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vessels of various descriptions, and five hundred men, were speedily collected, and sailed for the island of St. Catherine's, which they stormed and carried, together with a small adjacent island. Leaving a garrison in the castle, they continued their course to the main; but the Spaniards had received notice of their coming, and the whole coast was alarmed, so that they judged it prudent to return to St. Catherine’s, which they found in a tolerable state of defence, and the small island so highly improved in cultivation as to be capable of victualling their whole feet. Mansvelt once more bent his course to Jamaica, intending to raise recruits to fortify these islands, that they might at all times prove a refuge for the pirates ; but not meeting with success or countenance, he sailed for Tortuga, where death put a period to his career, and the sole command devolved upon Captain Morgan, who endeavoured to forward the views of his predecessor; but, in the mean time, the Spaniards had regained possession of the islands, and defeated his projects. He now asseinbled his force in Cuba, and deliberated as to the place where they should exercise their profession. In two months, he had got together a fleet of twelve sail and about five hundred men, part English and part French. A council was called (for it is remarkable, that though they, in respect to all others, were lawless plunderers, yet, among themselves, they had councils and regulations that would have done credit to the most civilized establishment of the times) to determine on the enterprize they should undertake, which it was at last determined should be an expedition to Santa Maria ; but a prisoner swam ashore, and gave intelligence to the town of the pirates' approach. All was immediately prepared to give them a warm reception, and the inhabitants removed their goods to places of greater security; but Captain Morgan, quitting the usual track to the town, cut his way through the woods, and came upon the Spaniards in an unexpected quarter. The Governor, beading a party of horse, charged them with great courage, but the pirates maintained their ground, and formed in such good order, that the Spaniards were compelled to retreat, leaving many dead (among whom was the Governor) behind them. As soon as this exploit was performed, the pirates entered the town, and locked up all the Spanish families in the several churches, where the greater part of them died of hunger. They now collected the pillage that appeared most desirable, and proposed a ransom for the town; but receiving intelligence that the Governor of Saint Iago was approaching against them with a body of troops, they deemed it inconvenient to remain any longer, and therefore departed with a supply of five hundred oxen, killed and salted down. From thence they sailed to their rendezvous, where a general partition took place, which, to their great mortification, proved
insufficient to pay the debts they had contracted in Jamaica, so that it was proposed to execute some other enterprize previous to their return. But dissensions had arisen between the English and the French, and the latter separated from the main body, determined to carry on their depredations alone. The departure of the French considerably weakened Morgan's force, though his was not a spirit to be cast down by accidents. The fame of his actions had excited so much confidence that it was not long before another powerful company mustered under him. In a few days, he gathered a fleet of nine sail, manned with four hundred and sixty pirates, and sailed with the intention of attacking Porto Bello. This city was considered the strongest place possessed by the Spaniards in the West Indies, except Havanna and Carthagena. It was defended by two castles, almost impregnable, that were situated at the entrance of the port, so that not even a boat could pass in or out without permission. The garrison consisted of three hundred soldiers, and the town was inhabited by four hundred families; but the principal merchants resided at Panama, and made Porto Bello a general store, where they warehoused their plate and goods for the purposes of trade. All these particulars were well known to the Buccaneers, and Morgan, who was acquainted with the avenues to the city, stimulated his men with the hope of the vast riches it contained, telling them, “that though their number was small, their hearts were great, and the fewer persons the more union, and the better shares they should have in the spoil.”
About midnight they landed, and advanced to the outposts of the city, where they seized the sentinel before he could give an alarm, and obtained from him intelligence respecting the state of the town. They next surrounded the castle nearest the city, and charged the garrison to surrender at discretion, or receive no quarter; but the Spaniards opened a galling fire upon them, and alarmed the country. Nothing intimidated, these dauntless spirits assailed the castle at all points, and after a gallant resistance on the part of the governor and his troops, succeeded, when they immediately fulfilled their threat by confining the whole of the prisoners in one room, and, firing the magazine, blew up the castle and every Spaniard within it. Flushed with this victory they rushed upon the city, which was unprepared to resist them; and the inhabitants filed in all directions, casting their money, plate, and jewels into wells and cisterns, or concealing it in places underground.
“ The Governor of the city, finding he was not able to rally the citizens, retired into the remaining castle, and thence fired upon the pirates that were hard at their devotions. Thereupon they ceased from their
present employment, and turned all their fury upon the castle and the governor, who defended himself so bravely from break of day till noon that the captain began to despair of the enterprize. In the midst of these doubts, finding another lesser fort taken by another party, he resolved not to be braved, and therefore causing four broad ladders to be made, he constrained the religious people, as well nuns as friars, to fix them to the walls,-nor would it serve them to plead that they knew not what belonged to these things. All this while the Governor, valuing his honour before the lives of the mass-mumblers, spared none that approached the walls. The friars and nuns besought him by all the saints to save his own and their lives; for as godly as they were, they loved this world much better than the other. But neither
prayers nor tears could prevail, so that many an ora pro nobis was sent to purgatory before they could finish their work, which, being at last effected by religious hands, the ungodly mounted up in swarms with fire-balls and pots of gunpowder in their hands ; so that the Spaniards, no longer able to resist, fung down their guns and cried for quarter.-Only the Governor would neither receive nor give; for quarter being offered him, he replied, he would rather die like a valiant soldier than be hanged like a coward, so that they were enforced to kill him, notwithstanding the cries of his wife and daughter, who begged him upon their knees to desire quarter and save his life.”
As soon as the pirates had possessed themselves of this castle they secured all their prisoners, and placed the wounded in an apartment by themselves, without rendering them the smallest assistance. This done, they gave themselves up to every species of debauchery and excess, so that fifty resolute men might easily have retaken the city. Such was the terror of the Spaniards, that the pirates remained unmolested. On the next day, having plundered without mercy, and destroyed many of their prisoners on the rack and in other cruel fashions, they prepared to remove the treasure on board their vessels, which was accomplished in about fifteen days,after losing many of their party by intemperance and the unhealthiness of the country. A ransom was demanded for the town, to preserve it from destruction, of one hundred thousand pieces of eight; but the President of Panama, with a considerable force, marched against them, purposing to sweep them away by one decisive blow. Morgan, fülly aware of his movements, and acquainted with all the passes of the country, sent a hundred men to a narrow way which the Spaniards were compelled to pass, where the President was totally defeated, and his army put to the route, so that the inhabitants, to save their city and their lives, gathered the required contributions. This action of the Buccaneers amazed the President when he considered, that four hundred men had taken a large city with many strong castles, particularly as the pirates had no opportunity of erecting batteries, and knowing that the citizens of Porto Bello were always reputed good
soldiers and brave men. He therefore despatched a messenger to Captain Morgan, desiring him to send a pattern of the arms wherewith he had performed such a desperate attempt.
“ The Captain, having civilly treated the messenger, gave him a pistol and some few bullets to present to the Governor, whom he desired to accept that slender pattern of the arms wherewith he had taken Puerto Velo, and to keep them for a twelve month, at what time he promised to come to Panama and fetch them away again.
“The Governor, having well viewed the pistol and bullets, and heard of the message which was brought him, to save the Captain a labour sent him forthwith his pistol and bullets again, thanking him for his favour to lend him those arms of which he had no need. Withal he sent him a gold ring with another message, desiring him not to give himself the trouble of coming to Panama, where he was not like to speed so well as he had at Puerto Velo."
Morgan dismantled the forts, took some of the best artillery on board his own ship, and then returned to Jamaica. The amount of their spoil in money alone was computed to be two hundred and fifty thousand pieces of eight, besides plate, jewels, and other rich effects. This immense treasure, however, lasted very
short time; and the seamen, in the course of a few weeks, were utterly destitute, while, through their means, money became more plentiful in the island than ever it had been before.
By the time the Buccaneers had got rid of their cash a fresh expedition was in preparation, and great numbers flocked to the rendezvous, near Hispaniola. Morgan's force daily augmented, till he mustered nearly one thousand men, and fifteen vessels, the largest mounting thirty-six guns. This last blew up, during a debauch of the Buccaneers, and upwards of three hundred perished.--Still, however, his force increased to its original number; and having laid in provisions, he determined to attack the unfortunate city of Maracaibo, having now recovered its opulence from the previous plunder of Lolonnois.
This place, as well as Gibraltar, were again sacked, and the wretched'inhabitants underwent again the most cruel tortures; but, in the midst of their ravages, intelligence arrived of a Spanish squadron having anchored at the entrance of the lake in which their vessels lay. The largest of Morgan's ships mounted only fourteen guns, the rest were mere shells. The Spaniards had one fine ship of forty guns, one of thirty, and one of twentyfour, all well manned, and, besides these, they had fortified the great castle which guarded the passage. The pirates were in the greatest consternation; but Morgan, with desperate resolution, sent a message to the Admiral, threatening to destroy both towns and all his prisoners if he were not permitted to pass with
out molestation. The Admiral refused the application, and Morgan prepared to force the passage.
For this purpose, they placed their male prisoners under a guard in one boat by themselves; the females,with their richest treasure, occupied another; a third was laden with the choicest bales of merchandize. A fire-ship was also fitted up with combustibles. On the first of May, 1669, the action commenced, which terminated in the destruction of the great Spanish ships, and the capture of the small one.
Naval history does not record a more daring and successful battle. The pirates, though their floating enemies were defeated, had yet to escape the castle; and they had already lost thirty men in attempting to storm_it. In vain Morgan threatened the lives of his prisoners. The Governor persisted in the discharge of his duty; and the Buccaneers returned to Maracaibo. Here they collected a ransom of twenty thousand pieces of eight, and the usual demand of five hundred cattle, ready salted; but the Captain would not deliver the prisoners, according to stipulation, as he hoped by exposing them on his decks to induce their countrymen at the castle to refrain from firing. In this, however, he was disappointed, for the Governor sent him information that it was his determination to destroy the pirates, and nothing should divert him from his purpose. Finding neither threats nor force would avail him in his difficulty, Morgan had recourse to stratagem. He made an equitable division of the spoil, in case his efforts should fail, and then dropped down out of gunshot of the castle. Here he filled the canoes with men, ordering them to row ashore, as if they had designed to land; and as soon as they had got under cover from the castle, the men laid themselves down in the bottoms of their boats, leaving apparently only two or three in each to conduct them on board again. This was repeated several times, to the great amazement of the Spaniards, who con. cluded that the pirates meditated a night attack, for though they could see the men as they went ashore, yet they were unable to discover them, on their return, from their concealment in the boats. The fear of this attack caused the Spaniards to remove their canoes to the land side of the castle, and to fortify that part with their main body, leaving the side towards the sea almost destitute of defence. The night was beautifully moonlight and clear; the pirates tripped their anchors, and floated down with the ebb tide till they were near the castle, when they spread every stitch of canvas, and, favoured with a fair wind, passed by before the Spaniards could again transport their guns. As soon as they had cleared the castle, the fleet hove to, and Captain Morgan saluted the Governor with seven guns, which the haughty and mortified Don refused to answer.
Jamaica was once more benefited by the profusion of the