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Middleton, David

Voyage Na West-Indien, Gedaan Door David Middleton, Met Kapiteyn Michael Geare, In 'T Jaar 1601. Mitsgadersde Scheeps-Togt Georg Weymouth, Gedaan In 'T Jaar 1602. Om In Het Noord-Westen Een Opening Na China Te Ontdekken. . . Leyden. 1706. 18 pp. This frail, unbound pamphlet includes a folding engraved plate.

This account of an early European voyage to the West Indies includes important descriptions of Florida and Cuba. Middleton's narrative description of his West Indian voyage totals four pages and describes the sailing, giving landform names and latitudes from the Canary Islands, Aruba, Cape St. Anthony, Cuba, Cape of Florida, Silley, and finally to the anchoring at Dartmouth. The slim volume also includes an account of Captain George Weymouth's 1602 exploration of the coast of New England, Nova Scotia, Labrador and the Davis Strait in search of the Northwest Passage. This essay includes a fold out plate depicting the breaking up and removal of rocks from a harbor area.

David Middleton was a successful sea captain and merchant who made multiple voyages around the Cape of Good Hope and into the East Indies in the early 1600s, trading for spices and other valuable cargo. In 1601 Middleton was the joint commander of a voyage to the West Indies. This voyage is described in his narrative. While in command of the Samaritan in 1615 Middleton collected cargo at Bantam and sailed for England, but was shipwrecked off the coast of Madagascar. At first it was reported that the passengers and goods were saved, but eventually it was discovered that the loss was total. Middleton's death was not reported to the company until 1617.

The Middleton account was first published in London in 1625, as part of Samuel Purchas's Pilgrimes. The Sixth Part, Chapter 10 is entitled: "Certain Notes of a Voyage made by mee David Middleton into the West Indies with Captain Michael Geare, An. Dom. 1601." Middleton describes the voyage from Grand Canary, landing at Aruba, where seven of his men were slain by the native Indians, and then sailing around the island of Cuba.

The seven and twentieth day at foure of the clocke in the afternoone, wee fell in with the South-east part of the Martyrs: then we stood off South-east and by the south three watches with a low saile, and so cast about, and stood North-east and by North three watches, and then observed, and found the ship to bee in the latitude of 24 degrees and 55 minutes, being South-east and by South of the Cape of Florida about three leagues: the winde being at South-east and by East, we stood off South and West three watches, and then observed, and found the ship to be in 25 degrees 36 minutes, being the nineth and twentieth day of January, 1602.... This was my first voyage which I have to the West Indies. Ende.