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In the mean time, his brother, captain John Drake, went, according to the instructions that had been left him, in search of the Symerons or fugitive negroes, from whose assistance alone they had now any prospect of a successful voyage; and touching upon the main land, by means of the negro whom they had taken from Nombre de Dios, engaged two of them to come on board his pinnace, leaving two of their own men as hostages for their returning. These men, having assured Drake of the affection of their nation, appointed an interview between them and their leaders. So leaving Port Plenty, in the isle of Pines, so named by the English from the great stores of provisions which they had amassed at that place, they came, by the direction of the Symerons, into a secret bay among beautiful islands covered with trees, which concealed their fhip from observation, and where the channel was so narrow and rocky, that it was impossible to enter it by night; so that there was no danger of a sudden attack.
Here they met, and entered into engagements, which common eneinies and common dangers preserved from violation. But the first conversation informed the English that their expectations were not immediately to be gratified; for upon their enquiries after the most probable means of gaining gold and silver, the Symerons told them, that, had they known sooner the chief end of their expedition, they could easily have gratifica them; but that, during the rainy season, which was now begun, and which continues fix months, they could not recover the treasure, which they had taken from the Spaniards, out of the rivers in which they had concealed ir.
Drake, therefore, proposing to wait in this place till the rains were past, built, with the assistance of the Symerons, a fort of earth and timber, and, leaving part of his company with the Symerons, set out with three pinnaces towards Carthagena, being of a spirit too ac tive to lie still patiently, even in a state of plenty and security, and with the most probable expectations of immense riches.
On the 16th of October, he anchored within fight of Carthagena without landing; and on the 17th, going out to fea, took a Spanish bark, with which they entered the harbour, where they were accosted by a Spanish Gentleman, whom they had some time before taken, and set at liberty, who coming to them in a boat, as he pretended, without the knowledge of the governor, made them great promises of refreshment and professions of esteem ; but Drake, having waited till the next morning without receiving the provisions he had been prevailed upon to expect, found that all this pretended kindness was no more than a stratagem to amuse him, while the governor was raising forces for his destruction.
October 20, they took two frigates coming out of Carthagena without lading. Why the Spaniards, knowing Drake to lie at the mouth of the harbour, fent out their veffels on purpose to be taken, does not appear. Perhaps they thought that, in order to keep poffeffion of his prizes, he would divide his company, and by that division be more ealily destroyed.
In a few hours afterwards, they sent out two frigates well manned, which Drake soon forced to retire, and having funk one of his prizes, and burnt the other in their light, leaped afterwards afhore, single, in defi
ance of their troops, which hovered at a distance in the woods and on the hills, without ever venturing to approach within reach of the shot from the pinnaces.
To leap upon an enemy's coast in sight of a superior force, only to shew how little they were feared, was an act that would in these times meet with little applause, nor can the general be serioufly commended, or rationally vindicated, who exposes his person to destruction, and, by confequence, his expedition to miscar. riage, only for the pleasure of an idle insult, an infigpificant bravado. All that can be urged in his defence is, that perhaps it might contribute to heighten the esteem of his followers, as few men, especially of that class, are philosophical enough to state the exact limits of prudence and bravery, or not to be dazzled with an intrepidity how improperly soever exerted. It may be added, that perhaps the Spaniards, whofe notions of courage are sufficiently romantic, might look upon him as a more formidable enemy, and yield more easily to a hero of whofe fortitude they had fo high an idea.
However, finding the whole country advertised of his attempts, and in arms to oppose him, he thought it not proper to stay longer where there was na probability of success, and where he might in time be over, powered by multitudes, and therefore determined to go
forwards to Rio de Heha. This resolution, when it was known by his followers, threw them into astonishment; and the company of one of his pinnaces remonstrated to him, that, though they placed the highest confidence in his conduct, they could not think of undertaking such a voyage without provisions, having only a gamınon of bacon,
and a small quantity of bread, for seventeen men. Drake answered them, that there was on board his vefsel even a greater scarcity; but yet, if they would adventure to fhare his fortune, he did not doubt of extricating them from all their difficulties.
Such was the heroic spirit of Drake, that he never suffered himself to be diverted from his designs by any difficulties, nor ever thought of relieving his exigences, but at the expence of his enemies.
Resolution and success reciprocally produce each other. He had not failed more than three leagues, before they discovered a large ship, which they attacked with all the intrepidity that necessity inspires, and happily found it laden with excellent provisions.
But finding his crew growing faint and sickly with their manner of living in the pinnaces, which was less commodious than on board the ships, he determined to go back to the Symerons, with whom he left his brother and part of his force, and attempt by their conduct to make his way over, and invade the Spaniards in the inland parts, where they would probably never dream of an enemy.
When they arrived at Port Diego, so named from the negro who had procured them their intercourse with the Symerons, they found Captain John Drake and one of his company dead, being killed, in attempting, almost unarıned, to board a frigate well provided with all things necessary for its defence. The captain was unwilling to attack it, and represented to them the madness of their propotal; but, being overborn by their clamours and importunities, to avoid the inputation of cowardice, complied to his destruction. So dangerous is it for the chief commander to be absent ! 5
Nor was this their only misfortune, for, in a very short time, many of them were attacked by the calenture, a malignant fever, very frequent in the hot climates, which carried away, among several others, Joseph Drake, another brother of the commander.
While Drake was employed in taking care of the fick men, the Symerons, who ranged the country for intelligence, brought him an account, that the Spanish fleet was arrived at Nombre de Dios, the truth of which was confirmed by a pinnace, which he sent out to make obfervations.
This, therefore, was the time for their journey, when the treasures of the American mines were to be transported from Panama, over land, to Nombre de Dios. He therefore, by the direction of the Symerons, furnished himself with all things necessary, and on February 3, set out from port Diego,
Having lost already twenty-eight of his company, and being under a necessity of leaving some to guard his thip, he took with him only eighteen English, and thirty Symerons, who not only served as guides to fhow the way, but as purveyors to procure provisions.
They carried not only arrows for war, but for hunt. ing and fowling; the heads of which are proportioned in size to the game which they are pursuing : for oxen, ftags, or wild boars, they have arrows, or javelins, with heads weighing a pound and half, which they discharge near hand, and which scarcely ever fail of being mortal. The second fort are about half as heavy as the other, and are generally shot from their bows; these are intended for smaller beasts. With the third fort, of which the leads are an ounce in weight, they kill birds. As this nation is in a state that does not