The Buccaneers in the West Indies in the XVII Century
by Clarence Henry Haring
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

Cf. also the instructions of Louis XIV. to the Comte d'Estrees, 1st April 1680. The French admiral was to visit all the ports of the Spaniards in the West Indies, especially Cartagena and San Domingo; and to be always informed of the situation and advantages of these ports, and of the facilities and difficulties to be met with in case of an attack upon them; so that the Spaniards might realise that if they failed to do justice to the French merchants on the return of the galleons, his Majesty was always ready to force them to do so, either by attacking these galleons, or by capturing one of their West Indian ports (ibid.).]

[Footnote 6: Weiss, op. cit., II. p. 205.]

[Footnote 7: Ibid., II. p. 206.]

[Footnote 8: Oppenheim: The Naval Tracts of Sir Wm. Monson. Vol. II. Appendix B., p. 316.]

[Footnote 9: In 1509, owing to the difficulties experienced by merchants in ascending the Guadalquivir, ships were given permission to load and register at Cadiz under the supervision of an inspector or "visitador," and thereafter commerce and navigation tended more and more to gravitate to that port. After 1529, in order to facilitate emigration to America, vessels were allowed to sail from certain other ports, notably San Sebastian, Bilboa, Coruna, Cartagena and Malaga. The ships might register in these ports, but were obliged always to make their return voyage to Seville. But either the cedula was revoked, or was never made use of, for, according to Scelle, there are no known instances of vessels sailing to America from those towns. The only other exceptions were in favour of the Company of Guipuzcoa in 1728, to send ships from San Sebastian to Caracas, and of the Company of Galicia in 1734, to send two vessels annually to Campeache and Vera Cruz. (Scelle, op. cit., i. pp. 48-49 and notes.)]

[Footnote 10: Scelle, op. cit., i. p. 36 ff.]

[Footnote 11: In Nov. 1530 Charles V., against the opposition of the Contratacion, ordered the Council of the Indies to appoint a resident judge at Cadiz to replace the officers of the Casa there. This institution, called the "Juzgado de Indias," was, until the removal of the Casa to Cadiz in 1717, the source of constant disputes and irritation.]

[Footnote 12: Scelle, op. cit., i. p. 52 and note; Duro: Armada Espanola, I. p. 204.]

[Footnote 13: The distinction between the Flota or fleet for New Spain and the galleons intended for Terra Firma only began with the opening of the great silver mines of Potosi, the rich yields of which after 1557 made advisable an especial fleet for Cartagena and Nombre de Dios. (Oppenheim, II. Appendix B., p. 322.)]

[Footnote 14: Memoir of MM. Duhalde and de Rochefort to the French king, 1680 (Margry, op. cit., p. 192 ff.).]

[Footnote 15: Memoir of MM. Duhalde and de Rochefort to the French king, 1680 (Margry, op. cit., p. 192 ff.)]

[Footnote 16: Scelle, op. cit., i. p. 64; Dampier: Voyages, ed. 1906, i. p. 200.]

[Footnote 17: Gage: A New Survey of the West Indies, ed. 1655, pp. 185-6. When Gage was at Granada, in February 1637, strict orders were received from Gautemala that the ships were not to sail that year, because the President and Audiencia were informed of some Dutch and English ships lying in wait at the mouth of the river.]

[Footnote 18: Scelle, op. cit., i. pp. 64-5; Duhalde and de Rochefort. There were two ways of sending goods from Panama to Porto Bello. One was an overland route of 18 leagues, and was used only during the summer. The other was by land as far as Venta Cruz, 7 leagues from Panama, and thence by water on the river Chagre to its mouth, a distance of 26 leagues. When the river was high the transit might be accomplished in two or three days, but at other times from six to twelve days were required. To transfer goods from Chagre to Porto Bello was a matter of only eight or nine hours. This route was used in winter when the roads were rendered impassable by the great rains and floods. The overland journey, though shorter, was also more difficult and expensive. The goods were carried on long mule-trains, and the "roads, so-called, were merely bridle paths ... running through swamps and jungles, over hills and rocks, broken by unbridged rivers, and situated in one of the deadliest climates in the world." The project of a canal to be cut through the isthmus was often proposed to the Councils in Spain, but was never acted upon. (Descript. ... of Cartagena; Oppenheim, i. p. 333.)]

[Footnote 19: Nombre de Dios, a few leagues to the east of Porto Bello, had formerly been the port where the galleons received the treasure brought from Panama, but in 1584 the King of Spain ordered the settlement to be abandoned on account of its unhealthiness, and because the harbour, being open to the sea, afforded little shelter to shipping. Gage says that in his time Nombre de Dios was almost forsaken because of its climate. Dampier, writing thirty years later, describes the site as a waste. "Nombre de Dios," he says, "is now nothing but a name. For I have lain ashore in the place where that City stood, but it is all overgrown with Wood, so as to have no sign that any Town hath been there." (Voyages, ed. 1906, i. p. 81.)]

[Footnote 20: Gage, ed. 1655, pp. 196-8.]

[Footnote 21: Scelle, op. cit., i. p. 65.]

[Footnote 22: Oppenheim, ii. p. 338.]

[Footnote 23: When the Margarita patache failed to meet the galleons at Cartagena, it was given its clearance and allowed to sail alone to Havana—a tempting prey to buccaneers hovering in those seas.]

[Footnote 24: Duhalde and de Rochefort.]

[Footnote 25: Rawl. MSS., A. 175, 313 b; Oppenheim, ii. p. 338.]

[Footnote 26: Here I am following the MSS. quoted by Oppenheim (ii. pp. 335 ff.). Instead of watering in Hispaniola, the fleet sometimes stopped at Dominica, or at Aguada in Porto Rico.]

[Footnote 27: Duhalde and de Rochefort.]

[Footnote 28: Quintal=about 100 pounds.]

[Footnote 29: These "vaisseaux de registre" were supposed not to exceed 300 tons, but through fraud were often double that burden.]

[Footnote 30: Duhalde and de Rochefort; Scelle, op. cit., i. p. 54.]

[Footnote 31: Gage, ed. 1655, pp. 199-200.]

[Footnote 32: Duhalde and de Rochefort; Oppenheim, ii. p. 318.]

[Footnote 33: Scelle, op. cit., i. p. 45; Recop., t. i. lib. iii. tit. viii.]

[Footnote 34: There seems to have been a contraband trade carried on at Cadiz itself. Foreign merchants embarked their goods upon the galleons directly from their own vessels in the harbour, without registering them with the Contratacion; and on the return of the fleets received the price of their goods in ingots of gold and silver by the same fraud. It is scarcely possible that this was done without the tacit authorization of the Council of the Indies at Madrid, for if the Council had insisted upon a rigid execution of the laws regarding registration, detection would have been inevitable.]

[Footnote 35: Weiss, op. cit., ii. p. 226.]

[Footnote 36: Most of the offices in the Spanish Indies were venal. No one obtained a post without paying dearly for it, except the viceroys of Mexico and Peru, who were grandees, and received their places through favour at court. The governors of the ports, and the presidents of the Audiencias established at Panama, San Domingo, and Gautemala, bought their posts in Spain. The offices in the interior were in the gift of the viceroys and sold to the highest bidder. Although each port had three corregidors who audited the finances, as they also paid for their places, they connived with the governors. The consequence was inevitable. Each official during his tenure of office expected to recover his initial outlay, and amass a small fortune besides. So not only were the bribes of interlopers acceptable, but the officials often themselves bought and sold the contraband articles.]

[Footnote 37: Froude: History of England, viii. p. 436 ff.]

[Footnote 38: 1585, August 12th. Ralph Lane to Sir Philip Sidney. Port Ferdinando, Virginia.—He has discovered the infinite riches of St. John (Porto Rico?) and Hispaniola by dwelling on the islands five weeks. He thinks that if the Queen finds herself burdened with the King of Spain, to attempt them would be most honourable, feasible and profitable. He exhorts him not to refuse this good opportunity of rendering so great a service to the Church of Christ. The strength of the Spaniards doth altogether grow from the mines of her treasure. Extract, C.S.P. Colon., 1574-1660.]

[Footnote 39: Scelle, op. cit., ii. p. xiii.]

[Footnote 40: Scelle, op. cit., i. p. ix.]

[Footnote 41: 1611, February 28. Sir Thos. Roe to Salisbury. Port d'Espaigne, Trinidad.—He has seen more of the coast from the River Amazon to the Orinoco than any other Englishman alive. The Spaniards here are proud and insolent, yet needy and weak, their force is reputation, their safety is opinion. The Spaniards treat the English worse than Moors. The government is lazy and has more skill in planting and selling tobacco than in erecting colonies and marching armies. Extract, C.S.P. Colon., 1574-1660. (Roe was sent by Prince Henry upon a voyage of discovery to the Indies.)]

[Footnote 42: "An historical account of the rise and growth of the West India Colonies." By Dalby Thomas, Lond., 1690. (Harl. Miscell., 1808, ii. 357.)]

[Footnote 43: Oviedo: Historia general de las Indias, lib. xix. cap. xiii.; Coleccion de documentos ... de ultramar, tom. iv. p. 57 (deposition of the Spanish captain at the Isle of Mona); Pacheco, etc.: Coleccion de documentos ... de las posesiones espanoles en America y Oceania, tom. xl. p. 305 (cross-examination of witnesses by officers of the Royal Audiencia in San Domingo just after the visit of the English ship to that place); English Historical Review, XX. p. 115.

The ship is identified with the "Samson" dispatched by Henry VIII. in 1527 "with divers cunning men to seek strange regions," which sailed from the Thames on 20th May in company with the "Mary of Guildford," was lost by her consort in a storm on the night of 1st July, and was believed to have foundered with all on board. (Ibid.)]

[Footnote 44: Hakluyt, ed. 1600, iii. p. 700; Froude, op. cit., viii. p. 427.]

[Footnote 45: Scelle., op. cit., i. pp. 123-25, 139-61.]

[Footnote 46: Colecc. de doc. ... de ultramar. tom. vi. p. 15.]

[Footnote 47: Froude, op. cit., viii. pp. 470-72.]

[Footnote 48: Corbett: Drake and the Tudor Navy, i. ch. 3.]

[Footnote 49: Corbett: Drake and the Tudor Navy, ii. chs. 1, 2, 11.]

[Footnote 50: Corbett: The Successors of Drake, ch. x.]

[Footnote 51: Marcel: Les corsaires francais au XVIe siecle, p. 7. As early as 1501 a royal ordinance in Spain prescribed the construction of carracks to pursue the privateers, and in 1513 royal cedulas were sent to the officials of the Casa de Contratacion ordering them to send two caravels to guard the coasts of Cuba and protect Spanish navigation from the assaults of French corsairs. (Ibid., p. 8).]

[Footnote 52: Colecc. de doc. ... de ultramar, tomos i., iv., vi.; Ducere: Les corsaires sous l'ancien regime. Append. II.; Duro., op. cit., i. Append. XIV.]

[Footnote 53: Colecc. de doc. ... de ultramar, tom. vi. p. 22.]

[Footnote 54: Ibid., p. 23.]

[Footnote 55: Marcel, op. cit., p. 16.]

[Footnote 56: Colecc. de doc. ... de ultramar, tom. vi. p. 360.]

[Footnote 57: Colecc. de doc. ... de ultramar, tom. vi. p. 360.]

[Footnote 58: Lucas: A Historical Geography of the British Colonies, vol. ii. pp. 37, 50.]

[Footnote 59: Weiss, op. cit., ii. p. 292.]

[Footnote 60: Duro, op. cit., iii. ch. xvi.; iv. chs. iii., viii.]

[Footnote 61: Portugal between 1581 and 1640 was subject to the Crown of Spain, and Brazil, a Portuguese colony, was consequently within the pale of Spanish influence and administration.]

[Footnote 62: Blok: History of the People of the Netherlands, iv. p. 36.]

[Footnote 63: Blok: History of the People of the Netherlands, iv. p. 37; Duro, op. cit., iv. p. 99; Gage, ed. 1655, p. 80.]

[Footnote 64: Brit. Mus., Add. MSS., 36,325, No. 10.]

[Footnote 65: Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick, was created admiral of the fleet by order of Parliament in March 1642, and although removed by Charles I. was reinstated by Parliament on 1st July.]

[Footnote 66: Brit. Mus., Sloane MSS., 793 or 894; Add. MSS., 36,327, No. 9.]

[Footnote 67: Winwood Papers, ii. pp. 75-77.]

[Footnote 68: Brown: Genesis of the United States, i. pp. 120-25, 172.]

[Footnote 69: C.S.P. Colon., 1574-1660.]

[Footnote 70: C.S.P. Colon., 1574-1660.]

[Footnote 71: Clarendon State Papers, ii. p. 87; Rymer: F[oe]dera, xx. p. 416.]

[Footnote 72: Duro, op. cit., ii. p. 462.]

[Footnote 73: Duro, op. cit., iii. pp. 236-37.]

[Footnote 74: C.S.P. Venet., 1603-07, p. 199.]

[Footnote 75: Winwood Papers, ii. p. 233.]

[Footnote 76: Brit. Mus., Add. MSS., 36,319, No. 7; 36,320, No. 8; 36,321, No. 24; 36,322, No. 23.]

[Footnote 77: C.S.P. Colon., 1574-1660:—1629, 5th and 30th Nov.; 1630, 29th July.]

[Footnote 78: Gage saw at Cartagena about a dozen English prisoners captured by the Spaniards at sea, and belonging to the settlement on Providence Island.]

[Footnote 79: C.S.P. Colon., 1574-1660:—1635, 19th March; 1636, 26th March.]

[Footnote 80: Brit. Mus., Add. MSS., 36,323, No. 10.]

[Footnote 81: Duro, Tomo., iv. p. 339; cf. also in Bodleian Library:—"A letter written upon occasion in the Low Countries, etc. Whereunto is added avisos from several places, of the taking of the Island of Providence, by the Spaniards from the English. London. Printed for Nath. Butter, Mar. 22, 1641.

"I have letter by an aviso from Cartagena, dated the 14th of September, wherein they advise that the galleons were ready laden with the silver, and would depart thence the 6th of October. The general of the galleons, named Francisco Dias Pimienta, had beene formerly in the moneth of July with above 3000 men, and the least of his ships, in the island of S. Catalina, where he had taken and carried away with all the English, and razed the forts, wherein they found 600 negroes, much gold and indigo, so that the prize is esteemed worth above halfe a million."]

[Footnote 82: Rawl. MSS., A. 32,297; 31, 121.]



In the second half of the sixteenth and the early part of the seventeenth centuries, strangers who visited the great Spanish islands of Hispaniola, Jamaica or Porto Rico, usually remarked the extraordinary number of wild cattle and boars found roaming upon them. These herds were in every case sprung from domestic animals originally brought from Spain. For as the aborigines in the Greater Antilles decreased in numbers under the heavy yoke of their conquerors, and as the Spaniards themselves turned their backs upon the Antilles for the richer allurements of the continent, less and less land was left under cultivation; and cattle, hogs, horses and even dogs ran wild, increased at a rapid rate, and soon filled the broad savannas and deep woods which covered the greater part of these islands. The northern shore of Hispaniola the Spaniards had never settled, and thither, probably from an early period, interloping ships were accustomed to resort when in want of victuals. With a long range of uninhabited coast, good anchorage and abundance of provisions, this northern shore could not fail to induce some to remain. In time we find there scattered groups of hunters, mostly French and English, who gained a rude livelihood by killing wild cattle for their skins, and curing the flesh to supply the needs of passing vessels. The origin of these men we do not know. They may have been deserters from ships, crews of wrecked vessels, or even chance marooners. In any case the charm of their half-savage, independent mode of life must soon have attracted others, and a fairly regular traffic sprang up between them and the ubiquitous Dutch traders, whom they supplied with hides, tallow and cured meat in return for the few crude necessities and luxuries they required. Their numbers were recruited in 1629 by colonists from St. Kitts who had fled before Don Federico de Toledo. Making common lot with the hunters, the refugees found sustenance so easy and the natural bounty of the island so rich and varied, that many remained and settled.

To the north-west of Hispaniola lies a small, rocky island about eight leagues in length and two in breadth, separated by a narrow channel from its larger neighbour. From the shore of Hispaniola the island appears in form like a monster sea-turtle floating upon the waves, and hence was named by the Spaniards "Tortuga." So mountainous and inaccessible on the northern side as to be called the Cote-de-Fer, and with only one harbour upon the south, it offered a convenient refuge to the French and English hunters should the Spaniards become troublesome. These hunters probably ventured across to Tortuga before 1630, for there are indications that a Spanish expedition was sent against the island from Hispaniola in 1630 or 1631, and a division of the spoil made in the city of San Domingo after its return.[83] It was then, apparently, that the Spaniards left upon Tortuga an officer and twenty-eight men, the small garrison which, says Charlevoix, was found there when the hunters returned. The Spanish soldiers were already tired of their exile upon this lonely, inhospitable rock, and evacuated with the same satisfaction with which the French and English resumed their occupancy. From the testimony of some documents in the English colonial archives we may gather that the English from the first were in predominance in the new colony, and exercised almost sole authority. In the minutes of the Providence Company, under date of 19th May 1631, we find that a committee was "appointed to treat with the agents for a colony of about 150 persons, settled upon Tortuga";[84] and a few weeks later that "the planters upon the island of Tortuga desired the company to take them under their protection, and to be at the charge of their fortification, in consideration of a twentieth part of the commodities raised there yearly."[85] At the same time the Earl of Holland, governor of the company, and his associates petitioned the king for an enlargement of their grant "only of 3 or 4 degrees of northerly latitude, to avoid all doubts as to whether one of the islands (Tortuga) was contained in their former grant."[86] Although there were several islands named Tortuga in the region of the West Indies, all the evidence points to the identity of the island concerned in this petition with the Tortuga near the north coast of Hispaniola.[87]

The Providence Company accepted the offer of the settlers upon Tortuga, and sent a ship to reinforce the little colony with six pieces of ordnance, a supply of ammunition and provisions, and a number of apprentices or engages. A Captain Hilton was appointed governor, with Captain Christopher Wormeley to succeed him in case of the governor's death or absence, and the name of the island was changed from Tortuga to Association.[88] Although consisting for the most part of high land covered with tall cedar woods, the island contained in the south and west broad savannas which soon attracted planters as well as cattle-hunters. Some of the inhabitants of St. Kitts, wearied of the dissensions between the French and English there, and allured by reports of quiet and plenty in Tortuga, deserted St. Kitts for the new colony. The settlement, however, was probably always very poor and struggling, for in January 1634 the Providence Company received advice that Captain Hilton intended to desert the island and draw most of the inhabitants after him; and a declaration was sent out from England to the planters, assuring them special privileges of trade and domicile, and dissuading them from "changing certain ways of profit already discovered for uncertain hopes suggested by fancy or persuasion."[89] The question of remaining or departing, indeed, was soon decided for the colonists without their volition, for in December 1634 a Spanish force from Hispaniola invaded the island and drove out all the English and French they found there. It seems that an Irishman named "Don Juan Morf" (John Murphy?),[90] who had been "sargento-mayor" in Tortuga, became discontented with the regime there and fled to Cartagena. The Spanish governor of Cartagena sent him to Don Gabriel de Gaves, President of the Audiencia in San Domingo, thinking that with the information the renegade was able to supply the Spaniards of Hispaniola might drive out the foreigners. The President of San Domingo, however, died three months later without bestirring himself, and it was left to his successor to carry out the project. With the information given by Murphy, added to that obtained from prisoners, he sent a force of 250 foot under command of Rui Fernandez de Fuemayor to take the island.[91] At this time, according to the Spaniards' account, there were in Tortuga 600 men bearing arms, besides slaves, women and children. The harbour was commanded by a platform of six cannon. The Spaniards approached the island just before dawn, but through the ignorance of the pilot the whole armadilla was cast upon some reefs near the shore. Rui Fernandez with about thirty of his men succeeded in reaching land in canoes, seized the fort without any difficulty, and although his followers were so few managed to disperse a body of the enemy who were approaching, with the English governor at their head, to recover it. In the melee the governor was one of the first to be killed—stabbed, say the Spaniards, by the Irishman, who took active part in the expedition and fought by the side of Rui Fernandez. Meanwhile some of the inhabitants, thinking that they could not hold the island, had regained the fort, spiked the guns and transferred the stores to several ships in the harbour, which sailed away leaving only two dismantled boats and a patache to fall into the hands of the Spaniards. Rui Fernandez, reinforced by some 200 of his men who had succeeded in escaping from the stranded armadilla, now turned his attention to the settlement. He found his way barred by another body of several hundred English, but dispersed them too, and took seventy prisoners. The houses were then sacked and the tobacco plantations burned by the soldiers, and the Spaniards returned to San Domingo with four captured banners, the six pieces of artillery and 180 muskets.[92]

The Spanish occupation apparently did not last very long, for in the following April the Providence Company appointed Captain Nicholas Riskinner to be governor of Tortuga in place of Wormeley, and in February 1636 it learned that Riskinner was in possession of the island.[93] Two planters just returned from the colony, moreover, informed the company that there were then some 80 English in the settlement, besides 150 negroes. It is evident that the colonists were mostly cattle-hunters, for they assured the company that they could supply Tortuga with 200 beasts a month from Hispaniola, and would deliver calves there at twenty shillings apiece.[94] Yet at a later meeting of the Adventurers on 20th January 1637, a project for sending more men and ammunition to the island was suddenly dropped "upon intelligence that the inhabitants had quitted it and removed to Hispaniola."[95] For three years thereafter the Providence records are silent concerning Tortuga. A few Frenchmen must have remained on the island, however, for Charlevoix informs us that in 1638 the general of the galleons swooped down upon the colony, put to the sword all who failed to escape to the hills and woods, and again destroyed all the habitations.[96] Persuaded that the hunters would not expose themselves to a repetition of such treatment, the Spaniards neglected to leave a garrison, and a few scattered Frenchmen gradually filtered back to their ruined homes. It was about this time, it seems, that the President of San Domingo formed a body of 500 armed lancers in an effort to drive the intruders from the larger island of Hispaniola. These lancers, half of whom were always kept in the field, were divided into companies of fifty each, whence they were called by the French, "cinquantaines." Ranging the woods and savannas this Spanish constabulary attacked isolated hunters wherever they found them, and they formed an important element in the constant warfare between the French and Spanish colonists throughout the rest of the century.[97]

Meanwhile an English adventurer, some time after the Spanish descent of 1638, gathered a body of 300 of his compatriots in the island of Nevis near St. Kitts, and sailing for Tortuga dispossessed the few Frenchmen living there of the island. According to French accounts he was received amicably by the inhabitants and lived with them for four months, when he turned upon his hosts, disarmed them and marooned them upon the opposite shore of Hispaniola. A few made their way to St. Kitts and complained to M. de Poincy, the governor-general of the French islands, who seized the opportunity to establish a French governor in Tortuga. Living at that time in St. Kitts was a Huguenot gentleman named Levasseur, who had been a companion-in-arms of d'Esnambuc when the latter settled St. Kitts in 1625, and after a short visit to France had returned and made his fortune in trade. He was a man of courage and command as well as a skilful engineer, and soon rose high in the councils of de Poincy. Being a Calvinist, however, he had drawn upon the governor the reproaches of the authorities at home; and de Poincy proposed to get rid of his presence, now become inconvenient, by sending him to subdue Tortuga. Levasseur received his commission from de Poincy in May 1640, assembled forty or fifty followers, all Calvinists, and sailed in a barque to Hispaniola. He established himself at Port Margot, about five leagues from Tortuga, and entered into friendly relations with his English neighbours. He was but biding his time, however, and on the last day of August 1640, on the plea that the English had ill-used some of his followers and had seized a vessel sent by de Poincy to obtain provisions, he made a sudden descent upon the island with only 49 men and captured the governor. The inhabitants retired to Hispaniola, but a few days later returned and besieged Levasseur for ten days. Finding that they could not dislodge him, they sailed away with all their people to the island of Providence.[98]

Levasseur, fearing perhaps another descent of the Spaniards, lost no time in putting the settlement in a state of defence. Although the port of Tortuga was little more than a roadstead, it offered a good anchorage on a bottom of fine sand, the approaches to which were easily defended by a hill or promontory overlooking the harbour. The top of this hill, situated 500 or 600 paces from the shore, was a level platform, and upon it rose a steep rock some 30 feet high. Nine or ten paces from the base of the rock gushed forth a perennial fountain of fresh water. The new governor quickly made the most of these natural advantages. The platform he shaped into terraces, with means for accommodating several hundred men. On the top of the rock he built a house for himself, as well as a magazine, and mounted a battery of two guns. The only access to the rock was by a narrow approach, up half of which steps were cut in the stone, the rest of the ascent being by means of an iron ladder which could easily be raised and lowered.[99] This little fortress, in which the governor could repose with a feeling of entire security, he euphuistically called his "dove-cote." The dove-cote was not finished any too soon, for the Spaniards of San Domingo in 1643 determined to destroy this rising power in their neighbourhood, and sent against Levasseur a force of 500 or 600 men. When they tried to land within a half gunshot of the shore, however, they were greeted with a discharge of artillery from the fort, which sank one of the vessels and forced the rest to retire. The Spaniards withdrew to a place two leagues to leeward, where they succeeded in disembarking, but fell into an ambush laid by Levasseur, lost, according to the French accounts, between 100 and 200 men, and fled to their ships and back to Hispaniola. With this victory the reputation of Levasseur spread far and wide throughout the islands, and for ten years the Spaniards made no further attempt to dislodge the French settlement.[100]

Planters, hunters and corsairs now came in greater numbers to Tortuga. The hunters, using the smaller island merely as a headquarters for supplies and a retreat in time of danger, penetrated more boldly than ever into the interior of Hispaniola, plundering the Spanish plantations in their path, and establishing settlements on the north shore at Port Margot and Port de Paix. Corsairs, after cruising and robbing along the Spanish coasts, retired to Tortuga to refit and find a market for their spoils. Plantations of tobacco and sugar were cultivated, and although the soil never yielded such rich returns as upon the other islands, Dutch and French trading ships frequently resorted there for these commodities, and especially for the skins prepared by the hunters, bringing in exchange brandy, guns, powder and cloth. Indeed, under the active, positive administration of Levasseur, Tortuga enjoyed a degree of prosperity which almost rivalled that of the French settlements in the Leeward Islands.

The term "buccaneer," though usually applied to the corsairs who in the seventeenth century ravaged the Spanish possessions in the West Indies and the South Seas, should really be restricted to these cattle-hunters of west and north-west Hispaniola. The flesh of the wild-cattle was cured by the hunters after a fashion learnt from the Caribbee Indians. The meat was cut into long strips, laid upon a grate or hurdle constructed of green sticks, and dried over a slow wood fire fed with bones and the trimmings of the hide of the animal. By this means an excellent flavour was imparted to the meat and a fine red colour. The place where the flesh was smoked was called by the Indians a "boucan," and the same term, from the poverty of an undeveloped language, was applied to the frame or grating on which the flesh was dried. In course of time the dried meat became known as "viande boucannee," and the hunters themselves as "boucaniers" or "buccaneers." When later circumstances led the hunters to combine their trade in flesh and hides with that of piracy, the name gradually lost its original significance and acquired, in the English language at least, its modern and better-known meaning of corsair or freebooter. The French adventurers, however, seem always to have restricted the word "boucanier" to its proper signification, that of a hunter and curer of meat; and when they developed into corsairs, by a curious contrast they adopted an English name and called themselves "filibustiers," which is merely the French sailor's way of pronouncing the English word "freebooter."[101]

The buccaneers or West Indian corsairs owed their origin as well as their name to the cattle and hog-hunters of Hispaniola and Tortuga. Doubtless many of the wilder, more restless spirits in the smaller islands of the Windward and Leeward groups found their way into the ranks of this piratical fraternity, or were willing at least to lend a hand in an occasional foray against their Spanish neighbours. We know that Jackson, in 1642, had no difficulty in gathering 700 or 800 men from Barbadoes and St. Kitts for his ill-starred dash upon the Spanish Main. And when the French in later years made their periodical descents upon the Dutch stations on Tobago, Curacao and St. Eustatius, they always found in their island colonies of Martinique and Guadeloupe buccaneers enough and more, eager to fill their ships. It seems to be generally agreed, however, among the Jesuit historians of the West Indies—and upon these writers we are almost entirely dependent for our knowledge of the origins of buccaneering—that the corsairs had their source and nucleus in the hunters who infested the coasts of Hispaniola. Between the hunter and the pirate at first no impassable line was drawn. The same person combined in himself the occupations of cow-killing and cruising, varying the monotony of the one by occasionally trying his hand at the other. In either case he lived at constant enmity with the Spaniards. With the passing of time the sea attracted more and more away from their former pursuits. Even the planters who were beginning to filter into the new settlements found the attractions of coursing against the Spaniards to be irresistible. Great extremes of fortune, such as those to which the buccaneers were subject, have always exercised an attraction over minds of an adventurous stamp. It was the same allurement which drew the "forty-niners" to California, and in 1897 the gold-seekers to the Canadian Klondyke. If the suffering endured was often great, the prize to be gained was worth it. Fortune, if fickle one day, might the next bring incredible bounty, and the buccaneers who sweltered in a tropical sea, with starvation staring them in the face, dreamed of rolling in the oriental wealth of a Spanish argosy. Especially to the cattle-hunter must this temptation have been great, for his mode of life was the very rudest. He roamed the woods by day with his dog and apprentices, and at night slept in the open air or in a rude shed hastily constructed of leaves and skins, which served as a house, and which he called after the Indian name, "ajoupa" or "barbacoa." His dress was of the simplest—coarse cloth trousers, and a shirt which hung loosely over them, both pieces so black and saturated with the blood and grease of slain animals that they looked as if they had been tarred ("de toile gaudronnee").[102] A belt of undressed bull's hide bound the shirt, and supported on one side three or four large knives, on the other a pouch for powder and shot. A cap with a short pointed brim extending over the eyes, rude shoes of cowhide or pigskin made all of one piece bound over the foot, and a short, large-bore musket, completed the hunter's grotesque outfit. Often he carried wound about his waist a sack of netting into which he crawled at night to keep off the pestiferous mosquitoes. With creditable regularity he and his apprentices arose early in the morning and started on foot for the hunt, eating no food until they had killed and skinned as many wild cattle or swine as there were persons in the company. After having skinned the last animal, the master-hunter broke its softest bones and made a meal for himself and his followers on the marrow. Then each took up a hide and returned to the boucan, where they dined on the flesh they had killed.[103] In this fashion the hunter lived for the space of six months or a year. Then he made a division of the skins and dried meat, and repaired to Tortuga or one of the French settlements on the coast of Hispaniola to recoup his stock of ammunition and spend the rest of his gains in a wild carouse of drunkenness and debauchery. His money gone, he returned again to the hunt. The cow-killers, as they had neither wife nor children, commonly associated in pairs with the right of inheriting from each other, a custom which was called "matelotage." These private associations, however, did not prevent the property of all from being in a measure common. Their mode of settling quarrels was the most primitive—the duel. In other things they governed themselves by a certain "coutumier," a medley of bizarre laws which they had originated among themselves. At any attempt to bring them under civilised rules, the reply always was, "telle etoit la coutume de la cote"; and that definitely closed the matter. They based their rights thus to live upon the fact, they said, of having passed the Tropic, where, borrowing from the sailor's well-known superstition, they pretended to have drowned all their former obligations.[104] Even their family names they discarded, and the saying was in those days that one knew a man in the Isles only when he was married. From a life of this sort, cruising against Spanish ships, if not an unmixed good, was at least always a desirable recreation. Every Spanish prize brought into Tortuga, moreover, was an incitement to fresh adventure against the common foe. The "gens de la cote," as they called themselves, ordinarily associated a score or more together, and having taken or built themselves a canoe, put to sea with intent to seize a Spanish barque or some other coasting vessel. With silent paddles, under cover of darkness, they approached the unsuspecting prey, killed the frightened sailors or drove them overboard, and carried the prize to Tortuga. There the raiders either dispersed to their former occupations, or gathered a larger crew of congenial spirits and sailed away for bigger game.

All the Jesuit historians of the West Indies, Dutertre, Labat and Charlevoix, have left us accounts of the manners and customs of the buccaneers. The Dutch physician, Exquemelin, who lived with the buccaneers for several years, from 1668 to 1674, and wrote a picturesque narrative from materials at his disposal, has also been a source for the ideas of most later writers on the subject. It may not be out of place to quote his description of the men whose deeds he recorded.

"Before the Pirates go out to sea," he writes, "they give notice to every one who goes upon the voyage of the day on which they ought precisely to embark, intimating also to them their obligation of bringing each man in particular so many pounds of powder and bullets as they think necessary for that expedition. Being all come on board, they join together in council, concerning what place they ought first to go wherein to get provisions—especially of flesh, seeing they scarce eat anything else. And of this the most common sort among them is pork. The next food is tortoises, which they are accustomed to salt a little. Sometimes they resolve to rob such or such hog-yards, wherein the Spaniards often have a thousand heads of swine together. They come to these places in the dark of night, and having beset the keeper's lodge, they force him to rise, and give them as many heads as they desire, threatening withal to kill him in case he disobeys their command or makes any noise. Yea, these menaces are oftentimes put in execution, without giving any quarter to the miserable swine-keepers, or any other person that endeavours to hinder their robberies.

"Having got provisions of flesh sufficient for their voyage, they return to their ship. Here their allowance, twice a day to every one, is as much as he can eat, without either weight or measure. Neither does the steward of the vessel give any greater proportion of flesh or anything else to the captain than to the meanest mariner. The ship being well victualled, they call another council, to deliberate towards what place they shall go, to seek their desperate fortunes. In this council, likewise, they agree upon certain Articles, which are put in writing, by way of bond or obligation, which everyone is bound to observe, and all of them, or the chief, set their hands to it. Herein they specify, and set down very distinctly, what sums of money each particular person ought to have for that voyage, the fund of all the payments being the common stock of what is gotten by the whole expedition; for otherwise it is the same law, among these people, as with other Pirates, 'No prey, no pay.' In the first place, therefore, they mention how much the Captain ought to have for his ship. Next the salary of the carpenter, or shipwright, who careened, mended and rigged the vessel. This commonly amounts to 100 or 150 pieces of eight, being, according to the agreement, more or less. Afterwards for provisions and victualling they draw out of the same common stock about 200 pieces of eight. Also a competent salary for the surgeon and his chest of medicaments, which is usually rated at 200 or 250 pieces of eight. Lastly they stipulate in writing what recompense or reward each one ought to have, that is either wounded or maimed in his body, suffering the loss of any limb, by that voyage. Thus they order for the loss of a right arm 600 pieces of eight, or six slaves; for the loss of a left arm 500 pieces of eight, or five slaves; for a right leg 500 pieces of eight, or five slaves; for the left leg 400 pieces of eight, or four slaves; for an eye 100 pieces of eight or one slave; for a finger of the hand the same reward as for the eye. All which sums of money, as I have said before, are taken out of the capital sum or common stock of what is got by their piracy. For a very exact and equal dividend is made of the remainder among them all. Yet herein they have also regard to qualities and places. Thus the Captain, or chief Commander, is allotted five or six portions to what the ordinary seamen have; the Master's Mate only two; and other Officers proportionate to their employment. After whom they draw equal parts from the highest even to the lowest mariner, the boys not being omitted. For even these draw half a share, by reason that, when they happen to take a better vessel than their own, it is the duty of the boys to set fire to the ship or boat wherein they are, and then retire to the prize which they have taken.

"They observe among themselves very good orders. For in the prizes they take it is severely prohibited to everyone to usurp anything in particular to themselves. Hence all they take is equally divided, according to what has been said before. Yea, they make a solemn oath to each other not to abscond or conceal the least thing they find amongst the prey. If afterwards anyone is found unfaithful, who has contravened the said oath, immediately he is separated and turned out of the society. Among themselves they are very civil and charitable to each other. Insomuch that if any wants what another has, with great liberality they give it one to another. As soon as these pirates have taken any prize of ship or boat, the first thing they endeavour is to set on shore the prisoners, detaining only some few for their own help and service, to whom also they give their liberty after the space of two or three years. They put in very frequently for refreshment at one island or another; but more especially into those which lie on the southern side of the Isle of Cuba. Here they careen their vessels, and in the meanwhile some of them go to hunt, others to cruise upon the seas in canoes, seeking their fortune. Many times they take the poor fishermen of tortoises, and carrying them to their habitations they make them work so long as the pirates are pleased."

The articles which fixed the conditions under which the buccaneers sailed were commonly called the "chasse-partie."[105] In the earlier days of buccaneering, before the period of great leaders like Mansfield, Morgan and Grammont, the captain was usually chosen from among their own number. Although faithfully obeyed he was removable at will, and had scarcely more prerogative than the ordinary sailor. After 1655 the buccaneers generally sailed under commissions from the governors of Jamaica or Tortuga, and then they always set aside one tenth of the profits for the governor. But when their prizes were unauthorised they often withdrew to some secluded coast to make a partition of the booty, and on their return to port eased the governor's conscience with politic gifts; and as the governor generally had little control over these difficult people he found himself all the more obliged to dissimulate. Although the buccaneers were called by the Spaniards "ladrones" and "demonios," names which they richly deserved, they often gave part of their spoil to churches in the ports which they frequented, especially if among the booty they found any ecclesiastical ornaments or the stuffs for making them—articles which not infrequently formed an important part of the cargo of Spanish treasure ships. In March 1694 the Jesuit writer, Labat, took part in a Mass at Martinique which was performed for some French buccaneers in pursuance of a vow made when they were taking two English vessels near Barbadoes. The French vessel and its two prizes were anchored near the church, and fired salutes of all their cannon at the beginning of the Mass, at the Elevation of the Host, at the Benediction, and again at the end of the Te Deum sung after the Mass.[106] Labat, who, although a priest, is particularly lenient towards the crimes of the buccaneers, and who we suspect must have been the recipient of numerous "favours" from them out of their store of booty, relates a curious tale of the buccaneer, Captain Daniel, a tale which has often been used by other writers, but which may bear repetition. Daniel, in need of provisions, anchored one night off one of the "Saintes," small islands near Dominica, and landing without opposition, took possession of the house of the cure and of some other inhabitants of the neighbourhood. He carried the cure and his people on board his ship without offering them the least violence, and told them that he merely wished to buy some wine, brandy and fowls. While these were being gathered, Daniel requested the cure to celebrate Mass, which the poor priest dared not refuse. So the necessary sacred vessels were sent for and an altar improvised on the deck for the service, which they chanted to the best of their ability. As at Martinique, the Mass was begun by a discharge of artillery, and after the Exaudiat and prayer for the King was closed by a loud "Vive le Roi!" from the throats of the buccaneers. A single incident, however, somewhat disturbed the devotions. One of the buccaneers, remaining in an indecent attitude during the Elevation, was rebuked by the captain, and instead of heeding the correction, replied with an impertinence and a fearful oath. Quick as a flash Daniel whipped out his pistol and shot the buccaneer through the head, adjuring God that he would do as much to the first who failed in his respect to the Holy Sacrifice. The shot was fired close by the priest, who, as we can readily imagine, was considerably agitated. "Do not be troubled, my father," said Daniel; "he is a rascal lacking in his duty and I have punished him to teach him better." A very efficacious means, remarks Labat, of preventing his falling into another like mistake. After the Mass the body of the dead man was thrown into the sea, and the cure was recompensed for his pains by some goods out of their stock and the present of a negro slave.[107]

The buccaneers preferred to sail in barques, vessels of one mast and rigged with triangular sails. This type of boat, they found, could be more easily man[oe]uvred, was faster and sailed closer to the wind. The boats were built of cedar, and the best were reputed to come from Bermuda. They carried very few guns, generally from six to twelve or fourteen, the corsairs believing that four muskets did more execution than one cannon.[108] The buccaneers sometimes used brigantines, vessels with two masts, the fore or mizzenmast being square-rigged with two sails and the mainmast rigged like that of a barque. The corsair at Martinique of whom Labat speaks was captain of a corvette, a boat like a brigantine, except that all the sails were square-rigged. At the beginning of a voyage the freebooters were generally so crowded in their small vessels that they suffered much from lack of room. Moreover, they had little protection from sun and rain, and with but a small stock of provisions often faced starvation. It was this as much as anything which frequently inspired them to attack without reflection any possible prize, great or small, and to make themselves masters of it or perish in the attempt. Their first object was to come to close quarters; and although a single broadside would have sunk their small craft, they man[oe]uvred so skilfully as to keep their bow always presented to the enemy, while their musketeers cleared the enemy's decks until the time when the captain judged it proper to board. The buccaneers rarely attacked Spanish ships on the outward voyage from Europe to America, for such ships were loaded with wines, cloths, grains and other commodities for which they had little use, and which they could less readily turn into available wealth. Outgoing vessels also carried large crews and a considerable number of passengers. It was the homeward-bound ships, rather, which attracted their avarice, for in such vessels the crews were smaller and the cargo consisted of precious metals, dye-woods and jewels, articles which the freebooters could easily dispose of to the merchants and tavern-keepers of the ports they frequented.

The Gulf of Honduras and the Mosquito Coast, dotted with numerous small islands and protecting reefs, was a favourite retreat for the buccaneers. As the clumsy Spanish war-vessels of the period found it ticklish work threading these tortuous channels, where a sudden adverse wind usually meant disaster, the buccaneers there felt secure from interference; and in the creeks, lagoons and river-mouths densely shrouded by tropical foliage, they were able to careen and refit their vessels, divide their booty, and enjoy a respite from their sea-forays. Thence, too, they preyed upon the Spanish ships which sailed from the coast of Cartagena to Porto Bello, Nicaragua, Mexico, and the larger Antilles, and were a constant menace to the great treasure galleons of the Terra-Firma fleet. The English settlement on the island of Providence, lying as it did off the Nicaragua coast and in the very track of Spanish commerce in those regions, was, until captured in 1641, a source of great fear to Spanish mariners; and when in 1642 some English occupied the island of Roatan, near Truxillo, the governor of Cuba and the Presidents of the Audiencias at Gautemala and San Domingo jointly equipped an expedition of four vessels under D. Francisco de Villalba y Toledo, which drove out the intruders.[109] Closer to the buccaneering headquarters in Tortuga (and later in Jamaica) were the straits separating the great West Indian islands:—the Yucatan Channel at the western end of Cuba, the passage between Cuba and Hispaniola in the east, and the Mona Passage between Hispaniola and Porto Rico. In these regions the corsairs waited to pick up stray Spanish merchantmen, and watched for the coming of the galleons or the Flota.[110] When the buccaneers returned from their cruises they generally squandered in a few days, in the taverns of the towns which they frequented, the wealth which had cost them such peril and labour. Some of these outlaws, says Exquemelin, would spend 2000 or 3000 pieces of eight[111] in one night, not leaving themselves a good shirt to wear on their backs in the morning. "My own master," he continues, "would buy, on like occasions, a whole pipe of wine, and placing it in the street would force every one that passed by to drink with him; threatening also to pistol them in case they would not do it. At other times he would do the same with barrels of ale or beer. And, very often, with both in his hands, he would throw these liquors about the streets, and wet the clothes of such as walked by, without regarding whether he spoiled their apparel or not, were they men or women." The taverns and ale-houses always welcomed the arrival of these dissolute corsairs; and although they extended long credits, they also at times sold as indentured servants those who had run too deeply into debt, as happened in Jamaica to this same patron or master of whom Exquemelin wrote.

Until 1640 buccaneering in the West Indies was more or less accidental, occasional, in character. In the second half of the century, however, the numbers of the freebooters greatly increased, and men entirely deserted their former occupations for the excitement and big profits of the "course." There were several reasons for this increase in the popularity of buccaneering. The English adventurers in Hispaniola had lost their profession of hunting very early, for with the coming of Levasseur the French had gradually elbowed them out of the island, and compelled them either to retire to the Lesser Antilles or to prey upon their Spanish neighbours. But the French themselves were within the next twenty years driven to the same expedient. The Spanish colonists on Hispaniola, unable to keep the French from the island, at last foolishly resolved, according to Charlevoix's account, to remove the principal attraction by destroying all the wild cattle. If the trade with French vessels and the barter of hides for brandy could be arrested, the hunters would be driven from the woods by starvation. This policy, together with the wasteful methods pursued by the hunters, caused a rapid decrease in the number of cattle. The Spaniards, however, did not dream of the consequences of their action. Many of the French, forced to seek another occupation, naturally fell into the way of buccaneering. The hunters of cattle became hunters of Spaniards, and the sea became the savanna on which they sought their game. Exquemelin tells us that when he arrived at the island there were scarcely three hundred engaged in hunting, and even these found their livelihood precarious. It was from this time forward to the end of the century that the buccaneers played so important a role on the stage of West Indian history.

Another source of recruits for the freebooters were the indentured servants or engages. We hear a great deal of the barbarity with which West Indian planters and hunters in the seventeenth century treated their servants, and we may well believe that many of the latter, finding their situation unendurable, ran away from their plantations or ajoupas to join the crew of a chance corsair hovering in the neighbourhood. The hunters' life, as we have seen, was not one of revelry and ease. On the one side were all the insidious dangers lurking in a wild, tropical forest; on the other, the relentless hostility of the Spaniards. The environment of the hunters made them rough and cruel, and for many an engage his three years of servitude must have been a veritable purgatory. The servants of the planters were in no better position. Decoyed from Norman and Breton towns and villages by the loud-sounding promises of sea-captains and West Indian agents, they came to seek an El Dorado, and often found only despair and death. The want of sufficient negroes led men to resort to any artifice in order to obtain assistance in cultivating the sugar-cane and tobacco. The apprentices sent from Europe were generally bound out in the French Antilles for eighteen months or three years, among the English for seven years. They were often resold in the interim, and sometimes served ten or twelve years before they regained their freedom. They were veritable convicts, often more ill-treated than the slaves with whom they worked side by side, for their lives, after the expiration of their term of service, were of no consequence to their masters. Many of these apprentices, of good birth and tender education, were unable to endure the debilitating climate and hard labour, let alone the cruelty of their employers. Exquemelin, himself originally an engage, gives a most piteous description of their sufferings. He was sold to the Lieutenant-Governor of Tortuga, who treated him with great severity and refused to take less than 300 pieces of eight for his freedom. Falling ill through vexation and despair, he passed into the hands of a surgeon, who proved kind to him and finally gave him his liberty for 100 pieces of eight, to be paid after his first buccaneering voyage.[112]

We left Levasseur governor in Tortuga after the abortive Spanish attack of 1643. Finding his personal ascendancy so complete over the rude natures about him, Levasseur, like many a greater man in similar circumstances, lost his sense of the rights of others. His character changed, he became suspicious and intolerant, and the settlers complained bitterly of his cruelty and overbearing temper. Having come as the leader of a band of Huguenots, he forbade the Roman Catholics to hold services on the island, burnt their chapel and turned out their priest. He placed heavy imposts on trade, and soon amassed a considerable fortune.[113] In his eyrie upon the rock fortress, he is said to have kept for his enemies a cage of iron, in which the prisoner could neither stand nor lie down, and which Levasseur, with grim humour, called his "little hell." A dungeon in his castle he termed in like fashion his "purgatory." All these stories, however, are reported by the Jesuits, his natural foes, and must be taken with a grain of salt. De Poincy, who himself ruled with despotic authority and was guilty of similar cruelties, would have turned a deaf ear to the denunciations against his lieutenant, had not his jealousy been aroused by the suspicion that Levasseur intended to declare himself an independent prince.[114] So the governor-general, already in bad odour at court for having given Levasseur means of establishing a little Geneva in Tortuga, began to disavow him to the authorities at home. He also sent his nephew, M. de Lonvilliers, to Tortuga, on the pretext of complimenting Levasseur on his victory over the Spaniards, but really to endeavour to entice him back to St. Kitts. Levasseur, subtle and penetrating, skilfully avoided the trap, and Lonvilliers returned to St. Kitts alone.

Charlevoix relates an amusing instance of the governor's stubborn resistance to de Poincy's authority. A silver statue of the Virgin, captured by some buccaneer from a Spanish ship, had been appropriated by Levasseur, and de Poincy, desiring to decorate his chapel with it, wrote to him demanding the statue, and observing that a Protestant had no use for such an object. Levasseur, however, replied that the Protestants had a great adoration for silver virgins, and that Catholics being "trop spirituels pour tenir a la matiere," he was sending him, instead, a madonna of painted wood.

After a tenure of power for twelve years, Levasseur came to the end of his tether. While de Poincy was resolving upon an expedition to oust him from authority, two adventurers named Martin and Thibault, whom Levasseur had adopted as his heirs, and with whom, it is said, he had quarrelled over a mistress, shot him as he was descending from the fort to the shore, and completed the murder by a poniard's thrust. They then seized the government without any opposition from the inhabitants.[115] Meanwhile there had arrived at St. Kitts the Chevalier de Fontenay, a soldier of fortune who had distinguished himself against the Turks and was attracted by the gleam of Spanish gold. He it was whom de Poincy chose as the man to succeed Levasseur. The opportunity for action was eagerly accepted by de Fontenay, but the project was kept secret, for if Levasseur had got wind of it all the forces in St. Kitts could not have dislodged him. Volunteers were raised on the pretext of a privateering expedition to the coasts of Cartagena, and to complete the deception de Fontenay actually sailed for the Main and captured several prizes. The rendezvous was on the coast of Hispaniola, where de Fontenay was eventually joined by de Poincy's nephew, M. de Treval, with another frigate and materials for a siege. Learning of the murder of Levasseur, the invaders at once sailed for Tortuga and landed several hundred men at the spot where the Spaniards had formerly been repulsed. The two assassins, finding the inhabitants indisposed to support them, capitulated to de Fontenay on receiving pardon for their crime and the peaceful possession of their property. Catholicism was restored, commerce was patronized and buccaneers encouraged to use the port. Two stone bastions were raised on the platform and more guns were mounted.[116] De Fontenay himself was the first to bear the official title of "Governor for the King of Tortuga and the Coast of S. Domingo."

The new governor was not fated to enjoy his success for any length of time. The President of S. Domingo, Don Juan Francisco de Montemayor, with orders from the King of Spain, was preparing for another effort to get rid of his troublesome neighbour, and in November 1653 sent an expedition of five vessels and 400 infantry against the French, under command of Don Gabriel Roxas de Valle-Figueroa. The ships were separated by a storm, two ran aground and a third was lost, so that only the "Capitana" and "Almirante" reached Tortuga on 10th January. Being greeted with a rough fire from the platform and fort as they approached the harbour, they dropped anchor a league to leeward and landed with little opposition. After nine days of fighting and siege of the fort, de Fontenay capitulated with the honours of war.[117] According to the French account, the Spaniards, lashing their cannon to rough frames of wood, dragged a battery of eight or ten guns to the top of some hills commanding the fort, and began a furious bombardment. Several sorties of the besieged to capture the battery were unsuccessful. The inhabitants began to tire of fighting, and de Fontenay, discovering some secret negotiations with the enemy, was compelled to sue for terms. With incredible exertions, two half-scuttled ships in the harbour were fitted up and provisioned within three days, and upon them the French sailed for Port Margot.[118] The Spaniards claimed that the booty would have been considerable but for some Dutch trading-ships in the harbour which conveyed all the valuables from the island. They burned the settlements, however, carried away with them some guns, munitions of war and slaves, and this time taking the precaution to leave behind a garrison of 150 men, sailed for Hispaniola. Fearing that the French might join forces with the buccaneers and attack their small squadron on the way back, they retained de Fontenay's brother as a hostage until they reached the city of San Domingo. De Fontenay, indeed, after his brother's release, did determine to try and recover the island. Only 130 of his men stood by him, the rest deserting to join the buccaneers in western Hispaniola. While he was careening his ship at Port Margot, however, a Dutch trader arrived with commodities for Tortuga, and learning of the disaster, offered him aid with men and supplies. A descent was made upon the smaller island, and the Spaniards were besieged for twenty days, but after several encounters they compelled the French to withdraw. De Fontenay, with only thirty companions, sailed for Europe, was wrecked among the Azores, and eventually reached France, only to die a short time afterwards.


[Footnote 83: Bibl. Nat., Nouv. Acq., 9334, f. 48.]

[Footnote 84: C.S.P. Colon., 1574-1660, p. 130. This company had been organised under the name of "The Governor and Company of Adventurers for the Plantations of the Islands of Providence, Henrietta and the adjacent islands, between 10 and 20 degrees of north latitude and 290 and 310 degrees of longitude." The patent of incorporation is dated 4th December 1630 (ibid., p. 123).]

[Footnote 85: Ibid., p. 131.]

[Footnote 86: Ibid.]

[Footnote 87: This identity was first pointed out by Pierre de Vaissiere in his recent book: "Saint Domingue (1629-1789). La societe et la vie creoles sous l'ancien regime," Paris, 1909, p. 7.]

[Footnote 88: C.S.P. Colon., 1574-1660, pp. 131-33.]

[Footnote 89: Ibid., pp. 174, 175.]

[Footnote 90: This was probably the same man as the "Don Juan de Morfa Geraldino" who was admiral of the fleet which attacked Tortuga in 1654. Cf. Duro, op. cit., v. p. 35.]

[Footnote 91: In 1642 Rui Fernandez de Fuemayor was governor and captain-general of the province of Venezuela. Cf. Doro, op. cit., iv. p. 341; note 2.]

[Footnote 92: Brit. Mus., Add. MSS., 13,977, f. 505. According to the minutes of the Providence Company, a certain Mr. Perry, newly arrived from Association, gave information on 19th March 1635 that the island had been surprised by the Spaniards (C.S.P. Colon., 1574-1660, p. 200). This news was confirmed by a Mrs. Filby at another meeting of the company on 10th April, when Capt. Wormeley, "by reason of his cowardice and negligence in losing the island," was formally deprived of his office as governor and banished from the colony (ibid., p. 201).]

[Footnote 93: Brit. Mus., Add. MSS., 13,977, pp. 222-23.]

[Footnote 94: Ibid., pp. 226-27, 235.]

[Footnote 95: Ibid., pp. 226, 233, 235-37, 244.]

[Footnote 96: Charlevoix: Histoire de. ... Saint Domingue, liv. vii. pp. 9-10. The story is repeated by Duro (op. cit., v. p. 34), who says that the Spaniards were led by "el general D. Carlos Ibarra."]

[Footnote 97: Charlevoix, op. cit., liv. vii. p. 10; Bibl. Nat. Nouv. Acq., 9334, p. 48 ff.]

[Footnote 98: Charlevoix, op. cit., liv. vii. pp. 10-12; Vaissiere., op. cit., Appendix I ("Memoire envoye aux seigneurs de la Compagnie des Isles de l'Amerique par M. de Poincy, le 15 Novembre 1640").

According to the records of the Providence Company, Tortuga in 1640 had 300 inhabitants. A Captain Fload, who had been governor, was then in London to clear himself of charges preferred against him by the planters, while a Captain James was exercising authority as "President" in the island. (C.S.P. Colon., 1574-1660. pp. 313, 314.) Fload was probably the "English captain" referred to in de Poincy's memoir. His oppressive rule seems to have been felt as well by the English as by the French.]

[Footnote 99: Dutertre: Histoire generale des Antilles, tom. i. p. 171.]

[Footnote 100: Charlevoix: op. cit., liv. vii. pp. 12-13.]

[Footnote 101: In this monograph, by "buccaneers" are always meant the corsairs and filibusters, and not the cattle and hog killers of Hispaniola and Tortuga.]

[Footnote 102: Labat: Nouveau voyage aux isles de l'Amerique, ed. 1742, tom. vii. p. 233.]

[Footnote 103: Le Pers, printed in Margry, op. cit.]

[Footnote 104: Le Pers, printed in Margry, op. cit.]

[Footnote 105: Dampier writes that "Privateers are not obliged to any ship, but free to go ashore where they please, or to go into any other ship that will entertain them, only paying for their provision." (Edition 1906, i. p. 61).]

[Footnote 106: Labat, op. cit., tom. i. ch. 9.]

[Footnote 107: Labat, op. cit., tom. vii. ch. 17.]

[Footnote 108: Ibid., tom. ii. ch. 17.]

[Footnote 109: Gibbs: British Honduras, p. 25.]

[Footnote 110: A Spaniard, writing from S. Domingo in 1635, complains of an English buccaneer settlement at Samana (on the north coast of Hispaniola, near the Mona Passage), where they grew tobacco, and preyed on the ships sailing from Cartagena and S. Domingo for Spain. (Add. MSS., 13,977, f. 508.)]

[Footnote 111: A piece of eight was worth in Jamaica from 4s. 6d. to 5s.]

[Footnote 112: Exquemelin, ed. 1684, Part I. pp. 21-22.]

[Footnote 113: Dutertre, op. cit., tom. i. ch. vi.]

[Footnote 114: Charlevoix, op. cit., liv. vii. p. 16.]

[Footnote 115: Charlevoix, op. cit., liv. vii. pp. 17-18.]

[Footnote 116: According to a Spanish MS., there were in Tortuga in 1653 700 French inhabitants, more than 200 negroes, and 250 Indians with their wives and children. The negroes and Indians were all slaves; the former seized on the coasts of Havana and Cartagena, the latter brought over from Yucatan. In the harbour the platform had fourteen cannon, and in the fort above were forty-six cannon, many of them of bronze (Add. MSS., 13,992, f. 499 ff.). The report of the amount of ordnance is doubtless an exaggeration.]

[Footnote 117: Add. MSS., 13,992, f. 499.]

[Footnote 118: According to Dutertre, one vessel was commanded by the assassins, Martin and Thibault, and contained the women and children. The latter, when provisions ran low, were marooned on one of the Caymans, north-west of Jamaica, where they would have perished had not a Dutch ship found and rescued them. Martin and Thibault were never heard of again.]



The capture of Jamaica by the expedition sent out by Cromwell in 1655 was the blundering beginning of a new era in West Indian history. It was the first permanent annexation by another European power of an integral part of Spanish America. Before 1655 the island had already been twice visited by English forces. The first occasion was in January 1597, when Sir Anthony Shirley, with little opposition, took and plundered St. Jago de la Vega. The second was in 1643, when William Jackson repeated the same exploit with 500 men from the Windward Islands. Cromwell's expedition, consisting of 2500 men and a considerable fleet, set sail from England in December 1654, with the secret object of "gaining an interest" in that part of the West Indies in possession of the Spaniards. Admiral Penn commanded the fleet, and General Venables the land forces.[119] The expedition reached Barbadoes at the end of January, where some 4000 additional troops were raised, besides about 1200 from Nevis, St. Kitts, and neighbouring islands. The commanders having resolved to direct their first attempt against Hispaniola, on 13th April a landing was effected at a point to the west of San Domingo, and the army, suffering terribly from a tropical sun and lack of water, marched thirty miles through woods and savannahs to attack the city. The English received two shameful defeats from a handful of Spaniards on 17th and 25th April, and General Venables, complaining loudly of the cowardice of his men and of Admiral Penn's failure to co-operate with him, finally gave up the attempt and sailed for Jamaica. On 11th May, in the splendid harbour on which Kingston now stands, the English fleet dropped anchor. Three small forts on the western side were battered by the guns from the ships, and as soon as the troops began to land the garrisons evacuated their posts. St. Jago, six miles inland, was occupied next day. The terms offered by Venables to the Spaniards (the same as those exacted from the English settlers on Providence Island in 1641—emigration within ten days on pain of death, and forfeiture of all their property) were accepted on the 17th; but the Spaniards were soon discovered to have entered into negotiations merely to gain time and retire with their families and goods to the woods and mountains, whence they continued their resistance. Meanwhile the army, wretchedly equipped with provisions and other necessities, was decimated by sickness. On the 19th two long-expected store-ships arrived, but the supplies brought by them were limited, and an appeal for assistance was sent to New England. Admiral Penn, disgusted with the fiasco in Hispaniola and on bad terms with Venables, sailed for England with part of his fleet on 25th June; and Venables, so ill that his life was despaired of, and also anxious to clear himself of the responsibility for the initial failure of the expedition, followed in the "Marston Moor" nine days later. On 20th September both commanders appeared before the Council of State to answer the charge of having deserted their posts, and together they shared the disgrace of a month in the Tower.[120]

The army of General Venables was composed of very inferior and undisciplined troops, mostly the rejected of English regiments or the offscourings of the West Indian colonies; yet the chief reasons for the miscarriage before San Domingo were the failure of Venables to command the confidence of his officers and men, his inexcusable errors in the management of the attack, and the lack of cordial co-operation between him and the Admiral. The difficulties with which he had to struggle were, of course, very great. On the other hand, he seems to have been deficient both in strength of character and in military capacity; and his ill-health made still more difficult a task for which he was fundamentally incompetent. The comparative failure of this, Cromwell's pet enterprise, was a bitter blow to the Protector. For a whole day he shut himself up in his room, brooding over the disaster for which he, more than any other, was responsible. He had aimed not merely to plant one more colony in America, but to make himself master of such parts of the West Indian islands and Spanish Main as would enable him to dominate the route of the Spanish-American treasure fleets. To this end Jamaica contributed few advantages beyond those possessed by Barbadoes and St. Kitts, and it was too early for him to realize that island for island Jamaica was much more suitable than Hispaniola as the seat of an English colony.[121]

Religious and economic motives form the key to Cromwell's foreign policy, and it is difficult to discover which, the religious or the economic, was uppermost in his mind when he planned this expedition. He inherited from the Puritans of Elizabeth's time the traditional religious hatred of Spain as the bulwark of Rome, and in his mind as in theirs the overthrow of the Spaniards in the West Indies was a blow at antichrist and an extension of the true religion. The religious ends of the expedition were fully impressed upon Venables and his successors in Jamaica.[122] Second only, however, to Oliver's desire to protect "the people of God," was his ambition to extend England's empire beyond the seas. He desired the unquestioned supremacy of England over the other nations of Europe, and that supremacy, as he probably foresaw, was to be commercial and colonial. Since the discovery of America the world's commerce had enormously increased, and its control brought with it national power. America had become the treasure-house of Europe. If England was to be set at the head of the world's commerce and navigation, she must break through Spain's monopoly of the Indies and gain a control in Spanish America. San Domingo was to be but a preliminary step, after which the rest of the Spanish dominions in the New World would be gradually absorbed.[123]

The immediate excuse for the attack on Hispaniola and Jamaica was the Spaniards' practice of seizing English ships and ill-treating English crews merely because they were found in some part of the Caribbean Sea, and even though bound for a plantation actually in possession of English colonists. It was the old question of effective occupation versus papal donation, and both Cromwell and Venables convinced themselves that Spanish assaults in the past on English ships and colonies supplied a sufficient casus belli.[124] There was no justification, however, for a secret attack upon Spain. She had been the first to recognize the young republic, and was willing and even anxious to league herself with England. There had been actual negotiations for an alliance, and Cromwell's offers, though rejected, had never been really withdrawn. Without a declaration of war or formal notice of any sort, a fleet was fitted out and sent in utmost secrecy to fall unawares upon the colonies of a friendly nation. The whole aspect of the exploit was Elizabethan. It was inspired by Drake and Raleigh, a reversion to the Elizabethan gold-hunt. It was the first of the great buccaneering expeditions.[125]

Cromwell was doubtless influenced, too, by the representations of Thomas Gage. Gage was an Englishman who had joined the Dominicans and had been sent by his Order out to Spanish America. In 1641 he returned to England, announced his conversion to Protestantism, took the side of Parliament and became a minister. His experiences in the West Indies and Mexico he published in 1648 under the name of "The English-American, or a New Survey of the West Indies," a most entertaining book, which aimed to arouse Englishmen against Romish "idolatries," to show how valuable the Spanish-American provinces might be to England in trade and bullion and how easily they might be seized. In the summer of 1654, moreover, Gage had laid before the Protector a memorial in which he recapitulated the conclusions of his book, assuring Cromwell that the Spanish colonies were sparsely peopled and that the few whites were unwarlike and scantily provided with arms and ammunition. He asserted that the conquest of Hispaniola and Cuba would be a matter of no difficulty, and that even Central America was too weak to oppose a long resistance.[126] All this was true, and had Cromwell but sent a respectable force under an efficient leader the result would have been different. The exploits of the buccaneers a few years later proved it.

It was fortunate, considering the distracted state of affairs in Jamaica in 1655-56, that the Spaniards were in no condition to attempt to regain the island. Cuba, the nearest Spanish territory to Jamaica, was being ravaged by the most terrible pestilence known there in years, and the inhabitants, alarmed for their own safety, instead of trying to dispossess the English, were busy providing for the defence of their own coasts.[127] In 1657, however, some troops under command of the old Spanish governor of Jamaica, D. Christopher Sasi Arnoldo, crossed from St. Jago de Cuba and entrenched themselves on the northern shore as the advance post of a greater force expected from the mainland. Papers of instructions relating to the enterprise were intercepted by Colonel Doyley, then acting-governor of Jamaica; and he with 500 picked men embarked for the north side, attacked the Spaniards in their entrenchments and utterly routed them.[128] The next year about 1000 men, the long-expected corps of regular Spanish infantry, landed and erected a fort at Rio Nuevo. Doyley, displaying the same energy, set out again on 11th June with 750 men, landed under fire on the 22nd, and next day captured the fort in a brilliant attack in which about 300 Spaniards were killed and 100 more, with many officers and flags, captured. The English lost about sixty in killed and wounded.[129] After the failure of a similar, though weaker, attempt in 1660, the Spaniards despaired of regaining Jamaica, and most of those still upon the island embraced the first opportunity to retire to Cuba and other Spanish settlements.

As colonists the troops in Jamaica proved to be very discouraging material, and the army was soon in a wretched state. The officers and soldiers plundered and mutinied instead of working and planting. Their wastefulness led to scarcity of food, and scarcity of food brought disease and death.[139] They wished to force the Protector to recall them, or to employ them in assaulting the opulent Spanish towns on the Main, an occupation far more lucrative than that of planting corn and provisions for sustenance. Cromwell, however, set himself to develop and strengthen his new colony. He issued a proclamation encouraging trade and settlement in the island by exempting the inhabitants from taxes, and the Council voted that 1000 young men and an equal number of girls be shipped over from Ireland. The Scotch government was instructed to apprehend and transport idlers and vagabonds, and commissioners were sent into New England and to the Windward and Leeward Islands to try and attract settlers.[131] Bermudians, Jews, Quakers from Barbadoes and criminals from Newgate, helped to swell the population of the new colony, and in 1658 the island is said to have contained 4500 whites, besides 1500 or more negro slaves.[132]

To dominate the Spanish trade routes was one of the principal objects of English policy in the West Indies. This purpose is reflected in all of Cromwell's instructions to the leaders of the Jamaican design, and it appears again in his instructions of 10th October 1655 to Major-General Fortescue and Vice-Admiral Goodson. Fortescue was given power and authority to land men upon territory claimed by the Spaniards, to take their forts, castles and places of strength, and to pursue, kill and destroy all who opposed him. The Vice-Admiral was to assist him with his sea-forces, and to use his best endeavours to seize all ships belonging to the King of Spain or his subjects in America.[133] The soldiers, as has been said, were more eager to fight the Spaniards than to plant, and opportunities were soon given them to try their hand. Admiral Penn had left twelve ships under Goodson's charge, and of these, six were at sea picking up a few scattered Spanish prizes which helped to pay for the victuals supplied out of New England.[134] Goodson, however, was after larger prey, no less than the galleons or a Spanish town upon the mainland. He did not know where the galleons were, but at the end of July he seems to have been lying with eight vessels before Cartagena and Porto Bello, and on 22nd November he sent Captain Blake with nine ships to the same coast to intercept all vessels going thither from Spain or elsewhere. The fleet was broken up by foul weather, however, and part returned on 14th December to refit, leaving a few small frigates to lie in wait for some merchantmen reported to be in that region.[135] The first town on the Main to feel the presence of this new power in the Indies was Santa Marta, close to Cartagena on the shores of what is now the U.S. of Columbia. In the latter part of October, just a month before the departure of Blake, Goodson sailed with a fleet of eight vessels to ravage the Spanish coasts. According to one account his original design had been against Rio de la Hacha near the pearl fisheries, "but having missed his aim" he sailed for Santa Marta. He landed 400 sailors and soldiers under the protection of his guns, took and demolished the two forts which barred his way, and entered the town. Finding that the inhabitants had already fled with as much of their belongings as they could carry, he pursued them some twelve miles up into the country; and on his return plundered and burnt their houses, embarked with thirty pieces of cannon and other booty, and sailed for Jamaica.[136] It was a gallant performance with a handful of men, but the profits were much less than had been expected. It had been agreed that the seamen and soldiers should receive half the spoil, but on counting the proceeds it was found that their share amounted to no more than L400, to balance which the State took the thirty pieces of ordnance and some powder, shot, hides, salt and Indian corn.[137] Sedgwick wrote to Thurloe that "reckoning all got there on the State's share, it did not pay for the powder and shot spent in that service."[138] Sedgwick was one of the civil commissioners appointed for the government of Jamaica. A brave, pious soldier with a long experience and honourable military record in the Massachusetts colony, he did not approve of this type of warfare against the Spaniards. "This kind of marooning cruising West India trade of plundering and burning towns," he writes, "though it hath been long practised in these parts, yet is not honourable for a princely navy, neither was it, I think, the work designed, though perhaps it may be tolerated at present." If Cromwell was to accomplish his original purpose of blocking up the Spanish treasure route, he wrote again, permanent foothold must be gained in some important Spanish fortress, either Cartagena or Havana, places strongly garrisoned, however, and requiring for their reduction a considerable army and fleet, such as Jamaica did not then possess. But to waste and burn towns of inferior rank without retaining them merely dragged on the war indefinitely and effected little advantage or profit to anybody.[139] Captain Nuberry visited Santa Marta several weeks after Goodson's descent, and, going on shore, found that about a hundred people had made bold to return and rebuild their devastated homes. Upon sight of the English the poor people again fled incontinently to the woods, and Nuberry and his men destroyed their houses a second time.[140]

On 5th April 1656 Goodson, with ten of his best ships, set sail again and steered eastward along the coast of Hispaniola as far as Alta Vela, hoping to meet with some Spanish ships reported in that region. Encountering none, he stood for the Main, and landed on 4th May with about 450 men at Rio de la Hacha. The story of the exploit is merely a repetition of what happened at Santa Marta. The people had sight of the English fleet six hours before it could drop anchor, and fled from the town to the hills and surrounding woods. Only twelve men were left behind to hold the fort, which the English stormed and took within half an hour. Four large brass cannon were carried to the ships and the fort partly demolished. The Spaniards pretended to parley for the ransom of their town, but when after a day's delay they gave no sign of complying with the admiral's demands, he burned the place on 8th May and sailed away.[141] Goodson called again at Santa Marta on the 11th to get water, and on the 14th stood before Cartagena to view the harbour. Leaving three vessels to ply there, he returned to Jamaica, bringing back with him only two small prizes, one laden with wine, the other with cocoa.

The seamen of the fleet, however, were restless and eager for further enterprises of this nature, and Goodson by the middle of June had fourteen of his vessels lying off the Cuban coast near Cape S. Antonio in wait for the galleons or the Flota, both of which fleets were then expected at Havana. His ambition to repeat the achievement of Piet Heyn was fated never to be realised. The fleet of Terra-Firma, he soon learned, had sailed into Havana on 15th May, and on 13th June, three days before his arrival on that coast, had departed for Spain.[142] Meanwhile, one of his own vessels, the "Arms of Holland," was blown up, with the loss of all on board but three men and the captain, and two other ships were disabled. Five of the fleet returned to England on 23rd August, and with the rest Goodson remained on the Cuban coast until the end of the month, watching in vain for the fleet from Vera Cruz which never sailed.[143]

Colonel Edward Doyley, the officer who so promptly defeated the attempts of the Spaniards in 1657-58 to re-conquer Jamaica, was now governor of the island. He had sailed with the expedition to the West Indies as lieutenant-colonel in the regiment of General Venables, and on the death of Major-General Fortescue in November 1655 had been chosen by Cromwell's commissioners in Jamaica as commander-in-chief of the land forces. In May 1656 he was superseded by Robert Sedgwick, but the latter died within a few days, and Doyley petitioned the Protector to appoint him to the post. William Brayne, however, arrived from England in December 1656 to take chief command; and when he, like his two predecessors, was stricken down by disease nine months later, the place devolved permanently upon Doyley. Doyley was a very efficient governor, and although he has been accused of showing little regard or respect for planting and trade, the charge appears to be unjust.[144] He firmly maintained order among men disheartened and averse to settlement, and at the end of his service delivered up the colony a comparatively well-ordered and thriving community. He was confirmed in his post by Charles II. at the Restoration, but superseded by Lord Windsor in August 1661. Doyley's claim to distinction rests mainly upon his vigorous policy against the Spaniards, not only in defending Jamaica, but by encouraging privateers and carrying the war into the enemies' quarters. In July 1658, on learning from some prisoners that the galleons were in Porto Bello awaiting the plate from Panama, Doyley embarked 300 men on a fleet of five vessels and sent it to lie in an obscure bay between that port and Cartagena to intercept the Spanish ships. On 20th October the galleons were espied, twenty-nine vessels in all, fifteen galleons and fourteen stout merchantmen. Unfortunately, all the English vessels except the "Hector" and the "Marston Moor" were at that moment absent to obtain fresh water. Those two alone could do nothing, but passing helplessly through the Spaniards, hung on their rear and tried without success to scatter them. The English fleet later attacked and burnt the town of Tolu on the Main, capturing two Spanish ships in the road; and afterwards paid another visit to the unfortunate Santa Marta, where they remained three days, marching several miles into the country and burning and destroying everything in their path.[145]

On 23rd April 1659, however, there returned to Port Royal another expedition whose success realised the wildest dreams of avarice. Three frigates under command of Captain Christopher Myngs,[146] with 300 soldiers on board, had been sent by Doyley to harry the South American coast. They first entered and destroyed Cumana, and then ranging along the coast westward, landed again at Puerto Cabello and at Coro. At the latter town they followed the inhabitants into the woods, where besides other plunder they came upon twenty-two chests of royal treasure intended for the King of Spain, each chest containing 400 pounds of silver.[147] Embarking this money and other spoil in the shape of plate, jewels and cocoa, they returned to Port Royal with the richest prize that ever entered Jamaica. The whole pillage was estimated at between L200,000 and L300,000.[148] The abundance of new wealth introduced into Jamaica did much to raise the spirits of the colonists, and set the island well upon the road to more prosperous times. The sequel to this brilliant exploit, however, was in some ways unfortunate. Disputes were engendered between the officers of the expedition and the governor and other authorities on shore over the disposal of the booty, and in the early part of June 1659 Captain Myngs was sent home in the "Marston Moor," suspended for disobeying orders and plundering the hold of one of the prizes to the value of 12,000 pieces of eight. Myngs was an active, intrepid commander, but apparently avaricious and impatient of control. He seems to have endeavoured to divert most of the prize money into the pockets of his officers and men, by disposing of the booty on his own initiative before giving a strict account of it to the governor or steward-general of the island. Doyley writes that there was a constant market aboard the "Marston Moor," and that Myngs and his officers, alleging it to be customary to break and plunder the holds, permitted the twenty-two chests of the King of Spain's silver to be divided among the men without any provision whatever for the claims of the State.[149] There was also some friction over the disposal of six Dutch prizes which Doyley had picked up for illegal trading at Barbadoes on his way out from England. These, too, had been plundered before they reached Jamaica, and when Myngs found that there was no power in the colony to try and condemn ships taken by virtue of the Navigation Laws, it only added fuel to his dissatisfaction. When Myngs reached England he lodged counter-complaints against Governor Doyley, Burough, the steward-general, and Vice-Admiral Goodson, alleging that they received more than their share of the prize money; and a war of mutual recrimination followed.[150] Amid the distractions of the Restoration, however, little seems ever to have been made of the matter in England. The insubordination of officers in 1659-60 was a constant source of difficulty and impediment to the governor in his efforts to establish peace and order in the colony. In England nobody was sure where the powers of government actually resided. As Burough wrote from Jamaica on 19th January 1660, "We are here just like you at home; when we heard of the Lord-Protector's death we proclaimed his son, and when we heard of his being turned out we proclaimed a Parliament and now own a Committee of safety."[151] The effect of this uncertainty was bound to be prejudicial in Jamaica, a new colony filled with adventurers, for it loosened the reins of authority and encouraged lawless spirits to set the governor at defiance.

On 8th May 1660 Charles II. was proclaimed King of England, and entered London on 29th May. The war which Cromwell had begun with Spain was essentially a war of the Commonwealth. The Spanish court was therefore on friendly terms with the exiled prince, and when he returned into possession of his kingdom a cessation of hostilities with Spain naturally followed. Charles wrote a note to Don Luis de Haro on 2nd June 1660, proposing an armistice in Europe and America which was to lead to a permanent peace and a re-establishment of commercial relations between the two kingdoms.[152] At the same time Sir Henry Bennett, the English resident in Madrid, made similar proposals to the Spanish king. A favourable answer was received in July, and the cessation of arms, including a revival of the treaty of 1630 was proclaimed on 10th-20th September 1660. Preliminary negotiations for a new treaty were entered upon at Madrid, but the marriage of Charles to Catherine of Braganza in 1662, and the consequent alliance with Portugal, with whom Spain was then at war, put a damper upon all such designs. The armistice with Spain was not published in Jamaica until 5th February of the following year. On 4th February Colonel Doyley received from the governor of St. Jago de Cuba a letter enclosing an order from Sir Henry Bennett for the cessation of arms, and this order Doyley immediately made public.[153] About thirty English prisoners were also returned by the Spaniards with the letter. Doyley was confirmed in his command of Jamaica by Charles II., but his commission was not issued till 8th February 1661.[154] He was very desirous, however, of returning to England to look after his private affairs, and on 2nd August another commission was issued to Lord Windsor, appointing him as Doyley's successor.[155] Just a year later, in August 1662, Windsor arrived at Port Royal, fortified with instructions "to endeavour to obtain and preserve a good correspondence and free commerce with the plantations belonging to the King of Spain," even resorting to force if necessary.[156]

The question of English trade with the Spanish colonies in the Indies had first come to the surface in the negotiations for the treaty of 1604, after the long wars between Elizabeth and Philip II. The endeavour of the Spaniards to obtain an explicit prohibition of commerce was met by the English demand for entire freedom. The Spaniards protested that it had never been granted in former treaties or to other nations, or even without restriction to Spanish subjects, and clamoured for at least a private article on the subject; but the English commissioners steadfastly refused, and offered to forbid trade only with ports actually under Spanish authority. Finally a compromise was reached in the words "in quibus ante bellum fuit commercium, juxta et secundum usum et observantiam."[157] This article was renewed in Cottington's Treaty of 1630. The Spaniards themselves, indeed, in 1630, were willing to concede a free navigation in the American seas, and even offered to recognise the English colony of Virginia if Charles I. would admit articles prohibiting trade and navigation in certain harbours and bays. Cottington, however, was too far-sighted, and wrote to Lord Dorchester: "For my own part, I shall ever be far from advising His Majesty to think of such restrictions, for certainly a little more time will open the navigation to those parts so long as there are no negative capitulations or articles to hinder it."[158] The monopolistic pretensions of the Spanish government were evidently relaxing, for in 1634 the Conde de Humanes confided to the English agent, Taylor, that there had been talk in the Council of the Indies of admitting the English to a share in the freight of ships sent to the West Indies, and even of granting them a limited permission to go to those regions on their own account. And in 1637 the Conde de Linhares, recently appointed governor of Brazil, told the English ambassador, Lord Aston, that he was very anxious that English ships should do the carrying between Lisbon and Brazilian ports.

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7     Next Part
Home - Random Browse