|Naval history of Great Britain
||Sir John Duckworth at the Dardanells
them complicated and obscure. For instance, he was to consult Mr. Arbuthnot on the " measures proper to be pursued ; " and it was only, when the British ambassador was of opinion that hostilities should commence, " that the British admiral was to make the peremptory demand of the surrender of the Turkish fleet." At this crisis, " says Lord Collingwood " should any negotiation on the subject be proposed by the Turkish government, as such proposition will probably be to gain time for preparing their resistance or securing their ships, I would recommend that no negotiation should continue more than half an hour ; and, in the event of an absolute refusal, you are either to cannonade the town, or attack the fleet wherever it may be, holding it in mind, that the getting the possession, and next to that the destruction, of the Turkish fleet, is the object of the first consideration. " Lord Collingwood added, that the force appointed for the service was greater than had originally been intended, on a belief that the Russian squadron would not be in a situation to co-operate ; but that his lordship had, by letter, requested Vice-admiral Seniavin, then cruising in the Archipelago, with a Russian squadron of eight or 10 sail of the line, to detach four of his ships to serve under Sir John Duckworth in the expedition.
On the 17th the Royal-George arrived at Gibraltar, and on the 18th sailed again, accompanied by the 98-gun ship Windsor-Castle, Captain Charles Boyles, and Repulse 74, Captain the Honourable Arthur Kaye Legge, all three ships, as ordered by Lord Collingwood, having completed their provisions to four months. On the 30th the squadron anchored in Valetta harbour, island of Malta ; and on the 1st of February Sir John despatched the Active, which had arrived the preceding day with the Russian ambassador, to Sir Thomas Louis, to apprize him of the intended junction, and of the plan that was to follow. On the same day the 74-gun ship Ajax, Captain the Honourable Henry Blackwood, and on the 2d of February the Pompée, of the same force, Captain Richard Dacres, bearing the flag of Rear-admiral Sir William Sidney Smith, arrived from the coast of Sicily. On the 4th, in the afternoon, Sir John, thus reinforced, sailed for the Archipelago, and on the 10th anchored off the island of Tenedos, in company with the Canopus and her companions ; making the squadron under the vice-admiral amount to eight sail of the line, two frigates (the Active having rejoined on the 6th), and two bomb-vessels, the Lucifer and Meteor, Captains Robert Elliot and James Collins.
Sir John had now the satisfaction to learn, that the strait of the Dardanells was not quite so formidable a passage as had been represented ; that the batteries were, some of them dilapidated, and others but partially mounted and poorly manned ; and that the bulk of the Turkish fleet lay moored in the port of Constantinople, in an unequipped but preparing state, except one 64-gun ship, four frigates, and several smaller vessels, at
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