Sec. 1. PARTICULARS OF THE CAPTURE OF THE MERCURY BY THE SPANIARDS.
It was in the beginning of the year 1720, about the middle of March, when Captain Shelvocke sent Hately and the rest of us to seek our fortunes in the lighter called the Mercury. He then went in the Speedwell to plunder the village of Payta, where we might easily have joined him, had he been pleased to have imparted his design to us. We had not cruized long off Cape Blanco, when we took a small bark, having a good quantity of flour and chocolate. There were also on board an elderly lady, and a thin old friar, whom we detained two or three days; and, after taking out what could be of use to us, we discharged the bark and them. Soon after this we took the Pink, which Shelvocke calls the rich prize. Her people had no suspicion of our being an enemy, and held on their way till they saw the Mercury standing towards them, and then began to suspect us; on which, about noon, they clapt their helm hard a-weather, and crowded all sail before the wind; and, being in ballast, this was her best sailing, yet proved also the greatest advantage they could have given us; for, had she held her wind, our flat-bottomed vessel could never have got up with theirs. About ten o’clock at night, with the assistance of hard rowing, we got up within shot of the chase, and made her bring to, when pretty near the shore. On boarding the prize, in which were about seventy persons, thirty of whom were negroes, Hately left me and Pressick in the Mercury, with other four, where we continued two or three days, till a heavy rain spoiled all our bread and other dry provisions. We then went on board the prize, sending three men to take charge of the Mercury.
After this, we stood off and on in the height of Cape Blanco for seven or eight days, expecting to meet with the Speedwell; and at that place we sent ashore the Spanish Captain, a padre or priest, and some gentlemen passengers. At last we espied a sail plying to windward; and, having no doubt that she was either the Speedwell or the Success, we stood towards her, while she also edged down towards us. About ten in the morning we were near enough to make her out to be a ship of war, but neither of these we wished for. The master of our prize had before informed us, that he had fallen in with the Brilliante, which was cruizing for our privateers, and we had till now entirely disregarded his information. Upon this, Hately advised with me what we ought to do in this emergency, when we agreed to endeavour to take