Copyright © 2004-2017 
Historical Materials from Southern Patagonia
Midshipman Alexander Campbell, HMS Wager, 1740-46
Shipwreck and rescue on the Pacific coast of Patagonia
  Preamble   |   Book :    1     2     3     4  
Byron's plagiarism
The adventures and distresses of Captain David Cheap, the Hon. John Byron and Alexander Campbell midshipmen, and others, from the time when the boat left them on the desolate island, by them named Wager Island, to their departure from thence in the barge, with their sufferings by sea among the Indians, till their arrival at Chile in New Spain.

Being then abandoned by the longboat, and having but a small stock of provisions to trust to for our future subsistence, our prospect was now dismal enough. For indeed we had nothing but Providence without the appearance of any human means for our deliverance to depend on.

Soon after the departure of the boat, I and some others went over to Long lsland to gather shellfish; but coming home at night, it blew so hard at north, that we could not weather the point of rocks to get into Cheap's Bay, as we called it, but were obliged to bear away up the lagoon; where we found seven of our men who had been set ashore there for some misdemeanours, and whom the people in the boat had left to starve; however we brought them to Capt. Cheap.

We are now twenty souls in this island, viz. Capt. Cheap; Lieut. Hamilton of Marines; William Harvey, quartermaster; Walter Elliot, surgeon; the Hon. John Byron, midshipman; Alexander Campbell, ditto; Ross, ditto; Noble, ditto; Peter Plastow, Captain's steward; David Bulkeley, second gunner; John Bosman, seaman; Dennis O'Lare, ditto; Ridwood, boatswain's yeoman; Crosslet, corporal of Marines; Hales, Hereford, Smith, Clinch, Demond, and Cresswick, all mariners. Our two vessels, viz. the barge and yawl, we hauled up to high-water mark, both greatly wanting to be repaired. Necessity has no law, says the old proverb, and this we now experienced; for we all became workmen and carpenters. Nor was Captain Cheap himself (who from the loss of the ship all this time had hardly ever stirred out of his hut) an idle spectator of our labours. He now became very brisk, went about everywhere to get wood and water, made fires, and proved an excellent cook. I had the honour to sup with him one night, when we had a slaw cake of his making, the best I ever ate on the island. This the reader will doubtless think a strange sort of food. It was nothing but water and flour, made into a batter, and mixed with a small seaweed (i.e. the slaw) which grows on the submarine rocks, and the whole is fried with pork-slush. This poor stuff even the Captain was forced to content himself with!

All the month of November the weather was so very bad that we could seldom get any shellfish, on which lay our chief dependence for subsistence. When the Captain's provisions were gone, we had nothing but slaw fried with tallow candles, which we found alongshore, whither they were driven from the wreck; and hereupon we became so weak, as hardly to be able to walk.

At length two Indian canoes came, but they brought nothing with them except a few dogs, some of which we killed and ate. The weather being so bad increased our misfortune, because the Indians could neither catch seal nor dive for mussels, which is all they have to live on. Next day they went away, and we saw no more of them for upwards of a month afterwards.

Meantime we lived in the utmost necessity. Our chief dependence was upon the sea fowl, of which we shot now and then a few, going out in the yawl for this purpose.

Soon after the Indians left us, three of our company could not resist the temptation of breaking open the Captain's store-tent, in which he had saved some flour, fearing it would be more wanted when we should put out to sea, and might not be able to reach the shore to get shellfish, as we now sometimes could, though but in small quantities. Some of this flour was taken by the three men who broke open the tent; their names were Peter Plastow, John Ridwood, and Rowland Cresswick. They were discovered by a little of the flour leaving white marks in their tent. The Captain ordered them to be confined in another hut, till they would confess, which they soon did; but in the night Plastow made his escape and hid himself in the woods. The next day Ridwood and Cresswick were tied to a tree, severely whipped, and ordered to Long Island; but Cresswick escaping, Ridwood alone was sent thither in the barge, and left by himself on that island, where in a short time he miserably perished.

December the third being a fine day, with a southerly wind, the Captain ordered me off to the wreck, to see if I could find anything; and I had the good fortune to take up three casks of very fine beef. When I returned ashore with this welcome cargo, Captain Cheap, Mr. Hamilton, the Hon. Mr. Byron, and the surgeon were standing on the beach; and the Captain said, "Gentlemen, remember this day is the third of December, that you may be able to swear to it, if you should be called for. By my instructions we are to be paid as long as we can take anything from the wreck." — However, I did not find it so, being paid only to the time when the ship was cast away.

As soon as we had got the meat ashore, the Captain ordered me to divide it equally to every man; which I did; and as I had always the honour to mess with Mr. Byron, so he and I took up our meat together, which, if I remember right, came to fifty-three pieces of beef, so that we lived very well during the remainder of the time we stayed on the island, and began to grow strong again with this good English provision.

One method of cooking, and the manner in which we ate our beef was this. We fried the fat with slaw, and other seaweed, and this composition served us for bread to our meat. There grows upon this island a sort of wild purslane [type of herb, Ed.], which we boiled, and this for some time served us for cabbage to our beef; but as it had a very bad effect upon us, purging us to a most desperate degree, we were obliged to leave it off, though this herb was our only resource in bad weather, when we could get no shellfish.

At length the people began to grow impatient for their departure from this island, but the weather continuing still so very bad that it would have been downright madness to put to sea, (unless we could have done it in a good ship) the Captain therefore persuaded them to stay from time to time till it should settle; and at last, on the fifteenth of December in the morning, the people came to me, and desired me to go to the Captain, and to let him know that it was a very fine day, and the wind fair for running over the bay. Accordingly we went to the Captain, and reported to him what they said. Hereupon he took me up to the top of a hill, called by us Mount Misery, and through a perspective [telescope, Ed.] showed me that the sea was very rough in the horizon. — While the Captain and I were here, he said to me, "Campbell, I am very much obliged to you for your good behaviour to me, and your zeal for his Majesty's service; and depend upon it, if it please God to send us home, as I hope he will, I will do all that lies in my power for your preferment." [promotion, Ed.] — But, to my great misfortune, he has acted quite a contrary part, having done all that lay in his power to prevent my preferment.

When we returned from Mount Misery, the people asked the Captain if they should launch the boat; to which he replied, "With all my heart, if you will, but you'll find a great sea without." This was about nine o'clock in the forenoon. We immediately launched both boats, got everything we had into them, and then put to sea. The Captain, with the Honourable Mr. Byron, and the surgeon, were in the barge, with eight men to row; Mr. Hamilton and myself were in the yawl, and we had six men to row.

We had not sailed above an hour and a half, when it began to blow hard, and the wind shifted more to the westward, so that we were obliged to bear away right before it. The seas were now so rough, that we every instant expected to go to the bottom; to avoid which, as far as lay in our power, we flung overboard almost everything we had, even the beef which we had taken from the wreck, notwithstanding we knew not where to get a bit more to save us from perishing through hunger, the most miserable of all deaths. But this we did to avoid an immediate death, though of a less shocking nature; trusting to God for our future preservation. Our situation was the more desperate, as we were running (we knew not whither) on a lee-shore in two open boats with a terrible gale of wind, a great sea, and night coming on. Mr. Hamilton and I were obliged to set our backs against the stern of the vessel, to keep the seas out of her; though we did not think anything less than a miracle could preserve us from destruction.

We did not all this time see the barge, the sea running so high; in short, it is impossible to conceive how a boat could live in such weather. But it pleased God, as we advanced on the lee-shore, looking every moment when we should strike against the rocks, and while every man was preparing for another world as well as he could, we saw an opening in the rock, which we stood for, and found an inlet through the mountains, but so narrow that we could hardly row with our oars. The minute we entered this inlet, we found ourselves in a perfect calm, and were therefore obliged to row. Soon after, through the Providence of the Almighty, the barge came to the same place. None but those who have been in the like circumstances can conceive our joy on so happy a meeting, after such dreadful dangers past. But alas! this is only a shadow or type [anticipation, Ed.] of what we are yet to experience.

There are many inlets through the mountains we are now among, but we dared not venture through, not having any compass; and besides these vast mountains being so high, and surrounding us on all sides, we could not so much as see the sun to steer by.

We had not proceeded far up the above-mentioned inlet, before we landed, and went in search of a place proper for making a fire, but could hardly find one, the rocks being so high and perpendicular. At last, with a great deal of trouble, we found a hollow place where we lay all night. We had for our bedding only hard rocks, and those who did not like a bed of this soil, were forced to take up with a watery one. The Heavens were our canopy, and the only covering we had. When on Wager Island our case was bad enough, but it is now much worse. There we found, or made huts, which we lived in, secure from the rigour of the weather; but here we have no other house than the wide world. The weather was so terribly cold, and it froze so hard, that by morning several of us were almost dead. We were up early, and the Captain, seeing the weather appeared somewhat more favourable, ordered every man to the boats, in order to put to sea again; but though the storm was much abated, we found such a great sea, that we could hardly pull out; and when we did get out to sea, we found the wind contrary; so that all this day we plied with the oars.

Though there was a very great sea in the evening, we rowed for the shore among some small islands, in order to shelter ourselves; but here we found but very indifferent accommodations, the islands being low, and the ground all swamp. It still raining very hard, the Captain ordered the barge's mainsail on shore to make a tent of, but this was of very little service to us. The people sheltered themselves under a great tree, and making a good fire, dried one side while the other was wetting. For eatables this place produced us a seaweed, which we called sea-tangle; it grows only on the sunken rocks, and some of it is very large.

The next day being still rainy, the people were all employed in looking for food, except two Marines who were lying in their wigwam. The Captain ordering me to see after them, I accordingly went, and found them lying in the wet, and almost dead with cold. However I was obliged to beat them out to seek for subsistence for themselves.

At this time the Captain, Mr. Hamilton, the Hon. Mr. Byron, Mr. Elliot the surgeon, and myself messed together, and we were all employed in providing victuals and other necessaries for ourselves. Mr. Hamilton and I fetched wood from the other side of the island, which cost us no little trouble; and Mr. Byron was employed in cutting it. The surgeon shot a wild goose, and the Captain made a fire and cooked it.

Our stay here lasted three days, the weather being all the while so bad that we could not put to sea. The bay here we called Swamp Bay, because all the islands about it were mere swamp. When we left this place, we steered away northward to the other side of the bay; and as we were rowing over it, we discovered an opening between the high land and a point of low land, which we conjectured was an island. Being always willing to keep from the coast as far as we could, we steered for this opening; and when we came there we found a very fine bay, down which we rowed all this day till we came to the end of it, when to our sorrow we found ourselves obliged to come all the way back.

We lay the next night in a little cove, very convenient for the boats, but not for us; for here we could procure nothing to eat, and victuals was what we now wanted most. In this cove there is a redwood somewhat like ironwood, which burnt very well though green. We called this place Redwood Cove.

Next day we put to sea, and about nine o'clock were favoured with a fine gale at south-west, as near as we could guess, our courses being north-east or near it. The land ahead was very high, and there was an opening between it and the mountains, which we steered for. The Captain ordered me to go ahead with the yawl, to see if there was any passage between the above high land and the continent; I did so, and found an island which we called the Duke of Montrose's Island. Here we alll went ashore, and made a fire upon a stony beach, in order to dress [prepare, Ed.] supper. This is the sixth or seventh day since we left Wager Island, and the Captain had expended all the flour which he had saved for his sea-store. We had a tolerably good night, clear weather, /1/ and could see a great way. As there was a large bay to the north of us, and very low land, so we were in hopes that the worst of our voyage was over; for we had then come forty leagues to the northward from Wager Island. We flattered ourselves that the island in the offing might be the island of N. S. del Socorro, in Lat. 45, but it proved otherwise to our great sorrow and disappointment.

1. But our lodging was hard, being forced to lie all night on the beach, to which the Captain gave the name of Stone Beach.

Next morning we left Montrose Island, it being a pretty good day, and the weather calm, though we had a great sea from the south-westward. We rowed to the bottom of the bay above-mentioned, hoping to find some inlet, but could not; so were obliged to return and work along the shore to the westward. But the wind springing up at north, and being offshore in smooth water, we then sailed alongshore until we came to a headland nine or ten leagues from Montrose Island. Endeavouring to double this headland, we discovered a great bay opening to the northward, but the night being so nigh, and the wind contrary, we were obliged to put back into a cove just by the headland.

This day as we were sailing alongshore, Mr. Hamilton shot a shag, which gave rise to great animosities among us. We were not to eat anything but what was equally shared among us who ate together, viz. the Captain, Mr. Byron, Mr. EIliot, Mr. Hamilton, and myself. But this night Mr. Hamilton and I being by ourselves, we dressed the shag which he had killed, and ate it for supper, not thinking such a trifle would have given umbrage to any. But the next morning by break of day we saw the barge under way, going to sea without saying anything to us. However as we were ready (for we lay in our boat all night, there being no place onshore to lie on) we got up our anchor, and went after them.

This day the wind being contrary, we rowed till night, and then could find no harbour to put into; so we put into a sandy bay, in which we were forced to lie till morning upon our oars. It was a terrible night, the wind and rain were both violent; and besides, (which made our case the more deplorable) we were in great want of provisions. However we got a few shellfish, and a small quantity of tangle [coarse seaweed, Ed.].

Next day, being (by our account) Christmas Day, 1741, we weighed anchor in the morning, and the weather being calm, we rowed over this bay to a headland about eight or nine leagues to the westward of us. At noon we feasted ourselves with some tangle and Adam's Wine, in which we drank the King's health. In the evening we arrived at the headland, and as we were going in, the Captain called to me to go and look for a place to anchor the boat at, which I did immediately. Near the shore I found a fine sandy bay, which I steered for, thinking it would be a very good place to land at, but I found the contrary; for an unexpected breaker drove the yawl ashore. We all got out and thought to launch her, but the next sea filled her full, and drove her upon the beach. Being unable to launch her in this condition, we took everything out of her, and then happily got her afloat, and thanks be to God for it; for if we could not have launched her, we must have staid there, the barge all this while never coming near us, but went to another bay more to the northward.

Meantime we in the yawl were in a most miserable condition, having nothing to eat or drink, and all our rags of clothes quite wet; and when we went to the barge, thinking they would offer us a dry shirt, or a pair of stockings, we found ourselves woefully mistaken. We asked them for a little fresh water, knowing very well that they had some, but they told us they had none. We then desired the Captain to let us go up to see if we could find any place where we could make a fire to dry ourselves by. We had his leave, but having a point of land to go round, and the wind blowing very hard, we were forced to go back to the barge and lie (trembling with cold and hunger) in the bay all night.

Next day both our boats weighed anchor, but the weather being so bad that we could not get out to sea, we rowed down the bay, in hopes of finding something to eat; but not succeeding, we returned to the place where we lay the night before, and there going ashore, found some shellfish and tangle.

Next morning we weighed to go round the cape, which was the last we could see, and which likewise proved the worst. Sailing alongshore, we doubled one of the headlands, but the wind blowing extremely hard, obliged us to put back for the bay, in which we lay the preceding night; but the night came upon us before we could reach the bay, and forced us to lie all night on our oars. Next day the weather continuing very bad, we were laid up; and all hands were employed in looking for provisions, of which we found but very little here. The seaweeds called by us slaw and tangle, were all the victuals we could get.

As we were some time detained here by the bad weather, and being forced up to the head of the bay in search of provisions, we met with fine lagoons, found plenty of mussels, and killed some seal, so that we had now a sea-stock sufficient to last us while we tried to double the cape in order to proceed to the northward. This cape is called by the Spaniards Cape Tres Montes; for it consists of three headlands of equal height. When we came to the first of these headlands, we found the wind right against us; whereupon we took down our masts, and rowed till we passed the second. But now the wind and tide running strong, made a sea worse than the Race of Portland; and night coming on, and finding no harbour to put into, we were forced back to our former bay.

Next day the weather continuing so bad as to prevent our going to sea, all hands went ashore to get provision, except two men left in each boat to take care of them.

This day we killed a young seal, dressed it for dinner, and surely no lamb was ever to be compared with it. After dinner Mr. Hamilton and I went out with our guns, to see if we could shoot anything. He went one way, and I another; and as l came back I saw the boats riding at a grappling; but the wind shifting in an instant, from the northward to the southward, made a great sea tumble into the bay in which the boats rode, and began to break without the boats, and the third breaker that came filled the yawl full and sunk her. The two men in her were Marines; one of them was drowned; but the other I saved by hauling him out of the sea.

The loss of the yawl was a great misfortune to us who belonged to her (being seven in number) all our clothes, arms, etc. being lost with her. As the barge was not capable of carrying both us and her own company, being in all seventeen men, it was determined to leave four of the Marines on this desolate place. This was a melancholy thing, but necessity compelled us to it. And as we were obliged to leave some behind us, the marines were fixed on, as not being of any service on board. What made the case of these poor men the more deplorable, was the place being destitute of seal, shellfish, or anything they could possibly live upon. The Captain left them arms, ammunition, a frying pan, and several other necessaries.

This dismal affair concluded, the rest of us went with the barge to try the aforesaid cape again; and when we departed, the four poor wretches stood on the beach, gave us three cheers, and cried God bless the King! Our hearts melted with compassion for them, but there was no helping their misfortune. Their names were Smith, Hobbs, [p.30 does not mention him. It could be Hales, Ed.] Hertford, and Corporal Crosslet.

When we got to the cape, we found ourselves the third time disappointed there; the wind being always from the north to the west, with such a terrible great sea, that it was impossible for any open boat to get round. So we were obliged to return to Marine's Bay, as we called it on account of the four men left there.

All that night we were obliged to lie on our oars, for it was so dark that we dared not attempt to go ashore, especially in the rough state the sea was in, which would greatly have hazarded the loss of the barge also, and then we must all have infallibly perished.

It is now six weeks since we left Wager Island, during which our chief subsistence has been drawn from under the stones at low water; and we have been every day obliged to remove from place to place to gather shellfish. The loss of the yawl was the more unfortunate to us who belonged to her, as therein we lost all the poor clothes we had, except what we happened at that time to have on our backs. All the clothes I had now left, were an old shirt, one pair of cloth breeches, one waistcoat, and an old hat, but neither shoe nor stocking.

On the twenty-ninth of January, some of the people declared against making a fresh trial to go round the cape, and insisted on returning to Wager Island; others were for leaving the barge, and attempting to travel overland, which was the maddest thought imaginable, it being impossible to travel in this wretched part of the American continent. For on the coast side it is all wood and swamp, so that if a man should happen to fall, he would be in great danger of drowning.

At last all agreed to go back to Wager Island, though we had now lost all hopes of ever re-visiting our native country, all we expected being to die at Wager Island, looking on that place, which we had been so much used to, as a kind of home.

Before we set out we killed some seal for our voyage. As we came by the place where we left the four Marines, we resolved to go and bring them off. For we considered that if the boat sunk, we then should be free from the miserable life we had, and die all together. But alas! all we could find of them, or belonging to them, was one musket and their ammunition; and we doubted not but that they had before now perished by some means or other. Here it was that I ate the liver of a seal which we killed as she was going to whelp; but it threw me into a fever, which occasioned all my skin to come off from head to foot.

Putting to sea from Marine's Bay, we rowed away for the headland that we left on Christmas Day; but it being calm all the day, it was night before we could get into the cove; and then we were obliged to lie all night upon our oars, keeping the boat's head out to the sea, for it both rained and blew very hard.

Next day we set out for Montrose Island, but as soon as we opened the headland that lay to the westward of us, the vessel almost overset, and filled so fast with water, that we were forced to return to the headland, and put into the cove, which as I have before observed, we called Stone Cove. There we lay weather-bound for two days, after which we again set out for Montrose Island; but could not yet fetch it, and were obliged to put into another harbour. While we lay in this harbour, I went on shore, and being very weak, my foot slipped so that I fell from one rock to another, then into the water, and was almost drowned, being stunned with the fall from the rocks.

Having lain here one day, we again put to sea, rowing to windward, with the wind at north, in order to get to Montrose Island. All this while we had nothing to eat but seal, which was almost rotten, and we could get no slaw, so that we were in very great distress. It pleased God that the next night brought us to Montrose Island, which was one of the best we could find in this part of the world, though it produced nothing to eat, except a berry which tasted like a gooseberry; but it was black, and grew on a bush like a thorn.

Here we stayed some time, the weather being exceedingly bad, and we had far to go without any harbour in the way. And even when we did put to sea, the wind blew so hard, that we were forced to put back to the same island we came from. Next day we again put to sea, with wind and rain pretty moderate. But we had not been long out, before it began to blow hard, and was so thick that we could not see whither we were steering, till we heard the breakers on the shore, and in a little time could see them white all around us. We were then obliged to haul aft the sheet, and stand off the shore, which we happily, and I might also say miraculously cleared. For who could imagine that any boat could carry so much sail in such a storm?

At last it pleased God that we got safe into Redwood Cove; but being straitened [put into difficulties, Ed.] for want of provisions, were obliged to put to sea the next day, though the weather was still exceedingly bad. We were all day pulling from this cove to the next island, at which we arrived before night, and every one went out to gather shellfish.

At this time Mr. Byron, Mr. Hamilton, and I ate together, and when we came on shore I went with the former to gather [shell]fish, but Mr. Hamilton being sick, stayed at home to make a half wigwam. This sort of wigwam (or Indian house) consists of three arches about a yard and a half high, and two yards wide, covered with bushes, or whatever can be got for thatch. We made a fire at the door-place, or broadside, but it proved of no use, for the smoke would not suffer us to tarry in the wigwam; so we called this place Smoke Cove.

Here it was that I was obliged to eat my shoes; they were of sealskin, and were at this time a very great dainty. We found here an Indian canoe by herself, which we thought would be very serviceable to us, as a fishing-vessel, when we got to Wager Island. She was easily launched and hauled up, so that we could save the barge by laying her by while we used the canoe. We put two hands into her, and towed her astern of the barge.

When we set out from Smoke Cove, the weather was fair with little wind, which obliged us to row all the way; and it pleased God we got safe into Cheap's Bay the same day, about five or six o'clock in the afternoon. We were all in a starved condition, having eaten nothing for three days but tangle and other seaweeds. After landing we moored the barge with her grappling to the sea, and stern fast to the land. Going up to the huts which we left two months before, we found one of them nailed up, and were obliged to break open the door to get in. It appeared that the Indians had been there, by the things that were in the hut, particularly a quantity of iron and other materials which we knew they had taken from the wreck of our unfortunate ship. As the Indians hereabouts know nothing of iron, and set no value on it, we conjectured that those who had been here traded with the Spaniards.

We found some seal among the bushes, which the Indians had thrown away; for it was so rotten, that none but men in our condition could have borne the smell of it; we parted it equally among us, ate it all up, and gave thanks to Almighty God for his providential care of us hitherto.

We stayed here fifteen days before any of the Indians came to the island. Meantime we endured the greatest hardships imaginable, the weather being so bad, that we could neither get shellfish nor seaweed. In the interim some differences happened between the Captain, Mr. Byron, Lieutenant Hamilton, and myself. There had been some misunderstanding among us ever since Christmas Day, this being the twelfth of February by our account. On this day Mr. Hamilton walking along the shore, discovered several pieces of beef washing in the sea; and brought some of them home to Mr. Byron and myself, his mess-mates. Hereupon I went with Mr. Byron, and we took up several pieces more. The same night we asked the Captain for his frying pan to melt down the fat, in order to preserve it for frying of slaw or anything else. When we carried it home, with one half of the fat we had found, the Captain would not receive the fat.

Soon after this affair some Indians came with two canoes, and in one of them was a native of the island of Chiloe, who could speak a little Spanish. The surgeon could speak it likewise, and he asked the Indian if he would carry us to Chiloe in the barge, telling him that he should have her for his trouble, with all that was in her, as soon as we came there. The Indian consenting, we immediately fell to providing for the voyage; and were soon ready, for God knows we had neither victuals nor clothing to trouble ourselves with.

March 6, 1741-2, we all, except one Marine, embarked in the barge with the Indian for our pilot. This Marine, when we were going on board, came upon the beach, and stole a greatcoat belonging to one of the men; which done he hid himself in the woods, so that we could not find him, nor had we ever any account of him afterwards.

And now high words arose between the Captain and Mr. Hamilton, concerning the fat beef he had found some days before; and the difference arose to such a pitch, that the Captain threatened to leave the lieutenant on the island. After this they did not speak to each other for a long time.

The first night of this our new voyage, we lay at an island which we called Sheep Island, from three sheep which the Indians formerly brought from it, and presented to the Captain. Next day the wind came to the south, and we ran to the westward of Montrose Island. This night we lay on our oars, for we could not find a harbour for the boat. All this while we were in great want of provisions. On the morrow we went to the bottom of a great bay, where we found our Indian's hut and his wife and two children. Here we stayed two or three days, and then set out with our guide, his wife, children, and another Indian, a young fellow, who was either his servant, or partner in the canoe. He carried us to the mouth of a river which we were to go up, but this was found impossible, the stream was so rapid. In this river we were pulling and hauling from eight o'clock in the morning till six in the afternoon. When we came out we were almost dead with fatigue and want of sustenance; and John Bosman, seaman, one of the strongest men in the boat, died this evening, being the third day since we left the Indian's hut, and in the interim had nothing to eat but a little boiled tangle.

This evening we had for supper some wild purslane, boiled with small mussels. As I was lying by the fire, I heard the people say that it would be well done to go off and leave the Captain behind for his cruelty. For this day as we lay in the river, and were all faint for want of food, he took out, before us all, a great piece of boiled seal with tangle, and he and the surgeon ate it, without offering a bit to any one of us, though he knew that poor Bosman perished merely for want of something to eat.

The next day I acquainted Captain Cheap with the murmurs among the people, and that Mr. Hamiton also heard what they said, at least he might have heard them if he was not asleep, being as near to them as I was. Upon this the Captain called Mr. Hamilton aside and taxed him with conspiring to take the command from him. This day the Indian with his wife and children, went out in their canoe to get some seal, for we had nothing to eat; but at the same time he left us the Indian his partner, to carry us to a place were we might get some shellfish. As soon as we got thither, everyone went alongshore, except Mr. Elliot the surgeon, who was very ill. The men got back to the boat before the officers, and Mr. Elliot desired them to go off a little, and try if they could shoot him a gull. Hereupon they all, being six in number, got into the barge, taking the young Indian with them for their guide; and we never saw them again, nor could we conceive whither it was that they thought proper to convey themselves.

I leave the reader to imagine what a condition we five poor souls were now in! The country was all rocks and woods, a mere desert, affording us no better house or habitation than the shade of a tree. Nor had we one morsel of victuals; no arms, nor ammunition, nor fire, nor clothing, except the few wretched rags on our backs. For my own part, indeed, I lost very little by the departure of the barge, all that I had to lose being already gone into the yawl.

In this miserable state we were, comforting one another in the best manner we could, when we saw a boat at a great distance, going over to the eastern shore. We first made signals to her with our hats, then tied a handkerchief to a long stick, and waved it in the air till they saw us, and made for the place where we were; but not being able to make the land anywhere near us, on account of the great sea which then ran on the beach, they put ashore about two miles to the westward of us. Upon this the Captain and Mr. Byron went to see what they were, and found them to be the Indian and his wife who had left us some days before, to go in search of provisions for us. These poor honest creatures were terribly afraid that we would kill them, as they suspected that the men who had run away with the barge, had served [treated, Ed.], or would serve the young Indian they carried off with them. They made grievous lamentations for their partner, and it was with great difficulty that we quieted them by assurances that no harm would happen to him. At length they were prevailed with to haul their canoe overland; and put her into a bay on the other side of the island; from whence the Captain and Mr. Byron went with them by sea to another point of the island, whither the other three of us whom the barge had left viz. Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Elliot, and myself, went also, and stayed fifteen days, the Indian expecting to be joined there by some other Indians.

Meantime our Indian and his wife entirely maintained us, though upon very short allowance. The woman being an excellent diver, went every day at low water, and dived for sea-eggs [sea urchins, Ed.]. On these we subsisted during the aforesaid fifteen days, but being narrowly stinted [restricted, Ed.] as to the number of our eggs, we were all the while at death's door, for want of food.

The surgeon's illness increasing, he sent for me, and told me that all he had he would leave to me; but having neither pen nor ink, his will was not strong enough to secure to me anything but his watch, and even this I was afterwards forced to give away, when a prisoner among the Spaniards.

At last the expected Indians came, and brought a little seal with them; and, two days after, they sent two canoes with young men in them to catch seal and sea-fowl. These canoes only stayed away one night, and returned laden with seal and above three hundred sea-fowls; so we now lived very well, till all was eaten up; for it is their way never to lay in fresh provisions till their last supply is all gone. But we dared not find the least fault with their conduct, they looking upon themselves as our masters, and we finding ourselves obliged to submit to them in all things.

All the meat these Indians have is seal, shellfish, and sometimes whitefish, and sea-fowl. They have short nets, with which eight or ten of them at a time go a-fishing. They stand almost up to their shoulders in the water, with their nets extended, two men to a net; in one hand they have a short baton, with which, as the fish jump, they knock them down, and then with the other hand receive them into the net. Moreover they have dogs which they train to go into the water, and therein bark till they scare the fish into the nets. They have also darts made of seal's bones, with which they often strike the fish. Their way of catching seal is comical enough. They go in their canoes alongshore, and when they find that the creatures are ashore, they go up into the hills, and then come down behind the seals, (which are commonly very numerous in these parts) and with a long club knock the animals on their head. They do not care to come before the seal, and attack him face to face, for these creatures are very bold, and will fight desperately. But it is easy to avoid them; for having no legs they cannot readily wheel round to defend themselves in flank and rear; but they can turn about with great agility in the water. When the Indians have killed the seal, they cut him up in great pieces, which they carry about with them in their canoes. Another method of theirs to catch this animal is as follows. They have a round net made of sealskin, which they fasten to a hoop, and this net draws in the mouth with a very long rope made also of seal-skin, and one end of the rope is fastened onshore. With this hoop an Indian goes into the water till he comes to the place where the seal lies, and holds the hoop up before him; at the same time another man who is ashore, frightens the animal, so that he jumps into the net, driving it forward till the rope is pulled straight, and then, as the other end is fastened ashore, the mouth of the net closes upon the prisoner.

In some parts they have sea-fowl in great plenty, particularly shags. They have also wild geese, and a sort of geese which cannot fly, but will run upon the water as fast as the others can fly; we called them race-horses. Others call them penguins, but they are not the right penguins. Their down is very fine, and the Indians spin and make a sort of blanket of it. Of these blankets I have seen very fine ones among the Spaniards. The Indian art of fowling is whimsical enough.

At night when the fowls go onshore to roost, the fowlers light up the bark of a tree, which when dry burns like a torch; and going alongshore with this light (which dazzles the eyes of the fowl) in one hand, and a stick in the other, they knock the fowl down and catch them.

There are many different nations or tribes of these Indians. One sort are called Patagonians, another Coucous [Caucaus?, Ed.]; and among these last we mostly lived. Our guide was of another tribe called Chonos. The Coucous are very barbarous, yet not ill-natured. They are also nasty [filthy, Ed.] and lousy; the lice they eat, and, I fancy, think them a great dainty. For I have observed when an Indian has been gone from home, his favourite wife (for they have several) has searched the children's heads, and saved the vermin in a mussel-shell, for a present to her husband on his return.

Their seal and fowls they always roast, or rather barbecue. The meat is fastened on a stick, one end of which they put into the ground before the fire, and keep it turning till done. Their method of basting their roast meat is extremely curious. They give lumps of fat to the young children, which they chew, and as it melts in their mouths, spit it out on the meat.

In their commerce with the women, these Indians in some respects act very monstrously; having no scruples as to proximity of blood, the men taking their own sisters and daughters for wives. As I was one day conversing with an Indian who had two wives, the one old, and the other very young, he made me understand, by signs, that the latter was his daughter by the former. This I could hardly believe till our guide afterwards confirmed what the other said.

Their religion I could never understand: indeed all the appearances of any that I could discern among them, was only this. They were often taken with strange fits of madness, at which time the men assemble in the largest wigwams, and the first thing they do is to cook up a great deal of provisions. Some are employed in roasting, others in cutting the meat into pieces proper for the spit; then some fall to singing, others whistle, others cry, and now and then give terrible shrieks, which almost frightened us before we were used to them. Some of them would frequently fall into fits like convulsions, and taking fire-brands in their hands, would go about burning and scorching the rest; while others would paint all the company, strangers and all, if any happened to be among them. And thus they served me twice, nor did I dare offer to hinder them. It is impossible to express the passion or enthusiasm these poor wretches are in when these ranting fits of devotion are on them. After the men, the women take their turn, and act much in the same manner: I have seen an old woman fourteen or fifteen days together in this shocking condition. The songs they sing on these, and indeed on all other occasions, are very melancholy; at least they seemed so to me, the noise they make being rather like crying than singing. These religious fits only take them when they have got in a large stock of provisions, and they generally continue in them for a week together.

These Indians are of a middling stature, very strong, healthy, and robust: all the while I was among them I did not see one of them sick. There is something very odd in their manner of interring their dead. They place the corpse in the same posture in which the infant is said to lie in the womb: it is bound and held in this manner by the bark of a large tree. At Marine's Bay we saw some of these corpses in a cove, in which a scaffold was erected about six foot high, and made of forked poles fixed in the ground, with bars laid across. There were some corpses upon this scaffold, and some underneath it.

The language of these Indians sounds like the Arabic, every word they speak coming gutturally from the throat. Their canoes are made of planks sewed together with what we call a supple-jack [a pliant liana, Ed.]. They split the jack in two, scrape it very well, and let it dry, after which it is strong, and will last a long time. Some of these canoes are very large, having five planks, (whereas the common ones have but three) one for the sail, and two on each side. The men's clothing is much the same as described when speaking of the Indians who first came to us at Wager Island. The women wear only a piece of cloth about their middle. All the arms the Indians use are lances or darts, with which they very dexterously strike whatever they aim at, as fish, seal, etc.

In the middle of March we again embarked with the Indians, who did not put any two of us together in the same canoe; but the wind being contrary, they soon landed again, at a small distance from the place they set out from, their canoes not being able to keep the sea. Here Mr. Elliot, surgeon of his Majesty's ship the Wager, departed this miserable life.

After two days we again put to sea, and went over a bay to the mouth of a river, into which the Indians rowed, and proceeded up it for three days together. This river runs into a great many branches, and is in some places very rapid. We could get nothing to eat during these three days, except a sort of burdock [a European plant with large leaves, Ed.], which the Indians seemed very fond of: they called it pangue ["gunnera scabra", a large-leafed Chilean plant, Ed.]. I was extremely glad when we got to the head of the river, for my masters made me work very hard, for which at that time I was not in a proper condition. At first I was obliged to row, but seeing that I wanted strength, they set me to heave the water out of the canoe, which she made in such great quantities, that I could hardly keep her dry. — When we landed at the river-head, they hauled the canoes up into the woods, purposing to draw them further overland in the morning. When the morning came, my master, Cepey, (for that was his name) gave me a pair of oars to carry, but they being too heavy, I was forced to leave them in the way till he brought them off himself.

It is impossible to express the hardships we endured at this juncture; and as difficult to determine which of the two we wanted most, food or raiment. We were indeed miserable objects. Our bodies were languid, emaciated, and equally preyed on by hunger within, and the most odious of vermin without.

On the day after our arrival in this new country, we were obliged to walk about eight miles through a wood, without shoe or stocking, and in the worst road that ever man travelled. Our march all the way was upon (or rather we waded through) a mere puddle, in which we often sunk above knee-deep. And this wretched way was moreover full of stumps of trees hidden under the water, which cut our feet and legs in terrible manner.

The next day the Indians got their canoes over the island, and put them into a very fine lagoon. In the afternoon we all embarked, rowed over the lagoon, and entered a river, which though pretty long, we soon ran through, and then found ourselves out at sea. Captain Cheap, Mr. Byron, and myself were now together in one large canoe, but Mr. Hamilton liked his patron so well that he would not leave him, and so went in another canoe. Our guide, or new master, made Mr. Byron and myself pull at the oar, and though we were so weak as to be hardly able to stand, much less to work, yet we were forced to buckle to, whether able or not. Indeed we laboured the more willingly, as we were glad to do anything towards our own preservation. Though, as I have said, our canoe was large, yet there was nobody in her to row but the Indian, his partner, us two, and the Indian's wife who steered. She was now our mistress, but not a very good one; for when she divided the victuals, she gave us but a small share, though we had a great share of the work. Thus we lived from the middle of March to the beginning of June 1742.

Meantime we came by little and little to the northward, always hoping to get away to the Spaniards, being naked, and starved to such a degree, that neither tongue nor pen can possibly express our misery.

In this our pilgrimage, one day we happened to meet with some other Indians, with whom we had a great deal of conversation. By them we understood that there had been a ship on the coast, and by their description of her, and particularly her red flag, we guessed her to be English, and so it proved; for when we came to Chiloe, we were there told that the Anne Pink had come to an anchor on the coast, and had taken an Indian and his wife on board, They who gave us this intelligence were Spaniards taken prisoners by Mr. Anson, who put them onboard the Anne Pink, but they soon found means to make their escape in her longboat.

Some time before we got to Chiloe, our master being to separate from the rest of the Indians, he desired Mr. Hamilton to come into our canoe, and go with us to Chiloe; but the latter having fallen out with Mr. Cepey, he did not care to go with him. Indeed Cepey was the most inhuman fellow I ever knew among the Indians. Though he made Mr. Byron and I work like slaves, he would not give us a morsel of victuals, except when possessed of more than he himself could eat.

The rest of the Indians leaving us, carried Mr. Hamilton with them, and it was three months before we saw him again. However one little canoe stayed with us, the master of which had once been my patron, and was very kind to me. And as my present master used me ill, I now resolved to go the rest of the voyage with my former master; but Captain Cheap seeming to be displeased at my intention, I remained in the same canoe with him till we came to an island about thirty leagues south-east of Chiloe; at which we waited two days for a fair wind, and then proceeded, with the wind nigh south. But it blew so hard as to cause a great sea, which rolling into the canoe, kept us continually lading [bailing, Ed.]. The sail was likewise so very bad, that we every moment expected to go to the bottom. But it pleased God to deliver us from this, as he had done from every preceding danger; and the next day we arrived safe at Chiloe, an island in Lat. 43. inhabited both by Indians and Spaniards.

The day after we arrived, a great snow fell, and the cold almost killed us; especially the Captain, who had for some time been exceedingly ill. The same day our master (after he had hidden all the things he brought from the wreck of the Wager, for fear of the Spaniards) carried us to the house of an Indian of his acquaintance, who lived with the Spaniards; but it being night before we got thither, the people were all asleep. Hereupon our patron, in order to show his bravery, made me load a fowling-piece of Mr. Byron's, and he fired it off. On the report of the gun, the Indians, who are but little acquainted with fire-arms, got out of their hut, and ran into the woods, frightened out of their senses; but soon after one of them got upon a hill adjoining to the place where we were, and from thence calling to us, asked if we were Christians; to which our patron replied in the affirmative, and told who himself was. Then they came to us, and that night we had a fine supper of dried fish, broth, and potatoes.

Supper over, they carried us away to another village, where our patron (who was a cacique or captain over the people hereabouts, and consequently a man of great authority) woke one of the inhabitants, and made him open the door of his hut. Here the Indians, compassionating [taking pity on, Ed.] the Captain's illness, took great care of him, made him a bed of sheepskins, and laid him before the fire; for it was now (in June) the middle of winter here, and excessively cold. The frost was very severe, and it went the harder with us, as we were very thinly clothed. Captain Cheap was indeed extremely fortunate in meeting with so much kindness from these Indians; for had they not taken so much care of him as they did, he could not have lived two days after his arrival among them. He was really in a most deplorable condition. His legs were nothing but skin and bone; and yet the skin was puffed out from the bone, till they appeared to be of a monstrous large size. Nevertheless by the care of these Indians, under God, he escaped that death which now so terribly threatened him, after having surmounted such and so many eminent perils.

Whether it were that the Chiloean Indians took us for Spaniards, and therefore out of policy were the more induced to use us so kindly, or whether their behaviour was the pure effect of their natural humanity, I cannot at all determine; but however the case might be, gratitude demands that I speak a little more particularly of their kindness to us, especially on the first night of our arrival among them. — That night they had no provisions in the house, except a little barley-meal, of which a cake was immediately baked. As we had not for a long time tasted any sort of bread, we thought this cake the best we had ever eaten in our lives. However though it was night, the Indians went out for a sheep, of which they made broth, and we had eggs and potatoes with our meat. Next morning came several of their women, each with a plate of victuals; some brought mutton, others hens and chickens. In the afternoon as many of the men got together as a hut would hold, and brought with them great jars of liquor made of barley-meal, and by them called chicha; and over this we all made merry. Afterwards came the women, each with an earthen pot full of dressed victuals. ln short they made us as welcome, and showed us as much civility as possible in their circumstances. However they could give us no clothes, the poor creatures having very few for themselves.

As soon as we came among them, they sent to inform the Spanish Corregidor of us, and it was not long before we were sent for. When the Indians came to carry us to the place where some Spaniards by appointment waited to receive us, I was in the woods, endeavouring to rid myself of some of the numerous herd of cattle I had grazing on my commons. It was night by the time we got to the Spaniards. The Indians took us into a hut, in which we were received by a civil officer, who with a strong guard of soldiers was to carry us to the town where the Corregidor lived, which they called the city of Castro. However they did not take us thither directly, but for the present confined us to a hovel, a building with a roof but no walls, in which we were strictly guarded by the soldiers, whom we found nothing like so humane and good-natured as the Indians.

All the people of the island now came to see us, though they did not care to venture too near us, being discreetly apprehensive of our vermin. Meantime our friendly Indians continued very kind to us, and gave us victuals as before; but the Spaniards had no compassion on us: we were even forced to lie on the cold ground for want of some kind of bedding.

Among others a Jesuit came to see us. He brought in his pocket a bottle of brandy, and gave us a dram. Perceiving that I had a watch, the same Mr. Elliot left me, he asked to see it; and then he desired me to change with him for an old one which he had in his pocket, or to sell him mine. We understood the Father's meaning, and knowing the great power which those of his order have in Popish countries, and that it might be dangerous to disoblige him; therefore, and because it was Captain Cheap's desire, I made the Father a present of my watch. He was not ungrateful; for soon after his departure, he sent me a piece of coarse cloth, to make me two shirts; also two pair of thread stockings without feet, and one pair of shoes, which proved too little for me. He also sent me a sort of blanket, or Indian punch [poncho, Ed.], with a hole in the middle to put my head through, as the Indians do.

Soon after we were sent for to Castro. The Spaniards carried us away in the evening, because we should not see their city; at which when we arrived, they used all the ceremony of a garrison, hailing the canoe, and requiring us to stop till they had acquainted the commanding officer. This done they admitted us, under a strong guard of soldiers with forked sticks in their hands. During all this ceremony I doubted not but that there was a garrison, with fortifications, etc. But as we went up the hill which lies between this supposed fortification and the town itself, I could see no such thing. In the town we were brought before an old gentleman whom they called the Corregidor; and who was dressed in a cloak, a very old tie-wig, and a spado [Spanish "espada", a sword, Ed]. He received us in great pomp, conducted us to the Jesuit's College, and presented us to the Principal, saying, Father, pray see if these men are Christians, or not. Then he took his leave of us, and the Fathers conducted us to a room in which were two beds, one for the Captain, and the other for Mr. Byron and myself. Then they had us to a very good supper. Everything was clean and decent, and we had a glass of good wine.

When we went to bed, we found each a clean shirt, a clean sheet, and a good bed, which made this the most agreeable night I ever knew. Next morning I burned my old rags, lest they should breed a pestilence in the place. Here we stayed and experienced the same good usage for above a week, till the Governor, who lived at the north end of the island, at the port of Chacao sent his son, with a guard to conduct us to that place.

When we left Castro, our guard used the same ceremony as at our arrival there. They carried us out in the night to a farmhouse, in which we lay till next morning, when we got horses, and rode across the country to a bay in which they had canoes ready for us to embark. All this time we were strictly guarded by the soldiers. After three days we arrived at a little bay near the town of Chacao, from whence a soldier was sent to the Governor, to acquaint him with our arrival there. Hereupon the Governor sent them orders not to come in till it was dark; and we were accordingly brought into the town in the night. As we marched up to the Governor's, we passed by a line of men armed with matchlocks, the only fire-arms they have in this country, and their matches were lighted. The Governor received us in all his glory, sitting at the head of a great table, covered with red baize. We also sat down at this table, and the Governor conversed with us by his linguist, who was an Englishman, born at Falmouth.

The Governor examined the Indian that brought us, and made him go with his canoes and some soldiers to Wager Island, to work upon the wreck of our ship, and to bring off Mr. Hamilton from among the Indians with whom we had left him. And, accordingly, Mr. Hamilton was brought hither.

The Indian language is what everybody here speaks more than the Spanish; but it is quite different from that of the Indians with whom we had so many adventures after we left Wager Island. The language of the Chiloean Indians seemed to us very fine and soft; and the Spaniards who understand it esteem it as such.

This island lies in the South Seas, in Lat. 43. 15, and is the most southern settlement the Spaniards have in this part of the world. Shelvocke, in his voyage to these seas, tells us, that this island is as good and as plentifully stored with the necessaries of life as the Isle of Wight. But what he says is far from being true, and I may venture to assert that the Spaniards here are more miserable than any other European colony in America. The climate is extremely bad, and most of the inhabitants eat nothing but fish, and even this for the most part only of the shell-kind. Their bread is chiefly potatoes, of which they have a very good sort, and in such plenty that they feed their hogs with them. The swine here are small, but their flesh is very sweet, and makes excellent hams. Some wheat is raised in this island, but not much /2/. Their most plentiful grain is barley, of which, as I before observed, they make their chicha. They likewise eat barley-meal with chicha and with water. They are but thinly stocked with cows and sheep, and what they have are very lean, through want of good pasture, the country being overrun with great woods. In these their horses, which are also lean and small, chiefly subsist.

2. They sow but little wheat, because of their continual rains, which rot the seed.

The Spaniards and Indians here live much alike; their houses are straw huts, without chimneys, though not without fire, which they make in the middle of the house, and thereby smoke themselves sufficiently. Even the Governor's house has no chimney.

Their clothing is also very poor, none but persons of rank wearing shirts; for they only are able to buy linen, when the annual Lima ship arrives. All their trade is in hams, pork-slush, [pork fat, Ed.] and deals, [lumber, Ed.] of which they have a great many. Coarse baize is brought hither from Lima: they call it the country cloth, because it is made in Peru. From Paraguay they have a herb called the Herb of Paraguay on account of its growing there and nowhere else. Of this they make tea, both for the morning and afternoon; and it is much drunk all over Chile and Peru.

At Chacao is a very good harbour, but it is dangerous coming into it, because the tides run strong; and also in the middle of its mouth lies a sunken rock, which ought equally to be guarded against both in coming in and going out. The town consists only of a few straw huts, scattered here and there; and it is as thinly inhabited as built, except when the Lima ship arrives, and then the country people flock all to this town. Here is a little earthen fort, encircled by a ditch, and the ditch by a sort of palisade. It mounts thirteen guns, four to the land, and nine to the sea. The garrison consists of a captain of foot, (which post the Governor himself fills) a town-major, a lieutenant, an ensign, and eighty private men. As for arms, they have only matchlocks, as I have already observed. At the island of Calbuco, which lies N. E. from hence, at the distance of two leagues, there is another captain-governor, who is called the Captain of Calbuco.

When the Governor of Chiloe sent the canoes to the wreck of the Wager, we were in hopes that they would find the barge, and bring her here. The Governor promised Captain Cheap that he should have the barge restored to him, with all that was in her. But when his people did actually bring the barge with them, he kept her concealed at another island, thinking we could never know that he had it in his power to keep his word. But he was mistaken; for soon after we left the island we heard that the barge was brought thither, with two of the men in her, the other four having perished through want, after they left us.

About the middle of December the annual Lima ship arrived at this island. Her coming made me reflect on the unfortunate step taken by the gunner and carpenter of our ship, and their party. Had they, instead of going to the southward in the longboat, gone altogether with the Captain to the northward, we might have made ourselves masters of the island of Chiloe, and the Lima ship into the bargain. But their obstinacy deprived both themselves and us of this opportunity of making our fortunes, and doing considerable service to our country at the same time. Instead of which, the few of the unfortunate officers and crew of the Wager, who survived the hardships they underwent in this ill-fated voyage, have brought nothing home with them but the melancholy tale of their prodigious sufferings; a sad relation of the lives lost merely in the search of preservation, not of riches.

The Lima ship is a fine vessel, of above two hundred tons burthen, but carries neither great guns nor muskets. This, that we saw, had only six white men on board, viz. the Master, Mate, Boatswain, and his mate, and the Chaplain and his Clerk; all the others were Indians and Negroes.

January 2, 1742-3, we embarked on board of this ship, and four days after we anchored in the port of Valparaiso, in Lat. 33. S. in the kingdom of Chile. Here the master of the ship sent his boat ashore, to acquaint the Governor that he had four English prisoners aboard; and soon after we were ordered ashore :— And now we thought ourselves once more in the land of the living.

... Book 4