A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 783 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.
one part of whom were incapable of action, by their age and infirmities, and the other part useless, by ignorance of their duty.  But the diminution of the strength of the squadron was not the greatest inconveniency which attended these alterations; for the contests, representations, and difficulties which they continually produced, as we have seen above that the authority of the Admiralty in these cases was not always submitted to, occasioned a delay and waste of time, which, in its consequences, was the source of all the disasters to which the enterprize was afterwards exposed.  For, owing to these circumstances, we were forced to make our passage round Cape Horn at the most tempestuous season of the year, whence proceeded the separation of our squadron, the loss of numbers of our men, and the imminent hazard of oar total destruction.  By this delay also, the enemy had been so well informed of our designs, that a person who had been employed in the service of the South-Sea Company, and arrived from Panama three or four days before we left Portsmouth, was able to relate to Mr Anson most of the particulars of the destination and strength of our squadron, from what he had learnt from the Spaniards before he left them.  This was afterwards confirmed by a more extraordinary circumstance; for we shall find, that when the Spaniards, fully satisfied of our expedition being intended for the South Seas, had fitted out a squadron before us, which had so far got the start as to arrive before us at the island of Madeira, the commander of this squadron was so well instructed in the form and make of Mr Anson’s broad pendant, and had imitated it so exactly, that he thereby decoyed the Pearl, one of our squadron, within gun-shot of him, before the captain of the Pearl was able to discover the deception.


The Passage from St Helens to the Island of Madeira, with a short Account of that Island, and of our Stay there.

As observed in the preceding section, the squadron weighed from St Helens with a contrary wind on the 18th of September, 1740, our commodore proposing to tide down the channel, as he less dreaded the inconveniences we might have thereby to struggle with, than the risk he should run of ruining the enterprize by an uncertain, and, in all probability, a tedious attendance for a fair wind.  The squadron allotted for this expedition consisted of five men-of-war, a sloop of war, and two victuallers.  These were, the Centurion of 60 guns, and 400 men, George Anson, Esq. commander; the Gloucester, of 50 guns, and 300 men, Richard Norris, commander; the Severn, of 50 guns, and 300 men, the Honourable Edward Legg, commander; the Pearl, of 40 guns, and 250 men, Matthew Mitchell, commander; the Wager, of 28 guns, and 160 men, Dandy Kidd, commander; the Tryal sloop, of 8 guns, and 100 men, the Honourable John Murray, commander.  The two victuallers were pinks, the largest of about four hundred tons burden;

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