Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/133

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With the Buccaneers

falling in with a vessel of any sort, at the end of that time they overhauled a caravel bound from Porto Bello to Cartagena, which vessel they took, and finding her loaded with nothing better than raw hides, scuttled and sank her, being then about twenty leagues from the main of Cartagena. From the captain of this vessel they learned that the plate fleet was then lying in the harbor of Porto Bello, not yet having set sail thence, but waiting for the change of the winds before embarking for Spain. Besides this, which was a good deal more to their purpose, the Spaniards told the pirates that the Sieur Simon, his wife, and daughter were confined aboard the vice admiral of that fleet, and that the name of the vice admiral was the Santa Maria y Valladolid.

So soon as Captain Morgan had obtained the information he desired he directed his course straight for the Bay of Santo Blaso, where he might lie safely within the cape of that name without any danger of discovery (that part of the mainland being entirely uninhabited) and yet be within twenty or twenty-five leagues of Porto Bello.

Having come safely to this anchorage, he at once declared his intentions to his companions, which were as follows:

That it was entirely impossible for them to hope to sail their vessel into the harbor of Porto Bello, and to attack the Spanish vice admiral where he lay in the midst of the armed flota; wherefore, if anything was to be accomplished, it must be undertaken by some subtle design rather than by open-handed boldness. Having so prefaced what he had to say, he now declared that it was his purpose to take one of the ship’s boats and to go in that to Porto Bello, trusting for some opportunity to occur to aid him either in the accomplishment of his aims or in the gaining of some further information. Having thus delivered himself, he invited any who dared to do so to volunteer for the expedition, telling them plainly that he would constrain no man to go against his will, for that at best it was a desperate enterprise, possessing only the recommenda-