The galleon being thus fitted for her return, the captain, on leaving the port of Acapulco, steers for the latitude of 13 or 14 degrees, and runs on that parallel till he gets sight of the island of Guam, one of the Ladrones. The captain is told in his instructions that, to prevent his passing the Ladrones in the dark, there are orders given that thorough all the month of June fires shall be lighted every night on the highest part of Guam and Rota, and kept in till the morning. At Guam there is a small Spanish garrison, purposely intended to secure that place for the refreshment of the galleon and to yield her all the assistance in their power. However, the danger of the road at Guam is so great, that though the galleon is ordered to call there, yet she rarely stays above a day or two, but getting her water and refreshments on board as soon as possible, she steers away directly for Cape Espiritu Santo, on the island of Samal.*
TELEGRAPHY BY BEACON.
Here the captain is again ordered to look out for signals, and he is told that sentinels will be posted, not only on that cape, but likewise in Catanduanas, Butusan, Birriborongo, and on the island of Batan. These sentinels are instructed to make a fire when they discover the ship, which the captain is carefully to observe; for if after this first fire is extinguished he perceives that four or more are lighted up again, he is then to conclude that there are enemies on the coast, and on this he is immediately to endeavour to speak with the sentinel on shore, and to procure from him more particular intelligence of their force and of the station they cruise in, pursuant to which he is to regulate his conduct, and to endeavour to gain some secure port amongst those islands without coming in sight of the enemy; and in case he should be discovered when in port, and should be apprehensive of an attack, he is then to land his treasure and to take some of his artillery on shore for its defence, not neglecting to send frequent and particular accounts to the city of Manila of all that passes. But if after the first fire on shore the captain observes that two others only are made by the sentinels, he is then to conclude that there is nothing to fear, and he is to pursue his course without interruption, and to make the best of his way to the port of Cabite, which is the port to the city of Manila, and the constant station for all the ships employed in this commerce to Acapulco.
(Note. Samal or Samar is an island about the centre of the Philippines, north of Mindanao.)
On the 1st of March we made the highlands over Acapulco, and got with all possible expedition into the situation prescribed by the Commodore’s orders.*
(Note. The two men-of-war and the three prizes were arranged out of sight of the land in “a circular line,” the two extremities of which were thirty-six miles apart. Within this line, and much nearer to the port, especially at night, were two cutters, whose duty it was to watch the mouth of the harbour and signal to the ships outside them.)