The 13th February we held a consultation, in which we framed several regulations for preserving secrecy, discipline, and strict honesty in both vessels: and on the 17th we determined that two men from the Duke should serve in the Duchess, and two of her men in the Duke, to see that justice was reciprocally done by each ship’s company to the other. The 28th we tried both pinnaces in the water under sail, having a gun fixed in each, and every thing else requisite to render them very useful small privateers.
Proceedings of the Expedition on the Western Coast of America.
In the evening of the 13th March we saw a sail, and the Duchess being nearest soon took her. She was a small bark of sixteen tons from Payta, bound to Cheripe for flour, having a small sum of money on board to make the purchase, being commanded by a Mestizo, or one begotten between a Spaniard and an Indian, having a crew of eight men, one a Spaniard, another a negro, and all the rest Indians. On asking for news, we were told, that all the French ships, being seven in number, had left the South Sea six months before, and no more were to come there; adding, that the Spaniards had such an aversion to them, that they had killed many Frenchmen at Callao, the port of Lima, and quarrelled with them so frequently that none of them were suffered to come ashore there for some time before they sailed.
[Footnote 220: It is quite obvious that they had now left Juan Fernandez, but this circumstance and its date are omitted by Harris.—E.]
After putting some men aboard the prize, we haled close upon a wind for the isle of Lobos, and had we not been informed by our prisoners, had endangered our ships by running too far within that isle, as there are shoals between the island and the main, having a passage for boats only in that direction to get into the road which is to leeward of these islands in a sound between them. This sound is a mile long and half a mile wide, and has from ten to twelve fathoms on good ground. The only entrance for ships is to leeward of the islands. We went in with a small weather tide, but I could never observe it to flow above three feet while we were there. On the eastermost island there is a round hummock,