This generous conduct of our commodore to his prisoners, which he continued without interruption or deviation, gave them all the highest idea of his humanity and benevolence; and, as mankind are ever fond of forming general opinions, induced them to entertain very favourable thoughts of the whole English nation. But, whatever opinion they might be disposed to form of his character before the capture of the Teresa, their veneration for him was prodigiously increased by his conduct towards the women who were taken in that vessel, as formerly mentioned. For the circumstance of leaving them in possession of their own apartments, the strict orders he issued to prevent any of our people from approaching them, and his permitting the pilot to remain with them as their guardian, were measures that seemed so different from what they expected in an enemy and a heretic, that, although the Spanish prisoners had themselves experienced his beneficence, they were astonished at this particular instance; and the more so, that all this was done without his ever having seen the women, though the two daughters were both reckoned handsome, and the youngest was celebrated for her uncommon beauty. The women were themselves so sensible of the obligations they owed him for the attention and delicacy with which he had protected them, that they refused to go on shore at Payta till permitted to wait upon him, that they might in person return him thanks. Indeed all the prisoners left us with the strongest assurances of their grateful remembrance of his uncommon kindness. A Jesuit, in particular, of some distinction, expressed himself with great thankfulness for the civilities he and his countrymen had experienced while on board, declaring that he should consider it his duty to do Mr Anson justice at all times; adding, that his usage of the men prisoners was such as could never be forgotten, and merited the highest acknowledgments; but his behaviour to the women was so extraordinary and honourable, that he doubted all the regard due to his own ecclesiastical character would be scarcely sufficient to make it believed. Indeed, we were afterwards informed that he and the rest of the prisoners had not been silent on this topic, but had given the highest commendations of our commodore, both at Lima and other places; and the Jesuit, as we were told, had interpreted in his favour, in a lax and hypothetical sense, that article of his church which asserts the impossibility of heretics being saved.
Let it not be imagined, that the impression received by the Spaniards to our advantage on the present occasion was a matter of slight import; for, not to mention several of our countrymen who had already felt the good effects of these prepossessions, it may be observed, that the good opinion of this nation is certainly of more consequence to us than that of all the world besides. Not only as the commerce we have formerly carried on with them, and perhaps may again hereafter,