The fruits and vegetable refreshments at this place were neither plentiful, nor of the best kinds: There were, it is true, a few bushes scattered about the woods, which supplied us with limes, but we scarcely could procure enough for our present use; and these, with a small plumb of an agreeable acid, called in Jamaica the hog-plumb, together with another fruit called a papah, were the only fruits to be found in the woods. Nor is there any other useful vegetable here worth mentioning, except brook-lime: This indeed grew in great quantities near the fresh-water banks; and, as it was esteemed an antiscorbutic, we fed upon it frequently, though its extreme bitterness made it very unpalatable.
By all that has been said, it will appear that the conveniences of this port of Chequetan, particularly in the articles of refreshment, are not altogether such as might be desired: But, upon the whole, it is a place of considerable consequence, as the only secure harbour in a vast extent of coast, except Acapulco.
Account of Proceedings at Chequetan and on the adjacent Coast, till our setting sail for Asia.
The next morning, after our coming to an anchor in the harbour of Chequetan, we sent about ninety of our men well armed on shore, forty of whom were ordered to march into the country, as has been mentioned, and the remaining fifty were employed to cover the watering-place, and to prevent any interruption from the natives.
Here it was agreed, after mature consultation, to destroy the Tryal’s prize, as well as the Carmelo and Carmin whose fate had been before resolved on. Indeed the ship was in good repair and fit for the sea; but as the whole numbers onboard our squadron did not amount to the complement of a fourth-rate man of war, we found it was impossible to divide them into three ships, without rendering them incapable of navigating in safety in the tempestuous weather we had reason to expect on the coast of China, where we supposed we should arrive about the time of the change of the monsoons.
During our stay here there happened an incident, which, as it proved the means of convincing our friends in England of our safety, which for some time they were in doubt about, I shall beg leave particularly to recite. I have observed, that from this harbour of Chequetan there was but one path-way which led through the woods into the country. This we found much beaten, and were thence convinced that it was well known to the inhabitants. As it passed by the spring-head, and was the only avenue by which the Spaniards could approach us, we, at some distance beyond the spring-head, felled several large trees, and laid them one upon the other across the path; and at this barricado we constantly kept a guard: And we besides ordered our men employed in watering to have their arms ready, and, in case of any alarm, to march instantly to this post. Though our principal