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mortar that it was a long work to make any impression in it, to come to mine at all, so that the blowing up took sixteen or eighteen days." Even today the relics of the Iron Fort present an air of bygone power and the rusty cannon still lying by the embrasures bring back vividly the days of the buccaneers.

Inheriting the greatness and prosperity of Nombre de Dios, Porto Bello inherited also its unpleasant prominence as a target for the sea rover. French filibusters and British buccaneers raided it at their fancy while the black Cimmaroons of the mainland lay in wait for caravans entering or leaving its gates. To describe, or even to enumerate all the raids upon the town would be wearisome to the reader. Most savage, however, of the pests that attacked the place was Sir Henry Morgan, the English buccaneer, whose ex


come or go from Spain; by reason of the unhealthiness of the air, occasioned by certain vapors that exhale from the mountains. Notwithstanding their chief warehouses are at Porto Bello, howbeit their habitations be all the year long at Panama; whence they bring the plate upon mules at such times as the fair begins, and when the ships, belonging to the Company of Negroes, arrive here to sell slaves."

Morgan's expedition consisted of nine ships and about 460 men, nearly all English-too small a force to venture against such a stronghold. But the intrepid commander would listen to no opposition. His ships he anchored near Manzanillo Island where now stands Colon. Thence by small boats he con



ploits are so fully and admiringly related by Esquemeling that we may follow his narrative, both of the sack of Porto Bello, and the later destruction of the Castle of San Lorenzo.

It was in 1668 that Morgan made his first attack upon Porto Bello. "Here,' "Here," wrote Esquemeling, "are the castles, almost inexpugnable, that defend the city, being situated at the entry of the port; so that no ship or boat can pass without permission. The garrison consists of three hundred soldiers, and the town is constantly inhabited by four hundred families, more or less. The merchants dwell not here, but only reside for awhile, when the galleons

veyed all save a few of his men to a point near the landward side of the town, for he feared to attack by sea because of the great strength of the forts. Having taken the Castle of Triana he resolved to shock and horrify the inhabitants of the town. by a deed of cold-blooded and wholesale murder, and accordingly drove all the defenders into a single part of the castle and with a great charge of gunpowder demolished it and them together. If horrified, the Spaniards were not terrified, but continued bravely the defense of the works they still held. For a time the issue of the battle looked dark for Morgan, when to his callous and brutal mind



there OCcurred an idea worthy

of him alone. Let us follow Esquemel

ing's narrative again: "To this effect, there

fore, he ordered ten or twelve ladders to be made, in all possible haste, broad that


three or four

men at once might ascend them. These being finished, he commanded all the religious men and women whom he had taken prisoners to fix them against the walls of the castle. Thus much he had before hand threatened the governor to perform, in case he delivered not the castle. But his answer was: 'He would never surrender himself alive'. Captain Morgan was much persuaded that the governor would not employ his utmost forces, seeing religious women and ecclesiastical persons exposed in the front of the soldiers to the greatest dangers. Thus the ladders, as I have said, were put into the hands of religious persons of both sexes; and these were forced at the head of the companies, to raise and apply them to the walls. But Captain Morgan was deceived in his judgment of this design. For the governor, who acted like a brave and courageous soldier, refused not, in performance of his duty, to use his utmost endeavors to endeavors to destroy whosoever came near the walls.

religious men and women ceased not to cry unto him and beg of him by all the Saints of Heaven he would deliver the castle, and hereby spare both his and their own lives. But nothing could prevail with the obstinacy and fierceness that had possessed the governor's mind. Thus many of the religious men and nuns were killed before they could fix the ladders. Which at last being done, though with great loss of the said religious people, the pirates mounted them in great numbers, and with no less valour; having fireballs in their hands and earthen pots full of powder. All which things, being now at the top of the walls, they kindled and cast in among the Spaniards.

"This effort of the pirates was very great, insomuch as the Spaniards could no longer resist nor defend the castle, which was now entered. Hereupon they all threw down their arms, and craved quarter for their lives. Only the governor of the city would admit or crave no mercy; but rather killed many of the pirates with his own hands, and not a few of his own soldiers because they did not stand to their And although the pirates asked him if he








have been found 50 determined men they could have retaken. the city and killed all the pirates. Less than fifty miles away was Panama with a heavy garrison and a thousand or more citizens capable of bearing arms. Its governor must have known that the success of the raid on Porto Bello would but arouse the English lust for a sack of his richer town. But instead of seizing the opportunity to crush them when they were sodden and stupefied by debauchery he sent puerile messages asking to be informed with what manner of weapons they could have overcome such strong defenses. Morgan naturally replied with an insult and a threat to do likewise to Panama within a twelvemonth. For fifteen days the revcl was maintained, every citizen

would have quarter, yet he constantly answered: 'By no means; I had rather die as a valiant soldier, than be hanged as a coward'. They endeavored as much as they could to take him prisoner. But he defended himself so obstinately that they were forced to kill him; notwithstanding all the cries and tears of his own wife and daughter, who begged him upon their knees he would demand quarter and save his life. When the pirates had possessed themselves of the castle, which was about night, they enclosed therein all the prisoners they had taken, placing the women and men by themselves, with some guards upon them. All the wounded were put into a certain apartment by itself, to the intent their own complaints might be the cure of their disease; for no other was afforded them." who looked as if he had money being put to the For fifteen days the buccaneers held high carnival torture to compel him to confess where he had

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hidden it. When all had been extorted that seemed possible the buccaneers made ready to depart. But first Morgan demanded 100,000 pieces of eight, in default of which he would burn the city and blow up the castles. The wretched citizens sought aid of the President of Panama

who was as un

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