On the 6th of April, the Centurion weighed from the Typa, and warped to the southward; and by the 15th, she was got into Macao road, completing her water as she passed along, so that there remained now very few articles more to attend to, and her whole business being finished by the 19th, she, at three in the afternoon of that day, weighed and made sail, and stood to sea.
From Macao to Cape Espiritu Santo; the taking of the Manilla Galleon, and returning back again.
The commodore was now got to sea, with his ship very well refitted, his stores replenished, and an additional stock of provisions on board: His crew too was somewhat reinforced; for he had entered twenty-three men during his stay at Macao, the greatest part of which were Lascars or Indian sailors, and some few Dutch. He gave out at Macao that he was bound to Batavia, and thence to England; and though the westerly monsoon was now set in, when that passage is considered as impracticable, yet, by the confidence he had expressed in the strength of his ship, and the dexterity of his people, he had persuaded not only his own crew, but the people at Macao likewise, that he proposed to try this unusual experiment; so that there were many letters put on board him by the inhabitants of Canton and Macao for their friends at Batavia.
But his real design was of a very different nature: For he knew, that instead of one annual ship from Acapulco to Manilla, there would be this year in all probability two; since, by being before Acapulco, he had prevented one of them from putting to sea the preceding season. He therefore resolved to cruise for these returning vessels off Cape Espiritu Santo, on the island of Samal, which is the first land they always make in the Philippine Islands. And as June is generally the month in which they arrive there, he doubted not but he should get to his intended station time enough to intercept them. It is true, they were said to be stout vessels, mounting forty-four guns a-piece, and carrying above five hundred hands, and might be expected to return in company; and he himself had but two hundred and twenty-seven hands on board, of which near thirty were boys: But this disproportion of strength did not deter him, as he knew his ship to be much better fitted for a sea-engagement than theirs, and as he had reason to expect that his men would exert themselves in the most extraordinary manner, when they had in view the immense wealth of these Manilla galleons.
This project the commodore had resolved on in his own thoughts, ever since his leaving the coast of Mexico. And the greatest mortification which he received, from the various delays he had met with in China, was his apprehension, lest he might be thereby so long retarded as to let the galleons escape him. Indeed, at Macao it was incumbent on him to keep these views extremely secret; for there being a great intercourse