« ForrigeFortsæt »
At eight A.M. she parted company. The Port an Prince now kept plying to windward, keeping a good look out for whales.
On Monday, the 12th of March, she caught four whales, which, together with what had been caught before at sundry times, made up the number of fifteen, being the whole that were taken during the voyage. From this period till June no circumstance transpired worthy of notice.
On Tuesday, the 3d of June, Cape Corientes bore S. and by E. seven or eight leagues: the ship stretched into St. Bias, and, when close in, discovered a merchant vessel lying at anchor, apparently almost ready for sea. The Port au Prince immediately tacked ship and stood out to the Maria Islands, under American colours; for it would have been impossible to have cut this vessel out from her present station, protected, as she was, by a strong fort at the top of a hill, under which the vessel lay at anchor. The next day a boat was sent off to the rock Pedro de Mar, to watch the motions of the ship.
On Monday, the 9th, the boat returned, and reported that there was a man of war brig at anchor outside of the merchant vessel. The boat was then sent out again, for farther information. The rainy season was now set in,
commencing with heavy rains, thunder, and lightning. On the Monday following the boat returned again, with information that the man of war brig had hauled into the mole. The merchantman was still riding at anchor, seemingly ready for sea. The boat was again dispatched; but she returned on the Wednesday following, when every thing was still in the same state. It was now resolved to make all sail, and steer for St. Bias, with intention of cutting out the ship in the night. At ten P.M. she approached the rock Pedro de Mar, to be in readiness. At this time there came on a heavy squall, with thunder, lightning, and much rain. Towards midnight it became calm, and the boats were prevented from effecting their purpose : they were, however, sent to the rock, to be in readiness to pursue their object the following night. Before day-break, a small land wind springing up, the Port au Prince got off from the land without being discovered. As soon as day-light appeared, the boats perceived, from the rock, that the vessel had attempted to come out, but being becalmed, had dropped anchor five or six miles from the batteries. One boat was immediately, dispatched to the Port au Prince, to inform her of the circumstance, whilst the two remaining boats proceeded to take possession of her. At noon, a fresh breeze springing up, the Port au Prince made all sail, and steered towards St. Bias. At three P. M. the boats took possession of their expected prize, which proved to be the corbeta Santa Anna, Captain Francisco Puertas, laden with pitch, tar, and cedar boards, bound to Guiaquil. The Spaniards had cut their cable, and made an attempt to run in under the batteries, but the boats taking possession of her in time prevented that intention. At day-light the following morning twenty prisoners were sent on shore in the long-boat : two negroes and two Spaniards, who entered for the Port au Prince, were retained. The two negroes would have been sent 'on shore also, but they fell on their knees, and begged and prayed hard to be kept on board : the captain of the prize was, indeed, very anxious that they should be sent on shore, as they were the property of the owner ; but Captain Duck's humanity would by no means consent to this ; for they clasped his knees, and entreated him with such earnest looks and words of persuasion, that, although he had no use for them, he could not but listen to their request : they after. wards turned out to be very honest, faithful fellows. From the prize were taken two bullocks,
a pig, two hundred weight of bread, a quantity of jerk-beef, fowls, pumpkins, and one hundred and seventeen dollars and three quarters. The command of the prize was given to Mr. Maclaren, with twelve hands, besides a Spaniard, to navigate her, with orders to proceed to Port Jackson, and proper instructions how to act on his arrival there.
On the 23d of June the Spaniard on board informed the captain that two vessels were expected daily at Acapulco, from Guiaquil. They were laden with cocoa, and had sailed from the latter place but a few days after the Santa Isidore. The question of propriety in looking after these vessels now occasioned a dispute between Captain Duck and Mr. Brown, the whaling-master. The captain was of opinion that these vessels should be looked after, 'although
contrary to their instructions: Mr. Brown, on the other hand, contended that the whaling cruize should alone occupy their attention, although the ground appeared so bad. It was, however, at length determined that the Port au Prince should proceed for the island of Ceros, to make up for her ill success in her whaling cruize, by laying in a cargo of elephant oil and seal skins, this being part of her instructions. The two vessels laden with cocoa were therefore not waited for, although they would undoubtedly have been rich prizes. Here it may with propriety be remarked, that had the Port au Prince been fitted out alone as a privateer, she might have made a good voyage; or had her instructions been in such discretionary terms that the captain could have acted according to his own judgment, she might equally have made a successful cruize.
But having two objects in view, the attention being divided between them, and all operations being fettered by the rigidness of the instructions, her success was far less than what it otherwise would have been. No circumstance of importance occurred
up to the 30th of July, when the island of Ceros appeared within sight, bearing N.W. . N. twenty - miles. The following day a boat was sent on shore at one of the San Benito islands : she brought back information that the place was well stocked with sea-elephants and seals. In the mean time the ship proceeded towards the island of Ceros, and on Friday, the 1st of August, she came to an anchor at the S. E. part of that island.
On Sunday the carpenter was employed in examining the state of the vessel, and after ripping off the copper from the bows, and taking