It was my intention to have remained quietly on shore, after so many hairbreadth escapes and singular adventures; but I found France so changed, that I was disgusted with my own country. Every thing was upside down—the nobles, the wealthy, the talented, either were murdered, or living in abject poverty in other countries, while the lower classes had usurped their place, and governed the land. But what decided me once more to go to sea, was that the continual demands for fresh levies to recruit the republican armies, convinced me that I had no chance of long remaining in quiet. Of two evils I preferred what I considered to be the least, and rather than die in a ditch on shore, I preferred the dangers which might be incurred afloat. I bought a large ship, and fitted her for a voyage of speculation to Lima in South America. As the English cruisers covered the seas, and I was resolved that I would not be taken by a vessel of small force, I shipped with me a complement of forty men, and had twelve guns mounted on her decks. We escaped through the gut of Gibraltar, and steered our course for Cape Horn, the southernmost point of America. Nothing worth narrating occurred until we made the land, when a strong adverse gale came on, which, after attempting in vain to beat against it, blew away most of our sails and finally obliged us to bear up, and run away to the southward and eastward.
From the working and straining of the vessel, the decks had become so leaky, that the water ran through every part of the ship. Our provisions (particularly our bread) being spoiled, and obliged to be thrown overboard, we were necessitated to be put upon short allowance. As we had no hopes of being able to support ourselves upon what was left until our arrival at Lima, I determined to run for the nearest island, where I might obtain a fresh supply, and then renew our attempt to beat round the Cape. I was in some doubts where to proceed, but after running eastward for a fortnight, we discovered land on the lee bow, which I considered to be the uninhabited Island of New Georgia; but as we approached it, we thought that we perceived people on the beach, and when within five miles we could plainly distinguish that they were soldiers in their uniforms, ranged up, rank and file. The colour of their clothes could not be made out with the glass, but it was easy to be distinguished that they had yellow facings; from which I inferred that they were our enemies the English. “Peste!” thought I, “is it possible that these grasping islanders have made a settlement on this place? Where will they go to next?” The different companies appeared to be from one to two dozen in number; sometimes they stood quite still, at others they walked a little way on the beach; but they constantly adhered to their rank-and-file position, and as I could not perceive that they had any muskets in their hands, I inferred that they were merely practising the marching evolutions. No houses or fortifications were distinguishable,