Item of the Day: Dampier’s New Voyage Round the World (1697)

Full Title:

New voyage round the world. Describing particularly, the isthmus of America, several coasts and islands in the West Indies, the Isles of Cape Verd, the passage by Terra del Fuego, the South Sea coasts of Chili, Peru, and Mexico; the Isle of Guam on to the Ladrones, Mindanao, and other Philippine and East-India Islands near Cambodia, China, Formosa, Luconia, Celebes, &c. New Holland, Sumatra, Nicobar Isles; the Cape of Good Hope, and Santa Hellena. Their soil, rivers, harbours, plants, fruits, animals, and inhabitants. Their customs, religion, government, trade, &c. By William Dampier. The second edition with corrections. Includes dedicatory epistle, preface contents, introduction; ills. with 5 maps (4 fold); list of books sold by James Knapton. First published London, same year, 1697. Printed in London for James Knapton, at the Crown in St Paul’s Church-yard, 1697.

From “Mr. William Dampier’s Voyage Round the Terrestrial Globe, The Introduction”:

The Author’s Departure from England, and arrival in Jamaica. His first going over the Isthmus of America into the South Seas: his Coasting along Peru and Chili, and back again, to his parting with Captain Sharp near the Isle of Plata, in order to return over Land.

I First set out of England on this Voyage, at the beginning of the year 1679, in the Loyal Merchant of London, bound for Jamaica, Captain Knapman Commander. I went a Passenger, designing when I came thither, to go from thence to the Bay of Campeachy, in the Gulph of Mexico, to cut Log-wood: where in a former Voyage I had spent about three years in that employ; and so was well acquainted with the place and the work.

We sailed with a prosperous gale without any impediment, or remarkable passage in our Voyage: unless that when we came in sight of the Island Hispaniola, and were coasting along on the South side of it, by the little Isles of Vacca, or Ash, I observed [C]aptain Knapman was more vigilant than ordinary, keeping at a good distance off shore, for fear of coming too near those small low Islands, as he did once, in a voyage from England, about the year 1673, losing his Ship there, by the carelessness of his Mates. But we succeeded better; and arrived safe at Port Royal in Jamaica some time in April 1679, and went immediately ashore.

I had brought some goods with me from England which I intended to sell here, and stock my self with Run and Sugar, Saws, Axes, Hats, Stockings, Shoes, and such other Commodities, as I knew would sell among the Campeachy Log-wood Cutters. Accordingly I sold my English Cargo at Port Royal; but upon some maturer considerations of my intended Voyage to Campeachy, I changed my thoughts of that design, and continued at Jamaica all that year, in expectation of some other business.

I shall not trouble the Reader with my Observations at that Isle, so well known to English men; nor with the particulars of my own Affairs during my stay there. But in short, having there made a purchase of a small Estate in Dorsetshire, near my Native Country of Somerset, of one whose Title to it I was well assured of, I was just embarking my self for England, about Christmas, 1679, when one Mr Hobby invited me to go first a short Trading Voyage to the [c]ountry of the Moskito’s, of whom I shall speak in my first chapter. I was willing to get up some money before my return, having laid out what I had at Jamaica; so I sent the Writing of my new purchase along with the same friends whom I should have accompanied to England, and went on board Mr Hobby.

Soon after setting out we can to an anchor again in Negril Bay, at the West end of Jamaica; but finding there [C]aptain Coxon, Sawkins, Sharp, and other Privateers, Mr Hobby’s men all left him to go with them, upon an expedition they had contrived, leaving not one with him beside my self; and being thus left alone, after 3 or 4 days with Mr Hobby, I was the more easily perswaded to go with them too.

It was shortly after Christmas 1679 when we set out. The first Expedition was to Portobel; which being accomplished, it was resolved to march by Land over the Isthmus of Darien, upon some new Adventures in the South Seas. Accordingly on the 5th of April 1680, we went ashore on the Isthmus, near Golden Island, one of the Sambaloes, to the number of between 3 and 400 men, carrying with us such Provisions as were necessary, and Toys wherewith to gratify the Wild Indians, through whose [c]ountry we were to pass. In about nine days march we arrived at Santa Maria, and took it, and after a stay there of about three days, we went on to the South Sea [c]oast and there embarked our selves in such [c]anoas, and Periago’s us our Indian friends furnished us withal. We were in sight of Panama by the 23rd of April, and having in vain attempted Puebla Nova, before which Sawkins, then Commander in Chief, and others, were kill’d, we made some stay at the Neighbouring Isles of Quibo.

Here we resolved to change our course, and stand away to the Southward for the Coast of Peru. Accordingly we left the Keys or Isles of Quibo the 6th of June, and spent the rest of the year in that Southern course; for touching at the Isles of Gogonia and Plata, we came to Ylo, a small town on the Coast of Peru, and took it. This was in October, and in November we went thence to Coquimbo on the same Coast, and about Christmas were got as far as the Isle of John Fernando, which was the farthest of our Course to the Southward.

After Christmas we went back again to the Northward, having a design upon Arica, a strong Town advantageously situated in the hollow of the Elbow, or bending of the Peruvian Coast. But being there repulsed with great loss, we continued our course Northward, till by the middle of April we were come in sight of the Isle of Plata, a little to the Southward of the Equinoctial Line.

I have related this part of my Voyage thus summarily and concisely, as well because the World hath Accounts of it already, in the relations that Mr Ringrose and others have given of Captain Sharp’s Expedition, who was made chief Commander, upon Sawkins’s being kill’d: as also, because in the prosecution of this Voyage I shall come to speak of these parts again, upon occasion of my going the second time into the South Seas: and shall there describe at large the places both of the North, and South America, as they occurred to me. And for this reason, that I might avoid needless Repetitions, and hasten to such particulars, as the Publick hath hitherto had no account of, I have chosen to comprize the Relation of my Voyage hitherto, in this short compass, and place it as an Introduction before the rest, that the Reader may the better perceive where I mean to begin to be Particular; for there I have plac’d the Title of my first Chapter.

All therefore that I have to add to the Introduction is this: That while we lay at the Isle of John Fernando, Captain Sharp was, by general consent, displaed from being Commander; the Company being not satisfied either with his Courage or Behaviour. In his stead, Captain Watling was advanced: but he being killed shortly after before Arica, we were without a Commander during all the rest of our return towards Plata. Now Watling being killed, a great number of the meaner sort began to be as earnest for choosing Captain Sharp again into the vacancy, as before they had been as forward as any to turn him out: And on the other side, the abler and moreexperienced men, being altogether dissatisfied with Sharp’s former Conduct, would by no means consent to have him chosen. In short, by that time we were come in sight of the Island Plata, the difference between the Contending Parties was grown so high, that they resolved to part Companies; having first made an Agreement, that which Party soever should, upon Polling, appear to have the Majority, they should keep the Ship: And the other should content themselves with the Lanch or Long-boat, and Canoas, and return back over the Isthmus, or go to seek their fortune otherways, as they would.

Accordingly we put it to a Vote; and upon dividing [C]aptain Sharp’s party carried it. I, who had never been pleased with his management, though I had hitherto kept my mind to my self, now declared my self on the other side of those that were Out-voted; and according to our agreement, we took our shares of such Necessaries, as were fit to carry over Land with us, (for that was our Resolution:) and so prepared for our Departure.

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Filed under 1690's, Geography, Maps, Posted by Carrie Shanafelt, Travel

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