A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11
by Robert Kerr
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The cutter had discovered the bay in which we intended to anchor, which was to the westward of our present station; and next morning, the weather proving favourable, we endeavoured to weigh, in order to proceed thither, mustering all the strength we could, obliging even the sick, who could hardly stand on their legs, to assist; yet the capstan was so weakly manned, that it was near four hours before we could heave the cable right up and down: after which, with our utmost efforts, though with many surges and some additional purchases to increase our strength, we found it utterly impossible to start the anchor out of the ground. At noon, however, as a fresh gale blew towards the bay, we were induced to set the sails, which fortunately tripped the anchor. We then steered along shore, till we came abreast of the point forming the eastern part of the bay: But on opening the bay, the wind, which had hitherto favoured us, chanced to shift, and blew from the bay in squalls; yet, by means of the head-way we had got, we luffed close in, till the anchor, which still hung at our bow, brought us up in fifty-six fathoms.

Soon after we had thus got to anchor in the mouth of the bay, we discovered a sail making toward us, which we had no doubt was one of our squadron, and which, on a nearer approach, we found to be the Tryal sloop; whereupon, we immediately dispatched some of our hands to her assistance, by whose means she was brought to anchor between us and the land. We soon learnt that she had by no means been exempted from the same calamities by which we had been so severely afflicted; for Captain Saunders, her commander, waiting on the commodore, informed him, that he had buried thirty-four men out of his small complement, and those that remained alive were so universally afflicted with the scurvy, that only himself, his lieutenant, and three of the men were able to stand by the sails.

It was on the 12th about noon that the Tryal came to anchor within us, when we carried our hawsers on board her, in order to warp our ship nearer the shore; but the wind coming off the land in violent gusts, prevented our mooring in the intended birth. Indeed our principal attention was now devoted to a business of rather more importance, as we were now anxiously employed in sending on shore materials to erect tents for the reception of the sick, who died rapidly on board. Doubtless the distemper was considerably augmented by the stench and filthiness in which they lay; for the number of the sick was so great, and so few of them could be spared from the necessary duty of the sails to look after them, that it was impossible to avoid a great relaxation in regard to cleanliness, so that the ship was extremely loathsome between decks. Notwithstanding our desire to free the sick from their present hateful situation, and their own extreme eagerness to get on shore, we had not hands enough to prepare the tents for their reception sooner than the 16th; but on that and the two following days we got them all on shore, to the number of an hundred and sixty-seven persons, besides twelve or fourteen who died in the boats on being exposed to the fresh air. The greatest part of our sick were so infirm, that we had to carry them out of the ship in their hammocks, and to convey them afterwards in the same manner from the water-side to the tents, over a stony beach. This was a work of considerable fatigue to the few who remained healthy; and therefore our commodore, according to his accustomed humanity, not only assisted in this himself, but obliged all his officers to give their helping-hand.

The extreme weakness of our sick may be collected, in some measure, from the numbers that died after they got on shore. It has generally been found that the land, and the refreshments it affords, very soon produce recovery in most stages of the scurvy, and we flattered ourselves that those who had not perished on their first exposure to the open air, but had lived to be placed in the tents, would have been speedily restored to health and vigour. Yet to our great mortification, it was nearly twenty days after they landed, before the mortality entirely ceased, and for the first ten or twelve days we rarely buried less than six each day, and many of those who survived recovered by very slow and insensible degrees. Those, indeed, who had sufficient strength, at their first getting on shore, to creep out of the tents, and to crawl about, were soon relieved, and speedily recovered their health and strength: But, in the rest, the disease seemed to have attained a degree of inveteracy altogether without example.

Before proceeding to any farther detail of our proceeding, I think it necessary to give a distinct account of this island of Juan Fernandez, including its situation, productions, and conveniences. We were well enabled to be minutely instructed in these particulars, during our three months stay at this island; and its advantages will merit a circumstantial description, as it is the only commodious place in these seas, where British cruizers can refresh and recover their men, after passing round Caps Horn, and where they may remain for some time without alarming the Spanish coast. Commodore Anson, indeed, was particularly industrious, in directing the roads and coasts of this island to be surveyed, and other observations of all kinds to be made; knowing, from his own experience, of how great benefit these materials might prove hereafter, to any British cruizers in these seas. For the uncertainty we were in of its position, and our standing in for the main on the 28th May, as formerly related, cost us the lives of between seventy and eighty of our men; from which fatal loss we might have been saved, had we possessed such an account of its situation as we could have fully depended upon.

The island of Juan Fernandez is in lat. 33 deg. 40'S. [long. 77 deg. 30' W.] one hundred marine leagues or five degrees of longitude from the continent of Chili. It is said to have received its name from a Spaniard who formerly procured a grant of it, and resided there for some time with the view of forming a settlement, but abandoned it afterwards.[1] On approaching its northern side from the east, it appears a large congeries of lofty peaked mountains, the shore in most places being composed of high precipitous rocks, presenting three several bays, East bay, Cumberland bay, and West bay, the second only being of any extent, and is by far the best, in which we moored. The island itself is of an irregular triangular figure; one side of which, facing the N.E. contains these three bays. Its greatest extent is between four and five leagues, and its greatest breadth something less than two. The only safe anchorage is on the N.E. side, where, as already mentioned, are the three bays; the middlemost of which, named Cumberland bay, is the widest and deepest, and in all respects by much the best; for the other two, named East and West bays, are scarcely more than good landing places, where boats may conveniently put casks on shore for water. Cumberland bay is well secured to the southward, and is only exposed from the N. by W. to the E. by S. and as the northerly winds seldom blow in that climate, and never with any violence, the danger from that quarter is not worth attending to. This last-mentioned bay is by far the most commodious road in the island, and it is advisable for all ships to anchor on its western side, within little more than two cables length of the beach, where they may ride in forty fathoms, and be sheltered, in a great measure, from a large heavy sea which comes rolling in, whenever the wind blows from eastern or western quarters. It is expedient, however, to cackle or arm the cables with an iron chain, or with good rounding, for five or six fathoms from the anchor, to secure them from being rubbed by the foulness of the ground.[2]

[Footnote 1: In the original, the description given of this island refers to large engraved views, which could not be inserted in our octavo form, so as to be of the smallest utility.—E.]

[Footnote 2: Cumberland bay is called La Baya by the Spaniards, who seem now to have established a fort here. East bay is by them called Puerta de Juan Fernandez. There is yet a fourth bay, or small indentation of the coast, with a landing place and stream of water, named Puerta Ingles, or Sugar-loaf bay, between West bay and the north point of the island.—E.]

I have already observed that a northerly wind, to which alone this bay is directly exposed, very seldom blew while we were there; and, as it was then winter, such may be supposed less frequent in other seasons. In those few instances when the wind was in that quarter, it did not blow with any great force, which might be owing to the high lands, south of the bay, giving a check to its force; for we had reason to believe that it blew with considerable force a few leagues out at sea, since it sometimes drove a prodigious sea before it into the bay, during which we rode forecastle in. Though the northerly winds are never to be apprehended in this bay, yet the southerly winds, which generally prevail here, frequently blow off the land in violent gusts and squalls, which seldom lasted, however, longer than two or three minutes. This seems to be owing to the high hills, in the neighbourhood of the bay, obstructing the southern gale; as the wind, collected by this means, at last forces its passage through the narrow vallies; which, like so many funnels, both facilitate its escape, and increase its violence. These frequent and sudden guests make it difficult for a ship to work in with the wind offshore, or to keep a clear hawse, when anchored.

The northern part of this island is composed of high craggy hills, many of them inaccessible, though generally covered with trees. The soil of this part is loose and shallow, so that very large trees in the hills frequently perish for want of root, and are then easily overturned. This circumstance occasioned the death of one of our men, who, being on the hills in search of goats, caught hold of a tree upon a declivity to assist him in his ascent, and this giving way, he rolled down the hill; and though, in his fall, he fastened on another tree of considerable bulk, this also gave way, and he fell among the rocks, where he was dashed to pieces. Mr Brett, also, having rested his back against a tree, near as large about as himself, which grew on a slope, it gave way with him, and he fell to a considerable distance, though without receiving any injury. Our prisoners, whom, as will appear in the sequel, we afterwards brought to this island, remarked that the appearance of the hills in some parts resembled that of the mountains in Chili where gold is found; so that it is not impossible that mines might be discovered here. In some places we observed several hills of a peculiar red earth, exceeding vermillion in colour, which perhaps, on examination, might prove useful for many purposes. The southern, or rather S.W. part of the island, is widely different from the rest; being destitute of trees, dry, stony, and very flat and low, compared, with the hills on the northern part. This part of the island is never frequented by ships, being surrounded by a steep shore, and having little or no fresh water; besides which, it is exposed to the southerly winds, which generally blow here the whole year round, and with great violence in the antarctic winter.

The trees, of which the woods in the northern part of the island are composed, are mostly aromatic, and of many different sorts. There are none of them of a size to yield any considerable timber, except those we called myrtle-trees, which are the largest on the island, and supplied us with all the timber we used; yet even these would not work to a greater length than forty feet. The top of the myrtle is circular, and as uniform and regular as if clipped round by art. It bears an excrescence like moss on its bark, having the taste and smell of garlic, and was used instead of it by our people. We found here the pimento, and the cabbage-tree, but in no great quantity. Besides these, there were a great number of plants of various kinds, which we were not botanists enough to describe or attend to. We found here, however, almost all the vegetables that are usually esteemed peculiarly adapted to the cure of those scorbutic disorders which are contracted by salt diet and long voyages, as we had great quantities of water-cresses and purslain, with excellent wild sorrel, and a vast profusion of turnips and Sicilian radishes, which two last, having a strong resemblance to each other, were confounded by our people under the general name of turnips. We usually preferred the tops of the turnips to the roots, which we generally found stringy, though some of them were free from that exception, and remarkably good. These vegetables, with the fish and flesh we got here, to be more particularly described hereafter, were not only exceedingly grateful to our palates after the long course of salt diet to which we had been confined, but were likewise of the most salutary consequence in recovering and envigorating our sick, and of no mean service to us who were well, by destroying the lurking seeds of the scurvy, from which none of us, perhaps, were totally exempted, and in refreshing and restoring us to our wonted strength and activity. To the vegetables already mentioned, of which we made perpetual use, I must add that we found many acres of ground covered with oats and clover. There were some few cabbage-trees, as before observed, but these grew generally on precipices and in dangerous situations, and as it was necessary to cut down a large tree to procure a single cabbage, we were rarely able to indulge in this dainty.

The excellence of the climate, and the looseness of the soil, renders this island extremely proper for all kinds of cultivation: for, if the ground be any where accidentally turned up, it becomes immediately overgrown with turnips and Sicilian radishes. Our commodore, therefore, having with him garden-seeds of all kinds, and stones of different kinds of fruits, sowed here lettuces, carrots, and other garden-plants, and set in the woods great numbers of plumb, apricot, and peach-stones, for the better accommodation of our countrymen who might hereafter touch at this island. These last have since thriven most remarkably, as has been since learnt by Mr Anson. For some Spanish gentlemen having been taken on their passage from Lima to Spain, and brought to England, having procured leave to wait upon him, to thank him for his generosity and humanity to his prisoners, some of whom were their relations, and foiling into discourse about his transactions in the South Seas, asked if he had not planted a great number of fruit-stones on the island of Juan Fernandez, as their late navigators had discovered there a great many peach and apricot trees, which, being fruits not observed there before, they supposed to have been produced from kernels set by him.

This may suffice in general as to the soil and vegetable productions of Juan Fernandez; but the face of the country, at least of its northern part, is so extremely singular as to require a particular consideration. I have already noticed the wild and inhospitable appearance of it to us at first sight, and the gradual improvement of its uncouth landscape as we drew nearer, till we were at last captivated by the numerous beauties we discovered on landing. During our residence, we found the interior to fall no ways short of the sanguine prepossessions we at first entertained. For the woods, which covered most of even the steepest hills, were free from all bushes and underwood, affording an easy passage through every part of them; and the irregularities of the hills and precipices, in the northern part of the island, traced out, by their various combinations, a great number of romantic vallies, most of which were pervaded by streams of the purest water, which tumbled in beautiful cascades from rock to rock, as the bottoms of the vallies happened to be broken into sudden descents by the course of the neighbouring hills. Some particular spots occurred in these vallies where the shade and fragrance of the contiguous woods, the loftiness of the overhanging rocks, and the transparency and frequent cascades of the streams, presented scenes of such elegance and dignity, as would with difficulty be rivalled in any other part of the globe. Here, perhaps, the simple productions of unassisted nature may be said to excel all the fictitious descriptions of the most fertile imagination.

The piece of ground which the commodore chose in which to pitch his tent, was a small lawn on a gentle ascent, about half a mile from the sea. In front of the tent was a large avenue, opening through the woods to the shore, and sloping with a gentle descent to the water, having a prospect of the bay and the ships at anchor. This lawn was screened behind by a wood of tall myrtle trees, sweeping round in a crescent form, like a theatre, the slope on which the wood grew rising more rapidly than the open lawn, yet not so much but that the hills and precipices of the interior towered considerably above the tops of the trees, and added greatly to the beauty and grandeur of the view. There were also two streams of water, pure as the finest crystal, which ran to the right and left of the tent within the distance of an hundred yards, and which, shaded by trees skirting either side of the lawn, completed the symmetry of the whole.

It only now remains that we should mention the animals and provisions which we met with at this island. Former writers have related that this island abounded with vast numbers of goats, and their accounts are not to be questioned, as this place was the usual resort of the buccaneers and privateers who used formerly to frequent these seas. There are two instances, one of a musquito Indian, and the other of Alexander Selkirk, a Scotsman, who were left here by their respective ships, and lived alone upon the island for some years, and were consequently no strangers to its productions. Selkirk, who was here the last, after a stay of between four and five years, was taken off by the Duke and Duchess privateers, of Bristol, as may be seen at large in the journal of their voyage. His manner of life, during his solitude, was very remarkable in most particulars; but he relates one circumstance, which was so strongly verified by our own experience, that it seems worthy of being mentioned. He tells us, as he often caught more goats than he had occasion for, that he sometimes marked their ears, and let them go. This was about thirty-two years before our arrival, yet it happened that the first goat killed by our people after they landed, had its ears slit; whence we concluded that it had doubtless been formerly caught by Selkirk. This was indeed an animal of a most venerable aspect, dignified with a most majestic beard, and bearing many other marks of great age. During our residence, we met with others marked in the same manner, all the males being distinguished by exuberant beards, with every other characteristic of extreme age.

The great number of goats, which former writers describe as having been found on this island, were very much diminished before our arrival. For the Spaniards, aware of the advantages derived by the buccaneers and pirates from the goats-flesh they here procured, have endeavoured to extirpate the breed, on purpose to deprive their enemies of this resource. For this purpose, they put on shore great numbers of large dogs, which have greatly increased, and have destroyed all the goats in the accessible pans of the country; so that there were only, when we were there, a few among the crags and precipices, where the dogs cannot follow them. These remaining goats are divided into separate flocks, of twenty or thirty each, which inhabit distinct fastnesses, and never mingle with each other, so that we found it exceedingly difficult to kill them; yet we were so desirous of their flesh, which we all agreed resembled venison, that we came, I believe, to the knowledge of all their haunts and flocks; and, by comparing their numbers, it was conceived that they scarcely exceeded two hundred on the whole island. I once witnessed a remarkable contest between a flock of goats and a number of dogs. Going in our boat into the East bay, we perceived some dogs running very eagerly upon the foot, and willing to see what game they were in pursuit of, we rested some time on our oars to observe them, when at last they took to a hill, on the ridge of which we saw a flock of goats drawn up for their reception. There was a very narrow path leading to the ridge, skirted on each side by precipices; and here the master he-goat of the flock posted himself fronting the enemy, the rest of the goats being all behind him, on more open ground. As the ridge was inaccessible by any other path, except where this champion stood, though the dogs ran up the hill with great alacrity, yet, when they came within twenty yards, not daring to encounter him, as he would infallibly have driven them down the precipice, they gave over the chase, and lay down at that distance, panting at a great rate.

These dogs, which are masters of all the accessible parts of the island, are of various kinds, some of them very large, and have multiplied to a prodigious degree. They sometimes came down to our habitations under night, and stole our provisions; and once or twice they set upon single persons, but, assistance being at hand, they were driven away, without doing any mischief. As it is now rare for any goats to fall in their way, we conceived that they lived principally on young seals; and some of our people, having the curiosity to kill dogs sometimes, and dress them, seemed to agree that they had a fishy taste.

Goats-flesh being scarce, as we were rarely able to kill above one in a day, and our people growing tired of fish, which abounded at this place, they at last condescended to eat seals, which they came by degrees to relish, calling it lamb. As the seal, of which numbers haunt this island, has been often mentioned by former writers, it seems unnecessary to say any thing particular respecting that animal in this place. There is, however, another amphibious animal to be met with here, called the sea-lion, having some resemblance to a seal, but much larger, which I conceive may merit a particular description. This too we eat, under the denomination of beef. When arrived at full size, the sea-lion is between twelve and twenty feet in length, and from eight to fifteen feet in circumference. They are extremely fat, so that, below the skin, which is an inch thick, there is at least a foot deep of fat, before coming to the lean or bones, and we experienced more than once, that the fat of some of the largest afforded us a butt of oil. They are also very full of blood; for, if deeply wounded in a dozen places, there will instantly gush out as many fountains of blood, spouting to a considerable distance. To try what quantity of blood one of them might contain, we shot one first, and then cut its throat, measuring the blood which flowed, and found that we got at least two hogsheads, besides a considerable quantity remaining in the vessels of the animal.

Their skins are covered with short hair of a light dun colour; but their tails and fins, which serve them for feet on shore, are almost black. These fore-feet, or fins, are divided at the ends like fingers, the web which joins them not reaching to the extremities, and each of these fingers is furnished with a nail. They have a distant resemblance to an overgrown seal; though in some particulars there are manifest differences between these two animals, besides the vast disproportion in size. The males especially are remarkably dissimilar, having a large snout, or trunk, hanging down five or six inches beyond the extremity of the upper jaw, which renders the countenances of the male and female easily distinguishable from each other. One of the largest of these males, who was master of a large flock of females, and drove off all the other males, got from our sailors the name of the bashaw, from that circumstance. These animals divide their time between the sea and the land, continuing at sea all summer, and coming on shore at the setting in of winter, during all which season they reside on the land. In this interval they engender and bring forth their young, having generally two at a birth, which are suckled by the dams, the young at first being as large as a full-grown seal.

During the time they continue on shore, they feed on the grass and other plants which grow near the banks of fresh-water streams; and, when not employed in feeding, sleep in herds in the most miry places they can find. As they seem of a very lethargic disposition, and are not easily awakened, each herd was observed to place some of their males at a distance, in the nature of centinels, who never failed to alarm them when any one attempted to molest, or even to approach them. The noise they make is very loud, and of different kinds; sometimes grunting like hogs, and at other times snorting like horses in full vigour. Especially the males have often furious battles, principally about their females; and we were one day extremely surprised at seeing two animals, which at first appeared quite different from any we had before observed; but on a nearer approach, they proved to be two sea-lions, which had been goring each other with their teeth, and were all covered over with blood. The bashaw, formerly mentioned, who generally lay surrounded by a seraglio of females, to which no other male dared approach, had not acquired that envied pre-eminence without many bloody contests, of which the marks remained in numerous scars in every part of his body.

We killed many of these animals for food, particularly for their hearts and tongues, which we esteemed exceeding good eating, and preferable even to those of bullocks. In general there was no difficulty in killing them, as they are incapable either of flight or resistance, their motion being the most unwieldy that can be imagined, and all the time they are in motion, their blubber is agitated in large waves under the skin. One day, a sailor being carelessly employed in skinning a young sea-lion, the female from whom he had taken it, came upon him unperceived, and getting his head into her mouth, scored his skull in notches with her teeth in many places, and wounded him so desperately that he died in a few days, though all possible care was taken of him.[3]

[Footnote 3: There are two species of the seal tribe which have received the name of sea-lion; the phoca leonina, or bottle-nosed seal, which is that of the text; and the phoca jubata, or maned seal, which is the sea-lion of some other writers. These two species are remarkably distinguishable from each other, especially the moles: The bottle-nosed seal having a trunk, snout, or long projection, on the upper jaw; while the male of the maned seal has his neck covered with a long flowing mane. The latter is also much larger, the males sometimes reaching twenty-five feet in length, and weighing fifteen or sixteen hundred weight. Their colour is reddish, and their voice resembles the bellowing of bulls. The former are chiefly found in the Southern Pacific; while the latter frequent the northern parts of the same ocean.—E.]

These are the principal animals which we found upon the island of Juan Fernandez. We saw very few birds, and these were chiefly hawks, blackbirds, owls, and hummingbirds. We saw not the paradela,[4] which burrows in the ground, and which former writers mention to be found here; but as we often met with their holes, we supposed that the wild dogs had destroyed them, as they have almost done the cats; for these were very numerous when Selkirk was here, though we did not see above two or three during our whole stay. The rats, however, still keep their ground, and continue here in great numbers, and were very troublesome to us, by infesting our tents in the night.

[Footnote 4: This name is inexplicable; but, from the context, appears to refer to some animal of the cavia genus, resembling the rabbit: Besides, a small islet, a short way S.W. of Juan Fernandez, is named Isla de Conejos, or Rabbit Island.—E.]

That which furnished us with the most delicious of our repasts, while at this island, still remains to be described. This was the fish, with which the whole bay was most abundantly stored, and in the greatest variety. We found here cod of prodigious size; and by the report of some of our crew, who had been formerly employed in the Newfoundland fishery, not less plentiful than on the banks of that island. We had also cavallies, gropers, large breams, maids, silver-fish, congers of a particular kind; and above all, a black fish which we esteemed most, called by some the chimney-sweeper, in shape somewhat resembling a carp. The beach, indeed, was every where so full of rocks and loose stones, that there was no possibility of hauling the seyne; but with hooks and lines we caught what numbers we pleased, so that a boat with only two or three lines, would return loaded with fish in two or three hours. The only interruption we ever met with arose from great quantities of dog-fish and large sharks, which sometimes attended our boats, and prevented our sport.

Besides these fish, we found one other delicacy in greater perfection, both as to size, quantity, and flavour, than is to be met with perhaps in any other part of the world. This was sea craw-fish, usually weighing eight or nine pounds each, of a most excellent taste, and in such vast numbers near the edge of the water, that our boat-hooks often struck into them in putting the boats to and from the shore.

These are the most material articles relating to the accommodations, soil, vegetables, animals, and other productions of the island of Juan Fernandez, by which it will distinctly appear how admirably this place was adapted for recovering us from the deplorable situation to which we had been reduced by our tedious and unfortunate navigation round Cape Horn. Having thus given the reader some idea of the situation and circumstances of this island, in which we resided for six months, I shall now proceed to relate all that occurred to us in that period, resuming the narrative from the 18th of June, on which day the Tryal sloop, having been driven out by a squall three days before, came again to her moorings, on which day also we finished sending our sick on shore, being about eight days after our first anchoring at this island.


Separate Arrivals of the Gloucester, and Anna Pink, at Juan Fernandez, and Transactions at that Island during the Interval.

The arrival of the Tryal sloop at this island, so soon after we came there ourselves in the Centurion, gave us great hopes of being speedily joined by the rest of the squadron; and we were accordingly for some days continually looking out, in expectation of their coming in sight. After near a fortnight had elapsed without any of them appearing, we began to despair of ever meeting them again, knowing, if our ship had continued so much longer at sea, that we should every man of us have perished, and the vessel, occupied only by dead bodies, must have been left to the caprice of the winds and waves; and this we had great reason to fear was the fate of our consorts, as every hour added to the probability of these desponding suggestions. But, on the 21st of June, some of our people, from an eminence on shore, discerned a ship to leeward, with her courses even with the horizon. They could, at the same time, observe that she had no sails aboard, except her courses and main-topsail. This circumstance made them conclude that it must be one of our squadron, which had probably suffered as severely in her sails and rigging as we had done. They were prevented, however, from forming more definite conjectures concerning her; for, after viewing her a short time, the weather grew thick and hazy, and she was no longer to be seen.

On this report, and no ship appearing for some days, we were all under the greatest concern, suspecting that her people must be under the utmost distress for want of water, and so weakened and diminished in numbers by sickness, as to be unable to ply up to windward, so that we dreaded, after having been in sight of the island, that her whole crew might yet perish at sea. On the 21st, at noon, we again discerned a ship at sea in the N.E. quarter, which we conceived to be the same that had been seen before, and our conjecture proved true. About one o'clock she had come so near that we could plainly distinguish her to be the Gloucester; and as we had no doubt of her being in great distress, the commodore immediately ordered out his boat to our assistance, laden with fresh water, fish, and vegetables, which was a most comfortable relief to them; for our apprehensions of their calamitous situation were only too well founded, as there never was, perhaps, a crew in greater distress. They had already thrown two-thirds of their complement overboard; and of those who remained alive, scarcely any were capable of doing duty, except the officers and their servants. They had been a considerable time at the small allowance of a pint of water to each man in twenty-four hours, and yet had so very little left, that they must soon have died of thirst, had it not been for the supply sent them by our commodore.

The Gloucester plied up within three miles of the bay, but could not reach the road, both wind and currents being contrary. She continued, however, in the offing next day; and as she had no chance of being able to come to anchor, the commodore repeated his assistance, sending off the Tryal's boat, manned with the people of the Centurion, with a farther supply of water, and other refreshments. Captain Mitchell of the Gloucester was under the necessity of detaining both this boat and that sent the preceding day, as he had no longer strength to navigate his ship without the aid of both their crews. The Gloucester continued near a fortnight in this tantalizing situation, without being able to fetch the road, though frequently making the attempt, and even at times bidding fair to effect the object in view. On the 9th July, we observed her stretching away to the eastward, at a considerable distance, which we supposed was with a design to get to the southward of the island; but, as she did not again appear for near a week, we were prodigiously alarmed for her safety, knowing that she must be again in extreme distress for want of water. After great impatience about her, we again discovered her on the 16th, endeavouring to come round the eastern point of the island, but the wind still blowing directly from the bay, prevented her from getting nearer than within four miles of the land.

Captain Mitchell now made signals of distress, and our long-boat, was sent off with a good supply of water, and plenty of fish and other refreshments: And, as the long-boat could not be wanted, the cockswain had positive orders from the commodore to return immediately. But next day proving stormy, and the boat not appearing, we much feared she was lost, which would have been an irretrievable misfortune to us all. We were relieved, however, from this anxiety on the third day after, by the joyful appearance of her sails on the water, on which the cutter was sent to her assistance, and towed her alongside in a few hours, when we found that the long-boat had taken in six of the Gloucester's sick men, to bring them on shore, two of whom had died in the boat. We now learnt that the Gloucester was in a most dreadful condition, having scarcely a man in health on board, except the few she had received from us. Numbers of their sick were dying daily, and it appeared, had it not been for the last supply sent by our long-boat, that both the healthy and diseased must all have perished for want of water. This calamitous situation was the more terrifying, as it appeared to be without remedy; for the Gloucester had already spent a month in fruitless endeavours to fetch the bay, and was now no farther advanced than when she first made the island. The hopes of her people of ever succeeding were now worn out, by the experience of its difficulty; and, indeed, her situation became that same day more desperate than ever, as we again lost sight of her, after receiving our last supply of refreshments, so that we universally despaired of her ever coming to anchor.

Thus was this unhappy vessel bandied about, within a few leagues of her intended harbour, while the near neighbourhood of that place, and of these circumstances which could alone put an end to the calamities under which her people laboured, served only to aggravate their distress, by torturing them with a view of the relief they were unable to reach. She was at length delivered from this dreadful situation at a time when we least expected it: For, after having lost sight of her for several days, we were joyfully surprised, in the morning of the 23d July, to see her open the N.W. point of the bay with a flowing sail, when we immediately dispatched what boats we had to her assistance, and within an hour from our first perceiving her, she anchored safe within us in the bay.

We were now more particularly convinced of the importance of the assistance and refreshments we had repeatedly sent her, and how impossible it must have been for a single man of her crew to have survived, had we given less attention to their wants. For, notwithstanding the water, vegetables, and fresh provisions with which we had supplied them, and the hands we had sent to assist in navigating the ship, by which the fatigue of her own people had been greatly diminished, their sick relieved, and the mortality abated; notwithstanding this provident care of our commodore, they yet buried above three-fourths of their crew, and a very small proportion of the survivors remained capable of assisting in the duty of the ship. On getting to anchor, our first care was to assist them in mooring, and the next to get their sick on shore. These were now reduced, by numerous deaths, to less than fourscore, of which we expected the greatest part to have died; but whether it was that those farthest advanced in the cruel distemper had already perished, or that the vegetables and fresh provisions we had sent had prepared those who remained alive for a more speedy recovery, it so happened, contrary to our fears, that their sick, in general, were relieved and restored to health in a much shorter time than our own had been when we first came to the island, and very few of them died on shore.

Having thus given an account of the principal events relating to the arrival of the Gloucester, in one continued narration, I shall only add, that we were never joined by any other of our ships, except our victualler, the Anna pink, which came in about the middle of August, and whose history I shall defer for the present, as it is now high time, to return to our own transactions, both on board and ashore, during the anxious interval of the Gloucester making frequent and ineffectual attempts to reach the island.

Our next employment, after sending our sick on shore from the Centurion, was cleansing our ship, and filling our water casks. The former of these measures was indispensably necessary to our future health, as the number of our sick, and the unavoidable negligence arising from our deplorable situation at sea, had rendered the decks most intolerably loathsome. The filling our water was also a caution that appeared essential to our security, as we had reason to apprehend that accidents might intervene which would oblige us to quit the island at a very short warning, as some appearances we had discovered on shore, at our first landing, gave us grounds to believe that there were Spanish cruizers in these seas, which had left the island only a short time before our arrival, and might possibly return again, either for a supply of water, or in search of us. For we could not doubt that the sole purpose they had at sea was to intercept us, and we knew that this island was the likeliest place, in their opinion, to meet with us. The circumstances which gave rise to these reflections, in part of which we were not mistaken, as will appear more at large hereafter, were our finding on shore several pieces of earthen jars, made use of in these seas for holding water and other liquids, which appeared fresh broken. We saw also many heaps of casks, near which were fish bones and pieces of fish, besides whole fish scattered here and there, which plainly appeared to have been only a short time out of the water, as they were but just beginning to decay.

These were infallible indications that there had been a ship or ships at this place only a short time before our arrival; and, as all Spanish merchant ships are instructed to avoid this island, on account of its being the common rendezvous of their enemies, we concluded that those which had touched here must have been ships of force; and, as we knew not that Pizarro had returned to the Rio Plata, and were ignorant what strength might have been fitted out at Calao, we were under considerable apprehensions for our safety, being in so wretched and enfeebled a condition, as, notwithstanding the rank of our ship, and the sixty guns with which she was armed, there was hardly a privateer sent to sea that was not an overmatch for us. Our fears on this head, however, fortunately proved imaginary, and we were not exposed to the disgrace which must unavoidably have befallen us, had we been reduced to the necessity, by the appearance of an enemy, of fighting our sixty-gun ship with no more than thirty hands.

While employed in cleaning our ship, and filling our water casks, we set up a large copper oven on shore, near the sick tents, in which fresh bread was baked every day for the ship's company, as, being extremely desirous of recovering our sick as soon as possible, we believed that new bread, added to their green vegetables and fresh fish, might prove powerfully conducive to their relief. Indeed, we had all imaginable inducements to endeavour at augmenting our present strength, as every little accident, which to a full crew would have been insignificant, was extremely alarming in our present helpless condition. Of this we had a troublesome instance, on the 30th of June, at five in the morning, when we were alarmed by a violent gust of wind directly off shore, which instantly parted our small bower cable, about ten fathoms from the ring of the anchor. The ship at once swung off to the best bower, which happily stood the violence of the jerk, and brought us up, with two cables on end, in eighty fathoms.

At this time we had not above a dozen seamen in the ship, and were apprehensive, if the squall continued, that we might be driven out to sea in this helpless condition. We sent, therefore, the boat on shore, to bring off all who were capable of acting; and the wind soon abating of its fury, gave us an opportunity of receiving the boat back with a reinforcement. With this additional strength, we went immediately to work, to have in what remained of the broken cable, which we suspected to have received some injury from the ground before it parted, and accordingly we found that seven fathoms and a half had been chaffed and rendered unserviceable. In the afternoon, we bent this cable to the spare anchor, and got it over the bows. Next morning, the 1st of July, being favoured by the wind in gentle breezes, we warped the ship in again, and let go the anchor in forty-one fathoms; the eastern point of the bay now bearing from us E. 1/2 S. the western point N.W. by W. and the bottom of the bay S.S.W. as before. We were, however, much concerned for the loss of our anchor, and swept frequently to endeavour its recovery; but the buoy having sunk at the instant when the cable parted, we could never find it again.

As the month of July advanced, and some of our sick men were tolerably recovered, the strongest of them were set to cut down trees, and to split them into billets, while others, too weak for this work, undertook to carry the billets, by one at a time, to the water side. This they performed, some by the help of crutches, and others supported by a single stick. We next set up the forge on shore, and employed our smith, who was just capable of working, to repair our chain-plates, and other broken and decayed iron-work. We began also the repair of our rigging; but as we had not enough of junk to make spun-yarn, we deferred the general overhaul in the daily hope of the Gloucester arriving, which was known to have a great quantity of junk on board. That we might dispatch our refitting as fast as possible, we set up a large tent on the beach for the sail-makers, who were employed diligently in repairing our old sails and making new ones. These occupations, with cleansing and watering our ship, now pretty well completed, together with attending our sick, and the frequent relief sent to the Gloucester, were the principal transactions of our infirm crew, till the arrival of the Gloucester at anchor in the bay.

Captain Mitchell immediately waited on the commodore, whom he informed, that, in his last absence, he had been forced as far as the small island of Masefuero, nearly in the same latitude with the larger island of Juan Fernandez, and thirty leagues farther W. That he had endeavoured to send his boat on shore there for water, of which he observed several streams; but the wind blew so strong upon the shore, and caused so great a surf, that it was impossible to get to land. The attempt, however, was not entirely useless, as the boat came back loaded with fish. This island had been represented, by former navigators, as a mere barren rock, but Captain Mitchell assured the commodore, that it was almost every where covered with trees and verdure, and was nearly four miles in length. He believed also, that some small bay might possibly be found in it which might afford sufficient shelter to any ship desirous of procuring refreshments.

As four ships of our squadron were still missing, this description of Masefuero gave rise to a conjecture, that some of them might possibly have fallen in with that island, mistaking it for the true place of rendezvous. This suspicion was the more reasonable, that we had no draught of either island that could be relied upon; wherefore the commodore resolved to send the Tryal sloop thither, as soon as she could be made ready for sea, in order to examine all its creeks and bays, that it might be ascertained whether any of our missing ships were there or not. For this purpose, some of our best hands were sent on board the Tryal next morning, to overhaul and fix her rigging, and our long-boat was employed to complete her water; what stores and necessaries she wanted, being immediately supplied from the Centurion and Gloucester. It was the 4th of August before the Tryal was in readiness to sail. When, having weighed, it soon after fell calm, and the tide set her very near the eastern shore of the bay. Captain Saunders immediately hung out lights, and fired several guns, to apprise us of his danger; upon which all the boats were sent to his aid, which towed the sloop into the bay, where she anchored till next morning, and then proceeded with a fair breeze.

We were now busily employed in examining and repairing our rigging, and that of the Gloucester; but, in stripping our fore-mast, we were alarmed by discovering that it was sprung just above the partners of the upper deck. This spring was two inches in depth and twelve in circumference; but the carpenters, on inspection, gave it as their opinion, that fishing it with two leaves of an anchor-stock would render it as secure as ever. Besides this defect in our mast, we had other difficulties in refitting, from the want of cordage and canvass; for, although we had taken to sea much greater quantities of both than had ever been done before, yet the continued bad weather we had met with, after passing the straits of Le Maire, had occasioned so great a consumption of these stores, that we were reduced to great straits; as, after working up all our junk and old shrouds, to make twice laid cordage, we were at last reduced to the necessity to unlay a cable, to work up into running rigging; and, with all the canvass and remnants of old sails, that could be mustered, we could only make up one complete suit.

Towards the middle of August, our men being indifferently recovered, they were permitted to quit the sick tents, and to build separate huts for themselves; as it was imagined, by living apart, that they might be much cleanlier, and consequently likely to recover their strength the sooner: But strict orders were given, at the same time, that they were instantly to repair to the water-side, on the firing of a gun from the ship. Their employment now on shore, was either the procurement of refreshments, the cutting of wood, or the procurement of oil from the blubber of sea-lions. This oil served for several purposes; as burning in lamps, mixing with pitch to pay the sides of our ships, or, when worked up with wood-ashes, to supply the place of tallow, of which we had none left, to give the ship boat-hose tops. Some of the men were also occupied in salting cod; for, having two Newfoundland fishermen in the Centurion, the commodore set them to work in providing a considerable quantity of salted cod for sea-store; though very little of it was used, as it was afterwards thought to be equally productive of scurvy with any other kind of salted provisions.

It has been before mentioned, that we set up a copper oven on shore, to bake bread for the sick: But it happened that the greatest part of the flour, for the use of the squadron, was on board the Anna pink. It should also have been mentioned, that the Tryal sloop informed us, on her arrival, that she had fallen in with our victualler, on the 9th of May, not far from the coast of Chili, and had kept company with her for four days, when they were parted in a gale of wind. This gave us some room to hope that she was safe, and might rejoin us: But, all June and July having passed without any news of her, we gave her over for lost; and the commodore, at the end of July, ordered all the ships on a short allowance of bread. Neither was it in bread alone that we feared a deficiency: For, since our arrival at Juan Fernandez, it was discovered that our former purser had neglected to take on board large quantities of several kinds of provisions, which the commodore had expressly ordered him to receive; so that the supposed loss of our victualler was, on all accounts, a most mortifying circumstance.

About noon on Thursday the 16th of August, after we had given over all hopes of the Anna pink, a sail was espied in the northern quarter, on which a gun was immediately fired from the Centurion, to call off the people from the shore, who readily obeyed the summons, by repairing to the beach, where the boats waited to fetch them on board. Being now prepared for the reception of the ship in view, whether friend or enemy, we had various speculations respecting her, many supposing at first, that it was the Tryal sloop returning from the examination of Masefuero. As she drew nearer, this opinion was confuted, by observing that she had three masts, when other conjectures were eagerly canvassed; some judging the vessel in sight to be the Severn and others the Pearl, while several affirmed that she did not belong to our squadron. But, about three in the afternoon, all speculations were ended by the unanimous persuasion that it was our victualler, the Anna pink. And, though, this ship had fallen in with the island to the northward like the Gloucester, she yet had the good fortune to come to anchor in the bay at five in the afternoon. Her arrival gave us all the utmost satisfaction, as the ship's companies were immediately restored to their full allowance of bread, and we were now relieved from the apprehensions of our provisions falling short before we could reach some friendly port,—a calamity, in these seas, of all others the most irretrievable. This was the last ship that joined us; and, as the dangers she encountered, and the good fortune she afterwards experienced, are worthy of a separate narration, I shall refer them, together with a short account of the other missing ships, to the ensuing section.


Short Account of what befell the Anna Pink before she rejoined; with an Account of the Loss of the Wager, and the putting back of the Severn and Pearl.

On the first recognition of the Anna pink, it seemed quite wonderful to us how the crew of a vessel, which had thus come to the rendezvous two months after us, should be capable of working their ship in the manner they did, and with so little appearance of debility and distress. This difficulty, however, was soon solved after she came to anchor; for we then found that she had been in harbour since the middle of May, near a month before our arrival at Juan Fernandez, so that their sufferings, excepting the risk they had run of being shipwrecked, were greatly short of what had been undergone by the rest of the squadron.

They fell in with the land on the 16th of May, in lat. 45 deg. 15' S. being then about four leagues from shore. On the first sight of it, they wore ship and stood to the southward; but their fore-sail splitting, and the wind being strong at W.S.W. they drove towards the shore. The captain, either unable to clear the land, or, as others say, resolved to keep the sea no longer, steered now for the coast, in order to look out for some shelter among the many islands which appeared in sight, and had the good fortune to bring the ship to anchor to the eastward of the island of Inchin[1]. But, as they did not run sufficiently near the east shore of that island, and had not hands enough to veer away the cable briskly, they were soon driven to the eastwards, deepening their water from twenty-five to thirty-five fathoms. Still continuing to drive, they next day, being the 17th May, let go their sheet anchor, which brought them up for a short time: but on the 18th they drove again, till they came into sixty-five fathoms; and, being now within a mile of the land, they expected every moment to be forced on shore in a place where the coast was so very high and steep, that there was not the smallest prospect of saving the ship and cargo. As their boats were very leaky, and there was no appearance of a landing place, the whole crew, consisting of sixteen men and boys, gave themselves up for lost, believing, if even any of them happened to get on shore by some extraordinary chance, that they would be almost certainly massacred by the savages; as these people, knowing no other Europeans except Spaniards, might be expected to treat all strangers with the same cruelty which they have so often, and so signally, exercised against their Spanish neighbours.

[Footnote 1: The island of Inchin and the bay in which the Anna pink took shelter is in lat. 46 deg. 30' S. long. 74 deg. 30' in what is called the Peninsula de tres Montes, to the N. of the Golfo de Penas.—E.]

Under these terrifying circumstances, the Anna continued to drive towards the rocks which formed the shore; and at last, when expecting every instant to strike, they perceived a small opening in the land, which raised their hopes of safety. Wherefore, immediately cutting away their two anchors, they steered for this opening, which they found to be a narrow opening between an island and the main, which led them into a most excellent harbour; which, for its security against all winds and swells, and the consequent smoothness of its water, may perhaps vie with any in the known world: And this place being scarcely two miles from the spot where they deemed their destruction inevitable, the horrors of shipwreck and immediate death, with which they had been so long and strongly possessed, vanished almost in an instant, giving place to the most joyous ideas of security, refreshment, and repose.

In this harbour, discovered almost by miracle, the Anna came to anchor in twenty-five fathoms, with only a hawser and small anchor of about three hundred weight. Here she continued for near two months, and her people, who were many of them ill of the scurvy, were soon restored to perfect health by the fresh provisions, which they procured in abundance, and the excellent water which they found in plenty on the adjacent shore. As this place may prove of the greatest importance to future navigators forced upon this coast by the western winds, which are almost perpetual in that part of the world, it may be proper to give the best account that could be collected of this port, as to its situation, conveniences, and productions, before continuing the adventures of the Anna pink. To facilitate, also, the knowledge of this place, to such as may be desirous hereafter of using it, there is annexed a plan both of the harbour and the large bay before it, through which the Anna drifted. This plan, perhaps, may not be in all respects as accurate as could be wished, being composed from the memorandums and rude sketches of the master and surgeon, who were not the most able draughtsmen; but, as the principal parts were laid down by their estimates of their distances from each other, in which kind of computation seamen are commonly very dextrous, the errors are probably not very considerable.

The latitude, which certainly is a very material point, was not very accurately ascertained, as the Anna had no observation either on the day she got there, or within a day of leaving the bay; but is supposed to be not very distant from 45 deg. 30' S.[2] But the large extent of the bay, at the bottom of which the harbour is situated, renders this uncertainty of the less importance. The island lying before this bay, called Inchin by the Indians, is supposed to be one of the islands named Chonos by the Spanish accounts, and said to spread along all this coast,[3] being inhabited by a barbarous people, famous for their hatred to the Spaniards, and their cruelty to such of that nation as have fallen into their hands. It is even possible that the land in which this harbour is situated may be one of these islands, while the continent may be considerably to the eastward. This harbour, besides its depth of water and complete shelter, has two coves, where ships may very conveniently be hove down, as the water is constantly smooth. There are also several fine runs of excellent fresh water, which fall into the harbour, some so conveniently situated that the casks may be filled in the long-boat by means of a hose. The most remarkable of these is a stream in the N.E. part of the harbour, being a fresh-water river, where the crew of the Anna caught a few mullets of excellent flavour, and they were persuaded that it would be found to have plenty of fish in the proper season, it being winter when they were there.

[Footnote 2: This has already, on the authority of Arrowsmith, been stated at 46 deg. 30' S.]

[Footnote 3: The gulf and archipelago of Chonos, or Guaytecas, one of the islands of which is Socora, or Guayteca, is considerably to the N. of Inchin, between the peninsula de tres Montes and the island of Chiloe, the centre of that archipelago being in lat. 45 deg. S.—E.]

The principal refreshments of green vegetables met with at this port were wild cellery, nettle-tops, and the like, which, after so long a continuance at sea, were highly acceptable. We got abundance of shell-fish, as cockles and muscles of great size and delicious flavour, with plenty of geese, shags, and penguins. Though in the depth of winter the climate was by no means extremely rigorous, neither were the trees or the face of the country destitute of verdure; whence it may be concluded, that many other kinds of fresh provisions would doubtless be found there in summer. Notwithstanding the relations of the Spaniards respecting the violence and barbarity of the inhabitants, it does not appear that their numbers are sufficient to excite any apprehensions in the crew of a ship of any size, or that their dispositions are by any means so mischievous or merciless as has been represented. With all these advantages, this place is so far from the frontiers of the Spanish settlements, and so little known to the Spaniards themselves, that, with proper precautions, there is reason to believe a ship might remain here a long time undiscovered. It is also capable of being made a very defensible port; as, by possessing the island that closes tip the port or inner harbour, which island is only accessible in a very few places, a small force might easily secure this port against all the force which the Spaniards could muster in that part of the world. For this island is so steep towards the harbour, having six fathoms close to the shore, that the Anna anchored within forty yards of its coast; whence it is obvious how difficult it would prove, either to board or cut out any vessel protected by a force posted on shore within pistol-shot, and where those thus posted could not be themselves attacked. All these circumstances seem to render this port worthy of a more accurate examination; and it is to be hoped that this rude attempt to suggest, may hereafter recommend it to the consideration of the public, and the attention of those who are more immediately entrusted with the conduct of our naval affairs.

After this account of the place where the Anna lay for two months, it may be expected that I should relate the discoveries made by her crew upon the adjacent coast, and the principal incidents that occurred during their stay here. But, as they were only a few in number, they durst not venture to detach any of their people on distant searches, being under continual apprehensions of being attacked either by the Spaniards or Indians, so that their excursions were generally confined to the tract of land surrounding the port, where they were never out of view of the ship: Even if they had known from the first how little grounds there were for these fears, yet the neighbouring country was so overgrown with wood, and so traversed by mountains, that it appeared impracticable to penetrate to any distance, so that no account of the interior could be expected. They were, however, in a condition to disprove the relations given by Spanish writers, who have represented this coast as inhabited by a fierce and powerful people, as no such inhabitants were to be found, at least in the winter season; for, during the whole time of their continuance here, they never saw any more than one small Indian family, which came into the harbour in a periagua, or canoe, about a month after the arrival of the Anna, and consisted only of one Indian man, near forty years of age, his wife, and two children, one about three years of age, and the other still on the breast. They seemed to have with them all their property, consisting of a dog and cat, a fishing net, a hatchet, a knife, a cradle, some bark of trees, intended for covering a hut, a reel with some worsted, a flint and steel, and a few roots of a yellow hue, and very disagreeable taste, which served them for bread.

As soon as these were perceived, the master of the Anna sent his yawl and brought them on board; and, lest they might discover him to the Spaniards if permitted to go away, he took proper precautions, as he conceived, for securing them, but without violence or ill usage, as they were permitted to go about the ship where they pleased in the day time, but were locked up in the forecastle at night. As they were fed in the same manner with the crew, and were often indulged with brandy, which they seemed greatly to relish, it did not appear at first that they were much dissatisfied with their situation. The master took the Indian on shore when he went to shoot, and he seemed always much delighted on seeing the game killed. The crew also treated them with great humanity; but it was soon apparent, though the woman continued easy and cheerful, that the man grew pensive and discontented at his confinement. He seemed to have good natural parts, and though utterly unable to converse with our people otherwise than by signs, was yet very curious and inquisitive, and showed great dexterity in his manner of making himself understood. Seeing so few people on board so large a ship, he seemed to express his opinion that they had once been more numerous, and, by way of representing what he imagined had become of their companions, he laid himself on the deck, closing his eyes, and stretching himself out motionless, as if to imitate the appearance of a dead body.

The strongest proof of his sagacity was the manner of his getting away. After having been on board the Anna for eight days, the scuttle of the forecastle, where he and his family were locked up every night, happened to be left unnailed, and on the following night, which was extremely dark and stormy, he contrived to convey his wife and children through the scuttle, and then over the ship's side into the yawl, and immediately rowed on shore, using the precaution to cut away the long-boat and his own periagua, which were towing astern, to prevent being pursued. He conducted all this with so much silence and secrecy, that, though there was a watch on the quarter-deck with loaded arms, he was not discovered by them till the noise of his oars in the water gave notice of his escape, after he had put off from the ship, when it was too late either to prevent or pursue him. Besides, as their boats were all adrift, it was some time before they could contrive the means of getting on shore to search for their boats. By this effort, besides regaining his liberty, the Indian was in some measure revenged on those who had confined him, both by the perplexity they were in for the loss of their boats, and by the terror occasioned by his departure; for, on the first alarm of the watch, who cried, "The Indians," the whole crew were in the utmost confusion, believing that the ship had been boarded by a whole fleet of armed canoes.

Had the resolution and sagacity with which this Indian behaved on this occasion, been exerted on a more extensive object, it might have immortalized the exploit, and given him a rank among the illustrious names of antiquity. The people of the Anna, indeed, allowed that it was a most gallant enterprise, and were grieved at having thus been under the necessity, from attention to their own safety, to abridge the liberty of one who had now given so distinguished a proof of courage and prudence. As he was supposed still to continue in the woods near the port, where he might suffer for want of provisions, they easily prevailed on the master to leave a quantity of such food as they thought would be most agreeable to him in a place where he was likely to find it, and there was reason to believe this was not altogether without its use, for, on visiting the place afterwards, the provisions were gone, and in a manner that made them conclude they had fallen into his hands.

Although many of the crew of the Anna believed that this Indian still continued in the neighbourhood, there were some who strongly suspected he might have gone off to the island of Chiloe, where they feared he would alarm the Spaniards, and would soon return with a force sufficient to surprise or overpower the Anna. The master was therefore prevailed upon to discontinue firing the evening gun, and there is a particular reason for attending to this circumstance, to be explained hereafter; for he had hitherto, from an ostentatious imitation of the men-of-war, fired a gun every evening at setting the night watch. This, as he pretended, was to awe the enemy, if there were any within hearing, and to convince them that his ship was always on her guard. The crew being now well refreshed, and their wood and water sufficiently replenished, he put to sea a few days after the escape of the Indian, and had a fortunate passage to the rendezvous at Juan Fernandez, where he arrived on the 16th of August, as already mentioned.

The remaining ships of the squadron, none of which rejoined the commodore, were the Severn, Pearl, and Wager, of the fate of which it may be proper to make mention. The Severn and Pearl parted company from the commodore off Cape Voir; and, as we afterwards learnt, put back to Brazil. The Wager had on board a few field-pieces, and some coehorn-mortars, mounted for land service, with several kinds of artillery stores and pioneers tools, intended for operations on shore. And, as an enterprise had been planned against Baldivia, for the first operation of the squadron, Captain Cheap was extremely solicitous that these articles might be forthcoming, and determined to use his endeavours for that purpose, that no delay or disappointment might be imputed to him, not knowing the state the squadron was reduced to. While making the best of his way, with these views, to the first appointed rendezvous, off Socoro, whence he proposed to proceed for Baldivia, the Wager made the land on the 14th of May, about the latitude of 47 deg. S. and while Captain Cheap was exerting himself in order to get clear of the land, he had the misfortune to fall down the after-ladder, by which he dislocated his shoulder, and was rendered incapable of acting. This accident, together with the crazy condition of the ship, which was little better than a wreck, prevented her from getting off to sea, and entangled her more and more with the land; insomuch, that at day-break next morning, the 15th May, she struck on a sunken rock, and soon afterwards bilged, and grounded between two small islands, about musket-shot from the shore.

In this situation the ship continued entire a long time, so that all the crew might have got safe on shore. But a general confusion ensued; many of them, instead of consulting their safety, or reflecting on their calamitous condition, fell to pillaging the ship, arming themselves with the first weapons that came to hand, and threatening to murder all who should oppose their proceedings. This frenzy was greatly heightened by the liquors they found on board, with which they made themselves so excessively intoxicated, that some fell down into the hold, where they were drowned, as the water flowed into the wreck. Having done his utmost, ineffectually, to get the whole crew on shore, the captain was at last obliged to leave the mutineers behind, and to follow his officers on shore, with such few men as he could prevail upon to accompany him; but did not fail to send back the boats, with a message to those who remained, entreating them to have some regard to their own preservation. All his efforts, however, were for some time in vain; but next day, the weather proving stormy, and there being great danger of the ship going to pieces, the refractory part of the crew began to be afraid of perishing, and were desirous of getting to land; and, in their madness, as the boat did not come to fetch them off so soon as they wished, they pointed a four-pounder from the quarter-deck, against the hut in which the captain resided on shore, and fired two shots, which passed just over its roof.

From this specimen of the behaviour of part of the crew, some idea may be formed of the disorder and anarchy which prevailed when they at length got all on shore. For the men conceived that the authority of their officers was at an end, in consequence of the loss of the ship; and, as they were now upon an inhospitable coast, where scarcely any other provisions could be got beyond what could be saved from the wreck, this was another insurmountable source of discord: for the working upon the wreck, and securing the provisions on shore, so that they might be preserved as much as possible for future exigencies, and that they might be sparingly and equally distributed for present subsistence, were matters, however important, that could not be brought about unless by means of discipline and subordination. At the same time, the mutinous disposition of the people, stimulated by the immediate impulses of hunger, rendered every regulation attempted for these indispensable purposes, quite unavailing; so that there were continual frauds, concealments, and thefts, which animated every one against his neighbour, and produced infinite contentions and perpetual quarrels. Hence a perverse and malevolent disposition was constantly kept up among them, which rendered them utterly ungovernable.

Besides these heart-burnings, occasioned by petulance and hunger, there was another important point which set the greatest part of the people at variance with the captain. This was their difference in opinion from him, on the measures proper to be pursued on the present emergency; for the captain was determined, if possible, to fit out the boats in the best manner he could, and to proceed with them to the northward, as, having above two hundred men in health, and having saved some fire-arms and ammunition from the wreck, he had no doubt of being able to master any Spanish, vessel they might fall in with in these seas, and he thought that he could not fail of meeting with one in the neighbourhood of Chiloe or Baldivia, in which, when taken, he proposed to proceed to the rendezvous at Juan Fernandez. He also insisted, should they even meet with no prize by the way, that the boats alone could easily carry them to Juan Fernandez. But this scheme, however prudent and practicable, was by no means relished by the generality of the people; for, quite jaded and disgusted with the fatigues, dangers, and distresses they had already encountered, they could not be persuaded to prosecute an enterprize which had hitherto proved so disastrous. The common resolution, therefore, was to lengthen the long-boat, and, with her and the other boats, to steer to the southwards, to pass through the Straits of Magellan, and to range along the eastern coast of South America, till they came to Brazil, where they had no doubt of being well received, and procuring a passage to Britain.

This project was evidently a vast deal more tedious, and infinitely more hazardous, than that proposed by the captain; but, as it had the air of returning home, and flattered them with the hope of getting once more to their native country, that circumstance rendered them blind to all its inconveniences, and made them adhere to it with insurmountable obstinacy. The captain was therefore obliged to give way to the torrent, though he never changed his opinion, and had, in appearance, to acquiesce in this resolution, though he gave it all the obstruction he could, particularly in regard to lengthening the long-boat, which he contrived should be of such a size, as, though it might carry them to Juan Fernandez, he yet hoped might appear incapable of so long a navigation as that to the coast of Brazil. But the captain, by his steady opposition at first to this favourite project, had much embittered the people against him, to which, also, the following unhappy accident greatly contributed.

A midshipman, named Cozens, had appeared the foremost in all the refractory proceedings of the crew, had involved himself in brawls with most of the officers who had adhered to the authority of the captain, and had even treated the captain himself with much insolence and abuse. As his turbulence and brutality grew every day more and more intolerable, it was not in the least doubted that some violent measures were in agitation, in which Cozens was engaged as the ringleader; for which reason the captain, and those about him, constantly kept themselves on their guard. One day the purser having stopped, by order of the captain, the allowance of a fellow who would not work, Cozens, though the man had not complained to him, intermeddled in the affair with great bitterness, and grossly insulted the purser, who was then delivering out the provisions close by the captain's tent, and was himself sufficiently violent. Enraged by his scurrility, and perhaps piqued by former quarrels, the purser cried out, A mutiny; adding, the dog has pistols, and then immediately fired himself a pistol at Cozens, but missed him. On hearing this outcry, and the report of the pistol, the captain rushed out from his tent, and not doubting that it had been fired by Cozens as the commencement of a mutiny, immediately shot him in the head without farther enquiry. Though he did not die on the spot, the wound proved mortal in about a fortnight.

Though this accident was sufficiently displeasing to the people, it yet awed them for a considerable time to their duty, and rendered them more submissive to the authority of the captain. But at last, towards the middle of October, when, the long-boat was finished, and they were preparing to put to sea, the additional provocation given them, by covertly traversing their project of proceeding through the Straits of Magellan, and their fears that he might at length engage a sufficient party to overturn this favourite measure, made them resolve to take advantage of the death of Cozens as a reason for depriving him of his command, under pretence of carrying him a prisoner to England to be tried for murder, and he was accordingly confined under a guard. Yet they never meant to carry him with them, as they too well knew what they might expect on their return to England, if their commander should be present to confront them; and therefore, when just ready to depart, they set him at liberty, leaving him, and the few who chose to take their fortunes along with him, no other embarkation but the yawl, to which the barge was afterwards added, by the people on board her being prevailed upon to turn back.

When the ship was wrecked, there were about one hundred and thirty persons alive on board; above thirty of whom died on the place where they landed, and nearly eight went off in the long-boat and cutter to the southward; after whose departure, there remained no more than nineteen persons along with the captain, which were as many, however, as the barge and yawl could well carry, these being the only embarkations left them. It was on the 13th of October, five months after the shipwreck, that the long-boat, converted into a schooner, weighed and sailed to the southwards, giving three cheers at their departure to the captain and Lieutenant Hamilton of the land-forces, and the surgeon, who were then standing on the beach. On the 29th of January, 1742, they arrived at Rio Grande, on the coast of Brazil; but having, by various accidents, left about twenty of their people on shore at the different places where they touched, and a still greater number having perished of famine in the course of their navigation, there were not more than thirty of them remaining, when they arrived at that port. This undertaking was certainly most extraordinary in itself; for, not to mention the great length of the voyage, the vessel was scarcely able to contain the number that first put to sea in her; and their stock of provisions, being only what they saved from the ship, diminished by five months expenditure on shore, was extremely slender. They had also this additional misfortune, that the cutter, the only boat they had along with them, broke loose from their stern, and was staved to pieces, so that, when their provisions and water failed, they had frequently no means of getting on shore in search of a supply.

The captain and those who remained with him, now proposed to proceed to the northward in the barge and yawl; but the weather was so bad, and the difficulty of subsisting so great, that it was two months after the departure of the long boat, before they were able to put to sea. It seems that the place where the Wager was lost, was not a part of the continent, but an island at some distance from the main, affording no other sort of provisions besides shell-fish, and a few herbs; and, as the greatest part of what they had saved out of the wreck had been carried off in the long-boat, the captain and his people were often in extreme want of food, especially as they chose to preserve what little remained to them of the ship's provisions, to serve them as sea-store, when they should proceed to the northward. During their residence at this place, which was called Wager Island by the seamen, they were now and then visited by a straggling canoe or two of Indians, who came and bartered their fish and other provisions with our people. This was some little relief to their necessities, and might perhaps have been greater at another season; for there were several Indian huts on the shore, whence it was supposed that, in some years, many of these savages might resort thither in the height of summer, to catch fish. Indeed, from what has been related in the account of the Anna pink, it would seem to be the general practice of these Indians, to frequent this coast in the summer season, for the purpose of fishing, and to retire more to the northwards in winter, into a better climate.

It is worthy of remark, how much it is to be lamented that the people of the Wager had no knowledge of the Anna pink being so near them on the coast;[4] for, as she was not above thirty leagues from them at the most, and came into that neighbourhood about the same time that the Wager was lost, and was a fine roomy ship, she could easily have taken them all on board, and have carried them to Juan Fernandez. Indeed, I suspect that she was still nearer them than is here estimated; for, at different times, several of the people belonging to the Wager heard the report of a cannon, which could be no other than the evening gun fired by the Anna, as formerly mentioned, more especially as the gun heard at Wager Island was at that time of the day.

[Footnote 4: Inchin island, where the Anna pink lay, has been formerly stated to be in lat. 46 deg. 30' S. the supposed latitude in which the Wager was lost, stated in the text at 47 deg. S. is only ten marine leagues to the southward, instead of thirty, and must therefore have been on some one of the islands toward the southern coast of the peninsula de Tres Montes, on the north of the Golfo de Penas.—E.]

Captain Cheap and his people embarked in the barge and yawl, on the 14th of December, in order to proceed to the northward, taking on board along with them all the provisions they could gather from the wreck of the ship; but they had scarcely been an hour at sea, when the wind began to blow hard, and the sea to run so high, that they were obliged to throw the greatest part of their provisions overboard, to avoid immediate destruction. This was a terrible misfortune, in a part of the world where food was so difficult to be got; yet they persisted in their design, going on shore as often as they could, in search of subsistence. About a fortnight after their departure from Wager island, another dreadful accident befel them, as the yawl sunk at an anchor, and one of her hands was drowned; and, as the barge was incapable of carrying the whole company, they were reduced to the hard necessity of leaving four marines behind them, on that desolate coast. They still, however, kept their course to the northward; though greatly delayed by cross winds, and by the frequent interruptions occasioned by the necessity of searching for food on shore, and constantly struggling with a series of the most sinister events. At length, about the end of January, 1742, having made three unsuccessful attempts to double a head-land, which they supposed to be that called Cape Tres Montes by the Spaniards, and finding the difficulty insurmountable, they unanimously resolved to return to Wager Island, which they effected about the middle of February, quite disheartened and desponding, through their reiterated disappointments, and almost perishing with hunger and fatigue.

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