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Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 661 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 17.
to every reader, why a licentious crew should hearken to any factious leader, rather than to the solidity of their captain’s advice, who made it evident to every unprejudiced understanding, that their fairest chance for safety and a better fortune, was to proceed with the long-boat till they should make prize of some vessel of the enemy, and thereby be enabled to bring to the commodore a supply of stout fellows to assist in his conquests, and share in the honour and rewards.

And yet it is but justice, even to this ungovernable herd, to explain, that though, as I have said above, they appeared in the light of mutineers, they were not actually such in the eye of the law; for, till a subsequent act, made indeed on this occasion, the pay of a ship’s crew ceased immediately upon her wreck, and consequently the officers’ authority and command.

Having explained the foregoing particulars, I hope I may flatter myself, there are few things in the following sheets which will not be readily understood by the greatest part of my readers; therefore I will not detain them any longer.[115]

[115] Bulkeley’s narrative above referred to, and which certainly deserves
    to be better known than it now is, will be found in this Appendix, No.
    2.  The impartial reader, it is believed, will hesitate to join with
    Byron in opinion as to the motives which occasioned its publication;
    nor is it unimportant for him to recollect, that Byron himself at one
    time sanctioned the chief measures and sentiments which Bulkeley and
    his associates adopted.—­E.

CHAPTER I.

Account of the Wager and her Equipment.—­Captain Kid’s Death.—­Succeeded by Captain Cheap.—­Our Disasters commence with our Voyage.—­We lose Sight of our Squadron in a Gale of Wind.—­Dreadful Storm.—­Ship strikes.

The equipment and destination of the squadron fitted out in the year 1740, of which Commodore Anson had the command, being sufficiently known from the ample and well-penned relation of it under his direction, I shall recite no particulars that are to be found in that work.  But it may be necessary, for the better understanding the disastrous fate of the Wager, the subject of the following sheets, to repeat the remark, that a strange infatuation seemed to prevail in the whole conduct of this embarkation:  For though it was unaccountably detained till the season for its sailing was past, no proper use was made of that time, which should have been employed in providing a suitable force of sailors and soldiery; nor was there a due attention given to other requisites for so peculiar and extensive a destination.

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