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wind, and gaining the port of Salapay, from which they were about seven leagues distant. And now the engagement began in earnest, and, for the first balf hour, Mr. Anson over-reached the galeon, and lay on her bow; where, by the great wideness of his ports he could traverse almost all his guns upon
the enemy, whilst the galeon could only bring a part of hers to bear. Immediately on the commencement of the action, the mats, with which the galeon had stuffed her netting, took fire, and burnt violently, blazing up half as high as the mizen-top. This accident (supposed to be caused by the Centurion's wads) threw the enemy into great confusion, and at the same time alarmed the commodore, for he feared lest the galeon should be burnt, and lest he himself too might suffer by her driving on board him: but the Spaniards at last freed themselves from the fire, by cutting away the netting, and tumbling the whole mass which was in flames into the sea. But still the Centurion kept her first advantageous position, firing her cannon with great regularity and briskness, whilst at the same time the galeon's decks lay open to her top-men, who, having at their first volley driven the Spaniards from their tops, made prodigious havock with their small arms, killing or wounding every officer but one that ever appeared on the quarter-deck, and wounding in particular the general of the galeon himself. And though the Centurion, after the first half hour, lost her original situation, and was close alongside the galeon, and the enemy continued to fire briskly for near an hour longer, yet at last the commodore's grape-shot swept their decks so effectually, and the number of their slain and wounded was so considerable, that they began to fall into great disorder, especially as the general, who was the life of the action, was no longer capable of exerting himself. Their embarassment was visible from on board the commodore; for the ships were so near, that some of the Spanish officers were seen running about with great assiduity, to prevent the desertion of their men from their quarters : but all their endeavours were in vain; for after having, as a last effort, fired five or six guns with more judgment than usual, they gave up the contest; and, the galeon's colours being singed off the ensign staff in the beginning of the engagement, she struck the
standard at her main-top-gallant mast head, the person, who was employed to do it, having been in imminent peril of being killed, had not the commodore, who perceived what he was about, given express orders to his people to desist from firing.
• Thus was the Centurion possessed of this rich prize, amounting in value to near a million and half of dollars. She was called the Nostra Signora de Cabadonga, and was commanded by the general Don Jeronimo de Montero, a Portuguese by birth, and the most approved officer for skill and courage of any employed in that service. The galeon was much larger than the Centurion, had five hundred and fifty men and thirty-six guns mounted for action, besides twentyeight piedreroes in her gunwale, quarters, and tops, each of which carried a four pound ball. She was very well furnished with small arms, and was particularly provided against boarding, both by her close quarters, and by a strong net-work of two inch rope, which was laced over her waist, and was defended by half pikes. She had sixty-seven killed in the action, and eighty-four wounded, whilst the Centurion had only two killed, and a lieutenant and sixteen wounded, all of whom but one recovered: of so little consequence are the most destructive arms in untutored and unpractised hands.'
There was found on board of the prize, 1,313,843 pieces of eight, and 85,682 ounces of virgin silver, besides other valuable commodities. But the joy of the captors was nearly damped on a sudden by a most tremendous accident: for no sooner had the galeon struck, then one of the lieutenants coming to congratulate Mr. Anson on his prize, whispered him at the same time, that the Centurion was dangerously on fire near the powder-room. The commodore received this dreadful news with apparent composure; and gave such judicious directions as happily succeeded in extinguishing the fire. The securing of the prisoners was the next important point, for they were above double the number of the English, and some of them, when they were brought on board the Centurion, and had observed how slenderly she was manned, and the large proportion which the striplings bore tu the rest, could not help expressing themselves with great indignation to be
Vol. IV.----(76) 3 A
thus beaten by a handful of boys. The method which was taken to hinder them from rising, was by placing all but the officers and the wounded in the hold, where, to give them as much air as possible, two hatchways were left open; but then (to avoid all danger whilst the Centurion's people should be employed upon the deck) there was a square partition of thick planks, made in the shape of a funnel, which enclosed each hatchway on the lower deck, and reached to that directly over it on the upper deck. These funnels served to communicate the air to the hold better than could have been done without them; and, at the same time, added greatly to the security of the ship; for they being seven or eight feet high, it would have been extremely difficult for the Spaniards to have clambered up; and still to augment that difficulty, four swivel guns loaded with musket-bullets were planted at the mouth of each funnel, and a centinel with a lighted match constantly attended, prepared to fire into the hold amongst them, in case of any disturbance. Their officers, which amounted to seventeen or eighteen, were all lodged in the first lieutenant's cabin, under a constant guard of six men; and the general, as he was wounded, lay in the commodore's cabin with a centinel always with him; and they were all informed, that any violence or disturbance would be punished with instant death. And that the Centurion's people might be at all times prepared, if, notwithstanding these regulations, any tumult should arise, the small arms were constantly kept loaded in a proper place, whilst all the men went armed with cutlasses and pistols; and no officer ever pulled off his clothes, and when he slept had always his arms lying ready by him.'
The commodore steered with his prize direct for China. When he arrived in the river of Canton, the Chinese were astonished at the great disproportion between the captives and the vanquished, and also at the humanity with which the prisoners were treated. Here they were all liberated, seemingly in compliance with the viceroy's request.
Finding it impossible to victual his ship for his voyage to England without orders from the court, the commodore determined, contrary to the entreaties of the European supercar
goes, to go in person to Canton. Accordingly, his barge was fitted up, and, with a select crew, he set off to visit the viceroy. The merchants endeavoured to prevent him from his purpose; but he well knew, that, without an order from the viceroy, he would not be permitted to ship the stores which he had purchased.
When waiting to procure an audience, a fire broke out in Canton, which raged with such fury as to threaten the entire destruction of the city. In the general confusion, the viceroy sent and implored the assistance of the commodore. Mr. • Anson immediately repaired to the spot, carrying with him about forty of his people ; who, upon this occasion, exerted themselves in such a manner, as in that country was altogether without example: for they were rather animated than deterred by the flames and falling buildings, amongst which they wrought; so that it was not uncommon to see the most forward of them tumble to the ground on the roofs, and amidst the ruins of houses, which their own efforts brought down with them. By their boldness and activity the fire was soon extinguished to the amazement of the Chinese; and the buildings being all on one floor, and the materials slight, the seamen, notwithstanding their daring behaviour, happily escaped with no other injuries, than some considerable bruises.' Before the English were called in, one hundred shops, and eleven streets full of warehouses were consumed.
T'he services rendered by the English on this occasion, extorted the gratitude of the Chinese ; and induced the viceroy to grant Mr. Anson an audience, at which he promised to issue a licence immediately for permitting stores to be shipped on board the Centurion. In a few days all were completed, and the Centurion with her prize dropped down to Macao. Here the commodore sold the galeon for 6000 dollars; and sailed with the Centurion on the 5th day of January, 1743, and on the 15th of June following, came safe to an anchor at Spithead. But that the signal perils which had so often threatened them in the preceding part of the enterprise, might pursue them to the very last, Mr. Anson learnt on his arri. val, that there was a French fleet of considerable force cruising
in the chops of the channel, which, by the account of their position, he found the Centurion had run through, and had been all the time concealed by a fog. Thus was this expedition finished, when it had lasted three years and nine months ; after having, by its event, strongly evinced this important truth, That though prudence, intrepidity, and perseverance united, are not exempted from the blows of adverse fortune; yet in a long series of transactions, they usually rise superior to its power, and in the end rarely fail of proving successful.
OF TIIE SETTLEMENTS
NEW SOUTH WALES.
NEW Holland, the largest island in the world, was disco
vered by the Spaniards, some time previous to the year 1609. Captain Dampier, and several Dutch navigators explored part of the west coast; but the discovery of the east was reserved for the immortal Cook. The greatest extent of this immense country from east to west, is about 2400 English miles, and, from north to south, not less than 2800.
After the loss of the American colonies, the British government still considered it desirable to employ felons in remote and rising settlements. Accordingly, in 1786, six transports, and three store ships were engaged to convey persons designed to form a settlement at Botany bay, under the direction of captain Phillip. Stores and provisions necessary for their use