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Captain Anson and the Earl of Sandwich joined Bedford at the Admiralty, and although he was the junior member of the board, as the only sea officer of real weight and Sandwich's closest colleague he exerted considerable influence. 

Promotion to Rear Admiral in April 1745 and Vice-admiral three months later followed, and he took command of the Western Squadron in July 1746. The voyage that brought him to prominence left Anson with well-developed ideas of how best to promote navigation and commerce.

His tortuous passage around Cape Horn meant he had firm ideas about the importance of establishing a way-station to the Pacific, where ships could refresh and refit. He saw the Falkland Islands as ideal for such purposes, and early in 1749, at his urging, the Admiralty set about equipping two ships to locate and explore the islands, and then proceed into the Pacific, calling at Juan Fernandez on the way, but Spanish resentment put the scheme on hold. 

While plans for settlement were carefully disclaimed, the Spanish Minister Carvajal had read Anson's book and asked, very pertinently, what else could be the point, since the Islands were already known.

A dozen years later, the scheme was revived in another guise, after an expedition to capture Manila as the first step to opening trade in the Pacific at large. While the expedition succeeded, news of the result did not reach Europe in time to influence the peace settlement, and Manila reverted to Spanish hands. 

Having lost that opportunity, the Admiralty reverted to Anson’s scheme for the Falklands, equipping two frigates that would set out under Captain John Byron which were allegedly intended for the East Indies. Byron had been a midshipman on the Wager on Anson's expedition and was directed to survey the Falklands, locate a suitable site for a base and then examine North America's west coast, find Juan de Fuca’s Strait, and to return that way if he succeeded.

© Ian Hughes 2017