By this time the particulars of the cargo of the galleon were well ascertained, and it was found that she had on board 1,313,843 pieces of eight and 35,682 ounces of virgin silver, besides some cochineal and a few other commodities, which, however, were but of small account in comparison of the specie. And this being the Commodore’s last prize, it hence appears that all the treasure taken by the Centurion was not much short of 400,000 pounds independent of the ships and merchandise which she either burnt or destroyed, and which by the most reasonable estimation could not amount to so little as 600,000 more; so that the whole loss of the enemy by our squadron did doubtless exceed a million sterling. To which, if there be added the great expense of the court of Spain in fitting out Pizarro, and in paying the additional charges in America incurred on our account, together with the loss of their men-of-war, the total of all these articles will be a most exorbitant sum, and is the strongest conviction of the utility of this expedition, which, with all its numerous disadvantages, did yet prove so extremely prejudicial to the enemy.
The Commodore, having taken pilots on board, proceeded with his prize for the river of Canton, and on the 14th of July came to an anchor short of the Bocca Tigris, which is a narrow passage forming the mouth of that river. This entrance he proposed to stand through the next day, and to run up as far as Tiger Island, which is a very safe road, secured from all winds.
But whilst the Centurion and her prize were thus at anchor, a boat with an officer came off from the mandarin commanding the forts at Bocca Tigris to examine what the ships were and whence they came. Mr. Anson informed the officer that his ship was a ship of war, belonging to the King of Great Britain, and that the other in company with him was a prize he had taken; that he was going into Canton River to shelter himself against the hurricanes which were then coming on; and that as soon as the monsoon shifted he should proceed for England. The officer then desired an account of what men, guns, and ammunition were on board, a list of all which, he said, was to be sent to the Government of Canton. But when these articles were repeated to him, particularly when he was told that there were in the Centurion four hundred fire locks and between three hundred and four hundred barrels of powder, he shrugged up his shoulders and seemed to be terrified with the bare recital, saying that no ships ever came into Canton River armed in that manner; adding that he durst not set down the whole of this force, lest it should too much alarm the Regency. After he had finished his enquiries, and was preparing to depart, he desired to leave the two custom-house officers behind him, on which the Commodore told him