[Footnote 337: Four only are mentioned in the text; and it appears that they only sent away at this time the first taken ship, in which they had captured Sarmiento.—E.]
We now bent our course for England, taking our departure from off the western islands in about the latitude of 41 deg. N. and soon afterwards one of our men descried a sail from the foretop, then ten sail, and then fifteen sail. It was now concluded to send off our two prizes, by manning of which we did not leave above 60 men in our two pinnaces. When we had dispatched them, we made sail towards the fleet we had discovered, which we found to consist of 24 sail in all; two of them being great caraks, one of 1200 and the other of 1000 tons, and 10 galeons, all the rest being small ships and caravels, laden with treasure, spices, and sugars. In our two small pinnaces we kept company with this fleet of 24 ships for 32 hours, continually fighting with them and they with us; but the two huge caraks always kept between their fleet and us, so that we were unable to take any one of them; till at length, our powder growing short, we were forced to give over, much against our wills, being much bent upon gaining some of them, but necessity compelling us by want of powder, we left them, without any loss of our men, which was wonderful, considering the disparity of force and numbers.
We now continued our course to Plymouth, where we arrived within six hours after our prizes, though we sent them away forty hours before we began our homeward course. We were joyfully received, with the ordnance of the town, and all the people hailed us with willing hearts, we not sparing our shot in return with what powder we had left. From thence we carried our prizes to Southampton, where our owner, Sir Walter Raleigh, met us and distributed to us our shares of the prizes.