number of those who had sailed from England in the Speedwell was now reduced to twenty-six.
Off the coast of California sickness raged among them until only six or seven sailors were fit for duty. Then Captain Shelvocke did the boldest thing of his career, sailing the Holy Sacrament all the way across the Pacific until he reached the China coast and found refuge in the harbor of Macao. Then this short-handed crew worked the battered ship to Canton, where the captains of the East Indiamen expressed their amazement at the ragged sails, the feeble, sea-worn men, and the voyage they had made. Captain George Shelvocke by this feat alone enrolled himself among the great navigators of the eighteenth century. He had found no Spanish galleons to plunder, and his adventure was a failure, but as a master of men and circumstances he had won a singular success.
He saw that his few men were safely embarked in an East Indiaman bound to London, and after a vacation in Canton he, too, went home as a passenger, completing a journey around the globe. Three and a half years had passed since he sailed from Plymouth in the Speedwell with a mutinous crew of landlubbers and high hopes of glittering fortune. Almost every officer had died, including