We thought it our duty to provide ourselves with these means of defence, though we had some reason to believe that the generosity of our enemies had, in a great measure, rendered them superfluous. We were informed at Canton, that the public prints, which had arrived last from England, made mention of instructions having been found on board all the French ships of war, captured in Europe, directing their commanders, in case of falling in with the ships that sailed under the command of Captain Cook, to suffer them to proceed on their voyage without molestation. The same orders were also said to have been given by the American congress to the vessels employed in their service. As this intelligence was farther confirmed by the private letters of several of the supercargoes, Captain Gore thought himself bound, in return for the liberal exceptions made in our favour, to refrain from availing himself of any opportunities of capture which these seas might afford, and to preserve, throughout his voyage, the strictest neutrality.
At two in the afternoon, having got under sail, the Resolution saluted the fort of Macao with eleven guns, which was returned with the same number. At five, the wind dropping, the ship missed stays, and drove into shallow water; but, by carrying out an anchor, she was hauled off without receiving the smallest damage. The weather continuing calm, we were obliged to warp out into the entrance of the Typa, which we gained by eight o’clock, and lay there till nine the next morning; when, by the help of a fresh breeze from the east, we stood to the southward, between Potoe and Wungboo.
At noon, we were saluted by a Swedish ship, as she passed us, on her way to Europe. At four, the Ladrone bore E., distant two leagues. We now steered S. 1/2 E., with a fresh breeze from the E.N.E., without any occurrence worth remarking, till noon of the 15th, when, being in latitude 18 deg. 57’, and longitude 114 deg. 13’, the wind veering to the N., we directed our course half a point more to the eastward, in order to strike soundings over the Macclesfield Bank. This we effected at eight in the evening of the 16th, and found the depth of water to be fifty fathoms, over a bottom of white sand and shells. This part of the Macclesfield shoals we placed in latitude 15 deg. 51’, and in longitude 114 deg. 20’; which agrees very exactly with the position given in Mr Dalrymple’s map, whose general accuracy, if it stood in need of any support, was confirmed, in this instance, by a great number of lunar observations, which we had an opportunity of making every day since we left the Typa. The variation was found to be, in the forenoon, 0 deg. 39’ W.