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A History of William Paterson and the Darien Company
Chapter V. The expeditions to Darien: first expedition


Owing to mismanagement in the preparations and want of funds, it was not until two years after the Company's subscription books at Edinburgh and Glasgow had been closed that the first expedition to Darien was ready to sail from Leith Roads. The Company's fleet consisted of five vessels:—


LEITH HARBOUR, about 1700. From an oil-painting in the Trinity House, Leith.

Sir John Dalrymple's lively and time-honoured description of the embarkation, as the ships got under way, is well known :—

"On the 26th of July, of the year 1698, the whole city of Edinburgh poured down upon Leith to see the Colony depart, amidst the tears and prayers and praises of relations and friends, and of their countrymen. Many seamen and soldiers whose services had been refused, because more had offered themselves than were needed, were found hid in the ships, and, when ordered ashore, clung to the ropes and timbers, imploring to go, without reward, with their companions. Twelve hundred men sailed in five stout ships."

Besides those who assembled on the pier of Leith to give the emigrants a hearty send-off, a crowd of interested spectators lined the Castle-Hill of Edinburgh, and from that "coigne of vantage" they watched the ships as they sailed clown the estuary of the Forth, until they dwindled away in the distance, and finally disappeared on the water's edge.

Although Paterson was really the projector of the expedition, and ought to have been its leader, he was not invited to accompany it in any official position. Notwithstanding this great slight from the Directors of the Company, such was his generous nature and his desire to further the objects of the scheme that he resolved to join the expedition in the private capacity of a "volunteer." Accordingly he went on board the Unicorn on 16th July, accompanied by his wife, her maid, and Thomas Fenner, his clerk. With his usual precaution, he waited on Commodore Pennicuik, commander of the St Andreiv, and ventured to suggest that an inspection of the stores on board the fleet should be made, in order that, should any deficiency be found, it might be reported to the Directors in time and put right before the ships weighed anchor. In reply, the Commodore told him that he knew his own business best.

After they had been four days at sea, however, the councillors were summoned on board the St Andrew to hold an inspection of the stores. [Herries, in his ' Tracts (p. 46), states that it was on his suggestion that this inspection of the provisions took place, and that he was ordered by the Council to make a report how long the stores would hold out. He reported that he "could not make above five months and a half of any provisions except stock-fish, of which there was full eleven months, and that at four days of the week, but had not above four months' butter and oil to it." In another place (p. 45) he states that the shortage arose from the fact that a third of the provisions had been used during the time the ships were lying idle before sailing.] Reports from the pursers of the various ships were submitted, when, after scrutiny, it was discovered that in place of nine months' provisions, as given out by the Directors, the fleet had stores for six only. In addition, it was found that a large quantity of the bread was made of "damnified" wheat, and that some of the other provisions were rendered unusable through bad packing. In consequence of this discovery, all on board the squadron were forthwith put on short allowance.

The Council designed to put into the Orkneys with a view to sending an express to the Directors intimating the shortage in the provisions; but meeting with foggy and bad weather when passing these islands, they were obliged to proceed without accomplishing this. The ships coasted round the north of Scotland, the purpose being to make Madeira their place of rendezvous, where their sealed orders were to be opened. Up to this time the commanders of the various ships were in ignorance of their precise destination, having been shipped by the Company ostensibly for Guinea and the West Indies.

Towards the end of August Madeira was sighted, and on the 29th, after landing, the Council forwarded letters to the Directors at home by way of Holland and Lisbon. They advised them of their prosperous voyage so far, and intimated the unexpected deficiency in the provisions, accompanying this with a pressing request that the needful supplies be forwarded with all possible speed.

During their four or five days' rendezvous at Madeira, the Council, with the various ships' monies, purchased twenty-seven pipes of wine and some provisions; while the officers and gentlemen - volunteers, in consequence of their short allowance on board, were glad to exchange their scarlet coats, cloaks, and swords for extra provisions and wine.

At the time of sailing from Leith, Captain "William Veitch, one of the seven original councillors, although he had taken the oath of office, was prevented at the last moment from joining the expedition, and the remaining councillors, on reaching Madeira, took the opportunity of filling up the vacancy by assuming Paterson in his place. At Madeira also the Council broke open their sailing orders, which directed them to call first at Crab Island, in the vicinity of Porto Rico. At Crab Island they consulted their second sailing orders, which contained instructions to steer for Golden Island, in the Bay of Acla, near the Gulf of Darien, their ultimate destination. They proceeded thither, and, after careful soundings, cast anchor in a fine natural harbour four miles to the east of Golden Island. On 3rd November they landed and took possession, and shortly thereafter obtained the sanction of the native chiefs to settle among them.


Central America shewing the route taken by the first Expedition to DARIEN after leaving me Island of MADEIRA.

The following journal, taken from the 'Darien Papers,' gives an interesting description of the voyage after leaving Madeira, the arrival at Darien, and the first settlement of the Colony in the new world. The journal appears to be the official account of the progress of the expedition from day to day, and the writer of it, Mr Rose, seems to have occupied the position of Secretary to the Council in the Colony.

MR ROSE'S JOURNAL.
[The "points" denote portions which it was deemed judicious to omit, what is here given being sufficient for the purpose of the narrative.]

Journal or Diary of the most remarkable things that happened during the Scots Affrican and Indian fleet, in their voyage from the Island of Madera to their landing in America, and since that time.

September 2nd, 1698. — We weighed anchor from Madera road, the Governor having been very civil to us; the Comadore gave him 15 guns, Capt. Pinker-ton 13, and Capt. Drummond 11, all which he particularly returned with two less. Wee had a fresh breese at E.N.E., and stood away W.S.W.

Sep. 10. This morning wee passed the Tropick of Cancer with a fresh and fair gale; the ships performed the usual ceremony of ducking several of the Ships Crew who had not passed before; they were hoisted to the main yard arm, and let down 3 several times with a soss into the sea, out over head and ears, their legs being tyed somewhat closs, which was pretty good sport.

Sep. 29.

Sep. 30. Moderate gales and fair weather; at 6 in the morning wee made the Islands of Antigo and Monsirat, at noon the Island of Eedondo, being a small island, or rather a rock like the Bass; bore S.S.E. halfe a mile distant, and the Island of Nevis N.W. and B.W. 4 leagues. It is a very pleasant-like Island; the fort hoisted their flag and wee our Colours.

1 October. Moderate gales and fair weather. At 6 last night the west end of St Christophers bore N. \ E. distant 4 leagues. This day at noon the S.E. end of Sta Cruze bore W. N. distant 7 leagues.

2. Yesterday the Council met on board the Comadore, whene it was resolved that Captain Pinkertoun in the Unicorn, with the Snow, and Mr Paterson, should be immediately despatched for the Island of St Thomas, being a free port of the Danes, in order to get pilots for the Main and what intelligence were possible of the state of Darien. Accordingly, at 6 at night they parted from us. Wee steered directly for Crab Island, which wee made in the morning, bearing N.W. distant 5 leagues.

3d. This morning wee went ashoare and took possession of the Island in the name of the Company of Scotland Trading to Africa, &c. Wee left some of our people ashoare all night, and stood of to sea, it looking like bad weather, much thunder, lightning, and rain.

4. In the forenoon our men came on board, and wee bore away to Leeward, where is the best anchoring. About halfe an hour past 4, in Frenchman's bay, wee saw a sloop with Danish colours, with a tent on shoare with the same hoisted on the top of it. Wee imediatly stood in and anchored closs by her. The Commadore sent to know quhat she was and her business there, who answered, they were Danes with a Governour and 15 men sent by the Gouernour of St Thomas, to assert the K. of Denmark's right to that Island, and to protest against our having any thing to do there. This sloop was dispatched away as soon as possible after Captain Pinkertoun's arrival there, viz. on Sunday at 2 o'clock, but we landed that morning by 8; so that wee told them they came too late. However, they offered their protest, as did the Governour of St Thomas, to Captain Pinkertoun; this they owned was matter of form, and what they were obliged to do to please the Court; but wished with all their hearts wee settled there, for then they wold have a bullwark between them and those of Portorico (a rich and large Island and very populous very near) who were very troublesome neighbouring. These 24 hours wee have had much wind, with thunder, lightning, and great rain.

Oct. 5. This day Captain Pinkertoun arrived with the Snow, and brought one Captain Allison with him, who freely offered to go along with us to Golden Island. This man is one of the eldest Privateers now alive, and commanded a small ship with Capt. Sharp when they went into the South Sea over the Isthmus; he was likewayes at the taking of Panama, Portobello, Chagres, and Carthagena.2 All the time we stayed here the St Andrew had a tent on shoare with the Companyes Colours flying on it, and 60 men for a guard when we filled our water.3

This evening came in a Sloop commanded by one Moon. Captain Allison was concerned in her in 2000 pound. She was loaded with flower, beeffe, and other goods. Wee endeavoured to drive a bargain with him for some provisions, but his prices were too high. Much wind, with great rain, thunder, and lightning.

6 Octr. The weather continues very bad. The Sloop sailed in the afternoon, being bound to Corassao, and from thence was for Carthagena with slaves; he designs afterward for Portobello, and promised to call at us in passing.

7. At 4 in the morning wee weighed and got under sail, having filled our water, and got our sick men, tent, and guard off from the shoare. At 8 at night wee took our departure from the S.E. end of Portorico, bearing W. h N. distant 5 leagues—squaly weather. . . .

19th.

23rd.

28. This day fair but squales of wind and rain in the night. At 6 last night the Island Fuerte bore E. S. distant 2 leagues. This is a low Island about a mile long, full of trees, which may be seen 7 leagues of; there is good anchoring on the South side, and very good water.

29. The weather squaly. The other day when at anchor wee tryed the current and found it set N.E. 36 miles in 24 hours.

30. Fair weather. At 6 at night the St Andrew and Unicom anchored in a fine sandy bay about 3 leagues to the westward of the gulfe of Darien. There came 2 Canoas with several Indians on board. They were very free and not at all shey. They spoke some few words of English and indifferent Spanish. Wee gave them victuals and drink, which they used very freely, especially the last. In their cups wee endeavoured to pump them, who told they had expected us these two years; that wee were very welcome, and that all the countrey was at warr with the Spaniard. They got drunk and lay on board all night. In the morning when they went away wee gave each an old hat, a few 2 penny glasses, and knives, with which they seemed extremely pleased. The Caledonia and Snow stood off to sea all night.

31. These 24 hours with land and sea breezes. This morning we went in Boats to Carret Bay, which is about 2 leags to the westward of the place where wee anchored last in, to view the bay and endeavour to get intelligence of Golden Island; wee being at a loss, for none of us knew the Land. Here wee met our friends that were aboard, who informed us that Golden Island was some few leags further to the westward. Fair weather with land and sea breezes.

Novr. 1. These 24 hours fair weather with land and sea breezes. In the forenoon wee anchored within halfe a mile of Golden Island. In the afternoon wee went in our boats to sound all about Golden Island, which wee did with great exactness, but found it not convenient for our shipes, there not being room enough about the point of the main for ships of our length to swing in. 'Tis true there is room enough near the Island, but then wee might be attacked by the greatest [sic in MS.] either from Eastward or Westward, for they can come in both wayes, nor is ther a drop of water within a mile of the point. On the main and all the bay round full of mangrow and swampy ground, which is very unwholesome. As wee went to sound, wee saw a flag of truce waved in the bottom of the bay. Wee went thither and found about 20 Indians with bowes and lances, but upon our approaching they unstrung their bowes in token of friendship. Wee made one of our men swim ashoare (while we lay off upon our oars) to know their meaning. They desired us to come ashoare, but we did not think it fit. Then they told us that to-morrow one of their greatest Captains wold be on board of us—so we parted.

2d. This morning according to what was said, came on board one Captain Andreas with 10 or a dozen along with him. He inquired the reason of our coming hither and what wee designed. Wee answeared, our design was to settle among them if they pleased to receive us as friends, our business was trade, and that we wold supply them from time to time with such comodities as they wanted, at much more reasonable rates than either the Spaniard or any other could do. He inquired if wee were friends to the Spaniard. Wee made answear that wee had no warr with any Nation; that if the Spaniard did offer us no affront nor injury, wee had nothing to say to them; but otherwayes wee wold make open war with them. This they seem'd pleased with all, still beleeving us to be privateers, and our design upon the South Sea. He began to run out upon the praises of Captain Swain and Captain Davies, two English privateers, who he said were his particular friends, and whom he knew in the South Sea. Wee received it coldly, and assured him wee were upon no design, beleeving it to be a pump, as wee found by the mens conversation. Wee gave him a hat braded with broad gold galoo, with some toyes, so wee parted for that time. He (as generally all the people are) is of a small stature. In his garb he affects the Spaniard, as also in the gravity of his Cariage. He had a loose red stuff coat on, with an old hat, a pair of white drawers, but no shoes nor stockens.

Novr. 2d. Yesterday in the afternoon, wee went in our boats to sound a bay 4 miles to the eastward of Golden Island, and found it a most excellent harbour.6The harbour is within a great bay lying to the westward of it, made by Golden Island and a point of land bearing from thence east about a league. From that eastmost point to the opposite one is a random cannon shot, and in the middle of the entry lyes a rock about 3 feet above the water, on which the Sea beats furiously, when the wind is out and blowes hard. This looks terrible (when in the bay) to those who know not the place well, but in both sides of this rock is a very good and wide Channel, that to the southward being about 3 cable-lenth breadth, with 7 fathom water closs to the rocks nose, and the other to the northward near 2 cables lenth. There is a small rock under water, a little within the points bearing off of the southermost S.S.W. and of the northermost S.S.E. and of the rock without S.E. & B.E. From these two outwardmost

points, the harbour runs away east a good league, and near the middle on the right hand the land sets out, so that its not a musquet shot over, and thus farr there is not less than 6 fathom water with a very good easy ground, and here you ride landlocked every way that no wind can possibly hurt you. Within this to the bottom of the harbour, till within a cables lenth of the shoare, wee have not less than 3 fathom water, nor can a hurrycane make the least sea there. The land on the left hand coming in is a peninsula and about 3 miles long, very high and steep towards the Sea, where it will be extremely difficult for any body to land till ye come to the Isthmus, where is a small sandy bay. Small ships may ride but this by a good ditch and fort may safely be secured. The westermost point towards the harbour is low and very fit for a battery to command the entry, which wold be excellently secured by another on the opposit shoar. The land on the Peninsula is extraordinary good, and full of stately trees fit for all uses, and full of pleasant birds, as is also the opposit shoar, and hath several small springs which wee hope will hold in the dryest season. But on the other side there are 4 or 5 fine rivers that never do dry. This harbour is capable of containing 1000 of the best ships in the world, and with no great trouble wharfs may be run out to which ships of the greatest burthen may lay their sides and unload. This morning Captain Andreas came on board again with his traveling wife, having in all four. Polygamy being here allowed, every one may have as many as he can maintain. He was still on the pump as to our design, but when he found our account all of a peece, he told us that the English after they had been very friendly with them, had several times earyed away their people, and that was the reason that Captain Pedro (whom he promised to bring aboard with him, when last here) wold not ventur till he were better assured of our integrity. He like way es told us that there were some French who lived among the Indians towards the Samballas to the westward. Fair weather. This day wee landed and took possession.7

Novr. 4. The weather fair, with land and sea breeses. This forenoon wee weighed and got in to the harbour, but the Unicorn unhappily struck on that sunken rock within the heads, and beat of some of her sheathing. There were 40 men sent from each ship to clear away and make huts for our sick men.

5. Wee sent all our sick ashoare, and sent 30 men more from each ship to clear away. The Council met and went to view the most proper place for a Fort. Fair weather.

6. Fair weather. This morning arrived a canao with one Frenchman, 2 Creolians of Martinico, and 4 Indians; as also a periager with Captain Ambrosio and Captain Pedro, who live about 16 leagues to the westward.

Novr. 7th. The weather fair, with small breeses. Our people are imployed in making of huts and clearing away ground.

8. The wind and weather as above. There hath been a great number of Indians on board ships, whom wee use very kindly, and who consume a great deal of liquor.

9. The weather as above.

10. This day Captain Andreas dined on board the Comadore with his first wife and his sister; they are generally of a small size as well as the men; their features are indifferent (bating their colour), only their eyes are somewhat too small. They had a single cloath wrapt about them in form of a peticoat made of cotton, with a sort of a linen mantle about their shoulders; a great many beads about their necks and arms, with large gold rings put through the gristle that divides their nostrils; they are very submissive to their husbands, who notwithstanding are very kind to them. They told there had been a skirmish between the Indians of the Gulph and the Spaniard. That the last had killed about 20 men, and had taken as many women for slaves. That they knew of our being here and were exceeding angry with them for making friendship with us. Fair weather.

11. The people ashoare are imployed in making of huts, clearing way, &c., and those on board in ordering their holds, overhauling their rigging, blocksails, &c.

12. Much rain in the night.

13. Much rain in the morning. Wee saw a ship Saturday to the westward, which wee beleeved to be Captain Lang in the Rupert prize, who wee heard was in the Gulph of Uraba.8

14. We had sharp showers of rain with the wind round the compass.

15. It has rained very hard, and gusts of wind. This evening Captain Lang in his boat came to visit us.

16. Captain Lang dined on board the Comadore. Much rain and thunder, which hinders our work.

17. Captain Lang dined on board Captain Pinkertoun. In the evening Lang's boat went to his Sloop which lay at the Isle of Pinas. Much thunder, lightning, and rain.

18. This morning Captain Lang and Captain Pinkertoun went for the Isle of Pinas.

19. At 8 o'clock this morning Major Cunninghame, Mr Mackay, and Captain Pennycuik set out to the westward, and about 4 in the afternoon got on board Captain Lang, where they with Capt. Pinkertoun stayed all night, it blowing hard so that our longboats could not thither till next morning. Much rain, fresh gales of wind, thunder, and lightning but the ship arrived too late on the scene. Captain Long acted in an unfriendly way towards the colonists. A copy of his dispatch to the Council of Trade in England concerning the Scotch Colony, written from Jamaica, was found among the Company's papers. In it he says : " They [the Scots] are in such a crabbed hold, that it may be difficult to beat them out of it. ... I saw the settlement and order of the Scots, which appeared modest, and they declared themselves to me that they would be no harbourer of pirates, nor invade any man's settled land, but those that would disturb them they would grant letters of reprisal against them." Immediately on receipt of Captain Long's information, the English Government sent secret instructions to the Colonial Governors, which resulted in proclamations being issued by several of them against the Scots. Secretary Vernon's first dispatch to the Governor-General of Virginia is dated from Whitehall as early as 2nd January 1698/9

20. About 8 in the morning our longboats got up, together with Captain Pedro in his periager. What others have found or may think of Lang wee know, but he appears to us to be of no great reach; he has a full and ample comission, his principal design it seems was to find out wrecks and to fish. He own'd and so did all his people that his boat had not been so much as been ashoare in any place betuixt the gulfe and the Isle of Pinas, nor had he any conversation with those people, so that he can have no pretence upon our settlement. Wee left him about 10 o'clock, he said he was bound for Jamaica. This night the Councilours lay in a little bay about 2 leagues to the westward of the river Pinas. In the night time a fresh gale variable and some small showers.9

Novr. 21. In the morning they weighed and sounded all along the coast, and about noon found a most excellent harbour about 4 leagues to the westward of where they lay all night, capable of containing 10,000 sail of ships. It is made by an elbow of the main to the Eastward, and a range of keys about it, 10 in number, running to the Eastward above 2 leagues. To one of those called Laurence Key the greatest ship in England may lay her side to. Here the privateers used to carreen, but the inconveniency of that place is that ships may not only come in both from the Eastward and Westward, but between several of the keyes, so that it can not be defended without a great many forts as wel as men. After they had surveyed this bay they got to the river Coco. About 4 o'clock they landed and went to Ambrosio's house, which is a good league from the water side.10 It stands upon the banks of this river with about 10 or a dozen lesser houses about it. Their houses are on the sea hand inaccessible in a manner, being so advantageously situat that no stranger can come at them that way by reason of the numerous unseen shoalds, small rocks, and banks.

When they came near, Ambrosio advanced about 50 pace with 20 followers, all cloathed in white loose frocks with fringes round the bottoms, and lances in their hands. He saluted them very kindly, and gave them a calabash full of liquor almost like lambswool, which they call Mischlew, being made of Indian corn and potatoes; this they get drunk with all often. Before the house about 20 paces it was very smooth and clean; the house was about 90 foot long 35 in breadth and 30 in hight; it was curiously thatched with palmetto royal, and over that, Cajan leaves; the floor was of a firm earth like Tarras, very smooth and clean; the sides were of large canes about the bigness of a man's leg, and near an inch asunder. In this house lived Ambrosio and Pedro with their whole familyes, in all about 40 persons. There was an old woman who was very stirring about the house, she seem'd to be near 60, but upon asking her age the Frenchman told she was about 120. They could not beleeve it, and were perswaded they were mistaken in the computation of time; he assured them not, and as an undeny-able demonstration shewed the sixt generation of that woman's body in the house, which indeed was very surprising. She is Pedroe's grandmother; when it was assured that it was common among them to live to 150 or 160 years age, yet its observed that those of them that converse often with the Europeans and drink their strong liquors are of short life.

Novr. 22. In the morning they had some plantans, potatoes, and wild hog dresst for breakfast, after their fashion. Then Ambrosio and Pedro went out with their guns to kill some fowl for the strangers. Pedro returned with some partriges the largest and best ever they saw, being bigger than capons, and exceedingly sweet. They being afraid it wold be late took leave ere Ambrosio returned, Pedro and the Frenchman conveying them to the water side. They lay that night at the eastermost of the keyes mentioned before. Pedro did climb high cocornut trees and threw doun a great number most delicious for the juyce and kernel. They are very big. This Pedro is incredibly dexterous at the bow and arrow, which he show'd them by shooting frequently in one place; they learn their boys to shoot with blunt arrows.

23. By day light they weighed and got to the Isle of Pinas with their pinaces by noon, and at night home. Captain Lang, sailed the Sunday before.

24. Much wind and rain.

25. Wind and rain as above.

27. Very much rain and wind.

28. These 24 houres there has fallen a prodigious quantity of rain.

29. Much rain with fresh gales.

30. This being St Andrew's day, the Councilors dined on board the Comadore, where Captain Andreas was invited, who being inquired at anent his having any correspondence with the Spaniard as was reported, he ingenuously confessed that the Spaniards had been friendly to him and had made him a Captain; that he was obliged for his safty to keep fair with them; and that they assured him wee were nothing but privateers who had no design to setle, but to plunder both Spaniard and Indians and be gone in 2 or 3 months time; and if that he assisted us any way, as soon as wee were gone they should destroy him and his.

He got all possible assurance of the contrar, which he appeared to be fully satisfyed with, and desired a Comission, and to be taken under the protection of our Government with his followers, upon which he should give all his right to this part of the Country which relished wel enough. He went away and promised to return in 2 or 3 days.

December 1. Much thunder, lightning, and rain.

2. The weather continues very bad which hinders the work much.

3. Great showers of rain with much wind. Captain Andreas came this day on board the St Andrew where the Counciloris were. He had his Comission read to him, and expounded in Spanish, whereby the Council made him one of their Captains to command the Natives in and about his own territories, and received him and all submitting to him into the protection of their Government, he being therby obliged with his followers to obey, assist, and defend them and all their concerns upon all occasions. To all which he heartily agreed and seemed very wel satisfyed. Then the Preses of the Council for the time, did in presence of the Councilours and several others and some of the Andreas people, deliver him his Commission written on parcement, with the Colonye's Seal and very broad gold stript and flour'd ribbon appended, joyning hands together he promising to be just and faithful to us and our interest. He had at that time given him a broad basket hilted sword and a pair of good pistols, with which he promised to defend us all to the last drop of his blood against our Enemyes. He presented the Council with a bow and a bunch of arrows as a token of his kindness and friendship. Then he and those with him got a hearty glass, and at drinking the Company at home their health, 7 guns were fired, which he took as a great favour; he stayed on board all night.

December 4. Much thunder, lightning, and rain.

5. Some wind and rain.

6. Showres of rain with squales of wind.

The sons of Captain Diego and Captain Ambrosio came and stayed with us 4 or 5 days. The natives come evry other day with plantans and yams; the common people among us buy them from them and give them small trifles for them, which they are wel satisfyed with.

7. Blustering weather with some showres.

8. Wind and weather as above.

9. Wind Northerly. Sometimes most excellent fish taken here, as also Tortoises (but very few as yet, not having time nor nets fit for them,) some of them above 2, others above 3, 00 weight: they are the best of meat. One of them will serve 100 men of reasonable appetites.

10. There is excellent Cedar trees in great abound-ance, as also Mahoggany, Yellow Sanders, Lignum vitre, Manchinill excellent for inlaying, and many others of great use. There are hopes of finding out the Nicoragu the best of lit for Scarlet, as also Banilcos is here in great quantity, an excellent perfume and much used in the finest Cocholat, as also in this Countrey excellent fruits, such as Cocoa nuts wherof Cocholat is made. Vanelias, Sugar Canes, Mayis, Oranges, Plantans, Bonanos, Yams, Manioc and several others all very good, the ground very fertile and rich.

11. This morning came on board the Commadore a French longboat, with the Lieuetenent of the Ship she belonged to, and the purser of a Dutch. The ship to which the Lievetennent belonged is named the Zan-toigne of 42, (had but 32 mounted,) commanded by Monsieur Vite Thomas. The Dutch ship was one of 22 guns, a trader upon the Coast. The Frenchman reported he came out in company with those that returned the Church plate to Carthagena. She is a Merchant ship, but has the King's Comission, and halfe the Company payed by the King; he was very lakey, so begg'd liberty to stop his lakes in our port which wee freely granted. The Dutch Ship being afraid of the Barlivento fleet kept him company, and likewayes desired our protection. She is richly loaded and has been upon the coast some time, yet has most of her cargo still on board, being bound to the coast of Carthagena. She must be here till the Barlivento fleet pass for Porto Bello.

12. This morning the French ship anchored near Golden Island, and the Dutchman came into the harbour, directly he saluted the Commadore with 7 guns who returned him 5.

In the afternoon the French Captain came on board; he told us all the newes on the Coast, That the President of Panama had given an account to the Governours of Carthagena and Porto Bello of our arrival and settlement. The Spaniards along the whole Coast are in a wonderful consternation upon the matter. He told that 18 dayes ago one Whan Bernardo (a very rich and honest man) was sent with a longboat and 37 men by the Governour of Carthagena with a Comission to know what wee were and our design here; he was told there was nothing heard of him, so the Frenchman concluded the boat was sunk, being so old and lakey that she could hardly swim. He furder said that there were 4 sail of Ships about 50 guns each newly come from Spain, whereof the Dartmouth an English man-of-warr of 52 guns taken by the French was one; that they beleeved our design was upon the river Mescha-sippi, so were gone into the gulph of Mexico to seek us. That the Barlivento fleet was now at Carthagena, consisting of 3 sail, viz. the General of 56 guns, one of 36 and another of 28 guns, the Vice-Admiralof 40 guns being gone with a Dutch Ship of 32 guns whom they made prize, as also 2 English Sloops, for trading upon the Coast of Yeracruze.

Decbr. 13. In the afternoon the French ship came in, he saluted the Commadore with 9 guns who returned (he having the King's Comission and Colours) the same number, then 3 of thanks; he had also the like return, then one, and then like to that.

14. This day Captain Lang's boat came into the harbour and told us he sailed for Jamaica on Sunday last, that he had left 3 men and a woman with Captain Diego in the gulph, and that the Barlivento fleet consisting of several sail of great ships and aboundance of small veshels full of souldiers, were lying at the Burus taking in provisions in order to attack with all their the e^:ditions to darien :

strength in a few days. This obliges us to make all dispatches with our battery. The Council have ordered their ships in a line of battle in the mouth of the harbour. Fair weather.

15. Captain Andreas sent word that the Spaniards were marching from Panama to Porto Bello, with a great number of men in order to attack us.

16. Several other Indians came in and gave the same account. The battery is going quickly on; our men are very hearty and seem to long for a visit from Jaque, that they might have a just pretence to their gold mines not far off.

17. There is a look out made from which ships or vessels within 10 leagues can be descryed.

18. Fair weather, the fortification near finished.

19. This morning one of the men whom Captain Lang left towards the gulfe, with a boy and two Indians, came in a canao and told that a Spanish periager landing where they were, the Indians and they set upon them, and killed 7 of them ; this was found fault with (by) us, least Lang's men should be thought ours, and so wee thought to be the first breakers of peace. It was also told here that Lang had been a dayes journey from his ship among the Spanish Indians, on purpose to misrepresent us, calling us thieves and robbers and disbanded souldiers not ouned or protected by the King of England.

This day the battery was finished, 16 twelve pounders being mounted on it, and wee are now in such a condition as that nothing more is wished than a visit from Jaque.

20. TheFrench ship came out and anchored by our Ship at the mouth of the harbour. Fair, and wind at N.B.E.

21. Some sharpe showres of rain, and a fresh gale as above ; Entrenchments are making.

22. The Frenchman warpt out a little without us. Captain Paussigo of Carret bay, who is hearty and cordial to our interest, came and among other things told, that close by about 2 miles distant only, there were several gold mines, which he promised to shew, and did let some of the Councilors see few parcels of gold which he affirmed he got from thence, which was extraordinary fine.

23. Fair weather. Captain Ambrosio being upon this place tells that the Spaniard are marching with 600 of them and 200 of the South sea Indians, (who can travel through the woods,) to attack us in the night if possible, but its feared with us they will not come, but whatever be in it, the work goes wel on, the men working with much vigour and resolution. Ambrosio has been very kindly and civily used and a present given him.

This day came in a small sloop loaded with flower, beefe, &c. from Jamaica. The Comander was sent by Captain Moon who is mentioned before, the Cargo was consigned to Captain Allison.

24. In the morning early the French ship got under sail—the Council not having ended their dispatches for Scotland which they designed by her. Captain Penny-cook went in his pinnace to know whether he designed to come to an anchor at Golden Island or put directly to sea. The Captain had drunk pretty hard the night before with Pedro, Ambrosio, and some other of the Samballas Indians, so that he was then asleep. The wind had blown hard at No. and there came in a great sea, and with all it fell little wind^sothat she fell away to leeward a great pace, where was nothing but an Iron shoare. She had certainly been stranded on the first point, had not Captain Pennycuik made his boat get ahead and tow her. She weathered that point not twenty fathom, then was obliged to anchor in a little bay. At the Captain's desire, Captain Pennycuik sent for a long boat, an anchor, and cable, with all the pinnaces to row them out, but stayed himselfe to assist what was possible, and at the Captain's earnest desire promised to stay by him as long as he kept the ship; for the sailors being all hot headed since the night before, did not mind what their Captain said to them. The ship did ride about 3 quarters of an hour after they anchored, and then her best bower cable broke, and in halfe an hour after the small bower gave way, so ashoare she went upon the rocks, where in halfe an hour she was all to peeces, no boat daring to come near her. Captain Pennycuik was as good as his promise and stayed till he saw the Captain (who could not swim) upon a raft and gone, then took his opportunity and swam ashoare, having received some small wounds and bruises from the wreck and rocks, the sea beating on them furiously. There were 22 out of 56 drowned —tis said many of them occasioned by the weight of gold and money they had about their necks (having broke up chests) ; others beatt to peeces upon the rocks after they had swam ashoare. The Captain had in his round house in Gold and Silver to the value of 60,000 peeces of eight, and in goods not disposed of to the value of 30,000 Crowns.

25. The French Captain and Lieuetennent went on board the Commadore, being both extreamly bruised. The men were dispersed into the several ships. Officers and men were sent to guard the wreck.

26. Fair weather and a good gale at N.B.E.

27. This morning the French Captain went with two divers belonging to the Ship to see what could be got from the wreck. He gets all possible assistance to save all that comes ashoare.

The foregoing journal, along with a list of deaths since leaving Scotland, was forwarded to the Directors in a letter dated 28th December. This was the Council's first communication to headquarters after landing at Darien, the delay-arising from their not possessing a small coasting sloop suitable for conveying dispatches. On this occasion the Council employed a turtling-sloop (Edward Sands, master) which was returning to Jamaica after her cargo of provisions had been sold to the colonists. The bearer of the Council's dispatches—Alexander Hamilton, Accountant-General of the Colony—was deputed at this time to visit Scotland and represent to the Directors, by word of mouth, certain matters connected with the Colony which it was not thought desirable to commit to writing. One of the seven original councillors—Major Cunningham of Eickett—also took his passage in the same sloop, having severed his connection with the Colony, contrary both to his engagement with the Directors and the wishes of his fellow-councillors.

The expedition had been timed to land in Darien in the beginning of winter,—the " dry season,"—the most healthful time of the year for Europeans to face the climate of the Isthmus.

In the letter referred to, in which the hand of Paterson can be discerned, the Council represent themselves as being highly pleased with the situation and climate of their place of settlement, and as hopeful of the ultimate success of their enterprise. The sequel showed that far too sanguine opinions of the climate and soil had been formed.

The letter runs as follows :—

New Edinburgh, Caledonia, 28tk December 1698.

Right Honourable,—Our last to you was from the Maderas of the 29th of August, and sent by the several ways of Holland and Portugal, to the contents whereof we now refer, and in particular to the State of Provisions therewith sent, and which we now find doth considerably fall short even of what was then computed, by reason of the badness of the Cask. The account of the remaining part of our voyage, together with the most material transactions since, you may know by the enclosed Journal or Diary of our proceedings.

We now send you our Letters and Dispatches by Mr Alexander Hamilton, Merchant, who takes the opportunity of passing to you by the way of Jamaica over to England, to whom we desire you would order Forty shillings Sterling to be paid Weekly, towards his expences, the time he shall stay with you negotiating our affairs. [Mr Hamilton arrived in Edinburgh on 25th March 1699, and his personal report of the voyage and settlement of the colonists gave " abundance of satisfaction " to the Directors. In addition to the 40s. per week, as desired by the Council, the Directors bestowed on him a gratuity of 118, 6s. 8d., in consideration of "his coming here express from their Colony in Caledonia, in America, with the first news of their settlement there." The Directors also commissioned him to purchase uniforms to bo presented to the friendly "Captains of the tribes of natives in Caledonia, in America," for which he paid 86, 10s. 5d.]

The wealth, fruitfulness, health and good situation of the Country proves for the better, much above our greatest expectations, which God Almighty seems to have wonderfully reserved for this occasion, and now to have prepared our way, and disposed the Indies to that purpose. In our passage hither several of our number have been taken from us by death (whose names we have herewith sent you) and whereof the loss of our two Ministers is the most sensible to us. We therefore entreat you would use your utmost endeavours with the General Assembly, for procuring others to supply that great want. As to the Country, we find it very healthful; for though we arrived here in the Rainy season, from which we had little or no shelter for several weeks together, and many sick among us, yet they are so far recovered, and in so good a state of health as could hardly anywhere be expected among such a number of Men together; nor know we anything here of those several dangerous and mortal distempers so prevalent in the English and other American Islands.

In fruitfulness this Country seems not to give place to any in the world; for we have several of the fruits as Cocoa-Nuts, whereof Chocolate is made, Bonellos Sugar-Canes, Maize, Oranges, Plantains, Mangoe, Yams, and several others, all of them of the best of their kind anywhere found.

Nay, there is hardly a spot of ground here but what may be cultivated; for even upon the very tops and sides of the hills and mountains, there is commonly three or four foot deep of rich earth, without so much as a stone to be found therein. Here is good hunting and fowling, and excellent fishing in the bays and creeks of the Coast; so that could we improve the season of the year just now begun, we should soon be able to subsist of ourselves, but fortifying and building will lose us a whole year's planting.

By the want of sloops, or small coasting vessels, we have hitherto had no opportunity of disposing any part of the Cargo, or doing other needful things.

Since the loss of the French Ship mentioned in the Journal, we understand that the Captain had an underhand Correspondence, in tampering with some of the natives whom he intended to carry away with him, which heightens our jealousy that the French have a design upon this place, or at least to make a settlement hereabout. And we heartily wish that our Most Gracious King were truly informed of what consequence it will be both to his greatness and security, to countenance and encourage us his loyal and dutiful subjects here, that our Prince and Country be not only deprived of so valuable a Jewel, but lest the same should fall a prey to some of our rival neighbours. This will be the Company's part to notice after these dispatches shall come to hand.

You have enclosed a List of several goods and merchandises vendable and proper for this place; our situation being incomparable for the Trade of the Coast, where (besides our Inland Trade) there is commonly but 2 or 3, or at most but 8 or 10 days' sail to the best places of Trade upon the Coast, and to the outmost considerable islands adjoining. And we desire that particular merchants in Scotland, and elsewhere, may be encouraged to trade and correspond hither, in which we hope they will sufficiently find their account.

We have also sent you a state of what supplies of Provisions, Stores and Merchant goods are absolutely necessary for the present support of the Colony, referring it to the Company to determine what reasonable consideration they will have for the sums that shall be advanced for that purpose; And we entreat that all possible expedition may be used in sending us these needful supplies; for without that we shall not only be incapable of making you suitable returns, but this hopeful undertaking, together with ourselves, will run no small risk of being inevitably lost. But however it be (by the help of God) we shall not fail to do our utmost in making speedy and suitable returns; and shall always account it our greatest honour to expose our persons, and all that's most near and dear to us, in promoting this hopeful design, as not only promising Profit and Glory to the Company, and all who are concerned with them, but as being the likeliest means that ever yet presented towards the enabling our Countrymen to revive, recover, transmit to posterity, the virtue, lustre, and wonted Glory of their renowned Ancestors; and to lay a foundation of wealth, security, and greatness to our Mother Kingdom for the present and succeeding Ages. In which we can no way doubt of your most hearty concurrence and utmost support. So praying Almighty God would bless and prosper the Company in all their undertakings. — We remain, Eight Honourable, you most humble servants,

Robert Jolly.
J. Montgomery.
Dan. Mackay.
Rob. Pennicook.
Rob. Pincarton.
Will. Paterson.

P.S.—We entreat you to send us a good Engineer, who is extremely wanted here. This place being capable of being strongly fortified. You'll understand by our's from Maderas, the Danger as well as the Tediousness of our Passage North-about, so that if the Ships can conveniently be fitted out from Clyde, it will save a good deal of time in their passage and be far less hazardous.

The list of deaths accompanying the preceding letter was afterwards printed in Edinburgh

1 On the same day—28th December 1698—the Council issued a Proclamation or Declaration, addressed to the world, from " New Edinburgh," announcing the principles on which their Colony of Caledonia was to be conducted. They declared that it was to be a free port, with full liberty of conscience in matters of religion to all nations. (For full text of the Declaration, see Appendix B.) and circulated by the Directors in the following form:—

AN EXACT LIST of the Men, Women, and Boys that Died on Board the Indian and African Company's Fleet during their Voyage from Scotland to America, and since their landing in Caledonia. Together with a particular account of their qualities, the several Days of their Deaths, and the respective Distempers or Accidents of which they Died.

Note.—By "Volunteers" are meant such young Gentlemen as went in no particular station, but only in hopes of preferment as opportunity should offer.

This is a true List compared by me,

Rod. Mackenzie,
Secy, to the said Company.

No doubt, every one will justly regret the loss of his own nearest friend, but it's a great and general Mercy that of so many as went crowded in Five Ships, upon so long and tedious a voyage as they had, so few are dead; Especially considering, that on their way they had the misfortune of taking in bad Water upon an uninhabited island, in the beginning of the Rainy Season, which occasioned general sickness among them; tho' soon after their Landing in Caledonia (thanks be to God) they recovered their health so much (even beyond expectation) that, when the Express came away, there were but five of all our men who were not at work in building of Forts and Houses. And as even a greater number of so many as went, might have died by this time, had they all remained at home, so it may be some satisfaction to the nearest friends of the deceased that their names shall stand upon Record as being among the first brave Adventurers that went upon the most noble, most honourable, and most promising undertaking that Scotland ever took in hand.

From the foregoing list it will be noticed that Paterson had the great grief to lose his wife by fever shortly after landing in Darien. She was buried with solemn honours, some dropping-guns being fired on the occasion. A few days previously his clerk, Thomas Fenner, an Englishman, had also died. Yet in spite of these domestic bereavements, he did not bate a jot of heart or hope, but with manly fortitude continued his unwearied efforts on behalf of the Company.


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