On visiting the governor of Madeira, Mr Anson was informed by him, that for three or four days in the latter end of October, there had appeared to the westward of the island seven or eight ships of the line and a patache, which last was sent close in with the land every day. The governor assured our commodore, upon his honour, that no person on the island had either given them intelligence, or had any sort of communication with them. He believed them to be either French or Spanish, but was rather inclined to suppose the latter. On this intelligence, Mr Anson sent an officer in a clean sloop eight leagues to the westwards, to reconnoitre them, and, if possible, to discover what they were: But the officer returned without having seen them, so that we still remained in uncertainty; yet we could not but conjecture that this fleet was intended to put a stop, if possible, to our expedition; and, had they cruized to the eastward of the island, instead of the westward, they could not have failed in doing so: for, as in that case they must infallibly have fallen in with us, we should have been under the necessity of throwing overboard vast quantities of provisions, to clear our ships for action; and this alone, independent of the event of the action, would have effectually prevented our progress. This was so obvious a measure, that we could not help imagining reasons which might have prevented them from pursuing it. We supposed, therefore, that this French or Spanish squadron, having advice that we were to sail in company with Admiral Balchen and Lord Cathcart’s expedition, might not think it adviseable to meet with us till we had parted company, from apprehension of being over-matched, and supposed we might not separate before our arrival at this island. These were our speculations at the time, from which we had reason to suppose we might still fall in with them, in our way to the Cape de Verd islands. We were afterwards persuaded, in the course of our expedition, that this was the Spanish squadron commanded by Don Joseph Pizarro, sent out purposely to traverse the views and enterprizes of our squadron, to which they were greatly superior in strength. As this Spanish armament was so nearly connected with our expedition, and as the catastrophe, if underwent, though not effected by our force, was yet a considerable advantage to this nation produced in consequence of our equipment; I have, in the following section, given a summary account of their proceedings, from their first setting out from Spain in 1740, till the Asia, the only ship of the whole squadron that returned to Europe, got back to Corunna in the beginning of the year 1746.