The failure of the Voyage under my command in His Majesty's Armed Vessel Bounty when it was in a fair way of succeeding, led His Most Gracious Majesty to direct it to be put into execution a second time, and with the Ship I was to command, a small Vessel to be procured about 100 Tons burthen to go in company with me.
On the 10th of March 1791 I received orders to search after such Vessels as I thought would Answer. The only elligible Ship that I could find was on Mr. Perry's slip at Blackwell, and she was purchased on the 23rd upon conditions of being ready to be launched in one Month.
In the course of this time I got a small Vessel of the Tonnage prescribed, and that the utmost dispatch might be used, she was taken into a Merchant's Yard to undergo a repair, and to have every thing done that was necessary.
On the 16th April I had the honor to receive my commission to command the Providence, and she was launched with that Name on the 23rd as Mr. Perry had engaged. On the same day she was taken to Woolwich to be Coppered, and on the 30th was brought up to Deptford.
The small Vessel was equally forward, and named the Assistant. The Command of her was given to Lieutenant Nathaniel Portlock. Her burthen was 110 Tons, length of Keel for Tonnage 51 Feet..4¼ Inches, Extreme breadth 20 Feet..1¼, and depth in the Hold 9 Feet..10 Inches.
The Providence was a superior Ship of her class, with Three Decks and 420 Tons burthen. Her length of Keel for Tonnage was 98 Feet..11 Inches, the breadth 29 feet, depth in the Hold 12 Feet..2 Inches, height in the upper deck 6 Feet:6 Inches, and in the lower deck 4 Feet.10 Inches.
Her Complement was 100 Men including 20 Marines, and that of the Assistant 27 including 4 Marines.
On the 7th of March we began to fit out, but owing to a strict Press, and a large armament, we got so few Men, that untill the 19th June we were not ready to do down the River. Ship's draught of Water forward 14 Feet..10½ Inches, Aft 15 Feet..2 Inches.
On the 22nd June we dropt down to Galleons and having taken on board 12 Carriage guns and 14 Swivels, and the Assistant 4 four pounders and 8 Swivels, with all Gunners Stores, we sailed on the 6th July.
On the 7th July anchored at the little Nore. We were joined by Lient. Pearce, one Sergeant, 2 Corporals, 1 drummer and 15 private Marines from Chatham Division.
I found the ship to require more ballast. I had permition of Admiral Dalrymple to go into Sheerness, and on the 8th after mooring along side the Hulk we began to clear the Hold, where we took in 20 Tons of Iron ballast and 15 Tons Shingles.
On the 12th July in the morning we sailed from Sheerness. Ships draught of Water 15 Feet:9 Inches aft 15 Feet forward.
On the 13th passed through the Downs, and on the 16th anchored at Spithead and Moored in 8 fathoms Water. South Sea Castle EbN½N 3 Miles. Moulton NW½N, and St. Helens point SbW. Lord Hood Commanded here with 36 Sail of the Line, and Admiral Roddam in the Harbour.