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Minter, Digby, and some others, again importuned him to yield to the favor of those against whom there was nothing but ruin by fighting. But if he would go aboard them, in that he could speak French, by courtesy he might go clear, seeing they offered him such fair quarter, and vowed they were Protestants, and all of Rochelle, and had the king's commission only to take Spaniards, Portugales, and pirates; which at last he did; but they kept this examinate's captain and some other of his company with him. The next day the French men of war went aboard us, and took what they listed, and divided the company into their several ships, and manned this examinate's ship with the Frenchmen, and chased with her all the ships they saw; until about five or six days after, upon better consideration, they surrendered the ship and victuals, with the most part of our provision, but not our weapons.
More he confesseth that his captain exhorted them to perform their voyage, or go for New-found-land, to return freighted with fish, where he would find means to proceed in his plantation; but Chambers and Minter grew upon terms they would not, until those that were soldiers concluded, with their captain's resolution, they would, seeing they had clothes, victuals, salt, nets, and lines sufficient, and expected their arms; and such other things as they wanted, the Frenchmen promised to restore, which the captain the next day went to seek, and sent them about loading of commodities, as powder, match, hooks, instruments, his sword and dagger, bedding, aqua vitæ, his commission, apparel, and many other things, the particulars he remembreth not. But as for the cloth, canvass, and the captain's clothes, Chambers and his associates divided it amongst themselves, and to whom they best liked, his captain not having any thing, to his knowledge, but his waistcoat and breeches. And in this manner going from ship to ship, to regain our arms, and the rest, they seeing a sail, gave chase until night. The next day being very foul weather, this examinate came so near with the ship unto the French men of war, that they split the mainsail on the other's spritsail yard. Chambers willed the captain come aboard, or he would leave him; whereupon the captain commanded Chambers to send his boat for him. Chambers replied she was split, (which was false) telling him he might come if he
would in the Admiral's boat. The captain's answer was, he could not command her, nor come when he would; so this examinate fell on stern, and that night left his said captain alone amongst the French men, in this manner, by the command of Chambers, Minter, and others.
Daniel Cage, Edward Stalings, gentlemen, Walter Chissell, Daniel Cooper, Robert Miller, and John Partridge, being examined, do acknowledge and confess, that Daniel Baker's examination above written is true.
Now the cause why the French detained me again, was the suspicion this Chambers and Minter gave them, that I would revenge myself, upon the Bank, or in New-foundland, of all the French I could there encounter, and how I would have fired the ship, had they not overpersuaded me, and many other such like tricks to catch but opportunity in this manner to leave me. And thus they returned to Plymouth, and perforce with the French I thus proceeded.
Being a fleet of eight or nine sail, we watched for the West Indies' fleet, till ill weather separated us from the other eight. Still we spent our time about the isles near Fyall; where, to keep my perplexed thoughts from too much meditation of my miserable estate, I writ this discourse, thinking to have sent it you of his Majesty's Council, by some ship or other; for I saw their purpose was to take all they could. At last we were chased by one Captain Barra, an English pirate, in a small ship, with some twelve pieces of ordnance, about thirty men, and near all starved. They sought by courtesy relief of us, who gave them such fair promises as at last we betrayed Captain Wolliston (his lieutenant) and four or five of their men aboard us, and then provided to take the rest perforce. Now my part was to be prisoner in the gun-room, and not to speak to any of them upon my life; yet had Barra knowledge what I was. Then Barra perceiving well these French intents, made ready to fight, and Wolliston as resolutely regarded not their threats, which caused us demur upon the matter longer, some sixteen hours, and then returned their prisoners, and some victuals also, upon a small composition. The next we took was a small English man, of Poole, from New-found-land. The great cabin at this present was my prison, from whence I could see them pillage those poor men of all that they had, and half their fish; when he was gone, they sold his poor clothes
at the mainmast, by an outcry, which scarce gave each man seven pence apiece. Not long after we took a Scot fraught from St. Michael's to Bristow. He had better fortune than the other; for, having but taken a boat's loading of sugar, marmalade, suckets, and such like, we descried four sail, after whom we stood, who, furling their mainsails, attended us' to fight. But our French spirits were content only to perceive they were English red crosses. Within a very small time after, we chased four Spanish ships came from the Indies. We fought with them four or five hours, tore their sails and sides, yet not daring to board them, lost them. A poor carvell of Brasil, was the next we chased; and after a small fight, thirteen or fourteen of her men being wounded, which was the better half, we took her, with 370 chests of sugar, (a prize worth 16,000 crowns). The next was a West Indiaman, of 160 tons, with 1200 hides, 50 chests of cochineal, 14 coffers of wedges of silver, 8000 rials of 8, and six coffers of the King of Spain's treasure, besides the pillage and rich coffers of many rich passengers, (a prize worth 200,000 crowns.) Two months they kept me in this manner to manage their fights against the Spaniards, and be a prisoner when they took any English. Now though the captain had oft broke his promise, which was to put me ashore on the isles, or the next ship he took, yet at last he was entreated I should go for France in the carvell of sugar; himself resolved still to keep the seas. Within two days after, we were hailed by two West Indiamen; but when they saw us wave them for the King of France, they gave us their broadsides, shot through our mainmast, and so left us. Having lived thus near three months among those French men-of-war, with much ado we arrived at the Gulion, not far from Rochelle; where, instead of the great promises they always fed me with, of double satisfaction and full content, they kept me five or six days prisoner in the carvell, accusing me to be him that burnt their colony in New France, to force me give them a discharge before the judge of the admiralty, and so stand to their courtesy for satisfaction, or lie in prison, or a worse mischief. To prevent this choice, in the end of such a storm that beat them all under hatches, I watched my opportunity to get ashore in their boat; whereinto, in the dark night, I secretly got, and with a half pike that lay by me, put adrift for Rat Isle. But the current was so strong and the sea so great, I went adrift to
sea; till it pleased God the wind so turned with the tide, that although I was all this fearful night of gusts and rain in the sea the space of twelve hours, when many ships were driven ashore, and divers split (and being with sculling and baling the water tired, I expected each minute would sink me,) at last I arrived in an oozy isle by Charowne, where certain fowlers found me near drowned, and half dead, with water, cold and hunger. By those, I found means to get to Rochelle, where I understood the man-of-war which we left at sea, and the rich prize was split, the captain drowned, and half his company the same night, within seven leagues of that place from whence I escaped alone, in the little boat, by the mercy of God, far beyond all men's reason, or my expectation. Arriving at Rochelle, upon my complaint to the judge of the admiralty, I found many good words and fair promises; and ere long many of them that escaped drowning told me the news they heard of my own death. These I arresting, their several examinations did so confirm my complaint, it was held proof sufficient. All which being performed according to the order of justice, from under the judge's hand, I presented it to the English ambassador then at Bordeaux, where it was my chance to see the arrival of the king's great marriage brought from Spain. Of the wreck of the rich prize some 36,000 crowns' worth of goods came ashore and was saved with the carvell, which I did my best to arrest. The judge did promise me I should have justice. What will be the conclusion, as yet I know not.* But under the color to take pirates and West Indiamen (because the Spaniards will not suffer the French trade in the West Indies) any goods from thence, though they take them upon the coast of Spain, are lawful prize; or from any of his territories out of the limits of Europe.
Leaving thus my business in France, I returned to Plymouth, to find them that had thus buried me amongst the French, and not only buried me, but with so much infamy as such treacherous cowards could suggest to excuse their villanies. But my clothes, books, instruments, arms, and what I had, they shared amongst them, and what they liked, feigning the French had all was wanting, and had thrown them into the sea, taken their ship and all, had they not run away and left me as they did. The chieftains of this mutiny
They betrayed me, having the broad seal of England; and near twenty sail of English more, besides them concealed, in like manner were betrayed that year.
that I could find, I laid by the heels; the rest, like themselves, confessed the truth as you have heard. Now how I have or could prevent these accidents, I rest at your cenBut to the matter.
New-found-land at the first, I have heard, was held as desperate a fishing as this I project in New-England. Placentia and the Bank were also as doubtful to the French. But, for all the disasters happened me, the business is the same it was; and the five ships (whereof one was reported more than three hundred tons) went forward, and found fish so much, that neither Izeland man nor New-found-land man I could hear of hath been there, will go any more to either place, if they may go thither. So that upon the return of my Vice-Admiral that proceeded on her voyage when I spent my masts, from Plymouth this year are gone four or five sail, and from London as many, only to make voyages of profit. Where the Englishmen have yet been, all their returns together (except Sir Fr. Popham's) would scarce make one a saver of near a dozen I could nominate, though there be fish sufficient, as I persuade myself, to freight yearly four or five hundred sail, or as many as will go. For this fishing stretcheth along the coast from Cape Cod to New-foundland, which is seven or eight hundred miles at the least, and hath his course in the deeps, and by the shore, all the year long, keeping their haunts and feedings as the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. But all men are not such as they should be, that have undertaken those voyages; and a man that hath but heard of an instrument, can hardly use it so well as he that by use hath contrived to make it. All the Romans were not Scipios, nor all the Genoese Columbuses, nor all Spaniards Corteses. Had they dived. no deeper in the secrets of their discoveries than we, or stopped at such doubts and poor accidental chances, they had never been remembered as they are; yet had they no such certainties to begin as we. But, to conclude, Adam and Eve did first begin this innocent work to plant the earth to remain to posterity; but not without labor, trouble and industry. Noah and his family began again the second plantation; and their seed, as it still increased, hath still planted new countries, and one country another; and so the world to that estate it is; but not without much hazard, travail, discontents, and many disasters. Had those worthy fathers and their memorable offspring not been more diligent