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They take another Spanish ship richly laden under the equinoctial. They make several dividends of their booty among themselves. They arrive at the Isle of Plate, where they are in danger of being all massacred by their slaves and prisoners. Their departure thence for the port and bay of Paita, with design to plunder the said place.
The next morning after we had turned away the packet-boat afore-mentioned, the weather being very close, we spied another sail creeping close under our lee. This vessel looked mighty big; so that we thought she had been one of their chief men-of-war, who was sent to surprise or destroy us. Notwithstanding, our brave commander, Captain Sharp, resolved to fight her, and either to take the said vessel, though never so big, or that she should take us. To this effect, coming nearer to her, we easily perceived she was a merchant-ship of great bulk, as most of your Spanish vessels are, and very deeply laden. Being up with them, those within her fired three or four guns at us first, thinking to make their party good against us. But we answered them briskly, with a continual volley of small arms, so that they soon ran clown into the hold, and surrendered, crying aloud for quarter. As it should seem we had killed in that volley their captain and one seaman, and also wounded their boatswain; which loss of their commander daunted them so suddenly, he being a man of good repute in those seas. Captain Sharp, with twelve more of our company, entered her the first. In this vessel I saw the most beautiful woman that I ever saw in all the South Sea.
The name of the captain of this vessel was Don Diego Lopez, and the ship was called El Santo Rosario, or the Holy Rosary. The men we found on board her were about the number of forty, more or less.
Having examined our prisoners, they informed us that the day before they set sail from El Callao from which port they were going towards Panama, our men whom they had taken prisoners at Arica were brought into that place, and very civilly entertained there by all sorts of people, but more especially by the women. That one of our surgeons, whom we suspected to be Mr. Bullock, was left behind, and remained still at Arica.
We lay at anchor from Friday, July 29th, which was the day we took this prize, until Wednesday following, at the same place under Cape Passao as we anchored before. Here we sank the bark that we had taken at the Gulf of Nicoya, being willing to make use of what rigging she had, and also to contract our number of men. In the meanwhile we took out of the prize much plate, and some money ready coined, besides six hundred and twenty jars of wine and brandy, and other things. Thus, leaving only the foremast standing in the said vessel, we turned her away, as we had done the others before, together with all the prisoners in her, giving them their liberty not to be encumbered with them, being desirous to spare our provisions as much as we could. We detained only one man, named Francisco, who was a Biscayner, because he reported himself to be the best pilot of those seas. This being done, we shared all the plate and linen taken in our prize, and weighed thence, standing S.S.E. with a fresh wind that sprang up.
Friday, August 4th. This day we shared the ready money taken in the Rosario, our last prize. Our dividend came to ninety-four pieces of eight each man. Cape Passao, under which all these prizes were taken, at N.E appears thus:
The land runs S.E. and is for five leagues together to windward of this cape, all mountainous and high land.
The next day, being August 5th, we completed our dividends, sharing this day all our odd money, ready-coined, and plate, with some other things.
Saturday, August 6th. This day perusing some letters taken in the last prize, I understood by them that the Spaniards had taken prisoner one of the last party of our men that left us. Also, that they were forced to fight all their way over land as they went, both against the Spaniards and the Indians, these having made peace with the Spaniards since our departure, as was mentioned above. That our Englishmen had killed, amongst other Spaniards, the brother of Captain Assientos, and Captain Alonso, an officer so-named. Moreover, that ten sail of privateers were coming out of the North Sea, with intent to march over-land into the South Sea, as we had done before, but that they were prevented, being forced back by the great rains that fell near the islands called Samballas.
On August 7th we had very fair weather, notwithstanding some strong winds from shore, and also a strong current to leeward. This ran so fierce against us the next day, August 8th, that in the space of the last four and twenty hours we lost three leagues.
Tuesday, August 9th, we saw the port and town of Manta; this being nothing but sixteen or seventeen straggling houses, with a large and high brick church belonging to it. What we got in the day by the help of the wind, we lost in the night by the current. The same fortune we had the next day, for we still gained no way all this while.
Thursday, August 11th. All last night we had but little wind; this day we had a violent current to windward, as before, with some gusts of wind. However, by the help of these we made shift to get to windward of the isle of Plate.
August 12th, in the morning, we came to an anchor at the aforesaid isle. We sent our boat ashore with men, as we had done formerly, to kill goats, but we found them to be extremely shy and fugitive, compared with what they were the last year. Here it was that our quartermaster, James Chappel, and myself fought a duel together on shore. In the evening of this day, our slaves agreed among themselves, and plotted to cut us all in pieces, not giving quarter to any, when we should be buried in sleep. They conceived this night afforded them the fittest opportunity, by reason that we were all in drink. But they were discovered to our commander by one of their own companions, and one of them named Santiago, whom we brought from Iquique, leapt overboard; who, notwithstanding, was shot in the water by our captailland thus punished for his treason. The rest laid the fault on that slave, and so it passed, we being not willing to enquire any farther into the matter, having terrified them with the death of their companion. We lay at this isle until Tuesday following, and in the meanwhile gave our vessel a pair of boots and tops, being very merry all the while with the wine and brandy we had taken in the prize.
On Tuesday, August 16th, in the afternoon, we weighed thence with a S.W. wind. The island at N.W. from us, gave us this following appearance:
Wednesday, August 17th, the island at E., this morning and at two leagues and an half distance appeared thus:
All the day long until the evening we had a leeward current, but then I could not perceive any.
Thursday, August 18th. This morning we were to windward of the island of Solango. In the night before we had continual misty rain. At noon the aforesaid island bore N. by E. of us, and at three leagues distance appeared thus:
About three leagues from Solango are two rocks, called Los Ahorcados. They appear both high and black to the view, Besides this N. N.E. from Point St. Helena is a high rock, which to windward thereof runs shoaling for the space of half a mile under water. It is listant about eight leagues, more or less, from the said point, and is called Chanduy. At this place, and upon this rock, was lost the ship afore-mentioned, that was ordered from these seas, to the aid of our most gracious Sovereign, King Charles the First, late King of England. Said ship had on board, as the Spaniards relate, to the sum of many millions of pieces of eight; all which quantity of plate was sent as a present to our king, being then in his troubles, by the worthy merchants of Lima. The rock afore-mentioned lies about two leagues distant from the mainland.
August 19th. This day our pilot told us that since we were to windward a certain ship that was coming from Lima, bound for Guayaquil, ran ashore on Santa Clara, losing there in money to the value of one hundred thousand pieces of eight; which otherwise, peradventure, we might very fortunately have met with. Moreover, that the Viceroy of Peru had beheaded their great Admiral Ponce, for not coming to fight and destroy us, while we were at Gorgona. This evening we saw point St. Helena, at the distance of ten leagues to S.S.E. from us.
August 20th. This day we had both misty and cold weather. In the afternoon we saw Point St. Helena, at N.E. by N. and at seven leagues distance more or less.
On Sunday, August 21st, we had a fair and clear day. I reckoned myself this day to be about twenty-five leagues to the southward of St. Helena.
August 22nd. This morning about two o'clock we came close in with the shore. We found ourselves to leeward of a certain point called Punta de Mero, which is nothing else than a barren and rocky point. Here runs an eddy current under the shore.
Tuesday, August 23rd. This day in the morning we had but little wind. At noon it blew fresh again. We made all day but short trips, and reefed topsails.
Wednesday, August 24th. This morning a great dew fell. At noon we were W. from Cape Blanco. We found by observation lat. 4° 13' S. We resolved now to bear up for Paita, and take it by surprise if possible, thereby to provide ourselves with many necessaries that we wanted.