« ZurückWeiter »
They were now grown confident and familiar, and came down to the camp every day repeating their ceremonies and sacrifices, till they were more fully informed how disagreeable they were to those whose favour they were so studious of obtaining : they then visited them without adoration indeed, but with a curiosity so ardent, that it left them no leisure to provide the necessaries of life, with which the English were therefore obliged to supply them.
They had then sufficient opportunity to remark the customs and dispositions of these new allies, whom they found tractable and benevolent, strong of body, far beyond the English, yet unfurnished with weapons, either for assault or defence, their bows being too weak for any thing but sport. Their dexterity in taking fish was such, that, if they saw them so near the shore that they could come to them without swimming, they never missed them.
The same curiosity that had brought them in such crowds to the shore, now induced Drake, and some of his company, to travel up into the country, which they found, at some distance from the coast, very fruitful, filled with large deer, and abounding with a peculiar kind of conys, smaller than ours, with tails like that of a rat, and
paws such as those of a mole; they have bags under their chin, in which they carry provisions to their young
The houses of the inhabitants are round holes dug in the ground, from the brink of which they raise rafters, or piles shelving towards the middle, where they all meet, and are cramped together ;
they lie upon rushes, with the fire in the midst, and let the smoke fly out at the door.
The men are generally naked; but the women make a kind of petticoat of bulrushes, which they comb like hemp, and throw the skin of a deer over their shoulders. They are very modest, tractable, and obedient to their husbands.
Such is the condition of this people ; and not very different, is perhaps, the state of the greatest part of mankind. Whether more enlightened nations ought to look upon them with pity, as less happy than themselves, some scepticks have made, very unnecessarily, a difficulty of determining. More, they say, is lost by the perplexities than gained by the instruction of science; we enlarge our vices with our knowledge, and multiply our wants with our attainments, and the happiness of life is better secured by ignorance of vice than by the knowledge of virtue.
The fallacy, by which such reasoners have imposed upon themselves, seems to arise from the comparison which they make, not between two men equally inclined to apply the means of happiness in their power to the end for which Providence conferred them, but furnished in unequal proportions with the means of happiness, which is the true state of savage and polished nations, but between two men, of which he to whom Providence has been most bountiful destroys the blessings by negligence, or obstinate misuse; while the other, steady, diligent, and virtuous, employs his abilities and conveniencies to their proper end. The question is not whether a good Indian or bad Englishman be most happy; but which state is most desirable, supposing virtue and reason the same in both.
Nor is this the only mistake which is generally admitted in this controversy, for these reasoners frequently confound innocence with the mere incapacity of guilt. He that never saw, or heard, or thought of strong liquors, cannot be proposed as a pattern of sobriety.
This land was named, by Drake, Albion, from its white cliffs, in which it bore some resemblance to his native country; and the whole history of the resignation of it to the English was engraven on a piece of brass, then nailed on a post, and fixed
before their departure, which being now discovered by the people to be near at hand, they could not forbear perpetual lamentations. When the English on the 23rd of July weighed anchor, they saw them climbing to the tops of hills, that they might keep them in sight, and observed fires lighted up in many parts of the country, on which, as they supposed, sacrifices were offered.
Near this harbour they touched at some islands where they found great numbers of seals; and, despairing now to find any passage through the northern parts, he, after a general consultation, determined to steer away to the Moluccas, and setting sail July 25th, he sailed for sixty-eight days without sight of land ; and on Sept. 30th arrived within view of some islands, situate about eight degrees northward from theline, from whence the inhabitants resorted to them in canoes, hollowed out of the solid trunk of a tree, and raised at both ends so high above the water, that they seemed almost a semicircle; they were burnished in such a manner, that they shone like ebony, and were kept steady by a piece of timber, fixed on each side of them, with strong canes, that were fastened at one end to the boat, and at the other to the end of the timber.
The first company that came brought fruits, potatoes, and other things of no great value, with an appearance of traffick, and exchanged their lading for other commodities, with great show of honesty and friendship; but having, as they imagined, laid all suspicion asleep, they soon sent another fleet of canoes, of which the crews behaved with all the insolence of tyrants, and all the rapacity of thieves; for, whatever was suffered to come into their hands, they seemed to consider as their own, and would neither pay for it nor restore it; and at length finding the English resolved to admit them no longer, they discharged a shower of stones from their boats, which insult Drake prudently and generously returned by ordering a piece of ordnance to be fired without hurting them, at which they were so terrified, that they leaped into the water, and hid themselves under the canoes.
Having for some time but little wind, they did not arrive at the Moluccas till the 3rd of November, and then designing to touch at Tidore, they were visited, as they sailed by a little island belonging to the king of Ternate, by the viceroy of the place, who informed them, that it would be more advantageous for them to have recourse to his master for supplies and assistance than to the king of Ternate, who was in some degree dependent on the Portuguese, and that he would himself carry the news of their arrival, and prepare their reception.
Drake was by the arguments of the viceroy prevailed upon to alter his resolution, and on Nov. 5 cast anchor before Ternate; and scarce was he arrived, before the viceroy, with others of the chief nobles, came out in three large boats, rowed by forty men on each side, to conduct the ship into a safe harbour; and soon after the king him. self, having received a velvet cloak by a messenger from Drake, as a token of peace, came with such a retinue and dignity of appearance as was not expected in those remote parts of the world. He was received with discharges of cannons and every kind of musick, with which he was so much delighted, that, desiring the musicians to come down into the boat, he was towed along in it at the stern of the ship.
The king was of a graceful stature, and regal carriage, of a mild aspect, and low voice ; his attendants were dressed in white cotton or calico, of whom some, whose age gave them a venerable appearance, seemed his counsellors, and the rest officers or nobles; his guards were not ignorant of fire-arms, but had not many among them, being equipped for the most part with bows and darts.
The king having spent some time in admiring the multitude of new objects that presented themselves, retired as soon as the ship was brought to anchor, and promised to return on the day following; and in the mean time the inhabitants, having leave to traffick, brought down provisions in great abundance.
At the time when the king was expected, his brother came aboard, to request of Drake that he would come to the castle, proposing to stay him