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Wallis was sent out in pursuit of some of the same objectives, but thanks to Byron's wishful reading of the swell and the birdlife followed a track to the south of Byron's and, as a result, discovered Tahiti in 1767.

Moreover, there was another legacy. The instructions Byron ignored did not reach six pages in length, restricted themselves to routine nautical observations and left, as we have seen, quite a deal to the commander's discretion. Those who followed him were given much more explicit detail and much more specific direction.

Byron's account of his circumnavigation appeared in The Narrative of the Honourable John Byron (1768), which sold well and was reprinted several times. 

Byron's failure to deliver the desired results did not, however, affect his subsequent career prospects. He went on to succeed Hugh Palliser as governor of Newfoundland (1769—72) and attained flag rank as a Rear Admiral on 31 March 1775 and moved on to Vice-Admiral on 29 January 1778. 

That should have seen him go to India as the naval commander in the East, but reports that a French fleet under Comte d'Estaing would soon leave Toulon,  North America-bound, saw the squadron Byron was to take east diverted to pursue d'Estaing and bring his force to battle. 

Byron, in the 90-gun second rate Princess Royal, headed into the Atlantic in June 1778, but gales scattered Foulweather Jack'ss squadron. When the squadron eventually reassembled in New York, the ships were in no state to put to sea. 

When they did, in October. D'Estaing was known to be in Boston. Byron set out to intercept them there, once again had his for ships dispersed once more by gales, and eventually caught up with d'Estaing in the West Indies after yet another encounter with adverse weather along the way.

© Ian Hughes 2017