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set them above continual cares for the immediate neceffaries of life, he that can temper iron best is among them most esteemed, and, perhaps, it would be happy for every nation, if honours and applauses were as justly distributed, and he were most distinguished whose abilities were most useful to society. How many chimerical titles to precedence, how many false pretences to refpect, would this rule bring to the ground !
Every day, by sun-rising, they began to march, and, having travelled till ten, rested near fome river till twelve, then travelling again till four, they reposed all night in houses, which the Symerons had either left ftanding in their former marches, or very readily. crected for them, by setting up three or four posts in the ground, and laying poles from one to another in form of a roof, which they thatched with palmetto boughs and plantane leaves. In the valleys, where they were sheltered from the winds, they left three or four feet below open; but on the hills, where they were more exposed to the chill blasts of the night, they thatched them close to the ground, leaving only a door for entrance, and a vent in the middle of the room, for the smoke of three fires, which they made in
In their march they met not only with plenty of fruits upon the banks of the rivers, but with wild swine in great abundance, of which the Symcrons, without difficulty, killed, for the most part, as inuch as was wanted. One day, however, they found an otter, and were about to dress it ; at which Drake expressing his wonder, was asked by Pedro, the chief Symeron, “ Are you a man of war, and in want, and yet doubt, “ whether this be meat that hath blood in it?" For
which Drake in private rebuked him, says the relator; whether juftly or not, it is not very important to determine. There seems to be in Drake's scruple somewhat of superstition, perhaps not easily to be justified ; and the negro's answer was, at least, martial, and will, I believe, be generally acknowledged to be rational.
On the third day of their march, Feb. 26, they came to a town of the Symerons, situated on the side of a hill, and encompassed with a ditch and a mud wall, to secure it from a sudden surprize : here they lived with great neatness and plenty, and some observation of religion, paying great reverence to the cross; a practice, which Drake prevailed upon them to change for the use of the Lord's prayer. Here they importuned Drake to stay for a few days, promising to double his strength; but he either thinking greater numbers unneceffary, or fearing that, if any difference should arife, he should be overborn by the number of Symerons, or that they would demand to share the plunder, that should be taken, in common, or for some other reason that might easily occur, refused any addition to his troop, endeavouring to express his refusal in such terms as might heighten their opinion of his bravery.
He then proceeded on his journey through cool Thades, and lofty woods, which sheltered them so ef. fectually from the sun, that their march was less toilsome than if they had travelled in England during the heat of the summer. Four of the Symerons, that were acquainted with the way, went about a mile before the troop, and scattered branches to direct them; then followed twelve Symerons, after whom came the English, with the two leaders, and the other Symerons closed the rear.
On February 11, they arrived at the top of a very high hill, on the summit of which grew a tree of wonderful greatness, in which they had cut steps for the more easy ascent to the top, where there was a kind of tower, to which they invited Drake, and from thence shewed him not only the north fea, from whence they came, but the great South Sea, on which no English vessel had ever failed. This prospect exciting his natural curiosity and ardour for adventures and discoveries, he lifted up his hands to God, and implored his blessing upon the resolution, which he then formed, of failing in an English ship on that fea.
Then continuing their march, they came, after two, days, into an open, level country, where their passage was somewhat incommoded with the grass, which is of a peculiar kind, consisting of a stalk like that of wheat, and a blade, on which the oxen and other cattle feed, till it grows too high for them to reach; then the inhabitants set it on fire, and in three days it springs up again; this they are obliged to do thrice a year, fo
great is the fertility of the soil.
At length, being within view of Panama, they left all frequented roads, for fear of being discovered, and posted themselves in a grove near the way between Panama and Nombre de Dios; then they sent a Symeron, in the habit of a negro of Panama, to enquire on what night the recoes, or drivers of mules, on which the treasure is carried, were to set forth. The messenger was so well qualified for his undertak. ing, and so industrious in the prosecution of it, that he foon returned with an account that the treasurer of Lima, intending to return to Europe, would pass that night, with eight mules laden with gold, and one with jewels.
Having received this information, they immediately marched towards Venta Cruz, the first town on the
way to Nombre de Dios, sending, for security, two Sy= merons before, who, as they went, perceived, by the scent of a match, that some Spaniard was before them, and going silently forwards surprised a soldier afleep upon the ground. They immediately bound him, and brought him to Drake, who, upon enquiry, found that their spy had not deceived them in his intelligence. The soldier, having informed himself of the captain's name, conceived such a confidence in his well-known clemency, that, after having made an ample discovery of the treasure that was now at hand, he petitioned not only that he would command the Symerons to spare his life, but that, when the treasure should fall into his hands, he would allow him as much as might maintain him and his mistress, fince they were about to gain more than their whole
carry away. Drake then ordered his men to lie down in the long grass, about fifty paces from the road, half on one side, with himself, and half on the other, with Oxenham and the captain of the Symerons, so much behind, that one company might seize the foremost recoe, and the other the hindermost, for the mules of these recoes, or drivers, being tied together, travel on a line, and are all guided by leading the first.
When they had lain about an hour in this place, they began to hear the bells of the mules on each hand; upon which orders were given, that the droves which came from Venta Cruz should pass unmolested, because they carried nothing of great value, and those only be intercepted which were travelling thither, and that none of the men should rise up till the signal should be
given. But onė Robert Pike, heated with strong liquor, left his company, and prevailed upon one of the Symerons to creep with him to the way fide, that they might signalize themselves by seizing the first mule, and hearing the trampling of a horse, as he lay, could not be restrained by the Symeron from rising up to obferve who was passing by. This he did so imprudently, that he was difcovered by the passenger, for by Drake's order the English had put their shirts on over their coats, that the night and the tumult might not hinder them from knowing one another.
The gentleman was iminediately observed by Drake to change his trot into a gallop; but, the reason of it not appearing, it was imputed to his fear of the robbers that ufually infest that road, and the English still continued to expect the treasure.
In a short time one of the recoes, that were passing towards Venta Cruz, came up, and was eagerly seized by the Englịsh, who expected nothing less than half the revenue of the Indies; nor is it easy to imagine their mortification and perplexity when they found only two mules laden with silver, the rest having no other burthen than provisions.
The driver was brought immediately to the captain, and informed him that the horseman, whom he had observed pass by with so much precipitation, had informed the treasurer of what he had observed, and advised him to send back the mules that carried his gold and jewels, and suffer only the rest to proceed, that he might by that cheap experiment discover whether there was any ambush on the way.
. That Drake was not less disgusted than his followers at the disappointment, cannot be doubted'; but there VOL. IV. Dd