On the 22d of June the ship was again completed for sea, when I sailed from Sheerness; and on the 3d of July joined the Adventure in Plymouth Sound. The evening before, we met, off the Sound, Lord Sandwich, in the Augusta yacht, (who was on his return from visiting the several dock-yards,) with the Glory frigate and Hazard sloop. We saluted his lordship with seventeen guns; and soon after he and Sir Hugh Palliser gave us the last mark of the very great attention they had paid to this equipment, by coming on board, to satisfy themselves that every thing was done to my wish, and that the ship was found to answer to my satisfaction.
At Plymouth I received my instructions, dated the 25th of June, directing me to take under my command the Adventure; to make the best of my way to the island of Madeira, there to take in a supply of wine, and then proceed to the Cape of Good Hope, where I was to refresh the ships’ companies, and to take on board such provisions and necessaries as I might stand in need of. After leaving the Cape of Good Hope, I was to proceed to the southward, and endeavour to fall in with Cape Circumcision, which was said by Monsieur Bouvet to lie in the latitude of 54 deg. S. and in about 11 deg. 20’ E. longitude from Greenwich. If I discovered this cape, I was to satisfy myself whether it was a part of the continent which had so much engaged the attention of geographers and former navigators, or a part of an island. If it proved to be the former, I was to employ myself diligently in exploring as great an extent of it as I could, and to make such notations thereon, and observations of every kind, as might be useful either to navigation or commerce, or tend to the promotion of natural knowledge. I was also directed to observe the genius, temper, disposition, and number of the inhabitants, if there were any, and endeavour, by all proper means, to cultivate a friendship and alliance with them; making them presents of such things as they might value; inviting them to traffic, and shewing them every kind of civility and regard. I was to continue to employ myself on this service, and making discoveries either to the eastward or westward, as my situation might render most eligible; keeping in as high a latitude as I could, and prosecuting my discoveries as near to the South Pole as possible, so long as the condition of the ships, the health of their crews, and the state of their provisions, would admit of; taking care to reserve as much of the latter as would enable me to reach some known port, where I was to procure a sufficiency to bring me home to England. But if Cape Circumcision should prove to be part of an island only, or if I should not be able to find the said Cape, I was in the first case to make the necessary survey of the island, and then to stand on to the southward, so long as I judged there was a likelihood of falling in with the continent, which I was also to do in the latter case, and then to proceed to the eastward in further search of the said continent, as well as to make discoveries of such islands as might be situated in that unexplored part of the southern hemisphere; keeping in high latitudes, and prosecuting my discoveries, as above mentioned, as near the pole as possible until I had circumnavigated the globe; after which I was to proceed to the Cape of Good Hope, and from thence to Spithead.