save running ashore which in that disorder was impossibie to doe without miserably seperateing it. The eminy had a boddy of 50 sayle but a few leagues to the Southward of us which wee had intelligence of, and if wee had beene seperated who knowes what party of us the enemy might have falne upon, and what loss the King might have sustayned; besides in tacking in the night, considering only such a numerous fleete, the damage in all likelyhood might bee great. The preservation of our prizes, which were of extraordinary value, was concerned also, for it may bee remembred wee came ill-manned out of Soule Bay; since that wee had 3000 prisoners to guard, and theire shipps taken manned out of us. And if wee had come to engadge, wee must have taken men out of the prizes, and destroyed them; and the Royall James did soe, and sett afire a shipp in his possession, of above 40 guns, without order, upon expectation of engadgeing againe.
The weather was durty and begun to blow at S.W. soe that wee had reason to stretch itt off to gett a good birth of the shore in case of a storme, which did overtake us the next evening to the height, that then my foresaile and foretopayle cleare out of the boltropes. And if God had not beene pleased to cause the winde to shift to the N. and N.N.E., it might have beene fatall to the fleete, soe that now it was my case whether I would invade and cross the resolution of a councell of warr, upon deliberate consideration of this very contingency, which the prospect of all those daingers mencioned.
I confess if a service had presented, attended with inconveniencys not disproportioned to the hopes, I had hell'd my selfe bound in duty to have adventured the accomplishing thereof, though different from the resolution of the'councell of warr; but haveing hopes of obtayning litle, if anything at all, accompanyed with those dismall hazards, and on the other hand, being likely to bring the King my master safe soe great a returne, of soe great use to the necessity of his affaires and his fleete undamaged, I chose to persue the councell of warrs advice, and my owne best judgement, the event and success whereof wee now know and reape the great benefitts. The event of the other imaginations is unknowne, and if they had beene tryed who knows whether litle advantage had beene gotten, or a fatall disaster.
I doe not thinke that other men have soe low an opinion of mee, as to object to mee the consideration of avoyding personall dainger; for with above 100 sayle of men of war to encounter 30 shipps, one halfe of them merchants, is not soe hard a taske as I have seene, nor as I did expect when I made hast to sea out of Sould Bay. I also hope the world beleives mee guilty of some noble ambition, would not I have beene desireous to encrease my victorys to returne home with 60 prizes rather then 30, to have escaped the calumnies of ignorant enimys (whereof I finde some store).