The Commodore made his first lieutenant, Mr. Suamarez, captain of this prize, appointing her a post-ship in His Majesty’s service. Captain Suamarez, before night, sent on board the Centurion all the Spanish prisoners but such as were thought the most proper to be retained to assist in navigating the galleon.
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN.
And now the Commodore learned from some of these prisoners that the other ship, which he had kept in the port of Acapulco the preceding year, instead of returning in company with the present prize, as was expected, had set sail from Acapulco alone much sooner than usual, and had in all probability got into the port of Manila long before the Centurion arrived off Cape Espiritu Santo, so that Mr. Anson, notwithstanding his present success, had great reason to regret his loss of time at Macao, which prevented him from taking two rich prizes instead of one.
The Commodore, when the action was ended, resolved to make the best of his way with his prize for the river of Canton, being in the meantime fully employed in securing his prisoners, and in removing the treasure from on board the galleon into the Centurion. The last of these operations was too important to be postponed, for as the navigation to Canton was through seas but little known, and where, from the season of the year, much bad weather might be expected, it was of great consequence that the treasure should be sent on board the Centurion, which ship, by the presence of the Commander-in-chief, the greater number of her hands, and her other advantages, was doubtless much safer against all the casualties of winds and seas than the galleon; and the securing the prisoners was a matter of still more consequence, as not only the possession of the treasure, but the lives of the captors depended thereon. This was indeed an article which gave the Commodore much trouble and disquietude, for they were above double the number of his own people, and some of them, when they were brought on board the Centurion and had observed how slenderly she was manned, and the large proportion which the striplings bore to the rest, could not help expressing themselves with great indignation to be thus beaten by a handful of boys.
THE SUFFERINGS OF THE PRISONERS.
The method which was taken to hinder them from rising was by placing all but the officers and the wounded in the hold, where to give them as much air as possible, two hatchways were left open; but then (to avoid all danger whilst the Centurion’s people should be employed upon the deck) there was a square partition of thick planks, made in the shape of a funnel, which enclosed each hatchway on the lower deck and reached to that directly over it on the upper deck. These funnels served to communicate the air to the hold better than could have been done without them, and