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Nov. 3d. At 10 o'clock in the morning I embarked for Lisbon in the “ Prince of Wales” packet, just then weighing anchor : with a fair wind we soon cleared the roads, and at 5 p. m. lost sight of England. My fellow passengers were Portuguese merchants of Lisbon and Oporto.
4th. The wind continuing in our favour, we reached the mouth of the Bay of Biscay, and entertained hopes that we should have a quick passage.
5th. During the night the wind unfortunately changed, which, together with the extreme badness of the weather, drove us out of our course into the Bay. It was scarcely day before we discovered a strange vessel in chace of us, which induced the captain to crowd all the sail he could carry towards Çorunna, hoping to fall in with some British ship of war cruizing off that port. The strange vessel gaining upon us, signals were maña to her, but none of them being answered satisfactorily, it became obvious that we were chased by an enemy, and as all efforts to escape appeared unavailing, we prepared to meet her in the best manner we
were able. The deck was accordingly cleared for action, the boarding nets raised, each passenger furnished with a cutlass, and the mail got ready to be thrown overboard. At 6 o'clock in the evening, by moonlight, this unwelcome guest had approached so as to be able to hail us, and she fired one of her guns; the salute was soon returned by us, and as quickly answered by them ; so that every thing seemed to portend the approach of a serious conflict. As far as we could observe, the vessel appeared to carry 14 guns, and was probably one of those French privateers which at this period so infested the Bay. : Considering how much superior she was to us in strength, it was with astonishment we saw her slacken sail and suddenly give up the pursuit, by completely changing her course. Whether some accident had happened to her rigging (for it blew very hard), or whether from our vicinity to Corunna she expected that the firing might bring some vessel to our assistance, we could not determine;. but we, saw no more of her.'
6th. Shortly after day-break we discovered another vessel, which we at first thought might be the same: she was in chace of us, and by 2 o'clock in the afternoon came up. She proved to be the English brig Conflict. The usual question being put, (what news ?) they told us that Marshal Massena and Lord Wellington, with their respective forces, were under the walls of Lisbon, where a battle had probably, ere this, been fought; and we, on our part, informed them of the death of her Royal Highness the Princess Amelia, the account of which event had reached Falmouth previous to our leaving that port. We also told them what a disagreeable visitor we had been forced to entertain the preceding evening; and having described the course she took at leaving us, they bade us farewell and went in quest of her. From this time until the night of the 12th, we had a constant succession of heavy, contrary gales and bad weather, which kept us beating about the Bay, and produced in me a violent sea-sickness, so that I would gladly have exchanged my birth for the poorest hut on shore. .
Biscay. We sailed at the rate of about four knots in an hour throughout the day, having the coast of Spain almost within sight. In the evening, two hours after dark, a sailor fell overboard from, the jib boom: the boat was let down and two men leaped into her; by some accident, however, occasioned by the hurry, the boat unfortunately upset, and as the sea was rolling mountains high and the vessel in full sail, it was with the greatest difficulty that the two men were saved by ropes thrown out to them: in the meantime the other poor fellow was left to a watery grave. From this time until the 17th, we sailed quietly on our passage off the coasts of Spain and Portugal.
17th. Shortly after it had become dark, the weather being very thick and hazy, we were considerably alarmed by a vessel bearing down close upon us before she was discovered. She proved to be a Portuguese sloop just out from Lisbon, bound to Oporto. They informed us that we were not far from the Rock of Lisbon, and also that the great battle had not been fought, notwithstanding that the two armies had been in face of each
other but a few leagues from Lisbon, upwards of six weeks. : 18th. At break of day we discovered the Rock of Lisbon, which rises out of the water not far from the mouth of the river Tajo or Tagus: from this point may be seen on a clear day the palace of Mafra, which stands on the coast not far distant from the sea side. A Lisbon pilot now came on board, bringing us all the news--how that the whole population of the kingdom of Portugal had fled into Lisbon, where they had created the greatest scarcity and distress ;---how every man capable of bearing arms was forthwith enrolled in the “ ordinanza” or militia, and sent up to the great English General, who some folks thought would yet beat the Francezes, though for his own part (shrugging up his shoulders), he dare say “ nada” (nothing),---only that being an old man he had escaped the levy, and being very poor, he hoped that whatever party proved conqueror, · he should not be molested in his useful occu
pation of pilot. : 19th. During the night, in a storm of thunder and lightning, we were again forced