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called, thinking to find some that might direct them where they were, and what to do, but after they had long knockt, and saw nor heard any creature (not so much as a dog) answer, they concluded it was some waste place, and therefore left it, and going further up a most pleasant green hill, they saw multitudes of black rabbets, about a mile from the castle; but when they came to the height thereof, look which way they pleased, they could see neither man, woman, child, nor house; at last having ranged two or three hours about the country, and lighting on none to enquire of, they returned again to their boat, and told their fellows aboard what success they had had; whereupon their fellows calling for the boat, resolved to come ashore also, all but one mariner; which they did, and dividing themselves into two parts, one part took the right hand shore, and the other the left; both parties wandering up and down, until four of the clock in the afternoon, but neither of them saw any people to enquire of; but much cattle, deer, rabbets, &c., but afar off in the country, they saw great woods, into which they dare not venture ; so that both parties returned again to their boat. At last the weather being very cold and drawing towards night, finding abundance of old dry wood, in the side of the above named little wood, near unto the shore, they resolved to make a great fire, against a great old oak, that was fallen down with age; and in order thereto, some brought wood, and some others struck fire; and at last, having made a rousing fire, and sitting warming themselves, discoursing and taking tobacco, on a sudden they heard a terrible hideous noise, towards that place, especially where they saw the old castle, and almost all over the island, which did so terrify and amaze them, that they presently left their fire, took their boat, and went all aboard as fast as they could, where they continued in great fear all night, yet neither could nor durst stir out to sea, because when they sounded again, they had not two fathoms of water, and the wind directly against them.
“ The next morning, as soon as the sun was risen, they saw a very ancient grave gentleman, and ten men following him bareheaded (as if his servants) coming towards the shore, where the ship lay, and being come close to the water side, the old gentleman calling to the master (in the old Scotch language), who, with the rest stood upon the deck, asked him, from whence they came ? whither they were bound? and with what they were laden ? The master answered, they were come from France, were laden with French wines, with which they were bound to Killybegs, in the county of Dunegall, in Ireland, if it pleased God to give them leave. Then the old gentleman askt them, how they came thither ? and whether they knew where they were ? or how to get forth ? The master told him that before the great fog fell upon
them yesterday, they thought they were near the coast of Ireland, but where they now were, or how to get off, he knew not in the least. Then the grave gentleman told them, if they would please to come ashore again, they should be courteously entertained, told where they were, well rewarded, and guided to their own coast. Then the master asked whether they should have no wrong or harm done to themselves nor vessel if they came ashore? The old man promised they should not, whereupon the master and the rest seeing no arms with them, resolved six of them should come ashore well armed.
“ As soon as they were landed, the old gentleman embraced them one by one; telling them, they were the most happy sight that island had seen some hundred years ; that the island was called O'Brazile; that his ancestors were sometimes princes of it, telling them also, that he and several persons of quality, by the malicious diabolical art of a great Negromancer, had been tyrannically shut up in the castle they knockt at yesterday, in which several of their progenitors had ended their miserable days: and the whole island a receptacle of furies, made (to mortals) unserviceable and invisible, until now that the cursed time was expired, which (saith he) contitinued until the last day of the last month, but three or four days since. Being askt why none answered in the castle yesterday when the mariners knockt so long, he answered that though the wicked time was expired, and that now the island was visible, and any might come upon it, yet he and the rest had neither power to answer any that spoke to them, nor free themselves from imprisonment, until fire was kindled upon the island by some good Christian ; being askt whether it was now absolutely free, and would never be inchanted again ? he told them it was now absolutely free, and should never be troubled again, but all the powers of darkness, when they heard that hideous noise, were finally departed.
“ After which words he led them towards the said castle (the chief tower being as it were demolished), where met them, several other gráve persons, both men and women, who all embraced the master and the rest, giving them many
thanks; then the other two were fetcht out of the vessel, and all nobly feasted and richly rewarded and shewed the glory and riches of the said island, which they say is above sixty miles in length, and above thirty in breath, abounding with horses, cows, sheep, stags, rabbets, but no-swine, and all sorts of fowls, and rich mines of silver and gold, but few people, and little or no corn; there have been cities and great towns, but all consumed.
“ The men being richly rewarded, were conducted to their vessel, and shewed the way out of the harbour, and directed the way to their own coast ; and came the next day, at night, to Killybegs, where they acquainted the minister of the town, and many other persons of quality in the country, who gave no extraordinary credit to their words at first, until the master and the rest shewed them many of the pieces of gold and silver which were given them there, which were large, and of a most ancient stamp, somewhat rusty, yet pure gold; the master also offering immediately to carry any gentleman to the said island, that desired to know the further truth, whereupon some gentlemen of the country, within three days after, sent out another vessel, and the above-named Alexander Johnson, skipper, and some of the former mariners to guide her, to prove whether it were true or not, who brought them to the said island, where they were nobly entertained, and returned, in safety, with several gifts, which were bestowed upon them, as also some further relation of the nature of the countrey. Since then, several godly ministers and others are gone to visit and discourse them (but at the writing hereof I heard nothing of their return), who doubtless will bring a more perfect relation. Dear Cousen, you need not be afraid to relate this, for I assure you, beside the general discourse of the gentlemen of the country, I had it from Captain Nisbet his own mouth (whose the vessel, &c. was), since which several gentlemen have sent an express, with the true relation of it, under their hands and seals, to some eminent persons in Dublin. Thus not troubling you any further at present, I rest
“ Your most affectionate
" W. HAMILTON." “ Londonderry, March 14, 1674."