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were not quite wasted by the flames. And of such things they found no small number in several places, especially in wells and cisterns where the Spaniards had hid them from the covetous search of the Pirates.
The next day Capt. Morgan despatched away two troops of Pirates, of one hundred and fifty men each, being all very stout
soldiers and well armed, with orders to seek the inThe habitants of Panama who were escaped from the Galleon. hand of their enemies. These men, having made
several excursions up and down the campaign (champaign) fields, woods and mountains, adjoining to Panama, returned after two days' time, bringing with them above two hundred prisoners, between men, women, and slaves.
The same day returned also the boat above mentioned, which Capt. Morgan had sent to the South Sea, bringing with it two other boats which they had taken in a little while. But all these prizes they could willingly have given, yea, although they had employed greater labour into the bargain for one certain galleon which miraculously escaped their industry, being very richly laden with all the King's plate and a great quantity of riches of gold, pearls, jewels, and other most precious goods of all the best and richest merchants of Panama. On board of this galleon were also the religious women, belonging to the nunnery of the said city, who had embarked with them all the ornaments of the church consisting of a large quantity of gold plate, and other things of great value.
The strength of this galleon was nothing considerable as having only seven guns and ten or twelve muskets for the whole defence, being on the other side very ill-provided of victuals and other necessaries, with great want for fresh water, and having no more sails than the uppermost sails of the main mast. This description of the said ship, the Pirates received from certain persons who had spoken with several mariners belonging to the galleon, at such time as they came ashore in the cock-boat to take in fresh water. Hence they concluded for certain they might easily have taken the said vessel had they given her chase and pursued her, as they ought to have done especially considering the said galleon could not long subsist at sea.
But they were impeded from following this vastly rich prize by gluttony and drunkenness, having plentifully debauched themselves with several sorts of rich wines they found there ready to their hands. So that they chose rather to satiate their appetite with the things above-mentioned, than to lay hold on the occasion of such a huge advantage, although this sole prize would certainly have been of far greater value and consequence to them than all they secured at Panama, and other places thereabout.
The next day, repenting of their negligence, and being totally wearied of the vices and debaucheries aforesaid, they set forth to sea another boat well armed, to pursue with all speed imaginable the said galleon. But their present care and diligence was in vain, the Spaniards who were on board the said ship having received intelligence of the danger they were in one or two days before, while the Pirates were cruizing so near them, whereupon they fled to places more remote and unknown to their enemies.
Notwithstanding, the Pirates found in the ports of the islands of Tavoga and Tavogilla (Taboga and Taboguilla), several boats that were laden with many sorts of very good merchandise all of which they took and brought to Panama where, being arrived, they made an exact relation of all that had passed while they were abroad to Capt. Morgan. The prisoners confirmed what the Pirates had said adding thereto, that they undoubtly knew whereabouts the said galleon might be at that present, but that it was very probable they had been relieved before now from other places.
These relations stirred up Capt. Morgan anew to set forth all the boats that were in the port of Panama, with design to seek and pursue the said galleon till they could find her. The boats afores id, being in all four, set sail from Panama and having spent eight days in cruizing to and fro and searching several ports and creeks, they lost all their hopes of finding what they so earnestly sought for.
Captain Morgan used to send forth daily parties of two hundred men to make inroads into all the fields and country thereabouts, and
when one party came back, another consisting of two Prisoners hundred more was ready to go forth. By this means Tortured. they gathered in a short time a huge quantity of riches
and a no lesser number of prisoners. These, being brought into the city, were presently put to the most exquisite tortues imaginable to make them confess both other people's goods and
They spared in these their cruelties, no sex or condition what
For as to religious persons and priests, they granted them less quarter than to others, unless they could produce a considerable sum of money, capable of being a sufficient ransom. Women themselves were no better used, and Captain Morgan their leader and commander, gave them no good example on this point.
On the 24th of February of the year 1671, Captain Morgan departed from the city of Panama, or rather from the place where the
said city of Panama did stand; of the spoils whereof Pirates he carried with him one hundred and seventy-five Departure. beasts of carriage laden with silver, gold and other
precious things, besides six hundred prisoners, more or less, between men, women, children, and slaves.
There was a quarrel over the division of spoil, the men claiming that Morgan cheated them, and the Captain with a few followers sailed from Fort San Lorenzo about the end of March for Jamaica. Panama had been destroyed in time of peace between Spain and England, but this did not prevent the knighting soon after of Henry Morgan, who was made governor of Jamaica, and spent some of his later days in waging war against pirates. Old Panama was not rebuilt, and on January 21, 1673, the site of the present city
blessed in solemn manner, and the building of the walls was begun.
Sosa and Arce say that there is no doubt that the city
was burned at the direction of the Governor who had vari
ous deposits of powder exploded for this purOrigin of the pose. By the end of the night on which the Fire. fire began, only some public buildings, a single
chapel, and some of the outlying barracks for slaves remained safe from the flames. The public buildings referred to were doubtless built, at least in part, of stone, and the foundations of many of them may be seen today. They were not razed by the pirates, but were torn down by the Spaniards and the stone carried to new Panama, where they were used in building churches and the walls of the new city.
In addition to the treasure of romance that is hidden in the story of Old Panama, it is believed that there is buried
there in some of the old wells and in cubbyBuried holes in the walls, some of the wealth that Treasure.
escaped the pirates. Well, there may be.
It is well to remember, however, that upon the approach of the pirates the king's treasure, and the ornaments from the churches were piled upon ships and sent to Peru. It is well also to remember that the pirates took away much booty (175 mule-loads it is said), and that after they left, the inhabitants of the place came back to the town and probably recovered what the pirates had not carried away. Notwithstanding this, many treasure hunts have taken place on the site of Old Panama, and if the tourist has time to do so he is advised to join in one. He will find nothing, but it will be worth his while to have it to “tell the folks at home" that he dug for treasure in Old Panama.
A monograph on Old Panama from the local viewpoint is in course of preparation by Samuel Lewis, a prominent citizen of Panama.
Porto Bello. There is only one way to get to Porto Bello, and that by boat from Colon. A tug leaves the wharf at Cristobal every morning, and returns that night. In the two hours or more that one has at Porto Bello, between the arrival and departure of the tug, he can cross the bay from the American settlement and quarries to the old "city," as every fortified place was called.
Here he will find the best ruins in Panama, for Porto Bello has existed continuously as a Spanish town since 1597,
and until 1820 it was a garrison for troops. Ruins. Its forts were destroyed and rebuilt many
times. The present decay of its old buildings is indicative more of the decay of trade than of the assaults of English and French privateers. Especially worthy of note will be found the beautiful remains of the old customs house, that guards one side of the plaza, the old bridges, the ruins of Fort San Jerome, and the pigs that keep guard in the old plaza.
In the present native village there are a church, several stores, and a hundred houses of a better type than are commonly found in native settlements. The population was 2,285 in 1911, in addition to about 1,000 in the American village at the stone quarries.
The site seems ideal both for habitation and defense. It was one of the two safe anchorages on the northeast coast of Panama found by the early Spaniards, the other being Nombre de Dios. At Porto Bello there is a break in the
PORTO BELLO IN 1736.
(From a chart in D'Exiles “Voyages.")
coast that looks like the mouth of a tidal river, and here is a bay 11 miles long and 2,500 feet wide. A dozen little streams pour their water into this bay, and cut the surrounding hillsides with ravines. On the part farthest inland the old "city" was built, with outpost forts guarding either side of the entrance to the bay.
Old Porto Bello had a fearful name for unhealthfulness. This is probably due to the fact that the rainfall there is heavy (it amounted to 237 inches in 1909), and thus malaria-bearing mosquitoes breed rapidly; and to the other fact that the people who lived there (mostly negro slaves) were dirty. The site is really ideal, because plenty of fresh water flows down from the hills, and the gulleys which these streams have cut through the townsite are natural sewers that are flushed every day by water from one of the constantly recurring showers.
A map is printed herewith showing Porto Bello in 1736, as it was at the time that D'Exiles wrote his “Voyages." It will be noticed that the site marked “B” is referred to as an old fort. This fort does not appear on D’Exlies' map, but its ruins, still extant, show that it was a defense of some importance. The American quarries are between the sites of the forts XI and “B,” and Fort Terrible (XI), after having withstood the assaults of English sailors, and at least two hundred years of constant rains, was dug up by a steamshovel in 1909. Part of it is now in the concrete of Gatun Locks.
Coasting along the north shore of the isthmus in the late fall of 1502, Columbus entered a well protected bay,
on one shore of which was an Indian village Some Dates in of a score of palm-thatch houses arranged Porto Bello's in regular order, while nearby were fruit trees History: and garden patches. It was a welcome sight,
and he called it Portobelo (fair port), because that was the way it looked to him. In later years when Indian and negro met in the jungle, the village became a cimarrone stronghold, and trails went out from it to the king's highway between Nombre de Dios and Panama. When the mortality at Nombre de Dios became so high as constantly to attract notice, the King decreed (1584) that the royal port be changed to Porto Bello, where the harbor is better. It was not until 1597, however, after Drake had destroyed Nombre de Dios, that the change was actually made. On February 20 of that year, the town of San Felipe de Porto