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When our men found this, it made their hearts relent, and pity moved them, especially the Spaniard governor, who was the most gentleman-like, generous-minded man, that I ever met with in my life; and he proposed, if possible, to take one of them alive, and bring him to understand what they meant, so far as to be able to act as interpreter, and go among them, and see if they might be brought to some conditions that might be depended upon, to save their lives and do us no harm.
It was some while before any of them could be taken; but being weak and half staged, one of them was at last surprised and made a prisoner. He was sullen at first, and would neither eat nor drink; but finding himself kindly used, and victuals given him, and no violence offered him, he at last
frew tractable, and came to himself. Thejr brought old 'riday- to him, who talked often with him, and told him how kind the others would be to them all; that they would not only save their lives, but wrould give them part of the island to live in, provided they would give satisfaction that they would keep in their own bounds and not come beyond it to injure or prejudice others; and that they should have corn given them to plant and make it grow for their bread, and some bread given them for their present subsistence; and old Friday bade the fellow so and talk with the rest of his countrymen, and see what thejr said to it; assuring them, that if they did not agree immediately, they should be all destroyed. The poor wretches, thoroughly humbled, and reduced in number to about thirty-seven, closed with the proposal at the first offer, and begged to have some food given them; upon which, twelve Spaniards and two Englishmen, wTell armed, with three Indian slaves and old Friday, marched to the place where they were. The three Indian slaves carried them a large quantity of bread, some rice boiled up to cakes and dried in the sun, and three live goats; and they were ordered to go to the side of a hill, where they sat down, ate their provisions very thankfully, and were the most faithful fellows to their words that could be thought of; for, except when they came to bee victuals and directions, they never came out of their bounds; and there they lived when I came to the island, and I went t<> see them.
They had taught them both to plant corn, make bread, breed lame goats, and milk them; they wanted nothing but wives, and they soon would have been a nation. They were confined to a neck of land, surrounded with high rocks behind them, and lying plain towards the sea before them, on the south-east corner of the island. They had land enough, and it was very good and fruitful; about a mile and a half broad, and three or four miles in length.
Our men taught them to make wooden spades, such as I made for myself, and gave among them twelve hatchets and three or four knives; and there they lived, the most subjected, innocent creatures that ever were heard of.
After this, the colony enjoyed a perfect tranquillity with respect to the savages till 1 came to revisit them, which was about two years after; not but that, now and then, some canoes of savages came on shore for their triumphal, unnatural feasts; but as they were of several nations, and perhaps had never heard of those that came before, or the reason of it, they did not make any search or inquiry after their countrymen; and if they had, it would have been very hard to have found them out.
Thus, I think, I have given a full account of all that happened to them till my return, at least, that was worth notice. The Indians or savages were wonderfully civilized by them, und the)T frequently went among them; but forbid, on pain of death, any one of the Indians coming to them, because they would not have their settlement betrayed again. One thing ivas very remarkable, viz. that they taught the savages to •Bake wicker-work, or baskets, but they soon outdid their aiasters; for they made abundance of most ingenious things in wicker-work, particularly all sorts of baskets, sieves, birdcages, cupboards, &,c.; as also chairs to sit on, stools, beds, vouches, and abundance of other tilings; being very ingenious rt such work, when they were once put in the way of it.
My coming was a particular relief to these people, because we furnished them with knives, scissors, spades, shovels, pickaxes, and all things of that kind which they could want. With the help of those tools they were so very handy, that they came at last to build up their huts, or houses, very handsomely, raddling or working it up like basket-work all the way round; which was a very extraordinary piece of ingenuity, and looked very odd, but was an exceeding good fence, as well against heat as against all sorts of vermin; and our men were so taken with it, that they got the wild savages to come and do the like for them; so that when I came to see the two Englishmen's colonies, they looked, at a distance, as if they all lived like bees in a hive. As for Will Atkins, who was now become a very industrious, useful, and sober fellow, he had made himself such a tent of basket-work, as, I believe, was never seen; it was one hundred and twenty paces round on the outside, as I measured by my steps; the walls were as close worked as a basket, in parfels or squares of thirty-two in number, and very strong, standing about seven feet high; in the middle was another not above twenty-two paces round, but built stronger, being octagon in its form, and in the eight corners stood eight very strong posts; round the top of which he laid strong pieces, pinned together with wooden pins, from which he raised a pyramid for a roof of eight rafters, very handsome, I assure you, and joined together very well, though he had no nails, and only a few iron spikes, which he made himself too, out of the old iron that I had left there; and indeed, this fellow showed abundance of ingenuity in several things which he had no knowledge of; he made him a forge, with a pair of wooden bellows to blow the fire; he made himself charcoal for his work; and he formed out of the iron crows a middling good anvil to hammer upon; in this manner he made many things, but especially hooks, staples and spikes, bolts and hinges.—But to return to the house: After he had pitched the roof of his innermost tent, he worked it up between the rafters.with the basket-work, so firm, and thatched that over again so ingeniously with rice-straw, and over that 3 large leaf of a tree, which covered the top, that his house was as dry as if it had been tiled or slated. Indeed, he owned that the savages had made the basket-work for him. The outer circuit was covered as a lean-to, all round this inner apartment, and long rafters lay from the thirty-two angles to the top posts of the inner house, being about twenty feet distant; so that there was a space like a walk within the outer wicker-wall and without the inner, near twenty feet wide.
The inner place he partitioned off with the same wickerwork, but much fairer, and divided into six apartments, so that he had six rooms on a floor, and out of every one of these there was a door; first into the entry, or coming into the main tent, another door into the main tent, and another door into the space or walk that was round it; so that walk was also divided into six equal parts, which served not only for a retreat, but to store up any necessaries which the family had occasion for. These six spaces not taking up the whole circumference, what other apartments the outer circle had were thus ordered: As soon as you were in at the door of the outer circle, you had a short passage straight before you to the door of the inner house; but on either side was a wicker partition, and a door in it, by which you went first into a large room, or storehouse, twenty feet wide, and about thirty feet long, and through that into another, not quite so lonsj; so that in the outer circle were ten handsome rooms, six of which were only to be come at through the apartments of the inner tent, and served as closets or retiring rooms to the respective chambers of the inner circle; and four lar^e warehouses, or barns, or what you please to call them, which went through one another, two on either hand of the passage, that led through the outer door to the inner tent.
Such a piece of basket-work, I believe, was never seen in the world, nor a house or tent so neatly contrived, much less so built. In this great bee-hive lived the three families, that is to say, Will Atkins and his companion; the third was killed, but his wife remained, with three children, for she was, it seems, big with child when he died; and the other two were not at all backward to give the widow her full share of everything, I mean as to their corn, milk, grapes, &,c, and when they killed a kid, or found a turtle on the shore; so that they all lived well enough, though, it was true, they were not so industrious as the other two, as has been observed already.
One thing, however, cannot be omitted*; viz. that as for religion, I do not know that there was any thing of that kind among them: they often, indeed, put one another in mind that there was a God, by the very common method of seamen, viz. swearing by his name; nor were their poor, ignorant, savage wives much better for having been married to Christians, as we must call them; for as they knew very little of God themselves, so they were utterly incapable of entering into any discourse with their wives about a God, or to talk any thing to them concerning religion.
The utmost of all the improvement which I can say the wives had made from them was, that they had taught them to Bpeak English pretty well; and most of their children, which were near twenty in all, were taught to speak English too, from their first learning to speak, though they at first spoke it in a very broken manner, like their mothers. There was none of these children above six years old when I came thither, for it was not much above seven years that they had fetched these five savage ladies over; but they had all been pretty fruitful, for they had all children, more or less; I think the cook's mate's wife was big of her sixth child; and the mothers were all a good sort ol well-governed, quiet, laborious women, modest and decent, helpful to one another, mighty observant and subject to their masters (I cannot call them husbands), and wanted nothing but to be well instructed in the Christian religion, and to be legally married; both which were happily brought about afterwards by my means, or, at least, in consequence of my coming among them.
Having thus given an account of the colony in general, and pretty much of my runagate English, I must say sometning of the Spaniards, who were the main body of the family, and in whose story there are some incidents also remarkable enough.