Though, after leaving Captain Saunders, we were very expeditious in regaining our station, where we got the 29th at noon, yet in plying on and off till the 6th of October we had not the good fortune to discover a sail of any sort, and then, having lost all hopes of making any advantage by a longer stay, we made sail to the leeward of the port in order to join our prizes; but when we arrived on the station appointed for them we did not meet with them, though we continued there four or five days. We supposed that some chase had occasioned their leaving the station, and therefore we proceeded down the coast to the high land of Nasca, where Captain Saunders was directed to join us. Here we arrived on the 21st, and were in great expectation of meeting with some of the enemy’s ships on the coast, as both the accounts of former voyages and the information of our prisoners assured us that all ships bound to Callao constantly make this land, to prevent the danger of running to the leeward of the port. But notwithstanding the advantages of this station we saw no sail till the 2nd of November, when two ships appeared in sight together. We immediately gave them chase, but soon perceived that they were the Trial’s and Centurion’s prizes. We found they had not been more fortunate in their cruise than we were, for they had seen no vessel since they separated from us.
We bore away the same afternoon, taking particular care to keep at such a distance from the shore that there might be no danger of our being discovered from thence.
By the 5th of November, at three in the afternoon, we were advanced within view of the high land of Barranca, and an hour and a half afterwards we had the satisfaction we had so long wished for, of seeing a sail. She first appeared to leeward, and we all immediately gave her chase; but the Centurion so much out sailed the two prizes that we soon ran them out of sight, and gained considerably on the chase. However, night coming on before we came up to her, we about seven o’clock lost sight of her, and were in some perplexity what course to steer; but at last Mr. Anson resolved, as we were then before the wind, to keep all his sails set and not to change his course. For though we had no doubt but the chase would alter her course in the night, yet, as it was uncertain what tack she would go upon, it was thought more prudent to keep on our course, as we must by this means unavoidably near her, than to change it on conjecture, when, if we should mistake, we must infallibly lose her. Thus, then, we continued the chase about an hour and a half in the dark, someone or other on board us constantly imagining they discerned her sails right ahead of us; but at last Mr. Brett, then our second lieutenant, did really discover her about four points on the larboard-bow, steering off to the seaward. We immediately clapped