Well, at length I found a Place in the Side of the Hill, where I was satisfy'd I might securely wait, till I saw any of their Boats coming, and might then, even before they would be ready to come on Shore, convey my self unseen into Thickets of Trees, in one of which there was a Hollow large enough to conceal me entirely; and where I might sit, and observe all their bloody Doings, and take my full aim at their Heads, when they were so close together, as that it would be next to impossible that I should miss my Shoot, or that I could fail wounding three or four of them at the first Shoot.
In this Place then I resolv'd to fix my Design, and accordingly I prepar'd two Muskets, and my ordinary Fowling Piece. The two Muskets I loaded with a Brace of Slugs each, and four or five smaller Bullets, about the Size of Pistol Bullets; and the Fowling Piece I loaded with near a Handful of Swan-shot, of the largest Size; I also loaded my Pistols with about four Bullets each, and in this Posture, well provided with Ammunition for a second and third Charge, I prepar'd my self for my Expedition.
After I had thus laid the Scheme of my Design, and in my Imagination put it in Practice, I continually made my Tour every Morning up to the Top of the Hill, which was from my Castle, as I call'd it, about three Miles, or more, to see if I cou'd observe any Boats upon the Sea, coming near the Island, or standing over towards it; but I began to tire of this hard Duty, after I had for two or three Months constantly kept my Watch; but came always back without any Discovery, there having not in all that Time been the least Appearance, not only on, or near the Shore; but not on the whole Ocean, so far as my Eyes or Glasses could reach every Way.
As long as I kept up my daily Tour to the Hill, to look out; so long also I kept up the Vigour of my Design, and my Spirits seem'd to be all the while in a suitable Form, for so outragious an Execution as the killing twenty or thirty naked Savages, for an Offence which I had not at all entred into a Discussion of in my Thoughts, any farther than my Passions were at first fir'd by the Horror I conceiv'd at the natural Custom of that People of the Country, who it had been suffer'd by Providence in his wise Disposition of the World, to have no other Guide than that of their own abominable and vitiated Passions; and constantly were left, and perhaps had been so for some Ages, to act: horrid Things, and receive such dreadful Customs, as nothing but Nature entirely abandon'd of Heaven, and acted by hellish Degeneracy, could have run them into: But now, as I have said, I began to be weary of the fruitless Excursion, which I had made so long, and so far, every Morning in vain, so my Opinion of the Action it self began to alter, and I began with cooler and calmer Thoughts to consider what it was I was going to engage in. What Authority, or Call I had, to pretend to be Judge and Executioner upon these Men as Criminals, whom Heaven had thought fit for so many Ages to suffer unpunish'd, to go on, and to be as it were, the Executioners of his Judgments one upon another. How far these People were Offenders against me, and what Right I had to engage in the Quarrel of that Blood, which they shed promiscuously one upon another. I debated this very often with my self thus; How do I know what God himself judges in this particular Case? is certain these People either do not commit this as a Crime; it is not against their own Consciences reproving, or their Light reproaching them. They do not know it be Offence, and then commit it in Defiance of Divine Justice, we do in almost all the Sins we commit. They think it no ore a Crime to kill a Captive taken in War, than we do kill an Ox; nor to eat humane Flesh, than we do to eat Mutton.
When I had consider'd this a little, it follow'd necessarily, that I was certainly in the Wrong in it, that these People were not Murtherers in the Sense that I had before condemn'd them, in my Thoughts; any more than those Christians were Murtherers, who often put to Death the Prisoners taken in Battle; or more frequently, upon many Occasions, put whole Troops of Men to the Sword, without giving Quarter, though they threw down their Arms and submitted.
In the next Place it occurr'd to me, that albeit the Usage they thus gave one another, was thus brutish and inhuman; yet it was really nothing to me: These People had done me Injury. That if they attempted me, or I saw it necessary my immediate Preservation to fall upon them, something might be said for it; but that as I was yet out of their Power, and they had really no Knowledge of me, and consequently sign upon me; and therefore it could not be just for to fall upon them. That this would justify the Conduct the Spaniards in all their Barbarities practis'd in America, and where they destroy'd Millions of these People, who however they were Idolaters and Barbarians, and had several bloody and barbarous Rites in their Customs, such as sacrificing human Bodies to their Idols, were yet, as to the Spaniards, very innocent People; and that the rooting them out of the Country, is spoken of with the utmost Abhorrence and Detestation, by even the Spaniards themselves, at this Time; and by all other Christian Nations of Europe, as a meer Butchery, a bloody and unnatural Piece of Cruelty, unjustifiable either to God or Man; and such, as for which the very Name of a Spaniard is reckon'd to be frightful and terrible to all People of Humanity, or of Christian Compassion: As if the Kingdom of Spain were particularly Eminent for the Product of a Race of Men, who were without Principles of Tenderness, or the common Bowels of Pity to the Miserable, which is reckon'd to be a Mark of generous Temper in the Mind.
These Considerations really put me to a Pause, and to a kind of a Full-stop; and I began by little and little to be off of my Design, and to conclude, I had taken wrong Measures in my Resolutions to attack the Savages; that it was not my Business to meddle with them, unless they first attack'd me, and this it was my Business if possible to prevent; but that if I were discover'd, and attack'd, then I knew my Duty.
On the other hand, I argu'd with my self, That this really was the way not to deliver my self, but entirely to ruin and destroy my self; for unless I was sure to kill every one that not only should be on Shore at that Time, but that should ever come on Shore afterwards, if but one of them escap'd, to tell their Country People what had happen'd, they would come over again by Thousands to revenge the Death of their Fellows, and 1 should only bring upon my self a certain Destruction, which at present I had no manner of occasion for.
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