[Footnote 3: It is unnecessary to detail this plan, as, for sufficient reasons soon discovered, it was not attempted to be executed.—E.]
His scheme was formed on a supposition that the galleon was detained till the next year; but as this was a matter of opinion only, and not founded on intelligence, and there was a possibility that she might still put to sea in a short time, the commodore thought it prudent to continue his cruise upon this station, as long as the necessary attention to his stores of wood and water, and to the convenient season for his future passage to China, would give him leave; and therefore, as the cutters had been ordered to remain, before Acapulco till the 23d of March, the squadron did not change its position till that day; when the cutters not appearing, we were in some pain for them, apprehending they might have suffered either from the enemy or the weather; but we were relieved from our concern the next morning, when we discovered them, though at a great distance and to the leeward of the squadron: We bore down to them and took them up and were informed by them, that, conformable to their orders, they had left their station the day before, without having seen any thing of the galleon; and we found, that the reason of their being so far to the leeward of us was a strong current, which had driven the whole squadron to windward.
It afterwards appeared that this prolongation of our cruise was a very prudent measure, and afforded us no contemptible chance of seizing the treasure, on which we had so long fixed our thoughts. For it seems, after the embargo was laid on the galleon, the persons principally interested in the cargo sent several expresses to Mexico, to beg that she might still be permitted to depart: For as they knew, by the accounts sent from Paita, that we had not more than three hundred men in all, they insisted that there was nothing to be feared from us; for that the galleon (carrying above twice as many hands as our whole squadron) would be greatly an overmatch for us. Though the viceroy was inflexible; yet, on this representation, she was kept ready for the sea for near three weeks after the first order came to detain her.
When we had taken up the cutters, all the ships being joined, the commodore made a signal to speak with their commanders; and upon enquiry into the stock of fresh water remaining on board the squadron, it was found to be so very slender, that we were under a necessity of quitting our station to procure a fresh supply. It was agreed, that the harbour of Seguataneo or Chequetan being the nearest to us, was, on that account, the most eligible; it was therefore immediately resolved to make the best of our way thither: And that, even while we were recruiting our water, we might not abandon our views upon the galleon, which perhaps, upon certain intelligence of our ship being employed at Chequetan, might venture to slip out to sea; our cutter, under the command of Mr Hughes, the