chapter  7
5 Pages

Licentiate Lorenzo Bernaldez to the Crown, Santo Domingo, August (?), 1563 (?)

Your majesty's president and judges of the said court, being informed that in the port of La Isabela, which is in the unpopulated regions which lie between the settlements of Monte Christi and Puerto de Plata on the north shore of this island, there were four ships belonging to English corsairs, very well armed and laden with negroes and other merchandise which the English were selling and trading to the burghers of those towns;

Fearing many inconvenient consequences which might arise out of their presence there, especially some of religious aspect and also bearing upon the safety of the island, ordered me with the greatest secrecy and diligence to go to the said port and in settlements along the way to raise the force I might deem necessary and to endeavour to arrest and kill these English, for they were informed that they came ashore and remained on land;

And to serve your majesty and to obey the orders issued to me by your rna jesty' s president and judges in your majesty's royal name, I left with as great speed and diligence as I was able. I raised one hundred and twenty horsemen on pretence that they were wanted to go against negroes in rebellion, with whom, travelling through unpopulated regions in order that the English might not have word of me and even sometimes blazing our own trail, myself being never the last to begin the task, as your majesty will learn from the very lengthy


evidence1 which at my petition has been taken in the matter (f. 280 r.) I went to the said port, where I remained some days without showing myself, having out spies continually to inform me if the English landed, in order to get the advantage of them. During this time I endured not a little hardship and hunger;

And during this time, because they had been warned, as I will presently indicate to your majesty, the English did not land, except their general with as many as twenty arquebusiers, and this on the other side of a very large river which runs there, having first sent out toward the side of the river where I was, three arquebusiers to discover and examine the field, of whom I captured two but the other hid in the bush;

Learning from these that their captain with that force was on the other side of the river and that he was informed concerning me and the poor likelihood I had of getting the advantage of them, for their ships were more than half a league from shore and I had not a single boat in which to go out to them, as soon as I had captured these men, before the rest could learn of it, I endeavoured to swim the river. I and some of my companions having gone into the river, the current overcame our horses so that some of the animals were drowned, but their riders saved themselves by swimming, losing, however, their mounts and arms. Having lost the hope of offending the English in this way and because the said captain had become aware of us and re-embarked in his ships in great haste, and because my men were wearied with marching through the bush without food, for we had sought to conceal our presence, I now showed myself to the said English with the force I had, forbidding them to land where previously they had taken on meat, water and firewood;

One of them who had lived long in Cadiz acting as interpreter, they besought me to return to them the two men whom I had captured, offering that of one hundred and forty negroes they had left they would give me three-fourths provided that I would permit them to sell the other thirty-five (f. 281) in order to return to their country, thence to petition

1 The document described in Note No. I, p. II, ante.