Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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WAFER, Lionel, British surgeon, born in Wales about 1640; died in London, England, about 1705. He made several voyages to the South sea as surgeon on board merchant vessels, and in 1676 visited the Malay archipelago. In 1677 he settled in Jamaica, where he practised his profession for some time, but in 1679 he accepted the appointment of surgeon on the fleet of two noted buccaneers, named Cook and Linen, who were joined by others while cruising along the coast of South America. They met, in Carthagena, William Dam-pier, who induced Wafer to enter his service. The latter participated in Dampier's raids in the West Indies and on the Atlantic coast, and accompanied him in the expedition across the Isthmus of Darien in 1680. But they quarrelled, and Wafer was abandoned on the road with four mutineers. They were surrounded by hostile Indians; but one of the soldiers, who understood their language, told the natives that Wafer was a great magician, and he lived with the Indians for several years, till he obtained permission to visit his own country, on promising to return and marry the chief's sister and to bring with him some dogs from England. He sailed away in 1684 on board a French buccaneer. He afterward was reconciled with Dampier, and sailed with him till 1685, when he became surgeon on board Captain Nathaniel Davis's ship, and continued to lead a privateer's life in the South sea. In 1688 he came to North America and was among the first settlers of Philadelphia, where he resided in 1688-'90, returning in the latter year to London. He wrote "A New Voyage and Description of the Isthmus of America" (London, 1699), which was translated into French (Paris, 1706), and German (Halle, 1759). It contained the fullest description that had been published of the Isthmus of Darien, the Indians that inhabited it, and its natural productions, and also interesting facts regarding Mexico, communicated to him by a Spanish captain. The Swedish version (Upsala, 1789) contains also an interesting description of New Spain that is attributed to Wafer.
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