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The Spanish Galleon Being an account of a search for sunken treasure in the caribbean sea.

The Spanish Galleon
Being an account of a search for sunken treasure in the caribbean sea.
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Title: The Spanish Galleon Being an account of a search for sunken treasure in the caribbean sea.
Release Date: 2018-07-31
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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THE SPANISH GALLEON

THE
SPANISH GALLEON

BEING AN ACCOUNT
OF
A SEARCH FOR SUNKEN TREASURE IN THE
CARIBBEAN SEA

BY
CHARLES SUMNER SEELEY



CHICAGO
A. C. McCLURG AND COMPANY
1891
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Copyright,
By A. C. McClurg and Co.
a. d. 1891.

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CONTENTS.

Chapter Page
I.The Island7
II.The Food Supply17
III.House-Building28
IV.Pig-Hunting41
V.Boat-Building53
VI.“Duke 2d, property of H. Senlis”67
VII.The Water-Glass80
VIII.Bread-Making93
IX.The Galleon Found105
X.The Castaways116
XI.Alice and her Father129
XII.The Problem143
XIII.The Abandoned Plantation153
XIV.A Remarkable Cure166
XV.Lost and Found180
XVI.A Bad Port192
XVII.{vi}The Waves in Harness204
XVIII.Embayed218
XIX.The Pearl-Fishers231
XX.The Captain of the Gang245
XXI.Self-Betrayed259
XXII.The Captain’s Fate272
XXIII.Treasure Trove283

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THE SPANISH GALLEON.

CHAPTER I.
THE ISLAND.

MY name is William Morgan, and I am a lineal descendant of that WilliamMorgan who was a brother of the famous Welsh buccaneer, Henry Morgan. Imention this in no spirit of pride,—quite the contrary,—but becausesome may choose to trace in these adventures evidence of hereditarytendencies.

On the eighteenth day of August, 1886, as the sun was setting, I wasfloating in the Caribbean Sea. You may mark the place on the map asbeing approximately N. latitude 15°, and W. longitude 62° fromGreenwich; or in other words, between one hundred and two hundred mileswest of the French island of Martinique. A chest, well corded but partlyfilled with water, was all that kept my head above the surface. Withoutfood or drink I had been floating thus since shortly after sunrise ofthe previous morning. At that time the sloop in which I was voyaging,capsized and sunk in a squall, drowning the negro captain and owner, andhis son, who constituted the crew. In this little vessel I was bound fora small uninhabited island known as “Key Seven,” which was in plainsight when the disaster occurred. For two days and a night, withoutsleep or refreshment, I had been struggling to push the floating chesttoward this land.{8}

Now as the sun was just about to sink exactly behind the trees on theisland, I was so near that the sound of the waves on the beach reachedmy ear. The tide would soon turn, and I must gain a foothold on the sandbefore the ebb got fairly under way, or continue the struggle anothernight. My hands and arms were sore in places from chafing in the saltwater against the chest, every muscle ached, cramps and pains shotincessantly through every limb, my eyes were on fire, the wolf of hungergnawed at my stomach, my lips and mouth and throat were parched and dry.The fever of utter exhaustion and fatigue drove delirious dreams andfancies through my aching brain. Still on, on, on, compelling theunwilling and rebellious muscles to their automatic work, made sickeningto the very soul by long continued repetition, I fought until at last myfeet rested on the bottom. One final struggle and the wave left me withthe chest upon the beach. But it was not until the last ounce of energyhad been expended, that I staggered and fell on the dry sand among theparched bladder-weed that streaked the shore. There I lay for half anhour, completely exhausted.

When I rose to secure the chest by dragging it a little way—a verylittle way—beyond the reach of the waves, the sun had just sunk, nightwith tropical suddenness had fallen on the scene, and the stars burstout in all their brilliancy in the clear dark vault of heaven.

Here then I was at last at the end of my voyage, but in what a plight.Food and drink and sleep I must have, and that speedily, or death wouldshortly claim me. It was starlight, but too dark to see more than thedim outlines of things. I lay down again on the warm dry sand and triedto think what was best to do; but I could not think, for my dry tonguerattled in my{9} mouth and my head ached as though it would burst withevery feeble throb of the heart.

As I lay with my face turned toward the sea, listening in despair to thesoft, monotonous lip-lipping of the waves, varied at regular intervalsby the long, foaming crash of the swell as it broke and swept up thesands, there came presently in the eastern sky a faint silvery glow, andthe full moon stole up from out the glistening water until it shone fulland broad, making a burnished path down to the shore at my feet. Nodoubt, this saved my life. In an hour it was almost as light as day. Iuntied my shoes, which I had fastened to the chest while swimming, putthem on to guard my feet, and started in search of drinking-water.Fortunately it was close at hand. A little brook flowed down to the seanot more than forty rods to the north of my landing-place. Had I been incondition to remember anything, I should have known this fact, becausewhile floating in the sea I noted this stream by the low foliage thatmarked its course near the beach, and longed for a draught of the waterwhich I knew must be there. Stumbling along the sands, I reached thestream, and lying down, buried my face in the clear, sweet water, anddrank until I could drink no more. This was possibly an imprudent thingto do. Indeed it was followed by dreadful nausea. But this did nothinder me from taking another draught, almost as deep as the first.

He who has not experienced real thirst can never know how delicious ispure, sweet water, taken when every fibre and pore of the body issuffering for it. Each capillary and duct seemed to expand, and theheart soon began to beat stronger and fuller as though under the lash ofa stimulant. Though I had fancied food was what I needed most, it wasreally the water that my system demanded, and I felt at once so much{10}stronger and better that a desire to sleep came upon me, the fever leftmy veins, and I felt as though I could wait until morning beforebreaking my fast.

On the way back to the chest I picked up half a dozen shell-fish of somebivalve species, on the sands at the edge of the surf, and ate them.They tasted sweet as a nut to me, but were probably of little nutritiousvalue, and possibly more or less indigestible. But they brought no harm,and seemed partly to fill what void the water had left.

At the landing-place I drew and rolled the chest still farther up thebeach, took off my wet clothing, spread it out to dry, and buried mybody in the warm sand, putting the chest between me and the gentle windwhich was breathing steadily and softly in from the sea. Exhausted as Iwas, the sense of bodily rest and warmth was delicious; but as is apt tobe the case when one is over-fatigued, sleep did not come to my eyelids.I was free from pain with the exception of the smarting of the rawwounds on my hands and arms, and lay listening to the rustling of thebreeze, the sound of the sea, and the lonesome call of a night bird or asmall animal of some sort that occasionally broke the stillness.

I thought over my desperate situation; of the disastrous ending of thevoyage, from which I had hoped so much; how and when, if ever, I couldget off the island and back to civilization to take a fresh start,—foras to giving up the great object of the expedition, that thought was notonce entertained either then or at any other time. But now without aboat or the many necessary appliances for carrying out my plans, I couldnot hope to accomplish that object, though I was upon the very islandthat I had travelled over a thousand miles to reach. It would benecessary to go back at least to Martinique, if not to New York, toobtain what I needed.{11} Diving apparatus is not to be found everywhere.Besides the assistance of at least one person seemed absolutelynecessary, and here I was alone. Yes, I must somehow go back and startover again,—that seemed clear. But how, and when? These questions werenot easy to answer. Should I be able even to obtain food while aprisoner here, waiting such deliverance as chance might bring?

These and a thousand other thoughts passed through my mind while I laylooking at the stars as they paled before the silver shield of the moon.I thought of my plans so carefully laid, and now, at least for the timebeing, so utterly defeated. Thus I reviewed mentally the whole historyof the enterprise I had undertaken. And perhaps this is a proper placeto give the reader an account of what he will doubtless conceive to bethe wildest scheme that ever was seriously contemplated. Listen, thatyou may judge.

On my twenty-first birthday, now only a few weeks past, I sailed fromNew York in one of the steamers plying to the Windward Islands, boundfor Martinique and thence by country sloop to Key Seven, for the purposeof finding a Spanish galleon that sank in the open sea near that island,July 9, 1665, after a bloody battle with two vessels commanded by thebuccaneer Welshman, Captain Henry Morgan. This galleon contained piecesof eight, gold and silver in bars and plate, and jewels, to the value ofover three hundred thousand dollars. It had lain thus at the bottom ofthe sea, as I believed, for more than two hundred years. To find thissunken wreck and secure the treasure was the object of my expedition.How I succeeded in such a wild undertaking will appear hereafter.

Several years before, while I was at college, a desultory course ofreading had awakened in me a deep{12} interest in the early printedaccounts of the lawless buccaneers and maroons who infested the watersand coasts of the Caribbean Sea, besieged and sacked the Spanish fortsand cities, crossed the isthmus of Darien, and followed down the coastof South America, capturing the vessels and laying waste the towns ofthe Spaniards. Bartholomew Portuges, Brasiliano, John Davis, FrancisLolonois, and Henry Morgan, the brother of my ancestor, were notedleaders of these buccaneering crews and armies. Perhaps the last-namedadventurer, who led the desperate expedition across the isthmus andcaptured the fortified city of Panama, was the most noted of all, as hewas also not the least cruel, blood-thirsty, and avaricious. Fragmentaryaccounts by various authors, some of whom were actors in the scenesdescribed, have been published in Dutch, French, Spanish, and English.So far as I could do so I had sought and studied these accounts. Atranslation into English, made more than a hundred years ago, of themost considerable Dutch and French accounts had enabled me to absorbthem, and the numerous original reports of Spanish officials made totheir government, and which are still preserved in the archives atMadrid, were rendered accessible to me

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