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CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY

OF THE

WEST INDIES.,

1655.

UPON the appearance of Admiral Penn off Santo Domingo, with the fleet under his orders, the Spaniards, to increase their force, recalled their troops from Tortuga, of which island they had been in possession about 18 months. In compliance with his orders, the commander of the garrison, before he left the island, blew up the fort, burnt the church and all the houses and magazines, and laid the plantations waste !

Not long afterwards, an English refugee of considerable property, named Elias Ward (Elyazoüard), came from Jamaica, with his wife and family and a dozen soldiers, and with a cons.. mission from the general, settled upon Tortuga: he was soon joined by several English and French, and at the head of 120 adventurers.'

Du Tertre, tom. iii. p. 127.

1 “ About the time of Elias Ward's establishing himself upon the island of Tortuga, some Frenchmen returned from Cuba to that island, and reported an occurrence sufficiently remarkable to occupy a place in this book : for they said that the great want of provisions which they suffered made ten or twelve of their brave adventurers land in Cuba, to take some pigs from two “ corayls," which are the pens where the Spaniards breed a great quantity of these animals. That passing through a small marsh, a league from the first “ corail,” they fell in with the most horrible snake they had ever

heard of in America: at first they thought that it was a monstrous crocodile ; but having fired all at the same time at the monster's head and killed it, they went to it, and found that it was a snake: that it was almost as big round the belly as a “ miud,” (a measure that holds more than five quarters of corn), and was fifty-five feet long.

“They pursued their route ; and have ing surprised the owner of the first corail, they asked him if he did not know that there was a prodigious large snake in the marsh a league off?' He replied, "ro; but that for a long time he and his neigh

i

The first cacao-tree which is mentioned as being in the French West India islands was discovered by some Caribs at Capsterre, Martinico, and was pointed out to M. du Parquet. From this tree the island was stocked with plants.

On the 1st of February, the expedition under the command of his Excellency Robert Venables, and the Right Honourable William Penn, consisting of about 3000 men, in thirty sail of vessels, one half of whom were victuallers, were collected at Barbadoes. The Great and Little Charity, two vessels, the one laden with artillery stores, the other with horses and equipments for the cavalry, were left behind, to the great injury of the service. The soldiers were immediately landed, and the ship's carpenters employed in putting together the shallops, the frames of which were brought out by the fleet.

March 31st, the whole being ready, and a troop of horse (raised in the island at the expence of the inhabitants) embarked, the expedition sailed from Barbadoes, and anchored, Ápril 2d, off St. Lucia. It passed close by Guadaloupe, to the great alarm of the inhabitants. On the 6th they were off St. Christopher's, where they were joined by about 1300 men, making, with those from Barbadoes, 5000 volunteers, exclusive of women and children, many of whom accompanied the volunteers. Admiral Penn was splendidly entertained by M. de Poincy, at his hotel on the mountain, before he went to the English quarters to settle the government.

April 13th, the fleet were off the city of St. Domingo, and the next day 7000 infantry and one troop of horse, with three days' provisions, were landed ten leagues to the westward of the town'.

Du Tertre, tom.ii. p. 184.-tom. i. pp. 472. 479. Harleian Miscellany, vol. vi. p. 377.

Edition, 1810. Journal by J. S. an eye witness, printed London, 1655.

bour every day lost their pigs, and that the suspicion they had, that one robbed the other, had set them to law with each other.' At daylight our adventurers carried him to the marsh, where the poor farmer was near dying with fear at the sight of such a frightful beast. But he was much consoled when they opened the snake, and he found two of his largest pigs in his belly! Quite delighted to find that the cause of his dispute with his neighbour was discovered, he begged our adventurers to give him their word not to do his neighbour any injury, and to permit him to go and look for him. He obtained it, and brought him; and after having seen the beast, they were reconciled, and gave to the adventurers all that they asked from them. The farmers skinned the snake, and the skin was carried to the Havannah, and placed in the cathedral, where all

the inhabitants saw it with astonishment. M. d'Artigny, a man of honour, now living, and major of Tortuga, was one of those that fired at the snake, and has several times repeated this story to M. d'Ojeron, governor of the island of Tortuga, who gave me what I have written." -Du Tertre, tom. iii. p. 129.

' “ M. de Poincy, after the alliance between the two nations was renewed by the treaty, permitted Admiral Penn to pass through his territory. The general passed through the middle of the French inhabitants, who were under arms, and so arranged, that after one company of infantry there was one of cavalry; and they have assured me (Du Tertre says), that M. de Poincy, to make his troops appear more numerous, had given orders to 120 “ cavaliers" to proceed by the back roads, and get beyond the admiral, so

to days aftended two le pointed the

Orders were then given, that when they should enter into the town, they should not plunder any money, plate, or jewels, neither kill any tame cattle, upon pain of death.” This order produced some discontent among those who had volunteered principally for the hope of plundering the Spaniards! The march was through thick woods, where the want of water was severely felt, • Two days afterwards, the 15th, three regiments, under Colonel Bullard, were landed two leagues to the westward of the town, near a river which was appointed the place of rendezvous. Colonel Bullard, without waiting for the rest, marched towards the town, but soon retreated without doing any thing. The main body of the army coming up, after some short refreshment at the river, proceeded towards the town, about three miles from which the advanced guard, consisting of 500 men, were attacked and forced to retreat : some regiments sent to their assistance were also repulsed, and the general himself escaped with difficulty. More troops coming up, the Spaniards retreated into a fort near the sea side, which commanded the passage from the wood to the town.

The exceeding distress for water, and the fatigue and losses of the army, induced the general to retreat to the river, where preparations were made to advance again. .

April 24th, the army moved forward again, the guides promising to direct them a way which led to a river about two miles on the north side of the town : they mistook the path, the soldiers by turns drawing the “ mortar pieces and small drakes," as they were without horses. The day following, by noon, they approached the fort again, with worse success than before : the Spaniards charged the 66 forlorn hope," beat them back to the general's regiment, and routed those also. Major-General Haines, in the van, was shamefully deserted by his soldiers : he begged, for God's sake, but ten men to stay by him, but not one would do it! He therefore died like a gallant commander, selling his life as dear as possible.

The Spaniards followed up their victory, destroying the fugitives, who made no resistance, near half of the army flying before them, to the amazement of the rest, who were not up. Tired with slaughter, the Spaniards returned to St. Domingo with seven English colours as sure trophies of victory. Six hundred English were slain outright, and 200 more, that fled into the woods, and were left behind, were killed by the Negroes. There were also 300 wounded, “ most of them all receiving their hurts in the backs!"

Journal by J. S. an eye witness, printed London, 1655.

that he might pass them again : at five or six different places he saw always the same men, but differently arranged. Not recognizing them, he supposed that there

were a great many more French in the island than he had been informed there were.” Du Tertre, vol. i. p. 479.

*** The Spaniards exceeded not in all fifty, men,” exclusive of Negroes and Mulattoes.

Adjutant-General Jackson was cashiered for a coward, and the ceremony performed of breaking his sword over his head!

“ The army lying in the bay, as formerly, had not that supply of victuals from the ships as before, but were necessitated to go abroad in parties through the woods to seek for cattle, and oftentimes meeting with some few Negroes, were by them put to the rout, and divers slain: others, casting away their arms, betook themselves to their heels and so escaped the fury of these naked pagans; and at some times, when neither men nor beasts were near, only the leaves of trees making some little noise, and crabs stirring in the woods, possessed them with such eminent fear, that leaving their weapons behind, they ran over clifts into the sea !".

Venables, in his Narrative, says, “ our planters we found most fearful, being only bold to do mischief; not to be commanded as soldiers, not to be kept in any civil order, being the most prophane, debauched persons that we ever saw, scorners of religion, and indeed so loose as not to be kept under discipline, and so cowardly as not to be made to fight; so that, had we known what they would have proved, we should rather have chosen to have gone ourselves as we came from England, than to have such for our assistants, who, we fear, with some others put upon us in England, have drawn heavy afflictions upon us, dishonour upon our nation and religion !"

May the 3d, the army re-embarked 1700 men short of the number landed, which was 9700. The Spaniards, content with what they had done, did not attempt to molest them. The next day, the fleet made sail for Jamaica.

May the 7th was ordered as a day of humiliation; and, in consequence of the great cowardice which had lately been shewn, it was proclaimed to the whole army, “ That whosoever should be found to turn his back to the enemy, and run away, the next officer that brought up the rear of that division should immediately run him through, which if he failed to perform, himself was to suffer death without mercy.”

May the 9th, the fleet made sail for Jamaica ; and having sailed about sixteen leagues along the south side thereof, the day following, came to an anchor in a spacious harbour, “ called also Jamaica." The troops were soon landed, without the loss of a man. The Spaniards, after a few shot, retreated to Oristano, an unfortified town about six miles off, from whence they sent their

Long's Jamaica, vol. i. p. 617. Ven Nar.

Harleian Miscellany, vol. vi. p. 383.

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