Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

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


We need not detail here the various events connected with the first occupation and abandonment of Darien, as these are narrated in Paterson's special Report to the Directors which follows. Suffice it to say that on the 20th of June 1699, within eight months of the date of their landing, the surviving settlers, now reduced to less than 900, hurriedly evacuated Darien. Paterson, who was seriously ill at the time, protested strongly against the abandonment. He was the last man to leave Darien, and had to be carried on board the Unicorn. After a disastrous voyage, during which many on board succumbed, he arrived at New York on 14th August, but so broken in health that his life was despaired of for a time. In about two months thereafter he took his passage in the Company's ship, the Caledonia, bound from New York for Scotland, and arrived in Edinburgh on the 5th of December, somewhat recovered in mind though still shattered in body. The Report referred to was drawn up at the request of the Court of Directors shortly after his return to Scotland. In addition to the details which it gives relating to the daily life of the Colony and the events which led up to its collapse, it forms a vindication of his own conduct there. Explanatory notes have been added to the Report where additional information seems desirable.

REPORT BY WILLIAM PATERSON TO THE DIRECTORS.

Report of Matters relating to the Colony of Caledonia, made to the Right Honble. The Court of Directors of the Indian and African Company of Scotland.

At Edinburgh, the nineteenth day of December, 1699.

Right Honourable,

On the sixteenth day of July 1698, I arrived on board the Company's ship the Unicorn, in order to my voyage in the afternoon. I went on board the Saint Andrew; and although I was not of the Council, yet the care and concern I had for the success obliged me to speak to Captain Pennicook for calling a Council before we set sail in order to consider how they were provided for the voyage, and to represent to this Court what might be defective: but I was answered—" I must dive him leave to think that he knew his business and the instructions he had to follow," or to this purpose.

first expedition.

Two or three days after we sailed, the Council was called on board the Saint Andrew, where they found the provisions and necessaries for the voyage fall exceedingly short of what was given out or expected; whereupon the people were reduced to a much shorter allowance; and the next day the Council wrote letters signifying their condition, designing to land those letters at Orkney; but the foggy, hazy weather and currents not only prevented that, but endangered the ships, and occasioned the separation of the Unicorn and Endeavour Pink from the rest.

After our meeting at Madeira, the Council wrote their condition by way of Lisbon and Holland; but in as sparing and general terms as possible, lest these letters should be intercepted to the prejudice of our designs. These letters were dated the 29th day of August 1698.

When Captain Pinkerton and I were at the Island of St Thomas about the beginning of October, we met with one Captain Richard Moon of Jamaica, who commanded a sloop of about eighty tons. He was bound from New York to Curasao with provisions, but by the way touched at Saint Thomas, where he met with us. The man I had known in Jamaica many years before; and we persuaded him to follow us to the rest of our ships then riding at Crab Island. When he came he found our goods so dear and ill-sorted for his purpose, that, upon the conditions we proposed, he would not part with any of his provisions; upon which I represented to the Council that it might be of ill consequence for us not only to miss such a quantity of good and new provisions, but the report he might give of our goods being overrated would unavoidably be an ill preparative for others; whereas the agreement with him, though at a dear rate, would encourage him and many more to come to us with the greater speed and earnestness; also that I had heard the goods were considerably overrated. But however it was, two or three hundred pounds' loss ought not to be put in balance with the risk of the design : which, if it miscarried, I was apprehensive the Company would, however, get but a lame account of their cargo,—Wherefore, it was better to risk a part of it upon the prospect of something than inevitably to loss it without any prospect at all. To all this I was answered, that they were not obliged to take notice of any particular man's assertions as to the over-valuing or ill buying the goods; but rather to believe the prime cost was as in the Company's invoice; and that they would not be so imposed upon by Capt. Moon. Thus Mr Moon parted from us. But before he went I took an opportunity to tell him, that by reason of the stowage in those crowded ships, he could not now have a sight of the greatest part of our Cargo ; but if he and his friends would send us a sloop with provisions from Jamaica, and also come himself as soon as he could, I did not doubt but he would dispose of them to his sufficient satisfaction, which he promised to do, and had some discourse thereof with the rest of the Councillors before we parted.

During the voyage, our Marine Councillors did not only take all upon them, but likewise brow-beat and discouraged every body else, yet we had patience, hoping things would mend when we came ashore ; but we found ourselves mistaken; for though our Masters at sea had sufficiently taught us that we fresh-water men knew nothing of their salt-water business,—yet when at land, they were so far from letting us turn the chase, that they took upon them to know everything better than we.

I must confess it troubled me exceedingly to see our affairs thus turmoiled and disordered, by tempers and dispositions as boisterous and turbulent as the elements they are used to struggle with, which are at least as mischievous masters as ever they can be useful servants. To this disease I proposed as a present ease and a part of a remedy, that a President of the Council should be chosen for a month, and that the first should be a land Councillor, and that every land Councillor might take his turn before any of those of the sea should come in place. This, I reckoned, would be four months; and in this time I was in hopes that we might be able to make some laws, orders, and rules of Government, and by People's management in the time, be better able to judge who might be most fit to preside for a longer time, not exceeding a year. This my thoughts I imparted to our land Councillors; but they, like wise men, had begun to make their Court, and agreed beforehand with those of the sea that the Presidency should last but a week; and though I urged that it would be to make a mere May game of the Government, and that it would reduce all things to uncertainty and contradictions, yet this determination of the rest was unalterable. Upon which Mr Montgomery was chosen the first President; after which we began to proceed to business.

The first thing fallen upon was a place of landing; but the Sea Councillors were for a mere Morass, neither fit to be fortified nor planted, nor indeed for the men to lie upon. But this was carried by main force and a great struggle, although I know no reason they had for it, unless it might be to save one of their boats the trouble, once in two or three days, to bestow three or four hours to supply the Land-men with water. We were upon clearing and making Huts upon this improper place near two months, in which time experience —the schoolmaster of fools—convinced our masters that the point now called Fort Saint Andrew was more proper for us; upon which they appointed Captain Thomas Drummond to oversee the work, who, according to the tools he had to work with, did beyond what could be reasonably expected from him ; for our men, though for the most part in health, were generally weak for want of sufficient allowance of provisions and liquors, and this inconveniency upon them was the harder by reason of the irregular serving of their scrimp allowances, for our marine masters continually pretended other urgent business, and so could hardly spare their boats to bring the land provisions and conveniences ashore, and many of the most needful things that I knew were only designed for the shore, were detained on board under pretence they belonged to the ships. When we arrived first, we were, as it was, in a Prison for want of sloops, brigantines, or other good, stiff, windwardly vessels; for the Snoio or the Pink were utterly unfit for that purpose, otherwise the sending home, as also to all our friends in the Plantations, ought to have been the first things done. The inconveniency of this was foreseen; but it seems could not be prevented. About the twentieth of December, a sloop arrived from Jamaica, commanded by Mr Edward Sands, freighted by Captain Moon and Mr Peter Wilmot of Port Royal, and a part belonged to one Master Robert Allison, who came from aboard of Moon's sloop along with us from St Thomas Island. This sloop was consigned to Mr Allison, and in his absence to me. Upon report of her cargo, the Council ordered Captain Jolly and Captain Pinkerton to agree with Allison, which agreement was, that they should have our goods as they cost in Scotland, and we were, in lieu thereof, to have the sloop's cargo of provisions as it cost in Jamaica, and, as I remember, ten per cent advance; whereupon the sloop's provisions were put aboard one of our ships, and the goods in exchange  were to be delivered by us to Captain Moon, who was expected in a month after.

Before this time. Major Cunningham, one of our number, was become so uneasy, and possessed (as we thought) by so unaccountable conceits and notions, that he gave us no small trouble, and at last would needs forsake not only his post, but also the Colony. This very justly offended the rest of the Councillors, considering their raw and unsettled circumstances and some thoughts there were of detaining him by force. But after weighing his temper, they consented to his going ; but thought it were prudent to part with him in friendship than otherwise, lest any that might espouse his humour in Scotland, should prove a means of retarding or frustrating our needful supplies. Upon these considerations, they gave him a general letter of recommendation, but no instructions in writing; and Mr Hamilton had also verbal orders to intimate the matter, but so cautiously as not thereby to prejudice the Colony's interest.

In order to cure as much as possible the convulsions we laboured under from the weight of our marine Governors, Mr Cunningham, Mr Mackay, and I agreed to try, before the Major went away, if we could persuade them to the admission of two or three new Councillors. But instead of complying with so reasonable a proposal, the three Gentlemen fell out into the greatest passion and disorder possible, and Mr Montgomery falling in with them, nothing could be done in it at that time.

Major Cunningham's going home proceeding not from the Council, but from himself. They proposed to send home a person who might by word of mouth represent to the Company things that could not be so well committed to writing. The Captains Penni-cook, Pinkertoun, and Jolly, proposed Mr Hamilton; Mr Cunningham and I were for Mr Samuel Veitch; Mr Montgomery was for one Mr Alexander Baird; and Mr Mackay was non liquid. My reasons against Mr Hamilton going away were, that he was appointed by the Company their Accountant-general, and indeed was the only person we had left fit for that and the management of the cargo, which at this time was in such disorder and confusion that I saw no way of bringing it into method but that Mr Hamilton, and such others as were capable to assist him, should go immediately about it; and thought Captain Veitch, or some other gentleman who could be better spared by the Colony, might be capable enough for that errand; whereas Mr Hamilton, his being taken from his station without supplying his place, would unavoidably reduce things to that disorder and confusion in which I am afraid the Company will find them when they come to inquire into the management of their Cargo.

After Mr Hamilton was dispatched in Sands his sloop by way of Jamaica, a design was set on foot to send Captain Pinkerton and Captain Malloch in the Dolphin Snow to Curasoa, Saint Thomas, and other islands, to the windward. The design was to settle a correspondence, and to buy a sloop or two, together with rum, sugar, and other things we wanted from them. But I made objections against this voyage —First, Because in our passage from Scotland we found the Snow no windwardly vessel, and the north and strong north-easterly winds were not yet over, and I questioned if anything abated, and therefore I believed (as it happened), that she would never be able to get to the windward; and, in the second place, either Pinkerton or Malloch could do anything that was to be done as well as both, whom we could not well spare by reason of our scarcity of good sea officers; and in the last place, I questioned if our present circumstances would allow of thus remote adventuring of so considerable a part of our cargo; but that it should rather lie ready by us as a bait to such as should come with present supplies, which we very much wanted at this time, and, for anything I saw, were like to want much more. But to all this I was answered in the usual form, that I did not understand it.

After Captain Pinkerton was gone Capt. Moon arrived, and on board him his owner, Mr Peter Wilmot, who called for the return of the provisions we had by Sands; when we came to offer him goods by our Invoice, he said he could buy them as cheap, if not cheaper, in Jamaica, complaining that the Invoice was not a true Invoice, but the goods were over - valued above forty per cent. However, after some clamours, the Council agreed with him for thirty pound per cent abatement upon the Invoice; yet he would not let us have any more of his provisions at that rate, but parted with us, complaining that he should be a loser. It vexed me not only to see us part with such a parcel of provisions, but also for the effect it might have to discourage others, as it afterwards happened.

As the native Indians, at our first coming, had made us several advantageous offers to undertake against the Spaniards, so now, in this month of February, they continued to alarm us with the preparations of the Spaniards, and to press us from several parts to an undertaking against them. Among these were Corbet of the Samblas, Diego of the Gulf, and Pausigo of Carreto, with others.

But we still answered them, that our King was at peace with the Spaniards, and so we could not make war, unless they begun with us; but whenever they did, we would repel force by force, and assemble all the Indians and others that were willing to assist us against them. They expressed a wonderful hatred and horror for the Spaniards, and seemed not to understand how we could be at peace with them, except we were as bad as they. It's certain this was the true season of the year for undertakings of that kind, and our people were then in health, and indifferent strong, which they happened not to be afterwards, when the Spaniards had given us sufficient provocation, and when the season was not so proper. But afterward, upon information that a great party of Spaniards were come overland, and from the south seas, to invade us, and were then at an Indian house two or three leagues from the other side of the harbour, we sent Mr Montgomery with a party of men to know the truth; but, instead of a body of Spaniards, found only a few men who were sent thither to get intelligence, who, when our men came upon them, took their opportunity to fire at them from the thickets where they were placed, and then run away, having killed two or three, and wounded some others. Our men returned the salute without any execution that we know of. This party consisted of twenty-five men, as we heard afterwards. This party had been detached from a body of fifteen hundred men, then at Tabugantee, and from thence designed to invade us by land; but, by reason of opposition from the Indians, and other obstructions they met with they afterward dispersed, and came to nothing.

Some days after Captain Moon was gone, returned Captain Sands from Jamaica, as also arrived one Captain Ephraim Pilkington, both laden with provisions, all which the Council bought, and sent Pilkington with his sloop or shallop to trade upon the Spanish coast, while Captain Sands went a turtling for the Colony. Some days after this, Captain Pennicook and Mr Mackay had a great falling out. I endeavoured not only to compose their difference, but, if possible, to bring some good out of it. "Wherefore I represented to them separately how sad and scandalous our condition was; that if any two of us had a difference, the remainder had not authority enough to reduce them to reason : therefore advised and persuaded them both to consent to the admission of two or three new Councillors. This they severally consented to, agreeing that I should move it, and that they should be seconds; and if Messrs Montgomery and Jolly did oppose it, to carry it by vote. Accordingly, I moved it, and they did second it, but so very coldly that though Mr Jolly was in the chair, and so three against one, yet I could not so much as get my motion entered, much less a liberty to protest that the majority was for it, and so it was passed of course. This motion raised me much envy and trouble, which continued a long time after.

Before Major Cunningham went away, there was something done he would have protested against. I do not remember the thing, only that I was not of his opinion as to the matter, but was for allowing him a liberty to protest, as all other Councillors ought to have had. For this I urged the custom of most civil societies in the world, and the express meaning of the Company, when they in their instructions say that one Councillor shall not bdi liable to the^efaults and miscarriages of the others, but every one for his own default; but, say or do what I would, there could none of them be persuaded to it; nor was protests or entries of motions or dissents at all allowed by the old Councillors; but, indeed, that doctrine was as much exploded by the new Council as ever that of passive obedience has been upon another occasion.

About the tenth or twelfth of February, within a day or two of each other, arrived two sloops from Jamaica, the one of which was commanded by Captain Mitchell, and the other by Captain Bobbins. That of Bobbins was consigned to me in his absence, and Mitchell was recommended. Bobbins offered his provisions as soon as ever he came in, and Mitchell would also have sold his. Their main design was about fishing the French wreck at the entrance of our harbour, of which the Council acquainted this Court, and the provisions were only brought in by the bye. Our Councillors would not be persuaded in time to take these provisions; and afterwards those purse-proud fellows, having time to understand our wants by the murmurs of the people and other circumstances, took humours in their heads, and would not part with their provisions upon any account, unless we could have given them money.

At this time, in hopes the time of the strong breeze was over, or at least much abated, we sent out the Endeavour Pink, under the command of Captain John Anderson, and a stock of some hundred pounds value on board of her, whereof Mr Robert Allison was supercargo. She was to touch at Jamaica, and go from thence to New York, and return to us with provisions; but, after she had beaten about a month, and not got forty leagues to the windward, she was forced to return to us again, after having become very leaky by the stress she had met with at sea.

About the beginning of March, Captain Pilkington returned from the coast of Carthagena, having had little or no trade by reason of the badness and unsuit-ableness of the cargo, and brought us the unhappy news of the loss of our Snow, and the imprisonment of Captain Pinkerton and his crew at Carthagena; of all which we advised the Company by one occasion of the sixth or seventh of March. Mr Mackay was then sick of an intermitting fever, and his life hardly expected ; and, by reason of some heats that arose between Mr Pennicook and Mr Montgomery, all things seemed to be at a stand, for Mr Jolly and I had not authority to make peace between them when at variance, nor to cause them to keep it when made. I could think of nothing to cure this distemper of ours, but either an addition of Councillors, or a Parliament. About an addition of Councillors we could not agree, and we should lose time in staying for a Parliament: Wherefore it was resolved to call a Parliament as soon as possible; and in the meantime, to dispatch the

Captains Rlkiilpon and Sands to Carthagena, with a messenger and letter, to demand our prisoners and effects, and to declare that, if they refused, we would immediately grant reprisals; and accordingly, commissions were given to Pilkington and Sands, to be put in execution in case of refusal made, to Mr Alexander Macgie, our messenger; but Pennicook agreed not to sign these dispatches.

About this time Captain Pennicook began to be very uneasy, and to publish that there was not a month's provisions in the Colony, no not near enough to carry us off the coast, and this he published industriously upon all occasions; but, in order to put a stop to the clamours, at the first and second meeting of the Parliament, some of the members were appointed to take a narrow scrutiny of the provisions on board the several ships and ashore. This scrutiny lasted several weeks, and at last could never be very exactly taken, of which Pennicook himself (with whom concealed provisions were found) was none of the least occasions.

By this time, being about the twenty-fourth or twenty-fifth of March, Mr Mackay was pretty well recovered, and the Captains Pilkington and Sands returned from Carthagena with our messenger, Mr Alexander Macgie, who brought the refusal of our prisoners and effects, and a letter from the Governor of Carthagena to that effect.

They met with, and brought in their company, a New England Brigantine, which was bound to us with provisions, but had missed our port. One Philips commanded her. Two or three days afterwards, Pilkington and Sands arrived before the harbour, Captain Moon, his sloop the Neptune, and another Jamaica sloop, commanded by one Mathias Maltman of Jamaica. Mr Wilmot sent a canoe with a letter to me about some goods he had left to be disposed of. Whether they had any other business in, I know not; but, as I was about to answer his letter, Pennicook being President, arrested the canoe, with all the men that were in her, being twelve or fourteen. The pretence was, that Moon's sloop had carried away a boy called Skelton, and all the men stopped. Nay, Moon's sloop and all his rock, and not being able to be kept afloat by baling and pumping, was run ashore under the walls of Carthagena. Believing, or pretending to believe, that they were pirates, the ship's company—30 men and a boy—were made prisoners by the Spaniards, and the ship and cargo seized. When the news of the capture reached the Council, they dispatched a messenger to the Governor of Carthagena to formally demand the release of the prisoners and restoration of the ship and cargo, and threatening reprisals in the case of refusal. When the envoy, who carried a flag of truce, delivered the Council's letter, along with a copy of the Company's Act of Parliament, the Governor treated him most contemptuously. He tore the letter and the Act in pieces, which he angrily tossed aside, stating that he would shortly made a descent upon the Scots settlement and root them out. Captain Pinkerton and his officers, after being subjected to great indignities and sufferings at Carthagena, were passed on to Spain, to be tried there as pirates. They were condemned to death, but, chiefly through the intervention of King William, were ultimately allowed to go free. The crew of the Dolphin Snow had the misfortune to be drafted into the Spanish warships in the Indies.

effects was not able to make pftffsfaclioli for this boy of Pennicook's. I did what I could to get a boat or canoe to send out, that the boy might be sent in, and the canoe released, but an embargo was laid upon every thing; so the sloops were forced to lie off and on all night for their canoe and men; and when I saw I could not prevail for a boat, I endeavoured to get the men out of the guardhouse. The next morning, early, Captain Pilkington went in his canoe aboard of Moon, and told him what was the matter. By him I sent a letter to Wilmot, to come ashore and justify himself. The boy Skelton was brought, and Mr Wilmot also appeared; but instead of accusing Mr Wilmot of anything regularly, as I had reason to expect, it all ended in a little hector and Billingsgate. Mr Wilmot stayed till the afternoon; and before he went away I came to Mr Mackay's hut, and Mr Wilmot came also to take his leave. The rest of the Councillors were then together; and upon my coming, they called me in, and Mr Mackay presented me a paper to sign, which contained a warrant to Captain Robert Drummond to take boats and go and bring in Captain Mathias his sloop. When I asked what reasons they had for it, Mr Mackay answered, that they were informed that this sloop was a Spanish sloop, and was freighted by three Spanish merchants, now on board her, and bound for Portobello, with I know not what, for a treasure of gold and silver bars; and added, I warrant you will not meddle, because your friend Mr Wilmot is concerned. This usage did not please me. But, however, I told them, if she was a Spanish sloop, I was as ready as they; but, if belonging to any other nation, I would not be concerned. But, however, I signed the warrant to bring in the sloop. When she was brought, instead of a Spanish we found her a Jamaica sloop, with two Spanish passengers, and, as I heard, about 80 or 100 pounds value, in pieces of eight, Spanish pistoles, and gold dust. When I found this, I must needs say I was very angry, and endeavoured to get the sloop and men discharged next day, as being an English bottom. To this purpose, I laid the law before Pennicook, and afterwards to Mr Mackay, who by this time had brought the men and money out of the sloop. Upon this, I said I would write home about this matter, and then left them. Upon this occasion, God knows, my concern was not upon my own account, or any humour of my own, but the true love of justice and good of the Colony; in which concern of spirit, I heartily wished that they might not have cause to repent of their inhuman usage of those, before any other friendly strangers came to visit them, or to this effect. When I was gone, there was a Council called, consisting of Pennicook, Mackay, Montgomery, and Jolly, where, as the Secretary told me afterward, they confirmed the taking of the two Spaniards and the money from on board the Jamaica sloop. I suppose the minutes of the 29th or 30th of March will show it.

The Council not only bought what provisions Captain Philips had on board, and also hired his Brigantine express for Scotland; and, besides, an address to his Majesty, to lay before him our ill usage by the Spaniards, and the needful dispatches to the Company, to carry some intelligent and well-instructed person, to make a more lively representation of our circumstances to the Company. But although Mr Mackay was pretty well recovered, yet they could not at all agree upon the person Ito be sent. This and like delays and interruptions occasioned another motion for an addition to the Council, in order to carry things more smoothly for the future. But upon this motion, Mr Montgomery opposed it, and then withdrew. Mr Jolly also opposed it, but continued with us till Mr Colin Campbell was named and voted, and then he likewise withdrew; and although we sent our Secretary several times, entreating them, in a friendly and respectful manner, to give their attendance and assistance in Council, yet they refused, and altogether forsook us ; and not only so, but some small time after left the Colony.

After the admission of Mr Colin Campbell, Mr Samuel Veitch, Mr Charles Forbes, and Mr Thomas Drummond, we proceeded to transmit the address to his Majesty, and the other needful dispatches to the Company; and Mr Daniel Mackay was pitched upon to be the person should carry them, who was parted from us the tenth or eleventh of April last.

Upon the return from the Governor of Carthagena, we began to think of undertaking something considerable against the Spaniards; but the rainy season then approaching, together with the sickness of some, and the general weakness and rawness of our men, made it impracticable at this time by land, wherefore the ships were ordered to be in readiness ; and in the meantime, Pilkington and Sands were ordered to cruise upon the coast of Portobello, to take what they could by way of reprisal; as also what prisoners they could light upon, for intelligence, guides, and pilots.

Within twelve or fourteen days, Pilkington and Sands returned without any prize but one, that of a sloop they found riding at anchor at the Samblas, without anybody in her; nor did anybody appear, although there were many guns fired, and almost two days spent, expecting some of her crew, or other intelligence who she belonged unto. At last they

Captain Pilkington, when they granted to him letters of mark and reprisal against the Spanish ships :—

"Articles of Agreement betwixt the Council of Caledonia and Captain Ephraim Pilkington.

"Witnesseth as follows:—

"1st. The said Ephraim Pilkington shall have and receive for the hire of his Shallop twelve full shares.

"2nd. The said Ephraim Pilkington shall have and receive for himself two shares and a half.

"3rd. The Doctor shall have one hundred pieces of eight for his Chest of Medicines, and one share in common.

"4th. The said Council reserve to themselves one-tenth part of all the loading of any prize taken at sea—the wounded and disabled men being first provided for—and the like share of all booty taken upon land.

"5th. If any man be disabled in the service of the voyage, in so much that he be put from getting a future livelihood, in such case the same man shall have and receive six hundred pieces of eight, or six able slaves, if so much be made in the said voyage.

"6th. All the remaining part of the profit of the voyage to be equally divided amongst the men belonging to the vessels, share and part alike.

"7th. That the said Ephraim Pilkington have his choice of first, second, or third prize, taken in the voyago in lieu of his not exceeding three in number.

"In virtue whereof, both parties have hereto set their hands, at Fort St Andrew, the 11th day of March 1699.

"Robert Jolly, J.
"Ephr. Pilkington."

brought her away, as thinking her to belong to some pirates we heard were upon the coast, who might have been gone out upon some land expedition in their canoes.

Pilkington and Sands also acquainted us of their receipt of letters from Jamaica by a sloop they met with at sea, by which they were very much threatened for engaging with us, and upon this desired to be paid what we owed them, in order to return home. We gave them such goods as we had, and as much to their satisfaction as possible; but, after all, there remained a balance of more than a hundred pounds sterling to Captain Pilkington, and above twenty pounds to Captain Sands. They parted with us the twentieth day of April; aud Captain Pilkington promised, as soon as he arrived, to send us a sloop with provisions, and, as soon as he could, would follow after with his family and effects. In the meantime, there was a plot to run away with the ship the Saint Andrew discovered, and that several persons were suspected to have a hand therein. I had then some fits of an intermitting fever; but, however, I put force upon myself as much as possible to be present in the Councils, lest some rash act should be committed, or an innocent man should suffer. After all, it was found to be the melancholy discourses of three or four fellows, who, among others, were miserably harassed by Pennicook's unequal government on board.

Our men did not only continue daily to grow more weakly and sickly, but more, without hopes of recovery; because, about the latter end of the month of April, we found several species of the little provisions we had left in a manner utterly spoiled and rotten ; but under these our very unsupportable difficulties, it was no small ease and satisfaction to the Colony to find their Sea-Commanders reduced to reason, and their Councillors become so unanimous, patient, and prudent, by whom the doctrines of non-protesting and non-admission were exploded with disdain, and any former misunderstandings, irregularities, or disrespectful carriage to one another in the old Council, were now become as so many lessons of warning to the new, by which there was much contentment, and few or no grumblings among the people, as every one expected with patience the arrival of good news, and the needful recruits from the mother country, to make way for happy days and glorious success to come, which the good and hopeful condition of their government seemed to be no small pledge of.

Towards the beginning of May, there arrived a French sloop from Petit Guavas, with a letter from the Governor Du Cass about the before-mentioned French wreck. One Captain Tristian commanded this sloop, and one Du Cass was as supercargo aboard of goods for the Spanish coast. They made some stay about the wreck; and before we received the unhappy news of the proclamations, they sailed for Portobello. This Captain Tristian had, some years ago, by shipwreck upon this coast, been forced to live a great while among the Indians, and to go naked as they. He spoke the language, and admired this country for healthfulness, fruitfulness, and riches, above all other in the Indies, and said he would come and reside among us, and doubted not but above five hundred of the French from Hispaniola would soon be with us. He told us this country was reckoned by those who had tried the difference much more healthful than Hispaniola, or any of the American Islands, so that several French who knew it, began to use the coming from Hispaniola in trading or fishing sloops to recover their healths; and of this he had experience several times, and now even at present, though it was the sickly season for new comers. He said, there is such a thing as a more sickly time of the year than others in all countries, and the season here was from April or May to September, and then all that had any means to do it would recover. He would take the first opportunity to write us the news, and the true state of the Spaniards from Portobello.

Upon the third day of May we despatched the sloop brought in by Pilkington and Sands to Jamaica with money and other effects, in order to purchase provisions and necessaries for the Colony. Of her design we had given a hint to Captain Pilkington before he went away, the better to be in readiness to freight her when she should arrive. Mr Henry Patton had the command of this sloop, and Mr Alexander Burnet was to manage any negotiation ashore. Then we began to expect these two sloops, viz. that of Pilkington's, and this from Jamaica; also, that other supplies would be dropping in till a reinforcement should come from our country; when, instead thereof, upon the eighteenth day of May, a periagua of ours returned from the coast of Carthagena, which had met with a Jamaica sloop, by whom she had the surprising news, that proclamations were published against us in Jamaica, wherein it was declared, that by our settlement at Darien, we had broken the peace entered into with his Majesty's allies, and therefore prohibited all his Majesty's subjects from supplying or holding any sort of correspondence with us, upon the severest penalties; and it seems the Proclamations were issued by (1) Sir "William Beeston, Governor of Jamaica; (2) R. Gray, Governor of Barbadoes ; and (3) Lord Bellomont, Governor of New York. The Jamaica proclamation ran as follows (the others were in similar terms):—

"By the Honourable Sir William Beeston, Kt., His Majesty's Lieutenant-Governor and Commandant-in-Chief in and over this his Island of Jamaica, and over the territories depending thereon in America, and Vice-Admiral of the same.

"A Proclamation.

"Whereas I have received commands from His Majesty, by the Right Honourable James Vernon Esquire, one of His Majesty's principal Secretaries of State, signifying to me that His Majesty is unacquainted with the intentions and designs of the Scots settling at Darien; and that it is contrary to the peace entered into with His Majesty's Allies, and therefore has commanded me that no assistance be given them. These are, therefore, in His Majesty's name and by command, strictly to command His Majesty's subjects, whatsoever, that they do not presume, on any pretence whatsoever, to hold any correspondence with the said Scots, nor to give them any assistance of arms, ammunition, provisions, or any other necessaries whatsoever, either by themselves or any other for them ; or by any of their vessels, or of the English nation, as they will answer the contempt of His Majesty's command to the contrary, at their utmost peril. Given under my hand and seal of arms this 8th day of April, 1699, and in the eleventh year of our Sovereign Lord William the Third of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland King, and of Jamaica, Lord Defender of the Faith, etc. William Beeston."

The instructions to the Colonial Governors to issue the proclamations were sent secretly from England. The insincerity of the English Government in the affair is evidenced by the fact that, in September 1697, the Board of Trade] reported that Darien had never been possessed by the Spaniards; and they recommended that the territory be seized for the Crown of England with "all possible dispatch, lest the Scotch Company be there before us, which is of the utmost importance to the trade of England." This resulted in Captain Long being sent out in the Rupert Prize, but on arrival he found the place in possession of the colonists.

After the collapse of the Darien enterprise, the Scots attributed its failure mainly to the Colonial proclamations forbidding intercourse with the settlement, and blamed the English Government accordingly. But, as De Foe says in his ' History of the Union,' if the colonists had been provided either with money or letters of credit, they could not have failed to obtain supplies. When the colonists retired from Darien they met at sea a New England ship with provisions, bound for the Colony; and when the Unicorn arrived at New York, Paterson says they were informed "that some sloops and vessels were gone to Caledonia, and a great many more,notwithstanding all prohibition, were following after." As it was, in the month of February—two months before the proclamations came out—two sloops freighted with provisions, from Jamaica, returned thither again without breaking bulk, as they would not part with their provisions upon any account unless they received money in exchange.

About ten days before we went away, arrived another French sloop, who said she came last from Carthagena, and told us, the new governor, so long expected, was arrived from Spain about three weeks before, and had made the old governor and most of the officers prisoners, for yielding up that town to Pointia. They also pretended there were four French men-of-war on the coast, and that the Spaniards were making great and speedy preparations against us. They had no sort of goods aboard, and were by us suspected for spies. Indeed, one of the two gentlemen in her seemed not unfit for that purpose. What their names were, my sickness gave me not leave to know, but we left them in the harbour when we came away; before which, we received a letter from Captain Tristian at Portobello, wherein he gave us the whole state of the Spanish preparations, with his conjectures that they would not be ready against us in less than four months. He concluded with his hearty wishes that the Scots fleet might be with us before that time came.

About the 5th of June, I was taken very ill of a fever ; but trouble of mind, as I afterwards found, was none of the least causes thereof.6 By the 9th or 10th of June, all the Councillors, and most of the officers, with their baggage, were on board the several ships, and I left alone on shore in a weak condition. None visited me except Captain Thomas Drummond, who, with me, still lamented our thoughts of leaving the place, and praying God that we might but hear from our country before we left the coast. But others were in so great haste, that all the guns in the fort, at least those belonging to the Saint Andrew, had been left behind, but for the care and vigilance of Captain Thomas Drummond.

In my sickness, besides the general concern of my spirits, I was muck troubled about a report spregB abroad of Captain Pennicook, as designing to run away with the ship, on pretence that we were proclaimed pirates, and should be all hanged when we came home, or at least the Company would never pay the seamen their wages. In my small intervals of ease I would fain have had a council, and Pennicook come on shore, to inquire and take order about this report, and if any truth were in it to have secured him on board another ship. But I could not get them to me by reason of illness, at least pretended illness in some, and I was not able to go to them.

June the 16th. As I remember, I was brought on board the Unicorn in a great hurry, they pretending they would sail next morning; and they seemed to be in so great haste, that I apprehended they would hardly stay for one another, as afterwards it happened.1 My things were that night some of them put on board, some of them left behind and lost, and almost all of them damaged and wet, which afterwards rotted most of them. Among the rest were lost several brass kettles of my own, and sixteen iron pots belonging to Mr Wilmot of Jamaica. There also remained due to me from the Colony about seventy-two pounds sterling, for which they had sugar, tobacco, rosin, and other things for the use of the ships and men ashore, and for which I was promised money or effects immediately. But my sickness prevented my getting the balance of that account then, and it remains yet due to me. But the worst is, it belonged almost all to other people.

I think it was upon the 18th of June that the Caledonia got under sail, and the Unicorn followed. Both warped out beyond the Black Bock; but had like to have been lost in the night by a squall of wind, or a tornado; and for want of hands the Unicorn lost one of her anchors and longboat. The Saint Andrew set sail next day, and was as forward as any of them. TheUnicorn lost the wind by endeavouring to recover her longboat, and was forced to come to an anchor under Golden Island, where she rode in no small danger; but it pleased God there were no squalls of wind. That night the Caledonia and Pink were quite out of sight; but the Saint Andrew came to an anchor about two leagues, as I guess, towards the north-west of us. Next day, being the 20th, we saw none of the ships, and, for want of hands, were forced to cut, to get clear of that unhappy place where we rode, and so lost another of our anchors.

Upon the 18th, as we were warping out, Captain Thomas Drummond came on board, and acquainted us that Captain Veitch and he had met twice on board the Saint Andrew with Pennicook and Campbell; and that he was now come from the last meeting, whereat they had resolved upon leaving the place, and that they had agreed to touch at New England to get provisions. Captain Drummond also offered me two papers to sign. I was very ill, and not willing to meddle. But he pressed it, saying there could be no quorum without me; because four Councillors must sign the instructions to the two aboard of each ship. Upon this I signed them. They contained, as I remember, the one an order to the several captains to keep company with one another, and to go for Boston or Salem in New England, and the other was an order to the two Councillors on board each ship, or the survivor of them, in case of separation, to dispose of such of the cargo as they could, and after supplying the several ships with provisions, to carry what remained to Scotland for the Company's use. He said he would see me next day, but I saw him no more till we met at New York.

That day we parted from Golden Island, we met with the sloop commanded by Patton, from Jamaica. She could get nothing there because of the proclamations, of which she had procured a copy, not knowing we had received it before. Next night we sprung our main-topmast, yet got it mended next day. A night or two after we lost all our masts, except the main and mizzen, by a squall of wind and want of hands to the sails. This was not all. The leaks of our ship, that were great before, increased to that degree that we were hardly able to keep her above water. Next day we saw the Saint Andreiv, about two leagues distance. She could see our distressed condition, but came not near us. It was calm all day, and had she sent her boat, we had been able to recover most of our sails, rigging, and other useful things, which for want of this were utterly lost. In the afternoon we fired guns for her, upon which she came nearer, but lay by at half a league distance. Our captain, Mr Anderson, went on board Pennicook, and besought his help; but he utterly-refused, only at the entreaty of some of the gentlemen on board he was prevailed upon to give an order for the sloop to attend our ship till she saw what should become of us. Next day the wind served, whereupon the Saint Andrew set sail, leaving us in this miserable condition. The sloop continued by us all next night; but, notwithstanding her orders in writing, and Patton's repeated oaths to Captain Anderson, that he would not leave us, they sailed away from us next day at fair daylight, after Abraham Loudon had secretly conveyed himself and his baggage into the sloop's canoe, and so on board her.1 _

1 On 10th February 1700 the Directors of the Company wrote: " This Patton was master of the sloop which was sent over to Jamaica from our Colony in May last for provisions. In his return, he met our ships at sea, and was commanded to attend the Unicorn, then in great distress ; but was so far from doing it, that he ran away with said sloop, and when he came to Jamaica, disposed of her and her cargo, and applied the money got for them to his own use and such as were with him." Following upon this, after the death of Captain Pennicook, and of Captain Campbell, his successor, Patton managed to get the charge of the St Andrew, while she lay at Port Royal, and in his capacity of caretaker he appears again to have betrayed tho trust reposed in him by his employers.

Abraham Loudon, who is stated above to have secretly conveyed himself on board of Patton's sloop, returned to Scotland, where he became a lieutenant in the Town Guard of Edinburgh. Ho was put under examination by the Court of Directors on 18th January 1700, and admitted that ho had agreed with Patton to dispose of the sloop and cargo, he receiving 30 sterling as his share of tho proccods, besides some provisions. He, however, alleged that he duly acquainted Paterson, as well as the captain of tho Unicorn, of his intention of going on board the sloop,

At this time we had only five or six seamen to a watch, and most of these none of the best neither; and there were about twenty landmen able to move, who had enough to do by perpetual pumping to keep the ship above water. However, the few men we had went to work, and in about a week's time got up jury masts of such stuff as we had left; and then setting sail, we were not able to recover"Jamaica. On July 25th we made the Bay of Mattanzas, upon Cuba, when Captain Forbes died. The 26th, our captain went in his pinnace into the bay; but instead of water, found a Spanish fort of twenty or twenty-four guns, and never saw it till under its command. Then, by an inadvertency, Mr Spence, our linguist, stepped on shore to some Spaniards, who handed him. After they had gotten him, they endeavoured to secure the boat by commanding it with their guns and small arms; but in case that would not do, by manning a periagua after her. Our men, perceiving their delays and preparations, took their opportunity to get away. They were shot at several times, and pursued by the periagua, but were so happy as to escape. In the meantime, the ship escaped narrowly running ashore for want of hands.

That evening we set sail from the Mattanzas, and after likewise running great hazard of shipwreck on the coast of Virginia, where, August the 7th, we struck several times. _

to which, he said, no objection was raised. Paterson, who happened to be in Edinburgh at the time of this inquiry, was called and interrogated on the point, and stated that he was positive that Loudon never spoke to him on the subject. The Directors thereon reported, " We have many other reasons which induce us to believe that Loudon is disingenuous."

We arrived at Sandy - Hook, near New York, the 13th, and at New York the 14th of August last; under God, owing the safety of the ship and our lives to the care and industry of our commander, Captain John Anderson.

When we were come to New York, we were much concerned to find so universal an inclination, in all sorts of people, who seemed to regret our leaving the place more than we; and, by our friends, we then understood that some sloops and vessels were gone to Caledonia, and a great many more, notwithstanding all prohibitions, were following after, if the unhappy account of our unfortunate leaving the place had not stopped them.

In our voyage from the Colony to New York, we lost near 150 of about 250 persons put on board, most of them for want of looking after, and of means to recover them.7 In that condition we had no small loss and inconvenience by the sickness and death of Mr Hector Mackenzie, our chief chirurgeon. He died off Cape

St Antonio, July the 12jfch, of a distemper wholly, or in a great measure, contracted by his unwearied pains and industry among the people on shore, as well as on board, for many weeks together, when there was hardly any other willing, if able, or at least capable of helping them.

The ship Caledonia was about ten days at New York before us, where, when I arrived, I was brought so very low, by my distempers and troubles of mind, that for some time my life was not expected. In the meanwhile, a transaction was made with Messrs Wenham and De Lancie, by Mr Samuel Veitch and Mr Thomas Drummond, in order to fit out a sloop to return to the Colony, and supply the ship Caledonia with provisions for Scotland. My indisposition disabled me from meddling. But Captain Robert Drummond can give a larger account of that matter, as having been concerned in the whole course of that affair with the aforesaid two Councillors. About the 18th of September Captain Thomas Drummond was dispatched back to the Colony, in a sloop, with arms, ammunition, provisions, working tools, and orders to see and resettle the place, if the supplies from Scotland were come up.

Before Captain Thomas Drummond went away we had received the Company's letter of the 22nd April, by way of New England; but had only flying reports, without any certainty, of what recruits were sailed from Scotland. Only they seemed all to conclude that some Scots ships were passed by the Leeward Islands, which we supposed to be Captains Jameson and Stark, after we had received yours of the 25th of June, the day before we sailed.

Some days before I parted from New York, Mr Samuel Veitch acquainted me that he designed to stay there this winter, and that, in the meantime, he would look after the effects put ashore to satisfy Messrs Wenham and De Lancie. By that means he would be in readiness to go back to the Colony, when he should receive the Company's orders. I would have spoken with him about this matter more at large, but his sudden going aboard the ship, then lying six leagues off, prevented me; nor did I see him till I came on board, when I found him determined to stay behind us.

October 12. We set sail in the ship Caledonia from Sandy-Hook, near New York, and after a tempestuous, stormy passage, although but little contrary winds, we made the west coast of Ireland, Saturday, November 11th, and by reason of the mists and currents, we were in great danger off the rocks of Ferney, November 13th, about ten at night. After that, the wind coming short and exceeding stormy, after no small danger, we were obliged to come to an anchor at the northerly entrance of the Sound of Isla; and there we rode it out in most violent storms till Monday, 20th November, when we got into the Sound, and came to an anchor in a safe place and smooth water; under God, owing our safety and that of the ship to the great vigilancy and industry of our commander, Robert Drummond.

Upon the ship's arrival in the Sound, Captain Drummond immediately dispatched Captains William Murray and Laurence Drummond express to Edinburgh, to acquaint the Company with our arrival. Next morning, being Tuesday the 21st of November, in company with Captain John Campbell, I parted in a boat for the mainland, and from thence, by easy journeys and some stops, by reason of indisposition, I arrived here in Edinburgh, Tuesday, December the 5th inst.—I am, Eight Honourable, your most humble and most obedient servant,

wlllm. patersson.

After giving in his Report, Paterson remained in Scotland for a time, and was again taken into the confidence of the Directors. He generously gave them the benefit of his assistance and advice in their difficulties, and their subsequent dispatches to the Colony bear evidence that they adopted his suggestions,—now, however, too late. Although the events which transpired in Darien after Paterson so reluctantly retired from it form no part of his life story, it may be useful to give a brief account of them for the purpose of completing the unhappy narrative of the ill-fated scheme. In connection with the first expedition, it should be mentioned that, when the surviving settlers were in the act of abandoning the Colony in June 1699, two auxiliary ships, the Olive Branch, Captain William Jameson, commander, and the Hopeful Binning of Bo'ness, Captain Alexander Stark, commander, were on their way from Scotland to Darien with 300 additional settlers and a large supply of stores. These vessels sailed from Leith on 12th May 1699, and reached Caledonia Bay about the middle of August, having, it is stated, one death only during the voyage. On arriving at their destination, they were greatly surprised to find the settlement deserted and the colonists gone, they knew not whither. They resolved, however, to remain in the harbour and await the coming of the larger expedition, consisting of the Rising Sun and her three companion ships. But within a few days after their arrival a serious disaster took place, which necessitated a change in their arrangements. This was the loss of the Olive Branch, which was burned down to the water's edge, along with its cargo of provisions. The fire arose through the carelessness of one of the stewards, who had gone to the hold with a lighted candle to draw brandy. All the men on board (100) were safely transferred to the Hopeful Binning. Being now rendered incapable of staying at the place through the loss of their provisions, the intending settlers withdrew in the Hopeful Binning and sailed away to Jamaica, where a great mortality befell them, most of them dying there. Prior to this, on 24th February, his wife, petitioned to he left behind to await the arrival of the larger expedition. Their request was agreed to, and a supply of provisions was given to them. They lived with the friendly and hospitable Indians until the arrival of the Rising Sun's party, whom they joined in good health and spirits.


Return to Book Index Page

 


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus

Quantcast