of the councell of warr of the 18th, the fleete being then but 10 leagues of shore by my owne account, by most of the journalls of the fleete not above 8 or 9 leagues, and the Texell beareing S.S.E. from us, which was .made expressly for my direction in such a case as this was. For when wee found the Dutch fleete broken and hasting for the Texell, wee did suppose a chase which the enimy might designe upon us might lead us dangerously upon a lee shore, with such a fleete (our great shipps and merchants and heavy sayle if they bee put from theire topsayles falling 2 points at least in towards the lee shore upon every tack, and the season of the yeare most likely to expect great stormes in); upon mature debate therefore the limitations inthatvote were concluded. And the next councell of warr after this occasion I communicated it to the councell of warr, who approved thereof; Sir Christopher Mings said then and since it had beene a madness to tack with the fleete. Reare admirall Harman said, when hee tackt hee did not expect I should tack with the fleete. But being one of our windwardly shipps hee tackt to give countenance to some straggling shipps of ours to windward, and soe said Sir William Berkeley and Sir Joseph Jordan and some others, to my best remembrance.
But to descend to pertieuler arguments, next lett us consider the possibility of seizeing this party. When they were in the winds eye of mee, I judged them 2 leagues off. The chase in the morning before the wind cost us 4 howers home to master them. To ehase shipps out of the winde is a longer worke. If it had cost us but 2 houres to come in shott of them, wee had had the night upon us, and to ingadge shipps promiscuously in the night when neither friend nor foe can bee distinguished, may occasion God knowes how great dammage to a fleete of 150 sayle and upwards, as wee all were. Before day light they would have beene in port, or ledd us ashore, to the ruine of the whole fleete, if wee had persued them, which to hinder was impossibie to doe by any signes in the darke night, when the fleete chaseing had beene scattered at a great distance and everyboddy haveing lights extraordinary abroad and guns alwaies goeing. But I have heard reare admirall Harman (who was the headmost shipp that tackt or very neere) say that when hee came off from the chase, which was betweene 5 and 6 at night, hee judged those shipps 4 miles to windward of him and did not expect to come up with them till about 12 a clock at night. Againe consider the hazard of the fleete within 10 leagues of the shore, some less then 8 by others account. If a storme had taken us, that anchor and cable would not have held us (as it is very possible to expect, for the Soveraigne, Prince Charles and the great shipps) and made it a lee shore, the great shipps at least might have been all lost (of what vast importance to the kingdome is easily knowne); if no storme had arose, yet the fleete must have tackt in the night, to