The Unforeseen

Human nature is incalculable. Four of the twenty crew from the San Lucas (the first ship from the Legazpi expedition to reach the Philippines; they beat the commander by about a month) mutiny, steal a rowboat, several arquebuses, and — this is the real clincher — the only flint stone on the San Lucas, which was used not just for cooking but for lighting fires in general. As the commander later reflected, “without fire the Indians would gain the upper hand over us at any time they wanted.”

It therefore becomes vitally important to track down the four escapees.

“One evening, the men of the San Lucas spotted a campfire in the distance. The four runaways were boldly moving inward toward the closest” native settlement, “willing to take their chances with” a native they had just met.

WHAT? Why would they do that? Escape from their countrymen and hope the natives will help them? What’s in it for the natives? Talk about stupid.

The men giving chase from the ship are able to steal up to the mutineers’ campsite, and the lookout is shot (with “27 pellets” from an arquebus, from about a tree away). All four men are marched back to the ship (including the one who was shot; guess being shot with 27 pellets from an arquebus isn’t so bad!)

When they get to the ship, the commander finds himself in a real pickle: the San Lucas has a skeleton crew of 20. The punishment for mutiny is hanging. If the commander follows the letter of the law and hangs the four, he’ll only have a crew of 16.

Oh my goodness!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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