Bibliography Texts

Journal of a Cruise Made to the Pacific Ocean …

David Porter

Table of Contents
I [Chapter Excerpt] Crew list at time of departure.
VRun Down the Coast of Chili and Peru; Arrive at the Gallipagos Islands.
VIThe Gallipagos Islands; Prizes.
VII Gallipagos Islands; Fishery.
VIIIArrival at Tumbez; Return to the Gallipagos.
IX James's Island; Port Rendezvous.
XGallipagos Islands; Departure for Washington Islands.

Galápagos Chapters, with text from all editions as indicated here.

  • 1815 edition. A word or phrase [in brackets] identifies text found in this edition only. “Gallapagos” spelling throughout Table of Contents and text.
  • 1822 edition. A word or phrase {in braces} identifies text found in this edition only. “Gallapagos” in Table of Contents, but “Gallipagos” throughout text.
  • 1823 (British) edition. A word or phrase /between forward slashes/ identifies text found in this edition only. Highlighted text indicates sections omitted in this edition.
  • Unless otherwise noted, remarks (in parentheses) are in Porter's original text.
  • An asterisk in the text indicates one of Porter's own footnotes.
  • In cases of minor spelling variations, (chace, cruize in 1815, chase, cruise in 1822, for example), the 1822 style is followed here.


On the morning of the 25th, at daylight, discovered a sail to the northeast, to which we gave chase and soon came up with. She proved to be the American whale-ship Charles, capt. Gardner, belonging to Nantucket, and had been about four months from Lima, where she had been sent for adjudication by a privateer belonging to that port, and had been liberated after paying costs. …

I /now/ shaped my course for the Gallipagos Islands, directing the Barclay to steer W. N. W. by compass, in order that we might fall in with the latitude to the eastward of them, intimating to her commander that I should, from time to time, so vary from this course as to look over as much ground in our way as possible. This method we put in practice until we made Chatham Island, which was on the morning of the 17th. During our run we had no opportunity of correcting our dead reckoning by lunar observations, nor have we had a chance of ascertaining the rate of the chronometer since leaving St. Catharines. We were enabled to discover by our latitude that we had a current of fifteen miles per twenty-four hours, setting to the northward; and from the violent ripples we frequently met with, were induced to believe that its rate was much greater, and concluded it to set also westerly. On our making the land, found we had, since taking our departure from Payta, been set two degrees ahead of our reckoning. We employed ourselves during our passage in getting the magazine in good order for service, as we had been led to expect some resistance from the heavy armed letters of marque that we hoped to meet among the Gallipagos, employed in the whale-fishery. Having understood that calms were very prevalent there, we prepared our boats in the best manner for attacking them, selecting crews for them in addition to their oarsmen; and laid down plans of attack, and established signals for them. The whole, amounting to seven boats, carrying seventy men, were placed under the command of lieutenant Downes.

I discovered that we should meet with great delays from the prevalence of calms; and as I could form no plans for future operations until my arrival at the general rendezvous of the whalers, I considered it adviseable to put the crew on two quarts of water per day. This reduction was now severely felt, as the weather was extremely hot; but all seemed reconciled to bear every privation without a murmur. The health of the crew had improved in a remarkable manner since leaving Valparaiso, and at this time we had but two men on the sick list, one affected by chronic debility, the other by a pain in the muscles of the neck, but neither disabled from coming to their quarters. Doctor Miller, the surgeon of the ship, a very infirm man, who was in a deep consumption when he joined the ship, and whose health had not improved on board here, requested permission to go with his servant on board the Barclay, and there remain, as he believed that a change of water, pure air, and greater tranquillity, would render his situation more tolerable. As the extreme debility of the gentleman prevented him from doing his duty on board, and as he was constantly complaining of his sufferings from the confined air of this ship, I was happy he had fallen on an expedient to render his existence more supportable, and took the first opportunity of sending him on board the Barclay, where he soon found himself more comfortably situated than amidst the noise and confusion of a man of war, for which his low state of health entirely unsuited him.

NOTE: Gallapagos Islands map by Neele & Son appears here in the British edition.—JW.


On our first making Chatham Island, which bore, on the morning of the 17th, northwest by north, distant about thirty-five miles, I supposed it to be Hood's Island, a common stopping-place for whalers. As this was one of the islands I was desirous of examining for them, I hauled in for it, making a signal for the Barclay to do the same; but shortly afterwards discovered Hood's Island bearing west, and bore away for it. At seven o'clock in the evening, we were abreast the anchorage place on the northwest part of the island, which is a good shelter from the prevalent winds; and a small island which lies off forms a secure bay, where vessels lie at anchor in twelve fathoms water, clear white sandy bottom. Here wood is to be obtained, and land tortoises in great numbers, which are highly esteemed for their excellence, and are remarkable for their size, weighing from three to four hundred weight each. Vessels on whaling voyages among these islands generally take on board from two to three hundred of these animals, and stow them in the hold, where, strange as it may appear, they have been known to live for a year, without food or water, and, when killed at the expiration of that time, found greatly improved in fatness and flavour. Into this bay I sent lieutenant Downes with a whale-boat (I had purchased from captain Randall) properly armed, to reconnoitre, and directed him to make a signal on discovering vessels, in order that we might send in our other boats; but at ten o'clock he returned, after having sounded the bay without seeing any. We had entertained strong hopes of meeting enemy's vessels here, but bore the disappointment better than might be expected, considering the length of time that has elapsed since we have seen one of that description. We now hauled off toward Chatham Island, and lay to for the night, as I did not think it prudent to run for Charles' Island, the next place I intended to visit, until I could have daylight, as a reef is said to exist about two leagues to the W. N. W. of Hood's Island, and one is known to lie about nine leagues to the west of it, both said to be very dangerous. What is calculated to render them the more so, is the violent and irregular currents, that baffle all attempts at calculation in this part of the world. In the morning I stood to the westward, with a pleasant breeze from the east, which run us, by two P. M., as far as the harbour of Charles' Island. On arriving opposite to it /On arriving opposite to Charles' Island/, we could perceive no vessels; but understanding that vessels which stopped there for refreshments, such as turtle and land tortoise, and for wood, were in the practice of depositing letters in a box placed for the purpose near the landing-place, (which is a small beach sheltered by rocks, about the middle of the bay,) I despatched lieutenant Downes to ascertain if any vessels had been lately there, and to bring off such letters as might be of use to us, if he should find any. He returned in about three hours, with several papers, taken from a box which he found nailed to a post, over which was a black sign, on which was painted Hathaway's Postoffice. There were none of them of a late date, but they were satisfactory, inasmuch as they confirmed the information we had already received, both as respected the practice of vessels touching there, and cruising among the other islands for whales. From those papers I obtained information, that, in June last, the following British whale-ships had put in there, on their way to the island of Albemarle, where they generally cruise for a year at a time, and some for even a longer period, to wit:

Ship Governor Dodswell, Captain B. Gardner with 170 tons sperm oil.

Charlton,Haleran, 120 bbls.
Nimrod, Parray, 250 bbls.
Hector, Richards,220 bbls.
Atlantic,Wyer, 1000 bbls.
Cyrus, West, † 600 bbls.

† See Captain West's Ship's Log: Whaleship Cyrus for his account of Patrick Watkins (mentioned by Porter below)—JW.

There were letters also from their commanders, giving information that the American ships Perseveranda, Paddock,† and the Sukey, Macey, the first with two hundred, the latter with one hundred and fifty barrels of sperm oil, had touched there. Considering Captain Macey's letter as a rare specimen of [literature]{orthography}, I hope I shall be pardoned for giving an exact copy of it.

June 14th 1812.    

Ship Sukey John Macy 7½ Months out 150 Barrels 75 days from Lima No oil Since Leaving that Port. Spanyards Very Savage Lost on the Braziel Bank John Sealin Apprentice to Capt Benjamin Worth Fell from the fore top sail Yard in A Gale of Wind. Left Diana Capt paddock † 14 day Since 250 Barrels I Leave this port this Day With 250 Turpen 8 Boat Load Wood Yesterday Went Up to Patts Landing East Side. to the Starboard hand of the Landing 1½ Miles Saw 100 Turpen 20 Rods A part Road Very Bad

Yours Forevir


Porter refers to letters by Captains Paddock and Macey [sic, Macy] on the American ships Perseveranda and Sukey. In John Macy's letter, Paddock is on the ship Diana. Presumably this is the same Captain Paddock that Pat “Fatherless Oberlus” Watkins complained about. In later years, Macy's fourth son, Rowland Hussey Macy, founded a New York City department store; R. H. Macy's.—JW.

Charles' Island affords the same inducements for vessels to touch at as Hood's Island, except that the harbour is not so good. It is formed on the northwest part by a projecting point, off which lies a remarkably high, black, ragged rock, which, from its appearance, I have been induced to call Rock Dismal. Shipping lie in twelve fathoms, beyond the small reef which shelters the landing; the bottom is sandy, but vessels have had their cables cut by scattering rocks. The landing here is very good; and, at the time lieutenant Downes was on shore, a torrent of very fine water, many feet deep, discharged itself near the beach; but as it was raining constantly while he was on shore, and the mmountainswere completely capt with the clouds, added to which, as the banks of the deep ravine, worn away by the stream, clearly showed that the torrent had subsided ten feet within a very short period, it was evident to us, that this stream owed its existence to temporary rains alone. This opinion was not only confirmed by those on board the Essex who had been here before, but by some person who had bountifully left on the island, near the postoffice, several articles for such persons as might be there in distress, among which was a cask of water. It is known that in the centre of the island is a small spring of water, which a stranger might not be acquainted with, or, if he had a knowledge of it, might not have strength to reach; but if the stream in question existed constantly, where would be the necessity of leaving this case of water along side of it?

This island is mountainous, (as are the whole group,) and is covered with trees from fifteen to twenty feet in height, scattered with considerable regularity, as to distance and appearance, on the sides of the hills, which all have evident marks of volcanic origin; but what seems remarkable is, that every tree on the island, at least all that could be approached by the boat's crew on shore, and such as we could perceive by means of our perspectives, was dead and withered. This must have been occasioned by the prevalence of an excessive drought, which entirely deprived them of the necessary moisture. As this island is not of so great an elevation as many others, which has probably been the cause of its suffering more than the larger and higher ones, though they all seem more or less affected from the same cause; and as all the trees on the islands I have yet seen, appear much of the same size, not excepting those in the most flourishing state, it seems not improbable, that the drought has not only been recent, but that it has affected the whole at the same time. As the whole group is destitute of trees of a large size, it seems reasonable to believe, that their vegetation may be checked at different periods by very dry seasons. To this cause may be owing their being deprived of streams of water; for although it seldom rains on shore, and never at sea here, yet the tops of the mountains are almost constantly covered with thick clouds, great part of the moisture from which, instead of being soaked up by the light and spongy soil of the mountains, would find its way in running streams to the sea, were the island sufficiently furnished with trees to condense more constantly the atmosphere, and interlace their roots to prevent its escape into the bowels of the mountains.

These islands are all evidently of volcanic production; every mountain and hill is the crater of an extinguished volcano; and thousands of smaller fissures, which have burst from their sides, give them the most dreary, desolate, and inhospitable appearance imaginable. The description of one island will answer for all I have yet seen; they appear unsuited for the residence of man, or any other animal that cannot, like the tortoises, live without food, or draw its subsistence entirely from the sea.

Lieutenant Downes saw on the rocks with which the bay was in many parts skirted, several seals and pelicans, some of which he killed; but, on searching diligently the shore, was unable to find any land tortoises, though they no doubt abound in other parts of the islands. Doves were seen in great numbers, and were so easily approached, that several of them were knocked over with stones. While our boat was on shore, captain Randall sent his boat to a small beach in the same bay, about a mile from where our boat landed, and in a short time she returned loaded with fine green turtle, two of which he sent us, and we found them excellent. It may be seen by captain Macy's letter, that on the east side of the island there is another landing, which he calls Pat's landing; and this place will probably immortalize an Irishman, named Patrick Watkins, who some years since left an English ship, and took up his abode on this island, and built himself a miserable hut, about a mile from the landing called after him, in a valley containing about two acres of ground capable of cultivation, and perhaps the only spot on the island which affords sufficient moisture for the purpose. Here he succeeded in raising potatoes and pumpkins in considerable quantities, which he generally exchanged for rum, or sold for cash. The appearance of this man, from the accounts I have received of him, was the most dreadful that can be imagined; ragged clothes, scarce sufficient to cover his nakedness, and covered with vermin; his red hair and beard matted, his skin much burnt, from constant exposure to the sun, and so wild and savage in his manner and appearance, that he struck every one with horror. For several years this wretched being lived by himself on this desolate spot, without any apparent desire than that of procuring rum in sufficient quantities to keep himself intoxicated, and, at such times, after an absence from his hut of several days, he would be found in a state of perfect insensibility, rolling among the rocks of the mountains. He appeared to be reduced to the lowest grade of which human nature is capable, and seemed to have no desire beyond the tortoises and other animals of the island, except that of getting drunk. But this man, wretched and miserable as he may have appeared, was neither destitute of ambition, nor incapable of undertaking an enterprise that would have appalled the heart of any other man; nor was he devoid of the talent of rousing others to second his hardihood.

He by some means became possessed of an old musket, and a few charges of powder and ball; and the possession of this weapon probably first stimulated his ambition. He felt himself strong as the sovereign of the island, and was desirous of proving his strength on the first human being that fell in his way, which happened to be a negro, who was left in charge of a boat belonging to an American ship that had touched there for refreshments. Patrick came down to the beach where the boat lay, armed with his musket, now become his constant companion, directed the negro, in an authoritative manner, to follow him, and on his refusal, snapped his musket at him twice, which luckily missed fire. The negro, however, became intimidated, and followed him. Patrick now shouldered his musket, marched off before, and on his way up the mountains exultingly informed the negro he was henceforth to work for him, and become his slave, and that his good or bad treatment would depend on his future conduct. On arriving at a narrow defile, and perceiving Patrick off his guard, the negro seized the moment, grasped him in his arms, threw him down, tied his hands behind, shouldered him, and carried him to his boat, and when the crew had arrived he was taken on board the ship. An English smuggler was lying in the harbour at the same time, the captain of which sentenced Patrick to be severely whipped on board both vessels, which was put in execution, and he was afterwards taken on shore handcuffed by the Englishmen, who compelled him to make known where he had concealed the few dollars he had been enabled to accumulate from the sale of his potatoes and pumpkins, which they took from him. But while they were busy in destroying his hut and garden, the wretched being made his escape, and concealed himself among the rocks in the interior of the island, until the ship had sailed, when he ventured from his hiding-place, and by means of an old file, which he drove into a tree, freed himself from the handcuffs. He now meditated a severe revenge, but concealed his intentions. Vessels continued to touch there, and Patrick, as usual, to furnish them with vegetables; but from time to time he was enabled, by administering potent draughts of his darling liquor to some of the men of their crews, and getting them so drunk that they were rendered insensible, to conceal them until the ship had sailed; when finding themselves entirely dependent on him, they willingly enlisted under his banner, became his slaves, and he the most absolute of tyrants. By this means he had augmented the number to five, including himself, and every means was used by him to endeavour to procure arms for them, but without effect. It is supposed that his object was to have surprised some vessel, massacred her crew, and taken her off. While Patrick was meditating his plans, two ships, an American and an English vessel, touched there, and applied to Patrick for vegetables. He promised them the greatest abundance, provided they would send their boats to his landing, and their people to bring them from his garden, informing them that his rascals had become so indolent of late, that he could not get them to work. This arrangement was agreed to; two boats were sent from each vessel, and hauled on the beach. Their crew all went to Patrick's habitation, but neither he nor any of his people were to be found; and, after waiting until their patience was exhausted, they returned to the beach, where they found only the wreck of their boats, which were broken to pieces, and the fourth one missing. They succeeded, however, after much difficulty, in getting around to the bay opposite to their ships, where other boats were sent to their relief; and the commanders of the ships, apprehensive of some other trick, saw no security except in a flight from the island, leaving Patrick and his gang in quiet possession of the boat. But before they sailed, they put a letter in a keg, giving intelligence of the affair, and moored it in the bay, where it was found by captain Randall, but not until he had sent his boat to Patrick's landing, for the purpose of procuring refreshments; and, as may be easily supposed, he felt no little inquietude until her return, when she brought him a letter from Patrick to the following purport, which was found in his hut.

I have made repeated applications to captains of vessels to sell me a boat, or to take me from this place, but in every instance met with a refusal. An opportunity presented itself to possess myself of one, and I took advantage of it. I have been a long time endeavouring, by hard labour and suffering, to accumulate wherewith to make myself comfortable, but at different times have been robbed and maltreated, and in a late instance by captain Paddock, whose conduct in punishing me, and robbing me of about 500 dollars, in cash and other articles, neither agrees with the principles he professes nor is it such as his sleek coat would lead one to expect*.
On the 29th May, 1809, I sail from the enchanted island in the Black Prince, bound to the Marquesas.
Do not kill the old hen; she is now sitting, and will soon have chickens.


* Captain Paddock was of the society of friends[, commonly called quakers].

Compare Porter's account with Melville's.

Compare Porter's account with whaleship Cyrus log.

Patrick arrived alone at Guyaquil [sic] in his open boat, the rest who sailed with him having perished for want of water, or, as is generally supposed, were put to death by him on his finding the water to grow scarce From thence he proceeded to Payta, where he wound himself into the affection of a tawny damsel, and prevailed on her to consent to accompany him back to his enchanted island, the beauties of which he no doubt painted in glowing colours; but, from his savage appearance, he was there considered by the police as a suspicious person, and being found under the keel of a small vessel then ready to be launched, and suspected of some improper intentions, he was confined in Payta gaol † /in 1810./ , where he now remains; and probably owing to this circumstance Charles' Island, as well as the rest of the Gallipagos, may remain unpopulated for many ages to come. This reflection may naturally lead us to a consideration of the question concerning the population of the other islands scattered about the Pacific ocean, respecting which so many conjectures have been hazarded. I shall only hazard one, which is briefly this: that former ages may have produced men equally as bold and as daring at Pat, and women as willing as his tender one to accompany them in their adventurous voyages. And when we consider the issue which might be produced from an union between a red-haired wild Irishman, and a copper-coloured mixt-blooded squaw, we need not be any longer surprised at the different varieties of human nature.

† Watkins left Galápagos in 1809, several years before Porter's arrival, and therefore the description of his imprisonment is presumably based on information received from Captain Randall or others. Compare Porter's account with those of James Coulter and Herman Melville's subsequent treatment of the legend.—JW.

If Patrick should be liberated from durance, and should arrive with his love at this enchanting spot, perhaps (when neither Pat nor the Gallipagos are any longer remembered) some future navigator may surprise the world by discovery of them, and his accounts of the strange people with which they may probably be inhabited; and from the source from which they shall have sprung, it does not seem unlikely that they will have one trait in their character, which is common to the natives of all the islands in the Pacific, a disposition to appropriate to themselves the property of others; and from this circumstance future speculators may confound their origin with that of all the rest.

We were little prepared to meet our second disappointment, in not finding vessels at Charles' Island, but consoled ourselves with the reflection, that we should now soon arrive at Albemarle, and that in Banks' Bay, the general rendezvous, we should find an ample reward for all our loss of time, sufferings, and disappointments; and as we had a fine breeze from the east, I made all sail, steering west from Charles' Island, to make the south head of the island of Albemarle, which was distant from us about 45 miles, and in the morning found ourselves nearly up with it. When we had arrived within eight or nine miles of a point, which I have named Point Essex, projecting to the S.W., and lying between Point Christopher and Cape Rose, the wind died away, and I took my boat and proceeded for the aforesaid point, where I arrived in about two hours after leaving the ship, and found in a small bay, behind some rocks which terminate the point, very good landing, where we went on shore, and, to our great surprise, and no little alarm, on entering the bushes, found myriads of guanas, of an enormous size and the most hideous appearance imaginable; the rocks forming the cover were also covered with them, and, from their taking to the water very readily, we were induced to believe them a distinct species from those found among the keys of the West Indies. In some spots a half acre of ground would be so completely covered with them, as to appear as though it was impossible for another to get in the space; they would all keep their eyes fixed constantly on us, and we at first supposed them prepared to attack us. We soon however discovered them to be the most timid of animals, and in a few moments knocked down hundreds of them with our clubs, some of which we brought on board, and found to be excellent eating, and many preferred them greatly to the turtle.

We found on the beach a few seals, and one fine large green turtle; but as the boat was small, and the distance to row very great, I concluded on leaving it, as I did not wish to encumber her with its weight. Several of the seals were killed by our men, and proved of that kind which do not produce the fur. Nothing can be more sluggish or more inactive than this animal while on the sand; it appears incapable of making any exertions whatever to escape those in pursuit of it, and quietly waits the blow which terminates its existence. A small blow on the nose will kill them in an instant, but when they are in the water, or even on the rocks, nothing can exceed their activity: they seem then to be a different animal altogether; shy, cunning, and very alert in pursuit of their prey, and in avoiding pursuit, they are then very difficult to take. We also found a number of birds called shags, which did not appear alarmed in the slightest degree at our approach, and numbers of them were knocked down by our people with clubs, and taken on board; these, with the exception of some other aaquaticbirds, and some large lizards with red heads, and a species of crab, were the only animals we found on this spot. After trying in vain to catch some fish, we left the cove, and proceeded along the shore to the northward, with the expectation of finding another landing-place, but were much disappointed; for, after rowing as far as Point Christopher, a distance of 15 miles, we found the shore every where bound with craggy rocks, against which the sea broke with inconceivable violence. The rocks were every where covered with seals, penguins, guanas, and pelicans, and the sea filled with green turtle, which might have been taken with the greatest ease, had we been enabled to have taken them into our boat; for we sometimes rowed right against them, without their making an exertion to get out of our way. Multitudes of enormous sharks were swimming about us, and from time to time caused us no little uneasiness, from the ferocious manner in which they came at the boat and snapped at our oars; for she was of the lightest construction, with remarkably thin plank, and a gripe from one of those would have torn them from her timbers; but we guarded as much as lay in our power against the evil, by thrusting boarding pikes into them as they came up [to us].

As we proceeded along shore, and when we had arrived at a black gravelly beach, within about five miles of Point Christopher, we saw the shore covered with the wreck of some vessel, which, from the number of pieces, apparently staves, among them, I am induced to believe was that of a whaler; but as the surf beat so high, that we could not land without risking the safety of the boat, we were unable to determine whether her construction was American or British. From the appearance of the wreck, I should suppose she had not been lost more than two or three years; we could not, however, form any correct opinion on the subject, as the whole wreck consisted of a multitude of fragments, no part of the body of the vessel standing. She appears to have gone entirely to pieces, and some of her copper, &c. has been thrown a great distance among the rocks, by the violence of the sea.

The water is very bold all along this coast, and the largest ship may sail within a stone's throw of it, without the least risk of touching the bottom; but yet it is not safe to approach too near the shore, as calms are very frequent here, the currents violent and irregular, and a heavy swell constantly heaving on shore; and it would be almost impossible to bring a vessel up by her anchors, before she would strike against the sides of the rocks which skirt the shore, on account of the extreme depth of the water.

Where we landed, the shore was moderately low, the soil apparently rich and moist, and the vegetation luxuriant, many of the trees being thirty feet in height, the underwood very thick, and pushing forth vigorously, and the grass as high as a man's middle. The rain appeared to be falling in torrents on the high lands, but we could see nothing that indicated the neighbourhood of a stream of water. From the landing to Point Christopher, the shores are bounded by precipices of several hundred feet in height, which are as regularly formed of strata of stones and earth, as if they had been laid by the most expert mason. The strata of stones and earth are each about two feet in thickness, and from the base to the summit of the precipice are laid with surprising regularity, in lines perfectly straight and parallel.

Perceiving a breeze springing up, I hastened on board (for I had objects in view of more importance than examining the rocky coast of this dreary place, or catching guanas and seals), where, on my arrival, I caused all sail to be made, and shaped my course for Narborough Island, which now began to show itself open with Point Christopher, and in its appearance bears some resemblance to a turtle's back. I was in hopes that the breeze would carry us clear of the northern point of that island before daylight, in order that we might have the whole of the next day for securing our prizes in Banks' Bay, which lies between Narborough and the south head of Albemarle, Cape Berkley; for the island of Albemarle is formed something like a crescent, the convex [sic, concave] side lying to the west; and Narborough Island, which is nearly round, lies in the bend, forming Banks' Bay on the north and Elizabeth Bay on the south, leaving a safe passage inside from one bay to the other. To Banks' Bay the fishermen resort every year, between March and July, to take the whale, which come in there in great numbers at that season, in pursuit of the squid or cuttle fish, which are brought into the eddy formed there by the rapid currents which prevail. In this bay vessels are enabled to keep their stations, notwithstanding the currents and calms which prevail, and frequently lie for months between what is called the Turtle's Nose of Narborough and the North Head, without once being swept out; but should it so happen that they are drifted out beyond the projecting points, and fall into the northern currents, they are sometimes a month, and even more, before they can recover their stations; and it sometimes happens that the whole fleet, which generally consists of fifteen or twenty sail, are driven as far north as the latitude of 2°, and are unable to return until the current changes. A knowledge of this now caused great uneasiness in my mind. I had formed the most sanguine expectations of meeting with great success here, and every thing seemed to justify them, but still I could not resist those anxious feelings, which cannot be repelled at such moments. We had all along calculated on reaping a rich harvest from the enemy at the Gallipagos Islands; it was the constant subject of our conversation and solicitude, and every scheme was adopted that could prove likely to secure to us every vessel in the bay, and we did not calculate on a number less that ten or twelve; indeed we calculated on making more prizes there than we could man, and hoped to be thus indemnified for all loss of time, fatigues, and anxieties. For my own part, I felt the utmost desire to know the result of our visit to the Gallipagos, and at the same time a dread of disappointment, which, although possible, I did not believe probable; however, the anxiety to know as soon as possible our success or disappointment, induced me to dispatch lieutenant Downes to take a look around the point of Narborough, and reconnoitre the bay; for the ships had been swept by the current, during the night, into Elizabeth Bay; and, as the wind was very light, we made very little head way: but in the course of the day, it sprung up a breeze from the southward, with which we endeavoured to beat around Narborough against a strong current; but toward night it died away, and in a few hours we lost as much ground as we had gained through the day.

At one o'clock in the morning, lieutenant Downes returned to the ship, which he was enabled to find by means of flashes made from time to time by us, and reported that he did not arrive at the north point of Narborough or Turtle's Nose, until near sundown, and that he could perceive no vessels in the bay; but observed, at the same time, that the weather was hazy, and as the bay is about thirty-five miles from side to side, and about the same depth, it was possible for vessels to have been there without his being able to observe them. We did not wish to believe that the bay was destitute of vessels; and while there was room to build a hope of meeting the enemy, we kept our spirits up with the expectation of finding them, either in the bay, or at anchor in a cove called the Basin, on the Albemarle side of the passage between Elizabeth and Banks' Bay, where the whalers frequently go to refit and wood, and get tortoises, and where, at times, a small quantity of fresh water may be obtained, but never more than sixty gallons per day, and seldom so large a quantity, and this only after heavy rains. Lieutenant Downes brought with him several turtle of a very large size, and different in their appearance either from the green, hawks-bill, loggerhead, or trunk turtle; they were shaped much like the green turtle, but were of a black, disagreeable appearance and smell; and as I was apprehensive they might produce unpleasant consequences should they be eaten by the crew, I directed them to be thrown overboard, though many contended that they were as good and as innocent as any others.

The winds continued light and ahead, and the current strong against us, and it was not till the afternoon of the 23rd that we were enabled to weather Narborough; but during this interval every person was anxiously looking out day and night, with the momentary expectations of seeing vessels; and so fully was I of the belief that I should fall in with a force that would offer some resistance, that I considered it most prudent to clear away the guns every night, and keep the hammocks stowed in the nettings, so as to be prepared for any force that might be assembled. On doubling the point of Narborough, our yards were completely manned by seamen and officers, whose anxiety had taken them aloft, all examining strictly every part of the Bay, but could discover no vessels; at length the cry of sail ho! and shortly afterwards another, seemed to electrify every man on board, and it seemed now as if all our hopes and expectations were to be realized; but in a few minutes those illusory prospects vanished, and as a sudden dejection, proceeding from disappointment, took place; for the proposed sails proved to be only white appearances on the shore. Still, however, we did not despair; we had not yet examined the basin; perhaps it might contain some vessels; and, as we were now only about five miles from it, Lieutenant Downes was dispatched to reconnoitre, as well as to see if it was a suitable situation for us to refit the ship in and fill up our wood, and ascertain what quantity of water could there be obtained. He did not get in until after sundown, and returned to the ship at one o'clock in the morning; and, to complete our disappointment, reported they had seen no vessels. The account he gave of the basin was such as to induce me to believe it would be a secure harbor for the ship, as he made a favorable report of the depth of water and anchorage; but as it was night, he could form but an imperfect notion of the form of the harbor, nor could he give me any account of the watering place, as he was not able to find it. He was equally uninformed whether we should there be enabled to get wood; I therefore, to remove all doubts in my own mind, determined to visit it myself; and, as the moon was now rising, directed my boat to be prepared, and started from the ship, arriving at the basin at sunrise, which [sic, where] I found everything that could be designed to afford perfect security for a ship of the largest size. The art of man could not have formed a more beautiful basin, which is at the entrance about three cables' length over, and gradually enlarges to five cables' length, terminating in a round bottom. The whole is surrounded by high cliffs, except at the very bottom, where is the only landing for boats, and a small ravine, having three fathoms water alongside of the rocks, which, from every side to the middle, gradually deepens to twelve fathoms, and has everywhere a clear, dark, sandy bottom, free from rocks and every other danger. Vessels should moor here head and stern, and when bound in should keep mid-channel, and choose their distance from the shore and depth of water; but as they may be liable to be deceived, from the great height of the hills, it would be advisable to send in a boat to anchor a buoy at the spot where the ship should let go her anchor. We saw here an abundance of fish and green turtle, and on landing found both the sea and land guanas, lizards, a small gray snake, and a considerable variety of birds; also trees of a considerable size, which would afford wood for shipping, and among them a species from which oozed a resinous substance, in very large quantities, dripping from the trunk and every limb. This tree produces a fruit nearly as large as a cherry; but it was then green, and had a very aromatic smell and taste. From the basin we proceeded to the South, in search of the watering-place, and after rowing close along a rocky shore, about two miles, without discovering it, concluded to return, and land in every place where there was the least possibility of finding it, although I was satisfied in my own mind, that, had one existed, it would have been impracticable to water at it, in consequence of the violence of the surf, which beats with such force against the rocks as to endanger the safety of the boat, although the sea appeared unusually calm. On our return we perceived a little moisture on a flat rock about half a mile from the mouth of the basin, and with much difficulty I succeeded in landing[, which] {This} I found to be the watering-place we were in search of. In this rock I found four holes, each about fourteen inches square, and from six to seven deep, which had apparently been cut by some person with a pickaxe, for the purpose of catching the water as it dripped from the rocks above.

At this time they contained only a little stinking water, as salt as brine, which had been thrown in by the sea. I caused them to be cleared out, but could not perceive, during the hour that I remained there, that any water whatever flowed into them, and I am persuaded that no water can ever be found there, except after heavy rains, and then only in small quantities, for the /The/ whole island is a light and thirsty soil, composed entirely of volcanic matter, and probably owes its origin to no distant period, for the volcanic cinders and other appearances lying on every part of the surface, as well as the innumerable craters, and hills composed of ashes and lava, all apparently fresh, and in most parts destitute of verdure, sufficiently prove that they have not long been thrown from the bowels of the ocean. These thirsty mountains, like a sponge, soak from the passing clouds the moisture which serves to keep alive the scanty vegetation scattered over their sides; but they permit nothing to escape in springs or streams of water, for the support of animal life. On the side of a rock at this watering-place, we found the names of several English and American ships cut, whose crews had been there; and but a short distance from thence was erected a hut, built of loose stones, but destitute of a roof; and in the neighborhood of it were scattered in considerable quantities the bones and shells of land and sea tortoises. This I afterwards understood was the work of a wretched English sailor, who had been landed there by his captain, destitute of every thing, for having used some insulting language to him. Here he existed near a year on land tortoises and guanas, and his sole dependence for water was on the precarious supply he could get from the drippings of the rocks; at length, finding that no one was likely to come to take him from thence, and fearful of perishing for the want of water, he formed a determination to attempt at all hazards getting into Banks' Bay, where ships cruise for whales, and with this view provided himself with two seal skins, with which, blown up, he formed a float; and, after hazarding destruction from the sharks, which frequently attacked his vessel, and which he kept off with a stick that served him as a paddle, he succeeded at length in getting along side an American ship early in the morning, where his unexpected arrival not only surprised but alarmed the crew; for his appearance was scarcely human; clothed in the skin of seals, his countenance haggard, thin, and emaciated, his beard and hair long and matted, they supposed him a being from another world. The commander of the vessel where he arrived felt a great sympathy for his sufferings, and determined for the moment to bring to punishment the villain who had, by thus cruelly exposing the life of a fellow-being, violated every principle of humanity; but from some cause or other he was prevented from carrying into effect his laudable intentions, and to this day the poor sailor has not had justice done him.

At the landing-place at the head of the basin, we found a bag, which, from its appearance, had been there but a very short time; also a fresh turtle shell and bones, as well as those of fish, and fresh ashes, where a fire had been kindled. From these traces we knew that some persons had been there but a short time before us; and in searching about, we found the leaf of an English political pamphlet, from which we were led to suppose they had been English. We were in hopes of finding also a bottle containing letters, as it is a frequent practice for vessels engaged in the whale trade to leave them at their stopping-places; but, after the most diligent search, we were unable to find any. In the neighborhood of this place we killed an enormous sea-lion, and several seals, and in the course of half an hour caught as many fish as the boat could conveniently carry; and in the same time every boat belonging to the ship, had it been properly provided with books and lines, might have been loaded. There were great variety, and all proved to be of an excellent quality. The sharks proved troublesome to us in taking away hooks, and sometimes snatching the fish from the lines; but on the whole we were well compensated for the time we spent, and the few hooks we lost, by the excellent repast they afforded.

Proceeding along shore to the northward of the basin, on a small sandy beach, among some rocks, we saw a number of turtle, which we turned on their backs; and a short distance further to the north, in a small and shallow cove near some mangrove trees, we found a great many more, and succeeded in turning upwards of thirty of them, all of that species called the green turtle, and most of them upwards of three hundred weight. At both these places I caused large fires to be made, and on my return to the ship, where I did not arrive until dark, I dispatched two boats to bring them off; the fires guided them to the spot; but on their arrival on board next morning they brought with them only ten, as a sudden rise of the tide (a circumstance we had not sufficiently guarded against) had enabled the rest to make their escape, and even of those that were brought along side, one of the largest among them was lost overboard in getting it on board. We however had enough remaining to give two or three fresh messes to all hands.

As the Barclay had not been enabled to get into the bay, in consequence of the violence of the current, and as we had lost sight of her, I concluded it best to run out and see what had become of her; and at twelve o'clock discovered her standing in for the bay, under a press of canvas, with a fresh breeze from the westward, while we had it from the eastward. I had not yet made up my mind whether to remain in the bay a few days to await the arrival of vessels there, or to look around the other islands for them. One great object with me now was to find a convenient place for watering my ship; none such was to be found at Albemarle, and I had but little hopes of being able to find any at the other islands; but as I had understood that some fresh water was to be had at times at James' Island, which lies at a short distance from Albemarle, I believed it would be advisable to proceed to that place, which is said to be much frequented by English whalers and smugglers, who resort there for wood and land tortoises; and considering the time I had been from the United States, during which period many of my crew had not been on shore, I considered it necessary, on account of their health, to take them where they could have an opportunity of getting on shore among the trees, the odor arising from which is said to be the most powerful antiscorbutic known. I determined, however, before I adopted any plan for future operations, to obtain from Capt. Randall his opinion respecting the cause of this unexpected absence of British ships from Banks Bay, for I could not imagine any reason for it but one, which was, that they had, on the first news of war, captured all the American vessels they had found in the bay, and gone off with them; and yet it appeared to me extraordinary that none others should have arrived since, particularly as some have sailed at a late period from Lima for that station. But while the Barclay was running into the bay, I stood over for the north head of Albemarle; and as I had no doubt, from what I had already seen, that every part of the bay abounded with fish, I sent three boats to endeavor to catch some, and shortly afterwards followed them myself. We proceeded to the foot of a remarkably black precipice, of a great height evidently the half of a crater, which has been rent asunder by some violent convulsion of nature, or has been undermined by the slow but constant operation of the currents, and has gradually crumbled into the ocean; this, with a point or peninsula that projects to the southward, forms a bay, which may probably afford shelter and anchorage for vessels; but having but a short time to spare, we devoted it entirely to the object for which we came, and in less than half an hour we loaded all our boats with as many fish as they could carry, and returned to the ship. On the east side of the point before mentioned, is a remarkable cavern, formed by the beating of the sea, which has caused the rock to fall in, until it has formed what the French call a trombe dans l'angle, and excavated nearly the whole point or peninsula, leaving merely a support for the arch. Under this place we caught our fish, and all the boats of the ship might have been loaded the same time. The moment the hook was in the water, hundreds of them were seen rushing towards it, and many of them of a size which made it very difficult to haul in with our largest lines. They were chiefly the black, yellow, and red grouper, and a fish greatly resembling the sheeps-head, all of an excellent quality; and so abundant were they, that they were frequently caught with the boat hooks while swimming about the boats. They afforded not only a pleasant amusement to those who caught them, but a plentiful repast to the crew of the Essex, as well as to that of the Barclay; and our supply was so much greater than we wanted for immediate consumption, that after salting many of them, large quantities were thrown overboard, to keep them from spoiling on our hands. We also caught one of that description of black turtle formally mentioned; and as many were desirous of tasting its qualities, it was brought on board, and found to be superior to any we had yet tasted; after supplying my own table and that of the officers of the ward-room, it furnished an abundant meal to six messes of the ship's company, consisting of 48 men. We here also caught a number of shags and Penguins, and killed some pelicans and other aquatic birds.

In the morning I stood out of the bay with the land breeze, which, since we have been here, has constantly sprung up at sunrise, and continued to blow until about ten o'clock, when, after a calm of an hour or two, a sea breeze has set in from the westward, which continued until sundown; the rest of the twenty-four hours has been perfectly calm. I made the signal to speak the Barclay; and, on Capt. Randall's coming on board, he assured me that the English Whalers were somewhere to the north, where they had been unavoidably swept by the current; but this I could hardly credit, when we had found such difficulty in getting into the bay from the southward; but he assured me, that, notwithstanding the southerly current we had to contend with to the south of the bay, I should find it to the north running equally strong northerly; and, strange as it may appear, I found it absolutely the case, for in standing a little more out of the bay, and to the north of North Head, or Cape Berkley, we experienced a current setting northerly, which carried us with great rapidity. As we approached Point Albemarle (which is the northernmost extremity of the island of that name, and off which lies a reef of rocks, extending about two miles), the weather became hazy; and while searching around the horizon with my perspective, I was at length cheered with the sight of what I believed to be a sail: numbers of others on board were under the same illusion; all hands were called to make sail; and a few minutes another was discovered. We now began to believe that fortune had become tired of the trying our patience, and began already to make some estimation of their probable value, and form some plan of disposing of them; but to our mortification the illusion soon vanished, and it appeared we had been cheated by two sandbanks, whose appearance had been so strangely altered by the intervention of the fog, as to assume precisely the appearance of ships under their top-gallant sails. The spirits of the crew had been highly excited by the prospect of making prizes, and the disappointment had occasioned no trifling degree of dejection and despondency among them; but they did not murmur; they were sensible that, if we were not successful, we had not ourselves to accuse, as we had not avoided the enemy by remaining in port; nor had we been neglectful in our search for him. There were few on board the ship who did not now despair of making any captures about the Gallipagos Islands; and I believe that many began to think that the information we had received respecting the practice of British vessels frequenting these islands, as well as the flattering expectations which this information had given rise to, had been altogether deception; but I could not so lightly lay down my opinions, which had caused me to visit these islands, and which had been formed on information that could not be doubted; and I determined not to leave the Gallipagos so long as there remained a hope of finding a British vessel among them. The current continued to carry us with great rapidity to the northwest, and light and baffling winds, but more frequently calms, only served to increase our impatience, and dampen all our hopes of recovering our lost ground; for we had, by the 28th April, been drifted as far to the north as 1°8', notwithstanding every exertion we could make to get to the southward, by keeping on the most advantageous tacks. Our wood and our water, two articles of the highest importance to us, began to grow short, and there scarcely remained a hope of finding any of the latter article at any of the islands, unless it could be had at James'; and on this I had my doubts, although it has been asserted by some, that it furnishes it in considerable quantities. I however determined to visit, not with an expectation of procuring water, but with a hope of finding there some English vessels, which I thought it not improbable that they might have put in there to take on board wood and tortoises, and while waiting for a change of current to enable them to reach Banks' Bay. Under every circumstance, I considered it advisable to endeavor to reach James' Island, and should I prove unsuccessful there, determined to extend my search among the group; for I could not be persuaded that they were entirely abandoned by the whalers.

At daylight on the morning of the 29th, I was roused from my cot, where I passed a sleepless and anxious night, by the cry of “sail ho!” “sail ho!” which was re-echoed through the ship, and in a moment all hands were on deck. The strange sail proved to be a large ship, bearing west, to which we gave chase; and in an hour afterwards we discovered two others, bearing southwest, equally large in their appearance. I had no doubts of their being British whale-ships; and as I was certain that toward mid-day, as usual, it would fall calm, I felt confident we should succeed in taking the whole of them. I continued my pursuit of the first discovered vessel, and at nine o'clock spoke here under British colours. She proved to be the British whale-ship Montezuma, captain Baxter, with one thousand four hundred barrels of sperm{eceti} oil [on board]. I invited the captain on board; and while he was in my cabin, giving me such information as was in his power respecting the other whale-ships about the Gallipagos, I took his crew on board the Essex, put an officer and crew on board the Montezuma, and continued in pursuit of the other vessels, which made all exertions to get from us. At eleven A.M., according to my expectation, it fell calm; we were then at the distance of eight miles from them. I had reason, from the information obtained, to believe them to be the British armed whale-ships Georgiana, of six eighteen-pounders, and the Policy, of ten six-pounders, the one having on board thirty-five and the other twenty-six men; but that they were British ships there could not be a doubt, and we were determined to have them at all hazards. Thick and hazy weather is prevalent here, and, as there was every indication of it, I was fearful that, in the event of a breeze, one or the other of them might make its escape from us, as I had understood that they were reputed fast sailers; I therefore thought it advisable to attempt them in our boats, and with this view had them prepared for the purpose, and in a few minutes they departed in two divisions: lieutenant Downes, in the whale-boat, commanded the first division, consisting of the third cutter, lieutenant M'Knight, jolly boat, sailing-master Cowell, and second cutter, midshipman Isaacs; and lieutenant Wilmer, in the pinnace, commanding the second division, consisting of the first cutter, lieutenant Wilson, and gig, lieutenant Gamble of the marines. The heavy-rowing boats ooccasionedconsiderable delay to the whole, as I had given the most positive orders that the boats should be brought into action altogether, and that no officer should take advantage of the fleetness of his boat to proceed ahead of the rest, believing that some of the officers, from their extreme anxiety to join with the enemy, might be so imprudent as to do so. At two o'clock, the boats were about a mile from the vessels (which were about a quarter of a mile apart,) when they hoisted English colours, and fired several guns. The boats now formed in one division, and pulled for the largest ship, which, as they approached, kept her guns trained on them. The signal was made for boarding; and, when lieutenant Downes arrived within a few yards of her gangway, and directed them to surrender, the colours were hauled down. They now proceeded for the other vessel, after leaving an officer and some men on board, and as soon as she was hailed she followed the example of the first, by striking her colours. Shortly afterwards a breeze sprung up; the prizes bore down for us, and we welcomed the safe return of our shipmates with three hearty cheers. The captured vessels proved to be, as I had expected, the Georgiana, captain Pitts, of two hundred and eighty tons, and the Policy, of two hundred and seventy-five tons; and these three vessels, which we had taken with so little trouble, were estimated to be worth in England upwards of half a million of dollars. The ease with which the last vessels were taken by our open boats, gave us but a poor opinion of British valour; and the satisfaction which the possession of these valuable vessels gave us, made us forget for a moment the hardships of Cape Horn, and the time we had spent without seeing an enemy; and it also afforded us a useful lesson, as it convinced us we ought not to despair of success under any circumstances, however unfortunate they may appear; and that, although the patient and persevering may for a time meet with disappointments, fortune will at length most commonly enable them to rise superior to every adversity. Slight murmurings had on one or two occasions been heard from some of the crew, occasioned by our want of success heretofore, and with a view of preventing it in future, I considered it advisable to inculcate this maxim by the following note:


Fortune has at length smiled on us, because we deserved her smiles, and the first time she enabled us to display free trade and sailor's rights, assisted by your good conduct, she put in our possession near half a million of the enemy's property.

Continue to be zealous, eenterprising and patient, and we will yet render the name of the Essex as terrible to the enemy as that of any other vessel, before we return to the United States. My plans shall be made known to you at a suitable period.

(Signed)            D. PORTER.     

April 30, 1813.

The possession of these vessels, besides the great satisfaction it produced, was attended by another advantage of no less importance, as it relieved all our wants except one, to wit, the want of water. From them we obtained an abundant supply of cordage, canvas, paints, tar, and every other article necessary for the ship, of all of which she stood in great need, as our slender stock brought from America had now become worn out and useless; and besides the articles necessary for the ship, we became supplied with a stock of provisions, of a quality and quantity that removed all apprehensions of our suffering for the want of them for many months, as those vessels, when they sailed from England, were provided with provisions and stores for upwards of three years, and had not yet consumed half their stock; all were of the best quality; and, were it only for the supplying our immediate wants, the prizes were of the greatest importance to us. We found on board of them, also, wherewith to furnish our crew with several delicious meals. They had been in at James' Island, and had supplied themselves abundantly with those extraordinary animals the tortoises of the Gallipagos, which properly deserve the name of the elephant tortoise. Many of them were of a size to weigh upwards of three hundred weight; and nothing, perhaps, can be more disagreeable or clumsy then they are in their external appearance. Their motion resembles strongly that of the elephant; their steps slow, regular, and heavy; they carry their body about a foot from the ground, and their legs and feet bear no slight resemblance to the animal to which I have likened them; their neck is from eighteen inches to two feet in length, and very slender; their head is proportioned to it, and strongly resembles that of a serpent; but, hideous and disgusting as is their appearance, no animal can possibly afford a more wholesome, luscious, and delicate food than they do; the finest green turtle is no more to be compared to them, in point of excellence, than the coarsest beef is to the finest veal; and after once tasting the Gallipagos tortoises, every other animal food fell greatly in our estimation. These animals are so fat as to require neither butter nor lard to cook them, and this fat does not possess that cloying quality, common to that of most other animals; and when tried out, it furnishes an oil superior in taste to that of the olive. The meat of this animal is the easiest of digestion, and a quantity of it, exceeding that of any other food, can be eaten, without experiencing the slightest inconvenience. But what seems the most extraordinary in this animal, is the length of time that it can exist without food; for I have been well assured, that they have been piled away among the cases in the hold of a ship, where they have been kept eighteen months, and, when killed at the expiration of that time, were found to have suffered no ddiminutionin fatness or excellence. They carry with them a constant supply of water, in a bag at the root of the neck, which contains about two gallons; and on tasting that found in those we killed on board, it proved perfectly fresh and sweet. They are very restless when exposed to the light and heat of the sun, but will lie in the dark from one year's end to the other without moving; in the day-time, they appear remarkably quick-sighted and timid, drawing their head into their shell on the slightest motion of any object; but they are entirely destitute of hearing, as the loudest noise, even the firing of a gun, does not seem to alarm them in the slightest degree, and at night, or in the dark, they appear perfectly blind. After our tasting the flesh of these animals, we regretted that numbers of them had been thrown overboard by the crews of the vessels before their capture, to clear them for action; but a few days afterwards, at daylight in the morning, we were so fortunate as to find ourselves surrounded by about fifty of them, which were picked up and brought on board, as they had been lying in the same place where they had been thrown over, incapable of any exertion in that element, except that of stretching out their long necks.

I had merely placed a temporary crew on board the prizes, but took the first opportunity to make them permanent, putting midshipman Odenheimer in charge of the Montezuma, and midshipman Cowan on the Policy, giving them the necessary directions for clearing their decks of the lumber of oil casks and other articles, to bend all their light sails, and reave their running rigging, which had all been unbent and unrove, as unnecessary while fishing, and to preserve them from injury; I also furnished them with the necessary signals, and appointed the island of Plata, and the bay of Tumbez, as rendezvous in case of separation, directing them to use the utmost economy in the expenditure of their provisions, stores, and water, ordering all hands to be put on the same allowance as the crew of the Essex.

On examining the Georgiana, I found her not only a noble ship, but well calculated for a cruiser, as she sailed well, and had been built for the service of the British East India Company, and had been employed as a packet until this voyage. I therefore determined to equip and arm her completely, and mounted on her the ten guns of the Policy, making her whole number now sixteen, to which were added two swivels, and a number of heavy blunderbusses mounted on swivels, as well as all the muskets, pistols, cutlasses, and other military equipments we could find on board the other vessels; by these means rendering her as formidable, in point of armament, as any of the British letters of marque I could hear of in this ocean; but this I did not undertake until I was well satisfied she could be well manned, without reducing too much my own crew. A number of seamen captured in the prizes had already proffered their services to us; and on inquiry I found many of them to be Americans. They volunteered their services in equipping the Georgiana, and freeing her from much of the lumber on board, consisting of empty casks and other cumbrous articles, which were sent on board the other prizes; and the heavy brick-work and large iron boilers used for trying out the oil, were taken down, to give more room on her decks, and relieve her from the great weight, which was found greatly to improve her sailing. The command of this vessel, now completely equipped for war, I gave to lieutenant Downes, with a crew consisting of thirty-six of our old crew, and five of the men who had entered from prizes, making her number altogether forty-one men; the remainder I kept on board the Essex, whose crew now amounted to two hundred and sixty-four men, including officers and those on board the Barclay. I appointed midshipman Haddaway as acting lieutenant on board the Georgiana, and sent Mr. Miller (my former gunner) there to do duty, as well as Kingsbury as boatswain, and two quarter-masters. The equipping and manning of this vessel also enabled me to make some promotions on board my own ship from some of the most deserving of my crew, to fill up the vacancies occasioned by the petty officers sent on board her; and we now considered the sloop of war Georgiana, as she was styled, no trifling augmentation to our own force; but, taken in another view, she was of the utmost importance to our safety; for in the event of any accident happening to the Essex, a circumstance to which she was every moment liable, while cruising in a sea with which we were little acquainted, we could calculate on relief from the Georgiana; added to which, she doubled the chance of annoying the enemy, and might serve as an excellent decoy, as we were particularly careful not to change in the slightest degree her appearance as a whaler. On the 8th, she hoisted the American ensign and pendant, and saluted the Essex with seventeen guns, which was returned by our crew with three cheers.

The light baffling winds and strong westerly currents prevented me now from laying any plans for my future operations; my whole attention was turned to getting up to the islands again, as I had intelligence of several other British vessels being in the neighborhood and expected there, and among others the Perseverance, the Rose, and the New Zealand, three fine vessels, with nearly full cargoes. I felt anxious to get into port to recruit my stock of water and wood, the only articles we now stood in want of, as was the case with my prizes, which were all short of water; but still was desirous of looking once more into Banks' Bay, where I confidently expected, on a change of current, to make as many prizes as I could conveniently man.

The weather being remarkably pleasant, I took advantage of it to put our rigging in order, by overhauling and tarring it, and painting the ship inside [,and as] {. As} we had been enabled to procure an abundance of small spars, planks, timber, and nails, I set the carpenters to work, making many repairs, which we had not heretofore been enable to do for the want of the necessary materials; for although we had had it in our power to supply ourselves at Valparaiso, I did not procure them there, confidently believing that the enemy would, in due time, furnish us with what we wanted.

Doctor Miller, about this time, became dissatisfied with his new situation on the Barclay, and expressed a desire to remove to the Policy, where the accommodations, he had understood, were equal to those of the Barclay. To this wish I assented; as the captain of the Policy was in very low health, I had been induced to let him remain on board his ship; and as he was a man of considerable loquacity, and some intelligence, I believed that the doctor would find himself agreeably situated, if it were possible to make him so, as to comfort and society.

NOTE: Gallapagos Islands map by William Hooker appears here in Porter's second edition. Among other things, the map shows Porter's original location for Bainbridge Rocks.—JW.