Besides using as the ground-work of the present chapter, the narrative drawn up by Harris from the publications of Captain Woods Rogers and Edward Cooke, we have carefully employed both of these original works on the present occasion; yet have not deemed it at all necessary or adviseable to retain the minute and tedious nautical remarks, and have chiefly attended to such interesting circumstances as had not been sufficiently illustrated in the preceding chapters of this book.—E.
Narrative of the Voyage, from England to the Island of Juan Fernandez.
Our force on this voyage consisted of the Duke of 300 tons, carrying thirty guns and 170 men, Captain Woods Rogers commander, with Captain Thomas Dover as second captain, and three lieutenants; and the Duchess of 270 tons, with twenty-six guns and 150 men, commanded by Captain Stephen Courtney, having Captain Edward Cooke as second captain, and three lieutenants. Both ships had commission from George Prince of Denmark, husband to Queen Anne, and Lord High Admiral of England, to cruize on the coasts of Peru and Mexico in the South Sea, against the French and Spaniards, and to act jointly and separately.
On the 15th June, 1708, we went down to King-road, to fit our ships for sea and the better to keep our men on board, where we continued till the 1st August, when we weighed anchor and towed down about five miles below the Holmes. We made sail at one next morning, and got into Cork harbour on the 5th August, where we remained till the 27th adjusting all things, taking on board additional men provided there for us, and discharging some we had brought from Bristol, who were found unfit for the voyage. Our complement of men in both ships was now 333, of which above a third were foreigners from most nations, several of her majesty’s subjects we had on board being tinkers, tailors, haymakers, pedlars, fiddlers, and the like, with one negro and ten boys; yet we hoped to be well manned with this motley crew, when they had got their sea-legs and had learnt the use of arms. We had double the number of officers usual in privateers, which was meant to prevent mutinies, so usual in long voyages, and to secure a succession in case of deaths. Our holds were so full of provisions, that our cables, and a great deal of our bread and some water casks were between decks, and having 183 men in the Duke, and 151 in the Duchess, we were obliged to send our sheet, cable, and other new store cordage on shore at Cork, to make room for our men and provisions, yet were so much crowded and lumbered that we could not have engaged an enemy, without throwing much provisions and stores overboard.