The Cultures and History of the Americas: The Jay I. Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress
The Buccaneers of America
Letter from the Spanish General
The buccaneers weighed anchor and set sail, and four days later arrived at Maracaibo, where they found everything as they had left it. But they received news they had not expected. A poor man, who had been living at the hospital, told Morgan there were three Spanish men-of-war in the mouth of the lake, lying in wait for him, and the fort had again been well equipped with artillery and soldiers.
Morgan instantly sent out a sloop to report on these ships. The boat returned the next evening, and confirmed all the old man had said. They had seen the warships and been under fire from their cannon. The warships were full of troops, and the biggest carried at least forty guns, the next thirty, and the smallest twenty-four. The fort also was well defended.
Letter from the Spanish General, Don Alonzo del Campo y Espinosa to Morgan, Admiral of the Buccaneers
Having, through our friends and neighbours, received news that you have had the audacity to commit hostilities in the territories and cities owing obedience to His Catholic Majesty, the king of Spain my master, I have come to this place, according to my bounden duty, and have built up again that fortress which you took from a set of faint-hearts and from which you flung down the guns, that I may prevent your escape from this lake and do you all the injury my duty requires.
Nevertheless, if you will surrender with humility all which you have taken, including all the slaves and other prisoners, I will have the clemency to let you pass, that you may return to your own country. Should you obdurately resist these honourable conditions which I propose, I shall send for sloops from Caracas, in which I shall embark my troops to sail for Maracaibo, with orders to destroy you utterly and put every man to the sword. This is my final resolution: take heed, and be not ungrateful for my kindness. I have with me valiant soldiers, yearning to be allowed to revenge unrighteous acts you have committed against the Spanish nation in America.
Signed on board His Majesty’s ship, Magdalena, at anchor in the entry of the Lake of Maracaibo, 24 April 1669.
Don Alonzo del Campo y Espinosa
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