Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 The first voyage of Columbus
 The Cape of Storms; afterwards...
 Discovery of route to India by...
 In quest of Prester John
 A trip to Scylla and Charybdis
 Shipwreck in the Red Sea
 "Bombay Jack" and the cruise of...
 The pyramid of skulls
 Loss of the "Teuton" steamer
 Early french explorers in the new...
 The adventures of La Salle
 French settlements in Canada
 M. Joutel's narrative of La Salle's...
 The Danish silver robbery by Irishmen...
 Ascent of a volcano in Japan
 An English lady among the...
 Belzoni, the Egyptian explorer:...
 The story of Lord Dundonald,...
 Burton's Pilgramage to Mecca and...
 Adventures of an American...
 Paul Revere's ride
 Commodore Samuel Hood and the Diamond...
 Cutting out the "Curieux"
 Capture of a French privateer by...
 Capture and recapture of the...
 Sir John Jervis off Cape St. Vincent,...
 Commodore Dance and Admiral...
 Excursion to the top of Scawfell...
 Adventures in New Guinea
 Escape of prisoners from Castle...
 A noble record: Admiral Lord de...
 John Brown of Kansas
 The battle of Kamnitz, and the...
 Stranger than fiction
 Back Cover

Title: Wonderful stories of daring, enterprise, and adventure
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055309/00001
 Material Information
Title: Wonderful stories of daring, enterprise, and adventure
Physical Description: vi, 388, 4 p., 17 leaves of plates : ill. ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Macaulay
Swain, Joseph, 1820-1909 ( Engraver )
Hodder and Stoughton ( Publisher )
Hazell, Watson & Viney ( Printer )
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Hazell, Watson, & Viney
Publication Date: 1887
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Adventure and adventurers -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Courage -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Sailors -- Juvenile literature   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1887   ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1887   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1887
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
England -- Aylesbury
Statement of Responsibility: by Dr. Macaulay.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
General Note: Title page printed in red and black; illustrations engraved by Swain.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00055309
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002392262
notis - ALZ7159
oclc - 29929286

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
    List of Illustrations
        Page vii
    The first voyage of Columbus
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    The Cape of Storms; afterwards called the Cape of Good Hope
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Discovery of route to India by the Cape
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    In quest of Prester John
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    A trip to Scylla and Charybdis
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
    Shipwreck in the Red Sea
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
    "Bombay Jack" and the cruise of H.M. Frigate "Nisus"
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
    The pyramid of skulls
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
    Loss of the "Teuton" steamer
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
    Early french explorers in the new world
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
    The adventures of La Salle
        Page 125
        Page 126
    French settlements in Canada
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
    M. Joutel's narrative of La Salle's second voyage
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
    The Danish silver robbery by Irishmen in Kerry
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
    Ascent of a volcano in Japan
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
    An English lady among the Ainos
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
    Belzoni, the Egyptian explorer: Memnon's head and the mummies
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
    The story of Lord Dundonald, K.C.B.
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
    Burton's Pilgramage to Mecca and Medinah
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
    Adventures of an American aeronaut
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
    Paul Revere's ride
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
    Commodore Samuel Hood and the Diamond Rock
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
    Cutting out the "Curieux"
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
    Capture of a French privateer by an English boat with twelve men
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
    Capture and recapture of the Hermione
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
    Sir John Jervis off Cape St. Vincent, and Nelson's famous bridge
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
    Commodore Dance and Admiral Linois
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
    Excursion to the top of Scawfell and on the banks of Ullswater
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
        Page 335
        Page 336
        Page 337
    Adventures in New Guinea
        Page 338
        Page 339
        Page 340
        Page 341
        Page 342
        Page 343
        Page 344
        Page 345
        Page 346
        Page 347
        Page 348
        Page 349
        Page 350
        Page 351
        Page 352
    Escape of prisoners from Castle Cornet, Guernsey
        Page 353
        Page 354
        Page 355
        Page 356
        Page 357
        Page 358
        Page 359
        Page 360
    A noble record: Admiral Lord de Saumarez
        Page 361
        Page 362
    John Brown of Kansas
        Page 363
        Page 364
        Page 365
        Page 366
        Page 367
        Page 368
        Page 369
        Page 370
    The battle of Kamnitz, and the story of Ziska, the patriot of Bohemia
        Page 371
        Page 372
        Page 373
        Page 374
        Page 375
        Page 376
        Page 377
        Page 378
        Page 379
        Page 380
        Page 381
    Stranger than fiction
        Page 382
        Page 383
        Page 384
        Page 385
        Page 386
        Page 387
        Page 388
        Page 389
        Page 390
        Page 391
        Page 392
    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
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Printed by Hazell, Watson, & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury.


N the evening of a long life of literary and editorial
labour, I find no work more congenial, and
certainly there is none more important, than providing
suitable reading for the 'young. In my boy days,
books of travel by sea and land, tales of peril and
adventure, and stories of heroic deeds in peace as
well as in war, were devoured by young readers.
Sensational or sentimental fiction, such as is the
staple of most books for boys and girls, was then
little known. The most popular of all stories for
boys, Robinson Crusoe," owes much of its power to
its being founded on real incidents. Truth is often
stranger than fiction, and is likely to prove more
profitable, while equally attractive.
In attempting to revive and encourage a taste for
such reading, I have prepared a series of volumes,
the distinctive feature of which appears in the title
of the first of them, "ALL TRUE." The success of

iv Preface.

the venture, and the favourable notices of the press,
show that such books are appreciated. The Times
said, that "young people never like a story the less
because it is true," and the Scotsman said that "no
tales of imaginary heroes could be more entertaining."
As to the comparative usefulness of truth and fiction,
for inspiring and fostering all good and noble feelings
in the young, there can be no question. The author
hopes that the present volume may prove as accept-
able and useful as its predecessors. It is commended
to parents and teachers as a book suitable for prizes
or presents, as well as to the youthful readers for
whose entertainment it has been prepared.






"NISUS" 72






vi Contents.








SEY 0 0 a 353






JOSEF" 314


IN the latter half of the fifteenth century the great problem
that filled the minds of men of enterprise and adventure
was to find a way by sea to India. It was this which led the
Portuguese to push their voyages of exploration down the
western coasts of Africa, till at last the efforts of Bartholomew
Diaz, who first doubled the Cape of Good Hope (A.D. 1487),
and of Vasco de Gama, who first crossed the Indian Ocean
(A.D. 1498), were crowned with success.
Already, some years earlier, in 1492, a more wonderful and
brilliant discovery had been made, surpassing in fame and in
importance all other events in the history of maritime adven-
ture. Not merely a new route to historic regions of the old
world but a new world destined to equal in wealth and
power all lands hitherto known, was the discovery which has
made immortal the name of Columbus.
The story of the discovery of America has been told a
hundred times, yet there is always a freshness of romance
about the narrative, even for those who do not hear about
it for the first time. Ever new to successive generations of
readers are the incidents of the first voyage of Columbus, and
ever memorable are the lessons of courage, daring, and
endurance presented by his career.
The fame of the Portuguese discoveries attracted to Lisbon
the most adventurous spirits of every maritime nation.
Among these was "Cristoforo Colombo," a Genoese subject.
Whether he was a native of Genoa is doubtful; more than

2 The First Voyage of Columbus.

one village in other territories has been named as his birth-
place. Certain it is that his ancestors held an honourable
position, and the family had been reduced to poverty during
the petty Italian wars and revolutions. His father sent him
to school at Pavia, then the most noted seat of learning in
Italy, but he showed a desire for a seafaring life at so early
a period, that he was allowed to go to sea when only fourteen
years of age. He had made good use of his time. Some
knowledge of Latin he necessarily had, for it was only in that
tongue that any science was taught in those days. He had
lessons in geometry, astronomy, and especially in cosmo-
graphy, and the art of drawing. In all these studies he took
deep interest as bearing on his favourite subject of navigation.
His first voyages were to those ports in the Mediterranean
which his countrymen, the Genoese, frequented. Longing for
larger adventure, he made a voyage to the northern seas in
1467, and passing beyond Iceland, the ultima Thule of the
ancients, he had some experience of Arctic navigation. After
returning from this voyage he served for some years with a
sea captain of his own family and name, who commanded
a small squadron in the Mediterranean. In those times
privateering was common, and the cruises of armed ships were
little better than piratical expeditions. In fact, the exploits
of Raleigh and other famous English notables, even at a later
period, were much of the same character, and were regarded
as honourable and legitimate sources of wealth. Sometimes
against Mohammedans, and sometimes against the Venetians,
the rivals of the Genoese in trade, Columbus led his ships,
and was no less distinguished for his courage than his naval
skill. It is recorded that on one occasion, when in single
combat with one of a fleet of Venetian caravels, returning
richly laden from the Low countries, the ship of Columbus,
and the Venetian ship to which it was fast grappled, both
took fire. It was only by throwing himself into the sea and
striking for the shore, about two leagues distant, that his life
was saved.

The First Voyage of Columbus. 3

After a short interval he repaired to Lisbon, where one of his
brothers was already settled, employed in making maps and
charts, for which there was great demand. At Lisbon he became
acquainted with Bartholomew Perestrello, one of the favourite
captains of Prince Henry, by whom he had been appointed to
the command of the expedition which discovered the islands
of Porto Santo and Madeira. A daughter of this Perestrello
became the wife of Columbus. In the home of his father-in-
law he heard much that intensified his love of adventure and
his zeal for exploration. The journals and maps of this
experienced navigator he eagerly studied, learned many things
about the countries he had visited, and heard the tales and
legends which were current among Portuguese seamen.
Several voyages he made to the Portuguese settlements on
the African coast, and to the Canaries, the Azores, and other
islands of the Atlantic Ocean. He became known as one of
the most skilful navigators of his time, but his mind was all
the while busy with ideas beyond those which most seamen
around him dreamed of.
It was in studying the old maps of early navigators, and in
supplementing them by the records of the vast regions of
which Marco Polo and other travellers by land had described,
that the idea entered his mind of finding a shorter way to
India than had hitherto been imagined. The spherical figure
of the world was perfectly known to the learned, and its size
ascertained with some degree of accuracy, although such
knowledge was hidden from the illiterate. No authentic
reports were attainable of the magnitude of the countries
east of the limits of ancient geography, but it seemed to
Columbus that the distance necessary to complete the circle
of the globe must be less than that required for the long
voyage round the African continent, which was already talked
of by the Portuguese navigators.
This was the central idea, around which there gradually
gathered many facts and fancies to strengthen the conjecture
and bring it to a fixed purpose. For instance, he found on

4 The First Voyage of Columbus.

some of the maps coasts or islands marked far to the west of
Europe. These were legendary or fabulous lands, such as
the islands of Antilia and of St. Brandon, the latter a Scottish
saint, of whose existence the people of Madeira may have got
the notion and the name from the Northmen, whose voyages
reached to those southern seas. In their case the idea of land
to the west may really have been founded on fact, or vestiges
of ancient tradition, as their ancestors had occasionally
reached the northern coasts of America, though not per-
manently settling there. Young Perestrello told his brother-
in-law that, when in Madeira, he had found a piece of timber
washed ashore with strange carving, and a similar piece of
wood had once been found floating upon the sea by a
Portuguese pilot. There were reports also of trees of un-
known kind driven upon the coasts of the Azores, after a long
course of westerly gales; and it was even alleged that the
bodies of two men had been washed ashore there with features
unlike those of any known races of Europe or Africa. All
these things were treasured in the mind of Columbus, and
helped to mature the plan he cherished of sailing due west to
the remote regions of the east.
It appears that as long ago as 1474 he had communicated his
ideas on this matter to a physician at Florence, distinguished
for his knowledge of cosmography, and by him he was
encouraged to cherish the design, and strive to carry his plan
into execution. He afterwards laid his scheme before the
senate of Genoa, and offered to sail under the flag of the
Republic, and secure for it the benefits of the enterprise. But
he was regarded as a chimerical enthusiast, and his proposal
was treated with contempt if not ridicule.
Having fulfilled his supposed duty in making the first pro-
posal to his own countrymen, he made his next overture to the
sovereign of the land of his adoption. But John II., then king
of Portugal, after referring the question to some of his learned
counsellors, declined to patronise this new undertaking. It is
said that these counsellors had strongly advocated the route to

The First Voyage of Columbus.

India by the Cape, and could not recommend the scheme ot
Columbus without appearing to condemn their former advice,
and admitting the superior sagacity of the Italian navigator.
They had the meanness, however, to obtain from the sanguine
projector a full account of his plans, which they resolved to
verify privately, while pretending to postpone their final
decision. A pilot was sent out with a vessel, but after pro-
ceeding to a considerable distance his courage failed, and he
returned to Lisbon to denounce the scheme as chimerical and
On hearing of this dishonourable transaction Columbus felt
the utmost indignation, and resolved to break off all inter-
course with a nation capable of such treacherous dealing. His
own convictions were stronger than ever, but he had not the
means to organise an expedition in order to verify them. He
thought that he might find a patron in the rulers either of
England or of Spain, both of which nations were famed for
naval enterprise, and both would gladly become rivals of
Portuguese enterprise.
To England he sent his brother Bartholomew, that he might
lay his plans before the king, Henry VII., who was regarded
as one of the most enlightened as well as richest princes in
Europe. The voyage was unfortunate. The ship was taken
by pirates, who stripped him of all that he possessed, and
detained him for several years as a captive. At length he
escaped from them, and contrived to reach London, but in
such poverty that he was obliged to occupy himself for a con-
siderable time in drawing and selling charts and maps in order
to get his living, and to obtain money enough to purchase
suitable apparel for appearing at Court. The king listened
with interest to the proposals, and promised to take the matter
into consideration. But meanwhile Columbus, having heard
nothing for years of his brother, and meditating a personal
visit to England, was encouraged by Juan Perez, guardian of
the monastery of Rabida, near Palos, the seaport of Seville,
to lay his plans before Ferdinand the king of Castile, whose

6 The First Voyage of Columbus.

queen Isabella corresponded with Perez. She desired him
to send Columbus to Santa Fe, where the king then was, while
engaged in the siege of Granada. The king was, however, too
much occupied with the Moorish war to give attention to the
schemes of a visionary adventurer, as he thought this mariner
to be. The queen, however, kept the matter in remembrance,
with the purpose of bringing it forward at a more favourable
It would be tedious to recount all the delays, disappoint-
ments, and difficulties that almost drove Columbus to despair.
He was again on the point of setting out for England, when a
message from Queen Isabella summoned him back to the royal
presence. Mr. J. R. Herbert, R.A., took this as the subject
of a painting exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1887, with
the title "The New World for Spain or for England ? The
description in the catalogue thus reads: "Columbus, broken
down at last and poverty stricken, while -on his way to seek
aid in England for his project, is overtaken on the bridge
(which still exists) of Pinos, and there receives another
promise of aid from the queen. Being urged by the
messenger to return to Santa Fe, he ponders, and replies, I
will take the word of the noble queen.'" Whatever may be
thought of the painting as a work of art, it is certainly a fine
historical picture.
After the conquest of Granada, and the triumphant entry
into the Alhambra, the friends of Columbus induced the queen
at once to bring his proposals before Ferdinand. So sanguine
was Isabella of the success of the enterprise, and so generous
in her friendly sympathy, that she offered to pledge her own
jewels to raise enough money for fitting out the expedition.
The friends of Columbus at court, especially Luis de Santangel,
receiver of the ecclesiastical revenues of Aragon, would not
hear of the queen's risking the loss she had offered to make,
and they undertook to advance the sum that was requisite.
The king then sanctioned the enterprise, and among other
terms in the negotiation they, as sovereigns of the ocean, con-

The First Voyage of Columbus. 7

stituted Columbus their High Admiral in all the seas, and
ruler of all the lands that he might discover in his voyage.
With this treaty Columbus hastened back to his faithful friend
Juan Perez, who at once busied himself in forwarding the
equipment of the expedition. By him chiefly the aid was
secured of three brothers named Pinzon, men of considerable
wealth, and also of great experience in navigation, who were
willing to give their personal assistance in the outfit and
the conduct of the expedition.
It was on Friday, the 3rd of August, 1492, that Columbus
set sail from Palos, in Andalusia, on this ever-memorable
voyage. A vast crowd assembled to witness the departure,
and to offer hearty supplications for the success of the under-
taking. Columbus himself and his companions were imbued
with pious feeling, and in solemn procession they all repaired
to the chapel of the monastery of Rabida to implore the Divine
protection and blessing, and to receive the holy sacrament
from the hands ot Juan Perez. There is no doubt that a
sincere desire to spread the Christian faith, as they understood
it, was joined, in the leaders of the expedition, with the romance
and the ambition of this voyage of discovery.
Contrasted with the mighty purpose of the expedition, the
fleet under command of the High Admiral seemed strangely
and almost ludicrously small. There were three vessels,
hardly worthy to be called ships, but such as were used
for coasting trips from port to port. We have ourselves
seen the same sort of vessels in the harbour of Palos, where
the imagination readily conjures up the scene witnessed four
centuries ago. Two of the vessels were little larger than the
fishing boats on the beach at Brighton, or other ot our sea-
coast towns; while the admiral's ship, with the imposing
name of the Santa Maria, so called in honour of the Blessed
Virgin, was less in size than many of the fishing smacks in
the German seas. Of the second ship, the Pinta, Martin Pinzon
was the commander, with his brother Francis as pilot. The
third, the Ninia, was under the command of Vincent Pinzon.

8 The First Voyage of Columbus.

The united crews of the three ships numbered less than a
hundred men, and these were not all sailors, for there were
some adventurers who went to try their fortune, together with
some gentlemen of the court, appointed by the queen to
accompany the admiral. The whole expense in fitting out the
expedition was about four thousand pounds, or less than
twenty thousand Spanish dollars. The ships were victualled
for twelve months.
It was the i3th of August when Columbus reached the
Canary Islands. Some days were required for repairing
damages done during the short voyage from Palos. He
left Gomera, one of the most westerly of the Canary Islands,
on the 6th of September. The first day was calm, and little
way was made, but on the second they were out of sight of
land, on the vast unknown ocean.
The sailors were almost all mere along-shore men, and
none of them had even the experience of the Portuguese
seamen on their African voyages. Columbus soon perceived
that he had to combat a spirit of fear and dejection in his
crews, as well as to brave the perils of the sea. Little respite
could he obtain from his continuous watching, and he could
snatch only a few irregular hours of sleep occasionally. At
other times he was ever on deck, superintending the execution
of every order, and constantly watching and noting in his
journal every occurrence and appearance in the ocean or
the sky. As they advanced westward, the variations of the
compass puzzled the admiral as well as the seamen, whose
alarm was increased day by day as they sailed further from
their homes.
By the I4th of September the ships were above two
hundred leagues from the point they had left in the Canary
Islands, a distance from land greater than any Spaniard had
ever been before. Still the course was kept west, as nearly
as possible in the same latitude. Presently there were en-
countered steady winds, before which the ships moved swiftly,
and with need seldom to shift a sail. They were in the

The First Voyage of Columbus. 9

trade winds, of which nothing then was known. When about
four hundred leagues from the Canaries the sea was dense
with weeds, like a vast green meadow, a strange phenomenon
which increased the terror of the sailors. Columbus, ever
quick and ingenious in cheering his desponding crew, per-
suaded them that this sign ought rather to be an encourage-
ment, as proof of land not far off. A brisk gale arising soon
after carried them through the grassy sea,-an oceanic region
familiar to modern navigators.
On the Ist of October the admiral's reckoning made out
that they were seven hundred leagues west of the Canaries,
but he deemed it prudent to use artifice, and to announce a
far inferior progress. It was given out that they had pro-
ceeded only five hundred and eighty-four leagues, and there
were none who had skill to correct the error or discover the
artifice. Birds had from time to time been seen hovering
about the ship, and directing their flight towards the west.
Incidents of that kind aided the admiral in his attempts to sus-
tain their patience and keep alive their hope. When the signs
proved fallacious, the most resolute and trusty of the seamen
joined the timid and discontented, till a spirit of insubordina-
tion threatened to break out in open mutiny. They contended
that the attempt to reach land had now been demonstrated to
be hopeless, and that it was necessary to retrace their course
while the frail ships were yet capable of keeping afloat
Officers and men united in these representations, and
Columbus knew that plans were formed to compel him by
force to accede to their wishes, and even to throw him into
the sea if he proved obstinate.
Never was commander or leader of men, by sea or land,
in any age of the world, in a position of greater difficulty than
Columbus in those days and nights of anxiety. Were all
his years of hope and effort to be now blighted, after advancing
so far towards the object of his desire, in the realisation of
which he himself still had full confidence ? He strove to
maintain calmness of demeanour, as well as firmness of pur-

10 The First Voyage of Columbus.

pose. Sometimes he affected to be ignorant of the extent
and depth of the feeling among his crew. He said much to
sustain their hope, with every argument that could appeal to
their ambition, their curiosity, and even their avarice. He
threw out hints, too, as to the anger of their sovereign if they
returned when he had assured them of the nearness of success.
He appealed to their patriotism, to their profession of religion,
and every motive that might weigh with them to abandon their
desire to return.
There were occasionally new occurrences to strengthen
these appeals, as when flocks of birds were seen making
toward the south-west. He had read in Portuguese books of
travel that this was a sure sign of land in the direction to
which they were flying, and he changed the ship's course
accordingly. For thirty days this time of anxiety lasted,
and then the mutinous spirit, which ruled in all the ships,
could be restrained no longer. Officers and men assembled
on the deck, mingling threats with expostulations, and re-
quiring their leader to return to Europe.
The critical moment had come at last, and Columbus felt
he could resist no longer. Yet was there enough good feeling
and respect towards one whom they had been accustomed to
reverence to induce them to agree to the compact proposed by
him,-that he would turn after three days' further effort.
Fortunately during these days the signs and omens ot
approaching land became more numerous and encouraging.
The sounding line now easily reached the bottom, and brought
up soil that gave indications of land not far distant. The
flights of birds were evidently of species that could not travel
far towards the ocean. Pieces of cane and of newly-cut wood
floated near the ships, and the clouds and the winds were
different from what had been familiar when far out at sea.
So the three days were passed, without fresh outbursts of
impatience, but rather with renewal of interest and of hope.
About two hours before midnight, Columbus, watching
anxiously as he stood on the forecastle, thought he saw a

The First Voyage of Columbus. II

light in the distance. He pointed it out to one of the queen's
household who was near, and he called Salcedo, comptroller
of the fleet, as he was officially called. As they'peered
through the darkness the light was observed to be in motion,
as if carried from place to place.
A little after midnight the joyful sound of Land, land!"
was heard from the Pinta, which was ahead of the other ships.
The light soon after disappeared, and all longed impatiently
for the return of day. Then were all doubts and fears dis-
pelled. This was on the morning of October I2th. Every
eye could now plainly see the outlines of the coast, and
the trees, and verdancy of what seemed a beautiful and
fertile land.
The crew of the Pinta first broke out in joyous praise,
chanting the Te Deum as a hymn of thanksgiving. This act
of pious devotion showed that all good feeling had not been
lost, and prepares us for understanding how it was followed by
demonstrations of gratitude to the commander, not without
shame and self-condemnation, on account of their previous
distrust, and the vexation they had caused to him. Those
who had shown the mutinous spirit most strongly, were
now the most warm and effusive in their expressions of
honour and reverence.
As soon as the sun arose all the boats of the ships were
manned. They rowed toward the shore-which they had
perceived to be an island-with colours flying, music sounding,
and other martial pomp. The men were well armed, but it
was soon evident that they were coming among a gentle and
peaceful people. The gestures and attitudes of the natives
only expressed wonder and admiration, without sign of fear,
much less of hostility.
Columbus was the first to step on shore,-the first European
who set foot on the new world he had discovered. He was
clothed in a rich dress, and had a drawn sword in his hand.
His men followed, and kneeling down they kissed the ground
which they had so long desired to see. Then a crucifix was

I 2 The First Voyage of Columbus.

raised, and prostrate before it they returned thanks to Almighty
God for bringing the voyage to such a happy issue. They
then formally took possession of the country for the crown of
Castile and Leon, following in this ceremony the usage of the
Portuguese who were the first discoverers of new lands beyond
the bounds of European kingdoms.
The land thus discovered and taken possession of was
one of the Bahama Isles, in the Gulf of Mexico. He called
it San Salvador, as more expressive of ideas that filled their
minds than the native name of Guanhani, the meaning of
which they did not know.
We speak now of this being the discovery of a new world,"
but to Columbus and his companions this was only one of the
islands which he supposed to be situated in the great ocean
adjacent to India. This idea remained for some time, and
the islands of central America hence came to be called the
West Indies, and the natives spoken of as Indians.
Many things were observed by the Admiral both on the
first island and on the coasts of others which he saw but did
not land at. Several natives or San Salvador were taken on
board to be exhibited in Spain, and to be taught Spanish, so as
to serve as guides and interpreters in future voyages. One of
these islands was called Cuba by these natives, and this name
it retains to the present day, as does the other great island
sighted on that first voyage, Hayti, although both had other
names at the time bestowed by the European discoverers.
For the sequel of the adventures of Columbus in this first
voyage-the search for golden regions vaguely indicated by
the Indians, the disastrous wreck of the Santa Maria, the dis-
appearance of Pinzon with the Pinta, and the return of the
Admiral to Europe in the little Nifa, in enfeebled health and
with a small handful of the men who started on the expedition
-the reader must be referred to biographies and histories of
those times.
On the 15th of February, 1493, the Niia reached the island
of St. Mary, one of the Azores. There was no sign of the








` \ I IY~MM4S


The Cape of Storms. 13

Pinta, from which he had been separated by a hurricane a
month before. Neither did he obtain any tidings at Lisbon,
where he arrived on March 5th. He stayed there only five
days, with an uncomfortable feeling lest Pinzon might have
returned to Spain before him, and obtained the glory and
rewards of the great discoveries.
On the 15th of March he anchored in the harbour of Palos,
seven months and eleven days from the time of his starting on
his voyage. The rejoicings and thanksgivings were unbounded.
Such ringing of bells and booming of cannon had never been
heard before in the quiet old place. He had, moreover, the
satisfaction of seeing Pinzon with the Pinta enter the harbour
that very evening, a tempest having driven him too far north
to get sooner to Palos, though his ship had always been the
fastest sailor.
Soon after began the journey to court, at Barcelona, where
Ferdinand and Isabella then happened to be. It was a
triumphal progress all the way, especially on entering the
town, for all Spain had soon caught the rumour of the success-
ful enterprise. What was the remaining history of Columbus
we have not now to relate, the first voyage being the great
event of his life, and of the modern history of the world.


THE most important event in the history of maritime
enterprise, next to the discovery of America by
Columbus, was the passage to India round the Cape of Good
Hope. Both these events took place near the close of the
fifteenth century. Columbus sailed on the first of his memor-
able voyages in August 1492. Six years before, in 1486,
Bartholomew Diaz, of Portugal, started on the voyage in which

14 The Cape of Storms;

the Cape was first doubled, at least in modern times. He
returned to Lisbon in December 1487, after exploring part of
the eastern coast of Africa. Having encountered violent
tempests near the southern promontory, he gave it the name
of Cabo Tormentoso, or the stormy cape. The king, Emanuel,
fearing that seamen might be deterred by so sinister an
appellation, and auguring great advantages from this new
discovery, changed the name to that which it has ever since
retained, the Cape of Good Hope.
It was not, however, till 1497, five years after the discovery
of the New World, that King Emanuel carried out his purpose
of sending a fleet to India by the Cape. Three vessels, carry-
ing in all about sixty men, were fitted out for this great
expedition, which sailed on the 8th of July, under the command
of Vasco de Gama. The enterprise proved a splendid success.
The Cape was doubled, on the return voyage, in March I499 ;
Lisbon was reached in September, little more than two years
after the departure. The king received the chief with great
magnificence, bestowed on him patents of nobility, and created
him Admiral of the Indies.
It is my purpose briefly to tell the story of these two famous
voyages, that of Bartholomew Diaz, by whom the Cape was
discovered, and that of Vasco de Gama, who first reached the
Indies by the new route. We shall also speak of other enter-
prises, by sea and land, which raised the Portuguese to a high
pitch of renown and prosperity in the fifteenth century.
The reader may like to know how it came to pass that
Portugal, one of the least of the nations of Europe, was in those
days in the very van of adventurous enterprise, and acquired
vast colonial possessions both in the Old World and the New.
It is a romantic story all through, but we need only touch upon
a few points in order to understand how this little kingdom
obtained so much power and influence, the traces of which still
remain in modern history. Except on the African coast, the
foreign possessions of the Portuguese are now comparatively
few and unimportant; In South America they have no longer

afterwards called the Cape of Good Hope. 15

a footing, the great colony of Brazil having become an inde-
pendent empire since 1822 under a sovereign of the House of
Braganza. In the Atlantic they still possess the Cape Verde
Islands, the Azores, and Madeira. In Asia the only posses-
sions are Goa and some dependent islands on the west coast
of India; the island of Kambing, and about a third of Timor;
and the island of Macao in the Canton river in China. In
Africa, both on the east and west coasts, the Portuguese settle-
ments are more extensive. The principal are on the Guinea
coast; Angola and Benguela on the south-west coast; Mozam-
bique, Zambesi, Sofala, and other colonies on the south-east
coast. In fact, the extent of the possessions on the African
coast is so great as to interfere with the more useful colonising
of the interior by other nations. Dr. Livingstone found the
Portuguese in some parts as troublesome as the Dutch were in
South Africa, and equally zealous in support of slavery. From
the Portuguese also has come the chief opposition to fair com-
merce and peaceful colonisation, down to the time of Stanley's
founding the independent Congo state. But our present con-
cern is only with the successful enterprise of the nation in the
sixteenth century, when founding their colonial empire.
It so happened that Portugal was the first country from
which the Moors were completely expelled, after having long
held possession of the Spanish peninsula and other parts of
southern Europe. King John followed up his victories by
pursuing the defeated Moors to the shores of Africa. In 1415
he took the city of Ceuta. On his return he conferred on his
fifth son, Henry, the dukedom of Viseu, and appointed him
governor of the territories recently conquered. Don Henry
was a prince of most enlightened mind, as well as a brave
soldier, and he had taken interest in Africa before the conquest
of Ceuta by his father. In 1412 he had sent a vessel to
explore the African coast. It was the first voyage of discovery
undertaken by the Portuguese. Other expeditions followed,
but navigation was at that time a rude art, and the mariners
thought that a great feat was achieved when they doubled

16 The Cape of Storms;

Cape Nun or Non, so called probably because it had hitherto
been the limit of exploration.
When residing in Africa Don Henry gathered much infor-
mation about more distant parts of the coast as well as the
interior. In 1418 two gentlemen of the prince's household
volunteered their services in an expedition to double Cape
Bojador, and explore the coast beyond. They steered as usual
near the shore, but a violent gale arising they were driven
out to sea, and when the storm abated they were cheered by
seeing an island, which they called, in gratitude for their safety,
Porto Santo. Overjoyed at the discovery they hastened back
to Portugal, and reported to the prince the events of the
voyage. What they said of the soil and climate of Porto Santo
and the mild nature of its inhabitants induced the prince to
agree to their proposal to form a settlement there. A new
expedition was fitted out, consisting of three vessels, com-
manded by Zarco, Vaz, and Perestrello. They were provided
with all implements and with seeds for the plantation, but
unfortunately they also carried with them some rabbits.
These multiplied with such amazing rapidity (as they have
done in our own day in the Australian colonies), that all the
vegetation in the island was destroyed, and the infant colony
had to be abandoned.
Before they left the island their attention was directed to
an object too far off to be distinctly visible, yet always holding
the same position to their view. They were not long in
making an expedition to satisfy their curiosity, and then was
discovered the far-famed island of Madeira. It was so named
from its being everywhere covered with forests. The scenery
was magnificent, the soil rich, and the climate delightful, but
the island was uninhabited, although far larger and more
attractive than Porto Santo.
Perestrello hastened home to tell of the discovery, leaving
Vaz and Zarco on the island. Prince Henry at once resolved
to establish a colony there, and the new colonists took with
them the vine and the sugar-cane as the most suitable plants

afterwards called the Cape of Good Hope. 17

for cultivation. These first vines came from Cyprus, then
most famous for its wines, and were the beginning of the
future wealth of the vineyards of Madeira.
There is an older story about the discovery of this lovely
island, but whether it belongs to history or to fiction it is not
easy to determine. According to this legend, an Englishmen
named Macham, with a fair young bride, Anna Dorset, unable
to gain the consent of her family to their union, and threatened
with vengeance, sought some place of tranquil security over
the sea. By a tempest the vessel was driven to the shores of
Madeira. When the loving pair, with three or four of the
crew, were resting from the fatigues of the voyage, the vessel
put to sea and deserted those who were on shore. The lady,
enfeebled by the rough voyage and the scanty fare, sickened
and died. Macham's grief was unbearable, and he expired not
many days after his Anna had been laid in her grave. The
survivors raised a rude wooden cross over the grave of the
lovers. Having constructed a canoe-raft, they reached the
Moorish coast with favouring wind, and from Morocco were
sent into Spain, and thence reached England. It is by
Portuguese writers that the story is recorded, and they add
that the port and district of Machico take their name from the
inscription found there on the tomb of Macham. The date of
the legend is I344, and it is certain that the existence of the
island was obscurely known to seamen in the latter part of
the fourteenth century.
But we must return to the Portuguese explorers, and their
renowned chief, Don Henry, of whom much is said in the
history of these times, and in poetry also. The great poet of
the Portuguese, Camoens, in his "Lusiad" celebrates his praises,
and our own Thomson, in after times, speaks of
"The Lusitanian Prince, who, Heaven-inspired,
To love of useful glory roused mankind,
And in unbounded commerce mixed the world."

In the year 1433, one of Prince Henry's ships, commanded by

18 The Cape of Storms;

Gilianez, doubled Cape Bojador, which had hitherto been the
boundary of African navigation, and had till then been deemed
impassable. It was now known that a vast continent stretched
to the south, washed by the Atlantic Ocean. A new impetus
was given to exploration. The Portuguese mariners advanced
within the tropics, and in a few years discovered the river
Senegal, and all the coast from Cape Blanco to Cape de Verde.
As far as the Senegal the native population resembled in
appearance the Moors of Barbary and northern Africa. But
as they pushed their discoveries southward they beheld men
of true negro type, black as ebony, with woolly hair, flat noses,
and thick lips. The changes in the human frame and com-
plexion they attributed to the fierce solar heat, and for some
time there was dread of advancing further south. But Prince
Henry was determined to proceed with his plans of explora-
tion, and was supported by his brother Pedro, now governor
of the kingdom, as guardian of their nephew Alphonso V., who
succeeded to the throne in 1438, during his minority.
Prince Henry, both for the encouragement of his own people,
and as a precaution against rivalry from other nations, thought
it advisable to get the sanction of the Pope for his proceedings.
Eugene IV., who was then Pontift, gladly seized the oppor-
tunity of posing as the arbiter of nations and the patron of
princes. He issued a Bull, in which, after praising the enter-
prise of the Portuguese, he granted to them the exclusive right
to all the countries which they should discover, from Cape Non
to the continent of India. Prince Henry was already certain
that he could reach the far east by the African seas. He
promised that the chief object in all his expeditions would
be to spread the knowledge of the Christian religion, and to
establish in new regions the authority of the Holy See.
This compact proved of practical benefit. Zeal for the faith
added fresh power to the love of adventure and the desire for
gain which had mainly actuated the first voyagers. When
the fame of the Portuguese discoveries spread through Europe
other nations longed to join in the career of African explora-

afterwards called the Cape of Good Hope. 9

tion and conquest. Our own Edward IV., at a later period
of the century, was preparing an expedition, but the King of
Portugal then reigning sent to remind him of the Papal Bull,
and the English had to relinquish the design. Adventurers of
many lands, however, flocked to Portugal, and sought to be
employed in the service of Prince Henry. Among these were
Genoese and Venetian seamen skilled in navigation, and in
emulation of these strangers the Portuguese showed new
enterprise and daring. The occupation of the Azores, islands
nine hundred miles from any continent, showed that there was
now less fear of venturing into the open seas.
Yet, with all this activity, at the time of the death of Prince
Henry, in 1463, little more than fifteen hundred miles of the
African coast had been explored. The spirit of this enlightened
and energetic leader, nevertheless, animated his countrymen.
King John II., who succeeded to Alphonso V. in 1481, showed
enthusiasm almost equal to that of Prince Henry in earlier
years. In 1484 a powerful fleet was fitted out, by which the
regions of Benin and the Congo rivers were discovered, and,
sailing far to the south, under the stars of another hemisphere,
new regions were added to Portuguese power and commerce.
When they found that the continent, instead of growing broader,
as the geography of Ptolemy led them to believe, became
narrower-as the direction of the coast line proved-on their
progress southward, they recalled the ancient accounts ot
Phoenician voyages, long deemed fabulous, but now giving
fresh hope of sailing round the whole of Africa. To Prince
Henry these Phoenician records had been no fables, as his
application to the Pope, and the grant of all countries as far
as India, gave testimony. King John resolved to attempt the
long and arduous task of the circumnavigation of the African
He chose as the leader of the expedition one of his courtiers,
Bartholomew Diaz, whose courage, prudence, and experience
marked him as equal to such an undertaking. While the
preparations for the voyage were being made, the King busied

20 The Cape of Storms.

himself with another design, also full of romantic interest, of
which we must give some account in a future chapter. This
was an expedition direct to the eastern regions of the dark
continent, from which there had often come mysterious
rumours of a mighty potentate, supposed to be the Emperor
of Abyssinia, professing the Christian religion, and known
in history and legend by the name of Prester John. Leaving
this expedition for the present, we return to the projected
voyage entrusted to Bartholomew Diaz, which was ready for
starting in 1486.
It was towards the end of August that the expedition started.
It was a tedious voyage, but the leader had courage and per-
severance equal to the undertaking. He advanced boldly to
the south, far beyond the limits of any previous attempts of
his countrymen, nearly a thousand miles of new country
having been discovered. Seldom has any navigator en-
countered such a succession of trials. Tempests imperilled
his ship, the crew became thoroughly demoralised and
mutinous, his storeship was lost, and famine threatened
their total destruction. They would probably have taken the
life of the commander, but that to his skill they looked for
the only hope of safety. He had the courage to continue
his southward course, and at length his perseverance was
rewarded by descrying the lofty cape which bounds the con-
tinent. He only obtained a glimpse of the high land of the
promontory. Another violent tempest drove him to sea, and
he had to satisfy himself with surveying part of the coast
beyond, on the eastern shores of Africa. No wonder that he
called this Cape the Cabo Tormentoso, or Stormy Cape. With
his ship disabled and his crew disheartened, he had to return,
and had the good fortune to reach Lisbon after a voyage of
sixteen months.



T HE discovery of the route to India round the African
continent was now only a matter of time. The
result of the voyage of Bartholomew Diaz was found to agree
with reports that reached Portugal in another way. An
embassy had been despatched to Abyssinia, and letters sent
from there assured the king and his councillors that the eastern
shores of Africa, even down to the Cape,-now no longer
called the Cape of Storms, but ot Good Hope,-were well
known to Indian and Arab navigators. How this information
came will be explained in our next chapter. The king,
Emanuel, came to the resolution of sending a fleet direct
to India. The discovery of the New World by Columbus
gave a fresh impulse to this design, and great preparations
were made for the enterprise.
The command of the fleet was entrusted to Vasco de
Gama, a gentleman of the Portuguese court, distinguished for
his prudence, courage, and skill in navigation. Three vessels,
carrying in all about sixty men, formed the expedition. It
was thus an armament less imposing than the little company
that first crossed the then unknown ocean, the Atlantic, under
Columbus. Vasco de Gama set sail on the 8th of July, 1497.
He steered straight for the Cape de Verde islands, and passing
them made his course south till he reached St. Helena, where
he remained a few days. Thence he arrived in two days at the
Cape, although he had to encounter the south-east winds
which prevail in that latitude during the summer season.
His crews, like most of the seamen in those early voyages,
were rather troublesome, and were inclined to disobey orders,
but Vasco de Gama, by his address as well as his firmness,
retained his authority, and restrained their impatience.
Steering eastward along the southern coasts, he anchored in
the Bay of St. Blaise, and soon after reached the little island
of La Cruz, where the discoveries of Diaz had terminated.

22 Discovery of Route to India by the Cape.

From this place the trending of the coast was northerly, and
the little fleet was soon sailing in the Indian seas. He took
the precaution to keep the shores in sight as far as possible,
and thus cautiously advancing he at length, in the beginning
of March, 1498, anchored in the roadstead of the city of
Mozambique. This place he found in the possession of Moors
or Mohammedan Arabs, under a prince of their own creed,
and trading with the Red Sea and the Indies.
The arrival of these strange ships created no small excite-
ment among the Moors, especially among the navigators and
traders. As soon as it was ascertained that the strangers
were Christians, every stratagem and effort was made to
get them into durance, doubtless with the result of slavery or
death. Vasco de Gama was too watchful to be overpowered
or circumvented. Securing a pilot, he sailed northward for
Quiloa. The port was overpassed, and the currents being too
strong for retracing his course, he steered on to Mombassa.
Here he encountered similar people and similar treatment.
The Moors everywhere in those days were artful and treacher-
ous, where not used to intercourse with other nations.
Meeting with no hospitality, and obtaining no information
at Mombassa, he proceeded northward to Melinda. Here he
was more fortunate. Although the people were Mohamme-
dans, it was found that their commercial pursuits had enlarged
their ideas, and softened their manners toward strangers.
The ruler of the region showed marked pleasure on the
arrival of the strangers; he went on board Gama's ship, and
inVited him on shore to return the visit. The commander
declined accepting the invitation, probably from lingering
dread of treachery. He allowed some of his officers and men
to go on shore, and they returned with good report of the
honour and hospitality with which they had been treated.
More important was it to find in the harbour of Melinda
several ships from India. These were Arab ships regularly
trading with the East across the Indian Ocean. He even
found on board some native Indian Christians, who were able

Discovery of Route to India by the Cape. 23

to give to Gama valuable information, privately warning him
at the same time not to trust himself too much to Moorish
appearances of friendship. The king or ruler of Melinda
seems, however, to have behaved very honourably, and even
kindly, for he gave to Gama, as his pilot, one of the most
experienced navigators of those seas, Malemo Cana, an Indian
of Gujerat. It is said that this pilot expressed no surprise
when he saw the astrolabe, with which the Portuguese
observed the meridian altitude of the sun; he said that the
pilots of the Red Sea made use of instruments of similar
Thus far there was really little of novelty or enterprise in
the Portuguese voyage. The character of Vasco de Gama
certainly grows upon us, and we admire his skill and courage,
his perseverance and his address, in the management of his
ships and of his men. But there was nothing of the romance
that throws a halo of glory around the name of Columbus.
Gama had at first only to follow the track of Diaz, and when
he pushed northwards to regions already explored and
peopled by Arab adventurers, he had the good fortune to find
at Melinda that he was on the path of regular trade between
Africa and India. Not the less, however, was the practical
importance of his enterprise up to this point. He had still
to show, in the eastern region whither he proceeded, the
wonderful strength of will and loftiness of character which have
made his name so renowned.
The voyage from Melinda to Calicut, under the direction of
the Gujerat pilot, took twenty-three days. Calicut was at that
time the busiest and richest seaport in India, being the chief
emporium of the trade with Arab vessels from the Red Sea
and the African coast. The prince who reigned there was
named Zamorin. He gave permission to the Portuguese
ships to enter the port, and consented to receive the com-
mander with the same honours that were usually shown to
ambassadors from foreign potentates. Gama's officers warned
him to be aware of treachery, but he resolved to go on shore

24 Discovery of Route to Indza by the Cape.

the next day, giving to his brother the command of the fleet
during his absence, and charging him, if any evil befel himself,
he was not to attempt to avenge his death, but at once to
depart, and, returning to Europe, to announce to the king the
results of the voyage.
Next morning Gama went on shore, accompanied by twelve
of his trustiest and most resolute men. He was received with
great pomp and ceremony, and as he had to cross the city in
order to reach Zamorin's country palace, the whole population
turned out, full of curiosity at the appearance and dress of the
strangers, so unlike anything hitherto seen in India. The
reception by the king was most gracious, and Gama flattered
himself that he might easily obtain a treaty for carrying on an
advantageous trade with Calicut in Portuguese ships.
This hope was frustrated through the machinations ot
Mohammedan merchants, who viewed with jealousy the pro-
ceedings of these Christian strangers, and probably rival
traders. Crafty insinuations were made that these strangers
were not merchants but pirates, who had come chiefly to spy
out the land, and to pioneer the way for expeditions of pillage
or conquest. Colour was given to these suggestions by the
fact that the Portuguese had brought no regular cargoes ot
merchandise, and Zamorin was also led to believe that the
commander was not a person of official dignity because he had
not brought presents, such as the envoys of foreign states were
accustomed to bring to the ruler of Calicut. Some slight gifts
to the king's attendants were rejected with contempt. The
misunderstanding increased, and while some worked on the
king's mind, others managed to convey to Gama the idea
that there was a design to lure his ships into a position where
they could be easily seized and the crews captured. He con-
trived to send a message of warning to his brother, while he
himself resolved to remain with the king, whom he convinced,
by his bold confidence and his earnest appeals, through an
interpreter, of the advantages to be gained by an alliance with
the Portuguese nation. The king was on the whole favourably

In Quest of Prester John. 25

impressed by the conduct and words of his visitor, and dis-
missed him with courtesy and honour.
As soon as Gama got back to his ships he sailed without loss
of time. He did not even wait to get some necessary repairs
effected, but went for this purpose to the Angedine Islands,
a little north of Calicut. He steered for Melinda, where
he left his trusty pilot, and took on board an envoy from the
king, who had all through seemed sincere in his friendship,
and now professed a desire to enter into an alliance with
Portugal. Retracing his course down the eastern coast of
Africa, he doubled the.Cape of Good Hope in March, 1499, and
arrived in Lisbon in September of the same year, about two
years after setting out on his memorable voyage. King
Emanuel received him with great magnificence, celebrated his
safe return with festivities, bestowed upon him titles of nobility,
and appointed him Admiral of the Indies.
This narrative must not be closed without a reference to the
greatest poet of Portugal, Camoens, who in the time when the
discovery of the route to India was yet fresh in the memory
of his countrymen, sang the praises of the Portuguese (os
Lusiadas) in his grand "poem "The Lusiad." "Their past
history," says Hallam, chimes in, by means of episodes, with
the great event of Gama's voyage to India." One of the finest
passages of the poem is where the spirit of the Cape," rising
in the midst of his stormy seas, threatens the daring adven-
turers who violate the hitherto unploughed waters.


FROM the time that the Portuguese first made settlements
on the northern and western coasts of Africa, there came
rumours of a mighty ruler in the far east of the continent who
professed the Christian religion. King John, after consulting

26 In Quest of Prester John.

his learned men, came to the conclusion that this must be the
emperor or king of Abyssinia, for it was known that the Moslem
conquests had not extended to that region. Ambassadors from
the negro kings of Benin and Congo and other places in the
interior confirmed these rumours, telling how many moons
(after their way of counting the length of caravan journeys)
this greater ruler was beyond their own territories. The
information about the eastern side of Africa being very meagre,
and the ideas of history being very confused, the popular
belief among the Portuguese, and, indeed, throughout Europe,
was that at last they were on the track of Prester John, the
mysterious potentate about whom there had been so many
rumours and conjectures in past times.
Those who identified the ruler of Abyssinia with Prester
John jumped to a hasty and baseless conclusion. That name
had a far more venerable antiquity. It was first heard of in
Europe more than two hundred years before, in the middle of
the thirteenth century. At that time the conquests of the
celebrated Genghis Khan in Asia, and the invasion of the south-
east of Europe by Mongolian hordes, had spread alarm among
the rulers and nations of the west. Poland and Hungary had
already been overrun by these. Tartar barbarians. They
threatened Syria, and the strange sight was imminent of a
three-cornered war, when the struggling Christians and Moham-
medans would be confronted by a formidable foe hostile to
both of them, and caring nothing for the Holy Sepulchre and
other places for which the old rivals contended. The Pope,
Innocent IV., thought it expedient to send envoys to the Mongol
camp, where they delivered to the generals and chiefs their
message from the head of the Christian Church, the great
enemy of the Moslems. Before being admitted to an audience
with the Khan himself, they were told of the ceremonial obeis-
ances to be made before the Grand Khan, who called himself
the Son of Heaven. The papal envoys, refusing this abject
submission, and claiming for their master the supremacy over
all people, were treated with much contempt, and would have

In Quest of Prester John. 27

been put to death but for the intercession of the mother of the
Great Khan.
A second mission, entrusted to an Italian friar, Giovanni
Carpini, appeared afterwards, and met with greater favour.
Carpini and his companions acted with more discretion than
the previous envoys. They travelled by way of Bohemia,
Silesia, and Poland to Kieff, then the Russian capital. They
were everywhere received with great honour, and obtained
useful hints as to their dealings with the Mongols. By careful
attention to ceremonies, and by judicious distribution of pre-
sents, the friendliness of some influential generals and chiefs
was secured, and in due time Carpini was in the presence of
the Great Khan. His prudent behaviour secured for him
greater opportunities of.obtaining information than the pre-
vious envoys. It was during his sojourn at the camp and
court of the emperor that he was told of Christians in Cathay
or some region of eastern India. He heard that when Genghis
Khan had conquered Cathay, he sent one of his sons with an
army into India, and he came to a country the king of which
was known by the name of Prester John.
Not many years after Carpini's return, St. Louis of France,
then leading a crusade against the Saracens, sent an embassy
to the Mongol prince, Erkaltay, one of the lieutenants of
Genghis Khan, who was advancing westward from Persia.
The envoy was a Dutch friar, Van Ruysbroeck, better known
in history as William de Rubruquis. His travels begun in the
summer of 1253. He found the Mongol chiefs ignorant and
indifferent about religious creeds, but with a certain super-
stitious belief in a Supreme Power. They allowed professors
of various religions to live among them, and gave encourage-
ment to priests of different persuasions to use rites and
prayers. Among others with whom Rubruquis conversed
were Nestorians, who seemed specially protected by the Mongol
chiefs. From them he learned that the Nestorian Christians
had entered into China as early as the sixth or seventh century
and that they were still numerous in some provinces of the

28 In Quest of Prester John.

Empire. Rubruquis, like Carpini, speaks of a Christian prince
named Prester John, and says he was brother of a Mongol
prince who flourished in the beginning of the thirteenth
century, or about fifty years before. Rubruquis travelled
through the territories which tradition assigned to Prester,
but adds that no one there knew anything about him except
a few Nestorians.
The wonderful travels of the Venetian, Marco Polo, did not
terminate till near the close of the fourteenth century, and it
was before his time that the legendary fame of Prester John
was spread throughout Europe. The truth is that the old
rumours revived at successive periods, and were associated
with the same name of Prester John, without any intelligent
consideration either of time or of locality. All the early
travellers agree in giving the title to a prince whose name
among "the Mongols and other informants was Ung or Unc
Khan. Rubruquis, indeed, conjectured Prester John to be a
brother of this prince, hoping, perhaps, to get rid in this way
of the confusion of names. The dominions of the Christian
monarch were also unanimously placed in Tartary, or some
remote part of north-eastern Asia; but when Unc Khan was
put to death by his relative Genghis Khan in I202, the
religion as well as the kingdom of the Christian Mongols
disappeared from the narratives of Eastern story-tellers.
The traditions, however, survived; and European travellers
in after ages transferred Prester John to any part of remote
regions where there appeared traces or rumours of Christianity.
It seems to have been a revival of these rumours that led
John, the King of Portugal, to send the mission of which we
are now about to narrate the results.
While Bartholomew Diaz was prosecuting the voyage in
which he first described the Cape of Good Hope, King John of
Portugal was preparing an expedition in quest of Prester John,
now supposed to be alive and flourishing in eastern Africa,
as Emperor of Abyssinia. As leaders of the expedition he
selected Pedro de Covillam and Alphonso de Payva, both ot

In Quest of Prester John. 29

whom were men of tried courage and capacity, and both
perfect masters of the Arabic language. They were to find
their way to the court of the Christian ruler, and to make
offers of alliance and friendship. They had, moreover, private
instructions to procure all possible information in the countries
visited, especially with respect to the trade with India, and
the course of navigation to that continent from the shores of
Arabia and the African coast. It was known that the treasures
of the East, silks and spices and precious metals, were brought
by sea by the Arab traders, through whom they were after-
wards distributed throughout Europe, first by caravans through
the desert, and then by the Genoese, Venetian, and other ships
that sailed on the Mediterranean for the enterprising cities of
Covillam and Payva, in obedience to the king's orders, first
made for Egypt. At Cairo they joined a caravan of Arab
merchants from Fez on their journey to Arabia Petrea, where
they had the satisfaction of seeing the supposed scenes of some
of the wanderings of the ancient Israelites, and they camped
at the foot of Mount Sinai. While their eyes were busy their
ears also were open. From the merchants they got valuable
information about the trade with Calicut in India. After their
Arabian travels they embarked in an Arab ship on the Red
Sea for Aden. Here the envoys parted, with the intention of
again meeting at Cairo. Payva sailed from Aden for Abyssinia,
where he was cruelly murdered. Covillam proceeded from
Aden across the Indian Ocean, to verify the reports he had
heard from the Arab traders. He visited Calicut, Goa, and
other cities on the Malabar coast. Thence he crossed to
Sofala, on the east coast of Africa, to explore the gold mines of
which he had heard. When here he obtained the first distinct
account of the great island of the Moon, as it was called, the
Madagascar of later geography. Satisfied with the information
he had gathered during his travels, of which he had kept an
accurate record, he returned to Cairo.
At Cairo he heard of the death of his comrade Payva. He

30 In Quest of Prester John.

was hastening to return to Portugal, when he met with two
Jews who had been sent by the King of Portugal to tell him
of the murder of Payva, and to bring new instructions.
He resolved to go himself to Abyssinia in search of Prester
John, in whose existence he still believed, having at Cairo
received assurance that the people in that southern region
were Christians, as they indeed nominally were, and still are.
One of the Jews was sent back to Portugal, and to him were
entrusted the journals of his travels by sea and land, with
maps of the coasts on which he had touched, and remarks on
the Arab trade with India.
Covillam then prepared for his journey to Abyssinia, in
which the other Jew from Portugal accompanied him. They
met with the most honourable reception from the king, or
Negus, as he was termed, who soon found that he could turn
the knowledge andexperience of the travellers to profitable use.
What became of the Jew is not recorded. He probably made
his way back to Europe. Covillam married and settled in
Abyssinia. He was raised to high dignity, held important
offices, and became a rich man. The chroniclers have
wondered why he never returned to Europe. Perhaps his
marriage was the hindrance. If his wife did not prevent
him, he was detained by command of the king, which is the
usual explanation. At all events, he remained in Abyssinia
for above thirty years, and he was found there by Rodriguez
de Lima, who went as ambassador for Lisbon in 1525. The
old man wept for joy on seeing his countrymen, and hearing
his native tongue, but in vain they attempted to induce him to
go with them on their departure. He had ever since his first
arrival in Abyssinia continued to send letters to the King of
Portugal, and the earliest of these letters had satisfied King
John of the possibility of sailing to India round the continent
of Africa. Thus was procured far more important tidings than
the discovery of the fabled Prester John.



IN the "ancient geography taught in our school days we
heard much about Scylla and Charybdis. However small
the manual or class-book of geography might be, these vener-
able names always had a prominent place. Sicily, we were
told, is separated from Italy by the Fretum Siculum, or Straits
of Messina, called also the Faro, fifteen miles long, and. in some
places so narrow that the barking of dogs and the crowing of
cocks could be distinctly heard from one side to the other
This strait, we were further told, is thought by some to have
been formed by an earthquake breaking the isthmus which
joind Sicily with the mainland, and by the Tuscan and Ionian
Seas rushing in.
On the Italian side of this narrow strait was Scylla, a rock
dangerous to mariners; and on the other side Charybdis, a
whirlpool, said to swallow up ships, and on the return of the
tide to throw them up again in broken fragments. All this
was stated on the authority of Pliny and other philosophers,
confirmed by Ovid, Virgil, and other poets. So many stories
were told about this perilous strait that Seneca calls it Fretum
fabulosum, that is, celebrated, or exaggerated, in fabulous
legend. The dangers were forcibly expressed in a proverbial
saying, either in prose or in verse, as in this famous line :-
"Incidit in Scyllam qui vult vitare Charybdim,"
a classical form of the more homely vernacular saying about
"jumping out of the frying-pan into the fire,"-the case of a
man who, wishing to avoid one danger, falls into a greater.
According to the poets, the rock, or rocky promo4ory, of
Scylla, was the abode of a sea monster, a sort of gigantic
mermaid, who drew ships to the shore that she and her fierce
dogs might prey upon those on board. Even Virgil tells how
some of the mariners of Ulysses were torn in pieces by these
sea-dogs. The howling of the dogs was the poetical way of

32 A Trip to Scylla and Charybdis.
describing the noise of the billows driven into the cavities
of the rocky shore during tempests. As to Charybdis, the
reports of wrecks and ruin in ancient times form a dreary
and tragic record.
These stories of old disasters, and the fears ot ancient
mariners, only show the frailty of the ships, and the inexpert-
ness of the sailors, in those early times of the world. The
rocky shores of Calabria, and the currents of the Straits of
Messina, present no difficulties in modern navigation. Any
narrow sea or rocky coast will be avoided by ships in
tempestuous weather, and in these days of steam a vessel
passes easily through troubled waters which might have
terrified sailors in frailer crafts. The shores of southern Italy
have no special dangers, and the whirlpool of Charybdis is
only a small example of tidal currents meeting together, and
causing superficial disturbance of the waters. Far more
dangerous are the eddies and tidal currents among the
Hebrides on the western coast of Scotland, or the famous
Maelstrom, on the coast of Norway. The whirlpool of
Charybdis, now marked Galaforo on the Italian charts, is
no longer a terror to mariners, and probably has never been
heard of at Lloyd's in the records of shipwreck and disaster
at sea.
Curious to see what is said about Scylla and Charybdis in
modern times, I have consulted the usual guide-books to South
Italy and Sicily, and many books of voyage and travels. The
old stories are mentioned, but with little information of recent
and authentic kind. Near the Scyllean rocks there is a town,
Scilla, once of more importance than now, being overwhelmed
by the terrible earthquake of February, 1783. Nearly three
thousand of the inhabitants then perished, chiefly through an
inundation of the sea, where they had sought safety on the
beach during the night to avoid the falling houses. More than
forty thousand persons perished that night in the southern
region of Italy and the opposite coast of Sicily.
In the old posting days Scylla was the last stage but one on

A Trzi to Scylla and Charybdis. 33

the road from Naples to Reggio, now, as in ancient times, the
chief landing port for travellers from Sicily. The Apostle
Paul mentions his touching at Rhegium, on his way from
Syracuse to Rome. The classical writers abound in references
to this place. Below Scylla and Rhegium is the ville
S. Giovanni, with its little port where some travellers used
to stop instead of going on to Reggio, because here the Straits
are the narrowest, scarcely above an Italian mile for a boat to
In a volume of travels published in 1820 I find the narrative
of an excursion specially made to Scylla and Charybdis from
Messina by a lively and intelligent Frenchman, M. Gourbillon.
He seems to have been travelling merely for amusement and
information, and gives an account of these famous places. He
prefaces his notes by a description of the port and quay of
Messina, which is worth giving, as being very droll in style, and
as showing how the place appeared to a stranger in 1819.
The quay of Messina is nearly half a league in length, and
fifty feet in breadth. It extends, at first, in a semicircle, and
then runs in a straight line, from the gate of the arsenal to the
gate of the city named the lower imperial gate. The view
from this is one of the finest that can be imagined. On one
side presents itself a forest of masts of ships-of-war, merchant-
men, feluccas, boats, and vessels of every description, and of
all nations; and on the other, a line of houses newly erected,
and so regular and elegant that they would be taken rather
for one continued and regular palace than for the dwellings
of individuals. From thirty to thirty-five gates, ornamented
with columns, open upon an equal number of streets.
About the centre of the quay, at a little distance from each
other, are two statues, one of marble and the other of bronze,
respectively representing Charles III. and Neptune. As to
the first, it would be difficult to imagine anything less digni-
fied than the attitude given to the aged monarch. The Nep-
tune, so much praised by Brydone, and so severely criticised
by Borch, does not merit either the criticism or the eulogy.

34 A Triz to Scylla and Charybdis.

The same remark is applicable to the other works of the same
kind, scattered in different parts of this city. They are works
which, without doubt, would be much better placed, if they
were still in the foundry, or in the workshop of the artist.
I do not know where Brydone could gather the idea, that
the Neptune in question holds Charybdis and Scylla in chains.
The two latter figures are, indeed, part of the monument; but
they are ornaments purely accessory, and foreign to the action
of the principal figure, who is not represented as a god ready
to crush the monsters under his feet, but in the attitude of
a feeble old man; who, with one hand, scarcely sustains a
trident, and with the other points to some object. The artist
has certainly kept the meaning of his work to himself. The
Charybdis and Scylla, however, are executed in a style much
superior to the principal figure.
In front of the statue of Neptune appears the new palace
of the senate, which opens upon Ferdinand Square. It is of
the Doric order. This place is ornamented with a pedestrian
statue of the reigning prince; but its entire aspect does not
correspond with the grandeur of the palace.
The street named Ferdinand is handsome. Running paral-
lel with the quay, it commences with the arsenal, and extends
in a direct line beyond the quay, to the square called Saleo,
whence (under the latter name) it traverses the suburbs, and
ends at the foot of the mountains which bound the city on the
north. The only two inns of Messina are situated in this
street, and are respectively called the City of London and the
City of Paris. They are both of them indifferent inns, but
are not equally dear, the difference in their prices being much
the same as would be found between those of London and
Paris themselves. The same apartments and style of living
as would cost me eight guineas per month at one of those inns,
would cost me at least double the sum at the other. This
circumstance does not form the only advantage which one has
over the other. The City of London is so situated as to
be entirely shut out of a view of the port. The'City of Paris

A Trip to Scylla and Charybdis. 35

commands not only the greater part of that, but also the
entire view of the bay. From the window where I sit I
have before me Charybdis, Scylla, and the Pharos. Such a
panorama is well worth the whole price of the lodging.
I have said, there are only two inns at Messina, and those
not the most excellent. The truth is that, if fish be excepted,
the provisions here are generally very inferior to ours. The
butcher's meat and vegetables are hard and dry; game is
scarce and indifferent; the oil and butter are bad; fruit, with
the exception of oranges and figs, not so fine as at Paris, or
even in London; the grapes, as they are throughout all Sicily
and the kingdom of Naples, are of an inferior kind. The
bread only is excellent.
Foreign Consulates.-Nothing is more remarkable than the
constitution of the consulates in this city. The American
consul is a Russian; the Russian consul, a German; the Ger-
man consul, a Dutchman; the Dutch consul, a Swiss; the
Neapolitan consul, a Frenchman; and the French consul is a
Neapolitan. Not one of them has ever been in the country
which employs him, nor can speak its language. Here are
six nations very singularly represented I These consuls are,
however, a good sort of people, who occupy themselves very
steadily with their affairs; and the last-mentioned of them is
a musician and poet, and plays, ill enough indeed, on the flute.
Theatres, Coffee-houses, Casinos, and Promenades.-Messina
has a theatre, but it is not that in which it may be said most
to excel. Its coffee-houses offer no resource against weari-
ness. No one goes there, but to drink hastily a cup of suf-
ficiently bad coffee, or glass of lemonade. You find no foreign
journal there; not even the journal of Palermo. As to the
houses themselves, they have neither windows nor doors, and
rather resemble a public-house, than a place to receive persons
who never visit the public-house.
The casino is the same here as in all other parts of Italy
that is to say, a species of club, open only to a certain number
of subscribers, who are generally persons of the first rank of

36 A Trip to Scylla and Charybdis.

the city. Strangers, introduced by a subscriber, are well re-
ceived at these clubs. But the amusements you find in them
are no better than you find in our coffee-houses, with this
exception, that you yawn freely in our coffee-rooms, and in
the casino you must yawn according to form and ceremony.
The Ringho.-The promenades here are of two sorts; the
streets themselves, and the promenades properly so called.
The fine streets of the Corso, and of Ferdinand, constitute the
first, and the avenues of the Terra-Nova and the Ringho the
last. I have spoken of the former, and now will describe the
The Ringho is merely a public road; but this road is
superior, in my opinion, to the finest public gardens of the
other cities of Europe. The Ringho leads to a pretty village
of the same name, and runs along the shore which forms one
of the sides of the bay of Messina. An arm of the sea, which
in its widest part is not more that four leagues and a half in
breadth, is the only barrier which here separates you from the
mountainous coast of the farther Calabria; and the distance is
diminished to the view by numberless vessels and boats by
which it is navigated in all directions.
This promenade is the point of union of all classes of the
inhabitants of Messina. The carriages of the gentry frequent
this place in numbers, besides a multitude of petits-maitres
mounted on asses. This animal abounds here. The scarcity
of horses and the badness of the roads make them invaluable.
This humble and modest creature, valued like man in the
opposite direction of his utility, everywhere excels his proud
rival in patience and other useful qualities; but in a country
which, like Sicily, offers on all sides torrents, ravines, preci-
pices, and mountains, the horse becomes a mere object or
luxury, and the useful ass claims and re-enters into his rights.
The whole range of the Ringho is ornamented with hand-
some country houses scattered up and down, and with villages
and cottages, of which the animated and smiling aspect is a
perfect contrast to the shore of the dreary Calabria, a country

A Trip to Scylla and Charybdis. 37

which seems abandoned by God and man, and more especially
by its government. On the Calabrian coast some miserable
villages show themselves, here and there, in the midst of a
barren, uncultivated, mountainous, desert, and savage country.
In the midst of the waves the proud Scylla raises its superb
front, and all that surrounds it is humbled and eclipsed before
its grandeur.
The forms of the Sicilian administration, very useful, no
doubt, to the revenue and the landlords of inns, tried my
patience a little when I proposed to visit Scylla. At the end
of three or four days, going backwards and forwards to the
consuls of our respective nations, to the ministry of the high
police, the intendant-general, the commander-in-chief of the
forces by land and sea, the consistory, the monarchy, the
junta, the tribunal of conscience, sacred and royal, the office
of health, the custom-house, and the inquisition, we were at
last permitted to sail from the port of Messina, and to pass
freely, according to the usages of free countries, to the other
extremity of the bay; that is to say, to the distance of four
On the 17th of August, at five o'clock in the morning, I was
at the place agreed upon for our rendezvous.
Charybdis.-Scarcely had we doubled the little promontory
on which rises the castle of Saint Salvador, and were arrived
at the Cape called the Point of the Lighthouse, than our bark
pressed upon the bosom of the redoubtable Charybdis.
Those currents, which are known on the spot by no other
name than that of Calofaro, a Greek word corrupted by a
vicious pronunciation, and meaning a beautiful and good
pharos, an epithet derived no doubt from the lighthouse,
which warns vessels of their danger; these currents are at the
distance of a league and one-third from the military column
of the arsenal of Messina. They run along the eastern and
southern coast of the point of the Lighthouse, directly fronting
the two convents of Saint Francis and Saint Salvador, at a
third of a league from the first, and a league and a third from

38 A Trzi to Scylla and Charybdis.

the latter. As to the coast of Calabria, they are situated in
front of the villages of Saint John and Catona, at two leagues
and a third from one, and two leagues two-thirds from the
Charybdis, or Calofaro, forms, in the middle of the sea, a
circle which may be about Ioo feet in circumference. Its
greatest depth is about 500 feet.
While we traversed these currents in every direction, the
depth of the sea did not prevent us from seeing its bottom as
clearly as if we had been in shallow water; for, notwithstand-
ing the turbulence of the waves, they are so clear and limpid,
that you are perfectly deceived as to the depth.
The celebrated and learned Buffon, deceived, like many
other authors, by the fictions of the poets, saw in Charybdis a
dangerous whirlpool, which swallowed and vomited the waters
of the sea thrice in twenty-four hours. Spallanzani was the
first to correct this error. We have seen, he says, how many
authors, beginning with Homer, have supposed that Charybdis
is in fact a whirlpool, or gulf, whose currents draw within
itself every vessel which passes its circle, and bury them within
its centre. Yet, it is Igenerally far from being dangerous.
When its currents become strong, and it is even dangerous,
Charybdis still presents nothing of its pretended whirlpool,
but merely a violent agitation of its waves. And, in this state,
it is so far from drawing vessels within its circle and swallow-
ing them up, that it actually repels them, and drives them to
a distance, although with violence.
After having ascertained, for ourselves, the accuracy of this
account, we quitted this celebrated place, altogether astonished
at the length of time which is required to remove old pre-
judices, and to lead men to receive the truth.
Scylla.-At length we pursued our route to this famous rock,
which, thanks to the fine weather and the tranquil seas, was
rather an object of pleasure than of terror.
It is situated on the eastern shore of the farther Calabria.
The shore forms here a deep bay, in the midst of which a

A Trip to Scylla and Charybdis. 39

pointed rock, about 550 feet above the surface of the sea,
which is itself in this place more than a thousand feet in depth,
rears its head amidst the waves, and forms a promontory,
which has been the theme of poets, beginning with Homer,
and terror of navigators, commencing with Ulysses.
Three reefs of rocks, unequal in height and form, raise their
dark heads around Scylla; and a number of other reefs, less
elevated, are scattered also around the principal rock.
But I confess we could not discover the profound caverns
so clearly perceived by Brydone and Borch, and also by a more
modern traveller, Spallanzani, much less accustomed than the
two gentlemen just mentioned to found assertions upon popu-
lar tales and the fables of crudulous antiquity. It was equally
in vain we sought to catch the sound of those terrible groans,
that species of thunder, and barking of dogs which (according
to the two first writers) still confirm the recitals of Virgil and
Homer. During three different courses which we made round
the rock, and in which we approached at times so near as to
touch it with our hands, we could observe some fissures indeed,
of more or less magnitude, and could hear some murmurings
of the wind, more or less loud; but these were far enough re-
moved from being either real caverns or frightful groans.
After having sufficiently examined every object connected
with the redoubtable Scylla, we fastened our skiff to the rock
itself, determined to dine on board moored to the foot of this
terrible monster; and there, in fact, we tranquilly drank to
the memory of Homer, Virgil, and Horace, and even to that
of Borch and Brydone.
Our dining-room floated over the rocks; and, sitting beneath
an awning, we had around us one of those rare pictures which
nature alone can trace, and which she has given to man alone
the power to appreciate. This picture is more easy to be
admired than adequately described.



D URING the great French war, early in the present cen-
tury, many Germans and Swiss were employed as
foreign legionaries, both at home and abroad. They were so
numerous as to form separate regiments, usually named after
the country from which they came, or after their commanding
officer. One of these, "the regiment of Mueron," was in
garrison at Madras in 18oi. It was one of the soldiers of this
regiment, Hendrick Portenger, who met with the extraordinary
adventures which we are about to relate. The narrative is
published as it was taken down, in the soldier's own words,
by Captain May of the same regiment, who testifies that the
narrator was a man of good sense, and of a very retentive
memory, not addicted to exaggeration, and well known as a
man of truth and probity. The following is the story as
narrated at Seringapatam, where the regiment was stationed
in October, 1802.
On the 2nd of February, I8or, the regiment de Mueron being
then in garrison at Madras, a detachment of the said regiment,
composed of one sergeant, one corporal, and eighteen privates,
of which I was one, was ordered to accompany General Lake
to Bengal, as a guard of honour. We embarked with him on
board the company's packet-boat the Swallow, and left Madras
on the 3rd February. We arrived at Fort William on the I2th
of the same month, and disembarked on the i3th. We re-
mained at Calcutta until the Ist of April following, and were
extremely well treated.
On the Ist of April we were sent down the river Hoogly,
and embarked, on the 4th, on board the company's ship
Weisshelm, a very large vessel of two decks, commanded by
Captain Baer. We set sail on the 7th following, in the sup-
position that we were going to Madras to rejoin our regiment
and our friends and comrades, of which our whole detachment
were naturally desirous; but a few days after we were un-

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Shipwreck in the Red Sea. 41

deceived, in a very unpleasant manner, by learning that our
ship was loaded with provisions, and destined to carry them to
the British army in Egypt, without being allowed to touch any-
where on the way.
We sailed to the end of April without seeing any land,
when we came in view of the high land of Cape Comorin,
round which we steered.
On the 4th of June the captain of our ship, after the cele-
bration of the king's birthday, gave an entertainment to the
officers and crew, of which we made a part, and it lasted the
whole day.
The 7th of June, in the afternoon, we saw high land, which
proved to be the coast of Africa. At seven o'clock in the even-
ing the captain ordered the officer of the watch to be very
careful to keep the ship at the distance from land which he had
pointed out to him, and to be careful to avoid some rocks at no
great distance; a watch of four men was placed on the fore-
top, with orders to be very vigilant and keep a good lookout,
for fear of getting too near the land.
But soon after, the sentry on the fore-top cried out,
Breakers ahead on hearing which, the officer on watch,
who seemed to be just awakened from a profound sleep, ex-
claimed, "What is that you say ? you lie, you scoundrel! "
but at the same instant the men at the helm also cried out, that
the ship became unmanageable, and did not obey the helm any
longer, which we found proceeded from the force of the waves
breaking on the rocks; on this the officer of the watch ran to
the compass; but he seemed as much frightened as any one,
so he sent for the captain immediately, who, depending on the
vigilance of the officer and the orders he had given, had retired
to take some rest. As soon as he came on deck, which he did
immediately, he saw what had happened, and gave what orders
he judged necessary on this melancholy occasion; but it was
unfortunately too late; the ship was surrounded on every side
with rocks and breakers, on which the sea broke tremendously.
He ordered the guns to be thrown overboard, but it could not

42 Shizwreck in the Red Sea.

be effected, the ship filling so fast, that the water was already
gaining the main deck; soon after, the ship struck on a rock,
and the shock was so violent that the whole stern part of the
vessel, with the mizzen-mast, was separated from the ship and
broken to pieces. Judge of our deplorable situation; all our
boats.destroyed, the night setting in dark and stormy, the land
far off yet, surrounded by rocks and breakers, on which the
sea broke mountains high, and was continually making over
the wreck of our unfortunate vessel; which, however, for-
tunately for us, stuck fast between the two rocks, where it had
struck the last time, when it was broken in two. We had,
therefore, no hope of preservation left, but that the wreck
might hold together and be able to resist the waves until next
morning, when, with the help of daylight, we might make an
attempt to reach the shore.
We spent the night in the best manner we could, and a
horrid dismal night it was for us all; at last, the wished-for
daylight came, and found us in the same situation. The fury
of the waves, breaking all around the wreck, appalled the
stoutest hearts, and left but little hopes that we should be able
to reach the shore alive. However, life is sweet, and the trial
must be made; so every one laid hold of what he could get,
a plank, a spar, casks, hen-coops, etc., and, trusting to an
Almighty Providence, committed himself to the waves. The
greater part arrived on shore, but dreadfully bruised and
lacerated by the rocks, against which they were repeatedly
thrown; others seemed quite dead, though still holding fast to
the piece of wreck which they had seized when quitting the
ship. I had the good fortune to arrive safe and sound. Of
the twenty men composing our detachment, six perished on
this occasion, amongst whom was the corporal. How many
of the crew perished at the same time I cannot tell. All those
who had the good fortune to reach the shore alive were so
worn out and weak, that every one looked out for a place to
lie down and get that repose he so much wanted. Our captain
had also providentially reached the shore without accident, as

Skipwreck in the Red Sea. 43

did also the three mates of the ship. A subaltern of the 8oth
regiment was cast on shore dead, whom, as well as all the
other bodies that were thrown on shore by the waves, we
buried as well as we could in our then situation.
Although we now found ourselves in a most desolate and
destitute condition, yet we were all happy, and blessed God for
our great deliverance, except one of the mates, the same who
had the watch when our misfortune took place; this man, as
soon as he had a little recruited his strength, laid hold of a
small keg of rum, of which plenty had floated on shore, with
many other things, from the wreck, and applying it to his
mouth, drank until he was perfectly intoxicated; he then
went to the top of a rock overhanging the sea, and threw
himself headlong into the waves, where he finished his miser-
able life.
The country seemed barren and little cultivated, but showed
some signs of being inhabited by human beings, true savages,
as they proved to us afterwards. When the day was more
advanced, we perceived at a distance one of the native inhabit-
ants of this inhospitable coast; he seemed to be almost naked,
and carried a long stick like a pike, and a sack on his shoulder.
When he perceived us he ran towards us, and in a few
moments was followed by a considerable number of these
monsters, which name they richly deserve for the horrid
cruelties they practised upon us. They were all naked like
the first, and were armed, some with matchlocks, and some
with bows and arrows, but all carried a large knife like a
sabre, and a pike. The country, farther inland, must contain
a considerable population, from the number of these savages
we saw afterwards. As soon as they had joined us we were
surrounded and plundered of the few articles of clothing we
had been able to save and bring with us to shore, and stripped
perfectly naked; resistance was out of the question, and would
have been perfectly useless, as we had not been able to save
any arms whatever, and their number was greatly superior to
ours. The captain tried to defend himself, but one of these

44 Shipwreck in the Red Sea.

savages laid him senseless at his feet by a blow on the head
with a stick, and they would have cut him to pieces if we had
not ourselves, in the greatest hurry, undressed him and
delivered his clothes to them. Far more cruel and ferocious
was the treatment a few unfortunate Hindoos, servants to the
officers received from these monsters; they happened to have
on their arms some silver bracelets; in their eagerness to seize
this glittering prey they did not take the trouble to take oft
the bracelets, but cut them off the poor fellows' arms with
their long knives, to get at them the quicker. They treated,
however, the Lascars, or Hindoo sailors of the ship, with a
little more lenity than they did us; after having rifled them of
everything of the least value they had about their persons,
they allowed them to make use of the eatables that were washed
on shore by the waves; but they would not allow the Euro-
peans to touch or make use of anything. All the casks and
kegs of wine and liquors they stove in, and let the contents
run into the sand. Some of the sailors having made use of
the liquor, before the arrival of these savages, got immoderately
drunk, and were lying asleep among the casks, where the
savages murdered them as soon as they discovered them. As
yet they had spared the lives of those amongst us who were
sober; but, notwithstanding, our situation was worse than
death, and we almost envied those who had been murdered.
Naked, tormented with hunger and thirst, surrounded on all
sides by those barbarians, and in a country where we could
not hope the least relief, we were thrown into a fresh conster-
nation on seeing another troop of savages coming from the
interior towards us. Those who surrounded us, at the ap-
proach of the new-comers, threw themselves on the ground,
and raised their hands above their heads, by which marks or
respect we supposed that it was their chief who was coming;
in this opinion we were confirmed, by seeing that, after paying
their respects to this chief, or great man, they all got up and
ranged themselves in a line before him, with their eyes turned
towards us.

Skizpwreck in the Red Sea. 45

After this chief had spoken some time to them, they all at
once brandished their pikes, as if they were going to charge
and kill us all. On seeing this we took to our heels and ran
with all possible speed towards a mountain, situated at a little
distance from us; they pursued, and fired after us. All those
who could not run fast enough, or were wounded by their
shots, were immediately butchered, as soon as overtaken by
This happened in the evening, about the setting of the sun.
It was dark before we arrived at the mountain to which we
had directed our flight; we gained, however, the summit with
some difficulty; here we remained till midnight, in the greatest
anxiety, for fear of being overtaken and murdered by our
savage pursuers.
Our number was woefully diminished, being now reduced
to nine persons, who were the captain, the two mates, Sergeant
St. Julien, who commanded our little detachment, myself,
and four others of our regiment. After midnight we resolved
to descend the mountain, and continue our flight, being afraid
that, if we remained there until daylight, we might be dis-
covered and again be pursued by the savages. It was, there-
fore, more advisable to take advantage of the remainder
of the night to go as far as our strength would permit, and
endeavour to elude our pursuers; hoping also, that, on the
other side of the hill, we should find a champaign and culti-
vated country, where we might, perhaps, be able to alleviate
our pressing wants; but when we came to the foot of the hill
we found a desert before us. I had had the misfortune, in the
beginning of our flight, to run a sharp and large thorn into my
left foot, which pierced it quite through. The fright, however,
of being pursued had prevented my feeling any pain from this
accident until our arrival on the mountain: during our stay
there I drew it out with great difficulty and pain.
Owing to the extreme darkness of the night, it was impos-
sible to distinguish any object in this desert; we, however,
had the good fortune, after some time, to arrive at a pool or

46 Shipwreck in the Red Sea.

stagnant water. Worn out with fatigue and thirst, we threw
ourselves down at the water's edge to drink and wash our feet,
which were all wounded and torn by the stones, full of thorns,
and much swelled. We had scarcely time to do this and to
repose our wearied limbs a little before we were again assailed
and frightened by the discordant cries of a troop of savages, at
no great distance from us, who probably had been pursuing
and were upon the lookout for us.
With the late horrid scenes still fresh in our memory we did
not choose to become the victims of a fresh one; but ran again
to the shelter of the hill which we had lately left, and gained
its summit without being discovered by these savages, and,
therefore, supposed ourselves in safety for the present.
As soon as day broke we descended the hill again, but
our company was again reduced by the loss of two of my com-
rades, who must have been separated from us during the
night, although I cannot conceive how it happened; however,
we continued our fatiguing march, and, after some hours,
arrived in a flat country, perfectly destitute of any kind of
vegetation. About nine o'clock in the morning we arrived at
a piece of brackish water, where we resolved to repose our
wearied limbs, and although there was nothing to eat, and we
were tormented with hunger, yet as this water, bad as it was,
preserved us from thirst, our exhausted state forced us to
remain there forty-eight hours to recruit. The third day we
continued our march through this desert country, but were
obliged to proceed very slowly, being very much weakened
for want of sustenance, so that we were scarcely able to walk
at all, and if we had not now and then met with some water
we must have perished in that inhospitable region. We saw
at a distance before us a hill, towards which we directed our
steps, but evening came on before we were able to gain it;
animated with the hope, uncertain as it was, that perhaps we
might there meet with something to satisfy our craving hun-
ger, five of us pushed forward; St. Julien and myself, being
worse on foot than the others, were obliged, much against our

Skhiwreck in the Red Sea. 47

will, to remain behind, and follow the others more slowly;
however, we got to it at last.
We found this hill very steep, and situated on the seashore,
overhanging the sea. I mounted first, and should have got
to the top safely, but, unfortunately, St. Julien, who followed
me closely, to assist himself in climbing, laid hold of me, and
made me lose my balance, so that we were both precipitated
to the bottom of the mountain into the sea, which washed its
base, and thereby saved our lives by breaking our fall, and
prevented our being dashed to pieces upon the rocks among
which we fell; notwithstanding, we must have perished soon,
although the water was not deep, from the waves continually
dashing us against the rocks. Fortunately we perceived a
rock raised above the level of the sea, which we were enabled
to gain by animating each other, and exerting to the utmost
what strength we had left, although we performed it with
incredible labour. Here we were sheltered a little from the
waves. On this rock we remained three days and four nights.
God knows, however, that we should gladly have preferred
death to our miserable existence. We had nothing to eat or
drink, and were at last forced to drink a little sea water to
prevent our perishing from thirst.
On the fourth day, in the morning, the sea became more
calm, and thereby enabled us to descend from our rock to try
to gain the shore, which happily we accomplished, though
on the other side of the hill from that where we originally
tried to climb it; here, however, we had the pleasure to find a
flat country, which saved us the trouble to pass over the moun-
tain, to continue our road. In the weak state we then were,
this would have been an exertion absolutely above our
strength. We dragged ourselves slowly on, happy to be still
together, and deploring the fate of our unfortunate comrades
in misfortune, whom we supposed had shared our fate, and
perished in climbing up this fatal mountain. Happily, how-
ever, about three o'clock in the afternoon, we saw before us,
at a distance, something like men. At first we were divided

48 Shipwreck in the Rea Sea.

between the fear of its being savages, and the hope of its
proving to be our lost friends; however, we went straight
towards them, and when we got near enough, perceived,
to our great joy and happiness, that they were, indeed, our
friends. As soon as they saw us they cried out, Come to
us, dear brothers and friends, we have eating and drinking in
abundance." When we joined them we found them seated
round a hole which they had dug in the ground to get water,
in which they had succeeded, for the hole was full of it, and
their eatables consisted of a sort of green thick leaves, which
grew in the ground about the spot where they were seated.
We fell to, and regaled ourselves abundantly with their pro-
visions, such as they were. We found their number reduced
to three, the captain and our two remaining comrades of the
regiment, by name Beck and Voss. We inquired what was
become of the two mates, and we were told that they parted
from them two days before; whether they had remained
behind, from fatigue, during the night, or had chosen another
route, they did not know.
As the sea was not far distant from where we were, we
sent Beck and Voss, who were the strongest, to the shore to
see if they could not pick up some shells or sea animal for our
subsistence, and, to our great joy, they brought us back a sort
of crabs and some oysters, in which we found a curious sort
of animal, which had four legs and a head resembling that of
a cat; however, its ugliness and extraordinary figure did not
prevent our eating it; we wished only that it had been also
of the size of a cat, as well as its figure. We disdained
nothing, however small, and were ever thankful to Providence
for whatever it sent us that was in the least fit to support our
miserable existence: having, therefore, found some sort ot
meat, we wished very much to dress it in some shape or other,
but were greatly puzzled how to accomplish it; however,
necessity is the mother of invention. We recollected, that,
with two pieces of dry wood, a fire might be lighted; we,
therefore, looked out for some wood fit for our purpose. We

Shipwreck in the Red Sea. 49

sharpened one piece with our teeth, as well as we could, at
one end, set it perpendicular upon the other, and turned it
between our hands as rapidly as possible, until the wood,
heated by the friction, took fire. We were not in want of dry
brushwood,. of which we had enough about us, and with this
we soon lighted a good fire, on the coals of which we laid our
meat, roasted it, and ate it with our leaves, which served us as
a dish of vegetables, after which we drank a bumper of cold
water, and were as well satisfied with our meal as if we had
made the best dinner in a capital tavern. This water was
very useful to us, not only for drinking, but to cure our poor
wounded and swelled feet, by continually washing and bathing
them in it.
We remained three days in this spot to repose our wearied
frames, and recruit our exhausted strength. On the fourth
day, early in the morning, we continued our march, in the hope
of getting out of this desert. We walked the whole day with-
out finding any water, or anything to eat. Late in the evening
we arrived at a sort of ditch, which ran across some rocks;
the moon shone a little, and by its light we perceived some
white pebbles at the bottom of this ditch, which made us
hope we should find water, as this kind of pebbles had always
indicated that water was near. We were just going to dig a
hole in the ground for it, when one of our friends found, near
at hand, a hole full of water, which was rather brackish; but
we were accustomed to it, having met with little else as yet;
so we sat down round this hole, and quenched our thirst with
its contents. Round this place we found some horns, feet, and
skins of goats, too much decayed to be of any use to us; but
we naturally judged that they must have been left there by
some people, and that there might be some of this cruel race
in the neighbourhood, and therefore it would be most prudent
not to stay too long in this place; however, we reposed our-
selves there that night, and left it early next morning.
After we had prosecuted our march a few hours, our poor
captain sat himself down on the ground, declaring he was in-

50 Skipwreck in the Red Sea.

capable of proceeding any further, requesting we would leave
him and go on, as he was determined to stay there and die;
but we declared we would not abandon him, and if he was
determined to stay there, so would we. We persuaded him,
with some difficulty, to try to go on with us again. Two of us
took him under the arms to support him, and help him on,
but we were soon obliged to give it up, as he did nothing but
lament and cry bitterly, begging us, for God's sake, to lay him
on the ground and let him die quietly. We were, at last,
obliged to comply with his desire; he, therefore, laid himself
down again, and we sat down by his side. He requested us
again to leave him to his fate; that he must die; that he was
convinced there were savages in the neighbourhood, and that
it was better that one should die alone, than all perish. He
begged of us, however, most fervently, that if any of us should
have the happiness to find our way into a civilized country, not
to forget to publish his death, and more particularly to acquaint
his brother how and where he had ended his life, telling us,
at the same time, that his brother was a colonel at Madras, and
bore the same name with himself, namely, Baer.
We promised him this. We should not, however,.have aban-
doned him, but all at once we heard the cries of some savages,
and saw about thirty of them, who were running towards us.
No time was to be lost. We four-that is, St. Julien, Beck,
Voss, and myself--ran as fast as our legs would carry us, and
again had the good fortune to escape our enemies before they
perceived us; but the unfortunate captain remained behind.
We soon heard their noise drawing towards the spot where
we had left him. Heaven only knows what was his fate,
whether these monsters killed him or not. We continued our
journey, in the hope of getting out of this desert at last. We
went on for nine days, without meeting anything but brackish
water and some plants, upon which we subsisted. Now and
then we found a fruit resembling cherries, but of a very dis-
agreeable taste, and which, every time we ate of them, made
our gums and lips sore and swell, and very painful; but as

Shi wreck in the Red Sea. 51

these effects went off again, we continued to eat them when-
ever we met any.
Until now we had contrived to remain constantly together.
But it pleased Providence to divide our small number still
more. St. Julien and myself became so weak and languid,
that we could scarcely drag ourselves along. The other two
became impatient, and told us, that as we were a restraint
upon them, they did not choose to perish on our account;
that they, therefore, would push on while their strength yet
lasted, and not wait till they were reduced as low as we were;
if they met in their way a place where they could support
themselves, they would there wait for us. They bade us
farewell, and told us to make what haste we could after them.
I forgot to mention, that till now we had always followed the
sea-shore in our journey onwards. We were sitting near
a small pool of water, when our last two surviving friends
took leave of us. We remained there six whole days, to
recruit our exhausted strength, living all the while on wild
plants, and a few crabs we gathered on the sea-shore; but, as
we were too weak to light a fire in the manner we did
formerly, we were obliged to eat them raw.
The seventh day we dragged ourselves forward on our
journey, and went on five or six days, although we made very
little progress; and I am fully persuaded, that a man in good
health would have walked, in three hours, what we performed,
with difficulty, in six days: however, we still advanced a
little, either towards our deliverance or death, hoping for the
first. All at once we perceived, in the sand, traces of the feet
of two men in the direction of a mountain we saw before us
at some distance. We said to each other, Surely, these must
have been our two friends who passed this way before us.
Come, let us follow them; perhaps we may be able to over-
take them." But our joy did not last long. The sand and
traces soon finished together, the soil becoming hard and rocky.
We were yet about two miles distant from the mountain, and
we strained every nerve to attain and get to the summit of it.

52 Shipwreck in the Red Sea.

Fortunately for us, it was not steep. When we were about
half-way up, we saw before us an overhanging rock, which
we determined to gain, to repose ourselves under its shelter.
When we got there, what a horrid sight met our view !-two
dead bodies, sitting next to each other, with their backs resting
against the rock. We touched them, but they were stiff. and
cold, and must have been dead some time. They were so dis-
figured, that although we saw that they were Europeans, we
could not recognize their features; and it was only from the
red colour of the hair of one of them, which was that of poor
Voss, that we supposed they were our two poor unfortu-
nate friends and comrades who had left us behind, as above
mentioned, and had come here to die. Notwithstanding our
extreme debility, we resolved to bury them as well as we
could, which we did, by stretching out their bodies on the
ground, and covering them, as well as possible, with stones
and loose fragments of rocks lying about the place, after
which we prayed fervently over their grave, entreating the
Almighty, if it was His good pleasure, to end also our miseries,
and take us to Himself by a similar death.
We remained several days in this place, expecting to die,
as there was nothing whatever to eat or drink. However, on
the sixth day of our stay here, despair gave us courage to
descend into the plain below, to meet our fate, whatever it
might be. We had not advanced far when, to our great
joy and surprise, we met a fine freshwater river, where we
drank plentifully, and bathed and refreshed ourselves-this
being the first real fresh water we had met with since our
misfortune. We discovered also a sort of reed growing along
the margin of this river, which we found, by drawing out of
the soil, produced a number of large roots, upon which we
fed, and found them very palatable. Seeing by this that Divine
Providence had not entirely abandoned us, but still sent us,
from time to time, something or other to sustain our existence
and prevent our perishing, we took fresh courage and spirits.
We resolved to light a fire, and, after great exertions,

Shipwreck zn the Red Sea. 53

managed to do so; then we looked out for some crabs on
the sea-shore, and also succeeded in getting some, which we
roasted with some of our roots, and made a better meal than
we had for a long while; considering our situation, we lived
pleasantly enough. We found also, to our great satisfaction,
that we were regaining our strength daily; and, having
stayed there six days to recruit ourselves, we resolved to
set forward again, after having forded the river.
We had travelled about fourteen days, always through a
hilly country, between rocks and hills, very barren as usual,
following the sea-shore as much as possible, when we perceived
some monkeys of a very large kind. They frightened us a
good deal at first; but finding they offered us no harm, we
got accustomed to them; we even found them useful to us as
guides, for we always found fresh water wherever we met
them; so that afterwards, whenever we saw any, so far from
avoiding, we went straight up to them. After we got out of this
chain of hills, we again came to a flat country, and saw a high
hill at a great distance before us, which seemed to be situated
close to the sea-shore : we directed our march towards it, with
the intention of passing between it and the water; but when
we arrived we found it impossible, as the sea washed its base,
and the hill was very perpendicular on that side. In looking
at this mountain, we perceived a grotto in its side, which we
found spacious enough to make a comfortable residence, and,
therefore, resolved to stop there a few days, the more so as
we had perceived the sort of wild cherries I have already
mentioned to grow in abundance on the sides of the hill.
Next day, having gone out towards the sea-shore to collect
some cherries, I perceived something at a distance which, on
a nearer inspection, proved to be a large fish, completely dried
by the sun; full of joy, I called St. Julien, who was at some
distance, to show him what I had found, expecting he would
be equally delighted with our good fortune; but, on the con-
trary, he was seized with great consternation, supposing that
this fish must have been left there by the natives. I confess

54 Shzpwreck in the Red Sea.

this reflection had escaped me; however, we resolved to apply
our new-found treasure to our own use, which we did imme-
diately; but found it so salted, and the meal we made upon
it excited such a degree of thirst, that, not being able to
quench it, we were obliged to proceed and look out for water
to allay it; we, however, took care to carry our fish and a
provision of cherries with us. We went round the foot of the
hill, and stopped at the first place where we had the good
fortune to find water, after which we went on, meeting some-
times with hills, sometimes with flat ground; and wherever
we found water we made a halt for a few days, lighted a fire,
dressed a small part of our fish and some of those thick leaves
already mentioned, which we generally found growing wher-
ever the ground was marshy. In this manner we subsisted
until we had consumed our fish.
We had travelled onwards about a fortnight since finding
the fish, when we came to and entered a considerable forest
of thorny trees; we had not penetrated far into it when we
saw, to our great fright, two very large wolves or hyenas; we
immediately hid ourselves as well as we could, that they might
not perceive us, and fortunately we soon lost sight of them.
These were the only ones we ever saw. I repeat again, that
till then we always kept as near to the sea-shore as possible,
for three principal reasons : first, because we were more likely
to pick up something to eat on the shore, than in the deserts
we were traversing, such as crabs, shell-fish, and other pro-
ductions of the sea, cast on shore by the waves, and of which
w'e generally picked up a little almost every day; secondly, to
wash our feet and refresh them in the sea, which was as
necessary to us, burnt and blistered as they were continually
by the burning sands we were walking on, as eating or drink-
ing; and thirdly, in the hope of seeing some vessel pass by
and being delivered by it from our dreadful situation.
We were three days in traversing this forest. After we got
out of it, we found again an open country before us, having
the sea on our left, and some hills on our right; we saw, at a

Shkiwreck in the Red Sea. 55

great distance off, a chain of very high hills, stretching
right across our road. Seeing, therefore, that we could not
avoid them, we went straight up to them; we arrived at their
foot after a long and fatiguing march; and just at that moment,
to our great astonishment and consternation, we perceived
near us a native, or black man, who was coming towards us
with a large knife in his hand. He ran towards me; I tried
to save myself by flight; but weakness and fear soon overcame
me; I fell, and fainted at the same moment; my friend per-
ceiving my situation, ran to my assistance. The black had
also stopped near me; he spoke to St. Julien as soon as he
came up, but, unfortunately, in a language he could not
comprehend. He, however, made out his meaning so far, that
he was asking him whether we were strangers or natives; he
answered by signs, as well as he could, that we were unfor-
tunate strangers, upon which the black man went away.
During this time I was recovered a little, and asked what
was become of the savage I had seen; my friend told me
he had left us. However, we were not the less afraid, being
apprehensive that there might be more of them in the neigh-
bourhood, and that this one might bring back some others to
murder us. From his appearance, however, having some
skins about his body to cover his nakedness, we supposed they
were more civilised, and, therefore, probably more humane
than the ferocious savages who had treated us so cruelly.
However, not being willing to trust too much to that, we
marched off with the greatest haste to cross this chain of
mountains, which took us eight days to accomplish.
Finding every now and then pools of reddish water, which,
however, were perfectly sweet and good, and subsisting almost
entirely on the sort of salad growing near the water, we saw
nothing more of any natives.
After we crossed these mountains, we again fell in with a
forest of the same kind of trees as the first, which took us five
days to get through; but this was the last we met. After we
had crossed it, we saw before us a large river, which .seemed

56 Skifpwreck zn the Red Sea.

to be at least a mile and a half wide, and on the opposite side
of it, to our great joy, we saw large green trees which we
hoped might bear some kind of fruit or other; we stopped on
its border a whole day and a night, not knowing how to cross
it, being so broad.
Next morning, as our last resource, we resolved to try to
ford it; and to our great satisfaction, we succeeded. This
large river proving very shallow, although we were often up
to our shoulders in the water, we arrived at those trees whose
sight had been so agreeable to our eyes; but we found our-
selves deceived in our hopes, for they bore no kind of fruit,
and their leaves were not fit for eating, being coarse and full
of prickles. We spent nearly an hour in crossing this wood,
and when we got out of it, we found ourselves in the skirts of
a large village.
We entered the first hut we met, and asked an old man we
found in it to give us some water to drink; he answered us
the same way, by signs, that he had none; so we left him, and
went forward into the village. We soon met a number of
children, who at the sight of us cried out lustily, and ran away
in the greatest fright.
Soon after we saw a number of people sitting on the ground,
and each holding in his hand a string of pearls, like chaplets,
as if they were praying and telling their beads; so we fell on
our knees near them, to pretend joining in their prayers; they
made us signs to sit down near them, which we did, soon
after which some of them, who had gone away probably for
that purpose, brought us a large piece of a substance they
called tamma, which seemed to be, by the taste and look, a
sort of coarse bread, made of some kind of grain unknown to
us, and a wooden vessel full of water. We received the whole
with great thankfulness, and made an excellent meal. After
we had finished it, they made us a sign to leave their village.
We obeyed this order with alacrity, not to displease them,
happy that we had at last met some human beings from whom
we had apparently nothing to apprehend, and who seemed

Shipwreck in the Red Sea. 57

likely to treat us with some degree of humanity. We chose
for our abode a large tree, at a small distance from the village.
The chief of this village had also given us a leather bag,
with signs to employ it to fetch water, which he made us
understand was not found in the village, but at a fountain
situated at a considerable distance on the other side of the
river we had just crossed, and that they were obliged to go
there every day to fetch it, which was hard work.
We made ourselves a sort of hut against the trunk of this
tree, with branches, which we wove together as well as we
could with our hands, and covered it with small leafy
branches. We then went to the river-side, where we found a
good number of crabs, which we brought back to our newly
made hut, lighted a fire, and, roasting them, made another
comfortable meal, happy to be at last relieved from the neces-
sity of subsisting almost entirely on our unsubstantial salad,
which had for so long a period been our daily and almost only
food, which, together with the incredible hardships we had
undergone, had reduced us to mere skeletons of skin and
bone. However, our present situation promised, by degrees,
to restore our lost strength and flesh, and we were firmly re-
solved to stay here as long as circumstances would allow.
The village was situated in a small island, being surrounded
by another branch of the river; our life, however, was very
laborious. From the natives we learned that we could not
cross the river at high-water, it being then too deep to ford;
so one of us (as we took it by turns) went early in the morn-
ing, being then low-water, to fetch a sufficient quantity from
the fountain for a day's consumption. This fountain being
at a great distance from the river, he was obliged, on his
return, to wait till the evening before the tide was low
enough to recross the river and come home. The water thus
obtained proved both sweet and wholesome; but it had this
particular and very unpleasant quality: that the next day after
it was brought home, it became so brackish as to be absolutely
unfit for use, which obliged us, of course, to fetch every day

58 Shiewreck in the Red Sea.

our provision, which proved, in our exhausted state, a very
severe task. The one who remained behind went, during his
friend's absence, to the river to gather crabs; and, at meal-
hours, he went through the village begging, and generally got
some pieces of tamma, and the heads of such fish as the
villagers consumed; for, as they never touched the heads, they
threw them to us, to whom they were very acceptable.
To be more successful in our begging excursions, we had
taken the trouble to learn as much of their language as we
could pick up in such a short time, amongst others a short
prayer, which we always repeated to them; and as we per-
ceived they were Mahometans, by the ceremonies we saw
them perform, we resolved, in order the better to ingratiate
ourselves with them, to make them believe we were also
Mahometans, by imitating and joining in their ceremonies of
worship, and by showing and performing before them some
ceremonies we had seen practised in the East Indies by the
Mahometans of that country. By this I really do believe that
they took us for very devout Mahometans. In our unhappy
'situation we thought we might have recourse to this stratagem
to better our situation, without committing a crime. We ex-
plained to them, as well as we could, that we were Persian
merchants, who had suffered shipwreck in going to Egypt.
Whether they comprehended us entirely or not, I cannot say;
however, although they certainly treated us with humanity,
after a fortnight's stay, they ordered us to leave the vicinity of
their village, and go further on. Though our fatigues were
great, their threats induced us to comply with their desires.
After several days' travelling, we found another village,
which we had no sooner entered than we were surrounded by
the inhabitants, on which we fell on our knees, and repeated
our prayer and ceremonies. Upon this, these people brought
us some tamma and water. While we were sitting on the
ground eating what had been given us, to our great astonish-
ment, we saw a man come out of one of the huts of the village
whom, although he was dressed in every respect like the

Shipwreck in the Red Sea. 59

natives, we immediately knew to be the first mate of the ship,
whose name was Mr. Kuntzby. We did not dare at first to
accost or speak to him; but when we had finished our meal,
he took us aside and requested we should not discover he was
a Christian, nor even show in public that we knew him; he
informed us he had given himself out to be a poor Mahometan
merchant, who had lost everything by shipwreck, and taken
the name of Mahomet Nakuda, and so we must call him in
future, whenever we should have anything of sufficient conse-
quence to tell him in presence of the inhabitants of the village,
but that, unless on a very pressing occasion, we should not
speak to or accost him in public. He assured us further, that
we had nothing to apprehend from the natives, and that we
should get eating and drinking enough to satisfy our wants;
that, therefore, we should stay there with him, until he found
a proper opportunity of leaving the place, when he would try
to take us along with him. We asked him how we came to
find him there; and he told us, that on the night when we
had the misfortune to fall into the sea, by climbing the steep
mountain from whose side we slipped down, as above related,
he had remained behind, and taken a different route, from the
darkness of the night, which had separated him from us; that,
after many hardships, he had arrived at this village, where he
had had the good fortune to meet a shipmate, a Bengalese
tindal, or petty officer of Lascars, who himself had arrived
there before him; with the assistance of this tindal, who was
a Mahometan, and spoke and understood the Arabic fluently,
it was easy for him to pass for a Mahometan with the natives.
By his assistance he was very well received, and continued to
be well treated by the hospitable natives, and he said that
this tindal was still in the village.
We found, however, to our great disappointment, that we
had not the same treatment to expect, as the inhabitants
treated us like slaves in every respect, and made us perform
the work of slavery; they gave to each of us a large leather
pouch, or bag, with which, every morning early, we were

60 Shipwreck zn the Red Sea.

obliged to go a considerable distance to a fountain, to fill them
with water, from whence we did not return before twelve
o'clock, when they gave us, after receiving our load of water,
our dinner, which ought to have been a pound of tamma, but
generally fell far short of it, and we were obliged to be con-
tent; now and then they added to it a small quantity of dried
fish. After our dinner, we were obliged to run about the
village and its environs, to collect the scattered stones of the
fruit with which they make their tamma, or bread. These
stones are broken to pieces in a wooden mortar, and serve as
food for their goats, which abound in this country; if we
brought back a sufficient quantity of these stones, it was well;
if not, we were ill-treated and abused by the chief of the
village, whose slaves we were. After this task was over, we
were obliged to spend the remainder of the day in going to
the nearest wood to pick up dry branches of the thorny wood
common in this country, and bring home as much as we could
carry, for fuel. It is true, we received all this bad treatment
because we could not pass ourselves upon them for Maho-
metans, in which we did not succeed so well here as in the
first village.
Notwithstanding all we could do, our friend Mahomet
Nakuda and his interpreter, the tindal, did not assist us in the
least, perhaps out of fear of themselves being suspected. Had
we managed to pass ourselves for Mahometans, we should
probably have fared equally well with them; for the natives
treated us so badly only from their hatred to Christians, and
because they wanted to force us to become Mahometans, and
to submit to circumcision, which proposition, however, we
always firmly rejected, being determined to submit to every-
thing rather than this.
The mate had informed us, in secret, of their intentions to-
wards us, and begged we would not consent to change our
religion. We told him he need not fear, we had no intention
of doing so, and that we would sooner lose our lives than do
it. After having repeatedly resisted the entreaties of the

Shipwreck in the Red Sea. 61

natives to this effect, they threatened us, that, if we did not
comply with their desires, they would make us work from
morning till night, and give us nothing to eat or drink until we
should submit; but we despised their threats, and went on as
However, shortly after this, the mate secretly came to us, and
told us, that they were then deliberating about us, and were
determined to repeat the same offer for the last time, and if
we still refused, to put us to death. We resolved immediately,
with the advice of the mate, to leave the village instantly.
He informed us, that a few days' march further on we should
meet with another village, and he advised us to go there, as
probably we might be better received and treated than we
were here. We followed his advice, and arrived at this vil-
lage without accident, though much fatigued. The inhabitants
received us in a very friendly manner, made us sit down, and
brought us something to eat and drink. Some of them went
away, and soon returned, bringing with them a man whom we
immediately recognized, and found to belong to a detachment
of the Bengal artillery on board our ship. His name was
James Dunbar, an Irishman by birth. As soon as he knew us
he received us with much pleasure, shook us cordially by the
hand, and said-" My dear friends, I am now a Mahometan;
I submitted to circumcision, my head is shaved, and I am
happy. Do the same, I advise you, as we are in a country
from whence there is no hope of returning. It will be for
your own advantage." In short, he made use of every argu-
ment in his power to persuade us immediately to follow his
Had we felt ourselves in safety, we should have answered
him in a rough manner; however, in our situation we were
obliged to dissimulate, and merely answered that we could not
bring ourselves at once to submit to it, but requested time to
consider. By his recommendation we were well received for
the present, and our wants supplied by the natives. He also
informed us, that two friends of our detachment, who, from his

62 Shipwreck zn the Red Sea.

description, must have been two privates of the name of
Debish and Hozlohen, who had been separated from us on the
first night of our flight after our shipwreck, had arrived there
some time before, and that they had also refused to become
Mahometans, rather preferring going forward, although he had
warned them that they would encounter a desert in which, during
ten days' march, they would find nothing either to eat or drink.
Notwithstanding this caution, they had set out on their march,
and were found dead shortly after, about four days' journey
from the village. He told us also, that soon after his arrival
and change of religion, the sheik, or chief, to whom these three
villages belong-namely, the two we had already seen and the
one where we then were, which was his residence-had given
him a boat, and some men, to proceed to the wreck of our ship,
where he had found a great number of unburied European
corpses, which he buried, with his people, as well as they
could, and then brought away everything of value they could
find from the wreck.
We remained in the village five or six days, being well
enough treated during this time, yet continually pressed to
change our religion; but, as we always refused to submit to it,
after the lapse of that time, the sheik forbade every inhabitant
to give us either bread to eat, or a drop of water to drink; and
he sent us word, that if we did not depart instantly, he would
put us to death; so, not daring to enter the desert said to be
before us, we resolved to return to the village where we had
left the mate, hoping that, perhaps, something might there turn
out to our advantage; we therefore returned, but found, to our
great astonishment and consternation, that he, as well as the
tindal, had left the place, and embarked, shortly before our
return, on board a Company's ship bound to Egypt. Had we
remained there, we might also have embarked and have been
delivered from our deplorable situation.
The inhabitants of the village informed us, that they were
extremely exasperated against the mate for having imposed
upon them, as, in consequence of believing him a true

Skipwreck in the Red Sea. 63

Mahometan, like themselves, they had admitted him to their
intimacy; that he had eaten and drank with them out of the
same vessels, which was a great blasphemy, and made them
unclean, and obliged them to submit to great privations to
wipe away their stain. Having asked them (for I must not
forget to say that we had now so far learnt their language, as
to be able to comprehend a little what they said to us) how
they had found out his imposition, they said, that the man who,
for a recompense, had undertaken to take them on board the
ship, was standing on the deck, waiting to receive his promised
reward, when he saw the mate, who had gone down the ladder,
come up again without his Mussulman's dress, having put on
a hat and European clothes, and holding in his hand a piece of
pork, which is as much abhorred by them as by the Jews, he
came up to him and devoured the piece of pork in his presence,
telling him, at the same time, that he was a Christian, and had
imposed upon their credulity, upon which he left the ship
with great rage and disgust, and rowed to the shore, and in-
formed the inhabitants of the circumstance; they swore to us,
that if a favourable wind had not sprung up, by which the
ship, which before was becalmed, was enabled to get under
weigh and leave their coast, they would have attempted to
take the ship, and be revenged on him and the ship's crew
There is no doubt that this ridiculous and most imprudent
conduct of the mate endangered the ship's safety, and put our
lives in the utmost danger; in fact, having before been so ill
treated by them, we had nothing to expect but instant death,
and that they would revenge themselves upon us for the
affront they had received from the mate: however, they
spared our lives for the present, bestowing plenty of ill-treat-
ment upon us, which we bore patiently, being determined to
submit to our fate, whatever it might be, being harassed and
worn out by our continued misfortunes. They refused us even
a drop of water, which.we were obliged, as formerly, to get at
the distant fountain, where we generally stayed the whole day,

64 Shipwreck in the Red Sea.

and came back to the village in the evening, where, whenever
we saw a number of them sitting together taking their evening
meal, we approached at a humble distance, and waited patiently
until they threw away the heads and remains of the fish
which composed their meal, and which, with great difficulty
and our humble entreaty, they allowed us, like dogs, to pick up.
In this miserable way we subsisted a fortnight.
To our very great joy, one day, which was the sixteenth
since our return to this place, as we were walking on the sea-
shore, in the afternoon, ardently looking out for a ship, of which
we had before seen several pass, but at too great a distance for
them to take notice of any signals we could. make, so that the
sight of them only augmented our misery, we had the happi-
ness to perceive one again; at this time it seemed that Provi-
dence had taken pity on our sufferings, and was going to send
us relief when we despaired of it. The ship was going at a
great rate, and would soon have been out of sight; but for-
tunately the wind suddenly died away, and, in consequence,
the currents, which are very strong here, and set towards the
coast, brought the ship very soon so near to it, that, for fear
of an accident, they let go an anchor. This gave us some
hopes. We made every signal we could think of, and at last,
about five o'clock in the evening, we had the unspeakable
satisfaction of perceiving a small boat put off from the ship, and
make towards us.
As soon as they were near enough, we went into the sea up
to our neck, to get the sooner to them. There were only a
sailor and a lieutenant of marines in the boat; and when we
were near enough to speak to each other, they asked us who
we were, and what we wanted. We explained to them, as
well and as quick as we could, our unfortunate situation and
our adventures, telling them also that we belonged to the
regiment De Mueron, in his Majesty's service. At first they
would not believe us, and we had some trouble to convince
them; at last, however, they received us into their boat, and
took us on board their ship, which was a brig of war, com-

Shkiwreck in the Red Sea. 65

manded by Captain Kummel, belonging to the British fleet
then stationed in the Red Sea, and cruising, fortunately for us,
on the coast of Abyssinia. Captain Kummel, to whom we
were presented on our arrival on board, did not at first know
what to make of us; however, hearing that we were Germans,
and could speak a little English, he questioned us. We told
him our story, and had the good fortune to convince him that
we spoke the truth, upon which he made us heartily welcome,
and said he was happy to deliver us from our cruel situation.
He then ordered us some clothes; for ever since we were first
robbed by the savages, we had remained perfectly naked, the
natives themselves wearing nothing but a turban on their head
and a skin round their middle, falling to the middle of their
legs. After we were dressed, he ordered us each a glass of
brandy, which did us much good; he then ordered each of us
a good portion of salt beef and biscuit, which we seized with
avidity, and tore with our hands and teeth, and devoured like
ravenous beasts rather than men, from the dreadful hunger we
had so long suffered under. The captain and every one
looked on with astonishment, and being afraid we might over-
eat and hurt ourselves, told us not to eat too much salt provi-
sion, which would occasion great thirst, and that he had very
little water to spare, being very short; we, therefore, refrained
from the salt meat, but could not eat sufficiently of biscuits, so,
when we were sent down to repose during the night, we took
a bag full of them with us, and the whole night, instead of
sleeping, we did little but eat. It is astonishing how our weak
stomachs could contain and digest this load of nourishment, and
that we did not die with overloading them, or, at least, suffer
severely from it; however, it did us no harm.
Early next morning the captain ordered a boat, with a lieu-
tenant of the ship and a lieutenant of marines, some marines,
seven sailors, and St. Julien and myself, to go on shore, to
fetch water; we took the liberty to represent to him that it
was dangerous to send anybody on shore in this country,
the inhabitants being half savages and very cruel, particularly

66 Shkiwreck in the Red Sea.

to Europeans and Christians, and told him what had happened
lately on account of the conduct of the mate of our ship; we
represented further, that at all events it would be better to
leave us behind, as the natives, seeing us come back, would
suppose we came to be revenged on them for their cruel con-
duct to us, and that therefore they would make every possible
exertion to destroy whatever party might be sent to their
shore, and, moreover, that all the water to be got there was
bad and brackish. The captain answered us, that as to the
enmity of the natives, he would provide against their efforts,
by sending his large boat full of men, and well armed, to
protect the other, whose crew, as well as ourselves, should
also be armed, and that our presence was necessary to
guide his men to the spot where water might be found;
that as to the quality of the water, however bad it might
be, it would at least serve for cooking, and thereby enable
him to save what little he had left for drinking only; so they
put two small guns, three-pounders, into the launch, under
the command of the lieutenant of marines, with the ship's
gunner, some marines, and seven sailors, as also poor St.
Julien. Each man received a cutlass, a musket, and sufficient
ammunition; a midshipman and myself went in a small
boat and followed the other; the shore might be about
three miles from the ship. When the first boat was about
one hundred feet from the land, they saw a great number
of armed natives running towards the beach, on perceiving
which our people saluted them with a volley from the guns
and musketry; but the natives, without giving them time
to reload their pieces, ran into the water, laid hold of the
boat, overturned it, and killed every one they could lay
hold of. Some of those unfortunate fellows tried to save
themselves on shore, and ran towards the woods, but were
soon overtaken and killed in our sight.
On perceiving this disaster, the midshipman and myself
tried instantly to save ourselves by flight; but before we
could effect it, two of these monsters got so near to our

Shipwreck in the Red Sea. 67

little boat, that one of them made a cut at the midshipman
with his hasakei, or large knife, and nothing but the thick-
ness of his hat saved his head from being cut in two; the
other threw a lance at him, tied to a string, and wounded him
in the thigh; notwithstanding, he did not lose his presence
of mind, but laid hold of an oar as well as myself, and we
rowed with all our might to get away from our enemies,
which we fortunately soon did, and reached the ship with-
out further accident.
The captain had seen the whole tragedy with his spy-glass,
and was inconsolable for the melancholy fate and loss of his
people. As soon as we were taken on board, the officer was
put to bed, and his wounds dressed, which happily were not
dangerous; and although I was not wounded, I was so com-
pletely out of my senses, that they had more trouble with me
than the wounded officer. What tormented me most was the
loss and dreadful end of my unfortunate friend St. Julien, who
had shared with me all my dangers and hardships, had always
supported and comforted me in our afflictions, and proved
himself a most true and valuable friend and companion. That
he should perish in such a cruel manner, just at the time we
were relieved from our hopeless situation, and that he, as
well as the unfortunate boat's crew, might have been still
alive if the captain would but have taken our well-meant
advice, made my regrets doubly severe; I could not help
giving vent to them. However, the captain, who was now
as sorry as anybody for his imprudence, did what he could
to console me, promising, that as soon as we should arrive at
Mocha, he would send me on shore, have me well taken care
of, and procure me the means of returning to my regiment,
by the first ship that should sail from Mocha to the East
This kind promise certainly served to console me and
raise my spirits; this happened on the 21st of December,
a hundred and ninety-seven days after my fatal ship-
wreck on this barbarous coast. Next day, the 22nd, early

68 Shipwreck in the Red Sea.

in the morning, we got the anchor up, and let the ship
drive as near as prudence would allow to the shore,
then let the anchor go again, after which every gun was
loaded and pointed towards the village, which the captain, to
revenge his people, resolved to reduce to ashes. This was
accordingly done, for what was not destroyed by the guns was
consumed by the fire, so that nothing remained of the whole
village but a heap of ruins; however, I doubt whether any
of the natives were killed or wounded by our shot, as they all
retired early behind the cover of a small hill behind their
village, which completely covered them from our guns; they
were too numerous, and we not strong enough, to dare to
disembark and attack them on shore, so, for fear of making bad
worse, we contented ourselves with the vengeance we had
taken; the anchor was heaved up, and we set sail from this
savage and inhospitable shore on our voyage to Mocha, where
we arrived on the 9th of January, 180o.
As soon as we arrived, the captain went on shore and took
me with him, and had the kindness to present me to Captain
de la Vitterie, an English engineer officer, to whom I told my
eventful story; he showed me much compassion, and said he
would do everything he could for me. My health being
destroyed by the great hardships I had undergone for such
a length of time, I begged to be allowed a medical man;
happily for me, there was a very good English physician
then at Mocha, to whom I was conducted, and who, with
the help of good medicines and nourishing diet, completely
restored me again in five days. I then returned to Captain
de la Vitterie, who received me again very kindly; he gave
me new clothes, of which I was in great want, some money,
and offered to keep me in his service if I would attach myself
to him, and serve him faithfully. I excused myself, saying,
that I wished ardently to return to my regiment, my friends,
and countrymen; I thanked him most gratefully for all his good-
ness and kindness to me, begging he would still add to all the
obligations he had. heaped upon me by that of procuring me

Shipwreck in the Red Sea. 69

an opportunity of returning to my corps. He said, as I so
anxiously desired it, he would try to procure me an oppor-
tunity to return to Madras as soon as one might offer; and
that, in the meantime, I should stay with him, and that he
would take care of me, which he did most kindly; but
my happiness was short.
Soon after, an English ship-of-war arrived at Mocha, com-
manded by Captain Garden, who saw me at Captain de la
Vitterie's, and asked him who I was: he told him, on which
he desired me to relate my story to him; on hearing it, he
asked me what corps that regiment De Mueron was, whether
in the Company's or in the King's service. I told him in the
latter, on which he said, so was he, and that therefore he
would take me on board his ship with him. I tried to excuse
myself, stating, that having suffered so much, and lost my
ship, it would be very hard upon me to be obliged to return
immediately to active duty, without being allowed some little
time to repose and recruit; that my most earnest wish was
to return to my own corps, for which I was enlisted, and not
for the marine service; that, besides, I was destitute of every
requisite for a soldier. He answered, that on coming on board
his ship I should be furnished with everything necessary, that
I must hold myself in readiness to go on board with him next
morning, and he would advise me not to make too many
After his departure, I applied to my kind protector Captain
de la Vitterie to interest himself in my behalf, and try to
prevent my being obliged to go with Captain Garden. He
promised to do it, and when next day Captain Garden came
again, he represented to him, in the most forcible terms,
how cruel, unjust, and unlawful it was, in my present situa-
tion, to press me by force to serve on board his ship;
but nothing would do; go I must, notwithstanding Captain
de la Vitterie's prayers and representations; so I took a
sorrowful leave of my kind protector to follow my oppressor,
who put me on board his ship, which was a forty-four-

70 Shzipwreck in the Red Sea.

gun frigate, where I was immediately put on duty as a
marine. To impress men for any service was usual in those
days. Captain Garden, it is true, promised me, when on board,
that he would put me on board the first ship we should meet
destined for Madras or Bengal, but he never thought of it
From Mocha we went to Jeddo, then to Cossir, whence we
proceeded to Suez, where we had such a dreadful tempest,
that we thought ourselves lost; however, we got through it.
There was on board this frigate a detachment of the Ioth Regi-
ment, going to join the regiment then at Alexandria. Captain
Garden supposing some part of the regiment De Mueron might
be there likewise, resolved to send me along with this detach-
ment. We were seventeen days going from Suez to Alexandria,
where I arrived safe; and finding no part of my regiment there,
I was joined and did duty with the marines, which I did for
about ten or twelve days; then I was sent back with a detach-
ment of marines to Suez, and there put on board my old ship
again, where I did duty with the marines until the 3oth May,
when I was again transferred on board the admiral's ship,
commanded by Captain Pope, commodore of the British fleet
at Suez.
From thence I was shortly transferred on board the Ganges,
where, to my surprise, I found again the first mate, Mahomet
Nakuda, who had escaped, as above related, from the village
we destroyed, and of which tragedy he was probably the first
author, by his imprudent conduct; he seemed, however, well
pleased to see me, received me very kindly, saying, My poor
Hendrick, what a sorry appearance you make! I'll do what I
can for you;" in fact, he gave me plenty of eating and drink-
ing, and provided me with some clothes, of which I stood in
great need. However, I was not long suffered to remain with
him, but was transferred from one ship to another until I at
last got on board the Kamas, which was going to Madras.
To my great joy, we left Suez on the 6th of June, and arrived
in the roads of Madras on the I2th of August. We were met

Shipwreck in the Red Sea. 71

and hailed by a frigate, who asked whence we came. We
said, "From Egypt;" he answered, "I give you joy: you are the
first ship that has as yet returned from that quarter." He
asked if we had any appearance of the plague on board; we
said, "No." He ordered us to send a boat on board of him, having
a letter for us from the governor-general; we sent for it, and
found it to contain a most strict order to proceed to Bengal,
without daring, on any pretext whatever, to touch anywhere
before our arrival in Balasore roads; we therefore continued
our voyage, and arrived at Balasore on the 2oth August, 1802.
The Board of Quarantine came on board to examine our state
of health, and we were obliged to wait three days before we
got permission to proceed to Calcutta, where I was disembarked
on the 24th of August.
But a new misfortune awaited me. I scarcely had been an
hour on shore, when I got a violent attack of fever, and was
in consequence forced to go to the general hospital, where I
was obliged to stay until the Ioth of September following
After I got out of it, I was repeatedly questioned by the
brigade-major of Fort William about my adventures. At last,
on the I6th September, I was sent on board the Bengal, in
which ship I had the happiness to arrive at Madras on the
7th October, 1802, from whence I went to Seringapatam,
where my regiment was in garrison, and where I arrived after
near twenty months' absence, being the only survivor of the
detachment which I had at first left, happy beyond expression
to be again united with my friends, comrades, and countrymen.
Before my memory had time to cool and forget past sufferings,
the foregoing narrative was taken in writing, and I attest that
I have related nothing but the simple truth.



IN the year 1812 a great sensation was caused at Cape
Town by the arrival of an ambassador from the King
of the Comoro Islands. He arrived in the brig-of-war Eclipse,
which had picked him up at the Portuguese settlement of
Mozambique, on the eastern coast of Africa. His sable Ex-
cellency called himself Bombay Jack," by which name, it
appears, he was well known to the English Indiamen touching
for refreshments at the Isle of Johanna, one of the cluster,
when on their way to India.
The object of "Bombay Jack's mission was to request the
protection or aid of the Cape Government against piratical
expeditions made by the chiefs and people of Madagascar
against his native islands. These invasions, on a large scale,
had been carried on for many years, the land being everywhere
laid waste by these fierce barbarians, and the people carried
into slavery. The. King sent this embassy to the English
Governor at the Cape (then Sir J. F. Cradock, afterwards raised
to the peerage as Lord Howden), imploring his interference,
as the natives were powerless to defend themselves against
the predatory attacks of thousands of Malagasy warriors, who
came in their great canoes and wantonly ravaged his islands
with fire and sword. The Governor, as well from humane
feelings as on account of the civilities and friendliness of these
simple and harmless islanders to the Indiamen who touched
at their shores, applied to Admiral Sir Robert Stopford, then
the naval commander-in-chief in those seas. As there were at
that time two British war-ships usually stationed at Mauritius,
Sir Robert Stopford could attend to this request without diffi-
culty or expense, and he ordered the Nisus frigate, under
Captain Beaver, to proceed to the Comoro Islands, for the
protection of the Johanna people.

Bombay Jack." 73

The original design was, after touching at Mozambique for
more accurate intelligence, and calling at Johanna, to obtain an
interview with the King, thence to proceed to the different ports
of Madagascar, seeking conferences with the principal hostile
chiefs, and, either by threats or negotiations, to make them
give up their cruel and unprovoked aggressions. At Mozam-
bique it was ascertained, from the Portuguese governor, that
this part of the design was impracticable, on account of the
advanced state of the season, which rendered it hazardous for
a large frigate like the Nisus to approach the coast. For the
present, therefore, the intention of visiting Madagascar was
abandoned, a liberal supply of arms and ammunition to the
Johannese being all that could be done; but that the expedi-
tion should not be altogether useless, the route was altered
to the kingdom of Quiloa, on the African continent, in about
8' 30o south latitude, where Captain Beaver understood, from a
French merchant at Mozambique, fine timber for naval pur-
poses, in which the Cape is deficient, could be procured.
This design, however, was also frustrated. The King of
Quiloa was absent, and his chiefs were too cautious to give
any permission to cut wood till the pleasure of their master
could be known. On his return a treaty was concluded for the
supply of a shipload of the largest timber whenever it should
be sent for from the Cape. The King professed a strong wish
to become better acquainted with the English.
The Nisus employed its time in visiting and exploring
various parts of the coast; and the journal of the voyage, as
given by Mr. Prior, the surgeon of the ship, contains many
points of interest even in our own day. There is a descrip-
tion of life at Cape Town, but as much of this is out of date,
we give some extracts from the story of the cruise. Bombay
Jack," or Barra Comba, as he said his native or "country
name was, was received on board for the passage to his own
island. Mr. Prior thus describes him: "He is about fifty
years of age, lively, and good-humoured, with a penetrating
eye, and expressive countenance, and features of the best cast

74 Bombay Jack" and the

of the Arabs. He speaks English tolerably well, understands
something of our character, and displays much shrewdness
in his remarks, with more knowledge of the world than could
possibly be expected. He dresses in the Moorish style-long
flowing robes, slippers, and turban. He is a strict Mahom-
metan, though without any of the fanaticism of the Moors.
His servants kill our stock according to the laws of the
prophet, so that they all partake of the ship's food without
violating any religious rule. Our guest lives as he pleases,
sometimes taking coffee with us, but rarely making a long stay.
He was told he might occupy any part of the ship, but de-
clined frequenting the officers' mess-table. He is evidently
aware of the prejudices of the lower class of whites against
people of colour, and therefore concludes that his presence
will be disagreeable. He cannot be made to understand that
English officers and gentlemen are above such prejudices, but
he is firm in refusing, while very polite and grateful for every
attention. He often says we are much too good to an old,
useless black man.' This delicacy and refinement of feeling
surprised us greatly; and as it showed an ingenuous mind, it
caused 'Bombay Jack,' with his other good qualities, to be a
universal favourite."
We quitted Simon's Bay July 23rd. The weather was fine,
the season favourable for a passage to Johanna Island, and
continued so from April to the end of August. This coast was
first visited by the enterprise of Vasco de Gama, and has so
few attractions for mariners, that it is still imperfectly known.
It' is low, destitute of vegetation, and faced with sand-hills,
having higher land behind. Few places are more repulsive,
for a heavy surf, breaking on the beach, threatens instant
death to whoever is thrown upon its shores. There are no
harbours in the colonial territory, but three roadsteads or bays
-Mossel, Plettenberg, and Algoa, the two former named by
the Dutch, the latter by the Portuguese. They are all insecure
for shipping. The Doddington Indiaman was lost on a small
island at the entrance of Algoa Bay, The Grosvenor suffered

Cruise of H.M. Frigate Nisus." 75

a similar fate not far distant, and the sufferings of the sur-
vivors afford a melancholy tale. Some Government transports
have also been wrecked at a later period.
The country called Natal, from being discovered on Christ-
mas Day, succeeds to the colonial territory. It has a small
river and creek, each bearing the same name. The next divi-
sion of the coast is named Fumas, from the quantity of smoke
first observed on its shores, and the appellation is continued
till we meet with the spacious bay of Delagoa. It should be
observed, there is no authority whatever for these arbitrary
arrangements of territory; they have descended from time
immemorial to map and chart-makers, without alteration or the
slightest attempts at gaining authentic information respecting
their native names. The present were given by the first dis-
coverers, and, notwithstanding the progress of science and
discovery, this country remains, in 1812, in that happy and
profound state of obscurity in which it was found by Vasco de
Gama in 1497.
Delagoa Bay has been often visited by trading vessels on
this coast; but their stay has been either too short, or their
means and pursuits unsuited to gain accurate knowledge of
the country or the neighboring tribes. It is large, and is
said to have good anchorage for vessels. In the spawning
season it is frequented by great numbers of the black whale,
which, though not the most profitable species, compensates
the fisherman by its abundance. Ships engaged in the fishery
visit almost all the bays and creeks of the coast, and some-
times nearly complete their cargoes at their anchors, without
labour or anxiety.
The next considerable promontory is Cape Corrientes, or
currents, from the strength with which they prevail here,
situated about two hundred miles beyond Delagoa Bay. The
next is Cape St. Sebastian, in 220 36' south. We described it
in the evening, though partly obscured by haze, apparently a
bluff point of land, connected with a low, sandy beach, extend-
ing to the eastward by a point. Between these capes, and not

76 "Bombay Jack and the

far from the former, are the river and town of Inhambana, the
most southern settlement of the Portuguese, whose authority
or influence extend no farther, though they claim the country
as far as Delagoa Bay. The French made an attempt on this
settlement about four years ago, but were compelled by the
natives to retire. The territory called Inhambana is extensive,
producing slaves and ivory, besides a considerable quantity of
grain. The authority of the Portuguese extends only a few
miles from the coast. The natives are stated to be remark-
ably bold and warlike, but on the borders reported by the
Portuguese to add extreme treachery and cruelty to their
courage. A Portuguese resident, protected by a few black
soldiers, lives in the town, situated a few miles up the river,
and transacts the commercial affairs of his countrymen and
others, besides being the responsible agent of government.
Strangers, indeed, are carefully excluded from trading at any
of the minor settlements on this coast, by strict orders from
Mozambique; but they are, in general, so much in want of
every article from Europe, and the temptation of gain is so
irresistible, that a bribe secures every privilege.
The countries termed in our maps Sabia and Sofala are
known to the Portuguese, who are the only Europeans ac-
quainted with them, by the latter name only. The coast is
low, and in some places unhealthy, the interior woody and
difficult of access, and travelling impracticable, though the
authority of the whites is generally acknowledged. One or
two small settlements on the coast have residents, supported
by soldiers, appointed by the governor of Mozambique, for the
regulation of trade. The Portuguese dare not venture far from
their own immediate territory, the real traders in the inland
parts being people of colour, born in the vicinity of the white
settlements or natives whose nation and language are, per-
haps, but little known,'who come from a great distance, and
return after the disposal of their merchandise, though intestine
wars render even this communication precarious.
Sofala has also a resident, protected by a few black troops

Cruise of H.M. Frigate "Nisus." 77

and a small fort against any commotion of the natives; but
this is rarely the case. Slaves, ivory, gold-dust, and rice
are annually exported to Mozambique. The port is difficult
of access to vessels of burden, on account of sand-banks; the
trade, therefore, is confined to small vessels. Refreshments
are also difficult to procure, and from these reasons, ships
passing through the channel, bound to India, never approach
this shore. A guard of soldiers is immediately placed on
board strange vessels that venture near, to prevent any trading
intercourse with the settlers; but this restriction is commonly
very soon removed by the proper use of golden arguments.
An Englishman, however, is always an object of dread to the
Portuguese on this coast, his ideas being supposed to be filled
with plans, and his actions pregnant with designs against their
commerce. Sometimes English vessels, in distress, have been
refused assistance, others occasionally driven off the coast by
force; so that, were it not for the more powerful motive ot
individual gain, they would be, perhaps, formally interdicted.
But the most interesting object on the coast is the great
river Zambesi, falling into the sea, by two or three mouths,
about one hundred and thirty miles nearer to Mozambique.
From the few slight notices we have been able to procure at this
place, it is said, on the authority of some natives, to arise from
an inland lake situated between seven and eight hundred
miles from the sea. Of this about six hundred miles have
been explored by the Portuguese; but the difficulties of the
navigation are considerable, and the route on the banks alto-
gether impracticable from the hostility of the natives. The
course to the sea is likewise tortuous, so that the length is
materially increased. It runs, however, in a wide stream, in-
tersected here and there by islands, till within eighty miles of
the coast, when it divides into two, a large branch going off to
the southward, which, though formerly of importance, is now
little frequented, on account of obstructions to the navigation.
From this bifurcation of the river, the northern branch takes
the name of Quilimaney, the southern Luabo or Cumana. The

78 Bombay Jack" and the

principal mouth is the Quilimaney, forty miles farther to the
northward than Cumana. It is nearly two miles broad at the
entrance, and though confined by a bar of sand, has deep
water and good anchorage for ships of burden within. Be-
tween these are two or three smaller mouths, one of which
is named Demana, but neither of any consequence. The land
near the mouths of the Zambesi is not very high, possessing,
however, more wood and less sand than at most other parts of
the coast. The mouth of the Quilimaney is in about 18 12' south
latitude. Vasco de Gama anchoring here on his voyage to
India, became highly pleased with the appearance of the
country, the river also very justly attracting much attention.
The Zambesi is still more remarkable for having on its
banks the large trading town of Sena, or Sana, forming a very
important dep6t for the inland commerce of Eastern Africa,
and till lately scarcely known to us even by name. The only
Englishmen who ever penetrated thus far were, I believe,
two officers of the Winterton Indiaman, wrecked in the
Mozambique channel in I792, who visited all the Portuguese
settlements in order to procure assistance. Their narrative I
have not seen, but they had to proceed from Sofala to Sena.
It is said to be a considerable town, well inhabited, protected
by some works and native soldiers, and having a governor,
second only to that of Mozambique. The Portuguese factory
here is considerable, and its connections extensive, particu-
larly to the southward. All the subordinate agents, it appears,
are people of colour, though the country also, for many miles
round, acknowledges the sway of the Europeans. To this
mart the native traders from the interior repair in July,
August, and September, with slaves, ivory, gold-dust, and
medicinal herbs, gums, and roots, taking back in return woollen
and cotton cloths, rude trinkets of various species, hardware,
firearms, powder and shot. A few, more familiar with Euro-
peans, venture down the Zambesi, and reach Mozambique
in October, in the coasting vessels that annually arrive at this
period from all the settlements. Here they sometimes find a

Cruise of H M. Frigate Nisus." 79

better market for their merchandise, and indulge their
curiosity, returning again when the monsoon becomes favour-
From the Quilimaney to Mozambique, the coast takes the
general name of the latter, though little, or not at all, known
to us, but having some small settlements, a few streams, and
a group of islands, called Angoxa, which are visited by all the
coasting vessels that pass. The rivers are named Quizungo,
Angoxa, Mogincal, Mocamba, and others. Almost all the
rivers on this coast are obstructed by bars; vessels of very
considerable burden, therefore, cannot anchor; but Sofala and
Quilimaney admit those drawing fourteen feet water, though
this is rarely attempted. Some others have more than twice
this depth within the bar, and are navigable for a few miles
The channel we have been partly exploring divides the
great island of Madagascar from the continent, washing the
western shore of the former, and that part of the latter known
by the name of Mozambique, from which it derives its name.
It is familiar to navigators bound to India, by affording a
more speedy passage during particular periods. Vessels also
employed on whaling voyages visit it occasionally with great
success; during our progress we saw great numbers of that
valuable fish. Waterspouts seemed numerous; I counted
four at one time, within two miles of the ship; several persons
with whom I have conversed have also remarked the frequency
of this phenomenon here.
The breadth of the channel, opposite this settlement, is
about two hundred and eighty miles. The Madagascar shore
is tolerably high, that of Mozambique, on the contrary, low;
the depth is very considerable, it being impossible. in many
places to get soundings close to the shore.
Several dangers lie off the Madagascar shore, and several
huge masses of rock, scattered here and there, seem to remain
perpetual mementoes of former connection with the island. Few
navigators at present frequent it, though St. Augustine's Bay

8o Bombay Jack" and the

was formerly visited by men-of-war for wood and water, and
Lord Keith's fleet called here for refreshments, on their
voyage to India, after the capture of the Cape of Good Hope
in 1795.
On the morning (19th) we stood in toward the mouth of the
river Mocamba, and had a good view of a low, woody shore,
the trees being almost wholly of the palm species, and in a
few hours described Mozambique. It is in general first distin-
guished by the vicinity of a hill called the Table, and occasion-
ally the Pao Mountain, so called from some resemblance to
the shape of the foot; but the entrance is sometimes difficult
to discover, on account of being guarded by small islands,
called after some of the Catholic saints. The ship, however,
being described from the settlement, a fine-looking, turbaned
Moor came on board as chief pilot, and passing St. George's
Island to the right, ran close under the walls of the grand
fort, apparently a strong place, anchoring within something
less than a mile of the town. Mutual civilities and visits of
ceremony took place in the course of the day.
Mozambique, appearing to De Gama, the discoverer, well
calculated for the site of a colony, was first settled by some
of his immediate successors, on account of its central situation
and harbour, about the year 1510. The fort, which was then
erected, still exists, a noble memento of what the people were;
a governor was also appointed, subservient to the ruling authori-
ties in India. Mozambique was intended for the focus of all
the Portuguese conquests, trade, and colonies in Eastern Africa,
for thenation had become master of nearly the whole of the
coast, without a single rival, after some hordes of Moors or
Arabs had been either subdued, or had quietly left the field to
their opponents. The ascendency of the Portuguese, which
extended to receiving tribute from several adjoining powerful
native States, seems to have declined about the time the Dutch
began successfully to dispute their power in India, and by
whom an attack was made upon this settlement, which, how-
ever, failed. At present it is the only place of importance

Cruise of H.M. Frigate "Nisus." 8

remaining to its discoverers on this side of Africa, its de-
pendencies, already partially noticed, being of comparatively
trifling value; and the dominion of the islands is gone
altogether. Zanzibar, Monfia, Membas, Pemba, and even
the Comoro group, which were all formerly dependent on,
or paid tribute to, Mozambique, are at present independent
or under the Arab Government of Muscat. The precise ex-
tent of the Portuguese authority is not very well known in
Europe; we have, however, ascertained this point, it being con-
fined between 230 50' and o10 18' south latitude, commencing
at the village of Inhambana, or Yambana, and terminating at
Cape Delgado, neither fact nor courtesy, notwithstanding any
assertions to the contrary, giving them claim to a league
farther; for the authority of the Arabs begins at the last-
mentioned point.
Mr. Prior gives a very full description of Mozambique and
of the people of the Portuguese settlements in those regions.
There is great jealousy of the appearance of English ships or
English travellers, from fear of the slave traffic, which is the
chief source of wealth, being interfered with. It is believed that
English sailors, escaped from shipwreck on these coasts, have at
various times been massacred, in order to prevent reports of the
misdeeds of the slave-dealers reaching Europe. Portuguese and
Dutch, as well as Arabs, are all alike in this dread of English
influence, and this has continued to our own day, as every
reader of Dr. Livingstone's "Travels" well knows. The
extent of illicit trade may be understood from the following
curious fact, mentioned by Mr. Prior. The Portuguese
governors are appointed only for three years, and have
a mere nominal salary. The Governor, during the visit of
the Nisus, was expecting soon to be removed to Madeira,
but he had managed already to amass a fortune of above
One interesting piece of information was imparted to
Captain Beaver by the Governor, about which doubts
have been thrown in later times. It was supposed that Dr.

82 Bombay Jack" and the

Livingstone was the first to cross from sea to sea, and possibly
he was the first European who did so. But the journey had
been made by natives, according to authentic records.
Two Portuguese mulattoes, natives of Angola, set off from
that place on a mercantile excursion to the interior; and being
led further than they originally intended, determined at once
to penetrate to Sena, on the Zambesi, where they actually
arrived, after an interval of five years. This long detention
arose from the curiosity and caprice of the intervening tribes.
They are represented, however, as not unfriendly in general to
travellers, the route not peculiarly difficult, and the probable
length of time necessary for the journey, if not detained, about
two hundred days. The latter statement is, perhaps, incorrect;
for, as the distance is about fifteen hundred miles in a direct
line, and most likely many hundreds more by the common
track, travellers must proceed, without halting, at a consider-
able rate daily during the whole period, which is an improbable
circumstance in any part of Africa. These men set out soon
afterwards on their return, by the same route, without coming
to Mozambique; and, by subsequent accounts from the
western coast, it appears, arrived in safety. The narrative of
these men would be highly interesting in many points, tend-
ing, as it would, to elucidate various facts relating to a vast
tract of country, in fact, an unknown world, which is now
nearly a blank in our maps. But this must not be expected,
without chance throws them in the way of some intelligent
European. The men themselves, probably poor and ignorant,
know not the value of the communication; and, we may rest
assured, the Portuguese Government will take no trouble on
the subject.
It is generally believed here, that attempts made to pene-
trate to the interior from this coast will not be successful.
This, however, is a merely gratuitous supposition. The ex-
periment has not been made, nor perhaps will be; for there
is an evident disposition to exaggerate the difficulties, to
depict the people as monsters rather than men, and to find

Cruise of H.M. Frigate Nisus." 83

impassable mountains, rivers, and deserts, which probably have
no existence. At Sena, and the other settlements on the
Zambesi, the scheme is considered equally hopeless, as the
efforts of several of the governors to penetrate some distance
in person have failed; but, perhaps, this is no just criterion
of the impossibility of the measure. Travelling with a retinue
is difficult in any country, and among savages particularly
suspicious; they very naturally think of conquest more than
curiosity, and had they submitted to the latter, it is more
than probable they would have been subjected to the former.
The safety of the adventurers from Angola proves that indi-
viduals are not always hostilely received. Natives of very
distant parts frequently arrive at Mozambique, from the inte-
rior, on commercial pursuits, their language and appearance
frequently differing from those near the coasts. Their jour-
neys occupy three, four, and six months; but in this are in-
cluded frequent delays. They are likewise so little acquainted
with the value of their merchandise here, that it is commonly
disposed of for beads and other trifles, so that the merchants
profit very considerably. Some information might be sup-
posed to be obtained from these adventurers; but this does not
seem to be the case. Vague reports, indeed, from some, state
they have seen extensive waters, ships, and white men, or
that others, with whom they traffic, have seen them. These
assertions are too loose to deserve much credit, though the
fact is not improbable.
Much of the apprehension of the Portuguese arises from the
determined hostility of a nation extending in links, immediately
in the rear of part of their settlements. Mozambique seems
particularly the object of hatred ; the continental part, particu-
larly the peninsula of Cabasero, has been subject to frequent
incursions and ravages of the most cruel description; and even
the town is indebted to its insular situation alone for security.
It is not, indeed, very long since the peninsula was invaded
by a large force, armed with spears, bows and arrows, and
muskets, when everything within their reach was carried off

84 "Bombay Jack and the

or destroyed. Upon another occasion, many years ago, the
Governor was killed in a rencontre with the same people:
they are stated to be bold and ferocious, murdering the whites
who occasionally fall into their power, and making slaves of
others; for such unfortunately are the usual customs of war in
this part of Africa. This strong dislike, however, may be
partly owing to unfair dealings in trade, or the conviction that
they themselves are the rightful owners of the soil from which
they have been unjustly ejected. This tribe does not seem
stationary; sometimes it is found near the Zambesi, at other
periods beyond Cape Delgado, but generally at some distance
from the sea. It seems a scion from the Madagascar stock
The habits, predatory spirit, and warlike disposition of the
people, are similar, with this single exception : that the latter,
like the majority of islanders, are equally bold upon the water
as upon the land.
I have already mentioned, that the dominion of the Portu-
guese extends no farther northward than Cape Delgado.
Near this point are situated the Querimbo islands, also subject
to their authority; they lie not far from the main, and are
numerous, though of inconsiderable extent or value. Oibo is
the principal, and had several considerable plantations and
villages four years ago, when it was invaded by Malagasy
pirates, who destroyed or carried off not only the produce, but
the people, who had not time to escape. No stronger proof is
wanting of the weakness of Mozambique, when it cannot
command respect even from savages, or protect its settlements
from their attacks. Bombay Jack "justly remarked, that it did
not possess either the courage, power, or enterprise of a single
Madagascar tribe. This is not so much the fault of the
governors as of the Government at home. The residents also,
in the smaller dependencies, become either too indolent, or so
much occupied with their emoluments, as to neglect their
security. Official situations are commonly purchased. The
establishments are usually on the most despicable scale. A
mud fort, without guns or other defences, a' few huts forming

Cruise of H.M. Frigate Nisus." 85

a town, some native traders termed merchants, and a dozen
black soldiers, without discipline, constitute the elements of
these settlements. The residents collect the revenues, and
are ordered to prevent contraband or foreign trade. But they
are seldom proof against bribery. Their situation is certainly
miserable enough. They are shut out from the world and
from society, with scarcely a companion but the natives, whose
habits they adopt, and, smitten with the charms of native
beauty, keep seraglios.
The population of Mozambique-that is, Europeans and
their descendants-may be about six hundred; free people of
colour, nearly as many; slaves, between four and five thousand,
beside those kept for sale. The military are so scattered, that
it is difficult to tell their real numbers. But I do not think
more than seven hundred, at the utmost, could be mustered.
Only a few adventurers of any description come hither from
Europe. It bears the character of being unhealthy, though
this, perhaps, is exaggerated, but it is otherwise low in
reputation. Young men of the mother-country, not unjustly,
we are told, consider it a species of forlorn hope in the cam-
paign of life.
Commerce at Mozambique is confined principally to slaves,
elephants' teeth, gold-dust, columbo-root, medicinal gums,
some amber, cowries, and rayar. The ivory is often procured
in considerable quantities. But the most valuable branch of
trade has been in slaves. Formerly Mozambique exported
above ten thousand annually, supplying several parts of South
America, and almost all the islands in the Indian Ocean; in-
deed, throughout the East, the common term for an African is
Mozambiquer. At present, by the exertions of England and
the conquest of the islands, the demand is diminished to about
three thousand, quite enough to shock any mind but that of a
But we must proceed with the story of the voyage. We
have been now some hours at sea, whisking rapidly along on
our way to Johanna. Bombay Jack is delighted at the idea of

86 Bombay Jack and the

being so near to his home, and I long to be acquainted with
the people if they at all resemble him.
A thick fdg obscured the horizon shortly after we had quitted
the harbour, and a large Portuguese ship suddenly appeared
at hand. We conjectured she carried the new Governor.
Our Johannese friend examined her attentively with a glass.
"Well, Jack," said I, I hope he will be more generous than
the former, for your attention to his vessels." "No, no,"
replied he. "Portuguese do no good-no work-no fight-
no do anything." Our protection had given him a greater
degree of consequence at Mozambique than formerly, on set-
ting out for the Cape in the Eclipse. He could not then gain
much attention; but the Governor now presented him with a
walking-cane, formed of ivory, and headed with silver, on
which our guest did not seem to place much value. A
much higher satisfaction was the improving state of one of his
men, who suffered from an attack of melancholy, believing, as
he daily expressed to his master, that the crew intended to eat
him. His attention to this poor creature was incessant, his
confidence in the Divine goodness no less marked by frequent
effusions of piety. "It is a fine wind, Jack," said one of the
officers, to whom he was speaking. You will see your wife,
family, and friends, to-morrow." "You should say," replied
the old man, emphatically, "' if God pleases. There could
not be a finer rebuke, and I hope we shall all feel the better
for it.
We coasted for some time along a bold shore, defined by an
even line, like a wall, and in many places appearing inacces-
sible. As we rounded Saddle Island, so called from some
fancied resemblance, the shore became less abrupt, and the
prospect more varied. Before us was an extensive bay,
scarcely ruffled by the breeze. On the beach appeared the
town, distinguished by the turret of a mosque, and not far from
it a conspicuous white building, further on some ruins, and
near the shore a variety of boats in motion, as if preparing to
meet us. The land rose gently, terminating in small hillocks,

Cruise of H.M. Frigate Nisus." 87

with alternate cavities, something like the surface of a vast
strawberry, both hill and dale being clothed with trees and
verdure. The time was towards evening, when the sun, still
retaining its warmth, had lost its tropical fierceness, so that
the mellow beams made the landscape inimitable; for Nature,
variously tinted with green and yellow, seemed in her gayest
The decks soon became thronged with a most motley group.
The turbans, shawls, white robes, features, bare feet, and
manners altogether, forcibly reminded us of the Dubashes at
Madras. The first personage of any importance introduced
himself, with a low bow, as Bakamadi, a grandee, and his
Majesty of Johanna's pilot, deputed to ensure the safety of his
Majesty King George's ship. His lordship was followed by
the Duke of Hamilton, Lord Rodney, Lord Howe, Admiral
Blankett, and many other illustrious noblemen and warriors.
We were not a little surprised to be so unexpectedly intro-
duced to so much good company. Some, that their exalted
rank might not be mistaken, had it engraved on copper and
hung on their breasts-a burlesque on badges of a higher
order; for a man might receive an instructive lesson on the
follies of vanity, baubles being still the same, whether on
brass or on enamel. We found their lordships, however,
like some of their noble brethren in Europe, have a most
attentive regard to character; for the whole being pro-
vided with certificates of honesty and good conduct from
former visitors, were duly submitted to our inspection, in
order to gain employment, as their lordships are not above
work; and I assure you there were many warm arguments
before it was settled who should have the honour of becom-
ing our envoy to the town for vegetables and clean linen.
I should have mentioned that Mr. Pitt and the Duke of Port-
land accompanied others of the nobility. These illustrious
characters were in a state of nudity in the lower extremities;
but, like their English namesakes, having a kind of prescrip-
tive right to make demands on public generosity, they did not

88 Bombay Jack and the

hesitate in asking for our cast-off shoes and stockings. An
unserviceable hat, a sword, or a uniform coat, were invaluable
gifts, and productive of no slight degree of envy to the
This scene amused us for several hours. Some of the peers
inquired affectionately after their namesakes in England,
begged their compliments on our return, and promised the
best reception should they at any time visit Johanna. Others
solicitously asked after the health of their good friend King
George, and a few even hoped for peace, abusing Bonaparte
with as much cordiality as if they had been tutored by some
of the London editors. One of the most inquisitive expressed
his joy that his Royal Highness the Prince Regent made so
good a governor, as he termed it; and, to our utter astonish-
ment, asked whether an illustrious reconciliation had yet taken
place. This talkative personage (Bakamadi), we found, had
been at the Cape of Good Hope; he paid a vast number of
compliments to our country, and seemed studiously attentive.
Before he took leave for the evening he begged to be retained
as merchant in preference to others, and hoped for the honour
of the officers' company to dinner next day, when they should
be introduced to his wife, and have as good roast beef as any
in England.
Early this morning I received a polite message from his
Majesty, requesting my attendance at the palace, in conse-
quence of the illness of a favourite nephew. Several of the
officers accompanied me; on the beach we found a special
messenger in' waiting, who conducted us to the house of our
friend "BombayJack." Numbers of the people eagerly followed,
asking innumerable questions respecting our health, welfare,
appetite, slumbers, and a variety of others, equally friendly
and unmeaning. Notwithstanding the general eagerness of
curiosity, we were not at all incommoded; they paid the most
unremitting attention in mere trifles, and displayed all the
respect and submission with the softness of Asiatics. The
lady of our late .guest, accompanied by her husband and

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