(Note. Before leaving the American coast for China, Anson released fifty-seven of his prisoners, including all the Spaniards, and sent them to Acapulco. A certain number of natives were retained to assist in working the ships. There had been some previous attempt at correspondence between Anson and the Spanish governor of Acapulco. The latter, with Spanish courtesy, when answering Anson’s letter, despatched with his answer “a present of two boats laden with the choicest refreshments and provisions which were to be found in Acapulco.” Unfortunately the boats were unable to find Anson, and he never received either the letter or the present.)
When on the 6th of May, 1742, we left the coast of America, we stood to the south-west with a view of meeting with the north-east trade wind, which the accounts of former writers made us expect at seventy or eighty leagues distance from the land. We had, besides, another reason for standing to the southward, which was the getting into the latitude of 13 or 14 degrees north, that being the parallel where the Pacific Ocean is most usually crossed, and consequently where the navigation is esteemed the safest. This last purpose we had soon answered, being in a day or two sufficiently advanced to the south. At the same time we were also farther from the shore than we had presumed was necessary for falling in with the tradewind; but in this particular we were most grievously disappointed, for the wind still continued to the westward, or at best variable. As the getting into the north-east trade was to us a matter of the last consequence, we stood more to the southward, and made many experiments to meet with it, but all our efforts were for a long time unsuccessful, so that it was seven weeks from our leaving the coast before we got into the true trade wind.
CONTRARY AND VARIABLE WINDS.
This was an interval in which we believed we should well-nigh have reached the easternmost parts of Asia, but we were so baffled with the contrary and variable winds which for all that time perplexed us, that we were not as yet advanced above a fourth part of the way. The delay alone would have been a sufficient mortification, but there were other circumstances attending it which rendered this situation not less terrible, and our apprehensions perhaps still greater, than in any of our past distresses, for our two ships were by this time extremely crazy, and many days had not passed before we discovered a spring in the foremast of the Centurion, which rounded about twenty-six inches of its circumference, and which was judged to be at least four inches deep; and no sooner had our carpenters secured this with fishing it but the Gloucester made a signal of distress, and we learned that she had a dangerous spring in her mainmast, so that she could