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made three and a half knots an hour on an average, when scurvy was a terrible enemy, vessels small and crews large, some half-way house of call was indispensable. It was for this reason that the Portuguese, the Dutch, and we have successively occupied St Helena-no very desirable place in itself, but priceless as a relief in the long East India voyage. The Providence Company endeavoured to rechristen the Tortuga, Association, and there are various notices of efforts to make a settlement, of officers appointed, and of ships sent. This part of the company's enterprise was the first to come to entire grief. In 1636 a Spanish expedition from San Domingo stamped out the colony of Association. The island fell back into the power of Spain, and so remained till it became the headquarters of the buccaneeers, and the Brothers of the coast. Our disaster was attributed to the cowardice of the governor Wormeley. This act of what our ancesters thought aggression brought on a state of open war between the company and the Spaniards.
Meanwhile events had been taking place around Providence which tended to the same result. In the first days of the settlement one of the hired vessels of the company, the Seaflower, had been attacked by a Spanish frigate, when on her way home, and a passenger, one Mr Essex, together with two others, had been killed. The company did not as yet make reprisals, but it soon began to prepare for opening trade VOL. CLXV.-NO. MIII.
with the natives, and for establishing factories on the mainland. In April 1633 instructions were issued to Captain Sussex Camock to make a settlement. One Hilton, or in lieu of him Richard Lane, was ordered to make a voyage of discovery of trade into Darien, and for the purpose of renewing friendship with the natives, who are understood to be "favourers of the English nation, and especially of Don Francisco Draco (whose name they seem to honour)." This belief in the enduring popularity of Drake among the natives of Darien was a well-established tradition of ours. What foundation, if any, it had in fact is very obscure. The native tribes fought fiercely against him in his last expedition, and had a large share in the defeat of Baskerville's attempt to march to Panama. to Panama. In all probability it was a pure delusion of ours. Drake had no dealings with the natives of the isthmus, except during his expedition in the Swan and the Pasha. Whatever impression he made cannot but have been obliterated by time, and still more by the excesses of inferior adventurers, French, Dutch, and English, who had haunted the coast. If the Providence Company could have succeeded in carrying out all its plans, and in enforcing all its orders, there would have been no need to draw on the supposed popularity of Drake's name. Its explorers were strictly ordered to labour to possess all natives with the natural goodness of the English nation, to refrain from all bois3 L
terous carriage with the women, and particularly from "mocking, pointing, or laughing at their nakedness." The company was apparently convinced that the natives of Darien must needs be ashamed of going about naked. Camock made a settlement at Cape Gracias à Dios, which gave some slight promise of profit, but was incomparably more successful in rousing the fierce animosity of the Spaniards. In after-times these ventures, and the relations we established with the Mosquito Indians, bore fruit in the shape of British Honduras. But when Captain Sussex Camock set up his post the time was not come. Blewfields Bay may be named after two servants of the company-Albertus and William Blufield-who were engaged in these adventures.
There is nothing to show that the company was haunted by any such magnificent scheme as filled the speculative mind of our countryman, William Paterson-that they aimed at obtaining possession of the isthmus, and making it the emporium of trade between East and West. They no doubt went on the rule that they had a perfect right to settle on any part of America not actually in the occupation of the Spaniards. We were still young as a colonial power, and inclined to be strict in our interpretation of the word "occupation." At a later time any interloper who had set up his flag on the coast of North America, claiming that he was entitled to do so because we had no town
within fifty miles of the place at which he landed, would have had a short shrift. Even as it was, the company might have known that Cape Gracias à Dios was very close to the Spanish possessions in Nicaragua and Honduras. If it thought that the King of Spain's officers would leave it unmolested, it was soon undeceived. They were weak, and daily growing weaker, out they were strong enough to harass the English intruders. Thus it came to pass that just when the expulsion of the settlers in Tortuga had given the company one quarrel with Spain, it had another on its hands on the Mosquito coast.
From this time-that is to say, from about 1636-Providence ceased to be the home of even an attempt at a peaceful colonial settlement, and became the headquarters of a privateering war carried on against the Spaniards. The incidents were not splendid, and the end was disaster. But though it had little to show of which we can be proud, the passage of arms was curious. Exasperated by the expulsion of their planters from Tortuga, the company appealed to the king for leave to make reprisals. It was instantly given. If the wavering foreign policy of Charles I. was influenced by any fixed principle at all, it was by the desire to recover the Palatinate for his sister and her children. To do this by the help of the Spaniards was his constant wish, and that help he tried to secure by alternate cajolery
and threats. The reprisals of the company probably appeared to him to be likely to prove a useful weapon. He could give no effectual help, but he did permit his aggrieved subjects to fit out armed vessels, and he resigned all claim to a share in the prizes, leaving the captors to keep all they could seize for themselves. The situation was one which exactly suited Warwick, with his taste for privateering speculations. At one time he talked, if he did not think, seriously of going out himself, and was highly praised by his brother adventurers for his "noble resolution. But nothing came of that scheme. The company being embarked on a war with a great Power-for Spain, though decadent, still held that rank -began to look about for a governor of higher rank than any it had sent out hitherto. Some talk there was of Lord "Fourbez "—that is, Forbesas a fit gentleman for the post, but on this occasion the natural aptitude of а Scotch gentleman for the business of war was not tested. In the end the company sent out no governor of higher rank, but contented itself with such hardy mariners and other adventurous persons as it already possessed.
The cost at which a vessel could be fitted out to levy war on the King of Spain in the Indies was not great. As far back as 1633, before it had begun to make reprisals, but when the attack on the Seaflower had already shown that English vessels on the Spanish Main must be prepared to defend
themselves, the company was in negotiations for the hire of a vessel of 200 tons and 16 pieces of ordnance. She could be had for £50 a-month. When victualled and manned, the expenses, including wages, were calculated at £130 a-month. A vessel of 150 was offered to the company for £110 a-month. She was going out with cargo to St Kitts, but would be available for other service when unladen. All these vessels went armed, and were prepared to do a little privateering in the intervals of trade. Some of the instructions of the company to its captains give us a sketch of what a West Indian voyage of that time was. In July 1634 these orders were given to the captain of Long Robert. He was to sail for the "Caribbean Islands" in the beginning of August, which would bring him out by the way before the dangerous hurricane months were quite over. He was to land passengers, and go to Tortuga for salt. This apparently was the Tortuga, near Margarita, on the coast of Cumana. He was to send his "ketch (an accompanying small vessel such as could be bought for £80 or so) to Providence, and thence to Association. He was to go to the Mosquitoes and load for the return journey, which was to be by the Straits of Florida, for he is told that if he has loaded salt at Tortuga he is to touch. at Virginia on his way back and sell it. At the end comes the odd little instruction that sailors are to pay 10s. for every parrot brought to England, "that so your ship may not be
unnecessarily pestered." From another and earlier entry we learn what was thought the proper outfit of clothes for a sailor. It was not excessive. Three pairs of drawers, four shirts, one "cassock" (perhaps a form of jersey or jumper), four pair of shoes, three caps, three neckcloths, three pair of boot hose, and a Monmouth cap made up the kit. The Monmouth cap, which was worn later in the navy, has been supposed to have been of leather, with side flaps.
To come back to our fighting, such as it was. The company was unable to conduct operations on a scale requiring the presence of persons of such dignity as the Earl of Warwick, or other gentlemen who talked of going. It had to be content with lesser men, and with sending out solitary cruisers to plunder Spanish ships, and make raids on the coast. The success achieved was very varied. We hear of Captain Axe returning with good prizes, and on the whole it appears that several vessels were engaged on the work, some being part owned by their skippers. The injury done to the Spaniards was not small. On the other hand, one of the company's ships was captured by the Turks-that is, the Algerines who then cruised boldly in the ocean, and who in these very years sacked Baltimore in the south of Ireland. Another, which bore the curiously inappropriate name of the Blessing, was captured by the Spaniards, and her captain, Wil. Rous, was carried prisoner to San
Lucar. There were stories of misconduct in this case. One Mersh was accused of deserting the ship, and thereby causing her to fall into the hands of the Spaniards, with a loss of £2000. It is to be noted that the Spaniards, whether from fear of reprisals or for some other reason, conducted the war on their side with humanity. Rous was released from San Lucar on the payment of ransom. In our own ships, as one can see from the constant complaints brought by the men engaged against one another, there was little discipline and some ferocity. One captain was accused of killing prisoners received to quarter. Yet the company tried hard to prevent excesses, and all the settlers in Providence were not savage. There is notice of certain friars who were prisoners among them, and who were · allowed to depart in safety, though with the proviso that they were to be carried to New England, where the atmosphere can hardly have been congenial. It was in fact a war of raids and plundering on the medieval model, or a war of buccaneering before the buccaneers.
As we approach the fatal year 1641 the entries become rarer, and deal less profusely with instructions for the promotion of trade and religion. The council was perhaps becoming tired of an unprofitable venture, and of the incessant wrangles of subordinates and their complaints, which, by the way, were commonly referred to Mr John Hampden
as arbitrator. Moreover, from the day that a certain foldingstool was thrown at the head of the Dean of Holyrood in St Giles' Church at Edinburgh, Warwick and Say and Sele, Brooke and Pym, had very pressing matters to think about at home. Yet they did not give their colony up entirely. They still sent out instructions, and were careful to consider the interests of religion. Nor, while providing for the Bible, were they careless of the sword. Among the last entries is one expressing gratification at the news that a Spanish attack had been repulsed, and there are others showing that ships were being prepared to sail under the command of Maurice Thompson. But in the very despatch which conveys this information there is a significant statement. The council, it is said, cannot at present attend to many letters and petitions from the island, because Parliament is sitting and important affairs are impending. This was on 29th March 1641, and the affairs were important indeed -nothing less than the impeachment of Strafford and the Army Plots. Soon all entries end, for the colony had ceased to exist, and its founders were hastening towards the time when they would be sending swords down to their tenants, and swearing to live and die with the Earl of Essex.
For an account of the end of the colony of Old Providence
we have to turn to the Spanish authorities who are quoted by Don Cesareo Duro, in the fourth volume of his history of the Spanish Navy.1 The increase of what they, not absurdly, called piracy had become intolerable to the Spaniards. In 1640, the new Viceroy of Mexico, Don Diego Pacheco, Duke of Escalona, exerted himself to impart some vigour to the efforts made for the suppression of the nuisance. He built galleons at La Vera Cruz and in the Rio Alvarado. It shows how weak the Spanish Government had become, that he had some difficulty in saving them from being burnt by three "pirates," who boldly turned up off the chief port of the greatest viceroyalty of Spain. Providence was cited by all the Spanish officials as the very headquarters of the enemy. In 1640, an expedition of two galleons and six small vessels (fragatas) was sent to attack the place, under the command of Don Antonio Maldonado. It was repulsed, with the loss of two captains and a hundred men. This was the success which cheered the last days of the company. But it also served to show the Spanish governors what a danger Providence had become to their master's dominions. In 1641, a more determined effort was made, and it succeeded. The command in this case was in the hands of Don Juan Diaz Pimienta (Pepper), a native of the Canary Islands, and the son of a Francisco Diaz Pimi
1 Armada Española. Rivadeneyra, Madrid.