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The third voyage set forth by sir Walter Ralegh to Guiana , with a pinnesse called The Watte, in the yeere 1596. Written by M. Thomas Masham a gentleman of the companie.

UPON Thursday the 14. of October 1596. we set saile from Limehouse upon the river of Thames , and through much contrarietie of winds and other accidents, we made it the 27. of December, before we could get out of Waimouth. The 25. of Januarie in the morning we came to the North side of the Island of Grand Canaria, where we hoped to have gotten a boate to serve us upon the coast of Guiana , but the winde was so great, that we could not lanch our shalope: so we past along by the roade and the towne, and at length saw a boate lying on shoare, which being too bigge for us, wee ripped up, and wooded our selves with her. That day wee descryed a saile, which at length wee found to be a flieboate of Dartmouth , of 200. tunnes, bound to the Island of Mayo for salte. Wee fell in consort with her, and that night stoode for the Southermost part of the Island there to water, where wee stayed all the next day, and watered at the Southsouthwest part thereof. That night wee weyed and stoode away together Southsoutheast, and South and by East, purposing by their perswasion to goe for the river Doro . The 28. of Januarie wee made the furthermost part of Barbarie; and this morning we met with M. Benjamin Wood with his fleete of 3 sailes bound for the straights of Magellan & China , to wit, The Beare, The Whelpe, and The Benjamin: who told us that there was no good to be done in the river Doro . Whereupon we stood along with them for Cape Blanco, unto which we came upon Sunday night next following. And upon Munday morning the first of Februarie, we saw two ships in a sandie bay: so wee stirred in with them, which were Frenchmen bound for the West Indies, and put all into the bay, where wee refreshed our selves with fish, in which there was infinite store, and stayed there untill Thursday the 5. at which time wee stood up with the Cape againe, where rode the Frenchman and his pinnesse, who put foorth right afore us, and another Frenchman and his caravel well manned: So all we 5. English came to an anker by them, where after kinde greeting with many shots out of every ship both English and French, all our captaines were invited to a feast aboord the French admirall: where after great cheere and kinde entertainment, it was concluded on all handes to take the Isle of Fogo, if God would give us leave.

The same day we all weyed and stoode along for the Isle of Sal, unto which we came the 8. of Februarie, and ankered altogether at a bay in the West part thereof: in which Island wee had good store of goates and fresh fish. There is no man dwelling upon the Island that we could see. Wee could finde no fresh water upon it, but one standing puddle of bad water: it hath foure great mountaines upon the 4. corners of it. Here the Frenchmen (as it seemeth being overcome with drinke, having bene aboord our Generall at a feast) being on shoare, one of the gentlemen of their companie was slaine, and their chiefe captaine sorely wounded: by reason whereof, and of the setting together of a pinnesse which they were about, the French admiral and the caravel stayed behind. So wee in the Watte, and the other 6. ships weyed the 10. of Februarie, and stood away for the isle of Maio . This night the other two French shippes that came from Sal with us (as it seemeth of purpose, because their consorts were not with them) lost us. The next morning wee sawe Maio . So wee and the flieboate of Dartmouth compassed the Northermost part of the Island, and master Benjamin Wood in the China-fleete, the Southermost, and came all to an anker together at the Southwest part thereof: where rode sixe sayles of Flemmings lading salte; who had brought their horses and cartes, and wheele-barrowes, and plankes for their barrowes to runne upon. Here is abundance of salte in this Island made by Gods hande without mans labour. These tolde us that there were thirtie sayles more, which fell to leeward of Fogo, who, as I heard since, beat it up with much adoe, & came thither also for salte. This trade may bee very beneficiall to England , considering the dearnesse of salte. Of goates on this Island there is such store, as is incredible, but to those that have seene them: and it is a wonder howe they live one by the other, the ground being stonie and barren. It is thought that there are dwelling in it some twentie Mountainiers, which got one of the Flemmings men stragling, and God knoweth what they did with him: for they sawe him no more. This Island is somewhat lowe and round, having no great mountaines upon it.

Here ended our determination concerning the invading of Fogo . And here wee left the flieboat of Dartmouth lading salte, and the China-fleete to refresh themselves with goates, who as I have heard since had at the village (from whence the Mountainiers were fledde into the furthest partes of the Island and rocks) great store of dryed goates which they carried along with them: which were like to bee a great helpe unto them in their long voyage. So upon Saturday the 12 of Februarie at night wee set saile and stood for the coast of Wiana, which wee were bound for.

Upon Sunday the twentieth of Februarie wee came into the maine current that setteth from the Cape of Buena Esperanza along the coast of Brasil , and so toward the West Indies, for the most part setting away Northwest.

The Tuesday night following, whereas before our course was Westsouthwest, wee stoode away West and by South: by reason whereof, and of the current that set us to the Northward, wee were the next day by noone twentie minutes further to the Northward then the day before. So that then wee lay away Southwest, because wee were loath to fall to the Northward of our place intended: which if wee should bee put to leeward of, there was small hope left to recover it.

By Thursday wee were within one degree 1/2 of the Equinoctiall line: therefore this day wee hailed away West and by South, and West among. This night wee sounded, but had no ground at 90 fathoms.

The next day in the morning the colour of the water began to change, and to bee more white, so wee made another sound and had ground at thirtie fathoms, but saw no lande, and in the afternoone wee halled away Westnorthwest, Northwest, and Northnorthwest. In the night wee sounded divers times, and had twelve, ten, and nine fathoms water.

All Saturday wee had a thick red water, and had seven and eight fathoms both day and night, and upon Sunday morning by day being the seven and twentieth of Februarie, wee made the lande which appeared lowe, and trended neerest as wee fell with it, South and by East, North and by West about two degrees 1/2 toward the North. Right on head of us was a Cape or head land, so that had wee beene shot a little further into the bay, the winde being more Northerly, wee should hardly have doubled it off. For with much adoe making many boords, and stopping every tyde, it was the Tuesday following before wee cleered our selves of the bay, and recovered the Cape. Nowe the land trended Northwest and by North, and Southeast and by South. And still wee were faine to anker every tyde sometimes in foure fathoms, and sometimes in three, as farre as wee could see land. So about night wee sawe Cape Cecill: and after some two houres came to an anker. Betweene these two Capes the lande lyeth lowe and even.

Upon Wednesday morning, having the winde large at Eastnortheast, wee layd it away upon a board into the bay of Wiapoucou and came to an anker in the rivers mouth in two fathoms: over the barre there is little water, as 6 and 7 foote, and lesse in many places. And this river of Wiapoucou standeth almost in 4 degrees to the Northward of the line.

The next morning wee weyed, and standing in with our pinnesse by night, wee got some eight leagues up the river. This day sometimes wee had but 5 foote water and drew 7 foot, but being soft oaze we went cleere: and a little before wee came to anker, wee were on ground upon a rocke, but with some trouble and labour wee got off and had no hurt.

Upon Friday the 4 of March towards night wee came to the falles. The next day M. Leonard Berrie our captaine, the Master, my selfe and some 5 more, went through the woods, and spent all the day in searching the head of the falles, but could not finde it: for though wee passed by many, yet were there more still one above the other. So that finding no Indians in this river to buy victuals of, neither any kind of thing that might intice us to come to so short allowance, as wee must have done, if wee had spent any long time here, finding it over hard to passe the falles, wee fell downe the river againe, and by Friday the 11 of March wee cleered our selves of the river and bay. This river from the mouth to the falles is some 16 leagues, in many places a mile over, but for the most part halfe a mile. There are many Islands in it: as are also in most of the rivers upon the coast. This night wee ankered against Cawo in two fathoms; whereinto wee thought to have put with our pinnesse: but found the water so shoald, and the sea so growen, that neither with our shippe nor shallope wee durst goe in.

On Saturday by noone wee came to anker under one of the 7 Islands: upon which going on shoare wee found neither man nor beast, but great store of yellow plumbes which are good to eate.

Upon Sunday after dinner our Master William Dowle and 6 more went off with our boat to a towne called Aramatto; where they found many inhabitants, and brought victuals and some Tabacco with them, and one Indian named Caprima, who lying aboord all night, the next day being Munday the 14 of March went with our Captaine into Wias, and there traded with the Caribes for such things as they had. And afterward they of Aramatto came off with their canoas to us, and wee went on shoare to them: and from thence our Captaine sent a canoa with seven men, which had every one of them a knife to goe backe to the river of Cawo, and to tell Ritimo captaine of that place, that because wee coulde not come to him, wee would stay at Chiana for him, whither wee intreated him to come to us. So upon Thursday the 17 wee stoode in for Chiana, and came to an anker without in the bay in 3 fathoms that night: and had the Caribes comming continually to us with their canoas, which brought us great store of victuals and some Tabacco, shewing themselves very kinde and loving, and came all from their townes, and dwelt on shoare by us untill Ritimo came: at whose comming they returned all up to their townes againe, which was upon the Sunday following. All this day we feasted him and his traine, and the next day we traffiqued with them for such things as they brought, which was principally tabacco.

After that they had made knowen their mindes of the desire that they had to have the English come and kill the Spaniards, and to dwell in Orenoque and in the countrey, they departed with their 3 canoas the next day. And wee with the helpe of the Caribes of Chiana, having by their meanes from the shoare watered, because the rivers mouth was salte, departed out of the bay the Thursday following, & passing by Macerea, Couroura, and Manamanora, by reason of shoalds, rockes, and great windes, beeing a lee shoare; and for want of a good shalope, wee came to an anker the next day being good Friday in five fathoms neere The Triangle Islands called The Careres. And upon Saturday standing to the Westward, wee stopped against the towne of Maware, which is a little to the Westward of the towne Comanamo: from whence and from the other townes in that bay, which are some 6 or 7, wee had canoas come off to us as before with such things as they had themselves in use, with parrots, monkeys, and cotton-wooll, and flaxe. From whence wee departed upon Munday following the 28 of March 1597.

And passing by the rivers of Euracco and Amano, which openeth but a small river, and is shoald off, wee came to Marawinne the next day: And finding a chanell of three, foure, and five fathoms, wee stood into the river: and the same day came to an anker some 2 leagues in against the mouth of Cooshepwinne, which river goeth into Amana. Into which, (understanding that there were Arwaccawes dwelling) this night we sent our boat and came to a towne called Marrac one league in: And finding the people something pleasant, having drunke much that day, being as it seemed a festivall day with them, yet were they very fearefull and ready to run away at the first sight of us, having seldome seene any Christian before. But assoone as Henry our Indian interpreter had tolde them what wee were, and our intent, they came to us and used us kindely, and brought us victuals and other things. And the next day their captaine Mawewiron came out into Marawinne, with divers canoas, & traded with us, and wee went in againe to them on shore, who made very much of us, and carried us from house to house, and made us eate and drinke in every house which wee came in. And the next day following being the last of March, having the captaine of Marrack with us, wee weyed and stoode into the river, and about two of the clocke in the afternoone came to an anker some eight leagues within the river, a little short of a towne called Quiparia, the people whereof are Caribes: who, when they sawe us come toward their towne with our boate, began all to runne into the woods, untill the captaine of Marrac which was with us in the boate, leaped overboord and swamme on shoare unto them, and told them that wee were Englishmen, and came in friendship to trade with them.

Upon whose report they came before night sixe or seven canoas aboord us, yet very fearefull, because there was never either shippe or Christian scene in that river before. The first of Aprill, wee weighed againe, and stood in to the next towne called Macirria: where comming to anker, there came a canoa from Amano to us, with great store of victuals, which canoa wee bought: and because wee mette with some sholds, we were loath to goe any farther with our Pinnesse : so there wee mored her, and the next day at three of the clocke in the afternoone, eleven of us (Master Monax having the government of the action, by the Captaines appointment) with Mawerirou, Henry, and William of Cawo, in the canoa which we bought, went into the river farther to search it so farre as wee could, and that night gatte some five leagues from our shippe. And betweene two villages, Awodwaier and Mapeributto, we tooke up our lodging in the woods. The third of Aprill, betimes in the morning, we tooke our course still unto the river, and in the afternoone came to one house where wee found many Indians, where wee hired another canoa and foure Indians, into the which I went, and one more of our men, and this night gat twelve leagues farther, and as before, lodged among the wilde beastes.

On Munday the fourth of Aprill, wee came to the falles of this river about two in the afternoone: and having shotte up some of the rockes, wee went on shore upon an island, and there conferred of our farther proceeding. And inquiring of the Indians that wee hired for our Pilots of the last house, whether the falles were passable or not: their first answere was, that they had nothing to eate: but wee being loath to loose so much labour, and the sight of that upper rich countrey, which wee desired, told them that they should have victuals of us (though God knoweth wee had none for our selves) who seeing us so importunate, sayde farther, that the rockes would kill the canoas: which they sayde because indeed they had no victuals: which by some was taken for sufficient to proceede no farther, and so wee left off, and onely stayed some two houres upon the Island, and with the swiftnesse of the current, fell that night downe 10 leagues againe. Though I for mine owne part offered in that small canoa that I was in, being so leake, that my selfe did nothing but lave out the water, to lead them the way, and if they sawe any danger to mee, they might chuse whether they would come into it or not themselves.

For seeing the countrey above was rich as wee were informed, that their bowes were handled with golde, (being men of an extraordinarie stature for talnes) wee should have taken the more paines, and have fared the harder, untill wee had gotten up in the countrey which wee sawe with our eyes: for though wee had not victuals in any sort to cary us up, yet the woods doe yeld fruites and the palmito trees afforde meate, whereby wee might have made shift to live, untill wee had come to the inhabitants, by whome we might both bee refreshed with victuals, and also have reaped that, which might have done us good as long as wee had lived.

But to returne to the rest of our voyage: the day after wee went from the falles wee came to our shippe, which was the fifth of Aprill 1597. On Wednesday wee fell with our Pinnesse to Quiparia againe: where we brought her on ground right before the town, and trimmed her with the pitch of the countrey: and untill wee had done, kept a corps du guard, night and day on shore, which was upon Saturday following the ninth of Aprill. All the while we were there we had an house of the Caribes, and were kindely used of them, and had victuals, and every thing we needed of them.

And so taking our leave on Tuesday being the twelfth of Aprill, wee came to the mouth of Cussewinne, where the Arwaccas of Marrac and of the river had provided and brought to us such infinite store of potatoes, and Guiney-wheate, that the stewarde sayd wee had no stowage for them; and so they were turned backe, and wee by that meanes came to shorter allowance home ward bound, then (if there had bene any good care) wee needed to have done.

On Fryday the fifteeneth of Aprill, wee put foorth of Marawinne, which is some foure leagues over, and within one league and an halfe for the most part broad; full of islands, and divers small rivers running into it: and it is betweene forty and fifty leagues, from the mouth to the falles, and lyeth for the most part South Southwest up, altering some 3 poynts, being almost streight. And standing along to the Westward, this night we tryed with our mayne coarse and bonnet. On Saturday night we came to an anker, in three fathomes against Sewramo. On Sunday morning we thought to have gone into Cuppanamo: but sending off our boat & finding uncertaine sounding, sometimes 3 fathomes and presently 9 foote, we stood along to Coritine, and came into it upon the Munday being the 18 of Aprill: and the next night wee came to anker against Warrawalle in 10 fathoms. On Wednesday the Indians of the towne having hunted a Doe, shee tooke soyle & came neer our ship, and putting off with our boat we tooke her, being like unto our deere in England , not altogether so fat, but very good flesh and great bodied. In this river we met a Barke called the John of London captaine Leigh being in her. And being both fallen downe within some five leagues of the mouth of the river, upon intelligence that one Marracon, (whom wee brought along with us) gave us, namely that the river Desekebe, in which he dwelt (and wherein there were some three hundred Spaniards, which for the most part now are destroyed and dead) doeth lead so farre into the countrey, that it commeth within a dayes journey of the lake called Perima, whereupon Manoa is supposed to stand; and that this river of Coritine doeth meete with Desekebe up in the land: by meanes whereof wee make account to goe up into the countrey, and to have discovered a passage unto that rich citie. So having concluded both shippes, we stood up into the river againe, and comming to Warawalle the 24 of Aprill there our shippes roade untill we went up to Mawranamo to speake with Marracon, to know the trueth of these things: whom when we had found, he verified al that before he had spoken: Master Monax being the man that of Leonard of Cawe tooke all the intelligence: who being brought up with Antonie Berreo could speak some Spanish and Marracons language also. And besides wee our selves by signes, and drawing the two rivers on the ground, and the meeting of them aloft, did perceive as much. Now comming downe with our boates the sixe and twentieth of Aprill we went up with our ships to Mawranama, where wee morred them, and taking some twentie out of both, upon Thursday the eight and twentieth in the afternoone with two shallops and two Canoas, in one of which Henry the Indian was and some twentie Indians more, wee went up the river; and by night getting some three leagues farther wee lodged in the woods, and the next morning wee with our boate and the two Canoas went into a small river called Tapuere, to a towne called Macharibi, thinking to have had Casavi and other victuals, which they were altogether unprovided of, by reason that they make no more ready then serveth themselves from hand to mouth, living in this towne for the most part by fish. By meanes of going into this river, though wee rowed very hard it was noone before wee overtooke the bigger shallop wherein both the Captaines were. This night we came to a towne called Vaperon, where wee stayed all Saturday and the night following, for Casavi: whereof they baked good store for us being but a fewe left in the towne. For not a moneth before wee came thither, the Waccawaes that dwell above the falles came downe to the towne, and slewe some tenne of them, and many of the rest fled away, so that wee found most of the houses emptie. Upon Sunday morning being May day, wee went from this place, and by night gotte some twelve leagues beyond, and being past all townes wee lodged as before in the woods, and the next day came to the falles of the river; up some of which falles we shotte with our boates, and going upon a rocke there came some nine canoas up the river to us, and would have gone up with us to kill the Waccawayans, because they had killed some of them, as before is said. Whereupon the Captaines and Master Monax tooke advise: and because nowe they had learned, as they sayde, that five dayes journey farther there was a fall not passable, and that by this meanes they should make the Wacchawayans their enemies, which would turne to our great hurt, when Sir Walter Ralegh should come thither, having occasion to use this river, where wee were informed was good store of golde, they resolved to returne, though I yeelded divers reasons to the contrary. So upon Tuesday night, we came backe to Vaperon, where we lodged.

And upon Wednesday the fourth of May, wee came to our shippes: where it was reported that the Spaniardes were gonne out of Desekebe, which was not so: but as it seemed in policie by them given out to make our men that wee left in our shippes more carelesse, that they might the easier have surprised them in our absence. The next night wee had newes brought us to Mawranamo, where we yet roade, that there were tenne canoas of Spaniardes in the mouth of Coritine; and fearing lest they had intended to come to us in the night, we fitted all our gunnes and muskets, and kept good watch to prevent them of their purpose; who, as it was afterwarde tolde us, went along the coast to buy bread and other victuals for them in Orenoque, Marowgo, and Desekebe. Upon Fryday the sixth of May we weighed and made downe the river, and upon Sunday the eighth we gat cleare of it.

This river is much like unto Marawynne in bredth, and about fiftie leagues from the mouth to the first falles, full of Islandes as the other: in which three rivers, Mano , Tapuere, and Tabuebbi, otherwise Tapuellibi: with sixe Townes, Warrawalle, Mawranamo, Maapuere, Maccharibi, Yohoron, and Vaperon. And so clering our selves of this coast, wee tooke our course to the Islands of the West Indies.

Now I thinke it not amisse to speak something of this countrey. And first touching the climate; though it stand within the Tropick, and something neere to the Equinoctial, so that the Sunne is twise a yeere over their heads & never far from them, yet is it temperate ynough in those partes. For besides that wee lost not a man upon the coast, one that was sicke before hee came there, was nothing sicker for being there, but came home safe, thanks be to God. And for mine owne part, I was never better in body in all my life, and in like sort fared it with the rest of the company :. for indeed it is not so extreame hote as many imagine. The people in all the lower parts of the countrey goe naked, both men and women, being of severall languages, very tractable, and ingenious, and very loving and kinde to Englishmen generally; as by experience we found, and upon our owne knowledge doe report. In the upper countreys they goe apparelled, being, as it seemeth, of a more civill disposition, having great store of golde, as we are certeinely informed by the lower Indians, of whom we had some golde, which they brought and bought in the high countrey of Wiana, being able to buy no more, because they wanted the things which now wee have left among them. They keepe no order of marriage; but have as many wives as they can buy, or win by force of their enemies, which principally is the cause of all their warres. For bread there is infinite store of casavi, which is as good bread as a man need to eate, and better then we can cary any thither. We spent not a bit of our owne all the while we were upon the coast. It is made of a root so called; which they take and scrape, and crush all the juyce out, being poison; and when it is drie it is as fine floure as our white meale maketh: which dry as it is, without any moisture, they strew upon a round stone, having a still fire under it, and so it congealeth to a cake; and when it commeth new off, it eateth like to our new white bread. Besides there is great store of Guiny-Wheat (whereof they make passing good drinke) which after it is once sowed, if you cut off the eare, on the same stalke groweth another.

For victuals, wee either did not, or at least needed not to have spent any of our owne: for there is great store of as good fish in the rivers, as any is in the world. Great store of fowle, of divers sorts. Tortoise-flesh plentifull, and Tortoises egges innumerable. Deere, swine, conies, hares, cockes and hennes, with potatoes more then wee could spend. Besides, all kinde of fruits, at all times of the yeere: and the rarest fruits of the world, the pine, the plantan, with infinite other variable and pleasant, growing to their handes, without planting or dressing. For commodities, though wee had but small time to search, because wee spent so much time in searching the rivers: yet wee have brought examples of some, which the countrey yeeldeth in great plenty: as a kinde of long hempe like unto steele hempe, fine cotton wooll, which the trees yeeld great store of; and wherewith the women make a fine threed, which will make excellent good fustians or stockings. Great store of pitch, divers sorts of sweet gummes, & West Indian pepper, balsamum, parrots and monkies. Besides divers other commodities, which in good time may be found out to the benefit of our countrey, and profit of the adventurers, who as yet having ventured much, have gained litle.

Now leaving the river of Coritine, passing by Saint Vincent, Santa Lucia, and Matalina, we came to Dominica upon the Friday following, being the thirteenth of May, having lost the barke that came out with us the Wednesday before. Upon Sunday morning, the fifteenth of May, we came to Guadalupe , where wee watered at the Southern part of the Island, and having done by night, we set saile, and stood away to the Northward, but were becalmed all night, and untill tenne of the clocke on Munday night: at which time having a faire gale at East, and after at Southeast, wee passed along in the sight of Monserate, Antigua , and Barbuda . Upon the ninth of June, being Thursday, we made the Islands of Flores and Corvo : and the eight and twentieth of June we made the Lisart, and that night came all safe to Plymmouth, blessed be God.

Betweene the Isle of Barbuda in the West Indies and England we had three mighty stormes, many calmes, and some contrary windes. And upon the foureteenth of June 1597, there being divers whales playing about our pinnesse, one of them crossed our stemme, and going under, rubbed her backe against our keele: but by none of all these we susteined any losse. Thanks be to him that governeth all things.

Written by Master Thomas Masham.

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