The sending away our prisoners was our last transaction on the American coast; for no sooner had we parted with them, than we and the Gloucester made sail to the S.W., proposing to get a good offing from the land, where we hoped, in a few days, to meet with the regular trade-wind, which the accounts of former navigators had represented as much brisker and steadier in this ocean, than in any other part of the globe: For it has been esteemed no uncommon passage to run from hence to the eastermost parts of Asia in two months; and we flattered ourselves that we were as capable of making an expeditious passage as any ships that had ever run this course before us; so that we hoped soon to gain the coast of China, for which we were now bound. And conformable to the general idea of this navigation given by former voyagers, we considered it as free from all kinds of embarrassment of bad weather, fatigue, or sickness; and consequently we undertook it with alacrity, especially as it was no contemptible step towards oar arrival at our native country, for which many of us by this time began to have great longings. Thus, on the 6th of May, we, for the last time, lost sight of the mountains of Mexico, persuaded, that in a few weeks we should arrive at the river of Canton in China, where we expected to meet with many English ships, and numbers of our countrymen; and hoped to enjoy the advantages of an amicable, well-frequented port, inhabited by a polished people, and abounding with the conveniences and indulgences of a civilized life, which for near twenty months had never been once in our power.
[It is judged advisable to omit altogether the next section of the original, as occupied by mere reckoning on the advantages “which might have been expected from the squadron, had it arrived in the South Seas in good time.” They are in part specified at the beginning.]
The Run from the Coast of Mexico to the Ladrones or Marian Islands.
When we left the coast of America, we stood to the S.W. with a view of meeting with the N.E. trade-wind, which the accounts of former writers made us expect at seventy or eighty leagues distance from the land: We had another reason for standing to the southward, which was the getting into the latitude of 13 deg. or 14 deg. north; that being the parallel where the Pacific Ocean is most usually crossed, and consequently where the navigation is esteemed the safest: This last purpose we had soon answered, being in a day or two sufficiently advanced to the south. At the same time we were also farther from the shore, than we had presumed was necessary for the falling in with the trade-wind: But in this particular we were most grievously disappointed; for the wind still continued to the westward, or at best variable. As the getting into the N.E. trade-wind, was to us a matter of the last consequence, we stood more to the southward, and made many experiments to meet with