TilE TRINIDAD HIS ORIC L SOCIETY.
Publication No. 37.
An account of the Expedition of Commandeur Abraham Crynsen to
Tobago in April, 1667.
Source :--Vaerachtlich Verhael van de Herrlijcke oVclwinnihrg
van Pirmariba ended de Riviere Seraname, nevens 't
wider vcroveren van Ysequipe, Boumcrouna en Tobago,
by A. de Westhuyssn, 1667. Translated from the Dutch.
The author was in the ship Visser Herder, one of the fleet
under Commandeur Crynnsen which reached Gomera on
3rd March, 1667 and Saint Antony on the 9th. Thence they
sailed across the ocean and saw low land on 23rd M\arch and
entered the River Surinam on the 26th.
On the 27th the fleet went up the river to the fort of
Governor Beycm (Byam), captured it and left Captain de Raun
as Governor and Vendrich van Goch as Deputy Governor
with 125 men and 15 guns.
The fleet left Surinam on Ist April and on the 3rd entered
the Berbices (Berbice) river and found the fort 14 miles up.
On the 4th the fleet reached the fort where the news from
Surinam had already arrived. The fort was abandoned and
only the Predicant and eleven children were there. They
left Captain Bergenaer there as Commandcur.
Coming down the river at the mouth, the ships grounded
on the sand bank and were held there for a week. After
getting away they went on to Yscquibc (Essequibo) where
they left Captain Vendrich Baerlant as Commandeur and
then to Bourmerona (Pomcroon) where C. Sacl was left as
We decided that our ships should sail to Tobago and do
the same there as that place was on the way to the Island of
Guardeloupe. This was duly done and on the 24th April we
were on the course to the Island of Tobago which came into
view on the 26th in the evening. Night was approaching and
as it would be dark before we could come up to the land,
we stood off and on out of sight so as to take any French
or English in the town by surprise and to put ourselves in
On the 27th by midday we were off the bay sending in the
shallop under Captain Lichterbery with orders to reconnoitre
the land and the town. The boat went to the shore and
spoke with the people there who were told what we had been
doing and who then said that no resistance would be offered ;
this was the more credible since we had been falsely told
that there was a fort there with 24 guns.
The fleet lay out at sea till the evening awaiting the report
hoping that all was well with the Christian settlers, the more
so as there were fierce savages in these parts who had no
friendship for them.
The next day the Captain came back and reported that
there were not more than L' settlers left there and we learnt
how some three or four months ago the French had come to
this Island and burnt and plundered everything.
At the tidings, we decided to enter the bay but because of
the contrary wind, it was not possible to enter until noon the
next day and then only our ship and that of the Commandeur
were able to enter while the others were sent to Sandy Point
two or three miles off to anchor and wait for us.
We landed just after midday and found the Island a fertile
and fruitful land but all ruined and with the fort quite
demolished. Everything lay about cvcn the guns, though
outside the palisades which had been burnt.
It was immediately resolved to reoccupy the Island and
to place there a good sergeant with 28 men in a house, the
best of them left and to erect palisades as a protection against
the savages and with three to four guns directed to the Bay.
While the men were busy with these arrangements, it
happened that Herr van Goch and I were wandering along
the seashore some distance away when one of the savages met
us and asked us to go with him to his hut which was not far
from there. This we did out of curiosity to see how they
lived knowing that there were 20 men working on the palisades
and that 12 of them had seen us go. Two of the English
there had come with us and we took them also for company.
For some time we were taken through the woods until we
came out again on the other side at the seashore when we
wished we had not been so hasty as there were a large number
of savages armed with bows, arrows and cutlasses. Further
on there was yet another group of savages which were over
The sight brought little pleasure to us as we had hardly
expected this and they were so strong that we had a strong
desire to return but feared the consequences of flight so we
went to meet them with the two English and were taken to
their huts. They brought us to the village where there were
50 dwellings where some of them lived. Many of these people
were quite naked both men and women, while some had
their private parts covered by a cloth. Their food was
Laguanen (Iguana) and fried fish which they placed before
us but we did not care to eat any, the more so as the savages
themselves did not join in eating.
They then brought us bowlsof a drink which was prepared
by the old women who chewed the materials, this also we
hardly cared to touch but could not avoid taking some
knowing that the savages take great offence if drinking with
them is refused.
We drank then, this disgusting drink whereupon they all
forthwith put their weapons down and showed all possible
signs of friendship presenting to us a knife made from coral.
On our way back, the savages came with us through the
woods right up to the shore where they could see our ships
and we parted there in firm friendship.
After we had reported our journey with the savages, it was
decided to send on the next day a well armed troup to go
there to the savages to strengthen our friendship. Meanwhile
so as to explore the side of the Island I went with 13 men to
the lower end. After two or three miles along the shore, we
found signs that people had lived there but on all sides, the
houses had been burnt and destroyed. In the fields however
sugar cane was still growing well enough and there was
sufficient to have made five or 600 dozen pounds.
The evening came upon us very suddenly when we were
still far away, the wind rose, the waves increased and the boat
rocked and the contrary wind drove us before it. We could
not get back till the night of 2nd May and on the 3rd May
we arrived at the other ship anchored nearby.
From there we again made sail making for the other side
of the Island which is called the Cours side where formerly
the Courlanders had settled and fortified. The remains of the
fort was still there with eight guns lying about. We also found
there two sloops which had come to careen on the shore.
This place had also been quite ruined and the fort of
considerable strength had been wholly demolished and burnt
but the land on this side was not as good as that on the
This bay had abundant fish, birds and turtle. The guns
we saw were buried and only the edges appeared on the
In fine weather the fleet set a course straight for
Guardeloupe passing on the way the Islands of the Granadillos,
St. Vincent and St. Lucia.
Theylearnt that at Martinique therewere 12 English ships
which had been there since 9th April ; the least had 46 guns
and the four largest each had 6o guns.
The fleet left Guadeloupe on the 7th May.