The Buccaneers continue their navigation, without seeing any land, till they arrive at the Caribbean Islands in the West Indies. They give away their ship to some of their companions that were poor, and disperse for several countries. The author of this Journal arrives in England.
DECEMBER 20th, 1681. The night before this day was somewhat cloudy, but the weather was fair and the wind but little. At noon the wind came about N. by E., our course being W.N.W. We made a N.N.W. way, and thereby as I reckoned twenty two leagues. By an observation made we took lat. 27° 25' S. The evening of this day was cloudy, and now and then there fell a shower of rain.
December 21st. At eight o'clock last night the wind came N.W. by N., but with such dark weather that we were forced to take in our top-sails. The night was somewhat rainy, and the weather this morning calm and rainy. About ten we had a small breeze at N.W. We reckoned a N. by E. way, and by the same sixteen leagues. The afternoon of this day was calm and still.
December 22nd. We had a fair and clear night which produced this day a smooth sea and extremely hot weather, and very little wind near the sun; so that no observation was made.
December 23rd. The night was very fair. At midnight, or thereabouts, a fresh gale sprang up at S.E. and E.S.E., which sometime was E. This freshened by degrees. We had in the day very hot and clear weather. By a N. way I reckoned fifteen leagues.
December 24th. Last night we had both a fresh gale and a clear night. The wind was at E. by S. We reckoned a N.E. by E. way, and by it thirty-one leagues.
Sunday, December 25th. This day being Christmas day, for celebration of that great festival we killed yesterday in the evening a sow. This sow we had brought from the Gulf of Nicoya, being then a sucking pig of three weeks old, more or less, but now weighed about fourscore and ten pounds. With this hog's flesh we made our Christmas dinner, being the only flesh we had eaten ever since we turned away our prizes under the equinoctial, and left the island of Plata. We had this day several flaws of wind and some rain; but the weather otherwise was pretty clear. I reckoned a N. by E. way, and thirty-three leagues by the same. It was now also extremely hot weather, as we signified before.
December 26th. We had this day several gusts of wind, which forced us to stand by our top-sails. Yet were they but very short, and all the rest of the while we enjoyed an indifferent fresh gale at E. and E. by S. We reckoned a N. by E. way, and twenty-eight leagues.
December 27th. We had fair weather, and a fresh wind at E. and E. by S. I reckoned a N. by E. way, and upon the same thirty-two leagues. The evening of this day was cloudy.
December 28th. Last night was cloudy, with a fresh wind. We reckoned a N.E. way, and by the same forty-six leagues. We found by observation, lat. 15° 30' S. My whole easting I reckoned this day to be eight hundred and twenty-five leagues. Now we saw much flying fish, with some dolphins, bonitos, and albicores; but they will not take the hook.
December 29th. All last night was cloudy, with a fresh wind between E. and E.S.E. The weather all the afternoon was hazy. I reckoned a N. by E. way, and hereupon forty leagues and one third. In the afternoon we had a S.E. by E. wind, which blew very fresh. The evening was clear. At sunset I found variation to N.W. 04° 19'.
December 30th. Last night was cloudy. Towards morning the wind came about at E. At six it came E.S.E. and at ten to S.E. by S. We made a N. by E. way, and forty-three leagues. By observation, lat. 11° 03' S. The evening of this day was clear.
December 31st. We had a cloudy night, but the morning was hazy. We came now to a strict allowance of only three good pints of water each day. We made a N. by E. way, lat. by observation 08° 55' S. In the afternoon we had an E.S.E. and S.E. by E. wind. My whole easting I reckoned now to be eight hundred and eighty four leagues and one third. At noon we stood away N.W.
Sunday, January 1st, 1682. All last night was cloudy, as this day also, with some showers of rain. We made a N.W. one eighth N. way, and forty leagues. In the afternoon came about a fresh wind at S.E. and E.S.E.
January 2nd. The weather this day was both dull and cloudy. We reckoned a N.W. one quarter N. way, and by the same thirty-two leagues. By observation, lat. 06° 06' S. The wind came pretty fresh at S.E.
January 3rd. We had several squalls of wind, and some rain. But withal a fresh wind at S.E. and E.S.E. Our reckoning was a N.W. one quarter N. way, and thirty-four leagues. The afternoon was clear, but the evening cloudy.
January 4th. All last night was very cloudy, but this forenoon it cleared up. Yesterday we put abroad our maintop-sail, studding-sails, but took them in at night. At four this morning we set our larboard studding-sail, and before noon fitted up top-gallant masts and yards. We made a N.W. way, and by it forty leagues and two thirds. By observation, lat. 03° 09' S. This afternoon also we set our topgallant-sail, being forced to make out all its running rigging. The wind was pretty fresh at S.E. and S.E. by E.
January 5th. Most part of the past night was clear and starlight, though with some rain towards the morning. This being come, we put out our top-gallant sail, and both our top-sail, studding-sails. At noon likewise we put up our fore-top-gallant mast and yard. We caught an albicore this day, weighing about one hundred and twenty pounds. The wind was at S.E. by S. and S.S.E. We made a N.W. way, and reckoned thereby thirty-five leagues. By observation, lat. 02° 03' S. We had now mighty hot weather.
January 6th. Yesterday in the evening we caught another albicore, which weighed only eight or nine pounds. We made a N.W. way, and reckoned thirty-five leagues as before. By observation, lat. 00° 49' S. The evening of this day was very clear.
January 7th. The wind was variable between S.S.E. and S.S.W., though not altogether so fresh as before. Our reckoning was a N.W. one quarter N. way, and thirty-six leagues by the same. This day an observation gave us lat. 00° 32' N. of the equinoctial, which now we had passed again. In the afternoon of this day we caught another albicore, which weighed more than the first we took, that is, between one hundred and thirty-five and one hundred and forty pounds. But little wind stirring this afternoon.
January 8th. Last evening we had little better than a calm. At nine this morning we had a fresh wind at S.S.E. with dark weather, so that we thought it convenient to take in our maintop-sail. But at noon we set it again, and also our larboard top-studding-sail, with both top-gallant sails. We made a N.W. way, and by it thirty-four leagues. By observation, lat. 01° 55' N. We had now extremely hot weather, and a very small allowance of water.
January 9th. Last night we took in top-sails all night, the wind then whiffling between S. and W. We had notwithstanding for the most part very little wind. The morning of this day was rainy, and thereupon with good diligence we saved a bumpkin of water. There was now a great rippling sea, rising very high; and it is reported that sometimes and somewhere hereabouts is to be seen an enchanted island; which others say, and dare assert, that they have sailed over. I reckoned a N.W. by N. one quarter N. way, and twenty-five leagues. This afternoon we had very dark and calm weather,:coking as if we should have much rain. Now, reckoning up my meridian, I found myself E. from my departure seven hundred and two leagues. In the evening we had very rainy weather and a cocking sea.
January 10th. All last night was cloudy. About midnight sprang up a small breeze varying all round the compass. At five this morning we had a breeze at S.E. and a very clear sky, which afterwards continued to freshen, with the same clearness as before. We made a N.W. by N. one quarter N. way, and by the same two leagues and two thirds. By clear observation, lat. 03° 16' N. At four this evening the wind was at E.S.E., the weather being violent hot; insomuch that our allowance of water was tedious to us for its shortness. At the same time we had an indifferent smooth sea from the E.
January 11th. All last night we had little or no wind. But about two in the morning the wind freshened again at E.N.E., and brought both a clear and hot day. We made twenty-three leagues by a N.W. one quarter W. way. This day's observation gave us lat. 04° 06' N. In the afternoon we had a shower of rain, and afterwards a fresh wind at E.N.E. But the evening grew dull.
January 12th. Last night we had two or three squalls of wind, and some showers of rain. In the meanwhile the wind blew fresh at N.E. and N.E. by E., as it also continued to do in the day. I reckoned a N.W. way, and forty-four leagues and one third. Our observation this day gave us 05° 49' N. Yesterday and to-day we set our maintop sail. Now I could not find much variation of the needle.
January 13th. We had a fresh gale all last night, but more northerly than before; for now it was N.E. by N. We reckoned a W.N.W. way, and thereupon — leagues and two-thirds. An observation showed, lat. 06° 41' N. We had a N.N.E. sea and very clear weather.
January 14th. We had a clear night, and a fresh wind at E.N.E. We made a N.W. one fifth W. way, and thirty-eight leagues. By observation, lat. 07° 46' N. We had a smooth sea; and now we were come to only three horns of water a day, which made in all but a quart allowance for each man. The evening was clear, and we had a fresh wind.
Sunday, January 15th. Last night was clear, and the wind fresh at E.N.E., and again at N.E. by E. very fresh. At about eleven o'clock at night there died one of our companions, named William Stephens. It was commonly believed that he poisoned himself with mancanilla in Golfo Dulce, for he never had been in health since that time. This forenoon was cloudy. We reckoned forty-four leagues and a N.W. way. An observation gave us this day 09° 18' N. All last night we kept out our top-gallant sails. We saw hereabouts many flying fish, being very large in size. This morning also we threw overboard our dead man, and gave him two French vollies and one English one. I found now again very small variation.
January 16th. We had a clear night, and a very fresh wind at N.E. and E.N.E., with a long, homing sea. My reckoning was a N.W. one seventh W. way, and thereby forty-eight leagues and one-third. The observation made this day gave us lat. 10° 48' N. I reckoned myself now E. from my departure five hundred and fifty-three leagues. We had a very cloudy evening.
January 17th. All last night we enjoyed a fresh wind, and so this day also, at N.E. by N. We made a N.W. half W. way, and thereupon forty-seven leagues and one-third. By observation we found lat. 12° 19' N. We had now a long north sea. At noon this day we steered away N.N.W. The day was very hot, but the night both cool and dewy.
January 18th. All last night was both cloudy and windy. At six this morning our sprit sail topmast broke. I reckoner; a W.N.W. way, and forty-eight leagues by the same. We found by observation, lat. 13° 12' N. At noon we steered away W., the wind being at N.E. fresh, with a clear evening.
January 19th. We had a clear night, and a fresh wind at E.N.E., which sometimes came in pushes. Our reckoning was a W. half S. way, and by the same forty-six leagues. We found by observation lat. 13° 01' N. Yesterday in the evening we put up a new sprit sail topmast; with a fine, smooth gale at N.E. by E.
January 20th. Last night was clear, and not very fresh, but at daybreak it freshened again. Last night we saw a great shoal of fish; whereof we caught none, by reason the porpoises frightened them from us, as they ofttimes had done before. Yesterday in the evening also we saw a man-of-war fowl, and that gave us good hopes we should e'er long see land. These hopes, and the great desires we had to end our voyage, gave us occasion this day to put in, or stake down, each man of our company a piece of eight for a reward to him that should first discover land. We reckoned a W. one-sixth N. way, and by it thirty-eight leagues. An observation gave us this day lat. 13° 11' N. The wind was at N.E. and E.N.E. This day we passed over many ripplings, and also saw many multitudes of fish; but the porpoises did always hinder us from having any good of them.
January 21st. We made a W. way, and reckoned forty-seven leagues. By observation we found lat. 13° 07' N. The wind was at E.N.E., and thence came a long sea. The evening was very clear.
January 22nd. We had a fair and a clear day, the wind being at E. We reckoned a W. by N. one-third W. way, and forty leagues. An observation showed us lat. 13° 17' N. We had a clear evening, and a fresh wind at E.N.E.
January 23rd. This day was both clear and hot, with a fresh wind at E.N.E. My reckoning was a W. way, and forty-six leagues. Our observation this day afforded us lat. 13° 15' N. In the evening we had some rain.
January 24th. This day brought us likewise clear weather, such as the day before. I reckoned a W. way, and forty leagues and one-third. By observation we found lat. 13° 12' N. The afternoon was cloudy, and had some rain, the wind freshening at E.N.E. and at E. by N. I reckoned now that I was E. from my departure three hundred and eleven leagues. We had a cloudy evening.
January 25th. Both last night and this morning the weather was cloudy. This morning we saw several tropical birds of divers sorts. Our reckoning was a W. three-quarters N. way, and forty-three leagues. We found by observation lat. 13° 29' N. This afternoon we saw a booby flying close aboard the horizon. The weather was hazy. But now we began to look out sharp on all sides for land, expecting to see it every minute. I reckoned myself to be E. of my departure two hundred and sixty-eight leagues.
January 26th. Last ,night was indifferent clear. Yet notwithstanding, this morning we had a smart shower of rain, and it was very windy. Hereupon we furled our sprit sail, the weather being very hazy to W. We reckoned a W. way, and thereby forty-six leagues and one-third. By observation, lat. 13° 17' N. At noon this day we had a very fierce tornado and rain together; but a clear afternoon. We had a high E.N.E. sea, and saw multitudes of flying-fish, and amongst these, two or three boobies. The evening was hazy.
January 27th. All last night we had a fresh wind, and clear weather. This morning our foretop mast back-stay gave way, and at daybreak the star-board sheet of our foretop sail broke. We had several tornadoes this day, and dark weather. Our reckoning was a W. way, and forty-eight leagues by the same. We had a clear evening and a dark night. This day also a certain bird, called a noddy, came on board us, which we took for a certain token that we were not now very far from land.
Saturday, January 28th. We had a very clear night. About an hour before day one of our company happened to descry land, which proved to be the Island of Barbados, at S.S.W. from us, and at two leagues and a half distance, more or less. Hereupon we clapped on a wind, N. and by W. At daybreak we were only four leagues distant from Chalky Mount, at which time we stood S.W. by S. As we sailed we saw several ships at anchor in Spikes Road. Soon after a shallop passed by, between us and the shore, but would not come within call of us. Hereupon we stood in, within a mile of the shore, and made a wiff to a pinnace which we saw coming out of the road afore-mentioned. She came close aboard us, and as it should seem, was the barge of one of his Majesty's frigates, the Richmond, then lying at the Bridgetown at anchor. They told us of peace at home, but would not come on board us, though often invited thereto. Neither dared we be so bold as to put in there at Barbados; for hearing of a frigate lying there, we feared lest the said frigate should seize us for privateers, and for having acted in all our voyage without commission. Thus we stood away thence for the Island of Antigua.
Here I cannot easily express the infinite joy we were possessed with this day to see our own countrymen again. They told us that a ship, which we saw in the offing to leeward of the island, was a Bristol-man, and an interloper; but we feared that same vessel to be the frigate afore-mentioned. I reckoned a way of twenty-five leagues, so that I was now by my account to eastward of my departure one hundred and fifty-one leagues. Now we stood N. by W., and by observation found lat. 13° 7' N., we being then N.W. from the body of the island of Barbados between seven and eight leagues. This afternoon we freed the negro who was our shoemaker by trade, giving him his liberty for the good service he had done us in all the course of this voyage. We gave also to our good commander, Captain Sharp, a mulatto boy, as a free gift of the whole company, to wait upon him, in token of the respect we all were owing to him, for the safety of our conduct through so many dangerous adventures. This being done, we shared some small parcels of money, that had not as yet been touched of our former prizes; and this dividend amounted to twenty-four pieces-of-eight each man.
At one o'clock this day from our fore-yard we descried the island of St. Lucia, being one of the Western Islands, not far distant from that of Barbados. I had omitted to tell a passage which happened in our ship, on Thursday last, which was the 26th day of this month, and just two days before we made the island of Barbados. On that day, therefore, a little Spanish shock-dog, which we had found in our last wine-prize, taken under the equinoctial and had kept alive till now, was sold at the mast by public cry for forty pieces-of-eight, his owner saying that all he could get for him should be spent upon the company at a public merriment. Our commander, Captain Sharp, bought the dog, with intention to eat him, in case we did not see land very soon. This money, therefore, with one hundred pieces-of-eight more, which our boatswain, carpenter, and quartermaster had refused to take at this last dividend, for some quarrel they had against the sharers thereof, was all laid up in store till we came to land, with the intent of spending it ashore, at a common feast or drinking bout. At sunset the island of St. Lucia bore W.S.W. from us, and was at ten leagues distance. Also the island of Martinique bore N.W. by W. of us at twelve or thirteen leagues distance. We had this day a very clear evening.
Sunday, January 29th. We had a clear night and a fresh wind at E. by N. and at E.N.E. Our reckoning was a N.N.W. half W. way, and hereby forty-six leagues. By observation we took lat. 15° 46' N. At noon this day we saw the island named La Desirade, or the Desired Island, which then bore N.W. from us, and seemed to be at eight leagues distance, more or less. At six o'clock in the evening we saw likewise Mariegalante, another of the Caribbee Islands, at S.W. by W. from us, and that of Guadaloupe, streaking itself in several hummocks of land, both W. and N.; as also La Desirade above-mentioned at S.E., which from there shows like table-land, and at each end has a low point running out. At six this evening it was W.S.W., and at five or six leagues distance from us. At the same time we saw the island of Montserrat, at a great distance from our ship, and making three round hummocks close together. This evening likewise we caught an albicore of twenty pound weight.
Monday, January 30th. We had a fair night all the last past, and a fresh wind. Hereupon, all night we hauled up our main sail in brails, standing at the same time N. by W., with the wind at E.N.E. At midnight we stood N.W. At three in the morning we lay by until five. Then we stood away W.N.W. until six, and at that hour we stood W. At eight o'clock we saw the island of Antigua, called by us Antego, to the S. of us, making three round hummocks of land, and a long high hill to N. Hereupon we stood W.S.W. for it. At noon we found lat. 17° N., the island being then just W. from us.
We came about to the S. of the island, and sent a canoe on shore to get tobacco and other necessaries that we wanted, as also to ask leave of the Governor to come into the port. The gentry of the place and common people were very willing and desirous to receive us. But on Wednesday, February 1st, the governor flatly denied us entry; at which all the gentry were much grieved, and showed themselves very kind to us.1 Hereupon we agreed among ourselves to give away, and leave the ship to them of our company who had no money left of all their purchase in this voyage, having lost it all at play; and then to divide ourselves into two ships, which were now bound for England. Thus I myself and thirteen more of our company went on board Captain Robert Porteen's ship, called the Lisbon Merchant, and set sail from Antigua on February 11th, and landed at Dartmouth in England, March 26th, anno 1682.
1 Sharp and others were tried in England on their return, at the instance of the Spanish Ambassador, for piracy in the South Seas, but escaped. On the charge of taking the Rosario and killing her captain it was successfully pleaded in defence that as the Spaniards fired first the pirates were justified in defending themselves. Three of the same crew were tried at Jamaica, of whom one was hanged on his plea of guilty, the other two being acquitted in default of evidence.