We, sir, who present you with this book, have been several years in the navy, and thought ourselves well acquainted with its laws and discipline, and have many certificates to produce, that we have always acted in obedience to command; but the proceedings of the officers and people, since the loss of the ship, are reckoned so dark and intricate, that we know not what to expect, nor what will be the result of our superiors determination.
The only consolation we have in our present anxiety, is placed in a confidence of the unbiassed integrity, justice, and humanity of the right honourable persons who will one day determine for or against us.
When you read our account of the affair, you’ll find the facts impartially related, the whole narrative written without the least shadow of prejudice or malice, and no more in favour of ourselves, than of the other officers concerned: We stand or fall by the truth; if truth will not support us, nothing can.
In our voyage from the Brazil to Lisbon, we were obliged to you for the generous treatment we met with from an enemy, a subject of Spain, a person of distinction, and a passenger in the same ship: your virtues have procured you the esteem even of your enemies.
Your zeal for the national service deserves the love of every honest Briton: to leave an abundant fortune, your family, and your country, to hazard your life in the most perilous expeditions, with no other motive than to retrieve the honour of the nation, shows the spirit of a true British hero, and deserves the highest commendations.
That you, sir, may never deviate from your integrity, but continue a terror to the enemies of Britain, an honour to his majesty’s service, and an ornament to your country, are the sincere wishes of,
Your most dutiful,
And most obedient
As an Introduction, we think proper to acquaint the reader with our reasons for causing the following sheets to be made public to the world. The chief motive which induced us to this task, was to clear our characters, which have been exceedingly blemished by persons who, (next to Heaven) owe the preservation of their lives to our skill and indefatigable care; and who having an opportunity of arriving before us in England, have endeavoured to raise their reputation on the ruin of ours.
It will appear to the reader, on perusal of the following pages, that this journal was attempted to be taken from us by violence at Rio Janeiro; that we have preserved it at the hazard of our lives; that there was no journal kept after the loss of the ship, by any officers but ourselves; and if we had not been careful in making remarks on each day’s transactions, persons must have continued in the dark, in relation to all the subsequent proceedings.