Captain Woodes Rogers

THIS voyage was undertaken chiefly by the merchants of Bristol, England. Captain Woodes Rogers was appointed commander in chief, and William Dampier first pilot of the expedition. They sailed from Kingroad, Bristol, on the 1st of August, 1708, their force consisting of the Duke, a ship of three hundred tons burden, thirty guns, and one hundred and seventy men, commanded by Rogers and the Duchess of two hundred and seventy tons, twenty-six guns, and one hundred and fifty-one men, under the command of captain Courtney. They entered the harbor of Cork on the 6th of August, where they enlisted a number of seamen in the room of about forty fellows who had run away. They set sail on the 1st of September, with a very mixed crew, and on the morning of the 10th discovered a sail, to which they immediately gave chase. On coming up with her she proved to be a Swedish ship, and was permitted to proceed unmolested on her way. During the time the ship was in custody, a design had been privately formed on board the Duke, by four inferior officers, to make a prize of her and when they found she was given up, they began to mutiny; but the boatsman, being displaced, and, with ten others, put in irons, and a severe whipping given to some of the leaders of the disturbance, all was quiet again. On the 14th, however, some of the ship's company, headed by a daring fellow, came up to captain Rogers at the steerage-door, and demanded the boatswain out of irons. The captain gave them good words, and having taken the ringleader, as if to speak with him on the quarter-deck, had him suddenly seized by the help of the officers, and lashed by one of his own followers. On the 16th the captain released the prisoners from irons on their acknowledging their sorrow for what they had done.

On the 17th, gained sight of the peak of Teneriffe, and the next clay took a Spanish bark of twenty-five tons. On the 25th of September passed the tropic, when about sixty of the crew, who had never been this course before, were ducked three times, by hoisting them up halfway the main-yard, with a rope to which they were made fast, and sousing them into the water. After visiting the Cape de Verd islands, where they took in water and provisions, the ships again set sail on the 8th of October, in the evening. On the 14th, they came within sight of Brazil, and soon after came to anchor before the island of Grande, in eleven fathoms water. While they lay here another quarrel arose on board the Duchess, and eight of the ringleaders were put in irons. On the 25th, two men deserted and made their escape into the woods; but, in the night, were so terrifled by the noise made by the baboons and monkeys, that they ran back, plunged into the water, and prayed to be taken on board again.

The ships sailed out of the bay of Grande on the first of December, steering for Juan Fernandez, and on the 5th of January, encountered a violent storm, which drove such a quantity of water into the Duchess that they expected she would sink every moment. As the men were going to supper about nine o'clock at night, she shipped a sea at the poop, which beat in the bulkhead and all the cabin windows. On deck the yawl was staved in pieces and one or two of the men severely hurt. On the 17th, took an observation, by which they found they had got round Cape Horn and were to the northward of Cape Victoria. About this time the scurvy began to make great havoc among the crews. They now bore away for the island of Juan Fernandez, which appeared in sight on the last day of January. On going on shore here they discovered a man clothed in goat-skins, whose name was Alexander Selkirk. They remained at this island till the 14th of February, having fully refreshed themselves, when they weighed anchor, with a fair gale at south-east.

After taking a number of valuable prizes, on the 23d of April, captain Rogers with some of his men made a descent in boats and barks upon the town of Guyaquil, which they took with but little resistance and plundered of great quantities of money, jewels, and provisions. He then marched out of the town, and returned on board his own ship, where he was heartily greeted by those of his people whom he had left behind. They afterwards obtained a considerable sum as a ransom for the town, and bore away for the Gallapagos islands, with a strong gale at S. S.; discovered land on the 17th of May, but found it barren and destitute of water. Continuing on their voyage, they took several rich prizes, visited Gorgona and the Gallapagos, and sailing for the East Indies arrived at the islands of Serpana and Guam. They left the latter place on the 21st of March, and on the 25th of May, made Bouton. They sailed from this island on the 8th of June, and on the 23d of July, they hove down upon Horn Island to careen their vessels. Having supplied themselves with such necessaries as they wanted, they left Batavia on the 12th of October, and sailed for the Cape of Good Hope.

They came to anchor in the Cape harbor, on the 28th of December. The English saluted the Dutch fort with nine guns: which compliment was was returned with seven. At this place they waited for the convoy of the Dutch fleet till April, on the 5th of which month the Dutch admiral hoisted a blue flag, and loosed his fore-top-sail, as a signal to unmoor; and the next day the whole fleet sailed with a fresh breze at S. S. E. On the 23d of July they arrived in the Texel, and sailing hence with seven prizes came to the moorings in the Downs on the 2d of October, 1711.