The First Voyage Round the World/Account of the Mutiny in Port St. Julian, and Gaspar Correa's Account of the Voyage

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Navarrete gives, No. XX of his documents relating to Magellan, a copy of a document presented on Wednesday, the 22nd of May, 1521, by a servant of Diego Barbosa, on behalf of Alvaro de Mezquita, to the Alcalde of Seville, dated April 26th, 1520, which were the informations taken in Port St. Julian by Martin Mendes, clerk of the Victoria; Sancho de Heredia, king's notary; Gonzalo Gomes de Spinosa, Alguazil-mayor or chief constable of the fleet: he could not write, and Domingo de Barruty signed for him.

These informations were taken in consequence of a petition from Alvaro de Mezquita, captain of the S. Antonio, to Magellan, complaining of Gaspar de Quesada, captain of the Conception, and Juan de Cartagena, with about thirty armed men, having seized him the night of Palm Sunday, April 1st, 1520, and having locked him up in the cabin of Geronimo Guerra, the clerk of the S. Antonio. This petition was presented to Magellan when he was on shore, after hearing Mass on Sunday, the 15th of April, and he gave orders to the two clerks and Alguazil to make an inquiry on board the S. Antonio. His order was dated April 17th, and signed by himself and Leon de Speleta, clerk of the flag-ship. The informations taken on board the S. Antonio were dated Thursday, the twenty-sixth April, 1520.

No. XXI of Navarrete is a letter from Juan Lopez de Recalde to the Bishop of Burgos, of May 12th, 1521, giving him an account of the arrival of the S. Antonio at Seville, 6th May, 1521, commanded by Geronimo Guerra, a relation and servant of Christoval do Haro, and of the execution of Gaspar de Quesada and others. This letter relates the story of the mutineers and those who turned back from difficulty and danger, and is naturally unfavourable to Magellan.

According to Navarrete, the desertion of Magellan's fleet by the ship S. Antonio, was caused by Esteban Gomez, a Portuguese pilot, who, from rivalry with Magellan, and envy at seeing others promoted instead of himself, after the executions, got up a conspiracy on board the S. Antonio, and proposed to return to Spain. The mutineers put Alvaro de Mezquita in irons; they then went to the coast of Guinea, and thence to Spain. When the S. Antonio arrived at Seville, Alvaro de Mezquita was handed over to the authorities and kept in prison until the ship Victoria arrived. Esteban Gomez, Juan de Chinchilla, Geronimo Guerra, and Francisco Angelo, were also arrested; and Magellan's wife and family were put under surveillance to prevent their going away to Portugal. According to Herrera, Juan de Cartagena and the priest, who were left behind, did not come away with the S. Antonio, and orders were given to send and look for them.

More ample details of the suppression of the mutiny are given by Gaspar Correa in the following account of Magellan's voyage, in his Lendas da India (tome ii, cap. xiv):—

"Ferdinand Magellan went to Castile to the port of Seville, where he married the daughter of a man of importance, with the design of navigating on the sea, because he was very learned in the art of pilots, which is that of the sphere. The emperor kept the House of Commerce in Seville, with the overseers of the treasury, with great powers, and much seafaring traffic, and fleets for abroad. Magellan, bold with his knowledge, and with the readiness which he had to annoy the King of Portugal, spoke to the overseers of this House of Commerce, and told them that Malacca, and Maluco, the islands in which cloves grew, belonged to the emperor on account of the demarcation drawn between them both [the Kings of Spain and Portugal]: for which reason the King of Portugal wrongfully possessed these lands: and that he would make this certain before all the doctors who might contradict him, and would pledge his head for it. The overseers replied to him, that they well knew that he was speaking truth, and that the emperor also knew it, but that the emperor had no navigation to that part, because he could not navigate through the sea within the demarcation of the King of Portugal. Magellan said to them: 'If you would give me ships and men, I would show you navigation to those parts, without touching any sea or land of the King of Portugal; and if not, they might cut off his head.' The overseers, much pleased at this, wrote it to the emperor, who answered them that he had pleasure in the speech, and would have much more with the deed; and that they were to do everything to carry out his service, and the affairs of the King of Portugal, which were not to be meddled with; rather than that everything should be lost. With this answer from the emperor, they spoke with Magellan, and became much more convinced by what he said, that he would navigate and show a course outside of the seas of the King of Portugal; and that if they gave him the ships he asked for, and men and artillery, he would fulfil what he had said, and would discover new lands which were in the demarcation of the emperor, from which he would bring gold, cloves, cinnamon, and other riches. The overseers hearing this, with a great desire to render so great a service to the emperor as the discovery of this navigation, and to make this matter more certain, brought together pilots and men learned in the sphere, to dispute upon the matter with Magellan, who gave such reasons to all, that they agreed with what he said, and affirmed that he was a very learned man. So the overseers at once made agreements with him, and arrangements, and powers, and regulations, which they sent to the emperor, who confirmed everything, reserving specially the navigation of the King of Portugal; thus he commanded and prohibited, and ordered that everything which Magellan asked for should be given him. On this account, Magellan went to Burgos, where the emperor was, and kissed his hand, and the emperor gave him a thousand cruzados alimony for the expenses of his wife whilst he was on his voyage, set down in the rolls of Seville, and he gave him power of life and death[1] over all persons who went in the fleet, of which he should be captain-major, with regard to which he assigned him large powers. So, on his return to Seville, they equipped for him five small ships, such as he asked for, equipped and armed as he chose, with four hundred men-at-arms, and they were laden with the merchandise which he asked for. The overseers told him to give the captaincies, with regard to which he excused himself, saying that he was new in the country and did not know the men; and that they should seek out men who would be good and faithful in the emperor's service, and who would rejoice to endure hardships in his service, and the bad life which they would have to go through in the voyage. The overseers were obliged to him for this, and held it to be good advice, and decided to inform the captains they might make, and the crews they might take, of the powers which he had received from the emperor. This they did, and they sought in Seville for trustworthy men for captains, who were Juan de Cartagena, Luis de Mendoça, Juan Serrano, Pero de Quesada. This fleet having been fitted out, and the crews paid for six months, he sailed from San Lucar de Barrameda in August of the year 1519. So he navigated to the Canary Islands, and took in water; whilst he was there a vessel arrived with letters from his father-in-law,[2] in which he warned him to keep a good watch for his personal safety, because he had learned that the captains whom he took with him had said to their friends and relations, that if he annoyed them they would kill him, and would rise up against him. To this he replied, that he would do them no injuries so that they should have reason to act thus; and on that account he had not appointed them, but the overseers, who knew them, had given them; and whether they were good or bad, he would labour to do the service of the emperor, and for that they had offered their lives. The father-in-law showed this answer to the overseers, who greatly praised the good heart of Magellan.

"He sailed from the Canaries of Tenerife, and made the Cape Verde, whence he crossed over to the coast of Brazil, and there entered a river which is named Janeiro. There went, as chief pilot, a Portuguese named Joan Lopes Carvalhinho, who had already been in this river, and took with him a son whom he had gotten there of a woman of the country. From this place they went on sailing until they reached the Cape of Santa Maria, which Joan of Lisbon had discovered in the year 1514; thence they went to the river San Julian. While they were there taking in water and wood, Juan de Cartagena, who was sub-captain-major, agreed with the other captains to rise up, saying that Magellan had got them betrayed and entrapped. As they understood that Gaspar de Quesada was a friend of Magellan's, Juan de Cartagena got into his boat at night, with twenty men, and went to the ship of Gaspar Quesada, and went in to speak to him, and took him prisoner,[3] and made a relation of his captain of the ship, in order that all three might go at once to board Magellan and kill him, and after that they would reduce the other ship of Joan Serrano, and would take the money and goods, which they would hide, and would return to the emperor, and would tell him that Magellan had got them entrapped and deceived, having broken faith with his instructions, since he was navigating in seas and countries of the King of Portugal: for which deed they would get first a safe conduct from the emperor. So they arranged matters for their treason, which turned out ill for them.

"Magellan had some suspicion of this matter, and before this should happen, he sent his skiff to the ships to tell the captains that the masters were to arrange their ships for beaching them to careen them; and with this pretext he warned a servant of his to notice what the captains answered. When this skiff came to the revolted ships they did not let it come alongside, saying that they would not execute any orders except those of Juan de Cartagena, who was their captain-major. The skiff having returned with this answer, Magellan spoke to Ambrosio Fernandes,[4] his chief constable, a valiant man, and gave him orders what he was to do, and to go secretly armed; and he sent a letter to Luis de Mendoça by him, with six men in the skiff, whom the chief constable selected. And the current set towards the ships, and Magellan ordered his master to bend a long hawser,[5] with which he might drop down to the ships if it suited him. All being thus arranged, the skiff went, and coming alongside of Luiz de Mendoça, they would not let him come on board. So the chief constable said to the captain that it was weakness not to bid him enter, as he was one man alone who was bringing a letter. Upon which the captain bade him enter. He came on board, and giving him the letter, took him in his arms, shouting: 'On behalf of the emperor, you are arrested!" At this the men of the skiff came on board with their swords drawn; then the chief constable cut the throat of Luis de Mendoça with a dagger, for he held him thrown down under him, for so Magellan had given him orders. Upon this a tumult arose, and Magellan hearing it, ordered the hawser to be paid out, and with his ship dropped down upon the other ships, with his men under arms, and the artillery in readiness. On reaching the ship of Mendoça, he ordered six men to be hung at the yard-arms, who had risen up against the chief constable, and these were seized upon by the sailors of the ship, of which he at once made captain, Duarte Barbosa, a Portuguese, and a friend of his: and he ordered the corpse of Mendoça to be hung up by the feet, that they might see him from the other ships. He then ordered Barbosa to prepare the men for going and boarding one of the other ships; and to avoid doing the harm which it was in its power to have done, and since he was a Portuguese, and the crews belonged to the emperor, he used a stratagem, and spoke secretly to a sailor, whom he trusted, who fled to the ship of Cartagena, where, at night when the current set for Magellan's ship, which was astern, the sailor seeing his opportunity, cut the cable or loosed the ship of Cartagena, so that it drifted upon that of Magellan, who came up, shouting: 'Treason! treason!' Upon which he entered the ship of Cartagena, and took him and his men prisoners, and made captain of the ship one Alvaro de Mesquita, whom Cartagena had arrested and put in irons, because he found fault with him for the mutiny which he was making. Seeing this, the other ship at once surrendered. He ordered Cartagena to be quartered, having him publicly cried as a traitor; and the body of Luis de Mendoça also was quartered; and he ordered the quarters and the executed men to be set on shore, spitted on poles. So the Castillians had great fear of him, for he kept the mutineers prisoners in irons, and set to the pumps, during three months that he remained in this river, in which he careened and refitted his ships very well.

"When he was about to set sail, he ordered the prisoners to be set at liberty, and pardoned them, and he sent them to go along the shore, following the bank of the river until they found the headland from which they could see the sea on the other side; and whoever returned to him with this news he would give him a hundred ducats as a reward for good news. These men went for more than forty leagues, and returned without news; and they brought back two men, fifteen spans high, from a village which they found. He then sent Serrano, because his vessel was the smallest, to go along the river to discover its extremity; and he went with a strong current, which carried him without wind. And, going along thus, his ship grounded on some rocks, on which it was lost, and the boat returned laden with the crew. Magellan sent the boats thither, and they saved everything, so that only the hull was lost. Then he ordered two priests, who had taken part in the mutiny, to be set on shore, and a brother of Cartagena, whom he pardoned at the petition of Mesquita, and he left them thus banished.

"Then he sailed from the river and ran along the coast until he reached a river, to which they gave the name of Victoria, and which had high land on either side. From this river Mesquita's ship ran away, and it was not known whether they had killed him, or if he had gone of his own accord; but an astrologer and diviner told him that the captain was a prisoner, and that they were returning to Castile, but that the emperor would do them an injury.

"Then Magellan, with the three ships which he had, entered the river, through which he ran for more than a hundred leagues, and came out on the other side into the open sea, where he had a stern wind from the east, with which they ran for more than five months without lowering their sails, and they fetched some uninhabited islands, in one of which they found some savages, who lived in huts underground. They went to another island where they gave them gold for its weight of iron, by which means they collected much gold: the people also were of a good disposition, and had a king. They were well governed people, who were at war with other neighbours who were more powerful than themselves; for which reason the king became Christian, with all his people, in order that Magellan might assist him against his enemies. This Magellan offered to do, and with his armed men, and the people of the country, he went against the enemy, of whom he killed many, and burned a village. The enemy got assistance from others, and many came to fight with Magellan, who defeated them, and the struggle was a severe one. They acted with cunning, for they had placed ambuscades of men hidden in the bush, who, seeing the Castilians wearied, came out against them and killed many, and another ambuscade came out of the bush to seize the boats, which were on the beach without men: then the king came out, and fought with them, and defended the boats, and brought off the men.

"The king who had fled, seeing himself defeated, plotted treachery with the Christian king, and made an agreement with him to give him his daughter in marriage, and plighted his troth to him, that when he died, for he was already old, all would remain to him, and they would always live as friends; because the Castilians would depart, and if he did not act thus he would always make war on him: and this was with the condition that he was to find him means for killing the Castilians. And the Christian king, like a brutal man, consented to the treachery, and prepared a great feast and banquet for carrying it out, to which he invited Magellan, who went to the banquet with thirty men, of the most honourable and well dressed: while they were enjoying themselves at the banquet, the armed enemies entered, and killed Magellan, and all the Castilians, and none of them escaped, and they stripped Serrano, and dragging him along, brought him to the beach, where they executed him, and killed him thrown down on the ground.[6]

"Those who were in the ships, seeing the misfortune on shore, which the sailors who had gone in the boats related to them, raised up from among them as captain, Carvalhinho, the pilot of the flag-ship, whom all obeyed. He ordered one of the ships, which was very leaky, to be stripped, and set fire to it in the midst of the sea, so that the people on shore should not profit by the iron, and he made captain of the ship of Serrano one Gonzalo Gomez d'Espinosa, who was a relation of the astrologer,[7]who also died with Magellan, and did not divine the evil which befel him.

"The two ships departed thence, running between many islands, and they went to one which had much very fine cinnamon. From this place they went running through many islands to the island of Borneo, where they found in the port many merchant junks from all the parts of Malacca, which made frequent visits to Borneo. Here Carvalhinho sent a present to the king of scarlet cloth, and coloured silks, and other things, with which the king was much pleased, and he did him great honour, and gave him leave and safe conduct to remain on shore for twenty days, for such was their custom to give to new people, the first time that they came to their port, in which they could buy and sell freely as much as they pleased. But the king, knowing how much goods the ships contained, got up a plot to kill them, and take the ships. This treachery was concerted by the king with the Javanese who were in the port in large junks; and for this object the king showed great honour to those who went on shore, and sent refreshments to the ships, and leave to remain in the port as long as they pleased. Carvalhinho became suspicious at this, and ordered good watch to be kept day and night, and did not allow more than one or two men to go ashore. The king perceiving this sent to beg Carvalhinho to send him his son who had brought the present, because his little children who had seen him, were crying to see him. He sent him, very well dressed, with four men, who, on arriving where the king was, were ordered by him to be arrested. When Carvalhinho knew this he raised his moorings, and with armed men went to board a junk which was filled with many people and ready to sail. They entered this junk and plundered much gold and rich stuffs, and captured a son of the King of Luzon, who was captain of the junk and of three others which were in the port, and who had come in them to marry a daughter of this King of Borneo. They found in this junk valuable things of gold and jewellery which he had brought for his wedding; and they found there three girls of extreme beauty, whom Carvalhinho took care of, saying that he would take them to the emperor: at which all rejoiced. But he did not act thus, but slept with them, so that the Castilians were near killing him; but he divided with the Castilians so liberally that they became friends; for he agreed with the bridegroom, that he and his people should escape by night, and for that should give him much wealth of precious stones, and by night they got away by swimming; and Carvalhinho pretended to have been asleep, and woke up complaining of the watch. But the Castilans understood the deceit, and took Carvalhinho and put him in irons, and took from him all he had, and raised up as captain one Juan Bautista, master of the ship, because he understood pilot's work.[8]

"Thence they sailed and went to Maluco, Ternate, and Tidore, where they took to the kings the presents which Magellan had set apart for them. They paid them great honour, and received them hospitably, for they also gave to their ministers; and to the kings they gave an embassage on the part of the emperor, relating to them his magnificences, so that both soon obeyed him, and did homage as vassals for ever; and they established trade and prices for buying and selling, and established factories on shore, and began to collect cloves, and very much was brought to them, because the Castilians gave what they asked, for they had a superfluity of merchandise; thus they became lords of the land. As the ships were much injured, they patched them up a little, the best they could, and hastened to fill both ships with cargo, which they did in one month. When they were about to sail there came to the Castilians a Portuguese, named Juan de la Rosa, who had come to Ternate, saying he was a pilot, and would take them to Castile, upon which they agreed with him to give him fifty quintals of cloves in each ship, because he said he would take them to the island of Banda, which had more riches than Maluco. So the Castilians rejoiced greatly at taking this man back to the emperor, for the greater certainty as to their discovery. This Juan de la Rosa warned the Castilians that they would come from India and seek for them, and kill them all, for this was spoken of in India. To this the Castilians gave much credit, and on that account did him great honour. They settled with the King of Tidore to leave with him a factor with the merchandise, which they had, because many ships would soon come, sent by the emperor; for which reason they should have much cloves collected together. They then set sail, making de la Rosa captain of the ship of Carvalhinho.

"When they were at sea they freed him from his irons, from the need they felt for his navigation, and they went to the island of Banda, where they restored to Carvalhinho his captaincy, and they went to Banda, where they took samples of nutmeg aud mace, as they had nowhere to take in cargo of it. All having been consulted, they set sail to make for the Cape of Good Hope, and navigate thence to Castile, for they did not dare take any other course. Setting sail with this design, they met with hard weather, with which the ship of Carvalhinho put into port, and that of la Rosa continued her course. Carvalhinho put into Maluco, where he discharged half the ship's cargo, and heeled her over, and repaired her as well as possible; this he did in twenty days, and again set to taking in cargo and departing; but he fell ill with the labour, and died on setting sail. They made Gonzalo Gomez d'Espinosa captain of the ship again, and he, by the instructions of Carvalhinho, took a course to search for the river (strait) through which they had come; but when at sea, the ship again took in so much water, that they ran before the wind to beach her on the first land they made, which was in Batochina, where they beached the ship, and saved from her no great quantity of goods. Whilst they were at this juncture D. Gracia Anriques arrived at Maluco, with a ship to take in cloves, which came from Malaca, and learning how these Castilians were there he sent to call them under his safe conduct, that they should all come, because if they did not he would hold them as enemies, and would go at once and fetch them. The Castilians therefore, constrained by fortune, went to where D. Gracia was, like as men who were lost, so that D. Gracia had compassion upon them, and gave them a good reception, and supplied them with necessaries, and having laden his ship, he embarked them all with him, and they were more than thirty, and he took them to Malaca, where Jorge d' Albuquerque was captain, who ordered the factor to give them provisions for their maintenance, and in the monsoon to send them to India, where D. Duarto [de Meneses] was governor. He commanded those who chose to be written down in the rolls for pay, and he forbade the ships of the kingdom to take them, that they might not return to Castile; and in fact all died, only Gonzalo Gomes d'Espinosa passed to Portugal in the year 1525, and he was made a prisoner in Lisbon, and set at liberty by a letter which the empress sent to the king.

"The other ship followed its course, so that la Rosa made the Cape of Good Hope, and while she was going near the land Pero Coresma, who was going to India in a small ship, met her, and spoke her; and he was told she belonged to the emperor, and came from Maluco, and it did not come into his understanding to send her to the bottom, that she might not return to Castile, and the ship entered the watering place of Saldanha, and thence fetched Cape Verde, where they went ashore to get wood and water; there some Portuguese, learning that the ship came from Maluco, took the boat when it came ashore, with twenty Castilians; and as there was no ship in the port they got into a boat to go and capture the ship; but the ship seeing the boat come with armed men, for the arms glittered, weighed and set sail for Cape St. Vincent, and thence entered San Lucar with thirteen men, for now there were no more, and it arrived in the year 1521. From Cape Verde they wrote to the king about the Castilians, who remained there; the king ordered that they should let them go till they died, but never to allow them to embark for any port; and so it was done."

  1. Literally, of cord and knife.
  2. Diogo Barbosa.
  3. Correa seems to have made a mistake here. Quesada helped to make Alvaro de Mezquita, Magellan's relation, and captain of the S. Antonio, a prisoner; but what Correa relates may have been part of the plot and a stratagem of Juan de Carthagena.
  4. His name was Gonzalo Gomes de Spinosa; he returned to Spain.
  5. "Que fizesse grande toa."
  6. The reader will observe that this account of Magellan's death is incorrect.
  7. Andres de San Martin.
  8. Probably the Genoese pilot, whose narrative commences this volume.