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A narrative of the voyages round the world, performed by Captain James Cook : with an account of his… Kippis, Andrew, 1725-1795 1878

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BY A. KIPPIS, D.D., F.R.S., and S.A.
1878.  TO  THE  KING.
IR,—I esteem myself highly honoured in being
permitted to dedicate and present my Narrative
of the Life and Actions of Captain James Cook to
your Majesty. It was owing to your Majesty's
royal patronage and bounty that this illustrious
navigator was enabled -to execute those vast undertakings, and
to make those extraordinary discoveries which have contributed
so much to the reputation of the British Empire, and have
reflected such peculiar glory on your Majesty's reign. Without
your Majesty's munificence and encouragement the world would
have remained destitute of that immense light which has been
thrown on geography, navigation, and the most important
sciences. To your Majesty, therefore, a work like the present
is with particular propriety addressed.
It is impossible on this occasion to avoid extending my
thoughts to the other noble instances in which your Majesty's
liberal protection of science and literature has been displayed.
Your Majesty began your reign in a career so glorious to princes,
and wonderful has been the increase of knowledge and taste in
this country. The improvements in philosophical science, and
particularly in astronomy, the exertions of experimental and
chemical inquiry, the advancement of natural history, the progress and perfection of the polite arts, and the valuable compositions that have been produced in every department of learning, have corresponded with your Majesty's gracious wishes and
encouragement, and have rendered the name of Britain famous
in every quarter of the globe. If there be any persons who, in
these respects, would depreciate the present times in compari- VI
son with those which have preceded them, it may safely be
asserted that such persons have not duly attended to the history
of literature. The course of my studies has enabled me to
speak with some confidence on the subject, and to say that
your Majesty's reign is eminently distinguished by one of the
greatest glories that can belong to a monarch.
Knowledge and virtue constitute the chief happiness of a
nation, and it is devoutly to be wished that the virtue of this
country were equal to its knowledge. If it be not so, this does
not arise from the want of an illustrious example in the person
of your Majesty and that of your royal Consort. The pattern
which is set by the King and Queen of Great Britain of those
qualities which are the truest ornaments and felicities of life,
affords a strong incitement to the imitation of the same excellences, and cannot fail of contributing to the more extensive prevalence of that moral conduct on which the welfare of society
so greatly depends.
That your Majesty may possess every felicity in your royal
person and family, and enjoy a long and prosperous reign over
an enlightened, a free, and a happy people, is the sincere and
ardent prayer of,
Your Majesty's most faithful,
and most obedient,
subject and servant,
Andrew Kippis.
London, June 13, 1788. PREFACE.
LTHOUGH I have often appeared before the
public as a writer, I never did it with so much
diffidence and anxiety as on the present occasion.
This arises from the peculiar nature of the work
in which I am now engaged. A narrative of the
Life and Actions of Captain Cook must principally consist of
the voyages and discoveries he made, and the difficulties and
dangers to which he was exposed. The private incidents concerning him, though collected with the utmost diligence, can
never compare, either in number or importance, with his public
transactions. His public transactions are the things that mark
the man, that display his mind and his character, and therefore
they are the grand objects to which the attention of his
biographer must be directed. However, the right conduct of
this business is a point of no small difficulty and embarrassment. The question will frequently arise, How far the detail
should be extended ? There is a danger, on the one hand, of
being carried to an undue length, and of enlarging more than
is needful on facts which may be thought already sufficiently
known; and, on the other hand, of giving such a jejune account, and such a slight enumeration of important events, as
shall disappoint the wishes and expectations of the reader. Of
the two extremes the last seems to be that which should most
be avoided; for, unless what Captain Cook performed and
what he encountered be related somewhat at large, his Life and
Actions would be imperfectly represented to the world. The
proper medium appears to be to bring forward the things in Vlll
which he was personally concerned, and to pass slightly over
other matters. Even here it is scarcely possible, nor would it
be desirable, to avoid the introduction of some of the most
striking circumstances which relate to the new countries and inhabitants that were visited by our great navigator; since these
constitute a part of the knowledge and benefit derived from his
undertakings. . Whether I have been so happy as to preserve
the due medium, I presume not to determine. I have been
anxious to do it, without always being able fully to satisfy my
own mind that I have succeeded; on which account I shall not
be surprised if different opinions should be formed on the subject. In that case, all that I can offer in my own defence will
be, that I have acted to the best of my judgment. At any
rate, I flatter myself with the hope of having presented to the
public a work not wholly uninteresting or unentertaining.
Those who are best acquainted with Captain Cook's expeditions may be pleased with reviewing them in a more compendious form, and with having his actions placed in a closer point
of view, in consequence of their being divested of the minute
nautical and other details which were essentially necessary in
the voyages at large. As to those persons, if there be any, who
have hitherto obtained but an imperfect knowledge of what
was done and discovered by this illustrious man, they will not
be offended with the length of the following narrative.
In various respects, new information will be found in the
present performance, and other things, which were less perfectly known before, are set in a clearer and fuller light. This,
I trust, will appear in the first, third, fifth, and seventh chapters.
It may be observed, likewise, that the fresh matter now communicated is of the most authentic kind, and derived from the
most respectable sources. My obligations of this nature are,
indeed, very great, and call for my warmest gratitude. The
dates and facts relative to Captain Cook's different promotions
are taken from the books of the Admiralty, by the direction of
the noble lord who is at the head of that Board and the favour
of Mr. Stephens. I embrace with pleasure this opportunity of
mentioning that in the course of my life I have experienced in
several instances Lord Howe's condescending and favourable PREFACE.
attention. To Mr. Stephens I am indebted for other communications besides those which concern the times of Captain
Cook's preferments, and for his general readiness in forwarding
the design of the present work. The Earl of Sandwich, the
great patron of our navigator and the principal mover in his
mighty undertakings, has honoured me with some important
information concerning him, especially with regard to the circumstances which preceded his last voyage. To Sir Hugh
Palliser's zeal for the memory of his friend I stand particularly
obliged. From a large communication with which he was so
good as to favour me, I have derived very material intelligence,
as will appear in the course of the narrative, and especially in
the first chapter. In the same chapter are some facts which I
received from Admiral Graves, through the hands of the Rev.
Dr. Douglas, now Bishop of Carlisle (whose admirable Introduction to the Voyage to the Pacific Ocean must be of the
most essential service to every writer of the Life of Captain
Cook). The Captain's amiable and worthy Widow, who is
held in just esteem by all his friends, has given me an
account of several domestic circumstances. I should be deficient in gratitude were I here to omit the name of Mr. Sam-
well ; for, though what is inserted from him in this work has already been laid before the public, it should be remembered
that, through the interposition of our common friend the Rev.
Mr. Gregory, it was originally written for my use, and freely
consigned to my disposal; and that it was at my particular instance and request that it was separately printed. My obligations to other gentlemen will be mentioned in their proper
But my acknowledgments are, above all, due to Sir Joseph
Banks, President of the Royal Society, for the interest he has
taken in the present publication. It was in consequence of his
advice that it was given to the world in the form which it now
bears; and his assistance has been inv