Nicholl, John (fl.1607) (DNB00)

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NICHOLL, JOHN (fl. 1607), traveller and author, was one of a band of sixty-seven Englishmen who on 12 April 1605 sailed in the Olive Branch, at the charge of Sir Olyff Leigh [q. v.], to join the colony which had been planted by Captain Charles Leigh (d. 1605) [q. v.] on the river ‘Wiapica’ [Oyapoc] in Guiana, their leader being Captain Nicholas St. John. They missed their course, and, after being seventeen weeks at sea, put in at Saint Lucia, one of the Caribbee Islands in the West Indies. Here St. John decided to remain for a time with Nicholl and his party and to allow the vessel to go home. At first the natives were friendly, but they soon treacherously attacked the new settlers. After a truce with the Caribs had been made, Nicholl's party, nineteen in all, rigged and provisioned one of the Carib periaguas, and on 26 Sept. they left Saint Lucia. On 5 Oct. they were wrecked on a barren island about a league from the mainland. Having patched up their canoe, five of the party embarked for the mainland of Venezuela, but Nicholl and his comrades suffered agonies from hunger and thirst on the island for fifteen days. They were ultimately rescued by the Spaniards and taken to Tocuyo, and afterwards to Coro. There they were brought before the governor, but through the good offices of a Fleming they escaped the galleys. After remaining five months at Coro, Nicholl and two of his companions embarked in a frigate bound for Carthagena in New Granada on 30 April 1606. Here on 10 May, four days after their arrival, they were committed to prison as spies, but found friends, Spanish as well as English, and were released after two months, and in August were sent to Havannah, in the island of Cuba, in a fleet of Spanish galleons. About 10 Oct. Nicholl sailed thence for Spain, reaching Cadiz on 15 Dec., and at length, meeting with a kindly English skipper, he was landed safely at the Downs in Kent on 2 Feb. 1606–7. Soon afterwards he published in London a spirited account of his adventures, entitled ‘An Houre Glasse of Indian Newes. Or a … Discourse, shewing the … Miseries … indured by 67 Englishmen, which were sent for a Supply to the Planting in Guiana in the Yeare 1605,’ &c., 4to, London, 1607, which he dedicated to Sir Thomas Smith, governor of the company of merchants of London trading to the East Indies.

[Nicholl's Houre Glasse of Indian Newes.]

G. G.