ページの画像
PDF
ePub

near Port Julian, discovered their associates, whose Thip was now grown leaky, having suffered much, both in the first storm by which they were dispersed, and afterwards in fruitless attempts to regain the fleet.

Drake therefore, being desirous to relieve their fatigues, entered Port Julian, and, as it was his custom always to attend in person when any important business was in hand, went ashore with some of the chief of his company, to seek for water, where he was immediately accosted by two natives, of whom Magellan left a very terrible account, having described them as a nation of giants and monsters ; nor is his narrative entirely without foundation, for they are of the largest size, though not taller than some Englishmen; their strength is proportioned to their bulk, and their voice loud, boisterous, and terrible. What were their manners before the arrival of the Spaniards, it is not possible to discover; but the slaughter made of their countrymen, perhaps without provocation, by these cruel intruders, and the general massacre with which that part of the world had been depopulated, might have raised in them a suspicion of all strangers, and by consequence made them inhospitable, treacherous, and bloody.

The two who associated themselves with the English appeared much pleased with their new guests, received willingly what was given them, and very exactly observed every thing that passed, seeming more particularly delighted with seeing Oliver, the master-gunner, shoot an English arrow. They shot themselves likewise in emulation, but their arrows always fell to the ground far short of his.

Soon after this friendly contest came another, who observing the familiarity of his countrymen with the

strangers,

strangers, appeared much displeased, and, as the Englishmen perceived, endeavoured to dissuade them from fuch an intercourse. What effect his arguments had was foon after apparent, for another of Drake's com. panions, being desirous to show the third Indian a specimen of the English valour and dexterity, attempted likewise to shoot an arrow, but drawing it with his full force burst the bow-string; upon which the Indians, who were unacquainted with their other weapons, imagined him disarmed, followed the company, as they were walking negligently down towards their boat, and let fly their arrows, aiming particu, larly at Winter, who had the bow in his hand. He, finding himself wounded in the shoulder, endeavoured to refit his bow, and turning about was pieroed with a fecond arrow in the breast. Oliver, the gunner, immediately presented his piece at the insidious assailants, which failing to take fire gave them time to level another flight of arrows, by which he was killed; nor,

any

of them escaped, surprized and perplexed as they were, had not Drake, with his usual presence of mind, animated their courage, and directed their motions, ordering them, by perpetually changing their places, to elude, as much as they could, the aim of their enemies, and to defend their bodies with their targets; and instructing them, by his own example, to pick up, and break the arrows as they fell; which they did with so much diligence, that the Indians were foon in danger of being disarmed. Then Drake himself taking the gun, which Oliver had so unsuccessfully attempted to make use of, discharged it at the Indian that first began the fray, and had killed the gunner, aiming it so happily, that the hail fhor, with which it

perhaps, had

was

was loaded, tore open his belly, and forced him to such terrible outcries, that the Indians, though their numbers increased, and many of their countrymen showed themselves from different parts of the adjoining wood, were too much terrified to renew the assault, and suffered Drake, without molestation, to withdraw his wounded friend, who, being hurt in his lungs, languished two days, and then dying was interred with his companion, with the usual ceremony of a military funeral.

They stayed here two months afterwards, without receiving any other injuries from the natives, who, finding the danger to which they exposed themselves by open hoftilities, and not being able any more to surprise the vigilance of Drake, preferred their fafety to revenge.

But Drake had other enemies to conquer or escape, far more formidable than these Barbarians, and infidious practices to obviate, more artful and dangerous than the ambushes of the Indians; for in this place was laid open a design formed by one of the gentlemen of the fleet, not only to defeat the voyage, but to murder the general.

This transaction is related in so obscure and confused a manner, that it is difficult to form any judgment upon it. The writer, who gives the largest ac. count of it, has suppressed the name of the criminal, which we learn, from a more succinct narrative, published in a collection of travels near that time, to have been Thomas Doughtie. What were his inducements to attempt the destruction of his leader, and the ruin of the expedition, or what were his views if his designs had succeeded, what measures he had

hitherto

hitherto taken, whom he had endeavoured to corrupt, with what arts, or what success,' we are no where told.

The plot, as the narrative assures us, was laid before their departure from England, and discovered, in its whole extent, to Drake himself in his garden at Plymouth, who nevertheless not only entertained the perfon so accufed as one of his company, but, this writer very particularly relates, treated him with remarkable kindness and regard, setting him always at his own table, and lodging him in the same cabbin with himfelf. Nor did he ever discover the least suspicion of his intentions, till they arrived at this place, but appeared, by the authority with which he invested him, to consider him as one to whom, in his abfence, he could most securely intrust the direction of his affairs. At length, in this remote corner of the world, he found out a design formed against his life, called together all his officers, laid before them the evidence on which he grounded the accusation, and furnmoned the criminal, who, full of all the horrors of guilt, and confounded at so clear a detection of his whole scheme, immediately confessed his crimes, and acknowledged himself unworthy of longer life: upon which the whole assembly, consisting of thirty persons, after having considered the affair with the attention which it required, and heard all that could be urged in extenuation of his offence, unanimously signed the fentence by which he was condemned to suffer death. Drake, however, unwilling, as it seemed, to proceed to extreme severities, offered him his choice, either of being executed on the island, or set ashore on the main land, or being sent to England to be tried before

the

[ocr errors]

the council; of which, after a day's consideration, he chose the first, alledging the improbability of persuading any to leave the expedition for the sake of tranfporting a criminal to England, and the danger of his future state among favages and infidels. His choice, I believe, few will approve: to be set ashore on the main land, was indeed only to be executed in a differe ent manner; for what mercy could be expected from the natives so incenfed, but the most cruel and lingering death? But why he should not rather have requested to be sent to England it is not easy to conceive. In so long a voyage he might have found a thousand opportunities of escaping, perhaps with the connivance of his keepers, whose resentment must probably in time have given way to compassion, or at least by their negligence, as it is easy to believe they would in times of ease and refreshment have remitted their vigilance: at least he would have gained longer life ; and to make death desirable seems not one of the effects of guilt. However, he was, as it is related, obstinately deaf to all persuasions, and adhering to his first choice, after having received the communion, and dined chearfully with the general, was executed in the afternoon, with many proofs of remorse, but none of fear.

How far it is probable that Drake, after having been acquainted with this man's designs, should admit him into his fleet, and afterwards caress, respect, and trust him; or that Doughtie, who is represented as a man of eminent abilities, should engage in so long and hazardous a voyage with no other view than that of defeating it; is left to the determination of the reader. What designs he could have formed with any hope of

success,

« 前へ次へ »