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The Life of the Right Honourable Horatio Lord Visc

To Captain Skeffington Lutwidge


was pleased to direct should

be immediately undertaken, with every encouragement that could countenance such an enterprise, and every assistance that could contribute to it's success. The Racehorse and Carcass bombs, being selected as the strongest, and therefore the properest, vessels to be employed in this voyage, were taken into dock, and fitted in the most complete manner for the service. The command of the former was given to Captain Constantine John Phipps, afterwards Lord Mulgrave; and that of the latter, to Captain Skeffington Lutwidge, now Admiral of the White. The complement for each was fixed at ninety men; and the ordinary establishment departed from, by appointing an additional number of officers, the whole recommended by their respective captains, and entering effective men instead of the usual number of boys Two masters of Greenlandmen were employed as pilots for each ship; the Racehorse was furnished with new chain-pumps on Captain Bentinck's improved plan; Dr. Irving's apparatus for distilling fresh water from the sea was adopted; Mr. Israel Lyons was engaged, by the Board of Longitude, to embark in this voyage, for the purpose of making astronomical observations; the board also sent two watch machines for keeping the longitude by difference of time, one on Mr. Harrison's principles, the other by Mr. Arnold; and, in short, every possible arrangement was made effectually to decide the long-agitated question concerning the practicability of a north-east passage into the Pacific ocean.

style="text-align: justify;">The report of this scientific voyage, from which so much nautical knowledge could not fail to be derived by a youth thirsting for professional information, most powerfully attracted the enterprising spirit of young Nelson; who resolved, if possible, to participate in it's advantages, without any apprehensions from the perils to which he must necessarily be exposed in it's pursuit. It may, indeed, be justly doubted, whether the hope of successfully encountering these very perils might not constitute one of its chief charms for his intrepid mind.

Notwithstanding, therefore, the implied interdiction of the Admiralty, respecting the employment of boys on this hazardous voyage, he so powerfully pleaded with Captain Lutwidge to be appointed coxswain, and so fully satisfied him he was not unqualified for the task, that the worthy captain at length, kindly consented to receive him in this capacity; and, though the Carcass, when fitted, being found too deep in the water to proceed to sea with safety, was constrained to put part of her guns on shore, and reduce her complement to eighty men, the young coxswain felt himself already too firmly fixed in his captain's favour to dread being one of the dismissed number.

On the 30th of May 1773, Captain Lutwidge, in the Carcass, joined Captain Phipps, in the Racehorse, at the Nore: but, being delayed, by the easterly winds, till the 4th of June, his majesty's birth-day, at six o'clock that morning, both ships weighed; and Captain Lutwidge, having received his orders from Captain Phipps, they immediately sailed on the expedition.


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