AN'SON, GEORGE, LORD (1697-1762). An English admiral and famous circumnavigator. He was born at Shugborough,Staffordshire,April 23, 1697. From an early period he manifested a predilection for a sea-life, and entered the navy at the age of fifteen. in 1716 he served as second lieutenant under Norris; next under Byng in 1718, against the Spaniards; and was made a captain in 1723. In 1739, when war with Spain broke out, he was recalled from the Carolina station, on which he bad been placed since 1724, and received the command of the fleet in the South Sea. He sailed from England in Septem ber, 1740, with instructions to inflict whatever injury he could on the Spanish commerce and colonies. The preparations for this cruise had been made in the most slovenly manner. Both vessels and stores were bad and the sailors were old Chelsea pensioners; yet Anson, in spite of these disadvantages, achieved a brilliant reputa tion by the heroism, prudence, diligence, and humanity Ile displayed. After his little fleet of seven vessels had been scattered by a storm in doubling Cape Ilorn, he landed at Juan Fernan dez. where he was soon joined by three of his ships, which arrived in a dismantled condition.
While he remained on this island, he exhibited his native tenderness of character by the assidu ity with which he cared for the sick. Under great
disadvantages, Ile took several prizes, including a valuable Spanish galleon from Acapulco. Fi nally, with only one vessel left, he crossed the South Sea, doubled the Cape of Good Hope, and favored by good fortune, was hidden by a thick fog as he passed through the French fleet and entered the English Channel. He arrived at Spithead, June 15, 1744, and his accumulated treasure, amounting to £500,000, was landed at Portsmouth, sent up to London, and triumphant ly paraded through the city in 32 wagons. He had circumnavigated the globe in three years and nine months, and his perilous cruise greatly ex tended the knowledge of navigation and geog raphy. It has been described in his Voyage Round the World (editors Walter and Robins, 1748; new edition, 1853). Asa reward for his services, Anson was made Rear-admiral of the Blue (1744), and in 1747, having defeated the French Admiral Jonquiere, at Cape Finisterre, he was created Baron Soberton, and four years later first lord of the admiralty. In 1761 he was made admiral of the fleet. Ile died suddenly at Moor Park, Hertfordshire. ,June 6, 1762. Con sult J. Barrow, Lifc of George, Lord Anson (London, 1839).