Then he tooke him by the hande, leading him right toward the Marishes, ouer which the Paracoussy, Monsieur Ottigni, and certaine other of our men were borne vpon the Indians shouldiers: and the rest which could not passe because of the myre and reedes, went through the woodes, and followed a narrow path which led them foorth vntill they came vnto the Paracoussyes dwelling; out of which there came about fiftie Indians to receiue our men gallantly, and to feast them after their manner.
It was on this voyage that Alexander Selkirk was found upon Juan Fernandez, and Woodes Rogers learned from his pilot, Captain Dampier, how the man had been left upon the island more than four years before from the Cinque Ports, and that Selkirk was the best man in her, and so Rogers took him on board his ship.
I rested my selfe in this place for certaine houres, and commanded Monsieur de Ottigni, and my Sergeant to enter into the woodes to search out the dwellings of the Indians: where after they had gone a while, they came vnto a Marish of Reeds, where finding their way to be stopped, they rested vnder the shadow of a mightie Bay tree to refresh themselves a little and to resolue which way to take.
And there aboute ben many goude hylles and fayre, and many fayre woodes, and eke wylde beestes. And he that wylle goon by an other way, he mote goon by the playnes of Romayne, costynge the Romayne see. Uppon that cost, ys a woundur fayre castelle, that men clepen Florathe.
Dampier had now no longer sufficient interest to obtain the command of a ship; but another privateering expedition being set on foot by some Bristol merchants, who equipped two ships, the Duke and Duchess, he agreed to go as pilot. The command was given to Captain Woodes Rogers, with whom Dampier sailed on board the Duke, of three hundred tons, thirty guns, and one hundred and seventy men.
It has been pretended, that De Foe surreptitiously appropriated the papers of Alexander Selkirk, a Scotch mariner, who lived four years alone on the island of Juan Fernandez, and a sketch of whose story had before appeared in the voyage of Captain Woodes Rogers. But this charge, though repeatedly and confidently brought, appears to be totally destitute of any foundation.
It seemeth also that the nature of this soyle is fit for corne: for I found certaine blades and eares in a manner bearded, so that it appeareth that by manuring and sowing, they may easily be framed for the vse of man: here are in the woodes bush berries, or rather straw berries growing vp like trees, of great sweetnesse.
He had read Steele's story of that man lonely in the South Sea island, and Woodes Roger's account of the discovery of him. Sir Walter Scott has pointed out that Defoe was known to the great circumnavigator Dampier, and he assumes with good reason that he drew many hints from the conversation and recollections of that fine seaman.
It was May-time; a real 'old-fashioned' English May, such as Spenser and Herrick sang of: "When all is yclad With blossoms; the ground with grass, the woodes With greene leaves; the bushes with blossoming buddes," and when whatever promise our existence yet holds for us, seems far enough away to inspire ambition, yet close enough to encourage fair dreams of fulfilment.
Being a very good sailor, Captain Woodes Rogers took him away with him as Second Mate. He told 'em that he had been at first much pestered with Cats and Rats, the latter of which gnawed his feet and clothes, so that he was obliged to cherish the Cats with Goat's-flesh, and they grew so familiar with him as to lie about him in hundreds.