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  #1  
Old 29-11-2012, 18:26
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Default William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

(Part 1)

Introduction
William Dampier's first circumnavigation would be more accurately described as an unintended, incident packed, meandering around the world, lasting twelve years from 1679 to 1691. He didn't start out with that intention; he was just a naturally curious person who wanted to see new things.

He is remembered, not so much for his circumnavigation, which had little in the way of discovery or significance, but because, throughout his travels, he kept a journal in which he wrote very detailed descriptions of everything he did and saw, including the indigenous people and their customs, in every country he visited.

On his return to England, he wrote and published them in a book in 1697, “A New Voyage Round the World”, which could be described as the first travelogue. His other claim to fame was that he was the first man to complete three circumnavigations, of which the first is related here.

Early life
There is little known about Dampier’s early life, other than he was born in 1652 in Somerset, and when he was about sixteen, he was apprenticed to a Weymouth ship owner from whom he gained a taste for travel and the sea after voyages to France and Newfoundland. Finding these climates not to his taste, he gained release from his apprenticeship in 1670, and signed on an East Indiaman, the John and Martha bound for Java.

Following the outbreak of the third Anglo-Dutch war in 1672, at the age of 20, he joined the Royal Navy and served on the Royal Prince commanded by Sir Edward Spragge, taking part in two naval engagements with the Dutch. Fortunately for him, he was taken ill and removed from the Royal Prince two days before she was destroyed and Spragge killed in the Battle of Texel on 11 August 1673.

When the war with the Dutch was over, at the age of 22 he was offered a job by a Colonel Hellier as an assistant plantation manager in Jamaica and went there in 1674. He soon tired of that and took several trips with coastal traders travelling around the Jamaican coast. In August 1675, he took up with another trader, travelling to Mexico to trade with logwood cutters in Campeche. He quickly appreciated how profitable the lumber trade was, and on his return to Jamaica set about becoming a logwood cutter himself.

In February 1676 he returned to Campeche fully equipped with axes, machetes, saws, a gun, ammunition, and materials to build a shelter. He worked for many months until a violent hurricane, in June 1676, washed away everyone's possessions, putting an end to their business.

Dampier and four men managed to escape in a canoe and make their way to an offshore island where a ship had been blown ashore, and were well received by the captain who was probably a pirate. Dampier was accustomed to the ways of pirates and buccaneers because that had been the previous life of most of his log cutting companions who were mostly English, and this is the way of life he now slipped into.

He remained with the pirates for nearly a year before returning to the logwood trade, which had since recovered, for another year, by which time he had saved enough money for a return to England. He returned to Jamaica and embarked for England arriving in August 1678.

Setting out again
In England, Dampier set himself up as a merchant trading with the West Indies. He also married, but within six months was on the move again. In early 1679, he sailed in the Loyal Merchant, bound for Jamaica, intending to return to the profitable wood cutting trade in Mexico. He arrived in Jamaica in April 1679 and disembarked at Port Royal with a considerable amount of merchandise which he sold. With the proceeds he intended to buy goods he knew would be in demand in Mexico.

He began to have second thoughts about returning to the arduous life of a woodcutter when he heard that the Spaniards were intent on ridding Mexico of the foreigners 'stealing' their trade, and had killed or captured all the English woodcutters in Campeche. In the meantime he had made the acquaintance of a Jamaican resident who had a small estate in England which he wanted to sell. As this was close to where Dampier’s Somerset home was, he bought it, and decided to return to England.

The next ship to England didn’t depart until December, and for the want of something to do, Dampier embarked on a short trading voyage with a Mr. Hobby to the small country of the Meskito Indians, between modern day Honduras and Nicaragua.

They set out and called in at Negril on the west coast of Jamaica, where they found half a dozen buccaneer ships whose captains, Sawkins, Coxon and Sharp all having served under Henry Morgan, were planning a raiding expedition to Portobello in Panama, from where the Spanish shipped their treasures from South America back to Spain. The expected profits from this enterprise tempted the whole of Hobby's men to join the buccaneers, leaving just Dampier and Hobby alone. After three or four days, Dampier having witnessed in Port Royal, the riches of the buccaneers and the luxurious lifestyle it bought, was persuaded to join them. He sailed with them, under the command of a Captain John Coxon, at the end of December 1679.

-----“-----

(Continued)
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Regards, Bill

"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."

Last edited by emason : 29-11-2012 at 18:57.
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Old 29-11-2012, 18:35
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

(Part 2)

Prologue

Most of South America, with the exception of Brazil, was in Spanish hands and therefore considered fair game to English buccaneers, to whom the English and French authorities usually turned a blind eye, so long as they attacked only their enemies; otherwise they became pirates and subject to the harshest of punishments.

Privateers were privately owned men-of-war licensed by the authorities to prey on enemy commerce. Some of these licenses were of doubtful legality having been issued by corrupt English and French governors in the Caribbean. Also, many of the privateers had bought their licence for a short period only, but were still active years after they had expired. Although Dampier describes himself and his companions as privateers (mainly to protect himself), it is obvious that they are in reality buccaneers, even pirates, having no valid licence.

The whole of Central America was called New Spain by the Spanish, but for convenience and clarity the modern names of the regions are used here. At this time the indigenous people, usually called Indians in most contemporary accounts, resented the presence of the Spanish invaders who oppressed and enslaved them while looting the their country. The arrival of buccaneers on their shores was tolerated by the Indians on the basis of ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’, and generally offered assistance to them, for which they were usually generously, in their eyes, rewarded.

-----“-----

Attack on Portobello
Dampier sailed with the buccaneers after Christmas 1680 to Portobello on the north coast of Panama, but they spent time indulging in a little 'trade' along the Honduras coast on the way. They eventually landed at Portobello in March 1681, and overcoming the defending Spanish they sacked the town. Each man received 150 gold pieces as his share, and most were happy to leave it at that, but the Indians had told them of an even richer town inland called El Real de Santa Maria.

Encouraged by this, they sailed eastwards 200 miles to land near Golden Island in the Gulf of Darian on 5th April. Santa Maria was located on a great river which flowed into the Gulf of Panama, but to reach it, they had cross the Darian Isthmus on foot, and Golden Island was the nearest anchorage giving the shortest march.

[Note: Darian is the easternmost state of Panama, adjoining Colombia.]

Crossing the Ishmus
The fleet of the buccaneers now consisted of nine vessels and nearly 500 men. Dampier landed with 330 other men led by Captain Coxon, leaving the remainder behind to guard their ships. They set out on an arduous trek across the isthmus to Santa Maria using Indians as their guides.

Santa Maria was not so much a town as a fort with a garrison of 400 soldiers. Its importance was that it was where gold panned from the surrounding mountains was taken and stored. It was shipped to Panama City two or three times a year, and thus Santa Maria generally held large amounts of it.

After marching for nine days they arrived at Santa Maria and took it, but they found no gold. The Spanish, hearing of the buccaneer’s presence, had sent a ship to remove the entire three hundredweight of gold, three days before.

Having had their ambitions thwarted, they were reluctant to go back empty handed, and Panama City was where the gold had been taken. In fact Panama was where the Spanish shipped all their plundered riches from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile, for transport back to Spain. So that is where they headed. With canoes and periagos (a sort of longboat) obtained from the Indians, they sailed or rowed down the river and arrived the next day at its mouth in the Gulf of Panama.

The Gulf of Panama
On the way they met and defeated three small Spanish gunships. They proceeded to the port of Panama, which they blocked with their canoes and the captured vessels. Here they took another five vessels, including one called La Trinidad. This was a 400 ton ship, that had arrived from Trujillo, Peru, and in it was found about 60,000 pieces-of-eight which, when shared, gave each man about 240 pieces.

At this point Captain Coxon with about 50 of the buccaneers considered this enough, and returned overland with their booty. Captain Sawkins was elected leader in his place. Dampier elected to stay with Sawkins, and around the middle of May, they sailed to Coiba island, 100 miles west of the Gulf of Panama, from where they attacked Pueblo Nueva, but Sawkins, among others, was killed in the attempt, after which Captain Bartholomew Sharp took command. Unhappy about this turn of events, another 70 buccaneers left the main party to return overland on 31st May.

Dampier remained with Captain Sharp who, deciding that with only 140 men they were no longer strong enough to take Panama, abandoned this plan and sailed southwards instead to plunder the coast of South America, but first needed somewhere to recuperate, restock and repair their vessels.

On 6th June, they set course for the remoteness of the Galapagos Islands, but a contrary SW wind forced them to head instead for Gorgona Island, 30 miles off the Colombian coast.

-----“-----

To South America
After several weeks at Gorgona Island, where they careened their ships and re-rigged the Trinidad so that it better suited their purpose, on 25 July 1680 they set sail southwards with the general idea if sailing down the South American coast, taking advantage of any opportunity of ‘trade’ on the way. Their objective was Arica in Chile from where the gold, silver and other goods obtained from the Andes was shipped to Panama.

Three months later on 26th October, having sailed 2,000 tedious miles and taken several ships on the way, they eventually reached Arica. But they found it too strongly defended and instead attacked Ilo, a smaller town 80 miles to the north, plundering much needed supplies and provisions. On 3rd November they set sail again for Coquimbo, Chile, a further 1,000 miles to the south.

By the 3rd December, they had reached a large coastal town a few miles north of Coquimbo called La Serena, which after a brief fight they found deserted as all the inhabitants had fled with their valuables. The next morning, fearing that the buccaneers, having found little of value, would set fire to their town, there came from the Spanish under a flag of truce an offer of a ransom to save the town, for which a sum of 95,000 pieces-of-eight was agreed to be paid the next day.

Instead of bringing the ransom when agreed, sluice gates were opened and the town was flooded to drive the buccaneers out, or to quench the fires if the town were fired. But seeing the Spanish had broken the agreement, the town was fired in revenge. One of the buccaneers, Basil Ringrose wrote, "We fired, as nigh as we could, every house in the whole town, to the intent it might be totally reduced to ashes. Thus we departed from La Serena, carrying with us what plunder we could find, having sent two parties before, loaded with goods to the ship."

They left on 7th December for the Juan Fernandez Islands, 600 miles to the SW, arriving on 24th December.

The Juan Fernandez Islands
The Juan Fernandez Islands are 450 miles from the coast of Chile, and are as far south as Dampier and others would reach. The attraction of this group of islands to buccaneers was that they were remote, uninhabited, had an agreeable climate, a plentiful supply of water, fresh provisions and timber. While they were there re-victualing, a leadership dispute broke out, and in the resultant election, Captain Sharp was deposed in favour of Captain Watling.

On the morning of 12th January 1681, three Spanish men-of-war were seen, the largest of which was 800 tons with twelve guns, and the other two were not much smaller. Immediately slipping their cables, the buccaneers put to sea, leaving behind one man who could not be found in time, a Meskito Indian they called William.

In a show of bravado, they closed with the much better armed Spanish ships which kept a tight order, and by keeping tight under the wind, they made as if they were wanting to fight this superior enemy. A stalemate thus ensued for the rest of the day. Next morning, the buccaneers taking advantage of the wind sailed away and escaped northwards.

Attack on Arica
It had been already decided to have a second attempt at Arica, in order to make all their fortunes there once and for all. On 30th January, they attacked Arica where the defences had been thoroughly prepared, and after fighting lasting all day, they suffered a heavy defeat, loosing many men including Watling himself.

Leaderless, they retreated out to sea and turned south, not stopping until they reached the latitude of Juan Fernandez on 28 February. Short of supplies they turned NE towards the coast of Chile. They reach Huasco, north of Coquimbo, on 13th March, and went ashore to search for food and water.

They left Huasco on 15th March and reached the town of Ilo again on 26th March leaving on 29th March, heading north again, reaching the Isle of Plata, just south of the equator on 16th April.

Ever since the death of Watling, there had been rumblings about their leadership, and the buccaneers now split into two factions each promoting their own man for commander, with the majority supporting the re-instatement of Bartholomew Sharp, and the minority "not satisfied either with his courage or behaviour". Their differences were irreconcilable, so they agreed to split company and their booty, with the larger group taking the ship, and the remainder the longboat and canoes.

On the 17th April 1681 the two groups parted company. Dampier, with the smaller group of about fifty men led by John Cook, left for Panama in the longboat and two canoes.

Re-crossing the ishmus
After a few days sailing, they captured a Barque laden with timber, and in it they continued their voyage north eastwards. They eventually arrived at the Gulf of Panama on 1st May, sank the ship and started out overland to cross the Isthmus.

This time they were further to the east than their first crossing and therefore had to cross at a much wider point to avoid the Spanish, adding about 50 miles to their trek. This was the rainy season, and the 110 miles took twenty three days. On 24th May, they reached the north coast where they joined up with a French privateer called Tristian.

Two days later they sailed to a remote island and met up with another eight ships with over 500 English and French buccaneers. They joined forces with the intention of crossing the Panama isthmus again to take Panama City in strength. Dampier and the rest of his party were given the choice, either to sail with a French Captain Archembo, whose ship was undermanned, or be left on the mainland with the Indians. They chose to sail.

The nine ships set sail but were soon dispersed in a gale lasting several days, after which they came to a rendezvous point and met up with a Captain Wright, one of the other privateers, who had taken a ship in the meantime. Dampier and his companions had wearied of the company of the French, and persuaded Wright to let them man his prize and sail together as one company with John Cook as Captain, who renamed the ship Revenge.

With the Panama plan abandoned, for the next year Dampier sailed with the buccaneers around the Caribbean coastlines of South and Central America doing what buccaneers did - taking ships and looting coastal towns, until finally, in July 1682, he landed in Virginia. There he stayed for a year, during which time he kept contact with John Cook, with whom he agreed to sail to the South Seas in his eight gun ship Revenge for another buccaneering expedition.

-----“-----

(Continued)
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"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."
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Old 30-11-2012, 18:09
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

(Part 3)

To Cape Horn

With John Cook as Captain, Edward Davies as quartermaster, Lionel Wafer as Surgeon and Ambrose Cowley as Master, Dampier and the Revenge sailed from Achamak (Accomack), Chesapeake Bay, Virginia on 23rd August 1683 with a crew of seventy men, most of whom had re-crossed the Darian Isthmus with Cook and Dampier two years previously. This time the expedition was to the South Seas via Cape Horn to raid the west coast of South America.

Sailing southwards, their first stop was in the Cape Verde Islands, where they traded goods for supplies, and made time to careen the ship and clean its hull. After visiting some of the other islands in the group, they departed on a SSW course for the Straits of Magellan, but a few days out, contrary SW winds blew them towards Africa and the coast of Guinea, where they stopped and took on fresh provisions. Sailing further round the coast they came to Sierra Leone.

Cook had decided by now that he needed a better ship, so when a new 36 gun Danish ship was seen in Sierra Leone, he seized it. On board they found that she had already been provisioned for a long voyage, and something else - sixty black women slaves. The ship was tellingly renamed the Batchelor's Delight and the Revenge was burned. What became of the women is not recorded, probably sold to another slave trader.

[Note: The taking of a ship belonging to a friendly country was an act of piracy, and this act is omitted or glossed over in most contemporary accounts by their authors to protect themselves. If it is mentioned at all, the ship is often described as being Dutch.]

In the middle of November, they resumed the voyage in their new ship, and headed for the Straits of Magellan. After suffering many storms, on 27th January 1684, they passed by the Sabald Islands (Falkland Islands) without stopping. Strong westerly winds prevented them entering the Magellan Straits, arriving instead on 6th February, off the Straits of Le Mair (the passage between Tierra del Fuego and Staten Island). From here they could reach the South Seas only by rounding Cape Horn, but with a WNW wind blowing them as far as 60 degrees south, it took them another week.

On 14th February, they encountered a violent SW storm lasting until 3rd March, when it backed to the South for another six days, during which time they were blown northwards to 47 degrees south. On 19th March they fell in with another privateer – Captain John Eaton of the Nicholas, and together they sailed to the Juan Fernandez Islands, which they reached on 23rd March.

On approaching the Island, they were surprised to see a figure waving frantically to them. This was William the Meskito Indian who had been left behind when he missed the Trinidad's hurried departure on 12th January 1681, and had survived alone for over three years.

[Note: It is possible that the Robinson Crusoe story was inspired by William and not by Alexander Selkirk, as Dampier published the story years before Selkirk had even sailed. By coincidence, Selkirk was marooned on the same island on Dampier’s second circumnavigation, and rescued four years later on Dampier’s third circumnavigation.]

Resuming their trade

They stayed at Juan Fernandez for sixteen days until 8th April, when the two ships put to sea again, having agreed to operate together, and sailed NE to make land around the Tropic of Capricorn (24 degrees south). Keeping about 40 miles from land, so as not to be seen by the Spanish, they followed the coast north. It was not until 3rd May that they took their first prize, a ship bound for Lima with a cargo of timber. The three ships then made for the island of Lobos de la Mer, twelve miles off the coast of Peru at 6 degrees south, arriving on 9th May.

After questioning their prisoners, they picked their next target – the town of Trujillo, Peru. They were about to sail on 17th May when the saw three ships sailing past the Island, and giving chase captured them all. The three ships had been sailing from Lima to Panama, carrying mainly cargoes of flour; the largest ship also had seven tons of quince marmalade. The buccaneers learned from their prisoners that the Spanish authorities had offloaded 800,000 pieces of eight from her at Trujillo when news of buccaneer's presence in the area was heard.

With their presence now known to the Spaniards, they changed their plans and left the island on 18th May with their prizes and set sail for the isolation of the Galapagos Islands, arriving there on the 31st May. They stayed for ten days and offloaded much of the flour from their prizes as a reserve store, and departed on 12th June heading for Cocos Island 400 miles away to NW and 350 miles from Costa Rica. But the SW wind prevented them entering the only anchorage there, and they were blown instead towards Costa Rica.

When within sight of land, Captain Cook, who had fallen ill at Juan Fernandez, died suddenly. He was replaced by the quartermaster Edward Davis by common consent, overlooking the claim of the Master Ambrose Cowley who would normally have succeeded the Captain. But on several occasions Cowley had demonstrated his unsound seamanship and probably had lost the confidence of the men.

They made landfall at Caldera Bay (near Cape Blanco, Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica) and buried Cook there, departing on 20th June.

Under the new Captain
On 2nd September 1684, Davis and Eaton separated, having argued over the split of spoils, and on the 24th September 1684, the Batchelor’s Delight arrived at the Isle La Plata, twenty miles off the Equadorian coast where three years before, Cook and Dampier had split from Captain Sharp and re-crossed the Darian Isthmus.

While lying at La Plata, on 2nd October, they were joined by a Captain Charles Swan in his ship, the appropriately named Cygnet. Swan was a large rotund man, and a most unlikely buccaneer who was, or had been, a respectable merchant trader. But after loosing his cargo to buccaneers, and his crew wanting to join them, had turned to buccaneering himself in order to keep his ship and recoup his losses, intending to return to England when he had done so.

On December 23rd, 1684, the Batchelor’s Delight and Cygnet sailed together for the Gulf of Panama, where they met up with other French and English buccaneers, with whom a loose agreement was made to hunt together and share the booty. For the next few months they sailed the Gulf in search of victims, hoping to capture a treasure ship, but had only slim pickings.

In early 1685, they captured a pacquet-boat sailing from Panama to Lima. The Spaniards threw the bag of letters overboard, but it was recovered and the despatches in it revealed that the Governor of Panama had sent the mail-boat they had just seized to hasten the sailing of the Silver Fleet from Lima, as an armada had arrived at Portobello, to take the treasure back to Spain.

The treasure alone on board this fleet was usually valued at about 24 million dollars, and the buccaneers immediately resolved to intercept this fleet. On the 28th May 1685, the Spanish Silver Fleet of fourteen ships hove in sight. The admiral's ship carried forty-eight guns and four hundred and fifty men; the vice-admiral, forty guns and four hundred men; the others were only a little less powerfully armed and manned.

The buccaneers waited until evening until the Spanish fleet had anchored, intending to manoeuvre to gain the weather gage by morning. They saw a light in the admiral's top, which remained stationary for half an hour and was then extinguished for a short time before it was again lit.

But when the morning broke they found to their chagrin, that this light had been atop a Barque as a decoy, and that the superior Spanish Fleet now had the weather gage over them. The Spanish ships immediately bore down on them with full sail and the buccaneers were left with no choice but to run for it, with the Spaniards pursuing them around the Bay of Panama in a running fight lasting for most of the day.

Thus all that had been hoped and planned for in the preceding five or six months had come to nothing. After this disappointment, Davies and Swan split from the other buccaneers, and for the next couple of months they raided the coast of Mexico together.

On 25th August 1685, Davis and Swan finally separated. Davies wanted to continue plying his trade on the American coast, while Swan had plans to turn west across the Pacific and try his luck in the East Indies. Dampier was growing tired of the life he was leading, and finding Swan like minded, left Davis in the lBatchelor’s Delight and joined with Swan in the Cygnet.

Across the Pacific Ocean
It was not, however, until 31st March 1686, that the Cygnet with Swan, Dampier and 100 men aboard, departed from Mexico in the company of a second ship, a captured Barque, with fifty men commanded by Teat, Swan’s First Mate.

A voyage across the Pacific was not to be undertaken lightly, as calculation of longitude was at best an educated guess. Without knowing the longitude, the distance could not be calculated, and English and Spanish charts differed by up to 1,500 miles over the distance between Acapulco and Guam. The Spanish charts showed the distance as 2,300-2,400 leagues (6,900- 7,200 miles) while English charts put it at 1,900 leagues (5,700 miles). Both were wrong but the Spanish were the closest.

Charts were also unreliable as there was no international agreement as to what constituted a league. Without knowing the distance they could only guess how long the voyage would take, and how many days of provisions to take. Francis Drake had said that he made the crossing in fifty days, and Swan thought that with his more modern and faster ships he could do it in forty days. To be on the safe side, they took provisions for 60 days and strictly rationed them in case the voyage took longer.

Keeping to latitude 13 degrees N, they sailed directly west aiming for the Island of Guam. After 750 miles out, they picked up the ENE trade winds which lasted for the rest of the way, enabling them to average about 140 miles each day. On the twentieth day, the men began to complain about their daily ration, as having made such good progress, they thought the voyage would soon be over, and wanted more food to which Swan reluctantly agreed.

After 39 days, according to the English charts, they should have arrived at Guam or one of the other Mariana islands, of which there was no sign. Food was running short and they had been unable to catch any fish. A few days later, the men were becoming mutinous, vowing that if the food ran out they would kill the rotund Swan and eat him first.

On 20th May, the 50th day out, with only three day’s provisions remaining, they sighted Guam, and anchored in the evening of the next day on its west side, having taken 51 days to cross the Pacific Ocean. Dampier calculated their distance sailed as 7,302 miles or 2,434 leagues. This was 1,600 miles further than English charts showed, and he was possibly the first Englishman to calculate the distance with any accuracy.

-----“-----

(Continued)
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"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."
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Old 01-12-2012, 17:24
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

(Part 4)

Guam and the Mariana Islands

Guam and the Mariana Islands were Spanish controlled, with their governor resident on Guam protected only by a small garrison. So when the Cygnet arrived on 21st May 1686 with over 100 of what were obviously English buccaneers aboard, he was very nervous, as his garrison was too few to oppose them. He was partially mollified when Swan reassured him that all they wanted was to buy provisions and then be on their way.

The governor was particularly nervous at this time because Guam was a scheduled stop for the treasure ships from Manila to Acapulco, to take on provisions and water, one of which was due.

While they lay there, the Spanish ship came within sight of the island, but was warned off by the Governor sending an Indian proe (30ft canoe) to intercept it. The ship stood off to the south of the Island, but ran aground on a shoal, loosing her rudder. She stuck there for three days, out of sight of the buccaneers, before she was free and her rudder replaced.

The Cygnet stayed until 2nd June then departed, bound for Mindanao in the Philippines.

[Note: In 1494 and later in 1529, Spain and Portugal had agreed to divide the countries of the world outside Europe between them, giving each other exclusive rights of trade in their own half of the world to prevent conflicts between the two countries.
The final demarcation was that Spain had rights to lands west of about longitude 45 degrees west and east of 140 degrees east with Portugal taking the rest. (This is why Brazil became a Portuguese possession.) Consequently, to prevent entering Portugal’s zone of interest, Spanish ships from the Philippines had to sail eastwards across the Pacific to get back to Spain.
Needless to say, all this was ignored by other European nations, especially by the English. The line of 45 degrees longitude became known in England as 'the line', and the expression 'There is no peace beyond the line' came into general use.]

Mindanao
Three weeks after leaving Guam, on 22nd June 1686, they arrived on the NE coast of Mindanao, then sailed SE down the coast, sheltering in a bay from a westerly storm until 4th July. They called this the Bay of Deer because the land was teeming with wild deer, on which they fed until 12th July, when they continued round the coast until they arrived at the Mindanao River on 18th July.

Mindanao was chosen as it was hostile to the Spanish whose presence had been repulsed and the Dutch similarly. Therefore, anyone who was neither Spanish nor Dutch was welcome so long as they displayed friendly intentions.

Captain Swan, knowing that the Monsoon season would soon be upon them, decided it was necessary to stay for some time at this island, so thought it would be better to establish friendly relations with the Sultan. He therefore immediately sent a present to him of 3 yards of scarlet cloth, 3 yards of broad gold lace, a Turkish scimitar and a pair of pistols.

They were advised that there was a better anchorage further up the river to which they moved. But the worms with which the river was infested bored into the Cygnet's bottom necessitating the replacement of the entire outer planking. It was later discovered that a Dutch ship anchored in the same position had suffered similarly, but with only a single hull, it became a total loss and the local Sultan had gained all its guns for himself.

It was suspected that the Sultan's ‘helpfulness’ intended the same fate for the Cygnet. But he was disappointed when he found out she had a double planked hull, declaring that he had never seen that before. By 10th December they had finished replacing the entire outer planking. In contrast, the Barque which had sailed with them across the Pacific was beyond repair.

Dampier had fallen ill on 6th December, from what he described as a "Fever and Ague that afterwards turned to a Dropsy, which I laboured under a long time after; and many of our men died of this distemper, though our Surgeons used their greatest skill to preserve their lives". This sickness was to haunt him for several years to come.

During their stay in Mindanao, about a third of the men lived ashore, the others remaining on board. The main division was between those that had money and those that had none. Those that had money lived ashore, and were in no hurry to leave Mindanao; while the others, including Dampier, lived aboard ship.

[Note: Although the spoils of their 'trade' were fairly evenly distributed among the men, compulsive gambling resulted in many of them loosing everything they had gained. As Dampier lived aboard the ship, it seems as though he was one of the losers.]

Those who lived ashore spent lavishly and had all the comforts that money bought - good food, housing, servants and women. While the others lived on board and subsisted on the ship's meagre provisions. These latter were eager to be on the move again and urged Swan to go to sea. Swan knew that when they next put to sea it would be nothing but another buccaneering cruise. He had previously told Dampier that he was forced into this business, and that he only sought or awaited an opportunity to escape from it.

Mutiny

The ship lay so long at Mindanao that the men grew mutinous; some of them ran away into the country, others purchased a canoe intending to go to Borneo. Swan was aware of his men's intentions, but appears to have done nothing to hinder them.

On the morning of 14th January 1687, with Dampier on board, the crew weighed anchor and fired a gun, waiting until mid afternoon for Captain Swan and the others who were still ashore. When by that time no answer was returned, they filled their topsails and started, leaving the commander and thirty six men behind.

[Note: Swan and his men remained a long time on the island, and some of them managed to obtain a passage to Batavia (Jakarta). Swan and his surgeon, whilst paddling their canoe to a Dutch ship to take them to Europe, were overtaken and attacked by some Indians, who then killed them. Other men who remained at Mindanao were poisoned.]

Meanderings in the South China Sea
[Note: Although their meanderings will appear aimless, their purpose was to spend a short time raiding the coast of one area before moving well away to the next. To prevent their detection, they invariably chose small islands, preferably uninhabited, at which to stop in order to obtain supplies and clean their ship, and to use as a base for their operations.]

The Cygnet with Captain Read, Master Teat and Quartermaster Henry More, for the next year, crisscrossed the South China Sea plying their trade. Dampier's function is unknown, but he seems to have been a navigator, recording their positions in his journal, although navigation was normally the Master's responsibility.

On departing Mindanao, they called at Mindora and Luconia (Luzon) in the Philippines and captured two Barques, before setting out across the South China Sea for Cambodia to the west, where they arrived at Pulo Condore (Con Son) Island in March. After 'trading' in the Gulf of Siam for a month, taking several small vessels and Junks, they returned to Pulo Condore, where they were forced by the weather to stay for another ten days.

While they were there, Herman Coppinger the Surgeon went ashore intending to stay, but Captain Read sent some men, and brought him back on board. Dampier had the same thoughts and would have gone ashore too, but waited for a more convenient place. He writes: "I was well enough satisfied, knowing that the farther we went the more knowledge and experience I should get, which was the main thing that I regarded, and would also have the more variety of places to attempt an escape from them being fully resolved to take the first opportunity of giving them the slip."

In June they set out eastwards to return to Mindanao, but SW winds forced them NE onto the coast of China, where by late July, they found themselves at the Pescadore Islands west of Formosa (Taiwan). Setting off southwards to Luzon, they were obliged midway to take refuge in the Bashi Islands, waiting for a favourable wind, often being driven back after setting out. Finally, in mid October they arrived in a small cove on an island off Mindanao where they careened the ship and cleaned the bottom.

To New Holland
In early November, they set off again to the SW heading for Celebes, where they arrived a week later; and for the next three weeks sailed down the east coast, before heading southwards for Timor in early December. Passing between two islands a week later, they continued south, sighting the NW coast of Timor a week later. They left Timor at the end of December 1687 continuing southwards, heading for New Holland, "to see what that country would afford us."

After carefully navigating the numerous shoals and reefs, on 4th January 1688, they finally arrived off the cost of New Holland, and ran along shore to eastward before anchoring in a bay the next day. Dampier describes the land, “New Holland is a very large tract of Land. It is not yet determined whether it is an Island or a main Continent, but I am certain that it joins neither to Asia, Africa, nor America.

These men of the Cygnet were probably the first Englishmen to set foot on the land now known as Australia.

[Note: Although it is not known exactly where they landed, from Dampier's latitude of 16 degrees 50 minutes south, the most probable area is near the peninsular now called Dampier Land.]

-----"-----

(Continued)
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Old 02-12-2012, 01:39
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Hello Bill:

I am enjoying reading your story of Dampier. I have all three of his books, but have not delved into them for many years, so your series is an excellent reminder of what an interesting man he was (and prompts me to read him again!).
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Old 02-12-2012, 16:53
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Hello Bill:
I am enjoying reading your story of Dampier. I have all three of his books, but have not delved into them for many years, so your series is an excellent reminder of what an interesting man he was (and prompts me to read him again!).
Thank you Patroclus; you are correct in saying that he was an interesting man. To my mind he is a fascinating person who pioneered the factual approach to all aspects of scientific observation, stating exactly what he saw without any preconceived notions.

The range of his observations is breathtaking, from the weather and cloud formation, the seasons, the flora and fauna, the local population with their beliefs and customs, to the sea with its tides, currents and wave motion.

I have, out of necessity, omitted most of his writing on such observations, of which much of his 500+ page book of this voyage is composed, and concentrated mainly on the actual travel aspect, which again I have highly condensed for the sake of brevity.

His book, and its influence on later scientific voyages of discovery, was profound, which I intend to touch on in a later posting.
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Old 03-12-2012, 17:04
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William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

(Part 5)

On the move again

Having landed on New Holland on 5th January 1688, they stayed for two months before setting out again on 12th March. Their next destination was the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean, 600 miles SW of Sumatra, to resupply.

Two weeks later they found an unnamed island (which, from its latitude of 10,30S was probably Christmas Island), and landed for supplies, departing the same day. The wind came mainly from the WNW preventing them sailing towards the Cocos Islands and blew them instead towards Sumatra, which they sighted on 7th April.

They sailed NW along the Sumatra coast, stopping only to gather coconuts from small islands. On 25th April they crossed the Equator, heading for the Nicobar Islands, which they sighted on the 4th May, and next day anchored on the NW coast of Nicobar Island.

The Nicobar Islands
Nicobar Island seemed a good a place as any for Dampier to take his leave of the buccaneering life, so on 6th May, with the permission of Captain Read, he was put ashore with his possessions. But within an hour, Read with several armed men returned and took him back to the ship.

This change of mind was caused by other men, including the Surgeon Coppinger, also wanting their release, but the crew would not part with their surgeon. After a futile attempt to escape, Coppinger was forcibly restrained and Dampier with two other men (Mr. Hall and Ambrose) were returned to the island.

A little while later, the boat from the ship returned with five more - captives from boats which had been taken, four Malays from Sumatra and a Portuguese. Dampier received them with mixed feelings, for while he was glad of their company for protection, eight strangers might be perceived as a threat by the local inhabitants, whereas a single person would probably be well received.

Dampier could not be certain that he was really free of the buccaneers, so they watched the Cygnet until midnight when she at last set sail, and continued to watch her until she disappeared into the night.

Freedom

The next day Dampier exchanged an axe they had brought with then for a canoe, with the intention of sailing to the south of the island and thence to the mainland of Sumatra. With eight men and their possessions aboard they set off in the canoe but, being overloaded, it almost immediately overturned, depositing everyone and everything into the sea.

Dampier: "We preserved our lives well enough by swimming, and dragged also our chests and clothes ashore; but all our things were wet. I had nothing of value but my journal and some drafts of land (charts), of my own taking, which I much prized, and which I had hitherto carefully preserved. But we presently opened our chests and took out our books, which, with much ado, we did afterwards dry, but some of our drafts that lay loose in our chests were spoiled."

They spent three days drying out, during which time their Malay companions had fitted outriggers to both sides of the canoe, and erected a substantial mast and made a sail. Setting off again, they were alarmed to see nearly a dozen other canoes following them. Misinterpreting their intentions, a shot was fired over their heads to deter them, which immediately provoked hostility, after which they were pursued round the island and prevented from landing. Dampier eventually persuaded their pursuers that they had only peaceful intentions, and was allowed to land to take on supplies.

Crossing to Sumatra
Waiting until 15th May for a favourable wind, the eight men set out in their open boat for Achin on the NW tip of Sumatra, 120 miles away to the SSE, with only a pocket compass and Dampier’s hand drawn chart to guide them.

At first, the weather was fair, clear and hot, with only a light SW breeze, obliging them to row (paddle?) the canoe. After rowing for two days, they were dismayed to find that they were still in sight of Nicobar Island 20 miles away to the WNW. A strong current had driven them back unseen during the night, but the wind had increased and they were now able to hoist the sail.

The next day, 18th May, they observed a great circle around the sun which foretold bad weather. They didn't have long to wait for the wind soon began to increase, and get stronger as the day wore on – so much so that they had to take down the sail and run before the wind.

Dampier: “The wind continued, increasing all the afternoon, and the sea still swelled higher and often broke, but did us no damage for the ends of the vessel being very narrow, he that steered received and broke the sea on his back, and so kept it from coming in so much as to endanger the vessel: though much water would come in, which we wore forced to keep heaving out continually.”

The sea was already roaring in a white foam about us, a dark night coming on, and no land in sight to shelter us, and our little Ark in danger to be swallowed by every wave. . . I had been in many eminent dangers before now, but the worst of them all was but a play-game, in comparison with this.”

Submitting our selves therefore to God’s good providence, and taking all the care we could to preserve our lives, Mr. Hall and I took turns to steer, and the rest took turns to heave out the water, and thus we provided to spend the most doleful night I ever was in. . . Never did poor mariners on a lee-shore more earnestly long for the dawning light, than we did now.”

When daylight came on 19th May, the wind had abated but was still blowing a gale from the west. In the dawn light the tip of high land beyond the horizon to the south was seen, so a sail “no bigger than an apron” was raised and the canoe carefully turned towards it.

In the evening the wind had dropped so much that they had to get out the oars again to make any progress. The next morning of the 20th, they saw low land only 20 miles away. But the westerly wind increased again, and it was not until late afternoon that they ran into the mouth of a river, 100 miles east of Achin, their intended destination.

Recovering in Sumatra

On arrival at the river, they were so sick and exhausted that they couldn’t land the canoe, but the Malays were able to converse with the locals and it was they who took the canoe up the river. When safely ashore, the Malays told how they had been captured and that they were all prisoners escaping from pirates. After which they were treated with extraordinary kindness and were provided with a large house in which to recover, and everything they needed, including many gifts.

After ten or twelve days, they were little better, but Dampier still wanted to go to Achin where there was an East India Company factory from which he had hopes of getting a passage to England. At the beginning of June 1688, they left for Achin by canoe and, after rowing for three days and nights, they arrived.

He made contact with a Mr. Driscall, an interpreter with the East India Company who provided a room for them (Dampier, Hall, Ambrose and the Portuguese), for they were all still very sick. The Portuguese died after three days and Ambrose a little later. Dampier was treated by a Malay doctor who gave him a powerful purgative. “It wrought so violently, that I thought it would have ended my days. I struggled till I had been about 20 or 30 times at stool with little intermission, I thought my Malayan doctor would have killed me outright.” But he survived and after a few days his fever left him, but only temporarily.

When he was a little recovered, he had plans to leave and was invited by a Captain Bowrey, to be the Boatswain of a ship he owned, that was to sail to Persia where it would be sold. From there he intended to pass with a caravan to Aleppo and so home for England. But a ship from Persia arrived with the news that they were at war with the English, so the idea was abandoned.

Voyage to Tonquin
A short time after this a Captain Welden arrived in Achin in a ship called the Curtana, bound for Tonquin (Tonkin, N. Vietnam). This was a more agreeable voyage than to Persia, as the Curtana was better accommodated, and had a Surgeon aboard, and Dampier, still being sick, chose rather to serve Captain Welden than Captain Bowrey. Moreover, Welden promised to purchase a sloop at Tonquin and make Dampier master of her for a trading voyage to Cochin, China.

They set out via the Straits of Malacca for Tonquin in July 1688, and on their arrival they navigated the ship about twenty miles up the river and anchored. The main markets were then at Cachao (Hanoi), eighty miles away, so their merchandise was off loaded into smaller boats which took them the rest of the way. Dampier remained for a week, before returning to the Curtana, by which time his sickness had returned, incapacitating him for five or six weeks in a miserable condition.

When he felt strong enough, he hired a native guide and went on a walking tour through the country. On his return, he discovered that Welden had abandoned his scheme to purchase a sloop to trade to Cochin. In February 1689, they weighed anchor and sailed back to Achin, arriving in April.

-----“-----

(Continued)
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Old 04-12-2012, 17:29
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William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

(Part 6)


Further voyages in the Indian Ocean

After returning from Tonquin, the following month Dampier was offered the command of a sloop that had been bought by a Captain Tyler; but when the vessel was loaded, the owner changed his mind and gave the command to a man named Minchin, who offered Dampier the post of mate, which he accepted. They set out for Malacca, Malaya in mid-September, returning in December.

His fever returned confining him to his bed for a fortnight, after which, on New Year's Day 1690, sailed from Achin for Fort St. George in Madras, India with a cargo of pepper and other produce. While there, a ship called the Mindanao Merchant arrived from Mindanao. On board was a Mr. Moody with whom Dampier became friends. Moody spoke Malayan well and was appointed to take charge of the East India Company’s affairs at Indrapore (Inderapura) on the west coast of Sumatra, 650 miles to the south of Achin, and Dampier decided to go with him.

In July 1690, Dampier and Moody sailed from Fort St. George, in a small ship called the Diamond, with about 50 or 60 Passengers; 5 or 6 officers and the rest soldiers of the Company. It was an uneventful voyage until they neared Indrapore, when a NW wind prevented them entering, so they continued along the coast for another 160 miles to Bencouli (Bengkulu), another English factory (trading post) on the same coast.

The Fort at Bencouli
Dampier was offered the post of Gunner at the Bencouli Fort with a salary of 24 dollars per month which he accepted. He held that position for about 5 months, during which time he came to dislike the Governor - “I saw so much ignorance in him, with respect to his charge, being much fitter to be a book-keeper than Governor of a Fort; and yet so much insolence and cruelty with respect to those under him, and rashness in his management of the Malayan neighbourhood, that I soon grew weary of him, not thinking my self very safe indeed, under a man whose humours were so brutish and barbarous.”

Dampier also wanted to go home to England “after so tedious a ramble from it”, so he asked the Governor and Council to be released so that he could return to England on the next ship. The Council thought it reasonable and consented to it, and the Governor gave his word that he would allow it.

On the 2nd January 1691, an East Indiaman, the Defence bound for England. arrived in Bencouli. Dampier suspected that the Governor would prevent him going, so he took the precaution of getting the agreement of the ship’s Captain Heath to assist him if need be.

Just as Dampier thought, the Governor flatly refused to allow him to leave; so the night before the ship was to sail, Dampier escaped from the Fort through a gun-port and made his way to the shore where a ship’s boat was waiting to take him to the Defence, which sailed the next morning.

Passage to the Cape
The Defence sailed for the Cape of Good Hope on 25th January 1691, where she expected to meet up with three other ships, so they could sail together for protection, as England was now at war with France.

They had not been long at sea when sickness broke out, from which eventually over thirty men died. It was thought that the water which had been taken on at Bencouli was the cause. The symptoms were a lack of appetite and lethargy which, after 3 or 5 days, usually resulted in death. Everyone was affected to some extent, so much so that the vessel was handled only with difficulty under normal conditions. In the difficult southern winds which came about two months into the voyage, the ship was uncontrollable.

At the end of March, Captain Heath put the stark facts before everyone: they were now near the Cape which, with a fair Wind they could reach in 4 or 5 days with the fit men they still had; but with the present wind they couldn't make it. The alternative was to go with the wind and aim for the Comoros Islands where the outward bound East India Ships usually called, or the nearer Madagascar which was unknown to them.

The unanimous opinion was to continue towards the Cape, and hope for a change in the wind. But Captain Heath told them bluntly, that it was not enough that they all consented to beat for the Cape, for hopes alone wouldn't get them there. Everyone who was able, had to work harder, and to encourage them, he promised an extra month's pay "to every man that would engage to assist on all occasions, and be ready upon call, whether it were his turn to watch, or not." They were lucky, for shortly afterwards the wind became favourable, and with incessant labour from the men, it brought them to the Cape about the beginning of April.

The night before they entered harbour, being near to land, they fired a gun every hour, to give notice of their distress. The next day, a Dutch Captain came aboard, who seeing them so weak they couldn’t trim the sails to turn into the Harbour, sent ashore for a hundred lusty men, who immediately came aboard and did everything they were required to do and brought the Defence in to anchor.

At the Cape of Good Hope
The Defence was now too undermanned to sail, so Captain Heath asked the Governor to help with this. In the meantime, the homeward bound John and Mary, and later the Josiah, came into harbour, from which it was hoped men could be obtained, but they both had only enough to work their own ship. A Dutch Fleet was expected soon, so they waited until it arrived, but they too were unwilling to spare men.

Captain Heath was becoming desperate and resorted to subterfuge; he found out that many of the Dutch sailors wanted to return to Europe, so when they contacted him, he arranged for them to wait at certain places from where, during the night, a boat was sent to bring aboard 3 or 4 of them at a time. They were then hidden about the ship whenever a Dutch boat approached or came aboard. Forty Dutch seamen were obtained this way.

Eventually, about the 23rd May, after spending six weeks at the Cape, they departed in the company of the James and Mary, and the Josiah and headed towards the island of St. Helena.

St. Helena to England
Shortly after leaving the Cape, a "great tumbling sea" struck them one night, causing them to roll violently dislodging cargo and stores. It lasted all night, and afterwards they had to contend with a continual heavy swell coming at them obliquely and the subsequent heavy rolling that it caused. But the weather was fine and clear all the way to St. Helena at which they arrived on 20th June, where they found the Princess Ann waiting for them.

They stayed there for 5 or 6 days, then the four ships left together and sailed in company towards England. When they reached the English Channel, the John and Mary went ahead to Plymouth to tell them of their approach, and several Men of War came out to meet and escort them along the Channel as far as Portsmouth. There the warships left them, but they were soon joined by several other merchantmen, and sailed together. Finally, on 16th September 1691, they luffed in for the Downs where they anchored.

Thus ended William Dampier's first voyage round the world. From his starting from England in the Loyal Merchant in 1679, his first circumnavigation had taken twelve long, incident packed years. During which time he was absent for the entire reign of King James II (1685-1688), and had missed the Glorious Revolution of 1688 which saw the Dutch William of Orange become King of England and his wife Mary (the daughter of James II) his Queen.

Dampier’s Legacy

Throughout his entire 12 years of travels, he kept his journal, which is almost all he possessed on his return, fortune having escaped him. But it was to prove his most valuable asset. For when it was published in 1697, entitled “A New Voyage Round the World”, it was an immediate success, and within nine months had gone into three printings and was soon translated into other languages, including Dutch, German, and French. Had it not been for his journal and subsequent books, the name of William Dampier, and what he did. would have been lost to history.

Attachments:
1. Title page of the 1697 edition.
2. Title page of the supplement, volume II

Title page 1697.jpg Title page vol2.jpg

-----“-----
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Old 04-12-2012, 18:51
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

Thanks Bill, interesting reading.
Were the subsequent circumnavigations as adventurous as this?

Jack.
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Old 05-12-2012, 17:18
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Thanks Bill, interesting reading.
Were the subsequent circumnavigations as adventurous as this?
Jack.
Hello Jack.
The second and third circumnavigations were sponsored privateering expeditions. I haven't yet read about these so I can't say how adventurous they were. Dampier either didn't keep a journal, or didn't publish one, for there is no account of these two later circumnavigations in his hand. Although there are accounts written by others who took part.

Dampier's second voyage was probably the first official voyage of discovery ordered by the Admiralty. It was to New Holland for which he was commissioned as a Captain in the Royal Navy. This wasn't a circumnavigation but he did keep a journal which was later published in two volumes. He also lost his ship, the Roebuck; he was court martialled and dismissed from the service for mistreating an officer.
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Old 10-12-2012, 16:57
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

William Dampier - the Voyage to New Holland (Australia)


Background
From his journals kept during his first circumnavigation, Dampier had written the book “A New Voyage round the World”, which he dedicated to Charles Mountague, the President of the Royal Society, although he didn’t know him. It seems that Mountague was impressed enough with Dampier to recommend him to the Admiralty to lead a voyage of discovery to New Holland (Australia) – a voyage whish Dampier himself had suggested.

What Dampier proposed, was to sail via the Cape to New Holland, to discover if it was part of the southern land mass called Terra Australis. Then to New Guinea, returning home by way of Tierra del Fuego – the first west to east circumnavigation. But it seems that this ambitious voyage was not approved, and instead a more limited expedition to New Holland was decided upon. Their route would take them, via the Cape of Good Hope to Australia, New Guinea and the Malay Archipelago, returning the same way.

For this voyage, Dampier was commissioned into the Royal Navy as a Captain, given the command of the Roebuck, with New Holland as their destination, with exploration and discovery as its objective.

This was probably the first official voyage of discovery ordered by the Admiralty. Hitherto, exploration hadn’t been for the pursuit of scientific knowledge and discovery, but for military and economic purposes, and served mainly as a source of new information to exploit for commercial or national expansion interests.

[Note: Although the following narrative makes no explicit mention of what they discovered, it can be taken that copious notes were made, and specimens collected, at every place at which they called; including flora, fauna, topography, weather, winds, tides, currents etc.; charts were made and coastlines mapped.]


The outward voyage
One might have expected Dampier to sail direct to Australia, but in those days, without refrigeration, the provision of fresh food was solved by making frequent stops to re-supply and take on fresh water. Also, fouling of the ship's bottom was a constant problem, and stops to re-supply were often extended to careen the ship and scrape and tallow the hull.

Dampier departed England on 14th January 1699 in the Roebuck, a ship with 12 guns, and a crew of 50 men and boys. Their first stop was the Canary Islands which they reached on 28th January; after which further stops were made in the Cape Verde Islands (11th February) and Bahia (now Salvador), Brazil on 24th March.

[Note: Dampier had decided against stopping at the Cape of Good Hope because the weather and winds would be unfavourable at this time of year, and stopping at Brazil gave him an opportunity to re-supply and refresh the men for the long run to Australia.]


New Holland
They stayed in Brazil until 23rd April, when they departed and passed by the Cape of Good Hope on 3rd June. They made land on the western coast of Australia on 6th August, at a place Dampier named Shark’s Bay, and anchored there. They explored the coast to the northeast for nearly 1,000 miles taking about 5 weeks, frequently stopping to search for fresh water; but finding only brackish water unsuitable for drinking. With their fresh water supplies running low, Dampier decided to leave New Holland in early September, and try Timor instead.

[Note: While the Dutch had charted most of the western and much of the northern coasts of New Holland, the eastern and southern coasts were unexplored. He intended originally to sail round New Guinea and return via the unknown east and south coasts of Australia. This was very ambitious, because at that time, it was not known if Australia was an island, but Dampier believed it to be so. Also, it was thought that New Guinea and New Holland were one land, as the Torres Strait had not yet been discovered.]


Timor and New Guinea
They left New Holland in early September and arrived in Timor ten days later. They stayed there for about three months to give the men time to recover, as many had become scorbutic. After refitting and re-supplying, they departed Timor for New Guinea on 12th December.

The Roebuck arrived on the NW coast of New Guinea in January 1700, sailed around the north side and then eastwards. After then sailing SE, on 27th February, the NE tip of what was thought to be part of the New Guinea mainland, was sighted, but was actually what is now called New Ireland. They followed its eastern coastline southwards and then turning west around its southern point which Dampier named Cape St. George.

Dampier: "Before night we opened the headland fair and I named it Cape St. George. The land from hence trends away west-north-west about 10 leagues, which is as far as we could see it; and the land that we saw to the westward of it in the evening, which bore west by south half south, was another point about 10 leagues from Cape St. George; between which there runs in a deep bay for 20 leagues or more."

Dampier called this St. George's Bay, which was actually the southern entrance to St. George's Channel, which separates New Ireland from New Britain, and was discovered and named by Philip Carteret 67 years later.

The Roebuck continued plying to westward until about 26th March, when the coastline turned to the north. This, they discovered, was the southern entrance to a previously unknown (to Europeans) passage between this land and the New Guinea mainland, and was later called the Dampier Strait in his honour.

[Note: Confusingly, there is another Dampier Strait, separating the north of New Guinea from the North Moluccas, but is marked on maps as Selat Dampier, which means the same thing.]

Dampier now knew that the land they had sailed around was an island which he called New Britain, not realising that it was in fact two islands. The east coast they had sailed down was that of another island, later called New Ireland by Carteret. (This explains the peculiar squarish shape of New Britain shown of maps made shortly afterwards, as Dampier didn't explore the north coast.)

Sailing northward through this new passage, they followed the New Guinea coastline to the northwest, and reached its northern cape (through the Selat Dampier) on 18th April.

Attachment:
1. Chart of New Guinea showing route of the Roebuck.

New Guinea Map.jpg


Return to Timor and Java

They left New Guinea on 24th April and, after visiting many islands on the way, arrived at Timor on 18th May where they took on water and provisions. They left Timor on 27th May and headed SW, intending to return to the coast of New Holland.

Dampier had intended to strike the coast of New Holland at 20 degrees South, but a contrary wind on 11th June prevented their southward progress, turning them instead to the west until 15th when Dampier gave up beating against the wind, and turned north towards Java.

Dampier: “I kept on my course to the westward till the 15th, and then altered it. Having been sick 5 or 6 days without any fresh provision or other good nourishment aboard, and seeing no likelihood of my recovery, I rather chose to go to some port in time than to beat here any longer; my people being very negligent when I was not upon deck myself.

They arrived within sight of Java on 23rd June, but again a contrary wind delayed their passage of the Sunda Strait until 1st July, and after turning eastwards, anchored at Batavia (Jakarta) the next day.

Dampier: “I lay here till the 17th of October. In the meantime I supplied the carpenter with such stores as were necessary for refitting the ship; which proved more leaky after he had caulked her than she was before: so that I was obliged to careen her, for which purpose I hired vessels to take in our guns, ballast, provision and stores.”

On 17th October, the Roebuck weighed anchor from Batavia, having good wind and fair weather, and headed for the Cape of Good Hope, at which they arrived on 30th December. They stayed at the Cape until 11th January 1701, when they set sail again for St. Helena, arriving there on 2nd February, where they stayed until 13th.


Ascension Island
On the 21st February 1701, they made Ascension Island, but the next day the Roebuck sprung a leak which rapidly increased so that the chain-pump could not keep the ship free.

Dampier: “Whereupon I set the hand-pump to work also, and by 10 o'clock sucked her: then wore the ship, and stood to the southward to try if that would ease her; and then the chain-pump just kept her free. As soon as we anchored I ordered the gunner to clear his powder-room that we might there search for the leak and endeavour to stop it within board if possible; and by 10 o'clock the powder-room was clear.”

By afternoon everyone was employed pumping with both pumps; except those assisting the carpenter's mate. Dampier “. . . ordered the carpenter to bring all the oakum he had, and the boatswain to bring all the waste cloths to stuff in upon occasion; and had for the same purpose sent down my own bedclothes.”

About 5 o'clock the boatswain told Dampier the leak had increased, and that it was impossible to keep the ship above water. After which:
I ordered them in the meantime to stop in oakum, and some pieces of beef; which accordingly was done, but all to little purpose: for now the water gashed in with such violence, notwithstanding all our endeavours to check it, that it flew in over the ceiling; and for want of passage out of the room overflowed it above 2 foot deep. I ordered the bulkhead be cut open, to give passage to the water that it might drain out of the room; and withal ordered to clear away abaft the bulkhead, that we might bail: so now we had both pumps going and as many bailing as could; and by this means the water began to decrease; which gave me some hope of saving the ship.”

About 11 o'clock at night the boatswain reported that the leak had increased; and that the planks was so rotten they broke away like dirt; and it was now impossible to save the ship, because the water was too deep to access the leak. The rest of the night they spent in pumping and bailing, but the water still increased.

In the morning they weighed anchor and moved in towards the shore; and in the afternoon carried a small anchor ashore and warped in till the ship came into 3 fathoms. In the morning Dampier ordered the sails to be made into tents and then saving what they could, went ashore.

Here they stayed until 3rd April, when four ships came to anchor in the bay. They were H.M. ships the Anglesey, Hastings, Lizard; and the Canterbury East India ship. The Roebuck’s survivors were taken off by the three warships which sailed from Ascension on 8th April. On 8th May, Dampier transferred to the Canterbury as the warships were going to Barbados to water, and he wanted to get to England as soon as possible, where he arrived in mid May 1701.

-----"-----

Court Martial
For all Dampier's qualities as an observer, navigator and hydrographer, he was quite unsuited to command a ship, being unable to exercise discipline. Shortly after sailing from England, he quarrelled with his lieutenant, George Fisher, an old officer who had much service and who was probably not best pleased at being under the orders of an ex-pirate. The quarrel culminated in Dampier beating Fisher and putting him in chains until the ship reached Brazil. There he was handed over to the governor, who imprisoned him until he could be sent, first to Lisbon, and then onto England.

On his arrival in England, Fisher complained to the Admiralty about his treatment by Dampier who, on his return, wrote a vindication of his conduct; but to no avail, and a charge of "Hard and cruel usage of the lieutenant" was laid against him, resulting in a court martial, held on 8th June 1702.

The court found him "guilty of very hard and cruel usage towards Lieutenant Fisher" and found that there hadn't ". . . been any grounds for this his ill-usage of Lieutenant Fisher." The court therefore adjudged ‘that Captain Dampier be fined all his pay to the chest at Chatham,’ and further, ‘that Captain Dampier is not a fit person to be employed as commander of any of his majesty's ships’.

So for the second time in his life, Dampier had made no money from his voyages.


Afterwards
Although many papers were lost with the Roebuck, Dampier was able to save many new charts of coastlines, and his record of trade winds and currents in the seas around Australia and New Guinea. He also saved a few of his specimens.

From these he was able to publish his third book, "A Voyage to New Holland" in 1703; and his fourth "A Continuation of a Voyage to New Holland" in 1709.

Attachments:
1. Title page “A Voyage to New Holland”.
2. Title page “A Continuation of a Voyage to New Holland”.

NH 1.jpg NH 2.jpg


Legacy
It is not easy to name another voyager or traveller who has given more useful information to the world; to whom the merchant and mariner are so much indebted; or who has communicated his information in such an intelligible a manner. He was able to portray this knowledge in an eloquent yet unpretentious style of writing in several popular and influential publications.

He wrote a seminal hydrographic treatise, which is considered an important early contribution in the field of oceanography. He was among the first Englishmen to set foot on the Australian continent, made significant Australian botanical collections, and consequently spawned British interest in the region, opening the way for the explorations of James Cook.

His notes on the fauna and flora of northwestern Australia were studied by the naturalist and scientist Joseph Banks, who made further studies during the first voyage with Captain James Cook.

Among the many places named after him are, in New Guinea: the Dampier Strait and the Selat (Strait) Dampier. In Western Australia: the port of Dampier, the Dampier Land peninsular and the Dampier Archipelago. In 1966 and 1985 he was honoured by Australia Post issuing a postage stamp depicting his portrait.

A memorial commemorating Dampier’s landing in Western Australia near Broome on the Dampier Peninsula, was erected during the Australian Bicentennial. In addition, a Dampier memorial plaque erected in 1908 at his birthplace in East Coker, Somerset, reads, “An exact observer of all things in Earth, Sea and Air he recorded the knowledge won by years of danger and hardship.”

HMS Dampier was, appropriately, a survey ship based mainly in Singapore from 1948 until paid off in 1968.

He is cited over a thousand times in the Oxford English Dictionary notably on words such as 'barbecue', 'avocado', 'chopsticks' and 'sub-species'. He didn’t coin the words, but his use of them in his writings are the first known examples in English.

Dampier’s contributions to natural history are honoured in the taxa named for him.
*Dampiera (a genus of approximately 66 species of flowering plants endemic to Australia),
*Willdampia (the spectacular Sturt Pea or Sturt’s Desert Pea, an Australian endemic),
*Dampia, (an Indo-West Pacific soft coral genus originally described from the Dampier Archipelago,
*Dampierosa (a genus of stonefish endemic to NW Australia),
*Pacifigorgia dampieri (a sea fan endemic to the Galapagos Islands).


Postscript
In 1999, to mark the Tercentennial of William Dampier’s landing at Sharks Bay, the Western Australian Museum decided to search for the wreck of Dampier’s ship the Roebuck wrecked off Ascension Island.

In March 2001, exactly 300 years almost to the day, the site of the wreck was identified from artefacts found or recovered from Clarence Bay, Ascension Island. Among those recovered were a ship’s bell inscribed with the broad arrow used by the Admiralty, grappling hooks, anchors and a giant clam shell believed to have been one of the specimens collected by Dampier, as clams this size are unknown in Ascension.

In addition, a heavily-concreted grapnel anchor was seen, and two heavily-eroded, tapering iron objects, very similar to the remains of heavily eroded cannon were seen firmly wedged amongst the rocks in a very turbulent location on the wave line and couldn’t be recovered.

Because of Dampier’s influence and partly because so little exists that can now be linked to one of the world's best known mariners and authors, it has been argued that the remains of his ship, and the objects still remaining, on the site at Ascension Island – while remaining the property of Britain and managed by Ascension Island – are perhaps best viewed as the shared maritime heritage of those parts of the world first visited or described by Dampier.

-----“-----

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"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."

Last edited by emason : 10-12-2012 at 17:07.
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Old 10-12-2012, 18:35
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

Thanks Bill for your time given to enable persons like myself to understand some of the trials and tribulations encountered in days gone by.

Jack.
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Old 10-12-2012, 20:02
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Thanks Bill for your time given to enable persons like myself to understand some of the trials and tribulations encountered in days gone by.Jack.
Thanks Jack, glad you enjoyed it.
They certainly had their moments didn't they? We forget how arduous these voyages really were. Being at the whim of the wind they couldn't always go where they wanted. The men had to be resourceful, almost living off the land (and sea), and adaptable, able to cope with almost any unforseen circumstance with only basic tools. Not forgetting the ever present spectre of Scurvy.

The accuracy of their navigation always surprises me. With basic intruments, the Cygnet was able to sail 7,000 miles across the Pacific and hit the small island of Guam as intended - over 300 years before satnav!
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Old 10-12-2012, 20:17
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

Their instruments were adequate for finding latitude so the usual practice was to get onto the parellel of latitude of your desired destination (if known) and run along it until you hit something - longitude was a very different matter!
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Old 11-12-2012, 18:29
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Their instruments were adequate for finding latitude so the usual practice was to get onto the parellel of latitude of your desired destination (if known) and run along it until you hit something - longitude was a very different matter!
You make it sound easy!

Here are some of the instruments in use at the time, though not necessarily on Dampier's voyages, but he does mention the quadrant.

Attachments:
1. The cross-staff or fore-staff was simply a four sided straight staff of hard wood, about three feet long, having four cross-pieces of different lengths (depending on the height of the sun) made to slide upon it.

2. The Davis Quadrant, invented by the navigator of the same name, was known also as "the back-staff" from the position of the observer with his back to the sun when using it.

3. The Star Clock or Nocturnal gave the hour of the night in the northern hemisphere by observing with it, the constellations of Usa Major and Minor, as they turned about the Pole Star.

Cross Staff.jpg Davis Quadrant.jpg Nocturnal.jpg
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Old 22-12-2012, 17:37
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

William Dampier – Second Circumnavigation (1703–1707)


Background
Following the death of King Charles II of Spain in 1701, with no obvious successor, the War of the Spanish Succession broke out between countries supporting their own candidate; even Spain was divided. What was feared by England was a Union between Spain and France upsetting the balance of power in Europe. As a result, England and the United Provinces (Holland) were at war with both France and Spain. This led to an upsurge in England of licensed privateering ventures, which were usually financed by wealthy merchants, but it was not unknown for the Monarch to have a stake in them.

William III of England died in 1702 and was succeeded by Queen Anne, whose husband George, Duke of Cumberland and Prince of Denmark, became Lord High Admiral, from whom the privateer’s commissions were obtained,


Rehabilitation

In April 1703, there appeared in the London Gazette (no.3906):
St. James’s, April 18. Captain William Dampier, being prepared to depart on another voyage to the West Indies, had the honour to kiss Her Majesty's hand on Friday last, being introduced by his Royal Highness the Lord High Admiral.

Yet only ten months earlier, Dampier had been dismissed from the Royal Navy as being unfit to command. What had happened?

Dampier, being short of money, had let it be known that he was looking for work, and a group of merchants wanting to profit from the opportunities presented by a privateering expedition, were looking for someone to lead it. It seems that they chose to ignore the Court’s verdict and appointed Dampier.

Dampier was immensely popular as an author, and was probably the best known mariner of his day. His presentation to Queen Anne shows the extent of his rehabilitation, being introduced by the Lord High Admiral of England from whose service he had been so recently dismissed.


Caveat!
There exists only one person’s account of this voyage, and it is not by Dampier! It is by a William Funnell who obviously disliked Dampier, often maligning him in his account, except for one brief note in the preface. Speaking of the S. American coast: “. . . upon all this Coast and during our whole Stay in the South Seas we found Captain Dampier’s Descriptions of Places very exact; and his Accounts of Winds, Currents etc. very extraordinary.”

Funnell’s account has been shown to be inaccurate, contradictory, with some events invented, and others just wrong. Needless to say Dampier disagreed with him, refuting, page by page, many of his allegations.

Funnell describes himself as ‘Mate to Captain Dampier’, whereas Dampier says that he was employed as his Steward and made him Midshipman. Dampier also accuses him of stealing charts and pages from his books.

But, as Funnell’s is the only account of this voyage, the following narrative, for what it is worth, is based upon it and, where relevant, Dampier’s objections either preferred or noted.


Pre-voyage

The merchants provided two ships of 26 guns and 120 men each, provisioned for nine months. They were the St. George captained by William Dampier, and the Fame captained by John Pulling, with both on the same terms of “No purchase, no pay”. In other words they were to be paid only on results. They had commissions from the Lord High Admiral to proceed in a “war-like manner against the French and Spaniards”.

While the ships were still anchored in the Downs, Pulling has disagreements with the merchants and, taking the Fame, sailed off in a huff to raid the Canary Islands. Dampier sailed on 30th April 1703 with the St. George to Kinsale in Ireland, arriving 18th May, to await a replacement for the Fame which was hurriedly being preparing.

The replacement ship, the Cinqe Ports, was much smaller than the Fame, being only 90 tons, sixteen guns and sixty three men aboard, with her Captain Charles Pickering. They departed Kinsale together on 11th September 1703.


Plans
Funnell tells us that Dampier intended first to sail to the River Plate and capture two or three Spanish galleons from around Buenos Aires. If the plunder amounted to the value of £600,000 they would return home. (Dampier denies this, saying that, although it was discussed, it was rejected as being too risky.)

They were then to sail round Cape Horn, into the South Seas to intercept ships carrying gold from Valdivia, Chile to Lima, Peru. If this failed, they would patrol the Mexican coast to wait for the next great treasure ship from Manila to Acapulco, which was said to be worth eight or nine million of pieces of eight.


To the South Seas
After leaving Kinsale on 11th September, they stopped briefly at Madeira on the 27th September, and the Cape Verde Islands on 7th October, before arriving at Grande Island, Brazil (a few miles SW of Rio de Janeiro) on 24th November. Here, Captain Pickering died and was replaced by the aristocratic and arrogant, 21 year old Thomas Stradling. They departed Grande Island on 8th December intending to sail non-stop to the Juan Fernandez Islands, off the coast of Chile.

When the latitude of Cape Horn was reached on 4th January 1704, the two ships became separated in a storm. It wasn’t until 20th January that the St. George finally rounded the Cape, tacked and stood to the northward. They continued to Juan Fernandez, and on 10th February, arrived to find the Cinque Ports already at anchor there.

During this passage, one of the St. George’s men died, and his possessions were auctioned before the mast:
January 14th, one of our Men being dead, his things were sold as follows. A Chest, value five Shillings, was sold for three Pounds: A pair of Shoes, value four Shillings and fix Pence, fold for thirty one Shillings: half a pound of Thread, value two Shillings, sold for seventeen Shillings and six Pence.”


Juan Fernandez
While here, they “wooded, watered, heeled and refitted” their ships. Trouble arose between Captain Stradling and his crew of the Cinque Ports, resulting in 42 of them going ashore and staying there for two days, until Dampier reconciled them and they returned to their ship.

On 29th February, they saw a sail and gave chase, but it wasn’t until nearly midnight that they caught up with her. She was a French ship of 400 tons, 30 guns and well manned. They waited until morning before attacking, and fought her for seven hours before the wind changed and the French ship disengaged.

They returned to Juan Fernandez to retrieve everything they had left in their haste to pursue the French ship, including five men. But when within sight of the Islands, a strong southerly wind prevented them reaching there.

So, on 6th March, they set sail for Peru which they reached on the 11th and turned north to cruise its coast, reaching Lima on the 22nd. On arrival they saw the French ship they had earlier engaged, entering port. Although they wanted to restart the fight, to prevent her reporting their presence, Dampier decided otherwise, saying that he came to fight the Spanish not the French.

Within the next week, they took two smaller ships, which were released a few days later after ransacking them. On 11th April they took a small Barque and this time kept it, for Dampier had a use for it.


Santa Maria
Dampier had his eyes set on the town of Santa Maria in the Darian Isthmus of Panama; the town where gold from the surrounding mines in the mountains was collected before being transported to Panama City. Dampier knew it well, as it was the same Santa Maria that he and the buccaneers had attacked in 1681.

This time he intended to approach it from one of the many rivers that flowed into the Bay of Panama, using the small ship they had recently captured, to sail up as far as they could before disembarking and approaching Santa Maria on foot.

On 27th April, Captains Dampier and Stradling with 102 men set off in the Barque and three launches. In the dark they sailed up the wrong river and realising their mistake they dropped anchor for the night. The next morning they intercepted a canoe carrying a pacquet of letters to Santa Maria, one of which was from the President addressed to the Governor, informing him that 250 English from Jamaica had landed on the north side of the Isthmus, with Santa Maria as their objective. It also informed him that 400 soldiers had been sent to reinforce him.

The next day, 30th April, with no time to loose and hoping the soldiers had not yet arrived, Dampier and Stradling with 87 men, set off for Santa Maria. But after being ambushed three times and loosing many men, they were forced to return the same day.


A Great Ship
They got back to their ships on the 6th May, which by this time were very short of provisions. But to their relief, a large Spanish ship, unaware of their identity, anchored close by during the night, which they took without a fight. This was a ship of about 550 tons, deeply laden with flour, sugar, brandy wine, 30 tons of quince marmalade, tons of linen and woollen cloth – enough to supply them with provisions for several Years.

They sunk the small Barque they no longer needed, then sailed westwards across the Bay of Panama to one of the many islands lying there. They anchored off Tobago Island on the 14th, and spent the next five days unloading their prize.

On 19th May, Dampier and Stradling, after having a disagreement, agreed to part company. Dampier with the St. George sailed away to raid the coast of Peru, and Stradling with the Cinque Ports eventually made his way back to Juan Fernandez to retrieve the men and provisions left there. It was here that Stradling and Alexander Selkirk fell out, and Selkirk was put ashore and stayed there for the next four years and four months.

[Note: Over time, Stradling seems to have fallen out with everyone, and the cause of this argument with Selkirk is said to have been (apart from his intense dislike of Stradling) over the seaworthiness of the leaky Cinque Ports, and because of this, Selkirk refused to go any further in her. It seems he was right, as she foundered a month later off the coast of Colombia, with only seven survivors, including Stradling. They were rescued by the Spanish, taken to Lima, Peru and imprisoned for the next four years, receiving harsh treatment. They were then handed over to the French who took them back to France and imprisonment in Brittany until 1710, from where nothing more is heard of them.]


South again
On June the 7th, while en route to Peru, the St. George took a small ship of about 100 tons off the cost of Ecuador. Apart from its unremarkable cargo, she was carrying a pacquet of letters to Panama City, some addressed to the President.

One of the letters was from the Captain of the French ship they had fought in February, telling of the presence of English privateers. Another letter told how the Spaniards had fitted out two Men of War; one with 32 brass guns of 24 pounders each; the other of 36 guns, of the same size; that each of them had 350 seamen, and 150 soldiers; and were cruising the Bay of Guayaquil (Ecuador) waiting for them.


An unequal engagement
On the 21st July, they saw a sail and gave chase, and next day, came up with her. She proved to be the 32 gun Spanish Man of War mentioned in the letters. Despite having only 22 five pounders, Dampier decided to take her on, but in trying to gain the weather gage quickly, too much sail was put on and the top fore-mast broke, forcing him to turn away.
In order to which, while we carried too much sail, and the wind blew very fresh, our fore-top mast unfortunately came by the board. Immediately we got our hatchets and cut all clear way, and our Captain ordered the helm to be clapt a weather and bore away.”

The Spanish saw this and immediately put on all the sail they could to catch them and come alongside. Dampier said that even with only mast he could sail better than the enemy, and therefore it was best to put before the wind. But they were being blown into the bay, inexorably towards the shore, so he chose to fight rather than to be run aground. Hoisting the bloody (red) flag, indicating that no quarter would be given or taken, they went to it as fast as they could load and fire.

The Spanish ship kept to windward, well within the range their larger guns for much of the time, but at the limit of St. George’s guns. “ . . . for he kept so far to windward of us, that our shot sometimes would hardly reach him, though his would at the same time fly over us.”

The engagement lasted from midday until 6.30, and in all, the St. George fired about 560 shots, of which, Dampier says, only about 60 actually hit. At 6.30, they both stopped firing and disengaged, giving Dampier time to have the foretop mast replaced. The St. George suffered nine casualties, but it was later learned the Spanish ship had about thirty.

When morning came there was no sign of their enemy, but South America was becoming to hot for them, so Dampier abandoned the Peru plan and turned back northwards. Later the same day, a small Barque of about 10 tons was captured which they kept, renaming it the Dragon. On the 31st July they left the coast of Ecuador and sailed northwards, across the Gulf of Panama, heading for the Gulf of Nicoya in Costa Rica.


The Gulf of Nicoya
16th August they arrived at Nicoya and anchored in the islands in the middle of the Gulf. The Dragon captured a Barque of 40 tons, into which they offloaded from the St. George, their provisions, cannon, powder and shot, to lighten her enough to careen for a much needed cleaning and repair.
The bottom of our Ship was in many places eaten like a Honey-comb insomuch that the firm plank was no thicker than an old Six-pence: Nay, in some places in the hold, we could thrust our thumbs quite through with ease.

On 2nd September, the chief Mate Clippinton with 21 men, mutinously seized the Barque in which was stored the ammunition, most of the provisions and several guns, and sailed away. Clippinton sent word that he would leave the powder, shot and ammunition (but keeping the guns) in an Indian house, from where Dampier’s men fetched it.


The Manila Ship
On the 22nd September, they had finished refitting the St. George, and hauled out from the Middle Island and anchored in the Gulf. The next day, the St. George and the Dragon with 64 men, set out to cruise along the coast towards Acapulco to the NW to intercept the Manila to Acapulco treasure ship. Along the way they took several small ships,

On 6th December they saw the Manila ship, and with thoughts of the millions of Pieces of Eight aboard her, they closed. But the Manila ship had many 18 and 24 pounder guns and, with Dampier failing to exercise control, arguments broke out on how best to take her. The resulting delay enabled the Spanish to be fully prepared when the time came.

Consequently, it was now too late to lay the St. George alongside, or to do her any damage with their 5 pounders. But any of the Spanish ship’s 18 and 24 pound shot would drive in a piece of plank of 3 or 4 feet.

The St. George, being so decayed and damaged, particularly by a shot in the powder room which drove in a two foot plank on each side the stem, they disengaged and stood off.


Disappointment and discontent

Thus the last of their plans ended in disappointed, seemingly unable to do any good in these parts, and with the ship ready to fall apart, all the men grew discontented and wanted to go home.

Dampier wanted to cruise here for six weeks longer, and then go to India where everyone could do as they pleased. They all agreed to this, but on 6th January 1705, Dampier wanted to continue in the South Seas. This time, only about 30 men agreed, the remainder were still resolved to go to India.

However, they all arrived at the Gulf of Amapalla, Honduras on 26th January 1705, where they filled their water casks and obtained fresh provisions. Amapalla was at latitude 13 degrees north, the same latitude they would use to sail to cross the Pacific Ocean.

The differences between those that wanted to go to India and those that wished to stay in the South Seas with Dampier remained irreconcilable. Consequently, the two groups parted company when, on the 1st February, the Barque with 35 men aboard set sail for India, leaving Dampier with the rotten St. George and only 28 men and boys to manage it.

The Carpenter stopped the Shot-holes which they had in their Powder-room with Tallow and Charcoal, not daring, as he said, to drive in a Nail, for fear of making it worse; and the four great Guns, which usually stood between Decks, were put down into the Hold, there being sixteen besides, which was more than they had Men to manage; for there remained with them no more than twenty eight Men and Boys, and most of them Landmen.


The last throw
Dampier left Amapalla and, after attacking and plundering a small town, sailed to the island of Lobos de la Mar, capturing a small Spanish vessel full of provisions on the way.

It was now obvious that the St. George was too rotten and too large for them to handle, so the plan was changed again, and they transferred all they needed into their new prize and sailed away westward with it to the East Indies. “Having transferred everything likely to be of use to them from the St. George, they left that crazy fabric rolling at her anchor and steered westwards for the Indies.


The rest of the story
Of the remainder of Dampier’s circumnavigation there is next to nothing known except the barest of outlines. It is known that he crossed the Pacific, was thrown in jail by the Dutch, and experienced ‘misfortunes’ in India. He finally got back to England at the end of 1707, having once again made nothing from his voyage.

On his return, “He was called to London and presented to the Queen, that he might give her an account of his adventures.”

William Funnell, the only narrator of Dampier’s second circumnavigation, was one of those who had deserted him at Amapalla on 1st February, and the rest of his narrative is concerned only with his own voyage.

Funnell returned the year before Dampier, and the publisher of Dampier’s former voyages, was persuaded by their popularity to print Funnell’s narrative of the voyage, giving the impression that it was by Dampier.

A VOYAGE round the WORLD.
Being an Account of Capt. William Dampier's Expedition into the South Seas in the Ship St. George, With his Various Adventures and Engagements.
Together with a Voyage from the West Coast of Mexico to East India, By W. Funnell, Mate to Capt. Dampier.”

When Dampier returned, he replied to it in an angry and badly written eight page pamphlet entitled “Captain Dampier’s Vindication of his Voyage in the Ship St George, with some small Observations on Mr. Funnel’s chimerical Relation.

These were the only words Dampier wrote about this voyage and, as no other account was ever published, Funnell’s account remains as its only history; although its misrepresentations and the malevolent spirit in which it is written, make its objectivity and accuracy questionable.

-----“-----
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Regards, Bill

"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."

Last edited by emason : 22-12-2012 at 17:51.
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Old 23-12-2012, 15:30
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

Bill, thank you very much for submitting those accounts of Dampiers exploits, made interesting reading.

Regards,
Jack.
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Old 23-12-2012, 18:26
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

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Originally Posted by JackW1208 View Post
Bill, thank you very much for submitting those accounts of Dampiers exploits, made interesting reading.
Regards,
Jack.
You're welcome Jack. Third circumnavigation to follow in due course.
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Old 26-12-2012, 19:57
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

While in the East Indies, Dampier had, on his second circumnavigation, been imprisoned by the Dutch, and his ship with its contents confiscated. The Dutch, being allies of the English, would never have done this to an English privateer, but Dampier, seemingly had at sometime lost his Letters of Marque, or Commission. The Letters of Marque was the official document which distinguished a privateer from a pirate or buccaneer. Without it they were, quite rightly, treated as pirates by the Dutch.

The attachment shows Dampier’s ‘Letters of Marque and Reprisal’ held at the National Archives. Dampier would have had a copy of this.

Attachments:
1. Letters of Marque and Reprisal for St. George

Letters of marque and reprisal for the St. George.jpg


A transcript of this reads:

13 October 1702
Appeared personally Captain William Dampier and produced a Warrant from the Right honourable the Commissioner deputed by his Royall Highnes Prince George of Denmarke and Lord High Admiral of England Ireland and of all Her Majesties Plantations for the granting of a Commission or Letters of Marque to him the said William Dampier, and in pursuance of her Majesties Instructions to Privateers made the following Declaration viz. that his ship is called the St George, and is of the burthen of about Two hundred & sixty Tonns, mounted with Twenty Two Gunns, that he the Declarant goes Captain of her, that she carryes one hundred men, one hundred small Armes, thirty Cutlaces, thirty Barrells of powder, thirty Rounds of great Shott and about one thousand weight of small shott, that the said ship is victualled for Eight months, has two Suites of Sails and some spare Sailes, five Anchors & five Cables, and about one Tonn of spare Cordage that Samuell Huxford goes Lieutenant, John Hill Master, Robert Edlington Boateswaine, Robert Carr Gunner, William Joy Carpenter, Edward Morgan Cooke and John Phelps Surgeon of the said Ship, and that William Price of Kingstreet neer Golden Square in the County of Middlesex, Gent is the sole Owner and setter out of the said ship.
(signed) Wm Dampier

The same day
This Declaration was made before
(signed) George Bramston
Juror
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Old 05-02-2013, 17:14
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

William Dampier – Third Circumnavigation (1708–1711)

(Part 1)

The narrative
Unlike Dampier's second circumnavigation, his third is particularly well documented, there being two reliable contemporary accounts, but neither is by Dampier. One is by Captain Woodes Rogers, the Commander in Chief of the expedition in the Frigate Duke; the second is by Edward Cooke, the second Captain of the other ship, the Dutchess, both of which were first published in 1712, the year after their return.

Because both books are about the voyage, rather than Dampier himself, he is seldom mentioned, so this account is likewise about the voyage rather than his part in it. The previous accounts of Dampier's voyages have concentrated on the action (what happened, when and where); but one privateering voyage is much the same as another. So in order to avoid repetition, and because this voyage was particularly well organised and documented, I have, while still relating the voyage, focussed on the ships, the men and customs, to give a better idea what life was like aboard an English privateer in the early 1700s.

The narrative of this circumnavigation is taken from both books, but where they disagree I have preferred Rogers version because, as he says:
From our first setting out, I took the best method to preserve an unquestionable relation of the voyage, by having a daily account kept in a publick book of all our transactions, which lay open to every one’s view; and where any thing was reasonably objected against, it was corrected. This method we observed during the whole voyage, and almost in the same manner as you have it in the following relation.”

I have quoted extensively from the books to give a flavour of the language of the time, and I hope you find this as interesting as I did.


Introduction

Dampier, on his return from his second circumnavigation in 1707, far from being discouraged by his lack of success in taking the Manila treasure ship, was emboldened by it and was determined to try again. He tried to raise interest in London for such an enterprise, but was met by indifference, so he tried Bristol whose merchants proved more receptive to his ideas. The outcome was that a consortium of about twenty Bristol merchants and businessmen agreed to finance such an expedition, providing two fully fitted out and manned privateers for the purpose.

But the sting in the tail for Dampier was that he was excluded from a position of command, and went instead as pilot to one of the ships, which was in itself an honourable position, there being none better qualified for such a position than he.

The merchants had obviously listened to, and learned from, Dampier’s previous experiences and made provision to cope with any situation that may arise. They carried twice as many officers than was usually thought necessary, so that if any were lost or disabled for whatever reason, they could be replaced by an equally qualified officer without causing disruption. Also the greater number of officers would be better able to quell any mutiny, which seemed to blight every privateering expedition. Some of these officers, although having no sea-going experience, had contributed financially to the expedition, and were thus particularly motivated to ensure its success.

It should be appreciated that the men who made up the crew of a privateer were among the roughest, toughest and ill-disciplined that were available. Many, if not most, were not sailors but landsmen, and were used neither to disciplining themselves, nor to that required to keep a crew in order and alive, and to whom mutiny was a natural reaction to any perceived wrong. So it was necessary to maintain a strict discipline when on board to maintain order so as not jeopardise the success of the voyage.

To ensure the ship's companies remained loyal, they were to receive greater rewards, but subject to better and stricter regulations, under severer penalties than was usual. Besides the penalties from violating the articles of agreement that were signed by every man from the highest to the lowest; they were encouraged to behave gallantly; every common sailor who lost a limb in action being entitled to a payment of £30, and those of higher rank proportionately more.

There were agents of the owners on both ships as senior officers, to oversee any plunder that may be taken and to account for everything bought, sold or plundered. All orders or actions affecting the expedition had to be approved in writing by an appointed council of officers.

Both ships had legal Commissions from HRH Prince George of Denmark, Lord High Admiral of England, to cruise on the coasts of Peru and Mexico, in the South Seas, against her Majesty's enemies, the French and Spaniards.

Thus it was that the 56 year old William Dampier embarked as pilot in the frigate Duke on his fourth and final great voyage.


Instructions

The owners were naturally anxious to ensure a successful voyage and drew up a ‘constitution’, of which the following is an extract:

Constitution for a Council for Directing the Affairs of the Ships Duke and Dutchess in their Voyage to America
For the better government and regulating of affairs of the present voyage, we whose names are underwritten, owners and appointed directors for the ships Duke and Dutchess, do hereby appoint and constitute Capt. Woodes Rogers Commander, Capt. Thomas Dover second Captain and Captain of the Marines, Capt. William Dampier Pilot, Mr. Carleton Vanbrugh Owners Agent, Mr. Green chief Lieutenant, Mr. Frye second Lieutenant, Mr. Charles Pope, Mr. Glendal, Mr. Ballet, and Mr. Wasse, all officers on board the Duke, to be Council on board the said Ship and,
Capt. Stephen Courtney, Capt. Cook his second Captain, Mr. William Stretton Lieutenant, Mr. William Bath Owners Agent, Mr. John Rogers, Mr. White, and the Master-Officers on board the Dutchess, to be the Council on board the said Ship, in case they should be separated from each other: but when in company, the Officers of both Ships above named are conjunctly at the summons of the Captains Rogers, Dover, and Courtney, or any two of them, to come on board either Ship, and be the Council referred to in our general orders, to determine all matters and things whatsoever, that may arise or be necessary for the general good; during the whole Voyage.

In case of death, sickness, or desertion of any of the above officers of either Ship, the rest that are of the Council appointed as aforesaid for the ship, shall convene on board their own ship, and choose another fit person into that Office and Council.

We farther require and direct, that all attempts, attacks, and designs upon the enemy, either by Sea or Land, be first consulted and debated on in the general Council, if together; and as the majority thereof shall conclude how or when to act or do, it shall be indispensably, and without unnecessary delay, put cheerfully in execution. . . . .

All matters transacted in this council shall be registered in a book by the clerk appointed for that purpose.
Dated in Bristol, July 14, 1708.
(Signed) John Batchelor, Christopher Shuter, James Hollidge, Thomas Goldney, Francis Rogers


The general instructions of the owners were, first, to repair to Ireland to take in provisions, and then to proceed with all possible expedition to the South Sea; if luckily they met with any prizes by the way, they were either to send them home or to America, as should best suit.

They were ordered to be mutually supportive, and by all means to keep together, and to act in concert; to undertake no enterprise of consequence without first deliberating the matter in a general council of officers in both ships; to be particularly careful in assisting each other in every circumstance of necessity; and that in giving relief in times of danger, or in supplying provisions or water in case of want, they should be as one ship. On no pretence the one should be suffered to want while the other had any thing to supply; but, as they were to share alike in all advantages, they should share alike too in all sufferings.

But it was not possible to cover everything, as Captain Rogers explains:
“. . . ’twas impossible to accommodate to all emergencies in an undertaking of this nature, and at so great a distance. . . . Another inconvenience we laboured under, was the want of power to try offenders, as aboard her Majesty’s ships of war; which obliged us to connive at many disorders, and to be mild in our punishments; but which was still worse, there was no sufficient power lodged in any one hand to determine differences amongst our chief officers; which was a great omission, and might have proved of dangerous consequence, because of the divisions which happened among us.”


From Bristol to Cork
The two ships were the Duke, commanded by Captain Woodes Rogers, and the Dutchess commanded by Captain Stephen Courtney. The Duke being 320 tons, with 30 guns and 117 men (later increased to 183); and the Dutchess 260 tons, with 26 guns and 108 men (later increased to 151). Captain Rogers, in the Duke, was the senior officer in overall command.

They were fitted out in Bristol, and on 2nd August 1708, weighed from King Road, and, in convoy with eight merchantmen escorted by the Frigate Peterborough, set sail for Cork, Ireland.

During the passage to Cork, it was found that, “Our ship and the Dutchess did not sail so well, our masts and rigging being unfit for the sea, our ships out of trim, and everything in disorder, being very indifferently manned, notwithstanding our number, we had not 20 sailors in the ship, and it’s very little better on board the Dutchess; which is a discouragement, only we hope to get some good sailors at Cork.”

Aug.5. We saw the land, and finding we had overshot our port, came to an anchor at twelve a clock off of the two rocks called the Sovereigns Bollacks near Kinsale, being calm.”

They waited until the evening before setting out again, and arrived in Cork the afternoon of 7th August.


At Cork
The owner’s agent in Cork, a Mr. Noblett Rogers, had been instructed to find suitable men for the voyage.
Aug.10. We were well pleased with the men Mr. Noblett Rogers got for us at Cork; upon which we cleared several of those brought from Bristol, and some of ‘em run away, being ordinary fellows, and not fit for our employment.

We had now above double the number of officers usual in privateers, and a large complement of men to each ship. We took this method of doubling our officers to prevent mutinies, which often happened in long voyages, and that we may have a large provision for a succession of officers in each ship, in case of mortality.”

Our complement of sailors in both ships was 333, of which above one third were foreigners from most nations; near one half of Her Majesty’s subjects on board were tinkers, tailors, Welsh haymakers, North-British pedlars, Irish fiddlers and pipers, one negro, and about ten boys. With this mixed gang we hoped to be well manned, as soon as they had learned the use of arms, and got their sea legs, which we doubted not soon to teach ‘em, and bring them to discipline.”

The two ships remained weather bound at Cork until the 28th when it became fine enough to "Careen clean and tallow the ships five streaks below the water line."


From Cork to the Canary Islands
It was 1st September 1708 before the Duke and Dutchess were able to leave Cork in a convoy of twenty merchant vessels, escorted by HM ship Hastings. Five days later, they parted company with the convoy and set a course for the Canary Islands.

On 9th the Council met and agreed:
That both ships Duke and Dutchess do touch at Madera, to make a larger provision of liquors the better to carry on our long undertaking, being but meanly stored for so large a number of men as are in both ships; and in case of separation between this place and Madera, then to meet at the Island St. Vincent, one of the Cape Verde Island, to wood and water.

On the 10th they saw a sail and chased, which they caught the next day and found she was a Swedish ship bound for Cadiz, which they suspected of carrying contraband. They boarded and examined here before letting her go.

While Captain Rogers was examining the Swedish ship, the men aboard the Duke mutinied at not being allowed to plunder her. The ringleaders were the boatswain and three junior officers, who with ten other men were put in irons. One of the men was “first soundly whipped for exciting the rest to join him. Others less guilty were punished and discharged, but I kept the chief officers all armed, fearing what might happen; the ship's company seeming inclined to favour the mutineers, some begged pardon and others I was forced to wink at”.

Two days later, the men in irons disclosed the names of the ringleaders, who were also placed in irons with the rest. A few days later, a sailor followed by nearly half the ship's company came and demanded the boatswain be set free. Captain Rogers, "desired him to speak with me on the quarter deck, which he did, where, the officers assisting, I seized him and made one of his chief comrades whip him, which method I thought best for breaking any unlawful friendship amongst themselves.”

This seemed to quell the rest of them who then submitted quietly and promised to behave. The Boatswain was considered a trouble maker, so he was carried in irons to Madeira and left there. Rogers says:
This mutiny would not have been easily lay’d were it not for the number of our officers, which we begin to find very necessary to bring our crew to discipline, always difficult in privateers, but without which 'tis impossible to carry on any distant undertaking like ours.”

On 18th September, early in the morning, they took a small Spanish ship of 25 tons, carrying 45 passengers and, among its cargo were two butts of wine and a hogshead of brandy. It was intended to ransom the ship in Tenerife, at which they arrived the next day.


The Canary Islands
On arrival at Oratava, Tenerife, a small boat with the captured captain and some prisoners was set ashore to present the Governor with their demands. The owner’s agent on board the Duke, Mr. Vanbrugh, went with them to conduct negotiations, much against Captain Roger’s wishes and advice. But Vanbrugh, being headstrong and full of his own importance, ignored Rogers and went ashore where he was immediately detained.

The result was that Vanbrugh was now held as ransom for the ship – stalemate. After days of threats, demands and bluff, on 22nd the governor capitulated and paid the ransom with goods and released Vanbrugh.

Back on board, Vanbrugh complained that Captain Rogers had not treated him as he should, whereupon, a Council was held to hear his complaints which were dismissed.
Whereas there has been some difference between Captain Woodes Rogers and Mr. Carleton Vanbrugh the ship’s agent, it being referred to the Council, we adjudged the said Mr. Vanbrugh to be much in the wrong. In witness whereof, we have set our hands, the 24th of Sept. 1709.”

While at Oratava, they heard from an English merchant, that four or five French ships of 24 to 50 guns, had sailed the month before, bound for the South Sea.


Canary Islands to Brazil
On 25th September, they crossed the Tropic of Cancer, into the Tropics and observed the customary ceremonies:
This day, according to custom, we ducked those who had never passed the Tropick before. The manner of doing it was by a rope through a block from the main yard, and let them fall at once into the water; having a stick cross through their legs, and well fastened to the rope, that they might not be surprised and let go their hold. This proved of great use to our fresh-water sailors, to recover the colour of their skins which were grown very black and nasty. Those that we ducked after this manner three times, were about 60, and others that would not undergo it, chose to pay half a crown fine; the mony to be levied and spent at a publick meeting of all the ships companys, when we return to England.”

The same day, the loose plunder of the Spanish prize was sold by auction amongst the sailors. The next day, “a sailor going up to furl the main-top-gallant, fell suddenly without any noise from the main-top overboard, occasioned as I suppose by a fit.

They made the Cape Verde Islands and came to anchor at St. Vincent on the 30th September. They stayed until 8th October, re-supplying and cleaning the ships, then departed for Brazil.

On 22nd October, the second Mate of the Dutchess fought with the second Captain Cooke, “For which and his abusive language he was lashed to the main-geers and drubbed; and for inciting the men to mutiny, was afterwards confined in irons aboard the Duke.

They crossed the Equator on 28th October and sighted the coast of Brazil to the NW on 14th November, and anchored at Grande Island on the 17th.

While there, on the 26th, a canoe was seen and ordered to stop, but it ignored the order and turned away, whereupon a boat was sent after it. The agent Vanbrugh, without waiting for an officer and without orders, jumped into the boat and ordered her away to chase the canoe. He ordered the corporal to fire, hitting one of its occupants who later died.

The Council passed a resolution:
We the Commanders and Officers of the Ships Duke and Dutchess, Consorts, do in behalf of our selves, and the rest of the companies of the said Ship, protest against the unadvised actions of the above said Carlton Vanbrugh, for proceeding without any Order from the Captain of the same ship, and acting contrary to what he was shipped for.”

Vanbrugh went before the Council who adjudged:
We the underwritten officers belonging to the ships Duke and Dutchess, appointed as a committee by the owners of both ships, do find it necessary for the good of our intended voyage, to remove Mr. Carleton Vanbrugh from being Agent of the Duke Frigate, to be the Agent of the Dutchess, and to receive Mr. William Bath Agent of the Dutchess in his place.”

This wasn’t their only trouble while there, for several men deserted, but were recaptured and “severely whipped and put in irons.”

On 29th November, they sold some of their plunder “to purchase some liquor and other necessities for our men as they go about Cape Horn, they being very meanly clothed, and ill provided to endure the cold.”


Brazil to Juan Fernandez
On 30th November they set sail, but successive calms and gales delayed their departure until 3rd December.

17th December, “one of the Dutchess’s men fell out of the mizzen-top down on the quarter-deck, and broke his skull.” He was buried the next day.

On 23rd December, they sighted the Falkland Islands, and two days later in a strong gale, a sail was spotted. They gave chase but the wind dropped so they got out the boats and towed the ships towards their quarry until the wind picked up again. On the 27th they got within four miles of her and saw that she was a large French ship, presumably returning from the South Seas. But the wind turned and the French ship was able to outpace them and escaped.

[Note: It was later discovered that this ship was transporting back to France, Captain Stradling who had been captured four years earlier by the Spanish during Dampier’s previous voyage.]

1st January 1709. “This being New-Year’s Day, every officer was wished a merry New Year by our musick; and I had a large tub of punch hot upon the quarter-deck, where every man in the ship had above a pint to his share.

2nd January, “Clothes and liquor were now an excellent commodity amongst our ships company, who are but meanly stored, We had Taylors at work for several weeks to make them clothing, and pretty well supplied their wants by the spare blankets and red clothes belonging to the owners; and what every officer could spare, was altered for the men’s use.”

On 5th January they encountered a violent storm, and the Dutchess, having a low waist, shipped a lot of water and was in danger of foundering, until they managed to turn her before the wind and take in the sails. The following seas broke over the stern, breaking the cabin windows and swamping the steerage and waist, soaking everyone and everything.

The next day, the storm having abated, Captain Rogers and Dampier went aboard the Dutchess to see how they fared, and found them “in a very orderly pickle, with all their clothes drying, the ship and rigging covered with them from the deck to the main-top”.

On 15th January they had rounded Cape Horn and were now in the South Seas. On 31st January, their destination, the Island of Juan Fernandez was sighted, but they couldn’t get near their anchorage because of a strong wind blowing off the land.

During the passage from Brazil, 6 men had died of sickness and 1 of scurvy; the Dutchess had 30 cases of scurvy with another 8 sick.

-----“-----

(Continued)
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"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."

Last edited by emason : 05-02-2013 at 17:40.
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Old 06-02-2013, 16:56
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

William Dampier – Third Circumnavigation (1708–1711)

(Part 2)

At Juan Fernandez

On 1st February, the two ships still couldn’t get within twelve miles of the Island, so a pinnace was sent to row ashore for provisions. After dark, with the pinnace still several miles from the shore, a light near the shore was seen. Fearing that it could have come from an enemy ship, Rogers fired a gun and lit some lights to signal the boat to return.

The next day, they moved around the coast a little way and launched the pinnace again about midday, this time with all the men armed. The next day, “Our pinnace returned from the shore, and brought abundance of craw-fish, with a man clothed in goat skins, who looked wilder than the first owners of them.”

This was Alexander Selkirk who had been put ashore from the Cinque Ports by Captain Stradling four years and four months before. Dampier told Captain Rogers that he had been the best man in her, so Rogers made him Mate on board the Duke.

The ships were eventually towed close to shore where they anchored. The sick were taken ashore and shelter was made for them, but two more from the Dutchess died.

They stayed on Juan Fernandez for two weeks, giving time for the sick to recuperate, replenish their provisions and repair their ships. The Council met to decide their next steps, which were to sail ENE to within six leagues of the coast of Chile, then follow the coast northwards to Peru and the Island of Lobos de la Mar, where they intended to build landing craft for an attack on the town of Guayaquil, in present day Equador, which at the time was part of Peru.


Juan Fernandez to Lobos de la Mar
On 15th February 1709, the two ships departed Juan Fernandez and, with a SSE wind, set a course for the coast of Chile which, with a fair wind, they reached three days later, then sailed northwards for the Island of Lobos de la Mar.

On 28th February, Captain Rogers experimented with the pinnaces, fitting both with a gun and sails "and all things necessary for small privateers". They were put in the water to see how they would handle. His idea was that they would be ". . serviceable to us in little winds to take vessels."

Since our departure from the Canaries, we generally went to prayers once or twice a day, and had ferula's made to punish swearing, by which we found the men much broke of that vice.”

On Monday last, I ordered three of our men to be put into irons for cutting the meat in the steep-tub, and hiding it, having found a large bowl full in one of their chests, and this day Captain Courtney caused two of them to be whipped and pickled.

6th March, “The Dutchess had a boy fell out of the mizzen-top down on the deck and broke his leg; of which he is in a fair way to recover.

15th March, they spied a sail which was easily taken by the Dutchess. This was a small vessel of about 16 tons with a small sum of money aboard to purchase flour. It was from the prisoners that they learned the fate of Captain Stradling’s ship the Cinque Ports which had foundered with only seven men saved, who were taken to Lima and imprisoned for the next four years.


At Lobos de la Mar
On 16th March, they anchored at Lobos de la Mar, where the captured small vessel was fitted out with new masts, sails and four swivel guns. She was to be used as a privateer and renamed the Beginning. She was manned by 35 men with Edward Cooke (second Captain of Dutchess) commanding.

23rd March, “This morning we began to scrub our ship (the Duke), and cleared abundance of barnacles off her bottom, almost as large as muscles. A ship grows very foul very fast in these seas.”

25th March, “The seals are very numerous here. A large one seized a stout Dutchman, had like to have pulled him into the water, and bit him to the bone in several places, in one of his arms and legs. . . Our people killed several with a design to eat their livers; but one of our crew, a Spaniard, dying suddenly after eating them, I forbad the use of them. . . The wind always blowing fresh over the land brought an ugly noisome smell aboard from the seals ashore; which gave me a violent head-ache, and everyone else complained of this nauseous smell.

26th March. The Dutchess and Beginning took a ship of about 50 tons. Her cargo was of little value, being mainly timber with some cacao, coconuts and tobacco which was distributed among the men. She was likewise fitted out as a privateer and renamed the Increase.

Vanbrugh, the owner’s agent aboard the Duke was in trouble again for his actions:
"Mr. Vanbrugh threatening to shoot one of our men at Lobos, only for refusing to carry some carrion crows that he shot, and having lately abused Captain Dover, as he said; the latter desired a Committee might be called to examine into Mr. Vanbrugh's conduct, and we came to the following issue: That Mr. Vanbrugh had committed sundry misdemeanours, and according to our orders, we not believing him fit person to be one of the Committee, have chosen Mr. Samuel Hopkins in his stead."

While the Duke lay at Lobos, her men built a large landing boat for the proposed attack on Guayaquil. On 29th March. They departed Lobos Island and run northwards towards Guayaquil.


Lobos to Guayaquil
On 2nd April at daybreak, a sail was seen to windward, at which the pinnaces were hoisted out and chased, taking her by eight o'clock. She was the Ascension, a large galleon built ship of about 4-500 tons, which was sailing from Panama bound for Lima, with dry goods and passengers. She was taken so easily because she was unarmed, having not even a pistol aboard. This was one of the largest merchant ships in those seas, so they also fitted her out as a privateer. That same evening the Beginning took another small ship of 35 tons.

The next day, after agreeing a rendezvous, they split up; the Duke sailing with the Increase with Selkirk as master; and the Dutchess sailing with the Beginning.

The next day, the 4th, the Ascension had completed its fitting out and sailed in company with the two other prizes. On the 6th, all six ships had rendezvoused and sailed together northwards.

On the morning of 14th April, they prepared the Increase and Beginning by loading them with arms, ammunition and provisions, together with Captain Courtney’s men. The two ships anchored in the Bay of Guayaquil that night, well away from the shore so as not to be seen.


The Bay of Guayaquil

15th April, at daybreak, they saw a sail between them and the shore which, if left alone, could alert Guayaquil to their presence. It being calm, the two pinnaces were sent off to take her. Expecting little resistance, they didn’t take the swivel guns with them and were only lightly armed. They were mistaken, for she was a Spanish manned, French built ship which, when the first pinnace came within range, fired a gun on it. Waiting for the other pinnace to catch up, they then consulted on how they would take her.

The plan was for the boats to come up to her underneath the bow and stern, and they would board her together. But they didn’t get that far; for before they got there they were fired upon by five guns mounted astern, killing one man and wounding three others, before retiring. Nevertheless, they attacked once more, but unfortunately Captain Rogers’ brother John was shot though the head and killed.

The dead and wounded were put into one pinnace which returned to the Duke, while the other positioned itself between the enemy and the shore. The Spaniards, seeing this, edged out to sea and the pinnace followed, firing their small arms at her occasionally. The Dutchess now came up and fired on the enemy ship, which then struck its colours.

On searching her they found that she could carry 24 guns, but had only six mounted, the rest were still in the hold, having not had enough time to bring them up. This was normal practice as it made the ship easier to handle, and there was usually enough time to mount them when the need arose, unless surprised, as she was here.

15th April, Rogers, “About twelve we read the prayers for the dead, and threw my dear brother overboard, with one of our sailors, another lying dangerously ill. We hoisted our colours but half mast up; we began first and the rest followed, firing each some volleys of small arms. All our officers expressed great concern for the loss of my brother, he being a very hopeful active young man, a little above twenty years of age.

18th April. When the landing parties departed, there would more prisoners (over 300) left on board than there were men to guard them, so all the prisoners were put in irons for the duration.


Approach to Guayaquil
Their plan of attack on Guayaquil had already been decided upon. Captains Rogers, Courtney and Dover would each led a company of about 70 men each to attack the town, while Dampier had a reserve of 22 men ashore with artillery. This would leave Edward Cooke aboard the Dutchess with 42 Men; and Robert Fry aboard the Duke with 40 men.

18th April. The landing parties of over 200 men, embarked in the three prizes, leaving the Duke and Dutchess to await their return at Cape Arenas. Instead of going direct to Guayaquil, they would first sail during the night to the Island of Puna which lay about 40 miles downstream from Guayaquil, where they would rendezvous and lay up till dawn, then take the small town there.

20th April. They took the small town on Puna very easily, but were disturbed to find among the Lieutenant of Puna’s papers, a letter from Lima, which came originally from Spain, in which it informed the Lieutenant:
“ . . a squadron of seven sail getting ready at London by several Lords, from 44 to 74 guns each, to sail to the South Sea, under the conduct of an Englishman named Dampier. That they are first to sail for Ireland in April to victual there, and afterwards to posses themselves of an island and harbour in these seas, and particularly the Island of Juan Fernandez.
It went on to say that the same letter had been sent to all inhabited places on the coast of Peru which were to mount lookouts, and that several French ships would be prepared to deter them.

The next afternoon they left Puna and rowed and towed their boats up the river towards Guayaquil, at which they arrived about midnight. Many lights from the town were seen and it soon became clear that the alarm had been already raised and they were expected. As they had relied on surprise for their success, a change of plan was needed - but what to do?

Dampier was asked what the buccaneers would do in such a case, to which he replied that they never attacked any large place after it was alarmed. After lengthy discussions, it was now too late to attack, so they retreated back down the river for a couple of miles, to continue their discussions.


A change of plan
22nd April. It was decided that two prisoners, the captain of the French ship and the Lieutenant of Puna, would be sent with an ultimatum - that unless the town agreed to buy all the privateer's captured goods and slaves, pay a 50,000 pieces of eight ransom for the town, and a reply was not received within an hour, they would land, plunder and fire the town.

They sailed their ships and boats up the river to the centre of the town to add weight to their threat. The two prisoners returned within the hour with the news that the Governor would treat with them, who arrived soon afterwards. After listening to their proposals, the Governor departed with the promise that he would have their answer by 7.00 the next morning.

23rd April. The governor returned with several gentlemen, and by noon had agreed to buy the cargoes and provide hostages for 40,000 pieces of eight ransom for the town. The agreement was not signed until it was ratified by other dignitaries ashore which the Governor said would be within an hour, in the meantime the gentlemen with him would remain as hostages.

When the allotted time had passed, a messenger came to say they could raise only 30,000 pieces of eight, and with no word about the cargoes, Captain Rogers sent a message saying that if they didn't send, within half an hour, three more hostages for the full amount agreed upon, he would land an fire the town and any ships lying there, giving no quarter.


The attack on Guayaquil

Half an hour later, the answer came back saying that they would give no more than 32,000 ransom for the town. At which Captain Rogers ordered the flags of truce to be hauled down and the English colours to be raised. The landing boats were manned and cannon mounted on field carriages. The ships' guns were fired on the town, the landed men dropped on one knee and fired volleys of musket fire into a body of horsemen drawn up against them, who fired once then retired on their guns.

"We who landed kept loading and firing very fast; but the enemy made only one discharge, and retired back to their guns, where their horse were drew up for a second time. We got to the first houses, and as we opened the streets, saw 4 guns pointing at us before a spacious church; but as our men came in sight, firing, the horses cowered off. This encouraged me to call our men to run and seize the guns, and I immediately hastened towards them with 8 or 10 of our men till we came in pistol shot of the guns, when we all fired, some at the gunners and some at the men at arms in front of the church which appeared very numerous."

As more of Roger's men came up, the enemy ran, leaving the guns, and the church was taken and secured. From landing, only half an hour had passed. Dampier, with 25 men, was posted with the guns which were turned on the retreating enemy who ran clear of the town. By this time, all the landing parties were ashore, and by sunset they were in complete control of the town.

Rogers: "All the men in general behaved themselves with great courage, but like sailors could be kept under no command as soon as the first piece was fired; however it happened much better than we could expect, for now the attack is over, they keep handsomely together, and forebear immoderate drinking."


Plunder and ransom

The next morning, having found little of value in the town, they began to break into the other two churches, store houses, and cellars, discovering little more. But they did find the Governor’s gold headed cane, and a silver headed cane belonging to the senior military officer, for only these persons were allowed such. It would appear that they were in such a hurry to leave that they left behind their Badges of Office.

In the afternoon the Lieutenant of Puna was sent with proposals to ransom the town. He returned in the evening “with an ambiguous answer”. Meanwhile, a boat had been sent up river with 21 men to see what they could find. On their return they reported seeing over 300 armed horse and foot in several places, from which it was concluded that the enemy was drawing out the negotiations to allow time for reinforcements to arrive.

The next day, 25th April, a message came from the Spaniards offering 30,000 pieces of eight for the ransom, to be paid in 12 days, which was not accepted, as it was known that on their arrival at Quayaquil, an urgent message had been sent to Lima requesting assistance.

Captain Rogers sent his reply, “They would see the town on fire by 3 in the afternoon if they did not agree, and give us sufficient hostage for the above mentioned sum, to be paid within 6 days.

The reply came the next day agreeing to everything, upon which they started to load all their plunder on board their boats, and depart.

On 28th April, “This morning about 8 we weighed, and sailed with all our Barks, and at parting made what shew and noise we could with our drums, trumpets and guns, and thus took our leave of the Spaniards very cheerfully, but not half so well pleased as we should have been, had we taken ‘em by surprise.”

On the appointed day, a boat arrived at Puna bringing them 22,000 pieces of eight. It was dispatched back, saying that unless the remained was paid, the hostages would be carried off with them the next morning. The hostages grew uneasy, “fearing the mony will not come in time to redeem them, and it’s worse than death, they, say, to be carried to Great Britain.”

The next day, a further 3,500 pieces of eight were brought to them. Although it was not the full amount, they couldn’t delay their departure any longer, for the reinforcements and French men of war from Lima were expected. They released most of their prisoners, but kept the hostages, selling the Beginning to one of them.

On the evening of 8th May they weighed and set sail for the Galapagos Islands.

-----“-----

(Continued)

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Old 06-02-2013, 17:21
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

Still following these accounts Bill......

Jack.
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Old 06-02-2013, 19:24
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

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Originally Posted by JackW1208 View Post
Still following these accounts Bill......
Jack.
Thanks Jack, I hope you are still finding them interesting.
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Old 06-02-2013, 21:20
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

It is great to see this series continuing.
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Old 07-02-2013, 16:40
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Default Re: William Dampier - the Accidental Circumnavigator

William Dampier – Third Circumnavigation (1708–1711)

(Part 3)


To the Galapagos Islands
About a month before they attacked Guayaquil, there had been an outbreak of disease there which had claimed ten or twelve lives every day for a considerable time. So great was the loss of life, that a large deep pit was dug for the corpses, instead of them being buried in the churches, as was the custom. After departing the Bay of Guayaquil on 8th May, steering a course for the Galapagos Islands, 500 miles away, the disease that had been seen in Guayaquil, now began to show itself on board.

On 11th May, Captain Rogers reported that "We had upwards of 20 men that fell ill within these 24 hours and our consort near 50, of a malignant fever, contracted as I suppose at Guayaquil."

On 14th May, "We have now about 50 men down, and the Dutchess upwards of 70; but I hope the sea air (which is very fresh) will make the climate more healthy."

On 17th May, "Our men in both ships continue very ill; we have near 60 sick, and the Dutchess upwards of 80." That same day they sighted the Galapagos Islands, and next day a boat was sent ashore to look for water, while the Duke and Dutchess would try different islands, having agreed a rendezvous in case of separation. All the prizes were to wait where they were.

19th May. The Duke's boats returned, having found no water, and on 21st May, both ships returned to the rendezvous point to find that two prizes which should have been waiting for them had vanished. They fired guns all night for the missing prizes. But as they hadn't returned the next morning, the Duke went to look for them. In the afternoon they found the French prize, but of the other small Barque with Mr. Hately in charge of five men, there was no sign.

23rd May, "There is hardly a man in the ship, who had been ashore at Gyayaquil, but has felt something of this distemper, whereas not one of those that were not there have been sick yet. Finding that punch did preserve my own health, I prescribed it freely among such of the ships company as were well, to preserve theirs. Our surgeons make heavy complaints for want of sufficient medicines, with which till now I thought we abounded, having a regular physician, an apothecary, and surgeons enough, with all sorts of medicines on board."

Most days Rogers reports the death of men from disease. He names 11 of them, mainly officers and men in senior positions. Of the ordinary crew he just mentions that there were ‘several’.

26th May, despite a continual search of the islands, no water was found, nor was Mr. Hately's Barque which they now presumed lost. After comparing their stocks of water, it was found "absolutely necessary to make the best of our way to the Main for some".

The best place they thought for this was the Island of Gorgona, 35 miles off the Columbian coast, a place often used by buccaneers. They would only spend the minimum time there because they expected that "two French ships, one of 60, and another of 40 guns, with some Spanish Men of War, would suddenly be in quest of us." Later that evening, they left the Galapogas for Gorgona.


At the Island of Gorgona
On 6th June they took a prize of 80 tons carrying little in the way anything useful or of value. It wasn't until 8th June that they made Gorgona and were able at last to replenish their water stocks. That same day they saw a sail which was chased and brought in the next day. She was a small Barque of 35 tons, again carrying little of value.

10th June. “Our men being much fatigued, many of them sick, and several of our good sailors dead, we are so weak that should we meet an enemy in this condition, we could make but a mean Defence.”

It was here that they careened, cleaned and fitted out their ships as quickly as they could. On 13th June, they started fitting out their French prize, which they had taken in the Bay of Guayaquil. There was much to do as ”. . her old masts and yards being unserviceable, her sails rotten and very little of her cordage fit to be used; so that it’s near equal to rigging out anew.” She was completed on 9th July and renamed the Marquis. As this was to be their third privateer, twenty guns were mounted and she was crewed with 60 men, with the second Captain of the Dutchess, Edward Cooke commanding. But she proved to be a leaky ship.

On 9th July the Council met and decided that the remaining prisoners would be put ashore. So the next day 72 prisoners were put aboard the Barque. Three of these were the masters of merchant ships captured earlier, to whom the galleon and captured goods were offered for sale, but they would only offer a quarter of their value which was refused. Rogers told them that he would burn everything that he couldn’t sell, including the galleon. To which the merchants promised to raise what money they could and return within the stipulated time. Several times in the following days, they returned by canoe to buy what they could with the money they brought with them.

On 7th August, the merchants were given their ships and any goods which couldn’t be carried away, for as much as they could get. All the plunder was unloaded from the prizes, divided up according to its value and stowed in the three larger ships, representing proportionately each ship’s share. After leaving Gorgona, the Duke, Dutchess, Marquis and the Barque bore away for Tecames Road, in order to trade for supplies of fresh provisions.

16th August, among the prisoners taken with the Spanish prizes were many black slaves forced by the Spaniards to work aboard their ships.
Captain Rogers: “This day I mustered our negroes aboard the Duke, being about 35 lusty fellows; I told them, that if we met the Spaniards or French, and they would fight, those that behaved themselves well should be free men; 32 of them immediately promised to stand to it, as long as the best Englishman. . . . I took down the names of those that had any, and such as wanted I bestowed names upon them, and to confirm our contract made them drink a dram all round to our good success; . . . and told them they must now look upon themselves as Englishmen, and no more as negro slaves to the Spaniards, at which they expressed themselves highly pleased."

18th August, they took a ship of 70 tons. “Enquiring what ships were out in quest of us, the prisoners said, they had advice at Panama of five or six ships being ordered after us, two of them French, of 48 guns each, and some Spanish of the like force, and good sailers.”
Also: “they heard in Panama that His Royal Highness Prince George of Denmark was dead, which we were not willing to believe, but drank his health at night, which can do him no hurt if he is dead.
” (It was true; he had died the year before, eight weeks after they had left Cork.)

20th August, Captain Rogers arranged a mock battle, in which the Dutchess flew Spanish colours, "during which everyone acted the part he ought have done if in earnest, firing with ball excepted. Our prisoners were secured in the hold with the surgeons, and to imitate the business for them, I ordered red lead mixed with water to be thrown upon two of our fellows and sent 'em down to the surgeons, who were much surprised, and thinking they had been really wounded, went about to dress them, but finding their mistake, it was a very agreeable diversion."

25th August. At Tecames, they released all their prisoners, except those still to be held as hostages, and on 31st they sailed from Tecames to the Galapagos Islands again, arriving there on 10th September, to re-stock with fresh turtle for the long cruise expected in hunting for the Manila treasure ship.

29th August, “Captain Cooke buried one John Edwards, a youth, who died of a complication of scurvy and the pox, which he got from a loathsome negro, whom we afterwards gave to the prisoners, that she might do no further mischief on board.

19th September. On leaving the Galapagos, they sailed NW towards Mexico, but on the 22nd, the Marquis sprang two large leaks, requiring the pumps to be worked all the time. They had to change tack to lift one leak near the waterline clear of the water, over which lead was nailed and successfully patched. They could not reach the other in the stern. So it was agreed to divert to the Three St. Marias Islands, NW of Cape Corrientes, Mexico, to refit.

On 1st October, the coast of Mexico was sighted; and 5 days later, they landed on one of the Three Marias. By 23rd October, all ships "being then very well fitted, wooded, watered, and provided with Tortoises", it was decided to cruise off Cape St. Lucas (the southern tip of the Baja California at about 23 degrees north) for the Manila Ship, and sailed the next day.

30th October, “This morning one of our negro women cried out, and was delivered of a girl a tawny colour; Mr Wasse, our chief surgeon was forced to discharge the office of midwife. . . . She had not been full 6 months amongst us, so that the child could belong to none of our company. . . . We took those women aboard, only because they spoke English, and begged to be admitted for laundresses, cooks and seamstresses.


The Manila ships
The usual practice of the Spanish, in their trading with the East Indies, was first to sail a ship or ships from Acapulco in Mexico, to Manila in the Philipines to buy silks, spices and other high value goods; which were then carried back in the same ships to Acapulco. To buy these goods, the ships from Acapulco carried huge quantities of gold and silver taken from the mines of South America, often being valued at tens of millions of pounds, though this may be an exaggeration.

It was this ship from Acapulco that everyone dreamed of capturing, but was seldom if ever achieved. The easier option was the return ship from Manila, as it was slower and less manoeuvrable with the weight of goods carried. Also, its course was more predictable, being limited to the more northern Pacific latitudes by the trade winds, requiring it, once the Pacific had been crossed, to sail southwards down the western seaboard of the Americas until it reached Acapulco.

Both eastbound and westbound ships were equally valuable, one carried gold and silver, while the other carried an equal value in goods.


Cruising for the Manila ship
1st November, they arrived off Cape St. Lucas. From here they would sail to and from the SW in line abreast about 20 miles apart, across the route of the expected ship. As it was expected that their wait could be a long one, the Barque was used to ferry water from the shore to the patrolling ships.

With little to do while waiting, life became tedious for seamen impatient for action and gambling became a problem. On 11th November, Rogers, “considering the hazard of our lives in these remote parts; do mutually agree to prevent the growing evil now arising amongst us, occasioned by frequent gaming, wagering and abetting at others gaming, so that some by chance might thus too slightly get possession of what his fellow adventurers have dangerously and painfully won.” All such practices were banned until they were back in England.

Time passed slowly and began to have its effect on the ships. 13th December, "We were much concerned to have no tidings of the Manila ship, the usual time of her coming being elapsed. The Marquis wanting much more fitting than the other two". So the Marquis was ordered return to refit at Port Segura, close to Cape St. Lucas.

On the 19th, with still no sign of the overdue Manila ship, they audited their supplies and calculated they had 64 days worth left, and came to the following, “ . . having farther considered our short supply of bread and bread-kind, and finding it too little to continue our cruise longer here for the Manila ship, do therefore now agree to get a harbour, and there to recruit with the utmost dispatch, and sail for the Island of Guam, or any other place where we can revictual.”

Reluctantly, they turned the Duke and Dutchess towards Port Segura where the Marquis was refitting. But with calms, and a current driving them to leeward, by the afternoon of the 20th, they were further away than when they started, and to leeward of it.

-----“-----

(Continued)
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