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boats round the island he entered the harbour, and in the mouth of it found a frigate with only an old man in it, who voluntarily informed them, that about an hour before a pinnace had passed by with sails and oars, and all the appearance of expedition and importance ; that, as she passed, the crew on board her bid them take care of themselves; and that, as soon as she touched the shore, they heard the noise of cannon fired as a warning, and saw the shipping in the port drawn up under the guns
of the castle. The captain, who had himself heard the discharge of the artillery, was soon convinced that he was discovered, and that therefore nothing could be attempted with any probability of success. He therefore contented himself with taking a ship of Seville, of two hundred and forty tons, which the relater of this voyage mentions as a very large ship, and two small frigates, in which he found letters of advice from Nombre de Dios, intended to alarm that part of the coast.
Drake now finding his pinnaces of great use, and not having a sufficient number of sailors for all his vessels, was desirous of destroying one of his ships, that his pinnaces might be better manned: this, necessary as it was, could not easily be done without disgusting his company, who having made several prosperous voyages in that vessel, would be unwilling to have it destroyed. Drake well knew that nothing but the love of their leaders could animate his followers to encounter such hardships as he was about to expose them to, and therefore rather chose to bring his designs to pass by artifice than authority. He sent for the
çarpenter of the Swan, took him into his cabin, and, having first engaged him to secrecy, ordered him in the middle of the night to go down into the well of the ship, and bore three holes through the bottom, laying something against them that might hinder the bubbling of the water from being heard. To this the carpenter, after some expostulation,' consented, and the next night performed his promise.
In the morning, August 15, Drake going out with his pinnace a fishing, rowed up to the Swan, and having invited his brother to partake of his diversions, inquired, with a negligent air, why their bark was so deep in the water ; upon which the steward going down, returned immediately with an account that the ship was leaky, and in danger of sinking in a little time. They had recourse immediately to the pump; but, having la. boured till three in the afternoon, and gained very
little upon the water, they willingly, according to Drake's advice, set the vessel on fire, and went on board the pinnaces.
Finding it now necessary to lie concealed for some time, till the Spaniards should forget their danger, and remit their vigilance, they set sail for the Sound of Darien, and without approaching the coast, that their course might not be observed, they arrived there in six days.
This being a convenient place for their reception, both on account of privacy, as it was out of the road of all trade, and as it was well supplied with wood, water, wild fowl, hogs, deer, and all kinds of provisions, he stayed here fifteen days to clean his vessels, and refresh his men, who worked interchangeably, on one day the one half, and on the next the other.
On the fifth day of September, Drake left his brother with the ship at Darien, and set out with two pinnaces towards the Rio Grande, which it reached in three days, and on the ninth were discovered by a Spaniard from the bank, who believing them to be his countrymen, made a signal to them to come on shore, with which they very readily complied ; but he soon finding his mistake, abandoned his plantation, where they found great plenty of provisions, with which having laden their vessels, they departed. So great was the quantity of provisions which they amassed here and in other places, that in different parts of the coast they built four magazines or storehouses, which they filled with necessaries for the prosecution of their voyage. These they placed at such a distance from each other, that the enemy, if he should surprise one, might yet not discover the rest.
In the mean time, his brother, Captain John Drake, went, according to the instructions that had been left him, in search of the Symerons or fugitive negroes, from whose assistance alone they had now any prospect of a successful voyage ; and touching upon the main land, by means of the negro whom they had taken from Nombre de Dios, engaged two of them to come on board his pinnace, leaving two of their own men as hostages for their returning. These men, having assured Drake of the affection of their nation, appointed an interview between them and their leaders. So leaving Port Plenty, in the isle of Pines, so named
by the English from the great stores of provisions which they had amassed at that place, they came, by the direction of the Symerons, into a secret bay among beautiful islands covered with trees, which concealed their ship from observation, and where the channel was so narrow and rocky, that it was impossible to enter it by night; so that there was no danger of a sudden attack.
Here they met, and entered into engagements, which common enemies and common dangers preserved from violation. But the first conversation informed the English, that their expectations were not immediately to be gratified ; for upon their inquiries after the most probable means of gaining gold and silver, the Symerons told them, that had they known sooner the chief end of their expedition, they could easily have 'gratified them; but that during the rainy season, which was now begun, and which continues six months, they could not recover the treasure, which they had taken from the Spaniards, out of the rivers in which they had concealed it.
Drake therefore proposing to wait in this place till the rains were past, built, with the assistance of the Symerons, a fort of earth and timber, and, leaving part of his company with the Symerons, set out with three pinnaces towards Carthagena, being of a spirit too active to lie still patiently, even in a state of plenty and security, and with the most probable expectations of immense riches.
On the 16th of October, he anchored within sight of Carthagena without landing; and on the 17th, going out to sea, took a Spanish bark, with which they entered the harbour, where they were
accosted by a Spanish gentleman, whom they had some time before taken and set at liberty, who coming to them in a boat, as he pretended, without the knowledge of the governor, made them great promises of refreshment and professions of esteem ; but Drake, having waited till the next morning without receiving the provisions he had been prevailed upon to expect, found that all this pretended kindness was no more than a stratagem to amuse him, while the governor was raising forces for his destruction.
October 20, they took two frigates coming out of Carthagena without lading. Why the Spaniards, knowing Drake to lie at the mouth of the harbour, sent out their vessels on purpose to be taken, does not appear. Perhaps they thought that, in order to keep possession of his prizes, he would divide his company, and by that division be more easily destroyed.
In a few hours afterwards they sent out two frigates well manned, which Drake soon forced to retire, and having sunk one of his prizes, and burnt the other in their sight, leaped afterwards ashore, single, in defiance of their troops, which hovered at a distance in the woods and on the hills, without ever venturing to approach within reach of the shot from the pinnaces.
To leap upon an enemy's coast in sight of a superior force, only to show how little they were feared, was an act that would in these times meet with little applause, nor can the general be seriously commended, or rationally vindicated, who exposes his person to destruction, and by consequence his expedition to miscarriage, only for