« ForrigeFortsæt »
vided there was finery enough) they made no scruple of putting on, and blending with their own greasy dress. So that when a party of them thus ridiculously metamorphised first appeared before Mr. Brett, he was extremely surprised at their appearance, and could not iinmediately be satisfied they were his own people.' • In a wood near the town, above two hundred horsemen appeared with a number of trumpets, drums, and standards, and paraded about each day with the intention of intimidating the English. But Mr. Brett barricadoed the streets, and knowing the horse durst not attack him, the removal of the treasure was therefore conducted without hurry or confusion. When this business was finished Mr. Anson sent his prisoners on shore, who loudly extolled his kindness and humanity. The party on duty in the town were at the same time ordered on board, after setting fire to the place, and sinking six vessels which were found in the harbour. The plunder amounted to upwards of 30,0001. and the whole loss to the Spaniards was estimated at a million and a half of dollars.
Mr. Anson on proceeding to sea, fell in with the Gloucester, which had taken a prize worth 12,0001. The squadron now steered northward to cruise for the Manilla galeon, bound to Acapulco. It however was necessary first to water the ships, for which purpose, the island of Quibo was chosen. Here they scuttled and sank two of the prizes, and then set sail to the coast of Mexico. After cruising for some time for the galeon, one of the boats surprised three negroes in a canoe, from whom they learned that the galeon had reached her port, but that she was ordered to sail back to Manilla on the 14th of March. This news was joyfully received, as she would be a more valuable prize on her return, when she had usually a richer cargo than any other vessel in any part of the globe.
The ships were judiciously arranged so as to observe the galeon, and when the time of her sailing arrived, all was impatience and alacrity; but a barge which was sent to reconnoitre was seen from the shore, and the galeon was detained, and not permitted to sail till the following season. When Mr. Anson learned this circumstance he determined to sur
prise the place, but found that the state of the winds rendered this impracticable.
The commodore now ordered the vessels to rendezvous at a port thirty leagues to the westward of Acapulco, and that the Tryal's prize, and the Carmelo, and Carmin, should be sunk. After procuring wood, and water, preparations were made for crossing the Pacific ocean; but as the cutter had been left opposite Acapulco, the ships steered in that direction to take her up, and to land a number of prisoners they had on board. Not finding the cutter at her station, it was concluded she had been taken, but being driven to the southward she was found, the men being quite exhausted, having been at sea above six weeks. In the South Seas the Gloucester lost all her masts, had seven feet water in her hold, and a crew so weakly, that they were unable to work her. This determined Mr. Anson to remove her people on board the Centurion, and order her to be burnt. This was effected with difficulty, the men being so weak with the scurvy, not less than ten or twelve dying every day.
Driven about with the winds, and unable to make land, a general despondency seized the whole crew, who saw nothing but destruction as the ship was very leaky, and no hands able to work the pumps. In this dreadful situation they fortunately fell in with the island of Tinian. The sight of beautiful lawns and woods, and herds of cattle feeding, was a joyful and reviving spectacle. There was no inhabitants on this delightful island, except a few Indians employed in jerking beef, which was a happy circumstance, considering the defenceless state of the Centurion. The sick now recovered with wonderful rapidity. Here was a beautiful watering place, where tents were pitched until the ship was repaired, watered, and provided with provisions. But while all the crew were happy and jovial, a storm arose which drove the Centurion to sea, and being badly manned, it was believed in a few days, by the commodore and others left on shore, that she had perished. The carpenters and smiths were therefore employed in lengthening the bark, and rigging her for sea, intending to sail to China. However, at the end of twenty days, the Centurion returned, to the inexpressible joy of all parties.
The health of the crew being fully re-established, the Centurion sailed from Tinian, to Macao, but during the voyage, the ship laboured much in a hollow sea, which injured the rigging, and increased the leak. On coming to anchor in Macoa road, Mr. Anson enquired of the governor, how he should act to avoid giving offence to the Chinese, as his being a war-ship, he was determined not to pay the duty imposed upon merchant vessels. The governor advised him to carry the ship to a harbour about six miles from Macao, but declined supplying him with provisions unless he could procure an order from the viceroy of Canton. Mr. Anson therefore resolved to visit the viceroy, but the Chinese custom-house officer would not permit the boats to leave the ship; but when Mr. Anson threatened to go by force, permission was granted. However the officers and supercargoes of the English ships, advised him to leave the business to the management of the Hong merchants. After the delay of a month, these merchants resigned their commission, telling Mr. Anson, that they durst not approach such a great man as the viceroy. Threats were now employed, and a Chinese officer undertook to deliver a letter to the governor at Canton. In two days a mandarin of high rank, with a great retinue, arrived for the purpose of inspecting the Centurion. Mr. Anson received him in state, having dressed an hundred of his crew in the marine uniform.
* This mandarin appeared to be a person of very considerable parts, and endowed with more frankness and honesty, than is to be found in the generality of the Chinese. After the proper enquiries had been made, particularly about the leak, which the Chinese carpenters reported to be as dangerous as it had been represented, and consequently that it was impossible for the Centurion to proceed to sea without being refitted, the mandarin expressed himself satisfied with the account given in the commodore's letter. And this magistrate, as he was more intelligent than any other person of his nation that came to our knowledge, so likewise was he more curious and in- . quisitive, viewing each part of the ship with particular attention, and appearing greatly surprised at the largeness of the