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Of all sorts of quadruped Animals and Birds that are found in this Island. As also a relation of the French Buccaneers.
BESIDES the fruits which this island produces, whose plenty, as is held for certain, surpasses all the islands of America, it abounds also very plentifully in all sorts of quadruped animals, such as horses, bulls, cows, wild boars, and others very useful to human kind, not only for common sustenance of life, but also for cultivating the ground and the management of a sufficient commerce.
In this island therefore are still remaining a huge number of wild dogs. These destroy yearly multitudes of all sorts of cattle. For no sooner has a cow brought forth her calf, or a mare foaled, than these wild mastiffs come to devour the young breed, if they find not some resistance from keepers and other domestic dogs. They run up and down the woods and fields commonly in whole troops of fifty, threescore or more, together, being withal so fierce that they ofttimes will assault an entire herd of wild boars, not ceasing to persecute them till they have at last overcome and torn in pieces two or three. One day a French buccaneer caused me to see a strange action of this kind. Being in the fields hunting together, we heard a great noise of dogs, which had surrounded a wild boar. Having tame clogs with us, we left them to the custody of our servants, desirous to see the sport, if possible. Hence my companion and I, each of us, climbed up into several trees, both for security and prospect. The wild boar was all alone, and standing against a tree; with his tusks he endeavoured to defend himself from a great number of dogs that had enclosed him, having with his teeth killed and wounded several of them. This bloody fight continued about an hour, the wild boar meanwhile attempting many times to escape. At last, being upon the flight, one of those dogs leaped on his back, and the rest of the dogs, perceiving the courage of their companion, fastened likewise upon the boar, and presently after killed him. This being done, all of them the first only excepted, laid themselves down upon the ground about the prey, and there peaceably continued till he, the first and most courageous of the troop, had eaten as much as he could devour. When this dog had ended his repast and left the dead beast, all the rest fell in to take their share, till nothing was left that they could devour. What ought we to infer from this notable action, performed by the brutish sense of wild animals? Only this, that even beasts themselves are not destitute of knowledge, and that they give us documents how to honour such as have well deserved, seeing these, being irrational animals as they were, did reverence and respect him that exposed his life to the greatest danger, in vanquishing courageously the common enemy.
The Governor of Tortuga, Monsieur Ogeron, understanding that the wild dogs killed too many of the wild boars, and that the hunters of that island had much-a-do to find any, fearing lest that common sustenance of the isle should fail, caused a great quantity of poison to be brought from France, therewith to destroy the wild mastiffs. This was performed in the year 1668, by commanding certain horses to be killed and envenomed, and laid open in the woods and fields, at certain places where mostly wild dogs used to resort. This being continued for the space of six months, there were killed an incredible number in the said time. And yet all this industry was not sufficient to exterminate and destroy the race; yea, scarce to make any diminution thereof, their number appearing to be almost as entire as before. These wild dogs are easily rendered tame among people, even as tame as the ordinary dogs we breed in houses. Moreover, the hunters of those parts, whensoever they find a wild bitch with young whelps, commonly take away the puppies, and bring them to their houses, where they find them, being grown up, to hunt much better than other dogs.
But here the curious reader may peradventure enquire whence or by what accident came so many wild dogs into those islands? The occasion was that the Spaniards, having possessed themselves of these isles, found them much peopled with Indians. These were a barbarous sort of people, totally given to sensuality and a brutish custom of life, hating all manner of labour, and only inclined to run from place to place, killing and making war against their neighbours, not out of any ambition to reign, but only because they agreed not with themselves in some common terms of language. Hence perceiving the dominion of the Spaniards laid a great restriction upon their lazy and brutish customs, they conceived an incredible odium against them, such as never was to be reconciled. But more especially, because they saw them take possession of their kingdoms and dominions. Hereupon they made against them all the resistance they were capable of, opposing everywhere their designs to the utmost of their power, until the Spaniards, finding themselves to be cruelly hated by those Indians, and nowhere secure from their treacheries, resolved to extirpate and ruin them every one; especially seeing they could neither tame them by the civilities of their customs, nor conquer them with the sword. But the Indians, it being their ancient custom to make their woods their chiefest places of defence, at present made these their refuge whenever they fled from the Spaniards that pursued them. Hereupon those first conquerors of the New World made use of dogs to range and search the intricatest thickets of woods and forests for those their implacable and unconquerable enemies. By this means they forced them to leave their ancient refuge and submit to the sword, seeing no milder usage would serve turn. Hereupon they killed some of them, and, quartering their bodies, placed them in the highways, to the intent that others might take warning from such a punishment, not to incur the like danger. But this severity proved to be of ill consequence. For, instead of frighting them and reducing their minds to a civil society, they conceived such horror of the Spaniards and their proceedings, that they resolved to detest and fly their sight for ever. And hence the greatest part died in caves and subterraneous places of the woods and mountains; in which places I myself have seen many times great numbers of human bones. The Spaniards afterwards, finding no more Indians to appear about the woods, endeavoured to rid themselves of the great number of dogs they had in their houses, whence these animals, finding no masters to keep them, betook themselves to the woods and fields, there to hunt for food to preserve their lives. Thus by degrees they became unacquainted with the houses of their ancient masters, and at last grew wild. This is the truest account I can give of the multitudes of wild dogs which are seen to this day in these parts.
But besides the wild mastitis above-mentioned, here are also huge numbers of wild horses to be seen everywhere. These run up and down in whole herds or flocks all over the Island of Hispaniola. They are but low of stature, short-bodied, with great heads, long necks, and big or thick legs. In a word, they have nothing that is handsome in all their shape. They are seen to run up and down commonly in troops of two or three hundred together, one of them going always before, to lead the multitude. When they meet any person that travels through the woods or fields, they stand still, suffering him to approach till he can almost touch them, and then, suddenly starting, they betake themselves to flight, running away disorderly, as fast as they are able. The hunters catch them with industry, only for the benefit of their skins, although sometimes they preserve their flesh likewise, which they harden with smoke, using it for provisions when they go to sea.
Here would be also wild bulls and cows, in greater number than at present, if by continuation of hunting their race were not much diminished. Yet considerable profit is made even to this clay by such as make it their business to kill them. The wild bulls are of a vast corpulency, or bigness of body; and yet they do no hurt to any person if they be not exasperated, but left to their own repose. The hides which are taken from them are from eleven to thirteen foot long.
The diversity of birds inhabiting the air of this island is so great that I should be troublesome, as well to the reader as myself, if I should attempt to muster up their species. Hence, leaving aside the prolix catalogue of their multitude, I shall content myself only to mention some few of the chiefest. Here is a certain species of pullets in the woods, which the Spaniards call by the name of pintadas, which the inhabitants find without any distinction to be as good as those which are bred in houses. It is already known to everybody that the parrots which we have in Europe are transported to us from these parts of the world. Whence may be inferred that, seeing such a number of these talkative birds are preserved among us, notwithstanding the diversity of climates, much greater multitudes are to be found where the air and temperament is natural to them. The parrots make their nests in holes of palmetto-trees, which holes are before made to their hand by other birds. The reason is, forasmuch as they are not capable of excavating any wood, though never so soft, as having their own bills too crooked and blunt. Hence provident nature has supplied them with the labour and industry of another sort of small birds called carpinteros, or carpenters. These are no bigger than sparrows, yet notwithstanding of such hard and piercing bills, that no iron instrument can be made more apt to excavate any tree, though never so solid and hard. In the holes therefore fabricated beforehand by these birds, the parrots get possession, and build their nests, as has been said.
Pigeons of all sorts are also here abundantly provided to the inhabitants by Him that created in the beginning and provided all things. For eating of them, those of this island observe the same seasons as we said before, speaking of the Isle of Tortuga. Betwixt the pigeons of both islands little or no difference is observable, only that these of Hispaniola are something fatter and bigger than . those. Another sort of small birds here are called cabreros, or goat-keepers. These are very like others called heronsetas, and chiefly feed upon crabs of the sea. In these birds are found seven distinct bladders of gall, and hence their flesh is as bitter to the taste as aloes. Crows or ravens, more troublesome to the inhabitants than useful, here make a hideous noise through the whole circumference of the island. Their ordinary food is the flesh of wild dogs, or the carcases of those beasts the buccaneers kill and throw away. These clamorous birds no sooner hear the report of a fowling-piece or musket than they gather from all sides into whole flocks, and fill the air and woods with their unpleasant notes. They are in nothing different from those we see in Europe.
It is now high time to speak of the French nation, who inhabit a great part of this island. We have told, at the beginning of this book, after what manner they came at first into these parts. At present, therefore, we shall only describe their manner of living, customs and ordinary employments. The different callings or professions they follow are generally but three: either to hunt, or plant, or else to rove on the sea in quality of pirates. It is a general and solemn custom amongst them all to seek out for a comrade or companion, whom we may call partner. in their fortunes, with whom they join the whole stock of what they possess, towards a mutual and reciprocal gain. This is done also by articles drawn and signed on both sides, according to what has been agreed between them. Some of these constitute their surviving companion absolute heir to what is left by the death of the first of the two. Others, if they be married, leave their estates to their wives and children; others to other relations. This being done, every one applies himself to his calling, which is always one of the three aforementioned.
The hunters are again sub-divided into two several sorts. For some of these are only given to hunt wild bulls and cows; others hunt only wild boars. The first of these two sorts of hunters are called buccaneers. These not long ago were about the number of six hundred upon this island; but at present there are not reckoned to be above three hundred, more or less. The cause has been the great decrease of wild cattle through the dominions of the French in Hispaniola, which has appeared to be so notable that, far from getting any considerable gain, they at present are but poor in this exercise. When the buccaneers go into the woods to hunt for wild bulls and cows, they commonly remain there the space of a whole twelvemonth or two years, without returning home. After the hunt is over and the spoil divided among them, they commonly sail to the Isle of Tortuga, there to provide themselves with guns, powder, bullets and small shot, with all other necessaries against another going out or hunting. The rest of their gains they spend with great liberality, giving themselves freely to all manner of vices and debauchery, among which the first is that of drunkenness, which they exercise for the most part with brandy. This they drink as liberally as the Spaniards do clear fountain water. Sometimes they buy together a pipe of wine; this they stave at the one end, and never cease drinking till they have made an end of it Thus they celebrate the festivals of Bacchus so long as they have any money left. For all the tavern-keepers wait for the coining of these lewd buccaneers, even after the same manner that they do at Amsterdam for the arrival of the East India fleet at the Texel. The said buccaneers are hugely cruel and tyrannical towards their servants; insomuch that commonly these had rather be galley slaves in the Straits, or saw brazil-wood in the rasp-houses of Holland, than serve such barbarous masters.
The second sort of hunters hunt nothing else but wild boars. The flesh of these they salt, and, being thus preserved from corruption, they sell it to the planters. These hunters have also the same vicious customs of life, and are as much addicted to all manner of debauchery as the former. But their manner of hunting is quite different from what is practised in Europe. For these buccaneers have certain places, designed for hunting, where they live for the space of three or four months, and sometimes, though not often, a whole year. Such places are called Deza Boulan; and in these, with only the company of five or six friends, who go along with them, they continue all the time above-mentioned, in mutual friendship. The first buccaneers we spoke of many times make an agreement with certain planters to furnish them with meat all the whole year at a certain price. The payment hereof is often made with two or three hundred-weight of tobacco, in the leaf. But the planters commonly into the bargain furnish them likewise with a servant, whom they send to help. To the servant they afford a sufficient quantity of all necessaries for that purpose, especially of powder, bullets and small shot, to hunt with.
The planters began to cultivate and plant the Isle of Tortuga in the year 1598. The first plantation was of tobacco, which grew to admiration, being likewise of very good quality. Notwithstanding, by reason of the small circumference of the island, they were then able to plant but little; especially there being many pieces of land in that isle that were not fit to produce tobacco. They attempted likewise to make sugar, but by reason of the great expenses necessary to defray the charges, they could not bring it to any effect. So that the greatest part of the inhabitants, as we said before, betook themselves to the exercise of hunting, and the remaining part to that of piracy. At last the hunters, finding themselves scarce able to subsist by their first profession, began likewise to seek out lands that might be rendered fa for culture; and in these they also planted tobacco. The first land that they chose for this purpose was Cul de Sac, whose territory extends towards the Southern part of the island. This piece of ground they divided into several quarters, which were called the Great Amea, Niep, Rochelois, the Little Grave, the Great Grave, and the Augame. Here, by little and little, they increased so much, that at present there are above two thousand planters in those fields. At the beginning they endured very much hardship, seeing that while they were busied about their husbandry, they could not go out of the island to seek provisions. This hardship was also increased by the necessity of grubbing, cutting down, burning and digging, whereby to extirpate the innumerable roots of shrubs and trees For when the French possessed themselves of that island, it was wholly overgrown with woods extremely thick, these being only inhabited by an extraordinary number of wild boars. The method they took to clear the ground was to divide themselves into small companies of two or three persons together, and these companies to separate far enough from each other, provided with a few hatchets and some quantity of coarse provision. With these things they used to go into the woods, and there to build huts for their habitation, of only a few rafters and boughs of trees. Their first endeavour was to root up the shrubs and little trees; afterwards to cut down the great ones. These they gathered into heaps, with their branches, and then set them on fire, excepting the roots, which, last of all, they were constrained to grub and dig up after the best manner they could. The first seed they committed to the ground was beans. These in those countries both ripen and dry away in the space of six weeks.
The second fruit, necessary to human life, which here they tried, was potatoes. These do not come to perfection in less time than four or five months. On these they most commonly make their breakfasts every morning. They dress them no otherwise than by boiling them in a kettle with fair water. Afterwards they cover them with a cloth for the space of half an hour, by which manner of dressing they become as soft as boiled chestnuts. Of the said potatoes also they make a drink called Maiz. They cut them into small slices, and cover them with hot water. When they are well imbibed with water, they press them through a coarse cloth, and the liquor that comes out, although somewhat thick, they keep in vessels made for that purpose. Here, after settling two or three days, it begins to work; and, having thrown off its lees, is fit for drink. They use it with great delight, and although the taste is somewhat sour, yet it is very pleasant, substantial and wholesome. The industry of this composition is owing to the Indians, as well as of many others, which the ingenuity of those barbarians caused them to invent both for the preservation and the pleasure of their own life.
The third fruit the newly cultivated land afforded was Mandioca, which the Indians by another name call Cassava. This is a certain root which they plant, but comes not to perfection till after eight or nine months, sometimes a whole year. Being thoroughly ripe, it may be left in the ground the space of eleven or twelve months, without the least suspicion of corruption. But this time being past, the said roots must be converted to use some way or another, otherwise they conceive a total putrefaction. Of these roots of Cassava, in those countries, is made a sort of granulous flour or meal, extremely dry and white, which supplies the want of common bread made of wheat, whereof the fields are altogether barren in that island. For this purpose they have in their houses certain graters made either of copper or tin, wherewith they grate the afore-mentioned roots, just as they do Mirick in Holland. By the by, let me tell you, Mirick is a certain root of a very biting taste, not unlike to strong mustard, wherewith they usually make sauces for some sorts of fish. When they have grated as much Cassava root as will serve turn, they put the gratings into bags or sacks, made of coarse linen, and press out all the moisture, until they remain very dry. Afterwards they pass the gratings through a sieve, leaving them, after sifting, very like sawdust. The meal being thus prepared, they lay it upon planches of iron, which are made very hot, upon which it is converted into a sort of cakes, very thin. These cakes are afterwards placed in the sun, upon the tops of houses, where they are thoroughly and perfectly dried. And lest they should lose any part of their meal, what did not pass the sieve is made up into rolls, five or six inches thick. These are placed one upon another, and left in this posture until they begin to corrupt. Of this corrupted matter they make a liquor, by them called Veycou, which they find very excellent, and certainly is not inferior to our English beer.
Bananas are likewise another sort of fruit, of which is made another excellent liquor, which, both in strength and pleasantness of taste, may be compared with the best wines of Spain. But this liquor of Bananas, as it easily causes drunkenness in such as use it immoderately, so it likewise very frequently inflames the throat, and produces dangerous diseases in that part. Guines agudos is also another fruit whereof they make drink. But this sort of liquor is not so strong as the preceding. Howbeit, both the one and the other are frequently mingled with water, thereby to quench thirst.
After they had cultivated these plantations, and filled them with all sorts of roots and fruits necessary for human life, they began to plant tobacco, for trading. The manner of planting this frequent commodity is as follows. They make certain beds of earth in the field, no larger than twelve foot square. These beds they cover very well with palmetto leaves, to the intent that the rays of the sun may not touch the earth wherein tobacco is sowed. They water them, likewise, when it does not rain, as we do our gardens in Europe. When it is grown about the bigness of young lettuce, they transplant it into straight lines which they make in other spacious fields, setting every plant at the distance of three foot from each other. They observe, likewise, the fittest seasons of the year for these things, which are commonly from January until the end of March, these being the months wherein most rains fall in those countries. Tobacco ought to be weeded very carefully, seeing that the least root of any other herb, coming near it, is sufficient to hinder its' growth. When it is grown to the height of one foot and a half or thereabouts, they cut off the tops, thereby to hinder the stalks and leaves from shooting too high upwards, to the intent that the whole plant may receive greater strength from the earth, which affords it all its vigour and taste. While it ripens and comes to full perfection, they prepare in their houses certain apartments of fifty or threescore foot in length, and thirty or forty in breadth. These they fill with branches of trees and rafters, and upon them lay the green tobacco to dry. When it is thoroughly dried, they strip off the leaf from the stalks, and cause it to be rolled up by certain people who are employed in this work and no other. To these they afford for their labour the tenth part of what they make up into rolls. This property is peculiar to tobacco, which therefore I shall not omit, that if, while it is yet in the ground, the leaf be pulled off from the stalk, it sprouts again, no less than four times in one year. Here I should be glad to give an account also of the manner of making sugar, indigo, and gimbes,1 but seeing these things are not planted in those parts whereof we now speak, I have thought fit to pass them over in silence.
The French planters of the Isle of Hispaniola have always to this present time been subject to the Governors of Tortuga. Yet this obedience has not been rendered without much reluctance and grudging on their side. In the year 1664 the West India Company of France laid the foundations of a colony in Tortuga, under which colony the planters of Hispaniola were comprehended and named, as subjects thereto. This decree disgusted the said planters very much, they taking it very ill to be reputed subjects to a private Company of men who had no authority to make them so; especially being in a country which did not belong to the dominions of the King of France. Hereupon they resolved to work no longer for the said Company. And this resolution of theirs was sufficient to compel the Company to a total dissolution of the Colony. But at last the Governor of Tortuga, who was pretty well stocked with planters, conceiving he could more easily force them than the West India Company, found an invention whereby to draw them to his obedience. He promised them he would put off their several sorts of merchandise, and cause such returns to be made, in lieu of their goods from France, as they should best like. Withal, he dealt with the merchants under hand, that all ships whatsoever should come consigned to him, and no persons should entertain any correspondence with those planters of Hispaniola; thinking thereby to avoid many inconveniences, and compel them through necessity and want of all things to obey. By this means he not only obtained the obedience he designed from those people, but also that some merchants who had promised to deal with them and visit them now and then, no longer did it.
Notwithstanding what has been said, in the year 1669 two ships from Holland happened to arrive at the Isle of Hispaniola with all sorts of merchandise necessary in those parts. With these ships presently the planters aforesaid resolved to deal, and with the Dutch nation for the future, thinking hereby to withdraw their obedience from the Governor of Tortuga, and, by frustrating his designs, revenge themselves of what they had endured under his government. Not long after the arrival of the Hollanders, the Governor of Tortuga came to visit the plantation of Hispaniola, in a vessel very well armed. But the planters not only forbade him to come ashore, but with their guns also forced him to weigh anchor, and retire faster than he came. Thus the Hollanders began to trade with these people for all manner of things. But such relations and friends as the Governor had in Hispaniola used all the endeavours they were capable of to impede the commerce. This being understood by the planters, they sent them word that in case they laid not aside their artifices, for the hindrance of the commerce which was begun with the Hollanders, they should every one assuredly be torn in pieces. Moreover, to oblige farther the Hollanders and contemn the Governor and his party, they gave greater ladings to the two ships than they could desire, with many gifts and presents to the officers and mariners, whereby they sent them very well contented to their own country. The Hollanders came again very punctually, according to their promise, and found the planters under a greater indignation than before against the Governor; either because of the great satisfaction they had already conceived of this commerce with the Dutch, or that by their means they hoped to subsist by themselves without any further dependence upon the French nation. However, it was suddenly after, they set up another resolution something more strange than the preceding. The tenour hereof was, that they would go to the Island of Tortuga, and cut the Governor in pieces. Hereupon they gathered together as many canoes as they could, and set sail from Hispaniola, with design not only to kill the Governor, but also to possess themselves of the whole island. This they thought they could more easily perform, by reason of all necessary assistance which they believed would at any time be sent them from Holland. By which means they were already determined in their minds to erect themselves into a new Commonwealth, independent of the Crown of France. But no sooner had they begun this great revolution of their little State, when they received news of a war declared between the two nations in Europe. This wrought such a consternation in their minds as caused them to give over that enterprize, and retire without attempting anything.
In the meanwhile the Governor of Tortuga sent into France for aid towards his own security, and the reduction of those people to their former obedience. This was granted him, and two men-of-war were sent to Tortuga, with orders to be at his commands. Having received such a considerable support, he sent them very well equipped to the Isle of Hispaniola. Being arrived at the place, they landed part of their forces, with a design to force the people to the obedience of those whom they much hated in their hearts. But the planters, seeing the arrival of those two frigates, and not being ignorant of their design, fled into the woods, abandoning their houses and many of their goods, which they left behind. These were immediately rifled and burnt by the French without any compassion, not sparing the least cottage they found. Afterwards the Governor began to relent in his anger, and let them know by some messengers that in case they would return to his obedience, he would give ear to some accommodation between them. Hereupon the planters finding themselves destitute of all human relief and that they could expect no help from any side, surrendered to the Governor upon Articles, which were made and signed on both sides. But these were not too strictly observed, for he commanded two of the chief among them to be hanged. The residue were pardoned, and, moreover, he gave them free leave to trade with any nation whatsoever they found most fit for their purpose. With the grant of this liberty they began to recultivate their plantations, which gave them a huge quantity of very good tobacco; they selling yearly to the sum of twenty or thirty thousand rolls.
In this country the planters have but very few slaves, for want of which they themselves, and some servants they have, are constrained to do all the drudgery. These. servants commonly oblige and bind themselves to their masters for the space of three years. But their masters, forsaking all conscience and justice, oftentimes traffic with their bodies, as with horses at a fair; selling them to other masters, just as they sell negroes brought from the coast of Guinea. Yea, to advance this trade, some persons there are who go purposely into France (the same happens in England and other countries), and travelling through the cities, towns and villages, endeavour to pick up young men or boys, whom they transport, by making them great promises. These, being once allured and conveyed into the islands I speak of, they force to work like horses, the toil they impose upon them being much harder than what they usually enjoin on the negroes, their slaves. For these they endeavour in some manner to preserve, as being their perpetual bond-men; but as for their white servants, they care not whether they live or die, seeing that they are to continue no longer than three years in their service. These miserable kidnapped people are frequently subject to a certain disease, which in those parts is called coma, being a total privation of all their senses. And this distemper is judged to proceed from their hard usage, together with the change from their native climate into that which is directly opposite. Oftentimes it happens that, among these transported people, such are found as are persons of good quality and tender education. And these, being of a softer constitution, are more suddenly surprised with the disease above-mentioned and with several others belonging to those countries, than those who have harder bodies and have been brought up to all manner of fatigue. Besides the hard usage they endure in their diet, apparel and repose, many times they beat them so cruelly that some of them fall down dead under the hands of their cruel masters. This I have often seen with my own eyes, not without great grief and regret. Of many instances of this nature I shall only give you the following history, as being somewhat remarkable in its circumstances.
It happened that a certain planter of those countries exercised such cruelty towards one of his servants as caused him to run away. Having absconded for some days in the woods from the fury of his tyrannical master, at last he was taken, and brought back to the dominion of this wicked Pharaoh. No sooner had he got him into his hands than he commanded him to be tied to a tree. Here he gave him so many lashes upon his naked back as made his body run an entire stream of gore blood, embruing therewith the ground about the tree. Afterwards, to make the smart of his wounds the greater, he anointed them with juice of lemon mingled with salt and pepper, being ground small together. In this miserable posture he left him tied to the tree for the space of four and twenty hours. These being past, he commenced his punishment again, lashing him as before, with so much cruelty that the miserable wretch, under this torture, gave up the ghost, with these dying words in his mouth: I beseech the Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, that he permit the wicked Spirit to make thee feel as many torments, before thy death, as thou has caused me to feel before mine. A strange thing and worthy all astonishment and admiration! Scarce three or four days were past after this horrible fact, when the Almighty Judge, who had heard the clamours of that tormented wretch, gave permission to the Author of Wickedness suddenly to possess the body of that barbarous and inhuman Amirricide, who tormented him to death. Insomuch that those tyrannical hands, wherewith he had punished to death his innocent servant, were the tormentors of his own body. For with them, after a miserable manner, he beat himself and lacerated his own flesh, till he lost the very shape of man which nature had given him; not ceasing to howl and cry, without any rest either by day or night. Thus he continued to do until he died, in that condition of raving madness wherein he surrendered his ghost to the same Spirit of Darkness who had tormented his body. Many other examples of this kind I could rehearse, but these, not belonging to our present discourse, I shall therefore omit.
The planters that inhabit the Caribbee Islands are rather worse and more cruel to their servants than the preceding. In the Isle of Saint Christopher dwells one, whose name is Bettesa, very well known among the Dutch merchants, who has killed above a hundred of his servants with blows and stripes. The English do the same with their servants. And the mildest cruelty they exercise towards them is that, when they have served six years of their time (the years they are bound for among the English being seven complete), they use them with such cruel hardship as forces them to beg of their masters to sell them to others, although it be to begin another servitude of seven years, or at least three or four. I have known many who after this manner served fifteen and twenty years before they could obtain their freedom. Another thing very rigorous among that nation is a law in those islands, whereby if any man owes to another above five and twenty shillings, English money, in case he cannot pay, he is liable to be sold for the space of six or eight months. I shall not trouble the patience of my reader any longer with relations of this kind, as belonging to another subject, different from what I have proposed to myself in this history. Whereupon I shall take my beginning hence to describe the famous actions and exploits of the greatest Pirates of my time, during my residence in those parts. These I shall endeavour to relate without the least note of passion or partiality; yea, with that candour which is peculiar both to my mind and style: withal assuring my reader I shall give him no stories taken from others upon trust or hearsay, but only those enterprizes to which I was myself an eye-witness.