A MUTINY AMONG THE CREWS.
ASSASSINATION OF MENDOZA.
The stern Admiral did not for a moment hesitate as to the course to pursue. He was satisfied of two things: first, that the action of the mutinous captains was caused by personal jealousy; second, that the sailors, most of whom were Portuguese or Italians, were warmly devoted to himself and would show the fact were an opportunity given. He went into his cabin, assembled a few trusted friends and stated his plan. It was warmly endorsed; then he called for volunteers for desperate service. The Spaniards hung back, but the Portuguese and Italian sailors came forward with alacrity and volunteered for any duty he might require.
Carvalho was slow of speech. He began the delivery of the Admiral's message to Mendoza in a low tone, and from what he said it was supposed that Magellan was ready and willing to resign in favor of Cartagena. The rebel captains looked at each other in triumph. "But," said Carvalho, "his Excellency bade me whisper this in your ear," and at this moment, glancing rapidly around, and seeing that his
EXECUTION OF THE CONSPIRATORS.
On the same day a court-martial was called to try the mutineers, and without a dissenting voice the punishment was death. Quesada was at once decapitated, and, according to the barbarous practice of the time, his body was quartered, and the severed limbs hung on the vessel he had commanded. The case of Cartagena presented more difficulty. Mendoza and Quesada had been appointed by Magellan himself, but Cartagena was selected by the Emperor, and could not, therefore, be dealt with as unceremoniously as they had been. Reluctant to put to death one whom the Emperor had honored, and still more indisposed to take with him a man who had proven unworthy of confidence, Magellan solved the difficulty by ordering Cartagena and the little priest whose advice and suggestions had done much to forward the mischief, to be set on shore, and at once the squadron set sail from a spot of so evil omen.
But misfortunes seldom come singly, and the revolt which was near being the ruin of the expedition was speedily followed by the loss of the Santiago, which was wrecked on the iron-bound coast. Unfortunate as this was it might have been worse, for the crew were all saved, as well as much material and a large share of the stores. The men were distributed among other vessels, most of the Spaniards going on the San Antonio, and the squadron crept cautiously from headland to headland, carefully searching every inlet and bay for the long expected passage. Many days were passed in this apparently profitless undertaking, and again complaints began to arise among the men, but finally, on St. Ursula's Day, October 21, 1520, a bold headland appeared in view to the south-west, and in honor of the feast was named the Cape of Eleven Thousand Virgins. Off to the south was another cape, and between the two a narrow passage with walls of almost perpendicular rock. A most forbidding prospect it was, and calculated to daunt the heart of the
HURRAH! AFLOAT ON THE GREAT SOUTH SEA.
Now surely his troubles were at an end, the Moluccas could not be far away. A few days sail over a sea so beautifully placid that he called it the Pacific, and the tropical isles would be seen rising in the offing, he would let fall the anchor in some well-known port of the East Indies and his fame would be secure as the first man who had reached the east by way of the west. The wrinkles of care were smoothed out of his brow, he could afford to make merry with his men, for the end of the long uncertain voyage seemed at hand. Merrily the songs of the light-hearted sailors rang out over a sea as blue as their own Mediterranean; cheerfully the petty officers joked with each other and with the men as the necessary duties of the squadron were performed. On their mirth there was but one cloud, the uncertain fate of the San Antonio. Had she been dashed to pieces on the coast as had the Santiago? Were her crew now captives among the cannibal giants? Or had she, by fatal chance, got into the Sea of Demons and been drawn beneath the waves by the hand of Satan? But it was useless to bemoan her fate till her loss was certainly known, and after all, she may have returned to the bay in the strait too late to sail with the squadron; may there have found the Admiral's orders in the cairn built before sailing and might rejoin the fleet in a few days. So on to the Moluccas, and let the San Antonio take care of herself. The prows cleft the waters as the vessels sped west before a steady breeze, and every eye was strained ahead to be the first to catch sight of the coveted islands.
STARVATION STALKS THE DECKS.
A week passes. The Moluccas are further than we thought. A month. How great the world is, but we must by this time be almost at the end. To-morrow we shall see the green islands just ahead. Five weeks. Will the voyage never cease? Has this ocean no end? Six weeks. The provisions are getting low. The cooks report the stock alarmingly short. Seven weeks. All hands are put on famine rations, a handful of bread and mouthful of water. Eight weeks. The biscuits are all gone. Even the crumbs are now precious; the barrels are swept and the dirty leavings at the bottoms are weighed and doled out with stingy hand. And still the ocean is as boundless as before. Nine weeks. Starvation fastens its skeleton fingers on the crews, and daily the captains report to the Admiral the number of those who died of hunger and thirst. Nine weeks and a half. The cry is raised, "land ahead," and the sick are lifted by
AMONG THE SOUTH-SEA ISLANDERS.
Strange people they find on the cluster of islands to which their course had been directed; tall, athletic men, with long hair and beards, Albanian caps, papyrus cloth about their loins, and armed with spears and arrows tipped with the teeth of sharks. Very friendly the islanders proved to the famine-stricken Spaniards; brought food in abundance, and helped them set up on shore the tents and booths for the sick. With an abundance of good food, the scurvy-stricken were soon well again, deriving more strength from the palm wine than from the fish, yams, cocoanuts, bananas and other dainties which they purchased from the islanders. For it should be understood that to the natives of most Pacific islands the palm is their chief reliance, both for food, drink and clothing. Of its wood and leaves they construct their houses, its fibre constitutes their clothing, the shell of the cocoanut gives them a drinking vessel, the milk is pleasant when fresh, and when fermented a strong and nourishing intoxicant, while the meat of the nut is their staple article of food. All these uses they taught to the Spaniards, who ascertaining the value of the nuts took a large quantity aboard as provision during the remainder of the voyage, purchasing also fowls, pigs, goats and dried fish to provide against a recurrence of the famine.
A FIGHT WITH THE ISLANDERS.
But in this hospitable land trouble broke out again. The Indians had entertained hopes that the Spaniards intended to remain among them, but ascertaining that they were soon to leave, determined to profit as far as possible by them, and began a systematic course of thieving. Nothing was safe, for the natives swarmed about the ships and tents, and laid hands on every article, large or small, that was for a moment left unguarded. They were cunning thieves, and their toes were as light as their fingers, for when a knife, for instance, was left lying on the ground, an Indian would stand on it, covering it with his foot; waiting till he was unobserved, he would lift the knife, grasping it with his toes, until within reach of his hand, when by a quick movement, he would conceal it under his arm, in his cap, or under his waist-clout. Precautions against the natives were useless; they would hide their stealings in their mouths, in their beards and hair, often make off with half a dozen articles of value about their person. They were finally forbidden to enter the camp or come into the ships, whereupon they became angry, and on more than one occasion stoned the sailors. The Admiral gave them notice that repetitious of such acts would be punished, but they laughed at his warning, and on the following day a couple of clever rogues swam out to the flag-ship and in broad daylight stole the ship's skiff. This was too much. Arming a number of men, Magellan went on shore, proceeded to the nearest village and demanded the return of the boat. The villagers came out, but instead of complying with his request laughed at the demand and began an attack on the Spanish force. It was easily repulsed, the village was stormed and burned, seven of the islanders were killed and others were wounded, the boat was recovered, and in disgust with such incorrigible rogues Magellan sailed away and called the islands the Ladrones, or the Thieves' Islands.
All was now comparatively plain sailing, for the ocean was left behind, and Magellan's squadron was in the midst of the Eastern Archipelago. Islands were on every hand; sandy islands, mere strips of beach saved from the fury of the waves, volcanic islands lifting mountainous heads hundreds of feet above the sea, atolls, or circular islands, the rims of volcanoes, which the coral insects had built up as the surface of the earth slowly sank, and thus had reared a mighty structure, a circular tower of stone, twelve or fifteen hundred feet from the bottom of the sea, still carefully preserving the lagoon in the centre -- he could not sail in any direction without finding an island.
HOSPITALITIES OF THE KING AND QUEEN.
Still to the west he steered, and on March 16, 1521, reached Samar, among the Philippines. He was now directly north of the Moluccas, though unaware of their proximity, but nevertheless he knew that he had accomplished the end proposed, that his fame was secure as the first navigator who had reached the east by way of the west. Aware, therefore, that his work was practically done, he addressed himself to the task of making conquests for his master. Thenceforth he took possession of every island he visited in
Emboldened by his splendid success, he determined that this should be but the beginning of his conquests; that as Columbus had added a world to Spain, so would he; nor would he stop till all the islands which surrounded him on every hand should admit his authority. A man of resolute purpose and prompt action, to conceive was to carry into execution. He persuaded the King of Sebu that as he was now a Christian all the neighboring islands ought to be subject to him, and offered to help him conquer them. The proposition was favorably considered by the King, who, although conversion to Christianity had not induced him to dispense with his idols in spite of the remonstrances of Magellan, evidently thought himself enough of a Christian to govern the neighboring islands if they could be conquered. The Admiral had little confidence in the religious professions of the dusky monarch, but thinking he might be used as a convenient tool, determined to undertake the task of subjugating the surrounding islands and conciliating them under one rule.
A BATTLE WITH THE NATIVES.
Messengers were therefore sent to the island of Matan, which was in sight, requiring its king to submit and pay tribute to Magellan and the King of Sebu, who had formerly been his vassal. He refused, whereupon Magellan entered at once upon an intended career of conquest by arming sixty of his men, and with a large force of friendly Indians proceeded to Matan to make an attack. Confident of the superiority of his men and arms, he requested his savage allies to remain in their canoes and witness with what ease the Spaniards could overcome an enemy. The water was shallow, and the boats were compelled to remain two bow shots from the shore. Magellan with forty-two Spaniards landed about three hours before daylight, and sent messengers to the people of Matan, desiring that they reconsider their refusal to submit, otherwise they should learn how Spanish lances and bullets could wound. A fierce reply came back, and as soon as day broke the Spaniards beheld a strange spectacle. As far as the eye could reach up the beach, from the seashore to the jungle of the interior, a solid mass of footmen presented itself to their gaze! A forest of lances waved as the savage warriors danced and shouted, and ere the battle began the air was filled with flying arrows and javelins.
HORRIBLE BUT HEROIC DEATH OF MAGELLAN.
Singing, dancing and shouting, waving their shields and feathery banners in the air, the savages advanced to the attack, two thousand five hundred strong. Like a wave of the sea they rolled upon and around the little group of Spaniards on the beach. Bravely the whites resisted; they fired again and again, but their powder was bad, and the balls did not penetrate the shields of dry hide. Finding themselves unhurt even after repeated discharges of the Spanish firearms, the Indians, grown bolder, fell on the Spaniards with lance, arrow and club. Armor was no protection, for the Indians perceiving they could not wound the bodies of their
TREACHERY OF THE ISLANDERS.
Magellan's panic-stricken companions fled to their boats, leaving eight of their number and four friendly Indians dead in the water. Escaping to their ships, they at once suspended all intercourse with the shore, fearing lest the influence of the battle on the people of Sebu should be unfavorable. They had good reason for this precaution. Twenty-four hours had not elapsed before Magellan's slave, an East Indian whom he had brought with him from a previous voyage to the east, a man who had acted as his interpreter, deserting to Sebu informed the King that the Spaniards meant to subjugate his people. The natives of Sebu took the alarm, made peace with the Matan islanders, and both joined their forces against the Spaniards. The latter, without a leader, without a plan, were greatly at a loss, but understanding the necessity of discipline and leadership, they elected Duarte Barbosa admiral in place of Magellan, and Juan Serrano as captain of the flag-ship. The incompetence of the new commanders was the next day made apparent. Invited by the King of Sebu to a banquet, they went with twenty-four men to attend the festivities. Less than an hour after they had landed, the people on the ships heard a great commotion, followed by sounds of lamentation on the beach. Apprehending that their companions were in danger, they drew the ships closely to the shore and fired with carronades at the village; but scarcely had the bombardment begun when they beheld Serrano distracted and led to the shore a prisoner in the hands of the Indians. Loudly he begged them to discontinue firing, assuring them that further hostilities would result in his own destruction. The men on the ships called to know what had become of his companions and Serrano answered that, save the interpreter, they were all dead. Loudly he prayed to be ransomed, for the Indians had detained him in the hope that with a vast sum the surviving Spaniards would reward his captors; but in vain. The sailors were afraid to go themselves on shore, and declined to trust the Indians to approach the ship, and although Serrano prayed God to witness that his blood was on their heads, they made sail at once, stood out to sea, and left the unfortunate man to his fate. Thus thirty-two men were lost in two days, and there being not enough left to man the three ships, it was decided to burn the Concepcion after placing her stores and men in the Trinidad and Victoria, and thus the flotilla was reduced to two.
STORIES OF INCONCEIVABLE WEALTH.
Away sailed the fleet again, from island to island, everywhere finding something new. Believing all they heard, and hearing far more than they saw, the Spaniards found that part of the world full of wonders. In the pages of their narratives they recorded stories of clove-trees fed on dead bodies, of cinnamon produced by magic from human bones; of nutmegs dug up from caves of the sea; of savages with ears so large that they slept on one and used the other for a coverlet; of cities, the houses of which were of gold; of islands where diamonds were so common that they were in nowise esteemed; of nations, the men of which grew young again every century; of kings so terrible that their subjects could not stand the sight of their eyes, but fell dead at the glance of majesty; of
islands where turtles were larger than ships, of others where there were talking birds. They visited Borneo, where they were well received, great honor being shown them by the King, and finally, after twenty-six months and twenty-eight days, arrived at the Moluccas, where they heard the unwelcome intelligence that a Portuguese fleet of seven war-ships had sailed from Europe a year before for the purpose of apprehending them. The Portuguese considered this part of the earth their own peculiar possessions, on account of the explorations of Vasco da Gama more than twenty years before. Directly they learned that Magellan had sailed west for the purpose, of reaching the East Indies, they fitted out a fleet of men-of-war, and started it the other way, expecting that if he should escape the dangers of the unknown seas, they would be able to capture him and his vessels immediately on their arrival in the east.
FEAR AND FAMINE DO DREADFUL EXECUTION.
The unhappy men of Magellan's fleet were panic-stricken on learning this intelligence and hastened to depart, not knowing when the Portuguese fleet might arrive. As it proved, there was no reason for their apprehension, for the hostile squadron was detained at Aden; but the Spaniards in ignorance of this fact made all possible haste to depart. To add to their embarrassment, the Trinidad sprung a leak which in spite of every effort made by the crew and by native assistants whose skill in diving was brought into
THE SURVIVORS ARE WELCOMED BACK TO SPAIN.
Monday, September 8, 1522, was another great day in Seville, for in the morning a storm-battered ship came to anchor near the mole, and eighteen ragged, famished wretches, so strange that their own friends did not know them, staggered from its deck into waiting boats and were received by friendly hands. One shattered, leaky vessel was all that remained of the magnificent fleet which three years before sailed from Seville to compass the earth. But they had done it and all honor was their due. Again the cannon thundered from the Alcazar; again the bells rang in the steeples; the astounding groups filled the streets; evergreen arches were reared in the squares; organs pealed in the churches, choirs sang Te Deums for those who had come back from the dead. But in the groups there was one who did not cheer as the procession of haggard sailors marched up the street from the wharf to the cathedral. This was the elegant Don Juan Cartagena, and at sight of him the sailors for the first time learned what had become of the San Antonio. It was explained to them that after leaving Magellan in the strait, the San Antonio had deserted the expedition, returned to Port St. Julian, taken up Don Juan and his priest, gone back to Spain and reported Magellan lost. But when the tine story of the desertion got abroad, Don Juan, to escape the anger of his compatriots, left the country and the only gloomy face was withdrawn from the astounding multitudes, and all Spain went wild over the eighteen heroes who had sailed around the world.
Since his time thousands have followed in Magellan's track, but high on the historical roll of honor will ever stand the name of the gallant admiral who perished in his undertaking, and of the eighteen who lived to tell of his triumph and bring back news of his death.