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Islands of truth : Vancouver Island from Captain Cook to the beginnings of colonialism Clayton, Daniel Wright 1995

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ISLANDS OF TRUTH: VANCOUVER ISLAND FROM CAPTAIN COOK TO THE BEGINNINGS OF COLONIALISM  by DANIEL WRIGHT CLAYTON B.A. (Hons.), The University of Cambridge, 1986 M.A., The University of Cambridge, 1989 M.A., The University of British Columbia, 1989  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in  THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Geography)  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December 1995  © Daniel Wright Clayton  f  1995  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree; that permission for extensive copying of this thesis "for scholarly purposes may be \ "granted by the head of my department  or  by  his  or  her  representatives.  It  is  understood  that  copying  or  " publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department of  j  ^CO^^APHY  The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada  D a t e  DE-6  (2/88)  2z. / t « L * * ~ k « ~  Mlf  11  Abstract This study examines Native-white relations on Vancouver Island, and the creation of the region as an object of imperial interest, between the late eighteenth and mid nineteenth centuries. These processes are investigated using a range of empirical and theoretical materials, and in relation to the British Columbian present. Archaeological, ethnographic and historical evidence is considered alongside ideas about the nature of power, space and representation drawn from the critical literature on European colonialism. The study has a twin argument. First, it is argued that these phases of exploration, trade and imperial dispute should be studied in terms of a broader series of Enlightenment, commercial and geopolitical dynamics. But second, it is claimed that western agendas were not imposed on Vancouver Island in a mechanical fashion. They were warped in regionally specific ways because of the nature of the contact process. Western discourses and practices actively shaped Vancouver Island and were themselves reshaped in the process. Part 1 explores Captain James Cook's encounter with the Native people of Nootka Sound in 1778; the spatial and corporeal dimensions of contact are teased out in order to interrogate the scope and limits of Cook's scientific-humanitarian agenda. Part II assesses the Native-white sea otter trade on Vancouver Island between the 1780s and 1810s. It is argued that traders' assumptions about, and representations of, Native people were influenced by the commercial geography of the trade and by Native agendas. Part III deals with the way the region was refashioned as a prospective imperial space by western politicians, and the implications of this imperial outreach for Native peoples. Vancouver Island is viewed through methodological and archival lenses, and is connected to a broader late eighteenth-century capitalist-imperial world. This study works between Europe and Vancouver Island to illuminate the connections and fissures between knowledge, power and geography.  Ill  Table of contents Abstract  ii  Table of contents  iii  List of figures  vi  Abbreviations  vii  Acknowledgement  viii  INTRODUCTION  1  PART I  CAPTAIN COOK AND THE SPACES OF CONTACT AT "NOOTKA SOUND"  Introduction Chapter One  Chapter Two  Chapter Three  Chapter Four  5 5  Openings  9  Cook, science and humanitarianism Beaglehole's Cook Scientific exploration and colonialism Spaces of contact  9 21 24 33  Locations  35  The rattle of empirical science Floating islands, bones and blood Spaces of physical and textual (in)discipline  35 44 55  Positions  59  Spectacle and surveillance An unerring or unsteady gaze? The limits of curiosity, and the boundaries of honesty The masculine bounds of interaction and observation Discourses of displacement  59 71 79 88 94  Foundations  97  Horizons of history "The archivization of knowledge" The Cook bicentenary Cook books  97 107 112 115  IV  PART II  ITINERATE GEOGRAPHIES OF THE MARITIME FUR TRADE  Introduction Chapter Five  122 122  Trading Place and Space  123  From Cook to commercial contact on the northwest coast Itinerate geographies  123 131  The Conflictual Economy of Truth of the Maritime Fur Trade  145  "Acts of perfidy" Commercial games of truth and fiction "Envisioning Capital"  145 148 166  Nuu-chah-nulth Agendas: An Ethnographic Context  176  Nodes, networks and hierarchies Nuu-chah-nulth socio-political arrangements  176 181  Nootka Sound  192  Commercial contact and chiefly power Native competition and chiefly power Chiefly power and prestige Native collaboration and the Yuquot-Tahsis confederacy Effects of the trade  192 205 209 218 232  Clayoquot Sound  238  "Wickaninish's Sound" Spatial politics of exchange Wickaninish and Barkley Sound From Barkley Sound to Cape Flattery A regional geography  238 245 256 263 265  Conclusion  Ideologies, Models and Geographies of Contact  267  PART III  CIRCULATING KNOWLEDGE AND POWER  275  Chapter Six  Chapter Seven  Chapter Eight  Chapter Nine  Introduction Chapter Ten  275 The Imperial Refashioning of the Northwest Coast  278  The reception of Martinez's actions in Europe The map, the register, and British commercial vision Britain, Spain and the law of nations The loss of locality  278 290 307 314  Chapter Eleven  Conclusion  Circumscribing Vancouver Island  316  Vancouver's island Delineating the Oregon Territory Mythical localities  316 334 354  Islands of Truth  359  POSTSCRIPT  360  Bibliography  363  VI  List of figures Figure 1:1  "A plan of King Georges Sound"  36  Figure 1:2  "A sketch of Nootka Sound"  61  Figure 1:3  "Various articles, at Nootka Sound"  82  Figure II: 1  Territories of Nuu-chah-nulth tribal groups, late 19th century  180  Nootka Sound - Settlement patterns and socio-political arrangements, early contact period  194  Settlement patterns and socio-political arrangements in Clayoquot Sound, late pre-contact; tribal territories in Barkley Sound, late pre-contact  239  Broken Group Islands, central Barkley Sound - main settlement and/or defensive sites, and socio-political arrangements, late pre-contact  261  The geography of contact, and the impact of the maritime fur trade on Native groups, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, 1785-1810s  266  Figure III: 1  Billy and Harry fishing for whales  295  Figure III:2a  Warner, "A chart showing part of the coast..."  331  Figure III:2b  Neale, "A chart showing part of the coast..."  332  Figure 111:3  [McGillivray] "A map of America..."  340  Figure 111:4  Punch magazine  350  Figure 11:2 Figure 11:3  Figure 11:4  Figure 11:5  VI1  Abbreviations Add.MS.  Additional Manuscript, BM.  Add.MSS.  Additional Manuscripts, BCARS.  ADM  Admiralty Records, PRO.  BCARS  British Columbia Archives and Records Service, Victoria, Canada.  BCHQ  British Columbia Historical Quarterly.  BM  British Museum, London, U.K..  BT  Board of Trade Records, PRO  FO  Foreign Office Records, PRO  HO  Home Office Records, PRO.  PAM-HBCA  Provincial Archives of Manitoba - Hudson's Bay Company Archives, Winnipeg, Canada.  PRO UBCL-SC  Public Record Office, London, U.K..  University of British Columbia Library - University Archives and Special Collections Division. Footnotes are numbered consecutively in each Part.  Acknowledgement As with my region of study, no Ph.D. candidate is quite an island; I have incurred many debts. It is a privilege to acknowledge thefinancialsupport of the I.W. Killam Foundation (1989-92), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (1992-95), and my parents (for longer than they may care to remember). The staff and archivists at the PRO, the British Museum, the HBC archives, the BC archives (especially Brent McBride, David Matheson and Brian Young), and the Special Collections Division of UBC Library all deserve thanks for their advice and patience. Sojourns at these archives would have been impossible without the generosity of Ian and Kathy Maycock (London), and Dorothy and Ted Tacium (Winnipeg). I owe a very special debt to April Mcllhagga, who extended many favours during my 18-month stay in Victoria. This study has benefited immeasurably from the intellectual generosity, guidance and enthusiasm of four fine scholars of early British Columbia: Bob Galois, Cole Harris, Richard Inglis and Richard Mackie. They did not quite turn me into a British Columbian, but I think they can see the influence of Big Bar Creek and many other field sites and 'bush' conversations on my thinking. Historical-geographical work on B.C. is surely all about troutfishing,pack rats and outhouses. Jamie Morton and Dan Marshall also offered valuable insights. Life in Vancouver would have been much less stimulating without the friendship and support of Trevor Carle and Jim Scott. It has also been a great privilege to work in the Department of Geography, UBC, with some wonderful colleagues. I would particularly like to thank Alison Blunt, Bruce Willems-Braun, Michael Brown, Noel Castree, Brett Christophers, David Demeritt, Debbie Leslie, Colin Maycock, Averill Groeneveld-Meijer, Matt Sparke, and Jock Wills, who all bent my ear in provocative ways over the years. I owe the most to Derek Gregory, Cole Harris, and Lynn Stewart, who have educated me in more ways than they can possibly know.  1  INTRODUCTION  We have now not merely explored the territory ofpure understanding, and carefully surveyed every part of it, but have also measured its extent, and assigned to everything in it its rightful place. This domain is an island, enclosed by nature itself within unalterable limits. It is the land of truth - enchanting name! - surrounded by a wide and stormy ocean, the native home of illusion, where many a fog bank and many a swiftly melting iceberg give the deceptive appearance offarther shores, deluding the adventurous seafarer ever anew with empty hopes, and engaging him in enterprises which he can never abandon and yet is unable to carry to completion. Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason}  The history of the world over the last 500 years is indelibly a history of European imperialism and colonialism. European explorers charted and claimed "new" lands for their sovereigns, European merchants searched the world for new resources and markets, colonists settled on Native territories, and European states built up enormous empires. The Native peoples of the northwest coast of North America werefirstcontacted by European explorers and traders at the end of the eighteenth century - late in the history of Europe's expansion overseas - but the subsequent history of the region bears the general chronological characteristics of this European advance. A period of exploration was followed by an intense burst of commercial contact between Native people and white traders, and then, as the resources and commercial potential of the northwest coast came into the view of European politicians, geopolitical disputes about rights of sovereignty arose between imperial powers. These disputes culminated in the establishment of a British colony on Vancouver Island in 1849. This dissertation considers the physical and intellectual labour that went into these phases of exploration, trade and imperial appropriation: the ideas and agendas that brought Natives and whites into contact, the forms of engagement that characterised the contact process, and the ways in which Native peoples were represented and Native land 1  Norman Kemp Smith trans. (London: Macmillan, 1929), p.257.  2  was appropriated. I embed Vancouver Island in a broader series of late eighteenthcentury Enlightenment, commercial and imperial dynamics that brought the Native peoples of the northwest coast and the Pacific into the western imagination, a global economy, and, gradually, under the aegis of western rule. One of the main ideas weaving through my discussion is that western ideas and agendas were not imposed on Vancouver Island in a mechanical way. The late eighteenth and early nineteenth century history of the region should not be treated as a local example of global phenomena or as a representative case study of processes and agendas that led inexorably to formal colonialism. Capitalism, imperialism and colonialism were global dynamics in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but I resist the idea that they were monolithic forces that marched over non-western peoples and space. Such forces worked through local ways, adapted to different kinds of terrain, and were bent in locally distinctive ways as a result. Vancouver Island was approached, engaged and represented from a variety of positions, the contact process involved a complex two-way physical and perceptual traffic between whites and Natives, and the fashioning of the northwest coast as an imperial space involved an equally complex traffic between a general body of western ideas and a set of local conditions and contingencies. Above all, I try to show that these phases of exploration, trade and imperial aggrandisement were fluid, subjectively constituted and doubly conditioned activities. I point to the profoundly corporeal and spatial dynamics embedded in the contact process, and show how western ideas and assumptions shape regions and are themselves reshaped in the process. Vancouver Island was actively fashioned by a series of non-native discourses, but the texture of these discourses, and Europe's relationship to the northwest coast, gradually shifted as a result of such engagements. As importantly, I approach Vancouver Island as a geographer. I argue that the negotiation and representation of space was fundamental to the contact process and the fashioning of Vancouver Island as an imperial space.  3  Part I explores Captain James Cook's encounter with the Native people of Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island in 1778. Cook approached the sound with a scientific and humanitarian mandate to represent his discoveries in an objective, empirical manner, and to treat the peoples he met with respect. I discuss some the main ideas and representational practices informing this mandate, and show how his project both embraced, and was confounded by, issues of vision, experience and positionality. There were a number of spaces of contact embedded in this encounter that I tease out in order to interrogate the scope and limits of Cook's agenda. Part II examines the turbulent trade in sea otter furs between Native groups and white traders that developed in the wake of Cook's reconnaissance of the northwest coast. Traders also approached the coast with impressions about Native people that were partly confounded by experience. I argue that the contact process, and traders' representations of Native people, were affected quite materially by the commercial geography of the trade and by Native territorial arrangements and socio-political agendas. And Part III deals with the way this late eighteenth-century realm of contact was rationalised by European and American politicians and became entangled with imperial discourses about sovereignty that worked at a distance from Native people and refashioned the northwest coast from more abstract, cartographic perspectives. In outline, I work between Europe and the northwest coast, in hybrid spaces of cross-cultural interaction and imperial aggrandisement. I examine thefirstphases of a history of Native-white negotiation and appropriation that stretches to the present. British Columbia is no longer part of the British Empire, but nor is it a postcolonial space. Native land claims remain unsettled, and Native and non-native British Columbians are still struggling to coexist in an atmosphere of cultural toleration. Far from simply being the historical bedrock on which the colony of Vancouver Island rose, these late eighteenth-century processes continue to impinge on the present. Cook's encounter at Nootka Sound has been represented as a foundational story about the coming of white people to the province; and these  4  geopolitical disputes introduced legal formulas about sovereignty and a set of geographical impressions about Vancouver Island that papered over Native inscriptions on the land and were used, in part, to legitimise the colonial apparatus. In British Columbia the past is not a distant abstraction, but a politically charged and contested lens on the present. Scholars of British Columbia cannot ease into the late eighteenth century as if it is a comfortable old armchair that is out of place in the present. There are material and discursive threads connecting the past and the present that need to be carefully documented and evaluated. To understand the nature and legacies of particular forms of interaction and representation, archival documents need to be tweaked with theoretical ideas. I consider these first three phases in the non-native fashioning of Vancouver Island in relation to broader set of ideas about the connections between power, knowledge and space that inform the critical literature on colonialism. Such ideas help me to ascertain both the overlaps and disjunctures between particular modes of engagement and representation, and point to the power, historical scope and arbitrariness of certain images. In turn, my regional-substantive focus on Vancouver Island helps me to pinpoint some of the tensions and fissures within these theoretical debates.  5  PART I CAPTAIN COOK AND THE SPACES OF CONTACT AT "NOOTKA SOUND" Introduction On 13 August 1924, H.M.C.S Malaspina carried a party of dignitaries and over 100 spectators to Friendly Cove at the mouth of Nootka Sound to witness the unveiling of a cairn commemorating Cook's discovery of the sound in 1778 and subsequent European exploration in the region. Walter Sage (a historian at the University of British Columbia) reported on the event for the British Columbia Historical Association: Just as the Malaspina steamed into Friendly Cove two canoe-loads of Nootka Indians were seen pushing off from the village. As they came nearer there could be heard rising from their canoes a monotonous chant of three notes timed to the paddlestrokes. It was a song of welcome and goodwill to the white men.... Both canoes circled the Malaspina, the crews keeping up the vociferous welcome. Then Michael Brown, second chief of the neigbouring Clayoquot tribe, a third cousin of Napoleon Maquinna, rose from his place in the men's canoe and commenced a long harangue in his own native tongue. His booming voice at once commanded silence and his flashing eyes compelled attention. While he spoke in a language unintelligible to the majority of his hearers, it seemed as if the mists of time had rolled away and that we were back again with Captain Cook on the deck of the Resolution looking down at the canoes of the Nootkans which surrounded the ship. Michael Brown may have been conscious of the illusion he was creating, for he swept his hand shoreward towards the village and appeared to be inviting us to land. After the passengers had disembarked, Chief Brown spoke in English, welcoming his guests to "the country of the Nootkans." Over 150 Indians from different parts of the coast had turned out for the occasion. The memorial party then headed for the cairn, which was draped in the Union Jack and placed on a promontory close to the Indian village of Yuquot (at Friendly Cove); it had been donated by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada and was the first one they had erected west of the Rockies. F.W. Howay (a British Columbia judge and historian) opened the formal proceedings by encouraging every one to sing thefirststanza of Rudyard Kipling's Recessional; Sage noted that the refrain, "Lest we forget, lest we forget!," "seemed perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the occasion." Howay then studied the cairn and  6  invoked the Book of Joshua: "What mean ye by these stones?" "[A]s every one knows," he ventured, "the bare facts of history are mere dry bones. The tablet tells us that this sound was discovered by the great Captain James Cook." History had been built on this rock, and people had come to Friendly Cove "to show to the face of the day this pile of stones." The cairn, he continued, was a memorial to Cook and the triumph of two British imperial ideals: that sovereignty over "waste lands" went to the first civilised nation that took "real possession" with the consent of the natives; and that the oceans of the world are free to all nations. Howay then made way for W.C. Nichol, British Columbia's Lieutenant-Governor, who delivered another speech, much of which was prepared for him by John Forsyth, the Provincial Librarian. Finally, the cairn was unveiled, the Malaspina gave a five gun salute, and the spectators sang "God Save the King." Back at Yuquot, Charles Moser (a Catholic missionary on the west coast of Vancouver Island), acting as official interpreter, introduced the Lieutenant-Governor to Napoleon Maquinna, the Mowachaht Native Chief of the area. Sage noted that Maquinna was "arrayed in his robes of offices", shook hands with Nichol "with all due solemnity", and made a long speech in his native tongue. Nichol delivered "a suitable reply", thanking the Indians for their hospitality. Victor Harrison (Grand Chief Factor of the Native Sons of British Columbia) then addressed a group of Indians about their rights and privileges under Canadian law, while the white spectators inspected the village and bargained for Indian artifacts. And lest the occasion be forgotten, a man from the Fox Corporation was on hand to film the proceedings.  1  I quote and paraphrase from W.N. Sage, "Unveiling of memorial tablet at Nootka Sound," Second Annual Report and Proceedings of the British Columbia Historical Association, 1924, pp. 17-22; idem., "Trip to Nootka Sound," Diary, August 1924, Walter Noble Sage Papers, box 31, file 6, UBCL-SC; Charles Moser, "Thirty years a missionary on the west coast of Vancouver Island," pp.117-119, BCARS Add.MSS. 2172; F.W. Howay to J.B. Hankin, 6 and 19 August 1924, F.W. Howay Papers, box 33, file 6, UBCL-SC. 1  7  This remarkable event - detailed, portentous and full of the play of history and power - signposts a particular conjuncture between modernity and colonialism in British Columbia. Howay re-introduced what appeared to be a forgotten imperial landscape. Citizens of a young province and nation-state were at Nootka Sound to re-discover their past and give it meaning. There was a whiff of novelty in the air. Links between history, geography and identity were being discussed, as if for the first time. Howay, for one, had never been to Nootka Sound before. Cook's discovery of Nootka Sound was being 2  viewed as the foundation of history in British Columbia. I will discuss this "foundational" event at the end of Part I. For now, I want to leave the 1920s and return to the 1770s with this impression that Captain Cook, Britain's illustrious eighteenth-century explorer, had inaugurated history on the northwest coast of North America. This unveiling ceremony, and the historical event to which it refers, points to the influence of images of discovery on the construction of colonial ideas, identities and power relations.  Kipling wrote his Recessional for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. It was sung at the end of church services, and was seen as a celebration of Empire. The first stanza reads: God of our fathers, known of old, Lord of our far-flung battle-line, Beneath whose awful Hand we hold Dominion over palm and pine Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, Lest we forget, lest we forget! But Kipling also wrote it to voice concern over the potential abuse of power in the Empire by a Christianity connected too closely to trade and imperialism. He saw "Dominion over palm and pine" as incompatible with "An humble and contrite heart" the fourth line of the second stanza. See Sandra Kemp, Kipling's hidden narratives (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988), p. 82. The full text of the Recessional can be found in Rudyard Kipling's verse: Definitive edition (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1940), pp.328-329. Howay to W.E. Ditchburn, 18 November 1923, Howay Papers, box 8, folder 2. 2  8  But how did Cook discover Nootka Sound in 1778? What kinds of ideas and images did he intend to transmit? The next three chapters explore the institutional and intellectual context of Cook's voyages, unpack his encounter with the Nootkans, and, by implication, interrupt the factual and rhetorical images articulated by Sage and Howay in 1924.  9  Chapter One Openings All had been ordered weeks before the start From the best firms at such work; instruments To take the measure of all queer events, And drugs to move the bowels or the heart. A watch, of course, to watch impatience fly, Lamps for the dark and shades against the sun; Foreboding, too, insisted on a gun, And coloured beads to soothe a savage eye. In theory they were sound on Expectation Had there been situations to be in; Unluckily they were their situation: One should not give a poisoner medicine, A conjurer fine apparatus, nor A rifle to a melancholic bore. W.H. Auden, The Quest. Cook, science and humanitarianism Following the Seven Years War (1756-1763) Britain and France renewed their exploration of the Pacific. James Cook, who had distinguished himself as a mapmaker and navigator in North American waters during and after the War, commanded three British expeditions to the Pacific that were at sea for a total of ten years between 1768 and 1780, though he did not complete his third voyage, being killed by Hawaiian Islanders in 1779. The voyages of Cook, and his French counterpart Bougainville, marked a turning point in the history of European maritime exploration, and Cook, especially, still holds a special place in the European imagination. These voyages were not stamped by an aggressive Christian imperialism, as were the missions of Columbus and Cortes. Nor was Cook an "old South Sea" buccaneer or privateer on a "predatory and parasitic" expedition to wrest markets and resources from the Spanish and Dutch empires, as the historian Glyndwr Williams describes the activities of British mariners in  10  the Pacific up to the mid-eighteenth century. Cook and Bougainville were sent on 3  scientific missions to put the geography of the Pacific on a cartographic footing, and were meant to observe and describe rather than exploit the peoples and resources of the South Seas.  4  Cook's published journals were not chronicles of mishap and a struggle for survival, as those of many previous European voyagers were. He sailed with more sophisticated navigational instruments - principally chronometers - than his immediate predecessors, Byron, Wallis and Cartaret, and was a more accomplished surveyor. He 5  also preserved the health of his crews. Cook and his officers were required to keep 6  detailed logs of their proceedings for the Admiralty. And the scientists and artists who accompanied Cook were able to meet the wishes of Britain's intellectual establishment, the Royal Society and Royal Academy, and produce detailed descriptions and depictions of natural phenomena and the peoples they encountered. Cook's voyages were characterised by a new intellectual rigour. Glyndwr Williams, "Buccaneers, castaways, and satirists: The South Seas in the English consciousness before 1750," Eighteenth-Century Life, vol.18, new series 3 (November 1994), pp.114-128; the quotation is from p.114. For an introduction to European exploration in the Pacific see J.C. Beaglehole, The exploration of the Pacific (London: A & C Black, 1934). For an accessible overview of Cook's voyages see Lynne Withey, Voyages of discovery: Captain Cook and the exploration of the Pacific (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1987). See Derek Howse, "The principal scientific instruments taken on Captain Cook's voyages," Mariner's Mirror, vol.65, no.2 (May 1979), pp.119-135; R.A. Skelton, "Captain James Cook as a hydrographer" Mariner's Mirror vol.40 (1954), pp.92-119. Cook's health measures included maintaining "a clean, dry, well-ventilated and fumigated ship, scrupulous cleanliness of the persons, hammocks and bedding of his men, clean warm clothing, a three-watch system to ensure adequate rest, and an antiscorbutic diet". The quotation is from Sir James Watt, "Medical aspects and consequences of Cook's voyages," in Robin Fisher and Hugh Johnston (eds.), Captain James Cook and his times (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1979), pp.129-157, at p. 129. Also see "The method taken for preserving the health of the crew of his majesty's ship the Resolution during her late voyage round the world. By Captain James Cook F.R.S. Addressed to Sir John Pringle, March 5, 1776", Royal Society, Philosophical Transactions, LXVI (1776), pp.402-406. Cook was awarded the Society's Copley Medal for his efforts. 3  4  5  6  11  The accounts of peoples, places and events produced on Cook's voyages heightened public curiosity about the non-European world. The natural specimens, human artifacts, drawings and accounts of non-European peoples that Cook's artists and scientists brought back to Europe stimulated natural history and contributed to the emergence of the human sciences. These scientific voyages influenced the shift in the order of European knowledge from the taxonomies and theological principles of the classical age to the historicisms and secular principles of the nineteenth century. Cook rode a wave of public enthusiasm for overseas exploration and travel writing. Expensive first editions of the official published accounts of his voyages, 7  commissioned by the British Admiralty with the patronage of King George III and tailored from Cook's journals, sold out almost over night. They were translated 8  hurriedly into other European languages and studied by Europe's philosophers and  See Charles L. Batten Jr., Pleasurable instruction: Form and convention in eighteenthcentury travel literature (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: Univeristy of California Press, 1978), chapter 1. In 1772 J.R. Forster, who sailed on Cook's second voyage, wrote in his translator's preface to Bougainville's voyage: "Circumnavigations of the globe have been of late the universal topics of all companies". Lewis de Bougainville, A voyage round the world. Performed by order of his most Catholic majesty, in the years 1766, 1767, 1768, and 1769 (London: J. Nourse and T. Davies, 1772), p.v. Dr. John Hawesworth's account of the voyages of Byron, Wallis, Carteret and Cook was published the following year. Public enthusiasm was neither universal nor unqualified, however. On the publication of Cook's third voyage in June 1784, the essayist Horace Walpole wrote to Lady Ossory: "Capt. Cooke's voyage I have neither read nor intend to read. I have seen the prints - a parcel of ugly faces with blubber lips and flat noses, dressed as unbecomingly as if both sexes were ladies of the first fashion; and rows of savages with backgrounds of palm-trees...nor do I desire to know how unpolished the north or south poles have remained ever since Adam and Eve were just such mortals." W.S. Lewis (ed.), The Yale edition of Horace Walpole's correspondence, vol.33 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1965), p.436. A fan of the Gothic, Walpole perhaps objected to the empirical-ethnographic strain in the work of Cook's artist, John Webber. His remarks were also underwritten by a complex set of ideas about civility and masculinity. The official account of Cook's third voyage comprised three quarto volumes of text and a folio volume of engravings. It was priced at 4 1/2 guineas and sold out in three days. London, Monthly Review, vol. LXX (June 1784), pp.460 and 474. 7  8  12  literati. Cheaper editions reached a broader reading public, and extracts from his 9  voyages were published in newspapers, periodicals and compendia. These texts were carefully illustrated by engravers who worked with sketches made during the voyages. Some of Cook's crew members, wanting to tap the huge European market for travel writing, achieved notoriety by publishing their own unofficial, sometimes fantastic, accounts. And many of the artifacts collected on Cook's voyages were deposited in European museums.  10  Cook gained an international reputation as a great explorer and  was heroized after he died." His encounter with the peoples of the Pacific was one of the most remarkable and well-documented events of eighteenth-century Britain and Europe. In his dealings with these peoples, Cook was steered by an official code of conduct - a method and ethics of contact. On his third voyage (which I focus on below), 12  he was instructed to observe the Genius, Temper, Disposition, and Number of the Natives and Inhabitants, where you find any; and to endeavour, by all proper means to cultivate a friendship with them; making them Presents of such Trinkets as you may have on board, and they may like best; inviting them to Traffick; and shewing them every kind of Civility and Regard; but taking care nevertheless not to suffer yourself to be surprized by them, but to be always on your guard against any Accidents. 13  The impact of knowledge about the non-European world on late eighteenth-century European philosophy is traced in detail in Antonello Gerbi, The dispute of the New World: The history of a polemic, 1750-1900 [orig. pub. 1955; Jeremy Moyle trans.] (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1973). The knowledge created by Cook's voyages contributed to the emergence of new "sciences of living", Gerbi argues. Philosophers such as Kant and Hegel became interested in the genesis and variation of species in time rather than in their distribution over the face of the earth. See Rudigger Joppien, "The artistic bequest of Captain Cook's voyages - popular imagery in European costume books of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries," in Fisher and Johnston, Captain James Cook and his times, pp. 187-210; and Adrienne L. Kaeppler (ed.), Cook voyage artifacts in Leningrad, Berne, and Florence museums (Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1978). " Bernard Smith offers a stimulating account of "Cook's posthumous reputation" in Fisher and Johnston, Captain James Cook and his times, pp. 159-186. The tenor of this "code" remained unchanged over Cook's three voyages. "Secret instructions for Capt James Cook", 6 July 1776, in J.C. Beaglehole (ed.), The journals of Captain Cook on his voyages of discovery, vol.Ill: The voyage of the 9  10  12  13  13  Such instructions were fashioned by the Admiralty from "hints" written for Cook, his officers and supernumaries in 1768 by James Douglas (the Earl of Morton), the President of the Royal Society. Cook was cautioned to check the petulance and cupidity of his 14  sailors when in contact with Native peoples, and to avoid violent collisions. Firearms were to be used as sparingly as possible. This made logistical sense to both the Royal Society and the Admiralty. Hostilities that drove Cook's ships off shore would hinder scientific study, and on a long voyage Cook could not afford to lose men and supplies in skirmishes. Trade with indigenous peoples was deemed an effective way of overcoming language barriers and was the preferred means of securing supplies and provisions. It also brought Native people within close range of Cook's artists and scientists. Implicit in this injunction to "Traffick" was the notion that European goods could be used to illustrate European Civilisation to the peoples of the Pacific: that they would have an irresistible desire for European goods and through them would discover the superiority of European ways. European civilisation was to be bestowed rather than forced on Native peoples. Dr. John Douglas (Canon of Windsor and St. Paul's), who edited the official accounts of Cook's second and third voyages, captured such sentiments in his introduction to Cook's third voyage. The uncommon objects [non-European peoples] have...had opportunity of observing and admiring, will naturally tend to enlarge their stock of ideas, and to Resolution and Discovery, 1776-1780, 2 Parts (Cambridge: Hakluyt Society, extra series xxxvi, 1967), pp.ccxx-ccxxiv; the quotation is from p.ccxxiii. These instructions were also printed in the official account of Cook's third voyage: James Cook and James King, A voyage to the Pacific Ocean...performed under the direction of captains Cook, Clerke, and Gore, in his majesty's ships the Resolution and the Discovery. In the years 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, and 1780, 3 vols, and atlas (London: G. Nichol and T. Cadell, 1784), I, pp.xxxi-xxxv. "Hints offered to the consideration of Captain Cooke, Mr Bankes, Doctor Solander, and the other gentlemen who go upon the expedition on board the Endeavour," in J.C. Beaglehole (ed.), The journals of Captain James Cook on his voyages of discovery, vol.1: The voyage of the Endeavour, 1768-1771 (Cambridge: Hakluyt Society, extra series xxxiv, 1955), pp. 514-519. In the second half of the eighteenth century most British and French explorers carried similar instructions. 14  14  furnish new materials for the exercise of their reason. Comparing themselves with their visitors, they cannot but be struck with the deepest conviction of their own inferiority, and be impelled, by the strongest motives, to strive to emerge from it... Cook was to spread "the blessings of civilisation" under the guise of trade.  15  Cook's promoters hoped that the knowledge he generated would provide Europeans with new insights into their own civilisation. In the preface to his History of English Poetry (1774), which John Douglas quoted in his introduction, Thomas Warton suggested that explorers' discoveries had helped Europeans to assess their own place in history, and to contemplate the "gradation" of societies "from barbarism to civility." As 16  knowledge about the non-European world grew between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, European thinkers no longer had to rely solely on European history as a source of comparison and measure of social change. In Terra Australis Cognita, published on the eve of Cook's first voyage, John Callender suggested that in the Pacific Europeans would find "a faithful picture of the innocence and simplicity of simple, and just as they came from the hand of nature". With the results of Cook's first 17  voyage in mind, Warton claimed that Europeans could now look back on their past with a heightened sense of their own importance and superiority in world history. Cook offered further proof of the steps Europeans had taken from "rudeness to elegance". Warton concluded that Cook allowed Europeans "to set a just estimation on [their]...own acquisitions".  18  Exploration, then, did not simply generate new insights; it also fed  European assumptions about non-European peoples.  19  Cook and King, Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, I, p.lxxvi. Quoted in ibid., pp.lxix-lxx. John Callender, Terra australis cognita: Or, voyages to the terra australis, or southern hemisphere, 3 vols. (London and Edinburgh: A. Donaldson, 1766-1768), III, book V, p.736. This was a virtual copy of the French geographer Charles de Brosses's Histoire des navigations aux terres australes (Paris: Durand, 1756), though Callender does not mention de Brasses by name and adapted de Brosses's argument to make a case for the utility of English rather than French exploration in the Pacific. See John Dunmore, French explorers in the Pacific, vol.1: The eighteenth century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), pp.49-52. Quoted in Cook and King, Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, I, 15  16  17  18  15  There were also more strictly humanitarian influences on these formulations. "[S]hedding the blood of those people", James Douglas declared, "is a crime of the highest nature: - They are human creatures, the work of the same omnipotent Author, equally under his care with the most polished European; perhaps being less offensive".  20  This acknowledgement of the humanity of other peoples (albeit of divine creation) had complex intellectual roots: in European ideas about "natural man" and the "noble savage"; and in Methodism and the anti-slavery movement in mid eighteenth-century Britain. Treating other peoples with "every kind of Civility and Regard" meant 21  distancing oneself from "tribal" disputes and respecting different ways of life. This policy was not rooted in an unbridled cultural and moral relativism, however. There was a fine line between humanitarianism and moral righteousness. Callender, and many of his contemporaries, thought that "by adopting our ideas of a regular and well-ordered society...[Native] minds would be opened, and formed, their savage manners softened".  22  Cook was to display Europe's cultural "acquisitions." His crews were meant to be models p.lxx. During the eighteenth century theories of social development were conceived largely in terms of modes of subsistence. Ronald Meek suggests that a "four stages theory" of socio-economic development emerged during the eighteenth century, and was most explicit in the work of Adam Smith. This "theory" held that societies naturally progress over time through four distinct, consecutive modes of subsistence - hunting, pasturage, agriculture and commerce - with different sets of ideas and institutions defining each roughly labelled savage, barbarian and civilised. This theory, Meek argues, was bolstered by European discoveries in the New World and the Pacific. Ronald L. Meek, Social science and the ignoble savage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976). Beaglehole, Journals, I, p.514. On European ideas about non-European peoples in the eighteenth century see Jean Franco, "The noble savage," in David Daiches and Anthony Thorlby (eds.), Literature and western civilization: The modern world, voil (London: Aldus Books, 1975), pp.565593. On "enlightened opinion" about non-European peoples in mid eighteenth-century Britain see Paul Langford, A polite and commercial people: England 1727-1783 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), pp.505-518. On the humanitarian underpinnings of Cook's instructions see Urs Bitterli, Cultures in conflict: Encounters between European and non-European cultures, 1492-1800 [Ritchie Roberston trans.] (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1989), pp. 165-169. Callender, Terra australis cognita, I, book 1, p. 11. 19  20  21  22  16  of social order and moral strength, and Cook was to lead by example. Cook's backers hoped that non-European peoples would wish to emulate their visitors. This humanitarian agenda was closely connected to the practice and rhetoric of scientific exploration. Truths about people and nature were to be induced, piece by piece, from observation. Different facts and opinions would be accumulated and accommodated in the belief that a universal order of knowledge would eventually be found. The intellectual historian Barbara Stafford explains that in Cook's day, the scientific gaze was defined as "a tireless and unrelenting visual exploration, the determined effort to 'prove' the existence of the external." The science of exploration 23  was rooted in the Baconian belief that knowledge should be sought not for personal fame or gain, but for the general advancement of "mankind." Respect for other peoples, Stafford continues, mirrored the tolerant, non-dogmatic implications of empirical science; the search for truth by induction was meant to be a multi-national venture based on calm deliberation. Science was conceived as "a transcendent interest" above "narrowly commercial, military, or colonial exploitation." The French geographer Charles de 24  Brasses captured this spirit of benevolence in his Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes (1756): Too much haste in enjoying the fruits of one's projects often leads only to their failure. In the beginning let us think of nothing but geography, of the pure desire to discover, of the acquiring of new lands and novel inhabitants for the universe... 25  In the 1920s the novelist Joseph Conrad termed this new beginning "geography militant." Cook's voyages, he claimed, were untainted by "the idea of lucre.... His aims needed no  Barbara Maria Stafford, Voyage into substance: Art, science, and the illustrated travel account, 1760-1840 (London, England, and Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1984), pp.32-33. Ibid., p.25. Quoted in ibid., p.20. 23  24  25  17  disguise. They were scientific."  26  Cook's militancy was not based on war or  colonisation, but on an unremitting examination of non-European space. Cook's scientific-humanitarian mandate has been much discussed, but political and imperial motives for his voyages have been largely ignored and remain obscure. William Goetzmann, a historian of exploration, claims that the purpose of Cook's second voyage (at least) was to extend the British Empire to "the bottom side of the globe", with science in the service of empire; but he produces little evidence to support his view.  27  Other historians have suggested that Cook inaugurated a Pax Britannica of trade rather than territorial dominion (or what Vincent Harlow termed "the second British Empire"), with science in the service of commerce and Cook as Adam Smith's "global agent", as Bernard Smith has put it, developing markets, spreading the idea of enlightened selfinterest, and "bringing to prehistoric cultures the disguised checks and balances of a market economy".  28  These arguments involve a good deal of hindsight, however. The evidence on whether Cook's voyages were motivated by any grand imperial plan is contradictory.  29  Joseph Conrad, "Geography and some explorers," in his Last essays [orig. pub. 1924] (New York: Doubleday, Page, & Company, 1926), pp. 1-21; the quotation is from p. 10. William H. Goetzmann, New lands, new men: America and the second great age of discovery (New York: Viking Penguin, 1986), p.44. Smith, "Cook's posthumous reputation," p. 179; Vincent T. Harlow, The founding of the second British Empire, 1763-1793, vol.1: Discovery and revolution (London: Longmans, 1953); and see David Mackay, In the wake of Cook: Exploration, science, and empire, 1780-1801 (London: Croom Helm, 1985). Adam Smith's The wealth of nations was published in the year Cook embarked on his third voyage. Recent historians have tended to deduce imperial motives from the results of Cook's travels. Bernard Smith's work is the most difficult to fathom in this respect. In "Cook's posthumous reputation" he argues that the image of Cook as Adam Smith's "global agent" was constructed posthumously. In a more recent essay focusing on Cook's third voyage, though, he suggests that playing the role of "Adam Smith's god" became part of Cook's s£//~-image. Bernard Smith, "Portraying Pacific people," in his Imagining the Pacific: In the wake of the Cook voyages (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992), p.209. I claim that Cook did not spread enlightened self-interest or market relations in any obvious way. 26  27  28  29  18  While Britain was enormously successful in the Seven Years War, the Peace of Paris, as Ronald Hyam has noted, was made "in remarkable ignorance of any but the most obvious British overseas interests." Political discussion about the Pacific as a new theatre of 30  colonisation was cautious and largely speculative. The British and French thought that the discovery of new riches in the fabled Terra Australis might alter the balance of power in Europe. And Cook was instructed to make a careful inventory of the "natural 31  productions" and "manufactures" he found, comment on commercial possibilities and take possession of "convenient Situations" in the countries he discovered. But Britain 32  did not want Cook's first or second voyages to become a pretext for another war with France and had no immediate plans to establish new colonies in the Pacific when Cook sailed on his third voyage. The historian Linda Colley argues that the Seven Years War challenged "longstanding British mythologies". The acquisition of Bengal and New France by 33  force of arms fractured belief in the symbiosis of the British nation and its empire - the idea that British power and character, at home and overseas, was based on Protestantism, commerce and liberty. Britain's post-war empire, which included new non-Anglophone and non-Protestant subject populations, had to be managed and legitimised. Debates Ronald Hyam, "Imperial interests at the Peace of Paris (1763)," in Ronald Hyam and Ged Martin (eds.), Reappraisals in British imperial history (London: Macmillan, 1975), pp.21-43; the quotation is from p.38. See Glyndwr Williams, "Seamen and philosophers in the south seas in the age of Captain Cook," Mariner's Mirror, vol.65, no.l (February 1979), pp.3-22. Callender and de Brasses shared the sentiment that "EXPERIENCE has taught us, that a solid and wellregulated commerce should form our principal object in those distant climes, and not the conquest of large kingdoms beyond the Line." Callender, Terra australis cognita, I, book 1, p. 12. Beaglehole, Journals, III, p.ccxxiii. The Earl of Morton argued that Native peoples "are the natural, and in the strictest sense of the word, the legal possessors of the several Regions they inhabit", and "No European Nation has a right to occupy any part of their country, or settle among them without their voluntary consent." Beaglehole, Journals, I, p.514. Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the nation, 1707-1837 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992), p. 103. 30  31  32  33  19  about the meaning of "Britishness" raged in England and Scotland, and new questions about allegiance to the British Crown emerged in North America and India. "The British", Colley demonstrates, were "captivated by but also adrift and at odds in a vast empire abroad and a new political world at home which few of them properly understood." Such anxieties forestalled thoughts of territorial expansion. 34  Alexander Dalrymple, the English East India Company's hydrographer, noted some of the objections to colonisation in his Collection of voyages to the South Pacific, published in 1770. One of the main worries was that once established with an economic and institutional base, distant colonies would strive for independence. He was reflecting on Britain's tense relationship with its American colonies and argued that exploration should open a "new vent for manufactures" rather than lead to further conquests. Britain, he thought, had become too dependent on North America for trade. He hoped that further exploration in the Pacific would generate new trade routes. Dalrymple, as Howard Fry has shown, had a "lifelong commitment to British commercial expansion", but in 1770 he was also concerned with the more immediate strategic and ideological import of "new discoveries."  35  "The subject of discoveries seems to be now reviving", he stated, and  "demands immediate attention from every Englishman, for it may be very justly said, the being of the British empire rests on our insular situation, and powerful navy. Were any of our competitors to gain the superiority at sea, the advantages of the first would be lost."  36  Ibid., p. 105. Also see T.O. Lloyd, The British Empire, 1558-1983 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1984), pp.83-97. Howard T. Fry, "Alexander Dalrymple and Captain Cook: The creative interplay of two careers," in Fisher and Johnston, Captain James Cook and his times, pp.41-57; the quotation is from p.41. Alexander Dalrymple, An historical collection of the several voyages to the south Pacific Ocean, 2 vols. (London: J. Nourse, 1770-71), I, pp.xxi-xxx; the quotation is from (emphases in original). 34  35  36  20  Dalrymple's logic of national-cum-imperial defence through exploration has been picked up recently by Daniel Baugh, a naval historian. Baugh argues that Cook's voyages were motivated, in part, by "a protective maritime imperialism." They were 37  part of a much broader history of Anglo-French rivalry. The British government and Admiralty was anxious to maintain Britain's naval superiority. Blaugh notes that Wallis, Byron and Cook were instructed to keep their eyes out for new naval bases. The Admiralty organised Cook's voyages in the hope that they would nurture Britain's merchant fleet, which was becoming bereft of skilled seamen because under the Navigation Acts, transatlantic trade was being carried on increasingly in American ships. Blaugh admits that the pursuit of science was a genuine motive for Pacific exploration in the 1760s, but he claims that it was by no means detached from strategic considerations and geopolitical rivalries. Cook's contemporaries did not try to hide these imperial undercurrents. For intellectual figureheads such as Sir Joseph Banks, who was a scientist on Cook's first voyage and became the President of the Royal Society, science and empire went hand-inhand. Yet Cook made his name not as an imperialist, but as "the most moderate, humane and gentle circumnavigator who ever went upon discoveries", as Fanny Burney (Madame D'Arblay) famously remarked. He followed his instructions carefully and 38  commentators thought that he fulfilled his scientific-humanitarian mandate. He did not wield British power so much as a new world-view - a new curiosity about the world and tolerance of other peoples.  Daniel A. Baugh, "Seapower and science: The motives for Pacific exploration," in Derek Howse (ed.), Background to discovery: Pacific exploration from Dampier to Cook (Berkeley, Los Angeles, Oxford: University of California Press, 1990), pp. 1-55; the quotation is from p.34. Charlotte Barrett (ed.), Diary and letters of Madame D'Arblay, vol. 1 (1778 - June 1781) (London: Macmillan and Co., 1904), p.318. Burney's father had recommended Dr. John Hawkesworth to Lord Sandwich as a possible editor of Cook'sfirstvoyage. James Burney, Frances's brother, sailed on Cook's second and third voyages. 37  38  21  Beaglehole's Cook This image of Cook as a humane, scientific explorer was put on a scholarly footing this century by the New Zealand historian John Cawte Beaglehole. In the 1930s Beaglehole embarked on an exhaustive re-examination of the details and context of Cook's voyages, and strove to understand the man who personified this world-view. In the 1950s and 60s he re-edited Cook's journals for the Hakluyt Society of London. In his biography The Life of Captain James Cook, published posthumously in 1974, Beaglehole presented Cook as a great navigator, an objective observer, a judicious interpreter, and as a flag-bearer of European civilization who upheld standards of human decency in his dealings with other peoples. Or as Beaglehole put it more succinctly in an earlier essay: 39  "...the humanity that is kindness, understanding, tolerance, wisdom in the treatment of men, a quality practised naturally as well as planned for, is what gave Cook's voyages their success, as much as the soundness of his seamanship and the brilliance of his navigation." Cook prevented his crews from pillaging the South Seas as previous 40  voyagers had done, and engaged Native peoples with less arrogance than many of his nineteenth-century successors. Beaglehole saw Cook as a representative of the European Enlightenment; as a sailor of humble origins who broke out of the shackles of speculation and tradition, and developed a self-conscious attitude towards observation, description and interaction. Beaglehole claimed that he had "the sceptical mind: he did not like taking on trust. He was therefore the great dispeller of illusion.... He could think, he could plan, he could reason." He deployed his critical faculties using the science of his day and was "the genius of the matter of fact."  41  "He loved facts", Beaglehole suggested elsewhere, and  J.C. Beaglehole, The life of Captain James Cook (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1974). J.C. Beaglehole, "On the character of Captain James Cook," Geographical Journal, vol.CXXII, part 4 (December 1956), pp.417-429; the quotation is from p.425. Beaglehole, The life, pp.698 and 702. 39  40  41  22  approached his journal writing with "a perfectly unassuming and primary wish to tell the truth".  42  Similar views of Cook can be found in reviews from the late eighteenth century.  43  Some of thesefirstposthumous treatments followed Dalrymple, portraying Cook as a national hero and using the success of his voyages for propaganda purposes.  44  Beaglehole worked with a more cosmopolitan intellectual genealogy, which started with Fanny Burney, G. Forster's Cook der Entdecker (1787), and Pierre Lemontey's Eloge de Jacques Cook (1789), and viewed Cook as a European culture hero - the quintessential scientific explorer serving worldly rather than national interests. "In movement [Cook] realized his innermost nature", Bernard Smith remarks on Lemontey's Eloge, and continues: "Europe is like that; a geographical imperative impells it; it must be on the J.C. Beaglehole, Cook the writer (Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1970), p.20. See Smith, "Cook's posthumous reputation." Also take the following memorial, "Supposed to be by a naval officer grown old in the service of his country," published in 1784, which is a forerunner of Beaglehole's views: He raised himself, solely by his merit, from a very obscure birth, to the rank of Post Captain in the Royal Navy.... Cool and deliberate in judging; sagacious in determining; active in executing; steady and perservering in enterprizing, from vigilance and unremitting caution; unsubdued by labour, difficulties and disappointments; fertile in expedients; never wanting presence of mind; always possessing himself, and the full use of a sound understanding.... His knowledge, his experience, his sagacity rendered him so entirely master of his subject, that the greatest obstacles were surmounted, and the most dangerous navigations became easy and almost safe under his directions. Gentleman's Magazine, vol.LTV, part II (July 1784), p.35. For example, a book review of the official account of Cook's third voyage published in Britain states: [T]he great national expence incurred by our different expeditions, undertaken upon such liberal principles, and without any sordid view of gain and expence, and which from its nature must be satisfied out of the superfluities of a people, will, joined to our success in exploring unknown regions, give posterity a convincing proof that we have a more decided superiority over the other countries of Europe, than could be derived from the most extensive conquests, and will hold us forth to future ages as the most powerful people upon this globe. The annual register; or a view of the history, politics, and literature, for the years 1784 and 1785 (London: J. Dodsley, 1787), p. 150. 42  43  44  23  move or perish." Beaglehole wrote at the tail end of this European imperative - after 45  Cook had hooked up the world, and as a New Zealander. His point was that Cook's actions, methods and foibles are worth explaining, and his voyages remain meaningful, because he was a person like "us," struggling to make sense of the world diligently, objectively and compassionately. Beaglehole's work was profoundly ethnocentric, of course. He studied Cook during the era of decolonisation, when there was an outpouring of anti-European sentiment, and science and humanism were being seen as the handmaidens of European power. His introductions to Cook's voyages might be read as thinly-disguised defences of the political disinterestedness of scientific knowledge. Yet in establishing Cook's Enlightenment and humanist credentials, Beaglehole's work counterbalances the work of post-war liberal historians who reinvoked the nineteenth-century view that contact with Europeans was inherently and inevitably catastrophic for Native peoples - that Cook was a poisoner. Beaglehole argued that far from inaugurating cultural disaster, Cook's 46  voyages set a standard of cross-cultural interaction which others ruined.  47  Beaglehole  associated colonialism with the implementation of formal colonial rule and the displacement of indigenous peoples - not explicit features of Cook's agenda - and thought that the creation of knowledge itself did not found imperial desire or colonial power. By the standards of the nineteenth century, Cook's sweep of the Pacific was fleeting and his relations with indigenous peoples were mostly congenial. As a New Zealander, Smith, "Cook's posthumous reputation," p. 164. On the parallels between Forster's essay and Beaglehole's views see Michael E. Hoare, "Two centuries of perception: George Forster to Beaglehole," in Fisher and Johnston, Captain James Cook and his times, pp.211-228. This thesis is associated most directly with Alan Moorehead's The fatal impact: An account of the invasion of the South Pacific 1767-1840 (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), though I do not think his argument can be reduced to the caricature of the title. Or in the words of one of Beaglehole's intellectual allies, "Cook was able to bring back a priceless record of a way of life that the other Europeans were to destroy." R.A. Skelton, Captain James Cook: After two hundred years (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1969), p.30.  45  46  47  Beaglehole must have known that all of this made Cook's status as an imperialist ambiguous.  Scientific exploration and colonialism These connections between knowledge, power and identity under exploration, which rest uneasily in Beaglehole's work, have recently been the subject of intense debate in the critical literature on European colonialism. It is now argued more comprehensively that the texts of explorers induced, supported and legitimised the exercise of colonial power by inscribing, positioning and othering indigenous peoples in particular ways. These arguments stem, in part, from a recognition that while the formal architecture of European colonialism has now been largely dismantled, and power has been transferred to indigenous elites, colonial ideas and stereotypes live on. They are still part and parcel of systems of Western thought, and they are embedded in the nationalisms and self-identities of Europe's former colonies. While colonial "power" has been dissolved, knowledge has yet to be decolonised. They also work with Michel Foucault's dictum that knowledge and power "directly imply one another."  48  Such recognitions have inspired new perspectives on colonialism that pay close attention to issues of representation - philosophies and methods of seeing and recording, or what Edward Said calls "the power to narrate". Europeans, like all peoples, imagined 49  and represented the world in relation to themselves, but with the privilege of more power than most. Many explorers described non-European space as bounteous and ripe for colonisation. The Pacific was represented as both an Arcadia of simplicity and innocence  Michel Foucault, Discipline and punish: The birth of the prison, [orig. pub. 1975; Alan Sheridan trans.] (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978), p.27. Foucault never discussed European colonialism at any length, and this insight about knowledge and power cannot be pinned entirely on him; it runs through the work of two of the most influential critics of colonialism, Franz Fanon and C.L.R. James. Edward W. Said, Culture and imperialism (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993), p.xiii. 48  49  25  which Europeans had lost, and as a region populated by pagans and savages.  50  Europeans, as Henri Baudet explained, eyed the wider world with "dissatisfaction and desire", and with "nostalgia and idealism."  51  Did explorers such as Cook record other ways of life openly and truthfully, as Beaglehole suggested, or did they actively fashion the distinctions between Europeans and non-Europeans that fill their journals? Is scientific objectivity and detachment necessarily proof of respect or compassion for others, or is it, as some recent critics of colonialism have charged, a strategy for gaining intellectual possession of non-European space and symbolic domination over its inhabitants by making the way Native peoples are positioned in texts seem innocent and immutable?  52  Some critics have emphasised how exploration helped Europe to construct nonEuropeans as different and distant - as Other - in order to constitute itself as a coherent geographical and cultural entity (the hearth and pinnacle of civilisation), overriding imperial rivalries, papering over national differences and legitimising imperial expansion. Other scholars suggest that these boundary-making and othering procedures 53  were paradoxical and anxiety-ridden, and point to the ways they have guided particular colonial practices and have been worked into colonial histories and different forms of "postcolonial" knowledge. Underlying both sets of emphases is the belief that the 54  See Smith, Imagining the Pacific, especially chapters 3 and 4. Henri Baudet, Paradise on earth: Some thoughts on European images of nonEuropean man (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965), p.55. These questions have been raised recently in relation to eighteenth-century scientific exploration, though not Cook's voyages specifically, by Mary Louise Pratt in Imperial eyes: Travel writing and transculturation (London and New York: Routledge, 1993). This emphasis forms the backbone of Edward Said's Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1979), p.5: " much as the West itself, the Orient is an idea that has a history and a tradition of thought. These two geographical entities thus support and to an extent reflect each other." Said appealed to Foucault's arguments about discourse and power/knowledge. For a broader sense of the issues involved see Robert Young, White mythologies: Writing history and the West (London and New York: Routledge, 1992). 50  51  52  53  54  26  power of colonial discourse lies in its diversity and flexibility - that colonial subjects and objects are brought into being "within multiple discourses and on multiple sites", to borrow the words of Tejaswini Niranjana.  55  Much of this critical literature has centred on what Said called the discourse of Orientalism, but these general arguments about representation and the constitution of modern Eurocentrism now inform scholarship on Cook. Bernard Smith, a self-styled "neo-colonial" art historian, has attempted to demythologise Cook's personal voyage to fame by placing him in a broader intellectual context. For Smith, Cook's ships 56  "combined the values of a fortress and a travelling laboratory", and Cook's artists and scientists championed the "empirical habits of vision" of the Royal Society.  57  Smith has  done much to unpack the notions of truth and scientific objectivity invoked blithely by Beaglehole, and reveal the cultural lenses through which Cook and his supernumaries saw the Pacific. But as the writer Paul Carter notes, Smith, like Beaglehole, still 5S  assumes that "a narrative of eighteenth-century Pacific exploration is a narrative of European experiences". The records of Cook's voyages are mined for what they tell 59  "us" about European practices and mores, and the impact they had on European art and Tejaswini Niranjana, Siting translation: History, post-structuralism, and the colonial context (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), p.42. Smith, an Australian, describes himself as a "neo-colonial art historian." He initiated critical reflection on Cook's humanism in the 1950s, but has always refrained from indicting Cook because, in his words, "it is not the business of the historian to indict the dead." Bernard Smith, "A comment," in a symposium on G. Obeyesekere's The apotheosis of Captain Cook (1992), Social Analysis, no.34 (December 1993), pp.61-65; the quotation is from p.65. Bernard Smith, European vision and the south Pacific 1768-1850: A study in the history of art and ideas (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1960), pp.2-4; and idem., Imagining the Pacific. See Walter Veit, "On the European imagining of the non-European world," in "Australia and the European imagination" (papers from a conference held at the Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, May 1981), pp. 123-156. Veit offers a neo-Kantian interpretation of how the accumulation of "new knowledge" was mediated by a preconceived set of European ideas about primitive societies. Paul Carter, "Violent passages: Pacific histories," Journal of Historical Geography, 20, 1 (1994), pp.81-86; the quotation is from p.85. 55  56  57  58  59  27  science. Native responses to Cook's presence are largely ignored. Smith thinks that whether "we" are European or non-European, we are all "the vicarious heirs and beneficiaries" of the knowledge produced on Cook's voyages.  60  On his view, Native  peoples were not colonised by Cook, but absorbed into a world-historical picture of European making. Gananath Obeyesekere, an anthropologist from Sri Lanka, thinks that Cook's humanitarian agenda, and the empirical acumen of Cook's artists and scientists, entailed a conceptual blindness to the rationality and historicity of Native societies. In his book The Apotheosis of Captain Cook, Obeyesekere tries to debunk the long-held view that the Hawaiians thought Cook was the embodiment of their god Lono.  61  Obeyesekere scoured  the ethnographic and historical record pertaining to Cook's death, and argues that Cook's apotheosis is a European myth. He views Cook and those who have euologised his achievements as conjurers. He suspects that Cook had a narcissistic streak, presenting himself as a "gentle and humane" explorer to his contemporaries at home, but conducting himself as a tyrant while at sea. He views Cook on his third voyage as a melancholic bore, familiar with the Pacific, at home with "savage ways," and treating indigenous peoples with contempt. Obeyesekere pinpoints a subtext of violence, deception and 62  Smith, "A comment," p.65. Gananath Obeyesekere, The apotheosis of Captain Cook: European mythmaking in the Pacific (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992). Ibid., pp. 14-15. James Boswell met Cook in April 1776 and described him to Dr. Johnson as "a grave steady man." "My metaphor" for him, Boswell recalled in his journal, "was that he had a balance in his mind for truth as nice as scales for weighing a guinea." James Boswell, The journals ofJames Boswell, 1760-1795, selected by John Wain (London: Heinemann, 1991), p.296. The fact that Cook lost his balance, so to speak, on his third voyage, and became irrational and violent, did not escape other members of British high society, however. Edmund Burke, who was acquainted with some of Cook's officers, noted that lieutenant (later Captain) James King "loved and honourd Captn Cooke, and never spoke of him but with respect and regret. But he lamented the Roughness of his manners and the violence of his Temper." P.J. Marshall and John A. Woods (eds.), The correspondence of Edmund Burke, vol. VII: January 1792 - August 1794 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968), appendix 1 - "Edmund Burke's character of his son and brother," p.589. 60  61  62  28  appropriation beneath the scientific-humanitarian veneer of Cook's voyages. Cook burned Native villages, shot thieves and flogged his crew for misdemeanours.  63  Obeyesekere's thesis is controversial, but he brings an important postcolonial perspective to scholarship on Cook. The anthropologist Deborah Bird Rose points to his broader methodological project of uncovering procedures of European mythmaking: In face to face encounters, brute fact contradicts noble theory. It is not that Captain Cook was especially wicked or evil or malevolent. What is terrifying about Captain Cook is that he was just another Englishman. In transforming him into a culture hero, in making myths about his encounters with indigenous peoples, we tell ourselves stories about relationships between ourselves and others which conceal the violence inherent in our lives. 64  Rose applauds Obeyesekere's doggedly empirical approach to Cook and reads his book as a self-reflective meditation on the "insulated god-like position" that many scholars (she picks out anthropologists) assume when discussing other societies. She thinks that "The apotheosis of Cook can be seen as a symptom of a more encompassing disorder: that European conquest culture [including its scholarly "heirs and beneficiaries"] is not attuned to bridging inter subjective space, but only to dominating it."  65  Obeyesekere argues that Cook had a dual persona, one half of which he calls the "'Prospero' syndrome...that of the redoubtable person coming from Europe to a savage land, a harbinger of civilization who remains immune to savage ways, maintaining his integrity and identity"; the other half he labels the "'Kurtz' syndrome...the civilizer who loses his identity and goes native and becomes the very savage he despises". He claims that the latter won out over the former on Cook's third voyage. Obeyesekere, Apotheosis of Captain Cook, pp.11-12. Deborah Bird Rose, "Worshipping Captain Cook," Social Analysis, no.34 (December 1993), pp.43-49; the quotation is from p.48. Ibid., p.47. Rose's comments are sparked, in part, by her work with Aboriginal people in northern Australia, who view Cook as the "quintessential immoral European." For them, Cook stands for a history of destruction and dispossession rather than "listening and talking". By not letting Cook die - in continuing to treat him as a culture hero - white Australians are reproducing structures of white domination. Rose argues that the Hawaiians Cook encountered, like the Aboriginal people she works with, sought a "balanced intersubjectivity, effectively seeking to bridge the distance between the two groups by bringing others into their own sociality." They expected Cook to reciprocate, but the "attribution of primitive credulity to Hawaiians and innovative superiority to Europeans" ensured that cultural difference and distance was bridged on European terms. 63  64  65  29  Obeyesekere tries to dis-cover and bridge the gap between Hawaiian and European perspectives on Cook's death by using European concepts of practical rationality. "The fact that my universe is a culturally constituted behavioural environment", he states, "does not mean that I am bound to it in a way that renders discrimination impossible. The idea of practical rationality provides me with a bit of space where I can talk of Polynesians who are like me in some talk of the other in human terms." Marshall Sahlins, who in a number of essays has supported the notion 66  that Hawaiians did view Cook as a manifestation of Lono and has used it to illustrate his "structural, historical anthropology", is the main target of Obeyesekere's intellectual ire.  67  And Sahlins has recently published a vitriolic (though very scholarly) book-length response to his critic, accusing Obeyesekere of sloppy historical and ethnographic scholarship, and of denigrating Hawaiian myths and ways of knowing. "The only 68  difference between Obeyesekere's position and the garden variety of European imperialist ideology", Sahlins argues, "is not that he eschews the opposition between the West and the Rest but that he reverses their values." He would give the "natives" all that "rationality" Western people take to be the highest form of thought, while endowing Europeans, including the outsideranthropologists, with the kind of mindless repetition of myth they have always despised - that is, as "native." Which is also to say that this self-proclaimed defence of "preliterate people who cannot speak for themselves" is imperialist hegemony masquerading as subaltern resistance. Ibid., pp.46-47; and idem., Dingo makes us human: Life and land in an Aboriginal Australian culture (Cambridge: Cambridge Univeristy Press, 1992), pp. 186-202. Obeyesekere, Apotheosis of Captain Cook, p.21. This is hardly a novel maneouvre more generally, of course; Weber's ideas permeate many disciplines. But Obeyeskere is one of thefirstscholars to raise such issues in relation to Cook's voyages. See, especially, Marshall Sahlins, "The apotheosis of Captain Cook," in Michael Izard and Pierre Smith (eds.), Between belief and transgression: Structuralist essays in religion, history and myth (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982); idem., "Captain Cook at Hawaii," Journal of Polynesian History, vol.98 (1989), pp.371-425. Beaglehole and Smith also believe that Cook was apotheosised by the Hawaiians, and have done much to perpetuate the story, though they have different concerns than Sahlins. Marshall Sahlins, How 'natives' think: About Captain Cook, for example (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1995). 66  67  68  30  The ultimate victims [of Obeyesekere's study]...are the Hawaiian people. Western empirical good sense replaces their own view of things, leaving them with a fictional history and a pidgin ethnography. 69  This debate over Cook's purported apotheosis is part of a much broader debate in anthropology - and the humanities and social sciences more generally - about the politics of intellectual positions. To what degree can scholars observe or write about "other" cultures or the past without imposing their own subjectively constituted and culturally bound categories and agendas on their subject matter? Sahlins argues that concepts of 70  reason and practical rationality are not culturally neutral or universally valid epistemological constellations. They are definitively European concepts that have played an important role in colonial projects; they certainly circumscribed Cook's cultural apparatus of representation, as I will show. Paul Carter has criticised a different aspect of Obeyesekere's work. Carter thinks that he blurs "the primary spatial dynamic" of contact - "the profoundly different physical and conceptual spaces" that Europeans and Natives occupy and negotiate in contact situations; spaces that mediate the perception and construction of distance and difference, and the generation of meaning in the absence of a common language.  71  For Carter the  site of contact has historical significance. To treat Hawaiian space as an inert stage on which the historical drama of Cook's death unfolds (or in his words, "to assume the neutrality of the ground"), as Obeyesekere does, is to perpetuate "the violence of the colonising eye and mind"; Carter suggests that beneath the jostling European and Hawaiian discourses reconstructed by Obeyesekere, a more profound set of questions were perhaps being posed: "...who is to cede the space and on what terms?"  72  69  Ibid.,p.m.  See, especially, James Clifford and George Marcus (eds.), Writing culture: The poetics and politics of ethnography (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986). Carter, "Violent passages," pp.85-86. Ibid.. Carter does not elaborate such claims, but they have been by a number of historians and anthropologists. See, especially, Greg Dening, "Sharks that walk on the land," in Mr Bligh's bad language: Passion, power and theatre on the Bounty 70  71  72  31  Carter himself devotes a chapter to Cook's exploration of Australia and New Zealand in his book The Road to Botany Bay. He argues that far from assuming the "neutrality" of space, Cook brought the Australian coast under his intentional gaze, and into his own experiential world of travel, using an elaborate, mischevious naming practice. Carter is interested in explorers' "imaginary dialogue" with their surroundings and their "geo-graphy" (or "writing of lands"). He names Cook the founder of a "nomadic discourse" and "tradition of travelling", which he calls "spatial history." Carter claims that the exploration of Australia was informed by a set of open-ended, imaginative processes of movement and observation, rather than by the "passive and static" taxonomic - gaze of Cook's scientists; processes he hopes Australians will emulate Carter's ideas are innovative, and I will address them more below.  74  The Road to  Botany Bay tries to encourage nondogmatic methods of re-exploring history. Carter knows how precious acts of discovery and processes of exploration are in the public imagination in countries such as Australia, which do not have a long white history, and how easily they get translated into images of territorial self-identification and power. Nevertheless, his reading of Cook is exclusionary. He ignores Cook's dealings with Native peoples. Indeed, the geographer Derek Gregory argues that Native people cannot be seen from Carter's perspective because "spatial history is constituted as the dual of imperial history and hence remains (reversed) in its enclosures."  75  Spatial history cannot  (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Canto Edition, 1994), pp.159-173. His title is taken from a Hawaiian proverb. Paul Carter, The road to Botany Bay: An essay in spatial history (London and Boston: Faber and Faber, 1987), pp.xiii-xxv, 1-33; the quotations are from pp. xxiii, 34 and 28. They are also idiosyncratic. Carter is concerned with Cook'sfirstvoyage. Beaglehole thinks that Cook was very much an apprentice explorer and writer on this voyage, never getting beyond "the plain style" of writing, and being counselled by Joseph Banks, his highly educated supernumary. Carter thinks that Cook's and Bank's projects were fundamentally at odds; Beaglehole thinks that their writing suggests that they had "parallel passages." Beaglehole, Cook the writer, p.9. Derek Gregory, Geographical imaginations (Cambridge MA and Oxford UK: Blackwell Publishers, 1994), pp.179. 73  74  75  32  recover aboriginal perspectives because it is a critical practice based on writing; it "fixes its gaze so firmly on the West that it can only catch glimpses of other human beings through a glass, darkly." Carter acknowledges that his "spatial history might not say a 76  word about 'The Aborigines'", but he thinks, nonetheless, that "by recovering the intentional nature of our grasp of the world, it might evoke their historical experience without appropriating it to white ends." Gregory's point is that such an intense focus on 77  the intentionality of the white (and usually male) explorer "effaces the inscriptions of power in the jostling, colliding construction of...different spatialities". While Carter is 78  adamant that it is Cook's engagement with the Australian coast that matters, and not how we connect him to Europe, he still works within a European imaginary - an imaginary which Aboriginal people think stands for