The instructions for this voyage from the owners were, that they were to proceed in the first place for Plymouth, whence they were to sail with the first fair wind for Cape Horn or the Straits of Magellan, as was found most convenient for their passage into the South Sea. They were then to cruize on the coasts of Chili, Peru, and Mexico, and to endeavour, if possible, to meet and capture the Manilla ship. To prevent all disputes and disorders, they were enjoined to be careful above all things not to separate from each other, and to undertake nothing of importance without holding a council of officers, stating the question to be debated in writing, and drawing up the resolution in writing, with the reasons on which they were grounded, which were to be signed by all the officers. All these precautions proved in a great measure useless, as the expedition wore an unfortunate aspect from the very beginning. The ships were forced to remain three months at Plymouth, waiting for a wind; in which time every thing fell into confusion, and factions were formed, in which the crews of both ships were involved, from the captains down to the cabin boys. Captain Shelvocke highly resented the affront offered him in being deprived of the chief command; and Captain Clipperton, knowing the other’s resentment, and being a boisterous man of strong passions which he could not conceal, there was nothing but debates and disputes. Every post carried complaints to the proprietors, and brought down instructions, reproofs, and exhortations to concord. It had been fortunate for the proprietors, if they had removed one or both of the commanders; but every one had too much concern to retain his friend in post, so that private views proved the cause of public ruin.—Harris.
Narrative of the Voyage, from England to Juan Fernandez.
Having at length a fair wind, the two ships sailed in company from Plymouth on the 13th February, 1719. It singularly happened that the Speedwell had still on board the whole stock of wine, brandy, and other liquors, designed for the supply of both ships. On the 19th at night, there arose a violent storm, and on the 20th the storm abated about two in the afternoon, when Captain Clipperton in the Success made sail, steering S. by E. while Captain Shelvocke in the Speedwell bore away N.W. So that they never again saw each other, till they afterwards met by mere accident in the South Sea.
Being now at sea without his consort, and very indifferently provided, Captain Clipperton found himself under the necessity of using a discretionary power of dispensing in some respect from his instructions; but which freedom he rarely exercised, and then with the utmost caution. In all essential points he carefully complied with the instructions, constantly consulting with his officers, and doing his utmost to prosecute his voyage with effect. The first place of rendezvous appointed