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A DRAMA OF PLUNDEI
A DRAMA OF PLUNDER, MURDER, AND REVENGE. 169
be caught in such a trap. He erected batteries on the surrounding hill-slopes till the town was commanded on three sides, while the governor kept the bulk of his forces at a distance, waiting for no one knew what. Trouin had been permitted, with scarcely a blow in defence, to make himself master of the situation, and he needed only to get his guns in place to be able to batter the town to the dust.
He now sent a demand to the governor to surrender, saying that he had been sent by the king of France to take revenge for the murder of Duclerc and the inhuman slaughter of his men. De Castro answered that his duty to his king would not permit him to surrender, and sought to show that the French had been honorably killed in battle and Duclerc murdered by an assassin beyond his control.
A poor affair of a governor De Castro proved, and the French were permitted to go on with their works almost unmolested, the Portuguese occupying hill forts, the fire from which did little harm to the enemy. Trouin had already begun the bombardment of the city, and on receiving the governor's answer he kept his guns at work all night. At the same time there raged a tropical storm of great violence, accompanied by thunders that drowned the roar of the guns, the frightful combination throwing the people into such a state that they all fled in blind terror, the troops in the town with them. In the morning, when Trouin was ready to launch his storming parties, word was brought him that the city was deserted and lay at his mercy. Some of the richest magazines had been set on fire by the governor's order, but otherwise the rich city was abandoned, with all its wealth, to the French.
Of the relics of Duclerc's force, about five hundred remained alive in the city. These do not seem to have been then in prison, but living at large, and they were already abroad and plundering the abandoned city when the French forces entered. They had met good treatment as well as bad. Some of the people had been kind and hospitable to them, and in the sack of the city that ensued the houses of these charitable citizens were marked and left untouched.
Otherwise the sack was general, houses and warehouses being broken open, and quantities of valuable goods which could not be taken off being thrown into the mud of the streets. Now was the opportunity for the Portuguese to attack. Trouin was aware of the danger, but was unable to control his men, and a sudden assault by the garrison might have proved disastrous to the French. But the opportunity was allowed to pass, the governor, in fact, surrendering all his forts and marching his troops a league from the city, where he lay waiting reinforcements from the interior while the French plundered at their leisure.
Trouin was wise enough to know that his position was perilous. He might be overwhelmed by numbers, and it was important to finish his work and get away with little delay. But the plunder of the city was not sufficient for his purpose, and he sent
word to the governor that he must ransom it or it would be burned. To make his word good he began by setting fire to the environs.
De Castro, eager to get rid of his foes at any price, offered six hundred thousand cruzadoes. This was refused by Trouin, and to stir up the governor to a better offer, the admiral took his messenger through the city and showed him that he was spoiling everything that fire would not burn. Learning, however, that the expected reinforcements might soon arrive, anxiety induced him to march his men to the front of the Portuguese camp, where he began to negotiate for better terms. The only addition De Castro would agree to was to promise the French a supply of cattle for food, fifteen days being allowed to collect the ransom.
Trouin, knowing well that he had no time to waste, accepted the terms, and none too soon, for shortly afterwards a strong body of reinforcements, led by an able general, entered the Portuguese camp. They came too late, the treaty had been made, and the new general felt bound in honor to make it good. So the ransom was paid, and on the 4th of November the triumphant French set sail, their ships deep laden with the rich plunder of the Brazilian capital and the gold of the governor's ransom.
The return home was not attended with the success of the earlier part of the expedition. Trouin had left Bahia to be visited and plundered on his return, but when he came near it the weather was so stormy that he was obliged to abandon this part
of his plan. The storms followed the fleet on its way across the seas, and rose to such a height that two of his ships went to the bottom, carrying down twelve hundred men. One of these was the finest ship of the fleet, and in consequence had been laden with the most valuable booty. Of gold and silver alone it took down with it a weight valued at six hundred thousand livres. A third vessel went ashore and was wrecked at Cayenne. Yet with all these losses, so much wealth was brought home that the speculators in spoil made a profit of ninety-two per cent. on their investment.
The French had won in large measure revenge and plunder, while Trouin had gained his meed of fame. It was now Portugal's time for vengeance, and it was visited principally on the worthless governor to whose cowardice the disaster was due. He had been praised and rewarded for the victory over Duclerc's expedition-praise and reward which he certainly did not deserve. For very similar conduct he was now deposed and sentenced to degradation and perpetual imprisonment, on the charge of cowardice and lack of judgment. His nephew was banished for life for bad conduct, and a captain who had given up his fort and fled was hung in effigy. There were no others to punish, and Portugal was obliged to hold its hand, France being a foe beyond its reach. Rio had met with a terrible misfortune, from which it took many years to recover, and rarely have the sanguinary deeds of a murderous rabble led to so severe a retribution.
THE WONDERFUL MARCH OF
THE March of the Ten Thousand, from Babylon to the Black Sea, is one of the famous events of history. The march of the three hundred, from the Pacific to the Atlantic, which we have here to tell, is scarcely known to history at all, yet it was marked by a courage and command of resources as great as those of the ancient Greeks. We think our readers will agree with us when they read this story, taken from the records of the freebooters on the Spanish Main.
After ravaging the settlements of Spain on the Atlantic coasts, various fleets of these piratical adventurers sought the Pacific waters in 1685, and there for several years made life scarce worth living to the inhabitants of the Spanish coast cities. Time and again these were plundered of their wealth, numbers of their ships were taken, and a veritable reign of terror prevailed. As time went on, however, most of these freebooters withdrew, satisfied with their abundant gains, so that, by the end of 1687, only a few of them remained, and these were eager to return with their ill-gotten wealth to their native land.
This remnant of the piratical fraternity, less than three hundred in number, had their head-quarters