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In New Granada; Or, Heroes and Patriots

William Henry Giles Kingston

  Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

  In New Granada, Heroes and Patriots, by W.H.G. Kingston.


  A story about some English people who were caught up in the wars ofindependence from Spain of a small South American country. We are shownlife on the side of the Patriots fighting against the cruel rule of theSpaniards. Our friends have for various reasons to travel from one endof the country to the other, with various fights with the Spanish on theway.

  There are numerous illustrations, but we are at first at least putting aversion without these onto the website. We very much hope that we willfind the opportunity of adding the pictures.

  Well written, as always from this author, you will find this book veryinteresting.





  The circumstances which led my father, Dr Andrew Sinclair, to settle inNew Granada--the land of my birth--are of so romantic a character, thatI cannot better preface an account of my own adventures in that countrythan by narrating them.

  My grandfather, Duncan Sinclair, after whom I was named, was a member ofan old Covenanter family in Dumfriesshire, and was the parent of sixsons,--all of whom, with the exception of the eldest, who inherited theestate, had to seek their fortune in the world. My father was hisfourth son. Having gone through a medical course at the University ofEdinburgh, where he gained not only a knowledge of his profession, butof science generally, he entered the Royal Navy as an assistant-surgeon,and was ultimately promoted to the rank of surgeon. Among his manyother talents, he possessed that of acquiring foreign languages, and hespoke French and Spanish remarkably well; though at the time he learnedthe latter--from a wounded Spanish prisoner, whose life was saved by hisskill--he little thought how useful it would prove to him. Aftervisiting many parts of the world, adding greatly to his store ofinformation, he was appointed to the _Zebra_ sloop-of-war of eighteenguns, which soon after sailed for the Pacific.

  Among the youngsters on board was a midshipman named Richard Duffield,--generally known, however, as Dicky Duff. He was the orphan son of anold messmate, who had been killed in action. The brave lieutenant'slast thoughts, as he lay mortally wounded in the cockpit, the guns stillthundering overhead, were about his son.

  "The boy's mother is dead, and when I am gone he'll not have a friend inthe world. Doctor, will you look after him? I know you will!"

  "Don't let any doubt about that trouble you. I'll act a father's parttowards your boy as well as I am able," was the answer.

  My father faithfully fulfilled his promise; and when the boy was oldenough, he got him placed on the quarter-deck, and generally managed totake him to sea with himself. Richard Duffield was grateful for thekindness shown him, and became much attached to his protector, with whomhe had many tastes in common.

  My father, whenever he had an opportunity, was in the habit of going onshore with his gun, to obtain specimens of the birds and beasts of thecountry; while he also frequently brought off a bag of game for thebenefit of the commander and his own messmates. On such occasions hewas generally accompanied by Dicky Duff, who had become as good asportsman as himself.

  On one occasion, when the _Zebra_ was off the coast of Guatemala inCentral America, my father, having obtained a boat from the commander,left the ship, taking with him Dicky Duff, and their constant attendant,Paul Lobo, an African seaman, and a crew of six men. No inhabitantsappearing, the boat was hauled up on the beach, and the crew amusedthemselves at leap-frog and other games, while my father and his twoattendants proceeded some way inland. Having had very good sport, andfilled their bags, my father sent back the midshipman and Paul to theboat with the game, while he continued shooting, hoping to obtain somemore birds.

  He had been thus employed for some time, and was thinking of returning,when the sound of several shots reached his ears. These were followedby a regular volley, and he had too much reason to fear that theinhabitants had attacked the boat. Instead, therefore, of returning toher, he made his way directly towards the shore. Emerging from theforest, which reached almost to the water's edge, he saw the boat atsome distance off, with a party of men on the beach firing at her. Hishope was that Dicky and Paul had already got on board before the boatshoved off. The distance was considerable, but still he hoped to beable to swim to her; so, leaving his gun and ammunition, with the gamehe had shot, under a tree, he plunged into the water. He had got somedistance from the shore when he found that he was discovered, by seeinga shot strike the water not far from him. On looking round, what washis dismay to perceive Dicky and Paul in the hands of the Spaniards! Hecould not desert them, and consequently he at once turned and swam back,hoping that by explaining their object in visiting the shore he mightobtain their release. But no sooner did he land than the Spaniardsrushed down and seized him. In vain he expostulated. "He and hiscompanions belonged to a ship of war, and they wished to be able toboast that they had made three prisoners." They told him, however, thatif he would make signals to the boat to return, they would give him andhis younger companions their liberty. On his refusing to act sotreacherously, they became very angry, and bound his hands behind him,as well as those of Dicky and Paul. The seamen at once pulled back tothe ship, when the captain sent a flag of truce on shore to try andrecover his surgeon and midshipman; but the Spaniards refused to givethem up.

  After being kept prisoners for some time, they were sent down to Panama.Here, though strictly guarded, they were not ill-treated; and when itbecame known that my father was a surgeon, many persons, of all ranks,applied to him for advice. He was thus the means of effecting severalcures, by which he obtained numerous friends. Indeed, he might herehave established a good practice, and have comfortably supported himselfand his companions; but he was anxious, for Dicky's sake especially, toreturn with him to the ship. There was no place, however, nearer thanCartagena, at which it was customary to exchange prisoners; and how toget to it, was the difficulty.

  He had been kept a prisoner for some months, when, passing through thestreets, he met his old acquaintance, Don Tomaso Serrano, from whom,while Don Tomaso was a prisoner on board his ship, he had learnedSpanish. They immediately recognised each other, and expressed theirpleasure at meeting. Don Tomaso, on hearing what had befallen myfather, told him that he was in command of a man-of-war schooner, andwas about to proceed in her to the southward. "Although I cannot obtainyour liberty," he said, "I have sufficient influence to get leave foryou and your companions to come on board my vessel and proceed with meas far as Guayaquil. I have friends there, whom I hope to interest inyour favour; and by their influence you will, I hope, be able to obtainpermission to land and travel across the country to Honda, from whenceyou can make your way down the river to Cartagena. It is a round-aboutroute, but it may prove the shortest in the end. You will have anopportunity, too, of seeing a beautiful region; and you cannot fail, Iam sure, to be hospitably treated wherever you go."

  My father at once closed with Don Tomaso's offer,
and was allowed to goon board the schooner, accompanied by Dicky and Paul. Having obtained aconsiderable sum of money, he was able to dress both of them, as well ashimself, in Spanish costume, so that they did not attract attention; andas both he and Paul spoke Spanish perfectly, they were generally takenfor natives. Though still prisoners, the party were treated with thegreatest kindness, and enjoyed as much liberty as they could desire.

  Heavy weather coming on, the schooner ran into the port of Buenaventura.Beyond the bay, opening into it, is a lagoon of considerable extent.On one side is the town, a great part of which is built on piles at thewater's edge. The place has but little to recommend it; indeed, thereare scarcely a dozen houses of any size, while the rest of the buildingshave a miserable appearance both without and within. Above the townstands the church,--a building of no architectural pretensions, andgreatly resembling a barn. Buenaventura is the port of a considerabledistrict, embracing the valley of the Cauca. The climate, however,owing to the constant damp and heat, which produce intermittent fevers,prevents foreigners from residing here; indeed, it rains nearly everyday in the year.

  Most of my father's time on shore was occupied in visiting personssuffering from ague, and in prescribing for them. What a blessing,indeed, can a clever medical man prove in such regions! He is like aheaven-sent messenger carrying relief to the sick and suffering.

  The weather moderating, the schooner continued her voyage, and at lengthreached Guayaquil, the port of Quito, to the south of which it issituated, at the head of the Gulf of Guayaquil. Here Don Tomaso provedas good as his word, and obtained leave from the governor for my fatherto travel with his attendants through the country.

  While on shore at Guayaquil, he heard that in the region of the littletown of Loja, three days' journey off, grew in the greatest profusionthe cinchona, or Peruvian bark tree, at that time but comparativelylittle known in Europe. Although my father was well acquainted with thebeneficial effect produced by the bark in cases of intermittent fever,he was anxious to ascertain, by personal examination, the otherpeculiarities of the tree. He obtained leave, therefore, from thegovernor, to proceed in the first instance to Loja. That place hereached without difficulty. On his arrival in the town, he found that aSpanish doctor was residing there for the same object, but that he wasnow laid up by a severe attack of illness, unable to continue hisresearches. My father immediately called on him, and found that he wasno other than Doctor Cazalla, a physician widely celebrated for hisscientific knowledge and talents. Introducing himself as a medical man,my father offered to prescribe for his brother physician, and in a shorttime had the satisfaction of restoring him to health. The two doctorsthen set out together on an expedition of botanical research, in whichboth Dicky and Paul accompanied them.

  The time thus spent together having resulted in the establishment of awarm friendship between my father and the Spanish doctor, the latterprevailed upon him to visit Popayan, his native place, on the way toCartagena. Their journey over that mountain region amid whichChimborazo towers to the sky, was interesting in the extreme. I haveoften heard my father speak of it. Popayan was at length safelyreached, with the botanical treasures they had collected; and here myfather was induced to remain for some time, in order to assist hisfriend in their arrangement. Before their labours came to an end, myfather and Dicky were taken seriously ill. It now became the turn ofthe Spanish doctor to attend to them. He, however, was aided in histask by two ladies,--his sister and a young niece; the latter takingDicky under her special charge. The result was that my father marriedthe doctor's sister, and Dicky fell desperately in love with his niece.The war with Spain was by this time over, and the _Zebra_ had returnedto England, so my father and his young charge, believing that they hadlittle prospect of getting on in the navy, determined to remain wherethey were. As Doctor Cazalla was engrossed in scientific pursuits, hegladly yielded up his practice to my father, his brother-in-law, whosefame as a physician was soon established in the town and throughout thesurrounding district.

  Richard Duffield, for I ought now to give him his proper name, in thecourse of a few years married Dona Maria, the girl who had soaffectionately tended him, and who proved to be the heiress to a niceestate in the neighbourhood, to the improvement of which, when he becamethe proprietor, Richard devoted his time and attention; while Paul Loboremained with my father as his personal attendant and general factotum.