EXPERIMENTS AND ACCIDENTS IN NAVAL DIET
No attempt to investigate the sources of naval history, whether these relate to voyages of discovery or to warlike campaigns, can escape the perennial problem of supplying seamen with food and drink when keeping the sea or seeking relief in inhospitable ports. Unless all facts relating to diet are neglected there must be an accumulation of notes concerning victuals altogether out of pro- portion to the space allotted to such vulgar materials in standard histories or professional discussions. Whatever may be the practical or scientific value of such by-products of research, these notes should offer certain elements of human interest, though rather of the naturalistic than the romantic order. At any rate, the much-enduring sea-farers of all ages have taken pains to record their traffics and adventures in search of nutrition, not sparing crude details which compilers have thought beneath the dignity of history and which red-tape administrators and economists have been content to ignore altogether.
From a file of note son problems of diet as election fit to satisfy the curiosity of the general reader and to furnish suggestions for the special student can readily be made. While they can not be made exhaustive and will not attempt to be scientific, they may Provide raw material for those capable of organizing data according to the principles of dietetics and economics. The number of naval officers bound to concern themselves with such matters has been enlarged by the assignment of paymasters to commissary duty, and surgeons will need special knowledge inaccessible to their forerunners if they are to keep pace with the new school of theorists styled dieticians. The Army has also recently en- countered the problem of feeding recruits on the high seas and in tropical countries. Theresultsoftheexperimentsof1898might have been edifying had not the details been held unfit for publication. Of course it must be admitted that dietetic discussion cannot be liberated from all restraints. Modern efforts to emulate the unsavory indiscretions of eighteenth-century English novels can only be excused by actual results in promoting reform in the commercial processes of preserving food. With such reforms this paper has no concern—being, in fact, destitute of any critical or contentious aim—and it is hoped that it can be read without physical discomfort. Thus Smollett is excluded from our list of authorities—though Macaulay made his novels a capital document for the defamation of great seamen who were not of Smollett's century—and the latest revelations from Chicago will also be ignored. Cannibalism, a float or a shore, is naturally a fit subject for exclusion.
On the other hand, various obsolete beverages and their hygienic and disciplinary associations with life at sea will demand more or less consideration. The benefits conferred by modern methods of supplying pure water throughout the longest voyage are now generally recognized—though recognition was long delayed by untimely survivals of the economic instinct--but earlier improvement due to the partial substitution of cheerful beverages for inebriating liquors often no less unwholesome than demoralizing, have been less adequately described.
In general this study relates to primitive conditions and uncommercial and unofficial methods of supply. Neither price-lists nor ration-tables will be set forth in these pages. Yet it may be assumed that the food supply of sailors has always been subject to certain elementary rules. Without attempting scientific or historical accuracy, the essentials may be stated as follows: Supplies must be cheap, that is, abundant where the stock is to be obtained; compact for stowage; fit for keeping; nutritious, wholesome, and palatable enough for the conditions under which they are to be consumed; and comformable to the habits of the class from which recruits are drawn. Some of these requirements are so modern that they are still inadequately recognized in practice, while others have always been observed, at least in theory. Cheapness is the reef upon which most hungry and ill-fed mariners have been cast away. Yet crude methods of curing meat and carelessness in stowing bread have been hardly less destructive. Disregard of the climatic conditions of a voyage and conformity to home habits when these were unsuitable have also slain their thousands. Thus because of the prominence of beef and beer in the traditional diet of England, crews were sickened with sour beer and poisoned with salt beef for many unhappy generations.
If we follow the precedents of simple-minded antiquarianism and begin with the chronicles of classical navigators, Herodotus proves less helpful than might have been expected, considering his insatiable curiosity and his frank domestic detail. Perhaps his voyages were too short to enable him to resume his interest in food before reaching port. His notes on Egyptian diet need little revision to bring them up to date, and he learned from monumental inscription show much the wonders of Egypt cost in onions and radishes. He heard that the Ethiopians despised bread- eaters and attributed their own longevity to an exclusive diet of milk and beef. The Babylonians, on the other hand, had more grain than any nation, and their date-palms yielded some compensation for the lack of figs, grapes, and olives, all of which the. Greeks held to be in dispensable. Herodotus knew the legends of the lotos-eaters and the Ichthyopaphagi, and he had heard that the Scythians stewed the flesh of cattle in paunches or hides hung over a fire of bones.
The Homeric poems deal frankly and respectfully with the desire of eating and drinking which so often overtook their heroes. But their feasts were held ashore where such refreshments as fresh pork and honey-sweet wine were plenty, and we know less about their sea stores than their refreshments. They never cruised far from land, their galleys had little space for stowage, and they could fish when foraging was too hazardous.
Thucydides carries us into the midst of the calculations of a regular commissariat. When the Athenian fleet sailed for Sicily in 415 B. C. a levy of bakers went on board to supply the troops with fresh bread if the voyage was delayed by calms. Nicias also demanded that the sea-route should be guarded so that his store of wheat and parched barley might be replenished during the campaign. Experiments in concentrating food are also recorded by Thucydides. When a galley was racing to Mitylene to countermand an inhuman decree passed by the Athenian assembly, the rowers were supported by rations of meal soaked in wine. A Spartan garrison blockaded on an island at Pylos got temporary relief by stores smuggled across from the main by swimmers tempted by the offer of reward. He lots could win their liberty by successful trips, and ingenious combinations were prepared. A paste of pounded flax-seed and poppy-seed—the latter still in use among confectioners—was blended with honey and packed in skins which were easily towed by a strong swimmer. Both Athenians and Spartans suffered from the necessity of using brackish water during this siege, and the blockaders found them- selves so uncomfortable afloat that their men had to land by watches and take their meals ashore, thus leaving the ships half- manned in the presence of the enemy.
The Greeks cared little for exotic luxuries and strange meats in their best ages, and the rich viands brought over by Persian invaders aroused the contempt of the Spartan warriors. The worthy Xenophon, driest of Greek chroniclers, had to deal with many strange diets in his wanderings. His army foraged wherever it failed to find an open market, and after reaching the Euxine kept three hundred canoes cruising in search of pro- visions. These pillaged the stores of certain thrifty barbarians who had laid up grain, chestnuts, and loaves of bread in vast quantities. They had also stored many great jars full of pickled slices of dolphin and porpoise blubber; these substitutes for meat and oil discouraged the Ten Thousand from carrying out a project to found a pirate kingdom on the shores of the Black Sea. Olive oil was an indispensable luxury among civilized Greeks.
The campaigns of Alexander the Great vastly enlarged the digestive tolerance of Hellenic soldiers, but the naval commander Nearchus, who conducted a fleet from India to Arabia, found the Ichthyopophagi most unsatisfactory caterers. When his starving sailors captured a town they got one meal of barley-cakes and baked tunny-fish, but their demand for a ransom to be paid in grain revealed the fact that there were no sea-stores except dried fish pounded into meal, and that the country yielded no staple but fish. These were caught in huge weirs and nets made of branches and fibres of the palms. Even domestic animals had no other forage, and the mutton was as fishy as the meal. Yet fish-meal has been found edible enough in regions unvisited by Alexander. The Indians at the falls of the Columbia River dried and ground many tons of salmon after each run of the fish, and the neighboring tribes were willing to take it in trade. Lewis and Clark also liked this food, finding it handy for transportation, as it was packed in tight bales of basket work and not apt to decay. Certain South American tribes had to live on a paste of pounded ants, which they tempered with grain or seeds when these could be obtained.
A late and corrupt Greek writer, Athemeus, gathered an unedifying volume of citations from poets and sophists dealing with the delights of gluttony and discussing such vital matters as the filling nature of bean soup and the special flavors of fish and mollusks dressed according to the repulsive recipes of antiquity. The note of nautical life appears, however, in his description of the Samian Laura, a street in the marine quarter of the capital of the pirate kingdom of Polycrates. This resort abounded in temptations for sailors, including stalls for the sale of all the salt and spicy foods which the ancients regarded as provocatives to various forms of intemperance and vicious indulgence.
The Roman and Byzantine Empires contributed little to the progress of maritime discovery and less to the improvement of naval diet. Though the cruising radius of galleys was restricted by the demand of the rowers for food, no reform except cutting down the ration seems to have been attempted. Roman citizens were fed with import-grain to secure the sort of moral order based upon idleness and satiety, as expressed in the imperial maxim panem et circenses. But while war could be relied upon to fill the benches of the galleys with robust barbarians, there was little care for their longevity, and the lash was the regular stimulant. The ration-tables of the last of the galleys disgraced humanity, and the artillery which disabled them did a beneficent work.
The maritime races of the northern seas had a more rugged manliness and individuality enough to guard their dietary rights. The Vikings, for instance, enjoyed a rude profusion of meat and drink a float or a shore. A feature of all their inland raids was the strand-slaying before making sail for departing. All the cattle of the country side, including the horses ridden by the pillagers, were slain and salted down for sea-stores. Ulysses owed part of his, maritime misadventures to an indulgence in strand-slaying in Sicily, while the ancestor of William the Conqueror was driven from Norway for killing cattle in defiance of the prohibition of Harold Fair hair. The long ships of the Vikings had scanty space for provisions or passengers, and it is recorded that Harold Hardrada when chased started his ale-casks and hove his prisoners and his provisions into the sea. A milder device was suggested by an Irish thrall to a thirsty crew of Norsemen bound for Iceland. After they ran short of water it was found that oatmeal kneaded with butter—fresh butter, no doubt—would allay thirst. Besides ale the Vikings seem to have known stronger liquors, mead brewed from honey for one, and the bragging cup which the chiefs drank at high festivals gave rise to many scandalous and superhuman vows.
The rediscovery of the Canary Islands and their occupation as a commercial outpost in 1402 promoted the discovery of the New World in many ways, but chiefly by offering supplies and refreshments for hungry and thirsty mariners bound to the west- ward. Its resources had been left undeveloped by successive raiders and slave-hunters, African or European, and it is probable that the Norman captains, Gadifer and Bethencourt, who sailed ninety years before Columbus, found the same supply of food that Sertorius, noblest of Plutarch's Romans, would have found had he sailed to carry out his project of an island empire fifteen centuries before they attempted the conquest. The staples were simple enough, grain and fruit in Grand Canary, goats flesh and cheese in Fortaventura, where the natives hung their meat to dry unsalted and so filled their stone huts with rank odors and be- came the first of the buccaneers—if that term be used in its natural sense.
Spanish and Portuguese settlers brought various fruits to perfection, and made all the groups of islands in the East Atlantic favorite stations for the refreshment of mariners, the Azores for homeward bound ships or those who lay in wait for them, and the Canaries and the Cape de Verdes for those bound for the West Indies or even for Virginia. The early English navigators always alleged their need of water as an excuse for their unwelcome visits, and they often succeeded in buying a stock of the wines which they thought no less indispensable. Whatever might be denied in trade they were eager to win by fighting, though they were sometimes beaten off by those who had property to defend from pillage. Porto Santo near Madeira was ransomed by one of the Elizabethan captains for eleven hundred hens, a herd of goats, a few casks of wine, and grapes and figs at discretion. Raleigh on his last voyage in 1617 lingered among the Canaries in search of supplies, getting his last comfortable refreshment at Gomera, where he exchanged presents with the governor's English wife. Her gift included, Raleigh tells us, "great loaves of sugar, a basket of lemons, which I much desired to comfort our many sick men, a basket of oranges, a basket of most delicate grapes, and another of pomegranates and figs, which trifles were better welcome to me than a thousand crowns would have been." The next day he got more fruit, fat hens, and loaves of white bread. The usual epidemic accompanied the luckless voyagers on their way to Guiana, but the fruit from Gomera kept Raleigh alive until he could be refreshed by pineapples in the West Indies.
Columbus and his immediate successors showed little healthy curiosity in matters of diet, though they were eager to infer cannibalism from the Carib custom of curing ancestors on the boucans set up to cook their meats. As attempts to form colonies were made the Spaniards grew familiar with the staple foods of the natives, and learned to use some of them as sea-stores. Cassava, the chief farinaceous food of tropical America, makes a serviceable bread still sold in the markets of Cuba, but its preparation requires native labor and skill. The root is generally Poisonous, but the poison can be extracted by grating, squeezing, and washing, and the dried flakes adhere to form a cake when strewn on a hot plate. These cakes keep fairly well at sea, though Montaigne found the sample he tasted in France rather insipid, and the first expeditions to Mexico had to rely upon cassava and bacon, cazabi y tocinos, until they learned how to dress maize and had recruited Mexican women to follow the camp and bake tortillas. These excellent pancakes have to be made from dough made by rubbing soaked corn on a flat stone. Though elastic enough to serve for napkins and trenchers they are savory only when freshly made. In recounting the horrors which followed the defeat of the noche triste, Bernal Diaz does not forget the hardship of eating stale tortillas after the Indian women had deserted.
The conquest of Peru involved much greater hardships by reason of its greater distance from the base of supplies at Panama. The wretched band who remained with Pizarro while Almagro sought relief, gleaned only scanty sustenance from shell-fish and had to fall back on salt and bitter fruit of the interminable mangrove swamps which border the coast north of the equator. The fertile valleys of Peru abounded in corn and beans, cassava and yams, and the native custom of drying all sorts of fruits and roots supplied a variety of portable foods. More over, all sorts of Spanish fruits were soon naturalized in the irrigated gardens, which the native cultivators, hemmed in by the sea and the desert, had to work for the benefit of their conquerors. Those Indians who dwelt in the wet regions of the tropics might always escape that obligation by taking to the jungle, and there the invaders often starved. The grape flourished in Peru and Chile, and the fame of their strong wines and brandies had something to do with the zeal of the buccaneers to capture towns and ships in the South Seas. These thirsty rover soften reveled in the capture of a prize laden with thousands of jars, each of which held seven or eight gallons of strong Pisco wine or raw brandy. These deadly liquors were excluded from Guatemala by Spanish law, but the pirates welcomed such spoil, finding the jars convenient for holding water after the liquor had all been drunk out.
North America had fewer agricultural products outside the tropics, though corn, beans, and squashes grew as far north as Canada wherever there was a settled population. On the other hand, there was no lack of game and fish, and the climate encouraged hunting. Thus Cartier in the Gulf of St. Lawrence loaded his boats with fat sea-birds, picking up guillemots by the ton and salting them for sea-stores. -Upon entering the great river he found stores of food in the long houses of the Indians, corn and beans, smoked fish and eels, all neatly packed in baskets. These Frenchmen found the Indians unwilling to sell their stores and reported them stingy with their victuals. Yet they taught the strangers the rudiments of American cookery—how to bake corn bread between hot stones and how to blend beans, corn, and squash into a savory porridge, since known as succotash.
The New England pilgrims saved the lives of the remnant who survived the first winter by consuming part of a similar hoard of Indian corn and planting the rest according to native husbandry with a fish buried in each hill of corn. The standard of luxury in the second generation of settlers in Massachusetts appears in the list of presents forwarded in the hope of securing the favor of Charles II after the Restoration: besides several thousand choice codfish, there were certain barrels of cranberries and of "extra good samp." Whether the Court liked hominy and the rest of these rustic dainties we are not informed, but Mr. Pepys declared that the Navy could not have put to sea to fight the Dutch hall not the men of New England added a shipload of spars to their bounty. Of course the King disregarded the terms which the Puritans proposed in connection with their gift—a course in which history is bound to justify him—but he might have found a good word for samp and cranberries.
The Spaniards were not tempted to extend their domain to include the land where these were accounted as luxuries. Even in Florida the soldiers complained of hunger and urged that they might be sent to Peru. Melendez reported that he had left stores enough at St. Augustine to give each of them a pound of biscuit per day with occasional rations of meat, oil, and garbanzos.
The Antilles to which the soldiers who had removed the French from Florida for the most part deserted, abounded in luxuries even in their savage state, especially for Spaniards who had an allotment of "good Indians" to pay them tribute in the produce of the land. The means of subsistence having been multiplied by new crops and cattle, the immediate descendants of the conquerors could buy for a real two or three bushels of wheat, eight Spanish fowls, or three turkeys, but by 1557 these prices had increased tenfold and were nearly up to modern standards—the result of partial emancipation, according to conservative opinion.
The first Englishmen in Bermuda landed as castaways, but found food in abundance. They lived mostly on wild hogs—their one dog catching over a thousand—and were able to relieve a famine when they crossed to Virginia in a vessel built and provisioned at the islands. The permanent settlers were no worse off, as they found beans, peas, and pumpkins growing wild, turtles ready to be turned, and silly birds fluttering into their cabins and even into the fire, "with a strange lamentable noise as though they did bemoan us and bid us take, kill, and eat them." The hogs with which the Spaniards had stocked the islands must have grown scarce since Somers and his shipwrecked crew ate so many of them, as intending colonists were warned to avoid famine by bringing barrels of biscuit and of butter, besides vinegar, oil, and
In spite of the advance in prices high living seems to have been the rule in Mexico during the seventeenth century. An English friar out as a missionary to the Philippines about 1630 records the entertainment there provided "for our better encouragement to a second voyage at sea." Besides copious meals abounding in all sorts of fish, flesh, and fowl, sweetmeats—conserves of quinces and the like—were served with biscuits and chocolate at all hours of the day. To account for the appetite and digestion which overcame this profusion, the Spanish doctors put forth a theory of climatic influences, which produced "a fair show but little substance, applying this to meats, fruit, and men." Tempted perhaps by these Mexican feasts and theories Gage abandoned his mission and went to Central America, though the land journey reduced him to the debilitating Indian diet of "crabby lemons, water, and maize powder."
The northern margins of Mexico were regions of hunger for the European wanderer, as Cabeza de Vaca learned during his years of distress among the Indians of Texas. Most of the great company sent out to settle in Florida were slain, drowned, or starved in a series of misadventures, and the survivors were al- ways on the verge of famine. The Texan tribes lived sometimes on fish, and at other seasons killed buffalo or deer, but their hunting involved incessant migration, often to deserts without fuel or water. Even in regions infested by clouds of mosquitoes, wood had to be carried to make smoke to drive them away. The savages were always lean and haggard except during the season of prickly pears. Then they pitched their camps among the cactus thickets and ate and drank incessantly, squeezing the juice from some of the fruits, pounding others into meal, and drying others like figs.
Voyagers crossing the Western Ocean before 1620 followed the Southern track, and many of them, especially the English, called at Dominica for refreshment—a compendious phrase every- thing from a chance to wash clothing and fill water-casks to traffic with the Caribs for fish and fruit. These Indians were never conquered by the Spaniards, and for the sake of political intrigue, the French and English allowed them a nominal independence until 1796. They have been called the first buccaneers, and whether the title refers to their manner of curing meat or to their practice of maritime piracy, they have some claim to it. Foreigners learned to follow suit, however, adopting their canoes and hammocks as well as both forms of buccaneering.
Their boucan or barbecue was a rack or table of sticks under which a slow fire was built to smoke and dry flesh or fish. Though the process was slow they used hardly any other method of cooking meats, and were thus provided with sea-stores. They consumed much fruit and also made cassava bread, which a French-man, sick of Carib diet, declared to be the only clean thing they ever ate. As for fruits, he said, they rather drank than ate them, heating and mashing them to induce fermentation and thus supplying themselves with intoxicants. They were fond of red pepper, of course, and they had a hot sauce made of the poisonous juice of the cassava root and the fat of land-crabs. This mixture they called taumali, and applied indiscriminately to all sorts of viands.
The Spaniards unwittingly promoted the establishment of buccaneers and other interlopers in the West Indies by stocking them with wild cattle. The cessation of gold mining and the destruction of the natives left islands like Hayti and Jamaica, capable of supporting an active population, without the restraints and delays of industrial organization. Thus Cromwell's shattered and sickly army, repulsed from the city of Santo Domingo and forced "to find food without fighting," drifted to Jamaica and founded the tropical empire of Great Britain, while the French colony of Hayti was a growth from the camps of cattle-hunting poachers. The soldiers who were sent a shore to shoot cattle in the woods grew sick or lazy, and after the stock got wild, starved in the midst of plenty. Sailors did better, especially if their ships happened to have dogs, and they could go to the Caymanes for turtle. But only a remnant of the conquerors of Jamaica lived long enough to become acclimated.
Their successors, the buccaneers, at least knew how to cure meat, a simple process in a dry country but less easy in a land of tropical humidity. Beef cut into long strips, lightly rubbed with salt, and dried in the sun will stand a sea voyage with less loss of nutritive elements than corned beef barreled in brine. Therefore tasajo and charqui are still staple exports from Buenos Ayres to Havana, for instance. But the boucan had to be sheltered, and the heat and smoke of a slow fire were employed to cure the superficial layer of the meat. Lean pork cut into long strips half an inch thick, salted, and smoked, was sweeter and more delicate than any other preparation of pork, and was a favorite article for buccaneering voyages. This savory bacon sold for $3 a hundred weight for a while, but the price had doubled by 1700. The flesh of turtle and manati was preserved in the same fashion and these were stewed with garlic by Spanish sailors, who compared the flesh of the manati when fresh to fine veal—a comparison which led an early Italian voyager to declare that the Spaniards were too hungry to notice what they were eating or else they had never tasted veal. Yet the later buccaneers liked manati and consumed great numbers of these sea-cows, which were quite helpless when assailed by the Mosquito Indians whom the pirates employed as strikers. In many of their West Indian "lurking holes" the manati was as important part of their food supply as the turtle.
Voyages to the Antilles or the Spanish Main were only a partial initiation to the privations of the sea as revealed to the intrepid discoverers of the Strait of Magellan and the South Seas. The first to pass the strait seem to have had better fortune than many later voyagers. Pigafetta, the chronicler of the voyage of 1521, tells of finding harbors only a few miles apart along the strait, each of them abounding in wood and water, sardines and shell-fish, and potherbs, sweet and bitter; no better strait any where, thinks the Italian explorer. Yet it is evident that no sea-stores were provided, since Magellan warned his people that he meant to keep them at sea until they had eaten the raw-hide chafing-gear from the yards, a grim threat which was soon verified. Biscuit they had, but it was pulverized by worms and defiled by mice, and it needed some resolution to consume it, though neither sort of vermin was spared after famine set in. Some relief was found in the Philippines, where fowls and pigs, rice and yams, could be obtained by trading with the natives or forcing them to pay tribute to the King of Spain. But privations lasted as long as the voyage, and only eighteen men completed the circumnavigation and got home to Spain.
The second expedition through the straits, that of Loaysa in 1525, was unlucky throughout, and its minor hardships were forgotten in the story of its tragic termination. Yet we find it noted that while the ships lay in a Patagonian harbor before attempting the strait an offer of fifty ducats, calculated as equivalent to a thousand in the spice trade, was made for the last pair of fowls left alive, and the owner refused to sell because the hen still aid fresh eggs of inestimable value for the sick.
Though Drake carried only a single vessel and a remnant of her crew back to England in 158o, his company were never reduced to the misery which Magellan's men had to endure. Yet Drake was notoriously a "bad provider" to the end of his naval career. Setting out for a voyage to the Pacific, his crews had to begin foraging on the African coast and among the Cape de Verde Islands, where they got little but water and wine. South of the
Rio de la Plata they lived mostly on Patagonian diet, seals, "wholesome but not pleasant," dried ostriches from Indian storehouses, and penguins fat as English geese. In the strait 3,000 were taken and salted down on a single islet. But the Golden Hind ran short of stores again before a Chilean settlement could be pillaged, and here the foragers had to fight for their lives. From Valparaiso northward there was no danger of famine, and the ship of gold, the famous Cacafuego, yielded provisions as well as treasure and equipped her captor for a voyage across the Pacific.
Cavendish, who followed Drake's track six years later, had more hazards and adventures to encounter in his search for spoil and supply. He began by seeking infection at Sierra Leone and among the African islands, cruised without reward on the coast of Brazil, and go this first relief in Patagonia. Port Desire in latitude 48° south, was more generous than the tropics, yielding wonderful great store of seals" and an island full of gulls and Puffins. The flesh of young seals was "hardly to be known from lamb or mutton, "and the fowls also were very good. Within the strait the company lived for a month "altogether on mussels, limpets, and birds." They were warned, however, that the change of seasons might cut off such supplies, since they saw—and abandoned to their fate—the last remnant of the colonists sent out to guard the strait and condemned to starve on its inhospitable shores.
One of the Spanish ambassadors at Elizabeth's court had predicted that Englishmen could never trade beyond the strait be- cause they would have to be fully laden with provisions, "considering how these Englishmen eat, "and hence would be unable to carry merchandize. The resources of the strait, scanty as they were, helped to defeat this calculation and in time gave this route a higher reputation than it deserved. Even Captain Cook thought that the refreshment to be obtained in the strait might prevent scurvy, and thus compensate navigators for giving up the obvious nautical advantages of the sailing route via Cape Horn. This opinion related only to passages made during the Antarctic summer, and it failed to convince the merchant marine of any country.
When we consider the economic resources of the Strait of Magellan in detail their importance diminishes. The only fruit worthy of mention is the huckleberry, of which there are many varieties, and the wild celery seems to be the only pot-herb of any value. These are doubtless anti-scorbutics, but their nutritive value is insignificant. Fish are by no means abundant within the strait, and the natives wander from ocean to ocean in search of seals and whales. Sea birds swarm according to season, but the only perennial food supply is that obtained from the shore between high and low water. The Spaniards have a verb, mariscar, for this dreary employment of gathering shell-fish, but Sarmiento's colonists starved as soon as they had exhausted the accessible supply. The infinitesimal oysters which Korean women still gather show the inadequacy of such resources for supplying the needs of seamen.
The voyage which Cavendish attempted in 1591 showed the dangers of sailing for the Pacific at the wrong season and with a short stock of provisions. He sought supplies at Santos in Brazil in January, but through lack of discipline and energy his crew, allowed the natives to hide their stores in the woods, and the ships sailed without provisions. Entering the strait in April, Cavendish encountered intolerable storms and was forced tore turn to Brazil, whence a few of his company got home in distress, having lost their general and most of the crew by scurvy or starvation. He had twice marooned his invalids during this dreadful voyage, and perhaps had little right to complain of mutiny and desertion as he did in his last letters. His consort, commanded by John Davis, the Navigator, wintered in Port Desire from May to August, and then returned to the strait. Upon going into port the crew saved their lives by gathering mussels at an extreme low tide, and smelts were taken with pin hooks. In the strait they salted twenty casks of seals, but the September gales drove them back from the Pacific, and they too returned to Brazil. The master had gone round the world with Cavendish, and he urged the continuance of the voyage in the Pacific, promising a supply of penguins at some island near the strait, wheat, pork, and roots at the island of Santa Maria, and the chance of taking stores in prizes on the coasts of Chile and Peru. Finally he warned his comrades that the attempt to return left them nothing to hope for but death. Obviously the fate of the expedition depended altogether upon the chance of securing supplies, but with hunger arrayed against foresight the desperate counsel was bound to prevail.
Before running out into, the Atlantic, the crew strove to cure penguins enough to avoid starvation. Salt was made at Port Desire, and no less than 14,000 birds were cured before December22. The fare in port included eggs, penguins, young seals, and young gulls, besides an herb they called scurvy-grass—probably wild celery—which they fried with eggs, using train oil instead of butter. They were all sound when they left Patagonia, but Brazil yielded them nothing in the way of sea-stores, not even cassava bread, since the Portuguese ate the roots simply boiled or roasted.
When they sailed from Brazil there was not much left to live on except the unsavory penguins. The original allowance had been five birds for four men daily, with an occasional spoonful of oil or ounce of meal, and at that rate they should have lasted six months. The cutting off of a large for aging party in Brazil and the mortality which soon overtook the rest might have helped out this estimate had not the penguins become infested with worms, horrible vermin an inch long and capable of biting anything except iron. These nibbled at the planks of the ship, bit the sailors, and made sleep impossible. A malignant form of scurvy carried off most of the crew, and Davis was the only man in health when the coast of Ireland was sighted. Here he ran the ship ashore and landed the sixteen wretched men who survived.
After this miserable tale it is a relief to peruse the dietetic notes of Richard Hawkins, who entered the Pacific in 1594, and came to grief in battle off the coast of Peru. He gave much thought to matters of diet and cookery, and arrived at sound modern views in regard to the cause of scurvy. In Brazil he found the cassava flour, farinha de pao, an excellent material for Pancakes; fried in lard, butter, or oil and strewn with sugar these were "meat that our men desired above any that was in the
He bought the thin, hard sheets of cassava bread also, and liked the kind made with chocolate, a sort of Brazilian spice cake. The Portuguese ate the boiled cassava root with molasses, and the Indians had learned to like it so. The English sailors found that it would make a kind of hasty pudding, which they called burgoo. Gannets boiled with pickled pork and thickened with oatmeal made "reasonable pottage," and Hawkins had these birds reserved for the sick. Fur seals lost something of their rank flavor When split, salted, soaked, and pressed, and might then be re-salted and packed in beef barrels for two months' keeping. Young gulls were to Hawkins "the delicatest food I have eaten in all my life." With so cheerful and diligent a caterer the passage of the strait must have lost many of its hardships. The verdict on the fur seal as an article of diet will seem to most who have tasted its flesh some what distorted by official optimism.
The pilot who promised to find food in the Chilean archipelago for Davis and his company was justified by experience. Chiloe, Mocha, and Santa Maria were good supply stations for the products of the temperate zone; wheat, barley, and potatoes in bales ready for shipment might often be brought off by men hungry enough to fight for refreshment. Wild cattle and hogs were to be found on some of these islands, and there was a chance of fowls and fruit.
But of all the Pacific islands none holds so high a place in the annals of sea-faring diet as Juan Fernandez. The earliest account of its resources was given by Dampier, who visited the island as a pirate in 1681 and 1684 and as a privateer in 1704 and 1709; and it is to be regretted that they are best known from the dis- figured version incorporated in Robinson Crusoe by De Foe. The most thorough test of the habitability of this island appears in the narratives of two men who were marooned on the island during the age of the buccaneers. The more famous of these was Alexander Selkirk, but the Mosquito Indian who preceded him showed a higher degree of wood craft and self-reliance. He was one of the hunters for Watling's crew of pirates when he was left ashore by accident with a knife and a gun as his sole equipment. The knife was soon turned into a saw, and the gun-barrel was made to furnish material for a set of spear-heads, fish-hooks, and knives by which he was enabled to kill and utilize all the game and fish which resorted to the island. With hospitable foresight he killed three goats and cooked them with palm cabbage as soon as he sighted English ships in the offing. Spaniards had visited the island during his stay and he had exercised his savage ingenuity in hiding from them, though unlike Crusoe, he did not build a fortress to hide in. Unlike Selkirk he drew most of his sustenance from the sea, but he took his share of all the products of the island, his tribal customs being cheerfully omnivorous.
Selkirk was more amply equipped, as his landing was deliberately planned, and as a civilized man, he was more scrupulous in the matter of diet. He could not eat fish, for instance, without salt, and he was unable to prepare that condiment. But he derived much comfort from the excellent crawfish, and became a bold and skillful hunter of goats, running them down by swiftness of foot on the steep slopes of the hills. While developing his athletic powers he did not neglect study, and completely mastered his epitome of navigation besides giving much time to the Bible. He brought clothes and bedding a shore, and wore linen shirts to the end of his five years of solitude, though he made outer garments of goat skin when he needed them. Shoes he had the good sense to abandon, and his feet were hardened for climbing. For the sake of concealment his lodgings were built in trees, lining them with skins to keep out wind and rain. He had a cooking camp at a reasonable distance from his dwelling, and altogether lived in a decent and wholesome fashion.
With these narratives in his possession De Foe wrote the first novel of adventure. Though he landed his hero on the island of Tobago, he dealt with the climate and products of Juan Fernandez, but without any comprehension of the simple rules of hygiene and diet necessary to preserve life. Crusoe had a year's stock of provisions, bread, rice, and cheese, to say nothing of rum to outlast a generation, even though he could hardly take a stroll without loading himself with flasks. With his surplus tools and stores Crusoe had to work as a shop man to keep them in order, and he seems to have had little relish for any food not prepared for the counter of a baker or grocer. Though he remained a bad carpenter to the end, he became a fair hand at pastry, and head mired the results of his efforts as a tailor. Goats' milk had to be turned into cheese, and wheat baked into bread to satisfy his longing for commonplace superfluities. Even when he resolved to rescue the Spanish crew held captive by the Caribs or other cannibals he kept them waiting until he could raise wheat enough to keep them for a whole year. As for clothing, he defied the climate by wearing complete suits of goat skin, and he lost no time in subduing Friday to his absurd standard of propriety, though he admitted the discomfort of goat skin trousers to the natural man. Turtles, fish, and birds meant nothing to a man so resolute in living the life of a shop-keeper, and no marooned or shipwrecked mariner could ever thrive on the maxims of Robin- son Crusoe.
The capacity of Juan Fernandez for supplying both sea-stores and refreshments was most thoroughly tested in 1720 by Captain Shelvocke, a naval officer employed as a privateer and degenerating toward piracy, who was wrecked on the island with a refractory crew of English sailors. A little bread, beef, and cassava meal was saved, shelters were erected, and there was tolerable comfort at first, at least "in the evening around a great fire, roasting craw-fish in the embers." But the Captain was resolved to build a vessel from the timbers of the wreck, and he had to find stores to enable him to continue his voyage. Goats were now wild; there were too many cats about the camps; but fish and seals were the most abundant articles of food. These had to be rejected as sea-stores on account of the scarcity of salt, and conger eels were caught as the principal stock for the voyage. They could be cured by smoke after being split and lightly salted, and 2300 of them were packed for the voyage. Their average weight was only a pound, and they had to be fried in seal-oil, of which sixty gallons were provided. No cats were taken on board, though some who had been able to stomach their flesh reported that one meal of it gave more "substantial relief" than four or five of fish. During the five months spent on the island, living without bread or salt, there was not a single case of illness, and it is hard to blame the deserters who absconded before Shelvocke put to sea.
The forty men who sailed with their captain were huddled together and forced to lie on the bundles of eels, "with nothing to defend us from their abominable stench," Shelvocke complained. The water supply was scanty and hard to come at; there was only one cooking place; and the men lived in "a continual noise of frying from morning to night" and in perpetual quarrels, "contending for the frying-pan." Though they met and fought a Spanish vessel on the fifth day out from Juan Fernandez, they got no relief until they landed at Iquique three weeks later. In spite of their hungry desperation, their little cannon charged with bolts and pebbles failed to bring the Spanish ship to terms. Finally a vessel of zoo tons was surprised at anchor off Pisco, and they were able to abandon the wretched bark built at Juan Fernandez.
Thereafter foraging along the coast was tolerably successful; corn and beans, dried beef and salt fish, were the staples, but they sometimes blundered upon luxuries, such as fruit, fowls, and eggs. Near Quibo to the westward of Panama they found an island hacienda well stocked with cattle and hogs. After a breakfast of hot cakes and milk they set to work to cure beef in thin strips lightly salted—only five pounds of salt to a hundredweight of meat—and carried off a good supply. Nevertheless they again encountered scarcity, having no stores but beans until the Juan Fernandez eels were recalled to memory. These were brought from the hold and served out to the crew, though they had "lain soaking and rotting in the bilge water" during months of tropical cruising. After this nauseous experience it is not surprising to learn that the crew insisted upon taking prizes after due notice of a treaty of peace between England and Spain or that Shelvocke consented to this piracy, which was rewarded by a twelve month's provision of bread, flour, sugar, and sweet- meats," the latter including marmalades, preserved peaches, grapes, and limes from Peru. The prizes also supplied negroes enough to double the force of the piratical crew.
Among the "great variety of dangers and distresses" which Shelvocke describes, those due to the overladen pinnace and the unsavory eels were not the least memorable. Raleigh had a similar experience in ascending the Orinoco in 1596 with a hundred men in five small boats" and their victuals for a month in the same, being all driven to lie in the rain and weather, in the open air, in the burning sun, and upon the hard boards, and to dress our meat and to carry all manner of furniture in them, where-with they were so pestered and unsavory, that what with the victuals being mostly fish, with the wet clothes of so many men thrust together and the heat of the sun, I will undertake there was never any prison in England that could be found more unsavory and unwholesome, especially to myself, who had for many years been dieted and cared for in a sort far differing." This is too long and breathless a complaint to be coupled with the assurance that not a man was made ill after all, and the personal reference helps to explain why history has at last decided to commemorate Raleigh as a courtier and projector rather than a seaman or an explorer.
The reputation of Juan Fernandez owes more, perhaps, to the classical narrative of Anson's voyage in 1740 than to any other document. Never were ships in a lower stage of hygiene than the Centurion and her consorts in the South Seas. At St. Catherine's island on the coast of Brazil an effort had been made for "correcting the noisome stench on board and destroying the vermin" by landing the crew and scraping, smoking, and scouring with vinegar between decks. Fruit, onions, potatoes, and beef of bad quality were bought for daily use, but no livestock or other stores for the voyage was obtainable. During a ten days' stay at Port St. Julian little use seems to have been made of Patagonian produce, and Cape Horn was rounded too late in the year and under unfavorable conditions for health. The defective charts with which Anson was provided prevented him from seeking relief in the Chilean archipelago, and restricted his choice of a relief station to Juan Fernandez, but it took him al- most two months to make the island after he got clear of the coast of Tierra del Fuego.
When the landfall was made in June only eight seamen out of a crew of nearly 500 were fit for duty, and the officers and their servants—doubtless the best-fed men in the ship—had to work the ship in approaching the anchorage. As soon as the anchor was down a boat was sent ashore to reconnoiter, and this brought off a favorable report and a load of seals and grass. No time was lost in clearing the decks of the surviving victims of scurvy, and some hundreds were soon encamped ashore. Many died during the disembarkation, and the death rate did not fall below half-a-dozen a day for nearly a fortnight. This was disappointing, since immediate results had been expected from their removal from decks which had suffered from the inevitable "great relaxation in the article of cleanliness," to which the clerical chronicler delicately refers.
There was no lack of anti-scorbutic vegetables about the camp; water-cress, purslain, and sorrel grew self-sown; turnips and radishes—which the seamen classed together and used only as greens—had been planted in the clearings and now produced regular crops, though the roots were coarse and stringy. Anson sought to increase the variety of these garden products, "for the accommodation of his countrymen who shall hereafter touch here," by planting seeds and stones, and the peaches mentioned by many voyagers may date from his visit. Doubtless his gardens helped Spaniards as well as Englishmen, however narrow his intention may have been. The goats had grown even scarcer than in Shelvocke's time, dogs having been turned adrift to ex-terminate them to the disadvantage of the buccaneering trade.
The cats had also grown scarce. Anson's men rarely got more than one goat a day, but they could have all the seals and sea- lions they wanted, though they only condescended to eat such flesh when they grew tired of fish. These last were the staple diet, with craw-fish running to eight or nine pounds as a special luxury. One of the last vessels to join the flagship was sighted several weeks before she was able to make the anchorage, and her crew must have perished had not Anson sent boats to assist and supply them with water, fish, and vegetables. As it was, three-fourths of her crew had been committed to the deep before she came to anchor.
The crew of the Wager, which was wrecked on one of the Chilean islands, had to endure even greater hardships than their comrades who reached Juan Fernandez. When the ship struck the spirit-room was broken open, and many drunken men were lost with the ship. Few stores were saved, but with fish bought from roving Indians and shell-fish gathered from the rocks the men who got ashore were able to support life. Discipline could not be maintained, however, and the larger part of the crew made mutinous preparations for a voyage to Brazil. Sailing in October, 1741, they reached Rio de Janeiro in January, having lost fifty out of the company of eighty. Of the twenty who remained with the captain, only four survived to reach a Spanish settlement a year after the shipwreck. This tragic story illustrates the helplessness of men ignorant of the primitive arts of hunting and fishing and reduced to the resources of Patagonia.
By September Commodore Anson was ready to begin his cruise for the destruction of Spanish commerce with two ships, carrying 335 men out of the force of 961 who had sailed from England. The Admiralty's plan of recruiting this force contributed as much to this mortality as the defects of its method of supply. Invalids from Chelsea Hospital and marines, freshly recruited and absolutely untrained, furnished500ofthevictims. For supplying the wants of the squadron two agent-victuallers had been appointed and furnished with trade goods to the value of 115,000 to exchange for provisions. Most of this stock was lost in the Wager, and a quantity of stuff carried round the world had to be sold in England for a fourth of its cost. Yet this trading scheme had been regarded as promising almost as much profit as might be won by attacking the enemy's commerce.
Before leaving Juan Fernandez a large part of the stock of provisions, bread, rice, and groats, had to be condemned, and the only new supply laid in consisted of salt fish, which proved very unwholesome, and a few casks of sea-lion oil. Payta was the next relief station, but only a few hogs and hens were brought off when the town was pillaged and burned in November, 1741, and the failure to find sea-stores was by no means compensated by the seizure of a boatload of silver coins and church plate. At Quibo Anson's men learned to live on tropical products, and green turtle became a staple food for several months. These were readily taken at sea as well as in port, but it required vigorous measures to induce the slaves, negroes and Indians who had been taken from prizes and kept to assist in the ship's work, to accept this kind of rations, though they came to be fond of it before long. Little else could be picked upon the Mexican coast, and the boats had to cruise for turtle even when the ships lay in port.
Many landings were made to find water for the coming cruise, though it was reported that the Manila galleons relied on the heavy rains of the tropics to furnish their supply, husbanding the water by spreading mats to catch it and split bamboo conductors to lead it into jars. One of the Centurion's boats was adrift without supplies for some weeks on the Mexican coast, unable to land on account of the surf and reduced to the last extremity of thirst. Relief was finally obtained by a shower, and their breakers were filled by spreading the sails as awnings and weighting them with bullets to hold the rain water.
In spite of the advice contained in the narratives of his predecessors, the buccaneers, Anson made no effort to recruit at any of the favorite outlying is lands of the eastern Pacific. Puna, Gorgona, and Plata were tropical islands and no better or worse than Quibo, but the Galapagos, Cocos, and Tres Marias had special climatic conditions and products which had attracted many companies of the buccaneers. The Galapagos have a sufficiently uniform climate, as they lie directly on the equator, and a reasonable rainfall, though many who sought water there were unable to fill their casks. The buccaneers must have been more successful, since they often spent months here, and even established provision depots on the islands. In 1684, when Dampier and Cowley were pirates in the South Sea, a stock of 1500 sacks of flour and a quantity of sweetmeats were landed here. The islands were not rich in vegetable products until successive colonies had attempted and abandoned agricultural settlements. In 1892, however, there was a flourishing hacienda on Chatham Island, and Charles Island, then uninhabited, had productive or- chards of tropical fruits and large herds of wild cattle, hogs, and donkeys. The buccaneers sought animal food mostly, and these islands offered them certain special luxuries. Besides the rockfish and green turtle which their boats might catch, they were always sure of plenty of iguanas, most delicate food for those who had outgrown prejudice against lizards, and the giant tortoise from which the group takes its name. These creatures were helpless and easily taken; their flavor was excellent, their weight might run to several hundred pounds, and they could be carried on long voyages without requiring to be cured as sea-stores or fed as live-stock. Birds in great variety—flamingoes were still to be shot a few years ago—haunted the Galapagos, and doves and the like were so tame that they could be picked up by hand.
Cocos Island belongs to the damp region of the tropics and is covered with rank vegetation accordingly. In a state of nature fish and turtle must have been its chief supplies, but pumpkins and pigs were long since naturalized in its woods, and it has always been a convenient watering place. The group of the Tres Marias had a more arid climate of the Mexican type and was not recommended for watering. Seals, turtle, fish and birds were at hand, and the Mosquito Indian strikers kept the ships of the buccaneers supplied with fresh food. Water and sea-stores had to be brought from the main, and expeditions to the haciendas lying far inland were hazardous, and many lives were lost in the search for corn and beef. Consequently most of the rovers who crossed the Pacific ran short of provisions before reaching the Ladrones.
Before considering the hardships of this passage it may be well to compare the experience of Commodore Porter in the Essex in1813withthatofhisfore-runners. His outward voyage some- what resembles that of Anson, since he tried to obtain supplies at St. Catherine's and found the Brazilian prices extortionate. These were mitigated by warning all boats away from the ship unless they would give in exchange for a dollar one turkey, or three fowls, or nine watermelons. Sailing without any considerable addition to his stock, Porter found his supply for the Cape Horn voyage to include 21,763 pounds of bread, 184 barrels of beef, 114 barrels of pork, and 1,741 gallons of spirits. This meant diminished rations, and the crew of the Essex accepted a two-thirds' allowance of beef and pork—"six upon four," in old sea-faring speech—but offered a self-denying protest when their grog suffered the like retrenchment. Porter felt that he could not permit them to refuse their rum, since a sudden privation" would cause sickness and dejection among them," and he saved the situation by giving notice that grog would be served as usual and the tub up set fifteen minutes later. Having only 201 gallons of vinegar, he resolved to disregard the old custom and add it to the ration instead of expending it in fumigating and scrubbing the ship. Having learned from Cook to distrust the fat of salt meat, he forbade the frying of hard bread in slush from the galley.
With these precautions the crew recovered from the dysentery contracted in Brazil and rounded Cape Horn without much loss of life. One man died to illustrate the fact that the methods of recruiting were still those of the eighteenth century; he was sixty- five years old and suffering from a chronic disease of the lungs, but he was carried to sea to die because he was a handy man for tending the live-stock. As the ship's rats and a number of Brazilian monkeys were devoured during the run, it may be assumed that there were few cattle on board. Upon arriving in the Pacific, Porter had to consider where relief might be found. He had resolved to avoid towns in order to keep his movements secret, and he was thus cut off from the ordinary commercial methods of supply, his plan being to replenish his stores from prizes taken at sea.
His first landing was made at the island of Mocha, a favorite provision ground in the sixteenth century, where his whole company landed to shoot wild cattle. An officer had the misfortune to shoot one of the seamen, and the expedition was far from being profitable. Hogs and horses were shot, however, and we are assured that the latter furnished the better meat. Foraging Without organization was found to be both hazardous and unproductive.
During her successful search for British whalers the Essex made the Galapagos her principal supply station. The prizes were well-stocked with sea-stores, but the special products of the islands were indispensable. The boats could bring in a daily harvest of green turtle—loggerheads being altogether despised— and excellent fish, while the volcanic rocks swarmed with iguanas in masses covering whole half-acres, and the huge tortoises were by no means rare. Captain John Macy of Nantucket had posted a notice that he had recently carried off 250 "turpen," and the English prizes yielded 800 to the Essex. One ship threw over- board fifty, which were readily picked up afloat. There was never any difficulty in capturing these monsters, as they were mild in temper and quite helpless when turned. At James Island the Essex took fourteen tons of them for sea-stores, but found them inferior to those previously consumed, belonging to a different species,—a fact which Darwin noted from Porter's journal as confirming the surprising variability of species in this group of islands by which he was led to adopt the theory of evolution after an examination of his own collections in the Galapagos. At its best the flesh of the great tortoise was a delicate food; "the finest green turtle is no more to be compared with them than the coarsest beef to the finest veal," Porter assures us, while the fat is superior to the best olive oil.
The Essex stowed her tortoises in the hold—after a few days' fasting—and it was supposed that they would keep for eighteen months without food or water. Another destroyer of commerce who followed Porter into the Pacific in 1815,the Irish adventurer whom the Argentines commemorate as the Almirante Brown, sailed in his own ship to attack Guayaquil and went to the Galapagos in a state of destitution after his attack failed. Abingdon Island yielded him seventy tortoises, and their average weight was about 150 pounds. With this supply he sailed for the Atlantic and killed his last tortoise off Cape Horn. A casual relief from an English vessel enabled him to reach the West Indies.
At Tumbez on the South American coast the Essex got a scanty store of beef and liquor, but no regular allowance of liquor could be issued until two puncheons of Jamaica rum were found in an English prize. Whether because the rum was excessively strong or because the long season of enforced sobriety had weakened the men's heads some scores of them had to go drunk to their hammocks after the first issue of grog.
A run to the Marquesas Islands brought the mother opportunities for indulgence of a more romantic nature. The Essex found a harbor at Nukahiva, an abundant supply of water, plenty of bread-fruit, bananas, and cocoa-nuts, and so many hogs that no salt provisions were consumed for several months. Like Magellan, except that he had better fortune, Porter joined in tribal warfare and levied tribute of provisions from both enemies and allies, and he annexed islands like an Elizabethan privateer, or at least proclaimed a protectorate. His political zeal left no permanent result, but it would be interesting to learn the fate of the tortoises from the Galapagos which were turned loose to stock the Marquesas. The Essex sailed for the South American coast with her decks full of hogs and a supply of cocoa-nuts and copra, which the natives recommended as food, leaving a garrison to hold the little fort amidst the" demoralizing pleasures" of Nukahiva. The future of this little company was hardly less tragic than that of those who sailed in the Essex, though decidedly less glorious.
Returning to inquire into the commissariat of the buccaneers who under took the voyage across the Pacific, it appears that the Cygnet in which Dampier sailed in 1684 had less than a pint of corn for each man's daily ration, and served only one meal a day, consisting of eight or ten spoonsful of hasty pudding. This must have been made as a thin gruel, since it is stated that many went without drinking for ten days or longer while on this diet. Naturally there was much grumbling in sailing 7.300 miles, and cannibalism was under discussion before they arrived at Guam. Dampier tells us that he grew very lean but was otherwise benefited in health. Captain Eaton's crew were less fortunate in crossing from Gorgona to Guam, "no man being free from scurvy and most of us in a consuming condition," Cowley reports. Woodes Rogers in 1710 had to reduce rations, but there was little hunger and less disease after this reduction. Shelvockein1721 had, as always, evil fortune; he chose to account for the digestive troubles which afflicted his people by attributing them to "the quantities of sweetmeats they were continually devouring, together with the dried beef half-devoured with ants, cockroaches, and other vermin, which was their daily ration." This bill of fare shows that they got their stores from a Spanish prize, the unwholesome sweetmeat being probably guava paste or marmalade. The captain had no control over the issue of provisions, and the sweetmeats had been distributed as prize goods along with the wine and brandy taken by piracy.
Shelvocke had been distracted over the liquor supply ever since he sailed from England and parted company with his consort at the mouth of the Channel. Captain Clipper ton neglected to take his share of the stock of liquors, and his crew were hardly to be persuaded to continue the voyage "without wine or brandy to keep up their spirits in that uncomfortable navigation" toward the Antarctic. The Speedwell, Shelvocke's ship, was crank with her excessive lading of casks, and carried sail badly. The Success got to Juan Fernandez ahead of her consort and landed her sick to restore them to health; "but the very thought of being Without any cordial to comfort them dejected them excessively," so that all hands "were continually cursing Captain Shelvocke for running away with their liquors." A few months later they got a prize with 400 jars of wine and brandy on board, a most welcome refreshment.
Out of Shelvocke's superabundance no liquor was saved for the castaways of Juan Fernandez. While living on the rank flesh of seals, Shelvocke complains, "no food ever required a dram to digest it more than this, but we had not the least drop of any- thing spirituous."
Clipperton seems to have been reduced to like extremity, though when he lay at Cocos Island he opened his last cask of brandy and served out a daily dram. There was also a gallon of strong beer for each mess on New Year's Day, and thus with plenty o f nourishing food and much ease, the crew recovered strength to take in Wood and water. The captain must have had a private stock, Since his future misfortunes were attributed to excessive drinking; "he was hardly ever quite cool or sober." At Guam in May, 1721, he had received a present of fresh provisions, palm wine, Chocolate, and brandy, he tried to extort a ransom for a 'distinguished Spaniard whom he had captured at sea, by threatening to demolish the houses, burn the shipping, and do all the mischief he could in the Philippine Islands," though aware that peace had been concluded between England and Spain. The batteries opened fire, and the Success grounded in trying to escape from the harbor; the action lasted two days, and Captain Clipperton was so over come with liquor "that the officers put a Mr. Cook in command, the first mate having been already slain. The ship got to sea at last, and terminated her voyage in Amoy, the crew enforcing the distribution of the spoil and making the best of their way to England. Poor Clipperton died a week after landing in Ireland, of "a broken heart," according to the simple diagnosis of the age, but perhaps his sea-stock of liquors had its influence.
The buccaneers and privateers who resorted to Guam did not always find the Spanish authorities intractable. Dampier and Cowley were plain pirates, yet they report a reasonable traffic in provisionsandsometracesofofficialcourtesyabout1685. Hogs were so abundant that the Cygnet's crew salted down fifty after along revel in fresh pork. Bread-fruit was roasted daily and sent off with boat-loads of melons and cocoa-nuts. The captain got pickled mangoes and fish, besides rusk, rice, young pigs for roasting, and Manila tobacco, for which he paid with powder and shot, giving an astrolabe, a telescope, and a high-bred English dog as presents. But the governor took pains to warn the Manila galleon away from the island before his guests were aware of her approach. Captain Eaton had a similar traffic, and the authorities tried to secure his help in killing the natives, who happened to be in rebellion at that time. Woodes Rogers, with whom Dampier sailed as pilot in 1710, got supplies at Guam, in a more plentiful manner and at a cheaper rate" than he had anticipated. The records of the island are said to show that the governor, Don Juan Antonio Pimental, was called to account for trading with the enemy, but cleared himself by showing that this traffic had enabled him to secure the restoration of the church-plate carried off from Guayaquil by Rogers and his oddly assorted company, which included Alexander Selkirk and Dr. Dover of the powders, as well as Dampier. Clipperton found a less complaisant governor; and Shelvocke ran through the Ladrones without attempting to relieve the sufferings of his wretched crew, making Macao his first port of call in the Far East.
Anson had only one ship left when he made his landfall in the Ladrones in August, 1742, and most of his people were again stricken with scurvy. He thought it unsafe to visit Guam with a helpless crew and therefore sought relief at Tinian, an island without any permanent inhabitants. By showing Spanish colors the Centurion decoyed the master of a Spanish coaster on board, and received most comforting information concerning the re- sources of Tinian:" There were an incredible number of cattle, hogs, and poultry running wild on the island, all of them excellent in their kind; the woods produced sweet and sour oranges, lemons, limes, and cocoa-nuts." Bread-fruit was also abundant and even water was promised. The chaplain's descriptive powers responded to these attractions, and he has much to write of the "elegant and entertaining prospects" afforded by the lawns and groves of this island," so exquisitely furnished With the conveniences of life, and so well adapted, not only to the subsistence, but also to the enjoyment of mankind." While admitting the lack of running water as impairing the park-like perfection of the views, and the inconvenient existence of flies, mosquitoes, and ticks, he insists upon the salubrity of the air and its power of "invigorating our appetite and digestion."
The sick were landed with much difficulty, twenty-one of them dying in the act, but the rest made a quick recovery and were able to be about in a week or so. The abundance of acid fruits doubtless contributed to this improvement, but the rest of the dietary regime seems appalling to those familiar with recent opinions concerning the regime for invalids in the tropics. But the chaplain assures us that the daily "beef breakfast" and the feasts which followed it, though "prodigious in quantity," caused neither repletion nor indigestion. Officers who had been spare and temperate eaters here suffered a sea-change, and "instead of one reasonable flesh-meal, they were now scarce satisfied with three." There was no wine or brandy in the camp, so the working: parties had to content themselves with the milk of cocoanuts which kept them "very cool and orderly." Obviously sailors were seem tractable when liquor was out of the way, but it does not to have been argued that the deprivation favored the restoration of their health.
Anson's people found the resources of Tinian adequate to the maintenance of this scale of diet to the end of their two months' stay. No less than 10,000 cattle were feeding in the meadows, milk-white kine with black ears, for the most part, and these could be run down and captured even by over-fed Englishmen. Fowls were easily picked up, since they could only rise for one short flight. Hogs had to be hunted with dogs or shot. Yet with all this profusion, sea-stores were not at hand, as Anson convinced himself when the Centurion was driven from the anchorage and was not sighted for seventeen days. To find means for escaping from the island he had to refit a Spanish bark of forty tons, paying her bottom with a mixture of lime and tallow and raising her bulwarks for an ocean voyage. But the chief problem was to find her in stores. Tinian yielded no substitute for bread, there was no salt for curing beef and pork; the supply of jerked-beef captured was very scanty, and the only plan available required a raid on an island where rice was abundant. The reappearance of the ship prevented any attempt to test the value of these expedients, and the Commodore sailed for the coast of China, relying on his old stock of English provisions, after taking in fifty tons of water and stripping the groves of Tinian of all their oranges.
In 1765 Commodore Byron, who had failed to visit Tinian only because he was wrecked in the Wager, took another squadron round the world, passing through the Strait of Magellan and visiting the Ladrones. Though the squadron had touched at other islands no refreshments except cocoanuts had been brought off, and the ships were full of cases of scurvy, the Commodore himself being afflicted, before they sighted Tinian. With Anson's narrative as a guide the landing must have been cheerfully planned. The actual conditions were less agreeable; the rains were "violent and almost perpetual and the heat intense; "the camp was "infested by mosquitoes in the night and by flies in the day, "to say nothing of ants, centipedes, and scorpions. The lawns of the chaplain's landscape were covered with reeds and saw-grass taller than men and alive with insects. But the bitterest comparison related to supplies. The water in the Centurion's wells was brackish as well as wormy. A hunting party got one bullock after three days and nights of toil and misery and saw the meat become flyblown and otherwise intolerable long before they could drag the carcass to the camp. Poultry went wrong an hour after killing. Pork was the only serviceable flesh, but the hogs could not be taken until a negro of the company devised a system of snaring them.
It must be noted that, while Anson reached the island a little later in the season than Byron, the stay of both navigators included the month of September. The contradictions in their narratives must owe something to the literary instinct of the earlier chronicler and something to the critical temper of the later. Perhaps there was also some obscure personal hostility between the successive commanders. Byron, otherwise known as "Foul-Weather Jack," was ever at odds with the elements, and his famous grandson inherited a strange temperament.
All the archipelagos inhabited by tribes of the Malay stock seem to have been supplied with poultry and hogs before they were discovered by Europeans. The methods by which the progenitors of this live-stock were transported to the remoter groups of the Pacific in praus or out-rigger canoes would be interesting if they were not pre-historic and therefore in accessible. Pigs and poultry were found in some of the most savage islands by the Spanish explorers of the sixteenth century, by Mendana in Santa Cruz and the New
Hebrides, as well as in Tahiti arid the Marquesas, and by Quiros in other islands. The latter founds his argument for colonies in the South Seas upon the expectation of sea-stores, lard and hams, vinegar and spices. There were roots which could be roasted to serve as bread, while beans and pumpkins would flourish, and scarcity of fish or fruit was unknown.
Captain Wallis, who visited Tahiti in the course of his voyage of circumnavigation (1766-1768), found it easy to buy fruit, fowls, and hogs to heal his crew of scurvy. Before a market could be
Opened the chiefs claimed a gift, but they were satisfied with hatchets and mirrors, and the stores were bought with nails and spikes. Unfortunately the market was disturbed and the standard of values upset by a "singular traffic" between the native women and the sailors. Not only did the price of hogs advance until a spike bought less than a nail had done at first, but the ship ran the risk of becoming unseaworthy by the drawing of her fastenings for the more licentious form of trade. A general restriction of liberty, and the flogging of such nail-thieves as could be detected, failed to restore discipline, while commercial honesty declined to the point of substituting strips of lead for the nails and spikes which were demanded by unlicensed bargainers.
The many explorers have commended Tahitian cookery, of which method was essentially that of the clam-bake. After heating the stone pavement of a cooking-pit, the fire was raked out, and a layer of palm-leaves was spread over the stones. Upon this the meats were spread, wrapped in plantain leaves, and packed in alternate layers of hot stones and embers. Small pigs were roasted whole, hogs in two packages. The heaped pit was thatched with palm-leaves and sealed with a layer of earth. The result, after a proper interval, was most appetizing, the meats being "extremely tender and full of gravy." It was carved with shell-knives or strips of bamboo, and served with a bowl of salt water and a liberal supply of fruit for each guest. A meal might include, according to Cook's narrative, two or three fish as big as a perch, three roasted bread-fruit, a dozen or more large bananas, and a quart or so of the custard made of bread-fruit and bananas crushed in a bowl with the milk of the cocoanut. Pigs were roasted for state occasions only, and foreigners as well as natives regarded their flesh as delicate food. They were fed on fruit and cocoanuts only, and could not be carried to sea in the explorers' ships, as they refused to eat the food offered them.
The dietetic adventures of voyagers in the North Pacific must be passed over more briefly than those of navigators in the South Sea. Animal food was abundant as far north as Bering Strait, though the supply varied with the season, and much skill might be required to support life. High powers of digestion were also needed by the native customs of devouring food raw—even such tough morsels as the flipper of a seal—and soaking everything in grease of rank flavor. These are the Eskimo fashions, while the Indians further south are more addicted to cookery, using hot stones for cooking in water-tight baskets blending the flavor of successive viands there by. The fat of the candle-fish is one of the milder forms of concentrated food prepared in the north, and little crab-apples pickled in this oil are one of the few attempts to preserve a vegetable food. Cook found the bales of smoked sardines sold by the Indians of Vancouver Island desirable for sea- stores. In all these latitudes he dosed his ship's company with roots and herbs brewed into a compound which he called spruce- beer. In Unalaska he traded tobacco for dried salmon and sent his men ashore to pick berries. The big and helpless creature known as Steller's sea-cow was already scarce when Cook cruised in Bering Sea and soon became extinct under the pursuit of Russian explorers and their native purveyors. An animal of sluggish habits and savory flesh has little chance in the struggle for existence. Seals are, perhaps, the chief staple of the northern supply, but no amount of fresh animal food enabled the Russians to avoid scurvy. Bering, the ablest of their explorers, died of that disease on the island that bears his name. A special danger of Alaskan waters is due to the fact that the mussels, the most accessible and not the least savory of shell-fish, are periodically apt to be poisonous, as the Russian cruisers learned under heavy penalties.
In the Philippines and the Indian Archipelago diet was subject to commercial conditions even in early days, and such staple articles as rice and sago, pigs and poultry offered few adventures in the way of diet. The ubiquitous Chinese trader had tricks of his own ate very period. At Canton he loaded the ducks that Anson bought alive with ten ounces of gravel, and increased the weight of pigs by several pounds of water after a preliminary course of salt food and the adjustment of a surgical appliance. Magellan annexed Cebu to the Spanish crown and then made war on the natives because they failed to pay taxes in food-products. Cavendish got a generous supply by trade or gift from Capul and conceived that the natives paid tribute for the sake of becoming British subjects, and annexation was proclaimed accordingly. The gifts bestowed on his company in Java would have justified the annexation of the whole Indian Archipelago by the same line of reasoning.
The voyage of Captain Bligh from Tahiti to Timor in the open boat into which he and the loyal portion of his crew were thrust by the mutineers in 1788, was a remarkable undertaking. With a stock of provisions sufficient for five days at the regular allowance they were able to sail 3,600 miles in forty-seven days. This voyage was accomplished by rigid economy in the issue of provisions and diligence in searching for them along the barren shores of northern Australia. A landing at Tofoa near Tahiti Faye the natives a chance to stone the castaways and added nothing to their supply. The stock for nineteen men consisted of 150 Pounds of bread, 20 pounds of pork, 28 gallons of water, 3 bottles of wine, and 5 quarts of rum. The spirits doubtless proved of great value under the circumstances, though the strain of guarding them must have been incessant.
The regular cruising allowance for each meal, breakfast at 8 A.M., supper at sunset, was one twenty-fifth of a pound of bread and a quarter of a pint of water, with the occasional addition of an ounce of pork or a teaspoonful of rum. When a bird was caught it was dissected, and the portions were issued by lot— names being called by a man who could not see the corresponding portion. The first landing on an islet off the Australian coast was made a month after leaving Tofoa. With oysters from the rocks and a little pork and bread a stew was made, and a pint and a half of this pottage, sometimes varied by the addition of
wild beans or palm cabbage, was the usual allowance ashore. Water was also found, and certain berries proved edible; there was a botanist in the company and his opinion concerning the nature of fruits and plants was much in demand. After spending several days inside the barrier reef and making a number of landings, the coast was quitted, and the course shaped for Timor. Oysters and clams were used to supply the place of pork, and the sick were stimulated by a few drops of wine after a night's exposure. The ten days spent in crossing from Australia to Timor reduced the boat's crew to the last stage of weakness, but the Dutch settlement at Coupang was reached without loss of life, and the sufferers were kindly relieved.
Bligh deserved credit for his success in controlling the distribution of provisions and for his skill as a navigator. Before crediting him with humane zeal for preserving the lives of his companions, we have to consider not only the stories of oppressive conduct and provocation for the mutiny, but also the fact that he was in haste to get home in order that a frigate might be sent to arrest the mutineers and bring them to punishment, and that his zeal was rewarded with partial success, though one of the mid- shipmen whom he had condemned as a mutineer lived to become post-captain in the British navy, while other rebels escaped to found the famous colony on Pitcairn Island, with the aid of a contingent from Tahiti. Bligh himself rose to high naval rank, but never attained popularity among those subject to his orders. Thus in 1808, when governor of Botany Bay, he was placed under arrest by officers who should have been his subordinates and actually held in confinement for two years before he was sent to England for the trial which resulted in his vindication. The trouble began over the governor's efforts to restrain the importation of liquor, and this seems to connect the two experiences of mutiny led by officers and due in part to oppressive interference with the habits and comforts of those placed under his orders. Any tendency toward domestic or economic oppression must have been confirmed by the terrible trials of the voyage in the Bounty's boat.
Navigators bound for Europe generally shaped their course for the Cape of Good Hope from the Indian Archipelago without at- tempting to refresh in any port of the Asiatic continent or the islands of the Indian Ocean. European ships so me times made unwilling acquaintance with other shores by shipwreck or marooning. Thus in 1601 a French squadron seeking trade in India was wrecked on one of the reefs of the Maldive group, and Pyrard de Laval was enabled to give a full account of the resources of these islands. Many fruits, roots, and grains were cultivated, though rice had to be imported from India. The smallest silver coin would buy a generous supply of provisions: 500 bananas, 400 cocoa-nuts, 300 pounds of yams, 100 large fish, or a dozen fowls, this system of equivalents being common in Oriental markets. Naturally the inhabitants of an archipelago of a tolls and lagoons drew their chief aliment from the sea, and vast quantities of fish were dried or smoked for export after boiling them in salt water. The natives enjoyed a varied and delicate diet, and drinks were compounded by sweetening the milk of the cocoanut and making it hot with red pepper.
After sailing half way round the world as a pirate Dampier grew tired of the company and left the Cygnet at the Nicobar Islands. While a shore the marooned English men lived on melory, a sort of bread made from beaten bread-fruit. A loaf of this with a bowl of toddy or palm-wine served very well for a morning repast, and the bread answered for sea-stores when they concluded to cross to Sumatra. As this voyage had to be accomplished in an out-rigger canoe only a slender stock could be carried; cocoanuts and bamboos held a supply of water, but neither men nor provisions could be kept dry during the gales encountered.
When seamen of English blood established regular traffic in the proceeds of piracy between the Indian Ocean and New York before and after 1700, Madagascar became a piratical naval station of some importance. The pirates went there to water and careen their ships; they found herds of cattle on the island, and from cattle-hunting they naturally turned to slave-trading, finding the population numerous and unwarlike. Piratical kingdoms grew out of this traffic, but, though celebrated in legend, these predatory principalities were short-lived and shabby, for all their profusion in cattle and negroes and the treasure stolen from the ships of the Great Mogul.
The Cape of Good Hope was a Portuguese supply station be- fore the Dutch made it a flourishing colony, producing European fruits and grains of excellent quality. The Dutchship in which Dampier escaped from Bencoolen in 1691, had her crew prostrated by disease which was attributed to the badness of their water when they reached the Cape. The water had been taken from a tropical swamp, and the casks were stowed among the pepper in the hold so that the water was kept hot by the fermentation and was most obviously unfit for drinking. Living on shore and with abundance of fresh provisions soon restored most of them to health.
St. Helena became a station for supply and refreshment long before it had any permanent inhabitants. When Cavendish touched there in 1588 he found a chapel and a range of sheds and kitchens for the accommodation of sailors landed for refreshment. Lancaster found conditions unchanged six years later, except that an insane Portuguese was found in the chapel. Yet both got abundant supplies, and Cavendish describes valleys planted as orchards with lemons and dates, figs and pomegranates; "and in every void place is planted parsley, sorrel, basil, fennel, anise-seed, mustard-seed, radishes, and many very good herbs,"—many of them doubtless self-sown about the camps. The mountains swarmed with pheasants, partridges, and guinea fowl. Thousands of goats, some of them "as big as an ass, "roamed the hills along with "great store of swine which are very wild and fat." The Portuguese having planted the island for the benefit of their sailors," suffer none to inhabit there that might eat up the produce of the island." The relief was necessary, no doubt, because the ships were" meanly victualled at their coming from the Indies, where there groweth but little corn," though they were "thoroughly furnished with corn when they set out from Portugal." Cavendish spent three weeks in taking advantage of the resources of St. Helena, with much benefit to his crew.
Ascension Island, with a smaller variety of vegetables, excelled St. Helena in its supply of turtle. These were readily taken during half the year, and their eggs were also gathered for food. Springs at high level make watering most convenient, and the hills afford pasturage for large herds of goats—and for the sheep and cattle which have supplanted them,—and the shore abounds with fish. HereDampierspentfiveweeksin1701withthecrew of the Roebuck, a Queen's ship and the first vessel which he had commanded after she had foundered at sea. Ascension offered them " plenty of good turtle by their tents and water for the fetching."
This shipwreck was not the worst or the last of Dampier's ad- ventures, but he wrote no narrative of his later circumnavigations, realizing, perhaps, that not even the literary art which taught Swift and De Foe how to narrate could redeem the discredit of his failures in command. Nor could the dietetic reminiscences of his piratical cruises been equalled by those of voyages in regularly supplied and commissioned vessels, even if advancing years and persistence in hard drinking had not impaired the keenness and courage which made him the greatest of dietetic chroniclers—though there are great names in the list of his rivals. Of the extent of his wanderings the preceding pages may give an idea, while the range of his vicissitudes in diet can be illustrated by numerous examples. Thus after leaving Juan Fernandez on a piratical cruise which lasted until the only ration was five green plantains a day for six men, a prize gave them a whole cargo of provisions, including flour, sugar, and thirty tons of the inevitable marmalade, to say nothing of such comforts as wine and brandy. Dampier's early volumes are true epics of digestion. Youth and hunger often make men acquainted with strange meats, but this wanderer carried a cheerful and courageous curiosity into many a savage hut and grimy kitchen, and knew whether he liked what was set before him. His immediate reward was an intrepid eclectic habit unsurpassed in the annals of navigation and a discriminating taste in the comparison of viands. He was critical rather than greedy, and would have refused the label which Swift found current in polite company: "I am a fool; I like anything that is good."
The logwood-cutters of Campeche, among whom Dampier learned his trade of piracy, taught him also the craft of foraging in a savage or hostile country. They may also have been responsible for initiating him to the career of hard drinking. No ship could open trade for their logwood until a bowl of punch had been set on the cabin table, and bargaining might be long post- poned if the liquor proved attractive. The profit anticipated al- lowed shipmasters to be generous—for the sake of trade—and the Baymen were not above paying roundly for liquor. Any seaman that went ashore could have pork and peas, or beef and dough boys, and rum till the caskran dry. A float the living was less pleasant. Dampier's ship sailed only two barrrels of un- salable beef on her return to Jamaica, her captain having neglected to provide other food, and the ship had to touch at the Alacranes for seals and fowls. The beef was consumed by cut- ting it into bits and mixing them with flour, the product being a most unsavory hodge-podge or spoon-victuals.
After this hungry voyage Dampier preferred to live with the logwood-cutters and to work as an axe man or a forager, though as one "whose genius led him rather to fish than to hunt," he soon gave up shooting cattle. The Spaniards had stocked the wilderness with these, and wild game was also plentiful; besides the peccary and the opossum," that we call pig, and I think it eats as well," the lagoons abounded with turtle, manati, and fish of various sorts, the tarpon being especially commended, though Dampier "never knew any taken with hook and line." There were land crabs, black and white, the blacks "fat and full of eggs and accounted the better meat, though both sorts are very good." The armadillo was very good eating; some thought the anaconda worth while; "I myself have tried it for curiosity, but cannot commend it." The alligator was too musky to be agreeable, though it was eaten in case of necessity. The crocodile, or what Dampier named thus, was savory meat. While cruising to capture supplies, Dampier grew familiar with the diet and drink of the Mexicans, with tortillas and a certain beverage made by stirring the ground corn in water and leaving it to ferment, when it had a sharp and pleasant flavor. It was improved by keeping and by the addition of honey. The ordinary drink for toilers and travellers was an unstrained mixture of the meal of parched corn with water.
When embarked as a buccaneer, Dampier had occasion to en- large his dietary by the products of many latitudes. Fruit of all kinds he wisely enjoyed, not rejecting either prickly pears or durians, though these "send forth a most excellent scent, "which to prejudiced nostrils recalled roast onions—or something worse. Alligator pears or avocados might be" mixt with sugar and lime juice and beaten in a plate," or served with salt and a roasted plantain, and were excellent either way. The guava "bakes as well as a pear, and it may be coddled, and it makes good pies," to say nothing of the familiar jelly. For bananas and plantains, he has many recipes, some of which might reward the attention of those who have to be aplateanado by the staple product of the Philippines: green plantains roasted and dressed with salt, pep- per-sauce, and lime-juice, are very savory; a roasted plantain and a ripe banana can be eaten sandwiched like bread and butter; mashed in a lump and boiled in a bag, sailors liked them for a pudding, "which they call a buff-jacket;" they can be made into tarts, dried like figs, or pounded into flour. Roasted ripe bananas squeezed up in a calabash of water make a pleasant drink, somewhat like the "lambs-wool" made with apples and ale in England. When Dampier first went to Mindanao they gave him a fermented drink of mashed bananas, and he "could relish no other drink they had there. It drinks brisk and cool and is very pleasant." These are not the theories of a man anxious to exploit a tropical estate or to defend a colonial policy but the notes of a sailor who had eaten his way around the world with a good appetite.
Dampier was not tempted to neglect the resources of the animal kingdom, but remained confidently omnivorous in every cli- mate. Flamingos' tongues made a dish "fit for a prince's table;" iguanas were much esteemed for making broth for sick privateers; the fat of the tortoise of the Galapagos served to butter their dumplings and dough-boys. It was pleasant to serve green turtle and tortoise on alternate days, yet when beef came to hand after a long course of these luxuries the buccaneers were apt to fight over its distribution, as they did over most good things. On the other side of the Pacific the cocoanut fed hogs of Guam were
much approved, "most excellent meat, the best that ever I did eat, "Dampier declares. In Mindanao the buccaneers shot wild hogs by special request to protect the gardens, but found their social relations with the best Moro families temporarily interrupted because they ate the pork. After that they ate venison mostly, often killing sixteen or eighteen deer in a day. Dampier notes with admiration the dexterity of the Moros in taking advantage of the agglutinative properties of boiled rice in conveying it to the mouth.
After marooning Captain Swan among the Moros, the buccaneers cruised to the northward and visited the Bashi Islands at the northern extremity of the Philippine Archipelago. On these wind-swept islands the rank vegetation of the tropics does not flourish; their hill pastures are pleasant to the eye, and they now abound in cattle. Two hundred years ago goats and hogs were to be had, though fowls were few in number. Plantains, pumpkins and yams grew in the sheltered gardens, and sugar-cane was also planted. The natives were good-natured savages, fishers rather than hunters, and they rarely killed the goats—though they begged the offal of such as the English shot and cooked unsavory messes of fish in the uncleaned paunches. They caught locusts in hand-nets, a quart at a sweep, and parched them until they turned red and succulent. Perhaps Dampier thought them, like dried shrimps, but a hungry sort of food."
The buccaneers named the group of islands from the native beverage, though a drink called bashi is in general use in many other islands. The northern variety owed its flavor to the addition of certain berries to the usual brew of cane-juice, and when drawn from the lees after three or four days it was not unlike English beer and was accounted a wholesome beverage by those who drank it copiously, and even by those who were often drunk with it. But Dampier has a good word for most liquors, even for those of the deadly sam-shu type of China, of which he avers that, "seamen grow fat by soaking this liquor."
His interest in liquors is too universal and his verdicts too lenient to leave much doubt as to his habits, particularly if the record of his unfortunate naval career be taken into account. The beverage brewed from pine-apples by the Mosquito Indians was not unknown to him, nor was palm toddy unacceptable. The spirit distilled from the fermented sap of the palm was esteemed as making "most delicate punch, but it must have a dash of brandy to hearten it." Lime-juice, now the standard preventive of scurvy, was then known chiefly as an ingredient of punch, the foundation of the conviviality of the eighteenth century. Punch had its influence at more than one crisis of Dampier's sea-faring life. He and his comrades reaped a rich harvest from the wrecks of the fleet which the Comte d'Estrees led to destruction on the reefs of the Isle of Ayes. Here they had casks of wine and brandy in their tents and lived "as merrily as if they had gone to Jamaica with thirty pounds in their pockets," and thought scorn of the man-of-wars' men who wanted food as well as drink. Yet when the crew of the Cygnet got arrack and honey in Mindanao, he records that they grew so disorderly and quarrelsome that he made up his mind to leave them at the first opportunity; "for I did ever abhor drunkenness."
Still he retained a simple taste for harmless beverages that somewhat mitigates his alcoholic offenses. He thought the milk at its best, its briskest and sweetest, when the cocoa-nut was almost ripe. He had a critical taste in cocoa and chocolate, and he gratefully remembers the Chinese tea-houses of Malacca, where a stiver bought a dish of tea and a little porringer of sugar-candy or other sweetmeat—a simple refreshment which Europe could not have offered at the price until long after 1700. When Dampier was a captain in the navy he went out of his way to get verdona, "a green, strong-bodied wine, harsher and sharper than Canary," because it would keep better in the tropics. He would not have echoed the opinion of Woodes Rogers, with whom he made his last voyage, who took more pains to increase his slender stock of liquors than he did to prevent them from sailing meanly clad, for "good liquor to sailors is preferable to clothing."
Dampier can hardly have been a manifest drunkard when he got a naval command on the strength of his literary success, or when he kissed Queen Anne's hand before sailing again as a privateer. Nor can he have exceeded the bounds of discreet conviviality when he dined with Mr. Pepys and Mr. Evelyn—no better company for a modest dinner in all England—and won the approval for better manners than might have been expected from a buccaneer. Dampier bought lemons and oranges for his crew, as well as a stock of strong waters, which he was careful to serve out whenever the watch got wet, though he found the men too apt to turn into their hammocks as soon as they had swallowed the dram without shifting into dry clothing, a practice which obviously caused a bad smell and probably promoted scurvy.
The hygienic practices recommended by Dampier at the close of the seventeenth century do not represent any advance beyond those which were put forth by Sir Richard Hawkins as the result of his observations during the Elizabethan war with Spain. As with all captains who sailed the South Seas, the prevention of scurvy was Sir Richard's chief concern. He had no hesitation in blaming bad liquor, sour beer and the like, as the cause of frequent infection. He was accustomed to give his men a morning meal "at discharge of the watch," bread accompanied by a drink of beer or wine mingled with water; "the morning draught should be ever of the best and choicest of that in the ship." It must be remembered that he had no milder beverage to begin the day with; neither tea, coffee, nor chocolate being in use among Englishmen of that age. Woodes Rogers in 1710, after clearing ship to fight the Manila galleon off Cape St. Lucas, "ordered a large kettle of chocolate to be made for our ship's company, having no spirituous liquors to give them. Then we went to prayers; and before we had concluded, were disturbed by the enemy's firing at us." Dampier was present at these ceremonies, but we do not learn whether he performed similar rites before engaging the galleon which beat off his privateers in 1704.
Sir Richard Hawkins did not rely altogether upon the morning draught to keep his men in health, since he had some faith in drugs, "Dr. Stevens, his water," and "the oil of vitry." In fact, dilute sulphuric acid, two drops with water and sugar, may have been a rational prescription. But the sour oranges he also recommends doubtless furnish a better acid. Clean clothes and a clean ship, well scrubbed with vinegar and smoked with tar, are also good. But after all, "the air of the land" is the best remedy; "The oftener a man can have his people to land, not hindering his voyage, the better it is, and the profitablest course to refresh them." In diet his doctrine was equally sound; he warned seamen "to feed upon as few salt meats as may be, and especially to shun salt fish." Nor would he have food dressed nor clothes washed in salt water.
No Elizabethan seaman could afford to neglect these topics. Hawkins estimates the loss of men from scurvy in the navy of his generation as no less than io,000, doubtless kept within the limits of a fair estimate. Drake, who was notoriously a careless purveyor, lost a fourth part of his force of 2300 men in the West Indian voyage of 1585, while the cruise of 1589, "a miserable action" in all respects, cost him nearly half of the soldiers and sailors embarked, a sacrifice of perhaps not less than 6000 lives. Many of these died from the results of excessive drinking in the wine-cellars of Coruna. An attempt to repeat Elizabethan exploits at Cadiz under the incompetent management of favorites at the court of the Stuarts led to even more calamitous revels, followed by great mortality. Sir Edward Cecil was a veteran soldier, but he could find no better excuse for his failure than this "if any man can tell me where an army hath been kept in any order where wine was, I will profess my ignorance."
Even more deadly to the seaman of that day than the strong wines of Spain was the feminine thrift of the sovereign, who regarded every cruise as a commercial speculation and sought to risk as little as possible by restricting the supply of provisions. For mere "actions of honor" or attempts to destroy the military power and prestige of the enemy she was neither generous nor appreciative. Even with the Armada in the Channel, it was hard for her admirals to find money to buy beef and beer for daily rations; while the purchase of "extraordinary kinds of victuals," such as wine, cider, sugar, oil and fresh fish, for the benefit of the sick was held unlawful, and the cost ruthlessly exacted from the grumbling Lord Admiral. Nor were the sailors who manned the privateering fleet any better provided than those who served the Queen. In fact the condemned or surplus stores of the royal navy were worked off on the merchantmen and privateers by restraining the butchers of London from selling meat to ships while any useless stock remained unsold in the naval depots.
The true methods of reforming naval diet date from the latter part of the eighteenth century, and the chief agent and advocate of a rational and humane system was James Cook, who began his sea-faring life in a Newcastle collier and closed it on the shore of Hawaii in 1779 as a captain in the royal navy. His intense feeling concerning questions of diet appears in the fervent phrases of his narrative; thus the hardships of an Antarctic cruise were "compensated by the singular felicity we enjoyed of extracting an inexhaustible supply of fresh water from an ocean covered With ice." He believed that the art of man or the bounty of nature had provided in every part of the world "some sort of refreshment or other, either in the animal or vegetable way," and he strove to compel his people to reap the benefit of every opportunity for refreshing themselves accordingly. Incidentally he had to employ his authority—his example was never lacking—to promote the consumption of so many plants not hitherto accounted as edible. Though Cook died in the faith that his zeal had made many unwilling converts, we learn from the journals of some of his officers that not every stomach could accept his decoctions, some of which are frankly labelled nauseous. Spruce-beer was never a favorite beverage, and it would appear that in search for cordials and simples some actual hazards may have been encountered.
Not all of Captain Cook's suggestions have been rendered obsolete by scientific progress and commercial enterprise. He regards both sugar and sauerkraut as wholesome food with an antiscorbutic tendency. Portable broth to be boiled with oatmeal for breakfast and with vegetables for dinner, was one of his favorite articles of concentrated food. The rankness and bitterness of wild greens would be subdued by this treatment, and he appears to have been one of those who prefer to make farinaceous foods savory rather than sweet. The American notion of blending lard and sugar with flour to make pies and cakes, contrary to the practice of the thrifty southern races who flourish on pilaffs, risottos and macaronis, is plainly an unwholesome as well as an expensive heresy, especially where it is accompanied by meats served in masses instead of being made to furnish savory soups and extracts for making flour and grains more nutritious and attractive. Lime-juice Cook believed in as an antidote to scurvy, but he left it in the hands of the surgeon while he undertook to find food which should render the surgeon's task a light one. Instead of "the rob of lemon or orange," as Cook called it, Nordenskiold used the juice of a northern berry, the cloud-berry, he names it, judiciously blended with a daily dram, and he carried a stock of ripe potatoes sealed in barrels of molasses. Thanks to these precautions, he was able to accomplish the circumnavigation of Asia without suffering the disgrace of having his crew harassed by scurvy.
There have been reformers in the field since Cook's day, and there will be room for successive generations of improvers of naval diet as long as man follows the sea. Just now the problem seems to be to secure an honest correspondence between the contents of tins and the labels they bear. The time may come when an effort will be required to liberate naval seamen from the vanity and artifice of an elaborate imitation of the bills of fare of a fourth-rate American hotel as well as from a slavish dependence on the staple products of the packers. In either case Cook's lessons are not exhausted until an equal attention is bestowed Upon both sea-stores and refreshments, or until the natural productions of every region accessible to shipping are used under natural conditions in preference to preserved foods, whether these are stale and unwholesome or simply monotonous and expensive. But most reforms in the diet of sea-farers will be developments of the ideas of the man who invented wholesome methods in the eighteenth century and reversed the ponderous verdict of Doctor Johnson, who declared that a man-of-war was less fit for habitation than a penitentiary, because the latter offered "better air, better food, and better company." Captain Cook was aware that if he could remove two-thirds of that reproach time would redeem the rest.