Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

Isle of St. Catherine. He, being therefore well acquainted with those coasts, was thought a fit person for this exploit, his action likewise having rendered him famous among the Pirates, and their enemies the Spaniards. Capt. Brodley being chosen chief of these forces, in three days after he departed from the presence of Captain Morgan, arrived within sight of the said castle of Chagre, which by the English is called St. Lawrence. This castle is built upon a high mountain, at the entry of the river, and surrounded on all sides with strong palisades or wooden walls, being very well terrepleined, and filled with earth, which renders them as secure as the best walls made of stone or brick. The top of this mountain is in a manner divided into two parts, between which lies a ditch of the depth of thirty foot. The castle itself has but one entry, and that by a drawbridge which passes over the ditch aforementioned. On the land side it has four bastions, that on the sea containing only two more. That part thereof that looks towards the south is totally inaccessible and impossible to be climbed, through the infinite asperity of the mountain. The north side is surrounded by the river, which hereabouts runs very broad. At the foot of the said castle. or rather mountain, is seated a strong fort, with eight guns, which commands and impedes the entry of the river. Not much lower are to be seen two other batteries, whereof each hath six pieces of cannon, to defend likewise the mouth of the said river. At one side of the castle are built two great store-houses, in which are deposited all sorts of warlike material, and merchandize, which are brought thither from the inner parts of the country. Near these houses is a high pair of stairs, hewn out of the rock, which serves to mount to the top of the castle. On the west side of the said fortress lies a small port, which is not above seven or eight fathoms deep, being very fit for small vessels and of very good anchorage. Besides this, there lies before the castle, at the entry of the river, a great rock, scarce to be perceived above water, unless at low tide.

1 English rendition of the Spanish, "San Lorenzo.” The remains of the castle constitute one of the interesting points in the neighborhood of Panama.

No sooner had the Spaniards perceived the Pirates to come than they began to fire incessantly at them with the biggest of their guns. They came to an anchor in a small port, at the distance of a league or less from the castle. The next morning very early they went on shore and marched through the woods to attack the castle on that side. This march continued until two o'clock in the afternoon, before they could reach the castle, by reason of the difficulties of the way, and its mire and dirt. And although their guides served them exactly notwithstanding they came so near the castle at first that they lost many of their men with the shots from the guns, they being in an open place where was nothing to cover nor defend them. This much perplexed the pirates in their minds, they not knowing what to do, nor what course to take, for on that side of necessity they must make the assault, and being uncovered from head to foot, they could not advance one step without great danger. Besides that, the castle, both for its situation and strength, caused them much to fear the success of their enterprise. But to give it over they dared not, lest they should be reproached and scorned by their companions.

At last, after many doubts and disputes among themselves, they resolved to hazard the assault and their lives after a most desperate manner. Thus they advanced towards the castle, with their swords in one hand and fireballs in the other. The Spaniards defended themselves very briskly, ceasing not to fire at them with their great guns and muskets continually crying withal: Come on, ye English dogs, enemies to God and our King; let your companions that are behind come on too, ye shall not go to Panama this bout. After the Pirates had made some trial to climb up the walls, they were forced to retreat, which they accordingly did, resting themselves until night. This being come, they returned to the assault, to try if by the help of their fire-balls they could overcome and pull down the pales before the wall. This they attempted to do, and while they were about it there happened a very remarkable accident, which gave them the opportunity of the victory. One of the Pirates was wounded with an arrow in his back which pierced his body to the other side. This instantly he pulled out with great valour at the side of his breast, then taking a little cotton that he had about him, he wound it about the said arrow, and putting it into his musket shot it back into the castle. But the cotton being kindled by the powder, occasioned two or three houses that were within the castle, being thatched with palm leaves, to take fire, which the Spaniards perceived not so soon as was necessary. For this fire meeting with a parcel of powder, blew it up, and thereby caused great ruin, and no less consternation to the Spaniards, who were not able to account for this accident, not having seen the beginning thereof.

Thus the Pirates perceiving the good effect of the arrow, the beginning of the misfortune of the Spaniards, were infinitely gladdened thereat. And while they were busied in extinguishing the fire, which caused great confusion in the whole castle, having not sufficient water wherewithal to do it, the Pirates made use of this opportunity, setting fire likewise to the palisades. Thus the fire was seen at the same time in several parts about the castle, which gave them huge advantage against the Spaniards. For many breaches were made at once by the fire among the pales, great heaps of earth falling down into the ditch. Upon these the Pirates climbed up and got over into the castle, notwithstanding that some Spaniards who were not busied about the fire, cast down upon them many flaming pots, full of combustible matter and odious smell, which occasioned the loss of many of the English.

The Spaniards, notwithstanding the great resistance they made, could not hinder the pal

« PředchozíPokračovat »