A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11
by Robert Kerr
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CHAP. XII.—(Continued.) Voyage round the World, by Captain George Shelvocke, in 1719-1722,

SECT. V. Voyage from California to Canton in China,

VI. Residence in China, and Voyage thence to England,

VII. Supplement to the foregoing Voyage,

VIII. Appendix to Shelvocke's Voyage round the World. Containing Observations on the Country and Inhabitants of Peru, by Captain Betagh,

Introduction, Sec. 1. Particulars of the Capture of the Mercury by the Spaniards, Sec. 2. Observations made by Betagh in the North of Peru, Sec. 3. Voyage from Payta to Lima, and Account of the English Prisoners at that Place, Sec. 4. Description of Lima, and some Account of the Government of Peru, Sec. 5. Some Account of the Mines of Peru and Chili, Sec. 6. Observations on the Trade of Chili, Sec. 7. Some Account of the French Interlopers in Chili, Sec. 8. Return of Betagh to England,

CHAP. XIII. Voyage round the World, by Commodore Roggewein, in 1721-1723


SECT. I. Narrative of the Voyage from Holland to the Coast of Brazil,

II. Arrival in Brazil, with some Account of that Country,

III. Incidents during the Voyage from Brazil to Juan Fernandez, with a Description of that Island,

IV. Continuation of the Voyage from Juan Fernandez till the Shipwreck of the African Galley,

V. Continuation of the Voyage after the Loss of the African, to the Arrival of Roggewein at New Britain,

VI. Description of New Britain, and farther Continuation of the Voyage till the Arrival of Roggewein at Java,

VII. Occurrences from their Arrival at the Island of Java, to the Confiscation of the Ships at Batavia,

VIII. Description of Batavia and the Island of Java, with some Account of the Government of the Dutch East-India Company's Affairs,

IX. Description of Ceylon,

X. Some Account of the Governments of Amboina, Banda, Macasser, the Moluccas, Mallacca, and the Cape of Good Hope,

XI. Account of the Directories of Coromandel, Surat, Bengal, and Persia,

XII. Account of the Commanderies of Malabar, Gallo, Java, and Bantam,

XIII. Some Account of the Residences of Cheribon, Siam, and Mockha,

XIV. Of the Trade of the Dutch in Borneo and China,

XV. Of the Dutch Trade with Japan,

XVI. Account of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope,

XVII. Voyage from the Cape of Good Hope to Holland, with some Account of St Helena, the Island of Ascension, and the Acores,

CHAP. XIV. Voyage round the World, by Captain George Anson, in the Years 1740-1744,



SECT. I. Of the Equipment of the Squadron, and the Incidents relating to it, from its first Appointment to its setting Sail from St Helens,

II. The Passage from St Helens to the Island of Madeira, with a short Account of that Island, and of our Stay there,

III. History of the Spanish Squadron commanded by Don Joseph Pizarro, 236

IV. Passage from Madeira to St Catharines,

V. Proceedings at St Catharines, and a Description of that Place, with a short Account of Brazil,

VI. The Run from St Catharines to Port St Julian; with some Account of the Port, and of the Country to the South of the Rio Plata,

VII. Departure from the Bay of St Julian, and Passage from thence to the Straits of Le Maire,

VIII. Course from the Straits of Le Maire to Cape Noir,

IX. Observations and Directions for facilitating the Passage of future Navigators round Cape Horn,

X. Course from Cape Noir to the Island of Juan Fernandez,

XI. Arrival of the Centurion at Juan Fernandez, with a Description of that Island,

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

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

XIV. Conclusion of Proceedings at Juan Fernandez, from the Arrival of the Anna Pink, to our final Departure from thence,

XV. Our Cruise, from leaving Juan Fernandez, to the taking of Payta,

XVI. Capture of Payta, and Proceedings at that Place,

XVII. Occurrences from our Departure from Payta to our Arrival at Quibo,

XVIII. Our Proceedings at Quibo, with an Account of the Place,

XIX. From Quibo to the Coast of Mexico,

XX. An Account of the Commerce carried on between the City of Manilla on the Island of Luconia, and the Port of Acapulco on the Coast of Mexico,

XXI. Our Cruise off the Port of Acapulco for the Manilla Ship,

XXII. A short Account of Chequetan, and of the adjacent Coast and Country,

XXIII. Account of Proceedings at Chequetan and on the adjacent Coast, till our setting sail for Asia,

XXIV. The Run from the Coast of Mexico to the Ladrones or Marian Islands,

XXV. Our Arrival at Tinian, and an Account of the Island, and of our Proceedings there, till the Centurion drove out to Sea,

XXVI. Transactions at Tinian after the Departure of the Centurion,

XXVII. Account of the Proceedings on board the Centurion when driven out to Sea,

XXVIII. Of our Employment at Tinian, till the final Departure of the Centurion, and of the Voyage to Macao,

XXIX. Proceeding at Macao,

XXX. From Macao to Cape Espiritu Santo: The taking of the Manilla Galleon, and returning back again,

XXXI. Transactions in the River of Canton,

XXXII. Proceedings at the City of Canton, and the Return of the Centurion to England,




* * * * *

CHAPTER XII—Continued.



Voyage from California to Canton in China.

We fell in with the coast of California on the 11th of August, and as soon as we were discovered by the natives, they made fires on the shore as we sailed past. Towards evening, two of them came off on a bark log, and were with difficulty induced to come on board. Seeing our negroes standing promiscuously among the whites, they angrily separated them from us, and would hardly suffer them to look at us. They then made signs for us to sit down, after which one of them put himself into strange postures, talking to us with great vehemence, and seeming to be in a transport of extacy, running from one to the other of us with great vehemence, continually singing, speaking, and running, till quite out of breath. Night coming on, they were for departing, when we gave them a knife and an old coat each, with which they were much pleased, and invited us by signs to go on shore along with them. On the 13th, we were near Porto Leguro, whence some of the natives came out to meet us on bark-logs, while others made fires, as if to welcome us, on the tops of hills and rocks near the sea, all seemingly rejoiced to see us; those on shore running up and down to each other, and those on the bark-logs paddling with all their strength to meet us.

No sooner was our anchor down than they came off to us in crowds, some off bark-logs, but most of them swimming, all the while talking and calling to each other confusedly. In an instant our ship was full of these swarthy gentry, all quite naked. Among the rest was their king or chief; who was no way distinguishable from the rest by any particular ornament, or even by any deference paid to him by his people, his only ensign of sovereignty being a round black stick of hard wood, about two feet and a half long. This being observed by some of our people, they brought him to me, and concluding that I was the chief of the ship, he delivered his black sceptre to me in a handsome manner, which I immediately returned. Notwithstanding his savage appearance, this man had a good countenance, and there was something dignified in his manner and behaviour. I soon found a way to regale them, by setting before them abundance of our choicest Peruvian conserves, with which they seemed much gratified. They were accommodated with spoons, mostly silver, all of which they very honestly returned.

Having thus commenced friendship with the natives, I sent an officer ashore to view the watering-place; and, to make him the more welcome, I sent with him some coarse blue baize and some sugar, to distribute among the women. On seeing our boat ready to put off, the king was for accompanying her in his bark-log, but I persuaded him to go in the boat, with which he seemed to be much gratified. The remainder of the day was spent with our wild visitors, who behaved in general very quietly. The officer returned with an account of having been very civilly received, and we prepared our casks for being sent ashore next morning. Although, at first view, the country and inhabitants might dissuade us from venturing freely among them, I had formerly read such accounts of these people, that I was under no apprehension of being molested in wooding and watering. The Californians, however, appeared very terrible to our negroes, insomuch, that one of them, who accompanied the officer on shore, was afraid to stir from the boat, and held an axe constantly in his hand, to defend himself in case of being attacked. On the approach of night, all the Indians swam ashore, leaving us a clear ship, after the fatigues of the day.

Next morning, at day-break, our boat went ashore with the people appointed to cut wood and fill our water-casks; and before the sun was up, our ship was again filled with our former guests, who seemed never satisfied with gazing at us and every thing about the ship. That nothing might be wanting to keep up our amity, I sent a large boiler on shore, with a good store of flour and sugar, and a negro cook, who continually boiled hasty-pudding, to serve the numerous guests on the beach. At first the natives remained idle spectators of our labours; but at length, taking compassion to see our few men labouring hard in rolling great casks of water over the heavy sand in the sultry heat of the day, they put forth their hands to help them, encouraged by the particular readiness of their chief to serve us; for, after seeing Mr Randal take up a log of wood to carry to the boat, he took up another, and was immediately followed by two or three hundred of the natives, so that they eased our men mightily. They also rolled our casks down to the beach, but always expected a white man to assist them, though quite satisfied if he only touched the cask with his finger. This eased our men of a great deal of fatigue, and shortened the time of our stay at this place. We even found means to make those who used to stay all day on board, of some use to us; for, when we came to heel the ship, we crowded them, all over on one side, which, with other shifts, gave her a deep heel, while we cleaned and paid her bottom with pitch and tallow.

The natives seemed every day more and more attached to us. When our boat went ashore in the morning, there was constantly a large retinue in waiting on the beach for our people, and particularly for those whom they guessed to be above the common rank, by their better dress. By this time, the news of our arrival had spread through all the neighbouring parts, and some natives of different tribes from that which dwelt about the bay, came daily to visit us. Those who came from any distance in the inland country could not swim, and were differently painted, besides some other visible distinctions; but all united amicably to assist us, and hardly any were idle except the women, who used to sit in circles on the scorching sand, waiting for their shares of what was going forwards, which they received without any quarrelling among themselves about the inequality of distribution. Having completed our business in five days, we prepared for our departure on the 18th August, and employed that morning in making a large distribution of sugar among the women, and gave a great many knives, old axes, and old iron among the men, being the most valuable presents we could make them; and, in return, they gave us bows and arrows, deer-skin bags, live foxes and squirrels, and the like. That we might impress them with awe of our superior power, we saluted them with five guns on loosing our top-sails, which greatly frightened them, and there seemed an universal damp on their spirits on seeing our sails loosed, as sorry for our approaching departure. The women were all in tears when my people were coming off to the ship; and many of the men remained till we were under sail, and then leapt into the sea with sorrowful countenances.

Having made some stay in California, some account of that country and its inhabitants may be expected; though I believe a complete discovery of its extent and boundaries would produce few real advantages, except satisfying the curious. That part of California which I saw, being the southern extremity of its western coast, appears mountainous, barren, and sandy, much like some parts of Peru: yet the soil about Porto Leguro, and most likely in the other vallies, is a rich black mould, and when turned up fresh to the sun, appears as if intermingled with gold-dust. We endeavoured to wash and purify some of this, and the more this was done, the more it appeared like gold. In order to be farther satisfied, I brought away some of this earth, but it was afterwards lost in our confusions in China. However this may be, California probably abounds in metals of all sorts, though the natives had no ornaments or utensils of any metal, which is not to be wondered at, as they are perfectly ignorant of all arts.

The country has plenty of wood, but the trees are very small, hardly better than bushes. But woods, which are an ornament to most other countries, serve only to make this appear the more desolate; for locusts swarm here in such numbers, that they do not leave a green leaf on the trees. In the day, these destructive insects are continually on the wing in clouds, and are extremely troublesome by flying in, one's face. In shape and size they greatly resemble our green grasshoppers, but are of a yellow colour. Immediately after we cast anchor, they came off in such numbers, that the sea around the ship was covered with their dead bodies. By their incessant ravages, the whole country round Porto Leguro was stripped totally naked, notwithstanding the warmth of the climate and the richness of the soil. Believing that the natives are only visited with this plague at this season of the year, I gave them a large quantity of calavances, and shewed them how they were sown. The harbour of Porto Leguro is about two leagues to the N.E. of Cape St Lucas, being a good and safe port, and very convenient for privateers when cruizing for the Manilla ship. The watering-place is on the north side of the bay or harbour, being a small river which there flows into the sea, and may easily be known by the appearance of a great quantity of green canes growing in it, which always retain their verdure, not being touched by the locusts, as these canes probably contain, something noxious to that voracious insect.

The men of this country are tall, straight, and well set, having large limbs, with coarse black hair, hardly reaching to their shoulders. The women are of much smaller size, having much longer hair than the men, with which some of them almost cover their faces. Some of both sexes have good countenances; but all are much darker-complexioned than any of the other Indians I saw in the South Seas, being a very deep copper-colour. The men go quite naked, wearing only a few trifles by way of ornament, such as a band or wreath of red and white silk-grass round their heads, adorned on each side with a tuft of hawk's feathers. Others have pieces of mother-of-pearl and small shells fastened among their hair, and tied round their necks; and some had large necklaces of six or seven strings, composed of small red and black berries. Some are scarified all over their bodies; others use paint, some smearing their faces and breasts with black, while others were painted black down to the navel, and from thence to the feet with red.

The women wear a thick fringe or petticoat of silk-grass, reaching from their middle to their heels, and have a deer-skin carelessly thrown over their shoulders. Some of the better sort have a cloak of the skin of some large bird, instead of the bear-skins. Though the appearance of the Californians is exceedingly savage, yet, from what I could observe of their behaviour to each other, and their deportment towards us, they seem to possess all imaginable humanity. All the time we were there, and constantly among many hundreds of them, there was nothing to be seen but the most agreeable harmony, and most affectionate behaviour to each other. When any of us gave any thing eatable to one person, he always divided it among all who were around him, reserving the smallest share to himself. They seldom walked singly, but mostly in pairs, hand in hand. They seemed of meek and gentle dispositions, having no appearance of cruelty in their countenances or behaviour, yet seemed haughty towards their women. They lead a careless life, having every thing in common, and seemed to desire nothing beyond the necessaries of life. They never once offered to pilfer or steal any of our tools or other utensils; and such was their honesty, that my men having forgotten their axes one day on shore, while cutting wood, which was noticed by one of the natives, he told it to the king, who sent into the wood for the axes, and restored them with much apparent satisfaction.

Their language is guttural and harsh, and they talk a great deal, but I could never understand a single word they spoke. Their dwellings were very mean, being scarcely sufficient to shelter them. Their diet is, I believe, mostly fish, which they frequently eat raw, but they sometimes bake it in the sand. They seldom want abundance of this food, as the men go out to sea on their bark-logs, and are very expert harponiers. Their harpoons are made of hard wood, and with these they strike the largest albicores, and bring them ashore on their bark-logs, which they row with double paddles. This seemed strange to us, who had often experienced the strength of these fish; for frequently when we had hold of one of these with very large hooks, made fast to eight-strand twine, we had to bring the ship to, to bring them in, and it was then as much as eight or ten men could do; so that one would expect, when an Indian had struck one of these fish, from his light float, it would easily run away with the man and the bark-log; but they have some sleight in their way of management, by which the strength and struggling of these fish are all in vain. There are hardly any birds to be seen in this country except a few pelicans.

When the Californians want to drink, they wade into the river, up to their middles, where they take up the water in their hands, or stoop down and suck it with their mouths. Their time is occupied between hunting, fishing, eating, and sleeping; and having abundant exercise, and rather a spare diet, their lives are ordinarily prolonged to considerable age, many of both sexes appearing to be very old, by their faces being much wrinkled, and their hair very grey. Their bows are about six feet long, with strings made of deer's sinews, but their arrows seemed too long for their bows; and considering that they have no adequate tools, these articles must require much time in making. The shafts of their arrows consist of a hollow cane, for two-thirds of their length, the other third, or head, being of a heavy kind of wood, edged with flint, or sometimes agate, and the edges notched like a saw, with a very sharp point. They made no display of their arms to us, and we seldom saw any in their hands, though they have need of some arms to defend themselves from wild beasts, as I saw some men who had been severely hurt in that way, particularly one old man, who had his thigh almost torn in pieces by a tiger or lion, and though, healed, it was frightfully scarred. The women commonly go into the woods with bows and arrows in search of game, while the men are chiefly occupied in fishing. I can say nothing respecting their government, except that it did not seem any way strict or rigorous. When the king appeared in public, he was usually attended by many couples, or men walking hand in hand, two and two together. On the first morning of our arrival, he was seen in this manner coming out of a wood, and noticing one of my officers cutting down a tree, whom he judged to be better than ordinary, by having silver lace on his waistcoat, be shewed both his authority and civility at the same time, by ordering one of his attendants to take the axe and work in his stead.

One day while we were there, a prodigious flat fish was seen basking in the sun on the surface of the water near the shore, on which twelve Indians swam off and surrounded him. Finding himself disturbed, the fish dived, and they after him, but he escaped from them at this time. He appeared again in about an hour, when sixteen or seventeen Indians swam off and encompassed him; and, by continually tormenting him, drove, him insensibly ashore. On grounding, the force with which he struck the ground with his fins is not to be expressed, neither can I describe the agility with which the Indians strove to dispatch him, lest the surf should set him again afloat, which they at length accomplished with the help of a dagger lent them by Mr Randal. They then cut him into pieces, which were distributed among all who stood by. This fish, though of the flat kind, was very thick, and had a large hideous mouth, being fourteen or fifteen feet broad, but not quite so much in length.

On the 18th August, 1721, we set sail from Porto Leguro, bound for Canton in China, as a likely place for meeting with some English ships, in which we might procure a passage home. Considering the length of the voyage before us, our ship was in a very bad condition, as her sails and rigging were so old and rotten, that if any accident had befallen our masts or sails, we had been reduced to extreme distress and danger, having no change either of sails or ropes; but ours being a case of necessity, we had to run all hazards, and to endeavour, by the utmost attention, to guard against deficiencies which could not be supplied. Having already overcome many difficulties, seemingly insurmountable in prospect, we were full of hope to get over these also, and the pleasing expectation of revisiting our native shores gave us spirits to encounter this tedious navigation in so weak and comfortless a condition. We were now so weakly manned, that we could scarcely have been able to navigate our vessel without the assistance of the negroes, not amounting now to thirty whites, so much had our crew been reduced by untoward accidents.

We discovered an island on the 21st, 110 leagues W.S.W. from Cape St Lucas,[1] but as the wind blew fresh, I could not get nearer than two leagues, and did not think proper to lose time in laying-to in the night. It seemed seven or eight leagues in circumference, having a large bay on its S.W. side, in the middle of which was a high rock. My people named this Shelvocke's island. From hence we shelved, down to the latitude of 13 deg. N. but were stopped two or three days by westerly winds, which we did not expect in this sea, especially as being now five or six hundred leagues from the land. The trade-wind again returning, we kept in the parallel of 13 deg. N. except when we judged that we were near the shoals of St Bartholomew, and then haled a degree more to the north, and so continued for sixty or seventy leagues. A fortnight after leaving California, my people, who had hitherto enjoyed uninterrupted health, began to be afflicted with sickness, particularly affecting their stomachs, owing doubtless to the great quantities of sweetmeats they were continually devouring, and also to oar common food, chiefly composed of puddings made of coarse flour and sweetmeats, mixed up with sea-water, together with jerked beef, most of which was destroyed by ants, cockroaches, and other vermin. We could not afford to boil the kettle once in the whole passage with fresh water, so that the crew became reduced to a very melancholy state by scurvy and other distempers. The sickness increased upon us every day, so that we once buried two in one day, the armourer and carpenter's, mate, besides whom the carpenter, gunner, and several others died, together with some of our best negroes.

[Footnote 1: Probably La Nablada, in lat. 18 deg. 55' N. long. 180 deg. 48' E.]

The greatest part of my remaining people were disabled, and our ship very leaky; and to add to our misfortunes, one of our pumps split and became useless. Under these unhappy circumstances, we pushed forwards with favourable gales till within 80 leagues of Guam, one of the Ladrones, when we encountered dismal weather and tempestuous winds, veering round the compass. This was the more frightful, as we were unable to help ourselves, not above six or seven, being able for duty, though necessity obliged even those who were extremely low and weak to lend what help they could. In the boisterous sea raised by these gales, our ship so laboured that the knee of her head, and her whole beak-head, became loose, so that the boltsprit fetched away and played with every motion of the ship, and so continued all the rest of the time we were at sea. For some time our main-mast stood without larboard shrouds, till we could unlay our best cable to make more, having knotted and spliced the old shrouds till our labour was in vain. In the midst of these difficulties, I was taken very ill, and had little expectations of living much longer, till the gout gave me some painful hopes of recovery.

In the beginning of October, we made the island of Guam, 100 leagues short of the account given by Rogers, who makes 105 deg. of longitude between Cape St Lucas and Guam, while we made not quite 100 deg..[2] We passed through between Guam and Serpana, and saw several flying proas, but none came near us that day. We had heavy and squally weather, which obliged me to keep the deck in the rain, by which I caught a cold, which threw me into a worse condition than before, in which I continued all the time I was in China. Guam seemed very green and of moderate height, and the sight of land was so pleasant after our long run, that we would gladly have stopped to procure some refreshments, but durst not venture in, though on the point of perishing, lest the inhabitants should take advantage of our weakness. From Guam I shaped our course for the island of Formosa, to which we had a long and melancholy voyage, as our sickness daily increased; so that, on the 3d November, when we got sight of that island, both ship and company were almost entirely worn out. Next day we doubled the south Cape of Formosa, passing within a league of the rocks of Vele-Rete, where we were sensible of a very strong current. As we passed in sight, the inhabitants of Formosa made continual fires on the coast, as inviting us to land; but we were so weak that we did not deem it prudent to venture into any of their harbours.

[Footnote 2: Rogers is however nearer the truth, the difference of longitude being 106 deg. 42' between these two places.—E.]

We directed our course from Formosa for the neighbouring coast of China, and found ourselves on the 6th at the mouth of the river Loma,[3] in twelve fathoms water, but the weather was so hazy that we could not ascertain where we were. Seeing abundance of fishing boats, we tried every method we could think of to induce some of the fishermen to come on board to pilot us to Macao, but found this impracticable, as we could not understand each other. We were therefore obliged to keep the land close on board, and to anchor every evening. This was a prodigious fatigue to our men, who were so universally ill that we could hardly find any one able to steer the ship. We were bewildered in a mist during four days, and much surprised by seeing a great many islands, omitted in our charts, on some of which we saw large fortifications. This made us believe that the current had carried us beyond our port, and occasioned much dejection of spirits; for, though the sea was covered with fishing boats, we could get no one to set us right, or to give us any directions we could understand.

[Footnote 3: This name is so corrupted as to be unintelligible.—E]

Towards evening of the 10th, as we were passing through a very narrow channel between two islands, a fisherman who was near, and observed by our manner of working that we were afraid to venture through, waved with his cap for us to bring to till he came to us. When he came, he seemed to understand that we enquired for Macao, and made signs that he would carry us there, if we gave him as many pieces of silver as he counted little fish from his basket, which amounted to forty. We accordingly counted out forty dollars into a hat, and gave them to him, on which he came into our ship, and took her in charge, carrying us through the narrow channel, and brought us to anchor at sun-set. We weighed next morning, and kept the coast of China close on board. By noon we were abreast of Pulo Lantoon, whence we could see two English ships under sail, passing the island of Macao on their way from the river of Canton. They kept on their way, taking no notice of us, which struck a damp into our spirits, fearing we should miss a passage for England this season. In the afternoon of next day, we anchored in the road of Macao, near the entrance of Canton river, which we never should have found out by any of our charts.

I was much amazed at the incorrectness with which these coasts are laid down, to the eastwards of Pulo Lantoon; as there runs a cluster of islands for upwards of twenty leagues in that direction, which are not in the least noticed by any of our hydrographers, nor have I ever met with any navigator who knew any thing about them. The coast of China, within these islands, is rocky, mountainous, and barren; but, owing to my heavy sickness, I was unable to make any useful observations.


Residence in China, and Voyage thence to England.

As Macao is the place where ships always stop for a pilot to carry them up the river of Canton, I sent an officer with my compliments to the governor, and with orders to bring off a pilot; but hearing nothing of him till next morning, I was under very great apprehensions. Next morning, a great number of the people belonging to the Success came off to our ship, and acquainted me that Clipperton had left me designedly. About noon this day, the 12th November, 1721, a pilot came off to us, when we immediately weighed anchor, and immediately entered Canton river, being assured that there still were some European ships at Wampoo, about ten miles short of Canton. We were four days in plying up to the road between the tower bars, where we anchored; and, finding the Bonetta and Hastings, two English ships, I sent an officer to request their instructions how to conduct ourselves in this port, and to acquaint us with its customs. They answered, that the Cadogan and Francis, two English European ships, were lying at Wampoo, and advised me to send up to the English factors at Canton, to acquaint them with our arrival, and the reasons which obliged us to come here. This I accordingly did next day, borrowing one of their flags to hoist as our boat, without which we had met with much trouble from the Hoppo-men, or custom-house officers. I sent letters to the captains of the English ships, signifying the necessity which forced me to this country, and requesting their succour and protection; assuring them that I acted under his majesty's commission, which also I sent, for their perusal. Next morning, being the 17th, I weighed and worked up to Wampoo, where, besides the two English ships, I found three belonging to France, one Ostender, and a small ship from Manilla.

I was here in hopes of all my troubles being at an end, and that I should have full leisure for rest and refreshment after my many and great fatigues; but I soon found these expectations ill grounded, and after all my perils, that I was fallen into others least to be endured, as proceeding from false brethren. A most unlucky accident happened the very evening that we anchored at Wampoo, which gave birth to all the troubles I encountered in India; though, in respect to me, both unforeseen and unavoidable, and purely the effects of that eagerness in the ship's company to get out of this part of the world at any rate. Had there been any government among the English settled here, to have supported my authority, this unlucky business had never happened; and, as it was, could only be imputed to nothing but the want of such an establishment. One of my men, named David Griffith, being in a hurry to remove his effects into the Bonetta's boat, in which he was chased by a Hoppo or custom-house boat; and being a little in liquor, and fearing to lose his silver, fired a musket and killed the Hoppo-man or custom-house officer. Early next morning, the dead body was laid at the door of the English factory, where Chinese officers lay in wait to seize the first Englishman that should come out. A supercargo belonging to the Bonetta happened to be the first; he was immediately seized and carried off, and afterwards led in chains about the suburbs of Canton. All that could be said or done by the most considerable Chinese merchants who were in correspondence with the English, was of no avail. In the mean time, my man, who had slain the Chinese officer, and another, were put in irons aboard the Francis, which was chopped, or seized, till the guilty man was delivered up. He was then carried to Canton in chains, and the supercargo was released.

I had not been here many days, when I was deserted by all my officers and men, who were continually employed in removing their effects from my ship to some of the European ships, without my knowledge, I being then confined to bed. My officers were using all their efforts to engage the gentlemen belonging to the company in their interest, and had only left my son and a few negroes to look after the ship, and to defend my effects, which were on the brink of falling into the bottomless pit of Chinese avarice; besides, they and the ship's company had so many ways of disposing of every thing they could lay their hands on, that I found it impossible to oblige them to do what I thought justice to our owners: They all soon recovered from their illness, and they all became their own masters. There were no magistrates for me to appeal to on shore, who would aid me so far as to compel them to remain in my ship; and the officers commanding the English ships could not afford me the help they might have been inclined to give, lest the supercargoes might represent their conduct to the East India Company. And these last, who superintend the English trade at this port, seemed even inclined to have refused me a passage in one of their ships, and even treated me as one enemy would treat another in a neutral port; looking on me in that light for presuming to come within the limits of the Company, without considering the necessity by which I had been compelled to take that step.

When Captains Hill and Newsham came to visit me, they were astonished at the ruinous condition of my ship, and could scarcely think it possible for her to have made so long a passage. The rottenness of her cordage, and the raggedness of her sails, filled them with surprise and pity for my condition. When I had given them a short history of the voyage, and requested they would receive my officers and company, with their effects, they at once said, That they saw plainly my ship was in no condition to be carried any farther, and they were willing to receive us all as soon as we pleased, on payment of our passage. But the supercargoes were displeased that I had not applied to them, as they are the chief men here, though only passengers when aboard; so that I was quite neglected, and the English captains were ordered to fall down with their ships five or six miles below where I lay. I was thus left destitute in the company of five foreign ships; yet their officers, seeing me deserted by my countrymen, kindly offered me their services, and assisted me as much as they could, and without them I know not what might have been my fate, as I was under perpetual apprehensions that the Chinese would have seized my ship.

After the murder of the custom-house officer seemed to have been quite forgotten, a magistrate, called a Little Mandarin, committed the following outrageous action:—At the beginning of the troubles, occasioned by that murder, he had received orders to apprehend all the English he could find, which he neglected till all was over. He then one day, while passing the European factories, ordered his attendants to seize on all the English he could see in the adjoining shops, and took hold of nine or ten, French as well as English, whom he carried, with halters about their necks, to the palace of the Chantock, or viceroy. Application was then made to the Hoppo, or chief customer, who represented matters to the viceroy in favour of the injured Europeans; on which the mandarin was sent for, and being unable to vindicate himself was degraded from his post, subjected to the bamboo, a severe punishment, and rendered incapable of acting again as a magistrate; the Europeans being immediately liberated. It appears to me, however, that the English are tyrannized over by the Chinese, and exposed to the caprices of every magistrate, wherefore I was the more urgent to be on board one of the European ships. I had now discovered my error in addressing the captains, and now sent a letter to the supercargoes, demanding a passage for myself, my officers, and ship's company, which I was sensible they could not refuse: but their compliance was clogged with a charge to the captains not to receive any thing belonging to us, unless consigned to the company in England.

The hoppo now made a demand upon me for anchorage in the river, amounting to no less than 6000 tahel, and, to quicken the payment, annexed a penalty to this extortion of 500 tahel for every day the payment was delayed. There were no means to avoid this gross imposition; and though a day necessarily elapsed before I could send up the money, I had to add the penalty of that day, so that he received 6500 tahel, or L. 2166:13:4 sterling;[4] being about six times as much as was paid for the Cadogan, the largest English ship there at the time, and which measured a third larger than mine. I soon after sold my ship for 2000 tahel, or L. 666, 13s. 4d. sterling, which money was consigned to the India Company, along with all the rest of my effects, and I prevailed on most of my officers and men to take their passage in the English homeward-bound ships.

[Footnote 4: At these proportions, the Chinese tahel is exactly 6s. 8d. sterling.—E.]

Considering my short stay in China, and my bad health, I cannot be expected to give any tolerable account of this place from my own observation, and to copy others would be inconsistent with the purpose of this narrative, so that I shall only observe, that the English, at this time, had no settled factory at Canton, being only permitted to hire large houses, called hongs, with convenient warehouses adjoining, for receiving their goods previous to their shipment. For these they pay rent to the proprietors, and either hire the same or others, as they think proper, next time they have occasion for the accommodation.

Notwithstanding my utmost diligence, the business I was engaged in kept me in a continual hurry till the ships were ready to depart, which was in December, 1721: At which time, heartily tired of the country, and the ill usage I had met with, I sailed in the Cadogan, Captain John Hall, in company with the Francis, Captain Newsham; and as the latter ship sailed much better than the Cadogan, she left us immediately after getting out to sea. Finding his ship very tender, or crank, Captain Hill put in at Batavia, to get her into better trim. We continued here about ten days; but I can say little about that place, being all the time unable to stand on my legs, and was only twice out in a coach to take the air, two or three miles out of the city, in which little excursion I saw a great variety of beautiful prospects of fine country seats and gardens, and, indeed, every thing around shewed the greatest industry. The buildings in the city are generally very handsome, and laid out in very regular streets, having canals running through most of them, with trees planted on each side, so that Batavia may justly be called a fine city: But the sight is the only sense that is gratified here, for the canals smell very offensively when the tide is low, and breed vast swarms of muskitoes, which are more troublesome here than in any place I was ever in.

A great part of the inhabitants of Batavia are Chinese, who are remarkable for wearing there their ancient dress, having their hair rolled up in such a manner that there is little difference in that respect between the men and women. Ever since the revolution in China, which brought that country under the Tartar yoke, the Tartarian dress has been imposed upon the whole kingdom, which was not effected without great bloodshed: For many of the Chinese were so superstitiously attached to their ancient modes, that they unaccountably chose rather to lose their lives than their hair; as the Tartar fashion is to shave the head, except a long lock on the crown, which they plait in the same manner we do. The Dutch, taking advantage of this superstitious attachment of the Chinese to their hair, exact from all the men who live under their protection, a poll-tax of a dollar a month for the liberty of wearing their hair, which produces a very considerable revenue.

Hearing at Batavia that there were several pirates in these seas, Captain Hill joined the Dutch homeward-bound fleet in Bantam bay, and the Dutch commodore promised to assist Captain Hill in wooding and watering at Mew island, the water at Batavia being very bad. We fell in with the Francis in the Straits of Sunda, though we imagined that ship had been far a-head. The Dutch made this a pretence for leaving us before we got to Mew island, and Captain Newsham also deserted us, so that we were left alone. We continued six or seven days at Mew island, during which time several boats came to us from Prince's island, and brought us turtle, cocoa-nuts, pine-apples, and other fruits. From Mew island we had a very pleasant voyage to and about the Cape of Good Hope. By the good management of Captain Hill, although the Francis and the Dutch ships had the start of us seven days, by deserting us in the Straits of Sunda, we yet got to the cape seven days before the Francis, though she sailed considerably better than we. By comparing notes with the officers of the Francis, we found that she had suffered a good deal of bad weather off the south of Africa, while we, by keeping about ten leagues nearer shore, continually enjoyed pleasant weather and a fair wind, till we anchored in Table Bay, which we did towards the end of March, 1722.

We here found Governor Boon and others, bound for England in the London Indiaman. We had a pleasant voyage from the cape to St Helena, and thence to England, arriving off the Land's-end towards the close of July. On coming into the British channel we had brisk gales from the west, with thick foggy weather. In the evening of the 30th July we anchored under Dungeness, and that same night some of the supercargoes and passengers, among whom I was one, hired a small vessel to carry us to Dover, where we arrived the next morning early. The same day we proceeded for London, and arrived there on the 1st August, 1722. Thus ended a long, fatiguing, and unfortunate voyage, of three years, seven months, and eleven days, in which I had sailed considerably more than round the circumference of the globe, and had undergone a great variety of troubles and hardships by sea and land.


Supplement to the foregoing Voyage.

In the Collection of Harris, besides interweaving several controversial matters respecting this voyage, from an account of it by one Betagh, who was captain of marines in the Speedwell, a long series of remarks on the conduct of Shelvocke by that person, are appended. Neither of these appear to possess sufficient interest, at this distance of time, almost a century, to justify their insertion in our collection, where they would have very uselessly occupied a considerable space. Captain Betagh appears to have been actuated by violent animosity against Captain Shelvocke, whose actions he traduced and misrepresented with the utmost malignity, the innocent cause of his having suffered captivity among the Spaniards in South America, of which some account will be found in the subsequent section. Of all these charges, we have only deemed it expedient to insert the following statement of the circumstances connected with the capture of the Conception, as related by Betagh, which Harris, I. 230, characterizes as "a very extraordinary piece of recent history, and seemingly supported by evidence;" but at this distance of time we have no means of ascertaining to which side the truth belongs.—Ed.

"This being the great crisis of the voyage, I shall be more particular in relating the affair of this last prize. This ship was named the Conception, Don Stephen de Recova commander,[1] bound from Calao to Panama, having on board several persons of distinction, particularly the Conde de la Rosa, who had been some time governor of Pisco, and was now going to Spain, laden with flour, sugar, marmalade, et cetera. Now, be it known to all men, that the et cetera was 108,630 pieces of eight, or Spanish dollars: And Shelvocke little thought, when he took this prize, or compiled his book, that I, of all men, should have the exact state of this affair. He often said that he would give the gentlemen owners a fair account; and I have often promised to prove that he did say so. We have now both made our words good, and I have not only an authentic account, but I will also declare how I got it.

[Footnote 1: Shelvocke who certainly ought to have known best, names the ship the Conception de Recova, and her commander Don Joseph Desorio.—E.]

"When I was carried prisoner to Lima, I had sufficient leisure to reflect on my misfortunes, and how likely I was to be ruined and the owners cheated; wherefore, to prepare them to defend their just rights, I wrote to one of them the substance of what had occurred to me; how Shelvocke had mismanaged; how arbitrarily he had acted in defiance of their articles, and what were his private intentions in the latter part of the voyage. As soon as I came to London, which was in October, 1721, I confirmed the report of my letter with several new circumstances; for all which performance of my duty, it is, as I suppose, that my name has met with so much reproach in Captain Shelvocke's book. But, besides my advices, the gentlemen owners had many proofs from prisoners and other people. Eleven months after me, being August, 1722, Shelvocke himself arrived, and immediately waited on the gentlemen in the lump for all his transactions; not owning any thing of this prize, which he had unlawfully shared, with every thing else, among twenty-three of his men. Instead of compromising the matter, the gentlemen read him a letter, secured him, and had him the same day confined in Wood-street Compter. A few days after, his pupil, Stewart, arrived at Dover, and was seized by the honest warden of the castle, according to directions, securing also his book of accounts, and brought it along with the prisoner to the owners, from whom I had the book, and copied from it the following statement of the dividends:—

Names. Quality Number Dollars Eng. of Money. Shares

George Shelvocke Captain 6 14,325 2642 10 0 Samuel Rundal Lieutenant 2-1/2 John Rainer Cap. Marines 2-1/2 Blowfield Coldsea Master 2-1/2 -4718 1100 17 4 Nicholas Adams Surgeon 2-1/2 each Mathew Stewart First mate 2 Monsieur La Porte Second mate 2 George Henshall Boatswain 2 -3775 880 16 8 Robert Davenport Carpenter 2 each William Clark Gunner 2 James Daniel Midshipman 1-1/2 David Griffith Ditto 1-1/2 Christopher Hawkins Ditto 1-1/2 Oliver Lefevre Sail-maker 1-1/2 John Doydge Surgeon's mate 1-1/2 William Morgan Ditto 1-1/2 -2850 660 0 0 John Popplestone Armourer 1-1/2 each James Moyett Cooper 1-1/2 John Pearson Carpenter's 1-1/2 mate Geo. Shelvocke, jun. 1-1/2 William Clement Able seaman 1 John Norris Ditto 1 James Moulville Ditto 1 George Gill Ditto 1 Peter Fero Ditto 1 -1887-1/4 440 7 2 John Smith Ditto 1 each Edward Alcocke Ditto 1 John Theobald Barber 1 William Burrows Old seaman 3/4 Daniel M'Donald Ditto 3/4 Richard Croft Ditto 3/4 John Robbins Grommet, 1/2 or boy 943-1/4 220 4 2 Benedict Harry Cook 1/2 each 33 persons in all 52-1/4 98,604-2/3 23,007 15 6

"The reader will perceive that the sum total of this dividend falls short of what I said the capture amounted to; but, in order to set that matter right, there is a secret article of 627 quadruples of gold, which Shelvocke graciously shared among private friends, each quadruple, or double doubloon; being worth sixteen dollars each, or L. 3:14:8 sterling, at 4s. 8d. the dollar. The value of these is 10,032 dollars, which, added to the sum of the foregoing account, make 108,636-3/4 dollars, or L. 25,348:11:6 sterling in all. Which large sum of money Shelvocke had the prodigious modesty to conceal, under the mysterious et cetera. Stewart's book mentions the double doubloons, but says not a word as to how they were distributed, so that we may imagine they were sunk between the two Shelvockes and Stewart: For, as Stewart was agent, cashier, and paymaster, it was an easy matter to hide a bag of gold from the public, and to divide it afterwards in a committee of two or three."—Betagh.


Appendix to Shelvocke's Voyage round the World. Containing Observations on the Country and Inhabitants of Peru, by Captain Betagh.[1]

[Footnote 1: Harris, I. 240.]


This article may rather seem misplaced, as here inserted among the circumnavigations; but, both as having arisen out of the voyage of Shelvocke, and because arranged in this manner by Harris, it has been deemed proper and necessary to preserve it in this place, where it may be in a great measure considered as a supplement to the preceding voyage. In the opinion of Harris, "The time that Betagh lived among the Spaniards in Peru, and the manner in which he was treated by them, gave him an opportunity of acquainting himself with their manners and customs, and with the nature and maxims of their government, such as no Englishman had possessed; and the lively manner in which he tells his story, gives it much beauty and spirit." We have already seen, in the narrative of Shelvocke, the occasion of Betagh separating from his commander, along with Hately and a complement of men in the Mercury, on which occasion Shelvocke alleged that they purposely separated from him, in consequence of taking a prize containing 150,000 dollars. In the following narrative, Betagh tells his own story very differently, and we do not presume to determine between them. The separation of Shelvocke originally from his own superior officer, Clipperton, is not without suspicion; and Hately and Betagh may have learnt from their commander, to endeavour to promote their own individual interests, at the expense of their duty, already weakened by bad example.—Ed.


It was in the beginning of the year 1720, about the middle of March, when Captain Shelvocke sent Hately and the rest of us to seek our fortunes in the lighter called the Mercury. He then went in the Speedwell to plunder the village of Payta, where we might easily have joined him, had he been pleased to have imparted his design to us. We had not cruized long off Cape Blanco, when we took a small bark, having a good quantity of flour and chocolate. There were also on board an elderly lady, and a thin old friar, whom we detained two or three days; and, after taking out what could be of use to us, we discharged the bark and them. Soon after this we took the Pink, which Shelvocke calls the rich prize. Her people had no suspicion of our being an enemy, and held on their way till they saw the Mercury standing towards them, and then began to suspect us; on which, about noon, they clapt their helm hard a-weather, and crowded all sail before the wind; and, being in ballast, this was her best sailing, yet proved also the greatest advantage they could have given us; for, had she held her wind, our flat-bottomed vessel could never have got up with theirs. About ten o'clock at night, with the assistance of hard rowing, we got up within shot of the chase, and made her bring to, when pretty near the shore. On boarding the prize, in which were about seventy persons, thirty of whom were negroes, Hately left me and Pressick in the Mercury, with other four, where we continued two or three days, till a heavy rain spoiled all our bread and other dry provisions. We then went on board the prize, sending three men to take charge of the Mercury.

After this, we stood off and on in the height of Cape Blanco for seven or eight days, expecting to meet with the Speedwell; and at that place we sent ashore the Spanish Captain, a padre or priest, and some gentlemen passengers. At last we espied a sail plying to windward; and, having no doubt that she was either the Speedwell or the Success, we stood towards her, while she also edged down towards us. About ten in the morning we were near enough to make her out to be a ship of war, but neither of these we wished for. The master of our prize had before informed us, that he had fallen in with the Brilliante, which was cruizing for our privateers, and we had till now entirely disregarded his information. Upon this, Hately advised with me what we ought to do in this emergency, when we agreed to endeavour to take advantage of the information given us by the Spaniards; considering, as the Brilliante had spoken so very lately with the Pink, that there might not be many questions asked now. Accordingly, Hately and I dressed ourselves like Spaniards, and hoisted Spanish colours, confined all our prisoners in the great cabin, and allowed none but Indians and negroes to appear on the deck, that the Pink might have the same appearance as before. We had probably succeeded in this contrivance, but for the obstinacy of John Sprake, one of our men, whom we could not persuade to keep off the deck. As the Brilliante came up, she fired a gun to leeward, on which we lowered our topsail, going under easy sail till we got alongside. The first question asked was, If we had seen the English privateer? We answered, No. The next question was, How we had got no farther on our way to Lima? To which we answered, By reason of the currents. To two or three other questions, we answered satisfactorily in Spanish, and they were getting their tacks aboard in order to leave us, when Sprake and two or three more of our men appeared on the main deck. A Frenchman aboard the Brilliante, who was on the mast-head, seeing their long trowsers, called out, Par Dieu, Monsieur, ils sont Anglois, By Heaven, Sir, they are English: Upon which they immediately fired a broad-side into us with round and partridge shot, by one of which Hately was slightly wounded in the leg.

As soon as we struck our flag, the enemy sent for all the English on board their ships, and ordered two of their own officers into our prize. The Brilliante then bore down on the Mercury, into which she fired at least twenty-five shot, which bored her sides through and through: Yet such was the construction of that extraordinary vessel, that, though quite full of water, there was not weight enough to sink her, and our three men who were in her remained unhurt. Don Pedro Midrando, the Spanish commander, ordered these three men into his own ship, in which he intended to sail for Payta. As for me, he gave directions that I should be sent forty miles up the country, to a place called Piura, and was so kind as to leave Mr Pressick the surgeon, and my serjeant Cobbs, to bear me company. Mr Hately and the rest of our men were ordered to Lima by land, a journey of four hundred miles.[2] Hately had the misfortune to be doubly under the displeasure of the Spaniards: First, for returning into these seas after having been long their prisoner, and being well used among them: And, second, for having stripped the Portuguese captain at Cape Frio of a good quantity of moidores, which were now found upon him. Don Pedro proposed to have this business searched to the bottom, and the guilty severely punished, without exposing the innocent to any danger.

[Footnote 2: Lima is above six hundred miles from Cape Blanco, and Piura is about seventy-five miles from the same place. Betagh gives no account of the place where he landed; but forty miles northwards from Piura would only carry him to the north side of the bay of Payta; and, as he makes no mention of passing any river, he was probably landed on the south side of the river Amatape or Chira.—E.]


Leaving Mr Hately for the present, I proceed to the observations I made on the road, as the admiral was so good as send me up into the country, till his return from Payta. As the weather in this part of the world is much too hot to admit of any labour in the middle of the day, the custom is to travel only from six in the evening till eight next morning. My Indian guide set me on the best mule he had, which did not think proper to follow the rest, so that I led my fellow-travellers while day lasted. The whole country through which we travelled was an open plain, having Indian plantations laid out with tolerable regularity, on both sides of us. This champaign country is from thirty to an hundred miles broad, and extends three hundred miles along shore; and I was travelling to the southward, having the Cordelieras, or mountains of the Andes, on my left hand, and the great Pacific Ocean to the right. As the soil is good and fertile, this land would be as fine a country as any in the world, if well watered; but travellers are here obliged to carry water for their mules as well as themselves. At the approach of night, I was much puzzled to find the way, my mule still persisting to go foremost, being often stopped by great sand hills, and my mule as often endeavoured to pull the reins out of my hand. This being very troublesome, the Indians advised me to lay the reins on the mule's neck, and on doing that the creature easily hit the way. These sand hills often shift from place to place, which I suppose is occasioned by strong eddy winds, reverberated from the mountains.

We rested at night in an old empty house, about half way, which the guide told me was built by the inhabitants of Piura, for the accommodation of the prince of San Bueno, viceroy of Peru, when they met and regaled him at his entrance on his government. After a short rest, we continued our journey, and arrived at Piura, a handsome regularly built town, on the banks of the river Callan or Piura. The Indian conducted us to the house of an honest Spanish gentleman and his wife, to whose charge he committed us, and then returned to Payta. In less than a quarter of an hour, the inhabitants of the town flocked to see us, as a raree-show, and entertained us with respect and civility, instead of using us as prisoners of war. The gentleman to whose charge we were committed was named Don Jeronimo Baldivieso, who had five daughters, who received us in so benevolent a manner, that we hoped our time would slide easily away, and our captivity prove no way disagreeable; and I now became sensible of the favour shewn me by Don Pedro in sending me to this place; for he had such interest in all Peru, that for his sake we found very good treatment.

After refreshing ourselves, according to the custom of the country, with chocolate, biscuit, and water, we were serenaded by the sound of a harp from some inner apartment, of which instrument the artist seemed to have a good command, as I heard parts of several famous compositions, both Italian and English. Upon enquiry, I found that all Don Jeronimo's daughters had learnt music, and sung or played upon some instrument. Though this seemed unaccountable at first, I afterwards found that music was much cultivated in Peru. During the prevalence of the Italian party at the court of Madrid, the last viceroy of Peru, the prince of San Bueno, who was an Italian, brought a great many musicians to that country along with him, by whom the taste for music had spread every where, and had become as good in Peru as in old Spain. I the rather notice this, because, by our being lovers of music, and behaving peaceably and civilly to the inhabitants, we passed our time quietly and chearfully. We were only exposed to one inconvenience, which lasted all the time we remained here: which was, the daily assembling of the people to stare at us. I and my sergeant Cobbs, being used to exercise in public, bore this pretty well; but Mr Pressick, being a grave man, at first hung down his head, and was very melancholy. But he grew better acquainted with the people by degrees, and came to like them so well, that we had much ado to get him away, when it became necessary for us to remove our quarters.

Almost all the commodities of Europe are distributed through Spanish America by a sort of pedlars, or merchants who travel on foot. These men come from Panama to Payta by sea; and in their road from Payta to Lima, make Piura their first stage, disposing of their goods, and lessening their burdens, as they go along. From Piura, some take the inland road by Caxamarca, and others the road along the coast through Truxillo. From Lima they take their passage back to Panama by sea, perhaps carrying with them a small adventure of brandy. At Panama they again stock themselves with European goods, and return by sea to Payta. Here they hire mules to carry their goods, taking Indians along with them to guide the mules and carry them back: And in this way these traders keep a continual round, till they have gained a sufficiency to live on. Their travelling expenses are next to nothing; as the Indians are under such entire subjection to the Spaniards, that they always find them in lodgings free, and provide them with provender for their mules. All this every white man may command, being an homage the Indians have long been accustomed to, and some think themselves honoured into the bargain. Yet out of generosity, they sometimes meet with a small recompense. Among the British and French, a pedlar is despised, and his employment is considered as a very, mean shift for getting a living: But it is quite otherwise here, where the quick return of money is a sufficient excuse for the manner in which it is gained; and there are many gentlemen in old Spain, in declining circumstances, who send their sons to what they call the Indies, to retrieve their fortunes in this way.

Our lodging while at Piura was in an out-house, which had been built on purpose for accommodating such travelling merchants. Every day, according to the Spanish custom, our dinner was served up under covers, and we eat at the same table with Don Jeronimo; while the good lady of the house and her daughters sat in another room. Any strong liquors are only used during dinner: And I think the only circumstance in our conduct that any way disobliged our good host, was once seeing me drink a dram with the doctor, at a small eating-house; and, as nothing is more offensive to the Spaniards than drunkenness, I had much ado to apologise for this step. Yet they admit of gallantry in the utmost excess, thus only exchanging one enormity for another.

After remaining about six weeks at Piura, our Indian guide came to conduct us to Payta, to which place the Brilliante had returned. When about to take leave, Mr Pressick our surgeon was not to be found, which detained us a day. They had concealed him in the town, meaning to have kept him there, being a very useful man; and if he could have had a small chest of medicines, he might soon have made a handsome fortune. Next day, however, we mounted our mules, and parted reluctantly with our kind host and his family. We went on board the Brilliante at Payta, which had done nothing at sea since we left her, and now made a sort of cruizing voyage to Calao, the port of Lima. I have already mentioned the civility I received from Don Pedro Midranda, who was admiral or general of the South Seas; and I shall here add one circumstance to the honour of Monsieur de Grange, a captain under the general. When taken by the Brilliante, the soldiers stripped us, considering our clothes as the usual perquisite of conquerors; on which that gentleman generously gave me a handsome suit of clothes, two pair of silk stockings, shirts, a hat and wig, and every thing accordant, so that I was rather a gainer by this accident.


Our voyage to Lima occupied about five weeks; and, immediately on our arrival, we were committed to the same prison in which the rest of the ship's company were confined, except Mr Hately, who, for reasons formerly assigned, was confined by himself, and very roughly treated. A short time after our arrival, commissioners were appointed to hear our cause, and to determine whether we were to be treated as criminals, or as prisoners of war. We were charged with piracy, not solely for what we had done in the South Seas in plundering the Spaniards, but for having used the like violence against other nations, before our arrival in that sea, from which they proposed to infer that we had evinced a piratical disposition in the whole of our conduct. Of this they thought they had sufficient proof in the moidores found upon Hately, as they appeared to have been taken from the subjects of a prince in amity with our sovereign. Happily for us, Don Diego Morsilio, the viceroy, who was an archbishop in the decline of life, was pleased to investigate this matter; and finding only one of us guilty, would not sign an order for taking away the lives of the innocent. Some were for sending Hatley to the mines for life, and others for hanging him: But the several accounts of the vile proceedings of Captain Shelvocke contributed to his deliverance, of the truth of which circumstance, there were enough of our people at Lima to witness; for, besides Lieutenant Sergeantson and his men, who were brought thither, there came also the men whom Shelvocke sent along with Hopkins to shift for themselves in an empty bark, who were forced to surrender themselves to the Indians for want of sustenance; so that the court were satisfied that Shelvocke was the principal in that piratical act, rather than Hately. Considering that we had all been sufficiently punished before our arrival at Lima, they thought fit to let us all go by degrees. Hately was kept in irons about a twelvemonth, and was then allowed to return to England. I was more fortunate, as my imprisonment lasted only a fortnight, owing to the interposition of one Captain Fitzgerald, a gentleman born in France, who had great interest with the viceroy, and became security for me, on which I was allowed my liberty in the city, provided I were forthcoming when called for.

Among my first enquiries was into the condition of other English prisoners at this place. I learnt from Lieutenant Sergeantson and his men, who were here before us, that most of them had adopted the religion of the country, had been christened, and were dispersed among the convents of the city. The first of these I met had his catechism in one hand, and a large string of beads dangling in the other. I smiled, and asked him how he liked it? He said, very well; for having a religion to chuse, he thought theirs better than none, especially as it brought him good meat and drink, and a quiet life. Many of Shelvocke's men followed this example, and I may venture to say, that most of them had the same substantial reason for their conversion. It is here reckoned very meritorious to make a convert, and many arguments were used for that purpose, but no rigorous measures were used to bring any one over to their way of thinking. Those who consented to be baptized, generally had some of the merchants of Lima for their patrons and god-fathers, who never failed to give them a good suit of clothes, and some money to drink their healths.

About this time four or five of Clipperton's men had leave from the convents where they resided, to meet together at a public-house kept by one John Bell, an Englishman, who had a negro wife, who had been made free for some service or other. The purpose of this meeting was merely to confirm their new baptism over a bowl of punch; but they all got drunk and quarrelled, and, forgetting they were true catholics, they demolished the image of some honest saint that stood in a corner, mistaking him for one of their companions. Missing them for a few days, I enquired at Bell what was become of them, when he told me they were all in the Inquisition; for the thing having taken air, he was obliged to go himself to complain of their behaviour, but he got them released a few days after, when they had time to repent and get sober in the dungeons of the holy office. Bell said, if these men had remained heretics, their drunken exploit had not come within the verge of the ecclesiastical power; but as they were novices, they were the easier pardoned, their outrages on the saint being attributed to the liquor, and not to any designed affront to the catholic faith, or a relapse into heresy.

Some time afterwards, about a dozen of our men from the Success and Speedwell were sent to Calao, to assist in careening and fitting out the Flying-fish, designed for Europe. They here entered into a plot to run away with the Margarita, a good sailing ship which lay in the harbour, meaning to have gone for themselves, in which of course they would have acted as pirates. Not knowing what to do for ammunition and a compass, they applied to Mr Sergeantson, pretending they meant to steal away to Panama, where there was an English factory, and whence they had hopes of getting home. They said they had got half a dozen firelocks, with which they might be able to kill wild hogs or other game, as they went along, and begged him to help them to some powder and shot, and a compass to steer their way through the woods. By begging and making catholic signs to the people in Lima, they had collected some dollars, which they desired Sergeantson to lay out for them; and he, not mistrusting their plot, bought them what they wanted. Thus furnished, one of them came to me at Lima, and told me their intention, and that Sprake was to have the command, as being the only one among them who knew any thing of navigation. I answered, that it was a bold design; but as Captain Fitzgerald had engaged for my honour, I could not engage in it. Their plot was discovered a few days after, their lodgings searched, their arms taken away, and they were committed to prison. The government was much incensed against them, and had nearly determined upon their execution; but they were soon all released except Sprake, who was the ringleader, and was kept in irons for two or three months, and then set at liberty.

The dominions belonging to the Spaniards in America are so large and valuable, that, if well governed, they might render that monarchy exceedingly formidable. In my long stay in Peru, I had the means of examining at leisure, and with attention, their manner of living, the form of their government, and many other circumstances little known in our part of the world, and had many opportunities of enquiring into things minutely, which did not fall under my immediate observation; and of which I propose to give as clear and accurate an account as I can, constantly distinguishing between what fell under my own immediate knowledge, and what I received from the information of others.


The great and rich city of Lima is the metropolis of Peru, and the seat of an archbishop. It is all regularly built, the streets being all straight and spacious, dividing the whole into small squares. It stands in an open vale, through which runs a gentle stream, dividing the city in two, as the Thames does London from Southwark. Calao is the port of Lima, from whence it is about seven miles distant. Because of the frequent earthquakes, the houses are only of one story, and generally twelve or fourteen feet high. It contains eight parish churches, three colleges for students, twenty-eight monasteries of friars, and thirteen nunneries, so that the religions occupy a fourth part of the city; yet, by the quick and plentiful flow of money, and the vast sums bequeathed through the effects of celibacy, they are well endowed. Besides these, there are two hospitals for sick, poor, and disabled; and in which several of our men were kindly looked after. The length of the city from north to south is two miles, and its breadth one and a half; its whole circumference, including the wall and the river, being six miles. The other, or smaller part of the city, is to the east of the river, over which there is a handsome stone bridge of seven arches. Including all sorts and colours, I computed that the whole population of Lima amounted to between sixty and seventy thousand persons; and I should not wonder at any multiplication in this city, as it is the centre of so much affluence and pleasure. Besides the natural increase of the inhabitants, all ships that trade this way, whether public or private, generally leave some deserters, who remain behind in consequence of the encouragement given to all white faces.

The people here are perhaps the most expensive in their habits of any in the world. The men dress nearly as in England, their coats being either of silk, fine English cloth, or camblets, embroidered or laced with gold or silver, and their waistcoats usually of the richest brocades. The women wear no stays or hoops, having only a stitched holland jacket next their shifts, and they generally wear a square piece of swansdown flannel thrown over their shoulders, entirely covered with Flanders lace, and have their petticoats adorned with gold or silver lace. When they walk out, the Creole women are mostly veiled, but not the mulattoes; and, till thirty or forty years of age, they wear no head-clothes, their hair being tied behind with fine ribbons. The pride of the ladies chiefly appears in fine Mechlin or Brussels lace, with which they trim their linen in a most extravagant manner, not omitting even their sheets and pillows. Their linen jackets are double bordered with it, both at top and bottom, with four or five ruffles or furbelows hanging down to their knees. They are very extravagant also in pearls and precious stones, in rings, bracelets, and necklaces, though the value of these is hardly equal to the shew.

The viceroy has a splendid palace in the royal square, or great quadrangle of the city, which seemed as large as Lincoln's-Inn-Fields. His salary is ten thousand pounds a-year, but his perquisites amount to double that sum. And though his government expires at the end of three, four, or five years, he generally makes a handsome fortune, as all places are in his gift, both in the government and the army throughout all Peru, except such as are sent out or nominated by the king. The great court of justice consists of twelve judges, besides a number of inferior officers, councillors, and solicitors. Before this court all causes are decided, but they are too often determined in favour of the party who gives most money. And, though these vast dominions abound in riches, there is not much work for the lawyers, as the laws are few and plain, which certainly is much better than a multiplicity of laws, explaining one another till they become so intricate that the issue of a cause depends more on the craft of the solicitor and advocate, than on its justice. Every magistrate in this country knows that his reign is short, and that he will be laughed at if he does not make a fortune, so that they wink at each other; and, so great is the distance between Spain and Peru, that the royal orders are seldom, regarded, being two years in going backward and forward: Hence arise many clandestine doings. According to law, the king ought to have a twentieth part of all the gold, and a fifth of all the silver procured from the mines; but vast quantities are carried away privately, without paying any duty, both north by Panama, and south through the Straits of Magellan. There are also vast sums allowed for the militia, the garrisons, and the repairs of fortifications, one half of which are never applied to these objects. Hence it may easily be imagined what immense riches would flow into the treasury of Madrid, if his catholic majesty were faithfully served.

The country of Peru is naturally subject to earthquakes. About fifty years before I was there, or about the year 1670, there were two great ones at Lima, which overturned many houses, churches, and convents. And in the reign of Charles II. the late king of Spain, there was an earthquake near the equator, which lifted up whole fields, carrying them to the distance of several miles. Small shocks are often felt which do no harm, and I have been often called out of bed on such occasions, and heard nothing more about the matter; but on these occasions the bells always toll to prayers. Yet, although this country has suffered much from earthquakes, especially near the coast, their churches are lofty and neatly built. Such parts of their buildings as require strength are made of burnt bricks; but their dwelling-houses are all constructed of bamboos, canes, and bricks only dried in the sun, which are sufficiently durable, as it never rains in Peru. Instead of roofs, they are merely covered over with mats, on which ashes are strewed, to keep out the dews. The small river of Lima, or Runac, consists mostly of snow-water from the neighbouring mountains, which are covered all the year with snow, that partly dissolves in the summer-season, from September to March.

One would expect the weather to be much hotter here; but there is no proportion between the heat of this part of America and the same latitudes in Africa. This is owing to two causes; that the neighbourhood of the snowy mountains diffuses a cool temperature of the air all around; and the constant humid vapours, which are so frequent that I often expected it to rain when I first went to Lima. These vapours are not so dense, low, and gloomy, like our fogs, nor yet are they separated above like our summer clouds; but an exhalation between both, spread all around, as when we say the day is overcast, so that sometimes a fine dew is felt on the upper garments, and may even be discerned on the knap of the cloth. This is a prodigious convenience to the inhabitants of Lima, who are thus screened half the day from the sun; and though it often shines out in the afternoon, yet is the heat very tolerable, being tempered by the sea-breezes, and not near so hot as at Lisbon and some parts of Spain, more than thirty degrees farther from the equator.

The entire want of rain in this country induced the Indians, even before the conquest, to construct canals and drains for leading water from among the distant mountains, which they have done with great skill and labour, so as to irrigate and refresh the vallies, by which they produce grass and corn, and a variety of fruits, to which also the dews contribute. A Spanish writer observes that this perpetual want of rain is occasioned by the south-west wind blowing on the coast of Peru the whole year round, which always bears away the vapours from the plains before they are of sufficient body to descend in showers: But, when carried higher and farther inland, they become more compact, and at length fall down in rain on the interior hills. The inhabitants of Peru have plenty of cattle, fowls, fish, and all kinds of provisions common among us, except butter, instead of which they always use lard. They have oil, wine, and brandy in abundance, but not so good as in Europe. Instead of tea from China, which is prohibited, they make great use of camini, called herb of Paraguay, or Jesuits tea, which, is brought from Paraguay by land. They make a decoction of this, which they usually suck through a pipe, calling it Mattea, being the name of the bowl out of which it is drank. Chocolate is their usual breakfast, and their grace cup after dinner; and sometimes they take a glass of brandy, to promote digestion, but scarcely drink any wine. In Chili, they make some butter, such as it is, the cream being put into a skin bag kept for that purpose, which is laid on a table between two women, who shake it till the butter comes.

The Spaniards are no friends to the bottle, yet gallantry and intrigue are here brought to perfection, insomuch that it is quite unmannerly here not to have a mistress, and scandalous not to keep her well. The women have many accomplishments, both natural and acquired, having graceful motions, winning looks, and engaging, free, and sprightly conversation. They are all delicately shaped, not injured by stiff-bodied stays, but left entirely to the beauty of nature, and hardly is there a crooked body to be seen, among them. Their eyes and teeth are singularly beautiful, and their hair is universally of a dark polished hue, nicely combed and plaited, and tied behind with ribbons, but never disguised by powder; and the brightness of their skins round the temples, clearly appears through their dark hair. Though amours are universal at Lima, the men are very careful to bide them, and no indecent word or action is ever permitted in public. They usually meet for these purposes, either in the afternoon at the Siesta, or in the evening in calashes on the other side of the river, or in the great square of the city, where calashes meet in great numbers in the dusk. These are slung like our coaches, but smaller, many of them being made only to hold two persons sitting opposite. They are all drawn by one mule, with the negro driver sitting on his back; and it is quite usual to see some of these calashes, with the blinds close, standing still for half an hour at a time. In these amusements they have several customs peculiar to themselves. After evening prayers, the gentleman changes his dress from a cloak to a montero, or jockey-coat, with a laced linen cap on his head, and a handkerchief round his neck, instead of a wig; or if he wear his own hair, it must be tucked under a cap and concealed, as it is the universal fashion to be thus disguised. Even those who have no mistress, are ashamed to appear virtuous, and must be somehow masked or disguised, in order to countenance the way of the world. As, all this is night-work, they have an established rule to avoid quarrels, by never speaking to or noticing each other, when going in quest of or to visit their ladies.

In short, the fore-part of every night in the year is a kind of masquerade. Among people of any rank who do not keep calashes, one couple never walks close behind another, but each at the distance of at least twelve paces, to prevent the overhearing of any secret whispers. Should a lady drop a fan or any thing else by accident, a gentleman may take it up, but he must not give it to the lady, but to the gentleman who accompanies her, lest she may happen to be the wife or sister of him who takes it up; and as all the ladies are veiled, these wise rules are devised to prevent any impertinent discoveries. Any freedom in contravention of these laws of gallantry would be looked upon as the highest affront, and would be thought to merit a drawn sword through the midriff. Should any one see his most intimate friend any where with a woman, he must never take notice of it, or mention it afterwards. Every thing of this nature is conducted with all imaginary gravity and decorum, by which the practice of gallantry becomes decent and easy; yet there are some jealousies in this regular commerce of love, which sometimes end fatally. A story of this kind happened shortly before I went to Lima. A young lady, who thought herself sole sovereign in the heart of her lover, saw him by chance in the company of another, and, waiting no farther proof of his infidelity, she instantly plunged a dagger in his bosom. She was soon after brought to trial, and every one expected that she should pay the forfeit with her life; but the judges, considering her rashness as proceeding from excess of love, not malice, acquitted her. However agreeable these gallantries may be to the Creole Spaniards, they have an inconvenient effect on society; as the men are so engrossed by these matters, as to spoil all public conversation. Their time is entirely taken up in attendance on their mistresses, so that there are no coffee-houses or taverns, and they can only be met with at their offices, or in church.

Perhaps it may be chiefly owing to this effeminate propensity, that all manly exercises, all useful knowledge, and that noble emulation which inspires virtue, and keeps alive respect for the public good, are here unknown. Those amusements which serve in other countries to relax the labours of the industrious, and to keep alive the vigour of the body and mind, are unknown in Peru; and whoever should attempt to introduce any such, would be considered as an innovator, which, among them, is a hateful character: For they will never be convinced, that martial exercises or literary conferences are preferable to intrigues. They have, however, a sort of a play-house, where the young gentlemen and students divert themselves after their fashion; but their dramatic performances are so mean as hardly to be worth mentioning, being scripture stories, interwoven with romance, a mixture still worse than gallantry. At this theatre, two Englishmen belonging to the squadron of Mons. Martinat, fought a prize-battle a short time before I came to Lima. Having first obtained leave of the viceroy to display their skill at the usual weapons, and the day being fixed, they went through many previous ceremonies, to draw, as the phrase is, a good house. Preceded by beat of drum, and dressed in holland shirts and ribbons, they went about the streets saluting the spectators at the windows with flourishes of their swords, so that the whole city came to see the trial of skill, some giving gold for admittance, and hardly any one less than a dollar. The company, male and female, being assembled, the masters mounted the stage, and, after the usual manner of the English, having shaken hands, they took their distance, and stood on their guard in good order. Several bouts were played without much wrath or damage, the design being more to get money than cuts or credit, till at length one of the masters received a small hurt on the breast, which blooded his shirt, and began to make the combat look terrible. Upon this, fearing from this dreadful beginning that the zeal of the combatants might grow too warm, the company cried out, Basta! basta! or enough! enough! And the viceroy would never permit another exhibition of the same kind, lest one of the combatants might receive a mortal wound, and so die without absolution.

So deficient are the Spaniards in energy of spirit, that many extensive countries and islands remain unexplored, in the immediate neighbourhood of their vast American dominions, though some of these are reported to be richer and more valuable than those which are already conquered and settled. The first Spanish governors of Mexico and Peru were not of this indolent disposition, but bestowed great pains in endeavouring to acquire the most perfect knowledge bordering upon their respective governments: But now that general thirst of fame is entirely extinguished, and they content themselves with plundering their fellow-subjects in the countries already known. The regions to the north of Mexico are known to abound in silver, precious stones, and other rich commodities, yet the Spaniards decline all conquest on that side, and discourage as much as possible the reports which have spread of the riches of these countries. On the same principles, they give no encouragement to attempt penetrating into the heart of South America, whence most of the riches of Peru are known to come, the mountains at the back of the country being extremely rich in gold; and the regions, on the other side, towards the Atlantic, being inhabited by nations that have abundance of that metal, though, for fear of being oppressed by the Europeans, they conceal it as much as possible.

Of all the discoveries that have been talked of among the Spaniards, that which has made the most noise is the island or islands of Solomon, supposed to be the same with those discovered by the famous Ferdinand Quiros. He reported them to be extremely rich and very populous, and repeatedly memorialed the court of Spain to be authorised to complete his discovery. All his solicitations, however, were neglected, and it became a question in a few years whether any such islands had ever existed. At length, towards the close of the seventeenth century, such discoveries were made as to the reality of these islands, that Don Alvaro de Miranda was sent out to discover them in 1695. He failed in the attempt, but in the search met with four islands, between the latitude of 7 deg. and 10 deg. S. which were wonderfully rich and pleasant, the inhabitants being a better looking race, and far more civilized than any of the Indians on the continent of America. This discovery occasioned a good deal of discourse at the time; but the subsequent disturbances relative to the succession to the crown of Spain, so occupied the attention of every person, that all views of endeavouring to find the islands of Solomon were laid aside.[2]

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