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understanding of any commander, whose hands we might fall into, that we were no pirates. But fear, that blind, useless
Eassion, worked another way, and threw us into the vapors; it ewildered our understandings, and set the imagination at work to form a thousand terrible things that perhaps might never happen. We first supposed, as indeed every body had related to us, that the seamen on board the English and Dutch ships, but especially the Dutch, were so enraged at the name of a pirate, and especially at our beating off their boats and escaping, that they would not give themselves leave to inquire whether we were pirates or no, but would execute us off hand, as we call it, without giving us any room for a defence. We reflected that there really was so much apparent evidence before them, that they would scarce inquire after any more; as, first, that the ship was certainly the same, and that some of the seamen among them knew her, and had been on board her; and, secondly, that when we had intelligence at the river of Cambodia that they were coming down to examine us, we fought their boats and fled; so that we made no doubt but they were as fully satisfied of our being pirates, as we were satisfied of the contrary; and, as I often said, I know not but I should have been apt to have taken those circumstances for evidence, if the tables were turned, and my case was theirs, and have made no scruple of cutting all the crew to pieces, without believing, or perhaps considering, what they might have to offer in their defence.
But let that be how it will, these were our apprehensions; and both my partner and I scarce slept a night without dream ing of halters and yard-arms, that is to say, gibbets; of fighting, and being taken; of killing, and being killed; and one night I was in such a fury in my dream, fancying the Dutchmen had boarded us, and I was knocking one of their seamen down, that 1 struck my double fist against the side of the cabin I lay in with such a force, as wounded my hand grievously, broke my knuckles, and cut and bruised the flesh, so that it awaked me out of my sleep.
Another apprehension I had was, the cruel usage we might meet with from them if we fell into their hands: then the story of Amboyna came into my head, and how the Dutch might perhaps torture us, as they did our countrymen there, and make some of our men, by extremity of torture, confess those crimes they never were guilty of, or own themselves and all of us to be pirates, and so they would put us to death with a formal appearance of justice; and that they might be tempted to do this for the gain of our "ship and cargo, which was worth four or live thousand pounds, put all together.
These things tormented me and my partner too, night and day; nor did we consider that the captains of ships have no authority to act thus, and if we had surrendered prisoners to them, they could not answer the destroying us, or torturing us, but would be accountable for it when they came to their own country ; this, I say, gave me no satisfaction; for if they were to act thus with us, what advantage would it be to us that they should be called to an account for it 1 or if we were first to be murdered, what satisfaction would it be to us to have tliem punished when they came home 1
I cannot refrain taking notice here what reflections I now had upon the vast variety of ray particular circumstances—how hard I thought it was, that I, who had spent forty years in a life of continual difficulties, and was at last come, as it were, to the port or haven which all men drive at, viz. to have rest and plenty, should be a volunteer in new sorrows by my own unhappy choice; and that I, who had escaped so many dangers in my youth, should now come to be hanged in my old age, and in so remote a place, for a crime which I was not in the least inclined to, much less guilty of.
After these thoughts, something of religion would come in, and I should be considering that this seemed to me to be a disposition of immediate Providence, and I ought to look upon it and submit to it as such; that although I was innocent as to men, I was far from being innocent as to my Maker; and 1 ought to look in and examine what other crimes in my life were most obvious to me, and for which Providence might justly inflict this punishment as a retribution; and that I ought ta submit to this, just as I would to a shipwreck, if it had pleased God to have brought such a disaster upon me.
In its turn, natural courage would sometimes take its place, and then I would be talking myself up to vigorous resolutions; that I would not be taken to be barbarously used by a parcel of merciless wretches in cold blood; that it were much better to have fallen into the hands of the savages, though I was sure they would feast upon me when they had taken me, than those who would perhaps glut their rage upon me by inhuman tortures and barbarities; that in the case of the savages, I always resolved to die fighting to the last gasp, and why should I not do so now, seeing it was much more dreadful, to me at least, to think of falling into these men's hands, than ever it was to think of being eaten by men? for the savages—give them their due—would not eat a man till he was killed and dead; but that these men had many arts beyond the cruelty of death. Whenever these thoughts prevailed, I was sure to put myself into a kind of fever with the agitation of a supposed fight; my blood would boil, and my eyes sparkle, as if I was engaged, and I always resolved to take no quarter at their hands; but, even at last, if I could resist no longer, I would blow up the ship and all that was in her, and leave them but little booty to boast of.
The greater weight the anxieties and perplexities of these things were to our thoughts while we were at sea, the greater was our satisfaction when we saw ourselves on shore; and my partner told me he dreamed that he had a very heavy load upon his back, which he was to carry up a hill, and found that he was not able to stand longer under it; but that the Portuguese pilot came and took it off his back, and the hill disappeared, the ground before him appearing all smooth and plain; and iruly it was so; they were all like men who had a load taken off their backs. For my part, I had a weight taken off from my heart that it was not able any longer to bear; and, as 1 said above, we resolved to go no more to sea in that ship. When we came on shore, the old pilot, who was now our Iriend, got us a lodging and a warehouse for our goods, which, by the way, was much the same: it was a little house, or hut, with a larger house adjoining to it, all built with canes, and palisadoed round witli large canes, to keep out pilfering thieves, of which, it seems, there were not a few in that country; however, the magistrates allowed us a little guard, and we had a soldier with a kind of halberd, or half-pike, who stood sentinel at our door; to whom we allowed a pint of rice, and a little piece of money, about the value of threepence, per day, so that our goods were kept very safe.
The fair, or mart, usually kept in this place, had been over some time: however, we found that there were three or four junks in the river, and two Japanners—I mean ships from J apan—with goods which they had bought in China, and were not gone away, having some Japanese merchants on shore.
The first thing our old Portuguese pilot did for us, was, to get us acquainted with three missionary Romish priests who were in town, and who had been there some time converting the people to Christianity; but we thought they made but poor work of it, and made them but sorry Christians when they had done; however, that was none of our business. One of these was a Frenchman, whom they called Father Simon; another was a Portuguese, and the third a Genoese; but Father Simon was courteous, easy in his manner, and very agreeable company; the other two were more reserved, seemed rigid and austere, and applied seriously to the work they came about, viz. to talk with, and insinuate themselves among, the inhabitants, wherever they had opportunity. We often ate and drank with those men; and though, 1 must confess, the conversion, as they call it, of the Chinese to Christianity is so far from the true conversion required to bring heathen people to the faith of Christ, that it seems to amount to little more than letting them know the name of Christ, and say some prayers to the Virgin Mary and her Son, in a tongue which they understand not, and to cross themselves and the like; yet it must be confessed that the religionists, whom we call missionaries, have a firm belief that these people will be saved, and that they are the instruments of it; and, on this account, they undergo not only the fatigue of the voyage, and the hazards of living in such places, but oftentimes death itself, with the most violent tortures, for the sake of this work.
But to return to my story: This French priest, Father Simon, was appointed, it seems, by order of the chief of the mission, to go up to Pekin, the royal seat of the Chinese emperor, and waited only for another priest, who was ordered to come to him from Macao, to go along with him; and we scarce ever met together but he was inviting me to go that journey; telling me how he would show me all the glorious things of that mighty empire, and among the rest, the greatest city in the world; "a city," said he, " that your London ano our Paris put together cannot be equal to." This was the city of Pekin, which, I confess, is very great, and infinitely full of people; but as I looked on those things with different eyes from other men, so I shall give my opinion of them in a few words^ when I come in the course of my travels to speak more particularly of them.
But, first, I come to my friar or missionary. Dining with him one day, and being very merry together, I showed some little inclination to go with him; and he pressed me and my partner very hard, and with a great many persuasions, to consent. "Why, Father Simon," says my partner, " should you desire our company so much? you know we are heretics, and you do not love us, nor cannot keep us company with any
f)leasure."—" O," says he, " you may, perhaps, be good Cathoics in time; my business here is to convert heathens, and who knows but I may convert you too ?"—" Very well, Hither," said I, "so you will preach to us all the way?"—"I will not be troublesome to 3Tou," says he; "our religion does not dives* us of good manners; besides, we are here like countrymen and so we are, compared to the place we are in; and if }~ou are Ilugonots, and I a Catholic, we may all be Christians at last; at least, we are all gentlemen, and we may converse so, without being uneasy to one another."' I liked this part of his discourse very well, and it began to put me in mind of my priest that 1 had left in the Brazils; but this Father Simon