I now return to my own affairs, and the manner of my return to England from Peru. I have already acknowledged the kind reception I met with from the admiral of the South Seas, Don Pedro Miranda, and the reasons of his treating us so civilly. I think it barely justice to mention the several favours I received, during the eleven months that I continued at Lima, particularly from Don Juan Baptista Palacio, a native of Biscay, a knight of the order of St Jago, who came weekly to the prison while we were there, and distributed money to us all, in proportion to our several ranks. Captain Nicholas Fitzgerald procured my enlargement, by becoming security for me; and he afterwards supplied me with money and necessaries, from that time till my departure; and procured for me and twenty more, a passage to Cadiz, in a Spanish advice-boat called the Flying-fish, of which our surgeon’s mate, Mr Pressick, acted as surgeon, receiving wages, as did the rest of our men, being released from prison expressly to assist in navigating that vessel home to Spain. For my own part, being well treated, I did not think proper to eat the bread of idleness, but kept my watches as well as the other officers. And pray, what is the harm of all this? Though Shelvocke had the stupidity to call it treason; it must surely appear a very malicious, as well as an ignorant charge, after a man has been driven among the enemy, to call him a traitor because he has been kindly used, and for accepting his passage back again; and, because I was not murdered in Peru, I ought to be executed at home. This is Shelvocke’s great Christian charity and good conscience!
[Footnote 1: After all, had the Flying-fish been captured by a British cruizer, Betagh would have run great risk of being found guilty of treason for keeping his watches.—E.]
On my arrival at Cadiz, captain John Evers of the Britannia kindly gave me my passage to London, and entertained me at his own table. On my return to London, and representing the hardships I had undergone, nine honourable persons made me a present of ten guineas each; which afforded me the satisfaction of seeing, that such as were the best judges, had a proper idea of the miseries I had suffered, and approved the manner in which I had behaved, the only consolation I could receive in the circumstances in which I was left by that unfortunate voyage. The fair account I have given of facts, and the detail of my proceedings in the Spanish West Indies, together with the account of what I observed worthy of notice during my stay in these parts, will acquit me, I hope, in the opinion of every candid and impartial person, from the aspersions thrown upon me by Shelvocke, in the account he has published of his voyage.
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