The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation Volume Xiv Part 26

The Principal Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation -

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Now Berreo for executing of Morequito, and other cruelties, spoiles, and slaughters done in Armonaia, hath lost the loue of the Orenoqueponi, and all the borderers, and dare not send any of his souldiers any further into the land then to Carapana, which he called the port of Guiana: but from thence by the helpe of Carapana he had trade further into the countrey, and alwayes appointed ten Spaniards to reside in Carapanas towne, by whose fauour, and by being conducted by his people, those ten searched the countrey thereabouts, aswell for mines, as for other trades and commodities.

They also haue gotten a nephew of Morequito, whom they haue Christened, and named Don Iuan, of whom they haue great hope, endeuouring by all meanes to establish him in the sayd prouince. [Sidenote: Some fewe Spaniards are now seated in Dissequebe.] Among many other trades, those Spaniards vsed canoas to to the riuers of Barema, Pawroma, and Dissequebe, which are on the south side of the mouth of Orenoque, and there buy women and children from the Canibals, which are of that barbarous nature, as they will for three or foure hatchets sell the sonnes and daughters of their owne brethren and sisters, and for somewhat more, euen their owne daughters. Hereof the Spaniards make great profit: for buying a maid of twelue or thirteene yeres for three or foure hatchets, they sell them againe at Margarita in the West Indies for fifty and an hundred pezos, which is so many crownes.

The master of my s.h.i.+ppe, Iohn Dowglas, tooke one of the canoas which came laden from thence with people to be solde, and the most of them escaped: yet of those he brought, there was one as well fauoured, and as well shaped as euer I saw any in England, afterward I saw many of them, which but for their tawnie colour may be compared to any of Europe. They also trade in those riuers for bread of Ca.s.saui, of which they buy an hundred pound weight for a knife, and sell it at Margarita for ten pezos. They also recouer great store of Cotton, Brasill wood, and those beds which they call Hamcas or Brasill beds, wherein in hot countreyes all the Spaniards vse to lie commonly, and in no other, neither did we our selues while we were there. By meanes of which trades, for ransome of diuers of the Guianians, and for exchange of hatchets and kniues, Berreo recouered some store of golde plates, eagles of golde, and images of men and diuers birdes, and dispatched his campe-master for Spaine, with all that hee had gathered, therewith to leuie souldiers, and by the shew thereof to draw others to the loue of the enterprise. And hauing sent diuers images aswell of men as beasts, birds and fishes, so curiously wrought in gold, he doubted not but to perswade the king to yeeld to him some further helpe, especially for that this land had neuer beene sacked, the mines neuer wrought, and in the Indies their works were well spent, and the golde drawen out with great labour and charge.

He also dispatched messengers to his sonne in Nueuo reyno to leuie all the forces he could, and to come downe the riuer Orenoque to Emeria, the prouince of Carapana, to meet him: he had also sent to Saint Iago de Leon on the coast of the Caracas, to buy horses and mules.

After I had thus learned of his proceedings past and purposed, I told him that I had resolued to see Guiana, and that it was the end of my iourney, and the cause of my comming to Trinidad, as it was indeed, (and for that purpose I sent Iacob Whiddon the yeere before to get intelligence with whom Berreo himselfe had speech at that time, and remembred how inquisitiue Iacob Whiddon was of his proceedings, and of the countrey of Guiana) Berreo was stricken into a great melancholy and sadnesse, and vsed all the arguments he could to disswade me, and also a.s.sured the gentlemen of my company that it would be labour lost, and that they should suffer many miseries if they proceeded. And first he deliuered that I could not enter any of the riuers with any barke or pinnesse, or hardly with any s.h.i.+ps boat, it was so low, sandy, and full of flats, and that his companies were dayly grounded in their canoas, which drew but twelue inches water. He further sayde, that none of the countrey would come to speake with vs, but would all flie: and if we followed them to their dwellings, they would burne their owne townes: and besides that, the way was long, the Winter at hand, and that the riuers beginning once to swell, it was impossible to stem the current, and that we could not in those small boats by any means cary victuall for halfe the time, and that (which indeed most discouraged my company) the kings and lords of all the borders of Guiana had decreed that none of them should trade with any Christians for golde, because the same would be their owne ouerthrow, and that for the loue of gold the Christians meant to conquer and dispossesse them of all together.

Many and the most of these I found to be true, but yet I resoluing to make triall of all whatsoever happened, directed Captaine George Gifford my vice-admirall to take the Lions whelpe, and captaine Calfield his barke to turne to the Eastward, against the mouth of a riuer called Capuri, whose entrance I had before sent captaine Whiddon, and Iohn Dowglas the master, to discouer, who found some nine foot water or better vpon the flood, and fiue at low water, to whom I had giuen instructions that they should anker at the edge of the shoald, and vpon the best of the flood to thrust ouer, which shoald Iohn Dowglas bwoyed and beckoned for them before: but they laboured in vaine: for neither could they turne it vp altogether so farre to the East, neither did the flood continue so long, but the water fell yer they could haue pa.s.sed the sands: as wee after found by a second experience; so as now wee must either give ouer our enterprise, or leauing our s.h.i.+ps at aduenture foure hundred mile behinde vs, must run vp in our s.h.i.+ps boats, one barge, and two wheries. But being doubtfull how to cary victuals for so long a time in such bables, or any strength of men, especially for that Berreo a.s.sured vs that his sonne must be by that time come downe with many souldiers. I sent away one King, master of the Lions whelpe, with his s.h.i.+pboat to trie another branch of a riuer in the bottome of the bay of Guanipa, which was called Amana, to prooue if there were water to be found for either of the small s.h.i.+ps to enter. But when he came to the mouth of Amana, he found it as the rest, but stayed not to discouer it thorowly, because he was a.s.sured by an Indian, his guide, that the Canibals of Guanipa would a.s.saile them with many canoas, and that they shot poisoned arrowes: so as if he hasted not backe, they should all be lost.

In the mean time, fearing the woorst, I caused all the carpenters we had, to cut downe a Galego boat, which we meant to cast off, and to fit her with banks to row on, and in all things to prepare her the best they could, so as she might be brought to draw but fiue foot, for so much we had on the barre of Capuri at low water. And doubting of Kings returne, I sent Iohn Dowglas againe in my long barge, aswell to relieue him, as also to make a perfect search in the bottome of that bay: for it hath bene held for infallible, that whatsoeuer s.h.i.+p or boat shall fall therein, can neuer disembogue againe, by reason of the violent current which setteth into the sayde-bay, as also for that the brize and Easterly winde bloweth directly into the same. Of which opinion I haue heard Iohn Hampton of Plymmouth, one of the greatest experience of England, and diuers other besides that haue traded to Trinidad.

I sent with Iohn Dowglas an old casique of Trinidad for a pilot, who tolde vs that we could not returne againe by the bay or gulfe, but that he knew a by-branch which ran within the land to the Eastward, and that he thought by it we might fall into Capuri, and so returne in foure dayes. Iohn Dowglas searched those riuers, and found foure goodly entrances, whereof the least was as bigge as the Thames at Wolwich; but in the bay thitherward it was shoald, and but sixe foote water: so as we were now without hope of any s.h.i.+p or barke to ouer, and therefore resolued to go on with the boats, and the bottome of the Galego, in which we thrust 60 men. In the Lions whelps boat and whery we caried 20.

Captaine Calfield in his whery caried ten more, and in my barge other tenne, which made vp a hundred: we had no other meanes but to cary victuall for a moneth in the same, and also to lodge therein as we could, and to boile and dresse our meat. Captaine Gifford had with him master Edward Porter, captaine Eynos, and eight more in his whery, with all their victuall, weapons, and prouisions. Captaine Calfield had with him my cousin Butshead Gorges, and eight more. In the galley, of gentlemen and officers my selfe had captaine Thin, my cousin Iohn Greenuile, my nephew Iohn Gilbert, captaine Whiddon, captaine Keymis, Edward, captaine Clarke, lieutenant Hewes, Thomas Vpton, captaine Facy, Ierome Ferrar, Anthony Welles, William Connocke, and aboue fifty more. We could not learne of Berreo any other way to enter but in branches, so farre to wind-ward, as it was impossible for vs to recouer: for wee had as much sea to crosse ouer in our wheries, as betweene Douer and Calais, and in a great billow, the winde and current being both very strong, so as we were driuen to goe in those small boats directly before the winde into the bottome of the bay of Guanipa, and from thence to enter the mouth of some one of those riuers which Iohn Dowglas had last discouered, and had with vs for pilot an Indian of Barema, a riuer to the South of Orenoque, betweene that and Amazones, whose canoas we had formerly taken as hee was going from the sayd Barema, laden with Ca.s.saui-bread, to sell at Margarita. This Arwacan promised to bring me into the great riuer of Orenoque, but indeed of that which he entred he was vtterly ignorant, for he had not seene it in twelue yeeres before: at which time he was very yoong, and of no iudgement: [Sidenote: A wonderfull confluence of streames.] and if G.o.d had not sent vs another helpe, we might haue wandred a whole yere in that labyrinth of riuers, yer wee had found any way, either out or in, especially after wee were past ebbing and flowing which was in foure dayes, for I know all the earth doeth not yeelde the like confluence of streames and branches, the one crossing the other so many times, and all so faire and large, and so like one to another, as no man can tell which to take: and if wee went by the Sunne or, hoping thereby to goe directly one way or other, yet that way wee were also caried in a circle amongst mult.i.tudes of Islands, and euery Island so bordered with high trees, as no man coulde see any further then the bredth of the riuer, or length of the breach. But this it chanced, that entering into a riuer, (which because it had no name, wee called the riuer of the Red crosse, our selues being the first Christians that euer came therein) the two and twentieth of May, as wee were rowing vp the same, wee espied a small canoa with three Indians, which (by the swiftnesse of my barge, rowing with eight oares) I ouertooke yer they could crosse the riuer, the rest of the people on the banks shadowed vnder the thicke wood, gazed on with a doubtfull conceit what might befall those three which we had taken.

But when they perceiued that we offered them no violence, neither entred their canoa with any of ours, nor tooke out of the canoa any of theirs, they then beganne to shew themselues on the banks side, and offered to traffique with vs for such things as they had. And as wee drew neere, they all stayed, and we came with our barge to the mouth of a little creeke which came from their towne into the great riuer.

As we abode there a while, our Indian pilot, called Ferdinando, would needs goe ash.o.r.e their village to fetch some fruits, and to drinke of their artificiall wines, and also to see the place, and know the lord of it against another time, and tooke with him a brother of his, which hee had with him in the iourney: when they came to the village of these people the lord of the Island offered to lay hands on them, purposing to haue slaine them both, yeelding for reason that this Indian of ours had brought a strange nation into their territory, to spoile and destroy them. But the pilot being quicke, and of a disposed body, slipt their fingers, and ran into the woods, and his brother being the better footman of the two, recouered the creekes mouth, where we stayed in our barge, crying out that his brother was slaine: with that we set hands on one of them that was next vs, a very olde man, and brought him into the barge, a.s.suring him that if we had not our pilot againe, we would presently cut off his head. This olde man being resolued that he should pay the losse of the other, cried out to those in the woods to saue Ferdinando our pilot: but they followed him notwithstanding, and hunted after him vpon the foot with the Deere-dogges, and with so maine a crie, that all the woods eckoed with the shout they made: but at the last this poore chased Indian recouered the riuer side, and got vpon a tree, and as we were coasting, leaped downe and swamme to the barge halfe dead with feare. But our good happe was, that we kept the other olde Indian which we handfasted to redeeme our pilot withall: for being naturall of those riuers, we a.s.sured our selues hee knew the way better then any stranger could. And indeed, but for this chance, I thinke we had neuer found the way either to Guiana, or backe to our s.h.i.+ps: for Ferdinando after a few dayes knew nothing at all, nor which way to turne, yea and many times the old man himselfe was in great doubt which riuer to take.

Those people which dwell in these broken islands and drowned lands, are generally called Tiuitiuas: there are of them two sorts, the one called Ciawani, and the other Waraweete.

[Sidenote: A description of the mighty riuer of Orenoque or Baraquan.]

The great riuer of Orenoque or Baraquan hath nine branches which fall out on the North side of his owne maine mouth: on the South side it hath seuen other fallings into the sea, so it disemboqueth by sixteene armes in all, betweene Ilands and broken ground, but the Ilands are very great, many of them as bigge as the Isle of Wight, and bigger, and many lesse. From the first branch on the North to the last of the South, it is at least 100 leagues, so as the riuers mouth is 300 miles wide at his entrance into the sea, which I take to be farre bigger then that of Amazones. All those that inhabit in the mouth of this riuer vpon the seuerall North branches, are these Tiuitiuas, of which there are two chiefe lords which haue continuall warres one with the other. The Ilands which lie on the right hand, are called Pallamos, and the land on the left, Horotomaka, and the riuer by which Iohn Douglas returned within the land from Amana to Capuri, they call Macuri.

[Sidenote: What maner of people the Tiuitiuas are.] These Tiuitiuas are a very goodly people and very valiant, and haue the most manly speech and most deliberate that euer I heard, of what nation soeuer. In the Summer they haue houses on the ground, as in other places: in the Winter they dwell vpon the trees, where they build very artificiall townes and villages, as it is written in the Spanish story of the West Indies, that those people do in the low lands nere the gulfe of Vraba: for betweene May and September the riuer of Orenoque riseth thirty foot vpright, and then are those ilands ouerflowen twenty foot high aboue the leuell of the ground, sauing some few raised grounds in the middle of them: and for this cause they are inforced to liue in this maner. They neuer eat of any thing that is set or sowen: and as at home they vse neither planting nor other manurance, so when they come abroad, they refuse to feed of ought, but of that which nature without labour bringeth forth.

They vse the tops of Palmitos for bread, and kill deere, fish, and porks, for the rest of their sustenance. They haue also many sorts of fruits that grow in the woods, and great variety of birds and fowle.

And if to speake of them were not tedious, and vulgar, surely we saw in those pa.s.sages of very rare colours and formes, not elsewhere to be found, for as much as I haue either seene or read. Of these people those that dwell vpon the branches of Orenoque, called Capuri and Macureo, are for the most part carpenters of canoas, for they make the most and fairest canoas, and sel them into Guiana for golde, and into Trinidad for tobacco in the excessiue taking whereof, they exceed all nations: and not withstanding the moistnesse of the aire in which they liue, the hardnesse of their diet, and the great labours they suffer to hunt, fish and fowle for their liuing in all my life, either in the Indies or in Europe, did I neuer behold a more goodly or better fauoured people or a more manly. They were woont to make warre vpon all nations, especially on the Canibals, so as none durst without a good strength trade by those riuers: but of late they are at peace with their neighbours, all holding the Spaniards for a common enemy. When their commanders die, they vse great lamentation, and when they thinke the flesh of their bodies is petrified, and fallen from the bones, then they take vp the carcase againe, and hang it in the caciques house that died, and decke his scull with feathers of all colours, and hang all his golde plates about the bones of his armes, thighs, and legs. Those nations which are called Arwacas, which dwell on the South of Orenoque, (of which place and nation our Indian pilot was) are dispersed in many other places, and doe vse to beat the bones of their lords into powder, and their wiues and friends drinke it all in their seuerall sorts of drinks.

After we departed from the port of these Ciawani, wee pa.s.sed vp the riuer with the flood, and ankered the ebbe, and in this sort we went onward. The third day that we entred the riuer, our galley came on ground, and stucke so fast, as we thought that euen there our discouery had ended, and that we must haue left fourescore and ten of our men to haue inhabited like rooks vpon trees with those nations: but the next morning, after we had cast out all her ballast, with tugging and halling to and fro, we got her aflote, and went on. At foure dayes end wee fell into as goodly a riuer as euer I beheld, which was called The great Amana, which ranne more directly without windings and turnings then the other: but soone after the flood of the sea left vs; and being inforced either by maine strength to row against a violent current, or to returne as wise as we went out, we had then no s.h.i.+ft but to perswade the companies that it was but two or three dayes worke, and therefore desired them to take paines, euery gentleman and others taking their turnes to row, and to spell one the other at the houres end. Euery day we pa.s.sed by goodly branches of riuers, some falling from the West, others from the East into Amana, but those I leaue to the description in the Cart of discouery, where euery one shalbe named with his rising and descent. When three dayes more were ouergone, our companies began to despaire, the weather being extreame hote, the riuer bordered with very high trees, that kept away the aire, and the current against vs euery day stronger then other: but we euermore commanded our pilots to promise an ende the next day, and vsed it so long, as we were driuen to a.s.sure them from foure reaches of the riuer to three, and so to two, and so to the next reach: but so long we laboured, that many dayes were spent, and wee driuen to drawe our selues to harder allowance, our bread euen at the last, and no drinke at all; and our men and our selues so wearied and scorched, and doubtfull withall, whether wee should euer performe it or no, the heat increasing as we drew towards the line: for wee were now in fiue degrees.

The further we went on (our victuall decreasing and the aire breeding great faintnesse) wee grew weaker and weaker, when wee had most need of strength and abilitie: for hourely the riuer ranne more violently then other against vs, and the barge, wheries, and s.h.i.+ppes boat of captaine Gifford and captaine Calfield, had spent all their prouisions: so as we were brought into despaire and discomfort, had wee not perswaded all the company that it was but onely one dayes worke more to atteine the land where wee should be relieued of all wee wanted, and if we returned, that wee were sure to starue by the way, and that the world would also laugh vs to scorne. On the banks of these riuers were diuers sorts of fruits good to eat, flowers and trees of such variety, as were sufficient to make tenne volumes of herbals: we relieued our selues many times with the fruits of the countrey, and sometimes with fowle and fish. Wee saw birds of all colours, some carnation, some crimson, orenge-tawny, purple, watchet and of all other sorts both simple and mixt, and it was vnto vs a great good pa.s.sing of the time to beholde them, besides the reliefe we found by killing some store of them with our fowling pieces: without which, hauing little or no bread, and lesse drinke, but onely the thicke and troubled water of the riuer, we had beene in a very hard case.

Our olde pilot of the Ciawani (whom, as I sayd before, wee tooke to redeeme Ferdinando) tolde vs, that if we would enter a branch of a riuer on the right hand with our barge and wheries, and leaue the galley at anker the while in the great riuer, he would bring vs to a towne of the Arwacas, where we should finde store of bread, hennes, fish, and of the countrey wine; and perswaded vs that departing from the galley at noone, we might returne yer night. I was very glad to heare this speech, and presently tooke my barke, with eight musketiers, captaine Giffords whery, with myselfe and foure musketiers and Captaine Calfield with his whery, and as many; and so we entred the mouth of this riuer: and because we were perswaded that it was so nere, we tooke no victuall with vs at all. When we had rowed three houres, we maruelled we saw no signe of any dwelling, and asked the pilot where the towne was: he tolde vs a little further. After three houres more, the Sun being almost set, we began to suspect that he led vs that way to betray vs; for hee confessed that those Spaniards which fled from Trinidad, and also those that remained with Carapana in Emeria, were ioyned together in some village vpon that riuer. But when it grew towards night; and wee demanded where the place was: hee tolde vs but foure reaches more. When we had rowed foure and foure, we saw no signe; and our poore water-men, euen heart-broken, and tired, were ready to giue up the ghost: for we had now come from the galley neere forty miles.

At the last we determined to hang the pilot; and if wee had well knowen the way backe againe by night, we had surely gone; but our owne necessities pleaded sufficiently for his safety: for it was as darke as pitch, and the riuer began so to narrow it selfe, and the trees to hang ouer from side to side, as wee were driuen with arming swords to cut a pa.s.sage thorow those branches that couered the water. Wee were very desirous to finde this towne, hoping of a feast, because wee made but a short breakefast aboord the galley in the morning and it was now eight a clocke at night, and our stomacks began to gnawe apace: but whether it was best to returne or goe on, we beganne to doubt, suspecting treason in the pilot more and more: but the poore olde Indian euer a.s.sured vs that it was but a little further, but this one turning and that turning: and at the last about one a clocke after midnight wee saw a light; and rowing towards it, wee heard the dogges of the village. When we landed wee found few people; for the lord of that place was gone with diuers canoas aboue foure hundred miles off, vpon a iourney towardes the head of Orenoque to trade for golde, and to buy women of the Canibals, who afterward vnfortunately pa.s.sed by vs as wee rode at an anker in the port of Morequito in the darke of the night, and yet came so neere vs, as his canoas grated against our barges: he left one of his company at the port of Morequito, by whom wee vnderstood that hee had brought thirty yoong women, diuers plates of golde, and had great store of fine pieces of cotton cloth, and cotton beds. In his house we had good store of bread, fish, hennes, and Indian drinke, and so rested that night, and in the morning after we had traded with such of his people as came downe, we returned towards our gally, and brought with vs some quant.i.ty of bread, fish, and hennes.

[Sidenote: A most beautifull countrey.] On both sides of this riuer we pa.s.sed the most beautifull countrey that euer mine eyes beheld: and whereas all that we had seene before was nothing but woods, p.r.i.c.kles, bushes, and thornes, here we beheld plaines of twenty miles in length, the short and greene, and in diuers parts groues of trees by themselues, as if they had beene by all the arte and labour in the world so made of purpose: and still as we rowed, the deere came downe feeding by the waters side, as if they had beene vsed to a keepers call.

[Sidenote: The riuer of Lagartos, or Crocodiles.] Vpon this riuer there were great store of fowle, and of many sorts: we saw in it diuers sorts of strange fishes, and of maruellous bignes: but for lagartos it exceeded, for there were thousands of those vgly serpents; and the people call it for the abundance of them, The riuer of Lagartos, in their language. I had a Negro a very proper yoong fellow, who leaping out of the galley to swim in the mouth of this riuer, was in all our sights taken and deuoured with one of those lagartos. In the meane while our companies in the gally thought we had bene all lost, (for wee promised to returne before night) and sent the Lions whelps s.h.i.+ppes boat with captaine Whiddon to follow vs vp the riuer; but the next day, after we had rowed vp and downe some fourescore miles, we returned, and went on our way, vp the great riuer; and when we were euen at the last cast for want of victuals, captaine Gifford being before the galley and the rest of the boats, seeking out some place to land vpon the banks to make fire, espied foure canoas comming downe the riuer; [Sidenote: Two canoas taken.] and with no small ioy caused his men to trie the vttermost of their strengths, and after a while two of the foure gaue ouer, and ranne themselues ash.o.r.e, euery man betaking himselfe to the fastnesse of the woods, the two other lesser got away, while he landed to lay hold on these: and so turned into some by-creeke, we knew not whither.

[Sidenote: Three Spanyards escaped.] Those canoas that were taken, were loaden with bread, and were bound for Margarita in the West Indies, which those Indians (called Arwacas) purposed to cary thither for exchange: but in the lesser there were three Spanyards, who hauing heard of the defeat of their gouernour in Trinidad, and that we purposed to enter Guiana, came away in those canoas: one of them was a cauallero; as the captaine of the Arwacas after tolde vs, another a souldier, and the third a refiner.


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