon this coast, lest by
them nearer to Panama any of them should make their escape
discover our march towards that city. They had me
presently after I
was taken into a small hut which they had built, covered
and made there great shouts for joy, because they had
designing in their minds to use us very severely for
those parts, and especially for taking and plundering
their town of
Santa Maria. But while the captain of those Spaniards was
me, in came the poor Spaniard that was come along with us,
reported how kind I had been to him, and the rest of his
by saving their lives from the cruelty of the Indians.
The captain having heard him, arose from his seat immediately and embraced me, saying, that we Englishmen were very friendly enemies, and good people, but that the Indians were very rogues, and a treacherous nation. Withal, he desired me to sit down by him, and to eat part of such victuals as our companions had left them when they were turned ashore. Then he told me, that for the kindness I had showed to his countrymen, he gave us all our lives and liberties, which otherwise he would certainly have taken from us. And though he could scarcely be persuaded in his mind to spare the Indians' lives, yet for my sake he pardoned them all, and I should have them with me in case I could find them. Thus he bid me likewise take my canoe, and go in God's name, saying withal, he wished us as fortunate as we were generous. Hereupon I took my leave of him, after some little stay, though he invited me to tarry all night with him. I searched out, and at last found my Indians, who for fear had hid themselves in the bushes adjoining to the neighbouring woods where they lay concealed. Having found them, the captain led me very civilly down to the canoe, and bidding my companions and the Indians get in after me; as they at first hauled us ashore, so now again they pushed us off to sea, by a sudden and strange vicissitude of fortune. All that night it rained very hard, as was mentioned above; neither durst we put ashore any more at any place, it being all along such, as by mariners is commonly called an iron coast.
The next morning being come, we sailed, and paddled, or rowed, till about ten o'clock. At which time we espied a canoe making towards us with all speed imaginable. Being come up with us, and in view, it proved to be of our own English Company, who mistaking our canoe for a Spanish periagua, was coming in all haste to attack us. We were infinitely glad to meet them, and they presently conducted us to the rest of our company, who were at that instant coming from a deep bay which lay behind a high point of rocks, where they had lain at anchor all that night and morning. We were all mutually rejoiced to see one another again, they having given both me and my companions up for lost.