Soon after I returned from a voyage round the world with the Honourable Commodore Byron, I was appointed to the command of his majesty’s sloop the Swallow, by a commission bearing date the first of July, 1766; the Swallow then lay at Chatham, and I was ordered to fit her out with all possible expedition. She was an old ship, having been in the service thirty years, and was, in my opinion, by no means fit for a long voyage, having only a slight thin, sheathing upon her bottom, which was not even filled with nails to supply the want of a covering that would more effectually keep out the worm. I had been given to understand that I was to go out with the Dolphin; but the disparity of the two ships, and the difference in their equipment, made me think that they could not be intended for the same duty; the Dolphin, which was sheathed with copper, being supplied with every thing that was requisite for a long and dangerous navigation; and the Swallow having only a scanty supply of common necessaries. However, I ventured to apply for a forge, some iron, a small skiff, and several other things which I knew by experience would be of the utmost importance, if it was intended that I should make another voyage round the world; but I was told that the vessel, and her equipment were very fit for the service she was to perform, and none of the requisites for which I applied were allowed me. I was therefore confirmed in my opinion, that, if the Dolphin was to go round the world, it could never be intended that I should go farther than Falkland’s islands, where the Jason, a fine frigate, which was, like the Dolphin, sheathed with copper, and amply equipped, would supply my place. I was, however, deficient in junk, an article which is essentially necessary in every voyage, and for this I applied when I got to Plymouth, but I was told that a quantity sufficient for both the ships had been put on board the Dolphin.
On Friday the 22d of August, 1766, the ship’s company having the evening before received two months pay, I weighed, and made sail from Plymouth Sound in company with the Dolphin, under the command of Captain Wallis, and the Prince Frederick store-ship, commanded by Lieutenant James Brine. We proceeded together without any remarkable incident till the 7th of September, when we came to an anchor in Madeira road.
While I lay at this place, not being yet acquainted with my destination, I represented my want of junk, and the reply that had been made to my application for a supply by the commissioner at Plymouth, in a letter to Captain Wallis, who sent me five hundred weight. This quantity however was so inadequate to my wants, that I was soon afterwards reduced to the disagreeable necessity of cutting off some of my cables to save my rigging.