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

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 681 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.
joined by the commodore in that time, they were to conclude that some accident had befallen him, and were forthwith to put themselves under the command of the senior officer, who was to use his utmost endeavour to annoy the enemy both by sea and land.  In this view, the new commander was urged to continue in these seas as long as provisions lasted, or as they could be supplied by what could be taken from the enemy, reserving only a sufficiency to carry the ships to Macao, at the entrance of the river of Canton on the coast of China; whence, being supplied with a new stock of provisions, they were to make the best of their way to England.  As it was found still impossible to unload the Anna Pink, our victualler, the commodore gave her master instructions for the same rendezvouses, and similar orders to put himself under the command of the remaining senior officer.

[Footnote 1:  The centre of the island of Socoro, or Guayteca, on the western coast of Patagonia, is in lat. 43 deg. 10’ S. and long. 73 deg. 40’ W. from Greenwich.—­E.]

Under these orders, the squadron sailed from St Catharines on Sunday the 18th of January, 1741.  Next day we had very squally weather, attended with rain, lightning, and thunder; but it soon cleared up again, with light breezes, and continued so to the evening of the 21st, when it again blew fresh, and, increasing all night, it became a most violent storm by next morning, accompanied by so thick a fog that it was impossible for us to see to the distance of two ships lengths, and we consequently lost sight of all the squadron.  On this a signal was made, by firing guns, to bring to with the larboard tacks, the wind being due east.  We in the Centurion handed the top-sails, bunted the main-sail, and lay to under a reefed-mizen till noon, when the fog dispersed, and we soon discovered all the ships of the squadron, except the Pearl, which did not join till near a month afterwards.  The Tryal was a great way to leeward, having lost her main-mast in the squall, and having been obliged to cut away the wreck, for fear of bilging.  We therefore bore down with the squadron to her relief, and the Gloucester was ordered to take her in tow, as the weather did not entirely abate till next day, and even then a great swell continued from the eastward, in consequence of the preceding storm.  After this accident we continued to the southward with little interruption, finding the same setting of the current we had observed before our arrival at St Catharines; that is, we generally found ourselves about twenty miles to the southward of our reckoning by the log every day.  This, with some inequality, lasted till we had passed the latitude of the Rio Plata, and even then the same current, however difficult to be accounted for, undoubtedly continued; for we were not satisfied in attributing this appearance to any error in our reckoning, but tried it more than once, when a calm rendered it practicable.

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