March 19. Thursday. Captain McIntosh assured Us that by his Reckoning when he was
taken he was in the English Channel, and We had been beating about in it for some
time. For the last five days We had been tossed in another Gale: I had been scarcely
able to stand or sit, without holding fast with both my hands, upon some lashed Table,
or Gun, or the Side, or beams of the Ship or some other fixed Object, such was the
Agitation and perpetual motion of the Vessel by violent Gales and a heavy Sea. In
the course of [the] last five days We had seen a great Number of Vessells two of which if not four were
supposed to be large British Men of War, for they chased Us a long time and drove
Us in various directions all out of our Course. The Wind had been much against Us,
but this morning it veered and We steered, at least our head lay by the Compass South
East. We consoled Ourselves as well as We could by reflecting, that possibly We had
been favoured by the last Gale as We had been by the first. By the last We had escaped
Cruisers, as We did by the first, which I own I considered as an Escape, because although
We all agreed, Officers, Passengers and Men, in the necessity of Fighting the Frigate
in the Gulph Stream, yet I had reasons enough to be apprehensive of the Consequences
of an Engagement perhaps with a superiour force, probably with a superiour number
of Men and certainly with greater Experience in the Officers and stricter discipline
among the Men.
Possibly this violent Gale from the South East, had driven all the Cruisers from the
Coast of Spain, and the southerly part of the Bay of Biscay, and by this means have
opened a clear passage for Us to Bourdeaux. This was possible and so was the contrary.
Heaven alone knew.