[Footnote 1: In the various steps of this voyage, the merely uninteresting journal or log-book incidents have been materially abbreviated.—E.]
While in lat. 28 deg. N. and soon expecting to see the Canaries, a sail was descried from the mast-head carrying English colours. On drawing near she struck her colours and bore away, but re-appeared in about an hour, having four sail more in her company, sometimes carrying white, sometimes red, and sometimes black colours, which gave reason to suspect that they were pirates. The Commodore immediately made the signal for the line of battle, and all hands went to work in clearing the ship for action, filling grenades, and preparing every thing for the ensuing engagement, in which they fortunately had the advantage of the weather-gage. Observing this, the pirates put themselves into a fighting posture, struck their red flag, and hoisted a black one, on which was a death’s head in the centre, surmounted by a powder horn, and two cross bones underneath. They likewise formed the line, and commenced a smart action. The pirates fought very briskly for some time, as believing the Dutch ships to be merchantmen; but after two hours cannonade, perceiving the Commodore preparing to board the vessel to which he was opposed, the pirates spread all their canvass, and crowded away as fast as they could sail. Commodore Roggewein, on seeing them bear away, called out, Let the rascals go: In which he strictly obeyed his instructions; as all the ships belonging to the Dutch East and West India Companies have strict orders to pursue their course, and never to give chase. In this action, four men were killed, and nine wounded in the Commodore, the other two ships having seven slain and twenty-six wounded. The carpenters also had full employment in stopping leaks, and repairing the other damages sustained.
Continuing their voyage, they had sight of Madeira on the 15th November, and in the neighbourhood saw a desert island which is much frequented by the pirates, for wood and water and other refreshments. They afterwards had sight of the Peak of Teneriffe, which is generally esteemed the highest single mountain in the world, on which account the geographers of Holland adopt it as the first meridian in their maps and charts; while the French and English of late incline to fix their first meridians at their respective capitals of Paris and London. These differences are apt to create much confusion in the longitudes of places, when not explained by the writers who use these several modes of reckoning; on which account Lewis XIII. of France, by edict in 1634, endeavoured to obviate this inconvenience, by directing the first meridian to be placed in the island of Ferro, the most westerly of the Canaries. From these islands they directed their course for the islands of Cape Verde, so named from Cabo Verde, or the Green Cape, a point or mountain on the coast of Africa, called Arlinarium by Ptolemy.